Red Lips (1995)

Donald Farmer has been making movies since 1973 and through movies like Scream DreamDemon Queen and Cannibal Hookers, as well as his three hour interview with Jess Franco and Lina Romay The Bizarre World of Jess Franco, he’s really made quite an impression.

Ghetty Chasun (GoroticaDamselvis, Daughter of ElvisVicious Kisses) is Caroline, a woman just trying to survive who sells her blood and meets The Doctor (Mandy Leigh) who starts to experiment with her for reasons unknown, transforming her into a vampire ravenous for human blood, including that of George Stover.

Then she meets Lisa (Michelle Bauer) — who has just broken up with a bathing Kitten Natividad — and they travel the darkest side of New York City, whether that means coming into the orbit of a sinister pimp or making out amongst a punk rock show.

Yet through all the gore and exploitation, this is a film that finds a real relationship between its leads who are both incredible in this. Imagine finding the love of your life at the same time that your life becomes living for destroying other human beings.

It’s like Franco shot on the cheapest of cameras in cities that may not be New York City but as its edited, you’ll never notice. Chasun and Bauer are incandescent, doomed souls who struggle to hold onto one another despite all of the horror and violence that this world has to send their way.

Is it weird that a lesbian shot on video vampire movie features a central relationship that in no way feels like exploitation?

You can get this on blu ray from Saturn’s Core, a partner label of Vinegar Syndrome.

Death Metal Zombies (1995)

How true is Death Metal Zombies? Not only does a girl wear a Relapse shirt, but it also has a ton of that label’s artists on the soundtrack such as Amorphis, Brutality, Deceased, Disembowelment, Dismember, Hypocrisy, Incantation, Mortician, Pungent Stench and Winter.

It also has Brad Masters and his crew of metal dudes like to go to shows and fight other metal dudes in the woods, I guess to prove how kvlt they are. Brad wins, because he is the lucky caller who gets a Living Corpse tape — yes, this movie is so metal it has cassettes — from a radio show and it has a song called “Zombified” that turns everyone into — did you guess? — Death Metal Zombies.

Yes, the lead singer of Living Corpse, Shengar, is the lord of the dead world and man, that’s awesome. He decides to go after Brad’s girl, Angel, who skipped the party because she had to work and now she’s with a dude named Tommy and supposedly they know how to stop the headbanging dead.

Also: There’s a slasher on the loose wearing a Nixon mask.

Everyone in this movie is a master of air guitar, most essentially the girl in the Relapse shirt that is wearing the mommest of all mom jeans.

Todd Jason Cook also made Evil NightDemon DollsHorrorscopeLisa’s NightmaresFrightmares and Zombified, which has zombie attack a nightclub, a serial killer attacking people and only two people who can save everyone. So, you know, Death Metal Zombies.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Savage Vows (1995)

Shot in a house — the home of director Bob Dennis and writer Carol Dennis — and a cemetery in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Savage Vows confirms my theory that shot on video is a relative of the regional films that we all know and love. Much in the same way that so many regional films were made for the owner’s theater or drive-in chain, this was made to be rented at Bob’s video store, Full Moon Video, which he owned with his brother Mike, who also appears in this movie. Oh yeah — that video store definitely shows up in this and the quick moments we are inside it give the kind of feels that are at once warm and bittersweet.

Armand Sposto plays Mark, the hero of this story, who has just lost his wife to a car accident. As his friends both try to console and — some — take advantage of him, he watches horror movies, devours fast food, deals with loss and totally misses out on the fact that a killer is wiping out his buddies. One of those friends, Adam, is played by Mark Polonia, creator of so many SOV films (and streaming these days).

Bob Dennis is still acting today, appearing in Jurassic PreyAlien Surveillance and Outpost Earth. He’s also in the Polonia Brothers’ Night CrawlersTerror House (which they made with Jon McBride), Bad Magic, the two The House That Screamed movies and Among Us, in which he plays director Billy D’Amato.

Will Mark get to watch The Lion King? Will he have any friends left? Who is that lurking outside like a giallo gloved killing machine? You can answer all of these questions and come up with more of your own when you sit down for Savage Vows.

You can watch this on Tubi.

I’ll Kill You… I’ll Bury You… I’ll Spit on Your Grave Too! (1995)

First off, major points for the title, which you can guess has nothing to do with Meir Zarchi’s movie.

Twenty five years ago, a chainsaw killer was wiping out young lovers and you know what would be a bad idea? To open a research station on the grounds, right in the upper peninsula of Michigan, top of the mitten. The grounds were supposed to be sold to a man who was just back from Vietnam, but his father sold it from under him to his brother who soon died. None of this sounds safe. Nor does leaving your van miles from the cabin because of mud. Just turn around.

There’s a jerk local cop — I should have just said local cop and you’d have added that adjective in your head — as well as scientists doing what they do, which in this is having lots of sex. There’s also a protective butch character named Terry who deals out Tarot cards and is good with a shotgun and if you think I was sad that she got killed you have been reading my words.

You can also tell that Alex Black, who played Shelly, is the actress most comfortable with nudity, as she’s naked more often than not. I guess she’s a naturalism expert. If a scene had her playing volleyball like a 60s nudie cutie I would not be surprised.

The box art has nothing to do with this movie, promising so much more than is delivered, which I respect, but then again, the end of this movie makes up for everything as it has an appearance by Chekov’s woodchipper.

You can watch this on Daily Motion.

MVD BLU RAY RELEASE: Panther (1995)

Mario Van Peebles directed and produced this adaption of Melvin Van Peebles’s novel Panther and had his dad write the screenplay, too.

Kadeem Hardison plays Judge, a man who has returned home from Vietnam to find that Oakland is torn apart between crime and police discrimination against African-Americans. he soon learns about the Black Panthers and their leaders Bobby Seale (Courtney B. Vance) — who said that this movie is “80 percent to 90 percent” untrue — and Huey P. Newton (Marcus Chong).

This movie has a great cast, including Tyrin Turner, Joe Don Baker, M. Emmet Walsh, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Bobby Brown, Angela Bassett (who played Beverly Shabazz in both this movie and Malcolm X), Dick Gregory, Kool Moe Dee, Richard Dysart (who also played J. Edgar Hoover in Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair), Michael Wincott, James Russo and both Marlon and Melvin Van Peebles.

Even if the movie is fictionalized, it should get you to read about the Black Panther Party and how they used copwatching to police the very cops who had pledged to protect their neighborhoods. In addition, the party created the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, education programs, and community health clinics. Hoover believed that they were “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and part of a Communist plot.

The film never gets into the two different ways America still sees the Black Panthers, whether as a vital organization in the struggle of African-Americans or a criminal organization. Perhaps most dangerous to the status quo was that Huey Newton expressed his support for the Women’s Liberation Movement and the Gay Liberation Movement, urging his followers to “unite with them in a revolutionary fashion.”

If you get anything out of this, learn more about them and how people are still fighting for equality.

You can get Panther from MVD.

2022 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 30: The Jerky Boys (1995)

30. DEVILS NIGHT: Watch one with mischief, mayhem or pranks in it but please keep the fires to a minimum.

At some amazing point in the 90s, Disney released a movie about two men who made prank calls for a living. Yes, what a time to be alive. The Jerky Boys mean more to me than just about any other form of comedy if I’m honest and I don’t care what that says about my taste. If you talk to me for any length of time, there’s a very good chance that you will hear me say something from them, whether it’s “Real proud of ya,” “call you when,” or “I hear you Greeks like tunnels.”

This movie — directed by James Melkonian (The Stoned Age) and written by Melkonian, Rich Wilkes and its stars, Johnny Brennan and Kamal Ahmed — has so much in common with the hijinks films of the 80s. Like, two guys who make prank calls accidentally call the mafia and hijinks ensue.

There’s no way that critics would enjoy this movie. So what? I mean, they got Alan Arkin, Vincent Pastore and William Hickey to be in a movie about crank phone calls and used the universe of those calls — Brett Weir and Uncle Freddy, anyone? — to tell a longform story where there was perhaps none. It has Helmet playing “Symptom of the Universe” and they’re managed by Ozzy and I honestly think they made this movie just for me, because huh?

So yeah. You can say this sucks and I wouldn’t blame you, except I will resent you and wonder about your opinions for the rest of time, jerky.

Also: Captain Lou Albano feels right for this movie.

CANNON MONTH 2: Luise knackt den Jackpot (1995)

Luise (Marianne Sägebrecht, who would be best known to American audiences for being in The War of the Roses and genre fans for being in Dust Devil; she’s one of Germany’s most famous actresses) runs a travel agency with her husband Matthias (Oliver Reed). When the couple goes on a tour of Kazakhstan and do better than meeting Borat. She ends up winning millions in a lottery and buys a villa with her own butler (David Warner).

Menahem Golan directed this from a script by Pini Eden, an Israeli writer whose career in entertainment started as a singer. After spending some time in Europe, where she recorded more than ten records and won The Golden Bridge song competition, she started writing plays and then movies.

Of all the 21st Century releases that Menahem got out there, this is one of the hardest to find. Go figure — no one other than probably me has any interest in one of his films starring a cast of German and other foreign actors.

CANNON MONTH 2: Russian Roulette – Moscow 95 (1995)

Did Menahem Golan love Oliver Reed and Jan-Michael Vincent or what? They were in so many of his later films. Like this one, in which four American widows takes revenge on the Russian mafia in Moscow after their husbands are killed.

This has only come out on VHS and never made it to DVD or blu ray. It’s pretty difficult to find, despite having those two stars in the cast, as well as Barbara Carrera and Karen Moncrieff, who is also in a bunch of 21st Century films.

Made in Germany and Belarus and released in the German language, I’ve been trying to hunt this down. It was directed by Menahem and written by Andriew Sasmonof, who never wrote another movie.

Has anyone seen it? Do you have the VHS? Let me know. The best I can find is how I watched it, an OK.RU link, which is one small tiny little leap away from the Dark Web.

 

CANNON MONTH 2: Silent Victim (1995)

Directed by Menahem Golan and written by Nelly Adnil and Jonathan Platnick from a story by Bob Spitz, Silent Victim is a made-for-TV movie that tackles a subject that is still relevant: the right for a woman to choose.

Golan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution — thanks to Hill Place for posting the quote —  “I’m not doing this for the sake of politics. The main thrust of the story is when it happens, everybody comes to take advantage of the situation.  I’m walking a razor’s edge.  I hope the movie will be good enough that people will learn something and enjoy it.”

Bonnie Jackson (Michele Greene, L.A. Law) is trapped in an abusive marriage with her husband Jed (Kyle Secor). All that he wants is to have a child, so he’s obsessed with making her take her medications and follow several rules toward having that baby. After a really bad fight, he beats her into oblivion, so she tries to commit suicide by taking pills. He takes her to the hospital but soon learns that she was pregnant and has lost the child from the overdose.

Jed brings her to court and charges her with a criminal attempt to commit suicide, failure to obtain a spousal notification, interference with her husband’s property rights and unlicensed practice of medicine. He brings on District Attorney Carter Evans (Alex Hyde-White, one of the last contract players in Hollywood, working for Universal with fellow contracted actors Lindsay Wagner, Andrew Stevens, Gretchen Corbett and Sharon Gless; he was also Mr. Fantastic in the Roger Corman-produced Fantastic Four) to make sure he wins.

Bonnie has help of her own, as her college best friend Lauren McKinley (Ely Pouget, The RiftLawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace) is now a major lawyer in Manhattan. There’s a problem, of course, as this case happens in the south and the real father isn’t Jed but instead, it’s her friend, black pharmacist C. Ray Thompson (Ralph Wilcox).

As you can imagine, the case brings in protestors for both sides and Newnan, Georgia becomes a battleground. Meanwhile, Jed is in a hotel sweating, screaming and getting drunk while watching the warden sapphically take a prisoner in Caged Fury. What a strange thing to throw in a movie, Menahem, and that’s why we love you! There’s also a Punch and Judy show so that the kids can understand the trial and they all cheer when puppet Jed beats puppet Bonnie to death. This is topped by a moment when Bonnie finally reconnects with both C. Ray and Jed while two actual clowns stand and awkwardly watch. Yes, not clownish people. Actual clowns.

By the end, Bonnie may or may not get back with Jed. She has broken with her lawyer, who she feels exploited her. And she has to pay $1,000 back to the state and Jed whips up his checkbook, which seems to be a strange thing to take to court. Oh man — I almost forgot — Evans and McKinley, the two attornies on this case, used to date!

There’s also a graphic miscarriage scene that shows instead of tells in the most bloody and graphic way possible.

Travis Vogt on Letterboxd had the best quote for this — and I wish I wrote it — and I have to share this with you: “It’s like Death Wish 3 but for abortion.”

Seriously, of all directors, Menahem is the very last person I would choose to direct a sensitive take on the abortion debate.

But the most entertaining one? He knows how to do that.

You can watch this on Tubi.

MILL CREEK BLU RAY BOX SET RELEASE: seaQuest DSV – The Complete Series (1993-1996)

Get ready for the adventures of the seaQuest DSV 4600, a deep submergence vehicle of the United Earth Oceans Organization (UEO). The UEO? Well, that group was created in 2018 — in the continuity of this show — after a battle within the Livingston Trench.

Designed by retired naval captain Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider), the series begins as humanity finds itself out of natural resources and begins to mine the ocean floor. Several gold rush-style mining communities now exist within this unexplored territory and the seaQuest seeks to protect them from other countries and sometimes each other.

Bridger just wanted to stay retired, particularly after his son Robert died in a naval battle and he promised his dying wife that he would never go back to the sea. But you know…they keep bringing pulling him back.

This show debuted to great fanfare, with the first season’s plots all about oceanographic research, environmental issues, politics and the interpersonal relationships of the crew. By the end of the first season, low ratings led to a cliffhanger where Bridger sacrificed the ship to prevent an ecological disaster.

And that’s where things get weird.

When it was decided the show would come back, NBC and Universal moved production from Los Angeles to Orlando, which led Stephanie Beacham, who played Dr. Kristin Westphalen, to leave the show (all of the battles between the producers and network didn’t help either). It’s also why Stacy Haiduk (Lieutenant Commander Katherine Hitchcock) left, but Royce D. Applegate (Chief Manilow Crocker) and John D’Aquino (Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg ) were let go because NBC wanted a younger crew.

The original crew also had Lucas Wolenczak (Jonathan Brandis), Commander Jonathan Ford (Don Franklin), Lieutenant Tim O’Neill (Ted Raimi) and Sensor Chief Miguel Ortiz (Marco Sanchez). They’d be joined by the telepathic Dr. Wendy Smith (Rosalind Allen), weapons officer Lieutenant James Brody (Edward Kerr), genetically engineered gill-breathing Seaman Anthony Piccolo (Michael DeLuise), Lieutenant Lonnie Henderson (Kathy Evison) and Dagwood (Peter DeLuise), a GELF (genetically engineered life form) who served as the ship’s janitor.

Whereas season one often had serious science — and each episode ended with facts from oceanographer Dr. Bob Ballard, the technical advisor for the show, inspiration from Bridger and the man who actually discovered the wrecks of Titanic, Bismarck and Yorktown — other than finding an ancient spaceship, season two had a monster of the week feel to compete for better ratings. Demons, aliens, fire-breathing worms, the god Neptune, time travel, a prehistoric crocodile and so much more was, well, too much for Scheider to handle.

He referred to the new storylines, giving multiple interviews to the Orlando Sentinel where he said the show as “Saturday afternoon 4 o’clock junk for children. Just junk — old, tired, time-warp robot crap” and “…childish trash…I am very bitter about it. I feel betrayed… It’s not even good fantasy. I mean, Star Trek does this stuff much better than we can do it. To me the show is now 21 Jump Street meets Star Dreck.” That 21 Jump Street dig must have been directed at the DeLuise brothers, who were once on that show before joining the cast.

By the end of the second season, it seemed like the show would be canceled — yet again — so the final episode “Splashdown” has the crew being abducted by aliens, then fighting in a civil war that destroys the seaQuest — yet again! — and everyone dead.

And yet the third season happened!

Scheider requested to be released from his contract with NBC but was asked to appear in a few more episodes. Edwin Kerr asked to quit as well and was asked to stay long enough to die in season 3’s “SpinDrift,” while NBC’s scheduling — which contributed to low ratings as the series moved around all the time — caused the episode “Brainlock” to air with his character still alive.

Now, only Jonathan Brandis, Don Franklin and Ted Raimi stayed on, as if the show was a band playing ribfest with hardly any original members left (even Dr. Bob Ballard was gone). Now called seaQuest 2032, the crew arrived ten years back on Earth ten years later, Bridger retired and Michael Ironside came on as Captain Oliver Hudson. He immediately set some boundaries: “You won’t see me fighting any man-eating glowworms, rubber plants, 40-foot crocodiles and I don’t talk to Darwin.”

Oh yeah — Darwin was a talking dolphin voice by the man who is every talking animal, Frank Welker.

Elise Neal also joined the show as Lieutenant J.J. Fredericks as storylines moved more toward corporate greed running the world and political tension. Only 13 episodes aired before finally, the show was done for good.

There were model kits, trading cards, video games and even Playmates action figures (check out this article on seaQuest Vault), but the show always struggled to catch on with viewers, if they could find it.

Going back and watching this again in box set form, it’s fascinating to see how the show changes and struggles for direction in a condensed format. Week by week, it’s not as strange. When binged, it seems absolutely deranged. I’m glad in some way that I wasn’t in love with the show when it aired. It would have broken my heart.

The Mill Creek blu ray box set of seaQuest DSV has every episode of the show, plus new interviews and featurettes with the series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, as well as the directors and crew. Plus, you get several deleted scenes. Get it from Deep Discount.