Night of the Running Man (1995)

Las Vegas cab driver Jerry Logan (Andrew McCarthy) discovers a stolen million dollars. Before he gets to use it, he’s hunted down by a relentless and cold-blooded assassin (Scott Glen).

How brutal is Glen? He boils McCarthy’s feet so he can’t run away, but he still gets to a hospital in time and falls for his nurse (Janet Gunn, The Quest). As for the boiled feet, you should know better to get into a cab driven by John Glover. I kid — I love that guy and he brings something great to every role, whether it’s Daniel Clamp in Gremlins 2 or A.J. in Ed and His Dead Mother.

Wayne Newton is in this, which makes sense, as he didn’t have to leave Vegas.

Those who watch the credits — hello, I’ve sat in sparse theaters with you — will notice that Alfred Sole did the production design for this movie. Yes, that’s the very same Alfred Sole that made Alice, Sweet Alice.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Tommy Boy (1995)

We’ve talked about Peter Segal before — he directed Get Smart — and here he’s unleashing Chris Farley on the big screen as the son of “Big Tom” Callahan (Brian Dennehy), who soon drops dead after marrying Bo Derek. We should all be so lucky. Soon, he’s trying to save the company along with his father’s best employee, Richard Hayden (David Spade).

This movie is basically a road film packed with hijinks. Rob Lowe played the part of Tommy’s stepbrother uncredited as he was contractually obligated to make Stephen King’s The Stand. However, he took the part as a favor for Farley. Much like every movie this week, Dan Aykroyd shows up. Here, he’s car store dealer Ray Zalinsky.

Will you enjoy this film? It just depends on how you feel about Farley. Me, I loved him, so I’ve seen this so many times. It holds up and has plenty of emotion to go with all the laughs.

Mind Ripper (1995)

Although it is marketed in some regions as a sequel to The Hills Have Eyes and The Hills Have Eyes Part II under the titles The Hills Have Eyes III and The Hills Still Have Eyes, there are no actors, characters or even storylines from either of those movies. It does, however, have producer Wes Craven, whose son Jonathan wrote this movie.

It’s directed by Joe Gayton, who went on to write the movies Bulletproof and Faster.

Set in a remote desert location — hence the title The Outpost , as well as the tenuous connection to The Hills Have Eyes — where government scientists are trying to bring back suicides as superhumans, this movie is all about the dark side of experimenting on the dead. There is no good side of this, by the way.

Stockton (Lance Henriksen, who deserves better) is a scientist called in to help oversee the project. He’s joined by his son Scott (Giovanni Ribisi, who despite this being his first role, deserves better), daughter Wendy (Natasha Gregson Wagner, Urban Legend, who also deserves better) and her boyfriend Mark (Adam Solomon, who never made a movie after this, so maybe he didn’t deserve better). After all, an uncontrollable test subject named Thor is loose and must be contained.

This was one of the first movies shot in Bulgaria after the fall of Communism. I’m sorry, Bulgaria.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi. It’s also available with Rifftrax commentary on Tubi.

Tank Girl (1995)

Why did this movie run this week instead of our failure week? It made $6 million on a $25 million budget, was critically attacked to put it mildly and creators Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett disliked the final product.

That said — nearly every woman I know adores this movie and points to it as a classic. Just go to any convention and you’ll still see Tank Girl cosplay 25 years later. The comic never went away. And a reboot may be on the way.

Even for a movie that’s a total mess, with scenes missing and a studio that had no idea what they had, it’s more successful than anyone remembers.

Director Rachel Talalay’s stepdaughter gave her a Tank Girl comic to read while she was shooting her directorial debut, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Finding a studio ready to handle the sexual themes and violence of the film was difficult, but honestly, how anyone thought this would be a blockbuster still amazes me. Then again, people think of books as this vast universe of ideas and comic books as only being superheroes even now.

As if we don’t have enough troubles, in 2022, a comet is going to hit and cause a decade-long drought. The water that is left will belong to Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell) and the Water & Power Corporation.

Somewhere, somehow, Rebecca Buck will become the “Tank Girl.” Lori Petty owns this entire film, literally becoming the character for so many that didn’t even realize that she was a character from the Deadline comic magazine.

W&P troops attack the commune that Tank Girl lives in, kill her boyfriend and kidnap her young friend Sam. Instead of killing her, Tank Girl is enslaved and tortured. After meeting Jet Girl (Naomi Watts) and Sub Girl (Ann Cusack, who took over for Bjork), the antiheroine makes like a spaghetti western character who has been wronged and rights things by killing everyone in her way, then falling in love with a Ripper, which is a mutated human kangaroo. Ice-T is one of those kangaroos, too.

This is the kind of movie where punk rock girls destroy a strip club and force Ann Magnuson to sing Cole Porter songs at gunpoint.

More than an hour was chopped out of this film, with whole new scenes — like the ending — needing to be animated. But you know what? It still works. It’s goofy, it’s silly, it’s ridiculous and that’s what it aims to be. It’s the most fun end of the world movie I’ve seen not made in this country, at least.

GoldenEye (1995)

After Licence to Kill was released, pre-production work for the seventeenth James Bond film — the third to star Timothy Dalton — began. There was even a poster shown at Cannes. But soon, producer Albert R. Broccoli would stop working with long-time writer Richard Maibaum and director John Glen.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the owners of the series’ distributor United Artists, and Broccoli’s Danjaq, owners of the Bond film rights, then fell apart. MGM/UA was sold to Pathé Entertainment, who attempted to sell off the broadcast rights to the studio’s films to pay for the buy out. The problem was that they were selling them for firesale prices and were denying Danjaq any of the profits.

By the time the legal issues were settled, six years had passed. While Dalton was still Broccoli’s choice to play Bond, the star’s original three-movie, seven-year contract expired in 1993. That means that Pierce Brosnan could finally be Bond.

John Woo was originally selected to direct, but Martin Campbell — who directed two Zorro films, two Bond films and, perhaps not so successfully, the Green Lantern movie — finally took over.

This is the first Bond film to be made after the fall of Communism. One of the movie’s big changes was to cast Judi Dench as the new female M, who refers to Bond as a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur” and a “relic of the Cold War.” The fall of Russian is also shown in the opening titles, which upset plenty of people in those countries to see the symbols of their past decimated by girls in bikinis.

GoldenEye begins with James Bond and Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) infiltrating a chemical weapons facility in Russia. Trevelyan is caught and presumably killed by Colonel Ourumov. While Bond manages to destroy the site before escaping, the truth is that Trevelyan and Ourumov come together to create the Janus crime syndicate.

Famke Janssen makes for a great henchwoman as Xenia Onatopp, a fighter pilot and killer who loves to crush men between her thighs. She’s awesome in this and even did all of her own driving stunts. There are also great turns by Joe Don Baker, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Cumming.

So what is GoldenEye, other than Ian Fleming’s estate? It’s a satellite that the Russians are using to destroy targets with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse.

Perhaps more people in the U.S. know this movie as the inspiration for the Nintendo 64 game, which was a huge multiplayer game.

This is a film of many firsts and lasts. The first Bond film to use CGI. The first to switch the roles of Moneypenny, M and Bond all in the same film. And the last that Albert Broccoli would live to see. Luckily, with Brosnan, the series was in stable hands.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)

About the Author: Paul Andolina is back on our site. You can check out his blogs Wrestling with Film and Is the Dad Alive? for more.

I am not an expert on Kaiju films. I dabbled very briefly with some of the Godzilla films years back but I never dove into it to the extent that some people have. I do enjoy them when I do see them and when Sam mentioned he was doing a mini Gamera marathon, I thought it was a good of a time as any to break out my Millcreek Entertainment set of the films. I was assigned Gamera: Guardian of the Universe from 1995.

I’ve never watched a single Gamera film so I really lucked out on getting this film as it is basically a reboot of the franchise. It is about the discovery of Gamera, who keeps floating into the way of ships, and ancient evil genetically engineered carnivorous birds that have been attacking people.

The film opens with a couple of ships on their way back to Japan that come across a mysterious moving atoll that almost tears a ship carrying plutonium right open. An investigation team is set up and they climb aboard the atoll where they find odd otherworldly metal comma shaped pieces and a very old looking plank with strange runes that read, “We commit to the cradle of time the Last Hope, Gamera. May he awaken with the Shadow of Evil, Gyaos.”There also was a team sent to the island to investigate the bird attacks. They are ordered to capture the birds and they do so using flash photography, tranquilizer guns, and a baseball stadium with a retractable dome. Unfortunately one of the birds escape but a giant tortoise arises from the sea and batters the escaped bird.

Everyone is straight freaking out about the tortoise thing because it is going to be a bigger threat than the birds. They’re a bunch of dummies though because it turns out that inscription is about that tortoise Gamera who is there to protect the world against the birds Gyaos. Along the way a young girl is gifted one of the strange metal pieces and becomes psychically linked to Gamera. Gamera’s injuries even appear on the young girl’s body! 

There is a lot to digest in this film. It is well-paced which I’ve noticed isn’t always kaiju movies’ strong points, and apart from some early CGI looks beautiful. In fact even with that early CGI I feel like it stands the test of time. The monster mayhem is top form stuff, with some physical fights and elemental blast effects. Gamera’s fireball breath and Gyaos’s steel melting bad breath are really neat. Gamera even has rocket boosters in its appendages! The icing on top of the cake that is Gamera: Guardian of the Universe though is its end theme, Myth performed by Bakufu Slump. A rocking little song that I would have definitely blasted loud in my Toyota Camry back in college had I discovered this movie then. I am looking forward to also watching the sequel to this film, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion. If you don’t feel like going all the way back to 1967 to get a fix of Gamera, this is the best starting point and you can work backwards or forwards from here.

When the Dark Man Calls (1995)

If you’re a voracious reader of mystery novels, especially if you grew up in the ‘80s, chances are you may have read at least one of the prolific Stuart M. Kaminsky’s 60-plus novels concerning the adventures of the ‘40s film noir-styled gumshoe Toby Peters, Moscow Police Inspector Rostnikov, and grizzled Chicago police officer Abe Lieberman.

However, when it came time to adapt Kaminsky’s best sellers to the big screen, it was his two standalone non-series novels, 1983’s When the Dark Man Calls and 1985’s Exercise in Terror, which made the transition. While Exercise in Terror became the 1993 USA Network TV movie Hidden Fears starring Meg Foster (John Carpenter’s They Live, Stepfather 2, Deep Family Secrets) and Frederic Forrest (Apocalypse Now, The Rose, One from the Heart), When the Dark Man Calls was first adapted into the 1988 French thriller Fréquence Meurtre (aka Frequency Death, Frequent Death) starring Catherine Deneuve.

Kaminsky’s New York Times–and European–best seller and the 1988 French language film adaptation.

In this inferior, homogenized English language version shot on-the-cheap in Toronto as a USA Network original movie (in the days before the channel was usurped by the NBC Network to run all-day Law and Order marathons), TV actress Joan Van Ark—who’s no Catherine Deneuve in the thespian department—stars as Julianne Kaiser, the stalked Chicago talk radio psychologist.

Yes, you guess it: As with any stalked radio psychologist, Julianne has her own closet of repressed memories and tormented skeletons: Twenty-five years ago, when she was a ten, she discovered her parents murdered in their bed. It was her testimony that put away the killer, Mr. Parmenter (Tango & Cash; Clint Eastwood stock player Geoffrey Lewis), a border who lived in the back room of their home—and he always claimed his innocence. Now that Parmenter has been released, he begins making threatening calls to her show. Then, when he turns up dead and the calls don’t stop, the whodunit red herrings start flipping and flopping.

Who killed Julianne’s parents? Who killed Parmenter? Who’s stalking her and harassing her 14-year-old daughter?

Is it her vengeful, soon-to-be ex-husband Max (familiar TV actor Barry Flatman; The Dead Zone with Christopher Walken; still acting on ION Network’s Private Eyes)? Is it her doting, construction company-owning brother Lloyd (Chris Sarandon from Fright Night) with his own closet of secrets? And there’s Michael (genial TV actor James Read; ‘80s TV series Remington Steele; still acting on the U.S soaps Days of Our Lives and General Hospital), her ex-boyfriend cop bumbling about, still carrying a torch for Julianne.

While the quality in casting, acting, and direction in a ‘90s-era USA Network original movie is certainly a step above a present-day Lifetime original flick and raises the violence bar (just a smidgen), When the Dark Man Calls is still a thriller with no thrills or suspense—ironically, just like a Lifetime movie. And that’s a shame when considering the great critical reviews for Kaminsky’s 1983 novel. (Because of the radio angle, I read it back in the ‘80s and it is a page turner. Kaminsky’s works should not only be better known, but subject to more film adaptations.)

Yes, Joan Van Ark is certainly gorgeous and she looks fantastic on screen (and still acting on a wide array of films and series). But so is Catherine Deneuve. While Ark is affable enough in an ensemble cast of a hit nighttime TV drama, in her case, Dallas and Knots Landing, carrying an entire picture as the put upon damsel-in-distress isn’t her forte; under her tutelage the on-the-edge-of-your-seat plot twists of Kaminsky’s novel fall flatter than a dead herring.

Sure, we get the always awesome Geoffrey Lewis as the revengeful convict and Chris Sarandon’s harboring-dark-secrets brother as part of the bargain (if not for them both, I wouldn’t have stuck with this one to the end) and they deliver the goods, but they’re not in the film long enough to make a lasting impact.

On the plus side: The set design is solid and the radio station looks pretty legit for a low-budget set build. But who built it, Irwin Allen? Yep, it’s more budget conscious, ambiguous dark voids to nowhere. (In all my years in the business I never, ever worked in a studio so dark.) And those dumbbell faux call letters of WRAP (talk, “rap,” really?). And the total lack of a 7-second audio delay in the studio. And the fact that no radio station would ever risk FCC fines or license loss by putting live calls on the air from a serial stalker—even with an audio delay—for the sake of “ratings” or to “catch a killer.” Another problem: Joan’s age. If we abide by the flashbacks and flash forwards, Julianne Kaiser is 35—a very hard 35: Van Ark was already in her 50s—again, she looks great—when she shot this flick. All of it stretches the limits of screenwriting credulity.

Unfortunately, the Catherine Deneuve version isn’t available online for a comparison—and it was never released on stateside video. However, When the Dark Man Calls was released by Paramount as a VHS in the states and overseas. There are no official online streams available, so you’ll have to settle for this VHS rip posted on You Tube.

If you’d like to watch Kaminsky’s Hidden Fears, it is also available on You Tube.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.

 

 

The Silencer aka Body Count (1995)

Just look at that VHS-’90s resume of David A. Prior: The spa ‘n blades romp Killer Workout, the David Carradine post-apoc flicks Future Force and Future Zone. The Filipino actioners Firehead and The Final Sanction. And while he didn’t direct them, through his Action International Pictures, aka West Side Studios (aka in homage to AIP – American International Pictures), founded alongside David Winters and Peter Yuval, Prior was involved in the production of the holiday horror Elves, the Battlestar Galactica rip-off Space Mutiny, the apoc-slop Phoenix the Warrior, and the exploitation zombie mess directed by our beloved game-for-anything John Saxon, Zombie Death House.

And as we’ve said many times before when referring to the direct-to-video oeuvre of David A. Prior: Here’s another one from the bottom of Action International’s very tasty barrel. Another piece of B&S wisdom: What David A. Prior movie doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

And how did we come up with this review, you ask?

You can either blame Mill Creek Entertainment or Pittsburgh’s Eide’s Entertainment. Take your pick!

Makoto (Sonny Chiba!, Kill Bill: Vol 1), a cold-blooded assassin, escapes from prison to extract his revenge on the mean streets of New Orleans against an elite squad of “Special Crimes” agents headed by Eddie Cook and Vinnie Rizzo (Robert Davi of Maniac Cop II and Steven Bauer from DePalma’s Scarface!). As Makoto and his sexy-vicious partner Sybil (Red Sonja? Brigitte Neilsen? *) execute the squad members one-by-one, it’s up to Tango & Cash, Rizzoli and Isles, Starsky and Hutch, Cook and Rizzo to find the deadly duo and stop the carnage.

“Hey, dude. What about me?”

Oh, yeah. Hey, Jan-Michael Vincent. I didn’t forget you’re Detective Reinhart. That sucks that Sonny Chiba tossed you off the building so early in the movie. We dig your work here at B&S.

“Yeah, well. You didn’t do me any favors by reminding everyone I did Alienator, buddy.”

“Hey, did I ever tell you ‘The Tractor Story‘?”

Hey, Cindy Ambehul? Sophie from the Seinfeld episode ‘The Burning’? What are you doing here?

“I know. I know. I’m so ashamed I was in this. I mean, I went from from Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead to this?”

Well, you were trying to build a theatrical resume and break out of television. It’s all good, Cindy. Besides your were uber hot and ass-kicking in this as Special Agent Janet Hood. That catfight with Brigitte saved the movie. And, I must say: You were the best of the Seinfeld babes of all time.

“Even hotter than Susan Walters?”

You mean Mulva-Doloris from ‘The Junior Mint’ and ‘The Foundation’? Oh, hell yes, Cindy!

“Hey, thanks for being a gentleman and not making any jokes if ‘they’ were real and spectacular.”

You bet, Cindy.

As you can see: what we have here is an exploitation cast wetdream . . . in a very bad movie. And that’s the way we like it here at B&S About Movies: mindless and fun, and oh, so “Prior” plotted.

Well . . . I challenge you to come up with a better review . . . and find a freebie VHS rip online. God bless those public domain DVDs collecting mold in the bins at The Salavation Army.

* Brigitte Neilson recently made the news for giving birth to a new baby at the age of 54 (story link) and that she would allow herself to be purposefully infected with the Chinese Cornavirus for a planned vaccine clinical trial to be done in London (story link). And get this: Robert Davi has 15 . . . yes, 15, films in various states of pre-and–post production, with a resume now at 161 credits.

About the Author: You can read the music and film criticisms of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S Movies.

Fever Lake (1995)

Once upon a time, Corey Haim, Mario Lopez and Bo Hopkins went to Kenosha, Wisconsin and made a slasher. The end.

Ah man, I have to talk about this movie more than that, huh?

How about if I told you that a Native American mystic named Clear Springs — played by the not a Native America n Michael Wise — warns a bunch of teenagers that a lake is cursed and they still party and pay for it with their lives?

Bo Hopkins is in here and his IMDB reminds me that Murder, She Wrote was on so long that he was able to be a guest star on it twice as two totally different characters. He plays a sheriff, a role he seems born to play, as he was also the law in movies and shows like A Crack In the FloorDusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood MoneyGetting to Know YouR.I.O.T. the MovieTexas PaybackFertilize the Blaspheming BombshellMatlockThe Bounty HunterTrapper County WarA Smokey Mountain Christmas, The Fall GuyMutantSweet Sixteen and A Small Town In Texas.

That said, if you ever wanted to see one of the Coreys and AC Slater battle demons, you’re in luck. This was also called Demon Kid in a toned down version, but why would you want to watch a demon slasher movie and not at least get some blood?

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi. There’s also a Rifftrax version on Amazon Prime.

El Dia de la Bestia (1995)

Alex de la Iglesia met Jose Guerricaechevarria in the early 90’s, which led to their first short film,Mirindas Asesinas, in which a normal man becomes a killer. They’ve worked together ever since, particularly on the Pedro Almodovar produced Accion Mutante, a story of handicapped people fighting back in a post-apocalyptic future. He followed thet movie with this one, which won 6 Goyas — think Oscar in Spanish — including Best Director.

Father Angel Berriartua (Alaex Angulo, Pan’s Labyrinth), a priest and professor of theology, confesses to another priest that he is about to commit as much evil as possible. The other priest is shocked until he explains why, but before he can help, a large cross crushes him.

His mission takes him to Madrid, where he meets heavy metal fan, record shop clerk and Satanist Jose Maria (Santiago Segura, who has made the Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley film series that parodies Stallone’ Cobra). Jose helps Angel find a place in his mother’s boarding house and continue his path toward evil, which guides him to steal a book by occult TV show host Professor Cavan.

Jose and Angel decide to kidnap the Professor and force him to teach them how to sell their souls to the devil. Why? Angel has decoded that Bible and learned that the Antichrist will be born at midnight on Christmas Eve. If he sells his soul, the Devil will trust him and allow him to witness the birth, which will allow him to sneak in and kill the Antichrist, saving the world.

The ritual will need the blood of a virgin, which is no easy feat in modern Madrid. Luckily, Mina, who lives in Jose’s mother’s boarding house, is one. As Angel draws her blood, he’s surprised by Jose’s mother, who ends up killing herself with a shotgun by accident. No matter — the threesome instead burns a piece of paper chaos magic style, takes LSD and finishes the ritual. Cavan jokes that it’s all a farce until a goat appears and the devil taunts them in a message, saying that he knows Angel’s plan.

Do they find the devil? You bet. A movie this insane totally needs a nearly nude gigantic Satan wandering the rooftops, ready to chuck people off to their doom. Even crazier, most rituals showed in the films are real Satanist rituals and weren’t altered at all. Or so they say.

After the movie’s moderate success in the US, de la Iglesia sold the rights for an American remake, which he was goign to direct. It never happened, nor did his opportunity to direct Alien: Resurrection. However, he did direct his next movie, Perdita Durango, in the U.S.

Man, we totally missed this in our Christmas movies and in our heavy metal movie spotlights, but I’m so happy that this movie is finally on our site.