REPOST: The Silencer aka Body Count (1995)

Editor’s Note: We reviewed this back on March 10, 2020, as part of our Explosive Cinema 12-Pack of reviews. We’re bringing it back as part of our B-Movie Blast 50-Film Pack (Amazon) flurry of reviews.

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.

Burial of the Rats (1995)

Oh man, this week has taken me to some strange places. Like this made for TV movie — cable, one assumes, because no normal network was going to play this — from Dan Golden. Dan Golden, the man who directed Naked ObsessionSaturday Night SpecialTimegate: Tales of the Saddle Tramps and T&A Time Traveler, says the voice inside my head? Yes, my imaginary special friend, the one and the same.

How does one even come to explain this one? One just dives in.

Back in 19th Century France, Bram Stoker — yes, the man who would one day write Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder and some other book — gets captured by a secret clutch of women who never wear more than bikinis and who have learned to use a flute to hypnotize rats so that they eat men.

Would it surprise you that this is yet another movie where Adrienne Barbeau is the queen of a sect of women who want to kill every man they see? Oh poor Adrienne, who went to Russia to make this and walked right into a coup attempt and then had to deal with the death of most of the trained rats, which meant that she was covered in fish eggs for most of the movie.

Golden used Maria Ford in his movies a whole bunch and she’s here, front and center, as is Olga Kabo, perhaps the only actress to be awarded the Meritorious Artist of Russia and then show up in what is basically a Cinemax After Dark movie.

This movie gets major points for having slow-motion sword fights that go on forever, as well as a cute little miniature guillotine that gets used when any of the rats get out of line. You can tell this movie isn’t from Italy, because when they kill one of them, it’s a puppet.

It loses points for having Linnea Quigley as a rat girl and doing nothing with her. Alas!

Thanks to the anonymous user who sent this video, which previews this movie and the Death Race 2020 comic book.

Genkai Jinkô Keisû (1995)

Otherwise known as Anatomia Extinction, this film starts what Tokyo Gore Police would push forward thirteen years later.

A salaryman sees a murder in the subways and is soon pursued by the killer, who wants him to join a group called The Engineers, who have taken it upon themselves to reduce Japan’s overpopulation. Despite not wanting any part of joining, the man begins to mutate, much like Tetsuo: The Iron Man, running throughout Japan and fighting his urge to kill.

Yoshihiro Nishimura wrote the script, directed this and also created all of the special effects. He would go on to make Meatball Machine KodokuVampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl and, of course, Tokyo Gore Police.

This feels like a cyberpunk giallo made on no budget — which is true, as it was all funded by Nishimura — and has an interesting build to the body horror insanity that it leads up to.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Georgia (1995)

This entry in our week of John Doe film reviews is a personal, family-affair project for its star Jennifer Jason Leigh (who made her debut in Eyes of a Stranger and captured young male hearts as Stacy Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High). Leigh produced the screenplay written by her mother, screenwriter Barbara Turner.

Courtesy of timberroseway/PicClick

As an actress, Turner got her start in 1955’s Blackboard Jungle and 1958’s Monster from Green Hell; she came into her own as a screenwriter with 1966’s Deathwatch starring her then husband — and Jennifer’s dad — Vic Morrow (Message from Space, Escape from the Bronx). Her other notable writing efforts include Cujo (which she nom de plume’d as Lauren Currie) and the Academy Award-winning Pollock.

As her co-star, Leigh chose her long-time friend Mare Winningham (St. Elmo’s Fire), whom she known since she was thirteen years old. The choice proved effective, as it provided Winningham with her lone Academy Award-nod — for Best Supporting Actress. For their director, Leigh and Turner chose long-time family friend Ulu Grosbard. A well-regarded theater director (The Subject Was Roses, A View from the Bridge), he worked extensively as a second unit director on the box office hits Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story, The Hustler, and The Miracle Worker; he counts Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro as his close friends.

As is the case with fictional rock n’ roll films that are not biographical (Ray, Walk the Line, What’s Love Got to Do With It), while critically acclaimed, it failed at the box office and failed to find a cult audience on video. The story concerns the artistic sibling rivalry of the Flood sisters. Leigh is the jealous and less talented, punky bar room howler of the Janis Joplin variety continually at odds with Georgia, her critically-acclaimed country-singing sister.

John Doe serves as a member of Sadie’s band; he assisted the cast in the recording of the film’s thirteen-song soundtrack featuring covers of tunes by Lou Reed (“I’ll Be Your Mirror,” “Sally Can’t Dance,” “There She Goes Again”), Elvis Costello (“Almost Blue”), and Van Morrison (“Take Me Back”). If you You Tube “Georgia 1995,” you’ll populate several clips from the film featuring Leigh’s vocals.

It’s powerful stuff on both the acting and musical fronts. Watch it. You can stream it as a VOD on Amazon and You Tube.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

SLASHER MONTH: Witchboard III: The Possession (1995)

Written by Jon Ezrine and the writer and director of the first two films, Kevin S. Tenney, this entry in the Witchboard films was directed by Peter Svatek (Bleeders). It’s all about Brian (David Nerman), a man who finds out his landlord (Cedric Smith, the voice of Professor X on the 90’s X-Men the Animated Series) is really a demon named Kral. How does a demon learn the ways of Canadian real estate, one wonders? The film never really gets into that, but these are the facts that I really want to learn.

Kral takes over Brian’s body — as demonic landlords are wont to do, basically subletting his soul, so yeah maybe demons are good at real estate — and decides that he’s going to knock up our protagonist’s wife Julie (Elizabeth Lambert).

There are some good KNB effects on display — a man gets attacked by his own butterfly collection — and it’s pretty much the Red Shoe Diaries if that Showtime show also had gore and demons, which sounds like a great idea for a movie if you ask me. This one is kind of like Wall Street with, you know, demons.

Speaking of sex, this movie remembers that it is angry that the second one didn’t get Ami Dolenz as nude as Tawny Kitaen and goes all in on the softcore aardvarking. It’s couples gore, I guess.

While this is the last Witchboard film, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors and The Blob director Chuck Russell is planning on a remake, as of 2017. I’m all for that.

SLASHER WEEK: Evil Ed (1995)

The editor of Loose Limbs has killed himself, so Edward Tor Swenson gets the job. However, the more that he works on the film, the closer he gets to insanity, as a mental patient tells him that he needs to “correct the world.” At once a slasher movie and a protest against Swedish censorship, Evil Ed made its way to video store shelves in the U.S. and made quite an impact. Pretty great for a movie that only played four theaters in its home country.

Screenwriter Christer Ohlsson was an editor whose job was cutting the violence from American slasher films for the European market. I would assume that he wasn’t working on them for Italy.

The title is obviously a play on Evil Dead, which is funny, because the villain of the third film, Bill Mosely, is the voice in the killer in the Loose Limbs films. They should have made those movies, because there was a scene where a woman is attacked by a beaver and then shot in the head with a bazooka.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi or get the blu ray from Arrow Video.

Mallrats (1995)

Let’s be straight: I could type out the entire script of this movie by memory. That’s how important this movie was to a 23 year old me. I even worked in an ad agency inside a mall and often felt like the characters in this, walking the shops and stores of Station Square with no shopping agenda.

I was probably one of the few people back then who loved it, because it bombed and writer and director Kevin Smith apologized for the movie at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Today, as Smith says on the intro to the twenty-fifth anniversary Arrow blu ray, this movie has aged into being seen as a success.

The adventures of T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) and Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee) as they navigate the Eden Prairie Center Mall — actually in Minnesota*, but supposedly New Jersey — as their attempt to get over the loss of their respective girlfriends, Brandi Svenning (Claire Forlani) and Rene Mosier (Shannen Doherty). Along the way, they interact with Jay and Silent Bob, meet Stan Lee and even go to the dirt mall.

That’s an oversimplification of a movie that once — and yes, still — meant so much to me. What comic book geek doesn’t see themselves as Brodie, a man who can somehow win over Doherty despite only caring about Superman being able to shoot semen like a shotgun and playing as Hartford on his Genesis? Even all these years later, I see him as one of the coolest characters in the movies of my youth and have followed Jason Lee through so many characters as a result.

While Jay and Silent Bob Reboot felt like a massive misfire, I’m happy to see that this movie has lost none of its fun and good feelings. Sometimes, as Smith says, things just age well.

The Arrow re-release of this movie comes with so much, starting with a brand new restoration by Arrow Films of both the Theatrical and Extended cuts of the film, as well as a TV cut of the film featuring overdubbing to cover up the sheer amount of profanity.  There’s also audio commentary with director Kevin Smith, producer Scott Mosier, archivist Vincent Pereira and actors Jason Lee, Ben Affleck and Jason Mewes, as well a new interview and introduction by Smith, a making-of film deleted scenes and more. You can get it from Arrow and totally should — they sent us a copy but I would have bought it myself.

*Fargo was being filmed in the same town at the same time.

SLASHER MONTH: Jack-O (1995)

After making Dark Universe and Biohazard: The Alien Force, Steve Latshaw (Return of the Killer Shrews) directed this film, which shows off what he learned from working with Fred Olen Ray.

The Kelly family live under a curse, as one of their ancestors killed the warlock named Walter Machen and now, the demon Jack-O has been freed from Hell to get the revenge that Walter has wanted for so many centuries.

Beyond the appearance of the monster, this movie has two cameos going for it. Yes, two cameos that have little or nothing to do with the rest of the film, as  John Carradine and Cameron Mitchell appear from beyond the grave as Machen and an expert on the occult.

Latshaw was also smart enough to get Linnea Quigley and Brinke Stevens into this one, if only for the moment that my wife walked in, saw a naked Linnea and shot me the kind of look that should have been accompanied with a lawyer.

These kids should know better than to release demons from their final resting places, but come on, without their monkeyshines, we wouldn’t have a film.

Howling: New Moon Rising (1995)

Directed, produced, starring and written by Clive Turner, this film attempts to unite Howling IV: The Original Nightmare, Howling V: The Rebirth and Howling VI: The Freaks.

Turner’s character arrives in a small western town and begins mingling with the people there at the very same time that a large animal is killing people. Meanwhile, a detective and a priest start connecting the past three films in this series, which allows plenty of stock footage to pad out the running time.

This is the worst of the Howling films, which really seems like a low bar to trip over. Everyone in the town where this was made used their real names in the film. That in itself is a crazy story, because Roger Nail (who made Hard Time and art directed Darkman) was the original director of this movie and he wanted to make a werewolf movie. Seeing as how this was called Howling 7, you have to applaud his creative vision. Instead, Turner wanted to make a character-driven take about the hillbilly community and less about furry monsters.

That’s why the credits say, “The events depicted in this town are fictitious. The characters depicted in Pioneer Town are real.”

I can’t tell you not to watch this. I will tell you that the scene with the song “Prescription Beer” is astounding and I also wonder why there ever needed to be a werewolf here, but again. I’m just writing about these movies, not making them.

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.