Category: vhs

VHS Verdict: Corey Feldman’s Forgotten Survival Gem – Edge of Honor!

Being a big fan of classic Corey Feldman films I was quite surprised to stumble across a movie (I’d never heard of before) from 1991 which in my opinion is a bonafide forgotten Feldman classic! Yes, ‘Edge of Honor’ is a sweet survivalist thriller set in the Pacific Northwest that not only features Corey Feldman but also one of my late 1980’s mega crushes, Meredith Salenger too. Awwww yeah!

The beauty from ‘Dream a Little Dream’ and also the star of another totally forgotten gem of a horror film I love from 1988: ‘The Kiss’ (watch it THIS Halloween season!). Oh and it also features another sort of unfamiliar, yet familiar face: Don Swazye, lesser known brother of superstar Patrick Swayze! Director Michael Spence crafts a special coming of age action thriller that more people need to watch! Here’s Don as a weird backwoods criminal who’s dead set on hunting down a few kids.

Feldman stars as a boy scout, joined by two of his rascally peers exploring the deep wilderness together, they run into problems when they stumble across a cache of weapons. Of course things get dangerous when the criminals come to collect the goods and Corey & co have taken them elsewhere in the forest. Meanwhile, Meredith encounters her own problems with one of the backwoods criminal gang members who terrorizes her family and sends her on her own path of vengeance. Edge of Honor brings the thrills, Don Swazye plays a great unhinged villain and there’s another wild evil leader dude who’s got a retractable blade attached to his wrist on their trail. Gotta love that!

All bets are off here too as things oftentimes get pretty damn dark and dire pushing the stakes high. Boy Scouts of all ages join the fold for the adventure, and many of them won’t survive the night. The danger is real and Corey, Meredith and the scouts have to use their keen survival skills to try to eliminate the enemy and rise above the natural dangers of the dark thick woods of Washington. Luckily this movie has a totally charming cast of characters you can really care about as well as root for and villains who’re actually pretty legitimately terrifying in that cheezy 80s sort of way. It excels as well from its stunning filming locations set in the Pacific Northwest, the perfect backdrop for a wild backwoods adventure/showdown. Rambo eat your heart out!

It’s classic “Amblin kids/teens in danger” style story as well (that’s again quite popular today) and Corey legitimizes it all with his presence alone. The movie does go dark places, the action sequences are top notch as well, having an R rating sets it above your average teen adventure flick from the era. It’s got some real bite!

 If you ever wanted to see a gang of Boy Scouts concoct an “Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator” type of plan of action against enemy dickheads, this movie will definitely tickle your fancy. The comraderie on screen is a true delight too behold, my only real gripe with it all was I’d hoped for a little bit more of Meredith Salenger in the film. However when she does show up she’s ready to throw down, proving herself to be no damsel on distress. This one’s definitely a lost gem and more fans of Corey most def need to know about it! He proves again why he’s such a beloved charismatic actor, especially from this particularly special era of movie making. It’s also odd because though the movie was released in 1991 Corey looks to be about only 14-15 years old here making me wonder if this was maybe filmed in 80s? He really sells the part and gives the movie an extra “edge” (no pun intended) as well as his younger scout co-stars. 

I had the pleasure of viewing this on a projector, pumped through the stereo with a gang of eighties movie fanatics who’d ALL never seen it before. We teamed it up with 1990’s ‘The Prayer of the Roller Boys’ with Corey Haim, another movie I’ll be touching upon here soon. It was the perfect double feature! Edge of Honor is in desperate need of a special edition blu ray release, it’s got all the right moves & ingredients of a true cult classic and deserves a cult of its own in 2022. Check it out and go back to the basics of a campy but compelling form of storytelling sorely missed in modern day movie making….

 

 

1980s Cine-MAGIC From Japan: The STARDUST BROTHERS!

I’m willing to bet you’re just like me and never heard of this near “forgotten ’til now” 80s gem from Japan: The Legend of The Stardust Brothers! This incredible movie from 1985 is most definitely one of the most unique oddities I’ve stumbled upon in quite sometime. An incredibly ambitious musical gem, packed with practical effects and eighties fashion that will likely knock your neon socks right off!

It tells the tale of  two struggling rival musicians: one a rowdy punk rocker and the other an egotistical wanna be popstar who meet a mysterious man while sharing the same bill  at a seedy night club. He offers them the contract of a lifetime, claiming that within one week, if they follow all the rules, the two of them will be rocketed to full blown pop super stardom. That is as long as they join forces, from that point on become The Stardust Brothers and tell the world they are indeed real bonafide brothers.

Now admittedly I’m not a real big fan of musicals, there’s only a few that I really love (Popeye, The Wizard of Oz & Little Shop of Horrors immediately come to mind). However this one has now EASILY made the list as a must watch and it’s something I’ll be watching over and over again. Essentially it’s the wildly unpredictable story of the bizarre rise and fall of this pop duo. It’s firmly glued together with a series of incredible little musical vignettes that are a visual and sonic feast.

A sweet mixture of punk rock, powerpop & some cool new wave numbers, connecting a series of incredibly ambitious music videos within one insane narrative. There are touches of the supernatural as well as a ton of amazing special effects, stop motion & practical monster effects that really impress, especially if your a fan of the 80s. It’s also filled to the brim with some of the best Japanese fashion of the era to go along with the catchy songs. As I write this, their theme song is still stuck firmly in my brain. I’d love to get my hands on some vinyl of the soundtrack. Aside from the cool music, luckily it’s got a pretty unique story that blends elements of scifi, horror and even a bit of romance. It’s unexpected twists and turns deliver a frenetic, action packed finale that will  leave you pondering the events of the entire film. Its all done with a heroic dose of heart too.

Just how far do you really go to live the life of a superstar without any of the hard work required to get to the top? The Stardust Bros go the distance and the musical journey is definitely a wacky one worth taking. Apparently director Makoto Tezuka tried to catch lightning in a bottle a few years ago by producing a direct sequel, but after doing a little poking around it doesn’t seem like he was quite to able to recreate the neon electromagnetic magic of the first.

In the meantime I highly recommend picking this one up on a newly released blu ray from SRS Cinema. The Legend of the Stardust Brothers is packed with pure charisma, tons of vibrant youthful energy and shows you exactly how inventive some directors in the 1980s were in Japan with a limited budget!  Don’t sleep on this one!

 

Larry Cohen’s 1992 SHE-HULK Movie That Should’ve Been!

So today the first episode of the long awaited SHE-HULK series premieres on Disney Plus & though I’m excited for it I’m still a bit saddened that we will never have gotten a LIVE action She-Hulk on the big OR small screen. If I’m not making myself entirely clear it’s because the version of She-Hulk we’re getting today is indeed a fully CGI generated character. However what most people don’t realize is that waaaay back in the early nineties there was indeed a live action She- Hulk movie in the works!

Even more amazing was that at its helm was Larry Cohen one of my all time favorite cult cinema directors- Even MORE “sensational” was the inclusion of Brigitte Nielsen in the title role of the Jade Giantess! This was indeed a match made in heaven. And after watching Larry Cohen’s brilliant 1990 movie ‘The Ambulance’ I’m convinced Stan Lee and him had made the connection for producing a She-Hulk movie during that production.

If you’ve never seen ‘The Ambulance’ you gotta check it out. Eric Roberts stars as a Marvel Comic Book artist who goes on an insane journey chasing a mysterious ambulance across New York City. Stan even makes several  cameos in it as himself (above). 

After the the Cohen/Stan Lee connection had been established, New World Pictures was seemingly ready to produce a live action She-Hulk movie, shooting for a 1992 release & indeed had Larry attached to direct (and rumored to have written the script). Apparently an attempt was made to attract investors by doing some concept photo shoots for the character with Brigitte Nielsen, who would also be in the role of Jennifer Walters. 

I remember running across these photos in ‘Comics Scene’ magazine way back when and being pretty excited about what the possibilities of this collaboration might produce even if her look and outfit were a bit off in the promo photos. The script is shrouded in mystery and has never really but really had any sort of leaks except that Eric Roberts was to appear as a villain. I can only imagine with Larry Cohen directing we would have gotten something at the very least intriguing and fun. It’s also not certain whether these concept photos were really reflective of the true “final look” of the character. It’s imagined that once production was started on it they would’ve fleshed  out her character design much more & hopefully made her skin tone at least darker green. 

 Whatever the case Brigitte would have filled the role perfectly, The Red Sonja star was a dream cast for the movie. I can only imagine that this ultra campy version of the character might have eventually morphed into a cult classic. The early synopsis promo:                                                         

SHE-HULK (Larry Cohen, 1992). A mild-mannered lawyer (Brigitte Nielsen) receives a life-altering blood-transfusion after being shot by a local mobster (Eric Roberts). As a result, she finds herself transformed into a magical green rage-monster.

Though it sounded promising, they had several cinematic misses under their belt by that time with Howard the Duck, Captain America & The Punisher films all flopping and barely meeting the mark for comic fanatics. However my faith in Larry Cohen as a director and script writer only confirms that this particular project would’ve indeed been something memorable. Brigitte in 1990 was fully fit and definitely ready for the role.

It’s a real shame that never it never happened, I think a She-Hulk movie coming from that era would have been so much fun and I’m so curious where are they would have gone with everything. Even if it had turned out to be one giant ball of gamma radiated cheese it still would’ve been interesting to see a real live action version of the character and given Brigitte a chance to shine like Lou Ferrrigno did in his classic role….

 

 

 

 

VHS Verdict: 1990’s ‘WHEELS OF TERROR’ Goes The Distance!

I had a super sweet VHS swap at my store, Hollywood Babylon, in Portland Oregon a couple weeks ago and picked up some pretty promising picks on tape- Most notably ‘Wheels of Terror’ from 1990. A movie that luckily lives up to its sweet VHS cover!

 Originally an R rated, made for TV movie appearing on the USA Network, I admittedly didn’t have very high hopes for what would unfold on screen. As a big fan of road road horror I’m happy to report that this one really went the distance. Directed by Christopher Cain, most notably known for ‘Young Guns’ and ‘The Next Karate Kid’, I’d have never suspected he’d be capable of such a taut and effective tale of terror.  This would be a great  one to pair up with ‘The Hitcher’, ‘Duel’ or ‘Road Games’ for one helluva solid double feature.

 ‘Wheels’ pulls no damn punches and UPS the ante for some real high stakes horror!  In a nutshell it is the story of a single mother and her daughter who move to a small town in the desert. Mom’s a school bus driver, trying to get into the swing of small town life, it should be a simple adjustment right? WRONG! This small town has a BIG problem, a psychotic child predator is on the loose, abducting kids in his super fucked of sketchy demonic looking black car. Pretty messed up place to live huh? You bet!! Bad move Momma!

Well luckily the local mechanic souped up Mom’s school bus with a freakin’ race car engine, how’s that for foreshadowing?  Things get super tense real fast as the psycho driver begins to target the town zeroing in on the Mom’s daughter, arriving at their house reving his screechin’ engine in the dead of night. 

 At times it almost appears like the psycho is some sort of supernatural presence as no one seems to notice this bizarre freaky ass car driving around in broad daylight with no goddamn muffler! There’s a lot of suspension of disbelief that you might need a to really take this movie seriously but what it lacks in “grounded reality” It more than makes up for in tension. 

It would be one thing if it was simply a mass murderer driving around in a car but the fact that it’s a creepy sex offender makes the stakes shoot through the roof.  And once you get to the real meat and potatoes of the movie the final act is a goddamn balls to the wall action packed literal demolition derby thrill ride! Filled with great stunts, unexpected twists and fucking unrelenting killer road rage.

It’s lean run time of under 85 minutes also makes this one pack a powerful punch and is the perfect movie to watch with the rowdy gang of hungry cinefiles! I’d say my only real problem with ‘Wheels of Terror’ is the promise of some sort of mysterious reveal that might rear its ugly head in it’s finale that never comes sadly. Still its a bonafide lost hidden gem, full of action a’ plenty, strong characters and one wickedly terrifying villain! Hunt this little gem down and please someone give this nasty little flick a sweet blu ray release!!

 

VHS Verdict: The Hippies and Horror of ‘HIGH DESERT KILL’!’

I just recently ran across a pretty promising looking VHS tape, at least from the cover, ‘High Desert Kill’ from 1989 has all the right ingredients for one hell of a horror flick!


Marc Singer, The Beastmaster himself, rounds out the cast in this intriguing tale of terror in the deserts of New Mexico. However don’t be too dead set on blood-and-guts in this tale of survival. There’s really not a lick of gore to be found anywhere on screen for it’s entire run time.

It actually plays out like a bit of an extended episode of the X-Files (minus the Mulder and Scully type aspect) and I mean that as a compliment. I guess this was indeed a made for cable TV movie, don’t let that deter you though, cuz there’s a lot of forgotten gems in that category. We’ve got a great setting with 3 manly dudes who head out on a camping/hunting excursion deep in the desert in honor of their long lost deceased friend. There’s plenty of testosterone here going around as these sweaty often shirtless guys begin to almost immediately encounter some eerie occurrences upon arriving the first evening as well as some hot “hippie” babes (At least that’s what they seem to think they are for some reason) to liven up the party.

But things quickly go South as they start experiencing hallucinations and begin to believe they are being stalked by some unseen malevolent force. The desert of New Mexico is the perfect place for this creepy tale to unfold, it’s filled with plenty of mystery and the stunning beauty showcasing its natural surroundings..

To be honest the setting here is really the star of the show, there’s not a hell of a lot of spectacle to behold otherwise visually. No real flashy special effects or balls to the wall action sequences. However what it seems to lack in spectacle it makes up for with atmosphere, cleverly mixing a sense of dread and mystery at play with these old friends as the plot begins to slowly unfold and reveal it’s ugly details. The cover of the movie however does reveal perhaps a little more than it should with an alien spacecraft high in the sky, but don’t expect too much of that either and don’t expect too many skeletons to be rearing their ugly heads.

Despite those minor quibbles there’s plenty to love here and the cast of characters makes this weirdo trip one worth taking.  It also features a pretty interesting backstory, shrouded and Native American mythology. If you’re in the mood for a simple slowburn with a pretty satisfying twist to it ‘High Desert Kill’ will be more than sufficient watch for any fanatic of erie eighties sci fi. I also see that currently Kino Lorber has a preorder for this one on blu ray– check it out!

VHS Verdict: ‘THE SPIRIT OF ’76’ Wacky 4th of July Sci-fi!

Hey it can be hard to find good things to watch after all of the festivities of the 4th of July right? Let’s face it after drinking a case of beer at the cookout you’re probably ready to watch something stupid and I’ve got a good one for ya! ‘The Spirit of 76’ is an almost entirely forgotten ridiculous scifi comedy from 1990. It features David Cassidy, pop icon, known for hisoh so sweet musical career in the Partridge Family, as he goes way back in time to the 1970s on mission to save planet Earth!

But wait, you also get to see not one but TWO slightly past their prime but still totally dreamy, former teen 70s heart throbs, cuz  this bad boy also features Leif Garrett too! One of my favorite parts of the movie though, it also stars Jeff and Steve McDonald of one of my favorite iconic punk rock power pop bands bands REDD KROSS!  The 2 brothers are channeling some serious “Bill and Ted” vibes and add some serious cred and charm this little wacked out adventure.

 So In the year 2176, determined time travelers including Cassidy and the stunningly beautiful Olivia d’Abo (OMG so crushed!) are sent back in time, in a tin can style space ship to the year 1776 in order to save our planet. However a computer glitch transports them instead to 1976 by mistake!! Things get idiotic real quick as of course they’re being chased by a sinister force trailing not far behind. 

However we get a pretty entertaining “fish out of water” storyline going here where Cassidy (who should be in his natural habitat in the real world) and Co have some serious adjusting to do when they encounter things like platform shoes, polyester suits, mood rings and untamed 1970’s babes galore!

Their guides, Jeff and Steve from Redd Kross help them through this glamorous era and avoid certain danger among the disco era. The whole thing is a riot and also features even more familiar faces, the likes of Tommy Chong, Devo, Moon Zappa, Rob Reiner and Downtown Julie Brown! 

There’s Kung Fu fighting, disco dancing, stupid looking spaceships and the  whole damn thing takes place on the 4th of July folks! Get down!!

There’s a lot of pretty sharp comedy in this and tons of red, white and blue check out this little long forgotten scifi comedy, cult classic down if you want something a bit off the beaten path this 4th!! Here’s Redd Kross with the theme song ‘1976’ for the movie! One of my favorite tracks from their 1990 album ‘Third Eye’!!

Even better here is the entire movie, only 81 minutes long for your 4th of July viewing right on YouTube for free!!

 

4th of July Horror Explosion: 1996’s ‘UNCLE SAM’ is a Bloody Blast!

All these years I’ve sorta avoided ‘Uncle Sam’ from 1996, assuming it was some sort of idiotic throw away, direct to video waste of time. The VHS cover was unforgettable, a wild lenticular evil Uncle Sam in glorious 3-D! Still for decades I never checked this out kind of on purpose.

This 4th of July however I was looking for something in the horror genre that might take place around the holiday and of COURSE there was good ol ‘Uncle Sam’ front and center. I almost passed on it yet again, but this time I noticed something that I def hadn’t before. It was directed by William Lustig famed for the brilliant ‘Maniac Cop’ franchise and written by one of my genre favorites Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, The Ambulance, Return to Salem’s Lot, Q: The Winged Serpent). Why the Hell hadn’t I realized this sooner?! 

Well Uncle Sam indeed delivered everything I’d hoped it would and much more! It’s a great horror flick with some razor sharp comedy/social commentary, just what you’d hope it would have being written by Larry Cohen. It’s a wild story about a kid who’s freakishly  obsessed with becoming a soldier, kickin’ ass for the USA & doing whatever the fuck President tells him to!  He’s also obsessed with his Uncle, who’s real name is Sam, who tragically dies in the Iraq war from “friendly fire”.

When his body is shipped back to their home(?) to sit until his grave is dug, bizarre events lead to his dead decaying body reanimating and donning an Uncle Sam outfit which he strips from a peeping Tom on stilts after after murdering him!

 At this point Uncle Sam embarks on a full on “Jason Voorhees” killing spree during the 4th of July as the small town starts to celebrate. I’d always assumed that this movie was a total farce/spoof, but far from it. It’s got a cool fast paced story, plenty of obnoxious patriotic humor and even a strong social commentary about the US government and war itself. There’s also some inventive kills (with fireworks of course!), cool make up effects and a cast which stars fan favorites Robert Forster and Isaac Hayes.

Probably one of the most ridiculous aspects and enjoyable parts of the whole movie is the kid and his crazy ass obsession with the United States and his over the top ludicrous patriotism on full display. It’s pretty gut busting and as a whole Uncle Sam is a total delight that somehow eluded me for almost three damn decades.

As far as 4th of July viewing you really can’t do better than this, the most “4th of July” horror movie of all time thankfully has got all the right moves and the talent behind it is evident in the final product. I got this bad boy on blu ray from Blue Underground! But now I want that damn 3-D lenticular VHS too! Hunt down Uncle Sam THIS 4th of July!!

 

 

90’s HK Ass Kicker ‘TEENAGE MASTER’ has got the MOVES!!

I just gotta love a crazy 90s Hong Kong action flick, especially one where the main character is a ten year old master of martial arts who beats the snot out of anyone who steps to him or his damn dad! I’m not entirely certain why this sweet ass kicker from 1995 is called “Teenage Master” when the master is not a teen, but hell just go with it!

This is easily one of the most fun Hong Kong flicks I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s non stop fun, action and legit laughs!! I’m sorry to report however the kid doesn’t actually don a Superman costume at any time in this movie! Just on the poster…

This witty actioner Is totally ALL over the freakin’ place like many Hong-Kong movies of this era can be. One minute It’s spoofy slapstick comedy, the next it’s a dangerous highstakes buddy flick featuring a father/son duo who excel at one thing: kicking all the ass!

 A kung fu obsessed father (Collin Chou) and son (Tse Miu) are like two peas in a pod, living out in the country all by themselves. They hang out all day practicing martial arts, playing tic-tac-toe and eating tons of rice. That is until they’re lured into the big city of Hong-Kong  to take care of some family business with their elderly martial arts master, who’s locked up in a mental ward.

However it doesn’t take long for these two to get mixed up into some risky business with some truly evil murderous gangsters. Luckily these guys  Aren’t anywhere prepared for the frenetic skills of THIS wild father and his 10 year old son the “teenage master” (for some reason)!!

 Amidst a kick ass crazy confrontation in an apartment building the father and son get separated during the mayhem and goes straight to jail. The movie at times doesn’t make a lick of sense but anything lost in translation doesn’t matter much once the action kicks in and you get your witness the wild child deliverr some of the most hyper intense Kung Fu craziness set to screen. The teenage master wanders the streets by himself and is of  course quickly adopted up by ridiculously idioticly entertaining family. 

Yes some of the shenanigans in this movie are truly bizarre, sometimes veering into the Airplane/Naked Gun territory. Teenage Master however seems to seems to execute it’s strange tonal shifts almost perfectly And imo a lot of the jokes seem to for the most part stick to the wall. I suppose this might be fitting in style with something like ‘Shaolin Soccer’.

The main attraction  here is seeing “teenage master” Tse Miu going nuts on the bad guys with his dad. The fight choreography is nuts and a total blast to behold. The comedic details sprinkled in each confrontation is the extra icing on the cake here to. Wheelchair chases, steroid drinking, crazy mental ward murders & insane acrobatics make this a truly forgotten diamond in the rough.

There’s so much going on in this movie comedically visually and physically to love for true fans of obscure, bizarre cinema it’s well worth it to grab a copy or find it somewhere streaming. I got a copy on DVD from Far East Flix, for a mere $8! Grab s case of beer and your best buds, cuz Teenage Master is a full on Kung fu hyper-blast! 

Did You Spot the Sinister Emerald Green LAMP in ‘Stranger Things’ 4?!!

Did you see it?! The legendary mysterious emerald green lamp has reared its bizarre head in the latest season of Stranger Things! If you’re in the dark about the odd real world Hollywood conspiracy theories around the lamp, don’t fret, get the full scoop HERE!

 OK so now that you’re well versed in the strange & mysterious Hollywood conspiracy theory of the Emerald green lamp, I wanted to just showcase a couple of the screenshots in case you might have not noticed it’s appearance in the show recently. Of course Stranger Things is the perfect series for the elusive lamp to make its re-emergence onto the scene.

If the fantastical rumors are indeed true, we might speculate perhaps the lamp has been brought back into circulation to try to ensure Netflix’s rise back to the top again? They were reportedly suffering a problematic subscriber drop. Maybe the lamp was brought to set to amplify the actors abilities or maybe even subliminally affect the viewers? Whatever the case the only thing that really matters here is that the emerald green lamp has emerged into 2022!

 

 

 

 

Movie Melt: ‘DADDY CAN’T DANCE’ is ‘The ROOM’ Meets ‘BREAKIN’!

So Daddy Can’t Dance?! Dont be so sure of that!! On this episode of the Movie Mellt podcast we cover the extremely cringe inducing but incredibly entertaining vanity project ‘Daddy Can’t Dance’ from 2006!

 Believe me when I say you kinda just have to see it to believe it when I’m talkin’ ’bout ‘Daddy Can’t Dance’. Originally titled ‘White Men Can’t Dance’, this one features a former 80’s breakdancer, now middle aged, out of touch, out of shape, office man who decides to give it one more shot!  He heads back on the cardboard dance floor when he enters a highly competitive, high stakes breakdancing competition to save the life of his dying daughter! Sheesh, this one’s heeeeeavy!!

 Yep! Daddy jumps back on the B-boy scene and tries his best to get into shape and learn some new fresh moves that will put him on the map and land him hopefully the mantle as number one king breakdance champ!  The odds are certainly stacked against him as he not only attempts to get his groove back but also thinks that he’s the funniest man to walk the planet as he gets himself into a series of highly uncomfortable situations, using his fully out of touch humor that he still thinks is everone is hip to!

 If you’re a fan of ‘The Room’, Tommy Wiseau and ‘Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo’ then feast your eyes upon ‘Daddy Can’t Dance’ ASAP! On this episode we cover this cinematic oddity as well chat about tons of movie mayhem and  also have a “battle of the movie band’s” competition! So If you’re into cinematic oddities, check out the LATEST episode of MOVIE MELT right HERE!