Tagged: vinegar syndrome
Movie Melt Podcast: 1984’s ‘FURIOUS’ Excels in Chicken Themed Martial Arts in the Astral Plane!
Some movies are just sooooo strange it’s hard to even describe the plot without sounding like you’re losing your mind! That would be most definitely be 1984’s FURIOUS! A movie I’m not sure was supposed to be as weird as it turned out to be? Fear not though I went back on the MOVIE MELT podcast and jumped deep into the void! It’s a strange So-Cal Martial arts adventure that feels like it takes place in an alternate reality, where everything is just slightly off with bizarre things going down on screen for no apparent reason and plot that seems to incorporate transforming people into chickens! Yeah, there’s a lot of chickens in FURIOUS as well as some, lets say “questionable” but entertaining martial arts battles to tantalize your mind!
I’m a big fan of dream-like movies and this one definitely feels pulled straight from the REM sleep arena for all to enjoy and try to make a lick of sense of! Could FURIOUS be the most dream-like film off all time? Should Christopher Nolan have taken notes from this one before directing ‘INCEPTION’? I personally think so! I mean people transform into pigs for no reason, take that ‘Inception’!!
If you’re a fan weird forgotten action cinema this episode will not disappoint! We get DEEP into the meanings all the onscreen nonsense, talk about cool movies you need to check out and even have a “chicken themed” battle of the bands competition!! Plus soooo much more cinematic trash to load your brain with than you ever imagined possible! Check out the EPISODE RIGHT HERE!!! Oh and if you want to experience the strange world of Furious, the whole damn thing is right here on Youtube!
Everything Everywhere: Ke Huy Quan’s 1991 Forgotten Ass-kicker!
So we all just saw how ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ cleaned up at the Oscars last night and all were basically brought to tears with Huy Ke Quan’s acceptance speech for BEST supporting actor. I predicted this all after walking out of the theater, it’s one of the most unique movies I’ve seen in a long time and it’s so nice something that awesome and original actually win. Well to all you new Ke Huy Quan fans you’re probably wondering where to go next?! Well most people only know him from this latest endeavor and of course The Goonies and Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom. Well get ready to go deep down the Ke Quan rabbit hole, there’s another awesome movie of his that’s almost entirely forgotten, way back from 1991: BREATHING FIRE!!!
As you all saw in “Everything Everywhere” Huy is quite the martial artist and if you really wanna see just how long he’s been kicking ass ‘Breathing Fire’ will give you a serious dose of his wild physical talent. Take note though, it’s not an Oscar worthy flick-but it’s so much damn fun to watch unfold. It’s got a pretty wild plot too: Mike, A Vietnam vet martial arts master with two teenage sons, one being Ke Quan, decides to take part in bank heist with a ruff n’ tumble gang of criminals and the bank manager himself. To make sure no one double crosses, Mike makes a special very special set of keys, ensuring that the secret safe for the riches can only be opened if every member of the gang are all there in person.
Unfortunately the bank manager, suddenly has second thoughts and tries to back out of the deal. Mike along with his gnarly gang decides to put a hit out on him. His daughter who’s on to his criminal behavior, luckily, gets hold of the key, runs for help to one of her father’s old friends, Vietnam vet and a former war pal of Mike. That’s not enough though to take on this crew of wicked gangsters lead by none other than Bolo Yeung! They also need to employ the martial arts skills of the Ke Huy Quan and his step brother, both who happen to be teenage kickboxing masters!!
Breathing Fire is such a damn good time, it’s a cult classic in waiting, especially now since Ke Huy Quan is on top of the world. I expect this one to likely get a shiny new blu ray release some time in the near future-it certainly deserves one. It’s hits all the right beats of the late 80’s/early90s coming of age action comedy. It’s plot is unique enough too, with the villain actually being the kids father, which serves up a nice dramatic twist.
Also seeing the mighty Bolo Yeung as one of the main villains is the icing on the cake as well as seeing Quan going one on one with him is really history in the making now. It’s jam packed with charming but equally ridiculous dialogue, over the top gun play and some really impressive choreography equivalent to stuff that Hong Kong studios were putting out at the time.
It’s a step above, despite being a lower budget endeavor, a lot of the American action films of the time, at least with the onscreen battles that unfold. There’s some truly bizarre plot twists as well as some surprising characters that enter the fold will likely leave you with a grin. With a lean run time of 85 minutes too this one wastes no time getting to the fun. Quan also shines again with his usual charisma and it’s really cool to see him at this age showcasing his chops-both physically and acting wise. I highly recommend getting onboard with Breathing Fire and spreading the word, I’m really surprised how under the radar this movie has remained. However, I’ve got a feeling it’s going to get cult classic status soon, with Ke Huy Quan back on top!!
The Story of Riki-Oh vs. the Savage STONE AGE WARRIORS!
‘Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky’ has a huge cult following for a goddamn good reason, obviously the extreme over the top gore is what really grabs people initially but also the film’s star Fan Siu-wong just kills it as the film’s main character Riki-Oh. Well if you’re looking to see another excellent action bonanza starring lead Fan Siu-wong you’ve come to the right place.
I just watched ‘Stone Age Warriors’ from 1991 and it’s a real treat jam packed with jungle action, babes, hunks & adventure galore. It also stars a couple other heavy hitters it’s female cast, the ass kickin’ Elaine Lui and my new Hong Kong crush, Nina Li Chi, wife of famed superstar Jet Li. It’s a ton of fun, with some Indiana Jones/Romancing the Stone flavor thrown in for extra good measure.
Deep in the rain forests of New Guinea, wildly aggressive natives attack a group of Asian treasure hunters. They go missing and soon a Hong Kong insurance investigator/girlfriend of the lead adventurer(Nina Li Chi) leaves for New Guinea along with his daughter, a martial arts superstar actor(Elaine Lui) to search the jungle on a mission to rescue her dad. However to navigate through the dangerous terrain they’re going to need a damn good guide, luckily they run in to the mysterious Christian missionary/martial arts master played by Fan Siu-wong.
However it’s not just wild animals and wicked terrain they’ve got to worry about, there’s a bigger threat in the jungle, a colorful gang of evil violent drug traffickers have teamed up deep in the jungle with the local tribes as thsir minions. Of course this wicked gang of outlaws are heavily armed & highly proficient in the martial arts and ready to take out anyone who comes anywhere near their operation.
The baddies are lead by “The Leopard”, a wild freaky martial arts bunny boiler babe portrayed Devi Sabah, a total on screen force to be reckoned with. She’ll fuck you up bad with her seriously killer form of martial arts and give you a solid scare with her wildly animalistic unpredictable persona. And no she’s not part of any jungle tribe! But she’s easily one of the coolest villains I’ve seen in a Hong-Kong feature film and quite some time. Her right hand man is a cocky totally over the top 80s white dude, who you might expect to be full of hot air, but he also has got all the right kick ass moves as well as commanding the savage “stone age warriors” (nope seriously though no one is from the Stone Age in this movie). He’s got their undies all up in a bundle when the trio arrives on their rescue mission.
Add in a few more vicious mercenaries and you’re in some serious early 90s trouble with a big ass “capital T”. But hold your horses- things are even more dangerous from the get go for all who step foot in this jungle. Nina Li Chi & Elaine Luis square off against all the odds of nature here when they get separated from their guide and there’s some crazy stunt work the two pull off here (during the credits you get to see them in action). They slide down muddy trails, fall off of waterfalls, get swept away in the river rapids, get covered in scorpions and in the most frightening sequence are being chased by REAL Komodo dragons. If you know anything about them, you know how dangerous they are to be in such close vicinity too and this part of the movie is actually pretty terrifying.
Fan Sui-wong really shines here as well with his ridiculous physique and crazy ass martial arts on FULL display. There’s some super wild fight scenes here especially in the final 3rd of the film in trees, rickety bridges & helicopters, Fan gets to really shine in one of his best lead roles as he’s clearly a larger than life hero once again. It’s not just the boy’s club here though, Elaine Lui also get just as much martial arts action as well as she goes head on with The Leopard woman who’s badass enough to take on BOTH her AND Fan together. Stone Age Warriors is total blast with three charming leads, cool villains, plenty of “Indiana Jones” type shenanigans, wild for real dangerous animals, romance and crazy kung fu.
This one deserves an official fancied up blu ray from someone like Vinegar Syndrome as it really is a total forgotten gem. It also great to see Fan “Riki-oh” Sui-wong featured prominently in sweet action adventure extravaganza! I got this one for pretty cheap off eBay but the official dvd of it’s a pretty rough transfer (but worth the watch). BEWARE though It’s got those annoying subtitles that sometimes blend into the bottom of the film, still tho, highly recommended!
Wild 80s Valentine’s Day Movie Picks: Scott VALENTINE in MY DEMON LOVER!
Ok Valentine’s Day is on the horizon! What are YOU and your sweetie going to watch?! Well I’ve got the cure for all you lovers out there- if you’re looking for a cool little horror rom com that’s flown way under the radar for FAR too long that’s perfect for the occasion look no further! Scott Valentine (the perfect name for this huh?) of ‘Family Ties’ fame (where he appeared as Mallory’s boyfriend ‘Nick’) co-stars in ‘My Demon Lover’ from 1987. A perfect one of a kind romantic horror comedy ripe for Valentine’s Day viewing!
This odd little flick is a real gem, with the hunky Valentine as a troubled homeless street musician named ‘Kaz’ & co-star Michele Little as the cute as a button ‘Denny’. When she meets him one day Denny seems to think she might’ve finally found a normal decent man with no skeletons in his closet. Oh boy, is she in for a surprise! whenever Kaz get’s aroused, which is quite often, he turns into a ferocious demon monster. However there’s much more to the story, Kaz has been cursed since he was a kid but things get worse when after his arrival into Denny’s life woman begin to turn up dead all around the city. It appears like “Demon Kaz” may have been up to some demonic slaughter and now has his sights set directly set on Denny! Sometimes love just ain’t enuff and soon She finds herself in the middle of a bizarre love triangle-with Kaz and his horrifying demonic alter ego!
This sweet little horror comedy is jam packed with 80’s charm and so much more. There’s some really well done practical monster fx on display here for the horror lovers and to make the demon extra special, they hired iconic monster comic book artist extraordinaire Bernie Wrightson to do creature designs for Valentine’s unique looks in the film. He’s one helluva cool looking demon and it’s no wonder that Wrightson played a hand in it’s creation. Bernie also did storyboarding and to me that makes this little weirdo rom com extra special. Plus Valentine’s demonic transformation sequences pretty excellent too and the movie doesn’t skimp on pleasing horror hounds featuring some fairly intense sequences of terror for a PG-13 rated film. It really feels almost like a lost ‘Tales from the Crypt’ movie with just the right amount humor and tongue in cheek charm. There’s also a surprising amount of cool 80s vfx work here in general and it’s finale really ramps things up with an impressive showdown in a spooky inner city castle sporting neon 80s electricity and lightning a’ plenty.
I’ve gotta clarify though, it’s not all horror here. Nope! There’s a heroic dose of cheezy 80s romance complete with a sweet date montage and even a few steamy “sexy” moments as well for all the lovers out there. A big flop at the box office, likely because of it’s bizarre premise, doesn’t mean that it hasn’t aged quite nicely for modern audiences. Though some of it’s plot might make a modern movie normies squirm in their seats, if you’re willing to stick with the characters despite all of their faults you’re likely find the perfectly bizarre date flick. My Demon Lover has some cool plot twists as well and an intriguing mystery running parallel to the romance making it stand out above most 80’s rom coms and horror films.
There’s not just cornball comedy here but instead some real genuine stakes at hand for our cast of likable characters that make My Demon Lover a special treat for Valentine’s Day. I’d say it’s most definitely in desperate need of a bigger cult following today and needs a fancy blu ray upgrade in a serious way. For the moment grab it on dvd, or if you even wanna go more old school get the VHS or rent it online to stream for only $2.99! If you’re in the mood for truly strange but charming romance you really can’t go wrong with My Demon Lover!
Bizarre Holiday Viewing from New Zealand: 1981’s The MONSTER’S CHRISTMAS!
OK Are you reeeeeally looking for something to watch that’s truly off the beaten path to this holiday season?! Look no further, the 1981 lost classic ‘The Monster’s Christmas’ all the way from New Zealand will stuff your stocking with some truly bizarre yuletide treats!
This is a genuine bonafide oddball all the way from New Zealand that sort of feels like a fucked up version of HR Pufnstuf. The monster’s Christmas features some pretty genuinely impressive fully disturbing creatures for a kid’s Christmas special. I mean take a look at this guy hes one of the most frightening things I’ve seen probably in the last decade!
That’s “Mr. Nasty” the creepiest henchman of an “evil” witch who is obsessed with exercising, who lives inside of a mountain deep within a beautiful natural cavern. But I guess I’m jumping ahead little too quickly here. Our story starts out on Christmas Eve with the cutest little New Zealander you’ve ever seen, who just happens to be reading a book called ‘The Monster’s Christmas’ to her Teddy bear before bed. If this is a real book, I need to find a copy ASAP!
However it doesn’t take long before she’s awoken by a noise in her living room and instead of finding Santa there’s a giant green cyclops monster with a smokestack on the top of his noggin and some sort of creepy floral oozin’ eye. She agrees to help him out with the evil wicked witch who threatens the monsters world. The little girl quickly decides to go on a bizarre little adventure that ends up being almost like a travel video to some spectacular New Zealand locales that masquerade quite nicely for the monsters world. Only one thing, she’s got to get home by Christmas day!
This is probably one of my favorite new discoveries especially for Christmas viewing in 2022. Filled with some beautiful locations, a wondrerful main character and even a few charming little songs thrown in for good measure. But let’s be honest here it’s mostly about the freaky ass monsters presented on screen! They’re all pretty awesome and it’s a crime this little holiday special doesn’t have a HUGE cult following. I think it’s ripe for a fancy ass blu ray release – Vinegar Syndrome are you game or WHAT?
Ok so as I mentioned before Mr. Nasty is one creepy character, he’s some sort of strange hybrid of a human, a mole and a bat. He is a truly terrifying creation but he’s completely loyal to the wicked witch, who by the way has her own complete personal gym inside of her cave! And believe me she gets some great use out of it!
She’s quite charming as she spends most of her free time trying to get fit and is dressed to the nines in regal 1980s aerobic garb! Pretty much everything about this little 45 minute feature is utterly bizarre and hits all of the right beats to make something truly obscure that is an absolute must add to your Christmas viewing! I’d say this one’s perfect for the kids although Mr. Nasty, be warned is quite the embodiment of a living breathing nightmare. He sorta steals the show..
If you’re a fan of obscure bizarre yuletide viewing I highly recommend tracking The Monster’s Chtistmas down and watching it this year. I just found a full version of it is available now on YouTube or you can add it to your collection by getting the dvd which I highly recommend. If anyone has an extra copy of the VHS please send me one! Oh yeah, thank you New Zealand!
Typhoon the Baboon: 1980s Animal Actor Extrodanaire!
Typhoon the Baboon has quickly risen to the top of my list as one of my favorite animal actors/cult characters of the 1980s! I was lucky enough put together a VHS swap last weekend at the iconic Cinemagic Theater right here in Portland, Oregon for their monthly VHS movie nite. The first Friday of every month they show a movie straight from VHS and project it on to the big screen. This week they were showing something I’ve never seen before from 1986 called ‘Unmasking The Idol’. I really wasn’t sure what to expect but what I ended up with was a glorious cult cinematic treasure to behold for the very first time from director Worth Keeter. I heard there was a baboon in this James Bond/Indiana Jones-ish action mash up, but nothing could prepare me for the ultimate primate-Typhoon!
Now come to find out Typhoon had also landed the lead role in the 1990 cult classic primate slasher flick: ‘Shakma’! I actually really dig that movie, it’s a pretty well done but ridiculous, fantasy game/LARPING in an office building with a batshit crazy baboon taking out nerds left and right piece of cinematic trash. Little did I know Shakma (Typhoon) was an action star before becoming a low brow horror icon!
His role in “Unmasking” is pretty hilarious, Typhoon or “Boon” in the movie excels in hand to hand combat, throws bombs, shoots guns, wears suits and compulsively flicks people off like a true champ! The movie without Boon, would still be a riot, but with him as part of an elite team of ninja mercenaries really makes this movie one for the books. A wild ride of 80s action insanity, full of idioticly charming pulpy plot lines, babes and most importantly BOON!
So after viewing Unmasking the Idol I felt a little sad that I’d most likely witnessed my last experience with Boon. However I was quickly alerted to the fact that this movie had a sequel from 1987 called ‘Order of the Black Eagle’ and indeed featured the star primate in the role once again! Apparently this time around though his role is a bit limited but I did hear that it features him driving around a miniature tank & blowing the shit out of Nazis! So yeah that’s next on my list for SURE.
Doing a little more investigating on Letterboxd I also found out that he makes an appearance in ‘The Fly’ with Jeff Goldblum?! Damn this guy’s got a pretty good filmography under his belt! I guess that one’s just gotta get a rewatch soon, especially due to it being the Halloween season AND to see Typhoon’s performance through a new lense.
Apparently Typhoon was able to follow simple commands quite well and even his role in Shakma where he portrayed a violent memesis he was merely shown food from an open door and then let loose when the door was closed. Naturally Typhoon being excited about the food would pound and smash on the door like a berserk maniac creating quite a stir on camera.
There’s actually a pretty cool & extensive article about his performance in ‘Shakma’ that’s worth a read if you’re interested in his acting career. Now I don’t want to make it all sound like working with Typhoon was always a pleasant experience, though it’s reported that he had quite a loving connection with his trainer here’s what David Cronenberg had to say about his experience directing him: “They’re very volatile, and there’s no such thing as a tame baboon, Jeff, because he was much bigger and stronger than the baboon, was able to dominate him, and the baboon’s wrangler said it was a good thing that the baboon formed that relationship….Otherwise there could have been big trouble on the set with some of the female members of the crew.” Umm…no Jeff Goldblum is NOT stronger than a baboon, if they get pissed they will fuck you up! They are indeed many times stronger than a human….
I also don’t want to give Typhoon a bad rap because lots of actors can be sort of grumpy on set. Everyone has flaws, even Typhoon. I did a little poking around and couldn’t find any more information about him being curious about how long he lived, with no results. So at this point I’m going to just believe that he’s out there, still alive planning his next big movie come back! ‘Unmasking The Idol’ has just been released on blu ray via Vinegar Syndrome too!!
VHS Verdict: Corey Haim’s Underrated ‘Prayer of the Rollerboys’!
Corey Haim Is easily one of the most iconic actors of the eighties, however a lot of people seem to have missed out on his nineties career. ‘Prayer of the Rollerboys’ is a perfect place to start. Likely filmed in 1989 it still perfectly kickstarts Corey into the nineties!
In the distant future crime is running rampant and Corey is a part-time pizza boy/full time hot shot rollerblader trying to take care of his little brother, put food on the table and find deeper meaning to life. Only one problem: a renegade gang of white supremacist criminals are endangering anyone who roams the streets, and they just happen to be obsessed with…..wait for it… You guessed it…. rollerblading! DUH!
They’ve also got a snazzy new drug they’re pushing to the general public called “Mist” and things on the street are getting downright out of control. Luckily Haim meets Patricia Arquette, who at first appears to be just an beautiful, punk rock bad ass, but in reality works undercover for the police force. She’s looking for a way to infiltrate the evil Rollerboys and put an end to their racist dug peddling antics, good thing for her she met Corey who’s the prime candidate with with his radical rollerblading skills to get in league with the gang. However even more lucky for Cory that she totally digs him! Jeeeealous!!!
The film also stars Christopher Collet, who actually co-starred with with Corey Haim in his very first feature film, one that I highly recommend called FIRST BORN from 1984. Here he plays the evil racist gang leader and goes one-on-one with Corey after pushing him way over the edge with a near unspeakable act of racism. Some of the stuff feels all too relevant in modern times as we deal with similar types of American nationalists today who like in “Rollerboys” try to inspire fear of illegal immigrants attempting to brainwash the working class into thinking they’re our enemies. Collette seems right out of a corrupt right wing nightmare.
I love the tone and setting up this movie, it takes place in a desolate, trashy, almost post apocalyptic timeline. It’s got that cool grainy almost Australian cinematography going for it as well and actually goes a lot darker than I would have ever imagined. At first I guessed it to be more of a ‘Solarbabies’ adjacent type of movie. However this one’s actually pretty violent, with gripping action scenes, even though lots of them are roller blade-centric, delivering more action cheez than I could’ve hoped for. Surprisingly well executed!
If you’re not sold by the first opening 10 minutes featuring Corey Haim in a dazzling action packed montage of ridiculous roller stunts then you’re definitely gonna want to tune out. For the first time watch for me though it was just more proof of how iconic and important Corey was to the 80s teen coming of age genre that I hold so dear to me. It’s another solid Haim hit and one that many fans seem to have completely let fly under the radar. As ridiculous as the plot might sound it’s actually a pretty competent movie with quite a few interesting themes bubbling beneath its surface too. It’s got genuine thrills, cool characters, a villain you love to hate and some pretty memorable over the top action jams. In short this one’s way better than it ought to be and if you just happen to be a fan of freestyle rollerblading you’re gonna shit your pants here, this one’s most definitely for you rollerboyz and galz.
Somehow they manage to mix rollerblading into a movie that’s grittier, darker and goes deeper than expected. It’s also got a pretty pumpin’ soundtrack as well, plus seeing Corey and Patricia team up is a real delight, both have that special cinematic charisma. Sadly, Patricia, I think deserved a lot more screen time and it does seem a bit clear here that Corey might be heading into the troubling times of his career behind the scenes. It’s insane to me that no one has given it a fancy blu ray release either, that needs to happen ASAP. So track this little gem down if you’re feeling nostalgic for some ‘class A’ Corey Haim! RIP my dude….
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….
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: 1986’s ‘BULLIES’ Channels ‘The Karate Kid’ Via ‘DELIVERANCE’!
I just watched what I consider to be a true bonafide lost 1980s gem, at least to me this movie was something I’d only found and watched by sheer chance. I frequent thrift stores quite often and upon discovering director Paul Lynch’s ‘Bullies’ a 1986 Canadian genre mash up of horror, thriller, action and revenge on VHS, I was most certainly intrigued, while realistically not getting my hopes up too damn high.
I’m pleased to report that ‘Bullies’ delivered the damn goods and then some in nearly every way I’d been hoping! Like I said in the title, this movie is essentially a mixture of The Karate Kid and Deliverance. I guess we’d categorize it as “Hicksploitation”. Sorry all you lovable hillbillies out there, but it’s kinda like if The Karate Kid’s Cobra Kai were evil messed up psycho mountain men! And when I say evil I mean evil with a capital E!
We follow the simple story of a teenage boy who moves with his mom and stepfather to a cozy little mountain town smack dab in the middle of the woods to run a family business. The only problem is some of the locals are restless and don’t particularly like the new arrivals in town…at all. A wicked gang of family hicks are on the prowl to fuck with anyone they please and no one seems to give a damn, not even the cops- imagine that huh?!
Luckily our teenage equivalent to Daniel Laruso befriends a cool local Native American man, who he establishes a strong bond with and like Mr. Miagi he teaches him some serious life lessons, survival and even a few nifty combat techniques. Something his stepfather whom he somewhat loathes and views as a useless coward doesn’t seem to have ANY interest in being part of. Of course he meets the beautiful Olivia D’Abo, and of course crushes out hard. I mean what are the chances he meets a babe like her in this po-dunk town? Lucky guy! Or is he?
As it just happens to turn out that she’s the sister of one of the insane maniac hillbillies who who threaten the town folk on any whim. But that’s not gonna stop the teen romance though as the two are immediately lovestruck. So the pissed off hillbillies up the ante with their evil shenanigans and the boy’s step dad is too chicken to stand up to them. These guys not only terrorize the teenagers but also go on the war path against the parents too, leading to a truly shocking rape scene that ups the stakes to deadly proportions and drastically shifts the tone. Be warned! ‘Bullies’ takes some dark twists and turns but by the final act you’ll be rooting for revenge with all of your damn heart. Even though it does go to some dark places it oddly has a lingering light feeling to it somehow, an 80s charm of something like The Karate Kid or My Bodyguard. Most importantly are how, for the most part, endearing the characters are in this grimy little banger. It makes the journey one worth taking.
I’d say this is the perfect coming of age revenge flick, filled with genuine heart, romance, comedy and some pretty wild and crazy action sequences. You also get served some gory kills and some intense explosions that put this one in a league of its own as a intriguing lost 80s gem. Bullies exists on VHS only and is just begging to be cleaned up and released on a slick blu ray. It really deserves far more attention from cult movie fanatics, if you get a chance check this one out, but beware, these “Bullies” are playing for keeps!!