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Friday, November 21, 2014

"Frankenstein's Patchwork Monster" Trailer--See It Now!


video


FRANKENSTEIN'S PATCHWORK MONSTER - The eagerly anticipated film by producer Emil J. Novak Sr. is about to explode upon the lusting eyes of horror fans across the globe.

This film is loaded with monsters and creatures galore, and enough exciting action to fill any bloody appetite.

PREMIERE scheduled for spring 2015

patchworkmonstermovie.com

facebook.com/pages/Frankensteins-Patchwork-Monster/351562911538716?ref=hl

Starring the bravura talent of Bill Kennedy as ‘Doctor Vicktor Von Frankenstein’. Along with other outstanding performances by the talents such as, Patrick Mallette as ‘Herman’, Melantha Blackthorne ‘A Bride Of Frankenstein’, Annmarie Bahny ‘Another Bride for Frankenstein’, Sean Sanders ‘Proteus From The Erie Lagoon’, and Daniel James “The Patchwork Monster’, to mention a few of this dazzling cast in this special film.


Additional actors/cast contributing to this film is as follows:

CAST:
 Bill Kennedy, Patrick Mallette, Melantha Blackthorne, Annmarie Bahny, Mike Sciabarrasi, Bob Bozek, Tara Monaco, Jason John Bebee, Paul McGinnis, Michael Leszczynski, Steve Losey Sr., Eric Haeusser, Kat Smith, Aneya Marie, and many others.

CREW:
 Eric Militello, Annmarie Bahny, Don McGinniss, Jeana DiFranco, Andrew Lavin, John Harris, Willis Dudley, Dave Allen, and many others.


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FEAR CLINIC From Anchor Bay Entertainment Accepting Appointments on Blu-ray and DVD Starting Feb. 10, 2015



Time to face your fears. What if your fears faced you?

ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT DARES YOU TO ENTER THE...

FEAR CLINIC

 
Starring Robert Englund, Fiona Dourif, Corey Taylor, Angelina Armani and Thomas Dekker

 
Step Into The Fear Chamber Starting February 10, 2015 on Blu-ray™ and DVD

BEVERLY HILLS, CA After terrifying audiences from coast to coast Closing Night Event at ScreamFest 2014 Los Angeles and Opening Night Screening at 2014 New York City Horror Film Festival Fear Clinic, the latest excursion into unrelenting terror will be released on Blu-ray™ and DVD on February 10, 2015 by Anchor Bay Entertainment. The highly anticipated shocker stars horror icon Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund, Fiona Dourif, Angelina Armani, Thomas Dekker, as well as Stone Sour and Slipknot lead vocalist Corey Taylor in his acting debut, and is directed by Robert G. Hall (Lightning Bug, Laid to Rest, ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest II).

With blood-chilling special effects by award-winning FX creators Robert Kurtzman and Steve Johnson, Fear Clinic will take viewers on an unforgettable journey into the very soul of terror itself. SRP is $26.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $22.98 for the DVD, with pre-book on January 7.

Co-written by Hall and Aaron Drane, the film is based on the critically acclaimed and fan favorite 2009 FEARnet.com series. When trauma-induced phobias begin to re-emerge in five survivors a year after their horrifying tragedy, they return to the "Fear Clinic," hoping to find the answers they need to get cured.

Dr. Andover (Robert Englund), a fear doctor who runs the clinic, uses his "Fear Chamber" to animate their fears in the form of terrifying hallucinations. However, the good doctor soon begins to suspect that something more sinister may be at work, something that yearns to be more than just an hallucination...

Bonus features on Fear Clinic Blu-ray™ and DVD to be announced.

About Anchor Bay Entertainment Anchor Bay Entertainment is a leading home entertainment company. Anchor Bay acquires and distributes feature films, original television programming including STARZ Original series, children's entertainment, anime (Manga Entertainment), fitness (Anchor Bay Fitness), sports, and other filmed entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray™ formats. The company has long term distribution agreements in place for select programming with AMC Networks, RADiUS, and The Weinstein Company. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA, Anchor Bay Entertainment has offices in Troy, MI, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Anchor Bay Entertainment (www.anchorbayentertainment.com) is a Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) business, www.starz.com.

https://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay
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FEAR CLINIC Blu-ray™
Street Date: February 10, 2015
Pre-book: January 7, 2015
Cat. #: BD62075
UPC: 0 1313 262075-6
Run Time: 95 minutes
Rating: R (pending)
SRP: $26.99
Format: Widescreen 2.40:1 1080p
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

FEAR CLINIC DVD
Street Date: February 10, 2015
Pre-book: January 7, 2015
Cat. #: DV62074
UPC: 0 1313 262074-9
Run Time: 95 minutes
Rating: R (pending)
SRP: $22.98
Format: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish


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"CHiPs: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON"--For the First Time Ever on DVD!



PATROL THE HIGHWAYS OF CALIFORNIA AS
WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES
 
CHiPs: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER ON DVD ON
MARCH 3, 2015
 
Includes all 24 one-hour episodes of Season 3!
 
BURBANK, CA (November 20, 2014) The action and fun of CHiPs Season 3 continues in this wildly popular action-drama that stars Golden Globe nominated Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox returning as high-spirited California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers Francis "Ponch" Poncherello and Jon Baker. Pursuing justice was never cooler as these two fearless partners take to the roads under the bright Southern California sun. Nothing stops them from joining the action … from high-speed car chases to confrontations with armed criminals … CHP officers Ponch and Jon are on patrol -- ready, willing, and more than able- in this 5-disc collection of non-stop adventure. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release CHiPs: The Complete Third Season on March 3, 2015 for $29.98. 

Last season, Ponch and Jon were on the lookout for all sorts of criminal operations.  That continues this season in the comedic melodrama fashion that only Ponch and Jon can provide as they continue to catch people who have been menacing the L.A Freeways. Whether it’s staging an accident as part of an insurance scam or punks breaking into cars, California Highway Patrol is there to stop them. Infused with the same light-hearted subplots of the past, CHiPs: The Complete Third Season brings you entertaining action-drama at its finest!   

"We are delighted to finally release CHiPs: The Complete Third Season for the first time ever on DVD," said said Rosemary Markson, WBHEG Senior Vice President, TV Brand Management and Retail Marketing., "The third season of this immensely popular show is sure to delight fans of every age, and will allow for the next generations of fans to fall in love with this series."


DVD Standard Features
5 DVD-9s
Language: English (5.1)
Feature Subtitles: ESDH

24 One-Hour Episodes
Roller Disco, Part I Roller Disco, Part II
Valley Go Home
High Octane
Death Watch
Counterfeit
Return of the Supercycle
Hot Wheels
Drive Lady Drive - Part I
Drive Lady Drive - Part II
The Watch Commander
Destruction Derby
Second Chance
Wheeling
Christmas Watch
Jailbirds
E.M.T.
Kidnap
Off Road
Tow Truck Lady
The Strippers
Thrill Show
Nightingale
Dynamite Alley

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.
 
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution, interactive entertainment, technical operations and anti-piracy businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees, as well as directly to consumers through WBShop.com.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Crime Thriller "Abstraction" Starring Eric Roberts & Ken Davitian



Breaking Glass Pictures Acquires Crime Thriller Abstraction Starring Eric Roberts and Ken Davitian

Breaking Glass Pictures is releasing Prince Bagdasarian's crime-thriller Abstraction starring Eric Roberts and Ken Davitian on DVD and VOD January 27, 2014.
 
Starring Eric Roberts ("The Expendables"), Ken Davitian ("Borat"),  Korrina Rico ("Horrible Bosses 2") and Hunter Ives, Abstraction is the story of Tommy and Gary, two criminals engaging in grand thefts in order to make ends meet.

After a routine robbery goes wrong, the friends are forced to put their criminal activity behind them. But as their economic hardships become obvious, Tommy's new girlfriend, Scarlet, soon proposes a notion that will make all their money troubles vanish - the heist of a half a million dollar painting. 
 
Abstraction has been well received by festival audiences and industry professionals alike," says Director Prince Bagdasarian. "We're truly excited now to be working with Breaking Glass Pictures in bringing our multi-award winning film to a wider audience."
 
"Abstraction" also stars Natalie Victoria ("DeadHeads"), Manu Intiraymi ("Star Trek: Voyager") and Mindy Robinson ("V/H/S/2"). 
 
 

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Breaking Story--Writers' Retreat Turns Murderous in "The Cabining"! Coming Jan. 16th, 2015



Indican Pictures Will Release Horror Comedy THE CABINING on January 16th, 2015!

Todd and Bruce, two struggling writers, get one last shot at success thanks to Todd's wealthy uncle, Sarge, who gives them two weeks to impress him. With the deadline looming and no fresh ideas, the pair head to Shangri-La, a serene artist's retreat, with the hope that the peace and company of fellow artists will inspire greatness... or, failing greatness, at least a fling with a leggy French sculptor.


The retreat proves to be anything but serene, however, as the artists start dying off one by one, and soon these two are fighting for their very own lives!

The film will be available in rental stores, retail chains, TV, including 180 million homes on Video On Demand nationwide.

FILM TITLE:
The Cabining

CAST:
Richard Riehle (Office Space, Transformers IV, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Glory)
Angela Relucio (TNT’s Last Resort, ABC’s Bold & the Beautiful, NBC’s Whitney)
Bo Keister (Remember the Titans, House of Good & Evil, Killing Kennedy, Takedown)
Melissa Mars (From Paris With Love, Toulouse, Ma Vie En Rose) 


TRAILER:

http://www.indicanpictures.com/indicanpictures/cabining-the/

RELEASE DATE:
January 16th, 2015

TECH SPECS:
Running Time: 83 minutes
Format: 1:78 HD
Directed by: Steve Kopera
Sound: Dolby Sr.
Genre: Horror, Comedy

FILM FESTIVALS:
 

Bare Bones (OK) – won Best Horror
Brainwash Movie Festival
Cape Fear Indie FF – won Best Horror
Dances with Films
FANtastic Horror Fest
Jerome Indie Film & Music Fest
Kansas Int’l FF
The Indie Gathering – won Best Horror/Comedy
United FF Los Angeles
 



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Thursday, November 13, 2014

MONDO CANNIBAL -- DVD review by Porfle




When famous TV personality Grace Forsyte's ratings start to plunge, so does her integrity--leading to a desperate attempt to boost viewership by taking a film crew into the jungles of South America to record the most horrible atrocities she can find amongst savage tribes of (gasp!) flesh-eating cannibals!

Thus, Italian exploitation director Bruno Mattei (working under the name "Vincent Dawn"), responsible for such films as RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR, WOMEN'S CAMP 119, CALIGULA'S PERVERSIONS, and SCALPS, enriches the world of cinematic art with this offering entitled MONDO CANNIBAL (2004, Intervision Picture Corp.), known also as "Cannibal World", "Horror Cannibal 2", "Cannibal Holocaust 2", and "Cannibal Holocaust: The Beginning." Needless to say, it's about cannibalism.

The "Mondo" angle is a bit misleading, however, since this is neither an actual "Mondo Cane"-type documentary nor a mockumentary, although there's one scene near the beginning that looks real enough. Grace (played by Helena Wagner) and her boss, the TV network president, are viewing footage of what's purported to be actual cannibals preparing a corpse for feasting, and it looks like the real thing--disgustingly so--although it might simply be a prelude to a crude cremation.


Still, it's the one part of the movie that you won't want to watch while eating a nice, drippy, all-meat pizza or a steaming bowl of goulash. In other words, it's wicked grotty, innit.

The rest of the movie consists of Grace and her crew on an increasingly wacky jungle adventure filming fake natives running around killing each other with rubber clubs and feasting on the bloody entrails of their victims like a bunch of freaked-out "fast-moving" zombies.

The grossest thing about these scenes (and their rudimentary but fun gore SPFX) is wondering what the hell is that stringy slop the energetic extras are shoving into their mouths with such ravenous glee--it looks like spaghetti mixed with something somebody dug out of a dumpster behind a butcher shop.

Recording all this horror eventually isn't enough for Grace and her gang, who before long are in the thick of the carnage themselves as they attack a village and set fire to the huts, which are filled with screaming natives, while gleefully raping and massacring everyone in sight.


This rampant savagery is a weird and sudden change for Grace's environmental-advocate partner Bob Manson (Claudio Morales)--supposedly the "conscience" of the group--and her technical crew including cute blonde Cindy (Cindy Matic), whose main purpose on the expedition is to add to the film's brief nudity quotient.

Meanwhile, back in civilization, the TV executives (with the sole exception of one gray-haired bigwig with a weak stomach) are, to coin a phrase, "eating it all up" as the ratings skyrocket.

MONDO CANNIBAL is surprisingly competent in the technical department, with some nice location work including lovely shots of what is supposed to be Hong Kong (although the credits state that this was filmed entirely in the Phillipines). One of the funniest parts of the film is the title at the beginning of this sequence: "Hong Kong: Some Mouths Before..."


Performances are fair to, well, fair, but what star Helena Wagner lacks in finesse she makes up for with pure wire-taut intensity. Her efforts and those of the rest of the cast are hampered by bad dubbing and some jarringly dumb dialogue that adds to the perverse entertainment value.

The main drawback is that much of the earlier part of the film is just plain boring. Things definitely pick up later on, however, when the story starts edging its way over the top before spilling all the way over into a bloodbath of goofy gore and even goofier plot twists.

The DVD from Intervision Picture Corp. is in full frame with Dolby Digital stereo sound. No subtitles. The only bonus feature is a trailer.

In case you haven't gleaned as much from my description already, MONDO CANNIBAL isn't exactly the sort of entertainment to accompany your next Martha Stewart-style dinner soirée. But if you're in the mood for some severely whacked-out ultra-gore goodness packed with psychotic sadism and lacking any sense of decency whatsoever, then this should serve as a suitably sordid main course.

Buy it at Amazon.com

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THE NUGGET -- movie review by Porfle




(This review originally appeared online in 2006.)

THE NUGGET (2002) is a breezy Australian comedy about three blue-collar blokes who dream of getting rich and famous.

Actually, Sue (Dave O'Neil), the lazy one, is already somewhat famous for biting into a store-bought meat pie and pulling a human finger out of his mouth (a rather gag-inducing image). Wookie (Stephen Curry) is a Weekly World News-devouring conspiracy nut who got his nickname because he's convinced he saw one in his backyard once.

And Lotto (Eric Bana, THE HULK, BLACKHAWK DOWN) is pretty much the unluckiest man in the world--his winning Lotto ticket falls through a sewer grate and the three mates fail to find it even after borrowing a bunch of equipment from their highway construction job and digging up the entire street. Plus, every horse he bets on not only loses the race but must be put down afterward.

Yet he and his friends are still good-naturedly optimistic enough to trudge out every weekend to the piece of wasteland they've leased to wander around with a metal detector, prospecting for gold. One day, after a great storm has flooded the area and washed away much of the topsoil, they find it--a chunk of solid gold big enough to choke a Stegosaurus.


If this movie had been about me, it would've concluded with a montage of me selling the enormous "nugget", getting incredibly rich, and living happily ever after--the end. But, of course, it's never quite that simple in movies like this (think of THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE or IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD), and before Lotto, Wookie, and Sue get to enjoy their wonderful find, if ever, they must endure about an hour-and-a-half of comedic complications.

First, they put off cashing in the nugget so they can buy up the leases surrounding theirs and look for more gold before word of their find gets out. Next, Wookie's wife, Darlene (Sallyanne Ryan), finds that her husband's name is the only one on the lease, meaning that the nugget belongs to them, which pits the wives against each other and threatens to break up the mates. And finally, their nemesis, Ratner (Peter Moon), a wonderfully sleazy junkyard owner with a lease next to theirs, witnesses the discovery and steals the nugget after they've buried it in Lotto's backyard.

Much furious, sitcom-type activity surrounds the trio's attempt to retrieve the nugget even as Ratner makes plans with the local jeweler, an unscrupulous character named Dimitri (Vince Colosimo, CHOPPER) to unload it. Sue's wife, Moon Choo (the very likable Karen Pang), is enlisted to impersonate a buyer from Hong Kong who offers Ratner a better price while trying to locate his hiding place (it's behind his livingroom couch).

My favorite supporting character, though, is Ratner's German assistant, Jurgen (Alan Brough), a sensitive soul who often suffers crying fits and bouts of depression over the things his heartless boss makes him do. He's the one who sets the final plot resolution into motion by melting down the nugget, which leads to a strange occurrence that's supposed to have an "ooh, aah" sense-of-wonder feeling about it but left me thinking, "O-o-o-kay..."

If you're in the right frame of mind, you might "ooh, aah" a little, especially if you're lulled into it by the mystical narration of the wizened, mysterious old man named Wally (Max Cullen) who lives in a shack on one of those leases the boys tried to buy and who somehow sees all and knows all. To me, though, it had a bad-Spielberg "Amazing Stories" quality to it, and I didn't care much for that show.


I never can relax and enjoy a movie like this because it's so frustrating to see hard-luck guys that I can identify with come into a great windfall and then lose it, which they almost always do. The moral of the story is usually that they were happier before getting rich and they're better off without all that money. To that I say: "Poppycock!" (Sorry.) So I was worried about that the whole time. Fortunately, though, THE NUGGET does have a pretty happy ending that didn't leave me gritting my teeth in frustration.

But is it funny? Well, not so much "funny" as "amusing." I don't think I actually laughed once the entire time, but I found the antics of these characters and the overall good-natured atmosphere generally enjoyable and only occasionally tiresome.

It was especially interesting to see Eric Bana playing a big, easygoing lug after knowing him only as a tortured scientist who turns into a monster (THE HULK) and an intense super-soldier (BLACKHAWK DOWN). He and his two mates make a good comedy team and I like the way they play off each other even though I couldn't understand some of the heavily Aussie-accented dialogue. I also like Lotto's usual reaction to adversity--he stops, thinks a moment, and says, "Ahh...let's grab a bee-uh."

But my favorite scene, which is perhaps the most wonderful moment in the whole movie, is when the boys are bringing the nugget home in their pickup after first discovering it, and pull into a truck stop for some hamburgers. After searching their pockets, they come up just short of the money needed to pay the counter lady, and--realizing the absurdity of the situation--look at each other and start to laugh joyfully. Seeing the lady's perplexed expression, Wookie explains, "It's just that...we're so rich!" and Sue adds, "We could buy two burgers each--easy!"

Buy it at Amazon.com

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Anchor Bay Entertainment's "FEAR CLINIC" opens 13th Annual NYC Horror Film Festival




NYC Horror Film Fest Opening Night Screening on Thursday, November 13th
Robert Hall and Angelina Armani Q&A After The Screening

The Big Apple is about to be overtaken by FEAR! After its triumphant world premiere at Los Angeles’ Screamfest, Robert Hall’s latest film FEAR CLINIC will screen as the Opening Night Feature of the 13th Annual New York City Horror Film Festival on Thursday, November 13th at the Tribeca Theaters in Manhattan!

Starring horror icon Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund, Fiona Dourif, Angelina Armani, Thomas Dekker and featuring the acting debut of Stone Sour and Slipknot lead vocalist Corey Taylor, FEAR CLINIC has already struck terror in the hearts of audiences, taking them on an unforgettable journey into the very soul of Terror itself.

UPDATE: Director Robert Hall and Star Angelina Armani will conduct a Q&A with the audience after the screening!!

FEAR CLINIC Opening Night Screening at NYC HorrorFest

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
7:30PM – NYC Premiere Screening (after Short Films presentations starting at 7pm);
9:00PM (approx.) – Director Robert Hall & Star Angelina Armani Q&A After Screening; Moderator TBA

Location:

Tribeca Theatres
54 Varick Street (at Laight)
New York, NY 10013
(212) 941-2001

Tickets:
 
http://nychorrorfest.com/schedule/

Details:

When trauma-induced phobias begin to re-emerge in five survivors a year after their horrifying tragedy, they return to the "Fear Clinic," hoping to find the answers they need to get cured.

Dr. Andover (Robert Englund), a fear doctor who runs the clinic, uses his Fear Chamber to animate their fears in the form of terrifying hallucinations. However, the good doctor soon begins to suspect that something more sinister may be at work, something that yearns to be more than just a hallucination...

FEAR CLINIC will be released by Anchor Bay Entertainment in early 2015.
 
 




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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cult Classic "DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT" Digital Restoration on DVD Dec. 16



Film Chest Media Group Proudly Present
"Don’t Look in the Basement"

Will the Patients Soon be Running the Asylum?
Digitally Restored ’70s B-Movie, Cult Favorite on DVD Dec. 16th


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Dec. 1, 2014 — For Immediate Release — A young, psychiatricnurse struggles under the worst of institutional conditions in Don’t Look in the Basement, digitally restored and available on DVD Dec. 16 from Film Chest Media Group.

In this ‘70s, B-movie, cult classic, a young, psychiatric nurse, Charlotte Beale (Rosie Holotik, 1972 Playboy covergirl), goes to work at an isolated sanitarium only to learn theproprietor, Dr. Stephens (Michael Harvey, Berlin Express, Tycoon), was murdered by one of the patients.

Struggling under the horrendous conditions at the severely under-staffed asylum – and the torment heaped upon her by the patients – she is puzzled by the resistance of Stephens’ successor, Dr. Geraldine Masters (Annabelle Weenick, Cope and 1/2, Common Law Wife),to hiring new staff and by the woman’s efforts to keep outsiders at bay. Soon, the patients may truly be running the asylum…

Also known as The Forgotten, Don’t Look in the Basement is considered one of the best loow-budget movies in the horror/thriller genre … and there is no other film quite like it!

Also starring Bill McGee (On Valentine’s Day, 1918), Jesse Lee Fulton (The Sugarland Express, Paper Moon) and Robert Dracup (Mr. Nanny, Necessary Roughness, Pet Sementary).

Presented in full screen with an aspect ratio of 4 x 3 and original sound.

About Film Chest:
 
Founded in 2001, Film Chest offers high-quality content for a wide variety of production and distribution needs, boasting one of the world’s largest libraries (10,000+ hours) of classic feature films, television, foreign imports, documentaries, special interest and audio—much of it restored and digitized in HD. Headquartered in Bridgeport, Conn., with offices in New York City, the company also produces and distributes collector’s DVD sets for its American Pop Classics, CULTRA and HD Cinema Classics labels. Visit us online: www.filmchestmediagroup.com

Don’t Look in the Basement
Film Chest
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Original Release: 1973 (Color)
Rated: R
Format: DVD
Running Time: Approx. 89 Minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $9.98
Pre-Order Date: November 18, 2014
Street Date: December 16, 2014
Catalog #: FC-510UPC
Code: #874757051093

Buy it at Amazon.com
 
 

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DON'T COME KNOCKING -- movie review by Porfle



(This review originally appeared online in 2006.)

I usually don't go in much for these "human dramas", so how much I like this sort of movie depends mainly on whether or not I can sit through it without getting bored stiff. (That's pretty obvious, I guess.)

Fortunately, DON'T COME KNOCKING (2005), the only Wim Wenders film I've seen since 1984's PARIS, TEXAS and the occasional U2 video, has a lot going for it. Wenders co-wrote the screenplay with Sam Shepard, whom we all know is a talented writer as well as being one of my favorite actors in films such as THE RIGHT STUFF and the TV mini-series "Streets Of Laredo."

Shepard stars here as Howard Spence, a famous Western actor whose career is on the skids due to an out-of-control lifestyle full of sex, drinking, and brawling (in various combinations). One day it occurs to him that he's not getting any younger, life is passing him by, and if he doesn't try to reconnect with what is really important to him it will soon be too late.

So he hops on a horse and disappears from the Utah desert location of his comeback film, leaving an entire film crew and some anxious studio executives (including George Kennedy, Tim Matheson, and Julia Sweeney in cameo roles) holding the bag.


Since the film has been insured for several million dollars, a special investigator named Mr. Sutter (Tim Roth of RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION) is sent to track him down. Mr. Sutter is a fastidious, methodical little guy who'd look more at home behind a desk at H & R Block, but I wouldn't want him looking for me.

Howard hops a bus and makes his way to Elko, Nevada to visit his mother for the first time in decades. She's a widow with a very Zen attitude toward life (a sweet performance by ON THE WATERFRONT's Eva Marie Saint) who calmly accepts Howard's sudden reappearance, and subsequent arrest for getting drunk in a nearby casino and punching a security guard, the way she might accept one of the baseball games she likes to watch on TV getting rained out.

Howard is given a makeshift bedroom in the basement, which she has thoughtfully decorated with remnants of his past such as school banners and photo albums. In one of these, he comes across a photo of a woman he had a fling with years ago while filming a movie on location in Butte, Montana. She becomes the next important thing in life for him to reconnect with, so he sets off for Butte in Dad's old car while Mom waves wistfully in the driveway.

When he gets there, he discovers that Doreen (Jessica Lange) not only owns the bar where they first met, but that the lead singer of the country-and-weird band playing onstage is their son, Earl (Gabiel Mann, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY), who will react violently to Howard's unwanted return.

And as if that weren't enough, the young woman sitting at the bar clutching an urn filled with her mother's ashes is his daughter Sky (DAWN OF THE DEAD's Sarah Polley), from yet another sexcapade during his long-ago visit to Butte. Sky is there to sprinkle her recently-deceased mom's ashes over the nearby countryside, and fate has obligingly seen fit to bring all these important things in life that Howard wants to reconnect with, whether he knew about them or not, crashing down on his head at the same time.

It takes a while to reach this point in the film, but I enjoyed getting there. Sam Shepard's "Howard" is an interesting and likable character, although I wouldn't want to know him before he decided to stop being such a horse's ass all the time (his arrest in Elko hopefully being the final exorcism of his previous lifestyle).


I'm not sure if the behavior of some of the characters is entirely realistic, though. Earl, upon finding out that his father has returned, begins to angrily hurl all of his worldly possessions through the upstairs window of his apartment house, even managing to somehow squeeze a full-sized couch through it. (Which, by the way, later becomes the most important prop in the whole movie.)

Sky, on the other hand, seems ethereally serene about the whole thing, displaying not a hint of the resentment toward Howard one might expect, although I came to like this more forgiving aspect of her character after awhile. Toward the end of the film, she gets a chance to explain to him what a void he's left in her life, and how her fascination with every imagined detail of his phantom presence has become such a lifelong obsession that finally meeting him in person can't even begin to resolve it.

(As Earl stands listening to this, we can see in his face that she's expressing his own feelings as well, although they're buried under years of resentment.) Howard realizes once and for all just how deeply his irresponsible past has affected others, and how much he's missed out on, and he tentatively embraces her, even though he's handcuffed to Mr. Sutter.

It sounds like soap-opera stuff, but Sam Shepard's down-to-earth performance and the touches of humor here and there in the script, along with Wim Wenders' easygoing directorial style and some breathtaking location photography, help to pull it off rather nicely. There's a fine supporting cast filled with familiar faces--Tim Roth, Eva Marie Saint, and Sarah Polley are especially good--and we even get to see another great whacked-out performance by Fairuza Balk (THE CRAFT) as Earl's girlfriend.

Plus, it's always nice to watch Shepard and Jessica Lange together. Some of their scenes are little stagey, but they're still fun, especially when they have an argument in front of a health club while people on stationary bikes and treadmills look on with deadpan interest. And the musical score by T-Bone Burnett (with help from Bono and the Edge on the title song) is awesome.

Unlike a lot of character dramas that seem intent on making you feel like crap, DON'T COME KNOCKING was a lot of fun and left me feeling good at the end. There, we see an old pickup truck cruising down a mountain highway, and the signpost up ahead reads "Divide--1. Wisdom--52." Which is pretty much the way it goes, I guess.

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