29 May 2011

Spooky Midnight VHS Assault #4: Upholstery Home Care

Upholstery Home Care
United States – 1993
Director – ?
Soil Shield Int’l, 1993, VHS
Run Time – 20 minutes

A moving introduction by Ma' Partridge
Dear Housewife, we know that your home is a cage, a psychological prison. The outside world, beyond the cul-de-sac, beyond even your door is unnerving. From within the comfort of your scrapbooks, protection and safety is what you crave. The outside world with which you only nominally interact during that great socially reaffirming American rite of provisioning the brood, is a strange, distant and terrifyingly unpredictable place when not filtered reassuringly through the warm rays of the happy-box that bathe the family room when your clan gathers together for some quality time.

Little did you know that there is a universe of terror soiling the comfy paisley fibers of your very own domestic sanctuary. It is a strange and unknown world teeming with swarms of invisible menace, a silent creeping invasion of entropy, an infestation of internal rot, hidden and beyond your control. Be wary, but cautiously relieved that this terror has been scientifically measured, quantified and categorized by our certifiable experts, heroes of modern consumer science. This battle will require vigilance and prayer, but thank Jesus that you just bought a love-seat and the video included with your new furnishing is about to gush the divine rays of upholstered revelation all over your life.

A comforting firmness exudes from our video host’s supple voice. There is something soothing, reassuring and slightly arousing about his masculine confidence. Armed with the arsenal and strategic soilage attack chart that you’ll need to defend your suburban compound of conformity, it feels almost sensual to consume this chemical bath, doused in the aerosol aroma of soilage repellence. Inhaling the heady vapors of sanitized sanctity you can almost feel your nameless salt-n-pepper sweater friend embracing you with his strong masculine odor of sterility. "Hello beautiful, yes you…. you are doing a great job, you are knowledgeable and prepared domestic companion, well equipped to deal effectively with any tragedy that might befall your home furnishings. Anytime you need to feel desirable and valued, just gently moisten the upholstery and lovingly rub until the bars of your cage fade into the fumes..."

The inside front flap of the box contains a chart for strategic soilage countermeasures.

25 May 2011

Steel Dawn

United States - 1987
Director - Lance Hool
Vestron Video, 1988, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 42 minutes

This Swayze classic was filmed in Namibia and directed by Mexican producer Lance Hool who was behind a number of Charles Bronson pictures in the same era. The plot of 1998's Kurt Russel feature Soldier bears some resemblance to that of Steel Dawn.

23 May 2011

TC 2000

United States – 1993
Director – T. J. Scott
MCA/Universal Home Video, 1999, VHS
Run Time – 1 hour, 39 minutes

When I think of dystopian near-future scenarios, Toronto is definitely one of the first places to cross my mind as the ideal setting. What major metropolitan area is more evocative of a sun-scorched and toxic post-apocalyptic environment than the largest city in Canada? I can already see what will happen… The rich white folks will hide underground and name their new exclusive community “Underworld”, leaving all the brown people on the surface to be ravaged by an epidemic martial arts plague which causes chronic competitions and terminal sparring. Subjected to repeated raids by these mud races, Underworld will evolve into a highly militarized society based on retro technology from the 70’s.

It's like a speech bubble that says "radical" right there on his head.

In order to evade charges of overt racism which is totally uncool in future-Canada, they will employ a token negro to lead their defense against the surface, Jason Storm (Billy fuckin’ Blanks) who sports a haircut that screams “the future will be awesome” even more than hoverboards and robot vacuum-cleaners combined. (Neither of which, sadly, will appear in this dystopia.) However, when it becomes clear that the relationship with his white partner, Zoey Kinsella is more than just professional, Underworld’s leadership will concoct a quick justification for preventing the consummation of such a taboo relationship. It sounds far-fetched, even paranoid I know, but like the cosmetics stockpiles of which the surface hordes will generously avail themselves, even miscegenation taboos will miraculously survive the pre-opening-credit apocalypse of TC 2000.

In order to make the final cleansing of Underworld seem totally not about race or anything like that, Zoey will be gunned down during a raid. Storm will be blamed as a traitor and replaced with Teutonic Ubermensch Mathias Hues, which would make perfect sense. In order to render their union permanently unconsumable, Storm will be “totally deprogrammed” and Zoey more than likely turned into a cyborg. Of course, no female-super-death-bot would be complete, or futuristic enough without a cheap vinyl hooker outfit and a menacing acronym, probably something along the lines of TC 2000-X. It will be the pinnacle of post-apocalyptic military science, merging a beautiful woman’s body with the finest in modern cybernetic killing technology all for the purpose of beating up some raggedy-ass extras.

Despite, or perhaps because of the epidemic spread of combat drills, the aboveground survivors will unite under the reluctant guidance of Jason Storm who might conceivably band together with a reluctant and quiet, but astonishingly powerful kung-fu master named Sumai (Bolo Yeung). With luck, Underworld might have forgotten to take the emotion and/or memory parts out of Zoey’s brain potentially causing her to return to the proverbial “dark side”. Compared to all the other hypothetical dystopian near-future scenarios out there, it doesn’t look like things will really be all that different in Toronto. But hey, I’m just guessing.

Trailer via Yangsze @ Youtoob

18 May 2011


United States - 1985
Director - Joe Dante
Paramount Home Video, 1985, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 47 minutes

An underrated classic from my childhood, Explorers is probably largely unknown to anyone under the age of 25 or so.

16 May 2011

Phantom Lady

United States - 1944
Director - Robert Siodmak

This one from Moviegoods
 This one too.

This one from IMPAwards

Starring Ella Raines

09 May 2011

The Last Dinosaur

United States/Japan – 1977
Directors – Alexander Grasshoff, Tsugunobu Kotani
MNTEX Entertainment, 1990, VHS
Run Time – 1 hour, 30 minutes

As this last wheeze of a dying paradigm flickered blurily across my tiny CRT screen, I felt as if I were strapped into a hideous future indoctrination machine, being force-fed stale propaganda reels from a distant historical backwater. It was Brazil in my screening room and I grit my teeth through every tired nugget of delusion that was unsurreptitiously launched at my retinas. As if by sheer volume I might be convinced that things still were the way we wish they used to be.

This revisionist PSA opens with an immediate introduction to the protagonist well ensconced in his milieu. Masten Thrust, played by the visibly decaying body of Richard Boone, longs for the finger-snapping and eye-winking charisma he fancies himself to have had in those heady days before he slid into wearing his boiler-suit everyday instead of just weekends. Forced by the terrifying passage of time to reanimate the corpse of his youth, he struggles valiantly against terminal elderliness by emphasizing an extreme and cartoonish version of a wishful memory of virility. Somehow, by increasing to nearly toxic levels the concentration of noxious manliness he exudes, he can surely paper over 50 years of entropy.

After dismissing his latest female companion with an airline ticket to “wherever it is I found you”, he heads over to his press conference room to announce his plan to penetrate the arctic. It is there, while probing for oil in his cylindrical probe ship that his last expedition discovered a strange tropical island inhabited by a creature that appears (though at that distance we were unable to be certain) to be a man in a top-heavy Tyrubbersaurus rex suit. Our ironically named geriatric protagonist plans to travel back to this land that time forgot in his clearly labeled Thrusting cylinder craft and study/hunt what he believes is the infamous “last of the dinosaurs”.

Hey wait, there's two?
Harnessing the power of a fictional-future science The Last Dinosuar attempts, like the man upon whose weary frame it is hitched, to call forth a fond memory to conceal the lack of its substance. As if by packing together H.G. Wells/Edgar Rice Burroughs paleo-science-fiction and the keening howl of that Nipponese behemoth it could imbue itself with a ghost of cultural relevance. The irony of this snake-eating-its-tail premise was not lost on the person’s responsible for this grainy televisual delusion. With all the subtlety of a shotgun, the double entendre of the title is laid bare in the awe inspiring theme song “The Last Dinosaur”, performed by iconic jazz singer Nancy Wilson. Throughout the tune, the lyrics make no reference whatsoever to the obese thunder lizards, but explicitly describe the film’s geriatric cad protagonist.

In the end of course, there is no evading the vicious hands of time, and realization finally catches up to the spent Thrust. When his surviving companions decide to return home, he opts to stay in the past where he belongs, with his teeny-armed philosophical brother and let the paleo-time-travel genre finally fade into a fond memory.

06 May 2011

02 May 2011

Guy Gerard Noel

United States - 1965
Director Don Siegel
Starring - Lee Marvin, Ronald Reagan, Angie Dickinson and Clu Gulager

This Mummy poster and the Horror of Dracula poster down below come courtesy of user eatbrie at the Movie Poster Forum.
Check out the Movie Poster Database page on Gerard Noel HERE. I found the artist through the Killers poster at the top, I am a big Lee Marvin fan as you may know and was instantly attracted to the poster. I had already comitted myself to seeing the film when I noticed the names of the other stars. Could you ask for a better classic lineup than Clu Gulager, Angie Dickinson and Ronald Reagan? I didn't think so. I regret that I do not have the time to do enough research to uncover more on this great French artist. His style reminds me of something between a screenprint and a theater backdrop. Awesome. If you know anything more about Guy Gerard Noel, drop us a line.

United States - 1963
Director - Burt Topper

At The Order of the Tsar
France - 1954
Director - Andre Haguet

United States - 1954
Director - Edward Dmytryk

The Horror of Dracula
United States - 1958
Director - Terence Fisher