Saturday, August 20, 2016

Al's Top 10 video want list: help fill my holes!

For those curious, besides my passing desire to see more classic Charles Bronson movies, these are the films I'm most keen to own on DVD at present, some quite rare, though all have come out on DVD at some point.

1. The Amateur: I remember this getting raves in the 1980's and then being disappointed when I caught up with it on VHS as a kid because it looked like another crappy Toronto tax shelter movie. Now I love Toronto tax shelter movies! I want to see it again. Plus John Savage, Christopher Plummer, John Marley, Ed Lauter and MARTHE KELLER!

2. Endangered Species. What the fuck is this movie, exactly? I have never seen it, but I'm soooo curious. Alan "Robert Altman Jr." Rudolph directs a cattle mutilation SF film? Robert Urich is no draw, and JoBeth Williams, much as I liked her horny bitchy bitch in The Big Chill, is not much of an incentive either - but Hoyt Axton, Peter Coyote, and Dan Hedaya are all in it, all people who I like to watch onscreen.

3. Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell. I believe I have seen every Peter Cushing Frankenstein movie, except Evil of Frankenstein (which I think I have on a Hammer box set, and which I've heard is the weakest), and this one. The monster looks very appealing - David "Darth Vader" Prowse, isn't it? - and the title is great, and tho' I've heard mixed things about it, I would love to see it someday.

4. Fighting Mad. I'm no big Jonathan Demme fan, you know? He makes a good music documentary, I'll grant you, but his thrillers are all over-rated, including his hammy, Gothicky Silence of the Lambs, which is nowhere near as good a Lecter film as Michael Mann's Manhunter, and his silly, unnecessary wanna-be Hitchcocks, like The Truth About CharLIE and that totally unnecessary Manchurian Candidate reboot, or whatever it was. They're crap! I think I even sold Last Embrace, the last time I had it on DVD, because I was so disappointed with what a mess he makes of it; I love Roy Scheider, and the film has great moments - like when he almost gets pushed in front of a train - but it's one of those films that drives me crazy, because it's just forgettable enough that you feel compelled to revisit it every few years (if you're like me) only to be disappointed all over again when you actually watch it. HOWEVER, Fighting Mad looks to have connections to the gritty Hollywood films of the late 1960's and early 1970's, stars Peter Fonda, and has small roles for Scott Glenn and LYNN LOWRY, who so many of us met last year at Shane Burzynski's horror flick fest (thank you again, Shane!). Demme probably will make a few choices that annoy me - he almost always does - but it can't possibly be all bad, either. Need to see it once, at least.

Now I'm mad at myself all over again for having sold Last Embrace. I knew this would happen. It's like I have to buy it and keep it so I don't feel like I have to find it again. And, I mean (sigh) maybe it's not as bad as I remember it as being? (This is my version of the Eternal Recurrence of the Same, I guess).

5. Housekeeping. I haven't seen this film in decades, but I loved it back in the VHS heyday, and it IS out there on DVD. Christine Lahti - who I've loved since Whose Life Is It Anyway? - stars, Bill "Local Hero" Forsyth directs, and it was filmed in BC (and Alberta). Female outsider/ eccentric is left in charge of children, leading to great difficulties... I don't remember it well but I loved it, and I think my girl would love it, too.

6. The Night Walker. William Castle, Robert Bloch, and Barbara Stanwyck, I don't really need to say anything else, do I? And that poster... hey, wait a sec, it looks kinda familiar...

7. Remember The Night. Speaking of Barbara Stanwyck, she and Fred McMurray (whom I almost typo'd as Freddie Mercury!) team up again in a film about a female shoplifter and a district attorney stuck in a car together during Christmas. Or something like that! A great, character-driven, moving story of seasonal redemption, written by Preston Sturges.

8. Time of the Wolf. I don't always like Michael Haneke, and I kind of hated this depressing French apocalypse/ social breakdown film, my most vivid memory of which is seeing Isabelle Huppert barf. Somehow I really want to see it again, though. If memory serves, it's kind of like The Walking Dead, but without the zombies.

9. Session 9: okay, so I already have this on DVD, but I really want to upgrade to Blu-Ray! Hazmat team has a serious breakdown while cleaning out an abandoned - and HAUNTED??? - insane asylum. It was my first experience of Peter Mullan, as far as I'm aware, and I really want to revisit it now that he's become a favourite actor of mine, but I'm holding out for the Blu, which - wait, it should be out now! Plus I actually really like David Caruso, and Larry Fessenden is in it! (I need Fessenden's Beneath, too, come to think of it).

10. The Stuff. I don't want to spend $40 or more on an Arrow Blu, which I think is R2, anyhow, but I'd love to find this on a cheapie DVD. It's another one of those films that I am disappointed by whenever I revisit it, but the combination of talent (Larry Cohen + Michael Moriarty + Paul Sorvino) is really compelling and I need to have this in my permanent collection. Plus, I mean, how many killer ice cream movies are there? 

Why did I think Yaphet Kotto was in The Stuff? 

There's more I could put on the list, but these are the biggies for now. Plus, like I say, I gotta get some more Charles Bronson. And did I read somewhere that the original Willard was coming out on Scream Factory? I need that, too. Any film where Ernest Borgnine dies a particularly gruesome and unusual death is a must-see (he melts in The Devil's Rain; in Willard, he's attacked by a horde of rats!)

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