Damnaliens DVD Review by Steve Sawicki
© 2001 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu  
Note: order the films from Amazon by following the hyperlinks to buy  junk food for the aliens and keep them away from the dog.)

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Recent Releases    /    Classics    /    SFTV    /     Anime

Ah, May, the month when we start getting teased about summer releases and when hollywood starts releasing the dogs early for our pleasure.  The same happens in the video and dvd realm.  Cry haddock and let loose the fish of Warr.  (Warrís an alien friend and he likes his fish let loose at least once a day.

Recent Releases - Superman, Sex and Slaughter, and the Firesign Theater.

So, we go from April where Iím desperate for finding material for this column to this month where DVDís come at you like, well, like a speeding locomotive.  Speaking of trains, Superman, the Movie, Special Edition  gets released this month.  The DVD contains some special material including screen tests, deleted scenes, added scenes, a making of special and more.  You donít buy DVDís for the added material though you buy them for the movie.  I couldnít find the added scenes and while I like Superman, The Movie, I didnít like it enough to watch it twice in a row.  Christopher Reeves before he fell under the Superman curse, Margot Kidder before she fell under the Superman curse, Gene Hackman before, well heís pretty much been under the curse since forever.

And if watching a grown man in tights fly around for two hours isnít enough theres, Superman II.  More of the same with a bit more camp.  I really wish they had added Bizarro or Krypto or at least red Kryptonite just to make it more interesting.

John Carpenter once had a pair of blue tights.  He claimed they were the device for all of his inspiration.  While this explains a lot it doesnít quite go far enough to explain why every once in a while Carpenter manages to produce something like Big Trouble in Little China.  This film came out in 1968 and it paired Carpenter with Kurt Russell.  The two would work together a number of times.  While Russellís character is no Snake Plisskin (but then who is?) he does a credible job of working his way through this supernatural adventure story about a trucker who gets into otherworldly trouble in the heart of Chinatown.  Sure thereís plenty of kung fu action but the real kick comes when Russellís trying to save Kim Cattrall and Suzee Pai.  Russell plays your basic big muscled idiot but and does so incredibly well.  Thereís real believability here.  Carpenter manages to produce some incredible scenes in this film and also writes all the music.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Hollywood a film slips out that reminds you why you started going to movies in the first place.  In this next DVD, which is sort of a detective horror flick, Private Eye Jack Chandler is on a new case, searching for a runaway.  Instead he stumbles across...Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.  Chandler gets more than he bargains for as he gets pulled into this group of cultist no-goodbodies.  One of the first things Chandler discovers is that they charge an arm and a leg. 

So, there you are, standing in the video store, in your blue tights and what do you see?  An old black and white flick, in Esperanto no less, and starring, William Shatner.  Hey, it just doesnít get any better than this.  Incubus.  Trust me when I tell you that you will never see anything like this again.  First of all, this is a story about a young Succubus (Allyson Ames) whoís bored with luring stupid dolts to their doom and who wants a real challenge.  She decides to tackle a truly good man.  And that man is?  No, not Superman.  William Shatner.  Now, Shatner manages to defile this young woman, all the while espousing in Esperanto in the infamous Shatner intonation.  The now corrupted girl must call upon an Incubus to redeem her.  Low budget effects, no men in blue tights and William Shatner speaking in tongues.

What kind of fool do I take you for? First Class. Firesign Theater, Back From The Shadows.  I will not even attempt to try to describe this.  Those of you who know will know.  Those of you who donít, Rocky Rococco and the guy in the blue tights, will just have to figure it out.  In the end, just remember, the sunís not going down, the horizonís moving up.

Classics - Scary Sci-Fi Stories Seduce Sawicki!

Years and years ago Sam Raimi had a vision.  His vision was humor mixed with gruesome mayhem.  While many may think that Raimi is best known for that other blue tight wearing individual (No, not John Carpenter), he is actually best known for the dead trilogy.  The four films that make this trilogy all began with this one, The Evil Dead, All the beginning markers are here.  Walking dead, Babes, Bruce Campbell, and, well thatís all you really need for this series. More mayhem than any one of us truly deserves.

What do you get when you mix the midwest and toxic waste?  Bob Kerry cavorting in Blue underwear?  As scary as that is, itís nothing compared to what Bo Hopkins and Wings Hauser come across in Mutant, Come to think of it with names like Bo and Wings, perhaps they deserve it.  Toxic Waste, Zombies, special appearance by Jennifer Warren, zombies, toxic waste and, well, more toxic waste.

Roderick Usher, as his beautiful young wife (why is it these young wives are never ugly or at least just plain?) slowly dies invites his friend over.  The wife dies.  Or maybe she donít.  Roderick becomes melancholy and the friend vows never to accept another invitation.  The Fall Of The House of Usher,  is actually a compilation of several of Poeís stories.  This French film is surreal and nearly 80 years old.  This is a new release of this classic and is really a must see.  Great acting, great direction, great camera work, beautiful music and not a guy in tights anywhere to be seen.

SFTV - Amaze your friends! Show your own reruns!. 

As if the big screen werenít pooping out enough product we get deluged by television as well.  What do these guys think we do in the summer?

Farscape #3 Back and Back and Back to the Future and Thank God Itís Friday, Again.  More episodes of this highly acclaimed (I claimed it highly myself) SciFi channel series.  Go, get, watch.

The X-Files, the complete third season Is it a conspiracy or just a collection of people trying to keep things from you.  Join Fox and Mulder in what has come to be known as the best season of this series.

Stargate SG1, entire first season How can you pass up this set which gives you the entire first season of this Showtime series.  Join the crew as they gate from place to place barely escaping brutal death and creating jolly mayhem wherever they go.

Anime - "Bubblegum Crisis Vs Battle Queen 2020! Much Better than Giant Mumbling Robots!"

I could have reviewed more mumbling robots but I just couldnít get around to it.  Besides, if they can build those huge gundams they can damn well do better with the sound and dialogue.

Instead I found myself drawn into the world of  BattleQueen 2020.  More anime than you could ever hope to get through.  The Japanese seem to have a knack for shooting these things out in high quality.  Good story, interesting graphics, if a bit in the scooby doo school of animation.

Just when you thought it was all over you can return to what has been acclaimed (not by me) as one of the top three anime ever!  Bublegum Crisis, Tokyo 2040, Vol 5, Blood and Steel  continues the story and itís one you shouldnít miss.  Not a giant mumbling robot in the entire thing.