Damnaliens DVD Review by Steve Sawicki
I know exactly how the misguided movie scientists of the 1950's felt when the creature they created to free mankind from toil and suffering turns out to be a horrible monster on a rampage. I know, because I asked Steve Sawicki to review DVDs so you wouldn't have to wade through them yourselves.
But is the cure worse than the disease?
Also, Steve's interpretation of Science Fiction and Fantasy has always been a bit odd. In this column he decides to include Triumph of the Will, a Nazi propaganda film as classic fantasy. I let him get away with it because he's got some good points...but it's a stretch. - Editor
Note: order the films from Amazon by following the hyperlinks to buy junk food for the aliens and keep them away from the dog.)
- Yesterday's Tomorrows
- Yesterday's Tomorrows
happens when you gather a bunch of old astronauts one last time for a very
important mission? Space
Cowboys! And you
thought Tito was too old to go into space?
What Bob Dole does for Viagra, Eastwood, Garner, Sutherland and Jones do
for NASA. This is a slice of pure
cornball. But it’s 100% American
cornball and you’re likely to find yourself wanting to stand and cheer by the
end. No one does cornball like we
do and Eastwood, as director, has evidently added to his spaghetti repertoire.
of cornball or a reasonable facsimile thereof, we also have The
Mummy, Ultimate Edition, coming out this month.
ultimate about it? Well, we
have Brendon Fraser as the hero and Rachel Weisz as the babe and some
really old dead guy as the mummy. The
special effects are great but they’re wasted on a plot that’s so full
of holes you’ll think moths got into the sarcophagus.
Bad acting, terrible directing (Stephen Sommers), and some really
bad character continuity all make this more of a popcorn tosser.
Toss it at the screen or let wild bees loose in your living room
and try to take them out one kernel at a time, but find something else to
amuse yourself on those rainy nights.
do you get when you take an old Saturday Night Live star (apparently most
of these ex-stars have pretty much used all their material on the show),
an incredibly weak plot, even less direction than the Mummy had and an
idea so insipid that even losers won’t go near it?
Nicky of course. Sandler
is Satan’s youngest son who must come topside to retrieve his really
evil brothers. The usual
complications arise. This
flick is notable only for the many cameos (Henry Winkler covered in bees,
hopefully not the ones you’ve already pissed off with the popcorn),
Regis Philben, Ozzy Osborne, etc. Satan
himself couldn’t save this worthless piece of drek.
The only redeeming quality is that it used video disks that could
have been used for free AOL offers.
Classics - Not quite moldy...but definitely past the expiration date
we’re not talking really old stuff here except for one.
Age, however, is a relative thing, just ask Clint Eastwood.
some point in the fifties they started running out of things to make big
with radiation. The end
result was giant ants, bats, rats and, yes the second film in this hot
little number, Screaming
Skull/The Giant Leeches.
This is a pretty ingenious (or dumb depending on your age) packaging
attempt because you get two features along with a cartoon and , countdown
clock, concession stand ads, previews and intermission. You can pretend you’re at the drive in right in your living
room. These two flicks are
both in black and white and you can choose to watch with ‘Distorto’
sound which recreates bad drive in speakers.
out of the past comes a movie with a blurb so enticing that you’ll just
have to watch. Here it goes.
“With the help of Frederick the Dwarf, the “Bike Boys,” and
Doc Storm’s infamous decapitating limousine, the new patients (of
Brittlehouse Manor) are guaranteed all the “rest” they will ever
Hospital is the flick and you have got to rent you a copy.
This is a horror flick in case you needed some more information.
The movie was made in 1973 at the height of the schlock horror
craze. Stars no one you’ll
recognize, directed by no one you’ll have heard of, and remembered by
pretty much no one. Contains
some nudity and much graphic violence.
Watch it when the thunder makes you think someone’s in the house.
if hospital mayhem is not your cup of tea (perhaps you’re just too old
for it), then I recommend another classic with a blurb just as enticing.
Here it is. “This
woman has just chopped, broken and burned four men beyond
recognition...But no jury in America would convict her!”
Spit On Your Grave is one of the first and most gruesome shock and
revenge flicks ever made. This
film was actually banned by Germany and the UK.
Don’t watch this with an angry girlfriend or Clint Eastwood if
he’s had a bad day.
1933 Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party funded the production of a film to
influence all of Germany to support the power of the Nazi Party.
of the Will was realized by Paul Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Reich
Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propoganda.
Directed by Leni Riefenstahl with unlimited money, hundreds of
thousands of feet of film were shot and then spliced together to create
this. Sets were built, scenes were re-shot (including huge crowd
scenes, Hitler was shot by himself to make the best use of light and every
aspect that could be manipulated, was.
This film comes the closest to being a pure fantasy since almost
none of it really happened and yet it is presented as a documentary. The other important aspect is that it is incredibly Orwellian
in nature. Watch 1984 first and
then watch this film and you’ll be struck by the words and the images.
SFTV - Incredible breakthrough! Watch TV on your TV.
all else fails you can forgo the big screen and (hey you’re going to
watch this stuff on your tiny little screen on that crappy old couch
anyway) revisit classics from television.
your big bubble of corn and your favorite number 5 and sit down to watch
some vintage episodes of The
Prisoner (Set 4). For
those of you out of touch, this is what happens to Secret Agent Men who
try to quit the service. Don’t
worry if it’s somewhat incomprehensible, the entire series was
intentionally made that way.
if you’re in the mood for something completely recognizable, something
so old you probably already know the dialogue, there’s Star
Trek Original 41 & 42, I Mudd and The Trouble With Tribbles.
pretty good (Clint Eastwood thinks the Tribble episode is the cat’s
pajamas) episodes that tie together in an odd way.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll remember too why, you liked
Star Trek to begin with. Watch with someone who’s not seen the series so you share
Anime - "Better than Giant Mumbling Robots!"
a response to the Gundam people. Urusei
Yatsura, is a classic piece of anime (I don’t really know
this but it says so on the box) that’s been a while getting to this
country. Well, now it’s here and you can get it too.
You can also get the first episode which has the only piece of
nudity in the whole series from what I understand.
The basic premise is actually quite wild.
The Oni, a mysterious race of aliens, come to Earth to take over.
We have one chance, beat their champion in a game. The game is tag, their champion flies and our champion is a
horny high school student. He
wins, using guile and a suction cup (this is were the nudity comes in) and
somehow proposes all in a single move.
This not only pisses off his girlfriend but creates a running gag
which continues for episode after episode.
Light entertainment and easily understandable.
Funny in places and worth checking out.
Much better than those giant mumbling robots.