Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tank (1984)

1984s Tank was a rare foray into feature films for Marvin J. Chomsky, a prolific television director whose work spans popular series such as Gunsmoke, Cannon, Hawaii Five-0, and Mission: Impossible; as well as notable tv mini-series such as Roots and Victory at Entebbe.

James Garner stars as Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Zack Carey, a hard charging but reasonable military man who has just arrived for his newest post at an army base in the deep south of the U.S., bringing with him both his family (Shirley Jones and C. Thomas Howell) and his personal Sherman tank. It's not long before his no-nonsense manner smacks face first against a corrupt deputy (James Cromwell) and thus he and his family become entangled in a quickly escalating conflict with the nasty Sheriff Cyrus Buelton, played perfectly by G.D. Spradlin.

the feature

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nightmares (1983)

The four part horror anthology Nightmares (1983) was originally produced for the ABC series Darkroom. Universal decided they were too intense for broadcast television and instead repackaged these episodes as a theatrical release.

It was directed by Joseph Sargent, a prolific television director who also helmed some notable films, such as 1974s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three or the 1973 Burt Reynolds vehicle White Lightning.

As with any anthology, the different segments are somewhat uneven. The first, "Terror in Topanga," is my favorite. It details a woman's late night cigarette run while a serial killer is loose in the area. Watch for appearances from William Sanderson and Lee Ving in this segment. The second story, "Bishop of Battle" often gets the most attention, with Emilio Estevez as a teen who gets sucked into a video game. While playing, he often cranks up his Walkman with music from FEAR, Negative Trend, and Black Flag. Next "The Benediction" features Lance Henriksen as a priest who's faith is tested in a Duel style confrontation. The final story "Night of the Rat" details a man versus rat battle.

At the time of its release, I was already a fan of the Darkroom series so when I read in Fangoria about this film's connection I was curious. Don't remember it playing theatrically, but I rented the vhs as soon as it showed up in the new release section.

the trailer

the feature

Monday, August 20, 2012

Basket Case (1982)

Frank Henenlotter wrote, directed, and handled many additional duties on 1982s Basket Case. It's a classic exploitation movie that proved to be successful in both the quickly disappearing world of grind house theaters and drive-ins, while also breaking out as a vhs home rental.

For me, much as was the case with The Evil Dead, Fangoria magazine alerted me to the upcoming horror film in the early 1980s with brief articles and photos detailing the production. I eagerly awaited the vhs release and was more than pleasantly surprised when the hype was exceeded by the actual item.

the trailer