Posts Tagged ‘b-film’

Get a slab of cheese and pop David A. Prior’s classic in the VHS…

Deadly Prey (1987)

 

 

A man is kidnapped by members of a private army to be hunted down and killed as part of their training. Unbeknownst to them he is an elite ex-marine who was trained by their leader Colonel John Hogan.

1986’s Deadly Prey directed by David A. Prior may have been made for adults but is more fun for teenagers who shouldn’t be watching. It’s reminiscent of many macho one-man-army, 80s Italian action B-films, borrowing heavily from Rambo First Blood and Commando. But it’s set in its own amusing world, in a jungle just South of LA.

Ted Prior is superb as Mike Danton, part Dolph Lundgren, part Christian Bale – all rock band mullet, he is perfectly cast as the military one-man killing machine. Danton takes on a tank, Danton beats a man using a severed arm, Danton builds deadly traps, camouflage Danton pops out of the ground, Danton wields a knives and a machete, Danton fires guns… Lots of guns, Danton eats worms and rats. You get the idea. All the action is accompanied by a beating surprisingly likable score.

Curiously veteran actors Troy Donahue and Cameron Mitchell cameo. Dawn Abraham as Sybil encapsulates that 1980s femme fatale permed hair appeal. Sadly, delightful Suzanne Tara’s Jaimy Danton is Lt. Thornton’s (Fritz Matthews, also stunt co-ordinator sporting sunglasses) and Hogan’s (David Campbell) fodder.

The amazing thing about Deadly Prey is that it takes itself totally seriously, containing themes war, mercenaries, rape, Vietnam, survival to name a few. Ho
wever, there’s no getting away from the straight to video limitations which comes with the sound, special effects, acting, editing and all the script trappings you’d expect.

All it faults side, it is possibly the greatest piece of ridiculous entertaining fluff ever made and is truly one of those guilty pleasures. It really is so bad it’s good. Prior’s screenplay and Richard Connell’s story is actually quite good and like his Lost Platoon concept has inspired other film makers. What’s notable and arguably a narrative accident is its nihilistic tone, the end is bravely down beat cancelling out its own hammy existence.

Deadly Prey really is the epitome of an ’80s action flick I remember. The VHS should be placed in a museum for historic and cultural interest. It’s a must see, possibly the worst, yet, best crossbreed action film ever made.

Crash and Burn (1990)
The year is 2030-something, a remote TV station has been infiltrated by a Synthoid, a Terminator-like robot who is programmed to kill those who oppose the tyrannical Unicom organization.
With B-film execution Crash and Burn steals some concept elements from Class of 1999, The Terminator, Robocop, Blade Runner and The Thing to name a few. Although it’s slow-paced there’s room for a gratuitous shower electrocution scene, shogun action and stop motion animation, anyone familiar with the studio offerings will appreciate the pace and tone. Oddly dubiously marketed as Robot Jox 2 or from the makers of Arena (don’t expect the fights of Arena or Jox) as it contains less than a minute of giant Robot action.
Director Charles Band (this generations Roger Corman) gives a little sci-fi flick that benefits from being filmed on location giving it an almost cinematic feel. The shadowy setting gives it some atmosphere with a dusty desert setting bookending the film and the Synthoid is menacing at times – realised by some surprisingly good practical special make-up effects. Despite borrowing music cues from Richard Band’s other Full Moon film scores the music is effective enough.
Lead Paul Ganus as Keen wields a shotgun well enough but he looks like he’s just walked off a Danielle Steele TV adaptation. Co-star Megan Ward as Arren gives a solid performance considering the sparse script. Supporting cast include Jack McGee and veteran actor Ralph Waite, Eva La Rue gives s physical performance (and like Ward went on to do bigger things). There’s also some genuinely humours lines from Bill Moseley as Quinn who ensures the title of the film is uttered in J.S. Cardone’s dialogue.
Even though Crash and Burn doesn’t pretend to be more than it is the casual viewer may be disappointed. All things considered, even with the future looking suspiciously like the 1980s, right down to the computer hardware, braces and hairdos it’s one of Full Moon’s better outings.

 Nothing like a good mix up, cult or classic, or cult classic. Another wide range of films. First up is Stake Land – is it destined to become a cult classic? Fancy a trip down memory lane with Hell Comes to Frogtown, uncooked classic or over-cooked frogs legs? You decide…

Stake Land (2010)
An orphaned young man is saved by a vampire killer and they head north for salvation.
Stake Land is a simplistic story, it’s a rite of passage, mentoring, coming of age movie similar to Zombie Land with a boy being taken under the wing of a seasoned killer, however, director Jim Mickle’s offering is opposite in tone –it’s realistically grim, hard hitting and bloody.
Refreshingly the two leads played by young Connor Paolo and Nick Damici whether intentionally or not are cold and not very likable. The two most warming characters are a nun played by Kelly McGillis and a pregnant singer Belle, cult star Danielle Harris.
There’s plenty atmosphere in this post-apocalyptic world, the on location shoot heightens the authenticity, it cold, damp and dreary reminiscent of The Road (2009) and elements of 30 Days of Night (2007).
There are some interesting set ups notably the imaginative helicopter attack and the girl in the attic. Even though the clue is in the title it’s odd, like the sect, the vampires come across as an unnecessary distraction, they could have easily been written as infected people, mutants or something else. Through no fault of the filmmakers the influx of vampire films has cheapened the core idea for whatever reason. Nevertheless, the makeup and effects of the (un)dead are excellent. This coupled with some good solid performances and accompanying music score give credence to what could have been a b-film in any other hands.
Both Nick Damici and Jim Mickle’s script isn’t scared to kill any one off and while the antagonist twist doesn’t come as any surprise Stake Land is more about the characters journeys.
Far from a sub-par film Stake Land is a notable vampire entry and well executed horror road trip.
Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)
A few fertile men and women exist due to atomic fallout and, as a result, the government places a priority on those that can still breed. One man Sam Hell is sent under watchful eye of a nurse and guard into the wastelands to free a group of women from frog like mutant amphibians.
Hell Comes to Frog Town Is an odd ball post apocalyptic B adventure with Rowdy Rody Piper as one of the last fertile men on earth. Sadly the budget appears to have gone into the surprisingly great makeup effects.
Cheesy dialogue, wooden performances and clunky fights. Although for the most part playing on Hell’s sexual prowess there’s not enough wit or pace to give directors Donald G. Jackson and R. J. Kizer’s Frog Town that cult status. While the concept is fun explosive tracker pants, horny frogs even with the women in control it still comes across for the most part sexist and falls flat.
Piper is his amusing self but is wooden compared to his performance in They Live made the same year. Nurse Spangle is played by stunt woman, Conan star Sandahl Bergman who is in great shape but isn’t the best actress especially when put along side guards women Cec Verrell who has little screen-time. Big Bill William Smith appears and steals every scene with his presence.
It’s worth checking out to see what the fuss is about but you’re unlikely to want to revisit.