DVD Review

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Brinke's job catches goombahs

By Brian Thomas     September 18, 2001

Cheap thugs Tony Trabelli (Edward Lee Vincent) and Nick Pinsky (Zander Teller) owe money to crime boss Sonny Morocco (Sam Nicotero), and try to get the cash with a series of muggings. They're not very good at it. Their first victim has a gun, and Nick ends up getting shot in the shoulder. Tony takes him to his girlfriend Melanie (Ana Cottone) to get fixed up, then decides to mellow out with a variety of drugs provided by a neighbor.

He dreams of naked vampire chicks. There aren't any real naked vampire chicks in the movie, but most Video Outlaw titles have them anyway, even if only in a dream sequence. Melanie is not pleased to be left taking care of Nick while Tony is off dreaming about naked vampire chicks.

Later, a bartender named Spritz (John Henchar) tips off Tony that a lonely woman named Amanda (Brinke Stevens) has been hanging out in his bar every night. She seems to have plenty of cash and Spritz knows where she lives. This sounds like a good burglary opportunity to Tony.

Leave it to Tony - it happens Amanda isn't too good a target after all. She likes to seduce guys, morph into a crappy spider monster, and do away with them. There's always plenty of smoke when she does the morphing, but she apparently doesn't have smoke detectors, which probably makes it hard for her to get insurance.

Morocco always has a lot of stupid goons hanging around, including hit man Eddie "the Goose" Rao. Actor/make-up whiz Tom Savini plays Eddie as the quirky type, though most of his dialogue is muffled by the bad sound mix. As a warning, Eddie tortures Nick with yo-yo. He's lucky Tom usually blows up heads in his movies.

Tony and Nick break into Amanda's house, but are scared away when they find a finger in the fridge. They see Amanda at the bar talking to Sonny's nephew Joey (horror director Jeff Burr, of PUPPET MASTER 4 & 5, and PUMPKINHEAD 2), and Tony gets in a scuffle with Joey. Joey wins the right to go home with Amanda and have his head cut off.

For no apparent reason, Amanda leaves Joey's head on Sonny's doorstep. We never find out why, or how she knows who Sonny is and where he lives. There seems to be some kind of underdeveloped subplot about Amanda being able to see into people's dreams, but it's all very vague. Anyway, Tony and Nick are blamed for Joey's murder, and figure the only way to get Sonny and Eddie to believe them is to go back to Amanda's and get some evidence.

Through all this, we occasionally visit retarded astronomy fan Cecil (Harold Keller), who sometimes peeps at Amanda through his telescope. Amanda is haunting Cecil's dreams too, but we never find out why she's bothering him either.

Originally titled EYES ARE UPON YOU, this mess of a low budget crime/horror script is further damaged by poor sound and grainy video image quality. These flicks are often used by filmmakers to help showcase their bands, and the soundtrack is pretty good here. However, the music is too dominant in many scenes, and becomes distracting. The performances are pretty good overall (when you can hear them), despite a plot that makes no sense.

Alternative Cinema is one of the many small video labels that is making the extra effort to fill up DVDs, putting a lot of big studio releases to shame. Included here is DEMON FAMILIARS, an 8m musical featurette starring Stevens and directed by Ward Boult.

An outtakes section has some raw footage not used in the feature, including lots more nudity. One of four naked women writhing around in smoke: "How 'bout if we, like, all grope each other?" Director: "That would be GREAT!"

Brinke Stevens has always been one of the most approachable and friendly genre "movie stars." In an interview segment, veteran horror star Stevens tells how she's a horror fan too, talks typecasting, her fans, working in B-movies, and reveals her favorite horror films. Did you know that Brinke holds a master's degree in marine biology?

With their various labels, the Alternative Cinema trailer vaults included on DVD keep getting bigger. From Seduction Cinema we get THE EROTIC WITCH PROJECT, EROTIC WITCH PROJECT 2, GLADIATOR EROTICVS, EROTIC SURVIVOR, TITANIC 2000, EROTIC GHOST and VAMPIRE'S SEDUCTION. More fun are the vintage ads from Retro-Seduction Cinema's INGA, THE SEDUCTION OF INGA, VAMPIRE ECSTACY (VEIL OF BLOOD), GIRL MEETS GIRL (BIBI), BUTTERFLIES, FEMALE ANIMAL, and 2069:A SEX ODYSSEY. Shock-O-Rama Cinema presents LETHAL SEDUCTION, VAMPS, PSYCHO SISTERS and SANTA CLAWS. Video Outlaw presents CREMAINS, DEMON LUST and THE NIGHT DIVIDES THE DAY.


Movie Grade: C     Disc Grade: B-

Reviewed Format: DVD

Rated: Not Rated

Stars: Brinke Stevens, Tom Savini, Edward Lee Vincent, Zander Teller, Harold Keller, Jeff Burr, Sam Nicotero

Writer: Coven Balfour

Director: David A. Goldberg

Distributor: Alternative Cinema / Video Outlaw

Original Year of Release: 1997

Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

Extras: featurette; outtakes; interview; web links; trailers


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