Friday, February 18, 2011

Mondo Year Two: Top 10 Rare Flix

As an internet user and film critic, I consider it my goal to expose people to movies that they might not know, remember or even realize exist.  To that end, I have a segment called Rare Flix which covers those kinds of films.  Some of them have no recent DVD release, others have a VHS one only and some you can only find via YouTube.  Incidentally, I've got a whole slew of them for the end of March.  It should give me plenty of material for next year's list!  In the meantime, enjoy these films that you may not have heard of.

10. Cyborg III: This recent one is good for what it is, but nothing more.  Cyborg is mildly-famous as a Van Damme film, while Cyborg 2 has a DVD release solely because it co-stars Angelina Jolie.  What about the third- and final film- though?  It features Zach Galligan who has to teach Cash (who is not Jolie) to love her coming child, while a pair of genre actors want to sell her for scrap.  It's fun, but pretty forgettable- even with a non sequitur cameo by Malcolm McDowell.  If you use Netflix, it's on Streaming right now (as part of Starz Play, I think).  If you don't, shell out the big bucks for a VHS box.

9. 'Italian Jaws': You can thank Universal for this film's rarity.  Around 1980, a film called Great White hit American theaters, prompting outrage from the studio.  Why?  Because this film is a pretty blatant knock-off, save for a few minor details.  The lawsuit and dismissal from theaters made this a rare gem- of sorts- for people like me.  It's alright.

8. Nick Knight: It's the only thing less remembered by most people than the show itself.  In the mid-80s, a back-door pilot was made about a vampire cop in Chicago.  It starred Rick Springfield and was decent, although it cheaped out on many effects and couldn't find a tone.  A few years later, the show finally became reality.  You may know it as Forever Knight.  It all starts here, people- assuming you care.

7. Invaders from Mars (1986): Poor Tobe Hooper couldn't catch a break in the late-80s.  As part of his contract with Canon Films, the T.C.M. director made a few films- this one, Lifeforce and T.C.M. 2.  None of them were hits though, making him not the most popular guy in the film business for a bit.  This is a remake of sorts of a 1950s film famous for it's child protagonist.  Hooper's version is fun, flashy but a bit too weird for audiences.  I own the OOP DVD thanks to my local Hollywood Video closing though.  Good for me- bad for you.

6. Class of 1999: While not OOP, this one is rare.  The film is billed as a sequel to Class of 1984, but is pretty far from it.  That film was a drama about teenagers rebelling against society and- more specifically- their schools.  This one features robot teachers and Pam Grier.  Yeah, this one is weird, but actually warranted a sequel.  Oddly enough, the sequel is OOP.  Go figure!

5. Amityville 4- The Evil Escapes: For pure hilarity alone, this one is here.  After two serious films and one in 3-D, the series veers off in a weird direction here.  Why?  Well, they blow up the titular house in the third film!  As I've stated numerous times in my review of the series- getting through them pretty well, all things considered- the focus became random objects from the house that get bought and create terror.  No, they don't explain how they were sold after the explosion.  This one is famous for it's villainous and ruthless...lamp.  No, really.  It's goofy as hell and the most fun to laugh at besides Amityville 1992: It's About Time.  Holy melting phone, Batman!

4. Aswang: What a bizarre premise!  This 1994 horror film has a low-budget and not-so-great production values, but it sells itself on a weird premise.  A man brings a woman pretending to be his wife to see his mother at her home.  Trouble looms, however, as the family secret is slowly revealed: they're all fetus-eating vampires.  It's about as gross as it sounds.  If you can find this movie on DVD- good luck- you should check it out.

3. Rawhead Rex: Here's a film that someone apparently doesn't want to put on DVD!  This film is based on one of the many Clive Barker tales, but didn't get the same prestige as stuff like Hellraiser.  Basically, a freaky monster- the title character- comes to life and starts killing people.  That's basically it.  The film was released on DVD in 1999 by Anchor Bay and...never again since.  Unless you find a way around this issue, you're going to shell out about $100 for a DVD of the movie.  It's not that good.

2. Castle Freak: Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs playing it straight- really?!?  This Full Moon film is definitely a cut above the rest.  Combs and his family are torn apart by family strife as they go to the estate that he's inherited.  Sadly, things don't get better as an inbred mutant is loose there too.  The film works a lot of it's magic thanks to the Gothic charm and atmosphere, even if the outcome is bleak.  This DVD is really hard to find, so pick it up when you can.

1. Maximum Overdrive: I'm sorry, but can you blame me.  This is the only Stephen King film directed by the man himself, so naturally it's based an obscure, short story from the 'Nightshift Collection.'  If you want to see a balls-out action movie with explosions and shooting, this is your film.  If you want to see faceless robots taunting people, this is your film.  If you want to see what happens when a famous author directs a film while on lots of cocaine, this is definitely your film.  The DVDs are out there, but not as wide-spread as you might think.  Just keep an eye out for this one.

Up next, let's look at the Top 10 Weirdest Japanese Films.  These are the ones you all know and love (hopefully).  Stay tuned...

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