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Volume 1 Issue 3 - So Much To Answer For, So Sick Of Talking About It

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Shorty seeks refuge in the warmth of a Melissa Joan "Tart" photo spread

Video Dumpster Diving

By Shorty LaBrea


Every Thursday, my newspaper prints a chart of the hottest video rentals of the week. But, where's my chart for the least rentals of the week, a list of those films that just sat on the shelf, collecting dust, while other more popular movies with real stars went home with suburbanites? There's only one way to find out who are the also-rans in the race for home video supremacy-by digging through your video store's Priced To Sell video bin. These are the movies that were pre-ordered and abandoned, the Duckies of the video store that forever go unrented while night after night, Brian DePalma's Snake Eyes slow-dances with Andrew McCarthy.

Some of these movies are worth renting, some are worth owning, and some you just feel sorry for. Here are a few of the movies that sat up and barked the last time I went digging.

They Live (1988)
wriiten & directed by John Carpenter

At the end of the Reagan era, Carpenter criticizes the business-oriented conservatism of the decade under the guise of a sci-fi horror flick where the aliens are among us and in control. Rowdy Roddy Piper (in flannel,but sans kilt) and Keith David (not to be confused with An Officer & A Gentleman's David Keith) are given plenty of opportunity to chew gum and kick ass, including each other's. See the longest fistfight ever captured on celluloid. Alien stomping fun long before Devlin & Emmerich stole their classic H.G. Wells story.

Nosferatu: The First Vampire (1998)

You know this reissue of F.W. Murnau's 1922 classic, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, is going to be a little different when the tape begins with an introduction by David Carradine(!). Purists are sure to be upset by the new soundtrack by Type O Negative. I wasn't crazy about it myself at first, but the goth-rock definitely grew on me, then again I really like Moroder's score to the 1984 edition of Metropolis. The film itself has been digitally remastered, giving you the best picture quality that you can expect from a movie that's older than your grandmother and twice as scary.

Outland (1981)
written and directed by Peter Hyams

Some images stick with you forever. One of mine, a man exploding in an elevator, has been with me for fifteen years. Fortunately, this image was only in a movie, and that movie starred Sean 'I've rubbed up against Catherine Zeta-Jones' Connery in this sci-fi High Noon update. The original had a higher level of tension and Gary Cooper, but this version has Frances Sternhagen and utilizes the Ridley Scott Alien school of under-acting. Neither great nor awful, but any film that dispatches bad guys with explosive decompression is worth a look.

The Hitcher (1986)
written by Eric Red / directed by Robert Harmon

I'm going out on a limb and say that this is the best sound job ever done for a horror film. Sparse sound effects evoke the solitude of the open road. The subtle soundtrack subconsciously puts you on edge without grabbing you by the nostrils and dragging you across the floor. Rutger Hauer defintely earns the title for one of the scariest guys to walk the earth. This is also much closer to C. Thomas Howell's recent work with Roger Corman than his Soul Man days. Don't plan any roadtrips after this one.


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