The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Friday, August 10, 2007

King Cobra (1999)

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This was a late night deal I did to battle a bout of insomnia. It didn't work out so well, in that I lasted through the whole thing. It drew my attention because it had the late Pat Morita and the even later Hoyt Axton. I'm also a fan of snake movies.

In King Cobra a poor man's Carrot Top (which if you do the math out, that would mean poor man's as in guy collecting bottles to buy a forty) goes over his boss's head in a lab experiment and things go horribly wrong, leading to an explosion and the creation of a 30-foot cross between a rattler and a King Cobra. As most of the beasts are wont to do, this one terrorizes a small town. As people die, the boss scientist comes looking for it. A doctor looking to leave town and his police officer girlfriend help the scientist, along with Pat Morita, resident herpetologist. The doctor is about as close as you can get to being Jonathan Silverman without actually being him. Anyway, more people die, before Morita has a last stand with the snake. Then he dies, and the police woman tries to kill it. Just as the cobra's about to bite her, the doctor drop kicks it (I'm not kidding), and the two stick it in some device that gases it. There's a special appearance by Erik Estrada.

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This movie has a built in bad movie warning in the opening credits. The moment you read "Special Appearance by Erik Estrada", you either say to yourself "sweet", or you say "this looks dumb". I'm the kind of guy that says "sweet", and as such am not scared off by such warnings. I hope you the reader aren't either. As far as the appearance went, it was just Estrada overacting as a gay guy planning a beer festival that coincides with the snake's arrival. In my mind, the actual line in the opening credits telling us there'd be a special appearance was better than the actual appearance.

The snake was of great quality. Instead of going the CGI route that most of these bad monster films are going, this one went animatronic with stop motion animation. The result was a higher quality and funnier snake than the CGI ones. It's like the CGI monster is the sweatpants of the genre, and the film maker that uses it is just telling the world that he or she has given up. Well the people who made this one haven't given up... at least not yet.

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Pat Morita is fantastic in this. At three or four in the morning, by myself, I was laughing out loud at the end where he had goggles on, and was wavering as the snake kept biting him. It almost as if the animatronic snake was making an expression of "will you just die already." He just looked so silly, especially with the goggles. I guess the idea was that his blood had lots of anti-venom, so the snake had to bite him a lot. Either that, or they needed to pad the film, so they shot the snake, then shot Morita staggering as he tried to outlast the attack, then looped it over and over.

This was Hoyt Axton's last film. In it, he looked a lot like an aged Joe Don Baker, which is funny, because Hoyt did the theme song to Mitchell. For groups of people watching this, the near Joe Don-ness of him is a sweet addition. It's like I don't have to think to make jokes when he's on screen, I just go to my Mitchell well. "Bite me Mitchell".

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The main character, the doctor, is almost Jonathan Silverman. When he drop kicks the snake at the end it is priceless. I've never seen anything like it in all the years I've been watching movies. I was beginning to doubt my decision to stick with the film as long as I did, but in quick succession at the very end, I got Morita's hilarious death scene, then the even funnier snake drop kick. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but whoever thought of it should get a Nobel prize in herpetology or something.

If you see this on Sci-Fi or something, TiVo it. At the very least, you can skip to the end. The drop kick alone makes it for me one of the best of the bad horror films on Sci-Fi. I'm not sure it's worth buying it or renting it for that, but TiVoing won't cost you much beyond the space it takes up on your DVR. You don't need to see the rest of the film, but you won't forgive yourself if you miss the Morita death scene, followed by the drop kick.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0138797/

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