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

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991)

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I first saw this in the mid-to-late nineties with a buddy-- the same one who had ingeniously discovered Bad Taste for us a few years before. We knew when we saw it on the shelves we had a potential classic on our hands. Now, over ten years later, I was looking for this gem, and been unsuccessful. That's when Netflix came in. It was one of the first films I put in my queue, and after all these years, this film definitely stands the test of time.

Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh is about a serial killer terrorizing the Steel City's ladies of the night, not only murdering them, but dismembering their bodies in gruesome ways. Enter detective Sweeny Birdwell, who's got a partner that gets squeamish around blood, a wife that's a disgusting chain smoker, and a boss that might kill him if he doesn't solve the case. His weak-stomached partner, Joe Blocker, admits to Sweeny that he knows all the victims, and that this case might be linked to another case he had in Vegas: the one that not only made him afraid of blood, but also coincided with his wife dumping him and him gaining a sexual disorder. Desperate to crack the case quickly, Blocker calls in his old partner in Vegas, only to have his daughter show up and find out he's missing. The daughter, despite Blocker's protests, wants to tag along and help solve the case. It's a race against time as the two beleaguered detectives and one detective's daughter try and stop this killer.

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This is a horror film played up for laughs, and the laughs are definitely there in abundance. This isn't only a well done spoof on horror films, but also a parody of Film Noir detective films. There's one great scene where Blocker's trying to cheer up Sweeny's wife in an homage to something like Bogey and Bacall in The Big Sleep. Only here, the wife's face is covered in bandages, she has a cigarette protruding out of a hole in them near her mouth, and she's talking with a mechanical voice box.

Much of the humor in this isn't as subtle. You have the wife going to a service to help her quit smoking that involves men dressed in gorilla suits hitting her with fire hoses. There are constant comments made about Det. Blocker's sexual problem. Everything is as ridiculous as possible. One murder victim is killed with a jackhammer. Another with a shopvac in the mouth.

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Like Peter Jackson's Bad Taste and Dead Alive, this makes everything it can gross, the way Miami Vice put everything it could in pastels. Food is unappetizing, people's living spaces are covered in filth, every character is messy as hell. I've never been to Pittsburgh, but I have to imagine there's some nice spots, and we see none of them here. To make Blocker sick, the people working at the morgue present him with a disgusting tomato salmon casserole. Who comes up with that? I loved the overall feel of this film, and the gross atmosphere just added another level to the silliness.

The best line for us came at the very end, when Blocker gets over his fear of blood to help his old partner's daughter escape from the clutches of the bad guy. After being dunked in a pool of blood, he later watches the bad guy get crushed in a trash compactor. Her blood showers him as she's squashed, and he exclaims "My spring rain." We watched that scene over and over again. I'm not sure why that, out of everything else in this movie, did it for us, but it did. It was probably his voice, which was very monotone yet pleasant, like a delivery man getting a small, yet adequate tip, and thanking you for it.

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There was some dead time in the middle when the old detectives daughter first comes into the film and there's a lot of plot exposition and deciphering hieroglyphics. That's my one fault with this. Unlike other greats in its horror spoof genre, like the aforementioned Jackson classics and the amazing yet underrated Street Trash, which start out a sprint and carry that energy to the finish, this one disappears for about twenty minutes, and I started looking at the info panel to find out how much time was left. That could be a problem if you rent this with a big group, and a lot of them have ADD. It's my experience that people who watch bad films to make fun of them tend to have ADD too. What a shock, huh?

This is a great and really funny movie. It's sweet to tell people your watching a movie called Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh, and the film definitely lives up to its name as an entertaining horror spoof. I'd put it more in the Blood Diner category before I'd put it in the exalted status of a Bad Taste, but you'll get your money's worth if you rent it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101483/

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