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] I'd love to check out what you got.



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.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Diamondbacks (1998)


Out of everyone in the DTVC Hall of Fame, Miles O'Keefe is probably closest to the Bruce Penhall/Julie Strain lowest level of bad action movies. He has his moments, like his two films with fellow DTVC Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper, and his role in Fred Williamson's Silent Hunter; but otherwise his movies tend to scrape the bottom of the barrel, which is fine, I guess. He may be most famous for his turn as Ator in the MST3K classic, Cave Dwellers. I still feel that episode is the pinnacle of the art form of making fun of bad movies, and a must-see for anyone who partakes in that for a hobby.

Diamondbacks is about a small northern California town that just happens to be the site of the main communications conduit between NASA and two astronauts orbiting in space that are deploying a satellite. Word on the street is this satellite will be used by the US to spy on its citizens. Miles O'Keefe, head of the eponymous militia group, doesn't want to see that happen, and he and his men don black jumpsuits and Kalashnikovs and take over the command center in their sleepy little northern California town. The dude running the command center won't go down without a fight, and he does everything he can to warn GW Bush impersonator Timothy Bottoms, the man at NASA in charge of the mission, that trouble's afoot. Luckily, Bottoms is a meticulous dude, and a split second blip in their equipment that occurred when Miles and his boys commandeered the center hasn't passed unnoticed, despite how crazy his fellow NASA cats might think he is. Can the California guy get a hold of Bottoms before Miles and his boys ruin the mission?


This is a very poor film shot on what must've been a shoestring budget. One clue to the lack of money was the file footage they took for free from NASA and spliced into the film. It looked extremely out of place and hilarious, like something my friends might have done as a joke in high school putting together a movie for a class project. Back in 1981, when MTV first launched, they also used NASA footage, that of the moon landing, again because it was free and they were strapped for cash too. In that case, the moon man would become an icon forever associated with the cable television station. In this case it looked ridiculous and let us know just what kind of crap we were in for.

I liked that Miles O'Keefe was in this schlock sack of asscrack. It tells me that if I ever got some scratch together to make my own film, I could probably afford him. He had to have done this for the promise of a warm meal everyday the film was shooting, and I'm not a bad cook. I can pay that kind of rate. I hope he likes Chicken Tetrazzini. According to imdb he's done nine movies since this one, the most recent 2005's The Unknown. At least I feel better knowing he's eating (or was until two years ago... maybe we should start a charity fund in case those Ator royalties are running out!)


Watching a lot of bad horror movies, I always come across the old "The whole town is Evil" paradigm where the hero[es] are stranded in this out of the way backwater where everyone is out to kill him[them]. This film uses the same paradigm, only changes it so they're all in league with the local militia. Every time our hero escapes the clutches of Miles and his men, the local he turns to for help inevitably double-crosses him and sends him with his tail between his legs back into captivity. It's never really a surprise either, especially when he goes to the not-so-cute yet presented as cute female radio DJ/political commentator. Of course, in her case, it may not be that she digs the militia, but rather Miles' Too Sweet Pecs.


This film was made two years before the 2000 election, where George W. Bush became our 43rd president, and Timothy Bottoms found his meal ticket. Other than Haliburton, I can't think of anyone who's profited more from Bush's presidency. I can't say I blame him either. I've been told by people recently that I look like a young Martin Van Buren, and I've been out looking for an agent in order to cash in myself. Just the same, it's hard to take him seriously now in this as a no-nonsense NASA head. My friends and I had the same problem when we saw him in the previously reviewed Uncle Sam Wants You... Dead. All we see is a goofy Dubyah. According to imdb, he's taken advantage of his post-2000 fame to move up from movies like this, to movies like the ABC Family original Holiday in Handcuffs, where Melissa Joan Hart kidnaps AC Slater and takes him home to meet her family. Bottoms plays the dad along side Night Court's Markie Post as the mom. Good work out of you Tim.

I got this recently on Netflix, and I must say, I can't really recommend getting your hands on it in even that capacity. Do not spend any money on it, it's so bad. Maybe if you've got an Netflix unlimited plan, and have gotten so many movies that month that it's paid for itself twice over, you may want to waste one on this, but it's iffy. I live in Portland, ME, and when I got this, I had to wait extra time because they needed to ship it special from Gaithersburg, MD. It wasn't worth it.

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