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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Return of Doctor X (1939)

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I figured in celebration of Halloween this week I'd take the opportunity to write a post for a film with my favorite actor in it: Humphrey Bogart. I first got wind of this during a documentary on Bogie I saw on Turner Classic Movies. He was none too pleased he had to do this movie, and went into Warner afterwards and demanded more money. I can't say I blame him.

The Return of Doctor X has Bogey as a pasty dude brought back to life by a hematologist. A newspaper reporter finds an actress dead. Then she's not. He asks his doctor friend, and he consults the hematologist. Turns out the guy is trying to resurrect people and use some kind of synthetic blood to sustain them. When that doesn't work for Bogey, he goes out and gets some of his own. Things go from bad to worse as Bogey finds more victims.

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This movie's just over an hour long, which is the best part. It is what it is: a bad old horror film. A bad old horror film that just happens to have the greatest screen actor of all time in it. That's like finding a Dolph film with Daniel Day Lewis in it. I loved the clothing styles from that time, especially the doctor's outfits that look like something Gordon Ramsey would be sporting on one of his fifteen cooking shows. Still, you can get that from any number of good films from that time period. Really, if it was any longer than it is, the novelty of Bogie in a bad horror film would wear off.

I absolutely love the slang from that period. People always tell me they get a kick out of how I talk, and though I'm flattered, I think they need to see more bad movies. This one is pretty rife with it. Really fast speech, with things being "jake" or "kept on the level", guys "crackin' foxy" or dames with great "gams". It just doesn't get any better than that for me. I can't for the life of me figure out why we don't speak like that anymore. Was it the 60s? I guess no one wants to sound like their parents, but it's funny that I never hear people from my grandparents' generation interacting like the people in these films.

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The newspaper boy in this is from Wichita, KS, and everyone he works with reminds him of that every waking minute. Makes me wish I was from Wichita. I've never actually been, but it sounds like a good time according to Wikipedia. Maybe I'll take a train out there sometime and document it in blog entitled "My Own Private Wichita: One Mainer's Search for the Midwest". That would make for interesting reading. Maybe.

Humphrey Bogart is my favorite actor. I know many of you rocking with me here at the DTVC are probably a little stunned to hear that. What about Dolph, or Seagal, or Van Damme? What about them? They're no Bogie baby. Everything about him just exudes this level of coolness that is so effortless. Even in Sabrina when he's taking Hepburn out on the boat playing "We Have No Bananas Today" it's hard not to feel like George Costanza hanging out with Dan Cortese. I'm still waiting for The African Queen to come out on DVD. It's amazing that this film did before the one movie where he won an Oscar.

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The end of this film employs a classic bad guy mistake that I've seen over and over again, and it's amazing it was used as far back as 1939, and today film makers still use it. The baddie kidnaps the female lead, then doesn't cover his bases properly, and the female leads to his downfall. This time it's the old "I'll take the gag out because no one can hear you scream anyway" and she screams and the good guys in the area hear it, and swarm him. Now granted, Bogie kidnaps his victim using a taxi, so he's probably not the brightest villain, but I just never understood why these criminal masterminds don't cross their "I's" and dot their "T's" better.

To get this on DVD you need to buy it as part of an overall set. It might be worth it to rent just this film on Netflix like I did, but maybe the set has other films you've been looking for. I doubt it, but you never know.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031851/

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