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

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Venom (1981)

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I first caught wind of this film on Netflix when I did a search of Klaus Kinski. I rented it, then found out it was released in the theaters in 1982, and made a little over $5 million. My cut off for inclusion in the blog is either $10 million or if I could take a date to see it at the local movie theater in Portsmouth, NH. I was three in 1982, so I don't know if it played there then. I'm probably straddling the line here, and I have a feeling after putting up this post that I'll have no choice but to give into the demands for a Cyborg review...

Venom is about a rich family living in London with a severely asthmatic young son. When the parents are away, the maid and chauffeur plan to kidnap the boy with the help of international criminal Klaus Kinski. Things go wrong, though, when the boy accidentally picks up a poisonous black mamba snake from the local pet store instead of the cute house snake he ordered. The snake bites the maid, and as they try to make off with the boy, a cop coming to warn the family about the snake mix-up is shot by the nervous chauffeur, leading to a deadly standoff with the police. This deadliness is only exacerbated by the black mamba.

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This was a pretty blah film. It had a very Lifetime movie feel to it, which made it feel a little silly, and I think that's a good thing. There wasn't as much Kinski as I'd have wanted, but that seems to be the case pretty often. I would've liked more people getting bit by the snake, personally, especially when the movie is named Venom, and the snake features prominently on the cover. She goes missing for large portions of the film, and I can only assume this means she needed a better agent.

Kinski is pretty reserved, but pretty awesome. I didn't like that as a bad guy we knew he was going to lose the whole time, because he was a cool bad guy. That's weird, because he can make himself so unlikeable so easily, that I can't see why the filmmakers wouldn't've made him more unsympathetic. He was cooler than he was creepy, which was something I didn't know he had in his arsenal: more proof of his title as the German Marlon Brando. For those liking the Klassik Kinski, his death scene is a real tour de force. If you want to just see that without watching the rest of the film, I found it on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3WoeEQnNK8

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Kinski's adversary is actually pretty cool too. He's this Scottish police commander who really knows how to take care of business. Had they built the Kinski character better, we as the audience would've had a better time watching these two play some kind of deadly game of cat and mouse. As actors, too, they both gave strong performances, so it was a waste that we didn't get to enjoy the two of them more.

The snake in this is the black mamba, and we learn that it gets its name not because it's black on the outside, but because the inside of its mouth is. Kobe Bryant's nickname is the Black Mamba, and for the most part he's pretty deadly too. Luckily for me, the Celtics are great snake wranglers, and they managed to avoid the Mamba's dangerous bite. As far as I can tell, this film was the Celtics, because it made the snake pretty innocuous by leaving it out for large portions of time. Having a camera zoom through a heating duct with ominous music in the background does not a good snake film make.

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Finally, my biggest beef with this movie was how they killed off the only hot chick in the movie within the first 20 minutes or so. Why would you do that? I understand that as a baddie she needed to go, but so soon? The women watching had plenty of male eye candy, it just didn't seem fair. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, because most DTV films are rife with female eye candy for us, and the ladies are left with Van Damme's butt or Dolph's abs, which are great, but not much in the way of variety.

This wasn't too bad, but it wasn't too good either. You and your buddies aren't going to be able to yell at the screen and watch a bunch of people get bit in funny ways like Snakes on a Train, but if you ever see it on TV late at night, there's a lot worse you can watch. I just don't know that I'd spend money on it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084854/

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