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.

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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.

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

--Matt

Friday, April 24, 2009

Modern Vampires (1998)

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After the disappointing Against the Dark, the Seagal vampire flick, DTVC reader RepoGenetic (who you'll find in the "Followers" section of the blog) suggested this film. It definitely has a star studded cast, with yet another Oscar winner in the late Rod Steiger.

Modern Vampires has Casper van Dien as a vampire rolling through Los Angeles to see what's going on. Count Dracula (Robert Pastorelli) is less than pleased with him because he had a chance to kill vampire killer Van Helsing (Steiger), but didn't do so. He's made things worse for himself by protecting a young vampire acting as a prostitute and killing men with impunity, because she's drawing too much attention to the activities of other vampires. Now Van Helsing's followed him out to LA, and he has a posse of Crips ready to aid him in his quest to kill all vampires. They're on a collision course to wackiness. This also has Kim Cattrall, Udo Kier, and Natasha Lyonne.

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Wackiness is the key word here. Or off-beat might be a better one. This was very bloody, had lots of nude chicks, and tried to make it all as silly as possible. I think it worked a fair amount of the time. Comedians like Craig Ferguson and Robert Pastorelli didn't hurt. It was a tad ridiculous at points, and some of the jokes didn't work, but I think overall it was a pretty solid effort. Better than Against the Dark.

Casper van Dien was all right. This is the third film of his we've done, the other two being Cutaway, with Stephen Baldwin and Dennis Rodman; and the recently released Starship Troopers 3. I'm not sure what to do about future posts for him, because a lot of his films listed on imdb are said to be TV movies. Cutaway was listed as a TV movie, which made no sense, because I didn't remember it ever being on. Then I saw that this movie was supposedly a TV a movie too, and that makes even less sense, because it's filled with blood, nudity, and swearing. I looked into it further on imdb, and couldn't figure out in what country it was released on TV. Definitely not here. Brazil maybe? I looked it up on Wikipedia, and they say it's straight to video, so that's what we're going with.

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It was great doing a Rod Steiger film. Obviously my site doesn't lend itself to classics like On the Waterfront or In the Heat of the Night (his role in the latter movie garnering him his Oscar win). He was pretty sweet in this movie, and although he had a bad fake accent, I liked his better than another Oscar winner, Ernest Borgnine, and his bad accent in the Brandon Lee hit Laser Mission. Steiger died in 2002, otherwise he would've celebrated his 84th birthday ten days ago. Another Aries, like me and Steven Seagal.

Craig Ferguson was funny in this, as you can imagine. I'd only seen him on the Late Late Show. When I was in LA back in 2001, Craig Kilborn did that show, and my buddy and I got free passes from some dude in front of Mann's Chinese Theater to be in the audience. What a weird experience. First, we were told if we were a "good" audience, we'd get a special gift, and what we got was a copy of the Gear magazine Kilborn had guest edited. Also, we were conditioned to laugh at anything that could possibly be construed as a joke, and that conditioning was handled by a self-styled stoner comedian. He was really unfunny, his pot jokes were what you might get from the dude in college who smoked like twice and thought he was a rebel, and in order to validate his on stonerness, he gave a special gift to the two real stoners in the audience. The three guests were Tyrese, whose performance had to be redone because his mike chord was unplugged; Jesse from Saved by the Bell, who was promoting he role in a Woody Allen flick; and Hector Elizondo. Perhaps the best was when my buddy and I got back to his mom's house in San Diego to watch ourselves, and we heard the audience noise filled in with an artificial laugh track.

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One aspect of this movie that I believe was unintentionally funny was the disjointed dialog. People would respond to other people's words in really unnatural ways. Casper van Dien would say something innocuous, and the girl he was protecting would blow up at him. I'm wondering if the scriptwriter or director had ever had any experience with normal human conversations. Maybe that's just how people act out in LA. "I think we should go get a burger, what do you think?" "What? Take that back you fucking bastard!"

This isn't a bad movie. I'm not sure in terms of a monetary value how much one should spend on it. If you're into horror comedy, you should definitely stick it on your Netflix queue. Anyone else, I'd say watch it, but don't necessarily make a priority out of it. If you haven't seen The Circuit yet, you should probably do that first. If it's on a TV channel like HBO that shows films uncut, watch it there, but definitely not on Sci-Fi (Sy-Fy?), because an edited version would suck.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120805/

2 comments:

  1. Matt, what a treat, two requests fulfilled. Never let it be said you don't listen to your readership. I'm glad you enjoyed Modern Vampires. Yeah, it sure is goofy as hell but I got some legitimate laughs out of it, which is a treat.
    Holy crap, I'm super torn on the Boz film you reviewed because A) It is obviously horrible and most egregious, BORING. However, B) I feel compelled based solely on the WTF facial hair stylings in the screen cap you posted on the Boz. Perhaps trying for something as memorable as the mullet in the early days? Geez.
    I can't lie, I'm super hyped for the Stone Cold review coming down the pipe. I realize I needlessly elevate it's status, but everyone's got their faves, and to me this one enjoys Hell Comes To Frogtown / Gymkata / I Come In Peace status for me.
    Anyway, thanks for the content as always.

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  2. I always like requests, because there are so many DTV films on the map, so someone pointing me in a destination helps immensely. The reality about Stone cold is I should've done it sooner, I just didn't do my homework on it. I remembered it playing in my local theater, so I discarded it, when really it did so poorly it was essentially DTV.

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