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.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hyper Space (1989)


The last of our inducted actors, but by no means the least, Richard Norton has been a staple of DTV for decades. Known in part for his role as sidekick to Cynthia Rothrock in films like Rage and Honor and China O'Brien, he also has a solid resume of films where he himself is the star, and I've picked one of those to celebrate his entry into the DTVC Hall of Fame.

Hyper Space takes place in one of those futures based on one small issue from our past-- in this case what to do with all that nuclear waste. I'm not sure if it's a company or the US government that decides dumping it way out in space is a good idea, but they do, and Norton, a former Ranger (though they made it sound like he was a Marine too, which doesn't make sense), decides going on these dump runs is less excitement than almost getting killed on a regular basis by androids. But something goes wrong on the ship, and it ends up way off course with very little fuel, and to get back would take 22 years. That is until a crew member figures out a way to get the escape pod back. Only catch: only one person can go on board. After they draw straws, the rest of the crew start offing each other to get on the escape pod, and only Norton can keep order.


This was pretty funny. Ron O'Neal was good. So was Don Stroud. I liked Norton, but too much on the ship was kind of dull, and there was a bit of a gap between his fight at the beginning, which was a flashback, and his fights with crew members later. In the first scene he fights Big John Studd, and it was pretty amazing, so for that to not be indicative of what we got after was kind of a bummer. Also, after a few minutes of the dilemma of who to send home, the characters sort themselves out as good and bad and kill each other off so there's no decision really at the end on who to send home. In a way, I kind of liked that, because action films shouldn't make me think too much, especially when they're of pretty poor quality.

Richard Norton has probably belonged in the Hall of Fame for a while, we just needed to watch more of his films, especially the ones where he's the star. In January he'll be 60 years old. He's the second of the great action stars of he 80s and 90s to hit that milestone, after Arnold Schwarzenegger who is 62. I don't know why it always surprises me that these guys are whatever age they are, considering a lot of the movies they did were made 15 to 20 years ago, and they weren't teenagers then. I guess I need to come to terms with how old I am. Norton is still making films, but I don't know how much in the way of martial arts he does in them. That's fine, he's done enough, and he has a large library that I still need to sift through, much of which is only available on VHS.


It is always funny to see what we considered such a big deal in the past as solved now, like nuclear waste. I mean, it's still an issue, but we're not producing so much of it at so high a rate that we don't know what to do with it. I haven't even heard of a new nuclear power plant being built in the US. We have one here in NH that my dad worked on, but the one in Maine was shut down. We can only hope in ten years, global warming will have been accepted by enough people that we'll have taken the steps to reverse it and it too won't be the issue it is now, and we'll watch DTV movies from this time and think how dated they are.

One of the best parts of the low budget sci-fi film is what kinds of ordinary everyday products they use in unique ways to make them futuristic. This one used that plastic flooring with the raised circles all over it that make it look kind of like a Legos. They used it as counter tops, place mats-- you name it, it was everywhere. Someone mush have gotten a deal on it, or maybe a building went down that had a lot of it. I remember the old Omni Mall in Portsmouth, NH had that stuff as it's floor, but they were still open in 1989, so it wasn't from there.


The late Ron O'Neal was rocking the coolest T-shirt. It had a USC Trojans logo sewn on it, and the fabric was worn and riddled with holes. Based on the color, the fit, and the wear, it would probably cost between $30 and $50 now, depending on who made it. Can you imagine? Sometimes you can find cool stuff like that at a Goodwill. I once found this amazing T that was blue with the word "Suomi" in white letters on it, and it looks and fits like a designer T. It's funny when people ask me what it means, because when I tell them it's Finland in Finnish, they don't believe me.

Considering the star power, this was a pretty good deal. Norton, Ron O'Neal, Don Stroud, and then wrestlers Big John Studd and Professor Toru Tanaka all made it more fun, plus there's a Van Patten (James). It's low-budget silly sci-fi, but the plot, after you get over the concept of shipping nuclear waste out on large space going expeditions, isn't too bad for it's genre. You could do a lot worse.

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