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.
Monday, May 2, 2011
The Wind (1987)
Always looking to get more Wings Hauser on the DTVC, and finding this one available on DVD from Netflix, I decided to go for it. Then I pull the sleeve out of the envelope, and see "1 hr. 52 min." for the running time. A buck-52? That's crazy! Luckily enough, it was bad info (you can never trust the Netflix running time-- or the synopsis sometimes for that matter!), and the real running time was only 93 min. Phew.
The Wind stars Meg Foster as a mystery/pulp writer who vacations on a small Greek island to write her next book. It's very isolated, most of the residents are away, and there's a lot of nasty wind everywhere, making things tough. Throw into that mix drifter Wings Hauser, working for the landlord of the place Foster's staying at, who doesn't take his boss firing him too well-- i.e. he beats him to death with a poker. After he catches Foster catching him burying the body, it's now a deadly game of cat and mouse. Will she survive the wind and the Wings?
This could've been better. It had a bit of a dead spot around the hour mark for 10-15 minutes, and then had a natural ending at 80 minutes that director Nico Mastorakis decided to forgo in favor of stretching the film out for another superfluous 10 minutes. For a film like this, built mostly on suspense and ratcheting up the tension, dead spots and not knowing when to quit can be more grating than they might otherwise be in a bad horror or action flick. That's a shame, because otherwise this wasn't too bad. Hauser made a great baddie, Foster was great as the protagonist, and there was a nice mixture of Hitchcockian and horror elements that made this more than just a bad Lifetime movie type deal. Close, but not close enough I guess.
That's Wings Hauser if you need him. Absolutely 100% Wings as the psycho baddie, which is just the way we like him. He plays a really good nutjob, doesn't he? Oh yeah, and then there's the 'Stash. How do you not love a Wings 'Stash? Throw in the LL Bean Rockland Edition Lobster Fisherman's Sweater, and you have a pretty vintage Hauser deal here. Unfortunately, as the baddie, he doesn't get the maximum screen time, but he does his thing when he's there, and that's all we can ask.
One thing we often discuss here at the DTVC is how film makers waste certain cast members by not playing to their strengths, but Mastorakis doesn't do that here as far as Meg Foster goes. He knows one of her best and most intriguing features is her eyes, and he uses that to full effect, adding to the haunting atmosphere of the film. I don't know if the original storyboards called for all the close-ups on her eyes, or if Mastorakis made the role with her in mind, but if she was cast after the fact, he did a great job of mixing it up and taking advantage of a great opportunity afforded him there.
This is only the second Mastorakis film we've done at the DTVC, the other being another Wings flick, Nightmare at Noon. He just celebrated his 70th birthday about five days ago. He hasn't directed a film since 2002's .com for Murder, which has Huey Lewis in it. Yes, that Huey Lewis. Also, there's The Zero Boys, with DTVC favorite Joe Estevez. Not quite the prodigious directing credits of some of our other favorite directors, but not too bad either.
As a hiker, I have experienced some nasty wind myself a few times, including 60 MPH out near Mts. Sherman, Gemini, and Dyer in Colorado. It was pretty scary, especially on this saddle ridge between Gemini and Dyer that wasn't very wide and was steep on both sides. When it gets that rough, all you can really do is crouch down and let the gusts pass. This movie reminded me of some of that, though, despite the film's title, it seemed like more of a nuisance than a major impediment. Even Wings was the one who cut the power to the house, not the elements. Maybe it should've been called "The Wings".
This is available on DVD from Netflix, which is a rarity for something of its kind. I've also seen it in two-packs and multi-packs in bargain bins, so depending on what it's with, it might not be too bad. By itself, and at too high a cost, it's probably not quite worth it, even with the Wings factor.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094327/