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.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The Carpenter (1988)
I saw the VHS cover shot of this flick on Tumblr a while back, and I knew I had to make it happen. Look at that Wings Hauser right there. How could I resist? Never miss an opportunity to get more Wings up here.
The Carpenter is about a woman from the city who has had a nervous breakdown, so her hubby buys a fixer-upper out in the country for her and him to live in. While the crew working on it during the day are pretty lazy, the older mysterious fella working at night known as Wings Hauser is a whole other story. Long story short, he's the ghost of the dude that built the house, went bankrupt doing so, massacred a bunch of repo men, and got the chair. At first our leading lady is drawn to Wings, but she eventually discovers that he's no Casper.
This is a slow roller. It has it's moments, both in the serious vein with some really stylistic classic thriller-esque shots; and in the silly vein with Wings. There's one amazing scene that I uploaded to the image page, where he cuts this dude's arms off with a power saw. It's surreal, like something Dali and Bunuel would've done, the way the guy doesn't scream, the way the woman barely reacts, and the matter of fact demeanor with which Wings goes about the killing. It came at the 24-minute mark, and I was excited that the film might pick up from there, but it didn't, still just giving us the occasional great Wings scene without much else to buttress it. Ultimately this is a Lifetime flick with Wings Hauser as a crazy killer popping in here and there.
But man, when Wings shows up, he shows up. His performance is fantastic. Between the dialog and the way he delivers it as the anachronistic carpenter from the past, and the killer streak he manages to mix with that, it's as good a' Wings as you can get. But because he's the villain, and the mysterious ghost villain to boot, we don't see him that much. That's too bad, because he's carrying this film. This is only our 17th Wings flick on here, meaning we still have three more to go to get him above the line of 20 for DTVC Hall of Famers, which is especially where I want to get all inaugural ones at least. With such a vast filmography, we'll go way beyond that, it's just a matter of tracking them down.
Looking at the cover again, I can see where this movie went wrong. It didn't know whether it wanted to be Hitchcock or Tobe Hooper. The cover looks like Tobe Hooper, right? And it looks like a really fun ride too, like this campy, bloody slasher flick with Wings as a crazy carpenter. Unfortunately, while we get that in spots, it never really happens. It's the classic dilemma we B-movie honks have to contend with: misleading covers.
The couple was played by two veteran character actors that weren't really veterans when they made this: Lynne Adams and Pierre Lenoir. They're the usual "man, they look familiar, what do I know them from?" that leads to a check on imdb that yields "oh yeah, of course, I knew I recognized them from somewhere!" Adams, was in Johnny Mnemonic as "Yakuza with a rocket launcher", and was also in the Miles O'Keeffe/Fred Williamson flick Silent Trigger. Lenoir was in the Gary Daniels flick Hawk's Vengeance. Both have been in myriad TV shows, which is probably where anyone would recognize them from.
In my Tucker and Dale vs Evil post I mentioned something about being a Bruins fan and how that film being shot in Vancouver brought to mind the Canucks, and how I wouldn't get into a rant about them. I shouldn't do the same here, with this film being shot in Montreal. If you don't know, the Canadians (or "Habs" for short) are the equivalent of the Yankees for Red Sox fans-- maybe even worse, because the Bruins and Habs have played more games and more games that matter against one another. While my B's have had the upper hand recently, overall the Habs, like the Yanks, have the all-time lead; but we'll revel in our current success as long as we can!
Okay, before this turns into an NHL blog, we'll wrap things up. This is actually available now on DVD. Not sure what the transfer is like, or if there's goodies and what not. I went the VHS route, and as you can see, that's not the best quality. I'm not sure why I'm even getting into this though, because this is a bit of a snooze fest outside of a few good scenes. Check out some other Wings flicks first before you try this one.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097017/