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.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The imdb date on this Albert Pyun flick is a little misleading. 1992 was when it was released in Portugal (according to them), but the film was actually shot in 1989. I've read a few different accounts of the shooting online, but the common themes of all seem to be this: it was done over three days, in 1989, after the Cyborg shoot. Let's see how it turned out.
Deceit follows Pyun mainstay Norbert Weisser as he kills himself by drinking bleach in the opening scene, only to have some mysterious force enter his body and reanimate him. After the opening credits, we're rejoined by a shaggier Weisser asking a young couple for a ride. Already in the car with the young couple is Eve, who, after Weisser reveals that's he's an "alien sex fiend" and kills the couple, Wesieer forces into an abandoned warehouse where he plans to meet his alien partner in crime, fellow Pyun mainstay Scott Paulin. It's then that the two aliens compete for Eve's affections, potentially to the detriment of their mission on Earth.
I really enjoyed the first hour of this, and while it did grind to a halt a bit in that last half-hour, it didn't totally derail it for me. It's definitely not one for everyone, but it has some classic Pyun elements that fans of his will recognize: Paulin's character is named Brick Bardo; there's some fun pseudo-existentialist philosophy, especially from a radio DJ; and we have a strong female lead, in this case Eve, who doesn't start off strong, and has many weak moments throughout, but ultimately comes through. The problem in the final third came because what had started out as some great, fast moving, entertaining dialog was winding itself out of control, plus the plot felt like it was devolving into bad slapstick, which caused me to lose interest. Overall though, this is a fun, small-scale, off-beat 80s flick, and I enjoyed it.
Of the 30-plus Pyun films I've looked at here on the DTVC, this is the hardest one to put in proper terms or describe accurately so you can get a beat on whether or not you'd like to track it down. I'm not so sure that's a bad thing though. It's good to have movies out there that aren't easily defined, that someone who hears the name Albert Pyun and thinks Cyborg and Nemesis might watch and think "what is this?" But I think if you are a fan, and you've seen some of his other stuff from this period, in particular Down Twisted, Radioactive Dreams, and Vicious Lips, and also something like Brain Smasher that he made after, a lot of this will be recognizable and make more sense.
I'm a sucker for shots like this one of the clock here. That's why I'm such a huge Ozu fan, because his movies a chock full of things like that. The lighting on the clock gives it a Metropolis look too, or really anything from the silent film era. Another shot I was a big fan of was of the car radio dial that was shown as the DJ gave his pseudo-existentialist monologues. Often shots like these come off as indulgent, but in the context of the rest of what Pyun did here, they worked.
Usually this spot is reserved in Pyun flick posts for the Pyun mainstays, but because this film only had two, Paulin and Weisser, and we've already mentioned them, I figured I'd bring up the girl who played Eve, Samantha Phillips. She's gone on to have quite a career in everything from radio, to TV, to a Penthouse spread, to lots of DTV flicks. Maybe we'll see her again on here sometime. I don't want to discuss the specifics of her performance in Deceit too much because the evolution of her character is the crux of the film, so I'll just say I enjoyed it, and leave it at that.
Finally, I'm not sure if you can see that image above, but if not, click on it and go to the image page for the full size one. I also just realized that, because it was the second of two pages of credits, and you don't have the one before it, it's like it's apropos of nothing. It's the "thank you" section, and at the bottom, there's "Jean Claude Van Damme" with the caption "Without whom this film would not have been possible." I'm not going to speculate on what that means, just figured I'd include it.
You can actually get this new from Amazon on VHS, because they have their own Amazon.com exclusive version. I think that's pretty cool. If you've already gone through some of the others in Pyun's filmography that I mentioned, and you enjoyed them, I'd give this a try. I think you'll like it.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097176/