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, May 14, 2013

Interzone (1987)

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This is another of the Netflix Dump 8.  I liked it for inclusion because it was an 80s Italian low-budget exploitation, and looked like a lot of fun.  You never know with these ones, but usually, even if it's bad, it's so bad it's good.  Let's see if it held up.

Interzone has nothing to do with the William S. Burroughs short story collection (which was published after this movie was made anyway), nor does it have anything to do with The Naked Lunch.  It's about some post-apocalyptic future where these monks control an area called the Interzone-- or maybe they control an area in the Interzone, I don't remember-- and anyway, they have a treasure too, and a gang lead by Teagan Clive and another dude want it.  The monks have a force field protecting them, but it can't hold forever, so they send Thong from Cave Dwellers (playing someone named "Panasonic") to get someone to rescue them, and he finds Swan, a merry rogue of sorts who can fight and scam people with the best of them.  He tries the ol' Yojimbo maneuver to start with, starting strife between Teagan Clive and her gang partner.  Will his plan work?  Will the monks save the Interzone?

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This one holds up as the so-bad-it's-good.  I was worried at the beginning, because there was this scene where our hero was playing some betting Russian Roulette style game where he and his competitors drank from one of four glasses to see which one doesn't have poison in it.  It went on forever, and I thought "dear lord, what's happening here?"  But then it recovers, and from there it's a great time.  Fun action, weird things happening that make no sense but you love them from an Italian exploitation flick, and classic things like cars with armor that you know to expect.  It hits all the right spots, and is that fun movie you want from something like this.

The hero was played by Bruce Abbott, whom you may remember as Dan Cain from The Re-Animator and The Bride of the Re-Animator.  He was great in that old fashioned swashbuckling rogue of a hero set in a post-apocalyptic future kind of way.  He could be heroic when necessary, funny, cunning; it was all there, and he made the movie fun for it.  I have no idea why he wasn't cast in more things, because I would've loved to see him.  You'll notice on the cover they make him look more like DTVC Hall of Famer Richard Norton.  It isn't him, and don't make that mistake if you see the cover-- though Abbott is fun enough to make up for it.

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Thong!  Kiro Wehara (though he's Chen Wong in Cave Dwellers), and now we've done two of the three films he's ever been in.  He's great here as Panasonic the monk, and he takes the whole "you're taking your sweet time here Thong" aspect to the next level, because he's always taking his time before helping, in some cases waiting until after major tragic events occur.  But hey, who could ever hate you Thong, you're the best!  Here's to you Kiro Wehara, you're one of the good ones.

This movie was directed by Deran Sarafian, who has directed two films we've done on here, Gunmen and The Road Killers, both starring DTVC Hall of Famer Christopher Lambert.  I think this one was better, even though the others were done on a better budget and had better actors.  He's made most of his money since the late 90s directing TV shows, and according to imdb has been quite successful.  I guess that means an Interzone 2 isn't in the works any time soon.  That's okay, he did the first one, and that was enough.

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Teagan Clive is back, after a long hiatus of almost 6 years at the DTVC.  We last saw her in Alienator, co-starring DTVC favorite Ross Hagen.  Here she played a character with much more personality.  She was a sadistic gang leader who loved torturing her men.  Our hero has a crazy love scene with her, where they make a mockery of Nine and 1/2 Weeks-- though based on the timeline that would've only come out 1 year before this, so maybe it wasn't a direct parody.  Anyway, love Teagan Clive, but looking at her imdb bio, she did like 8 movies from '86 to '90, then called it a day.  Too bad, I feel like PM Entertainment would've loved to cast her in their movies, and they would've been great to see.

Let's wrap this up.  Now that Netflix has dumped it off Instant, it looks like used VHS is the only way to go, and Amazon does have them somewhat cheap.  If you're a collector I'd pay that price, otherwise I'd wait to find it used in a bargain bin somewhere.  It's a lot of fun, and worth checking out if you ever get the chance.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093268/

6 comments:

  1. Italian post-apoc with a guy that looks like Richard Norton on the cover? You know I'm all over this one Matt.

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    1. Hahaha, yeah, and you need to find a Japanese VHS copy with hardcoded subs too.

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  2. I tried watching this on Instant a few months back, but the audio was terrible and I could barely hear the dialogue. Although I get the feeling that's not the best part anyway!

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    1. Hahaha, I had the same problem, but I thought it was my computer! I just used the subtitles. I have no idea if the VHS has the same problem, but it might.

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  3. I caught this before Netflix dumped it and I guess you got more enjoyment out of it than I did.

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    1. I guess so. Sometimes you just gotta be in the mood for one of these. Plus, the Cave Dwellers connections helped too.

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