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. 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. And check out my book, Chad in Accounting, over on Amazon.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

In Between (1991)

This was one I came across when I was looking up Gary Daniels's IMDb bio to see which ones of his I hadn't seen yet. The idea of a Wings Hauser/Robert Forster early 90s indie flick with a cameo by Daniels, plus Alexandra Paul and Robin Mattson, sounded too good to be true. Then there was the issue of tracking it down, which I was finally able to do on YouTube, though it looks like it's since been taken down. I guess the question now is, was it worth the effort? In addition to us, Entertainment Weekly covered this back in 1992, so you can go there, or find the link in the critic reviews on IMDb, if you want to see what they thought.

In Between follows DTVC Hall of Famer Wings Hauser as he wakes up in a house with two women (Paul and Mattson) and has no idea how he got there. Neither do they. Eventually they also discover they're locked inside. Finally a grim reaper of sorts, Forster, shows up and explains that they're dead, but there's a delay in moving them on to Heaven, so they need to stay in that house as a form of purgatory. As if all that wasn't enough, Forster tells us there's been a twist: one of the three can actually got back and live the rest of their life. In between--see what I did there?--all that, there's a lot of talking and a little love making, plus a shirtless Daniels outside practicing his martial arts.


The Entertainment Weekly guy gave this a D. I feel like that's a but harsh, considering Forster was so great he alone had to be worth at least a C; but I get where he was coming from. It didn't feel like there was 90 minutes worth of material here. It's almost like writer/director Thomas Constantinides was trying to literally recreate the feel of every day figurative purgatories, like when you're stuck at the DMV and you have no idea when your number will be called because people who were there after you have already been taken care of, but is that entertaining? Essentially we're waiting for Robert Forster to show up and move the film along. I think as a 45-minute play, or a short novel (novella?) this could work, because I like the concept of it, but it feels like a 90-minute film wasn't the vehicle for it.

Let's start with the first of our Hall of Famers in this, the great Wings Hauser. I get why he would have made this, and I bet as it was being made it probably felt like it was all going to work, and then maybe it was screened and he thought "hmm, those scenes seemed to work better as we were shooting it." The other thing though too that we see here is just how much of a professional actor he is. Yes, there's a unique "Wings" quality that he brings to his DTV films that we love so much; but here we have a film that isn't asking for that "Wings" quality so much, and he's still able to do his job. I had Ty and Brett from Comeuppance Reviews on the podcast a bit ago, and we talked about Wings and what makes him so great. I think it's that combination, where he can crank his Wings up to 11 and blow the movie up; or he can dial it down to 5 like he did here, and still turn in a solid performance despite the film's limitations.


For the film's other Hall of Famer, Gary Daniels, this is film 51. I think I would have reviewed this sooner, but because he's in it so little, I didn't want it to be his 50th on the site. According to IMDb, I think this is his third movie ever, after The Secret of King Mahis Island and Final Reprisal. With this review, we've now covered all of his 90s and 2000s films except for two Hong Kong ones, City Hunter and Mission of Justice, and the 2009 Bruce Lee biopic--which at 3 hours is one I may never cover on here. When you look at the fact that he's only the second member of the 50 Club, there's the question of why I've covered so many of his films, and I think the answer comes in the combination of how many films he's done, how many of them were readily available for me to grab when I started the site, and then just how explosive he is as a martial artist. At this point though, we're looking at a film here that only checks off the first box, because we've done so many of the others. I guess it's the completist in me.

We've seen Alexandra Paul I believe one other time on here, in the Peter Weller film Sunset Grill. In looking at her IMDb bio I thought we'd have done more of her filmse, especially The Paper Boy, but actually she does more TV work, which explains why I've seen a lot of her movies, but we wouldn't have reviewed them. And then Robin Mattson I confused with Charlene Fernetz from Street Justice, so I had a whole Street Justice paragraph ready to go until I found out I was wrong on that. She was also in the Reb Brown Captain America movie, so this won't be the last we see of her here either. Maybe I could do a Paper Boy/Captain America set of redemption posts for Paul and Mattson, since this post was so Wings/Daniels/Forster heavy and their contributions were under-mentioned.


And that leads us to the inimitable Robert Forster. Like the purgatory of waiting at the doctor's office and being excited when someone finally comes into the room to break up the monotony of waiting, Forster would appear in his flashy double-breasted suits and break up the monotony of this film. I had Jon Cross of the After Movie Diner and Miscellaneous Plumbing Fixtures (who just released a new album, I've Been There, go buy it on Bandcamp now!) on the podcast a while back (I can't remember the episode, I want to say it was the Fred Williamson one, but it could have been Godfrey Ho too), and we were talking about how Jackie Brown as an overall film left something to be desired, but the Pam Grier/Robert Forster scenes were some of, if not were, Tarantino's best work ever. And this is the kind of Forster we get here, it's that level, but the problem is, because of the film's purgatory construct, we were craving more Forster to keep the film moving, and he's so good, that we feel the vacuum left in his absence that much more, which hurt the scenes he wasn't in.

With that I think it's good to wrap this up. I looked into it some, and this is actually available to buy for $2.99 on Amazon streaming under the title Stuck in Purgatory. I think for Forster completists, that might actually be worth it. For Wings fans, it's something to put way down your list, and for Daniels fans it should be near the end of your Daniels journey. 

For more info:

No comments:

Post a Comment