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, June 19, 2021

Wilding (1990)

I found this on YouTube when I was trying to get more Wings in for the podcast episode I did with Ty and Brett from Comeuppance awhile back. I wanted to watch it just in case it may have cracked my top 5. When I checked the IMDb page, it said this film had only one other critic review, which was, you guessed it, our friends from Comeuppance, so you can go there to see what they thought; and you can listen to the DTVC podcast we did to see if it cracked either of our top 5s. Now, without any further ado.

Wilding is about a group of teens who are, as the title suggests, wilding. They're going out every night terrorizing the community. After a kid ends up dead and his girlfriend ends up in the hospital due to one of their attacks, the city decides it's time to do something. While one cop is having meetings with their Boomer parents in the local high school gym, beat guys Hauser and Joey Travolta are hitting the pavement, hoping to take these kids down. The question is, will they be able to do it before the whole city burns first?


This is a lot of fun for what it is, a DTV actioner from 1990 that's cashing in on a trend, in this case the idea that kids were out of control and run amok. I mean, look at that Guns N' Roses poster on the wall. I had that poster too, along with the Appetite album, which had the parental advisory sticker OG Karen Tipper Gore pushed congress to get stuck on all tapes that had songs with bad language. There was also a great Pat Benatar wannabe song called "Don't Try to Stop Tomorrow" that featured in this. The idea of that was great, like who's trying to stop tomorrow? That's like trying to stop physics. Take a company like AIP, throw in two great names in Hauser and Travolta, add in a great song, and capitalize on a hot topic that's blazing across the headlines at that time, and what you have is something that years later is DTV movie nostalgia gold.

We're slowly creeping our way to getting Wings into the 30 Club, as this is his 21st film on the site. If you look at that image above, that's pretty much pure Wings there, and he maintains it throughout. He plays both cop on the edge, and jerk cop, which most actors can't do, but he makes it work, so we root for him at some points, and think he's a jerk at others. When I looked up his son, Cole Hauser, on IMDb, I saw that he actually would have been in high school when this was made, so perhaps Wings was drawing on personal experience. Was Cole out there Wilding? "I don't want you wearing that leather jacket and listening to that Guns N' Roses, Cole!" "But dad, you wore a leather jacket when you were on Roseanne." "Don't talk back to me son!" The reality was, it was probably more like Cole and his buddies got into some minor trouble that some rule-crazy cop tried to exacerbate, and Wings thought "I'll try to be that a-hole when I do Wilding." Either way it worked.


We're back with more Joseph Travolta as well. In January we did To the Limit, Travolta's first film on our site, and now five months later we're already back with his second. His role here is to be the sensible one to Wings' not so sensible one. (I didn't know if I should've added the "s" to the apostrophe when showing something belonged to "Wings." Yes, his name is plural, but he's not plural, so how do we manage that? I guess the same issue comes up with Powers Booth, is it "Powers's" or "Powers'?" The mysteries of the English language never cease.) Travolta didn't have the most prolific career, but there are still some other DTV flicks out there of his that need watching, so I imagine this won't be the last time we see him here on the site.

I touched on this a little bit in an earlier paragraph, but I think it bears repeating what the climate was like for high schoolers at this time. The Baby Boomer parents that had been so neglectful up until this point, decided suddenly that they were going to care, but their version of caring was passing laws to make life more difficult for kids, as opposed to actual parenting. We mentioned Tipper Gore and her parental advisory stickers. We also had Mothers Against Drunk Driving pushing the drinking age back to 21, after those same mothers helped get the drinking age down to 18 when they were teenagers. The thing was though, in the 90s teens were no worse than they were in the 60s, when the Greatest Generation parents were coming down on those same Baby Boomer as kids. If you watch Dragnet from that time, it plays out just like a movie like this did. As someone who was on the cusp of Gen X and Millennial, I got to live through the transition, between Boomer parents deciding they wanted to care more, to then turning into the helicopter parents they were known for with their younger Millennial kids (though to be fair to my parents, they always maintained a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy with us: don't make us have to ask what you're doing, and we won't make you tell us). It may have been bad for the teens at that time, of which I was one, but it made for DTV and Lifetime movie cinematic gold.

Finally, after that rant, I wanted to spotlight the character of Jason, played by Derek Anunciation. In their review on Comeuppance, Ty and Brett described him as "a cross between Lou Diamond Phillips and Alfred E. Newman." I think that's as good an attempt to make sense of him in this as any. He felt like some kind of 70s throwback, like maybe a kid on a Love Boat episode causing trouble. He could have been one of Jerry Lewis's kids, or something like that. He was supposed to be the most dangerous of all the kids in the gang, the one who was out of control that needed to be stopped before something bad happened; but instead he was more like the guest star kid with a problem in a "very special episode" of a family sitcom, one of those episodes that dealt with a serious topic and did more to traumatize us as kids than it helped bring our attention to a problem facing our society. 

This thing's totally going off the rails, so better to wrap it up now. As of my writing this, you can stream this on YouTube. That's your best bet. This is a fun ride and worth the watch--though one IMDb user review said it wasn't worth the Australian dollar they paid for it. We're each entitled to our own opinions I guess.

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