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Unlawful Entry (1992)
The most perfect incarnation of a thriller of this type that your likely to find...
I rented this back when it was first released on video when I worked in a video store and grabbed a couple of new releases to take home and watch when I locked up the store for the night. Boy was I in for a great film! It's the premise that scares me the most and what it implies, but first a summary of the film...
Michael and Karen Carr played by Kurt Russel and the drop dead beautiful Madoline Stowe are a couple who are very much in love and own a very nice home in a ritzy neighborhood in LA. Michael is a successful architect and Karen is a school teacher at the local preschool. Their seemingly ideal life is shattered one night however when their home is broken into and Karen is attacked by the perpetrator who flees. Doing what we all would immediatly do, they call the police who come to their home for a statement and to have a look around. The two cops, officer Pete Davis and officer Roy Cole, are very comforting, particularly officer Davis played by Ray Liotta who exudes a very warm and caring attitude towards the couple and seems to genuinly care about the couples well being. Soon Pete is installing a high tech security system in their home, having dinner with them in the backyard and seems to be becoming friends with the couple when something happens that is suspicious...Pete, having a moment alone with Michael, askes him what he would do if he could confront the scumbag who attacked Karen one more time. Micheal's answer obviously sets off something in Pete as he wants to see if Michael would make good on his threats about the burgler and invites Michael to come on a "ride along" so that Michael can see what Pete and Roy do on the mean streets of LA as cops every night, he agrees to go. After an evening of watching the two men do their thing and enjoying himself, Michael's ready to just go home and hit the sack, but Pete has one more surprise in store for Michael. After dropping Roy off at the station, he drives Michael to a rickety old shack in a remote lot someplace and pulls a black man out of the shack...the man who broke into Michael's house! Testing Michael, under the guise of a friendly favour, he gives Michael the ok to go to town wailing on the guy like he said he would if he ever saw him again, Pete even throws Michael his nightstick to use, Michael backs down stating that his threats were merely tough-guy-talk between friends. What happens next is the reveal of how brutal our nice cop officer Davis really is as he proceeds to beat the man relentlessly in front of Michael.
From there on, it becomes a game of wills between the two men for one woman. See, Pete is infatuated with Karen and after witnessing Michael's failure to fight for her when he had the chance, begins to feel that she deserves to be with a man who would protect her from all the evil on the streets. I won't go any further and just let you see for yourself what happens next.
What holds this film together without a doubt is Ray Liotta. Rather than play a psycho who is merely one dimensional, he plays a man who slowly descends into at first obsession, and finally madness. He doesn't do crazy things just for the sake of doing them because it's a thriller, his actions stem from a place that is plausable, you almost understand and dare I say SYMPATHIZE about where his anger is coming from. His charactor is so multi layered that even at the start you feel that he is a troubled man who has problems that even his partner isn't fully aware of. It becomes clear as the story unfolds that Pete really resents the well off people of the world, people exactly like Michael, who are rich and seemingly have everything they ever wanted and not really appreciating what they have. He hates the idea that he has to witness the scum of humanity on the streets every night and have nothing to show for it while Michael does seemingly very little and gets everything on a platter...like Karen. Their two very different world's are never more starkly represented than in a shot that has Karen taking a sip from a wine glass in a nice restaraunt while the shot slowly desolves to a shot of Pete sitting alone at night in the cold wearing his uniform sipping coffee from a paper cup. Pete's obsession with security also says alot about him. I would even dare to say that Ray's performance here is actually DEEPER and more dimensional than his outstanding role as Henry Hi ll in 'Goodfellas' and I know that's a major statement, but I feel it to be true.
This is a crackling thriller from frame one, a story that is as scary as it is intriguing. What if a cop wanted what you had, and was willing to threaten your life to get it from you? The helplessnes you feel stems from the terrifying realization that a demented and twisted mind has the badge and authority to do whatever he wanted to do to get it from you. Ponder that for a moment, and go check out this highly enjoyable film.
My Science Project (1985)
Great little sci-fi film for a good time.
I love 'My Science Project'. I first saw it on HBO one day back in 87 and loved it right away, it's a great sci-fi thriller, with many moments of comedy as well.
It concerns a car nut high school student played by John Stockwell (you'd think that after the hell he went through with Christine, he'd stay the heck away from cars), who needs a science project to pass his science class, problem is, he doesn't have one. So one night he, and his new girlfreind are rumaging around in an old military junk yard outside of town hoping to find something suitable to impress his teacher, and find a very odd little machine. It's high tech looking, with a glass globe mounted in the middle that when powered up, emits electricity that resembles one of those plasma globes you'd find at Spencers Gifts in the mall. As he's cleaning it, he decides to hook it up to a power supply, this turns out to be a huge mistake as 'the gizmo', as it's called in the film, turns out to be an engine from a spacecraft and can locally warp time and space, bringing objects and people from other times into our own. It soon goes wildly out of control and eventually the whole school is caught in a warp, and it's up to Stockwell, and his wise cracking freind, played wonderfully by Fisher Stevens, to shut down the gizmo for good.
A very underrated film, with impressive visuals that still hold up well (except for the dinosaur), great acting from it's cast, inspired writing, and when watched on a good surround set up, a great audio mix to boot. It means no harm, and is fun.
The Body Shop (1973)
One of the best gore films ever made!
This film breaks no new ground, it's pretty much an updated version of 'Frankenstein'. It concerns a doctor who's wife has died, and he is now determned to create the perfect woman. He goes out to find females he deems to have the perfect parts he needs, hypnotises them, and takes them back to his lab where he proceeds to cut off the desired parts for his jigsaw puzzle with the aid of his hunchbacked assistant.
I've always loved gore, and films like this are my cup of tea! I don't know about any of you, but gore films with dismemberment are my favorites, and this is one of the best! I'm surprised to hear alot of people say that the gore effects in this film are phony looking, I disagree, they are quite realistic, and I love them for it. I especially love the secretary victim scene, the good doctor, or in this case not so good doctor, proceeds to cut off her arms with a scalpel as she watches, and then good ol Herscall cuts to a close up of her mutilated shoulder.
I love the technique for showing the severed limbs in the film, most of the time it's just an actress with her hand, or arm, sticking out of a hole cut into the table. Not a new technique to be sure, but it's very effective here.
I would love to pick this one up, but alas it's all but impossible to track down. Oh well, here's hoping for a dvd release.