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Blind Fear (1989)
Angel In The Dark
Former Charlie Girl and Charlie's Angel Shelley Hack receives top billing in this low-budget bore though the cover art proclaims it "a classic tale of Gothic suspense". Actually, Shelley's big episode "Of Ghosts and Angels" deserves that title more than this snoozer.
Hack plays a blind switchboard operator at a remote Maine Inn, being shut down after being sold. Somehow this coincides with the robbery of an armored truck taking place nearby involving three criminals (two men, one woman) who eventually shoot the guards and seek retreat in the abandoned Inn.
The rest of the movie has Shelley, looking as far from the Tiffany Welles fashion-plate character as possible in a baggy sweater, ankle socks and plain canvas sneakers, trying to outsmart the bad guys by throwing the breaker and trying to hide from them (on her own terms, see?) a la Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark".
The bad guys have more lines than Shelley. The only reason they become aware of her presence is because the pizza that arrives from an androgynous delivery boy in denim short-shorts only has anchovies on HALF of it. So there must be someone else at the Inn besides the tight-lipped old handyman they strangled to death earlier.
I admit I didn't see the twist at the end coming, so there was a bit of a payoff, and the way Shelley disposes of the bad girl is inspired, but rent before you buy. For completists who want to see everything the Angels have ever done. Even when found in a bargain bin, this one's NOT a keeper.
Great Documentary That Made Me Sad I Was Born Too Late
"This Beat Goes On" is a CBC-produced 90-minute documentary that chronicles the rise of the Canadian music biz in the 1970s.
The program is split into sections according to music categories. Almost all the artist profiles include rare concert/video performances but please note these are not the full songs--in most cases they are only half. For most artists, I have written in parentheses the songs performed: Bachman-Turner Overdrive ("You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"); Rush ("Closer to the Heart"); Trooper ("Raise a Little Hell"); Max Webster ("Paradise Skies"); April Wine ("Roller"); Loverboy ("Turn Me Loose"); Prism ("Spaceship Superstar").
Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun"); Burton Cummings ("Stand Tall"--includes about 30 seconds of Alice Cooper "Killer" tour footage when Burton speaks of opening for Alice); Dan Hill ("Sometimes When We Touch"); Gino Vanelli ("I Just Wanna Stop"); Nick Gilder ("Hot Child in the City").
There's a Blues-Rock section which mentions Offenbach, Mainline, Dutch Mason, Downchild Blues Band ("Flip, Flop and Fly") and David Wilcox.
The folk-music scene mentions Joni Mitchell ("Free Man in Paris"--though some of the performance footage of her seems to be from the late '80s); Kate and Anna McGarrigle; Anne Murray ("Cotton Jenny"); Gordon Lightfoot ("Sundown"); Valdy ("Play Me a Rock and Roll Song"); The Good Brothers; Stan Rogers, Figgy Duff and Bruce Cockburn ("Wondering Where the Lions Are").
The punk/alternative section profiles The Dishes ("Hot Property"); The Kings ("This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide"); Nash the Slash ("Wolf"); Diodes ("Tired of Waking Up Tired"); Teenage Head ("Let's Shake"); Pointed Sticks, The Viletones, D.O.A., The Demics.
Some of the French-Canadian artists profiled include Robert Charlebois, Cano, Harmonium, Les Seguin, and Gilles Valliquette. I admit I hadn't heard of any of these artists prior to viewing this, but these sections didn't bore me either.
We have short snippets and comments from Lorraine Segato, Terry Jacks, Tom Cochrane, producer Bob Ezrin, kd Lang, Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Dan Hill, Bruce Cockburn, Mitsou, Larry Gowan, Kim Mitchell, Colin James, Carole Pope, Nash the Slash, Murray McLaughlin, Geddy Lee and members of Barenaked Ladies.
Of course, I really bought this for the Rough Trade and Carole Pope content and it contains a great performance of Carole singing "High School Confidential" in a red leather outfit and tons of black eyeliner.
The Bonus Features include 8 separate interviews including Dan Hill, Murray McLaughlin, Nash the Slash and Valdy. I only watched Carole's interview as well as Steven Leckie's and Nash the Slash, so I can't vouch for the length of the others but these were just under or over 10 minutes. Carole rhymes off some of Rough Trade's early song titles, explains how she came up with the group name, and sings the praises of Divine and Lisa Dalbello.
I found this to be a very interesting, educational, comprehensive program and any fan of Canadian music needs to see this. Their only gripe (as is mine) would likely be that their favorite performer doesn't receive enough screen time.
Multiple Maniacs (1970)
"This Is the Show You Want,,,The Sleaziest Show on Earth!"
Multiple Maniacs is on par with John Waters' Pink Flamingos when it comes to sleaziness and filth, though not quite as polished. The black-and-white cinematography gives the film a certain raw and crude quality, but that outrageous, hilarious Waters' dialogue, though in its infancy stages here, is already wielding an undeniable power over those of us who love trash cinema. Some scenes drag on a little longer than necessary, such as David and Bonnie lounging around in bed, or Cookie and Steve talking about riots but there are others, such as the opening in the circus tent, and the "rosary job" that more than make up for it. Be sure to look and listen for Divine and Cookie flubbing their lines, Divine's wig almost falling off as he is being violated by Lobstora, and Mink Stole trying not to laugh as a male pedestrian walks by when she and Divine are discussing the murder of Mr. David and Bonnie. All in all, I recommend watching this only AFTER you have seen Hairspray, Polyester, Female Trouble, Pink Flamingos, and Desperate Living, in THAT order. By that time you will have decided if you are a true John Waters fan or not.
11th Victim (1979)
Bess and Max Do Their Best With Flawed Script
This 1979-TV movie dealing with a string of hooker murders in seedy Hollywood is like 1984's "Angel" without the sex, violence, and profanity. It also lacks the colorful characters that made "Angel" such a trash classic.
While "The Eleventh Victim" a.k.a "The Lakeside Killer" is not a superior film by any means, anyone who's a fan of Bess Armstrong or Max Gail won't be disappointed.
Bess plays a local news anchorwoman in Iowa, who finds out on-air that her little sister is the latest victim of a serial killer offing prostitutes in Hollywood.
She flies to Tinseltown to uncover the reason for her sister's death, and is aided by vice cop Max Gail (and to a lesser degree, Gail's partner, Harold Gould), and eventually the teenage prostitute who was best friends with the dead sister.
The made-for-TV restrictions prevent this movie from being as gritty as it could have been and the ambiguous ending leaves the viewer feeling a little cheated.
It does however, have a few good points in that it features former Animals' lead singer Eric Burdon as a telephone pimp; it boasts an oh-so-70s funky "Bad Girls"-type disco soundtrack, great location shots of the seedy Hollywood Boulevard circa 1979 and a couple of notable, suspenseful scenes.
There's a great scene where Bess tries to infiltrate the call-girl operation by passing herself off as a "working girl" but the woman interviewing her becomes increasingly suspicious.
Also noteworthy is when Bess gets tarted up to meet porn star "Red Brady" at a nightclub. Check out those stilettos, hot pants and halter top! The cops eventually use Bess as bait to trap the killer but like I said, it just leads to a very unsatisfying ending.
The violence and sex are basically non-existent. You've seen more on a random episode of "Charlie's Angels".
Despite the flaws in the script, the acting is decent and if you are a fan of Max Gail or Bess Armstrong, or kitschy TV-movies from the disco era, check this out.