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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nightmare at Noon (1988)

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After having seen Mutant, I had a craving for more Wings Hauser in a zombie film, and fortunately, I was in luck with this movie. Considering it also had Brion James, this had all the makings of being superior to Mutant, and I looked on it with much anticipation.

Nightmare at Noon has Wings as an entertainment lawyer taking a vacation with his wife in their Cadillac RV. They pick up hitchhiker Bo Hopkins, and head into a sleepy little town for some food. Unbeknownst to them, an albino Brion James has earmarked this town for an experiment where the drinking water is contaminated, turning the town into homicidal zombies. They try to escape, but Brion has also set up some device that turns off people's cars if they drive by it. Now they team up with George Kennedy, the town's sheriff, and his daughter, to get to the bottom of this and eventually take Brion down.

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This was a pretty solid film. The zombies were kind of weak, and they didn't eat people, they tried to kill them by conventional means, like with guns and whatnot. There were plenty of ludicrous explosions: one had a dirt bike jump a van or something and explode into flames; another had Kennedy getting set on fire and jumping into a van that worked as Brion's command post, causing it to explode; and at the end there's a helicopter chase thrown in for the sole purpose of blowing one of them up. It also wanted to give this Western element, from the showdowns in the abandoned town squares, to the actual showing of High Noon at a local drive-in where our heroes confronted Brion and his men. Whatever it was, Nightmare at Noon is just a ridiculous pile of silliness that gave me and my friends tons of enjoyment.

Wings was good in this. He always had his mouth open, even when he wasn't speaking. I don't know what that was. I couldn't tell if he thought it was a cool acting effect, or if that's what he does in real life. I've seen a bunch of his films, and I can't remember if he did that in all of them. I'll be looking for it now. I'm debating going back and watching all his other ones just to see if he never closes his mouth. Has anyone else ever noticed this?

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Bo Hopkins tries to throw us a curve here with his classic type-cast as a sheriff. We think, because he's a hitchhiker, there's no way he could be a sheriff too, but we're wrong. He was a sheriff before he ran off to chase a dude who raped a girl or something and was let off due to a technicality. After George Kennedy dies, Bo slips into his most comfortable role, and takes over as this town's sheriff. How did this guy get into doing sheriffs? It seems like that's all he does. Even when he's not doing them, he is.

Brion. Brion, Brion, Brion. Let me count the ways. Does it get any more amazing? This is the second film I've seen him in as an albino (the first: Virtual Assassin aka Cyberjack, with DTVC Hall of Famer Michael Dudikoff), and I must say, it never gets old. Brion never gets old. It's a shame he passed in 1999, because he still had so much more to give us. How many more albinos could he have played? We'll never know.

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I dug George Kennedy in this film. I'll always remember him fondly for those Breath Assure commercials. Is that stuff still around? There was an MTV Music Awards about ten years ago where Jim Carey thought he'd be funny and say about not kissing Will Smith: "One word, two syllables: Breath Assure." I was with a bunch of people, and I only knew a few of them, and when I said: "Breath Assure is two words, three syllables, you moron!" no one laughed, and some of them looked at me funny. I learned a valuable lesson that day: no one likes a Grammar Hammer. Anyway, I digress.

Yeah, this is a good deal. The copy I got from Netflix was listed as the "2003 version". I'm serious. I'm not sure who the pretentious bastard was that decided a crummy zombie film from the late eighties needed to be updated, but it happened. I've never seen the older version, so I can't say which is better. Hopefully they're both hot. This is a fun romp and worth the cash. Give it a spin.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100261/

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