Sunday, November 13, 2016

a couple of eighties classics


the optical disc, look you see, may well be diminishing in popularity. it remains my favourite way of watching films, though. why? well, that's something i have rambled on about before, but in short it doesn't require things like internet connections, your service provider having licensed it or, if you are of a mind to pursue such ways, you finding a less than legitimate copy or "stream" of it.

to this end recently i purchased five blu ray discs for the reasonable sum of £30 off of HMV, and i have taken to watching them as and when time permits. as has become something of a standard with books, here's a look at a couple of the ones i have watched.

the above shows off the covers of the films in what my new camera add on thing assures me is "cga" mode. this, i take to understand, means that at some point in the 80s computers were issued in such a way that their display had a smart purple hue to them. nice one; may those days return.

yes, as you can see clearly in the above, the two 80s classics what i watched are or indeed were Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and The Blues Brothers. so if you have read this far and are not particularly interested in either title, i guess now would be the time to wander off to another corner of the internet. you would be missing out, though.

to start off with the somewhat more socially acceptable of these two would involve commencing with The Blues Brothers. that's what i shall do, then, and yes of course there's a look at the blu ray cover in Commodore 64 mode.

my thoughts about writing something on the film The Blues Brothers would be that surely everything possible to say about it has been said many, many times over. it is a film, after all, closer to being 40 years old than it is 30. but what the hey, i love it.

plot? in light of the above, seriously? ok. the film starts with Elwood fetching his brother Jake off of prison, where he is being released after serving time for an unspecified crime. they go to visit the orphanage where they grew up, only to be informed by the nun in charge that it's to be closed down unless $5,000 in taxes can be raised. the two brothers are then tasked, a mission from God if you like, to legally obtain the money, which leads to them, to the distress of the previous members, putting the band back together. quite a few obstacles get in the way, and certain people are not keen for them to succeed.

on release The Blues Brothers was effectively a disaster. and yes, that picture of Elwood and Jake is indeed taken in Gameboy mode. the film cost waaaaaay more than was budgeted for to make, reviews were dismal and the box office less than acceptable. and yet here we are now discussing it as, in my opinion and the view of many others, one of the funniest films ever to be made.

it is probably one of the greatest examples of a film being allowed to find an audience over time. home video, along with TV broadcasts, caught the attention more than the cinema release did, and throughout the decades it's become loved. i never saw it in a cinema, and in truth i don't think i would have liked it if i did. it's just perfect entertainment to be enjoyed on TV whilst laid on the couch.

i don't believe films are allowed to grow, develop and audience and be loved like The Blues Brothers was. not any more, sadly. now it feels like huge budgets and advertising blitzes are thrown at them, and whether they are a success or not they come to be discarded, if you like forgotten about, quite quickly. this is an era of instant gratification, for better or worse.

picking a favourite bit off of The Blues Brothers is not an easy ask. if forced, i would say the above would be it. the bit where they hijack a gig, claiming to be a country and western (both kinds of music) band called The Good Ole Boys is comedy gold. this is in particular true when they say sorry for forgetting all of their greatest hits.

if circumstance or chance means that you've not been afforded a chance to watch The Blues Brothers then, and this is perhaps predictable, i would say it's a most splendid way to spend two or so hours of your life.

extras on the blu ray? a few. the disc features both the original theatrical version and the "special edition" with all the deleted scenes shoved in. there's some stories and tales from the making of the film, but a rather sanitised version of it. legend has it that making this film was the single greatest festival of sex and drugs and booze and rock and roll ever to happen.

i think it's the case that, arguably regrettably so, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers isn't quite so fondly remembered as The Blues Brothers. also, it probably did not attract the audience over the years that it perhaps might have. oh well, there's no accounting for taste, etc.

yes, you know that you want to see the cover for this film in VIC 20 mode and i know that you want to see the cover in VIC 20 mode. so here it is, with a focus on red.

plot? you did see the name and you are asking this? ok, i shall play along. an ancient cult what has for centuries (don't ask how) worshipped the power and the beauty of the chainsaw are collecting sacrificial victims for some sort of smart chainsaw related event. the means of doing this is via sending ladies of ill repute off to ensnare gentlemen and chainsaw them up. a private detective stumbles upon this and investigates.

well, that's more or less the plot, or else it is something like that.

needless to say, this is a motion picture that one could not see in a legally certified way in the UK during the 80s. oh no. this was one of many "video nasties" that was either banned by the BBFC or otherwise proposed to have cut to ribbons, lest a British audience see nudies or violence. now, though, in this apparently more enlightened age, one can obtain it on a shiny disc all uncut, and further with some most splendid extras.

with the film being barely 80 minutes in length (goodness knows how short a BBFC cut version would have been) there's some smart stuff added. the "horror workout" video is in particular pleasing; being full as it is of some nudies and undead type zombie people. oh yes, it's a legit workout video. sort of like that famous Jane Fonda one, only better.

is Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers any good? no, not at all. it is, however, one i've wanted to see ever since me and my mates read all about it in Fangoria back in the 1980s. if i recall right a version of the film turned up in SA whilst i was there, but with the name shortened to Hollywood Hookers. i never watched, then, as it just didn't seem right.

my favourite part off of the film? undoubtedly the bit where the two partially dressed ladies have a boss chainsaw duel.

Gunnar Hansen, who sadly passed away a year ago this weekend, is in this film. he was the original Leatherface in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. he wasn't in the second one, that one that had Dennis Hopper in and which S'Express sampled liberally off of for Hey, Music Lover!, though. i know this because i can recall reading in Fangoria how sad Gunnar was not to be asked to be in the second, and how thrilled he was when the chainsaws didn't work properly on that film.

so how much of a rush should you, dear reader, be in to find a copy of Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and watch it? well, if like me you're rather partial to films that feature chainsaws, be gone with you; rush forth and secure a copy. if senseless (and poorly choreographed) violence, nudies and the misuse of power tools are for some reason not your thing then it's probably best you give this one a miss.

that's the back of them two blu ray discs in something called Tandy mode. i am vaguely aware of the Tandy brand in respect of electronics, as point of fact i might have had an electronic chess game off of my Dad featuring that company name. i don't remember chess on it being quite so red, though.

of the five blu ray discs off of HMV, other than these two i already watched Videodrome. day that i got them for that one, as it's amazing. the other two are Escape From New York and Wild At Heart. i am sure at some point i will find the free time to sit and watch both again.

i can, as ever, but hope that all of the above has been of some interest or use to someone somewhere!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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