I hadn't heard anything good about this film, and its obscurity didn't lend much credence to the theory that it was any good, but it seemed impossible to me that coming from Joel & Ethan Coen, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell, that it could be totally lacking in quality.
And indeed it isn't. I'm surprised this film isn't more popular in the cult world. There's plenty of trademark Coen Bros. dialogue, Sam Raimi crazy camera moves (indeed, in this sense this film is more entertaining than his recent sedate mainstream work), and Bruce Campbell charming cheesiness. I wish someone would release this out-of-print film on DVD so more genre fans would have the opportunity to check it out.
I guess one problem people might have with the film is that they're trying to watch it as a straight comedy. From this perspective, I guess the film is at best uneven. But the film's purpose is as much to pay tribute to vanished 30s and 40s movie conventions as it is to make you laugh. This is fun, because while the Coen Bros. keep returning to that time period in their movies, this is the only time they really play with the *film* style of that period -- their other views on the past are filmed through a modern lens (figuratively and literally). Likewise for Raimi, who hasn't had much other opportunity for this beyond some "Three Stooges" schtick in the "Evil Dead" series. The only other film I've seen that pulls off this kind of tribute is Richard Elfman's brilliantly quirky "Forbidden Zone" (which admittedly does it better). Both films, for instance, feature the classic wipe consisting of a black circle that closes in on the shot, ceasing contraction for a moment to frame an actor's face as they do a final take, and then contracting the rest of the way to a black screen.
I guess one thing that might have lifted this movie to greater heights would have been if Bruce Campbell had been allowed to play leading man Vic as was originally intended (but disallowed by the studio, per Bruce's excellent autobiography "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor"). While Reed Birney competently plays the fumbling pipsqueak (and actually brings a more poindexterish quality to the role than Bruce physically would have been able to), he just doesn't have the charisma to really pull you in. Oh well -- Renaldo "The Heel" is a classic Campbell character, so there's some consolation there.
A parting note is that Arlon Ober, a primary composer of the brilliant score to the "Robotech" series, provides a wonderful score here as well, one of only 11 he's done, per IMDb. Almost worth seeking this out just for his great, fun score (the ending credits song is especially smile-inducing).
Comedy / Crime / Horror
Comedy / Crime / Horror
A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric chair.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN