This week, I’m handing DVDs Nuts over to one of the last great letter-writers, Wes Pierce. Pierce has been a regular reader and a colorful commentator/critic/friend of OW for years. Occasionally, he throws some film recommendations my way, and they’re always a pleasure. Wes, this one’s for you. Thank you, as always, for your thoughts. – JS
“13 is a good example of how Hollywood, if it’s not careful, can take a great movie and remake it into a dud. 13 is a remake of a great, low-budget French movie called 13 Tzmetti. 13 sat on a shelf for a year, even though it stars Mickey Rourke, who made one of the greatest comebacks in movie history with The Wrestler.”
“This horror movie from 1978 is really an uptown Friday the 13th, which came out the year before. Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the Who, even dies like Kevin Bacon died in Friday the 13th. That scene is one of the movie’s highlights, along with a scene of a bare-assed super-hunk Sam Elliot. Ironically, the legacy of The Legacy is the bestselling paperback book it inspired.”
“When it was released in 1981, Venom got a lot of attention because of its cast, which is a top-drawer cast that includes Sterling Hayden (who starred in movies opposite Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe) and Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed and Susan George as would-be kidnappers. Venom, a British-made thriller, even got released in the U.S. by MGM, but after that it got lost. I think the reason why Venom got lost is because MGM sold Venom as a horror movie, which it isn’t. Even the trailer for Venom was made to look like a slasher movie, showing George being attacked by something – that something is a black mamba snake that not only out-villains Kinski and Reed, but it thwarts the kidnapping. So, really, Venom belongs in the “heist gone wrong” genre, along with The Asphalt Jungle (which, ironically, also stars Hayden). Kinski has one of the best death scenes ever in Venom. From what I heard, there was plenty of venom on the set: Director Tobe Hooper (1974’s cult classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) went all the way across the big pond to direct Venom but was replaced by Piers Haggard. And Kinski and Reed hated each other.”
“The gayest non-gay movie ever made. The late Rex Harrison and Eli Wallach [note: actually, Richard Harris and Robert Duvall] play two men who become friends in Miami. Wrestling Ernest Hemingway also stars Sandra Bullock (long before the Academy Award and Jesse James.) [Harris’] character becomes jealous of Bullock’s character! One day, when I was at the long-gone N. Orange Ave. gym, I overheard two bodybuilders talking about how much they liked it!”
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