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Low Down (2014) I have to say that sometimes I am a sucker for a well designed DVD cover. Oscilloscope has released some fine films in the past and so after reading the back of the Low Down DVD, I picked it up. I know I sound like a dumb ass when I say this, but had no idea this was a bio pic until after I was finished with the film. I had no idea who Joe Albany was. In any case, the film is told from the view point of the young daughter (based on her memoirs) and follows the father and daughter from the years 1974 to about 1978. While a brilliant musician, he had a heroin addiction which of course affected everything in his life. The narrative is odd but you can follow it easy and it’s cast of actors keeps you interested in this not very unique story. Loved the rough cinematography, feels like you are in the dirt of ’70s Hollywood. It gets the FIEND’s recommend as a solid blind buy.

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Don’t Bother To Knock (1952) On my further quest to watch more Film Noir and seeing more Monroe films, I took out two birds by popping this in the DVD player. Monroe stars a young woman with an unknown past who becomes a babysitter for one evening in a nice NYC hotel. The evening is very eventful as she tries on the wife’s clothing and jewelry, invites Richard Widmark over for a drink (who is having his own problems with Anne Bancroft, downstairs singing in the hotel lounge) and dealing with the nosy kid. Trust me, Monroe portrays “crazy” very well in this film and if it was filmed without the restrictions of the day, it would have been an even darker picture. A MEGA Fiend recommend.

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The Devil’s Hand (2014) In a Quaker-like community of New Bethlehem, 6 girls are born of the 6 day of the 6th month…are they the evil prophecy as predicted and will one become THE DEVIL’S HAND!? Yes, its another movie about the devil coming home to roost but it’s above average in it’s execution. It has solid acting by Colm Meaney (pretty much why I bought it) and Rufus Sewell though the well worn story and way too clean production (looks like a Lifetime movie), holds it back. Have to say, I liked the Giallo elements and loved the ending. You think they would go with an ending that matched the lackluster production, they didn’t cheese out like Kevin Smith did at the end of Red State (2010). Ha ha.

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Sheba, Baby (1975) Finally was able to see this film after seeing some of her best known pictures like Coffy, Foxy Brown and Friday Foster. Sheba follows the same well worn territory as some of those. She is a private investigator who father’s loan company is under siege by an unknown force. As she hunts for clues, Sheba is unstoppable. While I love Pan Grier, this is definitely the weakest of her AIP films for me. The ending action scene is hilarious (and not meant to be….really) and whitey gets his in the end. If you love this style of film as I do, see it but nothing new for sure.

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Angel (1984) Of all the films discussed in this post, Angel is the only one I have seen before and have seen it MANY times. It is an all-time exploitation film classic. I recently picked up the budget DVD on Image, which also has the first two sequels on it, because I never seen Angel widescreen before. One thing I didn’t know it that the star Donna Wilkes was 25 when she made this………………..she was playing 15 and looks it! While she is not naked in it (that probably would have crossed the line due to the sleazy subject matter), there is plenty of nudity of “high school” girls and street hookers. The greatest thing about this film is the characters, all are vividly fully realized and show the 1980’s Hollywood Blvd. life well. Oh did I mention there is also a serial killer taking out the local hookers and Angel takes it upon herself to kill him. Will she succeed? You need to see for yourself as the FIEND put this one highest on the highest list!

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Red, White and Blue (2010) I have been wanting to see this film ever since it was discussed on the Dark Discussions podcast years ago. I did have a hard time locating one for a decent price as it was hard to find. I really don’t want to discuss much about the film because you need to go in as blind as possible to soak in the intelligent film making here. You know from frame one that nothing good is going to happen. It’s bleak, anytime a character has even the hint of happiness, it’s gets snatched away quickly. Smiles are fleeting. A script that blends the characters well with each other and great camerawork too. Possibly a 10 out of 10 for the FIEND as everything here was perfect. Still thinking about it a week after I saw it, it stays with you.

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