Tag Archives: Martin Kove

Joe Begos’s VFW

They don’t make em like this anymore, and that goes for both the protagonists of Joe Begos’s VFW and the film itself. Coated in 16mm grain, dripping with gorgeous, driving 80’s style synth music and packed wall to wall with excessively gory, blood soaked extreme violence, this film feels like the old school right to the bone. Set in a particularly nasty urban hell where the opioid crisis has reached a breaking point, a group of tough, battle hardened Nam and Korea veterans fight til the death to protect their local VFW hall and drinking spot from a gang of evil marauding drug psychos out to get their stolen product back. It’s a barebones siege thriller infused with schlock from one angle but there’s a deeper level, care and attention paid to each of these characters, wonderful dialogue that has the scent of improvisation and super game performances from these familiar faces of the VHS golden age of genre filmmaking. Stephen Lang (Tombstone, The Hard Way, Manhunter) heads up the pack as ringleader and Fred is joined by beloved familiar faces including blaxploitation icon Fred Williamson (From Dusk Till Dawn, MASH, Vigilante), Martin Kove (The Karate Kid, Rambo II, Death Race 2000), George Wendt (Fletch, House, Space Truckers), William Sadler (Die Hard 2, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, The Shawshank Redemption) and David Patrick Kelly (Twin Peaks, 48 Hrs, The Crow). These guys are totems of a bygone era in terms of themselves and the characters they get to play. They all got their start in the industry back around the 70’s and 80’ when the age of VHS was just getting underway, and as such represent a time when you’d walk into a video store and see the horror/action sections adorned with countless titles just like this one. In the film itself they play these veterans with a strong sense of brotherhood, camaraderie and community, the kind I imagine you could only get from serving together or simply knowing what it’s like to be in the shit. The film shows a reverence for these old dudes as they fiercely rage against the dying of the light and lament a large portion of the younger generation lost to drugs. It’s also just a kickass fucking horror fest with retro sensibilities, a Wild Bunch meets John Carpenter with a dash of Panos Cosmatos kinda vibe. My favourite film so far this year and highly recommended, provided this aesthetic is your thing.

-Nate Hill

B Movie Glory: Seven Mummies

Seven Mummies is so bad it plays like something that From Dusk Till Dawn shat out along the highway. There’s not even one mummy in the thing, let alone seven, instead it’s a dull, shoddily acted piece of bargain bin garbage and the plastic used to make DVD copies would have been put to better use elsewhere. It concerns a bus full of convicts who escape somewhere in the remote southwest, and head for the Mexican border. On the way they stumble across Aztec treasure that has some vague curse, and soon an even vaguer evil is after them all, but none of it makes much sense. Danny Trejo is in it as a mysterious old weirdo called Apache (never mind that he’s so obviously, visibly Mexican), who sits on a dilapidated desert porch and ominously laughs to himself while staring out at the horizon for at least a whole scene. Seriously. No actual lines at all, just laughing and staring, it’s so odd. The one saving grace is veteran villain actor Billy Drago as the evil ghost of an old west outlaw who shows up to cackle and terrorize everyone in a classically hammy bit of theatricality, it’s always great to see him. Other than that there’s really no signs of life to this one, from crappy low rent CGI monsters to lazy filmmaking all round. You’re better off pulling up a chair next to Trejo on that dusty porch and joining him as he chuckles at the tumbleweed dumpster fire of a film he agreed to d just for a few bucks. Amazingly though, it’s still better than that Tom Cruise Mummy flick from last year. Ugh.

-Nate Hill