Jaws 3 – Shark week

With this being 4th of July week and all the tar balls from the BP spill scaring people away from the beaches, I thought I would spend the week covering other reasons to scare you away from the beaches. This is Shark week. Jaws 3 aka Jaws 3-D is currently available on instant Netflix.

PASS: Jaws 3 (1983) – Rated PG.

“When a baby great white shark accidentally finds its way into a Florida theme park, the manager (Louis Gossett Jr.) decides to keep it as the centerpiece for a new exhibit. But he did not anticipate that its angry mother would come looking for her child. As the deadly creature wreaks havoc, park employee Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid) works with his brother and girlfriend to destroy it — with the assistance of two dolphins named Cindi and Sandi.”

“But tell me, how do you contain the sharks in this part of the lagoon? “

Jaws 3 begins, as all 3-D movies must, with an object floating in front of the audience. In this case after a little underwater photography, we have a severed fish head in front of us. Is this supposed to have been a shark attack? If so it is not a very impressive one. We then segue into a 3-D credit for the movie.

This was the first 3D movie that I saw in the theater. We arrived late (normally I am freakishly early) and had to sit all the way to one side. The 3D effect did not work very well at all from our angle so this was hard to enjoy on that level.

Of course it is 2D on Netflix but I still get a kick out of watching the 3D money shots. My younger daughter and I have a game of shouting out “3D” when they occur. Here some of them are particularly bad – an early severed limb comes to mind.

The writing credits are pretty funny. “Suggested by Jaws by Peter Benchley” – yeah in the sense that there is a shark involved albeit one down in Florida this time. Also the Brody children from Jaws are grown up here and the heroes.

The listed writers are Carl Gottlieb, who worked on the first two Jaws movies, and the marvelous Richard Matheson. That would seem to be a good combination but if you go to imdb, they show that Guerdon Trueblood and Michael Kane also as writers and in writing a script, too many cooks do spoil the broth.

Dennis Quaid has an early starring role (with his Enemy Mine co-star no less) here as Mike Brody and is certainly engaging enough. John Putch plays the other Jaws holdover, Sean Brody.

Bess Armstrong plays Kathryn Morgan who thankfully is not just a love interest but actually seems to be more in charge here than anyone else. Unfortunately it is her bright idea to have a great white in captivity. Doubly unfortunately it is a baby great white. I wonder where momma could be?

Well since we have a strong gal to go with our hero Mike, I wonder if we could wrangle one up for little brother Sean. Say I have an idea – lets hook him up with this cute waterskier who is doing her first movie. Lea Thompson makes her film debut as Kelly Ann Bukowski.

Louis Gossett Jr. plays the pompous park owner Calvin Bouchard but is not given much to do besides mug in the first 2/3 and look worried in the last third. Simon MacCorkindale and P.H. Moriarty add a little acting muscle as hunters of a sort.

The premise (giant shark attacks underwater park) would have been wonderful for an over the top B movie (think Deep Blue Sea). Unfortunately they choose to go the serious route with this. The shark attacking the park does not even begin until there is only a half hour left in the movie.

As with Jaws 2, the final half hour is a delight – only here it is a pure cornball delight. Hint: when you have a ridiculous premise, do not spend 2/3 of your screentime setting it up – just run with it.

This movie could have been a cheese classic but it only rates a pass as you have to sit through over an hour of exposition before getting to the good stuff. Hint: when making a third film in a franchise, you do not really need much exposition.

Also another note: if everyone in the movie is an acknowledged expert in their field then perhaps the average age of these people should be over 30. See the ridiculous remake of The Andromeda Strain for the worst case scenario of this.

Okay once again the instant watch transfer is pixelated in spots. I guess this means that all 4 films were transferred lazily. It is a shame because normally their transfers are spot-on and the only fault I find is where they have chosen a full-screen transfer.

People Watch: Dan Blasko, one of the dolphin/whale wranglers, actually gets to play Dan in the movie.

Jaws 2 – Shark week

With this being 4th of July week and all the tar balls from the BP spill scaring people away from the beaches, I thought I would spend the week covering other reasons to scare you away from the beaches. This is Shark week. Jaws 2 is currently available on instant Netflix.

PASS: Jaws 2 (1978) – Rated PG.

“Just as Amity Island begins to rebound from a spate of deadly shark attacks, a pair of missing divers and a boating accident lead police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) to suspect the worst, but his warnings go ignored by the mayor (Murray Hamilton). Sure enough, another great white lurks in the local waters, this time with its sights set on a group of sailing teens — including Brodys two sons. Jeannot Szwarc directs this blockbuster sequel.”

“I think we have got another shark problem.”

Well in the true fashion of sequels, they immediately up the body count. Instead of a lone swimmer, we have a pair of divers biting it in the first scene. The mysterious beach discovery this time are whale remains instead of human (to show that the Jaws 2 shark is bigger and better than Bruce from Jaws).

Having only one leg of the Roy Scheider / Robert Shaw / Richard Dreyfuss triangle really hurts Jaws 2. They should have spent the money to bring in at least one more name actor. Instead they spend a fair amount of the running time focusing on the Brody kids as well as some related teens.

Roy Scheider is just fine here as Sheriff Brody although his performance is clearly inferior to the same role he played in Jaws. They appeared to try and beef up the role of Ellen Brody for Lorraine Gary although she does not get to fight the shark of course.

Murray Hamilton reprises his role as Mayor Vaughn. He was just fine as the worried-about-the-wrong-things Mayor in Jaws but his role here does not ring true. He acts like the events of the previous film did not occur. It really reminds me of the characters in 24 who apparently are incapable of learning anything from what happened in previous seasons.

To pad out the running time between shark attacks and before the final confrontation, the writers just give us Sheriff Brody as the boy who cried wolf. The script works fine for hitting the numbers but loses most of the magic that Jaws had. It is co-written by Carl Gottlieb (Jaws) and Howard Sackler. There was also apparently a mob subplot that was jettisoned partway through filming.

I guess the long and the short of it is if you particularly like shark attack movies and have seen Jaws then this one is not bad. It just is not especially good either and you will find your self twiddling your thumbs while waiting for the next attack.

The final half hour is pretty action packed and if the whole film had been like the last half hour, this would easily have rated a watch recommendation.

Another note: like Jaws (but not nearly as bad), this transfer is pixelated in spots. Is someone getting lazy?

People Watch: A young Keith Gordon plays one of the teens, Doug Fetterman. He would later specialize in geeks and go on to star in Dressed to Kill and Christine.


Jaws – Shark week

With this being 4th of July week and all the tar balls from the BP spill scaring people away from the beaches, I thought I would spend the week covering other reasons to scare you away from the beaches. This is Shark week. Jaws is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Jaws (1975) – Rated PG.

“Director Steven Spielberg virtually invented the summer blockbuster with this white-knuckle adaptation of Peter Benchleys novel about an insatiable great white shark that terrorizes the townspeople of fictional Amity Island. John Williams legendary score punctuates the tension as the police chief (Roy Scheider), an oceanographer (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) seek to destroy the bloodthirsty beast.”

“Martin, it is all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, “Huh? What?” You yell shark, we have got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.”

It is hard to know where to begin with this classic. Jaws set off the summer blockbuster craze. While it would be eclipsed shortly by Star Wars, Jaws deserves props for being there first.

Steven Spielberg had shown glimpses of being a master filmmaker with his made-for-TV movie Duel and the flawed but interesting Sugarland Express. Here he knocks it out of the park and rockets to stardom.

He uses some wonderful tricks. The scene where Sheriff Brody witnesses a shark attack on the beach and the camera telescopes his horrified face is wonderful. A later scene where our heroes go out to sea on the Orca is brilliant – it is shot through a window and framed by a pair of shark jaws.

A large part of the credit for the incredible suspense generated in the film has to be given to Bruce (named after Spielbergs lawyer) the mechanical shark. Bruce was constantly malfunctioning so Spielberg had to shoot most of the attack scenes in various point-of-view styles without showing the shark. Spielberg handles it masterfully, sometimes with camera as killer, sometimes just using other props – as when the holiday roast bait does not exactly work as planned.

The score by John Williams is amazing. Even today everyone recognizes the central Jaws theme from just a few notes. Quite rightfully Williams won his second of five Oscars for this. His other wins were for Fiddler on the Roof, Schindlers List, E.T. and Star Wars.

Besides the technical wizardry of Spielberg, the John Williams score and the realistic monster hunt story by Peter Benchley, the other main reason that Jaws works so well is the incredible interplay between the three main leads.

Roy Scheider, a very underrated actor, plays Sheriff Brody, a man literally out of his depth. Brody is an island sheriff who is afraid of the water. While Scheider does a wonderful job and this is the role he is most famous for, his best roles are actually in Sorcerer and All That Jazz.

Robert Duvall turned down the role of Brody. Charlton Heston wanted the role but was rejected (wisely, as his performance would likely have ruined the careful balancing of the three main leads). Heston was so furious that he vowed never to work with Spielberg and in fact turned Spielberg down for a role in 1941.

Richard Dreyfuss plays marine biologist Matt Hooper. Not only does he also do a wonderful job but his offscreen feuding with co-star Robert Shaw adds a lot of wonderful tension in the relationship between Hooper and Quint. Between this, Close Encounters, and The Goodbye Girl, Dreyfuss would likely have been a major star if he had not self-destructed.

Other actors considered for the role of Hooper included Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Jon Voight and Jan-Michael Vincent.

Our third hero is the crusty old sea captain Quint, played (yes again wonderfully) by Robert Shaw. While he does steal most of the scenes he is in, Shaw also interacts beautifully with Scheider and Dreyfuss.

Spielberg wanted Sterling Hayden for the role but Hayden was in such trouble with the IRS that he was unable to take the role. Lee Marvin was offered the role but turned it down. Ironically, like Hayden, Shaw was also in trouble with the IRS and fled the country after filming was complete.

Lorraine Gary plays the only female lead, Ellen Brody. She is quite good but is not given too much to do, especially as the affair between Hooper and Ellen in the book is dropped in the movie script. She does have the virtue of being in more of the Jaws movies than any other actor.

While I normally refrain from commenting on the ending, I will say that reportedly the changes to the ending from the book so disturbed Peter Benchley that he had to be banned from the set. I appreciate the literary spin Benchley put on his ending but the one Spielberg filmed is quite thrilling.

I wholeheartedly recommend this classic film for the three of you who have not seen it.

Unfortunately I am not sure what is up but the Netflix transfer was very pixelated for the opening scene and for many other scenes. The picture quality on the rest of the film is quite good but every time you start to appreciate the clarity *boom* another pixelated scene. This is one of the worst transfers and certainly the most inconsistent I have seen on Netflix.

Trivia: The name of Bad Hat Harry productions, producers of the wildly successful House TV series, comes from a line early on in Jaws.

People Watch: Steven Spielberg himself can be heard as an Amity Lifestation Worker and scriptwriter Carl Gottlieb plays Meadows. Author Peter Benchley has a cameo as a reporter on the beach.

Lazy Weekend Musings – I am back

Yay! The weather here has cooled enough so that my computer/work room is bearable. I am backdating this and will try to double or triple up on reviews for the next few days to catch up.

We are getting air conditioning at the end of the week which is the real reason to celebrate. While we are not doing the full-on home theater room this year, we are repainting this coming weekend and I finally get “George”, my dual home theater seat with built-in cupholders and center console (presumably to hold remotes).

This week being 4th of July week and with the BP spill scaring everyone off the beaches, I will be featuring shark week – another reason to stay out of the water.

Lazy Weekend Musings – ZOMG It is HOT!

Okay we have found quite a flaw in our plan. We have so many devices stuffed into one small room that our computer room is regularly over 100 degrees in the afternoon even with the windows open and a fan running. Owing to a few unexpected expenses in June, we have to wait until July to get a room air conditioner.

I expect this means that I will take this coming week off. This is just as well as for some reason our Morris Broadband connection has been exceptionally crappy lately. It was completely down most of last Monday as well as Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. While it has been running since then, it has not been running well – like trying to squeeze a watermelon through a garden hose.

I tried to watch the current episode of HD Nation and hysterically it would only play in the lowest resolution available. That kind of defeated the point but I recommend this weekly online show.

Netflix now broadcasts much of their HD content to PCs now so yay for that.

Roku has updated their software to allow you to play movies that are not in your queue. You can now browse to your hearts content though not as efficiently as on a PC.

The Woods – Bruce Campbell week

This is Bruce Campbell week. The Woods is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: The Woods (2005) – Rated R.

“Set in 1965 in the buttoned-up world of an all-girls private boarding school, this horrifying tale features the acting chops of Oscar nominee Patricia Clarkson, who appears as the chilly headmistress. Based on the nightmarish visions she has been having since her arrival, new student Heather (Agnes Bruckner) knows that the woods surrounding the school are not normal. And when her classmates begin disappearing, she has no choice but to investigate.”

“We have a certain way of doing things here. And you better find out what that way is or there will be serious consequences.”

I like that Lucky McKee has a distinctive voice in modern horror. I have not seen his first feature, the direct to video All Cheerleaders Die. His second feature May was a wonderfully oddball film inspired by Frankenstein which details the trials of a lonely lady slowly coming unglued.

The Woods is not as good as May, perhaps because it is somewhat more mainstream. Still the David Ross script, being set in an isolated girls school in the 60s, automatically precludes it from real mainstream. I really enjoy the slow burn story it tells.

Bruce Campbell has a rare serious role here and, in spite of the prominent billing, is not in the movie that much. He plays Joe Fasulo, the father of our protagonist Heather.

Agnes Bruckner capably plays our tough girl, Heather. Lauren Birkell shines as wallflower Marcy. Rachel Nichols has fun as the evil schoolgirl Samantha but not as much fun as when she plays the green-skinned Orion cadet on the Star Trek reboot.

Patricia Clarkson steals the show from the young ladies as a wonderfully creepy headmistress.

I love the soundtrack. It features not one, not two, but three Lesley Gore songs – “Young and Foolish”, “You Dont Own Me”, and “He Said Goodbye.” – one of which is done to a nice montage implying schoolgirl lesbianism (no not the titillating exploitative kind – get your mind out of the gutter). My guess is that it would have featured more if there had been a bigger budget.

It turns out that the two things I look for in a horror movie are either a good monster (Alien, Predator, The Host) or a good story (The Sixth Sense, The Descent, Frailty). The Woods has a good story and a lot of good atmosphere. The movie is creepy without being scary (which means I could show it to my wife).

This film is not without faults (the third act is weaker than the first two) but is worth a watch recommendation. I really like a lot of places the story went to and was thankful that it was not a cookie cutter Hollywood movie. I would not want to spoil any of it but I especially liked a scene where Heather pulls back a blanket.

Trivia: The filming of this made M. Night Shyamalan change the name of his film from The Woods to The Village even though this film did not actually get released until two years after The Village.

People Watch: Frequent Lucky McKee star Angela Bettis (May, Sick Girl) is the Voice in the Woods.

My Name is Bruce – Bruce Campbell week

This is Bruce Campbell week. My Name is Bruce is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: My Name is Bruce (2006) – Rated R.

“Mistaken for the character he plays in the Evil Dead films, B-movie icon Bruce Campbell (playing himself) is kidnapped by the citizens of a small mining town who want him to save them from a vengeful demon. At first, Campbell thinks it is all part of an elaborate prank. But when he realizes the demon is in fact real, he comes face to face with a second terrifying enemy — his own fear. Ted Raimi co-stars in this tongue-in-cheek comedy.”

Bruce Campbell tackles the rough assignment of directing Bruce Campbell playing Bruce Campbell in this meta-comedy. I will say that no one plays Bruce Campbell better than Bruce Campbell.

Ted Raimi goes back into Evil Dead mode here and plays several characters. He is Mills Toddner, Wing, and the sign painter. He is delightful here in each of the roles.

Grace Thorsen is our female lead, Kelly Graham. She is a down-to-earth mom of the biggest Bruce Campbell fan on the planet (excepting of course Bruce himself). Taylor Sharpe is the aforementioned fan, Jeff and boy is his room loaded with memorabilia.

There is so much Campbell trivia packed into this movie.

Ellen Sandweiss plays Cheryl here and played Cheryl in the Evil Dead.

Dan Hicks plays dirt farmer here and was Jake in Evil Dead II.

Timothy Patrick Quill, who plays Frank, was the blacksmith in Army of Darkness (aka Evil Dead III).

Mark Verheiden, nerd extraordinaire, packs his script with plenty of Campbell references as well. Between name-dropping (Sam Raimi) and phrase borrowing (groovy, boomstick, gimme some sugar baby), there are plenty of in-jokes for die hard Campbell fans.

DVDs of Maniac Cop, Man with the Screaming Brain, Alien Apocalypse, Bubba Ho-Tep as well as some fake Bruce Campbell movies are featured. There of course is a chainsaw featured in a very humorous scene.

My Name is Bruce is in-joke after in-joke and operating on that level, it works fabulously. Unfortunately it delves a lot into some really bad toilet humor. There are unfunny jokes about urine, drinking from a dog bowl, etc. Even though Verheiden is the only one credited with the script, it seems as if two people wrote it.

The other thing wrong with this film is that it is essentially a horror remake of Galaxy Quest and Galaxy Quest was near perfect in script, cast and execution.

Still there are a lot of very funny moments in the film, many of which are not in-jokes. I give this a watch recommendation but if you are a Bruce Campbell fan, this is definitely a must-watch.

People Watch: Associate producer and graphic artist Craig Sanborn cameos as Bowling Shemp.

Man with the Screaming Brain – Bruce Campbell week

This is Bruce Campbell week. Man with the Screaming Brain is currently available on instant Netflix.

PASS: Man with the Screaming Brain (2005) – NR – Not rated.

“B-movie king Bruce Campbell stars in this bizarre tale of murder and mad scientists. Wealthy industrialist William Cole (Campbell) heads to Eastern Europe for a tax shelter. After a maid murders Cole and ex-KGB operative Yegor, a mad scientist merges part of Yegors brain into Coles. Complete opposites, Cole and Yegor fight for control of the body they now share. The odd couple cannot agree on anything except hunting down the murderous maid.”

You must forget to remember, before you remember to forget.”

I will say that I did like that right off the bat the film begins “Somewhere in Bulgaria…”. This is such a nice change from all the Syfy movies that are filmed in and around there yet claim to double for the Amazon, the Appalachians, etc.

Bruce Campbell not only stars, directs and co-produces but also wrote the story and script. His story is a real hodge-podge updating of The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971) and The Thing with Two Heads (1972). The problem is that this had already been done by Carl Reiner in 1984 with All of Me (among others).

Since William Cole (Bruce Campbell)  is eventually going to become the Man with the Screaming Brain, Campbell plays the role quite straight. He is really wonderful as the Ugly American. Later he gets to show off his slapstick chops when he only controls half of his body.

Stacy Keach guest stars here as our Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov. He has such wonderful lines of dialogue as “her heart is kaputski” and just gruffs it through, putting up with the antics of his assistant. He does seem to have a fun time with some of his scenes.

Ted Raimi has a much larger role here than normal as Pavel, the assistant to Dr. Ivanov. He uses it to be so goofy that I doubt that he is using the script. While I normally get a big kick out of any role I see Ted Raimi in, he could have used a bit of direction here. He has a few cute moments where he acts like Ygor but he could have used a bit of reigning in here.

Tamara Gorski and Antoinette Byron play our femme fatales here. Gorski is Tatoya, a murderous gypsy maid. Byron is Jackie Cole, the shrewish wife of our titular character.

This is a very silly movie to watch if you are in the right frame of mind. It is certainly better than most of the CGI drek on Syfy. Unfortunately that is not quite enough to recommend it. I found this amusing but I did not do much actual laughing.

So again another film to watch if you are a big fan of Bruce Campbell. Otherwise give it a pass.

I will note that the picture quality for this seemed quite fuzzy at times. As this is not normal for Netflix, I was unsure if it was them or my cable provider.

Also Ted Raimi raps over the end credits for those who are interested.

People Watch: Neda Sokolovska, who played Aida in Alien Apocalypse, plays a waitress here. Vladimir Kolev, who played Fisherman Bob in Alien Apocalypse, is Yegor the taxi driver here.

Alien Apocalypse – Bruce Campbell week

This is Bruce Campbell week. Alien Apocalypse is currently available on instant Netflix.

PASS: Alien Apocalypse (2005) – NR – Not rated.

“Returning from a mission to outer space, astronaut-physician Ivan Hood (Bruce Campbell of The Evil Dead) and his lovely assistant, Kelly (Renee OConnor), are greeted with an awful reality: Earth has been invaded by slave-driving aliens who use humans as their work force. Helping the enslaved population organize and rise against their captors, Ivan and Kelly incite a revolution that puts the evil extraterrestrials on notice.”

“Ungh… you said you are a doctor. You are supposed to heal people.” – “I am. Your stupidity is terminal. And now you are cured.”

Alien Apocalypse begins by stealing a page from Planet of the Apes: Four astronauts land on a future Earth that is no longer run by humans. It does not take long for that number to be reduced to two.

Aside: how can you remember the Probe mission that went up 40 years ago and only be 35 years old? Did they not read their own script?

Josh Becker wrote and directed this made-for-SyFy movie. His previous credits included 9 episodes of Xena Warrior Princess so it is no surprise to see Autolycus (Bruce Campbell) and Gabrielle (Renee OConnor) as the stars. His writing could use a lot of work but as a director, he keeps things moving fairly briskly.

Aside: this movie has some of the worst fake beards I have ever seen. One might almost call them pythonesque.

Bruce Campbell headlines again here playing Dr. Ivan Hood. His character is as self-centered as most of his are. He basically plays an intergalactic chiropractor since the only evidence of his healing ability is that he can crack the backs of those with poor posture. One of Campbells strengths as an actor is that he can visibly have fun with even bad material. The material here is not terrible but it certainly is not very good either.

Aside: okay the aliens invaded twenty years ago and everyone has forgotten what a handshake is? Even when many of the cast are well over 20?

Renee OConnor plays the female lead and other surviving astronaut, Kelly.She appears to be having fun although she is not given that much to do and the best lines go to Campbell. Strangely they sideline her for a good portion of the movie and substitute a generic attractive young blonde in a leather bikini for her. My guess is that they only had her for a few days of shooting (or perhaps she refused to wear that outfit :P).

Aside: as mentioned the aliens invaded twenty years ago, yet still everyone has forgotten what a doctor is?

Veteran genre actor Peter Jason (Mortal Kombat, Prince of Darkness, Arachnophobia) plays the President but his screentime is exceptionally brief.

Aside: keep in mind when you see the President that according to the story he was President over twenty years ago. Apparently we elected another young ”un as twenty years later he appears to be the right age for a President.

I could go on with aside after aside but I think you get the picture. This movie is goofy and stupid. I cannot really recommend this except for die hard Bruce Campbell, Renee OConnor, or Xena fans.

Aside: if they have bows and arrows and modern guns with plenty of ammunition, why do they only ever use the bows and arrows?

People Watch: The role of Kelly was initially offered to Xena (Lucy Lawless) who turned it down before it was offered to her sidekick Gabrielle (Renee OConnor).

Bubba Ho-Tep – Bruce Campbell week

This is Bruce Campbell week. Bubba Ho-Tep is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Bubba Ho-Tep (2003)  – Rated R for language, some sexual content, and brief violent images.

“In this black comedy, Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) is an elderly resident in an East Texas rest home who switched identities with an impersonator years before his “death” and missed his chance to switch himself back. When the King teams up with a fellow resident (Ossie Davis) who thinks he is John F. Kennedy, the two old codgers prepare to battle an evil Egyptian entity that has chosen their long-term care facility as its happy hunting grounds.”

Elvis – My God, man. How long have I been here? Am I really awake, or am I just dreamin I am awake? How could my plans have gone so wrong?”

First a word or two of warning. This movie is profane. Really profane. This makes the target audience a bit tricky to judge as the main characters are two elderly men in a nursing home who spend much of their time graphically discussing how old age has betrayed them, often in reference to their naughty bits.

The elderly might be offended by the constant stream of profanity. I know I would not show this to my mother or my in-laws. On the other hand how is it to hold the interest of young people when there are essentially no young people in it?

While this is primarily a horror comedy, it also has a lot to say about our mistreatment of the elderly. The convalescence home is of course a misnomer – it is clear that even before the horror starts, no one is leaving the home alive.

I really like how Coscarelli portrayed the home as a place where people are just sitting around waiting to die. Elvis spends most of the movie in bed. Coscarelli has a lot of lovely time-lapse photography showing things from the invalid point of view.

The concept, from a short story by Joe R. Lansdale, is brilliant. Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy team up to fight evil beings in a nursing home. Don Coscarelli wrote the script and as I have not read the short story, I am not sure which one of them to credit more with the lunacy that occurs.

Don Coscarelli is best known as the creator of the Phantasm series of movies. He directs here in addition to writing the screenplay. He does quite well especially given his restrictions on using actual Elvis material.

Bruce Campbell does a wonderful job as Elvis. His wry, self-deprecating delivery is so spot-on that Coscarelli gives him a lot of voice-over material in addition to his dialogue. Next to Ash, Elvis is the best character Campbell has brought to life.

Ossie Davis provides fine support as a very dignified if pigmentally-challenged JFK. Ella Joyce has a scene-stealing role as the nurse. Coscarelli regular Reggie Bannister (Phantasm I-IV) has a small role here as the rest home administrator.

Fun fact: Not one piece of Elvis music is heard in the film. Not only that but the Elvis movie marathon does not feature Elvis. On the DVD audio commentary, Coscarelli mentions that playing just one Elvis song would have cost half his budget.

As a favor to Coscarelli and his micro-budget, noted special effects group KNB did the effects for just the cost of materials.

As long as you do not mind the profanity, I recommend this fun off-the-wall film.

People Watch: Although it has not yet been filmed, Coscarelli has written the script for Bubba Nosferatu.