Rupert Pupkin Speaks: VHS Gems Guest Post: Kevin Clarke ""

Thursday, October 4, 2012

VHS Gems Guest Post: Kevin Clarke

I'm a guy who works at Scarecrow Video in Seattle and loves HOWARD THE DUCK and the POLICE ACADEMY movies, despite knowing better. On my time away from Scarecrow I'm one half of the almost award-winning comedy group/film-making team The Entertainment Show (www.entertainmentshow.tumblr.com). We've made a feature length post-apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy comedy, STEEL OF FIRE WARRIORS 2010 A.D. and an epic six episode "TV" series, ADVENTURE BUDDIES, both of which can be seen in (most of) their entirety at funnyordie.com/clarkethevogt. I also played the part of "VHS" in Scarecrow Video's production of VIVA VHS! in 2009.


LAST NIGHT AT THE ALAMO (1983)
The late Eagle Pennell's masterful, meandering, closely observed slice-of-life, that perfectly captures the loud, drunk, brawling, final night of the titular Texas dive bar. Starring Sonny Carl Davis as "Cowboy", who embodys the dying/false myth of the western hero, and the late, great Lou Perryman, who spends most of the movie screaming at his wife over the phone. What little plot there is involves Cowboy's half-assed attempts to save the bar from closure. Somber, funny and full of more working class humanity than just about any movie before or since (a possible exception being Pennell's WHOLE SHOOTIN' MATCH). The spiritual forefather to Richard Linklater's Texas "day in the life" movies SLACKER and DAZED AND CONFUSED. 

 

NINJA III: THE DOMINATION (1984)
"Only a ninja can destroy a ninja."
Best first ten minutes of any movie. So many ninja kills. A magic sword. Aerobics. Magic video game. Lasers. Pretty much the perfect ninja movie.



EXHAUSTED: JOHN C. HOLMES, THE REAL STORY (1981)
This documentary about porn legend John Holmes was obviously supposed to be merely a vanity project, an advertisement for how awesome John Holmes was, but it ends up being more sad, fascinating and sobering than the filmmaker's intended. In between scenes from his movies and the glowing reviews from his co-stars, a clearly coked-up Holmes is interviewed while he creepily frolics with equally coked-up porn starlets and opens up about being bullied in high-school for his famous giant penis. The inspiration for Amber Waves' Dirk Diggler documentary in BOOGIE NIGHTS. 



STREETWISE (1984)
One of the greatest and most heartbreaking documentaries of all time, about a handful of homeless teens in Seattle in the early '80s. Poignant and quietly observant of its young, troubled subjects without becoming become preachy or didactic.



NIGHT WARNING (aka BUTCHER, BAKER, NIGHTMARE MAKER) (1982)
Plays like a graphic, deranged TV movie of the week/twist on PSYCHO; little Billy's parents are killed in a strange car accident, leaving him in the care of his weird Aunt Cheryl. Now Billy's all grown up, but Aunt Cheryl won't let him go, no matter what! Highlighted by a totally unhinged, psychotic performance by Susan Tyrrell as Aunt Cheryl. Also features Bo Svenson as a bizarrely homophobic police detective.



THE COMPLEAT AL (1985)
Growing up as a "Weird Al" fanatic, nothing was more mind-blowing than discovering this hilarious mockumentary at the local video store. The scene where he describes his vision for the Dare To Be Stupid music video remains one of my favorite comedy bits of all time. Also, this is where I learned that Japanese capsule hotels were a thing, and the reason I had to stay in one when I was in Tokyo. 





TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: WE WISH YOU A TURTLE CHRISTMAS (1994)
The most terrifying Christmas present you will ever give yourself. Over the last few years this monstrosity has become traditional holiday viewing for me. One of the gifts the Turtles give Splinter is four manhole covers. And Michelangelo sings an opera about New York.



CRIME WAVE (aka THE BIG CRIMEWAVE) (1985)
Paul Corupe has already sung the praises of this film on this website, and I don't have much to add, but wanted to reiterate what an original masterpiece it is. One of the few movies I can legitimately describe as unlike anything else you've seen.

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