Well, this was a marked improvement over the 20 Movies for $5.00 box o’ fun. Sometimes you do get what you pay for.
The $5.00 box depended more on old public domain films and current ultra low-budget indie movies. This set relied more on TV movies and movies with more professional production values, even if they were low-budget. And a few cheapos.
Best of Show
Night of the Living Dead – Released to the public because of a legal blunder, just like OJ — so not really fair, but I don’t make the rules. No, wait, I do make the rules. It holds up.
Runner Ups – Or is it Runners Up like Courts Martial? And why have there been so many Popes Paul? There are a shocking number of watchable (and dare I say re-watchable) films in this package.
Zombie Dearest – Probably the 2nd best film in the collection, and 100% different in tone from NOLD. I’m not usually one for humor / horror hybrids, but this one maintained a good balance and had some good performances to make it work.
Hide and Creep – I dreaded this one just based on the hacky title. But I was completely wrong. Even funnier than Zombie Dearest, full of quirky characters and funny lines.
Last of the Living – Another of the dreaded horror / comedy mash-ups that are consistently proving my pre-conceived notions to be wrong. Like Hide and Creep, it is a low-key funny film, very well played by the cast.
Another Kind – Not a funny movie. Not a lot happens — it reminded me of Blair Witch or Willow Creek, but not hand-held. Just a fairly low-key depiction of what might realistically happen given some extraordinary event.
Salvage – A low-budget gem — or at least cubic zirconia. A pretty serious piece that you think you have figured out, but then it takes you somewhere that I don’t remember seeing before. I’m not 100% sure it plays by its own rules, but it is close enough and clever enough to be fun.
MIdnight’s Child – Pretty good for what it was — a TV movie version of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle genre (but not bad enough for the later TV movie category). No big surprises, but carried off by some good performances, a hot au pair, and the hypnotic sight of Peggy Olsen as a little girl.
They Coulda Been a Contender
Hurt – Could have been tightened up into a much better movie given the quality of the cast.
The Cellar Door – Potentially interesting, if trite, concept sunk by rampant stupidity of the characters and some poor directorial choices.
Live! From Death Row – I wanted to like this one for the cast and idea, but it just came off as cheap and cheesy. If it had been done seriously as a 100% live news feed from the prison, they might have achieved something like the great Special Bulletin. They did not.
I am Omega – Sure, a rip-off but from great source material. Sadly it was a rip-off in title only and was doomed by some deadly performances.
Behind Your Eyes – Strange sensation in that I remember the movie, and yet I don’t remember it. I re-read the post, I the remember scenes, but nothing resonates with me. That can’t be a good sign.
The Wind – The last movie in both Collections have evoked mixed emotions in me and were probably rewarded with a artificially high rating. This one also had the bad fortune of following several good movies. It wasn’t a good movie, but I can remember liking a few images, so it gets a break.
Lifetime Theater – Having never actually seen a Lifetime movie, I will just say that there was potential in most of these had they not muted all the elements that would have made them stand out. It’s not even a matter of violence or gore — more energetic direction, an effective score . . . they might have had a decent TV movie. They can’t all be Duel, but some could have been watchable.
Bay Coven – Lifetime version of Rosemary’s Baby.
Adrift – Lifetime version of Dead Calm. But not bad.
Nightmare at Bitter Creek – Lifetime version of The Descent (but above ground).
No One Could Protect Her – An amalgam of every Lifetime woman-in-danger stalker movie ever made. Right down to the title.
Not Ready for Prime Time
Bleeding Rose – Possibly the most amateurish film in the collection. Poor acting from most of the performers, and almost completely lacking in likable characters.
Ominous – In the first scene, the realtor calls the house a “piece of shit.” I can’t quite go that far in describing the film, but it is pretty much a nothing. When your best shot is a down-blouse of the female lead cleaning the floor, that is not a good sign.
The Cry – A stunning lack non-performance from the talented (based on other projects) lead actor and some awful camera-work ruin any chance this film could have had.