Wednesday, October 30, 2013


This week, I meet with Tom Reinert and we discuss David A. Prior's most recent film and sequel to the cult action film, Deadly Prey.

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, or you can listen here:
Check out this episode!

Thanks for listening
-J Moret

Monday, October 28, 2013

Interview: TED PRIOR

As we begin the last week of David A. Prior Month, here I am proud to post my interview with the extremely charismatic Ted Prior.  Ted was extremely gracious with his time, as our conversation veers from Sledgehammer to exotic dancing, body building and finally Deadliest Prey.

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, or you can listen here:

Thanks for listening!

Friday, October 25, 2013


Directed by David A. Prior
95 mins. Color.
VHS from Republic Pictures

Made eleven years after his debut, Prior had headed into films with larger budgets.  Here, he's able to get a few decent character actors and the money-draw: Pamela Anderson.

The Set-Up:
Mitch is bad at dating.  He brings rich girl, and daughter to the mayor (Charles Napier, whom you know from Rambo: First Blood Part II!), Donna to play miniature golf.  Now, I've played miniature golf and thought it was pretty fun.  But, Donna disagrees.
 So, she goes upstairs and decides to take a shower.  Little does she know that a sideburn-clad giallo-inspired killer awaits with a power cable to strangle her when she gets out.  No doubt there's more to this story.

Stacy Keach, in the role of a lifetime, takes a disc from the killer and then double-crosses him!

Mace, (David Keith aka the low-rent Patrick Swayze) is a parole officer hunting down a potential John and pays a prostitue (Pamela Anderson) to wear her clothes while he runs the John down.  Many jokes are made about his frilly shirt.  He arrives home to find that Donna is dead.  He throws his glass at the television set and cries.  Apparently, he has raw emotion from their breakup.

He awakens to find the mayor (we now hear ex-chief of police) in his home.  Mitch is out on bail and the mayor wants Mace on it.  In case you were wondering, Mace used to be a member of the police force.
"You're still a loose cannon and that's what I need!"

We then see the deputy mayor, who is STACY KEACH! Oh, God you are in for it now, mayor!
 the plot continues to thicken.  Mitch finds a suicide note in his own handwriting in the freezer...  and then his house blows up!  A chase between Mace and Mitch ensues to the soundtrack of a blues guitar solo.  Dirt bike chase scene results in dirt bike crash scene in a mall.

Keith has a shootout and meets up with Sarah (Anderson) again, who is still upset that he stole her clothes.  Sarah drives while yelling awkwardly and Mace hangs onto the hood.  Now, Sarah is implicated and stuck with Mace.  There is no knowing where this relationship could go from here.  Oh, and it goes there in about thirty seconds, in a burnt out building.

Mace gets framed and Mitch and Sarah hang out a lot.  Cool sax music plays.  Mace fights a bunch of dudes who try to hold him up, and Mitch spin-kicks a douche.
s9XKsFGMXkhWVpnzpup7uv3x33J.jpg (185×278)
not Swayze

Did I mention that every time Mace drives into a scene the first half-riff of "bad to the bone" plays?

Also, Pamela Anderson doesn't even count as a character.  She is only there to look good and occasionally be in sex scenes while bluegrass plays with various characters.  But, that's one of the main reasons this is one of David Prior's more famous films.  It's also the reason to have Pamela Anderson.  If he wanted a fantastic performance, he would've gone for someone else.

The Evaluation:
Raw Justice is definitely not one of David A. Prior's best films.  But, like most of his films, it delivers where it needs to.  It moves quickly, it has all the right incomprehensible beats in all the right places and it's fun.  Personally I like to see him work with a little less.  Once he's got this much cash, it seems that he takes things a little more seriously and it tones down the crazy.  That being said, if you were looking for a cheap direct to video action film, this one does just as well as any.  The action sequences are funny (spin-kicks make any scene worth watching) and the lazy acting is standard Prior goodness.

The thing with Prior is that he's not concerned with making great films.  He's interested in a very specific view of the world.  One that doesn't concern itself with plausibility or prestige.  He's interested in fun and in pushing out successful films.  This seems to be the ultimate representation of this.

Set Yourself Up:
  • Pick up burgers and beer and put them in a paper bag to serve.
  • A week or so before you watch it, you should start growing out some stubble, and dress all in black
The VHS:
Pretty standard.  You get a trailer for some Scott Glen movie and for something called Texas.

- J. Moret

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Directed by David A. Prior
84 Mins.  Color.
VHS from Action International Pictures

"Two Sadistic Killers... One Chance for Survival!"

Remember when Snowboarding was new and the X-Games didn't exist?  (Do the X-Games still exist?)  Cool dudes wore neon orange headbands and pink snow pants with sunglasses while doing half-pipes.  George H.W. Bush was president and the Cold War was coming to an end.

Also popular in 1990: bank robberies. Add to that excellent dynamic a weird looking dude with long hair and an M-16 (there are no M-16s), and you get WHITE FURY!

On the Prior continuum, this lies in his middle period.  Let's call it his silver age.  I think everything from Sledgehammer to Rapid Fire is golden.  Unconcerned with legitimacy or stardom, Prior was cranking out extremely low budget excitement at the exhausting pace of three per year.  And, at that pace, it seems that Prior was working completely on instinct. Everything feels fresh, underplanned, and always on the brink of complete disaster.  They are an absolute joy to watch.

Because of the success of those years, he managed to get David Carradine for Future Force and then later Pamela Anderson for Raw Justice.  Those star vehicles do seem to have been successful, but I'm not sure that the price to profit ratio was quite as high as with the no or low-namers that he was working with before.  And, as the video market collapsed, so too would Prior's prolific pace.

But, 1990 was a wild year for Prior. He also released Future Zone, Invasion Force, Final Sanction and Lock N' Load.  The very idea of shooting a movie every two months seems to provide no room for introspection or second-guessing.  This is the very definition of guerilla-filmmaking.

The Rundown:
Danny uses the power of his ponytail and green neon scarf to win a sweet snowboard tournament.  To celebrate, his best friend (Greg), his girlfriend (Christine) and Greg's new girlfriend who wears tiny skirts in the snow (Leslie) go ride snowmobiles out to a weekend at a cabin.  There are some wild antics, such as making out and charades.

Meanwhile, Marcus, Tyler and Marvin rob a bank and then gun down all the patrons inside while laughing.  However, Marvin has decided he wants out afterward.  Marcus and Tyler aren't okay with that and Marvin gets a boot-knife to the spine.

Enter hard-boiled bounty hunter Martin Towers (played by Douglas Harter, better known as Craft Services from pretty much every Prior movie up to this one), who is on the hunt for Tyler and Marcus.  Then exit Towers until later...

Marcus and Tyler happen upon the cabin and are big time creepers.  Luckily, Leslie is a gold-digger and likes the idea of being with a bank robber.  Really creepy kissing scene to commence.  Greg is all bummed out and stuff.  He tries to regain his honor and gets punched in the mouth.

Danny manages to sneak away and hide the money, putting Marcus and Tyler in an awkward situation.   Danny hatches a half-cocked plan, gunfight commences, lacking muzzle flare.  Then we get a snowmobile snowboard mega-chase while Danny miraculously has a giant orange stocking cap (so the stuntman can wear scarf plus hat and be unrecognizable) to a sweet speed metal soundtrack.

This is one of the few times I've heard Prior use metal, and it's great.  I wish he did it a little more.  Generally, he uses less distinct synthesizer music that give a much lighter tone, but I thought this made this scene super fun.  Oh, and the band that plays the sweet metal is called PAPSMEAR.  Yep.  You know that's solid.

This scene has a fantastic payoff that I won't spoil for you.  But, I'll say this, it was totally incredible.  Afterward, Towers and Danny sit down to coffee and have a chat, man to man.  There's more, but I'll stop there so you can see it for yourself.

"You're a good shot, kid."
"I'm not a kid.  I'm a man."
The Evaluation:
Definitely one of the most enjoyable of Prior's later career.  The self-contained story, speed metal, brilliant acting by Tyler (Deke Anderson) and the character of Martin Towers made this super enjoyable.  Not sure why this doesn't get more play, it gives you exactly what you want. Crap like Aspen Extreme (a personal childhood favorite, but totally sucks), and Hot Dog are on best of lists for skiing / snowboarding, but no White Fury?

There are so many reasons to like this film.  It is absolutely forgettable, but I think that is its purpose.

Set Yourself Up:
  • Put on snow Pants, a neon scarf & hat, and a confused look.
  • Coors.  Tap the Rockies.

The Goods:
You get a trailer for a swimsuit movie (is that a genre I didn't know about?) aptly called Swimsuit.
And a trailer for outstanding looking, Soultaker starring Joe Estevez. - this line is in the trailer: "Led Zeppelin was wrong man, there is no stairway to heaven."  Absolutely Goddamn right.

-J. Moret

Monday, October 21, 2013


Directed by David A. Prior
85 mins.  Color.
VHS from Action International Pictures

So, apparently the general's daughter has been kidnapped by terrorists.   Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the general's daughter?

The year is 1989.  George H.W. Bush is in the first year of his term, the P.O.W.M.I.A. craze has passed (sort of), and the Iran-Contra affair has brought a small amount of attention to Latin America.  The video store boom is in it's heyday.

At this point, Prior is in the midst of his craziest time period of making three to four films a year.  During our conversation, he told me he wrote this film over the course of one evening.  It is pure subconscious genre cliche territory.  Entirely recognizable and in typical Prior fashion: 100% enjoyable.

The film is a journey into the strange psyche of American action film culture.  All the tropes are there in truncated forms.  They are heroes who returned home unrecognizable and now only know one way of life: Kicking Bad Guy Ass.

Ted Prior:
"This country doesn't give a damn about us."

The General:
 "That doesn't matter, because you love this country... Your whole life you've only done one thing well, and that's fighting... Washington is not gonna do a damn thing about this."

Prior regulars, William Zipp and Ted Prior, journey from trial to trial.  It begins with a nightmare from Vietnam where Zipp totally stabs a dude through the heart with a tree-branch.

Now that they're home, they are down on their luck, and have been given another eviction notice.  So, they do what any red-blooded hero would... go to the bar.  While there, a lady "the merchandise" is brought in and laid out on a pool table.  After tearing open her shirt, King Kong Bundy does motor-boat on her tummy.

Zipp and Prior don't put up with that, and proceed to head-butt and break bottles over these scumbags.  The General splits a baseball bat over Bundy's head and then informs them that "Americans are getting slaughtered" in Central America.

Hot babe, Rosa, approaches three drunken American soldiers, who are big-time empirialist butt-holes.  They give Rosa a bunch of crap, to which she replies, "Kiss this, American pig," and slits one's throat before cutting down the other two with a machine gun.

The General's daughter goes all Patty Hearst and gets wrapped up with Rosa's terrorist group.

Needless to say, there's lots of fighting, punching, spin-kicks, shooting and lots of great "torture" scenes.  - Another trope of Prior's, Americans being tortured and then getting their revenge.

The Evaluation:
Although the film has little new in the way of ideas or themes, Prior never ceases to surprise.  Yes, the naive liberal daughter is taken hostage by the terrorists and needs to be rescued by the heroic vigilantes.  But, what's refreshing and fun in this one is the terrorists, who seem to have no motives.  Its the action itself that's surprising.  I'm always entertained by the jumping, punching and explosions.  They are captured in such a way, that there is no brutality.  It's just fun.
Likewise, the exteriors are so recognizable from Prior's other films.  Tin sheets make up all the buildings and the foliage is all Alabama all the time.
And, anytime I can watch Ted Prior, I'm on board.

Before you're assaulted:
  • Beer.
  • Tank-tops.
The tape:
The quality of my tape was pretty great.  Picked it up very cheap on Amazon used.  I'm always a little shocked by the AIP unadorned label on the actual tape.  It's just text of the FBI warning.  Awesome.  Unfortunately, you get no trailers for Rapid Fire or anything sweet like that.

-J. Moret

JUNGLE.JPG (315×229)
See this country here?  Not America.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Directed by David A. Prior
85 mins.  Color.
VHS from Action International Pictures

Below is my audio review of THE FINAL SANCTION.

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or you can listen here:

- J. Moret

Friday, October 18, 2013


Director: David A. Prior
Echo Bridge DVD (2007)

Is this Italian?
As at least one of you may know, I received my Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. I had intentions of becoming a Criminal Investigator. Certain things happened in my life that prevented me from following through with that goal.

In a world like Future Force's. I wouldn't have given up on my dreams of glory so quickly. The world of Future Force is screwed up big time. Crime is out of control.

The movie starts out explaining that in 1991 (a clever year to use as the "Future" but not have to spend money on "Future" sets), the world is badly ridden with crime, the government has gone to privatized police forces. Civilian Operated Police Systems - AKA C.O.P.S. operate like crews of bounty hunters that wear matching denim vests and leather gauntlets.

Tucker, is the old badass C.O.P.S. dude that scores all the big money jobs. The young fools on the force try testing him, but they can't top his sweet skills or Robot arm that fires chain lightning.

Of Course, they can all get along while hanging out at the DMZ, a titty bar that plays synth xylophone driven funk tunes. They especially dig Tucker when he shoots the TV when lame ass reporters diss C.O.P.S. on TV.

C.O.P.S. Mogul, Jason Adams (Prior regular and Tattoo Assassin's (!!!) Alum, William Zipp) is coming up against heat from a particularly super lame ass reporter named Marion Simms. So he has his bald headed man servant put a huge bounty on her head. Tucker's nerdy ass man servant that sits in a computer all day radios Tucker to inform him of the huge bounty. Tucker drives his kickass Jeep Cherokee (similar to the one John Moret drove in High School) and hunts down Marion's sweet Chevy Cavalier Convertible.

Carradine doesn't kill Simms because:

#1: She's a babe.
#2: She bites him
#3: Some other C.O.P.S. get orders "From the Top" to overtake Tucker.

Naturally Tucker Shoots dominant lightning at them and realizes something isn't right. He's framed for murder for ganking one of Adams' goons. He teams up with "The Newscaster Broad" and takes on Adams and the C.O.P.S. organization.

The plot is mostly illogical. Tucker nabs the reporter within minutes of her bounty being posted. Adams' goal is to get her from prying in C.O.P.S. affairs. IF Adams hadn't have interfered, he would have had his way.

The nerd keeps reminding Tucker to use the remote control for the arm. When he does. Awesome happens.

Like many of Prior's movies, Future Force simply takes a lot of common cinema trends from the period, jumbles them together into something that would please the video rental crowd and sell well on the international action market. Future Force mixes Robocop, Dirty Harry, The Terminator, Captain Power, and a 1989, straight to video budget. While one can likely make comparisons to many other films, Prior managed to make a film that in no way copies the above mentioned. Sure many people see these films as "cheesy" or "bad" but to hell with it, they're entertaining. That's why we watch movies in the first place. And in this movie David Carradine punches at least two dudes in the balls.

Also worth noting, The pot bellied, limping, Canned High Life swigging, Carradine is somehow undeniable as a screen presence. Carradine had charisma and charm for his entire career. He's been in quite a few terrible movies, but he always shines. It may also be that Carradine has a sweet robotic arm that shoots explosive lightning.
This is the DVD I have. Lawnmower Man?

The DVD-

The DVD I have is pretty well junk. It's a two disc set that includes Future Force and the sequel Future Zone. It looks slightly better than a VHS tape. Each disc has the movie and Chapter selections. I can't complain too much though, they did release this movie. For that I am grateful.

Set Yourself Up:

- Make a robot arm - Tin Foil is fine.
- Get a case of canned High Life.
-Wrap a line of ham and cheese sandwiches in to your robot arm.
- Cook them with lighting.

Awesome Special Thanks:

Miller Beer

- M. McSlam

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Directed by David A. Prior
Color.  88 mins.
Sony VHS

Action International Pictures brings us yet another killer Prior picture.  This is Prior's fifth film, and it's a playful riff on The Dirty Dozen... with Women!   Prior moved on from shooting on tape to 35mm with Killer Workout.  He followed that up with shooting Deadly Prey and Mankillers back to back for the newly formed Action International Pictures.  He uses many of the same actors and sets as before.  But, unlike his earlier endeavors this is straight exploitation fare. Women in Cages turns into a revenge film.

It's tough to be a woman.  All that hair and those tight pants.  Also, you're either a commodity, a criminal or a hero.  You're also disposable, even though you're expensive.

The Rundown:

Johnny (William Zipp!) meets up with Manetti.  Johnny wants to see "the stuff."  NOW.  96% pure, first class stuff.  In return Manetti gets three adult human females.  But, Johnny doesn't keep his end of the bargain, as he knows Manetti is really an undercover Fed.

It's then revealed that Mickland (Johnny) was the best the Feds had. But, he's gone to the other side.  They need McKenna.  "She knows Johnny better than he knows himself and she's just as crazy."

Flashback, McKenna and Mickland are doing a bust.  She wears a sweater tube top and Mickland a white suit.  They are obviously looking pretty good.  An inane car chase / shootout scene ensues.  Mickland executes the criminal in the passenger seat and then orders McKenna to drop the gun.  Double-crossed, McKenna says it like it is.
"You used me."
"Your breaking my heart, baby."
"You Bastard."'
"Dumb bitch."

Mickland then shoots McKenna in the chest, and she wakes from a nightmare.  Then we cut to seeing her in a flannel shirt rolled-up 80s style and skimpy khaki shorts.  The Feds are paying McKenna a visit.  It's about Mickland.  He's back.

The feds tell her to assemble a team.  But, she wants women.  The feds are obviously skeptical.  Women can't do this kind of work, but McKenna won't accept that.  "They're more effective in the field.  You told me that.  The last thing Mickland would expect is a team of women."  Why?  Not really sure.  But where could she find twelve women for this kind of job?  Jail, of course.  But, they lack discipline and are forced to do lots of running and jumping jacks to really great 80s tunes.  The standout being "Stand Tough," which is totally sweet.

Lots of running.  Tire obstacles.  impromptu hurdles.  Of course some of their shirts are a bit loose and their shorts a bit too short. And apparently there is a shortage of bras at camp.  During grenade throwing training a renegade grenade lands underneath the trouble-maker, Rosetti, and McKenna pushes her to the side.
"You saved my life.  Why?"
"Because that's what being a team is all about.  Remember that."

Mickland works in selling white flesh on the black market, and he's not very logical.  He pays a dude named Jake a whole bunch of dough for three girls and then kills one of them because she doesn't want to make out with him.  He also fights the big dude from Night Wars, whom I'm assuming they've discovered is a Federal agent.  Mickland cuts him with a chainsaw.  Now, Mickland knows that they're coming in their cool cut-off shorts and ratty t-shirts / tank-tops.

"Sorry, baby.  You just don't make the grade."

They're ambushed!  Fighting!  Shooting!

The Finale is pretty incredible.  You think it's over, then it's not, then it is, then a ROCKET LAUNCHER!

The Evaluation:
Prior is at his best when he's got tons of characters to play off of.  In the same vein as Sledgehammer or Kill Zone, there are so many characters that each one seems expendable, and could be killed at any time.  The setting looks like the backyards of suburban America.  The aspect ratio is 4:3, to fit most TVs.  It's a joy the entire time.  Any time you think it might get dull, amazing tunes liven it up.  Just when you think you know what's coming, exactly what you expects happens.  There are stabbings, explosions, and lots of gunfire.

Exploitation films like this are such a political mixed bag, as well.  Every hero in the film is a woman.  They are all strong and can take care of themselves.  Prior threatens a few times, but never actually has any nudity in the film.  In reality, the sex trade continues to be an even bigger problem now than it even was then, and it's nice to see women cutting down those bastards.  (you even get to see Jake stabbed in the penis!)  And yet, their outfits seem to undermine all of this.  So great.

Set Yourself Up:
  • Short shorts and low cut army green t-shirts are a must.
  • Survival food is a good idea.  - MREs, dried fruit, beef jerky
  • 12 bottles of Duvel.  Empowering for all sexes.
The Goods:
The VHS is solid.  VHS quality is always superior when something was actually meant to be distributed only for home video.  It's also the only format you can own this baby in.  They aren't messing around, either.  No trailers, but a sweet screen at the end with a phone number so you can order more home videos directly from Sony.  The cover is the sweetness and you get TWO taglines!
"The fury of 12 desperate women has been unleashed... MANKILLERS!  No man can stop them!"
"They're beautiful... They're deadly... They're on a rampage!"

-J. Moret

enjoy this clip:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Audio Commentary: NIGHT WARS

Directed by David Prior
90 Minutes.  Color.
VHS from Sony Video

Cue up your copy of Night Wars (or find it on YoutTube), push play and listen to our rambling take on NIGHT WARS.

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or you can listen here:

-J. Moret

Friday, October 11, 2013


Directed by David A. Prior
Color.  88 mins.
Sony VHS release

Rambo: First Blood Part II was a big deal.  Released in 1985, it made hundreds of millions of dollars both domestically and internationally.  Americans had lost their first war in history (if you don't count the war of 1812).  The film was a major part of regaining the American narrative of victory culture in the 1980s.  It was about winning the war this time.  It was about liberal Washington bureaucrats not allowing the soldiers to win.  It was about Americans feeling pride again.

David A. Prior was greatly influenced by this shift.  You can see it in Deadly Prey, Kill Zone and Operation War Zone.  However, by 1988 Reagan was leaving office and George H.W. Bush was taking over.  The narrative of regaining that victory culture was getting more complicated.  Prior wanted to make the war movies of his youth and include new dimensions.
He creatively combines Rambo, post tramautic stress disorder and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The result: Night Wars!

Night Wars isn't a pilthy little forgettable film.  It's incredibly entertaining, while being insightful at the same time.  Where Sylvestor Stallone and Chuck Norris were doing their best to win back America's pride by pretending that we can go back and win the war that got away, Prior is pointing out that it's just that, a dream.  Sure, American soldiers get to go back, get their friend they left behind, and beat those commie bastards.  But, at the end, it's all in their dreams.

The Rundown:

McGregor is a douche (and an incredible actor).  He's working with Charlie and he likes to torment and torture American POWs.  Specifically Trent Matthews and Jim Lowery.

Jim lies awake at night, back home in the states reliving the horrors of his time at war.  He sits in his apartment with a pistol in his mouth.  Trent is having similar nightmares and sees Johnny (their friend who was killed in the POW camp) driving a car.  My favorite character is the car salesman.  He is probably one of the greatest geniuses ever.  My only regret with this film is that there isn't more of him.

Flashbacks and nightmares merge, red moonlight and lots of explosions lighting the scenes.  Nightmare Vietnamese soldiers cannot be injured and Trent and Jim watch Johnny die again and again.  Trent wakes up with a real injury from his dream.  On his way to work, he hears Vietnamese propaganda over his car radio and McGregor shows up in his passenger seat.
"You were a traitor!"
"I still am!"
Trent steps out of the car to see he's in Vietnam again.  Johnny cries out for help.  Shit literally just got real, well, dreams really, but you get it.  In the dream a soldier puts his machete up to Trent's neck and he awakens with a cut across his neck.

Trent heads to Jim's house and Jim is dressed in fatigues looking like Bill S. Preston esquire.  They drink lots of beer and discuss how to deal with this "whole damned thing... We were all meant to come home together or all meant to stay there.  We've got to go back in."  A large number of alarm clocks are purchased and guns are procured.

The most amazing sequences in this film are when Jim and Trent are in the dream warzone.  The actual Vietnam sets are impressive for low budget fare, but what's really awesome are the scenes in Jim's apartment.  They lay on the couch or bed, together and yell and shoot guns.  It's totally incredible.  I'm not sure if we're meant to believe that the bullets they are shooting are dream bullets, but if not, I think Jim's apartment has hundreds of bullet holes in it.  I'm also pretty sure they killed any neighbors who live upstairs.

Trent goes home to buy supplies.  "Where's the checkbook?  WHERE?  HOW MUCH?  THERE'S NO TIME!"  They buy guns from a sweet arms dealer and then return to find Trent's friend who is a doctor with a sweet beard (Dan Haggerty, who was also apparently in the war with them).  He thinks they're crazy and puts them at gun point to go to the hospital with him.

Lots of cool yelling and then Haggerty puts them under with sleep medication.  Ah, hell no.  But, wait, Trent is also at home with his wife, getting busy.  That can't also be Trent.  WHAT'S HAPPENING?!  It's not really clear, but I believe dream McGregor is posing as Trent in the real world.  Yeah, I don't know either.  Awkward sex / rape / murder scene to follow.  Haggerty feels pretty bad.  Jim and Trent get their gear together, put on camouflage makeup, fatigues and go to sleep.  The finale gunfights are pretty superb.

"Let's do it!"

The Evaluation:
This is the thing about Night Wars, it's amazing.  The action is legitimately entertaining, and the acting is hilarious.  As I mentioned before, the scenes in the apartment are brilliant.  Sometimes I think of them when I'm just sitting there and start laughing.  The ideas behind it are really fun and creative.  What really makes it stand out, though, is the sheer enjoyment I get out of watching it.  The film quality has a great grain to it, and the music is an awesome blend of Casio keyboard presets and wailing electric guitars.  I had a smile on my face pretty much the whole time I was watching it.  There really isn't a dead moment in it.

And, Trent throws a rock at some dude's head and then runs over real fast to stab him a bunch of times.

Wake up!
  • Start this late at night when you're tired.  Put on fatigues, paint your face camouflauged and crawl into bed.
  • Royal Crown cola.  Just seems right.  And, probably Tab.  
  • I couldn't see what kind of beer Jim prefers, but I'm hoping it's something awesome like High Life.

The Goods:
Similar to the Mankillers VHS, this is bare bones, but perfect.  The cover is a totally sweet painting that I wish was on my basement wall.  On the back you get a picture of McGregor looking evil and Haggerty holding a pistol.
The tagline: "Where dreams turn to deadly nightmares... NIGHT WARS"

- J. Moret

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Directed by David A. Prior
85 mins.  Color.
Mom N Pop Video Shop edition.

Killer Workout is David Prior’s third film, and it’s hilarious. I am finding it incredibly difficult to not tell you this is the best movie ever made in the history of film, so I won’t even try. This is is the best movie in the history of film.

It’s his first film shot on 35mm, but the only way to watch it is on VHS, Youtube or buying it on DVD from “Mom N Pop Video Shop,” a little public domain operation that most likely transferred the movie from the VHS tape. They have a “David A. Prior Collection!”

With Killer Workout, Prior does away with plausibility, continuity, and characters. He goes right to the jugular: Girls doing aerobics in weird 80s leotards, the best fight scenes ever caught on film, a great synth-pop soundtrack, awkward nudity, and a serial killer with the worst weapon I’ve ever seen. But, that doesn’t mean it’s poorly made or fails to entertain. Prior was a young man learning the craft, and this gem captures the spontaneity of non-professionalism so perfectly.

The film opens with a young lady (we don't see her face) coming home to an answering machine message saying that she will be on the cover of Cosmopolitan, but that she needs to be tan because the agent said she would be. She ends up at Second Sun Tanning Salon to brown down. While inside the tanning bed, something goes horribly wrong and flames begin to shoot out. It’s pretty awesome. Years later Final Destination 3 would totally rip this off.

Rather than give you a full rundown of the film, here are three sequences in the middle that exemplify the reasons you should watch it.
Chuck (the amazing Ted Prior) is taking out garbage behind Rhonda’s Workout (where most of the movie takes place) and a Camaro aggressively stops right in front of him. Chuck angrily throws the garbage to the side and out steps Jimmy. This being their first time meeting, this is their exchange:

Chuck, “Hey, what’s your problem?”
Jimmy, “Problem? I don’t have a problem. New around here?”
Chuck, “First day. Who’s asking?"
Jimmy, “Someone who’s going to give you some real good advice. Stay away from Rhonda.”
Chuck, “Get out of here.”
Jimmy, “Stay away or I’ll take you apart, piece by piece.”

Then, Jimmy throws a punch, and they have a sweet fight. Jimmy attempts a spin kick (!) and Chuck shoves him against the wall. Meanwhile, busty babe Deb comes out in a pink leotard with a strange mesh covering and a MASSIVE golf visor. She watches for a moment and then asks Chuck if he’d like to go for a ride. He replies, “That’s the best offer I’ve had all day.”  - But, isn't he at work?

From there, they go to Deb’s house and sit in the front yard. Deb goes inside to change. Chuck picks up the phone (yep, they are outside on the front lawn and inexplicably there is a phone on a little table), he proceeds to dial:

Chuck, “Mr. Erickson, yep, I know all about that. I haven’t done that yet. Don’t worry about it. I gotta go.” Deb comes out in a robe.
Deb, “You aren’t leaving are you?”
Chuck, “I need to get back to Rhonda’s. I’ve got a lot to do.”
Deb, “You have a lot to do right here.”
Chuck, “Is that right?”
She then drops the robe to reveal she is now in a bikini and they make out. End scene.

Well, that's awkward.

Prior’s depiction of women here is absolutely appalling and hilarious. Every female shown in the film has the exact same body type (giant boobs, super small waist). The entire wardrobe for the women consists of workout leotards that show too much skin. In-between every wildly entertaining moment of dialogue (I am quite convinced there was no “script” per se, just a basic outline) there are close-ups of women doing aerobics, which are obviously very sexually suggestive. If twerking had been a thing then...

Somewhere in the back of his mind, I think Prior was attempting to make a point about how image obsessed the aerobics world is (this actually sort of comes through and isn’t just me trying to give him credit, but I won’t reveal how). However, what really comes across is that this dude loves watching hot ladies gyrate and thrust.

Most surprising thing about this movie:
Not very much nudity. Sure, you get a little, but by the amount of time that the camera is directly focused on women’s breasts, surprisingly sparse.

The Hype:
In order to convince your friends to watch it with you, tell them this: “Someone is murdered for vandalism.”

Needless Trivia:
- Prior hated working with the cinematographer because he didn’t respect his opinion. Apparently that cinematographer hadn’t seen Sledgehammer, or didn’t enjoy close up shots of spandex clad breasts.
- Chuck is also the name of Ted Prior’s character in Sledgehammer. Not sure if this means that this is a spin-off from that movie or perhaps an inside joke between Ted and David.

Set Yourself Up:
Gather two or three friends in a dark basement. There are some movies you should watch alone and some you shouldn’t. If you’re a weirdo (like us), you can probably have a good time with this one on your own, but it’s best with friends. Purchase some sweet alcoholic beverages. You’re probably best off with Coors, Schlitz or Pabst. If you’re going to make a night of it, go Karkov. Cocktail Weenies, BBQ sauce, taco flavored Doritos.

You can buy it on Amazon from the Mom N Pop Video Shop. It is a print on demand DVD with no special features whatsoever. All of their releases are based on getting films in the public domain. However, if you buy this DVD you are treated to a great german poster on the front, pretty sweet neon lines and four outstanding stills from the film.
You also get this fantastic description on the back of the DVD:
"Two Years ago, a young woman named Valerie was burned after entering a tanning salon. Now, her twin sister, Rhonda runs a local gym where all of a sudden, people are being murdered."

-J. Moret

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: KILLZONE (1985)

Director: David A. Prior
89 Minutes
Spartan Films/Vestron Video
Not Rated

Proudly displayed in a video store window.

Killzone marks David A. Prior's first foray into action films. While Prior's first film, Sledgehammer is a horror film, Prior was very well aware that horror movies had a limited market internationally. From this point forward, most of Prior's work lies more heavily in the action genre.

Killzone is a lot like many mid-eighties action movies. It revolves around the only American defeat in large scale military combat: Vietnam. The trend began with  Ted Kotcheff's First Blood. First Blood attempted (and failed in many ways) to examine the psychological state of American soldiers returning from a war of attrition.

Killzone examines this idea with more of an in your face approach.

The film starts with Jason McKenna (Fritz Matthews) and Mitchell (Ted Prior) with their platoon captured by Vietcong and an American Vietcong sympathizer, Col. Crawford (David Campbell).  They are beaten, tortured, and threatened for the first 30 minutes of the movie.  (A very common sight in Prior's work around Vietnam.  Nearly every one of them has a torture scene)

McKenna starts losing his mind and having flashbacks and saying weird things. Mitchell has a brawl with Crawford and takes his knife. The rest of the platoon doesn't seem to like Mitchell or McKenna. In the middle of the night, the two buddies escape their poorly constructed pen and plan an ambush on the Vietcong and that dirty bastard Crawford. McKenna kills a patrol by strangulation. Crawford catches them. McKenna spin kicks (!) and stabs the shit out of all of them.

It's revealed at this point that this a very elaborate military exercise. This isn't Vietnam and the exercise has driven McKenna to flashback to 'Nam, where he apparently snapped a lot of necks and spin kicked (!) a lot of Vietcong.

At this point, the film becomes much more than I ever expected. It's hyperbolic sensibilities work almost too perfectly and form a film that is highly entertaining and blunt with it's possibly unintentional message.

The P.O.W. resistance training is called off. The camp is torn down and Mitchell tries to bargain with Crawford to let him capture McKenna alive. Crawford wants him dead. The manhunt begins and the body counts rises.  Mitchell sets out to find his friend.

McKenna sticks up some hikers and gets some sweet supplies to set booby traps.

Mitchell finds McKenna. He says, "Give it up Jas! You can't win!" The rest of the movie is essentially a shitstorm of Mitchell and McKenna taking dudes out. It's awesome.

In the canon of David A. Prior's works, this is one of my favorites. Killzone is very similar to Deadly Prey in a lot of ways. Many of the same actors and a similar premise. Killzone feels less restrained (Although, Deadly Prey isn't exactly an exercise in restraint. . .) and has more of a serious undertone.

And I swear to God the music was stolen from the Rambo series.

Set Yourself Up:

- Take some hallucinogens and try to pretend you are in a P.O.W. Camp
- Make a corrugated metal box and lock yourself inside a little slit cut out so you can see your tv.
- Stash some sloppy joes and Vanilla (piss water) Coke in the box before getting in.

- M. McSlam

Friday, October 4, 2013


This week, Matt and I discuss the immeasurable SLEDGEHAMMER.  David A. Prior's debut film is one of the most enjoyable films we had ever seen, and is one of the primary reasons that we started spending more time together and started All-Star Video.

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or you can listen here:

Thanks for listening!
-J. Moret

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


October is DAVID A. PRIOR month at All-Star Video

David A. Prior was born in New Jersey, grew up in Baltimore, started his career in California and now produces most of his films in Mobile, Alabama.  His newest film, Deadliest Prey comes out in November.  You can check it out at

He is a low budget straight to video guru.  And, does everything we appreciate in a filmmaker.  His first film, Sledgehammer, is a large part of what finally caused us to start this site.  It's one of the first SOV (Shot-On-Video) horror films ever made.  It was a production of friends just doing what they want to do.  It's brilliant.  It feels like an extremely ambitious home movie trash / art film.  It is, at times, completely hypnotic.  At other times, laughably confusing.  And, yet, it is completely charming and engrossing.  I screened it for some friends one night about a year ago.  As we came out of the theater, both of my friends Andy and Joel discussed how it was hard to tell if they had just watched an absolutely brilliant art film or a completely trashy disaster.  Exactly.

From there on, Prior worked continuously for the next twenty years.  He would help create a distribution company called Action International Pictures, release over thirty films and continue to be outside the studio system his entire career.

His second film, KILLZONE, is a bit more forgettable, but still wonderfully enjoyable.  It sets the tone for what would be Prior's international market... crazy action films.

His films vary wildly in theme and genre, as he worked at a break-neck pace.  Of his thirty-some films, twenty-four of them came between the years 1987 and 1995.  At that speed, he worked completely on instinct.  Never looking back or having the time to be insightful, his films emerge as subconscious nightmares or dreams brought to life.  Especially during what we term as his "golden age," (1983 - 1990), everything he worked on was produced from the hip.  Characters seem to repeat over and over, lives mingling with one another.  His brother Ted, extremely charismatic and constant collaborator, plays Chuck in Sledgehammer and then again in Killer Workout.  His character from Deadly Prey seems to be reminiscent of the main character in Night Wars.  The anger caused by Mickland in Mankillers seems residual from his time as the villain in Deadly Prey and so on.

davidprior.png (600×443)

Likewise, themes tend to repeat and change and mutate into other things.  There is a deep ambivalence that resides in Prior's position on these topics.  In 1987, he put out both Killer Workout and Mankillers.  Both films contain extremely strong female characters, and both have those same characters dressed scantily clad.  One film is about an image-obsessed society that puts women at the mercy of their appearance for their success while the other is about a male-dominated culture that literally sells women as slaves.  In the end, both films end with women taking over and getting their revenge, in one she is the villain and the other a hero.

At the same time, Deadly Prey is about an unstoppable American hero who was unable to beat the Vietnamese single-handedly in the war, but manages to stop an entire platoon of mercenaries.  Night Wars, on the other hand, is about the unseen wounds that veterans carried home with them.  Two veterans are plagued by nightmares about leaving behind a comrade, and relive those nightmares over and over until they start realizing they are actually being injured in their dreams.  They fight these nightmare villains and win the day changing the place of two veterans, but in the end, it's just a dream.

That deep ambivalence carries with it a complex political backdrop rooted deep in the 1980s.  The fight for the American soul, which continues today, is so visibly and honestly portrayed in these little exploitation films it causes you, in-between gasps of laughter and joy, to think a little bit about the situation in which they were created.

There are, of course, plenty of duds when doing as many films as Prior has.  However, he has more than his fair share of absolutely wonderful hits.  Sledgehammer has become notorious now, due to Cinefamily's midnight screening and Intervision's wonderful DVD release.  Likewise, Deadly Prey is renowned and loved for it's unabashed and shocking violent conclusion.  Mankillers has become a cult favorite in the "women in prison" and "female revenge" genres..  The list goes on.

And, so we come to October 2013.  This month we will be doing reviews, commentaries, interviews and podcasts about David Prior's career.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  For us, this is a dream we had from the beginning.

-J. Moret