Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stuff I still own on VHS and why

My DVD collection is reaching pretty epic proportions at the moment. Just this weekend I had to build myself yet another DVD shelf to contain it all. Collecting DVDs has become something more than a hobby, it represents probably the greatest achievement of my life and I'm cool with that. I went home recently to my parents' and decided to wave goodbye to the remnants of my equally epic old VHS collection. For the most part I've upgraded everything to DVD but some I either can't find or just can't be bothered to buy again. Here's what I've kept:

Space Truckers (1996)

I'm one of those rare people who prefers Stuart Gordon's trashy science fiction films like Robot Jox and Fortress over his horror films like Re-Animator. Space Truckers is a great “you-can't-make-this-sh*t-up” film. Dennis Hopper plays a trucker in space transporting a dangerous cargo with Debi Mazar and an eye-linered Stephen Dorff (or Stephen Dwarf as my girlfriend likes to call him). Oh wait, Debi and Dorff aren't the dangerous cargo! Hopper's unknowingly carrying a bunch of killer robots. And Charles Dance plays a space pirate with a wind up c*ck who wants the robots back. I kid you not.

Chances of upgrading: Pretty damn high.

Spider-man: The Dragon's Challenge and Spider-man: Strikes Back (1978)

These got released on video around the time the Sam Raimi film came out. Two sets of edited together episodes of the 1970s live action TV show that starred Nicholas Hammond. The Dragon's Challenge was the two part season finale where he goes to China to help a man accused of being a spy while Strikes Back was the second and third episodes and sees ol' webhead try to stop a group of students detonating a bomb over New York. Look out for a dapper Ted Danson in Strikes Back playing a military man. Never did get to see the pilot or the rest of the series.

Chances of upgrading: Pretty slim but I might watch them again, if I'm bored.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

I love Hunter S Thompson and thought this was a pretty decent attempt to get his words and style on to the screen. Haven't got a massive urge to watch it again, wonderful though the imagery was. Gilliam sort of made the film seem like you were on a drug trip with the characters I don't know if I want to experience that again. I'd rather just read the book. That said, there is a double pack DVD of this with Where the Buffalo Roam, starring Bill Murray, that I haven't seen yet.

Chances of upgrading: If I can find that double DVD for a cheap price I might consider it.

Jackie Chan's The Young Master (1980)

This was one of the first Jackie Chan films I ever watched. It's his directorial debut and, as you would expect, the stunt work and fights are superb. The final 10 minutes long fight is very impressive. The comedy sketches that string it all together are less impressive though. I've collected most of Jackie Chan's stuff on DVD now (except anything after Rush Hour) but this one is always so expensive. Oh well, I'll have to stick with this video for now. It does have a pretty awful/funny dub done by a bunch of English guys. I mean really, at least dub someone who's Chinese with someone who sounds Chinese.

Chances of upgrading: Just waiting for a cheap price on ebay.

Red Scorpion 1 & 2 (1989 & 1995)

Ah, double feature videos. They were the bomb. Bought this a long time ago based on the first Dolph Lundgren film. In actuality, I far prefer the DTV sequel which doesn't star Lundgren and to be perfectly honest is pretty unconnected. Matt McColm leads a group of mercenaries in infiltrating a white power movement. The action sequences in this film are pretty freakin' sweet and it scores bonus points for having Michael Ironside play the group's mentor. The original film though, urgh, maybe I should watch it again but I remember being really unimpressed. That was about 10-15 years ago though.

Chances of upgrading: Argh, the sequel's not out on DVD so probably. Might watch the VHS again though.

Scanner Cop 1 & 2 (1994 & 1995)

Don't want to say too much because I'm hoping to do a complete guide to the Scanners and Scanner Cop series soon. Need to get around to watching them again. Actually did get a copy of Scanner Cop 1 on DVD a while back but have yet to get part 2. I know it's out in the US and there's a copy in my ebay watch list, just waiting until I've watched a few more films before purchasing. Love the Scanner Cop movies. He's a cop who can make bad guy's heads explode! What's not to like?

Chances of upgrading: Will get part 2 soon. Just a matter of time.

Cobra & Tango and Cash (1986 & 1989)

Another classic video double pack. Only reason I don't have these is that they are always on TV. Literally every week either one or the other is on TV. If I have to pick a favourite it's Tango but just because it's got 100% more Kurt Russell than the other film. Cobra I initially thought was too dumb, even for a dumb action film. I mean Tango is dumb but knows it, I got the sense Cobra was dumb but didn't know it. I've come round over the years and have a begrudging respect for its stupidity (and excessive product placement.) Man, I feel like having a Pepsi all of sudden.

Chances of upgrading: Eh, I guess I could but they'll just be on TV next week. But then as Stallone says at the beginning of Tango and Cash - “Let's Do It”

Gunhed (1989)

I know next to nothing about this film other than it's one of the few live-action films to feature giant mecha robots. I'm not a massive mecha fan but I'm curious to see what it looks like. Plus, I freakin love miniatures and models in movies and this seems to have a butt load. Apparently, the film is a messy 90 minutes of incomprehensibility but it's also got Brenda Bakke (Under Siege 2, Hot Shots Part Deux) who is a damn hot so can't be all bad.

Chances of upgrading: I need to give the VHS a spin first to check if it's worth upgrading. Based on reviews I've read, probably not.

The original Star Wars trilogy remasters from 1995 (1977, 1980 & 1983)

I'm not going to wax lyrical about George Lucas, there's mountains of hate letters floating about on the internet. I think people have elevated the original trilogy to a status usually reserved for holy scriptures. Chill out people. That said, I can't understand why he won't release unaltered versions for the rest of us. I don't even mind it they aren't cleaned up. Just slap them on a disc and push them in my direction. Spielberg recently said he regretted updating ET (remember when he digitally removed the shotguns the police carry to walkie talkies?) maybe he could have a chat with George.

Chances of upgrading: When those unaltered versions come out on DVD (and not those half-assed Laserdisc transfers he added as a bonus disc a few years back) or Blu-Ray I'll happily buy them.

Any films you guys have still got on video that you can't let go of?


  1. I'm a fan of Space Truckers as well, hardly anybody ever talks about it, but it's a pretty well made flick, loads of fun!

    Im curious to see Gunhead now!

  2. Never seen Gordon's Space Truckers. But I dig Robot Jox and Fortress (though I haven't seen them in forever), even went to the theater to see them. Still can't believe Joxc actually got a theatrical release. And you gotta love that Stallone double-header. 2 80's classics in my book. :)

    And Gunhead sounds intriguing. Will have to check that one out sometime.

  3. Stuart Gordon's awesome in that he's an accomplished director who just happens to like making trashy/pulpy films. Space Truckers sort of got lost amongst other more expensive sci-fi films that came out in the mid nineties and it's a shame because it had quite a nicely thought out vision of the future and it's far more quirky and interesting than say Barb Wire or Tank Girl. Definitely give it a watch robotGEEK if you get a chance. Not quite as action orientated as Fortress but still fun.

    Gunhed I'll check out this weekend and get a review up soon.

  4. So sad this film never found an audience, considering it's one of Gordon's most colorful and expensive movies ever...I guess it just didnt work out. Im looking forward now to buying it, if I can find the dvd!