Lisa Cleans Out Her DVR: Forgotten Evil (dir by Anthony C. Ferrante)


Earlier tonight, as part of my continuing effort to clean out my DVR, I watched Forgotten Evil!  I recorded Forgotten Evil off of the Lifetime Movie Network on March 12th.

As soon as the words, “The Asylum Presents” appeared on the screen, I knew that I was going to love Forgotten Evil.  Though the Asylum may be best known for the Sharknado franchise and several subversively entertaining mockbusters, they’ve also produced several films for Lifetime.  An Asylum Lifetime film is always delightfully melodramatic and a lot of fun.  My optimism only increased when I discovered that Forgotten Evil was directed and written by the man behind Sharknado, Anthony C. Ferrante.

“This is going to be fun!” I thought and it turns out that I was right.

Forgotten Evil opens with a woman in a bag being dumped over the side of a boat.  The opening scenes have a surreal, almost dream-like feel to them.  Ferrante does a good job of creating a properly ominous atmosphere.  As I watched that bag crash into the water, I was reminded of my own rather morbid fear of drowning.  Fortunately, the woman in the bag survives.  Unfortunately, when she’s found floating by the shore, she has absolutely no idea who she is.

That’s right!  Jane Doe (played by Masiela Lusha) has amnesia!  Even though she does occasionally have flashes of memory, she can’t put together what they all mean.  She has no idea who she was or why she was dumped in the water.  Eventually, she starts using the name Renee but that’s just because she saw a boat named Renee before she nearly drowned.

Amnesia, needless to say, is always a good way to start an intriguing story.  I mean, let’s be honest.  The idea that people can suddenly forget everything is really quite fascinating.  It’s impossible not to wonder what you would do if you were in the same situation.

Despite having no idea who she is, Renee tries to start a new life for herself.  A nurse and a police officer become her new BFFs.  Her therapist becomes her new parental figure.  She even gets a job and a new boyfriend (played by Kyle McKeever), one who is surprisingly good at karaoke!  That’s really not too bad for someone who, just a few weeks previously, was being dumped over the side of the boat.

Except, strange things keep happening.  She loses her job when semi-explicit Polaroids mysteriously appear on her desk.  She continues to have flashes of disturbing images and she’s convinced that someone tried to drown her while she was taking a bath.  She thinks that she sees a mysterious man following her around.  And that perfect new boyfriend of hers?  Well, he appears to be just a little bit too perfect.  It’s hard not to suspect that he’s hiding something.  Especially when he takes her to an isolated cabin which, in a Lifetime movie, is never a good sign…

I enjoyed Forgotten Evil.  This is pure and enjoyable melodrama, well-directed by Anthony C. Ferrante and featuring all sorts of twists and turns.  Masiela Lusha is likable and sympathetic in the main role.  All in all, this is a fun Lifetime movie.  Keep an eye out for it.

Rest in Peace, Tomas Milian


I have some sad news to report.  The great Tomas Milian, an actor beloved by fans of Italian cinema everywhere, has died.  He was 84.

Perhaps because of the type of films that he made, Milian was never the household name that he deserved to be.  In the United States, his death is not even trending on twitter.  #ThickThighTwitter, which is essentially a bunch of people bodyshaming anyone who happens to be slim, is trending.  Tomas Milian is not.

And it’s a shame because Tomas Milian was one of the best.  He may have been beloved by fans of Italian cinema but Milian was truly an international actor.  He was born in Cuba, the son of a general who committed suicide after being jailed.  Milian left Cuba after his father’s death.  He moved to New York City, was a member of the Actor’s Studio, and became naturalized citizen in 1969.

Milian’s acting career took off when he started making movies in Italy.  He appeared in everything from spy movies to spaghetti westerns to horror films to 1970s police dramas.  Whenever I see one of the many films that Milian made in the 60s and 70s, I’m struck by his intensity.  Milian was one of those power actors who often seems like he might leap off the screen at any moment.  He played driven and often haunted men.  Along with an undeniable charisma, Milian radiated danger.

Of the many Westerns he made, The Big Gundown may be his best known.  Here’s Milian with co-star Lee Van Cleef:

My personal favorite of his spaghetti westerns?  The surreal Django Kill:

For me, Tomas Milian was at his most menacing in Lucio Fulci’s underrated (and not for the faint-of-heart) Four Of The Apocalypse:

Four of the Apocalypse was not the only film on which Milian would work with Fulci.  He also played the hero in Fucli’s classic giallo, Don’t Torture a Duckling:

In the 70s, Tomas Milian appeared in several Poliziotteschi, Italian cop films that were largely designed to rip off the success of gritty cop films like The French Connection and Serpico.  Milian was always the ideal rebel cop, though he could play a dangerous criminal just as easily.  Check him out in The Cop In Blue Jeans, perhaps parodying Al Pacino in Serpico:

The films weren’t always good but Milian always commanded the screen.  It’s hard to think of any other actor who was always so much consistently better than the material he had to work with.

With the decline of the Italian film industry, Thomas Milian relocated his career to the United States.  In his later years, he was a character actor who frequently appeared as corrupt military men and politicians.  His best known performance from this time may be his quietly sinister turn in Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning Traffic:

Earlier today, Tomas Milian died of a stoke in Miami.  Rest in peace.

 

 

A Movie A Day #75: Wanted: The Sundance Woman (1976, directed by Lee Philips)


This made-for-TV sequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid opens several years after the death of Butch and Sundance in Bolivia.  Etta Pace (Katharine Ross, reprising her role from the original film) is now a wanted woman.  Hiding out in Arizona, she does her best to keep a low profile.  But when Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo (Steve Forrest) comes to town and one of Etta’s friends (Michael Constantine) is arrested, Etta knows that she’s going to need help to survive.  Crossing the border into Mexico, she teams up with revolutionary Pancho Vila (Hector Elizondo).  In return for helping him get his hands on a shipment of guns, Vila agrees to protect Etta.

Wanted: The Sundance Woman was ABC’s second pilot for a possible television series about Etta Pace’s adventures at the turn of the century.  The first pilot starred Elizabeth Montgomery as Etta and directly dealt with Etta’s attempts to come to terms with the death of Butch and Sundance.  While Katharine Ross returned to the role for the second pilot, Wanted: The Sundance Woman does not actually have much of a connection to Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.  Katharine Ross could have just as easily been playing Etta Smith as Etta Pace.

Wanted: The Sundance Woman is held back by its origins as a TV movie and a rather silly romance between Etta and Pancho Vila.  Hector Elizondo is hardly convincing as a fiery revolutionary and Steve Forrest is reliably dull as Siringo.  It is not really surprising that this pilot didn’t lead to a weekly series.  On the positive side, the film does feature an exciting train robbery and Katharine Ross is just as good in this sequel as she was in the original.  Even though she was talented, beautiful, and had important roles in two of the most successful films of the 60s (The Graduate and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Hollywood never seemed to know what do with Katharine Ross.  While she did have a starring role in The Stepford Wives, Katharine Ross spent most of the 70s appearing in stuff like The Swarm, They Only Kill Their Masters, and The Betsy.  It’s unfortunate that Hollywood apparently did not want Katharine Ross as much Pancho Vila wanted the Sundance Woman.

Music Video of the Day: Born To Rock by Buck Dharma (1982, dir. Richard Casey)


I brought it up the other day, so let’s do Born To Rock by Buck Dharma, aka that guy you probably know from Blue Öyster Cult.

Oh, so YouTube comment sections exist in this music video.

No Rock Music?!? This is worse than when Hell froze over in 2005 and…

One Way Ticket by The Darkness

One Way Ticket by The Darkness

The Darkness had to run from a metaphor for cocaine to thaw it out.

One Way Ticket by The Darkness

What’s this?

Buck Dharma. Born To Rock. Wanted Dead or Alive. Contact U.S. Marshall S. Pearlman out of Oyster Bay, NY? Harsh! Buck does one solo album, and Blue Öyster Cult manager Sandy Pearlman is fine if he is brought in dead? He was tough back then. Also yes, Buck was born on Long Island, NY where Oyster Bay is located.

There’s only one man who can possibly bring him down. I dub him Blue Öyster Max.

Even his car says he is “2BADD”.

Now we get Buck delivering himself. My best guess is that this shot…

is a reference to Buck having given up getting a degree in Chemical Engineering to go into music. Then for some reason, None Dare Call It Treason by John A. Stormer has to do with Buck’s birth.

I haven’t read the book, but the summary on Amazon makes it sound like it would have been right up Ronald Reagan and Estus Pirkle’s alley. Pirkle also being a Protestant pastor who wrote a book concerning alleged Communist infiltration of America. Except Pirkle went on to adapt his book into a religious exploitation film called If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971).

I don’t know for sure who that is a picture of in the background while his parents are getting it on. It looks like Eisenhower, but I’m not 100% sure.

There’s other interesting stuff in here that fits with the theme of the music video, but let’s not kid ourselves. You’re watching this music video for the ending showdown between Buck and Blue Öyster Max.

Buck wins, and they rush Blue Öyster Max’s guitar to the hospital. Of course it’s red.

Blue Öyster Max is way dead. Killed by Rock.

Enjoy!