What Kind Of Person Joins “The Faith Community” ?

Trash Film Guru

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away : in this case of director Faith R. Johnson’s 2017 “found footage” direct-to-video horror, The Faith Community, he (or she) appears to do a bit of both.

On the “giveth” side of the ledger, we’re not saddled with anything too extraneous here, plot-wise, in Johnson and co-writer Robert A. Trezza’s script : college-age students Hannah (played by Janessa Floyd) and Andrew (Aidan Hart) are devout Christians determined to win over their skeptic friend (and wannabe-filmmaker, he’s the guy “documenting” the proceedings) Colin (Jeffrey Brabent) and, to that end, they’re taking him to a much-talked-about “Bible camp” in the woods to experience the wonder of “God’s Green Earth” or something. It’s a simple, punchy premise that does the job quickly and succinctly, and once they arrive, shit gets pretty interesting — at first.

A rather graphic, even brutal, stage-play rendition of the…

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Let’s Meet Over “Let’s Not Meet”

Trash Film Guru

It’s always a little bit tricky doing an advance review of a film that hasn’t been released yet — yeah, okay, this isn’t my first time doing it, but it’s been awhile — but when a quick Google search lets you know that your appraisal will be the first posted anywhere? Then you’re playing with fire, at least to a certain extent. I mean, a lot’s going to hinge on what you have to say — hell, in a very real sense, the success or failure of the flick in question rests at least partially on your shoulders.

You’ve got some real freedom, though, too — no one can say other opinions influenced yours, no one can accuse you of being part of an “echo chamber,” no one can point out similarities between what you’ve written and what someone else has. Not that anyone’s ever said that about my stuff…

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The Yin & Yang of Alfred Hitchcock’s STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (Warner Brothers 1951)

cracked rear viewer

Alfred Hitchcock , like many great artists before and since, was in a bit of a career slump. The Master of Suspense’s previous four films (THE PARADINE CASE, ROPE, UNDER CAPRICORN, STAGE FRIGHT) were not hits with either critics or audiences, and did poorly at the box office. Then came 1951’s STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and Hitch was back on top with this devilish mélange of murder, suspense, romance, and humor, featuring a stunning star turn by Robert Walker, cast against type as a charming sociopath.

Our story opens with two pairs of shoes (one two-toned, one staid brown loafers) emerging from two separate cabs, walking separately to catch a train and their date with destiny, as we cut to two separate train tracks merging together. Hitchcock’s playing with one of his classic themes: “the double”, or more importantly, duality. Even Dimitri Tiomkin’s score highlights the differences, as a jaunty…

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Music Video of the Day: Smuggler’s Blues by Glenn Frey (1985, directed by Duncan Gibbins)

Contrary to popular belief, Smuggler’s Blues was not inspired by Miami Vice.  Instead, the exact opposite was true.

As Glenn Frey explained in the book, Behind The Hits, he based the song on some of the dealers and smugglers that he met while both a member of the Eagles and during his solo career.  “You don’t spend 15 years in rock and roll without coming in contact with entrepreneurs.  I’ve wanted to write a song about drug smuggling for a long time, but I’m glad I waited for this one. It says everything I wanted to say on the subject. I’m proud of the lyrics – it’s good journalism.”

The song appeared on Frey’s second solo album and was heard by Miami Vice‘s executive producer, Michael Mann.  Mann requested that one of the show’s writers, Miguel Pinero, adapt the song into an episode.  That episode, which was named after the song, premiered on February 1st, 1985.  The song was played throughout the episode and some of the lyrics were even included in the dialogue.  Glenn Frey himself appeared as a pilot.  As a result, the episode not only helped to make Smuggler’s Blues a hit but it also launched Frey’s acting career as well.

The video, which was cinematic at a time when many bands were still releasing simple performance clips, was directed by Duncan Gibbins.  Gibbins went on to direct a handful of thrillers before his tragic death in 1993.  Gibbins was staying in Southern California when a wildfire engulfed the house that he was renting.  Gibbins narrowly managed to escape from the house but then saw that a cat had been trapped inside.  He went back in and, while he did rescue the cat, he suffered severe burns at a result.  Gibbins jumped into house’s swimming pool. not realizing that the burns would allow the chlorine to enter his bloodstream.  Gibbins died later that day at Sherman Oaks Hospital, still asking if the cat had survived.  (Other than a few minor burns, the cat was unharmed.)

Gibbins work on Smuggler’s Blues is impressive and still influential.  The video was honored as “Best Concept Video” at the 1985 MTV Music Video Awards.

Duncan Gibbins, the director of Smuggler’s Blues