Film Reviews

Joe Bob Briggs

There are certain names on a video box that just cry out: "Rent me! Rent me! Rent me!"

I guess for some people it's Mira "Thank You, Daddy" Sorvino, but for me there's nothing like a good Brigitte Nielsen video.

Will she have hair? What color will it be? Will we get to see the tattoos on her hiney that she got when she was madly in love with the football player? And how 'bout them Thunder Thighs?

Brigitte Nielsen always gets my attention. Linda Blair always gets my attention. Meg Foster always gets my attention. Sherilyn Fenn used to get my attention, until she went indoor-bullstuff on us.

And then there are the true drive-in video superstars--Shannon Tweed, Morgan Fairchild, Julie Strain, Tanya Roberts and, for my money...

Kelly LeBrock.
I can't say just exactly why this is. It's the whole package with Kelly.
It's the lips, for one thing. She's got these lips that drag the floor when she walks.

She's got that Brit accent that always makes her sound like she's ordering fish and chips.

But mostly it's that her whole attitude is sort of, "I'm too good for this movie."

And, frankly, that's why I was a little disappointed in Tracks of a Killer, the story of a crazed yuppie who goes psycho in a snowbound cabin during a corporate retreat and starts hacksawing the steering lines on the snowmobiles.

It's not that Kelly doesn't do her usual great puffy-lip performance. It's just that she's so nice. She's actually a victim in this one.

There are certain actresses who should always be raving bitches. Tanya Roberts is such an actress. So is Morgan Fairchild.

But, above all others, Kelly LeBrock needs to be sneering, hissing, and generally manipulating the bejabbers out of every man she encounters.

I'm not really complaining that Kelly gets tied to the bed, tortured with a butcher knife, taped to a chair, chased through the snow, and has her hand ripped away from the steel door handle to which it's frozen. (It was a nice touch by the screenwriter, but the frozen-tongue-on-the-flagpole torture is much nastier.)

But it takes a loooooooong time to torture Kelly, since her dimwit, marble-mouthed husband, James Brolin, spends the entire movie "going for help."

Torture, torture, torture, followed by a scene of Jimbo gunning his snowmobile through the wilderness.

Torture, torture, torture, followed by Jimbo running out of gas.
Torture, torture, torture, followed by Jimbo strapping on the cross-country skis.

Torture, torture, torture, followed by Jimbo driving up to the house in a tank with two snipers inside.

And why does the yuppie go psycho in the first place?
Because he wants to be president of the company, and James Brolin won't retire soon enough. The old Berserk Junior Partner Syndrome.

All rightie.
Three dead bodies. Four breasts. Two motor-vehicle chases, with two crashes, one explosion.

Hand-ripping. Pen rammed through the leg. Syringe to the back.
Open bloody wound-gouging. Amateur surgery.
Flaming character actor.
The old hot-tong-to-the-open-wound torture.
Lysol on the gunshot wound.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...

* Courtney Taylor, as the psycho's girlfriend, for being in the movie just long enough to get nekkid repeatedly.

* Wolf Larson, as the yuppie with a butcher knife, who says, "Women--can't live without 'em, can't kill 'em," and, "So little time, so many things to kill you with."

* James Brolin, as the slow-talking corporate president who says, "You hate to lose--so do I."

* And, of course, Kelly, for the lips.
Two and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's sense-scrambler comes from...David Allen of High Point, North Carolina:

"My VCR was incorrectly set and I caught the tail end of a movie.
"It was a zombie flick with rather bad effects. (They scratched the film emulsion to simulate ray-guns firing.) It appeared to be '80s-vintage.

"The closing credits included a rock title track, 'Raiders of the Living Dead,' which was actually rather funny.

"I have checked the Video Hound and other sources for a movie under that title, but to no avail. Thanks for any help you can manage."

A video will be awarded to the correct answer. (The winner chooses from a list of about a thousand titles.) In the event of a tie, a drawing will be held. Send "Find That Flick" questions and solutions to Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.

You can also fax them to (213) 462-5982 or e-mail them to Joe Bob on the Internet: 76702.1435

"Let me put one out there for everyone to ponder.
"I have no idea what this movie is or who starred in it or anything. I just remember staying up really late around the year 1978 or so and seeing this on television.

"I don't remember anything about the movie itself, just that it was in black-and-white and it had something to do with an alien coming to Earth.

"In the final scene, when you get to see the alien, it looks like a really hairy hand puppet. A giant eyeball is superimposed over the scene.

"There is some thumping music (like a heartbeat), and the puppet-alien falls over and dies. The eyeball vanishes.

"Anyway, that scared the fecal material out of me (give me a break, I was 5). I would love to see it again."

We had one correct answer, so our winner is...Bob Lewis of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada:

"Robb Turnage's description doesn't give much to go on, but, given the basic facts of the hairy hand-puppet alien and big eyeball in the final scene, I'm guessing the answer would be the 1959 flick The Atomic Submarine.

"This one scared the fecal material out of me about 15 years before doing the same thing for Mr. Turnage."

1996 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Joe Bob Briggs