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Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi: Open Water 3, The Devil's Rain & The Lost Worlds of Gerry Anderson

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 7, 2018 06:00pm | Post a Comment

Having A Movie Moment

By Jon Longhi

Welcome to the first Having A Movie Moment With Jon Longhi. In this monthly column I’ll be reviewing recent Blu-ray and DVD releases. Everything in this column came out in the past four months. So without any further ado, let’s get to the movies:

Open Water 3Open Water 3: Cage Dive, Lionsgate
It's a shark movie. So let's face it, when it comes to jumps and scares, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. But sharks are such a primordial fear for all of us that this movie is still quite effective. Unlike the rest of Hollywood's CGI monsters, shark's are real and all of us know in the backs of our heads that at sometime in our lives we will be on or over the ocean and something like this could happen to us. That's why by the time people end up in the water we're rooting for them no matter how unlikable they are, because there but for the grace of god. The first half hour of the movie is insufferable because the main characters are totally annoying people from Laguna Beach. This is one of the tiresome chores of shark movies: you have to spend the first part of the movie getting to know the bait. These people were so annoying I was tempted to use the fast forward, but finally they ended up on a shark dive boat off the coast of Australia and the ball got rolling. And it got rolling fast. First there's some exciting shark cage footage and then everything goes bat shit crazy as the boat is hit by a rogue wave, and it capsizes and sinks. Then all the passengers and crew are in the water bobbing around with a bunch of blood, bait, and hungry great whites. That's when the fun starts and the scares and thrills never let up until the grim ending. This movie is essentially a remake of the first one except that instead of a married couple in the water, it's a three person love triangle. It's a simple formula but an effective one. At times, all the hand held video cam footage can make this feel like the Blair Witch Project gets eaten by sharks, but what the hell -- it's scary and fast moving and the great white scenes are quite realistic and effective.

The Devil's RainThe Devil's Rain, Severin Films
This seventies' horror classic is one of the best devil-worshipper movies ever made. There is so much scenery chewing going on in this film that by the end there's basically nothing left behind the characters. The Devil's Rain is a real Hollywood who's who. You have Ernest Borgnine who is brilliant as the head of the devil-worshipping cult, William Shatner as one of the main heroes, Eddie Albert, and even John Travolta in his first film role. The film starts with the supernatural death of a family patriarch during a torrential rainstorm. The man literally melts into a puddle. So his son (Shatner) goes to confront the man who killed him (Borgnine) in a nearby ghost town in the middle of the desert. What ensues is a war between Shatner's family and Borgnine's devil-worshipping cult of evil. The script is tight and snappy and the cinematography is beautiful. The ending of this movie is legendary and it's lost none of its epic punch since this first came out in 1975. If anything, it looks even more breathtaking re-mastered in high-def. Severin Films does their usual excellent job with this release. The Blu-ray picture looks flawless, with every drop of melting flesh rendered in perfect detail. There's loads of extras including some coverage of Anton LaVey, the head of the Church of Satan, who worked as a creative consultant on the film.

The Lost Worlds of Gerry AndersonThe Lost Worlds of Gerry Anderson, MPI Home Video
What a great DVD set, especially for fans of Anderson's unique miniaturized world of science fiction. Most of these are the lost pilot episodes that never got greenlighted. All of them have the incredibly cool, groovy look that permeated everything Gerry Anderson did. Some of these were misfires like the stop motion animation Dick Spanner, which is a smutty comedy that's definitely not for kids. It's busy and bawdy, and almost reminds one of the Little Annie Fanny comics Harvey Kurtzman did for Playboy. There's also "The Investigator," the last kid's show produced with the original puppet crew who worked on his sixties children's masterpieces like Thunderbirds and Stingray. Live action shows like Space Patrol and The Day After Tomorrow also appear. In fact, these two pilots are worth the price of this set alone because they are as good as anything Anderson ever did. The miniatures work is especially amazing. Every space ship, space station, or vehicle in these movies is so neat looking that you just want to run out and buy a model or a toy of them. My favorite of these lost episodes is The Day After Tomorrow, which was created by the same people who worked on Space 1999. Although The Day After Tomorrow was the show that didn't make the cut, one can't help but think of what might have been. I love Space 1999, but it's scripts could be rather slow and plodding. The Day After Tomorrow, on the other hand, is a fast-paced action adventure sci-fi, which quickly moves from one cliffhanger to the next. The pace is so fast you almost can't find a place to pause it if you want to stop and use the bathroom or get a snack. One wonders if, in the long run, this might have been the better show to get the green light. The two-disc set clocks in at just shy of six hours and it's an embarrassment of riches. Roughly four hours of that are the lost pilot episodes and then there are a couple of hours of bonus features, which include raw footage, test cuts, and other goodies.

Relevant Tags

Ernest Borgnine (6), Anton Lavey (4), Church Of Satan (1), Devil (6), Satan (11), Sharks (3), Thunderbirds (1), Gerry Anderson (1), Horror (205), Tv (34), Film (159), Movie Moment (3), Jon Longhi (8), William Shatner (3), Eddie Albert (1), John Travolta (4)