Category Archives: dead is dead

Quickies 7-18-2013

The Revenant ~ This black comedy revolves around a American soldier killed in Iraq who comes back from the dead with a thirst for blood to survive. Seeking his best friend’s help, they become vigilante crimefighters, feeding on their prey. Imagine a zombie version of The Boondock Saints and you’ve kinda got the picture. Fun if you turn your mind off, better than a Troma flick, but it’s no masterpiece.

Tit for Tat ~ This great Laurel and Hardy short from 1935 was nominated for an Academy Award. The boys run a hardware store and feud with the grocer next door. Look for the ever popular Mae Busch as the grocer’s wife, slightly worse for wear from her Rosie O’Grady role in The Unholy Three a decade earlier. She actually had a successful career in the Laurel and Hardy comedies, a sort of second coming for the ‘versatile vamp.’

He Who Gets Slapped ~ This silent film from 1924 is based on a Russian play and later film set in a circus where a clown, played by the master Lon Chaney, takes grisly revenge for the unwanted affections of a baron on the woman that he loves. It is the sort of twisted revenge story Chaney would become known for when later working with Tod Browning and Valdemar Young. A spectacle featuring Chaney at his emotive best, also starring Norma Shearer and John Gilbert as leads, and directed by Victor Seastrom, this was MGM’s first film.

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic ~ An excellent documentary from Showtime about the genius comedian. Great footage of concerts and behind the scenes stuff, as well as interviews with friends and family, however, much was edited out for the sake of his family if the rumors are true. That said, still the best doc on Pryor done so far.

The Terrible Truth ~ A couple decades earlier, and a lot less graphic, this ten minute anti-drug propaganda short subject is like a “Dead Is Dead” for the 1950s. Like a cross between Duck and Cover and Reefer Madness, this color short from 1951 has a good message, if dated and funny. The hipsters will probably laugh their asses off.

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Dead Is Dead?

“Dead Is Dead.”

Anyone else remember this one? And no, before you say it, I’m not talking about the episode of “Lost” that also carries the title.

Actor Godfrey Cambridge produced this 21-minute anti-drug film in 1970. I saw it at least every year I was in senior high school. Among the things featured in this powerful no-holds-barred short are footage of addicts going cold turkey, the music of Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield, and a female heroin addict vomiting as she falls down a flight of stairs.

It seemed to be the school’s answer to show the film rather than actually talk to us about drugs, a subject many of us at that age already knew more about than the teachers did.

Still, I’d love to see this film again. Anyone else remember it, or better yet know how to obtain a copy?

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