Sunday, May 29, 2016

(Unfinished) Movie Review: Gone In 60 Seconds II

Gone In 60 Seconds II
H.B. Halicki Mercantile Co., USA, 1989.
This one is included in Mill Creek Entertainment's Fast as Hell 3 Movie Collection.

This is a very short review about H.B. 'Toby' Halicki's last and unfinished film.

Car thief Maindrian Pace (H.B. 'Toby' Halicki) returns and steals a truck. While escaping cops, he wrecks dozens of cars. Then he nicks an experimental  Slicer vehicle. Slicer is a wedge-shaper car that can throw off any obstacle on its way. Maindrian uses the car and destroys about half of the police cars in Los Angeles.
H.B. 'Toby' Halicki
Maindrian Pace is back
Truck car-nage!
Slicer in action
H.B. Halicki's final film was left unfinished. He was killed doing a stunt with a water tower when a falling power pole tragically hit him. Only 33 minutes of the movie was filmed. Halicki bought 400 cars for the movie in attempt to break the Guinness World Record of most destroyed vehicles in a movie. The filmed material shows a respectable amount of car-nage but very little more. There are couple of characters that are meant to be comical and lots of extras give high five to Slicer. Without any knowledge of the plot it is unknown if it would have been a hit ultimate chase movie or more of a gimmick film that would have gotten repetitive with bad acting and too many crash scenes. We will never know.
Comical character
The fatal water tower
Rating: Not applicable

Starring: H.B. Halicki, ?
Director: H.B. Halicki

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Movie Review: Deadline Auto Theft

Deadline Auto Theft
H.B. Halicki Mercantile Co., USA, 1983. 
Deadline Auto Theft title
This one is included in Mill Creek Entertainment's Fast as Hell 3 Movie Collection.

Insurance inspector/ car thief Maindrian Pace (H.B. 'Toby' Halicki) is back. He steals Judi Gibbs' boy friend Carl's (Dan Grimaldi) car. Unfortunately Judi happens to be daughter of  Police Captain Gibbs (Hoyt Axton) and a chase follows culminating in the L.A. River Flood Control Channel. Again the cops have it difficult to keep their cars on the road. Captain Gibbs declares war on Maindrian. 
Maindrian steals Bricklin SV-1
Hoyt Axton
Captain Gibbs
Judi Gibbs and Dan Grimaldi
Judi Gibbs and Carl (Dan Grimaldi)
The rest of the story is mainly repeat of "Gone In 60 Seconds" with some new scenes with Captain Gibbs. Maindrian and his gang have to steal over 40 cars in couple of days for a South-American drug lord. Stealing Ford Mustang codenamed Eleanor results to the final chase.
Boat accident
L.A. Channel chase
This is mainly a Godrey Ho style cut&paste rip-off of Halicki's own previous films, using very little new footage. Basically it looks like the "Gone In 60 Seconds" film that was being filmed in "The Junkman."  Probably those who haven't seen other Halicki's films may enjoy it more but I fast forwarded many parts I had already seen (roughly twenty minutes of the film are new material). After jumping the shark in "The Junkman" Halicki uses a disappointingly lazy method to make "Deadline Auto Theft." 

Funniest moments came when trying to spot the characters from the previous films. Jack Vacek and Bruce Cameron appear as lazy flood channel maintenance workers Merle and Farley. "The Junkman's" assassin Blackbird (Rita Rickard) is now cast as a policewoman. Also the other assassins appear in small new roles. Sgt. Hawkins (John Halicki) form the original "60 Seconds" is now given a female partner Dupree (Maureen Coddington). Kelly Busia appears as Real Estate Girl.
John Halicki and Maureen Coddington
Hawkins and Dupree
Real Estate Girl (Kelly Busia)
Rating: Bad 

Starring: H.B. Halicki, Hoyt Axton, Marion Busia, Jerry Daugirda, George Cole, Lang Jeffries, Dan Grimaldi, Judi Gibbs, Pat Hartigan, Butch Stockton, Phil Woods, James McIntyre, Ronald Halicki, Markos Kotsikos, Maureen Coddington, John Halicki, Jack Vacek, Bruce Cameron, Sharon McCreedy, Hal McClain, Jonathan E. Fricke, Sak Yamamoto, J.C. Agajanian Jr., Garland Brown, Dennis Stouffer, George Barris, Edward Booker, Kelly Busia, Anthony Cole, Mark Cole, Michael Cole, Joe Halicki, Rudy Halicki, John Olsen, Tony Ostermeier, William Pounds, Cindy Reynolds, Don Simmons, Ron Simmons, Thomas Syslo, Clay Wright, Frank Zeigon, Edward Abrahms, Wally Burr, Emily Fladland, Philip Kachaturian, Jack Popejoy, Bud Wackeen, Bunny Walsh, Terence H. Winkless, Christine Wright, Chip Giannettino, Phil Boroff, Christopher Stone, Freddy Canon, Richard L. Muse, Lynda Day George, Rita Rickard, Susan Shaw, Bud Wacen, Christine White, Edward Havens 
Director: H.B. Halicki

Friday, May 27, 2016

Movie Review: The Junkman

The Junkman a.k.a Gone in Sixty Seconds 2: The Junkman a.k.a Gone in 60 Seconds II a.k.a Firebird Tornado
H.B. Halicki Mercantile Co., USA, 1982.
junkman title
This one is included in Mill Creek Entertainment's Fast as Hell 3 Movie Collection.

Harlan B. Hollis 'The Junkman' (H.B. 'Toby' Halicki) is wealthy junkyard owner and a movie auteur. His hit movies including forthcoming "Gone in 60 Seconds" (talk about meta-levels!) has caused much jealousy. His public relations manager Michael Fox (Christopher Stone) hires hitman Frank Spyros (Koti Sotiropulos) to kill him. Michael tries to boost the public interest in the film by killing Harlan
H.B. 'Toby' Halicki
Harlan B. Hollis
Christopher Stone and Susan Shaw
Michael Fox and Susan Clark
Kelly Busia
Kelly Hollis
Filming the final scenes of the film, Harlan also plans for his daughter Kelly's (Kelly Busia) birthday party and PR-gig at James Dean Festival. Harlan goes driving leisurely to the festival in his Cadillac Eldorado. Spyros gathers a team of assassins. Spyros, Magnum (Dave Logue), Blackbird (Rita Rickard) and Cover Two (Tony Ostermeier) start chasing Harlan with cars and biplanes. The cops go after the assassins with poor results and lots of crashes ensue. It seems that no one can keep their cars on the road.
Dave Logue
Rita Rickard
Tony Ostermeier
Cover Two
Koti Sotiropulos
Frank Spyros
There is also a side plot about reporter Susan Clark (Susan Shaw) and her crew who get lost on the country roads. Harlan frames his own death and gets saved by Susan's team. The middle-part of the film slows a bit when Harlan tries to find out who wants him dead.
Leggy officer
Susan, Jack (Jack Vacek) and Bruce (Bruce (Bruce Cameron)
Now that is a badass gun
The story is kind of H.B. Halicki's semi-autobiography to the point that is often feels like a big inside joke. The car collection, ranch and the offices were Halicki's real properties as the car repair business and success of "Gone in 60 Seconds" made him a millionaire. All of the vehicles and toys in the film were Halicki's own, even the police cars. He sure had lots of cool stuff. Again Halicki's relatives, real cops and film crew members are used as extras. Basically he cast everyone he knew. Sheriff George Whiting and country singer Hoyt Axton appear as themselves. Firemen got some real practice putting out the burning cars. Jack Vacek (known for "Double Nickels" ) has a small role as member of Susan Clark's crew.
Part of Halicki's toy collection
The production values are better than in "Gone in 60 Seconds" (there is even a Goodyear blimp!) but some of the grindhouse charm has been lost. Cool stunts include lots of car crashes, explosions and car jumping over airplane. In addition to good stunts and action scenes there is very little plot and it is not a "good" movie in artistic sense. Watch it for big cars, early 1980s atmosphere and stunt show thrills. There is also lots of good old lowbrow comedy and a hillbilly (Ronald Halicki) who is taking his prize pig Farah to the country fair. And an old lady (Emily Fladland) whose new car is trashed. The end credits are weird and cool with pretty model girls and highlights from the movie.
Pig farmer (Ronald Halicki)
Emily Fladland
Chevrolet Citation Lady (Emily Fladland)
These ladies should have appeared more in the film
This movie held the Guinness Record for most wrecked vehicles (over 250) in a movie for over twenty years before being topped by "Matrix Revolutions" and later "Transformers 3". The wrecked Ford Mustang from "Gone in 60 Seconds" appears also in this film.
Unfortunately also this film has been butchered in DVD-editions, bad words and some humour is toned down and Country music is replaced with generic synthesizer score. Especially the new music in the ending party scene is atrocious.

Rating: Good (as a stunt show style fun)

Starring: H.B. Halicki, Christopher Stone, Susan Shaw, Lang Jeffries, Bruce Cameron, Jack Vacek, Dan Grimaldi, Kelly Busia, Richard L. Muse, Freddy Cannon, Sharon McCreedy, Lynda Day George, Dennis Stouffer, Judi Gibbs, Brian LaBonge, Hoyt Axton, George Barris, The Belmonts, Phil Boroff, Donald Cadoo, Lilyan Chauvin, Maureen Coddington, Roger Etienne, Aubrey Finn, Emily Fladland, Gayle Gannes, Ed Gomez, John Halicki, Ronald Halicki, Gerson Horn, Tracy Hutchinson, Gary Jensen, Warner E. Leighton, Morgan Lofting, Dave Logue, Vern Mathison, Tom McMullen, Nick Nickolary, Tony Ostermeier, Rita Rickard, Bernie Schwartz, Jewel Shepard, Kopi Sotiropulos, E. Tripke, Bob Urhausen, George Whiting, Lewis Wilson, Ronn Wright, Debra Zullo
Director: H.B. Halicki

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Shameless Pile Keeps on Growing: Never Gonna Give You Up

It has been a while since the last update on acquisitions. This time the focus is bit more on music.

First some animated movies:
Bionicle Mask of Light (Lego), Justice League animation episodes: Paradise Lost, Justice on Trial, Balto, Balto 2 Wolf Quest, Balto 3 Wings of Change, Winnie the Pooh: Share Your World, Winnie the Pooh:A Great Day of Discovery, A Very Merry Pooh Year, Flipper & Lopaka 1, Willy the Sparrow, Tabaluka episodes
Mill Creek: Giant 600 Cartoon Collection, 150 Cartoon Classics (Both had enough exclusive material to be justified. And the 150 cartoon box was cheap as soap)
Ed Wood Coffret (10 Ed Wood movies, note: this edition has non-removable French subtitles), Three Tamil movies starring Jayam Ravi: Daas, M Kumaram, Jayam, Action 1: Expert, Expect No Mercy, Death Ring, Gladiator, Gipsy Kings In Concert, Alice in Wonderland, A Good Man in Africa, Princess of Thieves, El bosque animado, Gui Si,
Music CDs:
Synthesizer music (I had several of the Synthesizer Greatest on C-Cassettes, now updating those to CDs): Synthesizer Greatest The Classical Masterpieces, Synthesizer Greatest 1-5 (Starinc), 25 Greatest Synthesizer Hits (Gino Marinello), Synthesizer Spectacular Vol.  2 (Starinc)
Pop from 1980s-90s:
Jason Donovan: Ten Good Reasons, Kylie Minoque: Kylie, Rick Astley: Whenever You Need Somebody, Andy Kim: Baby I Love You Greatest Hits,Vanilla Ice: To The Extreme, Lighthouse Family: Postcards from Heaven, Seal: Best 1991-2004, Maxi Priest: Bonafide, Inner Circle: Reggae Dancer, Crash Test Dummies: God Shuffled His Feet, Scarlet: Naked, Paula Abdul: Spellbound, Paula Abdul: Greatest Hits, Anita Ward: Ring My Bell, Simply Red: Stars
TV and movie related music:
John McCook sings Bold and Beautiful Love Songs, Beautiful Dreams (Bold and Beautiful CD), Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me, The X-Files The Album, South Park Bigger Longer & Uncut, Xanadu, So I Married An Axe Murderer
More Soundtracks and various:
Beverly Hills Cop III, Twilight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Twilight The Score, Disturbed: Indestructible, Annie: Anniemal, Suzi Quattro Original Hits, Pitbull: Planet Pit, My Country Vol. 1.
Rock and Metal:
Cardiant: Purge, Einherjer: Dragons Of The North, Graveworm: Scource Of Malice, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow: Children of The Dark Waters, Children Of Bodom: Relentless, Reckless Forever, The Sounds: Living In America, Von Hertzen Brothers: Stars Aligned, Apocalyptica: Worlds Collide, Kent: B-Sidor 95-00, Matchbox 20: Yourself Or  Someone Like You

This is getting quite long, so I'll save the rest for some future post: here are still couple of cool items
Snow White 50th Anniversary Happy Dwarf plush
Godzilla toy (13" Imperial Toho Co. 1985)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Movie Review: Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)

Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
H.B. Halicki Mercantile Co., USA, 1974. 
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
Between 1974-1989 indie car movie legend H.B. Halicki 'The Car Crash King' starred, directed and produced a bunch of car movies known for wild stunts and numerous crashes.

Insurance investigator Maindrian Pace (H.B. Halicki) has a garage side business. However his real business is selling stolen cars making them seem legal using seal numbers salvaged from scrapped cars. Pace makes a deal with a crime lord: he must steal 48 cars in couple of days. His co-worker Eugene Chase (Jerry Daugirda) must postpone his honeymoon because of the job. The gang and Pace's girlfriend Pumpkin (Marion Busia) then start the job with one condition: all of the cars must have insurance. The list contains variety of cars including limousines, truck, Rolls-Royces and exotic cars. 
H.B. Halicki
Maindrian Pace
Jerry Daugirda
Eugene Chase
Marion Busia
Most of the thefts go relatively easy, but acquiring 1973 Ford Mustang codenamed 'Eleanor' causes troubles. Also one car comes with bags of heroin in the trunk. Getting rid of it strains the partnership of Maindrian and Eugene. Sgt. Hawkins (John Halicki) comes to visit the garage just as the guys are trying to get rid of the drugs. 
George Cole
Atlee Jackson (George Cole)
'Test-driving' a Manta
John Halicki and H.B. Halicki
Sgt. Hawkins (John Halicki) visits the garage
When Pace goes to steal Eleanor a crazy 40 minute chase begins. Rubber burns and 93 cars are wrecked. 
"Gone in 60 Seconds" utilized real police and firemen as supporting actors and many of the actors were Halicki's relatives or friends. Also then-Mayor of Carson Sak Yamamoto appears as himself.

The outlaw style filming caused some ruckus as many bystanders did not know about the film project. At times is a very rough film and there was no official script, but it is clearly inspired and inventive low budget grindhouse film-making. The characters are paper-thin but no one watches these films for Oscar-winning performances or great for plot. The vintage cars and final chase are the reason to watch the film. Also it is a relic of the era when movies used real stunts and effects instead aid of computers. The hairstyles and cityscapes are preserved in this time capsule of 1970s California. Car carnage is made a bit more serious towards the end with injured people being pulled from the car wrecks.

Unfortunately the original Country style music has been replaced with some generic sounding thriller score in the DVD-editions. These kind of car chase films must have Country music! What is worse the removed songs affect also the overall mood of the movie, ruining at least one scene that was meant to be kind of romantic.

Rating: Good

Starring: H.B. Halicki, Marion Busia, Jerry Daugirda, James McIntyre, George Cole, Ronald Halicki, Markos Kotsikos, Butch Stockton, Phil Woods, J.C. Agajanian Jr., Christopher J.C. Agajanian, Gary Bettenhausen, Edward Booker, Anthony Cole, Mark Cole, Michael Cole, Billy Englehart, Jonathan E. Fricke, Parnelli Jones, Hal McClain, Don Simmons, Ron Simmons, Sak Yamamoto, Edward Abrahms, Wally Burr, Maureen Coddington, Cheryl Dunn, Monica Englander, Emily Fladland, Frank Halicki, John Halicki, Nancy Halicki, Rudy Halicki, Edward Havens, Philip Kachaturian, Mel Kenyon, Gary Patterson, Jack Popejoy, Dennis Stouffer, Jack Vacek, Bud Wackeen, Bunny Walsh, Taylor Webb, Jeff Winkless, Terence H. Winkless, Christine Wright 
Director: H.B. Halicki

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