Forbidden World (aka Mutant)
In the distant future, a genetic research station is located on the remote desert planet of Xarbia, and a research team has created an experimental lifeform they have designated "Subject 20". This lifeform was built out of the synthetic DNA strain, "Proto B", and was intended to stave off a galaxy-wide food crisis. However, Subject 20 mutates rapidly and uncontrollably and has killed all of the laboratory subject animals before cocooning itself within an examination booth. After Subject 20 hatches from its cocoon, it begins killing the personnel at the station, starting with the lab tech charged with cleansing the subject lab of the dead animal test subjects. Professional troubleshooter Mike Colby (Vint), accompanied by his robot assistant SAM-104 (Olivera), is called in to investigate the problem. After Colby settles in, his decision to terminate Subject 20 to prevent further deaths is met with research-minded secrecy and resistance. The staff of the station includes the head of research, Gordon Hauser (Chiles), his assistant Barbara Glaser (Chadwick), lab assistant Tracy Baxter (Dunlap), the station head of security and Cal Timbergen (Harris), the chief of bacteriology. As Subject 20 continues to unleash a storm of gory fatalities that decimates most of the station crew, the lid on the deception is finally withdrawn: Subject 20's genetic design incorporates human DNA. Furthermore, its method of killing is most horrifying: this beast injects its prey with the Proto B DNA strain which then proceeds to remove all genetic differences within specific cells. The result is a terrifying death as the victim's living body slowly erodes into gelatinous pile of pure protein which subject 20 then uses for food. After its final mutation, where the creature evolves into a huge insect-like being with a large mouth full of sharp teeth, the creature is eventually slain when it eats Cal's cancer-ridden liver, its body genetically self-destructing from within. Mike and Tracy are the only survivors.
"Forbidden World" is a vintage Roger Corman production. It's a lively, amusingly gruesome space-horror show that gives the drive-in trade its money's worth in thrills,chills and laughs while showing off lots of young talent. Once called "Mutant." "Forbidden World" is a sort of "Son of the Alien" made with more zest and imagination than money. Allan Holzman, in a socko directorial debut after having worked his way up through the ranks at New World, knows what he's doing and makes "Forbidden World" move fast and funny.
--Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Old Man River
Documentary film version of the stage show in which actress Cynthia Gates Fujikawa explores the story of her father, actor Jerry Fujikawa, who had a long career in films and television, most often as a stereotyped Asian. The daughter, in the course of searching out her late father's history, discovers many things that she had not known, among them that her father had spent time in Manzanar, the internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, that he had had a family prior to hers, and that somewhere out there was a sister she had never known existed.
"Old Man River" is an act of love....a poignant reminder of how difficult it is for parents and children to know one another."
--Jay Carr, Boston Globe
"What could have been a self-indulgent, preachy dull enterprise is instead quirky, touching and gripping."
--Chris Wright, Boston Phoenix
Grunt! The Wrestling Movie
The colourful and explosive world of professional wrestling hits the big screen for the first time in GRUNT! THE WRESTLING MOVIE. A documentary crew sets out to unravel one of the most closely guarded secrets of professional wrestling. Is former champion “MAD DOG” JOE DECURSO, rumored to have committed suicide after accidentally decapitating his last opponent, really still alive and masquerading as the flamboyant MARVELOUS MASKED MARVEL? They first meet LOLA, Joe’s old girlfriend, an extremely abusive woman with a penchant for throwing things (bookcases and other people for example). Next is DICK KOPF, Joe’s old manager, who, as a result of his unique profession, has come to resemble a human pretzel. Through his strange assortment of people, a few important clues gradually emerge. Both Marvel and Joe have done charity wrestling for mental hospitals. High school footage of Joe reveals that he wore the same kind of mast that Marvel now wears. A showdown is arranged between Marvel and the champ, BOBBY “DEATH WISH” GARRETT. If he loses, Marvel must remove his mask. A frenzy of anticipation surrounds the arena the evening of the showdown. Finally, after preliminary bouts, Marvel and Death Wish make their appearance. The match is brutal; all rules and regulations are blatantly violated. Marvel becomes furious and shortly has the champ tied up in the ropes. He then begins a series of moves, which look frighteningly similar to the decapitation scene made famous by Joe: the crowd goes wild. GRUNT! THE WRESTLING MOVIE – It’s everything you ever wanted (or didn’t want to know) about professional wrestling.
Somewhere in the middle of this delicious free-for-all a character remarks, "The three most boring words in the English language are "Parade," "Museum," and "Documentary." "Grunt! The Wrestling Movie" is emphatically not a documentary - but the mark of its hilarious intelligence is that it pretned to be one with the same silly zest with which professional wrestlers claim their bouts are "spontaneous." Allan Holzman's parody of documentary film techniques is masterful; he made the movie in 16 millimeter and successfully blown it up to 35. Holzman is a filmmaker to be aware of and pay attention to -- and he's getting better with each new film.
-- F.X. Feeney, LA Weekly, Pick of the Week
Deborah Harry of Blondie fame sizzles in this high-suspense shocker set in the steamy underside of LA. Harry stars as Cory Wheeler, a struggling rock-and-roll singer who pays the bills by working as a phone-sex girl. Late one evening an anonymous customer calls, asking Cory to complete a ménage a trois with a woman he holds captive in his apartment. Cory plays along… until she hears the woman’s fear-filled screams and the caller’s bloodcurdling admission of murder. When Cory goes to the police she is ignored by all but one homicide detective (James Russo) who offers his off-duty help. But the killer seems to be one step ahead of Cory and the cop, leading them on a terrifying cat-and-mouse run for their lives. Costarring Tim Thomerson (Dollman, Trancers).
"Intimate Stranger's" unrelieved nastiness is something new. Allan Holzman uses Deborah Harry's stiff, halting acting style to good effect--she comes across as a cynical woman numbed to life; it takes overhearing a murder to shake her up. Tim Thomerson is extremely effective as the killer. His skillfully hateful performance will convince you the violence in "Stranger" isn't meant to be misogynistic--rather, it's designed to make you detest this twisted man.
--Kent Tucker, Entertainment Weekly (Showtime's highest rated movie)
Programmed to Kill
ROBERT GINTY (COMING HOME, THE EXTERMINATOR) and SANDAHL BERGMAN (CONAN THE BARBARIAN, ALL THAT JAZZ) square off for deadly combat in this high-tech tale of a lethally beautiful killer android on a rampage of inhuman revenge. Captured in a daring raid by ex-CIA agent Eric Mathews (GINTY), the merciless terrorist hit-woman Samira (BERGMAN) is brought to the U.S., where she undergoes experimental brain surgery. Transformed into an unstoppable bionic war, she returns to the Middle East, where she obediently wipes out all of her former comrades. But when a malfunction reactivates Samira’s human memories, she launches into a frenzy of cold-blooded vengeance. As she methodically terminates her CIA adversaries, only Mathews can halt her murderous onslaught. A gripping, futuristic action thriller!
A critical benediction goes out to Allan Holzman, director of the low, low budget actioner "Programmed To Kill." In an age when filmmakers protest that they can;t do anything for less than a zillion dollars and that they're unable to five free rein to their own ideas, Holzman took what by all rights could have been just another execrable anti-Arab broadside and turned it back on itself, creating a first rate action film about the unpredictable nature of consequences and illusion of control. Throw in a dollop of feminism and a sweeting of up-to-the-minute video techniques (overlays, color play, etc.) and you have the most consistently inventive and resourceful film of the year.
--Henry Sheehan, Los Angeles Reader
SKIN, based on a macabre short story written by renowned author Roald Dahl, centers around a love triangle with a tattoo artist, his wife and a great artist they admire, who also loves the tattoo artist's wife. One drunken evening the tattoo artist convinces the painter who later becomes quite famous to tattoo a portrait of his wife on to his back. The artist insists on a nude. Years later when the painter and wife have passed away, the down and out tattoo artist stumbles upon a retrospective of his friend's art and discovers that certain very wealthy people want his skin.
Out of Control
Keith Toland (MARTIN HEWITT-Endless Love), a wealthy high school senior, has promised his girlfriend Chrissie Barret (BETSY RUSSELL-Avenging Angel, Tomboy), and a handful of close friends a weekend they’ll never forget. When their plane crashes into the sea, the promise of sun-filled days and action-packed nights suddenly turns sour. The group’s troubles have only just begun! Stranded on an uninhabited and isolated island, the eight teens find themselves at the mercy of a dangerous gang of international smugglers – victims of irrational violence and the unwilling targets of ruthless sexual hunger. Their youthful fun and games are rapidly transformed into a horrifying reality, their high-spirited dreams of paradise transformed into an inescapable nightmare. They find that on this island, nothing is sacred… there is no law and order, no control, no help, no hiding place and there are no rules except one—SURVIVAL!
"Out Of Control" is anything but that. From frame one director Allan Holzman, a talented Roger Corman discovery, takes charge of this swift-moving teen adventure and never lets up until its exciting finish."
--Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times