Wednesday, June 8, 2022

A THIEF IN THE NIGHT (1972)

Patty wakes up to news on the radio that millions of people have disappeared overnight.  She goes to find her husband, but that motherfucker is gone!  Oh, shit.  The viewer is then treated to an extended flashback that shows Patty attending some kind of bummed out youth ministry where a teenage speaker is droning on about death.  She wisely leaves to go to a carnival.  While there, she meets her future husband.  Fast-forward and he gets saved (a.k.a. becomes a Christian), but Patty never does.

So now Patty is stuck in this post-Rapture shitshow time period called the Tribulation where everything is, I'm guessing...terrible, but unfortunately the budget is so low and the storytelling so poor that all we know for sure is the government is now forcing people to get an identification mark on their body and that Patty refuses to get the mark.

Overall, I was severely disappointed in A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.  I was seriously hoping for it to be 1) a hard-hitting story about Christians getting persecuted and shit-talked nonstop before getting zipped up into Heaven and then the shit talkers see the folly of their ways and getting saved only to be tortured 24/7 by an evil worldwide government. -or-  2) so goddamn cheesy that I hurt myself laughing at it.  Either way would have been cool, but instead we get 3) a slow-moving, poorly written story that can't even fill the 69-minute runtime.

A THIEF IN THE NIGHT was reportedly made for a budget of $68,000 and it definitely shows.  Small cast of non-actors, slow story that goes nowhere, zero special effects, poor lighting, high school play level sets, "a super evil credit card" and a big action scene composed of a lone woman running through the empty streets of Des Moines, Iowa while two guys in a van drive around looking lost.  Exciting stuff. 

As far as the evangelical Christian scare film genre goes, A THIEF IN THE NIGHT is important (and worth watching) because it's one of earliest examples of the genre, but it is painfully boring to get through nowadays.  That said, from what I can tell, it traumatized entire generations of children who were forced to watch it in church back in the day.

[Update 7/2022: I was adding some pictures to the PINK FLAMINGOS review and I realized that it was released in 1972 also. The same year as A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, but with a budget of only $12,000!]

Part 2 - A Distant Thunder (1978)
Part 2 - Image of the Beast (1981)
Part 3 - The Prodigal Planet (1983)

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

AMERICAN ANTHEM (1986)

American gymnast Steve Tevere (played by real life gold-medal-winning gymnast Mitch Gaylord) quit the team due to an arm injury and personal issues at home.  Things change though when an attractive girl, Julie (Janet Jones), joins the team.  Suddenly, Steve is fired up and ready to rejoin the team.  But it's gonna be tough.  Damn tough!  Grrrrr!

AMERICAN ANTHEM has it all.  Awesome 1980's pop songs, insane over the top lighting, montages galore, sincere acting to a horrible script, multiple spreadies to the gods and spreadies to the underworld, an unemployed drunk and abusive dad, an angry guy who doesn't need a wheelchair getting into an electric wheelchair and slamming himself into the wall face first, random fog in the background, a dude walking into his own house and casually throwing his motorcycle helmet into something offscreen that makes a crashing sound, dude doing angry gymnastic in a darkened forest at night during a rainstorm, cracking eggs with your front teeth and then sucking out the insides, wielding without a mask on, the lines "colon caterpillar" and "how far can u squirt?" never used even once, a motorcycle chase, people flying through the air, an athlete with a knee made of Play-Doh and a heart made of gold, cassette tapes, Mitch Gaylord with his shirt off, the coach from ROCKY IV (with his shirt on), lots of sporty gymnasts tumbling and springing all over the joint doing tricks that probably have names like the Flip Six Three Hole, Wookalar Nards and Cookie Dough Dick.

Who knows what watching this film was like back in 1986 (and apparently not too many people do since it tanked at the box office), but watching it nowadays (5/2022) I had a blast!  Quick pace, solid acting, no real ups or down, lots of fun songs for me to change the lyrics to.  AMERICAN ANTHEM is a great stress-free, lazy afternoon guilty pleasure to giggle at and secretly enjoy.  Recommended.  I watched it twice and I'm totally going to watch it again.  My only real complaint is the camera seemed too zoomed in for the entire movie.

[This has absolutely nothing to do with the review but, true story, I fell asleep last night thinking about this movie and had a dream that during the nighttime forest gymnastics scene the gymnast flew up into the clouds and 69'd a pelican before safely falling back to earth.]