Bargain (Bin)ge: Finders Records (Bowling Green, OH)

Recently, I took a trip up to Detroit, MI to attend a John Carpenter retrospective concert (which was, for the record, awesome). While I was up that way, I decided to take a couple of days to explore the area. This included, of course, going on the hunt for physical media.

As with many other areas I’ve visited, I wasn’t able to find any accessible specific movie shops in the city limits of Detroit, so I decided to hit up a handful of local record stores and book shops in the city instead. What I found didn’t include a whole lot of VHS or DVD selection, but I wound up with a handful of soundtracks at least.

On the way up to Detroit, I took a quick detour based on my girlfriend’s recommendation. Bowling Green, OH, known for being the home of Bowling Green State University, has quite the local record shop: Finders Records.

finder15 finder16Finders Records is almost the perfect platonic ideal of a record store. It has a massive selection of both used and new vinyl, and the atmosphere and decor are easily unparalleled. It consists of three large rooms, each roughly the size of your typical record store, and they are all absolutely packed with media. The vibe of the place had me wondering if Liv Tyler or John Cusack would wander in the front door with some sort of angsty life problem.

finder17 finder14 finder13 finder12Unfortunately, as with many record stores, the DVDs were limited to concerts and music documentaries. However, the soundtrack selection was pretty stellar. Plus, there was a small buy/sell/trade down the block with a decent enough selection of movies and video games, though it wasn’t terribly much to write home about.

finder11 finder10 finder9 finder1 finder2 finder3 finder4 finder5 finder6 finder7 finder8If you happen to find yourself around Toledo/Bowling Green in Northwest Ohio, you need to do yourself a favor and check out the impressive Finders Records.

Bargain (Bin)ge: Dr. Disc (Windsor, ON)

Recently, I took a trip up to Detroit, MI to attend a John Carpenter retrospective concert (which was, for the record, awesome). While I was up that way, I decided to take a couple of days to explore the area. This included, of course, going on the hunt for physical media.

As with many other areas I’ve visited, I wasn’t able to find any accessible specific movie shops in the city limits of Detroit, so I decided to hit up a handful of local record stores and book shops in the city instead. What I found didn’t include a whole lot of VHS or DVD selection, but I wound up with a handful of soundtracks at least.

At one point over the weekend, my girlfriend and I took the scenic jaunt across the Detroit river into cheery old Windsor, Ontario, Canada. From what I saw, there isn’t much to the town, but there is a little two-story record shop called Dr. Disc.

8 7 1 6According to their website, Dr. Disc traces its lineage in Windsor back to 1982, which is pretty impressive. The space itself is quite cool, and decorated with everything from independent movie posters to a fishing net lined with vinyl records. There is another shop in Hamilton, ON with the same name and apparent branding, but they appear to be totally independent of each other. Maybe there used to be a chain of these at some point, and these are the last two survivors? Who knows?

10As far as selection goes, there’s a little bit of everything at Dr. Disc. There are obviously tons of records and CDs, but there’s also a good number of DVDs and Blu-Rays. Most interesting of all, though, was the tucked away corner of VHS tapes on the second story.

9 5 4 Proving without a doubt that Windsor is, indeed, Canadian, I saw more Don Cherry tapes and DVDs than I actually thought existed in the entire world. I’ve always known about him from being a hockey fan, but I had no idea that the tacky-suited loudmouth hockey commentator had an extensive line of DVDs and VHSs. On top of that, there were a handful of non-Cherry hockey blooper tapes that go back to the age of the Quebec Nordiques, OG Winnipeg Jets, and green-trimmed New Jersey Devils.

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Bargain (Bin)ge: People’s Records (Detroit, MI)

Recently, I took a trip up to Detroit, MI to attend a John Carpenter retrospective concert (which was, for the record, awesome). While I was up that way, I decided to take a couple of days to explore the area. This included, of course, going on the hunt for physical media.

As with many other areas I’ve visited, I wasn’t able to find any accessible specific movie shops in the city limits of Detroit, so I decided to hit up a handful of local record stores and book shops in the city instead. What I found didn’t include a whole lot of VHS or DVD selection, but I wound up with a handful of soundtracks at least.

The first place I want to spotlight is People’s Records, which has been around in Detroit at one location or another for well over a decade. The vibe of the place definitely reflects Detroit itself: it is artistic, creative, grungy, and worn. I absolutely dug it.

peoples3 peoples4 peoples1Unfortunately for me, this is a pretty pure record shop, and there were no tagalong VHS tapes or DVDs to be found. However, there was quite an eclectic selection of soundtracks on vinyl, which I can always appreciate.

Specifically, I came out with a couple of soundtrack records which I was delighted to pick up.

Iron Eagle

peoples5Ah, Iron Eagle. I haven’t thought about this flick in quite a while, but I couldn’t help but jump at the opportunity to have the vinyl soundtrack. Not only does this have tracks from Queen and George Clinton, but it also has the King Cobra theme song, which boasts one of the most 1980s music videos imaginable.

Tilt

peoples6I had no idea what this movie was, but I couldn’t very well *not* buy this album. Just look at that cover art! I did a little bit of digging, and it appears that this was a very early Brooke Shields movie from 1979. It is a teen-focused flick that I initially assumed was trying to co-opt the popularity of the film version of Tommy, but it was behind the curve if that was the intention.

Targets

Targets

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Today, I’m going to take a look at a controversial cult classic: Peter Bogdanovich’s 1968 feature, Targets.

The plot of Targets is summarized on IMDb as follows:

An elderly horror-film star, while making a personal appearance at a drive-in theater, confronts a psychotic Viet Nam War veteran who’s turned into a mass-murdering sniper.

Targets was written, produced, edited, and directed by Peter Bogdanovich, a lauded film critic who became one of the stalwart figures of the New Hollywood movement. After Targets, he built a strong career that included features like The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, Mask, Paper Moon, Daisy Miller, and At Long Last Love, among many others. His wife at the time, Polly Platt, is credited as both his co-writer and the film’s production designer. She later gained more notoriety as a producer on such movies as Bottle Rocket, The War of The Roses, Broadcast News, and Say Anything.

targets2The cinematographer on Targets was Laszlo Kovacs, who had a lengthy and notable career shooting films like Easy Rider, Shampoo, Paper Moon, Say Anything, and New York, New York.

Roger Corman was an uncredited executive producer for the film, and was instrumental in its creation. He essentially gave Bogdanovich free reign on the project with a set budget, provided that he was able to make use of stock footage from a previous Corman production, The Terror, and found a way to use the elderly Boris Karloff for just two days. Ultimately, Karloff was needed for five days of shooting, but he waived his fee thanks to his fondness for the screenplay.

targets3The shooting spree featured in Targets was inspired by true events, most notably the 1965 Highway 101 sniper attack, in which a sniper fired on moving cars from a nearby hill, and the Charles Whitman shootings at the University of Texas in 1966. The realistic depictions of mass shootings caused the film to be particularly controversial, even for a b-feature intended for a niche audience.

Samuel Fuller, a noted writer and director in his own right, apparently contributed significantly to the screenplay for Targets, but turned down credit for the movie.

Targets is regarded as one of the starting points for a new era in film horror, as well as a key point in the development of New Hollywood. Books like Shock Value and Easy Riders, Raging Bulls have gone into detail about the film’s production, and how it influenced Bogdanovich’s career and the way audiences thought about horror.

Targets currently has Rotten Tomatoes ratings of 88% from critics and 81% from audiences, along with an IMDb user score of 7.4/10. Its reputation over the years has only grown, as its influence has been felt and appreciated both in and outside of the horror genre.

Targets is, above all else, an effectively eerie movie. The lack of a soundtrack in particular gives the tense and shocking sequences a more pronounced and uncomfortable vibe. There are no cues to indicate what the audience’s reaction should be to any given action, which plays into the fact that the audience is subjected to the killer’s perspective for most of the movie. He doesn’t react to killing someone, and the film doesn’t either. I think that this apect, more so than the shooting sequences themselves, is what made the film so controversial and uncomfortable for people. Murder wasn’t a new topic for film, but showing it from a killer’s perspective was (and still is) genuinely unnerving.

While there are a lot of impressive elements to Targets, it is far from a perfect movie. As with most debut features, it is a little rough around the edges, particularly when it comes to the pacing of events. There are some distinct moments where the lulls in progress last a bit too long, but that said, this is a damn impressive first flick. While Bogdanovich arguably peaked early and has waned since the 1970s, this film provides a good overarching sense of his talents and potential.

targets4For fans of b-movies, horror movies, the New Hollywood era, or even just film history in general, Targets is worth your time to dig up in my opinion. There are a lot of things to like about it, and they certainly far outweigh the negatives.

Larry Cohen Collection: Bone

Bone

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Today’s entry into the Larry Cohen Collection is Bone, his controversial directorial debut.

Bone is a tense and darkly humorous home invasion thriller that presents the story of a robbery that goes rapidly awry, and circuitously winds up unraveling the lives of all of the parties involved.

Bone was written, directed, and produced by Larry Cohen as his first feature film, after a notable career as a television writer. It laid the foundations for a long tenure in front of the camera that bounced between genres, and garnered Cohen a significant cult following.

The movie was co-edited and shot by George Folsey, Jr. (Hostel, Black Caesar, The Blues Brothers), with Michael Corey (God Told Me To) acting as his co-editor.

Aside from Larry Cohen, the producers for Bone included his then-wife Janelle Webb (A Return To Salem’s Lot, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover) and Peter Sabiston (It’s Alive, Hell Up In Harlem, Black Caesar).

The score to Bone was composed by Gil Melle, who also provided the music for movies like The Andromeda Strain and Killdozer.

A number of the effects in the movie were provided by eventual Academy Award winner and master of the field Rick Baker, who worked on a number of Cohen’s films early in his career.

The relatively small cast of Bone includes a young Yaphet Kotto (Alien, Live And Let Die, The Running Man), Andrew Duggan (A Return To Salem’s Lot), Jeannie Berlin (Inherent Vice, The Heartbreak Kid), and Joyce Van Patten (Grown Ups, Marley & Me, The Bad News Bears).

Bone proved to be a difficult movie to market, thanks to a combination of controversial themes and pitch-black humor. As a result, it received a handful of alternate titles, though the most ofen seen one is Housewife.

Bone was shot almost entirely in Larry Cohen’s own house and property, and even features his dog.

While Bone certainly has a positive cult reputation, its reviews on the whole are mixed. It currently holds a user rating of 6.8 on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 67% from critics and 75% from audiences.

Personally, I see Bone as a bold work of a young director with an interesting vision. It is certainly unpolished and the product of a developing talent, but there are some flashes of really fantastic film-making here, particularly whenever a scene calls for a building of tension. Not only do the shots help build a simultaneous sense of uncomfortable distance and dangerously close proximity between the characters, but Cohen was able to get some really outstandingly emotional and creepy performances out of all four of the primary characters.

Oddly, the writing is really the weakest aspect of the movie. At first, the film has a clear clock on it to build the tension, but then it is dismissed outright. Honestly, I was a bit confused as to how much time was passing between scenes, and eventually the screenplay just drops the point altogether. Once that happens, the pacing of the movie gets kind of strange, and the last act makes for an odd sort of chase and rapid resolution. Looking back on it, I think this was a screenplay that Cohen wasn’t quite sure how to end, and it shows.

As far as a recommendation goes, Bone was definitely made for another time, which plays out as a positive and a negative. The movie provides a visual snapshot of Los Angeles at the time that is pretty cool to look at, but the political and social context behind this movie isn’t nearly as potent now. The humor is also sporadic and uneven, and it isn’t always clear what the message of the movie is. Regardless, as a exercise in building tension, there are some big positives to Bone. On top of that, one scene in particular features some of the earliest makeup work by Rick Baker, which adds a cool trivia bonus to the flick. Cohen fans at the least should check this one out, if you happen to be able to find a copy.