Tag Archives: assault on precinct 13

Bargain Bin(ge): Blue Arrow Records (Cleveland, OH)

Recently, I took a quick drive up to Cleveland, OH, which was my first time in the prominent Great Lakes city. Admittedly, I only knew as much as the internet had told me of it.

As I usually do when exploring a new city, I set aside some time to hunt for film-related used media: soundtrack records, DVDs, VHS, laserdiscs, etc.

My first stop in Cleveland was Blue Arrow Records, located in the Waterloo Arts District, and surrounded by buildings adorned with street art and sculpture gardens. It definitely has a cool vibe to it, synthesizing a hip and eccentric interior with an anachronistic external aesthetic, punctuated by the eponymous neon blue arrow.

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As far as the selection goes, Blue Arrow is a pure record store, and there aren’t any significant wayward VHS or DVDs to be found hiding out on their shelves. However, they do have a not-to-shabby collection of soundtrack records, of which a number caught my eye.

To Live And Die In LA

To Live And Die In LA is a 1985 crime movie directed by William Friedkin, the lauded New Hollywood auteur who helmed The French Connection and The Exorcist. In many ways, To Live And Die In LA is an attempt to re-capture the success of The French Connection, with a distinctly 1980s flair. One of the keystones of that 1980s aesthetic that Friedkin wanted for the film was the soundtrack, which is provided in entirety by the band Wang Chung. Seriously. Of course, when I saw this soundtrack on the shelves at Blue Arrow for $3, it absolutely went home with me.

I recently saw To Live And Die In LA for the first time, which was spurred on after reading William Friedkin’s autobiography. While it is a bit uneven, the movie is well designed, well acted, features one of the greatest car chases in film history, and is at least partially responsible for the rise of Willam Dafoe. It is a pretty good time, subverts the tropes and expectations of the genre, and deserves a second look (to say the least). The Wang Chung soundtrack is just the cherry on top of an already pretty damn cool movie, and I highly recommend seeking it out.

Over The Top

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Over The Top is a 1987 Canon feature starring Sylvester Stallone that I covered on the blog some time ago. I regard this as a must-watch for bad movie fans, and it encapsulates a lot of what makes late 1980s cheese-ball flicks what they are. The soundtrack for the film is no exception, featuring such acts as Asia, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins, and Sylvester Stallone’s brother, Frank Stallone.

Assault on Precinct 13

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Assault on Precinct 13 is the movie that explosively introduced the world at large to John Carpenter. I personally still regard it as one of his best movies, and perhaps the most iconic siege thriller ever put to film. As with most of Carpenter’s films, it also features a synthesizer score created by the director, which is defined by simple rhythms and haunting drones. I like the score to Assault on Precinct 13 almost as much as the movie itself, and would have picked it up if it hadn’t been so expensive. There’s just no such thing as cheap John Carpenter vinyl these days.

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Bargain Bin(ge): McKay Used Books (Chattanooga, TN)

Ah, McKay Used Books. I covered the Nashville location a while back, but this time my travels took me to the Chattanooga location of the immense media store.

mckay10The chain is very small, with only three locations throughout Tennessee. It is distantly related to the similarly-titled Edward McKay Used Books chain in North Carolina, though the connection is apparently tenuous and ancient at this point.

McKay is distinguished both by its immense size and low prices: all of the locations are two stories, and packed to the gills with used media of every fashion. The bargain section for DVDs even features massive laundry bins filled with movies on sale for less than $2, which is about as good as a deal is going to get.

mckay8 mckay9As always, I came away from McKay’s with a nice little haul of movies:

Death Race 2000

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Death Race 2000, for those not familiar with it, is one of the key Roger Corman classics. It includes an early appearance of Sylvester Stallone, David Carradine in top form, and some social commentary scattered amid the gory action. There was a remake in 2008 by Paul W.S. Anderson that wasn’t entirely terrible, but missed the oddball tone of the original. If you haven’t seen it, definitely give it a shot.

Fortress 2

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Fortress 2 is a sequel to Stuart Gordon’s Fortress, which I covered a while back. I don’t know anything specific about it, though apparently the premise is that the jail is in space this time. I can only hope that things careen into something resembling an episode of Superjail!

Kingdom of the Spiders

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This is another off-the-wall find. Kingdom of the Spiders is a little cult classic creature feature starring William Shatner just before Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I regard it as the middle ground between “young” Shatner and “old” Shatner, like the missing link in the evolution of Captain Kirk. Also, the movie features a boatload of live tarantulas acting as the monsters. No camera trickery or rubber suits here.

The Mangler Reborn

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At first, I assumed that this was the sequel to The Mangler, the infamous tale of a murderous laundry folding machine. Unfortunately, this is actually the third movie in the series, and rounds out the inexplicable Mangler trilogy. I may have to dig up a copy of Mangler 2 before I give this one a watch. I mean, what if I miss some important plot information?

Assault on Precinct 13

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I absolutely love this movie, and it has proven to be a surprisingly difficult DVD to dig up. This was regarded as the professional debut of John Carpenter, who wound up conquering the late 1970s and 1980s with highly-regarded cult movies like Halloween, They Live, Christine, Escape From New York, and The Thing. However, the shock of Assault On Precinct 13 is what launched him into notoriety. This movie is high tension action at its best, capturing the menace and claustrophobia of a modern siege situation like no other movie has. Also, the soundtrack is fucking awesome.

Pocket Ninjas

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Pocket Ninjas is regarded as one of Robert Z’Dar’s most terrible movies, and that is saying a lot for a guy who made an impressive career exclusively out of being in shit movies. I haven’t seen it, but I am expecting something nearly unwatchable if the IMDb rating of 1.5 is to be believed.

Jack Brooks Monster Slayer

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Jack Brooks Monster Slayer is a horror comedy that I know nothing about, but apparently Robert Englund shows up in it at some point. I could see this going in a lot of different directions in regards to quality, but I figured that it was worth the gamble.