Friday, March 29, 2019

VHyesterdayS Trailers: The Films That Time Forgot

A while back I decided to kick off the VHyesterdayS series with a tape that kept calling my name, Communion. I had fun watching the movie again, even if I was petrified, but do you know what really stuck with me? The trailers at the start of the tape! I'm a guy that watches and is aware of a lot of films, but I hadn't heard of a single one of the movies featured in these trailers!

It got me thinking about all the films that were direct-to-video or had a very short life span in the theatre and have been left to rot, considered too weak to eke even the smallest profit. These movies may have had a limited VHS release and aren't likely to hit DVD, Blu-ray, or even a streaming service.

So here are three of those "lost films" and because I'm so lazy, it's actually the exact three that were featured on my M.C.E.G./Virgin release of Communion from 1989!

Limit Up

Limit Up is a comedy film starring Nancy Allen, Dean Stockwell, Danitra Vance, and Ray Charles. It was written (co-written with Luana Anders) and directed by Richard Martini. From what I can tell the film had a premiere in Chicago - where it is prominently set - in 1989 before being released direct-to-video in 1990.

The film follows Nancy Allen's character, Casey Falls, as she makes a deal with the Devil (portrayed by Danitra Vance of SNL fame) in order to make it big in soybean stocks. INB4 all those non-fat soy lattes!

Does it look like a by-the-numbers 80s comedy movie? Yes. Is that a problem. Absolutely not!

As is the case with all of the films I'll be featuring today I have not seen Limit Up, so I can't speak to it. A VHS copy would only cost around $6 CAD, but to have it shipped to My-Neck-of-the-Woods, Canada would be an additional $25 or so, so I haven't made the purchase. A quick search showed me that some individuals actually got their hands on a DVD copy of the film from Amazon, but my best deduction is that these were VHS ripped copies that were illegally distributed through the platform and are no longer available. I can't find any information that the film saw anything outside of its original VHS release.

That said, it appears that Limit Up is available on Amazon Prime Video in the US! It means I can't watch it in my region, but hopefully someday it'll be available in the Great White North and I'll be able to give this movie a watch. It looks like a fun little comedy/fantasy that I'd definitely like to check out.

Trust Me

Next up is Trust Me, starring Adam Ant, David Packer, and Talia Balsam. It was written and directed by Robert Houston, who is probably best known for this role of Bobby in The Hills Have Eyes

It's a crime movie in which Adam Ant's character, James Callendar, may or may not kill off Sam Brown (David Packer) in order to make his art more salable in the cutthroat art market. It could be a fun comedy romp based on the music and visual cues of the trailer or it could be a straight-forward drama. The trailer is so bad I can't even tell. I somehow gleaned as much as I did amidst the sea of shoulder-padded blazers and neon colours.

This is certainly not a movie I'd like to see, but you can score a VHS copy of the film from $7 to $10 CAD, plus shipping and handling. I couldn't find any streaming services that carry Trust Me, but I did find the entire film uploaded to YouTube, if you're so inclined!

Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts is a feel-good drama directed by Jon Amiel, starring Vittorio Duse, Joseph Long, and Anita Zagaria.

It was the first film directed by Jon Amiel, who worked in TV for the BBC for several years prior. He would go on to have a solid career in Hollywood with films like Sombersby, The Man Who Knew Too Little, Entrapment, and The Core, as well as successful TV shows like The Borgias.

This is more of a teaser than a trailer, with a run-time of about a minute, so it's difficult to get more than the feel of the movie from it, but it is about a family of Italians who live a whimsical life running a café in London.

Look at that title card! It stands out like a sore thumb. It looks like it was created by a local TV station or something. I sure hope it didn't make it into the final cut of the film.

Queen of Hearts is another movie I won't seek out personally, but not for the same reasons as Trust Me. The teaser coupled with the accolades of the director speak to the film being just fine, but it doesn't look like my cup o' tea. That said, you can find a VHS copy of the film at auction for around $13 CAD plus, I'm sure, some hefty shipping and handling on top.

Or just skip that and get the DVD! That's right, MGM owns distribution rights of the film and a DVD can be purchased through Turner Classic Movies for around $30 CAD. Sorry, from what I can tell, there are no streaming options available.

So that's it! I have to say, I was surprised to find that Limit Up was available for streaming and that Queen of Hearts actually landed a limited and expensive DVD release. For that reason it's hard to call them "lost", but I think they still remain films you likely never even heard of regardless of their availability.

I hope you enjoyed this (probably) boring trip through the films that time forgot and if you actually read the whole thing... I have nothing for you, but regret!