Greydon Clark Drive-in Double Feature: Hi-Riders (1978)/The
Bad Bunch (1976/aka Tom/VCI DVD)
+ Uninvited (1988/Cheezy Flicks DVD)
Picture: C/C/C- Sound: C Extras: C/C- Films: C/C/D
Greydon Clark is one of
those successful 1970s directors who thrived in independent exploitation genre
filmmaking in the 1970s and made some of its more interesting films, but by the
1980s, he had done everything he could and never found a way to recover. We now look at three of his features on two
recent DVD releases that show the kind of work he was doing.
The Bad Bunch (1973) was his very first film and in it,
he played Jim, a Vietnam Veteran who visits the father of a young man with whom
he served. His friend was African
American, he Caucasian, so when he goes to the tough neighborhood to do so, he
also meets the brother of the dead man (Tom, played by Tom Johnigarn) who hates
white people, liberalism, the war and blames Jim for his death as much as
anything. It becomes an exploitation
film from there, but is also an interesting time capsule, despite being overly
obvious about its populist take on politics.
Aldo Ray. Jock Mahoney and Mardi Rustam also star.
Three films later came Hi-Riders (1978) which wanted to
capitalize on both car films and the bandit-chase cycle of that subgenre, as drag
racing leads to people being killed and the father of the competitor wants
fatal revenge. It is more entertaining
for its stunts, widescreen cinematography and crudeness than its script, which
is on the weak side. The result is not
quite what you might get out of an Australian Brian Trenchard-Smith (or slimier) film of the
kind, but it is still worth seeing, especially since the cast includes Mel
Ferrer, Stephen McNally, Neville Brand and the great Ralph Meeker.
those are fun, but by 1988, Clark landed up
doing Uninvited and it went straight
to video. Though you could never figure
out what the thing is about form the title, the idea is a hoot. A nice, kind orange cat found in a lab in Florida has a deadly
secret within it literally. Another
creature lives inside it and when it manifests itself, people get horrifically
killed. A much smaller creature is using
it as a living host, slowly pops out of its mouth and starts to kill as it
instantly grows to human size!
really, bad, lame howler belongs on Mystery
Science Theater 3000 and Cheezy should have included such a commentary, but
it also reminds us of how bad genre filmmaking declined by the late 1980s. Alex Cord, Clu Gulager, Rob Estes and George Kennedy
also show up.
enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Hi-Riders
(miscredited on the box as 1.85 X 1 and shot in Todd-AO 35mm anamorphic by Dean
Cundey just before his classic work on Carpenter’s Halloween) and letterboxed 1.85 X 1 image Bunch
on each respective film offered by VCI are in fairly good shape, but the prints
are aged, have some issues and the 1.33 X 1 image on Uninvited looks worse with pale color and a more degraded image
throughout. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the VCI films
are good for their age, while the same on Uninvited
is a little harsh throughout.
Extras include trailers,
on-cameras interviews and feature-length audio commentaries with Clark and company on both films
from VCI, while the Cheezy DVD has trailers for other films and some
on Clark, try this link to his howler Black Shampoo: