The inane ramblings presented here by Scott Foy (aka The Foywonder) are strictly his own opinions
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MY NAME IS SCOTT FOY AND I PAID TO SEE EXIT WOUNDS
What a difference a year makes. About this time last year I was absolutely burned out from writing due to piling on too many things and forcing myself to meet imaginary headlines. Sometimes I forget this is just a hobby. Plus, I was dreading the next few weeks at work because Mardi Gras season was upon us and at a TV station in the Deep South that always means longer hours and working extra days. Well, I occasionally find myself pressuring myself to meet those imaginary deadlines but not to the degree that I was last year, and thanks to Hurricane Katrina, Mardi Gras won't be much of an issue this year. There will still be some parades this year but nothing to degree of what would normally be prior to the meteorological apocalypse of this past August. And most importantly, I've finally escaped the confines of that damned FEMA trailer and moved into an apartment (the house is still under repairs) complete with full-time internet access. I can tell you to be on the lookout for some long overdue changes to the website in the coming weeks. For starters, if they haven't already, both the ARCHIVES and LINKS pages will be getting updated to include a listing of all my newest Dread Central and B-WARE THE BLOG! reviews and more current website listings. If you're interested in a link exchange for the "Links" page then just drop me a line. The front page will be getting a makeover in the coming weeks and you might even notice something a little different with the URL. The future of Schlocktoberfest still remains in doubt and really won't even be feasible for the foreseeable future barring some unexpected turn of events. Heck, the college where we held the first two shows remain closed for repairs although still one of the few beachfront properties still standing. It's only been the past month that things on the Mississippi Gulf Coast have seemingly returned to something resembling normalcy for the first time since August 29th and things are slowly improving. I can say that I do have some interesting things in the works, details of which I cannot go into at this time, but let's just say I might be branching out. With any luck 2006 will prove better than 2005 so stay tuned.
BALLAD OF THE NASTY HERO
Fade in. A rattlesnake rests in the middle of the road. A black sports car pulls up to it, comes to a stop, and the driver gets out. He is only shown from the legs down; we see only his blue jeans pants and black leather boots. He walks up to the rattlesnake, stands next to it for several seconds, gets back into the car, and drives off. All the while, a voiceover narration accompanies the scene. It is that of the driver, he speaks in a tone that sounds like someone trying to do a bad Sylvester Stallone impression. He delivers the following soliloquy:
"Most people, they make a big deal out of what we call an exotic vehicle. You know - a Porsche, a Ferrari, Mercedes Benz... But you make a couple of thousand trips like me and they're just cars. Nice, very nice But just cars... I drive exotics for the rich people that have'em to the rich people who want'em. I don't like the people much. I do it because it keeps me on the road. The last trip, the law stopped me in Georgia - turned out the car was hot. I didn't know but the state didn't care. Locked me up for six months. Now here I am going to see my buddy Carlos and Yolanda, his niece. But more important, I'm going to see the guys who set me up. Yeah, I'm going back... And I'm feelin' nasty."
AND THIS DOG OF A MOVIE'S DAY IS TODAY!
That's the opening of NASTY HERO, a great big hunk of cheesy action from the Eighties that's in desperate need of being re-discovered by b-movie fans today. Made in '87, not released until 2000; IMDB lists NASTY HERO as being a made-for-TV movie but I've come across no evidence of a TV airing prior to its brief VHS release in 2000. Whatever the film's history, it's mostly gone unnoticed by bad movie fans and that's a damn shame. I recall seeing the box on video store shelves 15 years ago before I had really developed my love for b-cinema. Since then, the film has mostly faded into obscurity, at least until I stumbled upon a copy two weeks ago and decided to give it a go. Being a connoisseur of cinema's most obscure, I now feel it my civic duty to give this movie the love it so rightly deserves.
The NASTY HERO himself is named Chase and he's played by a young actor named Scott Feraco who looks like an amalgamation of Peter Berg, Bill Paxton, Marc Singer, and Richard Grieco. Average sized, somewhat muscular yet still looking to weigh little over 200 pounds if even that much, dressed for much of the movie in black leather boots, blue jeans, and an Army green muscle shirt; no amount of three-day old stubble can make Mr. Feraco look like someone who should be playing the lead role in a movie called NASTY HERO. He also doesn't help matters by speaking in a phony voice that's supposed to make him sound tougher but really makes him sound like a congested Sylvester Stallone suffering from a really bad cold. Feraco's Chase comes across more like a parody of the typical Eighties lone wolf action hero but the film itself while obviously not taking itself too seriously is still not intentionally a comedy. There is nothing nasty about Chase whatsoever. He doesn't smoke, he's not a hard drinker, he doesn't have any tattoos, he doesn't carry a gun or a knife, and he isn't even physically imposing. This NASTY HERO likes traveling, driving sports cars, reading Louis L'Amour novels, eating a nice bowl of soup, shining his boots, staring intently, getting weepy-eyed at the sight of a spray-painted mural, and posing like a male model in blue jeans ads.
"YEAH, I'M BACK... AND I'M FEELIN' SLEEPY."
Chase's best friend and sometimes sidekick is a Cuban boxer named Carlos, played by real-life hall of fame Welterweight boxing champion Carlos Palomino. I assure you his hall of fame induction had nothing to do with his performance here. Not only is he not much of an actor, he isn't much for fashions either. Just take my word on that one. I know it was the Nu Wave/Miami Vice era but there's no excuse for some of his fashion choices. A friend of mine described a shirt he was wearing early on as being the single gayest shirt he'd ever seen. I told him just wait until he saw the villains. Unintended gayness abounds in NASTY HERO. Again, it was the Nu Wave/Miami Vice era. One thing is for certain, the title character in a movie called NASTY HERO should never be shown riding bitch on a small motorbike to a short Freddie Mercury mustachioed Latino.
CAR THIEVES BEWARE: HALL & OATES ARE ON PATROL
Carlos has a niece named Yolanda. No, that blonde on the cover of the VHS box is not Yolanda or anyone else in the movie. It's implied that Yolanda and Chase used to date. It's implied that Yolanda and Chase still have feelings for one another. It's implied that Chase would like to pick up where they last left off. It was only six months ago but to listen to them talk you'd think he'd been locked away for six years. It doesn't really matter because the movie barely has time to pay lip service to anything resembling romance. Yolanda seems to exist for no other reason than to be put in danger a few times and convince us that Chase and Carlos aren't living their own Brokeback Miami.
Now if the NASTY HERO himself doesn't sound particularly nasty then just wait until you see the gang of exotic car thieves he finds himself opposing. The leader is Brad, a quintessential Southern Florida yuppie playboy suffering from a serious case of Christopher McDonald hair that drives an expensive European sports car with personalized plates and dresses in fancy flowery shirts by day and Don Johnson wear by night. He leads a trio of the wimpiest movie henchmen in the history of cinema. One tends to dress like he should be bullying The Karate Kid, another is a Ferris Beuller look-a-like, and the least of the group is a stumpy blonde fellow who could very well be the long lost kid brother of Philip Seymour Hoffman's BOOGIE NIGHTS character. That last one is the most pathetic of the bunch since he appears to be frightened of his own shadow. All of these guys look and act like they'd be more at home playing the villains in a REVENGE OF THE NERDS style comedy than as action movie villains. NASTY HERO really is an action film cast with characters you'd find in an 80s Spring Break sex comedy.
IN THE WORLD OF NASTY HERO THIS IS WHAT QUALIFIES AS HENCHMEN
The mastermind of the car thief ring is a dirty cop named Hackett. He's played by veteran character actor Mike Starr who you may remember as the angry b-movie producer that regrets letting Ed Wood make GLEN OR GLENDA in Tim Burton's ED WOOD. Here he plays the real brains of the operation as evidenced by the fact that he looks like a high school auto shop teacher and not an 80s retro metrosexual. The way it works, Brad and company steal and sell the cars and Hackett buries the stolen car reports and insures that the police don't interfere with their deals. I've watched the movie twice now and I still don't understand why exactly they set Chase up to be arrested or how Chase knows exactly who the guys are that he needs to go after.
Then again, none of it really matters. If it wasn't for the lack of ultra violence, the film really seems to be set not in real world Miami but in the faux Miami from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Nobody here behaves like a real person in the real world and the real world the movie is set in doesn't respond to these characters as it would if this took place in the real world as you and I know it. NASTY HERO is 80 minutes of random acts of senseless machismo. Explanations are irrelevant. Motivations are miniscule. Logic is dirty word. Shit happens; reasoning sold seperately.
No one moment better typifies why NASTY HERO is an unheralded schlockfest than a scene early on where it appears a random citizen has wandered right into the middle of a scene much to the chagrin of the film's star. Chase goes to the gym to see his old pal Carlos again for the first time since getting back in town. The duo are shown walking down the street catching up on old times when suddenly an old black man walks right into actor Scott Feraco, who without missing a beat gently grabs the man and lightly pushes him out of the way and finishes the scene. Upon being grabbed, the old black man utters something along the lines of "I can only walk to the pawn shop this way." He might have said post office; I'm not sure. Either or, there's no way this was a scripted. It seems this old black man needed to go to either the pawn shop or the post office and this movie production was blocking his only way and he didn't have the time or patience to wait for them to finish shooting so he waltzed right into the middle of the shot. Why the filmmakers left this in and didn't do another take is anyone's guess; probably because they didn't have a permit and needed to film this street scene fast. Who knows? Who cares? It still leaves us with one of the all-time great "What the hell?!?!" moments ever to appear in a movie.
SCATMAN CROTHERS' ZOMBIE PROVED NO MATCH FOR NASTY HERO'S MIGHTY GRIP
Anyway, back to the plot. Chase is pissed. Those thievin' bastards cost him six months of his life and now he wants to pay them back. One little problem - Chase doesn't really have a plan for doing so. That's okay; the exotic car thieves he's after don't have a plan for dealing with him. Chase is back in town with revenge on his mind. He first visits Vic, the car guy that gives him assignments and is begrudgingly in the fold of the band of car thieves to set the wheels in motion. Let's take a good look at Chase's seemingly improvised plan for ultimate revenge.
CHASE'S IMPROMPTU 10 PART PLAN FOR REVENGE:
1: Rip off a side mirror from Brad's car just to piss him off
You think I'm kidding? That pretty much sums up most of the film's first act. After getting his ass handed to him in a 4-on-1 fight Chase is pretty much resolved to ride on out of town until he sees a mural spray painted on a street corner wall of I guess Yolanda and realizes he can't leave her behind and must get his divine payback.
Chase returns to the nightclub the next evening with Carlos in tow as back-up. Not exactly a menacing duo. They approach Brad and company seated in their private booth. Carlos tells Brad that Chase has something he wants to say to him. That message consists of Chase getting right in Brad's face, picking up Brad's cocktail, and squeezing the glass until it shatters splattering tiny shards of glass and designer cocktail all over Brad's suit, and presumably Chase too but six months is prison hardens a man enough that bits of glass and "Sex on the Beach" doesn't affect one like it does yuppie scum. Nothing really comes from this confrontation other than Brad having a conniption and the first appearance of Hackett who has to calm Brad down and advises Chase to leave town immediately.
Notice a trend here? Nobody ever gets shot or stabbed. Not only does nobody ever get killed, I don't recall anyone ever even bleeding. The worst injury anyone suffers in the film is a broken wrist. It seems that the filmmakers decided to take the MEGAFORCE approach, and by that I mean they set out to make a modern Western where nobody kills or gets killed. I think we all know how well that concept didn't work with MEGAFORCE and it only succeeds in making this film that much loopier given that it's a movie about an ex-con seeking revenge against the people who framed him, it's set in late 80s Miami, AND THE TITLE OF THE FILM IS NASTY HERO!
NASTY HERO'S GOT THE LEVI'S 501 BLUES
NASTY HERO's zenith of goofiness comes in the form of its biggest action set piece. Hackett wants to do away with this Chase guy once and for all before he leads the non-crooked cops their way. Under forced coercion by the villains, Vic the exotic car mechanic tells Chase that he has a truckload of cars that need delivering. Chase knows immediately that this is some sort of set-up since Vic asked him to help deliver a truckload of automobiles in a manner akin to someone on the verge of a nervous breakdown - not exactly playing it cool when trying to set someone up. Once Chase exits, Brad emerges from another room where he had been holding Vic's wife and daughter hostage and congratulates him on - and I swear there isn't an ounce of irony in his voice - giving an Oscar caliber performance. The only way Vic's delivery could have been any more conspicuous would be if he had outright told Chase that it was a set-up.
Flash to Chase driving one of those 18-wheelers with the double decker trailer used for hauling automobiles. Everything is smooth sailing as he drives down this seemingly deserted Florida highway until he spots a squad car on the side of the road and a policeman in the middle of it motioning for him to stop. It's actually Hackett but Chase as far as we know doesn't know who this character is and keeps on truckin', nearly running him down in the process. Brad's hench-frat boys come from out of nowhere and attempt to flag Chase down. They tell him to pull over and he promptly sideswipes them. This process repeats several times even after one of them begins waving a gun and tries blowing out the tires. Again, the villains are idiots because they clearly think a Porsche can force an 18-wheeler off the road. After slamming into them and running them off the road for the umpteenth time, Chase, using a steel chain and thanking the gods for giving him an open road straight shot with no other traffic in sight, chains the wheel and the gear shift together to keep the car steady and props a big metal toolbox on the accelerator so that he can climb out of the cab, casually walk along the double decker trailer amid gunfire, and unhinges a white Mustang sending it crashing to the pavement and creating a heck of a projectile weapon. The frat goons avoid it but run off the road again while Hackett, who had again taken up the pursuit in his faux police car, is not so lucky and enjoys a Hal Needham-arrific crash. Only then does the rig begin to wobble, requiring him to go climb back into the cab and remove his makeshift autopilot. I wonder if the makers of the movie BLACK DOG ever saw this.
But wait! This pursuit still isn't over. The frat thugs in their now badly damaged vehicle come back for more, and this time Chase lures them into his nasty spider web of vengeance. By that I mean he gets right in front of them, drops the ramp, hits the brakes, and allows them to roll right into the back of the haul where he traps them. This leads to him finally pulling the truck over so everyone can climb out on the side of the road and engage in the kind of fisticuffs that one can only accurately describe as a scrap fight. One tries to pull a gun but Chase gets it from him, points at his head, and then throws it to the ground before tackling the guy and proceeding to pummel the crap out of him schoolyard bully style. The other then picks up the gun requiring Chase to cease his pummeling, fight this guy over the gun and wrestle it away from him before giving the guy a clunky backdrop. They're down on the ground, not even unconscious, not even adequately beaten into submission, but just like that Chase climbs back on the rig, pushes their smashed up car back onto the road, and the scene ends without any real resolution other than Chase kind of showing them up. Pure b-movie magic, I tell you.
Not to be outdone is the bewildering subplot involving Carlos' niece Yolanda and Brad's blonde bimbo girlfriend Virginia. Chase has the hots for Yolanda and Yolanda has the hots for Chase yet for some reason she seems to be involved with Brad despite that fact that she constantly reacts to him like she thinks he's a smarmy creep. She's still willing to go over to his pad, hangout by his pool in a bikini, and let him sensually rub suntan lotion on her. Despite Brad knowing that Yolanda knows Chase, he never brings up the subject or quizzes her about the mysterious stranger that's determined to make his life a living hell. But who has time for scruffy men on a mission when your blonde bimbo girlfriend is getting jealous of all the attention you're giving the new girl, something Brad picks up on and later taunts Virginia about with some needlessly racist comments ("So how do you like my little piece of dark meat?") that Yolanda overhears. She rescues Virginia from the abusive yuppie and despite being bitter rivals mere moments earlier, their disdain for Brad has seemingly led to some bonding on their parts since the next time we see the two they're out jogging with Carlos.
Actually, before they go jogging, an angry Brad orders his the frat brothers of doom to follow Virginia. Why? Who knows? They finally force her to pull over in a dark, foggy lot where they behave in a manner that leads one to believe that they were either planning to rape and murder her or just sexually harass her into submission. Regardless, Chase magically appears in the distance; his shadowy, backlit, fog-enshrouded silhouette being all that's needed for them to yell, "It's him!" and run away like preschoolers scared of the boogeyman. He then steps out of the shadows and comforts her by gently caressing the cheek upon which she had just been slapped. Chase's revenge for the mistreatment of a blonde bimbo: Brad wakes up to find his fancy sports car at the bottom of his swimming pool.
Well that's the last straw so Brad and company kidnap Yolanda, Virginia, and Carlos while they're out jogging in another laughably staged series of events. It starts with a silly foot chase with the girls being chased by a van, briefly turns into an impromptu two-on-one boxing match between Carlos and two of the goons, goes back to being a foot chase with Carlos running after the van in which the girls are now being held captive, and culminates in Brad KO'ing Carlos with what appears to be a really big hunk of Formica.
Chase's "Spidey Sense" must have gone off because he's immediately shown running into Yolanda's apartment looking for her, then to Carlos' looking for him, and finally to the gym where Carlos is usually sparring. This leads to yet another great moment of zen. Chase walks into the gym, stands right next to some young black boxer working the punching bag, and yells out Carlos' name. This young black boxer that we've never seen before, for no discernable reason whatsoever, turns to Chase and challenges him ("You want some, tough guy? Come get some!"), and throws a shadow punch his way. Apparently, yelling out Carlos' name in the gym constitutes a pugilistic challenge. Chase promptly decks the guy to the ground and asks him where Carlos is; the punch drunk boxer is unable to respond because Chase's right hand to the jaw has given him temporary amnesia. Moments like this make it known that the filmmakers clearly didn't take the movie seriously but still - what the hell was that all about?
Minutes later, Chase has another encounter with Hackett, flanked by some crooked cops he has on the payroll. He wants to make a trade with Chase. He'll return his three friends, well, two friends and the bad guy's ex-girlfriend who has gotten mixed up in all this nonsense, in exchange for the rig from the highway chase earlier. Note to all inept illegal car ring leaders: don't use your own merchandise (especially if it's worth over $100,000) in poorly conceived plans because not only might your plans go awry, you could lose your loot in the process. Hackett gives him a time and place to meet him at with the cars and just to make sure he has the upper hand this time, he breaks Chase's wrist with a nightstick. Hackett refers to this as "insurance" because "a bird can't fly with a broken wing."
There's no time for Chase to go to the hospital but he does have time to head back to Vic's garage and have him graft a cast iron cast. In the most inexplicable moment in a movie filled with inexplicable moments, Chase goes the Bruce Campbell/EVIL DEAD 2 route and has Vic forge this enormously clunky gauntlet thingamajig that looks to probably weigh at least 15 or 20 pounds. You'd think that would weigh heavily on a broken wrist. Yet more inexplicably, he doesn't even use the thing as a damn weapon! The climax has him knocking out the frat boy henchmen with a hard left hand only using the steel arm piece as a defensive weapon when the goons try to hit him with a metal object of some sort. You'd think the reverberations from clanging metal would also cause tremendous pain for someone with a freshly broken wrist.
REJECTED MARVEL SUPERHERO "PISTON FIST"
"It's amazing. You have no brains No breeding No bucks No chance at all really. And up 'til now you've been able to ignore it," declares Brad as he confronts Chase, who sits on the hood of a car, again posing for the cameras. I don't know what that statement is supposed to mean because with the exception of the butt-kicking they gave him outside the nightclub, every single encounter has seen Chase handedly thwart them. Brad swings at him with the metal pole and Chase ducks. A second swing and Chase side steps it. Chase then pulls back the sleeve on the overcoat to reveal his new fashion accessory; Brad swings again and Chase blocks it the metal gauntlet. A frustrated Brad throws the pole down and stomps away in a tizzy, whining to Hackett that he didn't have the advantage he was supposed to have because of the broken wrist. I don't think I've ever seen a movie villain before so easily frustrated to the point of throwing a temper tantrum so quickly. Hackett pulls his gun and is ready to finish off Chase once and for all but Brad, who apparently only wants his felonies to include grand theft auto, assault & battery, attempted rape, and kidnapping, actually stops him from doing so thus allowing Chase to slip away yet again. Hackett will get another chance shortly to gun down Chase but that one too will fail when the last conscious frat goon blocks the shot so that he can have a knife fight with Chase on an escalator.
Chase rescues his friends and they all escape via the monorail only to find that it never stops and takes them on a round trip right back to where they got on because Hackett has the monorail operators on the take and ordered them not to let it stop until it came back around. Comprehend this for a moment. Hackett has cops on the take and can control the Miami monorail system, and yet Hackett and the four wimpy pretty boys he employs including a hateful yuppie that refuses to kill are incapable of taking out an unarmed renegade whose primary offensive weapon is a punch to the face. Just think about that a few moments.
BRAD & HACKETT: NASTY HERO NEVER STOOD A CHANCE - OF LOSING
The final showdown has Brad and Hackett squaring off with Chase on the monorail with handcuffed hostages Carlos, Yolanda, and Virginia. Further cementing the sheer gimpiness of the film's villains, Hackett is taken out by a running headbutt to the gut followed by a low impact knee to the face from Carlos, who still had his hands handcuffed behind his back when he does it. Brad forces Chase to remove the metal gauntlet, doing away with his main advantage and sparing us from yet another Brad temper tantrum. Nonetheless, Brad still proves to be no match for a one-armed man in a fist fight. Handcuffed to a rail and left hanging in mid-air off the side of the monorail, Chase tells the man responsible for his six months in prison who still doesn't even know who the hell Chase is since technically that was all Hackett's doing (but why split hairs at this point) that "what goes around comes around." Yes, his big moment of triumph is to utter a cliched non-sequitor just like you'd expect from a NASTY HERO.
So in the end, Chase's ultimate revenge against the car thieves that robbed him of six months of his life was to knock three of them unconscious, leave another hanging by handcuffs off the side of a monorail after beating him up, and the ringleader who actually was the one responsible for setting him up is left laying unconscious after getting beat up by Chase's sidekick Carlos. Nobody calls the cops and with the exception of Brad, all are in a position where they could easily wake up and getaway. Nobody has time to contemplate this since the film is in full wrap-up mode. Riding down the escalator, everyone congratulates Chase as if he just scored the winning touchdown in a championship football game, Yolanda and Chase decide to start dating again, and the film freeze frames on a shot of Chase grinning into the camera like a complete idiot.
Sadly, virtually no one involved with this movie went on to anything. Checking IMDB, Scott Feraco's career appeared to fizzle out a few years later, the guy playing Brad's most notable post-NASTY HERO credit is one of Jeremy Irons' gang in DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, the frat boy looking henchman would go on to marry and divorce Teri Hatcher, the blonde playing Virginia would go on to appear on All My Children, and the actress playing Yolanda never did anything else. Only character actor Mike Starr and boxing champ Carlos Palomino would go on to any sort of prominent careers. This was the only movie ever made by director Nick Barwood and screenwriters Ian Fletcher and Jeremy Senior and that's a damn shame because while the movie is all kinds of cheesy bad it hardly seems bad enough to be a career killer.
All I can say to any of you out there is to track down a copy of this film and let all of its schlocky goodness wash over you. Get a copy off Ebay or Half.com or a closeout video store or, if you're lucky, a video store that still stocks relatively obscure VHS titles - just get a copy of NASTY HERO. This is an awesomely bad (As much as I loathe what VH-1 has become I cannot think of any better term to describe how "so bad it's good" this movie is without using that obnoxious phrase) film that is begging to be rediscovered by bad movie fans. What are you waiting for? Go get a copy! Now! Now, dammit! I command thee!
YES, FOLKS, HE'S A NASTY HERO!
NAME IS SCOTT FOY AND I PAID TO SEE THE
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