One Subway Car, Two EVIL Thugs, And An Eclectic Group of Passengers in “The Incident” reviewed!


On the early morning streets of New York City, a drunken Artie and Joe delinquently roam the stillness of the Bronx after hours. After joyfully mugging an old man for a measly eight dollars and his wristwatch, their night leads them heading to the subway platform for more so called fun. A riotous Artie and Joe hop inside a railcar full of passengers that consists of two army privates on leave, a young couple on a date, an elderly Jewish couple, a young family with their 4-year-old daughter, an in recovery alcoholic, a passed out homeless man, a bigoted African-American and his wife, and a nervous gay. The passengers’ delineated diversity doesn’t thwart the two thugs’ harassment that holds the riders, in fear and in obstruction, from leaving the railcar and as personal limits are pushed to the edge, moral courage is effectively choked down by the helpless riders until one of them can’t take the bombardment of the perpetual daunting intimidation.

“The Incident’s” in your face, tell it as it is, hostage style dramatic thriller from 1967 barrels down an endless track of relevance and suspense inside the idealistic perception of New York City’s culture in the mid-20th century. Director Larry Peerce (“One Potato, Two Potato”) helms a masterpiece of a film that not only defied cinematic character standards but also defied the NYC transit authority who denied Peerce, along with cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld (“Young Frankenstein”) to shoot in and on the NYC subway system. Taking a relatively guerrilla filmmaking approach to achieve railcar and platform exteriors, Peerce also managed to construct a true to size, if not larger, railcar to get the drama unfolding between the harmless transit riders and their two terrorizers. “The Incident” was the first feature film penned by teleplay screenwriter Nicholas E. Baehr whom also wrote the television movie version of the story entitled “Ride with Terror” a few years prior, but Larry Peerce clawed, scraped, and held together a cast and a crew that nearly dismantled due to funding and production issues until ultimately being saved by 20th Century Fox.

“The Incident” has such an ensemble cast that it’s difficult to even know where to begin. Two introductory feature film performances from Martin Sheen (“Apocalypse Now”) and Tony Musante (“The Bird with the Crystal Plumage”) as the errant ruffians is unequivocally good at being bad. Musante, especially, leaves a lasting impression as Joe Ferrone who oozes with slimy browbeating tactics by plucking that one sensitive nerve in each of the riders. As equally as good in comparison is in the injured Army private from Oklahoma, played humbly and genuinely by the baby-faced Beau Bridges (“Max Payne”), with a gosh-golly grin and a peacemaker wit about him that makes the private a prime target. Sheen, Musante, and Bridges are only the caboose when considering the train of highly trained styled actors that also include Thelma Ritter (“Rear Window”), Donna Mills (“Play Misty for Me”), Brock Peters (“Soylent Green”), Jack Gilford (“Cocoon”), Ruby Dee (“Jungle Fever”), Diana Van der Vlis (“X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes”), Mike Kellin (“Sleepaway Camp”), Jan Sterling (“Women’s Prison”), Gary Merrill (“The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die”), and Victor Arnold (“Wolfen”). Ed McMahon makes his feature film debut as well! As an ensemble unit, the interactions evoke immense tensions and passion inside that railcar and from our very own couches.

Everything about Larry Peerce’s “The Incident” capitalizes on being nearly flawless. From the construction of the last act railcar set to the flash of urban realism, “The Incident” is high level on the suspense thriller hierarchy, but the characters and their personal baggage egregiously forced to the surface is utterly captivating and refreshingly cathartic to simultaneously showcase adult bullying engage enragement while also bubbling and bursting through thin layered passive aggressive convictions and attitudes. Joe Ferrone is symbolically a catalyst for the majority of riders, exposing internal loathsome, sham friendships, and tough guy personas, that naturally shreds down their ghastly facades and revealing their true, if not unpleasant, selves. Equally as compelling is the one scene with racial profiling and prosecution by the law enforcement that is heavily journaled in the today’s media and Peerce clearly believes in this injustice and adds the brief, yet powerful, moment at the tail end of the film that involves Brock Peters’ character.

Eureka Entertainment proudly presents the 20th Century Fox raw and intense New York based thriller, “The Incident,” onto a dual formatted, Blu-ray and DVD, home video as part as Eureka Classic sub-label, marking the first time on Blu-ray in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, a DVD-R screener was provided for coverage so a review of the video and audio will not be covered, but from the spec information provided, the transfer is a 1080p high definition digital transfer with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. There are optional English subtitles available. What can be said about Gerald Hirschfeld cinematography is this, it’s a complete mastery of the trade with a penchant for black and white and seamless edited camera cuts. Bonus features listed are a brand new and exclusive audio commentary by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, author of Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study, a post-screen Q&A session with director Larry Peerce from the 2017 Wisconsin Film Festival, the original trailer, and a collector’s booklet feature new writing by film writer Sam Deighan and critic Barry Forshaw. “The Incident” is searingly powerful and a societal wake up call of we’re all in this together or we’re all a part of the problem.\

Craving an Evil Appetite! “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” review!

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A group of mischievous and detention bound high-schoolers are handed two choices: either spend the day in a classroom after school or take an educational trip to a wax museum in Salem. Instead of spending the entire day in a classroom, a trip to a wax museum seemed to be the lesser of two evils. Little do the hooligans know that the museum’s curator Charles Frank is the relative of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Charles Frank, a pseudo name for Frankenstein, has continued the ghoulish work his elder kin started long ago. Trapped inside Frankenstein’s wax museum of horrors, the high-schoolers are pitted against Frankenstein’s flesh eating creations with no way out. What was suppose to be a fun and devious night of intercourse and dancing turns into a bloody-blood bath of unspeakable horror.
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This isn’t my first rodeo with director Richard Griffin’s work. The last It’s Bloggin’ Evil Griffin review, “Sins of Dracula,” didn’t strike the right key notes and became only a shell of a honoring horror film. “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead,” also known as Dr. Frankenstein’s Wax Museum of the Hungry Dead,” was made a year earlier than “Sins of Dracula” and reminds me more of a true Griffin film. At first, I was afraid “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” would dull the mood as rebellious youth have yet again landed themselves into a death trap and this scenario just seems to be regurgitated over and over again in horror cinema. Eventually, and to my surprise, Griffin digs and builds out of that redundant hole and still manages to display his ever long homage to horror and horror icons comically. The thing about Griffin is is that he relies on mashing many genres together. For example, “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” is a mesh of Frankenstein, the Romero zombie genre, and a little bit of naziploitation to give the film some flavor. Second and third act strengthen the film’s roots and the comedy really pops during these acts making the film comical and gross at the same time.

"Oh my God!  It's Hitler!"

“Oh my God! It’s Hitler!”


Another conventional Griffin film schtick is the long-winded dialogue. I tend to get breathless just listening to the dump truck loads of exposition that seamlessly spew out of the actors’ mouths. The dialogue to death ratio just doesn’t add up and this film does get a bit talkative with a script that doesn’t quite measure up to Shakespearian work. The dialogue tends to be juvenile and obvious in a sense that every scene is laid out by description. Unless you’re Michael Thurber playing Dr. Frankenstein, there lies no reason behind other characters to have more scripted lines than there are end credits.
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Speaking of Michael Thurber, Thurber has cemented himself as part of Griffin’s entourage a long with others who are also casted in this film: Johnny Sederquist, Jesse Dufault, and Jamie Lyn Bagley. However, Thurber’s versatility seems quite amazing. My first experience with Thurber was as a hard nose cop hellbent on vengeance in “Murder University” and I think he’s the best part of Griffin’s films. Thurber’s portrayal of Charles Frank combines a “Young Frankenstein’s” Inspector Kemp with a long lost, and black sheep, cousin of Hammer Horror legend Peter Cushion. Johnny Sederquiest and Jesse Default are starting to grow on me more and more with their acting styles. Their outrageous over acting is childish but hypnotically effective in humor. Bagley has been the more serious actor of the bunch, staying away from the horribly cliched parts and sticking with simple, easy to miss characters such as her breakout role as nerd girl heroine Katherine.
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Overall, “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” is less about Frankenstein’s creature and more about the creation of flesh eating zombies and reaping hell upon meddling teenagers. Certainly a different take on the mad scientist genre and the Frankenstein legacy, but Griffin does mix things up for not necessarily the worst and I’m sure Mary Shelley would agree, if not really mind at all. The MVD and Wild Eye DVD release distributes a fairly standard unrated package that doesn’t disappoint and would be a winner in anybody’s B-movie collection.
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