Horror, Cult Movies, Exploitation Cinema, 70s Schlock, and more! Let’s look at something cool!
“Remember the Alamo.”
‘Yeah, but they all died at the Alamo.’
Where I Watched: Shudder
Genre: Retro-sploitation Action Splatter
Pedigree: Another Fangoria joint.
Synopsis: There’s a new drug on the streets called “Hype”. The addicts are called Hypers, of course. The dealer kingpin guy has his base in an abandoned movie theater across from a VFW, in a part of town where “gunshots are crickets”. But when kingpin carelessly goads a woman to suicide, her sister decides stealing his stash and running is an even payback. Good thing she runs into that VFW, where six old Vets and one newbie are cooling their heals. Because once you walk into the VFW, these soldiers were “duty bound to help you”.
Fabulous or Frustrating?: They say be careful what you talk trash about old people, because they’ve seen some shit you couldn’t possibly dream of. VFW nails that point home. This film feels like a blend of Green Room, Tales from the Crypt’s Demon Knight, and Don’t Breathe. All-out, unrelenting, and vicious.
This is the adrenaline rush The Expendables wishes it could be. Fast paced, gory, and all-in with the ultra-violence. The real blood starts flowing less than thirty minutes in, and doesn’t stop. These vets slide right back into their wartime brains, and it’s pretty awesome. Granted, the cast is filled with badasses from all over the action genre; Fred Williamson (a bajillion kickass 70s grindhouse action flicks), Stephen Lang (Don’t Breathe), William Sadler (Demon Knight), Martin Kove (The Karate Kid franchise), David Patrick Kelly (The Warriors), and the baddest bar MF of them all, George “Norm!” Wendt. And Tom Williamson (no relation) as new guy Shawn “Deadeye” Mason, a Ranger who just got home from his stint, picked the wrong night to hit the VFW… Or the right one?
The banter between the older guys – almost all of whom served together in the same regiment in Vietnam – feels legit. That “best friends who can really yank your chain” dialogue so many films get wrong, VFW gets right. These Vets have seen some shit, and they have absolutely no problem taking out their PTSD out on these thugs. Fred is all in for TCB, others run the gamut from “having his six” to wanting to kick the girl to the curb. But, of course, they all get together for clobbering time. Though not everyone makes it, you’ll be rooting for every single one of them.
Just be sure to crank the brightness before you hit play – it’s a dark film, figuratively and literally. And you won’t want to miss a bloody moment. Grab a drink (or some shots) and some bar nibbles, and dig in. You won’t be disappointed.
Freak-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5 Freaks