[Junesploitation ’21] Mini Reviews: Gone In 60 Seconds (1974) and Death Ship (1980)

Mini Review
Day 25: Cars!
Gone In 60 Seconds (1974)

Time to jump in the fast lane with Day 25’s prompt ‘Cars’ and rev those engines for Junesploitation and make sure some car thieves don’t take your prized possession vehicle! A nice segue into Gone In 60 Seconds (1974) today’s film and a car film classic, a film that has inspired many with it’s grit and heist vibes. The film’s first two acts are paced weirdly and the story isn’t overly compelling but when it hits that third act the intensity is up to 100 with some incredible stunts and chases.

The film takes place over a few days where Maindrian Pace (H.B. Halicki) gets a job to steal 48 cars for a South American drug lord, he uses his crew to pull off the jobs while doing their ‘legitimate’ job as insurance investigators. The prize car is what they call Elenor a 1973 Ford Mustang and Pace has set his sites to get the car, plus he has to deal with some double crossing along the way as the police get involved. You know the film isn’t even taking itself seriously when the only star credited is Elenor the car, and rightfully so it’s a gorgeous car.

For a low budget film it works just fine, the story and pacing are really off and the story can be a little difficult to follow at times, however the cars, speed chases and stunts more than make up for it. The style doesn’t quite work the way maybe it should for certain scenes, it’s more about the cars and it seems perhaps star and director H.B. Halicki knew this and relishes in it by the third act. Gone In 60 Seconds is a fairly entertaining film despite it’s obviously flaws, it does have some of the best car scenes you’ll see in cinema and they are very much worth seeing.

Rating:

Mini Review
Day 26: 80s Horror!
Death Ship (1980)

Swimming on to Day 26 for Junesploitation with ’80s Horror’ let us take a look at a film with a poster better than the actual film with Death Ship (1980). This Canadian produced horror film has a fairly impressive cast with George Kennedy, Richard Crenna, Nick Mancuso, Sally Ann Howes, Saul Rubinek, Kate Reid and Victoria Burgoyne with Alvin Rakoff directing. The story itself from Jack Hill and David P. Lewis is a decent one, what really let’s it down is perhaps some of the script by John Robins), the very slow pacing and it’s own scares not quite hitting the mark.

A ghost ship wonders the seas seeks blood, it sinks cruise ships in order to get that blood and torture the survivors. The ship was a Nazi vessel with a terrible history and a fresh group of survivors are going to find out just how horrifying this ship is. The synopsis does make the film sound interesting, in parts it is, which is a shame that it feels way too slow to make use of what it’s got. The atmosphere is very much there, the repeated shots of the ship working don’t add much to anything and they certainly aren’t scary. When moments intend to be scary or horrific do arrive the impact is missing because it has taken far too long to get there.

Despite the flaws the film is still watchable on some level, there is a lot of unintentional hilarity (the characters make the worst decisions) and when it does hit the mark with the terror it works fairly well. The last quarter of the film is easily the most interesting and engaging part as the ship starts to really reveal itself and more people get killed in very strange ways. Death Ship isn’t really a classic 80s horror film, perhaps it will get a resurgence as one of those films worth watching for some laughs.

Rating:

Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea

Please check out FThisMovie.net, with many thanks to the crew for the concept of Junesploitation and some excellent prompts for 2021!

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