In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Lost in Paradise.

This week’s VHS, the 1992 TV movie The Presence, has a roundabout Halloween connection in that it was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. Let’s dive right in.

Survivors marooned on a tropical island after a plane crash soon find they may not be alone.

So yeah, watching the Presence made me think that by ’92, after such solid efforts as Halloween III and Fright Night 2, Wallace’s best years may have been behind him. I wouldn’t call this bad per say, but I wager that if there were ever any sharp edges to William Bleich’s script they were smoothed out for broadcast on NBC. Imdb tells me that this project was first meant to be a series pilot, which is coincidental considering a thought I couldn’t help but come back to again and again.

Michael Caine's in this??? :P

I can’t imagine Abrams, Lieber & Lindeloff would’ve seen this when it aired, but holy cow are there tons of parallels to the show Lost. Throwing out the plane crash and the mysterious island motif, you still have the Hawaiian locale, the secret lab – I thought the characters had found a “hatch” at one point and I almost lost my shit – the introduction of one monster that turns out to be something else and both had lazy, non-committal endings -- ZING!

The cast was solid and made up of veteran actors from film and television, the most visible being Richard Beymer as John Loc– I mean a CIA spook named Ben (wink wink), Gary Graham (Achilles from Robot Jox!) and Kathy Ireland as a model/accountant/tracker.

Little River Montana Girl Scout Troop 94 represent!

Most of the movie was just the characters wandering around until they finally ran into a creature of mildly interesting design. Oh, and there's also a primitive tribe on the island that seemingly only appeared so the filmmakers could bust out some of that nineties face change shit.

The Presence was serviceable TV trash, but it had no real stakes. I found last week’s VHS Within The Rock more captivating as far as “marooned people survive against monster” movies go. I think its only relevance now is that it really does feel like a dry run for Lost. Except you only have to waste ninety minutes and not a hundred and twenty hours -- DOUBLE ZING!

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