Video Vault: By the Readers

Vault has received a lot of interesting mail from the readers, so without further delay: To the Vault Mail!

Jim from Curwensville (to date the only guest columnist here at the Vault) wrote in back in November after our Halloween feature, “Welcome To Horrorland,” with one of his patented top 10 parodies.

Top Ten Planned Roger Corman Movies

10. An Affair to Dismember
 9. I’m Not Absolutely Positive What You Did Last Summer, But I’ve Got a Pretty Good Idea, and When Your Father Comes Home, We’re All Going to Have a Little Talk
 8. Dr. Jeckyll Loves Mr. Hyde
 7. Phantom of the Oprah
 6. Dial Y for Yanni
 5. Harry Potter and the House of Pancakes
 4. Canterbury Tales from the Crypt
 3. Van Damme is “Santa Claude”
 2. The Bride of BenStein
 1. Texas Chainsaw Massengale

Tika from Clearfield wrote in to comment on Vault’s classic review of “Lady From Shanghai” (8/16/06 – Vault Rating: 7) with some background on it’s star, Rita Hayworth.

“No wonder Rita Hayworth was so mysterious and drawn to ‘eccentrics.’ I had the pleasure of visiting the home (and cabaret) where Rita grew up in Mexico. I was on an Ensenada cruise, and we went to this stucco building, palm trees, Hacienda like. We were told by the tourist guide that she began her career here, dancing with her father in the stage show. The tour guide also told us that she was horribly scarred by her father’s beatings, her incestuous relationship with her father, and his basically keeping her under lock and key, only letting her out to do her nightly dancing on the stage in this Hacienda. Talk about vacationing off the beaten path! Amazing what she accomplished, after the harsh treatment she suffered. Who ever would have thought that she came from a small town in Mexico? (Except me, as she was my mother’s favorite actress, along with Maria Montez and Hedy Lamar!) My mom is in her late 80s and she still loves those vintage films.”

Dear Tika,
Interesting back stories there. And thanks for the input on A) the horror films and B) on the question of Tolkien. For the readership’s edification, Vault has supposed that women, in general, do not gravitate to the Tolkien stories. If I may quote her again:

“The whole Tolkien thing is supposed to be the first World War, the trenches, the futility of it. Basically it is a war movie allegory. Do women like war movies? Not really. I do own the three-disc set, but that’s because I read the series in high school and I always like to see how books translate into film. I’m not a real fanatic of dungeons and dragons kind of movies. Fairies and elves and unicorns are not my thing. I don’t know how other women feel, I can only speak for myself.”

Now the floodgates are open to all those women who just can’t wait for the next blockbuster fantasy film! Ladies, the Vault door is open for your comments.

“Dear Video Vault,
I’ve been reading your Vault reviews for a while now, and generally agree with your take. I get the feeling that you’re gonna take some (stuff) over the latest assessment of “An Inconvenient Truth” (V.V. 12/8/06 – Vault Rating: 8) due to your rant about the global warming issue. I couldn’t agree with you more! I imagine that your review is gonna stir the pot, and I hope that I’m the first of many who write in support of your views. There are lots of people around here (like everywhere) who need to wake up and quit towing a party line — or just wake up in general — and realize this isn’t a political issue. The fact that you passionately presented your own views in your review of the film was a good thing (this time, anyway). Don’t let the nay-sayers tell ya different.

Chuck from Clearfield”

Thanks, Chuck.

Back in Vault’s days as a news man, I would never have placed my opinion, fervent or not, in any of my news coverage. Thankfully, movie writing exists in the world of opinion. You accurately gauge a general public disbelief in the science of global warming. Simply put and to the best of my reading, these people are catastrophically wrong, desperately uninformed. I was distressed at the opinions recently recorded in the man-on-the-street feature on the front page of The Progress, where viewpoints were cavalier and mocking.

Coworkers and members of my church are skeptical, too. You are correct that the issue is not a political one. Rather, it is the overriding moral issue of our times. In light of the newest wall of science (anchor to the attached document: “Climate Change 2007”) on the issue it is good to see the religious and scientific communities increasingly taking this stand; that to ignore the potential cataclysmic effects of global warming is deeply unethical.

“Dear Video Vault,
Just read your review on “The DaVinci Code.” (V.V. 11/17/06 – Vault Rating: 7) Lots of fun. I really do enjoy reading your column, not just because of the subject matter of interest, but because you are able to write in a style that makes me feel like you are just across the bar, shooting the bull with me about movies. It isn’t pretentious, I and never know what reference you might use that will surprise me.

Like Omega Man, for example. I didn’t think anyone else remembered that! Anyway …

I’m curious if you are familiar with the short-lived TV series “Firefly” and subsequent feature film called “Serenity.” I’ve just discovered this body of work recently and I’ve made it about half way through the TV episodes. There were only 15 of them. I’m thinking so far it was the best kept sci-fi secret of the decade. Not sure how I wasn’t aware of it. But I’m curious if you know it …

PS – We survived a five-show run of “The Producers.” From the perspective of the host venue, it made for a long weekend, but a lot of fun. I felt for the cast, too, doing a Friday night show, then two shows Saturday and two more Sunday. They packed and shipped out to Boston where they played again Monday. Wow. I was out of the building at lunchtime Friday, came back in to find the back hallway underneath the stage lined with boxes full of Nazi-marked items. That felt very strange. I knew what it was, but the reaction was emotional, not logical. Ugh. Oh, and the cast members were just delightful. Genuinely nice people. And that isn’t true about every company, you know? More on that if you are curious …
Dave from Philipsburg”

Thanks for the kind words. I am not familiar with either “Firefly” or “Serenity,” but I’m going to move them to the top of my list on your say-so along with another film, recommended by Rob from Hollidaysburg, who probably IS down with those titles. Rob recommended “An Unreasonable Man.” And we close with a note from MC of Clearfield who had this to say about “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

“Dear Video Vault,
I got ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’ (V.V. 1/19/07 – Vault Rating: 9) from Netflix a couple weeks ago and it was very good. I can’t believe the government went with hydrogen instead of electric cars. Well, I can believe it since it was all politics, bit it is still bull(stuff)!

MC from Clearfield”

Vault was very happy that as the result of our review of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” local Adventure / Silver Screen stores ordered the film to put on the new release racks. Very cool. Adventure / Silver Screen Video is Vault’s local connection in Philipsburg and you can run down to any of its sister stores in Clearfield, Tyrone or Houtzdale and ask for that very awesome documentary. Vault is glad to have such a discriminating independent video store in the area. The buyers there make a conscious effort to get the widest possible variety of films on DVD and we, here inside the Vault, really appreciate it.

Thanks to all of our correspondents! You can sign up to receive the Video Vault direct to your inbox by dropping an e-mail to us at Don’t forget to include your first name and your hometown for correspondence purposes. Once you’re in, you can drop your own reviews on us and we’ll pass them along. Remember, life is too short for bad movies!

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