The Fall of the House of Usher (Midnite Movies)

Editors' review

April 7, 2016

Download The Fall of the House of Usher (Midnite Movies)

6/14/2014 - 5PM

Co-presented by AIN’T IT COOL NEWS

ORDER OF FILMS (start times VERY approximate):
1) Hard To Kill – approx. 5:15pm
2) Under Siege 2: Dark Territory – approx. 7:30pm
3) Out For Justice – approx. 10:00pm
4) On Deadly Ground – approx. midnight

Steven Seagal: aikido instructor, environmental activist and movie star. He writes, directs, plays blues guitar, creates energy drinks and is a reserve deputy sheriff. He might be an authority on antique samurai swords, and may have even killed for the CIA. For three decades he’s left an indelible and deeply personal mark on action cinema, igniting screens with his unique blend of machismo and mysticism. And now, those fist-pumping hits are coming to Cinefamily for a take-no-prisoners, one-day-only 35mm blowout!

But that’s not all: we’re flying in cinematic outlaw/bestselling author/legendary film scholar Vern (the man who literally wrote the book on Seagalogy) for his FIRST-EVER public appearance to help better explain the man, the myth and the magic behind your favorite dealer of swift, lethal moves. Plus we’ll have special guests (like regular Seagal film editor Robert Perreti), vintage trailers and more fun ‘n games than should legally be allowed, all to celebrate Heavy Midnites’ 2nd anniversary!

In the pulse-pounding box office hit that debuted his iconic ponytail, Seagal is Mason Storm, an honest cop gunned down and left for dead, but secretly plotting his revenge while in a seven-year coma. Now he must avenge his murdered wife, reconnect with his son and keep his red hot nurse (Kelly LeBrock, the beauty from Weird Science and Seagal’s then-real-life spouse) safe from the corrupt killers biting at their heels. One of Seagal’s most purely enjoyable flicks, Hard to Kill engaged a generation of teenage popcorn munchers, VHS enthusiasts and cable fanatics, cementing Seagal’s screen appeal while furthering his legend. It’s a guaranteed good time, and you can take that to the bank — the blood bank!
Dir. Bruce Malmuth, 1990, 35mm, 96 min.

Screenwriter Richard Hatem in person. America’s favorite bone-breaking, neck-snapping chef is off the boat, on vacation and taking his maladjusted teen niece (Katherine Heigl…what?!) cross-country by rail. The film’s powerfully concise explanation: “Would you fly if your parents just died in a plane crash?” The secret sleeper in the pantheon of Seagal classics, Under Siege 2 proves the master’s only as good as the villains he’s up against. And our ponytailed hero isn’t just up against your average group of computer hacking hijackers here; Seagal goes fist-to-fist with a wild assortment of disparate character actors: monologist Eric Bogosian(!), Twin Peaks’ Everett McGill, Pulp Fiction’s Peter Greene, Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks, along with other disposable mercenaries and buff badasses. The explosive Casey Ryback saga charges ahead like an unstoppable locomotive of non-stop entertainment!
Dir. Geoff Murphy, 1995, 35mm, 100 min.

Editor Robert A. Ferretti in person. Look, we all know being a cop’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to take out the garbage. In the acknowledged masterpiece of Seagal’s filmography, director John Flynn (Rolling Thunder) and screenwriter David Lee Henry (straight off Road House) perfect the actor’s ‘90s template with elegant simplicity, showcasing the star’s brutal physical ability and strong code of honor. When a police officer is savagely gunned down in front of his family, his partner/best friend Gino (Seagal) goes on the hunt for the psychotic cokehound Richie (William Forsythe, foaming at the mouth and chewing scenery with blithe recklessness.) Seagal gets to speak guido, shoot a guy’s leg completely off with a shotgun, and, most importantly, kick a ton of butt while turning the neighborhood into a war zone, tearing through armies of goons, street urchins and made men while growling bon mots like “I’m gonna cut off his head and piss down his throat.” Skulls will be cracked, bones will be broken and glass will be shattered in this top-tier beat-em-up!
Dir. John Flynn, 1991, 35mm, 91 min. (Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive)

We’re flying in a rare U.K. 35mm print just for this one show only of the defining Seagal masterwork! Editor Robert A. Ferretti in person. The capper to our day of Seagal: the most Seagal of them all! Steven’s directorial debut showcases the star’s then-newly-discovered environmentalism, his blossoming interest in Native American culture and the best bar room brawl in all of Seagalogy. Our hero is Forrest Taft, “patron saint of the impossible,” an expert in putting out oil rig fires who must battle an evil corporation to save Alaska and its indigenous people. He wears a fringed jacket, goes on an Inuit vision quest and totally hates pollution. As Vern wrote in his epic tome, “before this movie, he was a popular action star, like so many others. Only now did he become Steven fucking Seagal.” But it’s not just a one man show, for On Deadly Ground features great performances by a truly embarrassed Michael Caine, Joan Chen as an Eskimo love interest, R. Lee Ermey and Billy Bob Thornton as vicious mercenaries and Scrubs star John C. McGinley as a henchman named MacGruder. Vern sums it up eloquently: “you can’t understand Seagal if you haven’t seen On Deadly Ground.”
Dir. Steven Seagal, 1994, 35mm, 101 min.