Tag Archives: Dan Haggerty

Mind Trap (1989)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: Avenging her father’s murder.

Shana (Martha Kincare) is an actress who stars in low budget action flicks. Her father works at a secret lab where they do experiments in areas of holograms and mind control, which elicits the attention of dangerous foreign agents who want to use these experiments for their own nefarious gain. They end up killing not only Shana’s father, but her sister and mother too and forcing Shana to pledge a vendetta on all those who murdered them while using what she has learned from being in action films to take them down.

Even though this is nothing more than a mindless actioner it does manage to have a few unique scenes, which is the film’s only saving grace. The opening one features a woman getting attacked while inside a trailer home that is set onto a moving truck. The bit featuring a room equipped with the old clapper light switch in which simply clapping one’s hands will force the lights to turn on or off and then having a ‘battle’ where one person claps for them to go on and another immediately claps to have them shut off, which continues on for a couple of minutes, is amusing.

Another segment has a woman (Jacquie Banan) getting gang raped by the bad guy, but then Shana mocks the man’s ability to ‘get-it-up’ and makes him so self-conscious that he is unable to achieve an erection and thus unable to complete the intended assault.

Overall though the film is flat and forgettable and the star Martha Kincare, who depending on the camera angle resembles a young Justine Bateman, is not believable at all. Just because one may perform in action movies does not mean that person knows the first thing about handling a real gun or taking on real-life secret agents, which makes the already flimsy plot completely absurd.

Dan Haggerty and Lyle Waggoner are given top billing, but seen only briefly while playing characters that have little to do with the main story. Maureen LaVette, who portrays the Russian agent, but was born in Iowa puts on such an over-the-top Russian accent that it becomes annoying and enough to force some viewers to watch the film with the sound turned down, which really wouldn’t be a problem since the banal dialogue sucks anyways.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released: August, 1989

Runtime: 1Hour 30Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Eames Demetrious

Studio: AMI Video

Available: VHS

Elves (1989)

elves 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 1 out of 10

4-Word Review: This elf isn’t friendly.

Kirsten (Julie Austin) feels Christmas has become too commercialized and dreads the season only to find out something that will make her hate it even worse as her evil Grandfather (Borah Silver) who has Nazi ties has apparently selected her to breed with an elf in order to create a superior human race. Now she must work with Mike McGavin (Dan Haggerty) an out of work department store Santa to not only evade her grandfather and his men, but also the elf that now runs wild.

Despite the title there is actually only one elf and it’s not a very good looking one at that. Not only does his appearance resemble the character in Troll, but you never actually get to see an entire body shot of him. You will only see close-up shots from the chest up or close-ups of his tiny feet or hands that look to be that of a puppets. This was most likely because they didn’t have the budget or talent to create a full body suit for someone to wear, but the effect lessens the horror, which isn’t too high to begin with. His hands are so tiny that it would have been impossible for him to shoot a gun let alone hold one, which he does do in one scene anyways, and it also gave me the belief that with his small stature he couldn’t have been that threatening and one could’ve easily just have kicked him away and been done with it.

Haggerty, who most will remember from the 70’s TV-series Life and Times of Grizzly Adams actually does pretty good in an otherwise thankless part. I almost felt that if he would just do away with his trademark mountain man look more parts might open up for him and he wouldn’t be subjugated to having to do this crap, but in any event his presence is the only reason I’m giving this 1 point instead of 0. The rest of the cast flunks including the bad guys with their fake sounding German accents and the bland females with the only exception being Deanna Lund as the hateful mother who has a nude scene, which isn’t bad.

The story is farfetched, convoluted and ultimately boring. The special effects are unimpressive and the action poorly paced leaving way for long intervals where nothing seems to happen. It looks like it was shot on video and then transferred to film, which only accentuates its cheap production values. Outside of a pretty good bathtub death and a shot of an elf fetus inside the womb this film as little to offer or recommend and should not be put on anyone’s Christmas list unless they’ve been really, really bad.

My Rating: 1 out of 10

Released Date: December 10, 1989

Runtime: 1Hour 29Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Jeffrey Mandel

Studio: Action International Pictures

Available: VHS