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Shared Darkness

A Communal Life in Film, Examined

The Intruder/Eat My Dust

For a short time after first moving to Los
Angeles
, I worked for a foreign-born producer who
shall now remain nameless. It was an eye-opening experience, watching this guy
turn over movies and stay just ahead of collections, surfing through stacks of bills
by flipping short-term profits from one project to the next
. Taking a short-term
lease on a giant warehouse in downtown Los Angeles,
he would set up anywhere from six to eight movies at a time, shooting
back-to-back (-to-back, -to-back…), and incorporating both like-minded archival
and second unit footage into each project. Part shyster, part trash-heap
collagist, he would peddle his hearty genre wares back to European countries at
Cannes, MIPCOM and other cinematic
markets
.

His artistic instincts were reliably awful, but in his own
way this producer was indulging in the sincerest form of flattery toward
super-low-budget indie producer Roger Corman
(Rock and Roll High School, Death
Race 2000
, Big Bad Mama), who
over the course of more than two decades would have a hand in the launch of
more than a couple significant Hollywood careers, and in doing so lay the
groundwork for guys like Lloyd Kaufman and Nelson Zigler. Now, the improbable
revisionist king-making of Corman continues with the special edition DVD
release of two more movies from his vault
of over 50 years of filmmaking — the cult
classics The Intruder and Eat My Dust.

Eat My Dust,
couldn’t be more different — an action-comedy that tracks a young hero who
abandons innocence for a wild ride in a stolen race car. Fledgling
actor-director Ron Howard made a deal with the prince of junk-food cinema that
would forever alter the course of his career; Corman would produce Howard’s
feature directorial debut, Grand Theft
Auto
, if Howard would star in his quirky car comedy
. Written and directed
by Charles B. Griffith (Corman’s Little
Shop of Horrors
), Eat My Dust is
the story of Hoover Niebold (Howard), a small-town teen destined to fade into
obscurity until he gets the guts to ask out the most popular girl in school
(Kathy O’Dare), who says she’ll only hitch up with him if he steals a
professional race car. He drops his innocence, snags the ride and the girl, and
naturally much automotive mayhem ensues. Notable for its brilliant, low budget,
hood-mounted camerawork, the movie still packs a decent action punch
even if
its teen angst and stereotypical bumpkins now come off as cornpone.

Attractively packaged, both titles here come in regular
Amray cases, with cardboard slipcases
, and are presented in 1.33:1 full screen
with relatively shallow Dolby digital 2.0 mono soundtracks, even though Eat My Dust’s outer cover touts a Dolby
digital 5.1 surround sound track. As far as supplemental material, The Intruder features a nice, if brief, retrospective
look back at what Corman calls his personal favorite film, through the eyes of always
amusing star Shatner and Corman himself
. Eat
My Dust
, meanwhile, includes an introduction to the movie by Corman, the
film’s original theatrical trailer and a 10-minute, making-of featurette that explores
filmmaking on the cheap
. Entitled “How to Crash a Car on a Dime,” this segment of
reminiscences includes interview snippets with editor Tina Hirsch, director of
photography Eric Saarinen and the aforementioned O’Dare. To purchase the latter
movie via Amazon, click here;
to purchase the title via Half, meanwhile, click here.
For The Intruder, do me a favor and click
on those links and just type in the title yourself. Thanks. B/C+ (The Intruder/Eat My Dust) B- (Discs)