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Black Moon Rising (1986) (Blu-ray film review).

April 15, 2019 | By | Reply More

I’ve seen the 1986 film, ‘Black Moon Rising’, a couple times over the years. At the time, Linda Hamilton’s star was rising because of a certain ‘Terminator’ film. Tommy Lee Jones was rising ever higher although, checking IMdB, he’d been doing films for sometime, just not seen so many in the UK at the time. Even then, Jones’s signature acting was with attitude which made him an unlikely hero. As Sam Quint here, he’s a thief working for the FBI trying to get a tape of their tax records from the Lucky Dollar, a business company about their criminal activity. I should point out that back in 1985, this was long before floppy disks of any size and commercial computers stored data on cassette tapes smaller than music tapes.

Unknown to the people who shot at him, he got the tape but was stranded in the desert and hides it in a revolutionary fast car, the Black Moon, on its way back from some 300mph tests, figuring he’ll get it later. He also needs more money from the FBI before handing over the tape when he realises who is on the Lucky Dollar enforcement squad.

At a showing to backers for money, Nina (actress Linda Hamilton) and her team steals the cars of the lot, including the Black Moon, which she drives, and Quint chasing after her. The only puzzle is what she has on her head.

He follows to the lorry pick-up and to the building where all the cars from the heist are taken but concealed. The owner of the operation, Ed Ryland (actor Robert Vaughn) is also merciless over his men, casually having bumped off one of lieutenants. However, Nina wants the Black Moon for herself and Ryland won’t let her. Quint has a tight schedule in breaking into the concealed sections of the building to get the tape and has a tight deadline as given by the FBI agent R. Johnson (actor Bubba Smith).

Quint follows Nina and they both have reasons for wanting the Black Moon. Quint is also given a kicking by the people from Lucky Dollar. This is the full violent version and not for the squeamish.

The plan to rescue the car also involves its creators so has some unexpected twists. If you want to know where the ‘Rising’ comes from, then you need to see the end of the film. You’ll believe a car can fly. Well, a second car as ‘Knight Rider’ does pre-date it.

The story was written by John Carpenter, who was given an executive producer credit, and the soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin. Did I say it’s got a high-level cast? You only have to look at the list below. There’s some great car chases. With my more experienced eye, the Black Moon itself is actually the 1980 Wingho Concordia II. In many respects, despite its low level chassis and need to be streamlined, does look like it was simply made. Over the period of the film, you do really get to love it though and I’m surprised a model kit was never made of the car.

There’s some good stunt moves and it still holds up well for suspense today which is always a good thing. Odd that Lalo Schifrin’s soundtrack hasn’t been released on CD. He’s got a long list of film soundtracks and, considering the strength of the main theme, it seems an odd omission.

Now we come to a pile of extras.

The audio commentary is with film critic Lee Gamlin who says from the start he will be mentioning other films. John Carpenter has never actually seen the film and it appears a lot of it has been changed from his draft by the other three writers that followed him. There’s a lot of focus of other car movies if you need a checklist of what was around in those days. There was only one Black Moon for the entire film which was highly unusual and as you’ll read below was wrong as there were two, the latter built for stunts.

‘Black Moon Ascending’ is a 34 minute interview with director Harley Corkliss who goes over his directing career before focusing on the film. He explains Carpenter wrote the script a long while back and having sold the rights had lost interest in it. I’m still puzzled why Carpenter got an executive producer credit on the film though other than maybe to attract his fans. Corkliss’ explanation of the car jump at the end is a superb demonstration of physical effects edited together.

‘Thief In The Night: Producing Black Moon Rising’ interviews producer Douglas Curtis over 14½ minutes who explains he put Carpenter’s name on the producer list. It’s also giving interesting insight in how the casting process was done and people wanting to act with Tommy Lee Jones. There were one car prototypes bought from Montreal verified here. Curtis was also second unit director on the first chase. The final car jump has been imitated by other film-makers since.

‘Sound Of Speed: Composing Black Moon Rising’ is a new 8 minutes interview with Lalo Schifrin with further comments from music historian Daniel Schweiger. Schifrin’s description of the film sans music as without make-up is very apt.

‘Carpenter’s Craft’ is film critic Tony Howarth’s take on the film for nearly 18 minutes looking at John Carpenter. He did scriptwriting to make money to pay for his own films. The script was bought in 1975. Howarth puts everything in perspective.

‘Making Black Moon Rising’ is nearly 12 minutes showing the making of the film from 1984 with interviews with Tommy Lee Jones, Bubba Smith and Linda Hamilton. This one reveals that a second copy was made for stunts. It’s rather weird seeing them discussing hydrogen fuelled vehicles. Considering how flammable it is I would still say handle with care.

I should point out following the various interviews about the number of Black Moons used shows they were made over a series of years from the time and information wasn’t so readily available or given, so don’t think of this as misinformation by them, just me unconsciously keeping account of what each person has said. Even if they knew there was two cars, they might have seen the prototype as being the only one.

‘Alternative Hong Kong Version Scenes’ is what it says on the packet running some 12 minutes. Most of this is from the beginning of the film with a different music score. Schifrin’s name is still in the credits but nothing as to why Hong Kong wanted a change. The replacement music works but not so addictive.

The ‘Alternative Work Print Opening Sequence’ is a copy of Harley Corkiss rough copy running at just over 4 minutes focusing on the robbery at the beginning of the film. Seeing the next bit without any music is a sharp reminder as how much the composer adds to a film.

‘Original Trailers And Radio Spots’ is also a quick way to get a plot synopsis spread over a few minutes. It’s rather interesting seeing how they use John Carpenter as a selling point with what we know now.

The 6 part ‘Image Gallery’ covers everything you want to see about the film. This reaches out to over an hour. By far the storyboards and the annotated script taking up the most time and you’d need to get pretty close to the screen to read that.

According to the bumf, there is collector’s booklet by Kieran Fisher with the first pressing

‘Watching ‘Black Moon Rising’ again, I’ve falling in love with it again. Good performances from all the cast and, oddly, for its time period, very violence but not excessively so. Don’t forget where to hide the computer tape.

GF Willmetts

April 2019

(region B blu-ray: pub: Arrow Video. 1 blu-ray disk 100 minute film with extras. Price: £24.99 (UK). ASIN: FCD1781)

cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton. Robert Vaughn, Richard Jaeckel and Bubba Smith

check out website: www.arrowfilms.com

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Category: Cri-Fi, Films

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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