Monday, October 10, 2011

R.I.P.: Charles Napier

Charles Napier
12 April 1936 – 5 October 2011


Square-jawed cult and character actor Charles Napier died Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, in Bakersfield, Calif. He was 75 years old.
Born in Mt. Union, Kentucky, a blink-twice-and-you-miss-it community close to Scottsville, high-school basketball star Napier joined the US Army in 1954 after graduation before eventually receiving a major in PE and a minor in art at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green in 1961. He worked at his old school as an assistant coach and as an art teacher in Clearwater, Florida, before getting bit by the acting bug while doing graduate school in Kentucky. In 1965, after a number of years doing community and little theater in the Clearwater area, he packed his bags and ended up in San Diego by way of NYC. It wasn't long before he was in Hollywood, parking cars and doing other odd jobs as he tried to break into the movies and/or TV. Despite appearances on TV and a variety of films ranging from now-forgotten schlock to cult faves, his career did not take off. After making the trucker film Moonfire, he took a break from acting for two years, travelling the country writing and taking photos for the trucker magazine Overdrive Magazine, an interlude that ended with the truck strikes of 1973. Soon after, he found himself back in La La Land living out of his car in a parking lot. It is at this point that one of those continually told Hollywood stories – you know, like Lana Turner at Schwab's Drugstore – comes into play: one day while in his car, a limo pulled up and the driver told him that Alfred Hitchcock would like to see him. A trip to Universal Studios later, he was under contract and soon had a viable career, mostly as a character actor on television and in the movies – though he never did work for Hitchcock.
Over the course of a film career that spanned 44 years, Napier "became one of the most recognizable actors movie and TV audiences never heard of" and appeared in credited (and uncredited) roles of varying importance in over a hundred films and possibly as many TV shows. His specialty was bad guys and military or police types, though he could on occasion be seen playing something totally against his normal type, like his brief appearance as a hairdresser in Jonathan Demme's Married to the Mob (1988 / trailer). (Napier appeared in every film Demme made after 1977, if only in a tiny part.)
Many of the films Napier took part in were of the schlock and lowbrow-culture type that we here at A Wasted Life do so love. And it is for his appearances in many of these films as well as some of Russ Meyer's best color productions we feel compelled to honor him and his lengthy career. Indeed, it was his excellent performance as the psycho cop in Supervixens that engraved his face permanently in our memory, a face that was always happily seen again in any film, many of which he was the best thing involved.

What follows is a review of some of his films of note or lesser note; many we have never seen, many we have not. The decision to include a given film was made – when not arbitrarily – due to his name appearing on the poster, he is to be seen in the trailer, or we simply like the film or the poster.

Charles Napier, a talented and much-liked character actor – he will be sorely missed.


The House Near the Prado
(1969, writer & director Jean Van Hearn)
Aka Diary of a Madam. Charles Napier makes his debut in this early softcore exploiter costarring the pulchritude of 60s softcore queen Marsha Jordan. (Seen here to the left in her prime, she was the granddaughter of a minister and grew up in a Catholic convent. Her most above-ground role was probably as one of Robert Quarry's brides in the cult classic Count Yorga, Vampire [1970 / trailer].) According to the American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures, the plot of The House Near the Prado is: "Frank Doyle a salesman from a Los Angeles electronics company arrives in a large South American city to discuss a million dollar contract. A revolution is in progress and Doyle must contact the city's police chief, Juan Valdez, and, if possible, collect the money due his firm. Valdez arranges to meet Doyle at 'The House Near the Prado', a luxurious bordello where Doyle enjoys himself until Valdez arrives. Several assassins invade the heavily guarded whorehouse and, during an exotic Arabian dance, attempt to kill Valdez. Angered, Valdez has all the women tied up and whipped until one of them confesses her part n the conspiracy and is put to death. Valdez is killed in an exchange of gunfire, and Doyle suddenly finds himself faced with execution by one of the scantily clad women.


Star Trek – The Way to Eden
(1969, dir. David Alexander)
Charles Napier as Adam in one of the most hilariously corny and badly aged of all the original Star Trek episodes. Plot: Captain Kirk versus the Space Hippies! The nineteenth episode of the third season, it was broadcast February 21, 1969. Look at his hair! His dialog matches it.
Ten minutes of the episode:



The Hanging of Jake Ellis
(1968, writer & director Jean Van Hearn)
Aka The Calico Queen. Napier does another exploiter with forgotten auteur Van Hearn, who may possibly have written a sleaze novel or two in his day (see the image of a Brandon House novel found on the web). It costars the late Bambi Allen, seen here below left, best remembered from Al Adamson's Satan's Sadists (1969 / trailer). The grapevine says that she died from health complications resulting from silicon injections to increase her breast size. Dan Pavlides at Answers.com gives the plot of The Hanging of Jake Ellis as thus: "Jake Ellis (Napier) is a cowboy who arrives in a two-fisted cattle town looking for work. Frank Hall (Jim Lemp) and his gang frame Jake for a crime he didn't commit. Dance-hall girls and cowgirls [...] are shown in various stages of undress in this western featuring nudity." Napier once recalled, "It was a bad western that nobody saw." Another female costar, Deborah Downey, here above right, had also costarred with Napier on Star Trek as a space hippy; she even sings a duet with Spock. She also appeared in Van Hearn's last known film We, A Family (1971). This film seems to be a lost film, as no visual trace of it can be found anywhere on the web... thus, we include it here primarily as excuse to show a nice poster with boobage.


Cherry, Harry & Raquel!
(1970, dir. Russ Meyer)
"I don't like women messing around with women. It's un-American."
Harry (Charles Napier)

This is the first appearance of Charles Napier in a Russ Meyer film – one his less successful ones, though it is enjoyable in a disjointed way. Napier plays Harry, a corrupt sheriff smuggling drugs out to get an Apache who has gone into the business for himself. Harry is shacked up with Cherry (Linda Ashton), a nurse, and bonks Raquel (Larissa Ely), a hooker writer. They guys all die violently and the gals smoke pot and get it on.... in between Uschi Digard romps around the desert naked. There are three stories to why she does so: Russ Meyer supposedly needed to fill the running time after 1) one of the lead actresses quit the film early, 2) a photo lab fuckup resulted in the loss of much of the original footage, or 3) it was an intentional artistic decision on Meyer's part. (Meyer always claimed the last after he gained critical respectability.) Napier once said that the scene of him wearing nothing but a cowboy hat and boots as he romps across the desert with Ely was the most embarrassing thing he ever had to film.


Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
(1970, dir. Russ Meyer)

"This is my happening and it freaks me out!"
Z-Man (John LaZar)

Co-written by Roger Ebert and Meyer, it is one of the best films ever made – a campy cult classic featuring the hot bods and exceptional talents of Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers (R.I.P.), Marcia McBroom, Edy Williams, and Erica Gavin back when they were all prime tens-plus-ten. Originally planned as a sequel, due to legal difficulties it was claimed to not be a sequel (despite its name) when released. Charles Napier appears as nice guy Baxter Wolfe. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is frequently touted as Pam Grier's film debut – she has on-screen credit and a photo of her in a party scene appeared in a 1970 Playboy – she is nowhere to be seen at any time during the film. This film is definite "must see" for any fan of fun campy films and boobs – though there could've been more of the latter.

"You will drink the black sperm of my vengeance."
Z-Man (John LaZar)

Trailer:


Love and Kisses
(1971, written and directed by Don Dorsey)
"CHERI... she's an expert in the most exciting sport of all!" The sport, going by an old article in the Jan 22, 1971 issue of The Banger Evening News, is skiing. Love and Kisses is supposedly the 1093rd most popular film of the 3140 titles released in 1971, but no one seems to remember it. Director Dorsey was a drive-in owner from Maine, the film is his only credit. This forgotten sexploiter, according to movieposter.com, was the first non-Meyer film to be distributed by Meyer's Eve Productions. The film stars Charles Napier, Kathy Knight (billed as "introducing Kathy Knight"), Ruth Alda (best known for playing Joan Crawford's personal secretary in the camp classic Mommy Dearest [1981 / trailer]), and Paul Norman. Paul Norman went on to become a productive porn director of such porn faves like 1991's Edward Penishands 1 (full NSFW film) and 2.


The Seven Minutes
(1971, dir. Russ Meyer)
Napier is there ever so briefly as Officer Iverson in the second of Meyer's only two Hollywood films; it was also one of his least successful ones, but it's still a great flick – it's aged well into prime camp. The plot, according to Mark Deming at Rotten Tomatoes: "[A] surprisingly straightforward drama [... with] little of Meyer's traditional tongue-in-cheek humor or remarkably proportioned women in favor of a serious message about the evils of censorship. A bookstore sells a copy of a notorious erotic novel, entitled The Seven Minutes, to a teenager who is later arrested for rape. A prosecutor on a crusade against pornography seizes upon this as an opportunity to have the book declared obscene, and the trial sparks a heated debate about the issue of pornography vs. free speech, as well as revealing a startling revelation about the novel's true author. Adapted from a novel by Irving Wallace, The Seven Minutes features one of Meyer's more interesting casts, including veteran character actors John Carradine and Alexander D'Arcy, a post-Munsters Yvonne de Carlo, a pre-Magnum P.I. Tom Selleck, lounge comic Jackie Gayle, and Wolfman Jack as himself."
The Seven Minutes in 10:



Moonfire
(1973, written and directed by Michael Parkhurst)
The film that inspired Napier to take a break from acting for two years and travel the country writing and taking photos for the trucker magazine Overdrive Magazine. Napier has a co-starring role as Robert W. Morgan. DVD blurb says: "Truckdriver Charles Napier gets driven into a sinister crime operation working along the Mexican border. And to make things even more interesting, the operation is run by an ex-Nazi! You'll have to hold onto your seat in this pedal-to-the-metal tale filled with cool action and cool trucks!" Director Michael Parkhurst says: "Charles Napier, in his first PG film, actually learned to drive a tractor trailer for his role. Sorry, folks, no gratuitous violence or sex scenes except a little teaser in the beginning, and no cursing." The full film can be watched for free here at YouTube.
A funny (NOT!) scene from Moonfire:



Supervixens
(1975, dir. Russ Meyer)
Perhaps Meyer's last truly entertaining and successful films, starring the memorable Shari Eubank in the dual roles of SuperAngel and SuperVixen, Charlie Pitts as the put-upon Clint Ramsey and Napier as the psychopathic cop Harry Sledge. This was the first film we at A Wasted Life ever saw with Napier, and we never forgot his face. Other faces (and breasts) of note are supplied by the Haji, Colleen Brennan (as Sharon Kelly) and Uschi Digard. Plot: Clint Ramsey has to leave his job at Martin Bormann's gas station and go on the run after psycho cop Harry Sledge murders his wife. Throughout his travels Clint gets raped and harassed by hot wanton women before meeting his dream woman. But then Harry shows up, intent on killing Clint and his new squeeze.... Thank God for Polish dynamite.


Handle with Care
(1977, dir. Jonathan Demme)
Napier as Chrome Angel, a bigamist truck driver... the first film he made with Demme, for whom he became a favorite character actor; Napier subsequently appeared in all of Demme's feature films to date, if only in a miniscule role. Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader says: "The film's original title, Citizen's Band, evokes its origins as an exploitation film designed to cash in on the short-lived CB craze, but [...] the picture was too good for its own good: audiences weren't expecting humor of this degree of piquancy and charm, and it was a failure. The action takes place in a tiny southwestern town, where the residents—among them Paul Le Mat, Candy Clark, Roberts Blossom, and Marcia Rodd—use their adopted radio personas as a means of escape from the dingy identities life has imposed on them."
Scene from Citizen's Band:



Thunder and Lightning
(1977, dir. Corey Allen)
A rare feature film from TV director Corey Allen, who six years previously (1971) directed the disappointing film Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio (trailer), with its great tagline "It's not his nose that grows." T&L – which was scripted by William Hjortsberg, the man who wrote the novel Falling Angel, the book that inspired the great Alan Parker film Angel Heart (1987 / trailer) – stars the then TV-personalities David Carradine (Kung Fu) and Kate Jackson (Charlie's Angels) and is a labored comedy about hicks and poisoned moonshine. Napier has a lead role as the bearded Jim Bob.
Trailer:



Big Bob Johnson and His Fantastic Speed Circus
(1978, dir. Jack Starrett)
Napier as Big Bob Johnson in a TV movie aimed at the Smokey and the Bandit (1977 / trailer) crowd, directed by the director of Cleopatra Jones (1973 / trailer) and Slaughter (1972 / trailer). Big Bob Johnson is the fearless leader of the "Fantastic Speed Circus", a group of misfits going from fairgrounds to race track to perform death defying stunts. The Bob main stunt – an attempt to jump a Trans Am onto the back of a flatbed trailer – always fails, but he never stops trying. A man offers him a large sum of money (needed to save his failing circus) to participate in an all out race between two souped-up Rolls Royces... the climax of the movie is Bob's attempt at jumping the Rolls Royce onto the moving flatbed to finish the race.


Last Embrace
(1979, dir. Jonathan Demme)
Demme's first film after Handle with Care is imitation Hitchcock, and Napier is there in a larger than normal part for a Demme film as "Dave Quittle", the brother of the dead wife. Napier even makes it in small print onto the poster! What's it about? According to Filmfantic.org, which says "This is a fun thriller, but not essential viewing", the plot is as follows: "While recovering from his wife's accidental death, CIA agent Harry Hannan (Roy Scheider) believes someone is out to eliminate him. He receives mysterious notes in Aramaic, is trailed by his brother-in-law (Charles Napier), and befriends a mousy young woman (Janet Margolin) whose grandmother worked in a Jewish brothel run by Hannan's ancestors." Remembered by many as the film featuring a scene with eternally tanned Roy wearing nothing but black bikini briefs.
Music from Last Embrace:



Wacko
(1982, dir. Greydon Clark)

"Death to all teenagers who fuck."
The Lawnmower Killer

Napier has a cameo as "Chief O'Hara" in this unjustly forgotten so-unfunny-that-it's-funny horror spoof starring a still hot (despite her hair) Stella Stevens and the eternally slumming George Kennedy; directed by the man who, after an acting in film such as Satan's Sadists (1969 / trailer) and Dracula vs Frankenstein (1970), went on to direct such infamous non-masterpieces like Black Shampoo (1976 / trailer) and Satan's Cheerleaders (1977 / trailer). This film, which basically takes a swipe at horror movies past and then-present, comes across as a template for the Scary Movie franchise.
Trailer:



The Cartier Affair
(1984, dir. Rod Holcomb)
A TV movie and "star" vehicle for Joan Collins and David Hasselhoff! Plot: Joan Collins as Cartier Rand, an American TV star, with Napier as her unsatisfying long-time lover Morgan. Rand needs a new assistant after her old one trashes her house; in comes young, gay Curt Taylor (David Hasselhoff). Actually, he's an ex-jailbird who owes prison top-dog Drexler (Telly Savalas) money, and he's been installed in Rand's house to steal her jewelry. But he turns out to be less gay than he initially seems... Someone at Amazon says: "This movie tries to be a blend of comedy, thriller and erotic drama. It doesn't really work out." Who cares if this film is any good; with a cast like this, it has to be included on this list!


Rambo: First Blood Part II
(1985, dir. George P. Cosmatos)
OK, we here at A Wasted Life think this film sucks poodle weenie, but Napier does have a sizable role as a two-faced America intelligence officer more concerned about his reputation than for saving US POWs – and he even makes it onto the poster. So here's the trailer – complete with a two-second scene with Napier. Director Cosmatos, a trash filmmaker at heart, made The Cassandra Crossing (1976 / trailer) – a prime example of bad big budget trash – and then went on to do the much more entertaining sci-fi horror Leviathan (1989 / trailer) and the surprisingly good western Tombstone (1993 / trailer).
Trailer:



Something Wild
(1986, dir. Jonathon Demme)
Napier has a very tiny part in this film, but it is a good film (despite being a pure product of the 80s) and you see him for two seconds in the trailer (as the "Irate Chef"), so it earns it place on this list. Made at a time when Melanie Griffith – who followed this film up with the ever-entertaining trash classic Cherry 2000 (1987 / trailer) – still looked like a real human being and Ray Liotta was fit and hot.
Trailer:



Camping del terrore
(1987, dir. Ruggero Deodato)
Aka Body Count. Charles Napier appears as Charlie, the Sheriff in a Deodato film starring cult faves David Hess (R.I.P.), Ivan Rassimov and Mimsy Farmer. The back of the video description: "A fun-loving gang of college kids explore the Colorado wilderness during their long summer vacation. But at a campsite managed by the mysterious Robert (Hess) and his wife, Julia (Mimsy), they hear the old legend of the Shaman, half-man, half-beast. When strange noises in the night suddenly become terrifying reality, the campers realize that the legend is true. This horrifying tale of murder and mayhem twists and turns as fast as the bodies drop and the thrilling climax is guaranteed to make even the toughest squirm!"
Trailer:



Kidnapped
(1987, written & directed by Howard Avedis)
Napier once again appears briefly as a man in uniform: Lt. O'Bryan. Ed Sutton at imdb says: "Sisters Bonnie (Barbara Crampton) and Debbie (Kim Evenson) visit San Diego on Debbie's sixteenth birthday. After telling a sleazy pickup artist to take a hike, he follows them to the zoo and has Debbie kidnapped on behalf of his sleazy boss in order to shoot her full of dope and make her perform in porno films. Despite admonitions from the abductors, Bonnie teams up with detective Vince McCarthy (David Naughton), and together they try to infiltrate the porno industry in order to rescue Debbie." This is the final film of the great unsung exploitation director Avedis, who unleashed numerous under-appreciated trashpectacles onto the world, including Mortuary (1983 / trailer), The Fifth Floor (1978 / trailer), Scorchy (1976 / trailer), the Edy Williams vehicle Dr. Minx (1975 / trailer) and The Teacher (1974 / trailer).
Trailer:



The Night Stalker
(1987, dir. Max Kleven)
Napier has the lead role as Sgt. J.J. Striker in the The Night Stalker, an extremely timely project "based" on the Richard Ramirez – "the Night Stalker" – murders in Los Angeles that occurred in the summer of 1985. Robert Z'Dar plays the serial killer. The film is a rare directorial job by stuntman and actor Max Kleven, who once appeared in an unknown film entitled Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966).
Trailer:



Deep Space
(1988, dir. Fred Olen Ray)
Napier stars in a Fred Olen Ray film! Sounds great! The plot, according to Tom Zoerner at imdb: "An American satellite with a new biological weapon gets out of control and crashes onto US territory. A slimy monster emerges and manages to escape, killing everyone who crosses his path. Police Lieutenant McLemore (Napier) gets the job to stop the killing machine." The film also features Julie "Catwoman" Newmar as a psychic.
Trailer:



One Man Force
(1989, dir. Dale Trevillion)
Comeuppance Reviews opinions: "One of the best types of films are the 'cop on the edge' ones. You know the ones I'm talking about: The cop gets thrown off the case by his chief and he goes renegade to bring a criminal to justice. [...] One Man Force is one of the best. Every line is a cliché like, 'Get off my back chief!' John Matuszak plays Jake Swan, a no-nonsense cop who doesn't play by the rules, but when his partner is killed, he becomes a One Man Force to stop the bad guys. Matuszak puts in a fun performance as Jake. [...] If you can find a copy, it's definitely one for your collection." Matuszak died just before the film was released.
Trailer:



Alien from the Deep
(1989, dir. Antonio Margheriti)
Napier has a sizable role as the main heavy Col. Kovaks in this oddly popular piece of Italo-trash. A Wasted Life wasn't so amazed by the film, though, as is obvious by our review of the film found here.
German trailer:



Hit List
(1989, dir. William Lustig)
What a cast! Jan-Michael Vincent! Rip Torn! Lance Henrikson! Leo Possi! And Napier, seen briefly in the trailer, as "Tom Mitchum". Comeuppance Reviews asks: "Why is this movie so under-appreciated and unrecognized? If you said to someone 'Oh, I watched Hit List last night', more than likely, they would say, 'Huh'? That's unfortunate, as a movie with the star quality this movie has, directed by William Lustig, SHOULD be a well-known 'video store classic' as we say." Plot: A gangster boss (Torn) must face his day in court, but he has a police snitch tell him names and locations of the witnesses so he kills them all – all but one. During the last hit, the hitman (Henrikson) goes to the wrong house. When Mark Collins (Vincent) comes home, his pregnant wife is unconscious in the kitchen, his friend dead in the living room, and his son kidnapped. To ensure that Luca believes he has the real witness's son, the prosecutors send Collins to prison. But he escapes to take things into his own hands...
Trailer:



Maniac Cop 2
(1990, dir. William Lustig)
Napier does a second film with Lustig, the fun sequel to his classic trashploitation Maniac Cop (1988 / trailer). For the life of us, we can't remember the part he plays – "Lew Brady" – but the film is so good, it deserves mention here. Undead cop Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar) returns and teams up with a Times Square killer to, well, kill everyone he can. Great stuff!
Trailer:



Miami Blues
(1990, dir. George Armitage)
Napier has a small part in this truly hilarious cop film as Sgt. Bill Henderson – he's even seen briefly in the trailer. One of the great unseen movies around, with an excellent Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alex Baldwin. Based on a novel by Charles Willeford. If we had a star system of rating here at A Wasted Life, this flick would get 5 out of 5. So why the fuck hasn't you seen it yet?
Trailer:



Cop Target
(1990, dir. Umberto Lenzi)
Napier (playing "John Granger") gets his name shown and fires a machine gun in the trailer below to the probably justly unknown cop flick starring Robert Ginty that Italo-trash master Lenzi, in his twilight years, sandwiched between making the horror films Nightmare Beach (1989 / trailer) and Black Demons / Demons III (1991 / trailer). This film about a typical cop-on-the-edge given a babysitting job that of course goes wrong and thus gives him reason to go rogue seems most famous for the cop's cat-feeding machine.
Trailer:



The Last Match
(1990, dir. Fabrizio De Angelis)
Napier makes on the poster in this unbelievable piece of Italo trash. And when it comes to Italo-trash, there are few directors as trashy as producer and occasional director Fabrizio De Angelis, who has directed written or produced numerous crapsterpieces – to list a few: Killer Crocodile (1989 / trailer), Zombie Holocaust (1980 / trailer), The Beyond (1981 / trailer), The New York Ripper (1982 / trailer), Rat Man (1988 / trailer) and Paganini Horror (1989 / trailer). This non-horror entry of De Angelis's directorial oeuvre is one of the most surreal – there's really nothing like watching a US football team go Rambo. And that is exactly what this team does – in their playing uniform – when they rescue their coach's daughter from a Caribbean prison. Napier must surely have been proud of this film....
What a shootout!



Soldier's Fortune
(1991, dir. Arthur N. Mele)
Image from Movie Poster Shop. Napier makes as a headlining star for appearing mere minutes at the end of Arthur N. Mele's only known directorial credit. A movie that inspires as much déjà vu by its plot – rich girl gets kidnapped; mommy hires ex-mercenary to gather team and rescue her – as it does inspire boredom in its execution. As The Unknown Movies Page puts it simply: "[...] There are movies like Soldier's Fortune – movies that don't show any sign that anyone involved in the project is trying, and any smidgen of merit found in the movie is just there by accident."
Trailer:



Indio 2 – La rivolta
(1991, dir. Antonio Margheriti)
Napier appears again as yet another bad guy in yet in another ecologically-minded exploiter by Margheriti, only this time there is no monster from space – instead, there's Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
Trailer:



The Silence of the Lambs
(1991, dir Jonathon Demme)
Napier appears all of three minutes in this modern classic, and in all truth his acting is surprisingly stale (one can literally see him working in his head: "OK, now I'm supposed to notice I have to put the tray down; OK, now I look up surprised"), but his character – Lt. Bill Boyle – does become one of the iconic images of the movie, namely the gutted guard hanging from Dr. Lector's cage, so the film simply had to be included on this list.
Trailer:



Homicidal Impulse
(1991, written & directed by David Tausik)
Aka Killer Instinct. Oddly enough, for Italian releases of his films, Napier often gets a headlining credit even when the English-language release ignores him. This is also the case in this Roger Corman produced erotic thriller about an assistant DA who gets a new assistant who decides to help his career...
Trailer:

Trailer provided by Video Detective


Eyes of the Beholder
(1992, dir. Lawrence L. Simeone)
Napier appears as Det. Wilson in this umpteenth rehash of The Desperate Hours (1955 / trailer), which also features the presence of George Lazenby. Nut-case serial killer Janice Bickle (Lenny Von Dohlen) undergoes an experimental operation to cure him of his killer urge, but he ends up more fucked up than before. He escapes and beelines for the responsible doctor.... body-count time.
Trailer:

Trailer provided by Video Detective


Mean Tricks
(1992, dir. Umberto Lenzi)
Aka: Hornsby e Rodriguez – sfida criminale. Charles Napier finally gets the lead role as Hornsby in an Italo crime film in this, (possibly) Umberto Lenzi's last film. Monster Hunter says: "From the absurdly spectacular slow-motion shootout on the docks that opens the film all the way until star Charles Napier (Hornsby) banters with his local partner Rodriguez and their sexy sidekick about Rodriguez marrying her despite him having heard Hornsby screw her while she was wearing a wire earlier in the movie, Umberto Lenzi's Mean Tricks is an appallingly proficient bad-ass cop movie that not only delivers every cliché you freaking demand from such films (Rodriguez's gruff captain is nicknamed Iron Balls!), but in the best Italian movie tradition invents its own along the way!" Too bad we couldn't find any video documentation online.


Return to Frogtown
(1992, dir. Donald G. Jackson)
The world lost a truly unique talent when director Donald G. Jackson died of leukemia on 20 October 2003. This flick is the second film to follow the cult fave Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988 / trailer); it was followed by Toad Warrior (1996) and Max Hell Frog Warrior (2002) – all directed by Jackson. In the post-apocalyptic, it's mutant frogs verses mankind. Another film Napier can be proud of...
Trailer:



Skeeter
(1993, dir. Clark Brandon)
One of three films directed by Clark Brandon, a former Teen Beat pinup boy and former actor (and, seeing that he hasn't directed a film since 1997, former director). Napier gets star billing on the cover of this straight-to-video horror film; he plays the bad guy, Ernie Buckle. We here at A Wasted Life saw this film once, somewhere, but damned if we remember anything about it – or could it be we're confusing this film with Bug Buster (1998 / trailer), a lousy film in which Star Trek's James Doohan plays Napier's traitorous sheriff role. Like that film, Skeeter is not a masterpiece, but hell, we're sure that everyone involved figured that a day's work sure beats unemployment.
Trailer:

Trailer provided by Video Detective


Body Bags
(1993, dir. John Carpenter and the genre director everyone loves to hate, Tobe Hooper)
This film is an excellent one to play "spot the face", as it is heavily populated with cult names, but in the end it is also entirely forgettable: we actually caught this on video years ago – anyone out there remember video cassettes? – but we can't remember anything about it. Final Girl says she likes the film, but then she also says "[...] I never met a horror anthology I didn't like. Plus, it's got Charles Napier, and I fucking love that guy – so much so that I need to swear about it." Body Bags was originally made as a pilot for a proposed anthology horror TV project, but it never made it past this threebee outing, which is generally available in a severely cut form (where did the blood go?). Napier, by the way, appears briefly as the baseball team manager in the segment "Eye", which stars Luke Skywalker and Twiggy.
Trailer:



Silk Degrees
(1994, dir. Armand Garabidian)
An unknown film by an unknown director that is supposedly AKA in a longer version with more T&A as Target Witness; Napier gets star billing on the poster before Luke Skywalker, but after Miss USA 1970. He's also seen briefly twice in the trailer. Plot: Miss USA is a witness who must be protected, Luke Skywalker and Lori Singer's bother are the cops who are assigned to do so. Chase scenes and shootouts and a remote cabin location are the result. And Luke learns the hard way never to trust hillbilly chicks with nice tits.
Trailer:

Trailer provided by Video Detective


Raw Justice
(1994, dir. David A. Prior)
Trailer:

Aka Good Cop Bad Cop and Strip Girl. The third film Napier made with Alabama-based director Prior. Cast includes the love pillows of Pamela Anderson, who plays a hooker and later described the experience of filming her "love scene" (seen below) as thus: "I was thrown around, I was scratched, I was bruised, I was bitten. I cried, I went home, I called my mother." Napier (seen twice in the trailer above) has a decently sized role as the Mayor that hires Mace (David Keith – the director of the super-trashy cult flick The Curse [1987 / trailer]) to find the killer of his daughter. To do so, along the way he kisses Pamela's ass... and what an ass it is.
The only reason most men watch the film (NSFW):



Hard Justice
(1995, dir. Greg Yaitanes)
An early film by TV director Yaitanes, with Napier playing yet another asshole – this time around, the corrupt warden of the prison where cop Nick Adams (David Bradley) goes undercover to find out who killed his best friend. Comeuppance Reviews says: "The plot is basically a rip-off of the Van Damme movie Death Warrant (1990 / trailer), but it makes up for that in the action sequences. The opening is fantastic, with almost non-stop action. The climax is also well-executed. But the middle, where Adams is in the prison does lag a little. Charles Napier is great as the evil warden."
French trailer:



Max Is Missing
(1995, dir. Mark Griffiths)
In between all the violent adult trash, Napier appears in this kiddy film directed by the director of Ultraviolet (1992 / trailer). A family film made for TV, now available on DVD. Napier's on the poster and in the trailer of a film A Wasted Life will probably never bother watching...
Trailer:



Alien Species
(1996, dir. Peter Maris)
Charles Napier as the headlining star of this film by Z-film director Peter Maris, a film that no one who has watched it seems to like. We here at A Wasted Life have never managed to get past the first ten minutes, so we reserve our opinion. Watch it yourself – the full film is embedded below. The plot, according to DJ Heinlein at imdb: "A fleet of UFOs is circling the Earth and a top scientist races to discover their true intentions for the planet. When the UFOs begin an attack on Earth, the scientist finds himself thrown in with a sheriff and his deputies transporting some prisoners to jail. The unlikely group is forced to seek shelter from the attack in a nearby cave, not knowing how significant the location is to the alien's plans."
Full film:



Limp Fangs
(1996, dir. Christopher Michael)
Afro-American character actor and background filler Christopher Michael made this comedy horror home video and somehow even managed to talk Napier into appearing in a dream sequence as a singing cowboy named Adam that sings the same song that the intergalactic hippy Adam sang 27 years earlier in Star Trek – The Way to Eden. Artificial fangs, artificial breasts and a malt-liquor loving vampire who drinks so much his fangs won't get hard add up total idiocy...
Trailer:



Riot
(1997, dir. Joseph Merhi)
From the man who brought you the killer transvestite-ghost movie, The Newlydeads (1987 / trailer). General opinion on the web seems to be that this is one of Gary Daniels better films – a statement of qualification that is about as convincing as, dunno, "one of Fox News's more intelligent political commentators". Plot: daughter of an English ambassador gets kidnapped, ex-boyfriend Daniels comes to save here. Napier is to be seen twice in the trailer below... or just go for the whole film, also below.
Trailer:


Full film:



Macon County Jail
(1997, dir. Victoria Muspratt)
Charles Napier is the redneck Sheriff of this Roger Corman produced remake of the 1976 Roger Corman production Jackson County Jail (trailer); the reference to the low budget exploitation classic of Macon County Line (1974 / trailer) probably added for commercial reasons. In this version of the depressing tale, David Carradine takes over Tommy Lee Jones's role and Ally Sheedy, Yvette Mimieux's. LA woman (Sheedy) on the way to a new life has some setbacks along the way and ends up in a redneck jail run by Napier, whose son rapes her; she kills him and ends up on the run with lifelong criminal Carradine. One assumes the depressing Hemingwayesque ending of the original is retained...
Trailer:



Fatal Pursuit
(1998, dir. Eric Louzil)
Napier appears somewhere in this z-level production by Eric Louzil, the director of Fortress of Amerikkka (1989), Class of Nuke 'Em High Part II (1991 / trailer) and Class of Nuke 'Em High Part III (1994 / trailer). The plot, according to the DVD back cover: "An ex-cop turned private eye (L.P. Brown) and his sidekick find more than they bargained for when they team up with a feisty British female investigator (Shannon Whirry). They must recover $8 million from a heist. The brutal mastermind of the robbery (Malcolm McDowell) and his gorgeous French cohort (Lydie Denier) will stop at nothing, including police bribery, torture, and murder, to protect the jewels. Romantic sparks fly as the two detectives are thrown into a thrilling adventure through the streets of New Orleans. The stakes are high as they face certain death." A film so bad, that it hardly merits including here... but damn, Shannon Whirry does have a nice pair on her.
Gratuitous nude shower scene (NSFW):



Armstrong
(1998, dir. Menahem Golan)
Napier on the poster but not in the trailer of this post-cold-war "thriller" – as in cheap, badly made trash. But then, he does die early in the film – thus denying the film of its best actor. DVD plot description: "The cold war just heated up. Someone in Russia is selling live nuclear warheads to terrorists all over the world, and only Rod Armstrong (Zagarino) can find the culprits. Taking over this top secret mission started by his recently murdered friend, Robert (Napier), Armstrong teams up with his widow, Susan (Kates), to find the killers and expose the black marketeers. From the crime-ridden streets of Moscow to the isolation of the nuclear weapons depot, the murder and mayhem are non-stop. Both Rod and Susan face gangsters and military might in their efforts to end the terrible, world-threatening trade. In the ultimate showdown, with the threat of a nuclear explosion counting down the final seconds, Rod and Susan lead the action to its hell-bent conclusion."
Trailer:



The Thief & the Stripper
(2000, dir. L.P. Brown III John Sjogren)
Aka Strip N Run, Final Reckoning and LA Nights – but no matter under what title, most people seem to find in a lousy flick. Napier (as "Face") is deemed important enough to be on the poster but doesn't get named in the trailer, though he does pop up in it – and he sure can growl a line well. Anonymous at imdb outlines the plot: "Jack just lost his P.I. license and his life is on a downward spiral. He decides to steal a cash briefcase from the local gangsters. He hides in a strip joint owned by a local mob legend Jimmie D and pays a stripper to help him escape. The gangsters find her and want her to lead 'em to him. She is also interested in the case, as are other local mobsters and dirty cops. "
Trailer:



Very Mean Men
(2000, dir. Tony Vitale)
Anyone ever hear of this film? What a cast! Trailer looks good – keep your eyes peeled and you'll even catch sight of Napier in it.
Trailer:



Never Look Back
(2000, dir. Mike Tristano & Frank Zagarino)
Aka Innocent Man. A film no one seems to have seen – there isn't even a poster or DVD image online anywhere. Napier is seen in the trailer twice. Anyone out there know anything about what looks to be a relatively stupid film?
Trailer:



Down 'n Dirty
(2001, dir. Fred Williamson)
Fred Williamson always reminds us of the Eveready Bunny: he just keeps on going and going and going... Plot, taken from Amazon.com: "Someone murdered his partner. Now, someone's got to pay. Dakota Smith (Fred Williamson) is a tough honest cop. Now, he's got to enter the world of corrupt politicians to find out who killed his partner. It's a dirty job, but he swore he'd get revenge. It's a bold and bloody battle that will take him from the corruption of the stationhouse to the highest offices of city hall. Get in on the action of this two-fisted story of killer lies and street justice." Napier appears in the film as Capt. Jerry Teller; on the poster above, oddly enough, the recently deceased Bubby Smith is pictured, not Williamson – but, for that, here's a photo of prime Williamson playing with a pussy for Playgirl magazine.
Trailer:



Forgive Me Father
(2001, dir. Ivan Rogers)
The plot, edited from an online source: "Virgil Garrett (Rogers) was once a ruthless and feared hit man for organized crime boss, Frank Ransom (Charles Napier), until he faked his own death to get out of the "business". Unbeknownst to almost everyone, Virgil Garrett has spent the past 12 years living and working in Canada as a priest. He learns that his brother Clarence (Alexander Hill) has been senselessly murdered by Frank Ransom's cocksure son Tony (Chris Elbert) and four of his criminal cohorts. Garrett now makes a transformation and returns to his old ways, but with a different purpose. He is now the personification of retribution with a Bible in his hand and a divine wrath in his heart..."

Trailer:



Dinocroc
(2004, dir. Kevin O'Neill)
From the director of Dinoshark (2010 / trailer). Plot as found on Amazon.com: "Imagine all the fury of a prehistoric carnivore combined with the ferocity of the largest crocodile known to man and you have the makings of nonstop terror. Run for your life as Gereco Corporation's experiment to manipulate a rapid-growth hormone gets out of control, and a ravenous monster gets out of its cage. Now the residents of the once-peaceful Grant's Lake have only the talents of a crude Australian reptile hunter, the short-handed local sheriff (Napier), his daughter the animal control expert, and her boyfriend, to save them from the insatiable jaws of a beastly feeding frenzy."
Trailer:

Trailer provided by Video Detective


The Kid & I
(2005, dir. Penelope Spheeris)
Who would have ever expected that the director of The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization (1981) and Suburbia (1984 / trailer) could ever sink as low as she has? What the hell – it probably beats flipping burgers. Normally we would never include a film like this on our blog, but hell: this probably the biggest name cast Napier ever worked with, though it is doubtful he met many of them. Biggest disappointment of the film: Shannon Elizabeth keeps her clothes on. Biggest plus of the film? It isn't The Little Rascals (1994 / trailer).
Trailer:



Suits on the Loose
(2005, dir. Rodney Henson)
Hah hah hah. Mormons sure are funny. Hah hah hah. Napier, seen in the trailer and in the mall print on the poster, as General Wilkins. Mormons. Hah hah hah.
Trailer:



One-Eyed Monster
(2008, dir. Adam Fields)
Fake poster above (with Napier!) from Dread Central. According to Dr. Gore, "Charles Napier actually shows up [in this film] for no reason so he can give a monologue about the penis monster he met back in 'Nam." Amazon says: "In a comic homage to Alien and The Thing, the cast and crew of an adult film, stranded in a blizzard, must band together against a mysterious and deadly alien, which has possessed the actor with the biggest part, Ron Jeremy (naturally). Now, with the monster on a killing spree, the race is on to trap and destroy it before there are more victims of its peculiar skills." Anyone who gets the film based on that description alone is in for a surprise, that's for sure... the film currently sits in our "future watches" pile.
Trailer:



The River Bridge
(2008, dir James Hunter)
A low-budget independent crime film, and the trailer below already reveals that Napier is probably the best actor in the whole thing. DVD blurb: "Jack Kellerman is a small town boozing, womanizing private eye who gets caught in a massive political conspiracy involving the governor's daughter. After much soul searching, Jack realizes he must change, but it could be too late..."
Trailer:



bgFATLdy
(2008, dir. Adam Pertofsky)
Aka Black Crescent Moon and Small Town Murder. Napier is on the DVD cover and in the trailer of this unknown independent murder-in-a-small-town-full-of-quirky-characters film. No one who has seen this flick and put an opinion online seems to have liked the movie. Pop Matters says: "Black Crescent Moon wants to be a Coen Brothers movie. More specifically, it wants to be Fargo (1996 / trailer) or No Country for Old Men (2007 / trailer). It's none of these things. Not even close."
Trailer:



Your Name Here
(2008, dir. Matthew Wilder)
Arrow in the Head's bottom line on the film says: "Weird for weird's sakes, Your Name Here was a dull, dull and dull film [....]. Maybe it could've worked as a short but as a feature, even 10 hits of acid couldn't bring this glorified student film back to life. Granted it had a couple of cool moments acting and visual wise but not near enough to make it worth the trip." Film Threat loves it. Napier, as "Chuck", is named nowhere but is seen for a split second in the trailer. Oh, yeah: the film is sorta about a science fiction author and reality and all that Philip K. Dick stuff.
Trailer:



Life Blood
(2009, dir. Ron Carlson)
A direct-to-video movie from the director of Gray Coleman's last film, Midgets Vs. Mascots (2009 / trailer). Final Girl, who supposedly likes them lesbian vampire films just as much as any of us, says about the film: "It just... none of [the film] made sense. Maybe...maybe...MAYBE there's an interesting kernel of plot or premise in there somewhere, [....] but for fuck's sake if that kernel was, in fact, present, then it was completely wasted." The plot, from Amazon: "Forty years ago a supernatural force vanquished Brooke and Rhea, a sexy lipstick lesbian couple, after they committed an inconceivable murder. Now, on New Year's Eve, they'll rise from the dead. Still hot and still a couple, they're back as vampires. Enamored with their newfound power, it's no longer a question of whether they will kill again, but of how." Napier, as Sherriff Tillman, can be seen in the trailer.
Trailer:



The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
(2009, dir Neal Brennan)
This film came and went, but the trailer looks sorta fun – and shows a lot of Napier towards the end. (Napier plays car salesman Dick Lewiston, "who swears at customers and goes after them with a baseball bat", in this comedy about hard selling used cars.) Plot from the DVD cover: "Smooth-talking salesman Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) and his crazy crew of closers have just one weekend to move over 200 cars and prove that when it comes to conning, conniving and ..."
Trailer:



Shadowheart
(2009, dir. Dean Alioto)
Fittingly, perhaps, in his last film appearance, Napier plays a sheriff – you see him in the trailer, as normal for mere seconds. The plot according to Amazon: "As a boy, he saw his preacher father murdered. As a soldier, he witnessed the horrors of the Civil War. Now bounty hunter James Conners (Justin Ament) has returned to the town of Legend, New Mexico to marry the beautiful girl (Marnie Alton) he left behind and capture the psychotic land baron (Angus Macfadyen) who destroyed his childhood. But when Conners is ambushed and left for dead, he discovers a Native American world where justice has no name and vengeance rides in the shadows." DVD Verdict says "The molasses pace and lackluster performances make for a stumbling cowboy adventure."
Trailer:

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