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Music Video Distributors presents
Kiss: Unauthorized 2 Video Magazine (2003)

"Advice for bands, or anybody, is that you've got to believe in yourself. People that are putting you down are only doing it because of their own insecurities. They don't want you to succeed where they failed."
- Paul Stanley

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 14, 2003

Stars: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Ace Frehely, Vinnie Vincent
Other Stars: Vinnie Vincent, Rob Kulick, Bruce Kulick, Bill Aucoin
Director: unknown

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:00m:00s
Release Date: February 18, 2003
UPC: 663300699796
Genre: music


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C C-C+B- D

DVD Review

Back in my musically-evolving high school years in the mid-1970s, I spent a stretch of time as a card-carrying member of the Kiss Army. I bought all of the albums, went to the concerts, and basically immersed myself in their whole makeup-covered view of what rock and roll was allegedly all about. I eventually grew out of that phase of my life and ventured into other more adventurous realms of the rock world, and I left my Kiss days far behind me. Over the following years it was hard to avoid news of the band's numerous "farewell" tours, the rotating lineup, as well as their goofy stab at performing sans makeup in the early 1980s. Yet even with all of the changes and upheavals, the Kiss machine rolled along like an ageless money-producing war machine.

That brings us to Music Video Distributors' Kiss: Unauthorized 2 Video Magazine, which according to a back cover blurb is "made by the fans for the fans." What that really means is that Kiss had nothing whatsoever to do with the production, and as a tiny print disclaimer states: "This video contains no musical recordings by Kiss." It promises "rare photographs" and "interesting interviews" for the diehard Kiss fan. I took this to mean that if you like Kiss that you will buy anything with band's name on it.

Without any music from the band, there isn't much else to include BUT interviews, though there are a few clips, sans music, of them performing live as background over someone talking, including some footage of their no-makeup period. After presenting a brief history of the group, the narrative suddenly jumps to the Vinnie Vincent era, primarily I suspect because of an abundance of available footage. The Vincent segment is highlighted by a piece of video at a Kiss Convention where he is apparently the big guest, though at the time he had been out of the band for years. When he is introduced, the MC starts his questioning with this zinger: "A lot of people don't know what you've been doing for the last 8 years." A good portion is also spent on the Charles Martin Smith rock-horror movie Trick or Treat, which featured Gene Simmons. An entire EPK is disguised as one of the chapters, and it is glaringly Kiss-free.

To be fair, though, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss are featured in a series of undated interviews in various locales, expounding incessantly on the Kiss philosophy. Most of them center on Simmons ending by flapping his long tongue around obscenely. For added surrealism, there is even a 1981 television interview with Criss after he left the band, where he appears actually wearing a sport coat with patches on the elbow.

I haven't seriously paid attention to the evolution of the band since my junior year in high school (circa 1977), but there was not really any tidbit of information presented here that I didn't already know. Diehard fans will likely know all of what is covered on this disc, so be forewarned if you fall into that camp.

Note: I had a lot of difficulty actually playing this disc, and it would not start when I hit Play. I had to rely on playing the chapters individually from the chapter section of the menu, and at the end of each it would return to the main menu screen. Also, I could not use my remote to jump back or ahead to different chapters either. I don't have an exact runtime, but it was in the vicinity of an hour, give or take five minutes.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image quality on this 1.33:1 full-frame disc varies with the amalgam of diverse source material, which ranges from the dated color of a 1981 television interview to grainy handheld video from a Kiss convention. Some of the concert footage (minus music, of course) looks okay, but there is a large amount of grain in most of the sequences. Even in the best looking moments, colors here are on the flat side.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
PCMEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: It's tough to heap high praise on the audio quality of a disc about a rock and roll band when there isn't really any music to speak of. Since this is an unauthorized Kiss bio, no actual music from the band could be used so it is limited to some innocuous guitar noodling in the background, performed anonymously. It is presented in both 5.1 Dolby Digital and PCM, and though there isn't much need for a 5.1 mix on something like this, the audio transfer does incorporate the rear channels quite a bit. The PCM track isn't as full as the 5.1, but considering the core material here is made up of decades old interview clips, I don't imagine you will really feel the need for this to be reference quality. All of the interviews are clear and discernible, even the poorly miked Vinnie Vincent footage.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: Extras are limited to an uninspired Photo Gallery of 33 images of the band.

The disc is cut into 19 chapters, though I couldn't use my player's remote to move back and forth between them.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

There isn't much in the way of any startling revelations to be found on this video fanzine, and due to its unauthorized status, there is absolutely no Kiss music on this disc at all. Fans of the Vinnie Vincent era will be pleased, as he gets fairly decent coverage here.

This title will only appeal to Kiss completists, and if my sales of Kiss-related merchandise on Ebay is any indication, there is still an army of you out there.

 


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