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Plexifilm presents
Kill the Moonlight (1994)

"Dad could never really handle her because she's such a crazy southern lady."
- Chance (Thomas Hendrix)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 20, 2006

Stars: Thomas Hendrix
Other Stars: Ralston Regan, Maria Hassabi
Director: Steven Hanft

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations)
Run Time: 01h:16m:29s
Release Date: March 21, 2006
UPC: 082354003425
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D- DD+C- A-

DVD Review

One of the best music videos I think ever graced the MTV airwaves was the 1994 clip for Beck's Loser. Full of surreal imagery, the one lasting image was that of a toxic waste cleaner doing his thing. This image didn't amount to much as far as any sort of concrete meaning goes, but it did make the video a bit more memorable, regardless. The image of the toxic waste cleaner (as well as some of the lyrics in Loser.) was taken from director Steven Hanft's 1994 film, Kill the Moonlight, an underground film that is finally making its DVD debut from Plexifilm.

It is a tough film to sit through as it is basically incredibly boring. With Beck on board, I expected much more from Hanft's film, at least musically. It's even more of a disappointment given Hanft's music video directorial work, which includes clips for The Cure, Spoon, and Elliott Smith. This is basically just an hour or so of a loser trying his hardest to make something more out of himself. We never really get the chance to buy into our hero, as the actor playing him is as lifeless and uninteresting as the story itself.

Besides his aforementioned job, Chance (Thomas Hendrix) is also fish hatchery worker whose real desire is to become a professional race car driver. He hangs out with his father (Ralston Regan), an equally slacking individual who is also a bit crazy. In between moping around, hanging with dad, and occasionally working, Chance deals drugs and partakes in other often illegal activities. Still, his one passion is auto racing, but he might just wind up in jail before he ever gets the chance to realize his dreams.

Kill the Moonlight is about as exciting as Chance himself. Hanft's direction isn't exactly inspired; his film amounts to a slow-moving, uninvolving journey through Chance's life. The nutty dad seems promising, but after his initial appearance we're stuck in the mud that is Chance's drab personality. This film actually brought to mind Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny, a similar project where a lost individual attempts to find his way. Racing is involved in both films, and both wear their low-budget natures on their sleeves, with long, languid set-pieces and grainy video. All that patience gets you during the amazingly long 75 minutes is a huge, heaping dose of disappointment once the end credits finally roll.

The main reason to watch this is for the music, and you've got to hand it to Plexifilm. Their inclusion of the long-out-of-print soundtrack CD is a very nice touch. The only extra on the DVD itself is a recent interview with Hanft that isn't very compelling. Only about half of the songs on the soundtrack are worthy of repeat listens, but Beck fans will want to pickthis up to complete their collections of his work. It's too bad that the film itself isn't worth much, but I, like many others, will climb on board for anything that Beck is affiliated with.

Rating for Style: D-
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in its original aspect ratio, and is full of print flaws. Given that it was apparently shot on a cheap video camera, the extensive dirt and grain seen isn't surprising. There isn't a bright, lively color to be found, but black and shadow levels are handled well throughout.

Image Transfer Grade: D+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is rather lifeless, but the great music benefits from a great deal of clarity and slight channel separation. Dialogue clarity is a problem, with entire sentences practically indecipherable at times. This appears to be a result of the source material rather than a problem with the transfer, but it's a problem nonetheless.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with director Steven Hanft - Conducted by Mikie Shioya (Los Angeles, 2004)
  2. Bonus Soundtrack CD
Extras Review: The only extra on the DVD is a 12-minute, 2004 interview with Steven Hanft, conducted by Mikie Shioya in Los Angeles. This piece shows us an eccentric filmmaker who is better at telling stories in an interview setting than he is through film. Hanft comes across as a quirky guy who reflects on Kill the Moonlight and his experiences with Beck.

The real bonus here is the inclusion of the long out-of-print soundtrack CD for Kill the Moonlight. This disc features a trio of songs by Beck, as well as unreleased cuts by the band Loser, featuring Beck and Steven Hanft.

Extras Grade: A-


Final Comments

Kill the Moonlight is a bargain-bin film that is, unfortunately, a boring mess. Plexifilm does deliver a nice two-disc set, including a CD presentation of the original hard-to-find soundtrack that will more than please Beck fans everywhere.


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