From the B-Movie Hive: Cry Vengeance

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Claire Grogan and Altered Images are singing “I Could Be Happy” and I am with her and them all the way. But rather than swimming a mile down the Nile, what would truly make me happy is the existence of more films like this sharp little hornet from the B-movie hive: “Cry Vengeance.” Mark Stevens had this as some kind of pet project, apparently, because he directs it as well as stars in it. This noirish little thriller stands apart from the crowd in part because much of it takes place in Alaska and, well, how many Alaskan films noir are there?

You know that “Cry Vengeance” was something special and not just a standard Hollywood B-movie project when you learn that Stevens’ character was the kind of cop who would, shall we say, not be found guilty if put on trial in Los Angeles. If you get what I mean: he was a tough guy cop who often beat the truth out of suspects. Another element to the backstory here that differs from the crowd is that not only did Stevens get sent to jail after being framed for a murder spree he didn’t commit, but that the victims of that spree were his wife and child. This film deals with some very unpleasant characters in a very unpleasant world in an extremely pleasant location. If, like me, you hate hot weather and crave the cold.

Once he’s out of prison, Stevens embarks upon a mission of vengeance against the person who framed him and killed his family. This mission takes him to that small town in Alaska. The target of Stevens’ Oldboy mission of revenge is the mobster who has moved to Alaska and taken on a new identity to hide his evil ways. That would have made a decent enough flick in the “The Big Heat” sort of way, but the quick introduction of a character named Roxey transforms “Cry Vengeance” from a pale remake of that film noir classic into a semi-classic of its own.

Roxey is played by Skip Homeier with a shock of white hair, a voice that itself could probably kill a few people and an attitude that makes him truly one of the great movie psychotics of all time. Without Roxey and Skip Homeier’s Oscar-worthy performance, “Cry Vengeance” would not be anything special at all. Just as “Night Shift” was lifted above the average every time Micheal Keaton appeared, so does the temperature of “Cry Vengeance” rise by 20 degrees every time Homeier appears. Some reviewers have compared his character to Lee Marvin’s in “The Big Heat,” and I agree that Vince Stone would make Roxey Davis wet his pants. Few movie psychos have near the personality of Roxey, however, and Homeier taps into them all.

Secrets and revelations abound in “Cry Vengeance” and it would pain me to take the pleasure of discovering them naturally from you. For this reason, I can’t go into the plot with any more details. This offering from the B-movie hive is well worth your time, if only to enjoy one of the all-time great villains in Hollywood history.