Category Archives: DVD Review

KISS – Asylum of Death Interviews DVD

KISS – Asylum of Death Interviews (2006, MVD)

Another DVD I streamed on my PS3 courtesy of Netflix. You know, I’m really starting to enjoy the titles of these unauthorized videos. They make no sense but sound darn fun: first “Krazy Killer” and now “Asylum of Death”! If only those had been actually KISS albums.

This is a collection of interviews and TV news pieces but unlike the oddball collection on Krazy Killer, there’s a bit more continuity here as many of these clips are from the Dynasty era. This is fine by me because I always thought KISS looked pretty cool during their disco rock phase (or as Ace calls it during an interview “rock disco”). I found it funny during one interview Ace is asked why they decided to go disco. He explains that it’s really only “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” that is “rock disco” and somehow ties this into a statement that disco is dying then three sentences later he says “disco is hot right now”. Of course, Paul steps in as the consummate promoter and says they must have done something right because the song is “number one or number two all around the world”.

The very first clip features the infamous appearance by Gene on The Mike Douglas Show then we get into an “unmasked” interview featuring KISS except they all have their backs turned to the camera. Next up is a round of Dynasty period interviews and then the video jumps to ’91/’92 with what I guess is the British MTV doing an interview with some guy who runs the “KISS Museum” and is a collector and seller of their memorabilia.

The final piece is an interview in England, by the same MTV veejay who interviewed the museum guy, talking to Gene, Paul, Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick. Appears to have taken place shortly after the release of Revenge. It’s an interesting piece notable for when the discussion turns to Eric Carr and after a few somber answers from Gene & Paul, you could visibly see talking about this was getting to them and they told the interviewer it was time to change the subject because they’d rather not dwell on not having Eric and would much rather celebrate the times they did have with him. I’ve read a few negative things over the years knocking Gene & Paul for the way they handled matters while Eric was sick, if there’s ever any proof that these guys truly cared for Eric and it was a tough situation for them as well, this interview is it.

It is during this interview where Paul and Gene state Revenge is heavy and almost like a return to the first album. Paul goes onto say this is KISS being true to themselves and not following trends. Pretty funny when you consider 30 minutes earlier on this video he was defending their “rock disco” album! He also bashes the power ballad craze of the day and likened “Everytime I Look At You” to a Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones ballad that has nothing in common with the pop metal (“pap” as he called it) ballads. Again, this is humorous because KISS did their best to fit into the ’80s pop metal (the very scene their “true” selves inspired)!

This is a solid collection that I’m sure hardcore KISS fans will appreciate. There’s even an interview conducted by Billy Crystal! The sound and picture quality varies, but it’s acceptable for clips that date back to the late ’70s. At one hour and available for less than ten bucks, this really isn’t a bad purchase for those that are huge KISS fans and it is definitely worth a rental at least.

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KISS – Krazy Killer DVD

KISS – Krazy Killer (2006, MVD)

Being the KISS fanatic that I am, I was aware of this DVD’s existence for quite some time but you couldn’t pay me to sit down and watch some extremely low-budget unauthorized disc such as this. Well… Times change and no, no one paid me to watch this but I’m also a Netflix fanatic and they just happened to have this available to stream to my TV. It was a slow night so I figured I would go ahead and see what this was all about. So while I like to review only what I own, for some reason, I’m making an exception for music-related DVDs. Netflix has more than a few releases I’d like to rent but have no interest in buying, so look for more of these reviews in the future and I’ll be sure to note whether I actually own it or not.

After all, the DVD description sure does make things sound exciting what with Gene & Paul storming at 1994 KISS Konvention and taking back their own merchandise. They should’ve given this release the tagline of “They took the law into their owns hands.” Sounds like a good tag line for some ’80s direct-to-video action movie, doesn’t it? In fact, I’m fairly certain that’s where I stole it from. Krazy Killer also sounds like some weirdo ’80s direct-to-video movie but I’m thinking that it would be more of a slasher film.

Anyway, at worst I figured I would have wasted a few minutes of my quiet night and turned the DVD off promptly as the first signed of complete boredom. But I kept watching… and watching… and watching. You know? Because this much ballyhooed “Konvention” raid doesn’t even take place until about an hour into this ninety-minute DVD. So what’s eating up so much time on Krazy Killer?

An uncut interview with the band circa 1982/1983. Apparently the interview was being conducted for USA Network’s “Night Flight” late night program. I don’t remember that show at all but I do remember its successor “Up All Night” hosted by Gilbert Gottfried and Rhonda Shear. No doubt, this nearly one hour interview was probably clipped down to a few soundbites for a 3 minute segment when all was said and done.

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KISS – Live In Las Vegas

KISS – Live In Las Vegas (2002, Pixelon.com)

1. “Shout It Out Loud”
2. “Love Gun”
3. “God of Thunder”
4. “Rock and Roll All Night” (as it is labeled on the DVD)

Band:
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Backing Vocals
Ace Frehley – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Peter Criss – Drums, Backing Vocals

Awful, awful, awful! Subtitled “The unseen concert”, I wish this one had remained unseen… by me! I was young and naive and wasted $14.99 on this DVD back on February 23, 2003 (the receipt was inside the DVD case). Live In Las Vegas is a cheap and unauthorized KISS DVD featuring the band’s four song “limited appearance” at Pixelon.com’s iBash ’99 from October 29, 1999 at the MGM Grand.

Pixelon was a fairly notorious dot-com company that got into the internet business by making ridiculous boasts about their video streaming technology and by throwing lots of money around to nab some big music names for their iBash launch party. Also notable is the company’s founder, who as it turned out, started the company under a false identity because he was wanted in Virginia for stock scams. The company only lasted a year before going bankrupt so I’m guessing this 2002 release was just a way to try to pay off some debts.

Paul Stanley issued a statement at one point saying “this DVD or Video has NOT been approved, endorsed or authorized by us”. I’m really surprised Gene & Paul would slip up to the point where someone else could market, own and release some concert footage of them. I thought they were pretty good about owning their performances, but I guess when someone is throwing an insane amount of cash at you to perform four songs, you tend to not worry about the details. Don’t feel bad for KISS only though, others were wowed by Pixelon as well. The iBash launch party also featured other big names like The Dixie Chicks, Tony Bennett, The Offspring, Faith Hill and The Who.

So why is this one bad? The performance is lip-synced, perhaps ripped straight from the albums themselves and then there’s the annoying issue of the video & audio not being sequenced correctly. Mouths are moving when they shouldn’t. The video is actually pretty good but the packaging of this DVD is very cheap. There is a director’s cut and a multicam cut to choose from. The director’s cut is horrible, there’s way too much jumping around from band member to crowd to band member. Your eyes never have time to settle and take in what you’re seeing. The multicam cut divides the screen in to quarters and those individual cameras are much more consistent, choosing to linger at different angles on the band as they play.

Surprisingly, there is a decent amount of special features. Perhaps Pixelon was feeling a bit bad about sticking us with a four song “concert”. I’m not sure how Pixelon got their hands on all of this extra KISS footage, but some of it is interesting.

Keeping with the failures of Pixelon, iBash was supposed to be broadcast over the internet, but the servers crashed at the last minute! Oops! Luckily, members of the KISS Army can now “finally see the concert that fate denied them the first time around”, as it says on the back of the DVD box.

But don’t bother, fate was looking out for you.

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