(aka "Choke Canyon" )


directed by Chuck Bail
USA 1986


Physicist David Lowell (Stephen Collins) has built a makeshift laboratory deep in Choke Canyon to prove that sound waves can be converted into usable energy. When nuclear power exec John Pilgrim's (Nicholas Pryor) corporation decides to hide a black ball full of atomic waste in Choke Caynyon, they try to buy Lowell's land. When he refuses, Pilgrim's right hand man Alastair (Lance Henriksen) goes to extreme lengths to get rid of Lowell but finds that Lowell is not so easy to kill. When Alastair brings in mercenary Oliver Parkside (Bo Svenson), Lowell kidnaps Pilgrim's daughter Vanessa (Janet Julian) who sides with him when he tells her about the atomic waste in the black ball. With a ravenous Parkside on their heels, Lowell and Vanessa decide to steal the black ball and expose the Pilgrim corporation's illegal activities.

While it might have seemed like a run-of-the-mill low budget action pic when first released (more so with the onscreen British release title ON DANGEROUS GROUND), CHOKE CANYON proves to be quite a riveting film with ambitious stunt and special effects work (only the model work sometimes seems ropey) and a refreshing sense of humor. Collins makes for a likable and resourceful "cowboy physicist" and his retaliations against the various thugs who come after him are entertaining and gratifying. Svenson (who was also in the Assonitis-produced AMOK TRAIN) makes for a great relentless bad guy (though his primary antagonistic presence gives co-star Lance Henriksen little to do than look sinister; Henriksen was also in the Assonitis-produced THE VISITOR forthcoming from Code Red). Sylvester Levay's (better known for his arrangements for other Hollywood composers of the time like Giorgio Moroder) score is well-suited but sounds now very much like eighties action flick music. Cinematographer Dante Spinoetti (Michael Mann's MANHUNTER) is among the largely Italian technical crew (normal for Ovidio G. Assonitis productions no matter where they are shot) gives the film a visual slickness that defies the budget. While the film is a strange choice for Code Red, it is certainly more interesting than some of their other eighties non-horror resurrections and quite entertaining.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 1 August 1986 (USA)

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DVD Review: Code Red - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Code Red

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:34:36

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.23 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Code Red

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by producer Peter Sheperd
• On-camera Interview with Bo Svenson (4:3; 9:39)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:52)
• POWER PLAY trailer (16:9; 3:20)
• STUNT ROCK trailer (16:9; 2:25)

DVD Release Date: 23 June 2009

Chapters 19



The progressive, anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer looks quite nice with Dante Spinotti's warm-toned images suiting the desert setting. A dual-layer transfer might have looked better but the grain and the slight softness are part of the look and the limitations of the low budget location shooting. Sylvester Levay's score and the dialogue come through well but the Dolby Stereo mix is restrained (the music gets the most separation). Although the print's title is ON DANGEROUS GROUND, Code Red has chosen to use on the cover the film's US title CHOKE CANYON.


Producer Peter Shepherd (who also collaborated with executive producer Ovidio G. Assonitis on MADHOUSE) provides an audio commentary while co-star Bo Svenson is the subject of a 10 minute interview. As usual, Code Red has not provided a scene selection menu for its 19 chapter stops. While the film itself is dedicated in memory of helicopter pilot Richard Holley, the film is further preceded by a newly added dedication to producer Shepherd who recently died.

 - Eric Cotenas


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