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  • You had to be there when the original VHS was released in the '80's to appreciate the DVD release. As a die-hard fan going all the way back to '76 getting any KISS video footage was a dream come true.

    Even the days before Beta & VHS started to emerge the quest to somehow get KISS on film was there.

    In the mid-eighties I hooked into the KISS bootleg VHS pipeline. The problem? Bad quality, multi-generational dubs that resulted in barely watchable material. If you weren't at the top of the KISS bootleg food chain back then you were at the bottom.

    Then KISS Exposed was announced that gave some promise to die-hard fans getting at least some quality video direct from the band itself. There were radio commercials, magazine ads that announced the soon arrival of the first official KISS video to have lots of makeup footage included.

    Then the release date got pushed back! Yep that's right even back in the early days of video releases KISS started off with pushing back release dates.

    When it finally came out it was worth the wait at least for the older makeup footage. Now you really had to be a 'Fridays' fan to appreciate Mark Blankfield's humor and role here. But even with the totally cheesy acting and bogus story of Paul's mansion (it was NOT!) and none of the autos in the front were even owned by any of the members. The scantly clad women everywhere were just nothing more than set dressing to emulate a party lifestyle.

    It would have been much better just to present it straight forward like the KISSOLOGY sets but I guess the band felt they needed to be 'in it' trying to convey some kind of 'Rock Star' lifestyle and humor.

    But it is what it is, I enjoy the humor and you just have to kinda laugh at what the band was trying to do good or bad. The fact that Eric and Bruce were mostly absent from it was probably a good thing for them I'm sure they never minded about that seeing how cheesy it got.

    Some of the live footage at the time was not embedded heavily in the bootleg market at the time. So seeing the single snippets on Exposed threw us video hungry maniacs into a frenzy.

    One in particular was the San Francisco Winterland B&W live footage. But not long after Exposed was released it made it's way into bootleggers hands.

    Also having actual non-makeup MTV style videos with stereo audio was a plus for those of us that didn't have cable/MTV so we could tape them from television.

    So I was more than glad to see Exposed finally make it to DVD after having to wait for the original VHS release back then. The DVD brings better quality to the table not to mention the ability to just play the video's and skip all the malarkey.

    Even with it's cheesiness it's still a great addition to the KISS video catalog. It was my first volume of KISSOLOGY so to speak back when it was originally released. It was one of those things you thought the band would never actually do. So most of us thought we were stuck with the inferior quality from the bootleg market. Exposed gave us hope that things would improve.

    It was not the end all KISS video but it does have a lot of nostalgia for me. So I give it an 8 for the video content alone and what it represented to us fans back in the '80's.

    Later video releases like 'Konfidential' & 'KISS My A**' had sub-standard footage quality compared to what the bootleg market offered in some cases. That fact was somewhat strange.

    Exposed serves as the first official video acknowledgment by the band of the makeup years and so is part of KISSTORY!
  • If you really want to see a movie with Kiss in it, don't rent that 1978 turkey "Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park". Rent this instead. Mark Blankfield plays a TV interviewer who spends a day in Paul Stanley's mansion to see what makes him and the other members of Kiss tick. What makes the movie appealing are the videos, concert footage and all those luscious babes in bikinis! The big drawback is that the interviewer only speaks to Paul and Gene Simmons, while Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick are left in the woodwork. Maybe Eric and Bruce weren't comfortable with speaking on camera yet...I don't know.

    Rating: **1/2
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you were around in the 1970's, you really only had two options: you either love KISS or you hated KISS (in which case you were either a disgruntled parent, highly religious or a Disco-fan and have no reason to be on this page in the first place). If option A applies, you went into shock when the band took off the make-up in 1982, mutating into a Glam Metal / Pop Rock band – and today you're probably embarrassed that they wear make-up again but that's another story.

    Anyway, the fans are generally susceptible to all things KISS and a decade after the atrocious "Kiss meets the Phantom of the Park", Mr. Simmons money-machine saw it fit to produce the first official KISS documentary. Perhaps not his wisest choice since the band had reached an all-time low in 1987 with an ever-changing line-up producing lacklustre albums and Simmons concentrating on a movie-star career that would never happen.

    If you expect to see and hear the real people behind KISS, you will be disappointed: the fact that they took off their make-up doesn't mean they dropped the act; the interviews are as scripted as the blood that Simmons spits is fake (insider trivia: egg-yoke and food colour). Simmons and Stanley play rich, decadent Rock N' Roll millionaires housing together in a palace-like mansion, containing only Platinum records, KISS memorabilia and semi-naked starlets. Here goes a word of warning: Simmons having if bedroom decorated with the heads of living women and Paul Stanleys bed-bunnies, the eight Carols (he got "carolled away" that night) may not be in line with feminism, and if we'd be honest, we'd call it plain misogynistic – but that has rarely bothered KISS fans.

    Simmons and Stanley are spending a day in the company of SNL-comedian Mark Blankfield, in his hyper-nervous / semi-hysteric persona, which already is one of the mockumentaries highlights. We get a whole row of lame jokes, many pointless, self-promoting interviews ("They call me Mr. Hollywood") and of course a detailed look at Gene Simmons legendary monster-tongue. Neither performer don't tell much that we, the fans, didn't already know: how they met, came up with the logo, etc., and the scandals, financial and artistic problems are eluded completely. But, being the "Barnum & Baileys of Rock N'Roll", Simmons and Stanley are amiable enough to keep us sticking to the screen.

    Then there is the music: we get the good (KISS at the height of their success, playing their final make-up show in Rio de Janeiro), the bad (post-make-up) and the downright embarrassing from their Hair Metal phase. Getting down to brass tacks: there are more informative interviews and documentaries, rarer clips and live performances on YouTube; the absence of original KISS members like Ace Frehley and Peter Criss is annoying – but not as annoying as Simmons' policy to treat guitarist Bruce Kulick and deceased drummer Eric Carr as mere employees (both have roughly five seconds of screen time). But, since you're reading this review, you must be a KISS fan. I'm preaching to the quire here and, like me, you will purchase and watch this video. Over and over again (much to annoyance of those friends and loved ones who don't like KISS) If you ask me objective, I'd give it five or six points for the live videos and the performance of Mark Blankfield – as me as a KISS fan: TEN SOLID POINTS! HELL, GIVE IT ELEVEN!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Created three years after Kiss dropped their characteristic makeup, KISS EXPOSED is anything but an exposé on Kiss. Matter of fact, like the makeup days, it only enhances the mystery of what the band members are really like "in real life."

    Part history (sorry, KISStory), part mockumentary; part music videos (current and vintage), part comedy, part scantily-clad women, EXPOSED is a grab bag of entertainment - like Kiss always promises - presented by a mock interviewer (Mark Blankfield) dogging two good comedians who also happen to be the founding members of Kiss, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. (Unfortunately, relatively new members, Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr, are given one line each in passing comedy skits involving - what else? - scantily-clad women.)

    Opening: Interviewer "surprises" Paul at "his mansion" (maybe it IS Paul's home, but more than likely, rumors/info identify the location as "some mansion in Beverly Hills"), doorbell playing the tune, "Rock and Roll All Night," with Paul supposedly just woken (a stray scantily-clad fem running for cover in the background) and inviting the interview crew into his home "since they were there anyway." The audacity that anyone would mistake any of this fake setup as authentic is what makes it so funny.

    The acting is as bad as KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK but the difference is, no one's taking anything seriously (at least, I hope not). So whether the boys are making up stories or recounting real band history, we can never be quite sure with all that tongue in cheek.

    And what a tongue! Gene Simmons apparently has a spacious, decked-out dungeon facility upstairs in Paul's mansion. To the foley of metal being smashed, Paul comments, "Oh, Gene's up. Let's go visit him." Camera follows Paul up a stairway, at which point we meet Kiss lead guitarist Bruce Kulick chasing a girl down the stairs, Bruce stopping for a moment to emphatically entreat Paul, "Is this for the documentary? Edit her out! Edit her out!"

    We meet Gene in a high-ceilinged, medieval demon's den, garbed in a big Dracula cloak, sitting on a throne with women surrounding him like slaves and - as usual - on the phone cutting a deal, mentioning something about "marshmallows and duck butter." He greets the camera crew like Frank Sinatra overlording his kingdom, "My kinda place! Just call me Mr. Hollywood," then turns to the wall where four trophy heads of women hang. He asks two of the girls to switch places and the heads promptly pull backwards out of the wall and re-insert themselves in the appropriate trophy plaques, to Gene's aesthetic contentment.

    Later, the interviewer searches for Paul and runs across Eric Carr being pursued by a - you guessed it - scantily-clad female shouting, "Eric! Where are you? I'm not through with you yet!" When the interviewer finds Paul, he is in bed with several women and a chimpanzee "who doesn't know he's a monkey."

    And on it goes like this, interspersed with excellent vintage live performances from the mid-70s - to any Kiss fan, ambrosia - and then-current videos from their latest album ("Asylum" 1985).

    Paul and Gene take us on a fun, informative tour of "the Kiss vault" (which is more like a bunch of Kiss memorabilia thrown into a dark room, set-dressed to look like a Kiss vault if you squint hard) - again, it might just be the real Kiss vault with all the excellent artifacts it contains, but then Paul points to a Shakespearean-era painting and identifies it as "Joseph Kiss Senior, who came up with the vision of Kiss in 1753," with Gene adding, "That's of course, a picture of him without makeup." It's dry as hell and twice as lunatic, with Paul ad-libbing to his frontman heart's content and Gene speaking of himself in the third person.

    Of course this mocku-docu is for viewers who do not vomit and/or consult Jesus at the sight of Kiss. And if you disagree with the high rating here, the only loser will be you. Kiss don't care, they're millionaires.

    Directed by Claude Borenzweig, EXPOSED is hands down one of the best Kiss DVDs, not just for nostalgia value, but because Stanley and Simmons (who have co-writing credits, I suspect from all the mad-libbing) were in fact, different back then. They were a lot more fun. (And most of their hair was real.) Though the band was only 14 years old at the time, it could be argued they were not yet sullied by the travails of longevity; not innocent babes by any means, but also not 37-year veterans either (at the time of this writing), which lends performers a maybe-wiser, maybe-bitter, maybe-worn, but definitely more sober perspective on their careers and personas. They were young (Simmons 38, Stanley 35) and definitely enjoying the ride a lot more; it shows in their lighthearted patois, their commitment to totally irrelevant sketches (the Paul Stanley Disco Workout, Gene's dungeon gags) which we could never envision them doing now, and the ease and playfulness with which they interact during their two-man interviews. At one point, they reminisce about the two of them busking Beatles songs and break into a seemingly impromptu harmonizing of "Ill Be Back."

    Technically, ATTACK OF THE PHANTOM was the first Kiss DVD, but that was a crap movie that had nothing to do with Kiss. EXPOSED is the band's first authorized DVD release that is truly a snapshot of Kiss - maybe not "reality" per se, but definitely how Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons want us to perceive them. Since EXPOSED, many more Kiss DVDs have come our way, all following a similar formula (current documentary/interviews, mixed with new videos and vintage live shows), none capturing the Marx Brothers lightning of this earliest release.

    The KISStory starts here...
  • This mockumentary about rock legends Kiss has Mark Blankfield playing a nerdy interviewer who is invited by Paul Stanley for a tour around Paul's mansion. During the tour, we meet guitarist Bruce Kulick, drummer Eric Carr and of course, Gene Simmons. There is plenty of 80's music videos for songs such as "Lick It Up" and "Heaven's On Fire". Also, there is a lot of archive footage of the band's early performances, where they play "Deuce", "Strutter", and many other fan favourites live. Look out for one of Gene's typical demonic blood spitting, and an amazing solo from Ace where his guitar... well, you'd better just see it for yourself. Overall, I found this great fun, and Kiss fans should love it. Non-Kiss fans should give it a look too, as I showed a few friends Kiss eXposed and they enjoyed it (but maybe that was for the bikini-clad beauties that are seen frequently. Oh well.)
  • This movie of the making of a documentary was a great idea to show the "monsters" behind the makeup. Kiss is the kind of band no one would ever really think of having a movie but there was and are. Kiss eXposed has great footage of old stage performances and music videos. Gene Simmons is just as hot as always and Paul is right there beside him. I think Eric and Bruce could have been in more shots but it was just great seeing them. The movie has its interesting parts you'd never know about the band and the parts that send your chair backwards from laughing. Gene and Paul's stories about meeting add to the fun of the movie. Overall if your as huge a Kiss fan as me, I'm sure you'll enjoy the movie.