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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Children of the Corn : Genesis

franchisebanner*sigh*. Dimension Extreme. The sight of that logo on the DVD for Children of the Corn : Genesis bodes poorly for this entry. Dimension extreme is basically where they dump throwaway movies that they are making just to retain a license – and within the first five minutes that certainly seems to be the case here. (note to our future filmmakers – to make a children of the corn film… You need more than just kids and some pieces of corn . After watching nine of these, it’s obvious that this is something you guys don’t understand).

After the thoughtfull remake in 2009 this one seems to snap right back to the “anything goes” slasher mode – just throw some corn or country sacks in there and it’ll be fine! I’m pretty sure if I’d been following these as they were being made (rather than just me marathoning the whole lot of them) that I would be pissed at getting this entry next. At least it’s only 80 minutes – and some of that has got to be credits!

Okay, let’s do this.

Billy Drago is looking OLD in this one. He appears to be acting either in a studio backlot or very possibly just somebody’s backyard. This frustrates me – especially when the last film reminded us just how well these films work but only when they’ve got the backdrop of a small town. Drago’s gravitas is undermined by all the beautiful young people acting around him in this film – once again, to clean and too pretty for the subject matter.

About 30 minutes in somebody mistakes this for being a Hellraiser film – which isn’t terribly surprisingly since we’ve about abandoned anything really recognizable as children of the corn already anyhow.

We have an attractive couple, straight off the set of the latest CW show, land in the middle of corn children country, and slasher hijinks ensue. Occasionally unseen supernatural forces move things and we get a few brief bad dreams.

It’s possibly the weakest of the entire series and miserable way to end it – with a whimper, not even a yawn. Skip this one, and will hope that the next one dimension (the extreme imprint is gone now) release will be better. After all, it’s almost license renewal time.

720

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

Madmen of Mandoras

boxghmv5bmdg1m2fmnjktmjhjzi00yzkzlwe4zgutmta5zjcxota5ntrlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtq2mjqyndc-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_I think these guys are trying to pull a fast one on me! I’ve seen this movie before haven’t I? This is obviously “They Saved Hitler’s Brain”!

Well… not exactly. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

From IMDB : “At the end of World War II, Nazi officials spirited the living head of Adolf Hitler out of Germany to a hiding place in the South American country of Mandoras, in order to revive the Third Reich at a later date. By the 1960s these men believed the time had come, so they kidnap a top scientist in order to force him to help keep Hitler alive. Several intelligence agencies find out about the plot and send agents to stop it.”

mv5bmjm3mdqzotkxml5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjc0ntgwmze-_v1_Here’s the thing, I HAVE seen They Saved hitler’s Brain…but that’s actually a longer movie. Extra footage was shot so they could release it under that name. THIS film; Madmen of Mandoras, is actually the original. There’s less to see here, and quite frankly, that’s a blessing. See, the extra footage was shot over a decade later- and it shows. Radically diffrent haristyles of the late sixties as opposed to the early 50’s, diffrent clothing fasions, diffrent cars – there’s no attempt made to hide the extra footage being fro ma diffrent era.

It’s baffling as well – this wierd detective kind of story that’s been grafted on to the movie clashes with the mad scientist intrigue. The styles are jarring against each other and it dosen’t help that the new “B” storyline is terrible. I have to say, the ending with the head melting is actually a little gorier and I do like it better, but that’s all that I like better.

Do youself a favor and stick with Madmen rather than They Saved – the shorter running time combined with the purity of the B film is far more satisfying.

719

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

The Ninth Gate

Movie bannerlarge_uamhDQBebdW3UQqOaVmma3yW8pmThe ninth gate is really everything I love about cult films. We’ve got everything I could ask for, mystery, a Satanic order, adventure, and exotic locales, obsession and character. The film appeals to me in particular because of the bibliophile angle. I love all books, stories and if I’m at your house, you can be assured that at some point I’ve snuck away to look through your collection of books. This film understands that, and it understands exactly the sort of person I would be if I had the means these people do. Films like this, or like High Fidelity, or even the Fast and the Furious – movies that explore collections that have been obsessively accumulated and the people who curate them always fascinate me – it makes me wish I had that kind of passion and singular vision these people do

I love how intelligently written it is, and how it celebrates literacy and research. These characters are smart people, well read, you know what you’re talking about, and many are experts in their field.

fhd999TNG_Emmanuelle_Seigner_036The story of course is about the search for a very rare book, the nine gates – which supposedly holds the secret to immortality. It features Johnny Depp in one of his better roles. Mind you, I enjoy Captain Jack and I am a fan of his work with Tim Burton, but this is something completely different – a character with depth and smarm and purpose. It’s not a quirky character, and that in fact makes it a stretch – I love Depp in this.

It’s a film you may have overlooked because quite frankly, it’s as common as dirt – you’ll see it on every shelf in every video store and frequently on Netflix. Seriously, sit down and give this a watch.

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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

Jim, the Worlds Greatest

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MV5BYTlmMTk3ODMtYWJlNi00OTQ2LWE3YjEtNGJjMzhlZjdhOGRkL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_That’s right. I finally found a copy.

The “teen movie” really came into its own in the 80s with the John Hughes series. Jim the worlds greatest predates that. It’s a sort of film that lays the groundwork for what the teen movie would become. Don Coscarelli’s touch really shows through in this movie with his signature dreamlike quality, tracking a non-linear path through the story. In this way you can actually tell this is from the same director that made Phantasm.  Such themes are only reinforced by the fact that it’s a story of an older brother watching out for his younger brother… Indeed the entire thrust of the film is an older brother, probably a senior in high school who is already taking on the responsibilities that really should belong to the delinquent father of this piece.

Jim World’s Greatest also has a sort of meandering slice of life quality to it… There’s no 18A-Rory-1024x774real narrative or story here, there’s just life as we drift from set piece to set piece. It’s much  the same technique he would employ in his next film; Kenny and Company. Just drifting, at least, until the third act – when things get serious.

I didn’t expect this to be a comedy, but I’ll admit I didn’t expect it to get as intense as it did either. Angus Scrimm gives a performance of a lifetime here, grim and depressing as the out-of-work father who occasionally gets drunk and beats his kids. We really only get to know the present-day father, the failure… and we know it wasn’t always like this. We get glimpses of him during happier days trough flashbacks – it’s an impressive juxtaposition that Scrimm delivers brilliantly.

Reggie Banister (who apparently never had hair on top) shows up as well, giving one of hqdefaultthe most lunatic and wacky performances I’ve ever seen him do. It’s a little more than a cameo as a crashed wind rider, but man it’s always nice to see a familiar face.

In the end, it’s quite an emotional film – and it really shows Coscarelli’s skill. It almost makes me sad that he transitioned into low-budget and horror, and yet this is the kind of film that was ideally suited for the 1970s, and that era  would not last forever. It genuinely makes me wonder though, what Coscarelli would do with such material today. I’m not sure that he could even get it made – the era of emotional low-budget dramas in the theater seems to have passed, and thanks to Coscarelli’s negative experiences during his brief sojourn in to the studio system, he’s been jaded enough to never venture there again.

There is a definite evolution present here, a direct line from Jim the worlds greatest, through Kenny and Company, directly leading into Phantasm. Seriously, THAT’s the trilogy. You can see Coscarelli and his sensibilities develop while staying very true to the concepts that intrigued him, and it only reinforces my belief in how underrated this filmmaker is.

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Lake Effect Comic Con 2018

Conman

35533764_2533830610175951_6038846837060796416_n36224434_1981931958517884_724846576685547520_nLake Effect isn’t what it used to be. This was one of my favorite shows for awhile, because of the charm of having a free comic con at a movie theater, as well as the vast array of deals all over the place and marvelous programming. I’m glad the show has grown, and really needed to move – but since heading over to the hotel and transitioning into that sort of con, it’s identity has changed a great deal.

Gone are the amazing deals and cheap finds. As emphasis has moved off of programming, panels and screenings have vanished more and more until the event  really has begun to resemble a Jeff Harper show… that is to say, a giant swap meet that you pay admission for.

There’s still a fun vibe here, it attracts cosplayers because of the costume contest and there’s friends to meet. My buddy Rhonda and I hung out with Dirk Manning a little bit, 36002734_1981932758517804_6091099696946741248_nand chatted up several other folks we saw wondering around. Free stuff was in abundance this year too, at every door there seemed to be a person stationed with a bag of pins to handout (poor Rhonda spent all day adding buttons to my Comicon  backpack) and on the flyer table full of freebies there were Green Lantern batteries for Heroclix! I was so excited to finally grab one of these! One person walked up to me and handed over a button with Barry Allen’s lightning bolt insignia on it, and informed me I’d been Flashed.

To my great delight, my buddy Jim won the costume contest for his Dr Forster (from mystery science theatre 3000) costume. There were a lot of great outfits this year and it seems like the convention is starting to fill up again. Attendance was down last couple of 36029252_2540812459477766_7607987854181924864_nyears but this time around there seemed to be more people walking around and that’s good… I wasn’t sure how that would pan out considering there are a lot of folks pissed about the entrance fee increasing this year to 8 dollars for such a small show.

I’ve got a lot of affection for Lake Effect, but I may be skipping it next year. There’s still fun to be had here, but I’m not a big fan of what it’s becoming. We’ll see what happens in 2019.

 

716

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday