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239

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

239

238

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

238

In Defense of Hellraiser Revelations

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imagesCA7N6QEIIf Rick Bota and Peter Atkins wer the custodians of Hellraiser in each of their eras, I wonder if that makes Gary Tunicliffe the custodian today.

Really, he’s been around since the early days.  doing makeup as far back as 3. He also worked second unit under Rick Bota who pretty much had complete faith in him – any shot of a hand or a back…anything without the actors face in Deader or Hellworld was Gary. He loves the series and you’ll never find a bigger cheerleader for it.

Revelations was made basically to keep the rights to Hellraiser in house. It is the most slapped together of any of the films. Remember that half a million that they had to spend in Romania  (to stretch the dollar even further) for Deader and Hellworld? Revelations got $350,000 AND had to shoot in L.A. They also had to be done in two weeks. As you can see, no one at dimension was taking this film seriously.

No one but Gary. He wrote the script, created some untitledspectacular makeup effects (better actually than we’ve seen in over a decade) and worked countless unpaid hours creating new cenobites and new costumes (we haven’t seen new costumes in ten years) and brilliant new designs so this film would have a chance at being more than just a throwaway.  Seriously, look at those. This could be straight out of any of the “respectable” Hellraiser films. All of this and the truth is, they weren’t even sure it would ever be released. It just had to be made to keep the rights.

Besides all of this (as if this weren’t all enough), it immediately had two strikes against it.

First, Dough Bradley wasn’t invited back to be Pinhead. This is a shame, butimages understandable. Doug is getting older and that collar of his gets bigger with every sequel. But also, there’s no money. He’s not going to play the character just for the love of the game, and dimension wasn’t going to shell out his fee this time. Shortsighted on their part, but then again, on the corporate level, this entire project was.

Second, Clive Barker came out and trashed the movie before it ever hit the shelves. Now THIS pisses me off. In my previous articles, you’ll notice that Barker’s name NEVER comes up as a custodian of Hellraiser. I acknowledge that he created something remarkable in the Hellbound heart, and something just as remarkable in the first Hellraiser movie., But that’s where his involvement stops. He created the premise, but really, Peter Atkins created the mythology when he wrote the second third and fourth films. Most of what we truly love about Hellraiser comes from Atkins, not Barker and I consider him the true father of Hellraiser.  I don’t know images2why Barker was so vocal abut this film. His entire involvement in all of  the sequels has been to sit at an advance screening, turn in notes (which may or may not be considered) and cash a check. I wonder if he wasn’t paid off this time.

I truly believe all of this contributes to this film being judged to harshly, certainly by the wrong measure. The film tries hard. It’s not a found footage file as is occasionally reported, though there are some found footage elements. Gary tries to recreate as many elements from the original as he can. One family destroyed by what’s in the box. We get the skinned body coming out of the mattress, we get the darkened torture room again image1s(something they tried to do in Hellseeker by the way, and failed – Bota remarks about how the room disappointed him. This one is a hundred times better), we get candles surrounding the supplicant trying to open the box. We have complicated adulterous relationships and forbidden sex. We have a puzzle guardian. All of the elements are there. The big problem is I’m sure this is a first draft, with no time or money for revisions. Two weeks means no time for rehearsals, not time even while you’re acting to find the characters…and it’s a shame because I can see what this could imag2eshave been. What it should have been if they’d been given even the meager resources they had on Deader and Hellworld. Over on the Hellbound web, one person remarked “If this were a fan film, I’d be raving about it.” This is a good point, because I know fan films with bigger budgets or at least, more resources and most have far more time.

It’s a shame my biggest defenses are “They ment well” and “there’s worse out there” but that’s really at the heart of it. This is better than any film the Asylum puts out any day of  the week. It’s better than the majority of stuff on Sci-Fi, and it has the distinctive flavor of Hellraiser to it.

Ghost Rider : Spirit of Vengance

defense11040828_970894472954976_8504486711095508076_nHalf Price books had a sale last week, and I found a bunch of Blu Rays for $1.00! I picked up Spirit of Vengeance because it’s one I’ve been meaning to see but putting off. Truth is  I wasn’t a big fan of the first one and I haven’t heard a SINGLE good thing about this one. Still, I was ready to give it a try so Saturday while the girls were at dance I popped it in the PS3 and settled in with a pizza.

It starts off with a surprisingly good action scene featuring the rider himself. Easily as good as anything from the first film and it was good to see the character again. I could see some differences, no spikes (extra animations and cost I’m sure), and a skull that was darker – the entire suit seemed more consumed by Ghost Rider’s  hellfire than previously. That’s cool, costumes change with every movie.

It was about half an hour in when I started yelling at the screen. “I thought this was supposed to be a BAD movie!”. It would be my mantra fro the next hour.

Seriously, I’ve heard nothing good bout this, yet I found myself liking this far better than the first one. Nicholas Cage isn’t doing nearly as much of his manic Nicholas Cage thing….it’s more tormented and driven. Danny Ketch shows up and I went nuts! Edris Elba was marvelous as usual and I thought the cuts to the comic style images for backstory exposition to be really effective – it was a look that just appeals to me. Despite the soft-reboot feel (not even that really, or they would have replaced Cage) I really loved the direction they took and the different tone and style really worked for me.

A few things I’ve been told.

“Ghost Rider barely appears in  the film.”

To be  fair, he appears just as much as he did in the first movie – and we see more of him in this film that we do of Iron Man(in armor) in any of the Iron Man films. I’d like to see more, true, but really, I was led to believe he’s in this way less than the first and that’s just not true.

“It should have been rated R!”

11329851_970894469621643_3763512787988524655_nThat was never going to happen. Seriously, this isn’t the Punisher and they always said this would be PG-13 and if you were expecting anything else you deceived yourself. Despite the dark nature of the character, the comics I’ve read have never been particular gory or full of language. There’s violence, but it’s comic book violence and the film still manages to be just a violent than most of the comics I’ve seen. Even more violent than many  of them. The action was perfectly satisfying to meant this film delivered exactly what it promised.

“I was filmed on location because  they had no money!”

Yes, it was. The  implication is that this  makes it look cheap I guess. Well it looks  anything but cheap to me. They build a logical reason for Johnny Blaze to be  on the run and they used the foreign locals to great effect. I can’t argue with this choice one bit.

“Christopher Lambert isn’t in it enough.”

Lambert is in semi-retirement. That he’s in it at all is a shock, and a pleasant one  at that. I love his character – I love the look, the attitude, everything. Why are we complaining that he’s not in it enough when we should be cheering that he appears at all?

I love this script, I love this style and I kind of wish there was more of this – I still consider Drive Angry to be the spiritual third part to this unfinished trilogy, indeed it would really finish the arc, but sadly that’s not to be. Now that it’s back in Marvel’s hands, if we ever see more Ghost Rider, it’ll be a significantly different version, and that’s not a bad thing, but I’m still happy that I finally got to see this one and I suspect I’ll be spending a lot more time defending this in the future.

Preadator at the Capitol!

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1987’s classic film Predator is part of the Melt Bar and Grilled Cleveland Cinemas Late Shift Series! Admission is just $5! One lucky audience member will win some mud! Join us at midnight!

Capitol map

237

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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236

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

236

Badi : Turkish E.T.

fff

badiThe guys over at Cracked.com came up with a far better description of this than I ever could.

The American Original:

E.T., an adorable animatronic extraterrestrial, lands in a SoCal suburb  and teaches a lonely boy that he has a friend somewhere in the universe.

The Foreign Rip-Off:

Badi, a midget wearing a stained turtleneck and a mask resembling an uncooked  prawn, lands in a Turkish slum and teaches the audience that the universe is  filled with unremitting horror.

Basically that’s it. Aside from the unconvincing suit, this film has not need (or vlcsnap-168549desire) to be charming, so we get a beer swilling E.T. that inspires far more fear than friendship. Recommended only if your very into these kind of foreign rip-offs.

 

 

Ron’s Big Adventure part five

filmography

Part five of my favorite movie! Find your purpose in Ron’s Big Adventure!

Season endings…

tvgothamYou know, I really couldn’t imagine Gotham lasting 22 episodes. It just didn’t seem like the show had it in itself to last and I’m pleasantly surprised that not only HAS it lasted, but that it’s kept us entertained the entire time. This season finale was over the top, but actually didn’t quite feel like a finale, it felt like the end of just about any other given episode.

The news leaked of course that Jada Pinket Smith wasn’t coming back next season, but watching the episode I really wasn’t sure. She certainly seemed poised to come out on top…the fact that she didn’t would have been a HUGE twist if we hadn’t already known she wasn’t coming back. Then again, are we sure about that? Her exit was merely falling into the water…my wife’s first reaction to t hat was “She’s not dead!”. I wonder if Smith will be back in guest roles.

I’ve never thought of Gordon as an action hero, and this was an interesting twist for me. I really like it. The action of the entire episode has been stellar, and of course to see the penguin at the end…it just fits.

izombieWhen Bruce found the secret entrance to the cave however, my jaw dropped. How long is this hiatus again?

iZombie is still fun, quirky and even keeled. With the exception of the kinda-cliffhanger ending this week, I really didn’t find anything really shocking here. A bit of a drag that the season is so short though. The original order for the first season was only set for 10 episodes, scheduled to wrap on May 19; next week. The good news is that it’s been renewed for a second season, but no word on how many episodes or how long we’ll have to wait. Pretty soon, I’m going to have NO new TV…after all the Flash wraps up tonight….

The Flash. Man, what a great show. It’s kept me on a consistant high throughout the season, and my girls are SO into it. Really, this is what fans have been saying all along as production companies struggle to crack the “formula” for the superhero shows. Just embrace it. revel in it. The Flash knows exactly what it is and we love it for that. The reverse flash arch has been trhilling and even a little wierd – we got used to Wells as a mostly good guy and I’m missing him back at HQ, but on the other hand, I’m dying to see what happens next – and the fact that tonight is another Team up episode? Yes please. I’m only sorry it has to break for a while. Really bummed, but then again, when it comes back next year, it’ll have even more company with the new Firestorm/Atom/ Black Canary show. Can’t wait.

The Flash

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