Great Lakes Comic-Con 2018
The first thing that struck me when I headed into Great Lakes Comic Con was how long the admission line was. It wound around the hallway, twice as long as I remember it being in past years. This isn’t a bad thing – I like GLCC and am pleased to see it grow….and besides. I had to get into my costume.
I learned from my experience at All-Americon that trying to get from the car into a convention center wearing a Lego suit is more trouble than it’s worth, so my buddy Rocky and I lugged it in and I struggled into the bulky outfit while we stood in line. By the time we hit the point where the line curve around on itself, I was suited up. After taking photos with half a dozen people, we rounded the corner to the registration table where bewildered bouncers tried to figure out how to get a wristband around my oversized mitt.
The idea for a Greatest American Hero in Lego came from a doodle I did around Christmastime. A whim when I learned William Katt would be joining us at GLCC. I still can’t believe I actually built this thing, but there I was making a beeline for his table. One side was partitioned off with curtains, and we made it in just before the line cut off (he had a panel coming up). As I shuffled in, the actor nearly leapt over the table to greet me, arms wide open with a huge grin on his face.
“Look at this! Just…LOOK at this!” he breathed in amazement. Suddenly were were surrounded by a dozen or more cameras snapping away. Rocky tried to find a vantage point and and failed, eventually pulling us aside to get our photo for my own collection.
As he signed a House photo for me, we chatted about his recent appearance on Supergirl. Despite my disappointment at it only being a cameo, he knew that going in – it turns out the producers were fans of The Greatest American Hero and just wanted to sneak him in there somewhere. I asked what it was like working with John Hart – the Lone ranger. The question gave him pause, as he realized I was talking about the episode of GAH called “My Heroes have always been Cowboys”.
“The thing is,” he responded thoughtfully, “My heroes have always REALLY been cowboys. My father made a living for years as a cowboy in westerns and we watched the Lone Ranger when I was growing up.” He paused, choking up a bit. “That was really special. Thank you for asking about it.”
Katt will tell you himself that he’s a chatty cathy and will talk your ear off at the table, but I knew he had a panel coming up and I cut it short. As Rocky and I wandered to the panel room, I looked over.
“Okay. I’m good. We can go now…it’s not going to get any better than that!”
He laughed. “We still have the costume contest at 4!” He was right of course. He hadn’t brought that wrestler Spider-Man all the way to Michigan for nothing.
After William Katt’s panel, I made it over to Jim Sternako’s talk by the bleacher section. Sternako is arguably one of the most important artists in comic…and he knows it. I admire the former, but don’t care for the latter. He announced that he was going to start his panel off by talking about his time as a magician and escape artist – but what he was REALLY talking about was his claim that Jack Kirby modeled Mr. Miracle after him. About thirty minuets in, the Lego suit started to weigh on me and it was time to take a break. I stashed it in the car and headed back to the vendor room to shop.
Fifty cent bins were everywhere. I never did find that $15 Superpowers Joker I passed on last year, but ended u with a nice stack of beat up silver age Flash, Spider-man and DC Comics presents. In one bin, I spied art 1 and 3 of Disney’s Dick Tracy series. I looked up at the vendor complaining goodnaturedly “Come on! No issue two???” I saw to my embarrassment that it was my friend Sean, who run NEO Comic Con. He shook his head back wit ha smile “If I could only find it!”
After watching the kids contest, it was back in costume for the rest of the day. A brief stop to harass the Ghostbusters and their undead consultant beetlejuice, then it was time for the adult costume contest. Backstage, Rocky and I joked and hung out with a security guard from 5 nights at freddy’s and a Homecoming Spider-Gwen as the Predators looked on. Nothing to see here folks. I cheered on my friend Elisa as she took third in the contest.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I love this show. I only wish it were closer to home. With it’s focus on comic guests and a couple of media personalities sprinkled through it’s just the righ size and balance and it’s no wonder it continues to grow…and no wonder it continues to be one of my regular stops. See you guys next year!
You know, I have the utmost respect for Gould, and I recognize he has a lot of history behind him. The thing is…I haven’t actually SEEN most of his films. I’m familiar with him from the Oceans series, and from Friends and stuff like that – stuff t hat is cool because he has the gravitas from that long career that I know about but haven’t actually seen…..
Big thanks for a crazy quick response, I think he turned this around in about a week.
Night of the Demons 3
Night of the Demons part three has a fairly silly cold open involving a cop coming to investigate something going on at Hull House. Still, it sets the tone for the film – fun without taking itself to seriously.
Again, I’m surprised to see how long this one took to get out. It’s another three or four years when I would have sworn it was filmed back to back with the second movie. Seriously, if you look at those VHS covers it certainly seems like it. Indeed, if you look at Angela’s look in general it also fuels that suspicion.
Speaking of Angela, She feels more like a ghost then ever here, and it’s a good fit for her. She has more scenes with her “normal” look, yet still manages to feel eerie – cleaner and more ethereal than she ever was in the first movie.
This film frontloads all the scenes that don’t take place in Hull House and give us a distinctly different motivation for coming to the place. We’ve got a bunch of people on the run from the law after a shoot out at the local liquor store, and Hull House is the place they land while trying to evade the cops.
The look of the place is an odd choice though, the upstairs of the house are comfortable and clean and decorated. We get the impression that the lower levels (and possibly the top floors) are still filthy since they were use footage from the first film again but The main action takes place on this very different set.
This set up also presents with the cliche of the psycho and paranoid gunman who is a counterpoint to the supernatural threat of the film – reasonably predictable for a late series sequel. In some ways it makes up for the lack of other monsters throughout the first and second acts. For more than half of this movie we only have Angela stocking through the house. She is at the height of her powers admittedly, and at this point a fully developed villain but she doesn’t really get any daemonic helpers until we are well into the third act whereas in the first film it seems like we got to the monsters earlier.
When they show up however, it’s spectacular. It’s early days for morphing FX, shortly after T2 but they’re putting them to really good use in this film, enhancing already impressive make ups. The house gets darker and foggier as the movie goes on, enhancing the atmosphere and setting us up for more and more inventive kills – the nightmare on elm street vibe is strong here.
All in all, it’s a strong sequel – not necessarily the best of the series, but enough I think, to have warranted a fourth entry… Sadly it seems the timing just wasn’t right, after all the 90s were not a great time for horror and we’d have to wait over a decade until we got a new release – by then, it would be a remake.
I knew this was familiar, but I figured I had seen it on Netflix. Not so! This was part of the “Dead Walking” set. So, what are my thoughts on this second viewing?
The context helps, being part of the Zombie collection. Mortuary is an interesting take on the zombie story, particularly with the focus on transmission here and the use of plants as one of the monsters. Denise Crosby’s involvement always gave this a bit of a Pet Semetary vibe – though it may be more than that. I think it also has to do with the color palette and the nature of hallowed ground being corrupted.
You see, our protagonists have inherited a Mortuary and do not plan on doing anything with it until they run into some financial troubles and the mother (crosby) finds this is a very lucrative business.
It’s also the wrong place to be living when a zombie outbreak occurs. Seriously.
I don’t really want to talk too much about this one, because it’s actually really fun. Don’t go into it expecting to see any directorial flourishes from Tobe Hooper, I honestly don’t really see his hand in it. Nevertheless, it’s interesting, and the effect (with the exception of a bit of dodgy CGI at the end) are well done in visually intriguing. This has been on Netflix regularly and I wouldn’t be surprised if it hit SyFy from time to time. This one is definitely worth a watch. Heck, it was even worth the rewatch!
Man-At-Arms (part one)
I love these- there’s almost a narrative you can follow. It starts with War on Eternia.
Just as it looks like our heros are overwhelmed, an ally arrives and Man-At-Arms sets off in search of allies
The search begins in part two!
Muppets from Space
The Muppet Movie is absolutely my favorite of all the Muppet films. It’s the perfect dead-on take on Henson’s creations. But it might surprise you to know that Muppets From Space is a fast second place – none of the others even come close.
In the era after Henson’s death until the time Disney finally bought the property, the Muppers kind of meandered, not sure how to proceed. We had a couple half hearted sequals – adaptions of Treasure Island and a Christmas Carol, as well as the ill-fated Muppts Tonight show that ABC never gave a chance (yanking it after only four episodes).
I like Muppets from space because it features the Muppets just being themselves- it’s thier downtime, thier personal adventures – soemthing I always found more interesting than the skits themselves. I find the story of Gonzo discovering that he is infact an alien to be a brilliant revelation, and the journey to find his alien tribe to be hilarious.
It’s also here where we see Tim Hill’s skill in making the inanimate characters lifelike. He understands how to shoot them so you believe it…and he gets the heart of the characters.
Don’t just stream this on Netflix by the way, find this on DVD if you can. It features Hill, along with Gonzo and Rizzo commenting on the film MST3K style and is one of the best riffs ever.
Night of the Demons 2
You know, when as hard as they were pushing for night of the Demons to become a franchise, I would’ve expected them to have rushed production… 12 to 16 months was when I figured we’d see the second installment – sometime in 1990. But no, it ended up being six years and we didn’t see a new one of his films until 1994. Because of all this time that has passed Angela looks a little bit different when she is in her human guise, but the make up for her monster form still looks very recognizable.
It may also be because of this longer gap that night of the Demons to feels more like a late series sequel rather than an immediate follow-up. We do something fairly bold here, and instead of giving us another haunted house flick they transplant the action – and it turns more into a possession/slasher flick.
This time when the group of teens partying at Hull House arrive (A little more than a half hour into the film), they have the good sense to get out quick (literally eighteen minuets later) but not before Angela hitches a ride in the popular girl’s purse. The main demonic assault in this film takes place in the catholic school – a good backdrop that should cause more dread and eeriness then it actually does. Still, there’s plenty of decent make up, respectable gore (man….that battle right before the end….) and callbacks to the original as they chase the demons back to the haunted house they came from. It’s an adequate sequel, but I feel like I didn’t get what I wanted from it. I really wanted another movie where we have Angela stalking hapless teenagers through the filth encrusted walls of the haunted house.
It’s a perfectly serviceable movie, and I don’t hate it. I actually like the good over evil themes and the fact that the religious folks, while over the top, aren’t really played for fools or hypocrites. Still, the attempt to shoehorn a backstory and relationship here feels clunky, like a misstep – much like the second installment of the nightmare on elm street series. Of course everybody knows the Freddy movies came back better than ever with the third sequel. I don’t remember anything about the third movie in this franchise to say whether or not that holds true here. Guess we’ll have to go and find out!
The nameless is a study in not enough. It’s a slow moving story and every element in it (many of which I like) are as underused as that the name is.
It is the story of a woman whose daughter is lost . The first have hour evolves just like any average episode of Law and order or CSI. Police discover the body, theres an investigation, Case closed.
Everything changes when the mother receives a phone call from what sounds like the deceased daughter and she begins to suspect that the body found was not the right one. The story progresses further with the revelation of a further investigation from both the detective on the case and the reporter from the local tabloid rag. The story really doesn’t pick up though until we’re about halfway through the film – right around the 45 minute mark. It’s a struggle to get here. Once we start getting into the idea of the cold and investigating the only non-member, things do you start to pick up – there’s an interesting narrative here, it’s just woefully under used. The idea of a cult is inserted at the last minuet… I’m sure it was fleshed out in the writers mind, and we’re told about it, but we see so very little of it – it falls woefully short of the excitement and interest that we get from say, the old 70s Hammer horror where the Satanic cults are in full diabolical display. It seems to me that they’re trying to go for more of the suspenseful atmosphere perhaps, but they don’t quite achieve it – the story just drags, and I feel as if I am watching any procedural cop show on television, just with a teensy bit more blood… Maybe not even that.
Towards the end we get a brief glimpse of one of the characters tortured. It’s the sort of thing that we appeal to the saw crowd, but again it’s just the clips… Not enough of it to be engaging in a torture porn sort of format. The ending feels like it’s reaching – like it wants to be innovative, esoteric, but it really fails to deliver that I want away from this movie rather disappointing, not because of the bad film, but because I can see t he potential in it for a much better one. This isn’t even as good as the ones on late night TV – it’s perfectly at home in a bundle box set like this, but otherwise nothing to see here, move on…
Friday the 13th
There so much that’s right about the Friday the 13th remake that almost seems a shame to have to reboot it. But the really big thing that bugs me about this one is the massive amounts of sex and nudity. I realize these are staples of the franchise, and probably concept behind reboot is to take things up a notch. Really you can take the balance up a notch here but explicit drug use kind of bothers me A bit and the sex and nudity really crosses the line into Softcore porn. Actually they don’t even bother with the borderline they want straight over the border and camp into that territory. Really the only way that I’m comfortable watching this again is on an edited for TV versio.
One thing that really seemed to bother fans here was the way Jason moved. Dereck Meres is a fine stuntman and a good actor in its own right but here I imagine that he was just following direction. This is of course, a new Jason, platinum dunes version, but it’s a distinction I don’t think the casual fans notice. It’s just one of the things that will serve to piss off the faithful.
How do we fix this> First and foremost, bring back Kane Hodder – this is something the fans have been clammering for since Freddy Vs. Jason. I think the origin bit with the mother straight beginning was well done Jason much like superman and Batman doesn’t need his word story retold again and again, but tone down the sex to a point where I would be comfortable watching with this son or daughter and to push Jason more towards body language that the fans (that you’re making this film for by the way) would appreciate more would go along way towards building up goodwill here.
Sadly I think we’re headed in the other direction as the studio seems adamant on releasing a found footage JasonNevertheless we still have the originals and I think I’ll go Pop in Jason x right now .