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Archive for August, 2020

The Hospital

Movie bannerindexAs a general rule, I like Jim O’Rear, he’s creepy and off kilter and a generaly fun guy. When I got this copy of The Hospital I was really hoping for a creepy haunted hospital story. The cover gives me a similar vibe as what I get from films like Grave Encounters or Autopsy, and I was really hoping for more of that.

It’s a similar set up, we’ve got a hospital in the middle of nowhere that has a bad reputation and a team of paranormal investigators go to check it out. There’s no ghosts at this place though, however there are a couple of psychopaths that have taken up residency there and One by one pick up the paranormal investigators, murdering and raping them.

It’s a solid enough premise, but unfortunately, rape is one of my triggers… I don’t dig films like I Spit on Your Grave or Thriller. That immediately invalidates this one for me, especially since it’s so prominent and frequent, rape over gore is never a appetizing formula for me. Skip this one and it’s sequel The Hospital 2.


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Batmobile Breaks Through

Time I combined all (well, most) of my Batman characters….

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Guns of El Chupacabra

jacksonmv5bmtcwntu2njiymf5bml5banbnxkftztcwmjeymduymq@@._v1_I realize going in that the Guns of El Chupacabra is a zen film, but billing it as part of “Zen dance”? Really? We haven’t even gotten into the movie and I’m already aghast.

Moreover, are we just opening this thing with outtakes of Julie Strain from the devils pet (aka Queen of the Lost Island)? Because those smokey shots of her with a sword really looks like it (It’s three years later, so likely not. Perhaps it’s just that so many of the Shaw/Jackson collaborations all look the same).

Barbarian Strain battles against some evil looking creature in purple smoke in a climatic battle…that all ends up just being a dream. She is still in the warrior fetish gear though, so we know it’s going to be a hard Sci-fi romp. Particularly when Strain tells her husband “Send for the Space Sheriff”.

And we’re only one minute in.

According to the space queen, the evil one has unleashed the Chupacabra on Earth and Shaw must go and set things right. In return, She and the Space King will make him into an action hero, with his own franchise!
“Is that good?” Shaw asks.
“It worked for me!” The king winks.

When he arrives there will be angels and demons to guide him, but beware…sometimes there are one in the same(I see were quoting from Shaw’s books again). They hand him his cosmic samurai sword which is how you know were definitely in Jacksonville. The credits feature all the usual suspects, Robert Z’Dar, Conrad Brooks, Joe Estevez and Julie Strain.

In the desert, Conrad searches for something but it appears the Chupacabra is after him. Next we’re treated to rednecks, truck driving and what looks like a gun deal.

Elsewhere, Conrad Brooks is just waiting to meet Scott shortly as he arrives in his space man Porsche.

Enter, bride of the monster.

Two spacemen bring the Chupacabra a female victim, and holy crap, the Chupacabra looks great! That is a sick monster suit, although it should be covered in ultraslime and filmed at night (Something Jackson flat out said he didn’t want to do. He wanted it in the full light to show off the suit) nevertheless, it’s way better than anything I expected.It turns out, the suit itself was built for a completely different movie that Jackson’s financier had backed. The film had been shelved and it was consigned to storage, never to be seen again until Jackson got wind of it and convinced her to loan it out to him.

Did I mention that the girl in the cage is screaming “I am not an animal!” ?

images.jpgShaw visits the local gun runner to buy shotguns out of his trunk. We cut back to The rednecks, searching for something in the woods and then back to Shaw with his allies testing out their guns for no apparent reason. There would be a lot of this due to the location Jackson and Shaw had secured

“A friend of Don’s, Bob Mizrahi, was living at this great ranch north of L.A. I am told that it was originally owned by Hoyt Axton. The great thing about this ranch was that not only was it secluded but it had hills surrounding the property. From this, we could fire live ammo, (of which a lot was shot during filming), with no worry of stray bullets traveling onto other people’s property.”

They exploited this to it’s fullest. Not to it’s most effective (By staging exciting gunfights), merely to it’s fullest (Just shooting lots of guns off screen). I don’t think these guys quite understand action. Dynamic shots and shooting guns is great, but you actually have to have a target, and perhaps some peril for it to mean anything. They kind of blew it off as being the attack of the invisible Chupacabra. No, seriously. There is an actual title card that reads “Attack of the Invisible Chupacabra”

In the back woods, “High Noon Newz” investigates the legend of the Chupacabra and the local livestock deaths where the animals have been attacked but there’s no blood. Back to the rednecks. I’m still waiting for them to have something to actually do.

Elsewhere, the FBI camp out in a car. One agent explains that every nation in the world has engaged in genetic experimentation. It’s always been trial and error, and apparently the Chupacabras are the errors. I’m grateful for the explanation. It’s more than we usually get.

We cut to a bit where Scott Shah meets a date after a brief kung fu fighting on the roof of the building. He takes her on an elevator ride and they cross Jackson’s stock bridge (Seen in Rb7 and Toad Warrior to name just a couple).

Meanwhile, back on the unnamed planet the film started on, the love ritual begins. (At least that’s what the captions tell us). Like most sex scenes in Jackson films, it doesn’t actually show any notable skin and lasts less than 90 seconds.

Finally, we are introduced to the Evil one… that is to say, Robert Z’Dar. He’s been here for several hundred years and is obviously the villain of the piece. He’s upset with his minions (Who just happened to be the rednecks, but some of them wear masks) because they’ve let his pets run out of control and command them to go gather them up and bring them back to him.

Elsewhere, Scott Shaw finds another ninja on the rooftop. I’m confused now because that’s far, I’ve seen more ninjas and rednecks and I have actual Chupacabras. There is  index.jpgsome great footage of Shaw and one of his teammates shooting at nothing – I’m sorry, I mean shooting at the “Invisible Chupacabra” again. Meanwhile, while Scott sure and company are shooting at nothing, The (very visible) Chupacabra is out on the freeway overturning a car.

I don’t know where, but Joe Estevez shows up in a Texas Rocket Ranger costume from Return To Frogtown, and starts to vamp. I almost wonder if this was shot for different film and just ended up in here to pad the runtime. Usually they do that with random nudity but this actually doesn’t have a ton of breasts in it. Scott Shaw writes in his memoirs that Estevez’s role was intentional and done for this movie as a sort of Narrator. I’m not convinced. Jackson was filming multiple movies over the year that this thing took to shoot and Estevez’s rants have only the most tangential connection to the film he’s actually in.

We head back to the girl in the cage (the one that was brought for the Chupacbra. Where’d he go any how?). She’s rescued by the luchadore masked “Santiago kid”. Shaw arrives, suspicious and with gun drawn. It’s a stand off, but to avoid conflict, the Santiago kid transfers custody of the girl to Shaw and they flee. Cut to more girls in cages being managed by the Chupacabra and a Grey Alien while the Santiago kid gets interviewed on 49899558_2283669635010780_125159779411689472_nthe news… and then gets lucky. That, in between cuts of him in a boxing match with another Luchadore while the Chupacabra and Grey Alien look on.

The next thing we know, Shaw is back on the run with the reporter and they’re being hunted by Z’Dar’s minions. Gunfights and a quick Mele with the Chupacabra ensue.

Suddenly we find out it looks like it was all just a film being made. Seriously. We pull back to reveal Jackson and crew shooting the movie, with the conclusion being given to us by Joe Estevez and his amazing rocket pack. I’m confused by all of this too. Jackson once said of “The Guns of El Chupacabra” “The point was to present, as in all the other films Scott and I have created, that good overcomes evil. That the world is a spiritual place.” shifting to this meta ending seems to undermine this his message of “Be good, be spiritual, be happy, have some fun, and you will be victorious and some good things will

The film is clearly over at this point, but the problem is, it dosen’t actually stop. We now move on to general wackiness, with the director and the star bickering and on unused footage.Where did he even get that bow and arrow that he shoots the Chupacabra with? (Fun fact: This entire scene was designed to damage the costume enough that it wouldn’t be able to be used in any other movie when Jackson returned it) And isn’t the samurai sword to the head of the Chupacabra little overkill afterwards? Do these guys not know how to leave anything on the cutting room floor? I mean, they’re not treating them like outtakes – they really should, that will be fine. Fun even. But no, this is still hardcoded right into the movie, pre-credits.

This is one of those kind of films that I think would probably be a lot more fun if one was drunk or stoned. It certainly can’t make it any weirder.


Skeksis and Sally

Costume

skeksis sally


PatMan

Oh for #$%&s sake, didn’t we JUST do this???

It’s probably time for me to weigh in on the whole Batman thing. Funny, this photo came up in my feed today. When Ben Affleck was announced, I vociferously defended him

Batman_Affleck

when the rest of fandom was taking a steaming dump on the casting, and created this image to visualize him in the role
.

I also defended Pattinson . He’s well past his Twilight days and has done some GREAT work since then. Heck, he did some good work in Harry Potter BEFORE Twilight. I’m not holding that against him.

I’ve seen the trailer. I hate the suit. I see nothing in it I haven’t seen done before… and better. I’ve got NO problem with Pattinson as an actor, but I don’t buy what I’ve seen of him as Batman. My first impression from these trailers is a hard pass. Not because Pattinson used to sparkle, but rather because I’ve seen it done better. Way better.

 

I’m actually glad I’m getting more batfleck in the Snyder cut and the theroetical Flash movie (I’ll still plotz if it ever actually comes out). Ben has managed to become y favorite cinematic Batman despite being saddled with somewhat lackluster films.

Maybe I’ll watch Pattinson on cable.

 


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Paul Sorvino

Autographs

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Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!

franchisebannerimag1es.jpgPart three starts out pretty nicely with a Terry Ferrell look alike seemingly lying dead in a white room. No, not dead, she wakes up and finds someone on a slab with their brain exposed in a dome…then a killer Santa. Yeah, this is a good way to start things off. It’s only a dream, during a sleep study, but it sets a creepier tone than your average slasher, which up until now, these things have been. Other good signs involve Robert Culp and Bill Mosely in the credits.

Of course just as it gets good, she wakes up, but the doctors put her right back down. The next dream is the beginning of the the first Silent Night Deadly Night (again? How many times can they re-use that footage???) Brain boy is in the next room, and his chart lists him as Ricky Cauldwell – that is to say, the boy turned killer from the second movie. I’m not sure how he came to be here in a coma six years after being gunned down in a hail of bullets, but here he is and apparently our ingenue, Laura, has some sort of psychic connection to him. It’s okay, it’s cool. The best entries of horror franchises frequently involve evil images.jpgdoctors or psychiatrists, like in Nightmare on Elm Street 3 or Hellraiser 2.

The doctor thinks the Blind Laura is holding out on him and she wants to quit the experiment. As she leaves, we get some foreshadowing that her abilities may be not only telepathic, but premonition.

In the meantime, a drunk Santa is finishing his rounds at the hospital and stumbles into Ricky’s room. His mocking presence is enough to draw Ricky out of his coma, and into a murderous rage. Somehow the dude with the exposed brain manages to thumb a ride into town.

indexRicky by the way, is played by Bill Mosely. When Robert Culp’s detective character arrives at the hospital, he discovers they reconstructed Ricky, jump starting his brain and even his memory. Culp (playing much the same character he did in the Greatest American Hero and stealing every scene he’s in) is none to pleases since he was the one who took Ricky down.

Down the road a bit, Ricky has acquired a hat to cover his brain box and found his way inexplicably to Laura’s granny’s house. Contrived as it may be, you know this isn’t going to end well.

With the hospital murders and references like “Maybe the boogeyman got her” and the Doctor /Detective duo hunting the killer, I actually get a sort of Halloween vibe from this film. As much as I like the brainboy look and love the fact that they are still trying that hard to connect the films to some sort of continuity, I do miss the Santa suit on the killer. It doesn’t quite feel Christmassy enough, and the film itself drags. It’s entertaining as part of a series, but it’s too weak to stand on it’s own and that’s a shame. There’s some really good potential here. If they’d upped the creep factor with the psychic premonitions and done some FX work on things like the ghost and the killer as well as adding some better gore this could really be something. They must have though so to because for the next two entries, they contracted the services of Screamin’ Mad George to give them some blood and effects.  On to part four….


Taffin

Movie banner

imagesI’m having a kind of hard time placing Taffin, trying to figure out what kind of film this is. If you were to look at the cover, it’s designed to look like a Bond film, a spy epic… But the truth is this isn’t even an action film.

Pierce Bronson is Taffin, A professional strong arm who collects debts and general ne’er-do-well, the black sheep of a small Irish town.

When a large company brings in a crew to erect a chemical plant, Taffin is convinced to help oppose them, first convincing them to reroute the road access from the town soccer field through an empty field, then ultimately fighting back against the construction of the plant itself as the companies brutal enforcers attempt to wipe out any opposition.
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It’s equal parts drama and detective story, there’s thriller aspects and action aspects all set against the backdrop of the small Irish village. It feels like a PBS film… With more swearing. It’s quite good, although extremely 80s in its execution. But if you’re browsing, it’s a great time capsule of his bad boy period.


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The Backyard Zombie Movie part 8

filmography

 


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Jackson and Shaw

jacksonindexOne of the things that’s confusing about Donald Jackson’s filmography is the sheer number of duplications under different names. For instance, Max Hell has three different editions, the original, the Zen rough cut and the speed cut. But Max Hell : Frog Warrior is in of itself a recut version of Toad Warrior (The third entry in the Hell Comes to Frogtown series). Likewise, “Legends of the Roller Blade Seven” and “Hawk : Warrior of the Wheelzone” are both recuts of The Roller Blade Seven.

Then there’s films like Guns of the Chupacabra 2 and Return of the Roller Blade Seven. Both of these aren’t entirely new films, but rather productions stitched together using mostly unused footage that had been shot for their predecessors. The force behind much of these remixes is Scott Shaw.

You can’t really have a discussion of Donald Jackson without talking about Scott Shaw, particularly when discussing the final age of Jackson’s career. Shaw first came on images2Jackson’s radar through a head shot of him holding a Samurai sword. Shaw dosen’t remember sending it out and Jackson couldn’t recall how he got it, but the imagery struck him. this isn’t a surprise considering how often these or similar blades ended up in his films. He cast Shaw in his third Roller Blade film; The Roller Blade Seven and so began a long if (according to Shaw) tumultuous relationship that would last until Jackson’s death.

All the way back to his first movie, we can see that Jackson was always a little loosey goosey as far as structure and planning. Scripts were always optinal. With Shaw he took this to it’s furthest extreme, together creating what Shaw would title “Zen Filmmaking”. a process where no script was used. A style that was all about being in the moment, all indexabout doing what came naturally and letting the scene lay out in an improvisational manner as it would. It’s the method Jackson would use for all his remaining films, most produced with Shaw.

Shaw chronicles the making of several of these films on his website and always stresses that Jackosn would stab him in the back, never pay him and take advantage of him. I’m not sure how much of that is hyperbole, how much is just the way Hollywood works and how much is an accurate reflection of the time. I get there were hard feelings, but at the same time, Shaw and Jackson were partners for the rest of Jackson’s life. In many ways, this is the final comparison of Jackson to Ed Wood, only this time it’s inverted. It’s Jackson in the Bela Lugosi role and Shaw in the Wood role. Jackson would shoot bits of various films for years, some of The Guns of El Chupacabra one day, some of Toad Warrior another day, mv5bmtcwntu2njiymf5bml5banbnxkftztcwmjeymduymq@@._v1_some of Armageddon boulevard another day, then back to Chupacabra. Shaw kept with him, helping him out, acting and humoring him. In 1995, Jackson was diagnosed with Leukemia. Doctors gave him six months. Jackson disagreed with them for another eight years, filming the entire time. If he was going to go down, he was going down with his trusty Bolex camera firmly clutched in his fists.

When Jackson finally lost his battle with cancer, he gave all his film rights over to Shaw rather than leaving them to his wife and family. This enabled Shaw to continue editing and releasing Jackson’s films after his death. In some ways, it was Jackson’s apology for treating Shaw poorly financially, but to Shaw’s credit, it was a good choice. He’s been the best protector of Jackson’s legacy we could have hoped for.

That said, there’s some films where we see more of Shaw’s influence over Jackson’s, and I want to highlight two of those here.

index.jpgRide with the Devil (Aka : Ghost Taxi)

Julie Strain dances in hell looking a lot like Bettie page wearing a spider webs, while bandana dude talks about a cab ride in Scott Shaw’s dreams in jail.

This combined with the good lighting, interesting concept and a reasonably full cast had me really anticipating this one. But it’s important not to forget that this is one of the Zen film collaborations with Scott Shaw – something is painfully reinforced by the fact that the credits are not on screen, but rather READ to the audience by two cast members.

Bandanna boy emerges from the credits pontificating on a variety of random subjects while Shaw listens, a blank expression on his face. Occasionally he runs out of things to say or has to take a breath and that’s when they cut to insert of the devil girls just kind of inhabiting the Earth – showing the Devil’s influence here. It’s still all part of Shaw’s dream, it turns out that he is not actually in jail, but rather in hell and the Devil in a three piece suit comes to him with a proposition. Bring the Devil thirteen souls by dawn and he’ll let Shaw go free.

We’re taken over to a bar where the local hooker is listening to the house band and getting ready to call it a night. The Devil in a three piece suit is tending bar and suggests she calls a taxi. The hooker regales Shaw about tales about her favorite regular… A guy who one day just disappeared. His next fare is a cokehead just back from Mexico talking about his adventures. “It’s like the old west back there, action! L.A. has almost become a police state.”

He gets a young girl who accidentally killed someone and then another beat down hooker… he gets a lot of hookers. Shaw for his part though doesn’t speak much, he just lets them ramble on. The car rides are punctuated by quick inserts are devil Betty Page in hell or bandanna boy pontificating on various subjects. It all comes off as very experimental, but it ends up looking more artsy than lazy (though it does start to strain credibility when Julie Strain starts doing her Marilyn Monroe in hell schtick. Honestly, I’m not even sure if it was shot specifically for this movie or if they just had the extra lying around…) and works better than a lot of the Jackson Shaw Zen collaborations.

The thing is (and it seems like I’ve said it before), this could actually be a good film with a little more polish.  The ending sees Shah tricking the Devil into being his 13th passenger and wins  his freedom. Eerie lines like “That’s alright, I can wait. I have all the time in the world…” from the devil could be chilling if they weren’t so sloppily improvised. Seeing Shaw ride off, there should be a punch-the-air moment, but the pacing is so off and everything just feels flat. Moreover it’s followed by 20 minutes that are completely unrelated, nonsensical footage. It’s all shots of creepy girls dancing in the woods, poolside antics, and drunk devil girl ranting to Scott. It’s almost as if somebody just swept up the cutting room floor and said screw it, we need a little more run time.

As I frequently do, I find myself wondering how much of this was Shaw and how much it was Jackson. In this case it feels much more like Shaw film from a Donald Jackson concept. It’s missing a lot of Jackson’s signature tropes while pushing more the experimental envelope that Shaw always enjoyed doing. It’s worth seeing, but do yourself a favor and turn the movie off after Shaw beats the devil.

images.jpgThere’s another film that really demonstrates this era, Jackson’s “Naked Avenger”. This is the film that really signals Jackson’s shift in earnest towards that he and Scott Shaw would call “Zen Filmmaking” and seems far more Shaw influenced.

It literally starts with a numbered countdown, three, two, one, and the words “fade in” before it actually fades in (This is a Scott Shaw touch. He also frequently begins his essays like this).

The premise of this film was flimsy enough to begin with, a girl in the woods is stranded, loses her clothes and turns on her attackers who just happen to be human traffickers.  It’s the epitome of a zen film with no script – basically they just walk out into the woods roll the camera and see what happens. It’s pretty much just an excuse to watch Jill Kelly wander around naked for an hour.

Back at the base, the redneck leader screams into a phone. “No fat ones this time!” The dealer arrives at a small cluster of wooden out buildings, with girls in the cab of his truck, handcuffed. The hunters come out to look her over, doing their best to be obnoxious.
“You wanna touch my gun?”
While they’re in the back getting just a little rapy, the dancers for the event are negotiating rates. This of course turns equally seedy.

Around the 20 minute mark one of the slave traders picks up Jill Kelly walking to work, and takes her to a secluded spot to check her out.  After she’s been stripped she overpowers him and steals his gun, then goes wandering through the backwoods to find escape and vengeance. The camera follows behind her mostly, so you get a very good study of her back Tanlines. We punctuate these long sequences of Kelly running with scenes of the head trader making deals for girls on the phone, and occasionally another dude stalking her in the woods. This goes on for 20 minutes until the slaver finally catches up with her and demand she gives him the gun.  She gives it to him alright, unloading it on him (There’s no room in the budget for fake blood though, so he just lays crumpled on the floor and she steals his jacket to cover herself up a little).

Things start to get a little disjointed here, and I suspect that they didn’t shoot quite enough footage to properly cover the film. The slaver catches Kelly one minute, then the next, she’s obviously escaped and is on foot again in a junkyard, having lost the jacket.

A gunfight ensues… I think. They basically spend long stretches of time showing each side repeatedly shoot their guns, but no back-and-forth to see who they’re shooting out or if they’re ever hitting their mark. Not only couldn’t they afford blood, there obviously also wasn’t enough money in this production for squibs.

It’s not I spit on your grave or any real kind of revenge flick (it could have been if they didn’t insist on this Zen film making nonsense). The only point of this movie might be to ogle Jill Kelly for the forty minutes (of the sixty one minuet run time) that she’s in the film. But even that isn’t particularly titillating. I think we may have just hit the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Jackson’s filmography, but then again, is it Jackson’s film? This was released two years after his death, despite being filmed around 1997. That tells me it was a Shaw edit, and actually explains the very different tone and lack of so many of Jackson’s touches.


Star Lord under attack

Costume

Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy has become one of my go-to costumes for comfortable cosplay. Simple stuff, muscle pants, t-shirt and the jacket with baby Groot on my shoulder. (Rocket Racoon puppet optional)

 


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The Dark

box10movie

MV5BMmIxNTZmNmItODM3Zi00N2QyLWJjODMtNmY4MTBiODYyOTc3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjExODE1MDc@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_I’m going into the dark kind of blind but the first thing I see is Neve Campbell and Byron James in the credits so I kind of know what kind of film this is gonna be. It starts in a graveyard, with James and his partner hunting something, so it’s definitely a good start. Gunfire and severed hands. Yeah I think I’m gonna like this.

The gravedigger and his son head back to the graveyard to do the job while nearby at a cafe teenage waitresses are asked about what happened.  In the background we hear they going to being investigated as well. I’m hoping all of your storiescome together in the second act

Some interesting daytime action at the graveyard, as a tombstone shakes and is pulled into the ground. We see tunnels underground, reminding you a great deal of Nightbreed was digging up – I’m digging the creature feature vibe.

index.jpgSpeaking of the creature, we get on first glance of it and about the halfway mark – beautifully realized when kept in the shadows. Of course, I have no idea what it is or how it ties in, but the grave diggers are justifiably terrified. Time for the director in the leather jacket to step in (that’s obviously a pellet gun by the way, kind of shame them trying to pass it off as a real one)

As we enter the third act, it seems like there are tunnels throughout the whole town – you never know when something is going to reach up and grab you. The creatures are  made all the more are terrified by their pervasive infestation, much like in Aliens. The teeth evoke a primal fear, and as long as they’re kept in the dark they are brilliant. Unfortunately, as we get further into the movie and we get more light on them, they actually look less threatening – even comical at times. In any event, it’s at this time Brian James arrives back on the scene save the day.

At the end of the day, it’s a mixed bag with multiple influences but really ends up being tremors with a lower budget – and no desert. Well-made and a lot of fun. It’s movies like these that are the reason I keep buying these sets!


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Silent Night Deadly Night 2

franchisebannerindex.jpgWe open in a prison interview room. The orderly knows what’s up, even if the jerky prison psychiatrist doesn’t. Orderlies always know who the dangerous prisoners are.
It’s Christmas even and they are discussing the events of the last film. Flashbacks! A whole movie later and they’re still showing that initial murder again and again.This time however, it’s not Billy – after all, he was gunned down in the last movie. This time it’s his baby brother Ricky telling the tale (odd, I thought the killer had murdered the baby brother in the car since we never saw him again, even though according to this, he was supposedly at the same orphanage). The flashbacks, (punctuated by occasional inserts of Ricky and the therapist talking) take up a full forty minuets at the beginning of the film,and comprise nearly half of the movie. Fun fact, the sequence where Billy is peeping on the two people having sex in the back room is actually new footage. Contracts would not allow the re-use of this particular scene because of the nudity. It was shot with different actors on the couch in one of  the producer’s office to match the shots of billy on the other side of the door. Still, a good half of the film is repurposed.

It turns out the producers of Silent Night, Deadly Night wanted director Lee Harry to re-cut the first film and insert one or two new scenes with Eric Freeman playing a mental patient, to make the story in the original film appear to be nothing more than the ravings of an asylum inmate. The hope was to re-release the movie under a different name.  But screenwriters Lee Harry, Joseph H. Earle, Dennis Patterson and Lawrence Appelbaum, wrote short vignettes involving the patient’s youth, as he killed several people, and eventually the movie transformed into a sequel. There still wasn’t enough material for a full-length feature though, so all the flashback sequences from the first were added in.

With all of that re-used footage I still can’t believe this took 10 entire days. To make this more complicated, the reused footage presented a problem since it drove up the body count  significantly when the new kills were added. as a result, the kills had a good bit of their gore trimmed to get it past the MPAA.

Those 10 days of shooting go into Ricky’s story, and his life after being adopted out of the orphanage. In fact, there’s some clever merging of the two films, in particular after Billy is shot down. The camera pans up from the axe and they cut the pan into thier new actor for Ricky. He’s freaked out by Nuns, Santa and the color red in general. Ricky’s descent into homicidal mania take a similar path to his brother Billy’s, but feels purer – more intent on punishing people guilty of actual speech or acts he index2sees (at least until he gets a gun and snaps towards the end), rather than the generalized kill ’em all attitude Billy had (which only paid lip service to the idea of punishment). He’s more charismatic than his brother as well. Both were well built young men, but Ricky is chatty and sinister. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to the semi-catatonic state that Billy walked around the first movie in. Certainly more charming enough to attract a girlfriend. She decided to take him to a movie where the killer dresses up like Santa (and is inexplicably made up of shots from the first movie). This triggers the rampage that lands him in jail.

It’s actually a bit convoluted for a movie of this type and disappointingly enough, the Santa suit doesn’t actually put in an appearance until about 15 minuets from the end though it and the appearance of a desiccated Mother Superior (technically the same character, but played by a different actress – the scars are to help hide that fact) are worth waiting for. That, combined with the excessive amount of reused footage leaves us with a seriously uneven film. However, I could see myself returning to this for the same reason I dig trailer compilations It’s multiple films in one really, without the burden of being an anthology.


Star Lord edit

Costume

Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy has become one of my go-to costumes for comfortable cosplay. Simple stuff, muscle pants, t-shirt and the jacket with baby Groot on my shoulder. (Rocket Racoon puppet optional)

It’s not always about compositing flashy backgrounds, sometimes the most effective thing to do is just edit out a few flaws and add a touch of lighting.. Here’s a before and after pic!

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