The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Archive for September, 2020

75

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Silent Night Deadly Night 6 : Santa’s Watching

franchisebannerimag1esCan you believe someone actually made a fan film sequel to this series? What’s really surprising is that there’s some genuinely interesting ideas here. I’m giving it a LOT of slack because these guys are obviously amateurs, kids  playing with Halloween masks, but they are still headed in the right direction.

According to them, Billy Cauldwell was buried in an unmarked grave because they feared his evil might come back. Blood accidentally spilled on the grave causes him to rise, much like in the Hammer Dracula films. Billy rises, desiccated and zombified, and then wanders to town where he encounters a bell ringing Santa covering a Salvation imagespot. He rips Santa’s heart out and dons his suit and we are full speed ahead.

SNDN6 continues the long tradition of liberally reusing footage from previous films and seeks to fit itself firmly in the continuity, despite the somewhat mystical angle.

What’s interesting is to see how competent this is. They do fall into some of the amateur traps, excessive swearing, horror posters and movies around (though you can actually forgive the movies – they keep watching the SNDN sequels and that’s actually a tradition in these movies), but they avoid some big ones. They don’t linger too long on the gore. You get just enough to make the pint but not so much that you realize what you’re looking at. They also don’t skimp on the foley or music. The background score is actually quite good. No metal and not overly synthy. The Foley sound effects are actually quite good as well. It’s just as much as we need, and doesn’t come off as hollow or overdubbed. They stay on track – there’s a coherent story here and they not only create their own mythology, they sticks with it, reinforcing it rather than meandering from set piece to set piece.

Their biggest mistake is mostly towards the beginning. The cast is obviously young 16-19 years old.The problem is several of the characters they want in this movie need to be in their forties or fifties. These kids trying to lay old never works; especially when they don’t have the clothes for it. An overcoat isn’t enough to make a detective, especially if you’re wearing shorts underneath. The smartest thing they do here is to move the third act action to a house where a bunch of teenagers are hanging out, allowing Billy to pick them off one by one.

I got to be honest, I dig this so much. They obviously are fans of the series, and they GET it. Billy screams “Punish!” and dresses in a Santa suit. The (unfortunately very obvious) fake axe is ever present and the kills are remarkable clever with beheading, limbs lopped off and the best uses of a snow blower ever. I kind of wish the real studios would take this approach. It’s not strong enough to stand by itself, but it would make a dynamite special feature on a Blu Ray!

You can view it here-

 

But would you believe, there’s actually ANOTHER fan film out there?


Skeksis Part 3

Costume

skeksis


74

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Greatest American Hero vs Ghidorah

 

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73

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Silent Night Deadly Night 5 :The Toymaker

franchisebannerindex.jpgThe opening with the boy peeping on his mom is actually reminiscent of the first SNDN. Downstairs he goes and notices a package on the doorstep, but it warns “don’t open till Christmas”. Dad stops him, but curiosity gets the best of him as the package moves and dad finds a strange device inside.

Hang on, did this just turn into a Hellraiser movie?

Between killer toys, optic trauma and Clint Howard (It’s just a cameo, sadly. Funny though, he’s still credited as “Ricky” so it’s the same universe as the last film! I wonder how he survived that stabbing and worm attack?), Screamin’ Mad George and Mickey Rooney…I’m feeling pretty good about this one. Brian Yuzna isn’t back for this one, but he is listed as co-writer and producer. That may explain the similar feel, even though the director for  this one is Martin Kitrosser, a long time script supervisor with no previous directing credits to his name.

As the film continues two weeks past he credits, we see the boy is mute. I’m amused that he’s watching the Rambo cartoon, but don’t understand why that killer toy is still on his shelf. In the mean time, he’s freaked out by Santa and afraid of Christmas presents, depositing a big wrapped box (of killer Roller Blades) addressed to him in the outside trash can.

images.jpgMickey Rooney is actually quite charming in this, and feels like he belongs in a toy store. I have to wonder if they got some more funding for this one because the killer toys coming out of that store are well done animetronics with lightning FX (Before the days of AfterEffects) on them and the gore is surprisingly up to par for this series. It’s unexpected for a fifth entry, especially at this point where they were releasing these things direct to video yearly. Because it’s completely disconnected from the previous entries, I almost wonder if this started life as a completely different film. Did Mickey Rooney even know what he was signing on to?

Rooney’s character hides a hard drinking dark side, but it’s difficult to tell who’s crazier. him or his son whose overt creepiness is an interesting juxtaposition to Rooney’s subtextual madness. Indeed, the whole point of this film seems to be to keep you wondering who the killer will be in this installment. Once we discover our mute boy imag1es.jpglives in Rooney’s old house, we start to understand why he and his son are unusually fixated on him and his mother.

I’m pleased to see a Santa clad killer in this film. He’s not quite so hands on though, the toys seem to get the lion’s share of the blood. They are fun kills, though things get a bit confusing until we hit the twist at the end – and it’s actually a pretty good idea. The twist ends up being a little more high concept than you’d expect from this property, but Screamin’ Mad George is contributing a lot to the visual here. Still, he doesn’t seem to have quite as much to do this time around as he did in part 4. I wonder if the money had dried up around this time?

Part five is one of the best of the sequels. Not quite as creepy as part four, but definitely more in line with the Christmas horror genre and it actually makes me want more. It’s a  shame that the franchise was running out of steam at this point. Time to reboot.


Hack!

Movie bannerindexFormer Wonder Years star (and current Hallmark/Lifetime movie darling) Danica McKellar stars in Hack as a bookworm who just kind of fades in to the background of her local college. It makes her perfect as an envoy for a pair of psychopathic fans who use her to lure a class of film students out of their private island under the guise of  an extra credit project. Once there, the film students, who are all pretty much horror stereotypes are slaughtered one by one until we come up to an ending that will leave you shaking your head.

In a lot of ways, hack is a very meta film. However it doesn’t wear it’s heart on its sleeve, and it still manages to take it self seriously enough that you never feel like it’s about to develop into parody… though it skirts the edge and comes danger close a few times.

In the end, Hack is a great celebration of horror tropes and more than a little bit of bloody fun.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Jon Bogdanove

AutographsI know that’s a confusing poster, but it’s a fascinating piece by Superman artist Jon Bogdanove

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Raw Energy

jacksonindex.jpgMore than a lot of Jackson’s films, Raw Energy starts off feeling very MTV, with an exclamation title card reading “play this flick loud”.

Raw energy is a difficult film to place… It was actually one of the last ones I watched, and the final one I bought. I had some nervousness about this one because it sits right on that edge of post studio era and Zen film era… It could really belong to either one. It’s definitely early Zen filmmaking, it’s even listed as such, but the movie was shot before Scott Shaw really got involved with Jackson. There seems to be more intent to this film, despite Jackson using his Maximo T. Bird Pseudonym. Jackson still has a plan here and isn’t just setting up a camera, rolling film, and “let’s see what happens”.

William Smith then introduces the movie as it’s narrator. He’s standing on a beautiful stone rooftop with the Hollywood sign in the distance as a masked blonde in leather with a katana hanging from her belt films him using Jackson’s old Bolex camera.

“What we have heard of celebration on the cinema!” (Cinema about a serial killer that is) “Are you ready for a few days of raw energy???”
I’m not, but lets go anyhow.
Raw Energy is less of a film and more of a series of vignettes separated by title cards announcing the next chapter. The first one is “Scream of the Succubus”

We get two images intercut, We have Robert Rundle‘s character of Bo Stompkins on a bed, alternately being serviced and choked by a a succubus. It then flashes to Stompkins in his bathroom shaving his head as the Succubus and another naked woman (later revealed to be his girlfriend Crystal, played by Amanda Rushing, ) look on. It’s all overlaid by loud pop techno.

We move onto “Jumpstart Heart”

It’s a typical Jackson set, a large canvas draped over his office walls. Stompkins is now playing with guns next to his girlfriend, and has a large pentagram drawn on his chest in sharpie. He expresses a preference for knives and shows that he’s got everything he needs.

“I got shells and a bandoleer, even a chainsaw!”
Crystal, equally crazed, says she wants little trophies from his mass murderer – things like hearts and stuff. Maybe an eye.

That’s enough exposition, it’s time to cut back to William Smith ranting on the roof before delivering us into the next segment “The Hollywood Hills Have Spies”

Stompkins and Crystal gaze over a stone barrier, still stoned on acid and talking about the crummy rich people below. It almost feels like now they’re trying to homage Natural Born Killers (Which hit theaters a year prior). They pull a gun, and run down to kill somebody that they’ve seen on TV. (it’s Donald Jackson of course – I don’t think I’ll ever seen him in a bandanna before!). They pull him out of his vehicle and throw him to the ground, then steal his car and go to his house. They are greeted by a girl in a sparkly dress, Jackson’s secretary. No, wait. According to the credits, she’s his Sexretary. Our psychos force their way into the house using the gun, then welcome in one of the local hookers. Crystal finds some hidden pot, and then Stompkins force the girls in the house to watch the girlfriend go down on the him. After a few seconds of unconvincing head bobbing action, Crystal makes her way into the kitchen and starts to dance on the counter with a knife, then forces one of the girls in the house to do an awkward striptease on top of the kitchen counter.

The next title card is “Natural Born Blonde”, and cuts to the Stompkins and Crystal working out in an outdoor gym while they wear camo. The whole scene is brief enough to be an establishing shot before moving on to another title card “Bloodwiser”.

It suddenly occurs to the Stompkins and Crystal that it would be a great idea to get married so they go find the local minister. It happens to be Reverend Bloodwiser (again played by Donald Jackson),who is currently chanting a mantra (Fugi, Kodak, Agfa, Target) over a Bible laid across an empty Budweiser box. They brandish their guns at him.

“We came here to get married, a special day! Wedding day! Shotgun wedding!” They convince him to marry them for $700 and a quick flash from Crystal.

He performs the wedding and we move on to “Wicked Messenger”

Stompkins and Crystal are chilling in a trashy bedroom. There is an Iguana there watching them and Stompkins starts to think they have bad luck following them

“It all started when we met that preacher – we shouldn’t of done that. We shouldn’t have let him marry us because I think he was the devil.” The psycho cocks the gun and puts it to his chin.

“I think everyone should try suicide at least once in their lives”.

Crystal object to this and tells him to put the gun down or she’ll kill herself. The iguana continues to watch (and judge). They discuss Angels and Demons, the psychos convinced that the devils are real, and we get flashes of Reverend Bloodwiser as well as the succubus from the first segment.

That’s when a guy in a suit walks onto the bed.

The suit tells them that they’ve both been fucking up but he forgives them, because they’re absolutely crazy.

This doesn’t sit well with Stompkins, especially with all the talk about Angels and Demons. He demands to know whether the suit is good or evil.

“I’ve got magic powers in my head,” Stompkins warns him.

“You’ve got magic powers in your ass,” the suit retorts.

The suit has a deal for them. Nothing so pedestrian as a soul though. He’s interested in owing their deeds. All it requires is a signature and then the suit has rights to what ever they’re doing. The iguana continues to watch very closely.

We’ve gone too long without an interjection from narrator William Smith and the girl in the dancing leather bikini on top of the roof. He rants for a couple minuets before proceeding to the next segment – “Rolling Freedom”

MV5BOGJlMTUzOWUtOWIxNy00Yjk2LWI0YWEtMDllNjhmOGJkNzUyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjA0ODIzMzc@._V1_UY268_CR9,0,182,268_AL_.jpgWe have two girls pushing a man in his wheelchair, covered by a flag. One of them is the Crystal and, one of them is Jackson’s Sexretary from earlier. This is our introduction to Joe Bob Gunn, played by Jackson regular Jim Whitworth. The women get him into their car and drive off into Hollywood. The Sexretary is still trying to find out what happened to Donald Jackson, demanding that Crystal tell her. She’s also a bit perplexed by Joe Bob and want’s to know what happened to the other guy? “He’ll be back soon enough,” Crystal assures her.

The next section is “Carnival of Dreams” and starts with them pushing the wheelchair across Jackson’s favorite bridge of broken dreams. But then we cut to Crystal and Joe Bob (when he could still walk) spending time in a rollicking nighttime carnival lit by flashing neon and fluorescent lights. The scene cuts back and forth between the two sections, highlighting Joe Bob misery, crippled and melancholy staring out from the bridge.

William Smith comes back in to explain to us where Bo Stompkins has vanished to. It turns out that that he joined a cult. Smith explains that Stompkins got himself involved with the preacher and things seem to be okay… until television got a hold of them. You see, it wants to get into your dreams, that’s when you meet the Dream Ranger.

“Dream Rangers”

Once Stompkins discovers Crystal has left him for the crippled Joe Bob, he’s ready to kill them both.

He shoots targets at the wilderness with his fellow cultists, but is tormented by images of the girlfriend and her new boyfriend. It doesn’t take too long though, before Stompkins gets distracted by one of the girls of the cult, a “Target Range Sweetheart” as the next title card tells us.

Around this point in the film the exposition gets strange. It’s rambling and attempting to sound intellectual, but falling flat. It doesn’t help that they don’t have Scott Shaw’s books to crib from this time around. The entire sequence here seems to just be an excuse for Jackson to take the crew out into the wilderness and indulge his love of firing guns. After shooting the other cult members, they take off and the title card shifts to “Crystal Reflections”

We are back with Crystal and her new boyfriend. She’s kind of making plans, and explaining to Joe Bob about how she and Bo were married. For some reason, she seems really eager to have the two men meet. You know what you get when you mix the ex and the current boyfriend? (Don’t worry, the next title card tells us).

“Dangerous Trio”

The meeting doesn’t go particularly well. The psycho and the veteran don’t take to each other at all, and Stompkins doesn’t want Joe Bob around. Everyone pulls out guns and we get the most awkward looking Mexican stand-off I’ve ever seen. Stompkins tackles Joe Bob out of his wheelchair and they roll around on the ground punching and wrestling – occasionally Joe Bob forgets he supposed to be crippled. Crystal decides to go with Stompkins and shoots Joe Bob, covering him up in the flag he’d been using as a blanket on his legs. Stompkins gleefully wheels a giggling Crystal away in the wheelchair.

The next section, “Woo Woo Assassin” (no, really) starts off with a lady ninja stocking an L.A. rooftop at dusk. She leaves her katana in the stairwell in favor of a pair of guns and sneaks through white hallways dressed entirely in black. She’s not the only assassin there though, The cult girlfriend also creeps through the desolate stairwells wearing hot pants and a halter top while wielding a Luger. Luger girl gets the drop on ninja girl and takes her to the basement for the next section.

“Rapture Capture”

Now, in a sort of white dressing room, Stompkins is chatting up the ninja – he’s in a suit and has been doing very well these days. He and Luger Girl blindfold her. It’s more of one of the sleeping masks then an actual proper blindfold, but it gets the job done. Stompkins drips blood on Luger girl and they get busy, shooting down the assassin mid-coitus.

MV5BZGE3MTY2ODUtMWQ0OC00ODgyLWI1NTUtOWVmMjA3NWI3MzI4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjA0ODIzMzc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,682,1000_AL_Next up is “Crystals Retreat” (Don’t worry, it’s brief)
Crystal is heading to the airport to skip town (presumably since Stompkins no longer has any use for her, though it’s not entirely spelled out).

“Can the plane go any faster please? Thank you!”

Back to more narration from William Smith before we return to the bridge of broken dreams to see the psycho and his new girlfriend, Luger Girl hanging out and chatting. Random disjointed imagery of an old train bridge, them walking on the tracks, her dancing against the sun, and delivering endless exposition in a tunnel. Jackson uses this opportunity to inexplicably reveal that the psycho has an illegitimate test tube baby in a formaldehyde jar somewhere in Wisconsin, proving that we are in full fever dream mode now, when nothing makes sense and imagery is all that matters.

The film ends with a final title card over silent credits (weird, by the way, that the credits are silent considering the pop techno that pervades the entire film). “Watch for Shotgun Dream Babies – Raw Energy 2”. I’m not in entirely surprised to see this, even though a sequel was never created… It’s the same technique Jackson employed on Roller Blade, announcing a follow-up even though there was no sequel yet in the works.

As Zen movies go, this is actually one of the more interesting ones. There’s a definite plot here and I feel some sense of continuity throughout almost the entire thing. It’s full of Jackson alumni and is an introduction to familiar faces. We’d see Amanda Rushing again a few years later when Jackson would team up with Scott Shaw for Armageddon Boulevard, but for her, Crystal is her one and only shot at a starring role. James D. Whitworth would show up later that year as the dopey security guard in Baby Ghost, then do one more film with Jackson and Shaw Alum David Heavener before dropping out of the industry. Robert Rundel would actually go on to do bit parts in two more films with Jackson when he wasn’t spearheading his own low budget flicks, even directing Jackson regular Robert Z’Dar that year in Run Like Hell. It’s a cast that obviously knows and likes each other and it comes through on screen. That’s not to say that the film is completely successful – it meanders as Jackson has a tendency to do, and because it’s obviously being shot over the course of several months on weekends or whenever he had availability, we see the characters growing visibly change. It’s not just the characters evolving either, you can see the story growing and changing as new concepts and imagery strike Jackson’s fancy. It ends up being interesting film though, and the non-linear sort of storytelling thats going on here might have worked if Jackson had a better (or any) plan and some semblance of a script. The biggest problem is that the characters aren’t terribly likable and it’s hard to get invested in them, yet I still found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next and where this story was going… assuming there was a narrative here at all. That’s the thing, there really was no actual story and the film is exactly what the tagline describes ; following a psycho serial killer loose in Hollywood. It’s not necessarily following the murderous antics or more interesting parts, a lot of times it’s just following his mundane everyday life and occasional head trips. It’s the essence of what could work in Zen filmmaking – and it’s exactly the sort of film that fascinates me when it comes to Jackson. This is exactly the sort of thing I would’ve liked to have seen Jackson do more of and evolve, but alas – Zen filmmaking would end up taking a very different direction. A looser direction rather than a tighter one.


How to make a Donald G. Jackson film

jacksonI gotta take a breather from these things for a minuet. I’ve watched enough of these movies that they may just have broken my brain…but I think I’ve cracked the code (feel free to turn this into a drinking game). Take any four or more of these elements, and spend $3000.

Make a sequel to Roller Blade or Hell Comes to Frogtown.

Hire Joe Estevez. If it’s too close to porn, hire Robert Z’Dar instead.

Put at least one character on wheels. Roller skates are preferred, but a skateboard will do in a pinch.

Shoot at the Los Angeles observatory, a junkyard or the overpass above the L.A. 170 freeway. (Bonus points for all three)

Make sure there’s a role for Conrad Brooks.

Include a Samurai sword.

Make one of the main characters a mostly immobile hand puppet. (Bonus points if it’s got a libido)

Hire Julie Strain or Jill Kelly.

Scott Shaw stars and/or produces while speaking as few lines as possible in his suit, t-shirt and amazing shades.

Mix Christian and Eastern mysticism. Quote liberally from one of Shaw’s books.

 

That’s it. You’ve now made a film indistinguishable from Donald G. Jackson! I’m sorely tempted to do my own comic or novel version. Joe Estevez has kidnapped Julie Strain and is holding her hostage until someone brings him the ashes of Donald Jackson! Scott Shaw straps on his roller skates and brandishes his katana. Off he goes and battles through Ninjas, Toad Warriors and Invisible Chuacabras but  gets wounded. He is healed by the sisterhood from The Master of Light Institute and they present him with a rocket pack to continue his journey. He finds himself at the Junkyard where the ashes are stored. There’s a sign on the gate that reads “If you lived here, you’d be home now”. He finds the ashes in a secret room, covered in sheets and guarded by the ghost of Robert Z’Dar.

This has been a public service announcement. We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

 

 


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

Here’s the strip that should have been up yesterday, instead of cancelling it, we just decided to push it back a day.

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The Backyard Zombie Movie part 9

filmography

 


69

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Comicpalooza : a neighborhood comic book crawl

 

It’s been a couple of years since I last hit Comicpalooza… That is, if you don’t count the mini-convention they threw last year (and I don’t). Comicpalooza is basically a couple of comic dealers engaging in massive garage sales just a few blocks apart from each other. A while back, it became a thing and they started coordinating it. What’s really taking it to the next level though, is the addition of comic shops in the area joining in as well as extra residential stops. The fact that there’s no comic book conventions going on right now probably doesn’t hurt any either.

I made my first stop out at my local comic shop, Comics Are Go. I had to run out to pick up my free comic book day summer books anyhow, and the sidewalk sale was on in force. The shop at set up a huge table full of long boxes front and back, all for $.50. In addition to that, Shawn, The founder of Neo Comicon, had set up additional tables and filled them up with just as many pops as you’re likely to see at any convention! There were some boxes of loose toys, pins and patches, and generally fun bric-a-brac. I loaded up on 50 Cent issues here, and was particularly delighted to grab a copy of Ted McKeever‘s plastic forks. I brought it in and pointed it out to Eric, the shop owner. His reply was “I could have put this out as one of those weird, rare titles that nobody knows and nobody will pay attention to. I figured, it was a better idea to put in the 50 Cent bins so someone who really appreciates it would just… discover it.”

Definitely A good way to start the day. I headed from there to the first residential location in Amherst. Turns out, I’m doing the route backwards… At least the opposite order then when I previously going on this comic book crawl. The first stop was hot and I scored in a enormous stack of books, not least of which were some classic gold key stuff. A Lone Ranger, Ripleys Believe It or Not, that kind of stuff. It’s exciting to find these kind of books affordable. I also spent a lot of time padding my pre-crisis JLA. At this point in my life, I’m trying to collect more stuff from that mid 70s early 80s pre-crisis era and Comicpalooza didn’t fail me.

Next stop was only a block away but a much smaller set up, A tent with a few tables of long boxes for a dollar. While I didn’t come away from this one with an armload, I did manage to find some key issues, including the second issue of the Marvel Select Mandrake series. This is a beautifully painted series that keeps Mandrake the Magician in casual clothes while dropping him into modern times. It’s surprisingly compelling and beats any other version I’ve seen of him.

My final stop ended up being another deep dive, with me discovering A ton of Blackhawk – all set during that weird futuristic costume period. I also managed to pull out a little bit more justice league, fills some holes in my Suicide Squad collection and find some oddities. Oddities is a lot of what I ended up looking for. Stuff like the Sledge Hammer comic and fun odds and ends.

It was a good day. I probably walked away with over 100 comic books, just the kind of haul that would be normal for me going to a convention with some good quarter bins. I went broke before I could head out to the comic shop that’s located in the local flea market, but that’s OK, I’m already familiar with their stock and today I was more interested in these collections that I don’t usually get access to. I had a good time digging through those boxes in these guys garages, while chatting about our favorite independent series, and where exactly the industry is going to go next. It was also nice to bump into A couple familiar faces from the convention circuit  that I haven’t seen in a while. 

Definitely a good day, I’m always bragging about how the Cleveland area has such a wonderful comic book culture, but it’s events like these that really remind you just how good we have it out here! Hope your weekend was just as productive

 


Skeksis

Costume

skeksis castle


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

Every Wednesday and FridayNew_016


Feeding Grounds

box10movie

indexFeeding grounds starts off in a barren desert gas station – the sort of place you expect to see in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or in “Pumpkinhead”. Carrion lies ominously in the middle of the road.

Everything feels micro budget and amateurish, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The opening stinger leaves me confused though. What was it that made our first two victims sick? What was it that got them? It seemed like it was just a dude in a cowboy hat, but really I’m not sure what’s going on. After the police come, we move swiftly on.

We are introduced to our main cast. The guys seem more douchebag than normal, with some non-descript pretty girls and one chick wielding a video camera. They’re heading out to a cabin, and roll past a wooden sign – “Doom Desert”.

Hmmm. That’s just a little bit too on the nose.

Still, nothing happens until the hour mark when somebody finds an ear. Beyond some rocks falling it’s the most exciting thing happen yet in the film and I find myself itching for some action.

Down the road a bit, we find a bunch of human remains – mostly bloody chunks, and these send our cast running back to the cars. The film begins to slow down now because Feeding.Grounds.2006_3because someone needs to get sick. Almost imperceptibly, we get a glimpse of a bite or injection or something one of the characters… and it means that whatever things out there, they are watching. Still, at this point I feel like I’m watching “Cabin Fever”, but on the road. The sick turns into madness and anger as one of them ominously informs the rest of the group;

“The more you fight, the quicker they’ll come”.

In the end, there are some good ideas here – by I wish they had gone over the script a couple more times to bring in the action and the atmosphere sooner. For an 81 minute movie, there’s no excuse for this to be so talky(and yet it still fails to explain the roles of this world and its illness and unseen creatures) and slow as it is. Despite a near-perfect moment in the last shot of the film, this is Syfy Channel fodder at best.


67

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Silent Night Deadly Night 4 : The Initiation

franchisebannerimag1esClint Howard watching a flaming corpse fly off a roof? Now THAT’S how you start a movie! Between this, Reggie Bannister  and Allyce Beasley (the receptionist from Moonlighting), I have high hopes for this film. Seeing Brian Yuzna in the director’s chair is another good sign. The director of Return of the Living Dead 3 (arguably the most iconic of the series with it’s pierced heroine) and several of the Re-Animator films, this is a guy who gets how to make a solid, memorable piece of horror, especially a sequel. He also knows enough to hire someone like Screamin’ Mad George to sling latex and create horrific monster FX, not to mention bringing Full Moon alumni Richard Band along to do music.

We find ourselves in the bullpen of a newspaper with a classifieds clerk who wants to break in to reporting and thinks the jumper, being ruled a suicide, is her big break. She heads to the jump site where the chalk outline is still fresh and encounters Clint Howard – “Ricky”, as she browses books on spontaneous combustion. He’s a creepy homeless person who follows her to the roof as she checks out the ledge the victim jumped from. Cockroaches seem to follow her home – a problem that will escalate around the half hour mark with the most terrifying giant roach I’ve ever seen, a skull airbrushed into it back. It almost feels like our slasher series is morphing into a horror edged fantasy as our reporter drifts into nightmarish visions.

There’s nothing particularly Christmassy about this story of a young woman, being initiated into a coven of witches. No real connection to the rest of the Silent Night series indexeither unless Clint Howard’s “Ricky” is meant to be Ricky Cauldwell, somehow still alive and now having grown some skin over that brain box from the last film. It’s possible. He almost hints at it during a scene where he watches the dream sequence from SNDN3 and answers “Santa Claus Killer” when asked who he is. He serves the witches and I suppose they could have magically shoved his brain down and generate some flesh to cover it.

In any event, the creepy FX are spectacular and the dreamlike confusion of the film give it a “Serpent and the Rainbow” kind of feel. It’s actually a really good film on it’s own, but feel like it should be it’s own thing and not a part of this franchise. That’s kind of ironic, because it may just be the single best film in this series. No worries though, the crew will be back for the next entry too.