Firing up the junkman, I’m starting to get the impression that Halicki could be repetitive. It’s almost like if you’ve seen one of his films and you’ve seen them all… Then again, the junkman does have a fun meta-twist.
Halicki stars as Hollis, a gearhead turned actor coming out the success of his first film gone in 60 seconds, and beginning work on his next movie. It’s not so much biographical as it is wish fulfillment. In the film, Gone in 60 Seconds is a huge hit and a household name, and Halicki himself is now working with Hollywood stars on his next movie – A good excuse to give Hollywood mainstay Hoyt Axton a nice meaty guest role. However, there’s murder in the air and someone is trying to kill Halicki on his way to the James Dean festival where he’s a guest.
That about sums up the plot, and once again we are treated to a film that is essentially one very long car chase spread over a couple of different vehicles. I like that he uses both his prior success and his new connections to his best advantage – we get some interesting glimpses into his life and his garage. We even get a cameo from Eleanor, all dented and crushed in her former glory, now with Gone in 60 Seconds painted across the side to commemorate the film.
Junkman ends up being just as entertaining of a film as Gone in 60 Seconds, but the meta-connection to Halicki’s previous film hurts it – it effectively keeps it from standing on its own as a movie and turns it into a mere sidequel. Casual viewers will probably feel like they’ve missed an important part of the story if they haven’t seen Gone in 60 Seconds previously. Halicki would have probably been better off crafting a completely separate story with new people and new situations – we’re constantly reminded that despite his alias in the film, it is in fact, his garage and his cars being used in the film. His name is everywhere – on billboards and garage addresses and such. This overall connection may also have held Halicki himself back, with producers not being certain that he could break away and do something new.
Still, it works as part of the Gone in 60 Seconds series and if you enjoyed his other films, you’ll have fun with this.
Every Wednesday and Friday
So, I finally caught up on Stargirl, and got through the first five episodes over the weekend. It’s a show that I watch with my teenage daughter, so schedules frequently don’t mash and I’m perpetually behind. Even now, I’m a single episode behind… That is until the new one premieres tonight!
Stargirl was really the highlight of my television last year. Not only are you pretty much guaranteed to get my attention by invoking and flashing back to golden age DC with characters in the Justice Society,, but it’s also just generally good rollicking superhero fun, heavy on characterization and action, and light on ideology… Sort of the opposite of what the CW’s pattern has increasingly been. Courtney, Stargirl herself is a good character, but even more daring is the fact that instead of going through the bad Dad trope, they actually explore her complex relationship with her stepfather, played by Luke Wilson who steals every scene he’s in. There is resentment there but there’s also some genuine affection there, with a Dad who’s just trying to do the best he can, and isn’t portrayed as bumbling or stupid… But perhaps a little overwhelmed sometimes.
After defeating the Injustice Society last year, series kind of has to start fresh this year, and giving it the whole “Summer School“ hook was a delightful idea. It probably would’ve worked better if the show had managed to premier back in July or so, but I understand that the plague has wreaked havoc on shooting schedules so I’m willing to give them a little slack… Especially when the end result is as fun as this.
The evil daughter Shiv is back, trying to rebuild her parent’s Injustice Society with the kids of the original members. Obviously, that’s going to be the main baddie this year, right? Except there’s something awfully familiar about the black crystal that she’s using and channeling for power. The first episode opens with one of the creepiest little kid sequences I’ve seen in a long time, and even my daughter immediately realized… Eclipso was coming. The Shade also arrives this season as well. The Shade’s been a regular villain when it comes to this legacy, I’ve just finished reading James Robinson‘s excellent Starman run from the 90s, and the Shade is all over that thing. True to form, he’s a villain, but sometimes he’s not… Again, complex. Serious props for challenging writing here.
In the meantime, the gang is all back, and facing their own issues. Hourman still feels isolated and is feeding something that I suspect is Solomon Grundy related in the woods. Dr. Midnight is dealing with her parents divorce, and Wildcat is still trying to reconcile the fact that she killed Brainwave Junior. I know that’s a lot of gobbledygook to throw at you all at once, but it’s genuinely good stuff and propels the whole series developing forward. Despite this, there’s actually a noticeable lack of attractive people standing in hallways talking about their feelings. It’s still there, but not nearly as present as in say, The Flash.
Once we hit episode five though… remember how in the last third of Superman and Lois, it seems like every episode I was saying “this feels like a season finale cliffhanger… Or a penultimate episode right before the season finale“. Stargirl goes right ahead and does it in episode five, with a face off of the new injustice society versus the justice society which results in Eclipso being freed. And man, Eclipso does not disappoint. The make up and look is dead on, increased in detail for television, and every bit as terrifying as I remember him from those crossovers in the mid 90s. It’s shockingly effective. I guess that means I really got a find a good way to bribe Maddie to sit down and catch up on last week and this weeks episode… Because I’m dying to know what happens. Perhaps if I bribe her with more episodes of He-Man…
What if continues to be the strongest of all the marvel television series. Perhaps it’s because it’s not truly bound to continuity (yes, I know some stupid editor said “it’s all in continuity”. That’s not really the case, even if you rationalize multiverse nonsense.) but also because it very much feels like episodic MCU. Really, that’s what the movies have been trying to do for a while now, but to get it chopped up and served in bite size half hour portions every week, with different elements of the MCU, played by the same people and featuring the same look in environments… It’s actually really satisfying.
I once said I prefer Doctor Strange in other peoples movies rather than his own, I’m beginning to wonder after his What If episode, if it’s just that I prefer him in smaller doses. What if Doctor Strange lost his heart instead of his hands actually feels like it could be its own standalone thing within continuity, if they just tweak the end. It’s actually a nice visit with a good doctor in that world, and takes some chances with some of the dark themes it uses. Of course it’s not nearly as dark as Marvel Zombies. My daughter is a huge fan of marvel zombies, she’s collected all the comics, and this is actually the episode they got her into What If. I agree with her assessment, Watching this episode just makes me want an animated marvel zombies series on it’s own. It’s that good. It captures an interesting variety of heroes from different films, and while there’s a decision with the vision that I don’t entirely agree with, it’s really nice to see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man here, as well as getting to see Doctor Strange’s cape, with it’s own distinct personality, acting on its own again. That of course brings us to last weeks episode… A little bit of light-hearted fun before things get serious in the last two. What if Thor never had the maturing influence of a rival like Loki… and had just essentially grown up to be a giant frat boy. I feel like I should take some offense of this, but it’s so much fun and has us laughing so much through it… Also it manages to feature Howard the Duck, and Darcy; two of my favorite characters in the MCU. Can we please get a Howard the Duck series? Put it on right after the marvel zombies series… That’s all I’m asking!
It’s been a fun week, and if you get tired of superhero stuff, pop over to Netflix… There is a new season of nailed it up there, which is the most entertaining (if a bit mean-spirited) baking show you’ll ever see.
Let me just say, Carol Baskin and the Tiger King were definitely the peak of our day.
I’ve been going to the zombie walk in Lakewood for ages now. Ryan got up and announced that it was the 14th one, seven years… But I’ve got photos that prove it’s been going on longer, just under a different name and management. Nevertheless, the thing I noticed this year, was a lot more children. October is always a little bit light, because the hunters already have gigs that they are committed to. We usually see more in April, but both Madeline and I commented to each other on just how many kids were running around, playing, bonking people in the head with plushy bats, and playing catch with the odd grenade. It’s a glorious time, and nice to catch up with friends like Ryan and Rhonda.
Madeline got to break out her Clementine for the third time this year, and she was thrilled. There weren’t a lot of survivors this year, so she was delighted to be one of the few humans participating in the walk. I decided to go half-hearted, and bust out my Starro mask on top of a Gotham city police detective outfit – I got the badge for my birthday! Nice subtle way to celebrate Batman day at the same time.
I do still enjoy these events, and I’m far more curious to see what April brings. Attendance has been dwindling over the years, but with a good 70 people are still in attendance this time around it’s still gives me hope. We love being able to serve the community this way, and all donations go to the greater Cleveland Food Bank. Will be back at the bar in April, and you should totally come out and join us!
Every Wednesday and Friday
I wasn’t expecting much. But at least the show was being honest about what it was. It’s a pure reboot, almost a reboot in name only. They wern’t lying to the fans abotu what it would be #kevinsmithlied , They wern’t pulling a bait and switch #kevinsmithlied , and they wern’t attacking fans as they made what few promotional rounds they did #kevinsmithlied (I just can’t let it go. I lost a great deal of respect for Smith over Revelation. #kevinsmithlied You are no longer a “Man of the people” dude. No longer a dude even. Just another hollywood shill. #kevinsmithlied ) I was just expecting a kids show, with kids tropes and kidspeak. I was never expecting to be so pulled in.
We didn’t talk about Masters of the Universe Revelation on this blog because it probably would’ve been just 1200 words of me griping and moaning about how #KevinSmithLied, and how trying to deconstruct a heroic and pure character like He-Man…or for that matter, Superman or The Lone Ranger, that sort of deconstruction never really works. Even in the Dolph Lundgren film, where things were grittier and more violent and darker, He Man is still pure. He’s still heroic. He’s not haunted and troubled and angsty. Even worse, he’s not actually in Revelation. Oh sure, he shows up for perhaps two minutes an episode in flashbacks (I know, I timed it), but he’s not actually part of the show. Rather it’s Teela that’s the main character… A subject that has been covered endlessly and far better on far better channels and blogs than mine. But really, did they have to make her such a aunt towards everyone she encounters? (Wait, did auto-correct just… Never mind.)
Netflix’s new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe makes none of these mistakes. This is an ensemble piece, with characters that are genuinely likable. Strong female characters that don’t have to tear down the men to be strong, strong male characters that don’t have to disrespect the women to be strong. It’s actually good stuff. Pure heroics, good and evil. The real hook here is that they flipped the script. Masters of the Universe has always been a heavy fantasy-based adventure with dashes of sci-fi in it. This however, is heavy sci-fi with dashes of fantasy in it. And it works. It genuinely does. It’s everything that I wish the ill-fated 1990s New Adventures of He-Man was.
Because it’s current year, they have to do some race and gender swapping, but because this is genuinely something completely new, I find that it’s not bothering me nearly as much as usual. Teela is a dark skinned girl with white hair, and not related to man at arms. They’re both young… Everybody’s young. She’s already a sorceress, so we’re kind of short cutting her legacy and plunging her right into it, redefining the character in a different role in this sci-fi technoscape. Ram Man has been gender swapped to be Ram Ma’am. It’s the dumbest name and drew the most ridicule during commercials, as well it deserved. However, this character is so well thought out, she gets more backstory and depth than poor old Rammy ever did. It’s impossible not to like her. Krass (I swear I thought the name was CRASH -and it SHOULD HAVE BEEN! Seems more appropriate) may actually be my favorite character of this reboot.
Cringer has a new role here as well. Because we don’t have man at arms available to be the wise old mentor, that role has actually been passed on to Cringer. It’s a dramatic departure from what we’ve seen before but, they actually give us an interesting backstory for him, why he has that name, and a real reason for his aspirations to hunt and fight. It has every bit the depth and emotion that Revelation promised, without the whining and angst.
f, and he’s quite adorable. I was never one of those that hated him, and this new incarnation is more fun than it has a right to be. It fits into the series, rather than just being dropped in for no reason. There’s a build up and a real journey here. Don’t expect to see him until about halfway through. In fact, don’t expect to see any of the villains in full garb until well past halfway through. There is a real story arc here, despite being episodic. The entire series is very much a learning curve story, something I’ve always enjoyed. This whole thing is a slow build up with constant cliffhangers that left me seizing the remote to furiously hit the next episode button – which led me to binge it in two days. Two nice and easy morning sessions, about two hours each. At 10 episodes it’s easy enough to get through, and absolutely left me wanting more. This sort of reboot is not only what I wished new adventures had been, it’s the sort of reboot I wished Princesses of Power would’ve been. I set my 15-year-old down to watch it with me on our weekly television night. She and her sister grew up watching the 80s He-Man and She-Ra on DVD with me, as well as playing with the toys. She knows the series, and while she’s not quite as invested as I am, if the producers were doing it wrong, it’d be just as likely to piss her off as it is me.
She loved it.
Teela just fasciantes her and she absolutely loves the alternate costume. Krass keeps throwing out lines that she insists need to be motivational posters . (“Every problem can be solved by ramming them with my helmet!”). Neither of us can get the theme song out of our heads. She wants more, and so do I. I had planned on passing on the action figures… I’m not a huge fan of the distorted character design, but it sort of melts away as I watched the series, and now that I’ve finished it, I need every one of these toys. Seriously, I need a second season, and quick. Please Netflix more of this. More He-Man and the Masters of the universe, and less Revelation ( #kevinsmithlied ). I’m totally ready for a new adventure.
Every Wednesday and Friday
I didn’t even realize there WAS a fourth Ghoulies movie – I thought the series died after Ghoulies go to college!
The film begins with a very comic book like Female thief dressed in revealing leather who is able to easily overpower and murder the guards. The killing makes her less than sympathetic but progresses the story quickly. She opens a box from Cairo and extracts a jewel – obviously the prize she was here for. Spray-painting a pentagram on the floor she begins a ritual, and the bodies of the slain guards disappear while in the center a hooded figure materilizes, demanding the jewel. She tried to give it to him but steps over the line, breaking the circle – both men vanish in smoke as the cops arrive. The thief leaves and in doing so misses the arrival of two small Ghoulies.
These are not the Ghoulies that you may remember from Charles Band’s films, this is really a pair of two little people in suits – more goblin than Ghoulies. They immediately launch into three stooges style violence upon each other before scampering off into the darkness.
I have a bad feeling about this. At least it’s directed by Jim Wynorski.
On the other side of the credits we meet a pair of wacky cops on a stakeout.They foil a robbery at the local liquor store, getting drawn into a bloody gun fight.
In the sewers, our burglar, Alexandria summons the man in the cloak again. He informs her that there is a second stone and that she must find it for him (and it just so happens to be hanging around the cops neck). This means more human sacrifices, fortunately Art Carney’s character from the honeymooners is down there and ready to get killed.
Our two Ghoulies themselves flash back to the first film to try and connect everything… It’s debatable whether or not this was a wise move, it highlights the very different look of the actors in costume from the puppets used in the previous movies. According to IMDb, the puppetry was a cost the film could not afford.
The Ghoulies sneak into the cops trunk to hitch a ride. They accidentally blast a hole in the roof of his car while he is in the quickie-mart getting milk, then run off into the darkness. And this does nothing to inspire confidence from his superior detective Kate. He heads home, too tired to even boff his girlfriend or a hooker or whenever she is… The Ghoulies follow as he dreams of scenes from the first film.
Elsewhere, the Ghoulies and stop a mugging.
Alexandria luers the cop out by kidnapping his partner, but what she doesn’t know his hooker girlfriend is already absconded with the ruby necklace. It turns out, the cop knows Alexandria – they used to date. When she discovers he doesn’t have the jewel, she commands the brainwashed partner to murder him. We get a fist fight in the warehouse, destroying tons of antiques, conveniently laid out on the table.
Alexandria heads to the cops apartment, but the Ghoulies are already there searching… They pepper spray her and make good there escape.
Detective Kate puts cop to bed and I and meets the hook a girlfriend in a amusingly Catty exchange. Sadly, it’s the last time she’ll see her because Alexandria scoops her up outside the apartment and sacrifices her to hooded guy. Detective Kate notices this happening through the window and it sets the cop off to go look for her. Turns out they used to be Satan worshippers together but she got too into it and he dumped her at the mental asylum.Well now, the inmates are in control of the asylum – and Alexandria is using it as a hideout (And a place to complete her ritual).
Who taught the mental patients Kung fu?
The cop and detective Kate show up just in the nick of time to disrupt the ritual and attempt to save hooker girlfriend.
In some ways, I really like this.The heavily occult themes of this film really harking back more towards the original movie.I can’t complain that the Ghoulies have minimal screen time, once again that also harkins back to the original film. My main objection is that the Ghoulies are little people in costumes that look nothing like the originals rather than puppets. They are constantly cracking wise – it gets grating .Still, overall it’s a stronger entry into the Ghoulies series then part three and one of the better films in this midnight horror collection
The Pekar Park comic fest is one of those that’s been on my radar forever, but I never actually made it out to until just before the plague. Of course, they didn’t have it last year, and the one I went to in 2019 was an unusual one. Because of the weather, everything had moved inside… It was not your typical Pekar Park comic fest. But I remember finding myself having so much fun, that I stuck around long enough to make it to the end where they had a screening of My Friend Dahmer, complete with a talk with author Derf afterwards.
This year, the comic fest was back, and it was its old self. Completely held outside, with a family film like Big Hero 6 shown in the park at the end of the day.
It just wasn’t the same.
I miss the addition of Urban Otaku, doing panels and anime talks and shorts early in the day, but nevertheless, I grabbed my daughter and we made our way out to see what was going on. It really feels a lot more like a glorified sidewalk sale… and that’s not necessarily A bad thing, but it’s not necessarily the magic that I felt back in 2019. Still it was interesting, still a fascinating variety of curious comics and artwork and crafts. Maddie found a huffelpuff button I nearly lost her mind, but she was actually far more interested in exploring some of the local Coventry sites, such as the library, it’s community garden, Mac’s paperbacks and Passport to Peru.
I don’t have any issues with the Pekar Park fast, and if it’s your first time out to the Coventry area, this is actually a great way to go. It’s a little bit of extra activity and attraction to keep your interest now that Big Fun and Coventry Cats are both gone. Sadly though, it’s not going to be a regular stop in the future on my convention circuit.
Every Wednesday and Friday
A friend asked me to create a Green Arrow badge/buckle for his Arrow quiver. Could also be worked into a belt buckle. I’ve uploaded two versions. There’s the big model I was working with, and the smaller one scaled down to the two inches he requested.
Model can be found here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2862615
Every Wednesday and Friday
There’s some conflicting stories about whether this was originally meant to be a part of the franchise or not. I’ve read that the studio wanted a potential new franchise so they marketed it as simply the horror Show in the US, while I’ve als heard that they actually WANTED another House sequel so they changed it to House 3 for the European markets, (much the way they billed Fulchi’s Zombie as a sequel to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead). Sequel or not, you can’t really go wrong with Lance Henriksen and Byron James. T look at it, I’d exect an interesting movie that doesn’t quite fit with the vibe of the rest of the series. Problem is, I watched this once already… and I don’t remember a thing. It didn’t really make an impact, so I’m hoping this second viewing will stick. Sean S. Cunningham’s name is still on it, and Henry Manfredini did the music, but it does have an Alan Smithee writing credit which always raises red flags.
The exterior of the house is beautiful, as Lance Henriksen nervously paces inside, checking on his daughter and son. It’s still the tail end of the 80’s and he still ripped. He stops by his shoulder holster and grabs his gun as he descends the stairs in the gloomy house. Everything is foggy with a tinge of blue and his flashlight ultimately leads him down into the dark basement. The furnace flies open with a blaze a flame and he approaches it, almost mesmerized. This plunges us into a flashback – a police operation to rescue a little girl. Inside the building there is blood everywhere. Hands and heads float in the deep fryer and Henrickson’s partner swings from a chain, his arms gone… it’s an impressive amount of gore this early on. Behind him, James sneaks up, the girl in one arm and a meat cleaver in the other. Her head comes off and Henderson wakes up from the nightmare.
It’s execution day for James, and Hendrickson is going to be there to watch. He’s seeking some sort of closure, but James is defiant to the end. It takes two tries, and they have to increase the voltage until his skin bubbles and boils. James catches on fire and breaks free from the chair to deliver a final dire threat to Henrickson.
Wait a minute, is this house three or is it shocker? It’s a valid comparison, ask James rises from the dead in an electrical form then emerges from his cadaver and travels into Henrickson’s house… right down into the furnace. It doesn’t pass by unnoticed though, a professor-type played by Thom Brey, curiously enough, the actor who voiced hero Wilbur Finletter in the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes cartoons) investigates the body and rushes off to warn Henrickson that James is indeed coming back for him. Henrickson’s not impressed, and he still has his own nightmares and flashbacks from the case to deal with
New line, back at home in the basement, things start to happen. Rattling walls and dire tools moving. the daughter’s boyfriend sneaks in to give us a jump scare, but gets lured buy a disembodied voice among the clutter and ends up the first victim of James. Even as a disembodied ghost, he’s still living up to his nickname “Meat Cleaver Max”.
James continues to threaten Henderson, but he assumes it’s just the reemergence of his PSTD. It’s obviously a power surge and the circuit breakers messing with the furnace. That doesn’t explain the demonic turkey though or the visions of Henrickson’s family dead though. it doesn’t explain him seeing James take the place of the stand-up comedian. It’s all enough for him to go running to the shrink. He sends him off to explore James’s old apartment.
While he’s there, Hendricks and discovers that James had been stalking him and his family, and he’s not the only one. The professor is there as well looking for answers, and as it turns out, now is a good time to explain the plot. James has turned into energy and only more electricity will bring him back into the physical plane where he can be properly killed. In the meantime, They discover the dead boyfriend in Henrickson’s basement and that’s when everything goes sideways. Henrickson is arrested and while he’s stuck at the police station, James goes after the family back at the house in earnest.
Henrickson gets out of the jail and races back home, but the house has been transformed into a horror show nightmare and he must fight through it to save his family.
House 3 really is a different kind of film, and it really stands alone. It’s not just that it has more gore, it has a more brutal kind of violence to it. While the other films lean towards spooky fantasy, House 3 goes for the visceral. It’s a good movie, but a very different one. All of the actors give impressive performances, and Brian James actually cited it as being his favorite role ever. It’s fun to see Aron Eisenberg out of the Star Trek Nog makeup and even more of a treat to see Thom Bray playing more of a straight role. The film suffers from comparison though. To many other films such as Prison and Shocker came out around the same time with too similar a plot, which makes it hard for this one to stand out. I really do enjoy the horror show, but it feels extremely out of place as part of the House series.
We hit this show back in April, and even then, they mentioned they hoped they’d be back soon. Well, the show returned this weekend! Still a small con, so instead of me telling you about it, I’m going to let Maddie tell you all about it!
Every Wednesday and Friday
Every Wednesday and Friday
It starts off in urban England which gives it an initial 28 days later feel, but soon moves out to the country and we gt far more of a Night of the Living dead vibe. Forget the cover art by the way, it’s not the sci-fi epic about a plague that the cover would suggest. We don’t really see alot of it, we see more of that first shelter that the survivors are huddled in. We see the first zombies, wandering aimlessly…not eve noticing other people…..not hungry. Not yet.
As the film goes on, we se the zombies start to develop senses, becoming triggered by sound and light. as time passes, the hunger kicks in and they become the real threat we’re used too. The progression is original and fascinating.
If this movie has a real problem, it that it’s too long, and WAY too talky. It’s a melodrama in the extreme and would really benefit from some judicious cutting of some of those dialogue scenes. I understand how we got here, the film is based on a book and there’s a LOT of ground to cover. From everything I’ve heard, it’s really true to the source material. Still I think it could have been streamlined into something a bit better paced. This is definitely one to watch, but you need to be prepared for a long somewhat PBS style zombie film and be in the mood for more philosophy than horror.
I redo my Freddy from time to time – Latex doesn’t last that long. one of my favorite elements to this version was the chest of souls exposed!
Every Wednesday and Friday
I’ve met J.R. Bookwalter several tims n the con circuit, not to mention at the actual screening of Robot Ninja. He’s a great producer of trashy horror and an amazing repository of filmmaking in the lat 80’s/early 90’s.
Every Wednesday and Friday