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Archive for October, 2021

186

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

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Basket Case

3d.jpg

“The Tenant in my 3d Printer is very small, very twisted and very mad.” From the not-so-classic Frank Henenlotter horror film “Basket Case”, this is the basket dwelling monster Belial. I designed him as an OBJ in Bryce 7, then converted it to STL in Paint 3D. It imports into my printing software as about 4.5 inches, but I shrunk him down a bit to fit closer in scale to my 6-7 inch action figures. I ended up printing Belial about 2.4 inches tall, with supports that I had to scrape out of his mouth and his underside. He tips to one side or the other with his round belly…but he’s not supposed to be stable. After all, he’s a BASKET CASE!

 

 

 

Model can be found here   https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3751264

 


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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I Am Omega

mastersofterror

index.jpgI know I’m in for some pain when the Asylum logo shows up over the I Am Omega credits. It’s my own fault, I knew that’s exactly what this would be, but decided to take the plunge anyhow.

It begins with a mother evacuating herself and her son from their home, now under attack by some fairly impressive and bloody zombies. It turns out however to have all been a dream – our main character of remembering his wife and son as he sleeps. He’s awake now though, and when a perimeter breach sets off the alarm he knows he has some hunting to do. I’ve got to give the asylum props here – they’ve got some inventive and gory kills right there at the beginning and it gives me hope for the rest of the film.

You got the formula down – brooding, exercising and then gearing up to go out and look for supplies. It actually feels like it’s trying to be an update of Vincent Price in Last Man on Earth.

indexHe heads up to an old barn/garage, greeting the corpse inside with her cheerful “hey boss” . He grabs beer and fuel from the joint and cautiously drives off, encountering and dispatching zombies throughout the wasteland, planting what look like explosive charges in the sewers. This is his life until one night, he receives an incoming video feed on the computer. Before he can answer, his perimeter alarm sounds again and he is forced to run outside to check for monsters. One of the unfortunate louts has got his zombified hand stuck in the power box. Blast some out of the garden comes back inside… Staring at the message, unable to believe it and hesitant to accept it.

“Hello? Can you see me???”

The sight of a living woman on his computer screen startles him so badly that he falls index2office chair – she’s not sure how to react.

She tells him that she is trapped – she was lost as part of a caravan on its way to a place called Antioch, a safe haven in the mountains with hundreds of uninfected people.

He turns her down, returning to his usual routine. But the next day an unmarked white van arrives with two guys that claim to be from Antioch want to talk about the girl he  met online. They want to go and rescue her, convinced that she’s got the antivirus in her blood. They need to do it before the man carries out his plan to blow up the city. They force him to help lead them through the sewers to go rescue the girl.

index2He makes it to her, but so did the zombies – they run for it, and of course not all is as it seems with the man from Antioch.

It’s predictable, and not really anything to do with Richard Matheson’s I am legend, but for a low-budget asylum film, it’s actually a good piece of work that manages to hit a lot of the tonal beats and give us an entertaining ride. I’m genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed this film – and definitely worth getting as part of the set.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Deadline : Auto Theft

Deadline Auto Theft begins with a daring helicopter hijack. The thieves though have the bad fortune to land right where police chief Hoyt Axton is having lunch with his porn star daughter and her sleazebag husband. The hijacker jumps into a sports car and begins the first chase of the movie. We get lots of high speed and crunchy car crashes as they race down the concrete spillway that we’re so familiar with from Terminator 2, Grease, not to mention countless Donald G Jackson films. It’s around this point, with Hoyt Axton hot in pursuit and singing into his CB that I notice this whole thing is beginning to sound just a little bit familiar…

What were watching is actually the scene that was being filmed at the beginning of the Junkman – that’s right, we are in director Hollis’ follow up to the fictional version of gone in 60 seconds! This is actually kind of cool.
Axton finds himself dressing down his police force for crashing too many cars during the chase and present them with their new assignment as we cross fade to our hijackers at a very familiar looking wedding. Axton is looking for a group of hijackers that are responsible for a rash of car theft, and back at the wedding we find H B Halicki telling his brother that they’ve got a big order – 40 cars in record time… Wait a minute, what? I’ve seen this movie too!

Deadline Auto Theft is a strange remix of Gone in 60 Seconds with the addition of that early car chase and where hockey has swapped out the police chief Hawkins for the most part with white Axton‘s Detective Gibbs – complete with a whole new subplot involving his porn star daughter and scumbag son-in-law who’s car Halicki stole as part of the whole affair.

It’s a bizarre mishmash – it’s nine years later and not only has Halicki visibly aged, but his camera skills have gotten better with the newly shot footage comes off as much cleaner and slicker looking than the old footage that’s being mixed in. All the character moments are still there, the heroin scare, the epic jump, the 40 minute car chase – but now it’s been repackaged in this sort of parallel universe director’s cut that makes the continuity police in me want to tear my hair out.

In all fairness, between Gone in 60 Seconds and Deadline Auto Theft, Deadline Auto Theft is the superior production – it benefits from Halicki getting some more time behind the camera and some experience doing what he does. However, this strange attempt to re-edit and re-package his first try also has the effect of killing his career. It would be another six years before Halicki would attempt his fatal come back.

Ultimately this collection of films creates an interesting footnote as far as low-budget film making goes – but I can’t fault the man. Gone too soon, he left us this fascinating collection of movies and I’m better off for having explored them.

 


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

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Last of the Living

mastersofterrorindexLast of the living actually starts off pretty nicely – with shots of young men cinematically exploring and abandoned city juxtaposed with news footage of the zombie apocalypse. It’s overlaid with a punky rock song and sets the tone perfectly

We introduced to the trio guys who are living in a house together – young bachelor types reminiscing about the girls  and wondering what they’ve got as far as supplies. The real problem is the beer is low, so they decide they need to make a run. They gear up with sports equipment and run through the abandoned city trying to avoid the zombies while high energy pop music plays in the background. We get some inventive zombie kills and a generally fun vibe from the film. Adam takes a detour to try and rescue a hot girl, but she turns out to be a zombie. We get the impression this isn’t the first time this has happened. They finally arrive at the grocery store and enter cautiously. It’s a stock scene, very much a rip-off of what we saw in Shaun of the Dead.

index1Right around the end of the first act I’m wondering if this is going to be just a slacker dude zombie comedy when our group discovers a young woman and her father hiding in one of the abandoned buildings. The father is immediately dispatched of course because we need some romantic tension, and the young woman reveals that they were trying to transport a sample of what they think might be the cure for the zombie plague to the authorities. She convinces them to help.

They arrive at the lab but things take a turn for the worse when the power goes out in the zombies invade.

index2What was a much more lighthearted film suddenly turned serious as the zombies become more of a threat and the bickering starts amongst our characters. It’s almost as if the film can’t decide what it wants to be, and as we attempt to get this sample to the people who can help during the zombie apocalypse things turn all of it more dire. We get a couple of deaths that I totally didn’t expect towards the end. It ends up being exciting but a severely uneven film. Definitely worth a watch, especially on late night cable or when included in a box set like this.


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

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Jim Sternako

AutographsSternako is one of the legendary Shadow artists. I got him before his autograph price suddenly tripled.

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Halloween Kills

I really enjoyed the Halloween reboot a few years ago. It was a genuinely good relaunch, tense and scary, one that embraced a lot of the lore, but without getting bogged down in the minutia. It was straightforward and did what it needed to do, reinvigorate the series and reinvent it after we got the taste of Rob Zombie out of our mouth (I’m not a detractor of those movies by the way, I like them, but they’re more Rob Zombie films than they are Halloween ones).

*Mild Spoilers*

Halloween Kills doesn’t quite land the second swing. It’s still maintains a lot of the feeling that we get from the reboot, but it misses the point in a lot of places. It wants to be a message movie, about how humanity is the real monster, the mob is the real evil, and The insertion of this subplot, takes up way too much time and is way too heavy handed to be effective.

Picking up immediately after the events of Halloween 2018, Laurie Strode is being raced to the hospital, and the firefighters are on their way to put out the fire in her house. We’re introduced to some of our characters through flashbacks, and of course, the charge to destroy Michael is led by Tommy Doyle. Chants of “The evil dies tonight!” are pervasive. Michael is on a rampage, killing his way through the town as he carves a path back home. Michael is all about home. About looking through that upstairs bedroom window… Or perhaps he’s not looking through the window, perhaps he’s just looking at his reflection and into himself. Either way, this is where he’s headed, and it’s where the ultimate showdown will be.

The film is heavily loaded with reunions. Tommy Doyle, this time played by Anthony Michael Hall (Part of me is upset they didn’t bring back Paul Rudd, but then again, he hasn’t aged a day since part six back in 1995 and actually might not look OLD enough for this version). Charles Cyphers police chief, and Tommy’s young sleepover friend Lindsay from the original… we even get a quick nod to the Silver Shamrock masks from the unrelated part three! However, we spent a lot of time on reflection and reunion and retelling, and much like the heavy-handed “the mob is the REAL monster” subplot, the stuff gets very old. It’s not that I don’t wanna see these characters back, it’s just that there’s so much of this family reunion stuff going on that it distracts from the film.

Jamie Lee Curtis for her part is sorely under used. They keep her at the hospital for the entire film… And this is no Halloween 2, where Michael is stalking the hallways. She’s just out of the way. We get a mob scene at the hospital where they think he might be coming to get her, but it’s all a red herring. Michael’s not after her, he just wants to go home. It almost feels like one of those movies like the direct to video Hellraiser movies, where they bring in the lead actor for a day or two, that way they get the name on the cover, but they shoot all the coverage separate from everybody else in their own little corner of the set and get it over with. Honestly, the easiest way to solve the pacing issues would be to drop a lot of the hospital stuff, and give Jamie Lee Curtis basically all the lines and actions that Judy Greer (playing her – Laurie strode‘s – daughter) has in this film. Give her a chance to really be the hero again.

That’s not to say this is a bad movie. Horror fans and gorehounds alike will be thoroughly satisfied with the amount of blood constantly thrown at the screen as well as the levels of the torn flesh that we get to see. Michael is brutal as ever, perhaps even more than usual, and this Director loves the spectacle of the violence. If you don’t see the night go in, you’re still going to see blood spraying towards the camera. It’s everywhere. It’s also frequent. There is an enormous amount of action here, almost with a comic book pacing. The problem here is, there’s very little actually thats frightening. But that’s OK, you’re not coming to this movie to genuinely be scared… You’re coming to visit familiar faces. The familiar heroine in Laurie Strode, and the familiar villain in Michael Myers (by the way, there’s a certain brilliance in the way the Shatner mask has been burned and weathered. It ages Michael up, giving him the same character lines on his face that mirror those on Laurie), even the familiar legacy of Doctor Loomis. And in those respects, it really does deliver and makes a fairly good companion piece to the 2018 reboot. However, the film can’t stand on its own and feels a little sloppy (not to mention about twenty minuets too long). It’s a little poorly put together, with an ending so bleak that it genuinely bothers me. Then again, we knew there was another one of these coming out already. It almost makes me wonder if the ending had been altered in someway to make that happen.

I wish I could say this was a definite go to on opening night, but it really isn’t. I wouldn’t be opposed to streaming it, or renting it when it comes out, but in many ways it feels like this is a step backwards in quality. A real shame considering how far this series has come.

Halloween Kills opens in theaters on October 15th

 


Mr. Freeze vs Wonder Woman

Costume

I actually ended up doing two versions of this – the first one among the ruins didn’t really thrill me. WW kept blending into the rocks. The blue and red background may be simpler, but it really pops a lot more.

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Cinema Wasteland Fall 2021

“You’re not leaving already?” Eric Roberts looked at me.

I smiled and shook my head, and as I readjusted my backpack.

“No, I’m just trying to get everything stashed and get out-of-the-way.”

Roberts smiled. “You’re not ever in anyone’s way, and you’re a lovely man!”

You know, these sort of things just don’t happen at Horrorhound.

It feels like Cinema Wasteland lite this time around, even more so than the movie nights Ken occasionally throws. He tested the waters with one of those movie nights month or two ago, and was putting on the first full Cinema Wasteland this weekend since the lockdown. But, the attendance was a little more sparse than usual. Regulars like Tom Sullivan were notably absent. About half of those in attendance and vending were wearing masks. Like I said, it felt a bit like a light version of the normal show. Nevertheless, I hadn’t realized how much I needed a wasteland weekend.

I did an smaller number of shows the last couple years… Basically hitting anything that was open to show support for the cons that dared to run a show. That means a lot of Jeff Harper events, as well as some trips south to the Toyhio show. It also meant a couple of trips to PA, where my buddies finally managed to drag me to the big Steel City comic con in Monroeville. But Wasteland is different. Wasteland reminds me why I love convention life. I said it in my reviews, the Steel City is a cash grab. It’s a cattle call, moving you through expensive guest lines and it’s programming is lackluster… Then there are the shows like the Harper events where there’s no programming at all.

Wasteland is all about programming. It’s all about the curation, and showing me films I never knew I needed to see like The incredibly strange creatures just stopped living and became mixed zombies. This one was playing Friday evening, hosted by Gunga Jim. I generally enjoy his stuff, and he is always a fun personality at the events. Gunga Jim came into the movie room to announce that this would in fact be the only time he gets to show this film. Somebody had just snatched up the rights to this public domain movie, just this week and that prevented him from selling it or ever screening it again. Such a bizarre development, and really, after watching this movie… Who would WANT to buy the rights to it? This thing isn’t getting a criterion Blu-ray release!

But I also was happy to be back at Wasteland to remind me that there are still shows out there that aren’t just trying to gouge their customers at every opportunity. Most guests were charging $20 for an autograph, and that went down to $10 if you brought your own thing. Photos were free with the autograph. David Millbern was pleasant and chatty, showing me photos of his new Emmy, as well as the contract from slumber party massacre… just to prove how ridiculously low his day rate was. I make more than that at my own job. Roseanne Katon squealed in delight when I Unrolled my Motel hell poster for her to sign… She’d be the first person on this one. She talked about filming and even shared that her daughter had dressed up as her character for Halloween one year… gotten make up for a bloody slit throat and everything. Fred Olen Ray was in his corner, hocking DVDs. If you bought two or three, he would throw in a free autograph. That’s actually a pretty good deal on the best of days. Likewise, James Edwards from JR Bookwaters crew was set up, and happy to sign my DVD copies of Dead Next Door and Robot Ninja for free. He was delighted to hear about the screening we had in Cleveland couple years ago and amazed I actually got to see it on the big screen.

Guests at Cinema Wasteland tend to be more obscure ones, not the main stream folks who are constantly on the convention circuit… there are a lot of first-timers and these are people who genuinely want to be there. They’re having fun and amazed at how nice the crowd is. Wasteland tends to spoil a first time convention guest for any other shows.

Zander Vorkov could not make it this year, some health problems have sprung up recently, so I signed the giant get well card that Ken had set out at the registration desk. Another fun little touch that wasteland generally does for guests to have to bow out because of some ailment or another.

I managed to slip in for the short film block, but I swear, these things are getting longer. The last feature was a full hour! That doesn’t count as a short film in my book! Still, I sat through an interesting kind of ghostly cult film for 23 minutes and God bless the guys who did the second one. Creating a fun and Quick little shock story and showing how effective that can be even in a mirror three minutes. I’ll admit I bailed right before the third time. I know what to expect from this particular filmmaker, he’s an expert in molding and sculpting silicone, and nobody does gore better than he does. I wasn’t up to 40 minutes of that though, but I did run over to his table To purchase some grotesque body parts for my collection.

My personal favorite film this time around, had to be psycho ape. The premise is a crazed killer rate goes around murdering people with bananas. In this universe, bananas are as razor sharp and deadly as any knife or blade. He’s pursued by a teenage girl who wants to be the next Jane Goodall, trying to help him, and the sinister doctor ZOOmis; Wildlife specialist with a Dr. Loomis from Halloween sort of obsession with capturing and imprisoning psycho ape. The apes it is bad, the CGI blood packs are terrible, and the whole thing is just ludicrous… And it revels in it. They know exactly how bad of a film as it is, and they lean into it. It ends up being bloody, funny, and just a generally good time.

I ended up my weekend, by popping out to wasteland Sunday afternoon for one quick last go around in the dealers room, before headed out to the Cleveland Comic and Nostalgia Show a couple towns over in Westlake. I’ve reviewed a couple of Harper shows this year already, there’s not much that changes or that needs to be said. I was there for $.50 bins and to hang out with a friend who was having a birthday.
 
It was nice to cap off the weekend with one extra run through a different dealer’s room. All in all, it really does help remind me, why I enjoy con life. I can’t wait until we really see things get back into full swing.
 
 
 
 

 


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

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House 4

franchisebannerindex.jpgWho the heck is Lewis Abernathy? Because I think he’s got a lot to answer for.

One of the things that really sets House 4 apart from the rest of the series, is the budget… Or rather the lack of budget. It appears to be the lowest budgeted entry in the franchise, and it really holds it back. You can see it in particular once we’re in the house. Other than the living room, the house looks extremely plain and unremarkable. It feels more like a cheap TV show set rather than a residence. That’s not surprising, considering that it is infact a set. You might have seen much of this set used previously in The People Under the Stairs. in fact, The People Under the Stairs were actually reusing the sets from this film, House 4 was shot first, filming in 1990 but was shelved indefinitely until it’s direct-to-video release in 1992. Of course when you don’t have a budget, what do you do? You get a star! Or at least you get a cameo. William Katt returns for this entry, although if you’re watching this for him then you’re probably going to be a bit disappointed. He’s killed off almost immediately (and only shot 2 days on set) because of a power struggle and land deal over what has to index6be the creepiest family homestead out in the middle of nowhere ever! How anybody could look at this is anything less than a haunted house I don’t know!

Katt’s character Roger Cobb has a new wife and daughter, and a brother that we’ve never heard of before. He and his brother argue over what to do with the house. Roger made a promise to his father that he wouldn’t sell, it’s a generational promise that his father had also made to his grandfather, who believed the house was magic. The Cobb family gets in a automobile accident, killing Roger (and just to make sure we’re certain of it, we actually see his wife sign the do not resuscitate order… if I hadn’t already known he was getting killed early on in this thing, I’m pretty images4.jpgsure I would have been pissed) and crippling the daughter. The wife, honoring her husband’s wishes refuses to sell and returns to the house to live in it. We now have our setup.

It becomes Terri Treas film, but the transition feels awkward because part of me still wants Roger Cobb to be the main character. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly flashing back to the accident and looking at photographs of Katt – it’s an attempt to keep the character in the film, but it also subverts Terri’s character of Kelly as the lead. She’s brought back to the house with her grandfather (Dabbs Greer, who happened to play the minister on Little House in the Prairie) and he tries to talk her out of staying, but she’s adamant. Staying here will be her way of honoring her husband’s wishes, she even brings him index2.jpghome. Roger Cobb’s ashes rest on the mantle of this old house.

An unexplained housekeeper arrives to help them whip the house in shape and they gather up all the old junk for a yard sale. Around this time the brother shows up again, shocked to find Kelly living there. He expected the house to pass to him, but that’s not the way it worked. He attempts to apply some pressure on her but she won’t sell.

Creepy things start to happen, brown goo from the faucets, a vision of a hand emerging from Roger’s ashes, and then there’s the singing Pizza – which is possibly the weirdest and most effective gag in the entire film (That’s Kane Hodder’s face in the pizza by the way). Then the nightmares begin. It’s enough to drive her to the local Native American images3shaman to try and search for answers. He tells her that the house is built over a sacred spring, a healing place for spirits. A great seal was built to seal the last of this power and to hide it, the house was built over it, and now Roger is trapped there.

In the meantime, the evil industrialists still want the property, and Roger’s brother has promised to sell it to them. They’re looking for a dumping ground for toxic waste and it’s a cartoonish and its portrayal of the villains. It’s a very typical Captain Planet sort of bad guy. Since they can’t get them to sell, he send some goons over in fright masks to scare the mother and daughter. Curiously enough, the house protects them. A dog shaped lamp on the daughter’s nightstand transforms into a real dog to chases the men away. It does more than that, it shows Kelly the way that her husband was murdered – it’s giving her visions and now she knows that it was Roger’s brother who murdered him. It’s time for one last showdown between her, the house, and the bad guys.

The movie is far less polished and effective than the previous entries, but it really does manage to capture the spirit of the House films. The real quibble here is the wholesale alteration of every canon – we know from the first film that Roger had a son, not a daughter. Sure, this could be a step daughter and a new wife, but it’s not really clear – in fact it’s really suggested that this is his biological daughter and he’s been with her all along. That’s in congruent with the events of a film a mere seven years prior. It’s weird because while House 4 may be the weakest to the series, it’s far more true to the franchise than the third entry was and in many ways I like it better as a sequel. What I really need, is something to bridge it back to the first film and address the continuity changes. Could someone write me a novel please?


Dollman

midnighthorrorindex.jpgOh Full Moon, how I love thee. Tim Thomerson too. Albert Pyun perhaps not so much, after all he was the one who gave us that appalling Captain America movie with Matt Salinger. Still, Dollman has been one of Full Moon’s stable of franchises for awhile, so I’m kind of looking forward to seeing how this turns out. Please don’t let me down “story by Charles Band”!

The film begins a galaxy away from earth, on a red planet called Artotos. We get some stock footage from Buck Rogers and then cut to a criminal being chased through concrete alleys. He holds up in a laundry room with 13 hostages and that’s when they send Tim Thomerson . Big gun, sunglasses and an attitude. He’s got a reputation as a Dirty Harry space cop – in other words he’s playing Tim Thomerson . Did I mention he’s also already under suspension? Doesn’t matter, he gets the hostages out without anybody getting hurt and this just makes the index2police chief angrier. Despite him saving the hostages, the police chief and the news reporting that everybody died in attempt to frame Thomerson .

Thomerson is then kidnapped by gangsters who attempt to kill him in the wilderness – he turns the tables on them, blasting them on the pieces before the leader escapes… Pursues his flying saucer in a spaceship and his own and they both plummet through a rift in space, ultimately crashing on earth.

There’s only one problem, the people on Earth are six times larger than the people from index1.jpgThomerson’s planet. It’s a world plagued by graffiti in crime and gangbangers in the middle of a block war.

Six times his size or not, Thomerson isn’t about to sit and watch an assault happened and immediately saves a girl from three gang members with his insanely powerful gun. The girl issafe, but she knows that the gangbangers will be back so she picks up dollman and his entire space ship and runs off. In the meantime the gangbangers discover the head from space, and he makes adeal with them. He promises ultimate weapons  if they take care of him – and more importantly if they take care of Thomerson . The gang shows up at the girl’s house and Thomerson index3.jpgfights them off – the boys are a little surprised that Dollman has such a big gun!.

As the girl attempts to make things better in this impoverished neighbourhood, the 81JvVEaNr2L._SL1500_Dollman starts to give the people hope – hope that maybe they can ultimately get rid of the gangsters. The gangsters of course are ready to respond in kind, kidnapping the girl and spiriting her away to an old ironworks… It’s up to Dollman now to rescue her!

Dollman is classic full moon – an over the top comic book action film with a touch of gore though they’re not veering so far as to be gross. They managed to be low budget without looking cheap and this is a perfect example of full moon when they’re truly on their game!


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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