Stargirl is totally gearing up for a spin off. I swear it is. This weeks episode of infinity Inc. part two, resolves the whole story about Jade searching for her brother obsidian. I’m not sure if I’m completely on board with the look they’ve given him sit in here, it’s really just black and smoky… And they’re really leaning in to the idea that he is shadow and that she is light. I literally said to myself “they’re really trying to go for their own version of Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger aren’t they?“. Still, there’s worse directions they could go. The other thing that really amuses me is how the episode kept the shade and stripes he trapped in the Shadowlands for most of the hour. The thing about the Shadowlands… You know how the CW kinda has this thing where you’re constantly seeing “attractive people standing in dark hallways talking about their feelings“? Well that’s basically what the Shadowlands is. It’s the ultimate dark hallway for people to sit and talk about their feelings as their deepest fears and regrets are probed. It amuses me to see The CW double down on this… They’ve practically gone meta with It.
But all around, it was a nice little side quest. This two episode story doesn’t really feed into the whole rest of the seasons whodunnit theme, but rather, as I said, seems to be setting up a spin off series. As Jenny and Todd leaves The asylum – the helix house, Mr. Bones ponder as whether or not he should put together a team of his own, just like Stargirl has. Jade and Obsidian on the other hand, are heading out to find the son of the Sandman. He’s having dreams that for tell the future, and may need help. It’s a heck of a loose end that they’re just dangling there. Series biz. Watch and see if they don’t throw together an infinity Inc. series to be announced next summer or fall (especially since Stargirl has now been cancelled), once the CW And Warner Bros. have shaken out their transition. It may not be on the CW, but I bet it’ll still show up SOMEWHERE (And feature bits of the Stargirl crew too).
I was delighted to see that Star Trek Prodigy was back. I knew it was coming out sometime in late fall or winter, but never had any real indication of when. I’m grateful that there’s actually Star Trek out there that I can watch, and this continues to be the best of all the modern Star Trek series. We see the kids pulling up the Protostar to the nearest star base… Basically a relay station on the edge of the known galaxy. I’m actually kind of delighted to see that the uniforms look pretty correct. They’ve added black to the shoulders, but otherwise it’s the future uniform from all good things, including thesame. com badge. I always liked this look, and the black gives it a bit more of a transitionary look… Like they’re eventually going to be a solid color rather than the TNG style they are evoking. And also confirms that strange and ugly pajama like uniforms the kids are wearing were specific to the protostar. How do we know? Because we get flashbacks to the Protostar’s launch and Janeway sending off Captain Chakotay. It’s good stuff, and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed these characters as much as I do in this show. it’s not just nostalgia, Chakotay is given an actual role here, and Janeway just feels right in both her admiral role and in the mentor role that we get on the ship.
It’s also great to see the crew back. We get a little bit more information on their races. Even with Dall, we get clues to his identity… Some thing that’s been a minor subplot throughout the whole thing. Of course, it can’t go smoothly… Drednok, the robot bad guy from last season has been hiding his consciousness in the ships computer, and is now ready to emerge. He downloads himself into the star base and wreaks some havoc there, giving us a nice little adventure on the front end. In the b story on the other hand, we have Admiral Janeway on an expedition to figure out what happened to the protostar and find Kote. Well, she doesn’t find him… But she does find The Diviner (our head bad guy) floating in suspended animation. We’ll see what kind of answer if she gets from him in the next episode!
You know, with all of the talk about the television that I watched… There is a show I have neglected to talk about. It’s because I generally catch it late, and because it’s obviously just a bit of a Temporary fill in for Halloween. You may have noticed occasionally that I happen to be an old fan of horror hosts. In Cleveland we had big chuck and little John, but back in the 60s 70s and 80s almost every market had something. Elvira was probably the most well-known, managing to go national for a bit, and in Chicago, there was Svengoolie. Recently our cable package shuffled again, and I discovered that added METV to the lineup. I have been overjoyed to be able to watch Sven again, even thoguh I don’t usually talk abotu it in the blog since it’s mostly a movie show (Though from time to time, I do review the movies he screens!). This year, during spooky season, they’ve expanded his presence, giving him extra blocks of shows like the twilight zone to host, and tagging on a special exploring the hosts history. But the other thing that they’ve done, is added An after show… Sven Tooney. Like the old-fashioned local UHF stations, METV also has kids programming in the morning. It’s a block of cartoons, Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, that sort of thing. It’s hosted by Bill Leff and Toony. Toony is a puppet of a red tuna… And every now and then he’ll pop over to Sven’s show, to harass Svengoolie’s rubber chicken Kerwin. Well apparently last year, when I couldn’t watch the show, they spun Tooney off into his own spoof of Svengoolie show. Sventoonie! Apparently he’s returned this year, with his own parody of Sven’s show where he, his DJ blobby (A blob fish with an electric charge like an eel), and Trevor, a dead video store clerk, do some comedy bits and talk about old public domain movies. They cut the film up so that they can fast forward and summarize it, while still throwing in their own bits. I actually almost enjoy this more than Svengoolie! The thing is, with a horror host, in that two hour block, you get about 15 minutes of the host. The rest is the movie and commercials. That’s still fairly true here, but it’s a half hour show, so 50% or better is dedicated to the hosts and quite frankly that’s what we’re here to watch! It’s a great little thing to sit down and watch at lunchtime on Sundays, and a really nice companion to Sven’s show. Looks like it’s only going to be the six episodes this year, and that’s fine. It would probably grow old fast if it were overexposed all year, but I’ve really been having fun with this, and it’s been the highlight of my week this October.
With that said, Happy Halloween to everyone, and will be back next week, hopefully with some more thoughts on Netflix CGI he-man and the masters of the universe!
Pierce Brosnan is my favorite James Bond, but I think at times we forget just how much of an action career he had before the Bond franchise. Live Wire takes us back to those post Remington Steele and pre-Bond days, and even though it’s only 1992, it actually feels earlier, like somethings shot in the 80s.
We are introduced to Brown‘s then disarming a bomb in the car, and then getting a restraining order to keep him away from his life. That’s OK, he’ll soon have his hands full hiding terrorists. They haven’t been the same since thier daughter died, and the mother in law definitely doesn’t like him. Indeed, they keep inserting this subplot throughout the movie, to the point where it’s a little distracting. Of course it’s also a plot point considering that Ron Silver’s character, the senator in charge of the investigation, also had a bit of an affair with Brosnan’s wife. Terrorists assassinate a US senator and are creating a super villain super weapon that turns human beings into living bombs. I admit, I’m a little distracted by the fact that Ben cross is a villain – I’m so used to him as Barnabas Collins on the revival of dark shadows in the eerie way that they tend to light him only emphasizes the similarities.
Even with the sci-fi premise and explosions, what this really is, is a police procedural rather than a straight up action or espionage flick. It’s a good one though, Brosnen is playing his character a lot more crass then I’m used to… His typical charm is largely absent but for some jobs you need a crass detective instead of a charming secret agent! It’s up to Brosnan to unravel tangled web of bribery and poison and explosives culminating in a shoot out at the senators sprawling estate. The movie definitely gets definite extra points for all the MacGyvering we get to watch as Brosnan uses household items to slow down and fight back against the bad guys.
Ultimately, Live Wire is a competent and interesting enough thriller. There’s moments of Miami Vice in it, as well as moments of CSI. The familiar faces help but aren’t necessary… more of a bonus. I can think of worse ways to spend 86 minutes.
Every Wednesday and Friday
Every Wednesday and Friday
Silencers is one of those movies that’s a little confusing from the word go. they’ve change the cover in this edition, otherwise I think I would’ve recognized it from the video store days. Traditionally this has a stark white cover with the title in the nemesis on, featuring three men in black with large hats pulled down in sinister fashion over the shadowy faces. It was a blockbuster staple that you could almost always count on finding on the shelves, right next to Patrick Stewart’s Safe House and the Curse of the Blair Witch documentary.
We start off with credits over a retelling of the Roswell Landing, then go right into aliens abducting a cow (in a CGI spaceship that looks pretty good as long as it doesn’t move) and then follow up with a shoot out at a funeral between and the alien trenchcoat Mafia and the Secret Service, led by someone who looks a lot like the dad from step-by-step.
Turns out it all concerns of plot and a deal with aliens for their interdimensional travel technology. The whole thing has a very 1990s television look to it, TV level production values in special effects, stock soundtrack played under flat lighting, with a lab that reminds me a bit of Timecop and a concept that feels reminiscent of Stargate.
Halfway through, we have another alien arrive from another dimension, and fighting the assassin from the beginning. But I can’t tell who’s the good guy who’s the bad guy, because the assassin is working for some secret government agency. One act in and I’m still not sure what the hero is. But it does seem to represent a war between two alien races.
When the alien trenchcoat mafia decides they know longer want to cooperate, the military calls in the Secret Service being from the opening shoot out to take care of the problem. With the aid of a good alien he’s got to hunt down the bad aliens stop them from bringing their army through the dimensional gate to conquer the earth! (It’s an awfully small army though, only about eight people… Maybe there’s just more that we’re not seeing)
The film evolves into sort of buddy cop action flick, and they’re not stingy with the blanks or the sqibs (Red squibs AND green squibsby the way!). Plenty of action, however it moves a little slow and an hour and 40 minutes is too long to sustain the story. Still a solid classic rental and if you find it as part of a DVD set, it’s prbably the best way to grab this film!
Every Wednesday and Friday
So, Nailed It is back, it’s a kind of Halloween themed series, but I gotta say I love the fact that this show has managed to hang in there this long. Netflix shows, even the quickie half-hour things like this are generally one to three seasons and done, but somehow, nailed it just keeps coming back. It’s an absolute delight for all of us in my family, and I hope this thing keeps going for many many years to come.
Then there’s Stargirl. We finally get to see Jade’s brother Obsidian… and he’s gay. It’s vitally important that you understand he’s gay. It’s terribly, terribly essential that they show you that he’s gay, and they have to do it within seconds of meeting him! It doesn’t actually have anything to do with the story, it never comes up again, and doesn’t drive the character thematically. In fact, now that I think about it, you could just as easily, (perhaps even more easily) have introduced him as a solo runaway before the rent-a-cops pick him up and deliver him to the Infinity Inc. guys, but no, it’s essential that we make sure you know he’s gay!
It’s one of the things that bothers me because Stargirl has, thus far, mostly been above this sort of ham-fisted virtue signaling. We got a little hint of social justice during summer school with Eclipso’s temptation of Beth, but it was mild, and organic to the story. This is just shoved in for no reason, very “in your face” and it pulls me out of the story. That kind of stuff is also the first sign of a CW show getting ready to jump the shark. Supergirl took a hard left turn into social justice first, and story as an afterthought. So did Legends, and Batwoman was basically defined by it from the word go. One of the things I’ve been enjoying about Stargirl (and for that matter Superman and Lois) is that they’ve been largely free of this sort of thing, and when it does show up, it’s nuanced and generally background… And organic part of a story. Perhaps I’m overreacting, but I’ve been enjoying Stargirl so much that it would be a real shame to see it go the way of a lot of the hyper politicized shows that the superhero genre seems to be plagued with. The rest of the episode is solid. We get some good green lantern action with Jade, and green lantern stuff is always welcome. There’s still some struggle as Courtney tries to regain her friends trust and we get a fairly shocking development with Yolanda right at the end of the episode. It’s super hero soap opera to be sure, but I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.
Got to close out by mentioning that The Food that Built America is back as well, although the format seems to have changed. It feels like they’re matching multiple episodes together… Building on The stories they’ve already told us. It’s very much a second season kind of feel to it… A continuation with some continuity to it. Interesting and unexpected for a documentary series like this. Still, I’m riveted, and it makes for good Sunday night viewing. It’s still a high recommend, if you haven’t seen this show, you should check it out.
As for me, I think it’s about time I pull out my copy of the great pumpkin!
It’s actually been a while since I made it out to an Oddmall. I like Oddmall. It’s hard to peg down exactly what it is… It’s not really a convention, more of a marketplace. But it’s a marketplace with entertainment. They don’t usually have full panels, though sometimes there are readings and such. Usually there is music and some comedy. There’s also typically a costume contest. In that, there’s definitely more in common with a full blown convention then say, one of the Harper shows… And those do bill themselves as conventions. The programming itself feels a little bit more like a library convention, but on the other hand, those don’t tend to have such a focus on the dealers room as this marketplace. Like I said, hard to define.
I had actually intended to hit Oddmall : Hallowondrous back before the lockdowns. The last one that I’ve been put on, I had sat, looked at my costumes and thought “I should really go down there and check this one out. It’ll be a great place to test out this suit of armor…“ But, when the weekend came, I ended up just not feeling it, too busy, too tired, whatever the excuse was. I thought “I’ll just go next year.“
Well we all know what happens next don’t we?
Truth is, I haven’t been back to an Oddmall since then. They canceled it a good years worth of shows, and I wasn’t digging the mask mandates… then the political administration changed and gas immediately went up by over 50%, then the Ukraine war started, and gas went up another 50%… all truncating my con tour.
Still, I wasn’t quite ready for convention season to be over, and I figured I could sneak out to Hallowondrous Friday night after work. Skeletor hadn’t been out too much yet, and a second appearance in a smaller venue would help me work the last of the kinks out. I also wanted to bring him because this version of Oddmall has a peculiar feature… Half of it is outside. Andy fills the Shriners hall Full of vendors, surrounding the main stage. Then he adds an extra three or four rows of vendors outside, as well as a line of food trucks to peddle their wares to the hungry attendees. Because it’s Halloween, the vendors all have buckets of candy for kids to trick-or-treat from booth booth. All in all, it’s a great set up. It also makes for a nice environment for Skeletor … Outside with the lights on the costume glowing, he becomes a particularly striking figure.
Inside, I watched the open mic section going, then transition into a DJ doing nerdcore music. All fun, as I browse through the endless isles of curiosities and handmade art. I had one small child in a storm trooper costume just fascinated by me in my costume. At one point he ran up to me and exclaimed “I have something to show you!“ So I followed him over to a vendor that was selling a hand carved Skeletor art box. A lot of fun to be able to play like that.
When the costume contest finally came around, I hung out in the back with a giggly bunch of anime girls and a man dressed as macho man Randy savage. That sort of thing always makes these events interesting, the strange cross sections you get. Macho man is convinced that we are in the same universe, since Mattel had been releasing the masters of the WWE figures. We headed out on stage to battle it out for the contest title. And as we enter, we were shocked to see a giant chicken on stage. A strange inflatable costume. Even stranger was when a second giant chicken in a fluffy yellow feather costume jumped up and got into a fight with the first chicken… It’s moments like those where you just stand and wonder about how you got yourself into the situation.
Andy came up to interview me and I introduced myself.
“I am Skeletor , and my newest plan to defeat he-man and the masters of the universe is to conquer Oddmall!!!”
“It’s not that hard, You can have it,” and he replied with a sardonic chuckle.
They followed up the costume contest with a performance by local band Gothnicc – a surprisingly good concert, and nice way for me to wrap up my night. Oddmall is always a delight, and I’m so happy to finally made it out to Halloween dress. We’ve typically hit at least one of these a year, and I think that’s a habit I need to get back into. We’ll see you guys next year!
The “teen movie” really came into its own in the 80s with the John Hughes series. Jim the worlds greatest predates that. It’s a sort of film that lays the groundwork for what the teen movie would become. Don Coscarelli’s touch really shows through in this movie with his signature dreamlike quality, tracking a non-linear path through the story. In this way you can actually tell this is from the same director that made Phantasm. Such themes are only reinforced by the fact that it’s a story of an older brother watching out for his younger brother… Indeed the entire thrust of the film is an older brother, probably a senior in high school who is already taking on the responsibilities that really should belong to the delinquent father of this piece.
Jim World’s Greatest also has a sort of meandering slice of life quality to it… There’s no real narrative or story here, there’s just life as we drift from set piece to set piece. It’s much the same technique he would employ in his next film; Kenny and Company. Just drifting, at least, until the third act – when things get serious.
I didn’t expect this to be a comedy, but I’ll admit I didn’t expect it to get as intense as it did either. Angus Scrimm gives a performance of a lifetime here, grim and depressing as the out-of-work father who occasionally gets drunk and beats his kids. We really only get to know the present-day father, the failure… and we know it wasn’t always like this. We get glimpses of him during happier days trough flashbacks – it’s an impressive juxtaposition that Scrimm delivers brilliantly.
Reggie Banister (who apparently never had hair on top) shows up as well, giving one of the most lunatic and wacky performances I’ve ever seen him do. It’s a little more than a cameo as a crashed wind rider, but man it’s always nice to see a familiar face.
In the end, it’s quite an emotional film – and it really shows Coscarelli’s skill. It almost makes me sad that he transitioned into low-budget and horror, and yet this is the kind of film that was ideally suited for the 1970s, and that era would not last forever. It genuinely makes me wonder though, what Coscarelli would do with such material today. I’m not sure that he could even get it made – the era of emotional low-budget dramas in the theater seems to have passed, and thanks to Coscarelli’s negative experiences during his brief sojourn in to the studio system, he’s been jaded enough to never venture there again.
There is a definite evolution present here, a direct line from Jim the worlds greatest, through Kenny and Company, directly leading into Phantasm. Seriously, THAT’s the trilogy. You can see Coscarelli and his sensibilities develop while staying very true to the concepts that intrigued him, and it only reinforces my belief in how underrated this filmmaker is.
One of my favorite things is discovering videos of events that I pop up in. You may remember that Maddie and I hit hall of Fame City Comic Con a couple weeks ago. Just this morning, these two vids popped up on my feed and I wanted to share them here!
Every Wednesday and Friday
It wasn’t that I DIDN’T want to see it, I just didn’t care. Black Adam wasn’t really a priority for me to go see. I never understood why DC was trying to make him the next big thing back in 2005 when they were doing the whole “Villians United” bit. Still, You’ll know from my constant gushing over Stargirl that I’m a JSA fan with a strong connection to Golden Age heroes, so when a friend slipped the pass across my desk I was happy to hit the movie.
Flat out, Black Adam was one of the best superhero movie I’ve seen in YEARS. This thing is nonstop action, perfectly cast, I love everyone of these characters. I connect with all of them. I revel in their triumphs and gasp at their failure.
No heavy-handed messaging, but rather, it’s very true to what the characters are like, much to my surprise. I admit that I automatically dislike race swaps, It’s the laziest kind of virtue signal. In this case however, I kind of see why they decided to change Hawkman. Both he and Doctor Fate are portrayed as aristocratic fops. The races help differentiate teir look and I love the slightly Black Panther style African style to Carter’s civilian look. Aldis Hodge plays him perfectly neutral, but Pierce Brosnan is just amazing. Percfectly composed, heroic, with just the right amount of snark.
Also kind of funny, it feels like they’ve been listening to a lot of the complaints about the Marvel movies… And they are trying to give us everything we’ve been asking for a head of the marvel movies.“You want *that red* character? We’ll give them to you!” “X-Men? Sure we’ve got that! Come see our version! We’ve got a Storm and a plane in a hanger below the mansion and everything!” “Want a Doctor Strange that actually drives the action and does freaky heroic magic? Try out Doctor FATE!”
Of course we’re this far down into the review and I haven’t even mentioned the Rock – but that because he’s always solid. He’s channeling Dave Bautista’s Drax in this, but it’s fine. it works. It especially works because it almost feels like an ensemble, despite the production and promotion being star driven.
Seriously, I have no complaints. In fact, I’ll be dragging the kids out to this one when it comes out Friday!
Black Adam hits theaters October 21, 2022. Go see it. Seriously.
Every Wednesday and Friday
The poster read “the blood is back“. And they’re right. It was finally that time again… Time for 12 hours of Terror. I’ve been a regular at this film festival since it’s inception, and it’s fair to say that I’m a fan. The selections are consistently excellent, the promotion is fun, always including a secret movie to keep you guessing… and quite frankly, it’s a good crowd of people too. I see a lot of the same folks year after year, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re not all jerks. You’re not gonna get a drunk Juggalo screaming behind you at 12 hours of terror the way that I did at Cybertronic Spree. A lot of my friends attend this, and I’m usually reasonably confident that just showing up, I’m going to have somebody to sit with. But even if I don’t, that doesn’t matter. Because we’re all here to have a good time. I’ve met interesting folks at the show, include The chef dude with the mohawk who regaled me with stories about Texas chainsaw to being his favorite of the movies, or the guys that I gushed with about getting to see Nightmare on elm Street for the very first time on the big screen.
I got in and secured my seat with some of my crew. Mark and Jenny made it, but Jennifer and Chris we’re gonna be absent this year. I was gonna miss them as well as Bree. On the other hand, I was delighted to see that wolf child had made it in, and Jason was sitting just a couple rows back… Ready to make dumb comments through the entire night. Dave came out and announced the plans for the evening. The secret come with play fifth, and dinner break would be after the third movie.
“We’ve got a new sponsor this year, Citizen Pie… And they have provided pizza for dinner tonight. A lot of pizza. However, I know there’s some of you out there who could pretty much eat an entire pizza by yourself… We’ve got a lot, but we don’t have that much!“.
I don’t know about you, but I feel personally attacked. I grinned and gave him a thumbs up at the “I know there’s some of you who could eat an entire pizza” line… On the other hand, it’s 12 hours of terror, and nobody wants to be that guy. I didn’t think he had much to worry about, and I was right. The food line went quick, and it wasn’t long before they started realizing they had way more leftovers than anticipated. At that point. It was all you can eat… And let’s be honest guys, I take all you can eat as a challenge rather than a description.
The evening started off with Graduation Day. It’s a movie I’ve never seen before, although that may have something to do with the trauma distributing. I don’t hate trauma, but I’m not gonna go out of my way for them. On the other hand, this, like killer nerd – which I was talking about earlier in the wasteland post, was more distributed by trauma than actually made by them. Indeed, my buddy Mark got his film Suburban Legends : Life on Rainbow Road distributed by Troma as well… and considering I’m in that movie…(And also consider considering that Lloyd filmed a cameo for me when Madeline and I were doing The Backyard Zombie Movie) I should probably ease up on the smack talk.
Graduation Day is an interesting little slasher with some surprisingly good kills. I got myself really drawn in and enjoying the movie… And I will straight up admit, they got me in the end. I did not figure out who the killer was, and the misdirects totally worked on me.
They followed that up with Carrie. This is the original version, and one that I’ve really only discovered recently. It’s always been on my radar… Even as far back as my first meeting with William Katt… but I’ve never gotten around to actually watching it until a DVD copy fell into my hands from the dollar tree, along with a fortunately timed retrospective on the production booth podcast. Still, that’s only been about a year… So it was still reasonably fresh in my mind. But I’ve gotten over the initial shock and was able to settle in and just kind of enjoy it for what it is. It definately gets me in the mood to follow it up later this week though, with both the remake and the musical!
The next film up was The Mist. For some reason, I keep mistaking The Mist for The Fog… And I embarrass my little myself a little bit in line while I was discussing the film. Someone had to correct me and point out that I was actually thinking of the fog and that changed things retroactively for me. This is one of the cool things about 12 Hours of Terror though. Mark and I were discussing what influences we saw in it and I pointed out the Lovecraft influences I saw in the monsters. The guy in line ahead of us pointed out that it’s a dead on description from the book, and totally a Lovecraft kind of creature.
On the other hand, the ending of this is so grim, it’s such a downer that I was a little upset. Seriously, don’t send me out to dinner with the sads! Also, the most unrealistic part of The Mist isn’t the monsters… It’s that the pharmacy still has a comic book spinner rack!
I took my first of many plates of fleet pizza upstairs. There’s a sort of lounge in the upper areas of the capital, and I knew they’d be sitting up there. I also knew a lot of people wouldn’t be flocking up there… It’s not the sort of place they think of. A young man in a mystery science theater 3000 shirts that down next to me and we discussed the new season of MST3K over at the gizmoplex. He’s really enjoying it, and was telling me all about the new host that’s sharing time with Jonah. This is one of those things that I have long observed about convention life. It’s that you can walk up to anybody there and just start talking to them. We all broadcast our favorite fandom‘s on our T-shirts or our costumes, and the very fact that we’re there tells you that we’re safe to talk to you about those things. It’s something that my daughter has been discovering and leaning into more and more, and I really love that. 12 hours of terror is much the same thing. Indeed, even standing in line for the bathroom… it’s Cleveland.
“Come on man, this isn’t an Indians game!“
“Man, if we were back at the old municipal stadium… You just go behind a girder… in fact, you’d probably already be sitting there.’
“I don’t know, you’d probably see a few fewer murders at an Indians game… I’m not saying none… Just fewer.“.
By the time I made it back into the auditorium, they just switched From competitive pizza tossing on the big screen, two commercials for showbiz pizza – a competitor to Chuck E. Cheese back in the day. It got our hopes up that perhaps the secret film would be something like Willys Wonderland.
In an attempt to make up for bumming everybody out with The Mist, Dave had scheduled Jason X next. Jason X is a fun time, and possibly one of my favorite Jason movies of all time. I broke one of my normal rules about eating during a horror movie. That never ends well for me, but I’m already familiar with this film and it’s kills, so I didn’t feel too worried about my imagination getting out of hand. Besides, at this point, I had a platefull of half a pizza. Props to Citizen pie by the way… My company used them to cater a job out in Cleveland a few months ago as well, and I really dig what they do. That’s good pepperoni, and a very nice crossed. Just the consistency of dough that I like.
I grabbed posters for the new film Run Sweetheart Run, as well as candy from the table to Netflix it set up. I also noted that the future video was selling stuff here. I almost wonder if more of a dealer‘s room might be a nice thing for this show. I grabbed a shirt from a few years ago that they discounted down to five dollars, and really thought about grabbing one of the trailer compilations future video was doing. In addition to their own original movies, they were selling a trailer compilation of all the movies from the first 10 years at 12 hours of terror. It’s an inspired move, and they sold out before the end of the evening, helping to make my choice for me.
Finally it was time for the reveal for the surprise screening. When we opened on closed circuit camera monitors of chaos in the streets, Mark venture to guess coat diary of the dead?“ i’ll be honest. I’m not a big fan of Romero’s second zombie zombie trilogy. I did watch land of the dead, thinking that it was a direct sequel to the Donna the dead remake actually, and it just didn’t do anything for me. I settled in, because well I don’t necessarily object to a screening of diary of the dead, this is indeed probably the only way that I would watch the movie.
But it doesn’t feel right. The camera panned down to a monkey. All of a sudden I found myself wondering… Wait… Is that Cesar? Is this one of the planet of the apes prequel’s? All of a sudden, I want a diary of the dead back. I know it’s heresy, but honestly, I have absolutely no interest in any of the planet of the apes films. Then again, this was all feeling very familiar. Increasingly familiar at the animal rights activists broke into the lab to free the animals. I suddenly had an inkling… One that was confirmed as soon as the lead scientist spoke.
“They’re all infected!“
28 days later. Yes PLEASE.
I like 28 days later. I even have it at home on a VHS tape. But I’m pretty sure I recall call originally watching it back in the days when I was staying home with my first daughter. We watched a lot of zombie back then, baby Maddie enjoyed the bright colors and all the red on the screen. There’s just one problem. The ending. Dude wakes up after getting shot, and he’s in an old house with Selena and Hannah, sewing together a large banner and every bit of fabric they can find to spell out the words hello giant letters on the ground. A plane flies by, hopefully seeing the message, and realizing that there are survivors. But… That’s not how this movie ends. I’m sure that’s not how this movie ends. I’ve seen it half a dozen times… And that’s not right!
Mark and Jen were no help. It was actually their first time seeing the movie. I twisted behind me to try and get an opinion out of Jason. He shook his shoulders and admitted it been too long since he seen the film. The young woman in the row ahead of us, sing me freak out and wonder if I was crazy pulled some information up on her phone to show me. The movie had it originally had three different endings, and the doubt downer ending that I remembered, where dude died from his wounds and Selena and Hannah walk off sadly into the sunset is indeed one of the ultimate endings. It’s one on my videotape, but not the one presented tonight. Fascinating. It’s a gag the producers had set up ages ago for the original screenings, but here we are, Over two decades later, and they’re still getting me. You have to love that kind of stuff.
Demon Knight was Up Next. My buddy Mike insists we saw this movie in the theater,Though I still feel like it was a rental. In any event, it’s one of those movies where it’s been so long since I’ve seen it, it was like watching a new film. They rolled Crypt keeper bits on the screen during the intermission before the film rolled. It opens with a typical slasher scene, which turns out to be a movie the Crypt Keeper was supposedly directing. Meta, before meta was a thing! I completely forgotten that John Lara cat is in the opening bit, and that was fun in a bit sell. But the thing with Demon Knight is, unlike Bordello of Blood, which features very recognizable Dennis Miller, Demon Knight is filled with actors that I just didn’t know… Certainly not at the time. I am familiar with Billy Zane and William Sandler now. And quite frankly, I should’ve understood who Dick Miller was back then, but I’m ashamed to say I do. Demon Knight comes from a time before Jada Pinkett became Jada Pinkett Smith, and one of the worst people in Hollywood. But at the end of the day, this is one of the movies that I really needed to revisit as an adult. A lot of it comes off very different now with 40 year old eyes instead of 20 year old ones, and I appreciate it that way.
One of the big problems with 12 hours of terror, is that it’s rarely actually 12 hours. In fact I don’t know that it’s ever been 12 hours. But this one in particular was especially egregious considering that we already passed 12 1/2 hours by the time we finished Demon Knight. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was spent. Despite really liking what I was seeing with Demon Knight, at the same time I was still kind of falling asleep at points. That’s what happens when you start to push 50. So it is with great regret that I ended up bailing on the last film… Bride of Reanimator. It’s still relatively safe to do, I know for a fact that it’s streaming on Tubi right now, so I can get to it when I’m not quite as exhausted.
Though I am a little bummed out for fitting the opportunity to actually watch it on the big screen. Still, I cannot even begin to express my delight in the fact that 12 hours Manage to return to Cleveland on the other side of the lock downs. Seasons Bleedings is returning as well for another round of seasonal horror! It’s a shorter festival than 12 hours, and may actually be a bit more manageable, but still an absolutely good time. My friends and I will be hitting that up in a month and a half and if you’re in the northeastern Ohio area that first weekend of December, you should absolutely come out!
The film ends of course, with a one on one between the bad guy and the new guy, with the wager being whoever loses leaves the mountain for good. But this only comes up within the last 15 minutes or less. If we’re gonna have these kind of stakes, we kind of needed them to show up earlier in the film. It would also be helpful to see more actual ski training. Like I said, there’s very little of it here, and the whole ski resort as a backdrop… It feels tacked on an arbitrary. You could basically transplant this anywhere, it could be baseball camp, drama camp, high school or college, he could be anything. He never seems to matter to the characters except as an excuse as to why they’re there. It never drives the action.
Critters attack is the unexpected sequel to the 80s critters movie. When I say unexpected, I mean it’s been 20 years since this franchise went dormant and while it’s got a great cult following, I’m a little surprised at this resurrection. Filmed separately and simultaneously with Critters a New Binge, Critters Attack has a very different tone and approach to the series.
In recent years there’s been a push to take series that had gone too comedic and try and drive them back towards a more sinister and scary atmosphere. The Nightmare on Elm Street remake was certainly going for this and Tom Holland’s New Chucky films we’re also trying to drift in this direction. Critters Attack follows suit, dropping the critters onto earth during a meteor shower and unleashing them to rampage as they will. Their leader is missing an eye, but it’s not the wacky sort of eyepatch gag that Critters a New Binge indulged in, but rather a scarred and hollowed out eyesocket so that you can distinguish them from the rest of the generic in uniform looking critters.
While babysitting kids for one of the local college professors, our heroine finds a fluffy Mogwai like character in the woods, and brings her home just before the critters attack and start to destroy her hometown. Is revealed that this character is the queen, and that this female had come to Earth to try and stop the rest of the male critters from their destruction. The male critters on the other hand are incubating other small critters within human bodies until they burst out like the xenomorphs in Alien. It’s all a fairly radical departure from everything we seen in the previous four movies, and definitely a different continuity from a new bench. I almost wonder if x-Men comic writer Scott Lobdell was interested in anything more than deconstructing the mythos and putting his own stamp on it.
Of great note is the fact that Dee Wallace returns for this film. It’s not a major role, she’s the subplot, an old cat lady turned bounty hunter who spends all but the last 10 minutes or so separate from the main cast, hunting the critters on her own. It’s nice to see Dee back, but she doesn’t really resemble the character that she played in the first movie and this attempt to turn her in the Sarah Connor or Ripley feels shoehorn in.
I don’t necessarily wanna sound like I hate the movie, it hits most of the right beats. Bloodthirsty a little fuzzball‘s that roll from place to place, giant critter ball, bazaar carnage, but it all feels like it’s missing the heart. That’s one thing to play thing straight, it’s another thing to forget just how ludicrous your premise is and I think this movie has done just that. I miss the subtitles on the critters. I miss the attitude and the gags that we get peppered through these movies. A Critters movie should be perhaps a little scary, perhaps a little gory, but overall it should be fun, and this isn’t as fun as I hoped it would be. I’m glad it exists, and I’d hope that it will keep the series going a little bit longer, but I also hope that The next time we see a critters movie, it’ll be somebody striking a balance between the outrageous slapstick of A New Binge and the too serious tone of Critters Attack.
Every Wednesday and Friday
Every Wednesday and Friday
It’s a return to the Beachland Ballroom for me, and it’s been a little while. But Cybertronic Spree was finally coming to Cleveland, and it was a show I didn’t want to miss. They’ve been in the area before, and before the lockdowns have been scheduled to play the House of blues. I have to say, the Beachland feels like a more proper venue for them. Newline newline that’s not to say that the beach Lanza great and comfy place… It’s a bit of a dive actually. It’s the sort of club that makes you wish you were someplace classier, like an American legion, The YMCA, or a high school gym with a murder van parked outside. Nevertheless, they’ve got a reputation for bringing in strange, and eclectic acts. Not just local metal and punk, but things like the devotional… Featuring bands doing tributes and stuff in the style of Devo. I’ve seen Max Sabbath and galactic empire and the Okily Dokilys There, as well as catching one of the found footage festival tours. It’s a weird joint, and that makes it perfect for Cybertronic Spree. Also, it’s got way better parking and less chance of getting shanked than the House of blues in downtown Cleveland. (In all fairness, I say there is less chance, not no chance…)
Of course the night starts off with a visit to the trashy vintage store in the clubs basement “This Way Out”. It’s fairly reminiscent of Suite Lorain in the west side antiques district on Lorain road. Antiques and vintage really come in two varieties, classy and kitschy. Like Suite Lorain, This Way Out skews seriously kitchy in glorious fashion. They also specialize in vinyl – appropriate for a concert club.
I wasn’t down there very long though, before I heard the thunderous sounds of the first band tuning up. Time to run up and blow out my eardrums!
The show opened with Olathia. I’ve never heard of this band, but my buddy Ed has. He even knew it was the bass player’s birthday! They’re not bad, local metal. Like a lot of metal bands with female singers, they leaned into a more melodic type of metal. I dig that. Less cookie monster and more tunes. They rock hard and loud and I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.
And then there was Weird Paul. Weird Paul singing about his hello Kitty necklace. Weird Paul singing about needing bus fare. Weird Paul singing about working at Spenser Gifts and not being able to have his phone on the sales floor. Weird Paul singing “I think this kid is having a seizure”. Throwing beach balls into the crowd, then holding up a Skippy jar lit by a strobe light, while Weird Paul sings about his favorite types of peanut butter. (Serious biz, I forgot Superman Peanut Butter was even a thing!) Dude was a trip. VERY strange. But also a clever choice. He was playing this tour solo, so after breaking down the stage from Olathia, they set up The Cybertronic Spree, and added a n extra mic and stand for Weird Paul’s laptop which he ran all of his backing tracks from. That made for minimal teardown time before the main attraction.
As soon as Weird Paul announced he only had a couple more songs left, I slowly started making my way up until I hit the front row! I literally had my hands on the stage!
Cybertronic Spree was everything I hoped they would be. Yes, they did the whole soundtrack to the 86 film, but they interspersed it with other classics like “Barracuda” and “Immigrant Song” as well as throwing in a variety of cartoon theme songs. Spider-man and X-Men were back to back and when it came time to play the Pokemon song, Soundwave tossed giant balloon pokeballs into the crowd.
In attendance that night was Alpha Magus, a cosplayer wearing his version of Macho Man Ultra Magnus. While he isn’t part of the band, and was just there for the show, he got invited on stage where he proceeded to throw slim jims into the crowd!
The band ended the night with thier rendition of “Don’t You Forget About Me.” It’s such a brilliant and quintessential 80’s song that it fit’s perfectly with the band.
All in all, a good night. I spent much of my time staring at the construction of hte costumes and looking for ideas. Lots of jumping up and down iw ht the crowd and singing aong to the songs. I left happy, with my ears ringing. It’s definately a show worth seeing when they come to your town.
Every Wednesday and Friday
There will be mild spoilers. They probably won’t actually reveal anything as much as they may confuse those who have not yet watched the film. Proceed at your own discretion.
You may have noticed on this blog that we are Hellraiser fans. I mean serious ones… I have watched all the movies, even the ones that most people don’t know about. I have written defenses of some of the less beloved ones like inferno, bloodline, and even revelations. I have done up Hellraiser costumes, and in fact even documented the process of crafting my pinhead make up years ago in a series called the Hellraiser Project. I’ve read the books, and more importantly I’ve read the comic books. By the way, the epic ones of the late 80s and early 90s are far superior to the stuff that Christopher Monfette said he was riding with Clive Barker for boom.
So the time has finally come, for a new Hellraiser movie. I know that a lot of us were really hoping to see a continuation of Judgment in some way. Paul Taylor did the role of pinhead justice, but with him banished to earth in a somewhat cliffhanger ending, going further in the series may have explored more of the auditor and the Stygian Inquisition. All of that would’ve been welcome. What wasn’t going to be embraced, was the dreaded word…”remake”.
As production went on though, the word remake shifted to reboot, and then barker himself redefined it as a reconfiguration. That may well be the best description of this film.
Hulu (via IMDB) describes it as “A take on a Clive Barker’s 1987 horror classic where a young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that it’s purpose is to summon the Cenobites, a group of sadistic supernatural beings from another dimension.” When opened, you have a choice – let them take you, or let them take someone else and feed the box. It continually changes into diffrent shapes, diffrent configurations -and with each human sacrifice getting you closer to the final configuration, and an audience with the god Leviathan (I’m so pleased to see Leviathan back BTW, and he’s never looked better!) who will grant you a boon. However, you must remember, that just as described in the Hellbound Heart, Leviathan and the Cenobites don’t percieve things the same way we do. “his real error had been the naive belief that his definition of pleasure significantly overlapped with that of the Cenobites.
As it was, they had brought incalculable suffering. They had overdosed him on sensuality, until his mind teetered on madness, then they’d initiated him into experiences that his nerves still convulsed to recall. They had called it pleasure, and perhaps they’d meant it. Perhaps not. It was impossible to know with these minds; they were so hopelessly, flawlessly ambiguous.”
I do take this film as another sequel, not a reboot. Different box, different demons, different methods and aim – same god and same universe. Some elements work, and some don’t. There are times I’d like to see some leather on the cenobites. They’ve taken the description fromn the book to it’s extreme ” the scars that covered every inch of their bodies, the flesh cosmetically punctured and sliced and infibulated, then dusted down with ash”. The problem is the skin doesn’t always look real. It’s too much of that pale color and when lingered on great expanses (such as the skirt on Pinhead or the habit like veil of flesh on Deep Throat) it comes off as fake and rubbry rather than skin. just a touch of leather or some other tatters to break up the monotony of the vast expanses of flesh would have gone a long way to making this perfect. (and to those who keep trying to insist that this is truer to the novella, allow me to remind you ” Frank had difficulty guessing the speaker’s gender with any certainty. Its clothes, some of which were sewn to and through its skin, hid its private parts, and there was nothing in the dregs of its voice, or in its willfully disfigured features that offered the least clue” Yes. There are garments involved in those cenobites too). The gift of the cenobites too – that was really bad looking. I understand they are trying thier own take on “There are conditions of the nerve endings,” it said, “the like of which your imagination, however fevered, could not hope to evoke.” yes, but I feel like I’d perfer this done hands on, not with a clumsy infernal machine. Whenever it’s tried – whether it’s the transformation chamber in Hellbound, or the more tech based cenobites of part three or the tech feels in Bloodline – infernal machinery always feels ….off. They try to hard to tie the look to the box and always make it too big. I just don’t like it. Where it does work however, is on the box itself. The new take on the box though is really interesting with it shifting shape after each death and taking on different configurations. These don’t have to look like anything but macabre art and that’s really where it’s strength lies. It’s also fascinating to see a new puzzle – one that works in a different way. I’ve long held that Event Horizon is also a Hellraiser sidequel and that the ship itself was the puzzle. That’s really as close as we’ve truly gotten to a puzzle that works differently in this context until now. I am absolutely here for it.
I like the overall story. It’s as good as any of the sequels, an better than some. I wonder though, if it realizes how much it borrows from the late series entries?
While this feels mostly steeped in Helbound, stalked in the mansion gives me Hellworld vibes (so did the stabby box). A house designed as a trap/cage feels very Bloodline. Multiple victims (Them instead of you) reminds me a LOT of Hellseeker (I’d go as far as to wonder if Kirsty has heard of this cenobite order and it’s methods and thought she might give it a try with Dougs Pinhead). While Helbound establishes only the one the cenobites has come for can see them, that expanded take on “stalked and visions of cenobites” is very Inferno. I feel like there’s bits and pieces of a lot of the series, tossed into a blender and inserted here.
Approaching it as a sidequel he is really what allows me to enjoy the Evil Dead remake as well, and it’s particularly effective here, because despite some of those cosmetic changes, this feels like it fits into that world.
it’s not without it’s flaws though. It’s VERY much a 2022 film, with all the tropes of current year movies. Not bad mind you. but I can already see boxes being checked off (You can see it in 80’s and 90’s movies too) in ways that make it less timeless than the first two. The recasting of not only Pinhead (and by the way, I’m really not one of those guys that insists ONLY Doug Bradley should ever play Pinhead), but honestly, most of the speaking line cenobites as women along with the heavy homoerotic elements might be less obvious in another political climate, but in 2022, they almost standard diversity slots that studios are obsessed with filling whether they come organically or not. They fit well enough here, but are in your face enough (far more than say, the shoulder pads in Julia’s blazer in the original) that someone looking at this movie will be able to pinpoint EXACTLY when it was made. That’s not necessarily a dealbreaker though. Hellworld has similar problems. It’s a VERY 2000’s movie, but I like it too.
Ultimately I think I’m on board. It’s not a bad sequel, and I think this may be one of the few reboots that could spawn it’s own sequels. That’s a tough trick – reboot is frequently the end of the line for a lot of franchises, (NOES, Night of the Demons, Friday the 13th) other’s fizzle out and return to a different continuity or something ambiguous (Children of the Corn, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween). It’ll be interesting to see where we go from here, and what Clive Barker may have up his sleeve in the future.
Look, there’s worse things to do on a Sunday afternoon, and much like Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Festival, it’s just a quick two exit hop down the highway after Church. I recall it being really small, but nice enough from the last time I went, so I packed up the kiddo and off we went. We wanted simple costumes so I brought Venom (With a Star Lord jacket because it’s starting to turn cold. Venom has spent time with the guardians. It works) and Maddie brought Todroki. My buddy Josh met us up there in his Cobra Commander costume and in we went.
I have to wonder if Bay-Con is a another casualty of the lockdowns. Last time I went it was WAY bigger (despite being a tiny library style show). The Ghostbusters were parked out front. Stuff was going out in the back, events and vendors. This time around it was limited to a single room, and music playing by the picnic benches out back.
Still we were determined to have some fun. We took photos all over, doing pics and videos of Maddie with the gauntlet, and Josh with his RC Optimus Prime. I thumbed through the comics from Carol and John’s and Maddie found a new book she wanted. I drew some artwork in their artist alley and we grabbed cookies for Maddie’s sister and Mom back home. Maddie ran into friends from school which was especially cool, an the promoters kept trying to get us to sign up fro the costume contest. Sadly it was scheduled for three thirty, and even squeezing a full hour out of this show, we were still ready to go by two.
All in all, not a big day, but not a bad one either. I’m sad though, to see this show shrink rather than grow. Maybe a few years will help. I’m not sure I’ll be back any time soon though.
Devoured is not what it seems. That cover, while spectacular, has nothing to do with the film and that may be its biggest problem devour is a thriller disguised as a Ghost story.
We have Lourdes, an immigrant, come to America to raise money for her 10-year-old sons operation back in El Salvador. She works late shift at an upscale restaurant in a big city that looks a lot like New York. Lately, she’s been seeing things at the restaurant. She’s under a great deal of stress, and not treated well, but as if that weren’t enough, now she’s starting to see ghosts. A single ray of sunshine opens up when she meets a Kindly firefighter and starts to get friendly with him, but it’s not enough as her entire world pulls apart all around her.
We have a twist ending, which kind of goes back and explains everything that we seen in the rest of the film… Ocean’s Eleven style. Everything makes sense, the drama is good and the tension is high, and the third act has some very smart scares.
But it’s not the ghost story it seems to be. And that’s a little off-putting. Definitely worth the watch, yes something very intelligent about the way it’s written and heartbreaking in the way that it’s shot.
Mostly one location
Cover misrepresents the movie
Stock DVD cover (Exorcism style)
Trippy Mind games