When it comes to old time voodoo zombies, I’m a fan. From White Zombie to films like this… Although I’ve got to wonder, of all the public domain ones out there why they chose this one? I think i’d actually have liked Mantan moorlands “king of the zombies” netter. I mean, if you’re going to kinda cheat on a box set like this and stick in some public domain stuff, I personally want to go at the best… Maybe it’s the name, the name is quite shocking although I’ve personally always wanted to see this done in a double feature with “I drink your blood ”
Still, this one is nice pick… It’s typical of 50’s B-movie schlock ( i know it was made in the 60’s but it really LOOKS 50’s) and the ping-pong ball eyes are a classic favourite of mine. The story is fairly simple. White man accidentally creates the formula for zombies from snake venom and a dash of voodoo and things go downhill from there. In the end, this is not a film that I generally seek out, but at the same time I’m not likely to turn it off if it’s going to show up being hosted by my favourite horror hosts. Let’s face it, this one was included on the set for padding and not much else.
It’s very strange, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a convention shrink in the way Cleveland Comic Con has. Still, it may have been just what it needed – a new tweak to the formula that finally makes this convention work.
Cleveland Comic con has had a bumpy road – with growing pains exacerbated by disorganisation and a grander scope then they can facilitate. I think they tried too much too soon and it has constantly dogged the quality of this convention and kept me away quite a bit. This year was different, everything moved smoothly. It feels like the convention dialed back some of that scope and is able to better accommodate the type of crowd it receives. That doesn’t preclude growing in the future, but they’re not ready yet – and the smaller two building-one stage set up they had running here suits them very nicely.
They gone out of their way to bring in some interesting guests as well – Sam Jones was there, overcharging for his Flash Gordon autograph. They brought in some minor characters from the Walking Dead as well. Vincent Ward and Santiago Cirillo are both actors I’ve already got on my walking dead poster… Santiago did Concoction a year ago and was just as much fun this time around – even with a lot of the same stories… I wandered into his panel, and he stopped dead pointed at me and yelled “yes! Slime me!”
That’s right, Cleveland comic con was finally the big reveal for my slimer costume.
Slimer was actually a big hit with everybody – freaking out some of the venders and drawing laughter and applause from Jones over at his Flash Gordon table.One young man stopped by me and asked “is it worth it? . I admit, it was hotter than expected, but absolutely. He is a remarkably fun character and you can get really silly with the body language – the people at the ghostbusters booth lost their minds over me!
I actually really dig the way they handled this costume contest – with prejudging around one, and everybody lined up for that. It would’ve been nicer however, if they had made the instructions about this clearer – I honestly just stumbled into the correct line and had I arrived much later I would’ve been excluded.
But all in all, I like prejudging – they give you a chance to really connect with the judges and explain what you have done and how you’ve done it without being under the pressure or time crunch of a costume parade. A couple hours later we are all lined up and doing our thing on stage which once again, a great deal of fun… It didn’t occur to them to let me speak or take a microphone, so everything was non-verbal – everything was expression and body language in this suit. It’s an interesting challenge, and I think I like it.
I finally got around to replacing my copy of Diane Carey’s Final Frontier – the one that I gave to my best friends ex-girlfriend. I always figured I just grab another one off the shelf of the local used bookstore, and hadn’t come across one since! Next to it in the paperback bin was an interesting looking copy of the Exorcist. I topped off my bag with a copy of the Art of Atari. I’ve been jonesing for this book since they announced it, and gem city had its usual excellent prices!
I’m really happy about what Cleveland comic con has become. It’s actually morphed into exactly the sort of show that I really enjoy – and I think now, it’ll have a better chance at growing organically… and that is something I deafinately want to see!
I have a very casual relationship with the Chucky films – I didn’t even see the first one until perhaps five years ago. It’s probably got everything to do with the conceit that I don’t find the whole scary doll thing intimidating. I think I watch two and skipped three, or perhaps it was the other way around… Either way those sequels didn’t make much of an impression on me… I thought Seed was just too weird, really liked Bride. I think that’s the whole ambivalence towards the scary doll thing talking again… The tonal shift really appealed to me as the films became a little more self-aware around then. Not quite an all out comedy, but very much a comic book type of film – and the addition of Jennifer Tilly to the series was actually a boost.
When Curse of Chucky was announced a couple of years ago, I found myself interested in the soft reboot. I wasn’t sure how this would work, going back to a more serious tone but all of the early reviews came in very positive. Once I finally caught it, I enjoyed the modern style and more serious tone. They played it straight without taking the material to seriously – it was a perfect balance, and they still acknowledged the continuity! This is something that has always impressed me about the Chucky franchise, particularly now that we are into some much later sequelsspread across the decades. They have never abandoned the continuity or gone for a complete revamp. In this day of remakes and relaunchs, that’s a brave and impressive and remarkable feat.
Cult of Chucky manages to be both a direct sequel to Curse, while still retaining its place as a general sequel to the childs play series. Again, no mean feat – particuarly since it manages to come up with a reasonably interesting take on the material. It immediately draws you in and gets you on board with the film. There was a little bit of jumping early on, but they managed to get you invested very quickly. Not only is Fiona Doruff back, but also returning is Alex Vincent – the actor from the very first Chucky movie, and with him is a scarred, mutilated Chucky head – still talking it little lips off.
Vincent is actually woefully underused in this film, his appearance comprising at best a “B”storyline that doesn’t quite pay off in the end… But that’s really where the problem lies. This movie is very much the second entry in a trilogy, and while I’m thoroughly entertained by 90% of it, that last 10% left me hanging and unfulfilled. That’s the real disappointment here, there is ways to do a middle entry where it still resolves enough at the end to leave you satisfied – Empire Strikes Back did it. Heck, even Star Trek 3 managed it. With this movie, I’m left hanging without the knowledge of whether or not they’ll be a sequel – and there’s the rub.
Cult of Chucky leaked online about a week and a half early, which is going to affect the performance numbers. This in particular annoys me because the film was literally coming to Netflix a week or two later. I’m not above a little bit of piracy when something is not readily available – not in stores, not on any streaming service, out of print and therefore prohibitively expensive, or is only showing for three nights in one theatre in Albuquerque… That wasn’t the case here. It wasn’t even going to the theatre, not some limited release, it was coming to fricking Netflix (and others!)! This is available to all. Come on guys! You’re ruining it for us all!
Quite frankly, I find myself wishing they had filmed this and the next entry back to back – done in such a way where they can tag a trailer at the end of the film (like Lord of the Rings or Back to the Future part two) to build up anticipation. As it is I find myself sitting here hoping that piracy hasn’t sunk this franchise just as it was getting back on its feet. I don’t want to wait another 14 years for the closing chapter of the story arc, much the way I had to with the Phantasm series.
Still, if you can get past the dangling threads of the ending, this is a fun film – It’s been compared a lot to Nightmare three, a comparison that is well earned in a lot of ways, but don’t expect more than homage from it. Fire up Netflix and give this one a shot – and while you’re at it, if you’re interested in knowing what I thought of the movie as I was watching it, you can keep this transcript handy – where I was jotting my thoughts down as the film rolled!
It’s amazing how Wasteland can leave me both completely relaxed and yet completely exhausted. You wouldn’t think that hanging out and watching movies all weekend would be such an endurance test.
Of course when you kick things off with a film like TANTRUM 2: PHANTOM OF THE DEMON, it’s already putting both your taste and gag reflex to the test. I actually dug Lucifer’s Cosmonauts from these guys, but they continue to push boundaries a little beyond what I’m comfortable with. Their films are very much platforms to show off their amazing skills at creating gore and torn flesh and various bodily excretions. The gross out volume is up to Troma levels, but lack the cartoonish edge Lloyd gives off. The unflinching earnest focus on shredded tissue and bodily fluids pushes these films to a cringing squirming experience. There’s no story to speak of, and what little there is, is told in a non linear format intercut with dream sequences, leaving you off balance and not quite ever knowing what you are watching. It’s the sort of film that could only be celebrated at Wasteland.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of Gunga Jim’s drive in. There were fewer host segments this time around, but I was still looking forward to his presentation of BLOOD
OF NOSTRADAMUS. Outside of the Santo films, I’ve had a hard time figuring out where to start with Mexican horror and this seemed like a fine candidate a vampire movie with some occult overtones. Apparently it was my night to be confused because the choppy story was all over the place. Fun but a little out there.
I love hanging out with friends at Wasteland. I got in early for dinner with Deb, Mark and Brandi, along with her niece who was experiencing CW for the first time. Rhonda (an occasional contributor over here) was drunker than usual this weekend which resulted in me hanging more with her friend Chriss than her! Jen and Chris made it out and finally got to meet our buddy Bruce Wayne. We missed Angelique and Nicole but Halle and I still managed to get into some hijinks with Dirk Manning. I brought Baron Morbid a Jason puppet and he traded me for a copy of Divine Exploitation and a Superman comic with an ending he hated. How can you criticize Jim Starlin anyhow? A young woman ran up to Doug and me, requesting a photo – “I was just here to deliver a pizza, but can I get a picture with you?”
I started to nod off during The CANNIBAL CORPSE KILLERS and decided to call it a night, but managed to get back in time the next morning for MICROWAVE MASSACRE. I actually really dig Craig Muckler, and he’s one of those kind of guys I’d never have discovered without Wasteland. He’s a writer, actor, producer…the sort of indie filmmaker who does whatever it takes. He was selling signed photos for $10 (and threw in an extra for me) which is another way of getting my attention. I love the picture with the side by side art for the VHS cover of Microwave Massacre vs the new Blu Ray. He offered the blu ray to the show promoter. Ken replied “This is wasteland. Were lucky to have a DVD player to run it!” With a smile he added “Besides, it was all grainy and pixilated when I first saw it on VHS, why should these guys get it any better?” .
I caught the first half hour of HOBO WITH A TRASH CAN (Chris tells me I need to finish it- it’s apparently really good) before rushing over to hear Craig’s panel with Chris Mulkey and Jill Schoelen. I’ve been a fan of Schoelen for her role in my favorite Phantom of the Opera and only recently caught up with Popcorn. Chris Mulkey was the real surprise. Funny, musical and all around a delight to listen to. he sat in on Ghastlee’s show later that night, playing bluesy rockabilly on a borrowed electric guitar.
I later got into a slap fight with a werewolf.
SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA was on the list of screening for later that night and it’s one that’s been on my list of films to see for a while. I’ve just never gotten around to it, but that’s really what Wasteland is for. I never would have thought to par it up with NIGHTMARE SISTERS though. Aside from an overlaping cast and director they don’t have a great deal in common, but they are great time capsules of that VHS era. Both fun horror with a very Charles Band/Full Moon atmosphere, it’s fun to spend some time on screen with Brinke Stevens, Linea Quigley and Michelle Bauer. These are also exactly the kind of films I come away with a far greater appreciation for after hearing a panel with the director David DeCoteau talking about them. He’s charming and funny and considering how prolific he is I don’t understand how this guy wasn’t on my radar before now. He was also signing for free. In a world where more and more people are charging $40 or $50 for an autograph (And causing me to walk right on past thier tables), this kind of thing really helps you stand out. It’s how I discovered Adam Green and it’s now what’s got me really exploring David DeCoteau’s filmography. Indeed, the fact that Craig Muckler and Brinke Stevens were both $10 meant I ended up spending my money at more tables and probably dropping a little more than I intended.
I still made it back for a bit on Sunday to catch the short film block and the always excellent intermission reels, but was running out of steam before THE HIDDEN screened. That’s okay, I’ll catch it later. I’m still trying to process TANTRUM…and just might be pondering that right up until wasteland comes back in six long months.
See you there.
Diner is well acted well put together – the only thing that’s missing here is the story. I was surprised by the serious tone here… They’re very much playing it straight and I’m not sure I get it. With a name like die ner (get it?) it seems like the makers of this film had a self referential sense of humour and I thought that would come through in the movie itself . No such luck – this entire thing is played pretty deadly earnest. We have a killer who has already murdered the cook and waitress in the establishment but patrons come in before he can make it to get away. . We’re given no explanation for why the dead walk, but they are standard zombies. Shanbling, flesh eating, nothing to see here. Our killer occasionally pontificates on the meaning of life and our couple is just screamingand freaking out. Like I said, the actors here are all competent – the editing is fine, there’s just no story here. There is no rhyme or reason to anything. It would fit right in with an episode of a Walking Dead anthology series, as part of a bigger world but standing alone,it fails to satisfy.
Can I just first state that I’m a little pissed that Disney pops up with a fun family princess film by this same title, about a year and a half or so after Adam Green released this thriller? I hate that these things are inevitably going to be confused, and the way that the Disney frozen really grabs that name in eclipses Adam Green’s Frozen. This is actually the first film of Green’s that I ever saw, it came on the strong recommendation from the late and lamented Horror et cetera podcast. It’s the story of three people on a ski weekend who get stuck on a chairlift, as the ski resort shut down for the week. It’s such a simple yet terrifying premise and it’s a great departure from the Hatchet films that Green was getting known for. Its a chance to show what else he can do. Even though it’s locked into the category, this is not really horror, not to me anyhow. This is thriller territory. There are no monsters here, unless you count the wolves that are very active below them. No, in this case the situation itself is the villain – and the interpersonal relationships take center stage. It is squirm inducing, and uncomfortable. It is the sort of movie that will stay with you, long after the film is over.
I mentioned earlier that this is a departure from the style of the Hatchet series, and that’s intentional – Green didn’t want to necessarily be pigeonholed into the horror genre, and really – this is the kind of thing where he shines. You have to remember that he started, writing comedy, particularly romantic comedy – and characters are really his strong points. While his romcom type work hasn’t gotten nearly as much exposure as the horror stuff, it’s where his skill sets begins. The emphasis on characters and relationships is what makes Frozen work. You genuinely care about these people, you emphasize and sympathize with them and that’s absolutely what this film needs to be able to tear apart your heart. That’s what Frozen is about really, to break your heart and to chill your soul – no jump scares, just suspense. This is absolutely a must see, although for me it doesn’t have a lot of repeat value. I don’t think I’m going to be a visiting it, but I’ve got a say – definitely watch it, even if its only once.
I’m at a complete loss to figure out what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish with this one. It’s obviously a throwback movie, and there are heavy influences from Fulchi’s Zombie and Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes here (I hear people say Cannibal Holocaust, but I really don’t see it….I think they’re reading too much into the title), with the setting, and the dubbing but beyond that I’m not sure what they were doing. If they were going for horror, they failed. It’s not scary in any real way. If they were going for parody, they also failed there too – it’s not funny or clever. It’s not really an exploitation film. At best it’s a hollow imitation of a grindhouse movie, but without the exploitation elements that keep those interesting.
A group of tourists on a boat end up on a deserted island. Sometimes there are cannibal natives (The whitest, most Caucasian looking barbarians this side of Iowa). One of the natives takes a shine to one of our characters and about halfway though it turns into a weird cannibal lifetime channel movie… Yes, I realize, this sounds inconceivable. Imagine my disbelief as I watched. Especially when the undead zombies arrive in the last ten minuets.
There’s no character development, and these people don’t really even have the substance of caricatures. The kills are uninspired and uninteresting. I’ve seen student films do far better with far less.
Perhaps the title should have warned me, but I’ve seen plenty of good movies with dumb titles. This isn’t one of them. I’m going to say just flat out skip this one.
As we look to the different video game documentaries, there’s been elements that are prevalent in each one. Chasing Ghosts reminds us of our love of video games, but it’s King of Kong that really makes us fall in love with the old system. The Tetris Masters brings us back in the competition and reminds us how hard it is to become a master. The King of Arcades reminds us that the communal arcades experience is an important one.
This is The story of Richie Knuckles.
Richie’s focus and intent is in bringing the arcade experience back by building one of his own. What’s really striking about Richie in these stories is how much he loves the games themselves – the time that he spends tracking down old arcade cabinets and rebuilding them. The amount of time that he spends loving the genre, and obsessing over the idea of the video games. There is a desperate attempt to recapture something that we really have lost in this age of online multiplayer. It’s omething about that communal experience, that commonality, that gathering place where we come to play but also come to be… Come to hang out. It’s an important thing. It’s an important place, it’s the mystique that rolls around these games in this era – I totally get it. That’s what makes this film so compelling – we get it, we share that same passion for these games, for this place, for this thing. Now, perhaps Richie Knuckles takes this to an extreme, but that’s really the purpose of film – that others live a life that we can experience vicariously through them. The ending is bittersweet, and in many ways we are just wondering if it’s really worth it… But one look at Richie knuckles face and you could see – yes it absolutely is. Of all the video game documentaries out there, this is absolutely one of my favourites. It’s right up there on par with the King of Kong in terms of sheer relatability and passion. This is another absolute must have if you love the genre and you love all video games.
It shouldn’t work, but then again, we don’t watch horror movies for the Oscar worthy performances do we? The wrestlers give a serviceable showing in their roles and are joined by some Romero alumni. I recognized the late Bill Hinzman’s name in the credits ( he was the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead) and quickly recognized Dawn of the Dead Alumni Joe Shelby and Nick Tallo. We even get a shot of the old crypt and the graveyard from Night of the Living Dead.
I’m surprised at how much I like this. It’s a nightime movie about a group of wrongfully lynched hicks who return – bearing more of a resemblance to ghosts than zombies. Whatever they are, the monsters have a great look to them and the carnage they wreak is bloody, gory and enormous fun. The film manages to create a spooky atmosphere, very reminsant of the Fog with the monsters reminding me a great deal of the Blind Dead. It’s that kind of movie. The killing and the gore start almost immediately, and it didnt take long before I was totally on board.
River of Darkness was one of the more pleasant discoveries on this box set and a perfect example of why I still buy these things!
Well there is the delightful scene of Adam Green making his quick cameo laying sick in the jail cell next to her. Green shows up in all three of these at films, and I always imagine that he is playing his character from Holliston – but out on a rowdy Mardi Gras trip (I think it would make it better is if Joel Lynch showed up as well). We are back into the bayou again but this time it’s different – we’ve got a SWAT team, armed to the teeth, infiltrating these dark woods. It’s a stark contrast from the last film’s disorganized group of hicks with shotguns running out into the night to try and capture Victor Crawley. The evidence of the previous slaughter is all around us – at one point one of the SWAT team members point out that there are someone’s testicles hanging from a tree branch – and that this is something that should never, ever happen!
The cast is once again stellar, with the SWAT team being led by Derrik Meres, but my favourite appearance in this film is Sid Haig. Sid showed up practically out of nowhere, as this bizarre hermit who had the ashes of Victor Crawley’s father. I have never seen him flustered quite so effectively as he is in act three, and I love it.
The monster suit looks better than ever, with the move from latex and rubber to silicone. The kills are as effective as they’ve ever been, and it definitely maintains the tone. The humour is still there, one of my favourite moments is when once again Perry Shen, this time playing one of the paramedics, remarks that they found a body out there that looks exactly like him – “we all look the same to you?” That it’s just a wonderful and brilliant nod to the fact that the same actor has appeared in every one of his films, even though he keeps getting killed off!
Green has publicly stated that Hatchet 3 is the end of the series (much to the fans chagrin). There was never an intention to go any further and he has no plans to continue this franchise – however we’ve heard similar statements both in the Nightmare and Friday franchises, and in all honesty I wouldn’t mind seeing more of these. However if this series is truly just going to remain a trilogy, I can’t fault him.the series ends on a high note with Green and the Hatchet films at the top of their game.