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Days of the Dead Indy 2018

Conman36114282_1980663205311426_3951822988420055040_nI’ve always said that the advantage Days of the Dead has over a lot of other conventions is the emphasis on programming – they’re not interested in just taking your money and letting you go shopping, they put on a show. There’s always more than one thing going on at once, and I decided this year to check out some of the events that I’ve never been to before.

Mind you, I still jumped in line to meet Ernie Hudson and chat with Ted Raimi… I’d passed on Ray Wise at the DotD show in Chicago because quite frankly, the joint was just too crowded and I was short on time that day. I made sure to remedy that oversight this time around as well as stopping by Danny Lloyds table. The Shining is an old favourite of mine and I can’t believe I haven’t started on poster for this sooner.

While Hudson and the cast from Nightmare 3 had good panels, I was really fascinated by the freakshow this year. Captian and Maybell put on a sword swallowing demonstration 36086927_1980663045311442_4233078088574959616_nand later hosted a panel on clowns. These two are hilarious and great showmen. I also poked my head in the film room. I think I’ve always been aware that this goes on, but unlike Motor City Nightmare or Horrorhound, I don’t think I’ve ever actually popped in to sit through the movies.Just like Cinema Wasteland, they begin Saturday off with cartoons, then move on to a lot of shorts. I noticed Bong of the Dead was laying here (I caught most f it at Motor City a couple months ago) and they had dropped brownies with thier name and screening time on the flyer table. BEST PROMOTION EVER.

It almost seems like there were more  props and photo areas set up for people to snap pictures at this year. These are great set us and I actually grabbed photos of them not only with me posing, but also empty so I can use them later as background plates. Of course it makes sense to have these places set up, because Days of theDead is increasingly drawing amazing cosplayers with it’s costume contest on Saturday afternoon.

The main downfall here is how expensive everything has gotten. More folks than not are charging $40 now, and extra for a photo at the table. Pricing still seems just a bit better than at Horrorhound, but the gouging has arrived in full force and it really sucks a lot of my enthusiasm away. This used to be more fun, back when the price points didn’t make me feel a little resentful.

Still, as far as bigger horror shows go, DotD is still the way to go. It’s well run by fans and I never fail to have fun here.

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Akron Canton Comic Con 2018

Conman

I’ll be perfectly honest, while this is generally average show – I really enjoy it because of all the friends that go here. I hit Akron Canton to hang out with Mike and Jason and Alli and to introduce my friend Rhonda to all of these people, as well as participate in the costume contest. Indeed, it was a beautiful day, just cool enough that I wasn’t melting in my Lego Deadpool suit – and in a smaller environment like this Lego Deadpool get a lot of love. It was a lot of fun to run around in this and delight all the kids at this show.

There were  more deals last year, I actually found some 50 Cent and quarter bins then. This year there is only one three for a dollar bin, and it was full of Archies (What is it with Harper shows and Archies anyhow?). Still, we hunted through the dollar bins – I got a nice run of Fight Club 2, as well as some Camelot 3000s that I had my eye out for. At least the dollar bins are scattered all across this hall as well as other deals – my friend Rhonda found an issue Creepy magazine for a shockingly good price.

Akron Canton is just what it’s always been, a Jeff Harper flea market with a admission – but it’s also a great place to hang out with friends and score some special stuff. I’ve got a soft spot for this little show and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back next year.

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Children of the Corn 2009

franchisebannerHonestly, this series was ripe for a reboot. The sequels had been wondering aimlessly, and this thing needed a remake the kind of shake stuff up. I’m far more tolerant of remakes when the source was originally a book anyhow – we’re just seeing a new take on that original source material.

It starts off well enough, with a good looking font – some nice production values, and the quite frankly brilliant sound of children singing “bringing in the sheaves” under the tent of a revival meeting.  It sets the tone and lets us know right away that we are back into rural, vaguely religious horror.

It’s bad news though when we are five minutes into the movie and I find myself really hating our ingénue. She’s a spoiled snob (or brat. I really can’t decide which is the more accurate adjective) and the bickering between her and her husband immediately sets my nerves on edge. However when the car hits a child coming out of the cornfield, I can see we’re sticking close to the original but updating it with modern brutality. The blood has been laid on far more heavily in this movie then what we seen in a long while. Malachi in particular manages to be even more terrifying here then he was in the original film – and that’s no small feat… Isaac’s right-hand man was always the creepiest of our corn children.

Much to my surprise, I find myself digging this. It feels so much less like the direct video director that dimension insisted on turning out for so many years, and more like the fundamental remake that we saw in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The horror is natural, with outsiders intruding into the corn children’s community – it doesn’t feel forced the way the previous sequel or two did. It doesn’t feel like we’re trying to shoehorn the corn children into our modern day era. The ominous messages written on every wall and floor in the church, scribbled on buildings and in the town – they come off as eerie rather than contrived. The setting of 1975 – almost 10 years earlier than the original film, adds to the isolated atmosphere. It’s a low tech time where vanished communities could still haunt us more effectively. It’s more than just competent filming and effective framing – there is a care in the production of this film that is lacking from most of the other sequels.

It’s not the eerie slow burn the original was. This is more brash with a greater action edge than strictly horror influence. It moves at a rapid pace – and this ends up being to it’s benefit. I never got bored, I never got distracted – I couldn’t believe how quickly this film passed the time. The first of these films since the original to have a running time over 90 minutes (though it does have a good five or six minutes of credits so it’s actually more like 88 minutes) and that worried me – but I felt like this one flew by quicker than any of the others.

I really like this one. I was actually surprised when I looked up on IMDb and saw such scathing reviews of it – and I have to wonder how much of that is playing from nostalgia for the first film. To me this is the literary adaption – I don’t hate Christopher Lees Dracula just because I happen to enjoy Bela Lugosi’s. I shake my head at the people who scream in outrage that this is the worst atrocity ever committed to celluloid – these folks obviously haven’t seen any of the other entries in the series. This is a highpoint for me, and a refreshing renewal, contrasted with the sharp decline that we got in the fifth and sixth instalment of the series. I can see myself watching this one again and again – possibly even more often than the original.

Of course, there is still one more to go… And when I see that dimension extreme logo – i’m filled with trepidation.

Beastmaster

directorsd5149VNVBJ0LI have to admit, I was a little surprised to discover that beast master was a Coscerelli the film. It lacks any of his Personal style and flourish. Perhaps it’s not so surprising after although, When you consider the studio had their fingers in every step of the production, ultimately taking the film away from Coscerelli and finishing it themselves.
It’s for this reason that Coscarelli himself has some hard feelings towards the production, though objectively speaking, it’s by no means a bad movie. If anything Beastmaster’s greatest sin is being forgettable… It’s standard fantasy fare along the lines of Conan. It’s exactly the sort of fantasy that was fashionable at the time. Marc Singer is serviceable as the titular beast master, rescuing a damsel in distress but he always feels a little bit off to me, I’m far more used to seeing him in the various “V”miniseries and sequels. Going from a smart mouth resistance fighter to a musclebound barbarian is a bit of a leap. His face seems a little bit too craggy The-Beastmaster-Marc-Singerto be a leading man, (ironically he is younger here). still, there’s nothing here that really stands the test of time. It’s a few moments of striking imagery, particularly with the bird, but nothing that stands out. It’s a good excuse for direct video sequel (I believe there were three). It also suffers from falling out of fashion… Today, we prefer our fantasy in the style of the Lord of the rings and dragonlance. The whole Conan/Tarzana look has gone by the wayside. That’s not really a commentary on the quality of them, but rather how changing tastes affect our perception. Beastmaster is worth a watch, but not a serious one – not a dedicated night with this is the main feature. Put it on while you are doing something else, or hang out with it if you catch it and cable.

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

Ock vs Spidey

CostumeI never get tired of the Ock vs Spidey shots!

 

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

Every Wednesday and Friday

The Crow : Wicked Prayer

boxmwicked_prayer_posterFor years I have been told that the Crow Wicked Prayer is the absolute bottom of the barrel. It’s the worst of all of the crow sequels. For that reason I’ve never actively sought it out, I haven’t exactly avoided it but I never gone out of my way to find the film either. If I would catch the start of the film and cable, I probably would’ve watched it all the way through or at least grabbed the VCR to record it and watch later. As it is, I’m only now getting around to it – the fact that it was included in this set was one of my reasons for buying. It’s  a convenient way to finely encounter this film.

The big problem with any of the crow sequels is that they are… Well, sequels that in their sequels to the sort of film that is impossible the follow-up that it wasn’t designed to be a franchise.with his graphic novel, James O’Barr managed to elevate both the revenge movie and the superhero story, fusing them into 13615076_1222796694431418_7220889427768388005_nsomething that was extremely appealing to comic fans and to open minded literary types. When the story went to film, the director managed to keep the soul of the story while stylizing a look and managed to turn it into a genuine success, a box office phenomenon on that appealed not only to the comic book faithful but that was also embraced by mainstream audiences bringing entirely new fan base. The original didn’t chase after fashion or pop culture, but rather inspired it. It didn’t seek popular music but rather popularized the music that was in The film – there are very few soundtracks I can think of that are quite as influential as the Crow. So the problem comes when trying to make a sequel to it – just distilling the elements that worked while holding onto the heart and soul of the film. A sequel is generally going to manage to get one of these parts right but fails in the others.

One of the big problems in city of angels is that the villains are all just a little bit too freaky. The crow wisely kept the eccentric villain down to one – the big bad, where as all the minions were very ordinary, if scummy looking, guys. In city of angels every villain was a hyper realistic comic book looking freak – and when you populate a film with a bunch of people in funny costumes, it  immediately erodes the suspension of disbelief. I like salvation better, because it tries to get back to basics – not nearly as many strange looking people running around. The crooked cops storyline though in the end it was a downer– it doesn’t help my sympathy with the Leads. Still it was all a step in the right direction

Wicked Prayer actually works better then as the previous sequels and I love the Southwest setting, it actually feels like the mysticism of the crow. You can see that somebody really put their heart and soul into this, they really wanted to do something different, something original. The motif of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a fascinating twist, but it’s under used – I would’ve liked to have seen more depth to this. Without real exploring, it almost feels like a label slapped on at the last minute. This time the bad guys are Satanic coven led by a charismatic leader who is swaying them by promising revenge against the men trying to close the mines where their families make their living. There is a surprising amount of Star power in this film as well. Edward Furlong, Tara Ried, and David Boreanaz are all in the ensemble – but Dennis Hopper also makes a cameo, actually a fairly significant supporting character and possibly my favorite part of the plot. Even Tito Ortiz and Danny Trejo get in on the action. The idea of using a Satanic cult – once again it’s a great idea although in some ways it feels underused.  It’s really a set up to empower our big bad at the very end of the film, but I would like to see more… David Boreanaz is arguably the weakest part of this bill. I don’t know what he’s doing here… He can give a much better performance than this, but he insists on being happy and goofy through the whole thing. I don’t understand why he’s playing this for comedy, it drags the whole thing down and undermines the very serious performances that everybody else is trying to give.   Tara Ried – this poor girl gets a lot of criticism, rightly so, She’s one of those same characters in every role she gets. Here you can see in her performance that she is trying really hard – and there’s moments when the role is just a little bit beyond her, but with a little bit more time to frame and push and edit it a little better she could’ve pulled this role off. She’s not miscast, which is the common criticism here. I think people were expecting her to be a carbon copy of Bai Ling’s role in the original – I don’t think that’s her purpose here all. I do think she is playing a bit of a dark sexpot, with momentary flashes of power. It’s a good role for her, and a good chance to scratch, but again she is undermined by Boreanaz’s poor choices.

Edward Furlong is an interesting choice for this. I’m not a fan, I’ve never seen the brilliance in his performance that everybody else seems to have admired – not even in his T2 role.  At times I almost feel like he looks too young for the part that but honestly that’s not the real problem here, the biggest issue facing his character is that the character has such a chip on his shoulder from the word go- it makes it very hard to sympathize with him. indeed, I think the producers realized that it was hard for the audience to connect with him, and they spent a lot of time playing getting-to-know-you. We do not see the appearance of the Crow in full make-up until nearly half way through this film – and that’s way too long to wait got in the Crow. Edward is a sort of angel with the dirty face. We never get an impression that he is anything but in all honestly a generally good guy. In fact killing seems unusual for him – a step too far. He’s got a troubled past, with an assault on his record, everybody in the town hates him and he’s ostracized – the only friend he’s got the lead person who cares for him at all is the girlfriend. I suppose setting him up as an outsider it’s not a bad thing, but he resents it – almost to the end. Perhaps we were supposed to side with him, but really it does not endear him to me. Still, as the Crow Furlong actually works. I didn’t think it would, but the more you look at it the more it becomes comfortable. I love the Indian feathers on the costume and those kind of touches to it – the fact that he drives around in a hearse though, is perhaps just a little bit too on the nose. It’s a symptom of the film trying a little bit too hard to be relevant to pop culture. Really, that seems to be the motive between a lot of this casting with people like David Boreanaz , Tara Reid, and Tito Ortiz. Let’s get young and hip and relevant – and I don’t think their presence there really manages to for fill that purpose.

The fight scenes and choreography are great. The director has a tendency to throw in a slo-mo shot here and there in a lot of these fights, I’m not sure if this is covering up something or if it’s just an attempt at an artistic flair. It doesn’t really do anything for the look of the film, but it doesn’t attract trouble either – I suppose it’s as much as we can ask for. Despite a rather slow first half, once I get into the second half of this film – it really does start to feel like Crow, and actually possibly more so than the other sequels. I’m really enjoying this film and I’m not sure that it deserves the vitriol that’s been heaped on it. I can absolutely see myself revisiting this film, and I wish that it had occurred earlier in the cycle. If this had been the first sequel to this series, I think it would be held in high regard. I may be starting at halfway through the film though – the origin story does take a little bit too long, but that’s a common problem in superhero films and it seems it’s produces were just following the trend of the day. I like Wicked Prayer. In my opinion this actually maybe the strongest of the sequels, not the weakest – and definitely worth the two dollars that I plunked down for this box set. The next time it’s on sci-fi, grab a bowl of popcorn give this one a chance.

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

Every Wednesday and Friday