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Posts tagged “Horror Movies

Black Christmas 2006

It was the weirdest thing, my wife came home with a DVD in her hand and passed it over to me. “I had some time to kill before my nail appointment, and I saw this and had to get it for you!”

I’m pretty sure I saw this version of Black Christmas before, but it may not have made quite as much of an impact on me… There were things that I remembered, certain beats but all in all it felt fresh, like watching it for the first time.

I’m a great apologist for a lot of remakes. I don’t hate on them simply for the sake of hating on them, but I do understand how this one might have drawn some serious criticism. Black Christmas is a cult favorite, with a very loyal fan base and any sort of a remake was going to inspire hate. Curiously enough, the director himself was a fan of the original and Bob Clark, the director of the original was on set to supervise occasionally.

There’s another thing that probably irritates a lot of the fans of the original… There’s a significant tonal  shift here. You’re bound to get that when you’re going from the 70s film to a New Millennium movie, but it’s more than that. While it’s not official, as far as I’m concerned, the original black Christmas is a giallo. We have an unseen killer, we have POV shots of murederous hands and mysterious phone calls… It’s still kind of  a horror movie, with some original kills and murder and none of the redeeming features of a say an episode of Law and Order, but as horror films go it has more in common with the giallo than other forms of film. There’s a far greater emphasis on the detective work than the stalker. The 2006 film on the other hand, is most definitely a slasher. There’s over-the-top Gore, a deformed stalking killer, and even a trophy reveal towards the end with all the victims piled into one place. The slasher genre isn’t quite as intellectual as the giallo… Not quite as respected.

Here’s the thing though, I don’t like giallo. Give me a good slasher film any day.

That may be why this take on this material appeals to me. In a very real way, it’s a very different film from its namesake. We have a couple of similar titles and names, and a handful of homage set pieces, but other than the fact that you got a killer in a girls dormitory at Christmas time, it’s simply not the same film. Remake is kind of stretching the definition. Reboot might serve it better.

I like the fact that we get to know the killer… Or should I say killers? We’ve got some deformities to make them into monsters and some well thought-out kills. Indeed, the amount of blood and gore in this film actually surprised me – a pleasant surprise mind you and this time around engaged through the whole thing. I got to admit, I really enjoyed this and it’s been enough to get me to check out some of the directors other work – not to mention giving me a reason to pull out the original film complete with Margot Kidder and John Saxon! I’m relying on dim memories for most of my comparisons here and I’d like a refresher.

Maybe we’ll tackle that another time. I’m running out of days until Christmas…

 


The Void

Movie bannermqdefault.jpgThe Void is a good movie, I liked it.  I feel like it’s important to lead with that kind of positivity, because I really did enjoy it but I think a lot of people are going to be put off by my next statement that while a good movie, it’s not actually original but completely derivative.

The Void starts out with a bang, with cultists, people attacked, bodies on fire. They definitely want you to know exactly what kind of movie you’re walking into. We spend The bulk of the film at an urgent care emergency room (that is about to get shutdown) leaving us with only a skeleton crew; a doctorScreen-Shot-2017-02-14-at-3.03.02-PM and a couple of nurses, and an intern. There are also a couple of patients – one of which is a pregnant teenager accompanied by her grandfather. Our main character, a bland, non-descript cop, bursts in with a suspect in tow and shortly thereafter the mayhem begins. When a couple of mysterious strangers appear, and the hospital is surrounded by cultists in white robes, the movie begins in earnest. After the first atrocity appears, it begs the question “Are the cultists trying to get into the hospital or are they trying to keep the people there from getting out? ”

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The biggest problem with the void is some sloppy writing in places… Too often, I felt like I needed to know more, like I was expected to understand things that hadn’t yet been explained…

“Okay, so they’re husband and wife? I thought that might be the case but wasn’t sure. Are they estranged or just having problems?”
“I see, he’s the kids father… That makes sense, but it would help if I knew that half an hour ago”

Stuff like that leads to confusion and pushes you out of the story. I can usually figure it out and get myself back on track but it seems like more work and I should have to do in a film like this…The-Void-Fantastic-Fest

We also really need better characterization – the characters are all stereotypical cardboard cutouts. The strong nurse, the dutiful cop, wise old doctor, the teen mother, and the slacker (and slightly morbid?) millennial intern. There just isn’t any more depth to these characters than that. They aren’t developed at all… I’d like to know more about the teenager, do we think somebody else is the father? Is there a mystery about it or regret? When we discover the identity of the child’s father near the end of the third act, it feels almost tacked on as an afterthought… It ties things up in a tidy little bow, but doesn’t feel like it was planned. The story didn’t lead us there.  I’d like to know more about the father-son relationship, I’d like to know more about the sheriffs secrets, all of those kind of things could’ve developed these characters. I’d have liked to connect to these people a great deal more instead of them just being fodder for the monster chase. These v1characters alone can’t carry The film without the added attraction of blood and gore…

Fortunately for us, there are buckets of blood and piles of gore spread generously throughout this film. These filmmakers are obviously heavily influenced by David Cronenberg and practical effects showcases like Rob Bottin’s work on The Thing. It’s evident in the trailer as well, and it’s the sort of film remind you just how effective practical work is. There’s a weight and sheen there that computer FX just don’t quite match in visceral terror. Where CGI is used in this film, it’s appropriate – enhancing what was already on the screen, and taking us places that practical can’t quite reach…

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tarPart of me really wants to watch this over again, in a well lit room with a pad and pencil in one hand and my copy of the Psychotronic Encyclopedia in the other to keep score with. The homages come fast and furious… You may remember a few years back when somebody took Quinton Tarantino’s work and paired it up side-by-side with the films that they claimed he had ripped off… This is very much a similar situation, where the filmmakers have taken the best elements and scenes from their favorite horror films and woven them together into a brilliant yet derivative patchwork of classic horror’s greatest hits.

There are definite callbacks and homage to Reanimator in our main villain. The discovery of the mysterious staircase that wasn’t there before, leading deep into the bowels of the subbasement and beyond – I could swear I’m watching Michele Soavi‘s The Church. There are moments where blue strobes give me an Aliens feel. The framing of the scene when the monstrosity’s leg comes down is pulled straight from Cronenberg’s The Fly. The victim racing down the clthe-void-blood-200osing hallway with the monster hot on his heels is absolutely pulled from Hellraiser. The discovery of the failed experiments that come to life and come after you reminded me a great deal of Dr Satan’s lair in House of 1000 Corpses (though it’s more likely they were homaging what ever Rob Zombie was pulling from there himself). There are elements that reminded me a great deal the Blind Dead and some of Fulchi’s zombie films… The face of one of the creatures towards the end, I’m not even sure WHAT it reminds me of – but it certainly reminds me of something, and I bet Doctor Who based the Ood on it… Apparently we all read the same books. One of the end scenes is straight out of The Beyond – in fact, I think they may have actually pulled it off better than in The Beyond!

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In the end, it works… It works because they’re doing it correctly – capturing the feel and the moment rather than the clumsy way too many people try to to homage by naming their characters “Mr Craven “or “Mr Romero “and slapping up horror posters all over their sets. There is none of that here, but rather respectful re-creations of elements from tried-and-true horror films that work and bring you back to those moments. But as I said, the over reliance on this kind of homage mentality keeps it from being original, and that does limit it. The extreme gore, directly aims it at a specific audience that is probably going to get a lot of these references, but may keep away others that could’ve used this as a gateway to horror. Ultimately, I suspect this will keep it from becoming a classic though I’m sure it will still eventually end up in my own collection…

The ultimately, it may keep it from becoming a classic though I suspect it will still eventually end up in my own collection…
The void is playing in select theatres on a limited run right now – The Capitol will be running at one more time this Saturday at midnight! Do yourself a favor and catch this while you still have the chance of seeing on the big screen!

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The Fly II

Movie banner300px-Fly_twoUsually when we see a sequel to a remake, it’s a whole new story. It becomes it’s own thing with the license to depart from the franchise source material – so from this I expected the Fly 2 to have very little in common with Return of the Fly ( the sequel to the original Fly film). I was surprised at just how many similarities I found instead.

The Fly 2 is still very much a descendant from Cronenberg‘s Fly. Indeed, despite the fact that we pretty much have an entirely new cast and crew, they manage to match the tone and transgressive levels that the 1986 film presented, making a very strong connection visually.

The son of Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis’ characters is being raised by the corporation that seized the Telepods after Goldblum’s death – the boy, Martin is raised as a sort of human gunia pig – watched to see what happens to the warped genes he inherited from his father. It’s a good conceit to avoid a simple retread of the previous film’s fly-2-brundle-flyplot device.

Still, there’s more similarities here than you may expect. Much like in the Fly Returns, the monster makeup is bigger, there’s a definite attempt to be far more gruesome (though it kind of comes off as cartoonish). This monster is definitely more of a killer as well, taking revenge on those who wronged him. It’s an interesting parallel, creating once again, a more straightforward story. The ending mirrors the Fly Returns as well, with us against all odds, finding a cure for the mutation and living happily ever after. Probably.

As good as this is though, I must say, this is another reason to reboot the franchise. I like the look and MV5BZWE1YmNhMmMtNTdhYi00YWMwLWIyYmYtZWY3NDZkYjI0NzhkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzM1MjQzNTk@._V1_feel of the film, but it’s extremely dated. One look and you instantly see you’re still in the 80’s, along with the stereotypical “evil corporation” being the villian in three piece suits. Driopping Princess Vespa from Spaceballs in as the love intrest dosen’t help it any.

Still, I really do enjoy this film and honestly this entire series. Plowing through a franchise like this has been fun.

We should do this again sometime.


Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies

Movie bannerattack-of-the-lederhosen-zombies-poster215965786_1414216831956069_7239775953112525294_nI expected a comedy.

With a name like Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies that’s kind of the impression you get (the trailer even plays it up that way)! However, while being a lighthearted and fun zombie flick, they play it straight, with a lot less camp than you’d expect. In the Austrian mountains, the owner of a ski hill is exhibiting his new snow making machine to an investor – something that will insure the hill stay open, no matter what happens with global warming. In the first five minutes, we discover that the coolant can be toxic to human beings and other living things (I’m not in entirely  certain I’m on s_78282board with this trend of Zombifying animals in these movies… It bothered me a little bit in Scouts Guide, and while it drives the story here – it still bugs me), causing a strange sickness, blisters and eventually… well, you know. When a group of professional snowboarders stumbles upon a very “American werewolf in London” type of pub, the shenanigans begin.

608428056Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies is very much a throwback to eighties splatter films – there is a fun yet straight tone going on here, interjected with just enough humor to keep the movie enjoyable without going full on comedy the way films like Return of the Living Dead or Evil Dead did back in the day. The lighting choices and color palette, mixed with that generally fun vibe make the movie feel a great deal like one of Charles Bands Full Moon features… but with less nudity and more gore (I’m totally good with that by imagesthe way). Did I mention the gore? Because there is a lot of it. It’s not quite up to The level of Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, but there are definitely some scenes hear that give Romero’s Day of the Dead a run for its money – if you’re looking for entrails, torn skin, and punished bodies, you will not come away disappointed.

It’s a short film, clocking in at well under 90 minutes… But that’s okay – it doesn’t need to be longer, and in the time that they have they managed to tell a fun little horror story in an interesting and exotic locale. It works far better than it has any right to.

attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombiesI caught this at the Capitol Theatre, with about six other people in the audience. That was kind of fun, you get a genuine reaction from the other folks watching the movie and it makes me feel like it’s 1981 on 42nd Street in New York all over again. I’m looking forward to grabbing a digital copy of this – it’s the sort of movie that seems like it would be best served on a television rather than a movie screen, but if you have a chance to catch in the theatre… By all means head up to see it. It’s worth the time, and these are exactly the sort of filmmakers that I want to see supported. I’m off to Imdb to see if they’ve made anything else!


Monster Bash this weekend!

I’m packing the girls up and heading to Bash this weekend! Maddie loved it last year and Lydia is looking forward to her first horror con! If you see us, tap me on the shoulder and say hello!

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Cinema Wasteland spring 2015

cw_show_logoIt’s Wasteland Weekend! Come on out to the Strongsville Holiday inn and join the Days of the Dead celebration and the best party in town!

The biggest gathering of cast from Days of the Dead ever assembled will be talking about the movie, plus screenings, and vendors galore.

There’s plenty of Horror Host action at Wasteland – Gunga Jim’s show is always great fun and this weekend on Gunga’s drive-in he’s screening the classic “She-Beast”. Son of Ghoul will be hosting Stooges and Wasteland cartoons and Saturday night check out the gameswith A.Ghastlee Ghouls and Sally The Zombie Cheerleader at  Ghastlee’s night at the movies! You never know who else might show up….

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Prince of Darkness

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Hey guys, I’m also blogging over at the Kreepy Kastle! Check them out, today we’re talking about Prince of Darkness!

http://kreepykastle.com/prince-of-darkness/

Oh and when you’re done with that, check out Friday’s Violent Blue!


Exists

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Exists_posterThis weekend I caught a sneak preview of Exists, a new found footage Bigfoot movie, as part of the Capitol Theater’s 12 hours of Terror marathon.

“New found footage Bigfoot movie” kind of says it all doesn’t it?

The movie is directed by Eduardo Sánchez, and if that name seems familiar it should. This is the guy who did The Blair Witch Project – the film which really made found footage a thing. He understands tension and atmosphere. I’m an apologist for Blair Witch, a film that kept me squirming throughout the running time until hitting me with a disturbing image that stayed with me for months at the end.

It seems however, that he may be a one trick pony. Exists is cut very much from the same cloth as Blair Witch, with one harrowing rescue scene in particular that feels like it was cut straight out of  that film and dropped into this movie with only  the names changed to protect the innocent….

exists-castThere are some significant differences here from Sanchez’s previous attempts though. The conceit of the go pro cameras and advancements in consumer electronics really make  things a bit more plausible. It also caters to a specific type of personality, the kind of guy who HAS to film everything going on…and we get that kind of personality in droves.

Really,  the personalities are a big part of  the problem. I don’t like any of these people. I find it hard to be sympathetic to them and their plight, and I’m not alone. I could hear rumblings in the audience about “I hope she get’s it first!”. This is normal in a slasher. You pretty much get presented archetypes and then proceed to knock them down like dominoes. A found footage movie is different. It’s supposed to be a slower burn, driven by character development. I don’t really feel that here. Almost all the characters are unlikeable, and when we get the reveal of the bigfoot’s motivation for attacking them, you don’t get the mixed feelings of sympathy and anger the story needs.

Another big difference is the reveal of the monster, and this I really like. The bigfoot is really well realized, trailer-for-the-bigfoot-found-footage-film-exists-from-blair-witch-directorand surprisingly scary. To this day I still hear people say their biggest complaint about Blair Witch is that we never get a reveal of the monster, never any clue as to what is really going on. Never fear, Exists gives us plenty of the monster and uses the shaky came to it’s best effect in concealing it and distorting it to make it scarier. The deaths are violent and frequently at least partially on screen. It works in a way that mysterious off screen deaths would not have played here.

All in all, it’s not a bad film. It’s actually a good take on the bigfoot film – if you like those kind of movies (alas, I don’t). It’s far better than most SyFy originals or any of the dreck the Asylum keeps pumping out – though that’s a ridiculously low bar to clear.

exists2Exists will be getting a limited theatrical run in a couple of weeks (One of those fifty screen one weekend kind of things so they can say it was theatrical in the marketing). It probably won’t be hitting Cleveland, but it will be available on VOD and streaming at the same time, and really, that’s where it belongs. I’d be a little disappointing if I plunked down my $9.00 for this at the multiplex, but if it shows up on netflix and you’re into this genre, it’s defiantly worth checking out. In the meantime, while you’re waiting, don’t forget to check out new Violent Blue strips up today!


Cinema Wasteland fall 2014

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Wasteland is the convention I wait for every six months.

We started off the weekend with a bit of sad news, a cancellation, but Graydon Clark (Director of Dracula vs. Frakenstien) was being replaced by Dean Gates who had done makeup on films like Phantasm 3 and Day of the Dead, not to mention my favorite Star Trek sequal, DS9. He was a great pleasure to talk to, hearing about his time working on Star Trek in particular. It was also nice to find someone else who shared my opinion that Ds9 was largely ignored by the networks and really, what a shame.

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In the hallway was one of the bigges surprises of the weekend. Annabelle was there. The studio brought one of the screen used dolls to Wasteland and it was incredible to just look at it. It’s a hard plastic, not a ceramic, but incredibly creepy. Those overhead lights don’t really add to the spook factor, but she was great looking just the same.

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I saw Pink Flamingos this time around, and really I will say, it was better with a group. Hanging with Angelique and Shrew, Sally and Brandy, you get a group of people who appreciate this kind of transcgressive cinema. There were still parts I just couldn’t watch, but it did get better wit hthe group, and the talk with Mink Stoles afterwards was just fascinating.

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One of the things Wasteland  does that other cons just don’t seem to do is bring in forign guests. This time around it was the ladies of hammer films,Caroline Munro , Veronica Carlson, and Martine Beswick. A long talk about the golden age of hammer, working with Cushing and Lee and just a wonderful chance to hear stories from these ladies about a time and films we all grew up loving.

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Also a really pleasant surprise was Geretta Geretta ‘s talk. I hadn’t realized how much she’s done over the years and how much sci-fi in particular. She talked about how in the 80’s EVERYONE in sci fi had to wear headbands….I came away with a list of films to look up.

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Of course the big event of the weekend was Brandy and Mark’s wedding. It was a humorous ceremony, very much in Wasteland tradition – I say tradition because it’s at least the third wedding that’s taken place there. But it makes sense, with some many familiar people around, this is where they wanted to be. Brandy was beautiful in her crimson dress, and the wedding was complete with first dance, boquet throwing, garter throwing and father daughter dance…which devolved into the Batutsi, I kid you not.

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Did I mention that later on in the evening A. Ghastlee Ghoul auctioned his pants off during the Miss Wasteland ? Yeah. That happened.

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I can’t even start on the dozen films I watched over the weekend. I think I’ll save some of those for future columns. Another great weekend at my favorite convention. But wait, convention stories aren’t over yet – tune in tomorrow. (in  the meantime, there’s new Violent Blue up today!)


Stitches and Grabbers

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MV5BMTgyNzE0MzYwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzgxOTA2OA@@__V1_SY317_CR103,0,214,317_AL_I spent the weekend watching foreign films – which sounds so much better than I watched a bunch of irish horror movies…..

Stitches is one of those films I’ve seen listed a million times on Netflix. I’ve passed it by again and again simply because I don’t find clowns scary. That combined with a distrust of Netflix (which has consistently proven it knows NOTHING about horror) has kept me from this film for quite a while, but after hearing a friend recommend it I decided to finally give it a chance.

It’s not an asylum film (so many of the horror movies on Netflix are. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of agreement or sponsorship, much like SyFy has with the Asylum), and I was surprised that it was an irish film. It has a very 80’s feel to it. a ton of practical effects and a standard plot – undead killer returns to murder the group of teenagers who caused his death. In this case it was a clown who died accidentally at a child’s birthday party.

They never explain why he waits a decade or so to return, but the how is touched upon in an interesting way. The film introduces the idea that all images2clowns are part of a secret cult (ironically, I was a clown and in fact WAS inducted into a secret order…no, I’m not joking.) and each has a connection to a weird painted egg – an avatar or something, it doesn’t get more specific than that. We don’t really learn what the magic is, but we do get the impression that the only way to destroy the clown is to destroy the egg. This is a great plot point and the sort of thing we don’t get enough of these days. There’s still a quest like element here , not just a bunch of set pieces.

The set pieces are great by the way. There’s a surprising amount of gore, combined with the tropes and whimsy that you would expect from a clown movie. It stops just short of being a horror comedy, but we certainly reach Hatchet or Evil Dead levels of absurdity in the violence.

It’s a fun movie and they very much leave room for sequels.  I honestly hope to see more of these at some point, but Ireland note images3being Hollywood, I’m not so sure I will.

My second feature was Grabbers. I’d heard this mentioned a year or so ago on the Horror Ect. podcast and it was one of those titles I just kept meaning to get to but never did. Stitches brought it back to mind and I’m glad I finally got around to it.

Curiously enough, this film plays it straight. It’s a stark contrast to Stitches in that, and really surprised me. The concept is that sea monsters are attacking a small Irish coastal town, and they attack people to untitleddrink their blood, but alcohol is poison to them. If ever there was a concept you’d expect to be played for laughs, this is it!

The first act is a bit slow. They take their time introducing the characters and actually try to create some back story here. When we finally see the creatures, they’re striking, but sadly also very CG heavy. The second act is heavily involved in detective work, trying to figure out what these things are and more importantly, where they come from.

The movie really does kick into high gear at the third act and it’s worth seeing. It’s a good film, but watching it I very much get the impression that it really would be better watched with a group.

I’m really enjoying what I’m seeing coming out of Ireland actually. These are both WELL made films despite the absurd premise. It’s refreshing and they really seem to remember what it’s like to make FUN horror. I’m curious to see more from the IFC and think I’ll be keeping an eye on these film makers as time goes by.

 


11-12-13

Movie bannerMV5BMTM0NDc3MDExMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDEwOTU4NQ@@__V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_AL_Doing a strange marathon this weekend. I started with 11-11-11. mostly because I’d just heard an interview with the director Darren Lynn Bousman  and I really wanted to see exactly what the film he described looked like. He talks about it being far better before the studio cut it, and I suppose that’s possible, but I’m not sure. You can see where some of the creatures effects had issues, and quite frankly, the demonic figures at the end are too well lit and poorly conceived. It’s irrelevant. That’s not actually the movie(s) I want to talk about.

The Asylum is a film company that has built their business around the “mockbuster”. Cheap knockoffs of high profile films and 11-11-11 was one of their targets. Around the same time it was in the theatres they came out with 11/11/11. Seriously, that was the difference in the titles. a “/” instead of a “-“.  was curious as to whether or not they even tried to emulate the film so I puled it up on Netflix. They had the entire series…though curiously enough they didn’t have 11-11-11.

11/11/11 is a straight off Omen clone. It actually could stand on it’s own, it’s compentantly enough made, though the acting is a little MV5BMTkxNTcxMzgyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTQyNTA5Ng@@__V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_wooden. The up side is if they are going to plagerize, it’s going to be from the best. We have a new family moving into a new house, just as their son is about to turn 11 on 11/11/11. If he sees that birthday he’ll become the antichrist. We have impalement on a fence and a nanny controlled by a cult that wants the Devil to come into the boy. No representitives of the Church is really the main thing that seperates this from the Omen. Still it’s a pleasantly average film, a step up for the Asylum. A pity that it’s a rip off in every way, as that kind of taints it.

Next up is 12/12/12. This one is a very different film and that’s a strange choice. There is obviously a DTV franchise being created here with a definite design language to the artwork on the packaging but no cohesive identity in the movies themselves. It’s a very different movie with Tarantino levels of F-Bombing and as much nudity as they can cram in (I’m fairly certain the lead actresses were chosen primarily for their more exhibitionist qualities) both things that 11/11/11 largely avoided in favor of trying to tell a better story.  We start off with a bang though,  with a cult overseeing a woman to impregnate her and later her demonic baby being born. I found myself wondering if this one would be a knock off of “It’s Alive” like 11 was an Omen remake, but other than the monster being a baby, there’s not much similarity. It’s power seems mostly hypnotic, making people do horrible things to themselves. That’s not clear right away either, it takes far too long for me to get that.

MV5BMzM0MDE0MjQxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzAzMTQ4OA@@__V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_The first kill is a great one, taking place at the birth with the doctors being strangled by the umbilical cord…though it looks more like an intestine. It’s kind of ruined by the flashes of the failed vaginal birth though….quite frankly even I don’t want to see that. When both of my daughters were born I was there, holding my wife’s hand and looking into her eyes, and making quite sure I didn’t glance anywhere near down south. ugh. The birth is eventually accomplished caesarian and that IS a great image “it’s almost like it’s trying to get out….”.

There’s a lot to like about this film. The cultists here evoke the feel of old Hammer films and the gore is nicely done. But again the acting is wooden and the film feels rushed. It’s another one of those 14 day shoots, or at least it feels like that. One more week would help this movie immensely.  You can see there’s not time to light properly, no time to rehearse or really build chemistry and I really wish there was, because there’s a good horror film in here somewhere. I think Full Moon would have gotten this right, with better colors, tones and heart.

The biggest problem here if  course is the baby itself. It’s mostly the third act. Until then it’s seems in glimpses, ashen gray features, evil eyes. Occasionally though it’s just a baby doll lying there and the actors don’t know how to handle it to make it look like it’s alive. A lot of POV shots and all of it makes you really want to see what that baby looks like.

Well, in the third act we do. In spades. It’s in full light and moving around, but it looks like hard plastic, not soft rubber. There’s not belief in it’s movements. They just don’t seem to know how to puppet this thing and the static face only makes that a worse problem.  I’ve seen better demonic baby dolls at Cinema Wasteland and I’m honestly tempted to grab one and redo those scenes MV5BMjM2MTY1ODc5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTg3ODc0MDE@__V1_SY317_CR28,0,214,317_AL_myself, just to show them how it’s done. A moveable face draped in shadow with evil fx eyes, it could be done in a day or two ( and that includes the opticals).  It’s almost as if they are determined to make bad films the way they hamstring themselves like this.

Finally there is 13/13/13. The idea is that because of leap year, we eventually accumulate an extra month and by some arcane calculation the day this film takes place in is actually 13/13/13. On this day everyone goes crazy and anarchy ensues(much like “The Purge”). The only ones not affected are people born on Leap year.  Again, we start off with a bang, a great scare and aseriously disturbing bit of gore, but a mere five or ten minuets into the film, it’s just unwatchable.

The cover is a lie. Yes, there is an adolescent girl in it, slightly older than the one on the cover, and the film ISN’T about her. she appears on one scene only and it’s just another set piece to display the crazy. There’s no story here. It’s all just about filming violent crazy scenes. We spend a bout a third of it at a hospital which is wonderfully creepy and atmospheric. The violence occasionally gets to squirm inducing levels of transgressive cinema, but there really is NO story. It’s just the camera  drifting from one set piece to the next, a great disappointment from a series that the producers just don’t care about. Best to skip this one and read todays new Violent Blue instead.

 

 


In Defense of Alien Resurrection

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1Wow. There sure are a lot of Sci-Fi films showing up here. I think I expected to be writing about more horror and superhero than sci-fi. interesting.

I really like Alien 4. There will never be another film as good as Alien or Aliens, but as far as sequals go, this is a good one. Perhaps part of the reason I like it so much is because it wipes the slate clean, it cleanses the pallet from the prior film. You see, I hate Alien 3.

I once heard someone say that if you really like a character in a horror movie – especially one who survives, then you shouldn’t ever watch the sequal, because something horrible will happen to them.  Alien 3 gives us this in spades, killing off EVERYBODY. It renders that rousing escape in Aliens practically pointless. Newt and Hicks don’t even get an on screen death. It’s horrible and it taints the entire movie for me. I hated the dog alien too. The rod puppet just didn’t work nearly as well for me as the puppets and suits Cameron used. I realize this is David Fincher’s directorial debut and there are a few good beats, but it’s riddled with stupid things like killing off beloved characters and getting Ripley laid because as the producers put it “It was about time she had a man.” 6

What really burns is that there were far better sequals avalible. Check out the novels (or graphic novel adaptions) of Earth Hive, Nightmare Asylum and earth War (or Female War). This is a far more satisfying follow up to Aliens and actually can fit in nicely between Aliens and Resurrection.

That’s one of the things I really liked about Resurrection. It wipes the slate clean. It’s a fresh start, without really trying to connect itself as firmly to the previous sequals as 3 did.

One of the big complaints I hear about this film is what they did to Ripley. She doesn’t act like Ripley, she doesn’t feel like Ripley.

2That’s the entire point. She isn’t.

This is a clone grown from Ellen Ripley’s DNA, with perhaps a race memory. A few actual seeming memories surface from time to time as well, the cloning process is strange and imperfect, but make no mistake; this is NOT supposed to be Ripley. The characters call her that, and she has Ripley’s face (to appease a studio that wasn’t certain you could make an Alien movie without Sigorney Weaver) but she has a radically different set of memories of growing up. She’s really not even quite a mature adult.  In fact….she’s not actually human. That Alien DNA infects her.

Sigorney Weaver did some amazing things as this clone character. She got it. She plays it with hesitation, confusion and an animal bubbling just under the surface. Her character is conflicted, confused and actually more aggressive than Ripley ever was. It’s best represented in the final line of the film where they descend to Earth and she says “I’m a stranger here myself.”

3Trust me, you’ll like this character a whole lot more if your remember this. She’s not Ripley. In fact, this was one of the things I was happiest about. I was tired of Ripley. I can deal with her running into these things once….hunting them down the second time, but Aliens isn’t ABOUT Ripley and I was ready to move on. I’m glad this did. In fact it brought a great new cast of characters for us to move on with.

This is another sore point with some people though. In a lot of ways, you can see the template for Firefly here. Joss Whedon has said as much, and he has complained that the direction was completely opposite to the tone of his script. There are a lot of people who think Whedon can do no wrong. They hate this 5move because he says to hate it.

I’m not one of those people. I Like his work, but find him completely capable of missteps. Moreover, I’m a fan of Alien. I want this to be an Alien film, not a Whedon film.  It doesn’t need his quirky sense of humor. It doesn’t really need his distinct touches, this has always been an industrial, slightly dystopian future. It’s scary. Not cute scary, but rather dirty scary. I like the story he came up with. I prefer Renaut’s directorial vision. If a Whedon movie is all you are after, then I understand your dismay at what has been described as a kind of bastardization of tone from Whedon’s vision. Then again, movies are always more about the directors vision as opposed to TV which is all about the writer’s ideas (remember that difference we talked about a couple of months ago in Star Trek 5!). To everyone else, I simply suggest going into this as an expanded universe Aliens film. 4

It really does have that almost comic book expanded universe feel to it. Winona Ryder’s character in particular feels that way to me. It’s a well done character wit ha back story I really enjoy. It fits well in the Aliens world ….and I’m not usually one of her fans. In a lot of ways, she tries to take the place of Ellen Ripley, though she comes off as a little too young (I know she’s not, but she sure feels that way) and impetuous. Ron Pearlman (who in fact, really CAN’T do wrong) is his usually excellent self and I love seeing Michael Wincott and Brad Dorff chew the scenery.

It holds up a little better these days due to the disdain the AVP films get. Check it out again with some fresh eyes, and while you’re at it, try and track down those novels to see how different the Aliens universe can be without Alien 3 and Ellen Ripley.


Fright Night 2 : New Blood

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I’ve always made a point to state that  I don’t hate remakes just for the sake of hating remakes. I was reasonably positive about Fright Night three years ago here : https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/fright-night-sneak-preview/. This time not so much.

First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way. Just because it has “2” in the title, that means nothing. This is not a follow up. It’s a remake. You don’t get to remake a film two years after the last remake! It’s not even a BETTER remake. I think I would have liked this a great deal more if it had been a sequel. It’s DTV horror. It didn’t NEED to have the same actors and it isn’t too much of a leap to make this a follow up. Evil Ed is better realized here, but that’s it. Amy is completely wasted here. She’s always been a damsel in distress, but she was practical in the original. She imageswas stronger in the remake. Here’s she’s just a walking prop. Vincent simply isn’t interesting here…in fact he far less likable than in the 2011 remake and again, he doesn’t actually appear until around the halfway point.

One of my real pet peeves is taking a remake in name only. They use the names and maybe some subject matter, but tell a story that not only has nothing to do with the original but doesn’t even feel like the original (A big reason I never liked the Battlestar Galactica reboot). Again, it wouldn’t have taken much script doctoring to make this a sequel. Simple replace Ed with images3someone else or find a way to humanize him again. State that Vincent has a new career doing reality TV and he pulled some strings to get Charlie and company in on this trip. The Bathory angle would have fit much better like that – especially if Geri Dandridge was somehow related to Jerry Dandridge.

It’s frustrating because this does have some good set pieces, and frankly some brilliant uses of the cross to ward off Vampires. My favorite is a tie between the picture on the cell phone or the full chest tattoo on Peter images2Vincent. The ocular damage scene is nicely squirm worthy as well and the sonic location is a surprisingly original touch. But all of it simply isn’t sufficient to make this a good film, and the “2” in the title just pisses me off.

If you see it on netflix and need something to watch as background at a party or while you are cleaning the house or something it’ll work, but don’t go out of your way to rent it and definatley don’t buy it.

 


Monster Bash 2014

Conman10300521_783678301676595_6738373931679320802_nHeaded back out to Mars for Bash, this year 10151905_783678145009944_1020727276008162128_nwith 7-year-old Maddie in tow. I figured Bash would be a good first horror con for her, but had no idea how she would like it.

Maddie was enthralled from the moment we reached the doors and saw the Dragula. She really wanted to get in it, but being roped off, I was a little wary to let her. We also passed a green Creature of the Black Lagoon car. The creature car was so cute, with details on the sides, a plushie creature in the front seat and back window, and a liscence plate reading “creech”.

We got inside in time for morning cartoons. Maddie has never seen Woody Woodpecker or Chilly Willy, but recognized Bugs Bunny at least. a lot of fun watching and she laughed through it all. She also discovered the Three Stooges here. I don’t know that she’d seek them out, but she had fun watching them, describing them as weird but funny.10487477_783679515009807_7828695295420606985_n

We got in and started to meet some of the guests. Judith O’Dea is someone I wanted to meet for a good while now. She’s the last surviving cast member from Night of the Living Dead  that I haven’t gotten to see and she was a delight. Very friendly and outgoing. Maddie marched right up to her  and I introduced her. She smiled and greeted Maddie and asked “You haven’t SEEN this movie have you?” Maddie smiled and admitted she’d only seen part of it (you may remember that we only made it through about half of it at the OSS zombie walk). They talked about how it’s scarier in Black and white, and I handed over my poster to be signed. I love it when people look over my posters to see who have signed it before them. She seemed to have a lot of fun looking at all the names spread across it, remembering the people – especially 10462708_783679231676502_7286672786506249640_nones like Bill Hinzman who is no longer with us.
I also took Maddie over to see John Russo. This was always part of the plan for the day. Even though I wasn’t planning on buying something over at his table this time around (I have several times in the past) Maddie wanted to meet the person who created zombies and I thought he was a good choice, having written the screenplay for Night of the Living Dead with George Romero. He was extremely friendly with her and seemed genuinely pleased to hear her questions. Maddie asked how he came up with the idea for zombies.

He replied “Well when George and I were working on the story we wanted to start it in a cemetery – because cemeteries are creepy. We knew someone was chasing Barbra, but didn’t know who. I suggested it could be a dead person – and it went on from there.”

10489911_783996241644801_5965609127265774671_nMaddie asked if Making a zombie movie was hard. His answer was “It beats working in the coal mines.” then he elaborated on it.

Finally Maddie asked how he learned to make a movie. He told her about going to the movies all the time a as kid and reading a lot. These things gave him ideas from making his own films. Maddie mentioned that she liked going to the movies too. He told her she could grow up to make them herself if she worked at it. Maddie said” It might even be easier now, with tape and video and things…” Russo loved that and told her (and later me) that she was very smart. Before we moved on he pulled out a trading card with his picture on it from Night of the Living Dead, and agave her an autograph.

You know, it seems like all day people were giving Maddie stuff. A led bouncy ball from the WOW table, suckers from one booth, a temporary tattoo from another. during our last pass through the dealers room, Maddie stopped to admire some coffins one of the artists had created. He asked which was her favorite and she pointed out the Dracula one. He told her that she could keep it.

We finally made it back to the film room for Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. The Abbott and Costello impersonators were back this year and introduced the movie, much to our delight. The lobby had been set up with elements from the films which was a great way of setting the mood. It was Maddie’s first 10320580_783678958343196_8034071362143705790_ntime seeing any of these monsters on screen (outside of cartoon fare like Hotel Transylvania). I think that in our modern day, we forget how truly scary the Universal monsters can be. The transformation of the wolfman terrified Maddie and she cuddled close to me when the monsters were menacing people on screen. The comedy helped and afterwards she declared that she loved it! however she allowed that the monsters were a little scary. Not as scary as she finds zombies though.

Back to the dealers room for an autograph and to find something for Lydia. I did get around to meeting Joel Hodgson, but have to admit, he seemed like he was bored with the whole event. He was friendly, but didn’t seem to really want to be there. His manager was a little weasel, and his prices were a little outrageous. All in all, not a great experience. Tom Savini was also he normal reticent self. I have to assume 10407788_783680278343064_3039167183084776753_nit’s just an awkwardness with people he doesn’t know. I can relate to that, but on the other hand, I watched on fan talk to (at) him for ten minuets, and while he nodded and acknowledged her, he never looked up from his iPad. On the other hand, he is fun and charming in every panel I’ve ever seen him in, not to mention amazing during the fencing match he participated in with the show runners daughter.

This was really fun to watch by the way. They had a strip set up to monitor hits while the ref kept score. Apparently this isn’t their first bout either. In a pervious match, Paisley won. Tom attributes this to the fact that she’s 17 and he’s….*ahem* a senior citizen (His words, not mine!). Apparently a few years ago, one of her friends was over at Toms table looking at the photos, trying to decide which to get, and she found a fencing one. Tom was originally up for the role in The Mask of Zorro when Robert Rodregiouz was still attached to direct. When he left the film, the role 10414580_783680148343077_56532490130144715_nwent to Antonio Banderas and Tom was really disappointed about this, but came away with a knowledge of swordplay.

I spent the match cheering for Paisley, while Maddie cheered Tom on. The goal was best two out of three rounds, five touches each. Double touches allowed. It came down to the last round. Each had one win, each had four touches. Paisley lunged, Tom came in under her arm and DOUBLE TOUCH. Tie match.  The ref laughed and shook his head. “There are no ties in fencing!” One more engarde and Tom took  the win.

After lunch we headed back for the storytelling part of the show. This is something new that they did t his year, exploring the roots of oral tradition and urban legends, then telling some stories along the way. It was half panel and half entertainment, but very well done. Maddie loves being told stories (she made me tell her the story of Dracula on the way home) and this was a great addition, and a good example of how kid friendly this convention is.

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10482813_783996244978134_6167100564771218183_nWe elected to leave shorly after the Monster kid home movies that they do, as it was getting late, the dealers room was closing and we; have to wait out another film that Maddie didn’t want to see before getting to the Abbott and Costello tribute show and cake. Still, despite leaving a bit early we had a great time and Maddie was estatic.  She ended up buying an old Wonder Woman cup to bring home for Lydia.
Lydia’s Eyes lit up when maddie presented it to her and Lydia almost tackled Maddie hugging her. I like these too, they were Burger King premiums originally. I had a Superman one when I was a kid.

She also bought a set of trading cards for herself. She found some old “Fright Flicks” cards – another item I remember having as a kid. They feature pictures of monsters on them with funny sayings on the bottom and spooky stories on the back. The vendor handed them over to her with the warning “Don’t eat the gum. It’s older than I am!”

I do believe we will be back next year. Maddie really loved it and talked non-stop about it to both her mother and sister about it.  In fact, next year…it may be Lydia’s turn to come too.

10505563_783678885009870_5310500654765114444_n 10505563_783679991676426_8323886524783566191_n10500507_783680485009710_266743760219017763_n10464366_783678188343273_83428208230382309_nThe Creature car was adorable, but Maddie really liked the Dragula best!

10406558_783678118343280_1806406678642339459_n

Frankenstein is  EVERYWHERE!

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10443496_783678495009909_1294002831501484502_n 10463991_783678668343225_6518928035610437805_n 10407366_783678538343238_7111732293167017570_n 10474661_783679148343177_9219406363546269898_n 10351813_783678845009874_7476820005888868055_n 10380909_783678441676581_9220641375998953118_n10371899_783678348343257_4572661101843657470_n 10380909_783678441676581_9220641375998953118_n 10492347_783678808343211_6457746159925293273_n 10488125_783678365009922_6048377979430368414_n 10337750_783678398343252_3065038187317352046_n We really loved the fencing match. Zorro came out at the end!

1907364_783680205009738_3025639269890075157_n 10463991_783680228343069_6522028290177283882_n

More monsters!

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10492188_783680535009705_1175426465629157124_n 10505563_783679991676426_8323886524783566191_n 10479071_783679468343145_9111990657292490845_n 10455918_783679635009795_5509063303899348203_n 1558484_783680395009719_3471672184063213617_n 1907360_783679905009768_4485907526485825041_n 10289888_783679095009849_48257272322174469_n 10347570_783679865009772_6145161346221347345_n

Monster Bash really does have one of the best dealer’s rooms around.

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10387345_783680101676415_6360907197223080065_n 46226_783679585009800_5697213929681690651_n  10329035_783679805009778_6313437018525164371_n 10364192_783679685009790_369387334845609798_n 10390318_783679598343132_3187475289546838466_n 10414538_783678581676567_7960357623707956439_n   10482813_783996244978134_6167100564771218183_n 10485883_783995991644826_2096692206121499787_nI was so excited to find this. It’s a vintage eraser. There was a whole line of these back when Masters of the Universe first came out. I only ever had a Merman one, which I always substituted for the figure when I was a kid. I found this for a dollar in one of the booths.

10306739_783995771644848_7105885961792484140_nI remember this figure being very expensive a while back. I got a great deal on it

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One last note, we’ll be featuring Monster Bash all week this week on Violent Blue! Head on over and check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Race With the Devil

forgotten bannerraceYou ever watch a horror movie and find yourself screaming at the screen because  the people are so stupid?

Yeah, that’s  this movie.

From IMDB :

Race the Devil 1975 Two couples vacationing together in an R.V. from Texas to Colorado are terrorized after they witness a murder during a Satanic ritual.

Now I get that you can’t help but stumble upon a satanic cult preforming a rite from time to time…but it sure does seem like they flaunt it. They keep mentioning it to the wrong people and as we see, this cult reaches far and wide. You get a real sense that they’ve traveled hundreds of miles and are still running into cult members who are all on the lookout for them, not to mention the ones who are pursuing them.

The movie is tense and keeps up the dread. There’s a constant sinking feeling when town after town, cop after cop, they’re all involved with the cult. it’s well acted – this is Peter Fonda after all. It’s also got Loretta Swit in a pre- M.A.S.H. role. It’s really a good film, but suffers from writing these people as dopes – you’ve been chased across the southwest U.S. by crazy cultists and yet you’re still concerned about how dry the martinis you’re going to drink tonight are…. (maybe you ought to stay sober just in case a group of Satanists suddenly surround your camper with torches burning? But hey,  that’s just my opinion)

The film ends abruptly, but I think we can guess what happened after the credits role. Definitely a good movie and available on DVD, but might be hard to find outside Amazon.

 


Spookshow Live Saturday night at 11:55!

Featuring the Romero Classic movie “Night of the Living Dead” from 1968. Come and see this retro style Spookshow with hosts Dale Kay and Mike MrManiacal Maxim as they present this horror classic in a throwback to the old style spookshows complete with live interactive entertainment! Come meet the horror hosts of The Kreepy Kastle, experience this unique live show, and feast your eyes on the zombie movie that started it all! Don’t worry we will have the zombie response team the Z.E.R.O.s on hand to protect you in case of a zombie outbreak. Invite your friends…you don’t want to come alone because you never know what terrors await you during Spookshow LIVE!

Tickets can be purchased the night of the show at the theater for only $4. Live entertainment and an awesome cult classic horror flick for only $4 make’s KreepyKastle.com’s Spookshow LIVE a must for anyone!

 

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I’ll be there too, though you never know what I might look like…

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Shameless Promotion Saturday

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The next issue of Angel Lite’s “Knight No One Forgets” is coming along quickly and should be done next month, in the meantime, copies of issue one are still available as a Kindle E-book from Amazon.com. A PDF file version is available as an alternative for a suggested donation of $1.50. Please contact  tempest_raiko@yahoo.com for your copy, and check out the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AKnightThatNoOneForgets

New Violent Blue will be up on Monday, but anyone interested in the Violent Blue novel can get a copy at https://www.createspace.com/4303824

or from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Coffee-Rock-Bands-Superman-Violent/dp/1490305718/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397591380&sr=1-1

And one more reminder, don’t forget to head over to the Kreepy Kastle tonight to catch my guest appearance on Dale Kay’s Spookshow! 8PM EST at www.kreepykastle.com

 


Spookshow this weekend!

Hey guys! Just a quick heads up, I’ll be appearing on Dale Kay’s Spookshow this weekend! For those of you not in the Cleveland area, you can catch it in its entirety Saturday, April 19 at 8pm Eastern on www.kreepykastle.com

Here’s a sneak peak!

 


Muppets Most Wanted

Movie banner   untitledTo be fair, they warned me.

It’s right there in the first song – “We’re doing a sequel! That’s what we do in Hollywood and everybody knows the sequel’s never quite as good”

I think Disney is having a problem balancing callbacks (fanservice) with trying to be fresh. In the last film it was all about being new, with a hint of nostalgia, this time around they really crank up the homages – perhaps too much so. They acknowledge it though, pointing out in one line that the last film spent an inordinate amount of time on the new Muppet Walter, perhaps at the expense of other beloved characters (seriously, that’s a line Rizzo delivers). At least Rizzo and PePe both have a line in this one.

It’s not badly done.  The duplicate frog has been done before on TV, though I don’t remember it in film. It may be a little too goofy of a concept for a film, probably imagesCAMUTUN9would have worked better as a direct to DVD story. I’m amused though, from now until the end of time, Every time John Constantine is introduced in a Hellblazer story I’m not going to be able to resist thinking “the most dangerous frog”?

The sequences with Kermit trapped in the Siberian prison feel tacked on, like they didn’t know what to do with him -a shame because its some of the best stuff in the film…but more on that in a moment.

I think my biggest problem in this film is Ricky Gervais . I know it’s kind of his schtick, but really it feels like he just doesn’t want to be here. He kind of sleepwalks through the entire thing. Everyone else in this movie is obviously having the time of their life. All you have to do is look at Tina Fey (who I normally despise) to see how imagesCAL7F6GJmuch they want to be there, and it’s a huge contrast against Gervais’ performance.

Fey’s role is mostly confined to the prison camp…though she still manages to have a chic look with those gorgeous boots and the soft fur and big buttons on her coat. She’s vamping it and really makes it work. I’m not sure what Ray Liotta is doing here. Cashing a check I suppose. He’s kind of wasted in the role. Danny Trejo on the other hand….

If you’d asked me a year ago I’d have said it was ridiculous to have Trejo in this film. He doesn’t belong here. But after meeting the guy, it’s a different story. He fits here. He really does. You may actually be seeing more of the real Danny Trejo here than IMG_0138in any other role he’s ever had.

The world needs more of Danny Trejo singing Broadway. It really does.

The main characters are used really well this time around. Animal (traditionally a tangential though popular character) has some good moments and Sam Eagle has one of his best characterizations ever. The idea of making him a CIA agent just ….fits. It plays perfectly into his character and really lets him show his intellect without it being the butt of a joke.

Speaking of the agents, Jean Pierre Napoleon as the French Interpol agent is a revelation. I mean it. He is absolutely brilliant. Why was Steve Martian in the last imagesPink Panther movie when THIS guy is around? Seriously, it was like watching Clouseau interact with the Muppets. Someone needs to give him a shot at that role. He was another of the best things in the film.

For the most part, I’ve been supportive of Disney’s handling of the Muppets. Despite my initial reservations, it’s been a good home for them. The slick Disneyfied packaging never bothered me. I like Muppets in OZ (Made sure to see it when it was broadcast on  TV, recorded it, then bought the DVD anyhow). A Very Muppet Christmas is one of my favorite Muppet movies ever, defiantly my favorite of ALL the Christmas ones. I kind of wish they would jettison Walter, but the way they brought the Muppets back to the big screen was very wise.

This isn’t a bad entry (It’s better than Muppet Christmas Carol) but it’s far from the best. Better songs would have helped…especially after the musical triumph of Frozen. There’s a couple that are clever like the opening “We’re Doing A Sequel” and the closing “Together Again, Again) but those are more interesting because they are homages to previous films and probably wouldn’t stand on their own any better than any of the others which are all forgettable. A shame, there were some stand outs in the last film like “Me Party” and I wonder why we didn’t see that kind of thing here. Still, I’m grateful that I can take my kids to see a new Muppet movie over at Amherst Cinema and you can bet we’ll be back for the next one!


Cinema Wasteland April 2014

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I think I must have a cloud of bad karma hovering over me as far as conventions are concerned. I just found out the girls have a mandatory dress rehersal for dance on the same day as Lake Effect Comiccon (which was going to be Lydia’s first one) and barely an hour into Wasteland I lost my video camera (which was fortunately found but not until this morning. I’ll be picking it up later).

Still not everything is terrible, I ran into a bunch of friends that I only see at Wasteland like Jason and Angelique, not to mention Shrew and Baron Morbid. A nice change was running into Mark Mackaye  and Marc Gettel from POP. Some how I missed Sean, but he may have been there on Sunday (which I skipped this year).

It was fun to run into a couple of newbies in line. I assured them this was the best show in the area – and I do shows from Chicago to Pittsburg.  An interesting thing about wasteland is unlike other shows, you see the same people here every six months. It’s not like Horrorhound or Days of the Dead where you get a fresh flock of folks every year and there’s too many people to make a connection with. But this con also makes newcomers feel welcome, and rightly so.

I actually started off the weekend hitting Tom Sullivan’s room New_IMG_0455and chatted a bit about Horrorhound. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the line into his room at Horrorhound was huge and constant…he mentioned that yes, it was a steady line of people all day and had been a great con for him. It was a good location for him too, the line for Bruce Campbell went right past him and drove a lot of foot traffic to him. He told me he missed me there and signed my Evil Dead 2 poster before I headed out for the first film.

I was in a bad mood and had a hard time focusing on most of the films, and sadly enough Robert Z’dar didn’t make it. He got a bad case of Pneumonia and was stuck in the hospital, however Wasteland set up a get well card for him which I was able to sign. The rest of the maniac Cop cast however was great. I’d really been looking forward to meeting Tom Atkins -I’m a fan of a lot of his work, not just Maniac Cop but also stuff like Halloween 3, Night of the Creeps, and even the most recent Drive Angry.

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Saturday was a better day. I’ve gotten into the habit of cosplaying on at least one day of Wasteland. I’ve gotten to know so many people there that I’m not longer as anonymous as I used to be, but a fully immersive makeup makes me instantly unknown, and still gives me a reason to talk with strangers! I pulled out my Freddy makeup from Halloween. I couldn’t get it quite together for last year, but I was working it this weekend. I had to extend the chin a bit to cover my beard and actually used spirit gum to anchor it (a technique that had been suggested to me over at Hauntville) and was pleased at the result. The best picture of the day I think was the photo with the Ghostbusters.

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1517515_742097245834701_3797214310526212418_nI think I came away with more movie recommendations than actual films this year, though I did finally get around to grabbing a couple of films I haven’t seen. I’d been waiting to grab a copy of Dawn of Dracula – I’m a fan of Midnight Mausoleum and Marlanea Midnight was nice enough to sign it for me. I also got a copy of Peter Rottentail as a prize during Ghastlee’s show, not to mention this other one that was a givaway on the flyer table. Will have to look into these later.

Speaking of Ghastlees show, the best part I think, was the RC car chase. Sally the Zombie Cheerleader taped a picture of Justin Bieber to an RC car and the goal was to manuver it through an obstical course of beer cans with the faces of Wasteland regulars on them while being chased by two RC police cars. The Biber car kept making it back on stage after that game, distracting Ghastlee in the middle of hosting other games in progress…

One group of people came up to me to tell me how much they liked the makeup. I mentioned that I had done Pinhead a year or so ago and their eyes lit up. “We saw you in the parking lot from the hotel man! that was the freakiest costume ever!”. Looks like I made an impression….they waved goodbye assuring me they wouldn’t sleep tonight.

I didn’t have as much fun this year, but it’s not Wastelands fault. Still I’m getting a little nervous about the conventions I’m doing. Shinboku Con ins next weekend….maybe.

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Wasteland this weekend!

april_2014_smallJust a quick reminder, I’ll be heading out to Cinema Wasteland this weekend. I expect to only be there Friday and Saturday, possibly in costume on Sat.  There’s a great line up of films this time around with some really interesting guests. I’m going to get my Day of the dead poster started and both my Evil Dead 2 poster along with my Maniac Cop DVD finished. It’s the best convention I go to with some of the friendliest freaks around. Come join the best party in Cleveland and if you see me wandering around tap me on the shoulder and say hi!! Never fear though, there will still be new Violent Blue on Friday at the main site and Essential Violent Blue right here! Have a great weekend!

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RPG films

Movie bannerI miss my gamer days. I actually do, but the problem is I was never a true gamer, but more of a casual player. I just wanted to run a game once a month or so, and it’s hard to find a group like that (even the guys I would play Heroclix with were always way more into it hat me, playing a couple times a week as opposed to me playing a couple times a month). I never did D&D (I know it’s fantasy, but I don’t dig having to deal with other deities. I have one God and he’s sufficient.) but would regularly play Earthdawn, Night Life ( Like Vampire the gdr-posterMasquerade, but less pretentious) and Star Trek (Which turned into the most popular one amongst my group). We even did a game night for one of my three bachelor parties.

I’m sure I mentioned the Gamers 2 on this blog a year or two ago, but I can’t seem to find the post to link to it. In any event, it’s a fun movie that captures the spirit of gaming, moving back and forth between the players sitting at the table playing, and shifting into the scenario itself, showing up the adventure they are having. It’s funny, and has a lot of heart – and despite being a sequal, is actually a superior film to the less than memorable The Gamers.

This weekend I watched Zero Charisma, a crowdfunded take on gamer life which originally screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. The main character is zero chrthe archtype of the loser gamer –  the one who lives with his parents (or in this case grandmother) feels entitled, the rule lawyer and obnoxious type. It’s not a bad film. The direction is good and there really is a story here. The main problem is having someone totally unlikable as the protagonist (and in certain ways antagonist). We don’t see much of an arc with him…he might have grown just a teensy bit at the close of the movie but I’m not sure. I feel I can cut him some slack when I see his mother (who abandoned him at an early age) and the truth is, as obnoxious as he is, he’s right about a few things. That doesn’t save his life from falling apart though, and in the end, you really can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. We spend an hour and a half laughing with him and cringing at him. It manages to be beautifully sad in the end.

I also hit up Knights of Badassdom. This one takes place at a LARP and ask the question what would happen if a bunch of gamers used a real spell book by accident and summoned a real demon? It’s directed by Joe Lynch, who I’ve been enjoying on Holliston and was recommend by Ted over on the Horror Knights_of_Badassdom_1Ect podcast. It’s great. A fun time in gamer culture, with some outside characters to ground us. Peter Dinklidge  is amazing here by the way. This is before Game of thrones, but he is an absolutely brilliant warrior in this. It manages to be tense, funny, bloody and fun all on a budget about equal to what you might pay for a happy meal at McDonalds. This, by the way is exactly my beef with the SyFy channel. They constantly put out soulless boring, stupid films on shoestring budgets with lousy CG on budgets about the same as what we see here. If this were the kind of movie SyFy was running on Saturdays, I’d be glued to the TV. Find some filmmakers with passion and a hook like this and give me some good films and you could win me back I and second. In any event, Knights is a high recommend along with the Gamers 2. Zero Charisma isn’t bad per se, but go in knowing its going to be a little depressing…there’s no rewatchability on that one.

I really have to run and get some Violent Blue done. I’m trying to do a topical series this week, but I can feel the window closing on me before I have to dip into the buffer and post a different strip. Still, before I go I’m going to throw a fun little music video in here. Also well done, though I’m not sure if gamer culture is being celebrated here or satirized…


The Devil’s Rain

forgotten bannerMV5BMTU4MDI3OTE5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ5NDQzMQ@@__V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_The Devils Rain from  1975 starring  – get this- William Shatner,  Ernest Borgnine, and Tom Skerrit. This is a post Star Trek Shatner, but still a pre-TJ Hooker one. Interestingly enough, Skerrit is really well groomed in this. I always assumed that the look he had in Alien was his normal look for the 70’s and that by the time Top Gun came around he’d gotten older and trimmed everything up. Apparently I was wrong.

This is also John Travolta’s first film role, but don’t strain your eyes looking for him, he’s hidden under a black robe most of the time.

From IMDB : A bunch of Satanists in the American rural landscape have terrible powers which enable them to melt their victims. However one of the children of an earlier victim vows to destroy them.

A good enough description. Tom Skerrit comes to town trying to solve the untitledmystery of the satanic killings and wondering what happened to Captain Kirk.  It’s standard Satanist fare, and if you’re a fan of that kind of movie you’ll like this.  It’s mostly made notable for the cast. Earnest Borgnine’s devil makeup really has to be seen to be believed.

This was a discount title for the longest time, but it’s mostly vanished off the shelves (if it was ever on them). Take your chances on Amazon or eBay.


Satan’s Bed

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aka Batas Impian Ranjang Setan
Directed by H. Tjut Djalil

Also known as “Indonesian Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Normally I’d do a detailed review with my impressions of the film. However, I don’t think I can do any better justice to this movie than my posts to Facebook as I was watching this film.

  • Matthew Skelly there’s the little girls in white jumping rope (not singing theSatansBed19843 song but it’s definately them)…..OH MY GOD….they’re doing the bathtub scene almost shot for shot!!!
  • Matthew Skelly ” I had the same dream…a devil came out of my bed with razor sharp nails…” OH LOOK! It’s the Johnny Depp character and the tape player!…oh and here come the jerk boyfriend making noises outside…..
  • Matthew Skelly Okay…Indonesian Tina and Indonesian rod just went upstairs. I gotta say, Indonesian Nancy is a lot prettier than Heather Langenkamp…..If they actually do the rotating room I’m going to plotz.

  • Matthew Skelly Indonesian Freddy just cut off one of his fingers…..
  • Matthew Skelly No rotating room, but they did lift Indonesian Tina up on wires….they did the skull gag too….only it was Indonesian Freddy’s entire head that came off…..
  • Matthew Skelly COOL! It’s Indonesian John Saxon!
  • Matthew Skelly Indonesian Freddy walks like Frankenstein. Shame. SatansBed19842It’s probably because he’s cold. he needs a hat and sweater.

  • Matthew Skelly okay…bizarre….. Indonesian rod escapes from Indonesian john saxon and is lured away by Indonesian Freddy pretending to be the ghost of Indonesian tina…..SO Bizarre. Still get’s hung though.
  • Matthew Skelly Alcoholic mother..check. Shaman….huh? I think someone got their poltergeist mixed in their NOES……there’s that lady in lavender again to…a little Phantasm influence?
  • Matthew Skelly Why is Indonesian Freddy throwing his head at the shaman?Oh. So he can bite him. Okay.

  • Matthew Skelly There’s the staircase gag….only it’s tar….
    man, this movie really turned int Indonesian poltergeist for a minuet SatansBed19845there….
    This really is a high recommend for any Nightmare fan. It’s just a really strange remake….and a better one than the from 2011…..
    There are a couple odd bits. Freddy has a sidekick…a succubus in lavender which is what I’m referring to as the Phantasm connection. Also by the end, it really does turn into Poltregiest, complete with the skeletons bursting out of the ground and attacking. Indonesian Freddy is after these people not because he was torched alive but rather because the house was built on a graveyard.  But definately, check this out if you can find it.
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