drama, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

March 24th, 2018 Movie – Trollhunter


Years ago, while reading a horror movie blog, I came across a reference for today’s movie and it immediately caught my eye. I think the main thing about it was the fact that it was essentially a kaiju movie, only based in Norway. Now I for one thought that the change of scenery might be a nice change of pace while the subject matter itself could lead to a good movie. I ended up seeing it on Netflix shortly after the started streaming it and enjoyed it enough that I bought it on DVD when they stopped streaming it. So let’s enjoy today’s movie, Trollhunter.

The plot: On October 13th, 2008, a film studio received a package containing hard drives with 283 minutes of footage on them. The studio made a rough cut of the footage in chronological order and investigators spent a year trying to determine if the footage was real or not and ultimately declared it to be authentic.
Thomas, Johanna, and Kalle, three students from Volda University College, are doing a film project focused on a suspected poacher who was spotted near in the area of a bear sighting. After interviewing some licensed bear hunters, of which there are a select few, they learn the man’s name is Hans and he drives a Land Rover. Heading to the campground where Hans is staying, the manager shows them where his trailer is, saying that Hans goes out every night and never comes back before sunrise, while complaining about the stench coming from Hans’ trailer. When Hans returns the next morning, Thomas tries to interview him but Hans curtly tells him to get lost. Johanna, their sound engineer, places a microphone next to Han’s and they hear him on the phone with someone before he heads out. Thomas and the others attempt to follow him but they lose him so they head back to try and take a look in the trailer and Kalle, the cameraman, sees some furry things hanging from the ceiling and a shotgun inside. The next day, they head out to where a dead bear was spotted and interview some of the hunters, who believe the bear was planted there and the tracks were fake but Finn Haugen, head of the Norwegian Wildlife Board, says they are mistaken. When Hans leaves the campground, Thomas and the others follow after him, with Thomas attempting to question him when they are on a ferry. Hans pulls into another campground and Thomas and the others wait until he leaves that night, then follow after him. They lose sight of him in some woods but after exploring for a while, they soon find his Land Rover but no sign of Hans. Suddenly, they see some flashing lights in the distance and hear something roaring. Thomas comes running out of the woods, yelling “Troll”, and then leads them towards his Land Rover. During their running through the woods, something bit Thomas in the shoulder and Hans tends to his injury, as Kalle questions him about what he said. Hans gives them a ride back to their car only to find it has been overturned and destroyed so he drives them back to the campground. Thomas tries talking to Hans about what he said and then says he wants to film what he does and Hans agrees, provided that they do exactly what he says. The next night, Hans goes to pick them up and asks if any of them believe in God or Jesus, saying that Trolls can smell the blood of a Christian man, and Thomas, Johanna, and Kalle all say no. Returning to the woods, Hans tells them to head down to a nearby stream and scrub themselves and their clothes to remove the scent of body odor, then rub troll stench on them so that they smell like trolls. After the kids reluctantly do as he says, they head into the woods and Hans determines the type of troll he is hunting. He places a call, saying that it is a Ringlefinch and it has been chased from it’s territory, as it is marking it’s new territory, and the person on the other end asks him to try and collect a blood sample if possible. Leaving Thomas and the others in a clearing, Hans heads further into the woods to hunt the troll. As they wait for Hans to return, Thomas and the others hear something large approaching, knocking over trees as it moves. They soon see Hans running from the woods, telling them it is a Tosserlad, and they catch sight of a large 3-headed troll approaching them so they quickly run for it. They end up getting separated and Kalle uses the night vision function on his camera to see better and manages to spot Thomas and Hans, who motions them to be quiet as the Troll is close by. The troll starts sniffing and spots the three humans and gives chase and Hans yells at them to get behind his car, then Hans activates the UV lights on top of his car, turning the troll to stone. Johanna rejoins the others and they talk excitedly about what happened but Hans interrupts them, chastising them for lying and says that one of them is a Christian due to the way the troll was sniffing about. Thomas and the others insist that they aren’t and Hans gets to work on smashing the troll, then blowing it up into gravel so that no one will know trolls exist. In the morning, Thomas and the others are shocked to see Finn show up, who is not happy to see the kids filming him, followed by a van carrying a dead bear. Finn and the other men work on depositing the bear in the woods, leaving fake tracks to fool people, and after they leave, Hans shoots the bear and then they leave. As they eat breakfast, Hans explains what he knows about trolls and says that Finn wants to keep trolls a secret but Hans feels it is time for a change, especially as he is underpaid, and he agreed to let them film hoping it would get on TV and force some changes. When they ask how often trolls attack people, Hans tells them it rarely happens but something has been forcing trolls out of their normal habitats and into more populated areas recently. They return to Hans’ trailer for a minute and then head out to locate the Ringlefinch, hearing a news report about two tourists being killed by a bear as they drive along. They soon learn where the Ringlefinch might be hiding and come to a press conference Finn is having discussing a Russian bear being in the area, but when Thomas questions some of the facts he is stating, Finn looks evily at him as he leaves. That night, Hans leads some goats and sheep onto the bridge where the Ringlefinch had stored some food and then waits for it to show up. When the Ringlefinch grabs one of the goats, Hans, wearing a suit of armor, heads onto the bridge and retrieves the other goats, then pours some Christian blood onto the bridge. When the Ringlefinch goes onto the bridge to investigate, Hans attempts to use a giant syringe to take a blood sample but the troll ends up knocking him unconscious. After the troll goes back under the bridge, Thomas and the others go check on Hans, who recovers and then heads down after the troll, getting the blood sample before killing it. They then head to a vet to drop off the sample and Thomas interviews her while they are there. The vet says it will take a few days to get the results of the sample so they drive off, with Hans wanting to check out some of the nearby territories to see if any trolls have left the area. They eventually head to a farm where a supposed tornado occurred but Hans determines that 3 trolls had ran through the area, which explains the knocked over trees. Coming back at night to track the trolls, Hans heads out but as Thomas and Johanna go to follow, Kalle starts getting nervous and doesn’t want to go but Thomas convinces him to follow Hans. They soon come to an abandoned mine and Hans determines that this is where they sleep during the day and heads in for a closer look. As the others follow, Kalle asks for more troll stench to put on and they discover that the mine is the lair for several trolls but as they go to leave, they hear the trolls returning to the mine and quickly hide in a side passage. Trapped by the trolls, Kalle nervously puts on more stench but when he runs out, he admits to the others that he is Christian. As he starts sweating, the trolls start to wake up and catch wind of his scent and Hans tells them to run. They make a break for the exit, with Hans using his UV rifle to try and fend off the trolls but they manage to grab and kill Kalle. Later, Finn meets up with them and says the troll situation is getting out of hand and is upset that they are still filming what is going on, with Finn and Hans arguing when Finn tries to grab the camera from Johanna. Thomas and Johanna decide to keep riding with Hans and are joined by a new camerawoman, Malica. When Thomas asks if she is Christian, Malica says she is Muslim and Hans admits he doesn’t know how the trolls will react to that. Coming across a section of forest where all the trees have been knocked down, Hans says it looks like a Jotnar, the largest of the trolls, came through there, which is why the other trolls have all been moved from their normal territories. Explaining that power lines act as electrical fences surrounding troll territories, they head to the power station and learn that a section of power lines had been knocked down 3 weeks ago. Heading into the territory, they head to a TSS (Troll Security Service) cabin and sleep there as they make plans to try and locate the Jotnar. At the cabin, Thomas begins to feel ill and Johanna tries to take care of him in the cabin. Hearing roaring in the distance, Hans heads outside and unveils the massive UV spotlight he attached to the roof of his Land Rover. When the vet calls and tells them the blood sample he took tested positive for rabies, Hans believes that the Jotnar infected all of the other trolls, causing them to leave their territories, and that Thomas is infected as well. As the Jotnar appears in the distance, Hans rides out and attempts to kill it with the strobe light but the flash runs out of power. Driving back to the others, they head out, with the Jotnar giving chase, and Hans explains that he has to wear it out some before he will be able to kill it. When they see someone flagging them down, they stop to pick the stranger up and Hans uses the strobe to drive it off but as he tries to get in front of it to attack it again, the troll swipes the Land Rover and knocks it on it’s side. As they get out of the vehicle, they see the Jotnar roaring in pain and Hans grabs his gear, preparing to finish off the Jotnar. Hans tells Thomas that he hopes he has enough footage then points them towards the highway. Hans manages to kill the Jotnar but then disappears from view so Thomas, Johanna, Malica, and the hitchhiker (who was a seismologist) begin walking down the highway. When they spot some cars approaching them, Thomas and Johanna recognize them as Finn and his men and Thomas grabs the camera from Malica and he and Johanna try to run for it. Johanna falls and ends up being caught and Thomas is shown making it to the highway but as a truck approaches he is tackled and drops the camera.
The footage ends there and no sign of Thomas and the others was found, nor was Kalle’s body recovered. Though the government never fully acknowledged that trolls exist, the Prime Minister does mention that Norway has trolls and needed more power lines to contain them and though his aide does react to his statement, the press doesn’t seem to pay it any heed.

Trollhunter met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Trollhunter is a mockumentary with an appropriate level of creeping dread, but one that also benefits from generous helpings of dry wit.” The movie uses several references to Norwegian folklore and culture in regard to trolls, as well as some fairy tales, such as “Three Billy Goats Gruff”. The movie was a success in Norway, earning NOK 24 million ($4.159 million) off of a budget of NOK 19 million ($3.5 million).

This is one of the better “found footage” films out there. The acting was good, with Otto Jespersen (Hans), Glenn Erland Tosterud (Thomas), and Johanna Mørok (Johanna) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Tomas Alf Larsen, who did a good job playing the skeptical Kalle, but really did a good job selling the panic and fear when they were trapped in the cave. The story was good, with the use of folklore doing a good job helping to sell the belief that trolls really did exist in modern day Norway. I also thought the footage of the scenery as they just traveled to the various locations was great and helped make this seem like a real documentary. The special effects regarding the trolls were a lit better than I thought they would be and I liked how they made sure to make the trolls look different to indicate all the different species that there are. I know subtitled movies are not everyone’s personal preference but this is one that is well worth giving a shot.

Rating: 4 out of 5

adventure, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review

February 22nd, 2018 Movie – Time Bandits

time bandits

With both my mom and step-dad working, I ended up having to go to day care after school and during the summers as a kid. Apparently I was not trusted to stay home by myself until I was in junior high (lame). The good thing about this, especially when I got older, was that I had a little more freedom at the day care than the other kids. Case in point, during the summer while all the other kids had to do nap time, I spent the time playing cards with the day care workers or watching TV. Anyways, One of the times that I was watching TV, I remember watching part of this movie and thought it was one of the craziest movies I had ever seen. I would see it many other times over the years and decided to buy it on DVD after catching part of it on TV a few years ago. So let’s have a bit of ridiculous to start the day as I watch today’s movie, Time Bandits.

The plot: 11 year old Kevin is busy reading about Ancient Greece and telling his parents various facts but his parents essentially ignore him and tell him to go to his bed. As he lays in bed, he imagines seeing a knight on horseback come crashing out of his wardrobe and go riding off into the woods where his wall was. Ducking under the covers, Kevin peeks back out to find everything is normal and goes to check the wall just as his father pokes his head in the room and asks what the noise was. The next day, Kevin’s mom complains about several appliances going haywire and Kevin makes plans to try and take a picture of what ever comes through his wardrobe that night. As he is about to fall asleep, 6 dwarves (Randall, Fidgit, Strutter, Og, Wally, and Vermin) step out of the wardrobe. When Kevin signs his flashlight on them, the dwarves get scared but after realizing that he is just a kid, they attack him and demand he show them the way out. When they accidentally push against the bedroom wall, it moves outward and the dwarves, realizing they found the way out, begin pushing on the wall and reveal a long hallway. Kevin watches them continue pushing on the wall when a ghostly face appears and tells the dwarves to return the map they stole. Frightened by what is happening, Kevin ends up helping the dwarves push on the wall until it opens up into a black void, which they all fall into. Kevin and the dwarves land in a farmhouse and as Randall (their leader) pulls out the map to figure out where they are, Kevin uses the opportunity to run away. He soon runs into some soldiers, as well as a group of injured men and women fleeing a city, and learns that he is in Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. Randall and the other dwarves catch up to Kevin, revealing that they had stolen the map from the Supreme Being, who they used to work for, and are now traveling through history to steal various treasures. Entering the nearby town, they make plans to steal Napoleon’s treasures, much to Kevin’s shock. Seeing Napoleon watching a theater production, the dwarves end up on stage and entertaining Napoleon, who ends up dismissing his generals and having Randall and the others replace them, due to their being shorter than himself. While they are eating dinner, Napoleon falls asleep and Randall has Strutter go look for the time hole out of there while he and the others begin looting the room. After Strutter finds the portal, they quickly leave but the guards get suspicious and chase after them only for Kevin and the dwarves to disappear in the portal. They end up crashing into a carriage and as the occupants quickly run away, Kevin realizes that they have landed in the middle ages. Fidgit and the others want to have Kevin join them and Randall asks Kevin if he really wants to before he agrees. Remembering that he has a camera, Kevin takes a picture of the dwarves holding the map when they hear a scream and find a group of bandits robbing the carriage occupants. Kevin and the dwarves follow them but end up being captured and, as Randall talks to the bandits and convinces them to let them go, asks to see their boss. The bandits take them to their camp, where Kevin and the others discover that the bandits’ leader is Robin Hood. Robin Hood invites them to join his gang but as Randall and the others see Robin Hood handing out their recently stolen treasure to the poor, they decide to leave, taking Kevin with them. Unbeknownst to Kevin and the dwarves, they are being observed by Evil. Evil feels the Supreme Being wasted his chance in creating reality and he wants to use the map to recreate it in his own image. Evil possesses Og and convinces Randall and the others to head to a place where the most fantastic item in the world is kept. Before they can head off, the Supreme Being appears in the woods and they are forced to try and find a way out. As they head for the portal, two of them open up but the dwarves find themselves stuck and Kevin ends up going through a portal on his own. Kevin ends up in Ancient Greece, landing on top of King Agamemnon, who was in the midst of fighting a warrior wearing a bull’s head. With the bull-headed warrior distracted by Kevin’s arrival, Agamemnon is able to kill the warrior and then asks Kevin if the Gods sent him. Thanking him for saving him, Agamemnon invites Kevin to head back to his city and Kevin refuses at first, saying he has to wait for his friends, but when Agamemnon goes to leave him in the desert, Kevin changes his mind. Agamemnon takes Kevin to Mycenae, and, with Kevin wanting to stay there, decides to adopt him and make him his heir. As a celebration is held in Kevin’s honor, Randall and the others show up, disguised as part of the entertainment, and claiming to be magicians, grab various treasures and Kevin and, hiding behind a cloth, disappear into a portal, with Agamemnon and his court believing it to be part of the act at first. Kevin and the others land on board the Titanic and Kevin is upset that they didn’t leave him in Ancient Greece, as it is his favorite period of history, but Randall tries to comfort him by saying he really didn’t belong there. When the Titanic sinks, Kevin and the dwarves find themselves floating on some of the debris and Evil takes the opportunity to have them reach the portal to his realm, the Time of Legends. Kevin and the dwarves are captured by an ogre and his wife and brought aboard their ship. As the wife heads down to make preparations to cook them, the ogre works on scaring Kevin and the dwarves while placing them in a pot but his back is bothering him. Kevin offers to help him and he and the dwarves start stretching the ogre’s back before throwing him overboard. When the ogre’s wife goes to check on him, they knock her overboard as well, then sail off in the ship. Suddenly, they find the boat is stuck on the head of a giant, who makes his way onto shore. Pulling up the planks to expose the giant’s head, Kevin uses the ogre’s sleeping potion and pours it into some fireplace bellows, then he and the dwarves jab it into the giant’s head and pour the potion into it, causing the giant to fall asleep. Leaving the boat, Kevin and the dwarves end up wandering through a desert until they come across an invisible barrier and Randall excitedly exclaims that the Fortress of Darkness is on the other side. Wally and the other dwarves think Randall has gone mad and want to leave, grabbing the map from him. As Randall and Wally argue, Randall throws a skull at Wally and ends up smashing the barrier, revealing the Fortress of Darkness. They head inside and a game show host appears, offering them the most fantastic item in the world. Randall and the other dwarves are overcome by greed and, despite Kevin warning them it is a trap, quickly rush off to reach the prize. When they get there, the host asks for the map and when Randall shows it, he grabs it, revealing himself to be Evil, then has Kevin and the dwarves trapped in a cage and suspended over a bottomless pit. As the dwarves despair over being captured, Kevin is looking through his pictures and sees the one with the dwarves holding the map. Showing it to Randall, they realize that there is a hole in the fortress they can use to escape. They manage to escape the cage and using some shavings from the rope holding the cage, manage to get to safety. Randall and the dwarves want to leave but Kevin convinces them that they have to get the map away from Evil. They manage to grab the map but Evil spots them and transforms Og into a pig-man, then sends his minions after them. Kevin and Og stay behind to distract Evil while he sends the others to go get help throughout time. Evil captures Kevin and Og, then destroys his creations as he gets the map back. Evil transforms Og completely into a pig and is about to kill Kevin when Randall and the others show up with the help they acquired. Evil easily kills the cowboys, archers, and knights that attack him, then takes control of the tank and space ship that Randall and Wally are in, making them attack each other. Fidgit is killed during the fight and Evil is about to kill the rest of them when he is suddenly engulfed in fire and reduced to an ashen statue. The Supreme Being shows up and, after restoring Og to human and reviving Fidgit, the Supreme Being orders them to start cleaning the mess up. As they work, Randall apologizes for stealing the map and the Supreme Being says that he allowed them to take it as he wanted to test his creation, Evil. When Kevin asks him why he created Evil, the Supreme Being tells him that it has to do with free will. When the dwarves knock over the statue of Evil, the Supreme Being says to pick up all the pieces, as it is concentrated Evil and could be deadly if not contained, but one piece goes unnoticed as it rolls under the tank. With all of the pieces picked up, the Supreme Being says that it is time to go and they leave but when Fidgit asks about Kevin, the Supreme Being says he can’t come with them as he has to continue the fight. Kevin asks them not to leave, as the last piece of Evil begins smoldering and filling the area with smoke. Suddenly, Kevin finds himself back in his room, as firefighters break down the door to rescue him. As one of the firefighters asks if Kevin is ok, Kevin is surprised to see that he looks just like Agamemnon. As the firefighter heads back to put out the fire, Kevin checks his satchel and finds the pictures that he took, realizing that the adventure that he had with the dwarves really happened. One of the firemen shows Kevin’s parents their new toaster oven, which was the cause of the fire, and when they open it, the piece of Evil is found inside. Kevin sees it and warns them not to touch it but they ignore him and as they touch it, they suddenly explode. As Kevin calls out for his parents in shock, the camera pans up from Kevin to show the neighborhood, planet, and eventually the map, which the Supreme Being then rolls up.

Time Bandits met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.” While filming the scenes in Sherwood Forest where Kevin and the dwarves crash through the carriage and land on Vincent and Pansy, Terry Gilliam had a scaffold built and was trying to instruct them on how to jump and land around Michael Palin without actually hitting them. However, when he decided to show them how to do it, he ended up landing on Shelley Duvall. The movie was a box office success, earning $42.3 million off of a $5 million budget, and would gain a cult following, especially among fans of Monty Python.

I know the critics love it but I honestly feel like this movie is somewhat under appreciated by the average movie goer as this is a really funny movie. The acting was really good, with Craig Warnock doing a great job as Kevin. The dwarves all had some good moments and bad, with my personal favorites being Kenny Baker (Fidgit), Malcolm Dixon (Strutter), and Jack Purvis (Wally), and this has nothing to do with the fact that they were all in the original Star Wars movies. The story was pretty interesting and honestly just showed Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin’s brilliance in comedy. I loved how they essentially made a movie from a child’s point of view and even though Kevin was meant to be the central focus of the movie, there were plenty of times that he was intentionally made out to be the secondary character in order to focus more on the dwarves. The somewhat biblical aspect of the Supreme Being, Evil, and the aspect of free will being the reason to have Evil, was written out very well and I liked how they wrote that plot line into the movie. The special effects were surprisingly good, especially considering the limited budget they had. A really good movie that is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 20th, 2018 Movie – Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood

tales from the crypt- bordello of blood

I hate having to go to work on s Saturday, as it kind of throws my whole day off. Anyways, today’s movie is the second in the Tales From The Crypt trilogy and, like it’s predecessor, I never saw it in theaters. However, I had many opportunities to see this movie as it seemed to always be on TBS, TNT, and just about every other cable channel around during the late 90’s. Anyways, about the same time as I picked up Demon Knight, I decided to go ahead and pick up today’s movie as well. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood.

The plot: Opening – In Tierra del Fuego, a dwarf named Vincent Prather leads an expedition team deep into the jungle and has his workers start digging into a a cavern. After they all lower themselves down, they find a casket and open it to discover the skeletal remains of Lilith, the mother of all vampires. His men think he is mad to lead them there, but Vincent explains that he scoured the Earth for the 4 pieces of her heart so he can give it back to her. Opening a box and removing the barriers, the heart merges into a single organ and Vincent places it inside the skeleton, where it begins to regenerate the skeleton. Lilith begins to attack and kill three of the men, almost completely healing herself, but when she goes to attack Vincent, he pulls out the Demon Key (from Demon Knight), and says that whoever holds the key controls her. Vincent then asks if she will behave after finishing off the last guy and Lilith answers, Anything for you, lover.” then kills the man as he tries to climb to safety.

Prologue – The Mummy is finishing telling a story to the Crypt Keeper while they are having lunch. After briefly saying hi to a guy named Jack, who is also in the movie business, the Mummy asks the Crypt Keeper if he wants to play a high stakes game of rock, paper, scissor. The Crypt Keeper agrees and when he loses, the Mummy cuts off his hand with a cleaver. The Crypt Keeper laughs and says it doesn’t hurt and when the Mummy asks if he is ready for Round 2, the Crypt Keeper agrees, then addresses the audience and introduces the movie.

Main movie – Katherine Verdoux is arguing with her brother Caleb about his music and when he makes plans to leave, she begs him to stay in but he ignores her and goes out with his friends. After hanging out at a bar with his friends, he decides that they should leave and try to get laid. A stranger at the bar, Jenkins, tells them to head to a nearby funeral home if they want to get laid and Caleb and his friend Reggie head out while there other two friends stay behind. When they reach the funeral home, they are greeted by a mortician, McCutcheon, who directs them towards a coffin and tells them to get inside. When they refuse, he forces them in at gunpoint and sends it towards the cremation oven, but it is really the secret entrance to a brothel. Inside, Caleb and Reggie are approached by two women, who take them to separate rooms but before Reggie can get started, Lilith enters the room and explains that the girls’ job is to get them warmed up so she can finish them off, then proceeds to kill Reggie, then Caleb. Several days later, Katherine is at the police station trying to file a missing person’s report on Caleb but they refuse to help her, saying that they have too many cases. She is approached by Rafe Guttman, a private investigator whose office is in an old adult theater. Katherine is hesitant to hire Rafe but he persists and she finally relents and agrees to hire him, giving him the name of some of Caleb’s friends to go to for information. Rafe tracks down Caleb’s friends and after pestering them, he gets the address for the brothel they went to. When he goes there, he finds a funeral taking place, with McCutcheon presiding over the services, and notices Jenkins slathering himself with sunblock. Meanwhile, Katherine has gone to her job at Current Ministries, where she works for J.C. Current and as they are talking, Vincent appears, saying he has some blueprints for Current to sign. Rafe heads to Current Ministries and, after briefly being introduced to Current, he tells Katherine what he learned about her brother and she thanks him for his time and pays him. Rafe heads to the bar and laments about losing a chance to start something with Katherine and Jenkins starts telling him about the brothel. Rafe heads to the funeral home and tells McCutcheon the phrase Jenkins told him but McCutcheon tells him to come back tomorrow. Sensing something strange going on, Rafe climbs up to the second floor and hears Lilith talking to a woman and later, after avoiding McCutcheon, he hears the woman scream and a body hitting the floor. When Lilith heads downstairs, Rafe quickly hides to avoid being seen, then heads towards the back room where the bodies are worked on and finds one of Caleb’s earrings. Rafe heads back to Current Ministries, where Katherine and Current are not happy to see him, but Rafe hands Katherine the earring before walking off. Katherine catches up to him and apologizes, then asks if they should go to the police but Rafe says the police will want more proof before they act so he is going back there to try and get another look. That night, Rafe heads back to the funeral home just as Jenkins gets there and McCutcheon allows Rafe to go in, yelling at Jenkins to wait there. After getting out of the coffin, Rafe is met by Tamara and taken to a part of the home intended for BDSM. Meanwhile, Lilith goes to talk with Jenkins, who is complaining about the process turning him into a vampire hurting, and she ends up taring off his head. Back in the BDSM room, Rafe manages to turn the tables on Tamara and lock her in the restraints, then quickly leaves the room but accidentally drops his wallet. Rafe makes his way out of the greeting room and hides in a coffin to avoid being seen by McCutcheon but does a double take when he sees that Jenkin’s body was also in the coffin. Lilith frees Tamara and licks Rafe’s blood from her fingers, saying it is a rare blood type. After noticing Rafe’s wallet on the ground, Lilith heads over to his office and attempts to seduce him, but Rafe is able to resist her just as Katherine shows up and Katherine is disgusted by Rafe being with Lilith and says she is going to the police and Rafe follows after her, attempting to explain what was going on. At the police station, the sheriff doesn’t believe Rafe’s story, then informs Katherine that Rafe’s PI license had been suspended a year ago. Humoring them, the sheriff takes them to the funeral home and McCutcheon allows them in but when Rafe is unable to show them the secret entrance to the brothel, Katherine believes he is a fraud and leaves with the sheriff. On the second floor, Lilith and Vincent watch Rafe leave and Vincent asks if he should kill Rafe but Lilith says to let him be, then speaks with Vincent about changing their operation. At Current Ministries, Katherine asks Current about doing an expose on his religious channel about the sin of lust and Current agrees to it. Later that night, Current discovers that Vincent had stolen the money from his safe and tracks him down to a strip club, where he is sitting in a booth with Lilith. Current approaches them and it turns out that he was the one who sent Vincent with the key to retrieve Lilith for his own ends but Lilith wants to change the plan. When Katherine appears at the strip club to interview some of the patrons, Current and Vincent quickly leave before she can spot them but Katherine notices Lilith and talks to her before she is escorted outside. In the alley behind the club, Current and Vincent start to argue when Lilith grabs Current. Current tells Vincent to give him the key but Vincent throws it to the ground, causing it to explode, and Lilith says she is going to let Current live knowing he is powerless to stop them. Meanwhile, Rafe had observed a funeral procession and noticed the pallbearers struggling with the coffin when they were placing it in the mausoleum. Sneaking in that night, he opens the coffin to discover Jenkin’s body in there with another man’s and quickly takes some pictures. The next day, Rafe takes the developed pictures to show Katherine, who only sees one body in there, and Rafe tries to explain that there were two bodies as he is being thrown out. Turning back to her TV monitor, Katherine and her editor are going over the video she took at the club when Katherine notices that Lilith is not on camera when she should have been. Katherine takes the tape to Rafe and as he is watching it, he notices Current and Vincent in the background. As they try to figure things out, Katherine gets a phone call from Caleb, saying he needs help and ask to meet them at the power plant. When they get there, they find Caleb’s body lying on the ground but when Rafe goes to check on him, he finds that Caleb has become a vampire. Rafe and Katherine try to run but Rafe ends up falling out the window and onto the sheriff’s car while Katherine is captured by McCutcheon and Vincent. When Rafe regains consciousness, he finds himself strapped to the hospital bed but gets free just as Tamara kills the sheriff. Rafe starts fighting with Tamera and during the course of the fight, her uniform is ripped and when she gets exposed to the sunlight, she explodes. At the funeral home, Katherine pleads with Caleb to let her go but Caleb says he likes being a vampire, just as Lilith arrives and starts to feel Katherine up, planning on making her one of her girls. In the foyer, Current arrives to talk with Lilith but McCutcheon and Vincent don’t believe him and plan on killing him. Suddenly, Rafe drives his car into the funeral home, running over McCutcheon, then shoots Vincent. When he questions Current’s loyalties, Current admits her is there to stop Lilith. Rafe hands Current a water gun filled with Holy Water but Current says that won’t work on Lilith, as they need to cut her heart out of her chest. Heading into the brothel, Rafe and Current begin shooting the women with Holy Water, causing them all to burst into flames and explode. As Rafe deals with Caleb, Current goes to rescue Katherine only to discover it is Lilith in disguise, who stabs him with his own knife. Rafe manages to injure her with an axe but she pulls her body together and quickly diappears before he can do any further damage. Rafe finds Katheirne and, after checking her neck to make sure she wasn’t bitten, unties her and they go check on Current, who dies from his wounds. Heading to Current Ministries, they come up with a plan to expose the vampires to the world but Lilith shows up to stop them, handcuffing Rafe to a railing before attacking Katherine. Rafe manages to activate the crucifix laser, burning Lilith’s chest, but she tells him that it won’t work and approaches him to finish him off. Before she can kill him, Katherine stabs her in the chest with a pitchfork, sending her heart flying out of her chest and finally destroying Lilith. The next day, they cremate Lilith’s remains so that she can never come back and as they leave, Katherine starts flirting with Rafe. Reacting to her advances, Rafe starts kissing her but when he smells something funny, he asks her about her perfume. She tells him it isn’t perfume, but sunblock, just as he discovers a bite mark on her thigh, and Katherine grabs him and bites into his neck.

Epilogue – The Crypt Keeper jokes about how if Rafe and Katherine got married, she would know what is eating him, “she is.” It is then revealed that the Crypt Keeper has gotten the better of the Mummy in their game, as the Mummy is down to just his head.

Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood was panned by the critics, holding a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Bordello of Blood is not as scary or funny as it thinks it is (or should’ve been), and all of Dennis Miller’s lines sound like castoffs from his stand-up material.” William Sadler’s cameo as the Mummy was similar to a role he played in an actual episode of Tales From The Crypt titled “The Assassin”. In it, Sadler played the Grim Reaper and  got into a high stakes game of chance with the Crypt Keeper, even taking his hand during the game. The movie was a box office bomb, earning $5.8 million, and caused the studio to cancel plans for releasing a third movie.

This is a ridiculous movie to watch but it does have some funny parts to it. The acting was ok, with Dennis Miller being his usual sarcastic self but I was pretty unimpressed with everyone else, though the Whoopi Goldberg cameo was kind of funny. The story honestly felt weak, seeming to be about as contrived of a vampire movie as you could expect to find. The worst part was the deal with the key, as it was made to be this powerful artifact in the Demon Knight but seemed to be reduced to a trinket that was easily destroyed in this movie. The special effects were not as good as felt they could have been, as the make-up effects didn’t look that good at times, especially when the vampires were being killed by Rafe and Current. On the whole, it is kind of disappointing but can be fun to watch just because of it’s ridiculousness.

Rating: 2 out of 5

action, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 19th, 2018 Movie – Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight

tales from the crypt-demon knight

Ahh, if there is one thing I remember during my late night TV viewing as a teenager, it is definitely the excitement I got when my parents got HBO and I was able to watch Tales From The Crypt. Being a horror movie fan, this was always a fun show to watch as I would get a short dose of horror that was usually a great way to unwind over the weekend. So when I heard that they were making a full length feature film episode, I was excited to go see it but never got the chance to see it in theaters. I did watch it when it came out on video and eventually got it on DVD when I had a chance. Now let’s see how well they did with today’s movie, Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight.

The plot: Prologue: A woman is talking to her lover on the phone and describing how she killed a man and placed him in a pot of boiling water. After inviting her lover over, she goes to take a bath but her victim returns to life and heads up the stairs with a small hatchet. Before he can kill her, the Crypt Keeper yells cut and berates the actor playing the dead man and orders everyone back to their places so they can reshoot it. As he heads back to his chair, the Crypt Keeper notices the audience and starts talking to them before showing them his latest work for Hollywood, Demon Knight.

Main Movie: Frank Brayker is driving down a dark road when he notices that he is being followed by another car. Brayker tries to avoid the other car but his car stalls out so he begins shooting the car, setting it on fire. When the other driver, The Collector, doesn’t stop heading for him, Brayker manages to get out of his car before the second car impacts it, causing both cars to explode and seemingly killing the other driver. As Brayker stands up, he looks at his hand, which has a star form next to 4 other stars already on it, and he quickly starts walking away. Brayker attempts to steal a car but a little kid sees him and calls out to his father, causing Brayker to run away before he is caught. As he catches his breath in an alley, Brayker encounters Uncle Willy, a local drunk, and Willy agrees to take Brayker to a place he can crash for the night. Back at the crash site, Sheriff Tupper and Deputy Bob are discussing the crash when The Collector appears and asks if they had seen Brayker. When the two confused officers attempt to question The Collector, he tells them that Brayker is dangerous and if he is in town, something bad will soon happen. Back in town, Willy takes Brayker to an old church, which has been turned into a boarding house and Brayker rents a room. While there, he meets the residents of the boarding house; the owner Irene, a prostitute named Cordelia, a postal worker named Wally, and a prisoner on work release named Jeryline. As Brayker is eating, a restaurant cook named Roach enters the church and as he prepares to spend time with Cordelia, he tells them about how someone had tried to kill his bosses car. Meanwhile, Tupper and Bob are interviewing the people about the attempted car theft when they get a call from the station, saying Irene called about Brayker, saying he was acting suspicious. When they arrive at the church, Brayker holds a knife to Jeryline’s throat and tells them to back away but The Collector says that he won’t kill her and Brayker reluctantly lets her go. After Tupper puts Brayker in handcuffs, The Collector sits down and asks him where his artifact is, telling Tupper and Bob that it is shaped like a key. Bob searches Brayker’s room but doesn’t find it and after they repeatedly question Brayker about it’s whereabouts, Willy says he knows where Brayker stashed it and pulls it out from underneath the table. As The Collector opens his suitcase and asks Willy to dump the liquid inside the artifact and place it inside, Tupper receives a call and grabs the key from Willy, saying that both cars were stolen and that he is taking both of them to the station to figure things out. The Collector punches his fist through Tupper’s face and as Bob goes for his gun, Brayker grabs the keys for the handcuffs and frees himself. Brayker uses the key to burn The Collector’s face, forcing him to jump out a nearby window. The Collector yells at Brayker and the others, then slices open his hand and begins splattering the ground with his blood, summoning demonic creatures from the ground where his blood touched. The creatures begin attacking  the hotel and Brayker defends the group, then uses the liquid from the key to form barriers on the doors and windows, killing the creatures if they try to cross. Roach wants to run, convincing Cordelia to come with him, but when they get attacked, he leaves Cordelia out there to die while he heads back inside. Wally, who is in love with Cordelia, manages to save her but he is injured in the process, and Brayker and Cordelia drag him back inside. After securing all the entrances, Brayker says they need to wait out the night cause if they step outside, the creatures will kill them, but Roach gets angry and says that the creatures are only after him and the key and they should just turn him over to them. As Brayker works on securing the upper floors, Jeryline tries talking to him and asks who he really is but he just answers that he is an old man running out of time. After Brayker is done, he heads back downstairs only to find that Jeryline’s cat has somehow made it back inside. Fearing it might be possessed, Brayker chases after it down to the basement, followed by Jeryline, Willy, and Irene, and after catching it, he determines it is safe, then discovers the crack that the cat had come in from and Bob and Willy say that there are some mine shafts that run under the town and it is probably one of them. Upstairs, Roach tries talking to Wally to convince him to work with him against Brayker but Wally refuses and Cordelia sticks up for Wally. Roach takes Cordelia to her room and smacks her and after he leaves, Cordelia hears The Collector talking to her in her head and she ends up being possessed. When Wally goes to check on Cordelia, she attacks and kills him, then attacks Brayker when he goes to investigate the noise. When Brayker goes for the key, Cordelia knocks it away from him and Irene grabs it and tries to use it but Cordelia rips her arm off. Brayker is finally able to kill Cordelia but the event causes everyone to rebel against Brayker and want to try and escape through the mines. Roach breaks down the wall and they head out, with Brayker forming a seal and following after them. As they are making their way through the mines, Jeryline finds Danny, the boy who had spotted Brayker trying to steal his dad’s car, hiding in the mine and as she goes to grab him, they are attacked by the boy’s parents, who have been possessed. They manage to escape and Brayker has everyone head back to the church, killing one of the demons as he leaves. After they are all safely inside, Roach decides to shoot his possessed boss but the resulting explosion from the demon destroys the seal, allowing them to enter the church. Brayker has everyone head upstairs to the second floor, where they are safe as some blood had created a seal when the key was knocked form Brayker’s hand during the fight with Cordelia. When everyone pressures Brayker to explain what is going on, he explains that during the creation of the Earth, the demons had 7 keys which they used to control the power of the cosmos to keep the world in darkness but God created light, which scattered the demons and the keys across the universe. The demons had managed to collect 6 of the keys and the 7th was on Earth but had been filled with the blood of Jesus and guarded by a thief. When the blood runs low, the guardian has to fill it with his own blood and hand it off to a new guardian, with Brayker himself having gotten it from his lieutenant in 1917 during WWI. After finishing his story, Jeryline notices Danny is missing and they split up to find him but Roach secretly steals the key from Brayker. As Jeryline looks for Danny, The Collector tries tempting her to help him but she refuses. Irene and Bob head up to the attic, where they find Willy up there drinking and Danny reading a comic book. Irene tells Willy to take Danny downstairs and get Brayker up there with the key, while she stays up there with Bob and they discover that Wally had a chest full of weapons that he was going to use to attack the post office. Brayker and Jeryline go looking for Willy and Danny only to have Brayker be attacked by a possessed Willy. Brayker manages to cut off Willy’s head but when the body keeps attacking him, Danny grabs the head and impales it’s eyes onto some deer antlers. Roach tries to bargain with The Collector for his life but after giving The Collector the key and erasing the seal on the stairs, The Collector has the demons kill Roach. As The Collector and the demons go after the others, Brayker shoots The Collector in the eye with an arrow, then grabs the case with the key. Bob and Irene tell Brayker, Jeryline, and Danny to head upstairs into the attic while they hold off the demons, then Irene pulls the pins on the grenades she is carrying, killing both her and Bob in order to kill the demons. In the attic, Danny ends up being possessed and mortally wounds Brayker before Jeryline can kill him. Brayker then tells Jeryline to refill the key with his blood and initiates her as the new Guardian. When Brayker dies, the seals he created all disappear and The Collector heads up to the attic. Jeryline attacks him with the key and heads downstairs to finish him off but The Collector attacks her and breaks her wrist. As he goes to finish her off, Jeryline stabs him in the eye with the key and while he is distracted, she takes a drink of blood from the key. The Collector continues to taunt her, saying he wants to take her with him back to Hell but Jeryline spits the blood into his face, causing him to explode. The next day, Jeryline boards a bus out of town, using some of the blood to form a seal on the doors. As the bus makes it’s way down the highway, it stops to pick up a man carrying a briefcase, the man starts to board the bus but stops and says he will wait for the next one, indicating that he is the new Collector. As the bus drives off, the man starts walking after it, whistling the Tales From The Crypt theme song.

Epilogue – The Crypt Keeper says Jeryline lives happily ever after, as he received a post card from her saying she is traveling the world. The Crypt Keeper then heads out to the premier of his movie, only to have the producers place him in a guillotine and cut off his head, causing him to laugh.

Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all seemed to feel that it was lacking enough scares or substance to truly stand on it’s own. The movie was to be the first in a trilogy of Tales From The Crypt movies, with the Crypt Keeper giving the title of the next movie after the credits, but the original trilogy plan fell through and two different movies ended up finishing off the trilogy. The movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning $21.1 million off of a $12 million budget.

This is a pretty fun movie to watch and definitely fit well with the general theme of Tales From The Crypt. The acting was pretty good, with Billy Zane having a lot of fun as The Collector, while Thomas Haden Church did a great job as Roach but I was not too impressed with William Sadler, as I felt his portrayal of Brayker was kind of boring. The story was interesting, though I felt like the whole Biblical aspect was a little unnecessary. I also liked the open ended way the movie ended, as it really left it open for a sequel, like it was intended to be. The special effects were decent, but I honestly expected a little more since it was a feature film as most of them looked like it was basically from an episode of the show itself, not just a movie. As much as I enjoyed the movie, I probably enjoyed the soundtrack equally as much, if not more, and thought it fit perfectly with the movie. A fun movie to watch and definitely something any horror fan will want to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review, romance

January 18th, 2018 Movie – Splash


So we come to an end to the movies that were purchased/gifted over the holidays and I am sure you are thinking this is an interesting movie for me to own. Well, this movie was bought as a gift due to an inside joke/nickname I was given. Years ago, when I was roommates with my friend Emily, a commercial for the TV show Charmed came on, showing Alyssa Milano’s character becoming a mermaid. Emily asked how one’s become a mermaid and my wife at the time responded that one becomes a werewolf when bitten by a werewolf. Without missing a beat, Emily turns to me and asks why I bit Alyssa Milano, to which my response was, “Why wouldn’t I?” Anyways, that response led to Emily calling me a mermaid, which has stuck to this day, though I did get her back with my own nickname for her. Anyways, in honor of the nickname, and because she felt I needed to own this movie, this was one of the movies she got me for Christmas. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Splash.

The plot: In 1964, young Allan Bauer is on the Cape Cod ferry with his family. As his family head to another part of the ship, Allan sees something in the water and jumps in. While underwater, a girl approaches him and grabs his hand and the two smile at each other, with Allan able to breath underwater, but their connection is broken when a crew member dives in to save Allan. As they take him back aboard the ship, Allan continues to stare out at the girl, who is staring back at him from the water, but no one else sees her and when Allan is led inside the ferry, she dives back underwater, revealing that she is a mermaid. 20 years later, Allan runs a fruit and vegetable warehouse in New York City with his irresponsible older brother Freddie, when his girlfriend calls and tells him that she is leaving him. After attending a coworker’s wedding, Freddie takes Allan to a bar to drink his sorrows away and as Freddie tries to arrange a double date with two women he picked up at the bar but Allan decides to head to Cape Cod, saying it relaxes him. The next morning, Allan is walking along the beach when he encounters eccentric scientist Walter Kornbluth and asks him for a ride to the island, as he was dropped off on the wrong beach, but Walter is paranoid that Allan is there to spy on him and steal his research so he refuses to help him. One of Kornbluth’s workers directs Allan to a man that will take him to the island and on the way there, Allan admits that he can’t swim, causing the man to try and scare Allan but he ends up stalling out the motor. As the man swims back to shore to get another boat, Allan attempts to fix the motor and gets it working but ends up falling overboard as the boat goes out of control and is knocked unconscious when the boat strikes his head. Allan comes too on the beach with a massive headache and as he looks around, sees a blonde, naked woman staring at him and calls out to her. The woman doesn’t answer but approaches him, then grabs him and kisses him before diving into the water. As the woman swims away, Allan calls out to her to come back but she doesn’t respond. The woman, who is a mermaid, finds Allan’s wallet on the ocean floor, where it fell when  he was knocked unconscious, and swims away with it only to encounter Kornbluth, who tries to take a picture of her but she quickly swims away. Reaching her underwater home, the mermaid finds New York City on a map and begins swimming towards it. The mermaid arrives at Liberty Island, with her fins transforming into legs when she is out of the water, and causes a commotion by walking around naked. The police arrive to take her into custody and when they discover she has Allan’s wallet, they give him a call about her. Allan quickly rushes to the police station, leaving Freddie to handle a meeting with a new client, and heads down to the police station to pick her up. Allan takes the woman back to his apartment, where she constantly tries kissing him, but he has to head back to work and turns the TV on, telling her he will be back later and take her to dinner. When Allan arrives back at work, Freddie is surprised by Allan’s new attitude and his willingness to let him have more control over the business. Back at his apartment, the woman starts learning how to speak some English by watching TV and heads out to a department store, where she ends up buying some new clothes and learning more English before Allan finally finds her. As they are walking back to his apartment, Allan tries to find out more about the woman and she decides to call herself Madison and tells him she is in town for 6 days. That night, Madison takes a bath in the middle of the night but when Allan goes to check on her, she quickly dries her tail so that he doesn’t see her as a mermaid. The next day, Kornbluth continues searching for the mermaid but when he sees one of his workers reading a tabloid with a picture of the naked Madison on it, he recognizes her as the mermaid he saw and heads to New York City. As Allan continues to fall in love with Madison, Freddie tries get Allan to admit that he is in love with her but he refuses to admit it to himself, as he has never really been in love with anyone. Meanwhile, Kornbluth heads to the National History Museum and tells them that he has proof that mermaid’s exist but his mentor says he can’t believe he is stuck on that nonsense idea. Korbluth decides to prove that the mermaid is real and goes looking for Madison to splash her with water but mistakenly splashes another woman by mistake, causing her husband to assault Kornbluth. During dinner, Allan asks Madison to marry him but she doesn’t answer. As they are ice skating afterwards, Allan asks her again and she tells him no, saying she wants to make the most of the 3 days with him but she has to leave. As Allan and Madison start to argue about the matter, she leaves and Allan tries to apologize but she runs off before he can catch her. As Alan searches the city for Madison, Madison heads to the water and prepares to head back to the ocean but thinks back as to why she came to look for Allan in the first place and heads back to him. Madison agrees to marry Allan and he wants to get married the next day and Madison agrees to it, saying she will tell Allan her secret before they get married. Remembering that they are to attend a Presidential dinner that night, the two head there, unaware that the injured Kornbluth is there trying to expose Madison. After Kornbluth is escorted outside by the secret service, Madison tells Allan she is ready to tell him her secret and they leave, but Kornbluth sees them and manages to spray Madison with the water he was carrying, exposing her as a mermaid to Allan and everyone else. Allan and Madison are quickly grabbed and taken to a government lab for testing, and when they are placed together, Allan tries to apologize for keeping it a secret but Allan doesn’t respond. When it is apparent that Allan is not a mermaid, he is dropped off back at his apartment, where reporters are waiting for him and try to get him to talk about his relationship with Madison. Freddie shows up and takes Allan out of there and as they get alone to talk, Allan starts questioning what he really felt for her and Freddie calls him out on it, reminding him how happy he was when he was with Madison. Meanwhile, Dr. Ross, Kornbluth’s rival, is heading up the research of Madison and is making plans to dissect her, which shocks Kornbluth and when he voices his objection, Ross tells him that he shouldn’t even be there as he doesn’t consider him a member of his team. Allan, realizing he does love Madison and tracks down Kornbluth to find out where she is being held. Kornbluth, who feels guilty about his role in what is happening to Madison, helps sneak Allan and Freddie into the lab by having them pose as Swedish scientists. Allan and Kornbluth then sneak Madison out of the lab, leaving Freddie there to take the heat when it is discovered she is gone. Ross has the military go recapture Madison and Kornbluth tries to delay them, saying he caused the mess, but he is unable to stop them. Allan and Madison reach the docks and Madison tells Allan that she was willing to stay with him forever. When Allan says he wishes that he could go with her, she tells him he can, telling him that she was the one who saved him as a boy, but that he would never be able to come back. When the military gets there, Allan tells Madison he loves her and she needs to leave but as she waves goodbye, he yells out to her and jumps in after her. Madison swims back to Allan and kisses him, allowing him to breathe underwater, and when some divers attempt to capture them, they quickly rip off the divers’ breathing gear then swim away. Allan takes off his jacket and kisses Madison before they swim off to an underwater kingdom.

Splash was highly praised by the critics, holding a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A perfectly light, warmly funny romantic comedy that’s kept afloat by Ron Howard’s unobtrusive direction and charming performances from Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah.” The movie was the first to be released under Walt Disney’s Touchstone Pictures label, which was created in order to release movies with more mature content that were deemed not appropriate for the flagship banner. The movie was a box office success, earning $69 million off of an $8 million budget.

This is a pretty decent movie but not one I would watch every day. The acting was good, with Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah doing a good job in their roles of Allan and Madison respectively. I also liked John Candy (Freddie) and Eugene Levy (Kornbluth), who added some pretty good comedic and serious scenes to the movie. The story was essentially a take off of “The Little Mermaid”, with the mermaid falling in love with a human and wanting to be with him, only not as depressing a tale as the original story. The special effects involving Daryl Hannah’s mermaid tail were pretty decent in the water scenes, but not as much when she was on land. It’s a decent 80’s rom-com but not my normal cup of tea.

Rating: 3 out of 5

comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 11th, 2018 Movie – My Name Is Bruce

my name is bruce

Before you get confused, yes, I know that I didn’t post a review for yesterday. There were some issues and everything I had written before I went to work didn’t save for some reason so I will redo it over the weekend. Now for today’s movie, this is the last movie in the Bruce Campbell three-pack of movies I got for Christmas and honestly my favorite one out of the bunch. I remember first seeing this a couple of years ago and laughing my as off as I watched it because of it’s over-the-top antics. So let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, My Name Is Bruce.

The plot: In the town of Gold Lick, Oregon, Jeff and Clayton are heading out to the cemetery to meet up with two girls, Big Debbie and Little Debbie, and Taylor is poking fun at Jeff’s fandom of Bruce Campbell. When they get there, the two pair off with the girls and try to hook up with them, though Little Debbie seems less than open to Jeff’s advances. As he is looking around the graveyard, Jeff notices a medallion on a mausoleum and removes it, unleashing Guan Di, a Chinese war god and protector of the dead. Jeff runs back to his car, warning Clayton and the Debbies that they need to leave, but Guan Di proceeds to kill Clayton and the two Debbies so Jeff drives off and tries to figure out what to do. Elsewhere, Bruce Campbell is finishing filming Cave Alien II and after signing some autographs for some fans, he leaves the set and heads to a nearby bar. At the bar, he argues with his agent, Mills Toddner, but makes up with him after Mills says that he got him a  birthday surprise. Returning to his trailer, Bruce proceeds to get drunk to celebrate his divorce being final but then gets depressed and calls his ex-wife Cheryl, who talks with him for a few minutes before hanging up so she can fool around with Mills. Later that night, Jeff knocks on Bruce’s trailer and begs for his help in dealing with Guan Di but Bruce refuses to help so Jeff hits him over the head with a baseball bat and kidnaps him. Back in Gold Lick, Guan Di continues to kill people in town, though he spares one kid who was eating some bean curd. When Jeff arrives in town with Bruce, Bruce is upset and starts yelling about them kidnapping him but when Jeff says his agent said he was free that day, Bruce thinks the whole thing is the surprise Mills planned for his birthday and treats it as if it is another movie, though he doesn’t see any cameras or a script. Bruce starts flirting with Kelly, Jeff’s mother, as the mayor gives a presentation about the history of the town and the legend of Guan Di. Heading to Jeff and Kelly’s place to get cleaned up, Bruce then heads to the local bar, where the town throws a feast in his honor. Bruce continues to try and flirt with Kelly, who is repulsed by his actions, but the mayor talks with her and tells her to be nice as Bruce is their last hope. Kelly starts being nicer to Bruce and they end up talking and getting closer but before they kiss, the mayor shows up with some other towns people and says it’s time to go kill Guan Di. Heading to the local gun store, Bruce has the town arm themselves and they head out to face Guan Di. When the mob finally confronts Guan Di, Bruce realizes that the whole situation is real and quickly runs away, stealing a kids bike and an old lady’s car to try and escape, only to find himself back in town. Bruce eventually is able to stow away in the back of a pick-up truck heading out of town as the rest of the town chases after him, calling hima  coward. Bruce returns to his trailer only to have his dog turn on him and Cheryl has asked for an increase in alimony and filed a restraining order against him. Hearing a knock on the door, Bruce opens it to find Kasey, a singing prostitute, which was the birthday surprise Mills had gotten him. As Bruce talks with Kasey, he gets a phone call from Jeff, who thanks Bruce for forcing him to own up to his mistakes and says that since he was the one who released Guan Di, he has to be the one to stop him. Feeling guilty for letting Jeff face Guan Di on his own, Bruce has Kasey take him back to Gold Lick, where he finds Kelly burning all of Jeff’s Bruce Campbell memorabilia. Bruce apologizes to Kelly for his actions and when he tells her that Jeff when off to face Guan Di on his own, She quickly gets in her truck and Bruce hops into the back to go rescue him. When they reach the graveyard, they see Guan Di about to kill Jeff and Bruce distracts it by shooting it. As Guan Di chases after Bruce, Jeff tries to come up with an idea to stop Guan Di by reading script ideas from the various movies Bruce was in. Meanwhile, Kelly remembers the story of Guan Di and heads to Wing’s shack and steals his bean curd. Kelly throws a container of bean curd to Bruce, saying that Guan Di was also the protector of bean curd, and Bruce uses it to safely get away. They then come up with a plan to use a cardboard likeness of him to lure Guan Di back to the mine, then blow it up with the dynamite that Jeff had brought with him. Bruce distracts Guan Di with the bean curd while Jeff and Kelly set up the dynamite but Guan Di doesn’t fall for the cardboard likeness so Bruce sacrifices himself and tackles Guan Di into the mine. Jeff is hesitant to blow up the mine with Bruce still in it but Kelly convinces him that it is the right thing to do and the blow up the mine. Bruce emerges from the rubble and places the medallion onto the debris, sealing Guan Di inside, then heads over to Jeff and Kelly to celebrate only for Guan Di to reemerge and come towards them. The scene freezes, as this was all a movie, and in the viewing room, Bruce talks with Ted Raimi about the cliched ending to the movie and suggest that they give a horror movie a happy ending for once. Bruce is then shown to have married Kelly and Jeff has been accepted to Harvard. As the movie ends, Bruce breaks the 4th wall and asks if there could be a better ending, only to have Guan Di burst through the wall and attack him.

This is such a funny spoof of B-movies that is always good for a laugh. Bruce Campbell was great in this movie, as was Grace Thorsen (Kelly) and Ted Raimi, who played multiple roles including Mills, Wing, and the Italian painter that was constantly fixing the sign to display the town’s population after people were killed. The story was really funny, spoofing B-movies for their over-the-top antics and essentially poking fun at itself the entire time. One of the funnier moments was when Frank, the gun store owner (played by Timothy Patrick Quill), and a Dirt Farmer (played by Dan Hicks) and they comment about how if Jeff was going to kidnap someone, it should have been the blacksmith from Army Of Darkness or Jake from Evil Dead 2, who were played by the actors respectively. The special effects were exactly what you would expect, which made the movie even funnier when Bruce, while filming Cave Alien II, commented on it being too over-the-top. It is incredibly stupid and silly but it is a lot of laughs and well worth watching for the humor in it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 8th, 2018 Movie – Leprechaun 4: In Space

leprechaun 4

Okay, I think we can safely say that this is where this series has jumped the shark. I remember hearing about this movie years ago, long after I thought the franchise had already ended, and thinking that it made absolutely no sense. I mean, what would a Leprechaun be doing in space, and how did he get there in the first place. Of course, I feel like this was the start of several other horror icons showing up in space; from Dracula to Jason Voorhees. Well, let’s see how good, or bad, this movie is as I watch today’s movie, Leprechaun 4: In Space.

The plot: A group of space marines are preparing to head down to a nearby planet and kill an alien that has been disrupting mining operations for the past 6 months. As Sgt. Metal Head Hooker begins briefing his men on the mission, he notices Dr. Tina Reeves in the room and questions why she is there. When she tells him she was assigned to the team as a medical/science officer, he contacts Dr. Mittenhand, the ship’s commanding officer to confirm what she said, then assigns Books Malloy to serve as her chaperone/bodyguard. Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, the Leprechaun has captured the princess Zarina and attempts to seduce her in order to wed her and claim the throne for himself. Zarina is against the idea but the Leprechaun tempts her by offering her gold and jewels, appealing to the princess’ greed as her father had given most of his kingdom’s riches to the people, which Zarina is against as the lack of money has people calling her “common”. The marines enter the Leprechaun’s but when one of them kills an alien creature, the Leprechaun is alerted to their presence. Zarina says it is probably men sent by her father and the Leprechaun asks if she will leave with them but Zarina says she will choose to stay with the Leprechaun and his riches. When one of the marines enters the chamber and starts grabbing some of the various treasures, the Leprechaun sneaks up behind him and kills him. The rest of the marines were alerted to the dying man’s screams and rush into the chamber and begin attacking the Leprechaun, eventually killing him by blowing him up with a grenade. As Tina checks on the injured Zarina, who had lost her hand in the explosion, one of the marines, Kowalski, decides to pee on the Leprechaun’s corpse only to have the Leprechaun’s essence flow up the stream and enter his body. The marines head back to the ship and as Tina tends to Zarina’s injuries, she realizes who she is and says that helping her can improve relations with her people. Meanwhile, Metal Head is overseeing the storage of all the treasure they found in the cave when Dr. Mittenhand contacts him and says that they are to stay in orbit around the planet and act as security until a mining team arrives. Metal Head argues that their assignment ends at midnight but Mittenhand says that nobody is allowed to leave the ship before signing off. As the rest of the marines start drinking and unwinding in the ship’s cantina, Kowalski sneaks off with Delores, the only female marine, so they can have sex. As they start fooling around, Kowalski suddenly starts screaming in pain and collapses to the ground as the Leprechaun emerges from his groin. Delores checks on Kowalski but when she finds him dead, she attempts to shoot the Leprechaun but he shoots the gun out of her hand and attempts to attack her but she manages to get away. Back in the cantina, Books is talking to his friend Sticks about how he likes Tina when Delores enters the room and tells them about the Leprechaun. In the med bay, Mittenhand’s assistant Harold is examining Zarina’s body when he notices that her hand has regenerated and Mittenhand, who was observing from a viewscreen, tells him not to say anything about it to anyone. The marines and Tina head out to where Kowalski’s body is and begin searching for the Leprechaun. Metal Head has Books and Mooch check the waste disposal area and Tina warns against it, as the chamber contains flesh eating bacteria,  but when he insists, she has the men don protective suits and sends them in, keeping an eye on things from the control panel. The two split up to look for the Leprechaun but the Leprechaun slashes Mooch’s suit, exposing him to the bacteria, and Books drags him out of the chamber but is too late as Mooch is reduced to a skeleton. Metal Head and the others contact Mittenhand and tell him that since the Leprechaun just wants Zarina, they should give her to him in order to spare the rest of their lives. Mittenhand refuses and when Metal Head and the others threaten to leave, Mittenhand emerges from his hidden compartment, revealing himself to be a cyborg, with most of his body robotic parts, and manages to convince Metal Head to stay on board and kill the Leprechaun. As the Marines and Tina begin searching for the Leprechaun, Mittenhand and Harold are in Mittenhand’s secret lab, where they test some of Zarina’s blood on some of Mittenhand’s skin cells. When it grows a new finger, Mittenhand is excited and plans to use Zarina’s blood to help grow him a new body. Books and Tina locate the Leprechaun and contact Metal Head so they can help take him out but the Leprechaun attacks them, forcing them to retreat, where they meet up with Metal Head and Delores. Meanwhile, Sticks and Danny lost contact with the others and Danny decides to save himself but he encounters the Leprechaun and ends up getting killed. Back in the lab, Harold begins draining some of Zarina’s blood as Mittenhand rants about how he will be reborn and even more impressive than he is now. The marines continue searching for the Leprechaun when Delores gets cut off from the group and is confronted by the Leprechaun. She shoots the Leprechaun, seemingly blowing him up, but he quickly regenerates and knocks her off the railing, then smashes her hands until she falls to her death. The Leprechaun tracks down where Zarina is being held, then tricks Harold into opening the door so he can enter the biolab. Mittenhand confronts the Leprechaun and distracts him long enough for Harold to stab it in the back but the Leprechaun uses his magic to kill Harold, then prepares a punishment for Mittenhand. The Leprechaun rouses Zarina, who screams when she first sees him but then recognizes him and, commenting on how Mittenhand was draining her blood, asks the Leprechaun to kill him. The Leprechaun says he has something better planned and proceeds to mix up some items with Zarina’s blood, then injects it into Mittenhand’s head. The marines show up in the lab and begin shooting at the Leprechaun, who escapes with Zarina, but when they follow after them, the Leprechaun uses his magic to strap explosives to Metal Head and hold him hostage. He then takes control of Metal Head and has him escort him and Zarina to the shuttle. Books, Sticks, and Tina chase after them, not noticing that Mittenhand has disappeared. When they reach the cantina, they discover the Leprechaun has turned Metal Head into a woman and sends her to attack them, while the Leprechaun and Zarina head to the cargo hold to retrieve the Leprechaun’s gold. Meanwhile, Mittenhand is shown to have mutated and as he works on backing up his files, begins calling himself Mittenspider. The Leprechaun and Zarina reach the cargo bay and the Leprechaun places a force field around the shuttle to prevent anyone from taking it, then activates the ship’s self destruct before he starts searching for his gold. Hearing the alert for the self destruct, Books sends Sticks to cancel the self destruct but he gets trapped in Mittenspider’s web. The Leprechaun finds his gold and is upset that it has been shrunk down, then knocks out Zarina, as he has grown tired of her constant complaining. Books and Tina confront the Leprechaun and during the fight, Tina accidentally hits the Leprechaun with Mittenhand’s enlarging ray, causing him to become giant. Books tells Tina to go help Sticks while he deals with the Leprechaun and as she makes her way through the ventilation shaft, Mittenspider attacks her but she is able to get away. Tina eventually reaches the control room and sees Sticks suspended in the web but Mittenspider attacks her. She manages to kill it by freezing it with liquid nitrogen, then shooting it. Back in the cargo hold, Books finds Zarina and carries her to safety, then tells Tina to open the outer cargo bay door, causing the Leprechaun to be sucked out into space and explode. Books heads to the control room and when they try to figure out the password, Books suggest “wizard”, as Mttenhand had compared himself to the Wizard of Oz. The manage to cancel the self destruct at the last minute, and Tina and Books embrace and kiss before Sticks points their attention to the pieces of the Leprechaun, and they see one of it’s hands extend it’s middle finger towards them.

I have to admit, this wasn’t that bad of a movie as far as B-movies go. The acting was ok, with Warwick Davis doing his usual good job as the Leprechaun. The rest of the actors were ok but honestly, nobody really stood out. The story was interesting but kind of bounced around between several different themes, which made it feel sloppy at times. The biggest thing that I wished they would have explained is how the Leprechaun wound up on an alien planet in the first place. I did think the whole Mittenspider bit was a little much but got a kick out of the nod to The Fly when he starts saying “Help me!” before Tina shoots him. Unfortunately, the special effects were a little weak but they kind of added to the slight charm of the movie. It’s not the worst cheap B-movie out there but it can be a little entertaining to watch.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5