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Jacob’s Ladder (2019) Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

    A Co-worker lent me the original and while I enjoyed it. Thought it would make a great remake. A great story, with psychologically disturbing element to it. Just knew if they came at it from a different approach, they could do something special. When I heard about that one was indeed being made, was excited, but as quickly as I heard, it kind of vanished. Read it was coming to theaters, but it turned out to select theaters and kind of slipped by me for a bit. Now, here we are. A little late to the party, but that is okay. The only question, is was it worth the wait? So, lets travel the ladder, and breakdown Jacob’s Ladder.

The movie starts out with a soldier, being triggered into a flashback, by the sound of a can crushing under his foot. Can became a bomb, and helicopters and flashing lights. All stopping when he took a drug. Only, to have what appeared to be choked out from behind in one moment, and overdosing the next. Two people dragging his body away after he died. We jump to a military base, where Jacob is talking. Feeling is slightly uneasy. He goes to make a call home, and find out he is going to be a Father, when he has to leave, cause a wounded soldier is brought in. Turning out to be his brother, and as the sound of a flatline comes in. We see Jacob in a surgery room, in a hospital. Lost a person and the sound triggered the previous flashback. We see he has a happy life, with his Wife Samantha and son Gabriel. Except, he is having nightmares of a firefight. After he arrives at the hospital, another Soldier has an Overdose, and like the first. He too, is taking the drug. On his way to the therapist, he runs into a homeless Vet, who claims that his Brother Isaac is not only alive, but in the city and is in danger. He doesn’t believe it, nor does his therapist. On the subway he experiences his first hallucination, and when he gets home. Is attacked by two men. One of which is horribly mutilated. He tried to take the second to the police station, but he is not in the trunk. Except the same vet is there, and this time, Jacob takes him seriously. Is going to take him to Isaac, and starts to explain what H.D.A is. A drug that targets traumatic memories in those with P.T.S.D. Except, it makes them crazy, and people are hunting them down. Before he can get finish. Is pushed in front of a train. When no one believes him. Jacob takes it on himself to investigate and after a few jumpscares. He finds Isaac, except the paranoia and as the line between truth and fantasy gets even wider. We find that nothing we have seen is how it is supposed to be and I will leave it there.

(I am putting this here as a secondary warning. If you are planning on watching this movie and checking this out first to see what others think. Would suggest not going further cause I am going to talk about the twist and can ruin the experience of watching it unfold.)

This movie.. tries to pull off a wild swerve, and I didn’t see it coming till the big reveal. Which is that Jacob was the lost brother, on The Ladder all this time, and Isaac was the V.A.Doctor the whole time and The Ladder not only was wiping out the traumatic memory, but making him believe that he was his brother the whole time. Now, I think it was creative, but the process of achievement was very sloppy. There wasn’t a gradual change in the characters, but a rough and rugged one, Samantha especially, cause she was coming off more unlikeable the more we saw her. They really could have used a bit more time to show a natural shift of Samantha and Jacob being the coupe to Samantha and Isaac, but that was not the only problem. An even bigger one, was what Jacob did immediately after, by going to the red head we saw earlier.

She turned out to be a dealer of sorts, working with Hoffman. This scene felt so tact on, because they wanted to bring in more from the original Jacob’s Ladder with her demonic angel wings. The problem is that they were telling a completely different story and it no longer fit the narrative. Would have been better to skip the scene all together and go to Hoffman, or the very least, show her with the wings earlier, and not have them here.

Now, this movie wasn’t all negative. There were some good things as well, and thing I loved was the message that this was telling. They really got the Flashback scene at the beginning of the movie right. The smallest surprise of a loud sound is all it takes to trigger a flashback. Showing how many soldiers suffer from PTSD. The lengths some will go to make the memories stop and how susceptible they are to people like Hoffman. Who is using them like lab rats. A pretty powerful message to have.

Acting wise, you have Michael Ealy playing Jacob and Jesse Williams playing Isaac. I did enjoy their chemistry when they were together. About to building up the brotherly bond between the two. Each had difficult roles, because they had to pretty much switch on the fly. While they pulled it off, Nicole Beharie didn’t. Don’t want to point the finger at her. Maybe if she had more time, would work better, or might be better if I watched it again, but first opinion; she wasn’t that good. Lastly, I did enjoy Guy Burnet’s Hoffman. He seemed like a throw away character till the end, but I did enjoy his speech at the end. As twisted as it was, legitimately believed that he was the only one doing anything for the vets.

Would I suggest this movie to someone? A question that has been floating back and forth since the movie ended, and even all the way through this blog. I enjoyed some of the acting and I liked the message with the P.T.S.D. In a way, it did keep the spirit of Jacob’s Ladder, but only as far as the drug is concerned. The demons were more tacked on to appease the fans of the original and used as nothing more than a jump scare than anything. And the swerve, while creative, wasn’t executed well and I am sure there are better movies that tackle the P.T.S.D. side of things. With that said, I would suggest checking it out. It’s not a movie for everyone, you can have a bit of fun with it, and I did enjoy watching it. And that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed and as always…

Thank you for reading.

Event Horizon Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  So, I was struggling a bit. Choosing which movie I wanted to review for this Classic 13. Would pick one, I was so sure about, only to change my mind at the last moment. Even started watching one and turned it off after a minute. Just nothing seemed to feel right, until I spotted Event Horizon. A movie a Co-Worker of mine stressed how great this was and called it, “Hellraiser in space.”  Have to say, after watching it. He wasn’t that far off, except this may be in fact, better than Hellraiser.  So, lets go amongst the stars, and go through the psychological horrors held within Event Horizon.

The movie opens with a bit of information on where Mankind is on space exploration. 2015 colonized the moon. By 2032 began mining on Mars and in 2040, The research Vessel went to explore the far reaches of the solar system, only to disappear beyond Neptune and we open in 2047. A rescue crew and Dr. Weirs are heading to Neptune tol address an immediate situation. Once they get closer to Neptune, Dr. Weirs makes them aware of the situation and what the Event Horizon actually was, and that was finding a way to travel ” Faster than light.” By using a gravity drive, the ship would fold time and space, so that it’s location and destination would be one in the same. Allowing it to punch through and appear where it was going in seconds. We find out later on, that it achieves this affect, by using a man made Black Hole. It all appeared to go exactly according to plan, but never returned till now and they are going to find out what happened. When they arrived, they couldn’t detect any signs off life, and a Miller, Stark, Mr. Justin, and Cooper go in to investigate, and while checking out the room the Gravity Drive. He gets sucked inside. Sending out a massive shockwave that damages the Lewis and Clark ship. Forcing everyone to evacuate onto the Event Horizon. With twenty hours of oxygen, they not only have to try and get the ship fixed, but figure out what happened on the ship, as more and more start to hallucinate and paranoia begins to sweep over, and that is where I am going to leave it.

I almost don’t even know where to begin throwing positives. Philip Eisner, seems like a good place. The Writer, who brought this psychological masterpiece together. It is one thing to scare someone, but this movie gets into your head. The way it tortures everyone with their greatest regrets, failures, and desires even. Way it haunts peters and teases her with her son and his condition. Miller is a caring leader, but strict, and the ships hurls the reason why he is so strict at him, and poor baby bear (Justin) And everything in this movie has some sort of meaning, and that is so much more powerful than just building emotion. It makes repeat watching even more fun. I am watching it while I type this and picked up to things that I overlooked the first time, because I knew more. That is just beautiful. Standing ovation for Philip Eisner.

Giant kudos goes out to Paul Anderson and everyone who worked behind the scenes as well. The shots and lighting were great. The scene where they are first inside. Flashing of lightning illuminating the gory walls waiting to be discovered. The atmosphere is intense. When you are looking at the Event Horizon, in the dark and dim lights. You see all these regular instruments, that take on an evil, and scary form. You had these floating balls of coolant that were such a fun addition to have floating around the glorious room that housed the Gravity Drive. The sets were great and shots made them that much better. The CG involved, is not bad for a nineties movie. Don’t know much about space, but they don’t do anything to outrages to the point of dumb, and the carnage candy is awesome. Especially the death of D.J and again where Justin getting sent out into space.

I don’t even think I can give a nod to one actor over another here. They were all so good. You had Laurence Fishburne, as Captain Miller, who you don’t really like, but he has a reason for being so strict and his sole reason for being is his crews safety. Than you have Sam Neill as Dr. Weir. This is the first movie I have watched of his that is not Jurassic Park, and definitely want to watch more. While he may not have started out as the bad guy, by the time he gets there. Is such a good bad guy. Could talk about the chemistry these two have been great, but that’s the truth between everyone. Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, and the “lifesaver” Richard T. Jones. Absolute All-Stars, each and everyone.

Negative wise… Guess you can say some of the space CGI is a bit dated, but I have seen so much worse in recent years than what we get here. So, minor nitpick I can see someone might have. Doesn’t really bother me to much, but one big one, is something we don’t have, and that is the full 130 minute cut of the film. It was cut down due to how gruesome some of it was and whatnot, but when they went back and wanted to use it. It was not well achieved, and most of which is simply lost. Obviously, this isn’t going toward my final thought on the film, and I don’t have anything negative to say about the film itself. Just something depressing I found out about the movie.

In closing, if you haven’t had a chance to check out this classic film. I couldn’t suggest it enough. Mastercraft in Psychological Horror, and shows that you don’t need jumpscares to scare your audience. Just a showcase of talented people, crafting a story, with some talented actors bringing it all to life. Final Grade – S

Hope you enjoyed and as always…

Thank you for reading.

My top 6 anticipated games of 2020

By: Justin Hopkins

It is a sad way to kick-off a new year, when you realize that a game you love, is just not for you anymore, but that is the way this year is starting for me. A game that I have loved for the best part of a year and a half, has finally pushed my last nerve and have to walk away. It is sad, but as I look into the new year. There is a lot to be excited for. So, one game may have come to an end for me, I have six more to look forward too. Before I start, got to say, I play on Playstation, so with the exception of my Honorable Mention. We will focus on Sony. Not that there’s anything wrong with PC or Xbox, just going with what I got. Cool, let’s get started than.

HONORABLE MENTION – HELLBLADE 2: SENUA SAGA

The only reason that this is sitting at Honorable Mention and not number 1, is that it is not confirmed for 2020. I haven’t bought an Xbox since the 360. The moment that trailer dropped, I knew I would be getting an Xbox X-Series to continue Senua’s Journey. I loved the first game. Such an intense, beautifully made game, with a gripping story that sucked you in the game with everything they did and can only imagine what they have store for the second game.

6. PREDATOR: HUNTING GROUNDS

It seems that I am in need of a new online multiplayer game and what better, than Predator Hunting Grounds. Seems like a very basic idea. You either play as your choice of Yautja and hunting a team of marines. The Marines are working together to complete their mission and escape alive. The concept art looks fantastic, especially for the Yautja and am really excited to use the bow and you get the skin from the first movie if you Pre-Order. As always, go into it with a bit of caution. Online multiplayers can fall apart quickly, but still willing to give this one a chance all the same.

5. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2

This game is probably the one game I know the least about, but am strangely being pulled towards it. It action roleplay game, that sees you playing a young vampire in Seattle, and that was all it really needed to be said to win me over. As you play through, you learn new abilities through factions engaged in a civil war, and I just like it. Wish I could say why. Didn’t even play the first one. Just has a certain vibe that has really won me over, and if they have a fair amount of creative character, would be that much more happy for it.

4. MARVEL AVENGERS

Alright, so the first trailer did not do this a whole lot of justice. The Kamala Khan one though, did a lot better, and with test players hyping it up even more. Don’t know if this was announced, but curious on how many heroes will be involved, and the story looks interesting, and I have a weakness for Superhero games. Have even enjoyed the bad ones, so this one should be a blast. Especially, if we get to play as our choice of characters, or focus a bit more on the lesser known heroes.

3. RESIDENT EVIL 3: NEMESIS

Resident Evil 2 Remake was fantastic and set the bar for how a video game remake should work. They stayed true to what made it great. Tweaked a few things to change it up and gave side stories and than the original versions. We might not get all of that this time around, but with them saying they took what they learned in 2 and carried it over to 3 has me confident going in, and as a bonus, you get the online multiplayer that they have been talking about for some time now, Project Resistance. Capcom has a successful track with their remakes, and have no doubt they can make it at a hat trick with Nemesis.

2. Doom Eternal

I love the Doom Series. They are so much fun. The adrenaline filled carnage of playing Doom Guy. Running around killing everything in your wake. Game literally knows exactly what it is. Oh, this rocket launcher, isn’t enough. Well how about if it shoots multiple locked on rockets? Still want more, how about a movable turret? No, here is a gun that will wipe out everyone in a bloody paste and you get to carry them all around at your ready. Low on ammo. Get up and close for more, or use this chainsaw, and god yes, give me more. Can play these game all the time, and a pre-order for Doom 64. A big yes to even more Doom, and just misses out on the number one slot.

1. DESTROY ALL HUMANS

I don’t think there is any game series that brings back more fond memories than Destroy All Human. A friend of mine way, back in high school gave me a game he swore I could not beat without cheats, it was Destroy All Humans, and I did beat it without cheating. Bought a Wii for the lone purpose to play, Destroy All Humans: Big Willy Unleashed. Watched another friend fail for over 4 hours to get any points in human plink-o in Destroy All Humans: Path Of The Furon. I even have the Original on PS4 due to a charity giveaway, but when this game finally comes out, am going to be getting a copy and just getting lost in the world of Cryptosporidium 137 all over again. Graphics look spectacular and hope for some new content, but one way or another. Destroy All Humans is the game I am most looking forward to the most, in 2020

I know, I didn’t say Cyberpunk 2077. I am going to play it, but is a game I know less about than Vampires. I know they have been working on it for a long time and don’t want to look into it at all. Want to go in blind, and because of that. It did not make the list, but I am sure there is plenty more that didn’t make the list. Feel free to drop any in the comments. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed and as always…

Thank you for reading.

Friday Roundabout 1-10-2020

By: Justin Hopkins

Hello and welcome to another roundabout. Hope you all had a great week. As always, bringing my thought on rumors and news from around the entertainment world in the past week, and a little longer to touch on one rumor. With all of that said, let’s jump right in with the big Marvel story from the week, in Doctor Strange and the loss of the director.

It is a shame to see Scott Derrickson dropping out of the Multiverse Of Madness, sequel to Dr. Strange, especially due to creative differences. Was a big fan of the first movie, and felt Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in Infinity War and the climax of Endgame definitely hyped up the urge to see his return.  At the same time, not going to panic over it at the same time. Marvel has been a consistent machine at pumping out solid movies and with them having similar issues with the first Antman, they have some experience in righting the ship from creative differences with Directors. Hope that they can find a way to reconcile with Scott, but if not. Still hyped for this sequel.

Going from the big screen to the smaller one and movement on a remake of the classic 1981 Werewolf movie, The Howling, coming to Netflix. The announcement came in the form of Director Andy Muschietti working on an adaption for Netflix, which I find really exciting. Andy has said before that The Howling was a dream project for him to work on, and The Howling does have a rich story with some room to grow and take into different directions, and like all remakes, even if they don’t live up to expectations. Still have the classic to enjoy.

From there we go to the world of Video Games, and before I go into this one, need to stress that this is just a rumor. I tried to find something official but at this point, all I can find is speculation, but as a Sony player. Feel the need to give my two cents on this one. It has to do with various sites reporting that the PS5 will be backward compatible. Going all the way back to Playstation 1. If this is true, I would be elated. Would be satisfied with PS3 and over the moon to access PS2, but getting them all would be fantastic, and they really need that feature to compete with Xbox, who has announced that the X Series will do just that. With the PS5 due up later this year, really wish Sony  would put out some official statements to curb some of the rumor trains. In the meantime, I have my fingers crossed that this rumor carries weight.

Speaking of games, we got a bit of what to expect from Resident Evil Nemesis. This is such a small thing to be excited for a game that I am pretty much Pre-Ordering the first chance I get, but they were talking about Nemesis himself, and to not expect what you remember. Learning from their time working on Mr. X in the remake of Resident Evil 2, and he will not work in scripted terms, but as he sees fit. Making him unpredictable and increase the horror factor. Also, Carlos will have a playable section, which will add even more new content. Truth be told, I am super excited for this game and any reason I can find to talk about it; I jump. Releases on April 13th, barring any delays and please, don’t let there be any delays. Need a new game to play.

There is a few trailers that have dropped. New Mutants and Birds of Prey seem to be the big ones, but have given up trailers for New Year Resolutions. Going to do my best to avoid trailers, after the first ones, because I am tired of them spoiling aspects of the movie after the first trailer drops, and encourage everyone to follow my example. #Nomorespoilersintrailers.

In close, want to congratulate Frozen 2 on becoming the highest grossing animated movie of all time, and hope you all enjoyed this week’s edition of the roundabout. As always…

Thanks for reading.

Slay Belles Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

And here we are. The holiday season drawing closer to the end. Busy last minute Christmas shopping getting done (Or started if you are like me) While Jack Frost and Santa Slays were movies I were looking forward to watching and reviewing. This movie jumped ahead of the line at first glance. Seemed bizarre and strange and after watching; certainly lived up to that, and I may have just saved the weirdest one for last. Was it in a good or bad way though? Lets peel back the layers and take a look.

This movie starts out in complete chaos. With a Cop handcuffed in a chair, with three blood covered women and a Santa Claus standing around him. Demanding to know what was going on. At gunpoint, the story takes us back twelve hours earlier, to the woman, Alexi, Dahlia, and Sadie coming out of a store. Laughing and swearing up a storm about stiff they just shoplifted, except Alexi who chickened out and bought something. They are youtubers, known as Adventure Girls. Who basically film themselves breaking into abandoned places and film themselves running about and looking at stuff and taking stuff left behind, and this is Alexi’s first time out with them. Since it is Christmas Eve and all. They decide to go to a rundown place called Santa Land. Stopping off at a bar along the way. Everyone makes it clear how little they care for Christmas here, and they learn that bad things have been happening to the kids. Belief that a bear is responsible, and after a little conversation. Decide to push on. They show up to Santa Land, and they are shooting their Youtube show. Oblivious to the hidden camera around the trees. Being watched by an old, biker guy. About to leave, when they spot one more place they haven’t checked. While inside, a monster shows up. They watch as he loads these hairy things into christmas boxes. When one of their phones go off. Causing them to run and saved by the old man. Forced to hide in the cottage, due to their van being towed. Barricading the door as the old man comes through the chimney. Turns out, the old man is Santa Claus, and the monster outside, is Krampus. With people slowly forgetting or banning the old ways. Santa seeing a world quickly not needing him. He froze Krampus in the snow and opened Santa Land, which was around for a long while, but slowly went out of business. Now, somehow, Krampus escaped the ice, and has something dark planned, and it is up to Santa and the three woman to stop him. All the while, Krampus is taking out kids and people all around the world.

This was a rather interesting tale. On paper, it sounds crazy and out their, but they pull it off really well. To have Santa and Krampus, connected together, to the point where if one gets hurt the other feels it, and they have to use it to kill Krampus was a nice way to go and the ending was just crazy. I didn’t see the twist coming, with Mrs. Claus being Cherri the bartender, and she was behind letting Krampus out, because she is angry over how Santa has treated her, and how the world views her as a fat, old woman who only existed to be by his side and laughed so hard when it came out that they ate the reindeer.

The action throughout was a lot of fun and carnage candy was pretty decent. Especially the Brian kill, where Krampus gored him with his horn, and you see the flesh still hanging off his horn in the next scene. Using the decapitated head of one of the kids Mothers to taunt him was a nice addition. Although, some of the kills came with this weird vision blur. The gore was good, but don’t understand the blur, cause it wasn’t from his point of which, which maybe it should have been, because when it was his POV, it came with this red and green hue, which I thought would have made those kills in particular more interesting. Also, the prosthetics used to Krampus was spectacular. He looked scary and intimidating. Going practical on him was the smartest move they could have done.

On a small note, they had a scene that kind of threw me through a loop. We have all seen movies, where the police bring in a suspect they are all so sure could have committed the crimes. No matter how insane it seems. They had that here when the one cop brought in a drunk. Police Chief looked at him called him an idiot and how he couldn’t possible have done it and cut him loose.  A smart decision you never really see and was surprised to see it in this movie of all things.

Casting wise, was so important for a movie like this, and they did a solid job at that. The three women especially. Could have been easy to just be eye candy. Standing around not doing much else, but Kristina Klebe, Susan Slaughter, and Hannah Minx made them a lot more than just that. Chemistry was good and they made this film so much more enjoyable. Barry Bostwick was a decent enough Santa. Kind of tell where they were going with him and Krampus being connected and still made you feel a bit, when he got his head cut off.

As much as I would like to say that this didn’t have any negatives. It most certainly did have a few.  Starting with the musical montages throughout. They not only hit you with some cringe worthy song, which might just be me being around Christmas songs all the time, but wish they were over faster. They mix it with their Youtube footage, which is as worse as any found footage jerky cam motion. Would have been fun, if they were quick scenes, but they really drag them out. Than, there was the scene where Krampus has mounted Sadie, and when they knock him out and flip him over, they show everything going on with him, and did not ever need Krampus junk in my life. Just didn’t. A big negative for that.

With all of that said, Slay Belles was a crazy, bizarre, yet fun ride. Had a lot of fun watching this film and would gladly suggest this to anyone fans of the genre. With that, wish you all a happy holiday and…

Thanks for reading.

Alien and Predator discussion

By: Justin Hopkins

This might seem a bit odd to talk about. Since there hasn’t been much movement on either side of the ball. Minus some sketchy rumors here and there, but seeing them made me think about their perspective future, and with their future under the Disney Flagship. I am a big fan of both, Predator more so than the Xenomorph and really think there is so much more that can be done, and came up with a bit of an idea that I felt like share with you all today. I don’t want to call it a pitch… but it is my pitch for what I would like to see from a series of movies, two Alien and two Predator and both coming together for a third and where they can go from there. A few things before we begin, while I will be drawing from the comics and other source material. I am far from an expert on them. I am just taking things I feel can fit well into a movie, and going from there. So, if I incidentally change up something, I don’t mean it in malice or anything like that. Want be going into a lot of detail, just enough to make a basic outline and bring it all together, and it goes without saying, this just my opinion. Mixing up the normal for this page and starting a conversation about these two creatures is always fun. With all of that said, lets jump in, with the Xenomorph himself.

ALIEN

  I know there is been a fair amount wanting to see the return of Ellen to the franchise, but I think her Daughter Amanda may have more to go off of to reignite this franchise with. I have something planned for Ellen later on, but for now, it is all going to be about Amanda. Taking place after the events of Alien Isolation, and her desire to find out what Weyland knows and what they want with the Xenomorphs and mostly, what happened to her Mom still. It’s almost a driving force for her. She is going to have a team of mercenaries and those who have had their lives affected by the Xenos, and they pretty much going from one Weyland location to the next trying to find something, but the Nostromo incident is well above anyone’s pay grade and patience is getting thin. They know the answers can be found at one of Weylands most High Tech Labs. They wanted to avoid it, but with their string of failures, decide to go all in, and of course, things go sideways. Weyland has been studying numerous Xenomorphs and they get loose during the break in. All the while, Amanda’s genius and ingenuity is on display and she comes off even more dominating at times than those around her. Refraining from drawing to many comparisons to Ellen. No lines or similar moments. Amanda needs to be her own character in her own way and more on that later on. Unfortunately, the computers and destroyed during the chaos, and the whole operation turns into a waste, but her and whatever is left of her team make it out, with a scientist, will call Johnny, and with his help, we go into the second movie with a lead.

  While the first movie leans more toward an action roots. The second is going back to its horror. Weyland now knows Amanda is getting closer, and with knowledge of what Johnny knows. They use it to set up a trap for the team consisting of personal military, Xenomorphs and Androids, and it is going to be a bloodbath. All the while, Johnny is going to keep Amanda going and by the end, it’ll be just the two of them and maybe one more who make it out, but they make it out, with a name. Dr. Church. The foremost expert Weyland has when it comes to all things Xeno, but he is stationed on a planet that has been completely overrun by Xenomorphs, and they set off immediately. More on that later. For now, lets go to the other side.

 PREDATOR

  This one is a little harder to do. We have seen a good many versions of the Predator, or Yautja, I would spent the first movie, telling the tale of one Machiko Noguchi. An administrator in charge of Prosperity Wells on planet Ryushi. We got a version of her in the form of Alexa Woods, but we need the real deal. On Ryushi, the Yautja set a group of Xenomorphs loose on the colony to hunt, and Machiko steps up. Doing everything in her power to keep her people alive, but fends off the Xenomorphs to the point she impresses the Yautja on the hunt. To the point, the leader marks her with one of her kill, and she eventually joins there clan and leaves with them. This all should be the first movie. To introduce Machiko, and the Yautja clan.

  The sequel picks up with Machiko and her clan on a hunt, not a Xeno one, but some other exotic alien species. Through her eyes, we really jump into the Yautja hierarchy and how they live and really build up the lore here. Lift up the curtain and let us really enjoy their culture a bit. Meanwhile, while Machiko is accepted among her clan. Has issues with other Yautja. They can bring in Yautja known as Shorty, who tends to give her the most grief. For one reason or another, the Yautja have to go to the Alien infested planet to either get a Queen or a new Alien to make eggs and Machiko’s clan is chosen, but before they go. Shorty challenges her for her spot on the hunt, and she gets cheated out of a victory. This is the final straw. After they leave, she decides that she is going to leave, but before she leaves. Sees another ship inbound. One that contains humans. Aware that they are going to be completely overrun. She beelines it to the planet and crash lands in front of them, and of course, it is Amanda and crew and the movie ends with, her saying she is there to help.

 THE FINALE

  We are picking up on where we left off. Amanda explaining why they are there, and while Machiko doesn’t like the idea of sticking around longer than they have to, is moved by her plight and is going to help Amanda find out what happened to her Mom. She has her weapons and with expertise with the Yautja, and things get going early and breaks are very minimum. We have Machiko squaring off with her former clan. Waves of Xenomorphs and Queens. An Empress and different variations of Xenomorphs. An all out fight all the way to Dr. Church. A sinister, twisted man who has been basically playing Dr. Frankenstein on this planet. Using his own security guards as lab rats. They finally do get him alone, and he more than happily, tells what he knows about the Nostromo, and that is basically what she kind of already knows, and that is, no one knows what exactly happened. Ash was sent to collect the Xeno, but everything went wrong when Ellen stepped up and foiled it. All he knew what she escaped in a pod, and the Nostromo blew up. Before Amanda can get her mind around that. A giant tail erupts through the wall, and takes out Dr. Church. Enter the Queen Mother Alien. Machiko jumps in and takes the fight to it, but is outmatched. When Shorty crashes in to help her. In the comics, Machiko kills Shorty after a fight and learns he wanted to actually mate with her. We are playing with that idea and give him a little more heroic demise. Once again, Machiko is alone and knocked down. About to suffer the killing blow, and bam. The Queen Mother gets whacked by a mechanical arm, and we get Amanda in the Mech suit, followed by the line ” Stay away from her you b****.” Made so much more special because they have made no other Ripley comparisons till this very moment. You let it cook and not diminish moment. Together, they vanquish the Queen Mother, prime the lab to blow, and Machiko, Amanda, and Johnny make it out to see the explosion from space. They are going home. Machiko is off to blaze a new path in her life, and Amanda may not know what happened to her Mom, but was not abandoned by her. Ellen went off as a hero. Know Amanda is off to piece together a life with Johnny.

THE ONLY POST CREDIT SCENE

  We get a scene, with Lance Hendricks. ( I know he is up there, but they have used CGI on so much worse) talking to a lackey about what a disaster this all was and going through everything lost at the hands of Machiko and Amanda. When another guy rushes in with news. They have received communication, from the escape pod from the Nostromo and when played, it’s the voice of Android Ash and we set up, for a movie around the audiobook, Out of the Shadows.

  And that is all I got. I know it is a bit disjointed and can use a lot more love, but like I said, just a quick little outline of where they can go. A conversation of things can do, while we wait to see what they actually do. What do you think. Like it? Hate it? Let me know. In the meantime,

  Thank you for reading.

Jack Frost Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  Dashing rapidly through this holiday season and we come to our next holiday horror movie, in hopes of finding the elusive holiday spirit, in the form of a 1997 classic, Jack Frost. A festive thrill ride that gets talked about a lot this time a year. May have gotten panned by professional reviewers, but is a rather beloved B Movie Gem. The fan base alone managed to power it to a sequel. Does it deserve the accolations though? Let’s dive in and discuss shall we, and see where Jack Frost lays.

Story starts out with a bit of narration from an exaggeratedly sounded little girl and creepy old uncle. Telling her the story of Serial Killer Jack Frost, while the screen pans over a Christmas Tree and credits on ornaments. Finishing with him saying Jack is set to be executed at midnight and we just to him being transported to his execution. Showing off his lethality, by killing a guard while shackled, to get his cigarette. The truck collides with a GCC truck, allowing him to momentarily escape. Before he can kill the guard though. Gets doused in acid and melts, but the acid bonds him into the snow on a molecular level. As he disappears. The snow begins to bubbles, rises, and he escapes. We jump to Sheriff Sam Tiler, returning from a trip with his family. Haunted by the memory of Jack. He was the small town Sheriff who busted him and his threat to kill him, his family, and the town. Relieved to see the clock pass midnight and relieved by him thinking Jack was gone. He goes through the accident scene, but doesn’t think much on it. We see a bit going on, but not much. Jumping to the next day, we meet Sam’s family. His wife and idiot son (More on that later) and we go through the towns folks. Setting up Jack’s threat from earlier. Ending with him getting to the police station and finding out, Old Man Harper is dead. He call the FBI and gets Agent Manners, who lies about Jack being dead, and we see him talking to Stone. Learning more about the acid. Back in town, the townsfolk are already up in arms and ready to hunt the killer down. Fueled by the shopkeep. Slashing the price of ammo, in a scene that made me laugh. Back at Sam’s house though. His son is confronted by a group of bullies who want to use the drive to sled ride..on straight ground. When one gets to close, Jack, in the form of the snowman attacks, and lead bully gets his head cut off by one of the metal sleds. Of course, no one believes him, and later that night. Jack takes out the bullies parents and this is where the movie gets rolling and perfect place to stop for those who haven’t watched yet.

I gotta tip my hat to writer director Michael Cooney, the writer director, because he managed to do so much with so little to work with. As corny of a story this was, he really made it work quite well. As a horror comedy movie. Knew when it was time to laugh and when to be serious, wove it together perfectly. Snowman jack looked good and utilized him so well. The deaths were gory. Particularly when Jack was dissolved by acid and when Tommy was spiked by icicles. The bathroom scene was so over the top, circled right back to funny again. Good moments of foreshadowing, with the Oats and the woman’s conversation about being the star on the christmas tree. Michael Cooney knew exactly what kind of movie this was and brought them together the best he could, and think it would have suffered without him.

On the casting side, think there best was Scott MacDonald, was picture perfect. His voice work was awesome, and that was so needed for a killer snowman, but at the start, when he was human, he excelled. We didn’t get much, which was a shame, because he carried himself with sadistic poise and believed he was every bit as lethal as they feared him to be. Would almost been nice to see more of that version, but it did help carry over to the snowman version. Along with having the likes of Christopher Allport playing the protagonist Sam. Able to bring out the small town sheriff in a likeable way. Coming across as the guy who loves his town and knows every single person on a personal and friendly way. Such a pure good guy who is rocked and traumatized by his brief time around the pure evil Jack. Chris and Scott not only played well off one another and elevated one another in the process.

Even the support cast was pretty decent. Shannon Elizabeth played Jill and her death scene will probably be what will be one of the most remembered scenes, but her and Tommy’s undressing scene was hysterical. Rob LaBelle did a good job as the weasel Stone and the over the top agent was made special by Stephen Mendel. No one seemed out of place and played as people you would expect to find in a small, hick town.

Alright, on to the negatives. The biggest one, being Sam’s son, and this might very well be on me, but that kid seemed a little to old to not know he shouldn’t put Antifreeze in food. Feeling like the writing got a bit sloppy around him quite a bit. The food being the biggest one, and then again with the whole bully situation. I get that him saying the snowman did it was something no one would believe, but the Jack’s arm hangs out for a long while for everyone to see and why are they sledding on flat ground anyway. I don’t dislike the kid, but anytime he was present. Just knew something dumb was soon to follow.

Some of the jokes tend to fall flat from time to time. I don’t mind them. Not bashing them for making the jokes. Just weren’t that funny. Don’t read much into this complaint, cause it never ones breaks my immersion, but just something that I wish was a little better.

This movie has always been high up on my viewing list for this time of year. It is corny and over the top, but it is so much fun. The people in the town are relatable and Scott makes Jack a credible threat before the transformation which is such an underrated value. Would gladly suggest this film to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Perfect movie to watch this time of year.

Thank you for reading

Santa’s Slay Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

It is that time a year. Getting that much more colder out. Shopping is at a fever pitch. Christmas lights and holiday stress abound and nearly every movie is packed to the rim with feel good cheer, and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but from time to time. Want to kick back and watch those same holiday traditions be turned into murder weapons in some good gratuitous forms and luckily for us. December is teeming with some excellent shlocky B Movies for us to jump right into.  Going through the list, 2005 Santa’s Slay jumped out like a beacon of hope. Going in hoping for a fun ride and got a blast in return. Let’s break down this holiday gem and discuss shall we.

Movie opens up with perhaps the worst family of all time. Wasting no time in declaring we will soon be killed and you will love it. Rich guy married to a young woman, who is having an affair with the Daughter’s Husband and everyone is spoiled rotten and racist to boot, with a yappy little dog who has it’s on bed. Enter Santa who starts his rampage by booting the dog into the ceiling fan and taking each family member out in brutal fashion. From using a star off the tree as a ninja star, to drowning another in a bowl of eggnog after catching her on fire, and my favorite, the husband jumps up, yells ” You want some” and after a series of bizarre hand motions and gets booted into a china hutch. It is all very silly but sets the stage perfectly for things to come. That it’s not taking itself seriously and Santa is a wrecking ball. From there, we go a a Deli in Hells Township.  Where we meet our main characters Nicolas and Mary. Nicholas is being berated for his saracam by a rather mean old woman, who throws out insult after insult, and soon after she leaves, is run off the road by Santa’s Sleigh, being pulled by the angriest looking… Buffalo. They call it a reindeer, but looks like a buffalo to me. Anyways, back at the store, the Deli Owner gives them gifts, including a clock that plays toward the end. We go and meet the Grandfather that most people in town call crazy and being that he built a stocked bunker in the basement, and all seems to surround the fact that it is Christmas. He starts to explain, but is interrupted by a visit from Mary. An evening that goes bad when she gets into an argument with Nicolas. After she leaves, he picks back up the book and reads that Santa is the son of Satan, and after he lost a bet with an angel, had to turn the day of slaves, into the day of giving for one thousand years. A bet that had officially run its course this year and while this was going on. Santa was tearing his way through a strip club. A lot more gruesome kills mixed with some jokes. Some stuck, but some didn’t. Still fun though. Then, the next day, Christmas day we see two smart mouthed kids get their heads blown off by gifts brought by Santa. Then, his rampage takes a turn from sporadic to focused, on Nicolas and his Grandfather. As more is learned about what happened a thousand years ago and won’t spoil anymore, cause if you haven’t seen it, you really should.

This movie really embraced what it was, and that was a fun movie. It is not a ” Good ” movie by any definition, but it didn’t have to be. From the over the top kills to the stupid jokes that were very much, hit or miss. The strip club scene is a pretty good example of that. Was just a fun movie from start to finish. To the point where it is almost hard to put into words. The chemistry between the actors was evident from how well everyone seemed to work off the other. Cgi was comically bad, the head pops on the kids were a bit dumb, but we also got ones that looked great like the tree star kill and the deli clerk getting speared through the glass bar and then hung to the wall, by a Hanukkah Candle to the neck. Everything they did just seemed to work.

Casting Bill Goldberg as your main villain was a big risk. Wrestlers have made some good actors, but not very many, but he filled this role perfectly, by playing directly to his strengths. He owned every scene that he was in. Used his massive frame to intimidate and destroy everything in his path, with goofy one-liners. Some were more cringe worthy than others but since he either did something awesome or about to do something awesome. I am kind of inclined to give him a pass on it. Big props to whoever worked on his suit. I don’t know much about Nordic religion and Yule, but his Suit definitely seemed to come from their traditions and looked beautiful and worked perfectly for the Santa they were going for.

Then you had Robert Culp who did a good job as Grandpa. Then you had Douglas Smith as Nicolas, and was nearly a negative for me. His character was just so inept and everything he said was so dumb… then Santa smacked him in the face with A Christmas Carol, and it dawned on me; he is supposed to be the dumb character, and it was Mary, played by Emilie de Ravin was the one keeping him going, and she was a terrific character by herself, but they worked so much better. She was a more mature rounded character to his more naive teenager, and they kind of felt like two real teens in this sort of situation. Like when they were discussing going on the offense, but were so loud they never got out of the school, and when they were hiding in the shelves, but in front of a mirror. Which in itself, made them more adoring. They were just two kids in a dangerous situation who don’t know what they are doing.

I also really enjoyed what they did with the credits. Adding the naughty or nice list to everyone’s name. Not just actor wise, but stunt coordinators and animal handler. Helped bring attention to unsung people behind the camera and made you pay attention to who was naught and who was nice just to see where everyone ended up.

Negative wise, besides the bad jokes and spotty CGI that I already discussed. Was the end. They didn’t really seem to know how to end this. I am glad they didn’t kill him or lose another bet, but maybe should have just ended on the kids, after it was revealed that he set the pastor up to die in his place. Showing him in the airport, getting a Plane Ticket to the North Pole was a bit overkill. One bad joke to many. This does have a post credit scene that is a hundred percent fan service, with him looking at his list and saying, Who’s Next. As a wrestling fan, definitely enjoyed it but again. Really not needed though.

This was just a fun movie all the way around and in my opinion, the perfect way to start this month.  A ton of Christmas themed deaths, with a terrifying Santa in an awesome suit. If you haven’t checked it out, would highly suggest it.

Thank you for reading.

The Witches Hammer Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

** SPOILER WARNING **

  I think we have done it. Years of watching B Movies and months of reviewing them. Some that could rival any A list movie and some so bad they circled back to entertainment all of again. After all of that, think we may have just hit the bottom of the barrel. I don’t like talking badly on movies. Making a movie is a hard and difficult process and I am more then willing to go out of my way and meet them on whatever convoluted storyline they want to run. Hybrid animals? Sold. Remake a classic? I am there. Sequel to a movie franchise that ran out of steam a decade ago? Why not. So when I say this is bad. Can rest assured it has some merit. There is some good, don’t get me wrong, but far warning ahead of time. There is going to be a lot of negativity coming.

The movie opens up with a Rebecca getting attacked and left bleeding on the ground. Later two people, government agents, come up to her body bag and she is alive. Cut to a montage of them doing some experiment on her. Then we get two of of the most irritating agents. Present her two drinks, water and blood. We get flashes of her covered in blood and the woman agent yelling, what drink do you want over and over, and I started regretting my choice of film to review. Pushing forward to yet another montage of Rebecca training. Along with her learning that it is to risky to see her family, and that she can be killed with decapitation, stabbing the heart, and sunlight. Rule that was broken during her first mission when she takes out a vampire, with a stab to the stomach. She gets shot in the head, but rescued by her ally in the morgue, who pays her with intel on when she can see her family. They would be visiting her grave, and despite the sun out, she finds safety under a tree to view them ( Seriously, it doesn’t. Sun is coming through the branches. No reason this should work. Just keep the bike helmet on) While she is away. Her base is attacked and all of her colleagues are killed. A massive fight ensues, before she is knocked out, by a tranq dart. When she wakes up, finds that she was captured by another one of the Government Programs. Lead by Witch Madeline and.. Edward.. I think was his name. It was hard to hear. His audio was cranked up and was a genuine boring character. They inform Rebecca that a vampire used a page from the book called Witches Hammer to make himself immortal and they need the book to undo it. The book was written by a women whose baby was taken from her. She took vengeance. Killing the man who did so, and then the babies of everyone in the village. She sat down and just started writing the book till they killed her. They journey out, being chased by various vampires including; a dwarf named Oscar. His plus sized lover Charlotte. One with a pornstache whose name I did not catch. Cause I just wanted it to end and I will leave it there for the time being.

The only member of the cast that I didn’t mind, was Claudia Coulter. She was the only one who didn’t really just annoy me. She didn’t overdo anything and the action, while slow and a bit clunky was still nice. There was one thing she kept doing that did make me laugh, but not in the way they were expecting. On occasion, she would just randomly flash her teeth and hiss. For no apparent reason, and made me laugh, because if you look at the pic and see Fionna. The Sim from all of my thumbnails, does the exact same thing. So congrats on making me think about the Sims. In the same vein, I enjoyed the flashback to the Witch who wrote the book. When she was holding her baby, sounded like she was singing the Bayu Bayushki, and that is the Lullaby Hummed by The Huntress in Dead By Daylight. My favorite killer, and that is 2 positives that are based because they remind me of better things. That is not good.

Nothing about this landed. The jokes were so bad and just dumb. We get it, Oscar is small and Charlotte is big, ain’t it funny. The one good fight scene, with Rebecca going against the ninja, was ruined through multiple cuts to either see Oscar and Edward in some stupid Tom and Jerry esque game. Of tiny Oscar running in around the room and Edward being scared. With Charlotte commenting on the fight, while drinking from this guy with two straws in his neck. None of which was funny. Both of which stole drastically from the only worthwhile moment of the movie.

This movie was a drastic let down. The effects were bad. Far, far to many cuts and close-ups and slow motion for no other reason then to have slow motion. Don’t even go for slow motion when it can be used. Then fast zoom in on faces and all of it was cringeworthy to awful. Movie came out in 2006 and has aged so poorly and worse then movies twice it’s age, and I know what you are thinking. Cut it some slack, its a low budget, but no. I am not judging this based off big A list movies, with a budget. That’s the point of B Movie Sunday. To review them based off movies in their caliber and this one fails almost across the board.

Before we finish up, let’s gloss over the end, because that Surprise twist, actually did catch me by surprise. I didn’t see the Madeline turn coming, and having Hugo be nothing more than a spoiled brat was good. It was a smart idea to shake things up. Well done.

If you found enjoyment in this film, I am happy for you. I don’t get much enjoyment on trashing movies. People worked hard to make this movie, but got to call it like I see it, and Witches Hammer was a colossal waste of time. Don’t watch this movie. Skip it. Put on literally anything else. Hard pass for Witches Hammer.

Thank you for Reading.

Sequel Saturday Presents Strangers: Prey at Night

By Paul Anthony

Welcome our Saturday night blog and for the last Saturday night blog before Halloween, I had to figure out which scary sequel should I do. Now the easy choice was to do Halloween 2 from the 80’s but I decided to go away from that and go with a film that I wanted to see but never got around to it. As you can see by the title we will be reviewing Strangers 2 Prey at Night. This movie was released in the March of 2018 and it was a sequel was ten years in the making, which may have been some of it’s downfall.

The Budget was very small for a big time release at just 5 million which was 4 million less then the first film. Now the first film made a little over 80 million, however this film just made over 30 million. Usually when a sequel takes ten years to come out and they have it in March which is a grave yard month there really isn’t much hope but was the film that bad to warrant those numbers?

The event in the film takes place ten years after the events in the first film. Here the film the story focuses on family traveling in Ohio to take their teenage daughter to boarding school because I guess she did something bad ass but the family giving up everything to do this. Once they arrive, they stay at a family trailer overnight, that where the Strangers start to show and begin to torment the family and kill off the parents leaving the kids by themselves to fight off the strangers which they do successfully or so we believe because the film ends in the hospital where the daughter hears a sound that she heard in the trailer park. Though the only one that could have survived was the Man in the Mask but even then he took a very bad better and got stabbed and burned.

Now I can say that I did find this film a slight more enjoyable with the pace and the music did make the film more entertaining then the first but the acting and even the script was just horrible, they could have said nothing and it would have been better. Now the acting was so bad and I get these people needed to be on the low end of the budget but just seems like they were trying so hard to be in character that it felt so fake.

Now in the end I have to say because of the acting and script I was very disappointed in this film. It could have been better even with the low budget, the fact that they took ten years to make this and they missed the target. In the end what would I grade this film? Well sadly I have to give this film a D even for a low budget horror film this was bad but if you are a fan of the first film and want to see the second just to complete the series then be my guest!