By: Justin Hopkins
It has been way to long since I did a B Movie Sunday Review. Had a bunch going on as is life, but I am back and decided to go back and pluck out a classic from 1985, The Stuff. A movie that I haven’t watched in about 15 years so I couldn’t remember a whole lot when I sat down to give it a watch. Without further delay, lets dive back in shall we.
The movie kicks off with two homeless men eating some white goo, that was bubbling out of the snow. Deciding that it tastes so good. They might as well try and sell it. We jump forward a bit to a kid, Jason, waking up in the middle of the night and heading downstairs for a drink and a bite to eat. When he sees the container of, The Stuff, knocked over and it’s contents moving about in the refrigerator. His Dad comes up behind him too late to see it moving and scares him back upstairs. Helping himself to a bit of The Stuff afterward. After a commercial selling The Stuff as being better then Ice Cream. We see a group of business tycoons talking about how they have failed to find out how The Stuff was made and a Chocolate Chip company had been sold to them as well. Deciding that drastic attempts must be taken and are going to hire Industry Spy David “Mo” Rutherford to steal the ingredients for them. Proving himself capable after already knowing everything due to having bugged one of them the night before and after getting his check. Knocked out the guy who was giving him a hard time for being ousted from the FBI. Meanwhile, Jason is trying to warn his family about The Stuff but they are not listening. Back to Moe, we see him posing as a wealthy Oil Tycoon to get into a Sound Stage where they are recording the next commercial. Full of scantily clad women who are walking down runways and feeding each other. Being directed by Nicole. The woman who pretty much got their advertisement up and running. After smooth talking her into believing he was a potential buyer of the entire ad agency and agrees to go back to his hotel to talk more. Leaving us free to rejoin Jason in his destruction of as much of The Stuff as he can at the grocery store, before workers manage to grab him. After an Interview with someone with the FDA, who is killed by his dog after. Mo follows a lead to Stader, Virginia. A ghost town, with just a postmen and Gas Station Worker. After an altercation with a man named Chocolate Chip Charlie. The former owner of the Chocolate Chip Company. Turned out he was swindled out of his company by his Family and wants to find evidence to use to get his company back. Together they confront the postman. Finding out that everyone’s mail was being routed to Midland, Georgia. He excuses himself to the bathroom. Where The Stuff begins pouring out of his mouth. After hearing strange noises, break down the door. Finding him dead on the ground. Mouth opened outstretched. They go out the window to find who did it. Are attacked by a group of men, who are hollow and break under their attacks. Finally getting away by boat and somewhere safe. Mo sends Chocolate Chip to get the FBI while he pushes on with his investigation. Goal shifting more from the ingredients to what exactly is The Stuff and I will leave it there for now.
This was a compelling tale of consumerism. How easily it is to get people hooked on a product. With several sexy, flashy commercials, songs and radio advertisements. People eating it all up without even wondering what exactly they were putting into their bodies. Only people asking were the ones who wanted to use it to do the same thing for the sake of cashing in on it. Even after knowing, still willing to put it in their products as low doses to get people hooked, without the mind control effects. A story that not only stands the test of time, but can easily be re-done today to similar affects.
Of course, being a horror movie from the 80’s, we got to talk about the effects. Which were pretty good. Affects of The Stuff coming out of people’s mouths looks good and they did a good job for the most part making pools of The Stuff move about rooms and shooting out of beds. A bit of the green screen and CG are a bit dodgy but passable for its age.
Michael Moriarty was easily the standout in the cast. Bringing a suave swagger to his character. Likable right from the gate, when he showed his prowess with the bug and the way he knocked out the guy who mocked him from the gate. Putting together a good guy, who believed his own hype and knew how to back it up at the same time. Garret Morris’s Chocolate Chip Charlie was criminally under-utilized. When he was on screen he was so good. Entertaining and had good chemistry with Moriarty and a shame we didn’t get more screen time. The same can kind of be said for Andrea Marcovicci. Played her role well enough, just felt like her character needed more fleshing out.
Negative wise is the Militia scenes. They really add very little outside of humor. Which could have easily have gone to Chocolate Chip and been a lot better. Even the fact that they had a radio station could have gone to Nicole or one of many of Mo Contacts. Just felt like they were tacked on for time and not much more. Although, did chuckle at the ‘Nam joke.
Before we round this out. Let me say something that will certainly rock the boat with some people. In a world that loves dusting off movies and giving them a new shine. The Stuff would actually be perfect for a remake. Like I said, The Consumerism Story they told is still prevalent today. Quite a few Horror Directors active today could tell a chilling tale today with a bit higher budget and newer practical effects. Especially if they get the nerve to give it a much darker ending.
With that said, The Stuff is definitely a movie you should give watch if you haven’t already seen. Have some good laughs and decent horror spread out. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By Paul Anthony
Often to to not this is the film that the general public has forgotten about. Sure in the time since it was released it does have a cult following and of course I am talking about Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. The film was released just one year later from the first film which had been a hit in the slasher film genre and it was clear that Freddy could be a big name player in the genre but this sequel was very important for that statement to become true. By it’s release date we had so many players in the game now that the genre was losing its popularity, Sure we had Jason on his fifth film, we had Halloween on its third film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Sleepaway Camp and Prom Night and Amityville Horror and so many more that Freddy had to fight for his share in a market that at this point might have been dying. The film made money because of its small budget which was 3 million and grossed nearly 30 million. These numbers were down and up from the first film. The First film had a budget of 1.8 million and grossed 57 million. Critics gave mixed reviews and with fatigue kicking in, it made sense to why this film made less then the first but we also have the plot to focus on as well.
The Film picks up 5 years after the events of the first film. And we told about the events of the first film that Nancy went crazy after see her boyfriend get killed next door and so forth, though we know it was all Freddy. Here we meet Jesse who now has moved into the same house with his family and right off the bat he begins to have nightmares with Freddy in them which always causes him to wake up screaming, which annoys his sister but concerns his parents. Through the first half of the film we see Jesse in school and with his friends and girlfriend Lisa. Soon after that we start to see Jesse personality changes because now Freddy is using his body as a vessel to begin his killings again. Though for the most part we don’t see Freddy doing it just Jesse until the end when the Freddy fully emerges and taunts the teens at Lisa’s Pool party, though Freddy can’t hurt Lisa because of the love Jesse has for Lisa, she realizes this and uses that to defeat Freddy and Jesse is saved but the movie ends with Freddy’s return taking Jesse and Lisa and other school teens on one hell of a ride leaving the door open for a third film that would save the series for years to come.
Some of the knocks I think was going against this film was one it came out a year later, so everything from the story to the graphics felt rushed which hurt the quality of the film. The story seemed rushed from the start. We know Jesse’s family just moved in but there was no build up to Freddy’s return, the movie started and we had Freddy’s return. That’s the the next knock as well, very little amount of Freddy in this story and with no real build it up, It did hurt the film. This movie basically seemed like this would be a direct to Video type of movie and not a movie that would be released on the big screen. In the end I am giving this movie a D for a rating but we all know it made enough money to get us to Part 3.
By: Justin Hopkins
I had no idea that this movie was coming until a few reviews for it began to crop up and had me at the description of being a more brutal version of Home Alone. Feels like it has been a terrible long time since I got to watch a new movie and was excited going into and.. well lets dive in and check out if it was worth the excitement shall we.
The movie starts with long cuts between an altercation going on at a prison and a school. Seeing Dominic passing of a weapon during the altercation at the prison and we see Becky getting off the ground at the school as a teacher ushers the group to move on. She doodling on a test instead of taking the test and is called out on the intercom. Her Dad is picking her up early. Meanwhile Dominic and a handful of others are being loaded into the back of a prison transport and the guy he gave the weapon to stabs the cop in the back during the trip. Back with Becky and her Dad. They stop at a gas station where while she is shoplifting gummy worms, we see the prisoners escape alert on the news. She leaves the store and walks off. Watching videos on her phone of her Mother. Who was in the hospital and we learn that her Mother died. They continue on their way, he is upset that she is stealing and when it dawns on her where they are going. Gets even more upset and Dad is in no hurry to tell her anything till they get to the cabin. It was her Mother’s favorite place and get that she hasn’t been there since her Mom died and was under the impression that he was going to sell it. Her joy of learning that he changed his mind and wasn’t selling it only lasts for a moment when his girlfriend and her son show up to spend the weekend as well and the fight gets worse when she find out that they are getting married and storms off to a smaller shack deeper into the woods. At the same time Dominic and his men arrive and quickly take over the house. Looking for a key in the basement that is currently in the shack with Becky and that is where I will leave it for now.
I don’t think I can express my love of this movie and how great they did with the story. Nothing was just because. They always had a reason for everything, when most would have just gone lazy and shrugged their shoulders. Becky is not just a kid going through a rebellious stage or anything like that, but a good kid going through a lot of bad things and doesn’t know how to process it. From losing her Mom and things not going good in school. Her one joyous moment is taken away by the fact it wasn’t just going to be her and her Dad, but his girlfriend and her son and than learn they are getting married and everything is changing and then her Dad dies in front of her. Pushing the girl who is already teetering on the edge all the way over. Than you go on the opposite side, you get Apex, who is Dominic’s closest ally and they give him a rather gruesome reason to be having a battle of consciousness and that he gone to far in this plan and regret and sorrow was setting in and didn’t know what was going to happen to him by the end. Nick Morris, Ruckus Skye and Lane Skye went all out creating an all around great story to go along with some great carnage.
Now, this movie has been compared to Home Alone and can get why but it’s a very loose equivalent. Yeah, the traps between the two are for very different reasons. The traps and weapons Becky crafts are so brutal and gory and wonderful and simple and never feel to crazy. They felt like traps a kid would make. They aren’t outright lethal. Just take them down and make it easier for a 13 year old to finish them off. Whether it’s a broken ruler or fistful of colored pencils taped together or bit of fishing line and bored with nails. She brutalizes and makes them suffer with so much hate and intensity in her eyes and cheering her on the whole way.
I have to give Kevin James all the praise in the world for his portrayal of Dominic. He is everything I love in a villain. Cold and calculated. He process the situation and goes from their. Never really raises his voice either. Just allows his presences and his actions to intimidate and terrify his victims into submitting to whatever he wants. Even after everything Becky does to his men and runs him over with a car. He is cool as ever. Trying to simply convince her to come with him and his argument for it isn’t even far from what is going to happen to her if she makes it through to the end. Kevin James did a stellar job and hope that this isn’t his last foray as a bad guy.
On the flip side, we get Lulu Wilson who is terrifyingly good as Becky. She was brilliant bringing out both a fearsome ferocity and soul crushing amount of sympathy. There are some moments in this movie where she is the scariest person on the screen. Particularly the fire scene at the end when Dominic gets there and she is singing and putting marshmallows on the stick he uses to torture her Dad, staring at hims and it’s bone chilling. Than she lets out these battle cries when she stomps the ruler into the guys neck and when she kills Apex and as great as they were. She is even better when it is all over and she is just sitting there petting her lone dog, cause they killed the other, and it all sits in and you start to worry about what comes next for Becky.
Each of them are backed by a solid supporting cast. Joel McHale as her Dad. Robert Maillet as Apex and Ryan McDonald and James McDougall as Cole and Haymmond.
This movie is a blast throughout. I love the story so much. They take their time to build a story around Becky and give her a threatening villain in Dominic to overcome and I want so much more. I want to know what happens next for Becky. She left with the key, what is she going to do with it? Does she go live with Kayla and Ty? They ended it so well and with so much more I want to know. If you haven’t seen it yet, go and check it out. Final Grade – S
As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
So it has been awhile since my last entry into the B Movie Sunday and made it a point to find a movie for today’s review and stumbled upon a selection of Mermaid themed horror movies. Which I didn’t know was a thing, but was hoping for the best as I picked one at random and gave it a go. Lets dive in and check out if I made the right choice.
The movie kicks off with a relatively long intro, with four people on a boat. Amy, Shelly, Roy, and Toby. They show up at an island and make their way to a lake. Amy making her way to the beach while the others hang back. Shelly warning Toby about pain to come and find out it is over the fact he is going to propose. She walks off and while Toby and Roy are discussing the fact he is going to do this. Shelly is busy blowing the surprise and telling Amy. Who is mortified by this, cause they just started dating, but she didn’t want to hurt him either. Before she figures out what to do, Toby comes over and they go for a hike with a picnic basket. After a bot of a trek, he pops the question and she declines it. Trying to get it through to him that they don’t know each other well enough and he is going on about the age thing and while that is happening. Shelly gets pushed into the lake after splashing Roy with water. Before she gets out something bites her leg. They get her out, but she is to hurt to walk and they carry her toward the spot the see smoke coming from to get her help. They find a house and believe no one home and take her inside for an old woman to come out of a backroom. When she learns Shelly was bitten in the lake. Pulls a gun and wants to kill her. Saying they have to kill her before she kills all of them. They knock her out and tries again the moment she wakes back up. This time around, Shelly bites her and in response, the old lady kills herself and that is where I will leave this for now.
Alright, this story, at the bare bone level is a rather interesting one. Love the idea of killer mermaids, I didn’t even know it was a thing and it sounds like it can do well. Giving them an infectious bite as well isn’t the worst thing. Can be fun to see the effects and something new to the table. With that said though, Mermaid Isle suffered from a lack of budget. I give them all the credit for trying there best to make the story work for their needs, but they really needed some more affects here. Showing some more transformation effects that Shelly and later Amy go through during the transformation or even after the transformation and they are in the water. I really like the looks of their Mermaid Tails. They looked really good, but we only get a few shots on them in the water and really would have liked one good shot of them as Mermaids.
I don’t want to bash the cast to much here. They are all very new to the scene and hope they all grow from this and get better, but there is one I have to talk about and in kind of a negative way and that is Mark Reinhardt’s Toby. He is just so stiff throughout the entire runtime. The old woman pulls a gun, tries to kill Shelly, gets knocked out, attempts to hit Toby with a fire place poker, gets bitten and kills herself and he has the exact same emotionless expression. Like they put the script just off camera and he is reading off of it. Even when he tries to yell at Roy for knocking her out. Just nothing going on in his facial expressions to back up anything he says and it happens throughout. Acting is a hard thing to do and hope he finds his grove and gets more comfortable in front of the camera, but that was not here.
Alright, we are onto the negatives. One of which, is the fact they don’t actually go out into the water. Most of the time is spent against the shoreline in water that might be a foot deep. Yet, they never see the Mermaid coming ever. Just go out a little more. So water is up to their waist at least. Can muddy the river and go from their. Just a little thing to make it more plausible that the Mermaids can effectively sneak up on them.
Alright, this one is a bit more of an issue. You can writing off them not going far enough in the water as just dumb things characters do to advance a story, albeit a little to far but whatever. The audio being so low that they are almost inaudible isn’t. It got better as they went out, but it’s really bad at the start to the point where it I backtracking with closed caption to figure out what was being said.
Mermaid Isle had a good idea in mind, but needed a bigger budget and little more time put in to make the most of it. They tried their best and give them all the credit in the world for trying. As it is though. I can’t suggest it and have to go with a skip it.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By Paul Anthony
Let’s be honest, if you wee a kid in the 90’s growing up you know you read a Goosebumps book and even watched the show, heck to this day I still read the books and watch the show and I was even pumped to learn the show was coming back, which the wait is just getting longer and longer because of this virus but as a fanboy I have to say I was super excited when I heard about a movie that was being made. At first I was wondering if they would do the books in order which they would have tons of material for, however I was wrong, when the first film was released it was about the goosebumps book monsters coming alive, after the release I finally got behind that film and even the ending had set up a good plot for part 2. I knew there would be a part 2 because the film made 158 million from a budget that was around 84 million, with a story in place, we got a stand alone sequel that barely had any ties to the first. The film had a budget of 35 million and grossed 93 million which was basically on par with the first film. The movie went through 2 title changes, when it was first announced it was called Goosebumps: HorrorLand then got changed to Goosebumps: Slappy’s Revenge, only to get changed to Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween. Though this was a stand alone sequel it more felt like soft reboot with only mentioning that Slappy was involved in another situation like this.
The film starts in a small town in New York, here we meet the main characters of Sarah, whose trying to get into college and her brother Sonny and his best friend Sam. One day as Sonny and Sam was picking up trash in which they want to start garbage cleaning up service, they stumble on a book and Slappy without knowing they read a few words from this unfinished book that awakes Slappy. At first Slappy appears to be nice to them calling them his family but begins to use his powers to cause problems and harm around the people that are close to Sarah including her boyfriend. At this point Slappy heightens his powers to bring the monsters of Goosebumps alive and pretty much all Halloween decorations alive and turn them into monsters as well, story basically comes out that Slappy plans to Sarah’s mom into a dummy like him so he can have a mother who won’t abandon him like his father who it’s revealed to be R.L. Stine himself. Much like the first film the key to stopping Slappy is the unfinished book to catch him with. Unlike the first film Stine doesn’t need to finish the book to catch him, they just need to open the book and it will suck him in and of course the battle begins but the kids managed to save the day but when Stine returns home he see’s Slappy waiting for him and use the book on Stine which sucks Stine into the book leaving Slappy with the last laugh.
I did enjoy the movie but would have enjoyed the movie more if it was the first film. The fact that this film did feel like a soft reboot and nearly ignored all of the events of the first film only to reword the plot felt lazy to me. When you considered that nothing was explain on how Slappy got to New York and Stine not having his daughter with him and everything. The rumor was that there was two scripts with this film one with Jack Black and the other without him, I feel like they decided to mix the two scripts because Black was hardly in the film and was pretty useless in the film. This may have not been a reboot but it felt like one. In the end though I am giving it B for a grade it had it moments and potential to be even better but someone got lazy.
By: Justin Hopkins
This week it was announced that Universal would be taking another swing at one of their classic monsters, following in the heels of The Invisible Man, with The Wolfman, with Ryan Gosling set to play the title character. While I am excited to see what that rendition has in store for us. Gives us the perfect excuse to go back and check out the two that came before it. Going all the way back to 1941 and 2010. So, with a lot to cover, lets dive right in with the original shall we.
The Wolfman 1941
The movie opens with a title card sequence of starts, like a lot of these older movies used to do. Showing us the characters and who plays them and then the definition of Lycanthropy and we see the main character driving down the road. Returning home after he learned his brother died during a hunting trip. Putting all of the bad history between himself and his Dad. During their conversation a glass shipment arrives and the fix up a telescope. Which they test by spying on the town. Larry spots a woman, Gwen, in her bedroom. When he sees it is above an Antique Shop, he goes running. Trying to be..suave I suppose by wanting to buy the jewels she has upstairs. Claiming to know they are there by being psychic. When he can’t buy the jewels. Agrees to buy a cane with a wolf’s head, moon, and pentagram. Reciting the verse of a man pure of heart and says his prayers. Can Become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. When he is leaving, invites her for a walk at 8 and despite saying no. Is waiting with a friend at 8. Wearing the jewels he was asking for. Her friend, Jenny wanting to go get her fortune read by the gypsies and they set off to do that. While that is going on, they go for a walk. While he is admitting to the telescope incident, we see the friend with the gypsies. Who tells her to come back tomorrow and leaves. While she is trying to find them though. Is attacked by a giant wolf. When Larry and Gwen hear her cries and come running. He attacks the wolf and beats him to death with the cane, but is wounded during the altercation and passes out. They get him back home and the police go out, but instead of finding an animal. They find a dead gypsy and Jenny’s deceased body. Questions beginning to arise quickly about what really did happen out there, and why his wounds have disappeared and that is where I will leave it for now.
This was a great story that has not only stood the test of time, but has been an inspiration to Werewolf movies ever since. A simple story of a man getting attacked by a Werewolf, that results in him becoming the very same monster. Not utilizing jump scares, but letting the tension build naturally. Letting the story build it’s way throughout, until Larry becomes the Wolfman and get the payoff of the monster rampaging through the woods, until we get the monster and damsel in distress, a classic moment in older movies.
You are going to here this from me a few times on this review, but it can be quite hard to judge some of the stuff, due to it coming from 1941, Practical effects being in it’s infancy and what they can do in front of a camera being limited and things like gore not being really a thing. The attacks from the wolf were kind of on the bland side and kind of hooky. Which is fine. It’s about context and what you are seeing works just as intended and didn’t need the gore.
Than you get the transformation scene was alright. Must have been something else, back in the day, but we just see hair growing on his legs and feet turning into paws and then pan up to see the final outcome. It’s not bad, just fine.
Lon Chaney Jr. really left his mark on the character. He left a legacy behind that may never be touched by anyone going forward. You really feel his genuine confusion over what happened and his sorrow over the idea that he may have killed a man in his confusion and the horrific response he has when he realizes that he killed people after his first transformation. There is one small thing that I’ll talk about in a bit, but overall Lon was fantastic.
Okay, this is probably the part I get it, 1941 was a long time ago and shouldn’t bash them to hard when it comes to the negatives due to that reason, but there were three things that really hurt it for me. Two small ones and a much larger one. The slight was the score. When it was warranted, it was great, but there are times when silence would have fit the bill so much better and you get the music playing over and taking me right out of the moment and happens throughout.
Then, during his hunt in his Werewolf form, he gets stopped by a bear trap. A menacing monster that strikes fear into everyone, is downed by a bear trap. The entire sequence of him just rolling around is just bad. Out of anything they could have done, and that was what was decided on and it didn’t work at all for me.
Next though was a bigger one for me, and that was the relationship between Larry and Gwen. This starts with Larry spying on her with a telescope, instead of talking to her, tries to buy the jewels from her desk and doesn’t flinch when he finds out she is taken. They are going for sweet, by her kind of laughing it off and going with it and liking him and all, but just casts him in a bad light and makes it hard to care for his more sympathetic moments, because of the moments he has with her.
This is a hard movie to grade. It’s place in history can never be taken away. It’s a legit classic that has inspired so many to get into movies and bring their own ideas of the Werewolves for us to love. At the same time, the negatives really hurt it for me. So, Final Grade: B –
The Wolfman 2010
Open with the man of pure of heart verse and we jump right to it. Showing a man being killed right out by the Werewolf. Than we jump to a man, Lawrence, performing a play. A woman, Gwen, watching closely before going backstage when they finish. Needing to talk to him alone. Telling him that his brother, and her fiancee is missing for a month and she fears the worst, because two other villagers were found dead the same night. At first he refuses, but caves and we see him on a train going home. Talking to a man about a picture of his Mom that fell from his pocket. He offers a wolf’s head cane, but he politely declines it. When the train reaches it’s destination and he is collecting his stuff however, the man disappears. Leaving the cane behind and Lawrence takes it with him. By the time he gets home. His Dad informs him that Ben’s body had been found that morning. He goes to see the body. Learning he had been torn apart. At the bar, listening to the people speculating what it could have been Some believing it to be the gypsies another a werewolf. When they insult his Mother though, it gets his attention. Throwing a drink in their face and gets thrown out of the bar. Later we get a flashback. Seeing him and his brother having a good time and then finding his Mother’s dead body. When he wakes up, after the funeral. We find out he was actually committed after finding her body. Gwen is about to leave. Asking when he is leaving, and he isn’t going anywhere till he find out what happened to Ben. His Dad tells him to wait till the morning. Not to go out during the full moon. Which of course he does. Goes off to the Gypsy Camp. Trying to find the Gypsy who sold Ben the coin and what happened the night he was there. When a posse shows up for their bear. The Werewolf attacks almost immediately. Picking off from the back before sprinting in and getting someone before anyone can realize and panic ensues. A boy runs off and Lawrence spots the wolf going after him and he wastes no time giving chase. Getting attacked himself. Wolf biting his neck, but before killing him. The Gypsies scare him off. Bringing the bloodied Lawrence back. The older Gypsy stitching him up, while a younger woman arguing about whether or not they even should. Knowing what he will become if they do save him and that is where I will leave off.
This was a great telling of the story. Keeping what made the first one special, but fleshed it out and made it bigger. Having him show signs of the beast within before he experiences it. Hearing the horses coming. By having the Werewolf who attacked him survive, they create a bit of suspense and by having Sir Thomas simply come out with it, give us tension and an anticipation of the incoming Werewolf fight.
My main negative from the original was the cringe relationship and the fact Larry was a little more one the creepy side, was remedied here. He build sympathy naturally from him finding his Mother’s dead body and the trauma he experienced afterwards. That lead to him being estranged and the guilt that he wasn’t there for Ben and the chance is gone. He put himself in the line of danger trying to save the kid. All tying into the verse on a good man becoming a wolf.
There is a lot of good kills in this movie. When the Werewolf is around he just goes to town on everyone around him. Biting chunks out of people’s stomachs and throats. Arms and heads are flying and it’s a great time all around. Some moments of CGI are a bit much, but never really distract me to much. Two moments of jump scare attacks, that were both more funny than actually scary. Each were surprise attacks and loved them both.
The Werewolf transformation was a really good one. Using what they didn’t have back in 1941 and really showed how his body changed and morphed and thought the end result was an intimidating version of the Werewolf.
Originally I wasn’t to high on the Asylum scenes. Him being dunked into ice water and shocked, but after it was done and thought about it. Does seem like something that would have happened back in the day. People doing awful things to someone to prove that there infliction were all in their minds and adds a disturbing sense of realism to it that only build to the sympathy toward Lawrence.
You can tell everyone who showed up, really brought their best. Loving the original and wanted to do their best to do it justice and make this one stand out. Benicio Del Toro did a great job making Lawrence a sympathetic character with a lot of heart and felt bad knowing that he wasn’t going to overcome it. Emily Blunt took the bigger role they had for Gwen and made it her own and because of how well they told the story between the two of them. Made the ending all the better. Hugo Weaving was an entertaining foil to play of him. Playing a smart, educated Inspector who is faced with this supernatural force and instead of bulking or questioning it. Is adapting and taking it head on because it is the right thing to do, and Anthony Hopkins is Anthony Hopkins. When it was time for the fight, his mystique and delivery made it all that much better.
Alright, negative time. The first flashback I understand, but when he is being tortured at the asylum, it just fell flat. Due to the way it was shot and the motion blurs and dumb jump scares that was going on during it. Just felt like a way to drag it out and just felt like wasted time.
Yeah, that was my only real complaint. Pacing was a bit slow, but hardly notice because they always had the story moving forward. Tension building to a good Werewolf fight and emotional ending of Gwen realizing there was no reaching him and had to put him down and cliffhanger of Hugo’s character being bitten. All around good movie from start to finish. Final Grade – B+
I get that the 1941 is a classic and has given us so much and the 2010 version both honored and built off it in a positive way and I hope for the same from the Ryan Gosling Wolfman we got coming. For today, The remake takes the prize. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Werewolves have always been a strange topic for me. Either love them or strongly dislike them and not much space in between and it often doesn’t really ever come down to the characters, but the actual transformation and how they go about portraying the Werewolf. What parts of the lore they use and there spin on them can easily make or break the movie for me. So much so I have tended to avoid Werewolf movies in general, but that is the point of what I am doing during the lock down. Using my free time to check out movies I have wanted to watch and give my opinion and American Werewolves In London has been on the list longer than it should be. So, without further adieu, let’s dive in to the 1981 classic and discuss shall we.
The movie starts with some looks around the England country side, before meeting two Backpacking travelers, Jack and David. Sitting in the back of a truck with a bunch of sheep. Being dropped off in the middle of nowhere. Being warned to stay on the road and they started to walk. They are on a three month trip and Jack was complaining about not being in Rome and how he wants to hook up with a woman named Debbie. While David is just happy to be here and seeing the sights. When they come across a small Village and the Slaughtered Lamb Pub. Where everyone stops doing what they are doing to look at them when they come in, but they loosen up over a joke about the Alamo. Only to get hostile when Jack asks about the five point star. To the point where they try to leave. Most of them want them to as well, except the bartender, but they leave with the warning to stay on the road and beware the full moon. They immediately stray off the road and get lost. Getting scared by the animal howls and various other sounds. and decide to retreat back to the Slaughtered Lamb. Meanwhile, we go back to the pub and they are arguing about what they have done. Back at Jack and David who are fleeing and David trips. When Jack goes to his aide. He is attacked by a monster. Being ripped and torn apart. David initially flees, but comes back to try and help, but it is to late and gets attacked himself. But as soon as it starts, David is saved by the people from the Pub, who shot the monster and are looking down at him as he blacked out. Taken to a hospital in London. He wakes briefly and says the name, Jack, before blacking out again. The nurses, Miss Price and Gallagher are chatting about him and what happened and the Doctor says he was attacked by a madman and his friend Jack had died. When he finally does come around, it’s three weeks later, and has to be sedated because of the news of his friend’s death. Much to the embassy workers chagrin. Before he falls asleep again. Says it wasn’t a madman, but a wolf that did it. That day, Scotland Yard pays the Doctor and David a visit. Calling him out on his story. That they have an autopsy from the madman and two witnesses saying he was the attacker, but David isn’t budging on his story, although they say the case is closed and leaves. We get a random image of him running through the woods and eat a deer, and we are back at the hospital where Nurse Price, Alex, forces him to eat and they start to bond. When he goes to sleep, he dreams of men in monster masks, killing him and his family. Waking up, seeing another man in a mask killing Alex. He finally does wake and is served breakfast. The door closes and a shredded Jack is standing there. Telling him that he is here to warn him. That they were attacked by a Werewolf. That he is stuck walking the world of limbo, till the bloodline of the wolf is ended, and the only way for that to happen, is for David to kill himself. Needs to do it before the Full Moon, or he will kill more people when David turns into a Werewolf himself and that is where I will leave it for now.
This was a fun little story, especially when it came to the Jack and David story arch. Each time we see Jack he gets more and more deformed. Despite how he was telling him to kill himself, when David finally does come around to the idea. You can tell it was something that Jack wasn’t taking it lightly and wanted it to be as easy and peaceful as it could be. Than they threw in all of his victims following along with Jack, from David’s first shift and that may actually be the best scene in the movie. The prosthetic and make up the ghosts were wearing were great. Making Jack look not only mortifying, but still maintaining levels of sympathy for what he went through at the same time.
Alright, the Werewolf transformation was alright. They went on a more slow approach and for the most part, looked good throughout. Particularly on his face morphing outward and taking on the canine look and did like the look of the Werewolf we got. We only get a few quick shots of him, but what we do see really works. Although, I wasn’t a fan of how it started. With him just starting to scream. Sure it would get to that point, but going from 0 to a hundred didn’t work, but other than that. Was all good.
The character and world was really intriguing. From everyone at the bar at the beginning. The were secretive and not welcoming, but can see that they still cared. To the point they actually saved David when they could have just left him for dead. Would have gladly watched more of them. Alex was a strong character and easily would have liked to see her play more of a role toward the end, but was good throughout. Had a great supporting cast, all making David stand out. Which speaks strongly of the cast.
David Naughton did a great job as David. Being sympathetic and endearing. Wanted to see him pull through it and having a happy ever after. Good chemistry with Griffin Dunne and Jenny Agutter, Jack and Alex. Who each played their worlds perfectly. To the point where I kind of wanted to see more of each. Along with everyone else for that matter.
Alright, to the negatives. This is billed a comedy, but with the exception of one scene, the movie theater with the ghosts of David’s victims telling him ways to kill himself, there wasn’t much in the way of comedy for me. It was mostly dry and while that is my normal preference, it just didn’t really work for me. I think age may have been a factor, because their was the whole, him waking up in the zoo and having to find clothes, which is something I have seen in other movies and cartoons and the bumbling cop is kind of overplayed.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending either. David dying wasn’t the issue, but was expecting Alex to play into it and would have liked to see her interacting with David in the Werewolf form. Even for a moment, cause they might have been able to get more out of the ending had they had her there for the shooting and that it was the only way to stop David.
This was a good movie with some solid characters and a good Werewolf and while I did like it and would suggest checking it out if you haven’t seen it. It’s not one I can see myself watching again. The negatives and lackluster ending kind of pushes it below a few other Werewolf movies that I would go for first. Final Grade – B
I hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I almost didn’t watch this. After the last movie. Had no real reason to believe it would get any better here. Unfortunately, would have bothered me if I didn’t actually watch it and since I begrudgingly did. Might as well do the review and polish off the run. We started off with a interesting taking on a really good, smooth talking, intimidating monster in the form of a Djinn. A creature who killed and maimed using the victims own deepest desires. A monster badly diluted in the third. How did they fair in the finale. Lets dive in and check it out.
We start off with the quote from the first movie, that is still missing a part at the end. Then we are with a young couple riding a bike up to a fixer-upper home. Loving couple who immediately go up to the room and break the bed and then draws her in a provocative position before they leave and we jump ahead three years. Seeing her, Lisa, going to a friend and lawyer, Steven. Who is working on a settlement for them after some incident. He gives her a metal box and drops it when he tries to kiss her. Cause he has been so good throughout this and doesn’t like the way Sam treats her. When she looks down she sees the Red Opal. After brief contact with the stone to give it back to him. Getting a glimpse of the monster inside. Giving it back to him and after agreeing to get it appraised he locks it in the safe and she leaves. We see her going home and the bike is in ruin and Sam is in a wheelchair. Drinking, angry man who is looking up porn online. While back at the lawyers, the Djinn wakes up. Once again, using the waker term because that wasn’t irritating enough in the third movie. Taking the identity of Sam and goes about attempting to complete the prophecy and Lisa starts firing them off, since she only ever sees Sam. Doesn’t know who he is and just starts wishing. That the case could be settled, so her and her boyfriend can work on their relationship. Which only results in another argument over sex. Than wishes he could walk. Thinking it would make him calm down. Which results in another argument because he thinks she is sleeping with Sam during the dinner and storms off to the strip club. She goes to Steven and there, she makes another wish, that he would love her for who she really is. He can’t grant it because of free will and sets out to try and find out how to make her love him, fulfilling that wish. Which going by every conversation in this movie, is by having sex with her. While a hunter has been sent to kill the waker.
Okay, the positives, the gore was actually pretty good throughout. The best being the opposing lawyer who was being made to cut parts off himself and I think that may have been it. There was killer sex, but honestly, that rolls into the negative territory. Luckily, we are done with the positives.
This either written by porn writers who had nothing better to do, or freelancers who only know how to write sex. There is not a meaningful conversation held nearly throughout the entire runtime. Diana and the boyfriend’s issues are because they haven’t had sex. Which her friend tells Steven is the way to make her fall in love. Than the same at the strip club. Meanwhile, Sam is angry because they haven’t had sex in three years, and their one good moment was them having sex and her posing for the picture. They couldn’t be bothered to even try and build any other dynamics. Which should not be hard to do, but they simply fail at.
No own to the wish that created the issue for the Djinn…it doesn’t work. No matter what happens, she is directing the wish to Steven. In his view, that would be the equivalent of someone getting arrested for Identity Fraud and being charged under the name they stole. Plus, it doesn’t matter, we have seen wishes that the Djinn couldn’t grant and they would simply have to wish again. Like Alexandra wishing he was dead and Morgana wishing for no evil in the world. If they wish can’t granted, it becomes negated and all he had to do was get her to wish again.
Now, I know the argument is that this is not the same Djinn and his stone was found in a dime store tin that, despite seeing the lines on the side, had never been opened before, but the problem is they opened with the same quote from the first movie. If you don’t want to draw comparisons don’t start us off with a reminder of a movie that so, so much better than this and it’s a shame that it is tied together by name.
The first two movies are some really good horror movies, with Andrew Divoff giving us a stellar monster in the form of the Djinn and when I think of the series. That will be what I hold dear. Leaving this in the bin with the third. Final Grade = F
As always I hope you enjoy and looking forward to a more positive review next time..
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Alright than. So, we bid farewell to Andrew Divoff with Evil Never Dies and march on to Wishmaster 3 Beyond The Gates Of Hell. I knew I would miss him, but willing to see what the new guy has to offer and with his goal being to release his race. Means that there is more than one Djinn and all we are doing is getting a new Djinn which is an interesting prospect… Yeah, I will use my intro to give you a heads up, while I try to be impartial and give both good and bad…this is going to be a lot more negative than I normally give to a movie. Let’s dive in shall we.
We open up with a woman, Diana, having a nightmare of a car flipping over in a nasty accident. She wakes up, but still having flashes of the accident. We see her as a child and getting into an argument with her Mom and her Dad was distracted and missed a down truck and that’s what caused the accident and while he gets her out. When he is trying to get her Mom out though, it explodes. All the while, Diana is climbing up on the roof. Contemplation on her face and they tease it by her boyfriend going up and not being able to find her right away and she scares him. She saying she thought he knew her better and he says you never really know. Romantic moment. The next day, she is meets up with her friend and they talk about her going to grad school and what will her and her boyfriend do and all of that. After class the Professor reminds her of meeting him at the museum at 5:30 which infuriates her boyfriend. Thinking he is losing out to some geek boy professor for reasons I suppose. Jump to 5:30 and she arrives and he isn’t there and she starts without him after only about five minutes go by. Finding a box that she solves after a lengthy amount of time just staring at it and uses a pen to push a button. Finding a fire opal inside. When she wipes it off with a cloth and gets a vision of the monster inside. Inspecting a disturbance and jump scared by the professor, who is proud of her discovery and wants to celebrate with wine and dinner to get to know her. After politely shooting him down, breaking his heart. She leaves and the Djinn and oh no, we are stopping here because just absolutely not.
I get that they couldn’t duplicate what Andrew Divoff did with Nathaniel and would normally applaud them for trying something new, but how could anyone think that this was the right direction to go. You went from a Djinn how was such a smooth, elegant talking monster. Who used charisma to get people to open up to him to someone who said the line,” where is my waker?” Then tried resorting to blackmail the professor for information. This was taking a good, intimidating, force of nature that we got to know in the first two movies and stripping it of everything that made him special, sticking spikes into it’s brain till foam starting coming out of it’s mouth and turned on the cameras.
That isn’t even the only flaw with the it’s a new Djinn though, because they kept the fire stone and the Persia background. So, when you see the Opal you automatically think about Nathaniel who was trapped in the stone by a sorcerer. I.E he was. This one could have been trapped in anything which would have helped at least translate it a little more. She even found the quote from the first movie in her research.
Now I have to apologies to Evil Never Dies, cause I called that one heavy handed with the god angle. Since the Djinn are not in Catholicism or Christianity and such and would have been better had they worked within the Arabic Roots if they gone that way, but they handled it so much better there than they did here. Diana actually called upon the Arch Angel Micheal to stop the Djinn. Which caused so many conversations that made me reach for the remote and created the most painful endings.
Alexandra from the first, genuinely felt like she outsmarted The Djinn and pulled out the win. Even Morgana, within the story they were telling, kind of had to use her mind. By bringing back the man she killed, cleansed her soul and allowed her to take the stone and trap him again. This one though…despite the Djinn having the power to protect the one who woke them up, from gunfire when they are not even around. Had to run over and grab Diana to stop her from falling. Which somehow managed to grant her the chance to use Michael’s sword and stab him in the chest. That was it. All she had to do. A stupid which that brought an Arch Angel down who did nothing but throw his sword at a random moment. Didn’t even bother trying to come up with something cleaver or smart. Just sword to the chest and done.
I am not going to trash the make-up and prosthetic to much. It didn’t look good and changing the eye color was an awful choice. The orange and red flicked contacts were the best features. I get them trying to change from Nathaniel, but they used a ton of other things from him. Should have used that too.
I’ll give them this. The heart break wish was good. That was it. The line of pros end their.
This movie should be held as a gleaming example of how not to recast. Andrew Divoff was the pillar of these movies and if they were going to replace him. They needed to do far better than this. Nothing worked her. From the acting, story, characters and the wises, the thing we are hear for, fail due to changing from an charming, charismatic Djinn to a neanderthal one who just white knuckled everyone and made it underwhelming. This movie gets a F and dreading the fourth. Final Grade = F
Sorry about the rant. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
And off we go in our trip through the Wishmaster series, with Wishmaster 2 Evil Never Dies. A straight to video release that came out in 1999, with Andrew Divoff returning as the villainous Djinn and the last of the series that I have seen before. While the first movie remains a favorite of mine. How does the second one hold up and fair to a more impartial viewing? Let’s dive in and discuss shall we.
They start off fast, with a robbery going south at a museum. Sirens start to go off and shootout commences between the guards and the thieves. One of the shots, hits the statue and knocks out the Fire Opal. Morgana picks it up and ends up saving her, when a bullet hits it again. Shattering and beginning to glow. Before they find out why, a guard shows up and shots her boyfriend, Eric. Who tells her to go. While she is escaping, the Djinn comes out, in his slimy serpent form. Asking Eric if he wishes the pain to go away. To which, Eric replies that he wishes he was never born. and immediately begins to shift in reverse from adult to teen to child and eventually nothing. As the Djinn was collecting the stone. A cop shows up, ordering him to freeze and the Djinn froze him. By the time the rest of the cops arrives, he is in his human form and willingly surrenders and takes full responsibility of all the crimes Morgana and Eric committed. While Morgana is having a break down over her lose and killing the guard. ” Nathaniel” is being interrogated and driving the cop insane. Cop not believing his story while The Djinn is trying to get him to slip up and ask for something, till he just sends him to lock up at county. Morgana sees it and only adds to her guilt. While he is in county, he grants one of the prisoner’s wish of walking right out the bars, by him getting flung up against the bars and forcefully shoved between them, in a gruesome sight. While Morgana sees it in her dreams. The next day she goes off to a Catholic Church to meet Father Gregory. Wanting to talk to him about what was happening and he was not really willing to listen, but let her talk. Asking if he believed in the Devil and when he asked what her point was. She tells him about Eric being dead and he more or less shrugs it off. Saying he wasn’t right for her and she storms away after an argument. Meanwhile, back at a state penitentiary and fulfilling another wish. Telling them to spread the word to their friends. The next morning, she confesses to Gregory and goes to visit Nathaniel, to find out what is going on, and why he confessed and why is he appearing in her dreams and what is the prophecy. He tells her that she’ll learn in time and he is in her only temporarily, needing to collect souls. After catch a glimpse of his true self and panics. Leaving to go find out more about him and what he is collecting souls for before he is finished and comes for her three wishes and will end it there for now.
They really took what made the first movie great doubled down on it. By giving the Djinn the goal of needing a thousand and one souls before he even cares about collecting the three from Morgana, means that we get more Divoff and more wishes. Some being overtly gory and some funny. Most over the top, but wanted so much more just to see how he would twist the conversation to meet his goal. Bringing back the part scene at a casino this time and still works just as well. A bit more CGI affects, but the practical ones were still as much fun as they were in the first.
They changed up the make-up and prosthetic of the Djinn. Losing the armor and cape, for more human body. Face being more shrunken which allowed the horns sticking out of his head and the spiked shoulders stood out more because of this change. Was the same coloring and more slimy but they did a great job and one thing they did keep was his orange and red flicked eyes and that made up for any change. They are just so menacing and make the look that much better for it.
Cast wise, this was very much a one man show, Andrew Divoff just knew this character so well and brought out every nuance and tick and made every second of screen time a blast. He just came across as so unusual and terrifying and when he was even enjoying himself and taunting Morgana and Gregory, it was unsettling and just so well done. In my first review, claimed he was potentially more scary in his human form then he was as the Djinn. This time around, it is absolutely true. He was fantastic and made this such a fun time.
A mixed one, was Holly Field. She wasn’t bad when she wasn’t bad, and was better when she was opposite Andrew. She took a tumble when she was paired with Paul Johansson. She wasn’t very good, but not awful either.
Now, who was awful was Paul Johansson’s character Gregory. Every word out of him is delivered in a flat, near emotionless pitch and so, so repetitively. He offers nothing of substance. He is not likable throughout and has quite a few… jerk lines and can’t even enjoy his death because he is just that bad of a character and acted.
One final negative and don’t know if its a big one or not was that this had such a shove it down your throat Catholicism story thread that just drags things down. Djinn are more attached to Arab religions. Not against going religious to beat him, but at least go through the ones with them more highlighted in. The first movie really felt like Alexandra pulled the win out of the fire by outsmarting him and this just felt so bland in comparison, because Morgana didn’t really didn’t do anything.
At the end of the day, I am giving it a B. While Morgana and Gregory were more on the bad side. Andrew Divoff pulls this film up several levels on his performance as Nathaniel alone. He was just so, so good. The gore is there and some pretty funny moments throughout. It is not as good as the first, but still fun to be had here. Final Grade = B
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thanks For Reading.