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
And here we are. The end of the Invasion Of The Body Snatcher movies. It has been a fun ride throughout. While the 1978 version has been clinging to its number one spot. There hasn’t been a bad movie in the bunch. Both the 1956 version and Body Snatchers from 1993 were both really good films with plenty of their own ideas and spins on the ball. So, much so I was looking forward to see what the 2007 The Invasion brought to the table. Much like I did in part 2 in this run; I won’t be covering the 1978 version here, since I already did it in Part 1 and would just be a copy and paste deal. So, if you want to check out my review for that, hop back a run and check out my Part 1. As a bonus, at the very end, will have all four listed from the least to most liked. Alright, with that said, let’s dive into The Invasion shall we.
The Invasion 2007
We start off with flashing lights and the main character going through a pharmacy. Telling herself to not go asleep. Looking for pills and drinks to keep herself awake. Seeing a door shaking. People pounding on the other side. Trying to get inside. When we jump back in time to see a space ship crashing down to Earth. Breaking to pieces on re-entry to Earth. News Reports are describing how wide spread the wreckage is. Pieces are being found from Dallas to D.C. Some people were wisely staying away. While other have touched it. CDC Agent Tucker is checking out one of the crash sites. Finding their is an unknown Alien Life Form on them. On his way out, a woman brings a piece that had fallen on her roof, and he cuts himself on it, before leaving and while he is asleep that night. Begins to change. We then jump to Carol. Being awaken her son screaming, from a nightmare. We find out that she is a single Mom who was having custody issues with the Father, and that he would be getting Oliver later that night. The Father turns out to be Tucker, the infected CDC Agent from the night before and there is a lot of animosity between them. We meet her friend Ben, who is worked up by the news, who she confides in over what is going on with Tucker, and he calms her down by pointing out how much Oliver loves her and such and she goes off to work. She is a psychiatrist, whose first patient is a woman who normally is abused by her husband, claiming that he was not her husband. Telling her that he doesn’t even get mad. The dog knew and tried to attack, but he broke the dogs neck and tossed it in the trash. Not showing any signs of emotion through the assault. Carol gives her a new prescription and tells her to call if anything happens. Later that night while her and a friend had their kids trick or treating. A dog attacks one of the kids. Who doesn’t even react. Easily powering the dogs muzzle shut before they get the dog off him. Acting very strangely when the kids or going through their candy. When Oliver yells they find a strange bit of skin on his hand. They assume that it was from someone’s house but she takes it with her. On her way to taking Oliver to his Dad’s. A woman attacks the car inside a tunnel. Yelling about how they are coming, before she gets rundown by a jeep. She gets out to try and help and offers to be a witness, but the cop doesn’t want to hear it and ushers her out. Meanwhile, we see a meeting at Congress. Discussing a new strand of flu and a questionable new vaccine, but pretty much forces the one to question it to take it seriously or lose out. In the back we see infected spitting up into the drinks before serving it to them Going back to Carol. After an awkward exchange, between her and Tucker. She goes off on her “date” with Ben and has an interesting conversation with one of the people there, about how people don’t change who they are unless the people part is removed and she disagrees with him by pointing out how far we had come, and I will leave it with that.
Yet, again, they did try to change the story a bit. Which even I was wondering how they could. Having an even bigger hill to climb being the fourth telling of the tale, but they did alright. Again, they were very intense and aggressive. Wanting to get everyone infected as fast as possible. Loved their tests, like when the two jumped off the bridge and swarmed the people below who had an emotional response. Adding an immunity was really neat as well. Never seeing that before and was an avenue we hadn’t seen before. They did change the way people were converted and while it was creative, going to talk more on that later.
They did an alright job building a bit of tense with the drinks. When they spit up into the drinks, and took a moment to pan over the drinks during the dinner. Created a bit of an atmosphere of not knowing if they were spiked or not, but didn’t go beyond that scene. With us knowing the score it was a fun way to create a bit of paranoia that we wouldn’t get from whose infected and not, because we already know what to look for. This gave us something new, but didn’t last long enough.
I enjoyed the ending they had here. They found the cure and were beating the alien virus, but the good news that was coming through during the invasion. North Korea agreeing to disarmament and countries that never work together finally coming together, reverts back to the horrible mass deaths happening again and a piece of the argument over nothing changes as long as people remain playing over top. Asking the question of would it had been better had the alien virus won. Something they always said, but was kind of proven in one news article. Good way to close without going back to the well of.. or is it?
I don’t have much to say on the casting. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig were excellent. Kind of wish we got more of an infected Craig, but each played the roles perfectly. They did a great job at building the friendship that was starting to blossom into more. So, when things start happening and story starts going. You feel more inclined to get behind them. Jeremy Northam was a chilling Tucker Kaufman. Had a fun little return of Veronica Cartwright who played Nancy in the 1978 version. A good job from everyone involved.
Alright, onto the negatives and there were a few. For starters, I don’t like to point out logic issues, but this one was blatantly dumb, and that was at the start. Tucker, A CDC Agent, gets cut by a piece of the debris, that he was just informed was contaminated with an unknown spore, and does nothing but goes home. I get that he has to leave infected, but this was a dumb way to do it. He wouldn’t just leave and no one would let him leave and just a dumb way to go.
As I said they changed the transformation, from going away from pods to them just needing to spit up into a person’s mouth or drink and when they sleep they cocoon and shed into the alien version of themselves. Which was interesting, but doesn’t really cut it for me. It loses the disturbing visuals and feels more like an infection then something extraterrestrial. And the dream sequence of her attacking the alien version to wake up was weak.
While, one of my issues of Body Snatchers was that they needed more time to build the characters, this one did that, but the pacing was an issue. By panning away to show the meeting with them spitting in tea and scenes that could have kick started things off just kind of ends. An entire subway scene set up to inform her that she has to act calm so they can’t tell she is human then a whole other stop to add the sweating aspect. None of these scenes were inherently bad, but really slow things down. Final Grade: B
Winner: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978
Don’t let the low grade fool you. It was still enjoyable, but wasn’t enough to take down 1978. None of them are bad movie. Each being enjoyable in there own ways and have loved doing this series. As promised, my official list is;
4. The Invasion
3. Body Snatchers
2. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956
1. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978
As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and..
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Welcome back to the second part of our Remake Vs Original of the Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. As I said in the first part, there were too many to do in one round, and the winner would go on to face the next remake, which after a grueling decision, the winner was 1978 Remake. Which will now go head-to-head with the 1993 Body Snatchers. After some thought, have to make one more slight change. Normally, would do a full review of each, but since I have already done the review of 1978. Would just be me copy and pasting. So, this will just be an in depth look at the 1993 version and then announce the winner at the end. If you want to see my review of the ’78. Please check out part one, from March 31. Thank you and with that. Let’s dive back into 1993 and check out Body Snatchers shall we.
Body Snatchers 1993
The movie starts with a bit of narration from the main character, teenager Marti. That she has been on the road for a few months, with her Dad, Brother, and Step-Mom, due to her Dad being apart of the EPA, and doing tests of chemicals on military bases. When they stop at the gas station. She is confronted by a soldier in the bathroom. Warning her that they are out there. That they get you in your sleep, and to run while she can. When she gets her Dad and a group goes to inspect. He is gone. When she gets to the base, after learning about there being two bedrooms, leaves before an argument could start. Walking along the gate, and notices something strange, but before realizing what it was. Is swarmed by a group of Military Police, but before anything happens. A woman shows up, and gets her out. Turning out to be Jenn, the General’s Daughter. Who befriends the young Marti. Later that night, we see a lot of the soldiers coming off as very aggressive. Breaking in and taking people against their will. The next day, we go to the Steve talking to General Platt. Who is not happy about having him there, and send a team with him to expedite the process and get rid of them faster. During his tests, Major Collins comes to him. Asking if the chemicals in question could alter someone’s psychological state. Having a number of soldiers who are in crisis. Struggling with people’s identity and afraid to sleep. Meanwhile, we go to the daycare center. Where all the kids have drawn the exact same picture, except for Andy. Who notices right away that something is wrong, and flees the daycare. Picked up by Tim and taken back home. After a little flirting. Suggesting meeting some time at the bar, Top Gun. Which she goes to later that night with Jen. Just beginning to chat with Tim, when a group of MPs enter. One of which was the same soldier who confronted her in the bathroom. Only, this one was a lot more disturbed. After a brief altercation. He leaves, and they go for a walk. Telling him about her Mother dying when she was 7, and as they share a kiss. Transition to a bubbling ground, and a group of soldiers pulling pods out of the water and I’ll leave it there for the moment.
The story is still an intriguing one despite it being another remake in the same tale. Just a simple tale, that while they didn’t make many changes. Was still just as captivating as ever. Due to the horrific, unnerving paranoia that it creates. They don’t get that option right away. They really leaned into the fact we knew and you can somewhat tell who was a pod person and not, but gets a little harder as I went further along. Really nailing it with Jen. It was an interesting direction going with Marti as the lead. Due to her not having a front row seat to the actual events like they had with Matthew and Miles before him. To a point, it did work out pretty well. The additions of the toxic chemicals being lethal gave it away to set up the ending was a nice touch as well. They needed to find a way to be different and felt they did a solid job with what they did.
The setting was perfect as well. Really felt that they were trapped on the base. Creating an isolated feeling and with the soldier’s regular regiment. Unsure if they are pod people or just going about their regular tasks, but they really hit a homerun with the motel scene towards the end. It was great to see how they totally took control of the situation and how they were overpowering the people after they had the number advantage. The special effects were great as the bodies were crumbling to dust. Speaking of, loved how much more aggressive the Pod People were in this movie. They are not bothering to put on a charade of pretending, and the little tests were almost amusing. From the guy telling Tim he slept with his Girlfriend to try and get an emotional reaction, and Jen using Marti’s love of her brother to crack her at the end. All of which were great.
While there wasn’t much in the way of blood. I did love the special effects they used here. The effects of the pods with the strands, covering the body, and we get an inside view of the pods, of the parasites swarming together and putting an embryo, then fetus, and finally the body. Loved the process they utilized here. Literally sucking the life from their victim and turning them into dust. Even giving them the ability to talk during the final stages. Making for a a great scene at the motel. It was different than what we seen and kind of like it more here.
This is where things start to taking a downward turn, and that is with the cast. Now, they all did as well as they could, and at times, each had some great moments. Gabrielle Anwar was alright, but great when she was shifting into the Pod Person and attempting to talk Tim out of it. Meg Tilly was kind of just a background character, but her where will you go speech was amazing, and has the best scream out of everyone from these movies. Forest Whitaker had a great speech when confronted by the General and a group of Pod People. Christine Elise was fun as Jenn, when she was on screen that is.
While this movie is great and fun at times. It’s biggest issue is it’s mere 88 minute run time. They didn’t have nearly enough time to build an emotional connection with the characters. We needed to see more of Marti and Steve and Carol. To build the turmoil brewing within the family before the main issue arose. They had an interesting idea with Step Mom and the idea of her Mother being replaced, but no time to make that a thing. You don’t get enough time to care about Tim at all and how do you cast the likes of R. Lee Ermey and limit his talking time. Huge missed opportunity. I really want to give this an A. Really did like this movie, but runtime and missed opportunities to build characters hurt it a little too much. Final Grade: B+
Winner: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978
Body Snatchers gave it a fair fight. Had it been longer. May have even pushed it a bit closer, but as is. Not quite enough to topple the classic that came before it. Would still strongly suggest checking it out if you haven’t. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
For anyone who has read one of my Remake vs Original blogs in the past, know I go about them in a particular (long) way of doing them. Basically, I do a full review of the original, storyline plots leading toward the climax, what the pros, cons, and cast. Than give me final grade and do the same for the remake and cast a winner from there. Now, Invasion was one that I wanted to do, but as it turns out, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers didn’t just have one remake; it has three. Now, if I were to do my regular deal with them. This Blog would be close to four thousand words, and I would be in a drunken stupor by the end. So, to save us all, Paul gave me the solution, of doing two at a time. We’ll start with the 1956 vs the 1978 version. The winner will go on to face the 1993 version and finally the 2007 and that will be the ultimate winner. No four thousand words and sanities are intact. Now, with that all out, let’s dive all the way back to 1956 and get started shall we.
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956
The movie starts with a Psychiatrist rushing to the hospital due to an out of control man, Dr. Benell, who was screaming that he was not insane. He gets him to calm down, and he starts to tell the story. Flashing back from him rushing back to Santa Mira from a convention for a medical emergency. His Nurse, Sally meets him. Telling him that he has had a long line of people, some have been waiting for two weeks, but won’t say what was wrong with them. Yet, when he gets back to the office. Most have called off, and those he called back said they were alright. When he goes to lunch, he is greeted by love interest, Becky Driscoll. Who tells him her friend, believes that her Uncle Ira is not her uncle. That he had been replaced. A sentiment that is repeated by little Jimmy about his Mother when he gets back. After advising that he stays with his Grandmother for the night. He goes to meet Becky and Wilma’s to meet Uncle Ira. A man he tells Wilma that he is her Uncle and refers her to a psychiatrist, Dan Kaufman. That night, when Bennell takes Becky out to dinner. They are interrupted by Jack and his wife, who found a body. One in pristine condition, with no fingerprints and Teddy think that it is starting to become Jack. Wondering if this is connected, Bennell has them sit up with the body to see what happens through the night. When it takes on the cut Jack received during the conversation appears on the body and eyes open. They flee to the Doctor’s house. Who calls Kaufmann to come right away, and he goes to get Becky and finds a body that looks like her in the basement.. and that is where I will leave it for now.
There is a good reason that this story has been retold and ripped off so many times and that is because it is a great story. It is a timeless tale of suspense and paranoia, and all it takes is a game of confusion. Trying to keep you guessing about who is human and who is not. Pitting the heroes not just against any kind of monsters, but the faces of their friends and families and not knowing just how far this goes, and way out numbered. The camera angles, shots, and scoring are great. We are 64 years down the line and more than stands up against the test of time.
That kind of rings true for the special effects as well. You are not going to get any bloodbath scenes you see today, or over the top gory moments either, but neither were really needed, and I am giving this the benefit of the doubt on some of the more cheesier moments, like the look of the pods themselves. The birthing scene in the green house looked pretty chilling and must have been really something else back then.
Was a bit taken by surprise by the happy ending here and I think it is mostly due to how many movies I have seen go in the opposite, and I did kind of like the idea that they were listening to him in the end. In a way, it still helps it stand out by ending in hopeful tone. Especially, when we get to the next one.
Casting wise was on the ball. Everyone was awesome. Kevin McCarthy’s descent from smooth talking Doctor to deranged screaming you’re next and they are coming are just legendary moments of cinema. Dana Wynter was class as Becky, and seeing her cold demeanor when she becomes one of them was chilling. Larry Gates’s Dan Kaufman was a great choice to be the speaker when they have Bennell and Becky trapped in the Doctor’s Office. King Donovan and Carolyn Jones were great in support.
There was one minor thing I didn’t like, and that was the monologuing. Didn’t really mind it, till he was on his way to Sally’s. Could have been a better setup had he not been talking about it and by the way he talked. Tipped the fact something bad has already happened in advance, instead of just letting the bad happen. Such a minor thing and not one that is going to have an affect on the final grade, but one that bugged me all the same.
Believe it or not, struggled on what my final grade would be. It was teetering on the line. At the end of the day, couldn’t find myself able to give it any less than: S
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978
Unlike the Original, this one opens up with the Alien Organism out in space. Making it’s way down to Earth and falls in the form of rain, and blooms into a flower. We see kids around picking them, along with Elizabeth, who takes it home to study. Where she thinks it’s a new hybrid. A cross between two plants. Than we jump to Health Inspector Matthew Bennell. A by the books guy who while writing up a restaurant, has his windshield smashed by some angry line cooks. After getting Elizabeth to come in early, we jump to the morning. Her husband Jeffrey is cleaning up the broken glass that the plant was in and took the can straight to a waiting garbage truck. Without saying a word to Elizabeth. Who goes to work and tells Bennell about it. After they go their separate ways. She walks away, in an eerie silence. That night, Jeffery cancels their Basketball game date in suspicious fashion, and she goes to Matthew’s instead. Telling him that she thinks Jeffery is not Jeffery. That he looks like him, but not him. The conversation continues over dinner, and he suggests seeing his friend, David Kibner, a Psychiatrist. The next morning while he is dropping off his dry cleaning. The owner pulls him aside, and tells him, his wife is not his wife. A little worried, he calls her, but she doesn’t answer. Surprising him at work, in hysterics. Flashing back to her day. Noticing people staring awkwardly, and when she tried to see Jeffery. Saw him leaving and follows. Watching him meeting strange people. Passing something off to each of them. When she is done, and her and Matthew are talking, on their way to Kibner’s book party. When a familiar crazy man jumps on their car. Screaming that they are coming, and you’re next. Before a mob chases him off and gets hit by a car. An accident that is not reported when Matthew tries to phone in an eye witness report. Meanwhile, she sees Kibner dealing with a hysterical woman who is screaming that her Husband is not he Husband. After talking her down. Kibner joins the group. Telling them he has been hearing the same thing all week and tells Elizabeth that it’s just her trying to escape and it is in her head. That night, Jack and his wife Nancy find a body covered in slime and hair. Calling Matthew for help.. and that is where I end this.
Much like a good remake, this one does a pretty good job, at not only keeping what made the first one great, and adding and shifting to bring out the best in it. The fact they really weren’t trying to hide as much. Still wanting to keep who was human and not for a bt, but they treated the viewer as if they were involved. Aware that we knew what the movie was about and didn’t treat us like idiots. By starting off with the alien species coming from space. Showing us what to look for, and we got to sit back and watch for that and enjoy the rest of the story they were telling. Allowing them to withhold the biggest surprise for the ending. A stellar example of a good remake.
Also, they went with a point they only talked about in the first one. They talked about Becky being married but didn’t shy away from the relationship between her and Miles, but never mention the affair. While this one focused on the affair that was happening and that it could be a reasonable reason Elizabeth thought Jeffery was a duplicate.
The special effects are still pretty chilling and twisted in all the right ways. Longer more slimy birthing scenes that show not only the effects of the pod people coming to life, but the eye rolling, peeling affects that it had on the sleeping victims. Becky’s transformation especially. The smoothness of Matthew killing his duplicate was more effective than a lot of kills I see today. Camera angles and shots were again fantastic, and score wasn’t bad.
While I enjoyed the fact that the original went with a happy ending. The ending of this is just as legendary, if not more so. Haven’t watched either of these movie and still knew how this ended because of how many times I have seen the picture of Matthew Pointing, and… they still got me. Would love to know when the switch happened. Still just as golden as it always has been.
The casting is once again, spot on. Donald Sutherland’s Matthew is great. What more could even be said. He was likeable guy who made it easy to get behind him. Wanting him to succeed. Helped by the fact he went on the offensive in the factory. Played it perfectly at the end. Not giving it away that he was one of them, until the very end. Leonard Nimoy was so effective as a bad guy. Even when he was suppose to be helping her at the book party. Was so aggressive about it, that he came off as menacing, and after we learn who he really is, and he is still inside. Giving them pill was a great touch. Jeff Goldblum, is really good in support, because of course he is. As well as Veronica Cartwright. Than You got Brooke Adams, who was amazing. Loved her portrayal of Elizabeth. Her laugh was infectious during the weird eye scene that I was sad was not a foreshadow. Going from the sweetest to probably the most terrifying when she turned and let out the screeching. And, after 22 years, Kevin McCarthy still got it. Reprising his role and doing the screaming scene let again. By jumping on the car and issuing the same, dark threat, before meeting a much worse fate this go around. Salute to you, you champion.
I don’t have much in the way of negatives to talk about here. That was a bit of a pacing issue, but more I think about it. More I don’t think it is even big enough to call it a minor negative. So, Final Grade: S
Winner: The Remake
This was so, so much harder than I thought it would be. They are both so good and could easily kick myself for this choice tomorrow. Seriously, everyone involved in both of these two movies deserve huge round of applause for the works of art these two films are. At the end of it, have to ask myself, which would I watch again the soonest, and that is the remake.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
It’s that time of year. Love is in the air. Couples are doing… what couples do and those who are not in a relationship are trying to not stand out in a movie theater and avoid the sentence, “I have a friend that will be perfect for you.” I am kidding of course.. I always stand out in a theater. But it’s that magical time known as Valentines Day, and what better way to celebrate it, than a slasher movie surrounding the day of love, but which one to go for; the original or the remake. So, let’s break them down and see which one prevails, shall we, and like always we start things off with the original.
My Bloody Valentine 1981
The movie starts out, with the miner killing a woman, who was trying to seduce him in the mine, before we make a jump to the showers, where a group of miners are getting ready to leave for the day. Ascending on to the town to help set up a Valentine’s Day Party. We learn a few small things about the character. Notably, that Axel is now with T.J’s Ex-Girlfriend, Sarah. A relationship that started after T.J. up and left town to try and make it on his own. and that this is the first Valentine’s Day Party to happen in twenty years. Meanwhile, the Mayor receives a heart shape box of chocolate hearts, with a heart inside. Along with a warning about what happened long ago. Later, at the bar, we learn about the curse on the town. Twenty years ago, during a Valentine’s Day Party. Where everyone, but seven were there. Five in the mine, and two supervisors who got impatient who left before the five came up. Not checking the methane levels and an explosion rang out. It took six weeks and only one came out, Harry Warden. After a year in an institution, he came back. Killing the supervisors and cut out their hearts and placed them in heart shaped boxes. Leaving them at the Party. Warning them to never hold another party again, and as the story went. He would come back every year to make sure they are not having one. Meanwhile, the Mayor and Sheriff are trying to reach the institution and the corner tells them it’s a human heart. The mayor wants to cancel the party, and when the Sheriff goes to talk to Mabel about it. Discovers that she has been killed the night before. Sheriff agrees that the party has to be cancelled after another note is found, but keeps everything quiet. Trying to avoid a panic, but the teens simply move the party to the mines, and that is where I will leave it.
The story was a pretty simple, let effective one. Just a small little town, trying to enjoy the holiday and move away from the rocky past that still reverberates in the minds of the older people who lived it. It didn’t need to be more than that. Using the atmosphere, and mostly importantly, The Miner to build the tension.
I loved the Miner in this film. Definitely in the running for most underrated of the slashers. Black oxygen mask and jumpsuit coming across as extremely intimidating. Giving him a bulky look and the creepy nature of the mask. Throw in the use of a pickaxe and you got a great killer. They had a nice little twist with him as well. Everyone so sure it was Harry, to find it was actually Axel. The son of one of the Supervisors, who saw Harry kill him, when he was a child.
The carnage candy was pretty solid. Never really getting to see the death blow, but they shined with the aftermath. From Mabel falling head first out of the dryer and the girl who got her head shoved through one of the shower spigots and when she was found. We see water flowing out of her mouth. It was good fun all around.
Last pro, would be the shots. They did a good job at framing the shots of the mines, and creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. From the characters not being able to stand all the way up and winding tunnels.
I normally have a paragraph about the cast and would feel bad about not talking about them. They all did a good job. Lori Hallier was good as Sarah and Neil Affleck was good at balancing Axel as both a potential victim and later, deranged killer. No one really stood out to much, but everyone had good chemistry together.
Alright, negative time, and there is only one, and that is the little love triangle. I am not going to count it too much against it , but it never really works. If we had more time than maybe it could have worked a bit more. The problem lays mostly with T.J. and Axel. They each go back and forth between likeable and non, like flicking a switch. At any moment, you can go from liking one, to disliking them, and by the end the only reason T.J is likable is because he’s not the killer.
This movie was pretty solid all the way through. It was a fun little slasher, with creative kills and a menacing killer in the form of the Miner. Final Grade: A
My Bloody Valentine 2009
This one, starts off with a series of news stories and interview segments over an explosion at the Hannigan Mine, in Tunnel 5. Triggered by Tom Hanniger, son of the Mine, forgot to bleed the methane line. Burying six in the mines. One survived, Harry Warden, who killed the other five to preserve oxygen for himself, but falls into a coma. A year later, we see him dreaming of the accident, and he wakes up. Killing everyone in the hospital, on his way out. Returning to the mine, in full Miner Suit. Killing people having a party, except Sarah, Tom, Axel, and Irene. When they are attacked. Axel uses him assaulting Tom, to get the girls into the jeep and leaves him alone with Harry, who nearly kills him, till the Sheriff and his men shots Harry. Forcing Harry to retreat further into the mine, and it caves in behind him. We then jump forward ten years. Axel is not only a cop, but is married to Sarah and they have a son, and having an affair with one of the people she is working with. There is no Party. Just a town who is trying to move on, but the media continues to bring it up. Tom comes back to town, after his Dad’s death. To sell the mine. Ends up having to stay, due to a delay, and that is when the first kill happens, and it is Irene. Instead of people throwing a party. The Miner is going after people either associated with the miner, or those there the day he woke up and came back to the mine.
The story veers away from the original and for the most part. It did work in it’s advantage. Using the holiday to psychologically torment instead of fuel him on. They came out and told you during the movie that Harry was dead. They had hunted him down and killed him after the fact. Although, his grave was empty. Leaving a little bit of wonder if he had survived, but mostly, who was behind the Miner’s mask this time. It all worked so well.. until the reveal, but we will talk about that later on.
Now, if you disagree, I truly understand why. The 3D does hurt the kills, but I really did love the kills in this one. They all felt unique and brutal. From him sticking the little person to the ceiling and pulling the pickaxe out and body falling. Sheriff getting the pickaxe to the chin and having his jaw ripped out, and the shovel cutting through the woman’s mouth and head sliding off. I wish it wasn’t in 3D. It did hurt some, the eyeball one at the start, but they were fun.
There is a reason why there is only one Miner in the picture above, and that is because they did such a good job at bringing the miner back to life, in all of his intimidating glory. Only little differences, like a side piece on this one, and it still works just as effectively in this as it did in ’81, and I think that has a lot to do with it. We haven’t seen him in nearly 30 years, and it kept it special.
Casting wise, Jensen Ackles really shined. Fantastic job at bringing Tom to life. Feeling bad for the guy throughout. From the start where he is scared to return to the mine and you feel for him when he is left behind. Get behind Tom for most of the movie, we will talk about the end in a bit, and Jensen does great throughout. Kerr Smith and Jaime King both did well as Axel and Sarah, but the end hurt them way more.
Alright, negative, what in the world was that ending?! I get where they were going. Tom was so scared by what happened that he would mentally slip in between Tom and killer Harry, but everything that occurs because of this was just unsatisfying. Axel, after being the most unlikable character in this movie, that you want to see get him comeuppance, survives and Sarah comes across as dumb for staying by him, despite all the jealousy and cheating. Then there is Tom himself. You understand why he went crazy. Town hates him, because of his accident in the mine. The three leaves him behind to face Harry, and you feel bad for him throughout and get behind him. Just for him to the killer. This end was so bad and hurts the film so much, that there is only one way I can go with this contest. Final Grade: B
Winner: The Original
Had they done anything different with the ending. Had Harry been alive all this time, Sarah be sole survivor, or Tom kill them all and be the last one standing. This could have gone the other way, but as it is. The original takes it. Had some fun kills and fun watch all the way through. Do you agree? Disagree? Feel I am overlooking the twist? Let me know. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed and as always..
Thank you for reading.