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Dead Alive

Cosmic Fred

DeadAlive posterHey folks, Fred (Cosmic Charlie) Frederick here, with a review of one of the all time greats, Dead Alive, or Brain Dead if you aren’t in the United States. From the man who brought you the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson, comes a movie from before he made those movies, that makes Evil Dead II jealous for how much crazy they packed into this thing. Dead Alive, as I will refer to it for the rest of this review, is what happens, apparently, when a New Zealander decides he wants to make the funniest and goriest film that anyone’s ever even tried to make, in New Zealand, and ends up with one of the greatest horror-comedy blends of all time, that lets Mr. Jackson (the Peter one) stand right next to Sam Raimi in horror-comedy legendary status, and makes you wonder how the hell these guys ended up making two of the most profitable trilogies of the last 20 years, but then that makes you think about Star Wars Episodes 1 through 3, and then… NO, DON’T STAB YOUR EYES OUT! IT’S NOT WORTH IT!!!

GettinBrain Dead Posterg back to the movie. It might not be the ideal date movie for your blind date with the boss’s spawn, but if that is your choice of cinema for your incredibly awkward evening, and this possible significant other stays ‘til the end, then you may have met your soulmate, and I would suggest chaining them to the floor, next to the couch preferably, since they’ll need a place to sleep, and you only have a twin bed, plus you don’t have money for a new bed, so the couch for them, it’s not like they’ll mind, I mean hell, they just sat through Dead Alive with you! All kidding aside, I really do think it’s a great date movie. Really. Besides all the gallons of blood and tons of gore, what you have is a tale of awkward love and restrained desires that captures the romantic side of any conscious human’s heart.

11020275_10153059980934647_43434203_nIt’s the timeless tale of a momma’s boy who falls in love with the gypsy girl at his local grocer, probably because it’s the only place his mother lets him go to when she even lets him leave the house. The gypsy grocer girl likes him back, and is a good example of a woman who knows what she wants and is willing to deliver groceries to a stranger’s door in order to get it. So our adorable couple end up going on a date, but then nosy mom gets attacked by a weird rat monkey thing that would make Ray Harryhausen go “ewwww.” The rat monkey attack leads to zombification, obviously, and then one zombie leads to more, as is the zombie way, and from there on, zombie-filled hilarity ensues. The rest of the movie is a bunch of insane twists and turns and a Three’s Company meets Weekend At Bernies style craziness that combines laughter with wincing, which I call lincing. I don’t wanna give too much of the insanity away, but, I will say that if this dude meets Ash from Evil Dead II, they would have an epic chainsaw vs. lawnmower match and I don’t know who would win. I should also mention that this film holds the record for most fake blood ever used in a film, though I think Kill Bill is a close second.

The one problem this movie suffers from is something that I tgirlhink every Peter Jackson film suffers from (besides on set foot odor) and that’s length. By the end, the glorious and uproarious end, you’re probably gonna feel so drained and grossed out that the climactic finale will be a welcome rest from the insanity, while also cranking it up a notch (BAM!) to where you’re desensitized and enjoying the nonsense enough to get your second wind and be able to go out for pizza after viewing, rather than spending the rest of you night over your porcelain throne, crying to god “I just wanted to see another movie by the Lord Of The Rings guy! Whyyy!?!?”

Hey, true story, I was eating chips and salsa while watching this film, and the part where the son pulls his crush’s dog out of his zombie mother’s mouth literally made me dry heave and have to stop the film so I could recover. Another true story, I wanted to see this film for the longest time based on my local video store having the box with the tagline on it “the goriest film ever made.” Years of looking at the image of a man’s rib cage being ripped out of his chest must have warped my fragile little brain somehow, when in fact, if I had just watched the movie, I probably wouldn’t have liked it, what with the weird comedy elements and me being a child with no comprehension of such nuances in the horror-comedy cinematic universe.

ooohmuscley

As far as pinball goes, I would love to get my hands on a Champion Pub pinball machine, part of the 90s pinballs with themes that absolutely no one was asking for (see Fish Tales and Junkyard as other examples) and turn that into a Dead Alive themed machine, with the Pub fighter guy remodeled into the giant zombie mother from the end of the film (spoilers, whoops). And the punching bag at the top right could be the evil baby, which sounds horrible, saying the baby could be a punching bag, unless you’ve seen the movie, which, by now, you should have already ordered on the internet, because seriously, if you haven’t seen it, you are not a full human yet. YET! So make it so, and hey, if you know anyone with a pinball machine that they want to give to me so I can deface it to suit a better theme, CALL ME!

pinballguystuff

 

Prince of Darkness

Cosmic Fred

PODposterJohn Carpenter is a man whose name could be a synonym for “infallible in the 80s.” There is not a single misstep in this man’s catalog of films, as long as you’re wearing your blinders that don’t allow you to look outside of the 80s. You’re allowed to peek into his late 70s work, but for the love of Dog (I love dogs), tread carefully through his 90s work, lest ye have a true thirst for horror and can stand levels of lame acting and Marilyn Mansony type over-the-top-ness that ran rampant throughout the 90s. But from The Fog to They Live the guy pumped out some of the greatest examples of 80s horror you can find from simply one director. Today, I wanna take a look at probably his least popular film of this period, Prince Of Darkness.

Speaking of Marilyn Manson, if you get a hold of his cover of Down In The Park, you can hear it start with a clip from this film. Also relating to heavy metal men in make up, the great Alice Cooper has a little bit in this film as a homeless man who gets to stab only alicesomebody using one of the props from his stage show (he liked to die on stage a lot, it was cool, still is). But what is this film outside of its connection to rock n roll superstars? It’s the most subtle film in the John Carpenter collection.

Maybe going into this film, you had expectations about it, and maybe it won’t live up to those. You knew Carpenter for his crazy and terrifying adventures through the majesty of his imagination, and now, you are faced with a bleak, boring, uninteresting environment. Now, you can look at it as a budget-saving technique, or you can say that less is more, and that the film is rooted in a reality closer to our own than films like Escape From New York or Big Trouble In Little China are. It serves a purpose, as this film gazes into the undiscovered, the unanswerable, but the almost undeniable otherworldly realms that exist beyond our own, and weaves its own explanation of the wheres and whys and hows.

We get the old bald white guy from the Halloween movies, and the old Chinese guy from Big Trouble In Little China, along with the younger Chinese guy from that film, and then a bunch of actors you will never see anywhere else, and you probably won’t want to. orbyThey find a weird looking barber shop pole that after a few scientificy type tests, is determined to be like some sort of dark matter thing that is the source of all evil on Earth, despite being contained for thousands of years, with a few hundred of those being in this church that looks less like an old church and more like a bank that became a church, but I’m not gonna go into the poor choice of location, let’s just focus on who this film is for. It’s not for horror movie fans, per say. I’d liken this film to the Exorcist, which is a legendary horror film that I found utterly boring and at points, hilarious. But, if you’re part of the crowds of people who believe in the devil and at least some of the Bible, this film should leave you shaking in your booties.

Part of the plot is a love story that is totally unconvincing, as you really get the impression that this dude just wants a quick lay, and doesn’t do anything to make us care for or even respect him. I mean, he’s got a mustache, ew. But you do feel the impact of one of the character’s sacrifice at the end of the film, which, I don’t wanna give too much away about, but it’s damn good. Another damn good and haunting aspect of the film is the idea of messages being projected back in time into the dreams of people who are sleeping in a certain location. In this case, a warning about the end of the world and the coming of the antichrist, coming from the year 1999. Hrmmm, maybe Marilyn Manson was the antichrist? Go figure.

if you'll only get a moustacheOK, I hear you all screaming, “Who cares about the film, tell me if it would make a great pinball machine!!!” To which I must say, that this is probably the most un-adaptable into a pinball machine film that John Carpenter ever made. That said, I wouldn’t mind turning a Family Guy pinball machine into a Prince Of Darkness pinball. Look it up and see if you can tell why (hint, the Pawtucket beer can could very well be the evil barber’s pole, which they call an ‘orb’ in the film despite it not being an orb). Also, the Family Guy art is boring, and it would look much better with a bunch of 80s-ish looking stuff and a horror theme, I mean, duhhh.

Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

Cosmic Fred

 

PosterFor absolutely no reason, except maybe to get it out of the way, I’m going to tell you about Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Even though it has my name in the title, I assure you, my revenge would be much better than this movie, and involve a whole lot less man butt. Yeah, that’s right, you heard me. Folks, there’s not an inch of homophobia in my body, but you know what? Gay stuff is funny. Not saying belittling or insulting someone with the word gay is my idea of comedy, but, like any culture you aren’t a part of (I swear!) it’s fun to point out the weird little differences between us and celebrate the fact that Bugs Bunny was an early influence on all our funny bones (teehee).

If you’re feeling lost because you know nothing about this movie, let me get right into it, nice and deep. This is the gayest horror movie ever made, and not on purpose at that! The lead actor was gay, not openly, but the set design crew knew it, and they totally had fun with it, and that, involved with a script that involved a leather-bar-frequenting gym coachA-Nightmare-on-Elm-Street-Freddy-s-Revenge-horror-movies-7553375-720-480 and a naked butt shower scene, and boys wanting to spend the night together, and a girlfriend who obviously isn’t getting enough attention who has to save her boyfriend from the man inside of him, piles up to be the greatest unintentionally gay horror film of all time. There’s a dance scene that was supposed to mimic Tom Cruise in Risky Business, but instead, involved glittery gold glasses and a pop gun aimed at the face, that is just naive and boyish enough to be passed over by the more innocent viewer, but demands snickers and wide eyes from those of us wondering how the hell this all got through the editing table without someone going “woah woah woah… what?!” Did I mention the “no girls allowed” sign on his bedroom door?

“Ok, so, it’s got a bunch of unintentional gay stuff throughout, but tell me about the good parts of the movie?” I just did. As a Nightmare on Elm Street movie, this film is dead last in the ranking. They totally screw up the mythos and treat it like a haunted house deal and A-Nightmare-On-Elm-Street-2-Freddys-Revenge-2there’s a part where Freddy goes into the real world intentionally, which he would never do, because he’s just a dude then, with no special powers. They act like that’s not the case, and they have him cut off his fingers to freak people out, which just – doesn’t – make – any – sense. He’s surrounded by a bunch of physically fit teenage boys who could tackle him and rip him apart, and Freddy really doesn’t seem threatening as a five foot something dude jumping around like a court jester. And this is all achieved because he possessed the boy who lives in the house where Nancy lived in the last film, and he’s only doing this so people believe in him again so he can kill people in their dreams. To have him ripping out of the kids body, while being a very VERY cool scene and effect that makes you feel like you’re watching a good movie, is also completely against the entire concept of the Freddy character.

Excuses have been made by the director, from “I just didn’t think a guy in your dreams was scary” to “the mythos hadn’t existed yet, so you can’t blame us for not following the rules that hadn’t been made yet!” But I’m not buying it. Telling me you aren’t scared of something in your dreams because they can’t hurt you is telling me you didn’t even see the first movie. HE CAN HURT YOU, THAT’S THE CATCH! THAT’S WHY IT’S SCARY. Dunno why that concept is beyond certain people, but they’re dumb. And sure, the mythos of the son of a 100 maniacs had not yet been fully developed, but to stray this far away from the original idea was not necessary in order to create an original story that wasn’t derivative of the original.

Nightmare_on_Elm_Street_2
Most fans of the series skip over this film, or at just view it as the comical mis-step similar to Friday the 13th Part V (the one that has no Jason), and was followed by what some fans see as the best film in the series, Part 3: The Dream Warriors, which saw the return of Wes Craven in the writer’s chair (no directing, just writing) along with characters from the first film, as well as new characters that traveled into the next film, but that’s another film far more deserving of a review than this one. So stick around, and you might learn sumtin’.

Evil Dead 2

Cosmic Fred

 

posterev2I wish every movie I review could be Evil Dead 2. It’s almost depressing to think that this is the one and only review I’ll be able to add to my long list of infallible film critiques. Like that one magical summer you can spend with your child making Cubanos on a food truck, it has to end sometime, even if he continues helping you on the weeknights and weekends, eventually you have to make good with the critic who ruined your career and get back in a real kitchen and live happily ever after. Wow, what a weird analogy.

Evil Dead 2 is its own brilliant affair that lets you jump on without having to have seen the first film. Never before has a 2 meant so little to a movie. Like Aliens or Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the goal of this film was to practically remake the first movie, but make it bigger, harder, faster, longer, and full of more of that crazy crap we all know and love. No, this wasn’t James Cameron’s doing, though now I am mentally enjoying a James Cameron version of Evil Dead 2, which, like my version of Labyrinth starring Michael Jackson, will unfortunately never make it into the realm of reality.

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When I first saw this film, it was part of my “I just turned 18, have some money to spend, and I want horror movies” collection. I had just watched The Evil Dead, and fell totally in love with that film. “Now, to continue the journey and see what all this hype for Evil Dead 2 is about!” But lo, the film is not a direct sequel that picks up where we left off. In the early eighties, you weren’t renting movies yet, you were seeing them re-released in theaters, and for The Evil Dead, you would have to had gone to some midnight showing or catch the film around Halloween time. Point being, the makers of this film knew that they wanted people to see their sequel without having to have seen the first. So not only do we get an abridged version of the first movie, now with only Ash and his girlfriend going to the cabin instead of 5 friends, but we get to read tons of morons on the internet insisting that Evil Dead 2 isn’t a sequel and that it’s a remake and that people should stop calling it a sequel. *GROAN!*. The movie takes about 20 minutes to bring you up to speed with the first film, and then has a scene just like the last scene of the first movie, that you could splice the films together at that point, and if you ignore the part where Ash already knew the bridge was out, it fits perfectly.

But this movie is not in the same vein as it’s predecessor. While the original is hilarious in all its badness, this film is totally aware and embraced its Three Stooges inspiration to the fullest effect. Like, when I first saw this, I was caught off guard and didn’t think it was the masterpiece that Jack Black had led me to believe. But there lies its charm. The film is unlike ANY other horror movie you’ve ever seen. It’s total insanity. It doesn’t make any sense and it lets you know that’s 10984709_10153024926599647_326101012_ntotally what it totally wanted. Just watch the behind the scenes, where the strive for realism is complete disregarded and the quest for fun and ridiculousness is pursued without a second thought. It’s this mentality that became highly influential in the horror film world and solidified Bruce Campbell as the king we all hail. It’s certainly a niche genre, as John Q. Public usually isn’t comfortable with laughing at the goofy misery the hero is being put through in the movie. It’s practically a fourth-wall-breaking kind of deal, because to actually laugh at this film as if it were reality would probably make you a terrible person, but when you know it’s Sam Raimi having fun torturing his ruggedly handsome, lady-killer childhood friend Bruce, you get to feel like you’re part of the gang, and suddenly it’s like you’re watching the ultimate high school video project that most nerds never even get to finish the script to.

If I ever hear someone call this film overrated, they’d better hope I’m hearing them through some sort of technological device, because if they are physically present, they’d better prepare themselves for an out of body experience. There are several video games inspired by this movie, and10966773_10153024927939647_1947624816_n how many mid-eighties horror movies that weren’t hugely successful franchises could say that? Seriously, the fan base was so dedicated, that 10 years and more later, the film is getting life in the digital realm with no other media being produced to support those video games, just that one amazing film that nerd love so much they demanded it in pixelated form, THREE TIMES! I have a feeling that the chainsaw hand and shotgun (not yet called a boom stick) had a lot to do with gamers salivating for a chance to blow up and saw in half a horde of Deadites on their own.

There’s also an episode of the children’s show Reboot that is a direct homage to Evil Dead 2. It’s bizarre how many many places this film is referenced in popular culture by geeks who think it’s the coolest thing ever, but I can’t think of a more deserving movie. Sadly, there is no Evil Dead 2 pinball (not even an Army of Darkness!!!) and so just like my James Cameron version of the film, I’ll have to retire to the happy place in my brain if I want to experience what could have been if only people had shown the correct dedication and love to the art of pinball. Chainsaw multiball, soul swallowing ball lock, Deadite drop targets, dead by dawn timed skill shot, MMMMMMMM, Groovy.

Fright Night

Cosmic Fred

Fright Night is the 1985 answer to what I would do if I found out if my neighbor were a vampire. That answer of course is to contact your favorite Horror Host and have him lend you a helping hand in the destruction of this evil fiend. Problem being, of course, that most Horror Hosts are of a more non-violent demeanor, and want nothing to do with murdering Fright Night Movie posteryour neighbor, who is also the bad guy from The Princess Bride, and so is easy to hate. Now, maybe I’m speaking out of turn here, but, if you’re watching this film as part of the 4-movie Horror Unleashed collection, you should know, that it’s as cheap as it sounds, and in fact, does not feature the subtitles it declares so proudly that it does. Man, I really hope someone got fired for that one.

So they couldn’t get Vincent Price in the role of… Vincent Price basically, so instead they go with everybody’s favorite monkey-masked “thinks he’s so great from his first awesome film (How Green Was My Valley) when he was a kid that he can appear on Batman as a supervillain of his own creation” man, Roddy McDowall. Now, Roddy does a halfway decent job portraying the amalgamation of Vincent Price and Peter Cushing and Zacherle and whatever else someone told him to look at, but obviously, if this film starred myself, and I needed aid in a time a vampiric trouble, I would call on none other than the pragmatic and ingenious Mr. Lobo.

None of these beating-around-the-bush kinda explanations in order to maintain a facade of sanity, I would probably be bashing my fists into the Lobo household door, covered in blood and having just barely escaped the blood-thirsty fiend’s fangs. I wouldn’t be able to turn the knob because my bloody hands would be too slippery, but he would hear me and open the door. As I crawled inside, stammering at a psychotic pace, I know that instead of MrLobo010picking up a phone to call 911, Mr. Lobo would surely sit down and write out the little bits of words he is able to decipher from my ramblings and then formulate a plan and we would spring into action together, but after I took a shower and probably ate some pizza, for energy. Then it’s off to my house in the city, where my vampire neighbor is right on the other side of my walls. We would crawl through the small hole I dug into his house, and with wooden stakes and tons of crosses ready, we would find my neighbor, on the phone with the police, calling them about the psycho next door who had broken into his house through a hole in the wall, and while screaming about vampires, then proceeded to squirt ketchup all over the place and himself, then, jumped out the window, stole a car, and, well I think you’re catching on now. At this point, whatever I smoked would probably be wearing off and I’d offer an apology to Mr. Lobo and my apparently un-vampiric neighbor. Now, seeing as I live in Philly, I don’t think my neighbor would accept my apology, and I’d probably have to kill him anyway, but I’d at least allow Mr. Lobo to get in his car and drive away beforehand, thus sparing him the accomplice charge.

But thankfully, that is not the case in this film. Instead we get someone who is properly fed up with the masked killers chopping up virgins in modern cinema, a boy who doesn’t have any other choice and proclaims his belief in vampires with the cuteness of a 10 year old boy, and a girl who’s gonna start off with one husband, but then have him replaced with a much more handsome actor who actually gets along with Al Bundy rather than being the butt of his jokes. It’s all perfect 80’s horror fun, the likes of which we know from The Lost Boys and The Monster Squad, but with a tiny bit of class. The premise is so rich that you really do write the movie in your head and get surprised by the parts that weren’t in your own mental script. There aren’t any “OH, COME ON!!!” moments like in every other vampire movie that’s aware of the existence of vampires but somehow dismisses undeniable vampiric (I really like that word) activity, but there is a weird sex scene between a middle-aged vampire and a high school student that I can’t imagine anyone watching comfortably. Maybe that was their goal, but I’d rather just close my eyes and listen to the awesome soundtrack that sounds like it was done by the same guy who did the Law & Order theme.

Frighty
This film got a sequel in 1988 that contains one feature that this film does not that puts it streets ahead of it’s predecessor, and that’s a 1984 Space Shuttle pinball machine that’s missing the name on the side but is surely that game, one of the greatest in pinball history. Really, if you can transport yourself into the sequel, I suggest you make sure to get some play on that game, you shan’t be disappointed!

Friday the 13th Part 2

Cosmic FredAfter fully recuperating from my full-on Bruce Campbell fest of movie reviews, I thought it time to review a movie that unfortunately does NOT star Bruce Campbell. I know, there aren’t many, or at least not that I’d like to watch, but there are a few out there. Let’s see, my last review was The Evil Dead, so what would be the next step in review evolution? Well, obviously, it’s Friday The 13th Part 2!

FridayThat’s right folks, Friday The 13th Part 2, the greatest sequel to a movie where Kevin Bacon dies (as if Hollow Man 2 was even an option). Now, without getting into any spoilers, there are some things that you should know about by now even if you haven’t seen any Friday The 13th movies, and one of those things is that in the first movie, the famous Jason Vorhees we all know and love is NOT the killer, and I didn’t even need a paternity test to figure that out. That said, in this movie, Jason IS the killer, but not the as the hockey-masked and machete-wielding (he does use one twice though) psycho we all know and love, but as the killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown, the ‘76 version, not that it matters, but it does. You may remember Jason from the first movie as the little boy in the water in that girl’s nightmare at the end (it’s pretty telegraphed, you’ll see it coming) and now the same girl is at the beginning of this movie. Now, maybe you enjoy the events of the previous film being completely ruined in the first five minutes of this movie, or maybe you expected this film to not be a practice in torturing and disrespecting it’s own audience. Oh, silly you.

friday-the-13th-part-2-03Now the part of this movie that is interesting is the fact that this film isn’t the corny stereotype characters who do incredibly stupid things that lead to their celebrated demise, but is actually a relatively decent portrayal of real people in what could be a real situation, and not some zombie killer who can teleport. Sure, it has it’s moments that no self-respecting film would portray, but on the whole, it follows the same tone as the first, and gives us a female protagonist to follow around who is relatable and not just some lucky virgin (more like a lucky un-virgin, bow chicka bow wow). She even runs at a decent pace, so none of that Texas Chainsaw Massacre fake tripping crap like we saw from Leather Face, and none of that fake Barbara tripping when they are coming to get her stuff (I’m pretty sure this actress actress just actually trips when she gets out of the car, so yeah, none of that fake stuff), just honest pursuit and attack-foiling methods that don’t feel pathetic or forced. Or, ok, maybe they do, but they’re still relatively, ok maybe, ummmm, it’s better than horrible?

Fridayyy
Look, it’s the slasher genre. If you wanna watch a film about teenagers getting chased by a guy with a pillow cover on his head, you certainly can’t do better than this film. Where else can you see a girl hide under a bed and almost escape from the killer but then pees herself because she sees a rat and the killer sees her pee so he knows she’s there and somehow, he still manages to fuck up stabbing her with a pitchfork. Oh right, no spoilers, whatever. Here’s a spoiler, the ending is a stretch. You’re either gonna laugh or be the guy arguing with your laughing friends that “Jason is like a retarded child, of course he could confuse a teenage girl with his decapitated mother for a few seconds!”. Oh hey, look, it’s that guy who we thought was dead who just appeared out of nowhere, literally nowhere. Now, another thing of note is that Jason’s method of murdering is always inventive and resourceful, but we all know and love him for his machete work. But the cover art to Part 1 (which isn’t Jason) and Part 3 show the silhouette of someone with just a big knife, as was his more common modus operandi anyways, HOWEVER, the silhouette for Part 2, while looking very similar to the first film’s poster, actually has an AXE in his hand! Yeah, an axe.

Does he use an axe? Even once?

NO. NO AXE IN THE ENTIRE FILM.

But guess what this film does have? Pinball. If your movie has pinball or cats in it, you earn a special star in my book. It also has two shuffle alleys, which, while not giving them the extra star, does put a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, though the one had me thinking it was a pinball machine, next to the KISS pinball, and I’ve read that there is also a Pokerino pinball somewhere in the film, but have not seen it for myself. That said, go grab this film and give it a watch and tell me where it is, and I will love your forever. Peace out dawgs.
Note the KISS pinball machine

 

The Evil Dead

Cosmic Fred

poster evil deadIn my climactic installment of a weeklong litanious set of reviews of movies starring the colossus of clout (the colossus of clout!) Bruce Campbell, I have chosen to take it back to where it all began: The Evil Dead, the ultimate experience in grueling terror. Possibly the greatest depiction of some of the greatest clichès in horror and done with a budget that challenges Clerks for the greatest cheapest film ever made (naw, Little Shop Of Horrors still reigns supreme, god bless you, Roger Corman). It made Bruce Campbell a star (not really) gave Sam Raimi a career (sort of) and still stands among the most eccentric horror B-movies, having an almost Plan 9 From Outer Space vibe that leaves the average viewer feeling left out of the joke that they aren’t getting. Well fear not, huddled masses, I have come to safely explain the nuances of a film that I would gladly take a bullet for. Please make me take a bullet for it. Please?

I don’t want to insult anybody here, but if there’s someone out there who took The Evil Dead at face value and actually considers it “the ultimate experience in grueling terror” should get their head checked. Right from the get go, this film has all the markings of a bunch of nerds got together and made a horror movie they’ve wanted to make since theybrucie were fifteen. The acting is atrocious right off the bat, and is practically at the edge of being self-aware. I mean, really, the Brad in this movie is more pathetically played than Brad from Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Barry Bostwick was doing that shit on purpose. Maybe it’s out of place for me to voice a personal opinion here (everything I write is scientifically derived from a movie review formula given to me by Chinese magicians who stole it from the ancient temple of Cinema Obscura) but I’m very disappointed that this film didn’t get a midnight movie party madness with yelling at the screen and throwing toast when Bruce makes his horrible toast. It fit so perfectly. I really wish that had happened, but then again there’s no musical numbers, so no dancing in the aisles.

Does the film have any faults? Well how do you judge faults in a film full of fractures of a funny fancy? I mean, the piece of the bridge falling off that was obviously not part of the bridge, the moon with it’s square outline, the “an animal? hahaha…” line, it’s all ungodly bad, but in just the right way. There are some bad BAD films out there folks, that do not entertain in any way and leave you feeling like you just watched nothing happen, which is kinda scary in itself, but still not enjoyable to watch. I think most films are afraid of seeming silly, so instead they pack in boring dialogue and try for realism by having nothing interesting happen.

biteEvil Dead’s success is spawned from the inches it stands away from being a cartoon. The idea of being just under over-the-top is nowhere to be found, as Deadites screech and scream and makes noises that would make Marilyn Manson blush. The makeup is amazing, and is one of the few elements in the film that isn’t cheap and humorous, but actually kinda terrifying and very uncomfortable looking. The film actually does turn into a cartoon at the end with some Dynamation the likes of which no Ray Harryhausen film has ever seen. In fact, the end of this film really does turn into something that I’m pretty sure had never really been seen before. It’s like they took the director from an Adam West Batman episode and then had an actor who had actually been tortured and abused, with burns and blood from Ted Raimi’s hand coming out of the floorboards and gashing Bruce’s face (look ma, real blood!). The looks on Bruce’s face and the noises and shadows that surround him virtually immerse you in the surreal realm of a demon’s dollhouse. That’s really the best way to describe the kind of shenanigans that occur throughout the film, imagine you’re a demonic otherworldly creature whose presence is yanked into our dimension but is stuck in the vicinity of this terrible cabin in the middle of the woods, and now, here come some stupid teenagers to stay in the cabin for a weekend of sex, alcohol, and ignoring one’s sister, what would you do?

It’s not the relentless insanity of the second film, or the action-adventure nature of Army of Darkness. The Evil Dead is a pure horror movie whose reputation is only surpassed by the glory of it’s viewing. Really, I don’t think you can over-hype this movie as the ultimate B-horror film. It’s so much more entertaining than Plan 9, and plus, it’s in color!

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My Name is Bruce

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It only makes sense for an actor who has namebrucemade a living playing practically himself in every movie to make a film that plays with the fourth wall. My Name Is Bruce is less like Being John Malkovich and more like Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. It’s the goofy answer to all the goofy characters Bruce has played with such unabashed hamminess and a Han-Solo-like charm. Maybe you’re not a fan and you find this kind of Peter Venkman attitude off-putting. Well, too bad for you, Mr. “I’m so fancy you already know I’m in the fast lane from L.A. to Tokyo”.

It all starts with some kids in a car talking about the one’s love for Bruce Campbell movies, because one out of every two kids are Bruce fans, and that’s a statistic I didn’t just make up or base solely off of the opening scene in this movie. It’s a great opening scene and allows you to feel like Captain America in The Avengers where you can actually understand the things they’re referencing! Some cheap laughs abound as Bruce acts as a brutish version of himself in an over-the-top, self-deprecating smorgasbord of Three Stooges inspired comedy that’s a little too much to bear, but entertains sufficiently. Maybe it’s all a little too Last Action Hero in it’s delivery, but maybe that won’t bother you. I mean, I hope that won’t bother you. Like, c’mon, lighten up man, what the hell?

Ijt all starts off great, like a new version of Fright Night taken right to the edge of good taste and then shoved off with a bulldozer. No vampires in this deal, just a Chinese angel of death that chops people’s heads off before the main character (the one who isn’t Bruce) can get a little action. Obviously the next step you take when your town is being haunted by a demonic Chinese angel of decapitations is to call Bruce Campbell, what with Vincent Price not being alive anymore. Bruce doesn’t get that they’re serious, and they don’t get that Bruce is joking, and traditional movie misunderstandings abound until the goings ons are made obviously out of Bruce’s comfort zone. Then it turns from schmalzing to yelling as our hero’s demeanor turns sour as he comes face to face with the evil he’s only ever really faced when it was Ted Raimi dressed up in drag.

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The film falters around the latter part where it goes from being a send up of trashy bad movies and instead just starts being a trashy bad movie itself, focusing on bogus love chemistry and bogus rises to nobility that no one asked for and no one cares about and were just forced into a script that spent 60 pages not giving a crap. Nobody came to this movie to see an exaggerated Bruce Campbell character find meaning and reason in the world that has exaggerated and meaningless characters fighting a bizarre, mystical creature from a cave (mineshaft, cave, it’s all holes in rock). I dunno why they didn’t stick it out to the end with some crazy and cooky ending that would make everyone laugh and cheer and not take itself seriously at all, but whatever, what’s done is done and it’s still a great movie despite it’s lackluster climax.

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Just like Man With A Screaming Brain, this is another Bruce-helmed venture, because of course, who else could direct Bruce starring as himself? In fact, the small town in the film was a set that was built on Mr. Campbell’s actual home, on a large empty part of his ranch property. If it had been me, I’d have made the film about a haunted water park and build one of those on my property instead, but then again, I’m smarter than everyone else in the world, so, it’s cruel of me to expect others to match my level of wisdom. They do their best though, god bless ‘em.

Holy Cow, ONE MORE REVIEW TO GO!!! Which Bruce Campbell starring film will be our grand finale? Mercy me, I do declare, the suspense is enough to send one into a fainting spell.

Bubba Ho-Tep

Cosmic FredIt’s Friday night, and the mood is right, to get freaky with some Bubba Ho-Tep, possibly the high water point of Bruce Campbell’s acting abilities on film. Bubba-poster yeahTo compact this film into a general description is to sound like an insane person and probably keep people from hanging out with you. In summary, it’s the time honored classic tale of a man who might be Elvis is rotting away in a retirement home with his friend who is JFK but in a black man’s body and they’re being attacked by a mummy who has a taste for old people’s souls. Ya know, that, thing.

From the mind that brought you four Phantasm movies and three BeastMaster things (he wasn’t actually involved in II and III, but I’ll blame him anyway) comes a heartfelt tale about what happens before you die. Not in the stabby stab “but I had my whole life ahead of me! NOOOO!!!” way, but rather in the “you know, Donald Trump offered my grandson a job yesterday in my front yard last night,” kinda slowly losing your mind because you’re not Tony Bennett, NONE OF US ARE TONY BENNETT!!! Seriously though, that guy can sing, and is still doing so at 86!!!! So yeah, that’s amazing, but I got news for you folks, that aint gonna be most of us. For what you are going to look and feel like in those golden years (whop whop whop) look no further than today’s hero Sebastian Haff (or Elvis, depending on how you look at it).  He’ll let you hear him say life’s taking him nowhere (Ang-gel!).

In a genre filled with over the top theatrics and cheap thrills, Don Coscarelli has kept it real by making it fresh with his genius ingenuity stuffed into tales of imagination roasted over flames of fascination. But hey, don’t take my word for it… or wait, do, since that’s why you’re here. There’s some fun in having a different director for each film in a series, but Don is the George Romero variety of filmmaker who gets to write and direct all the films in his series of weird horror that started with his 1979 film Phantasm. Other than The Beastmaster, which he only made the first one of, Don hasn’t done much of note outside his Phantasms other than the not-so-long-ago movie John Dies At The End (which i still haven’t seen, shame shame I know) and of course, the ever-loved Bubba Ho-Tep.

bubba_hotep_Ok, chances are you’ve already heard about this movie from a friend who may have also tried to show some of it to you and you thought A. What the hell is this? and/or B. Why am I watching this? Well, for starters, this is a movie starring Bruce “Elvis” Campbell and the legendary Ossie “I’m famous for actual good acting” Davis as two old men in an old man buddy comedy that puts I’m Not Rappaport to shame. As for why, I’m glad you asked. This film has all the tones of an old man coughing a joke to you while starting to laugh and cough harder to the point where you’re more concerned about the old man coughing than the stupid joke you had already heard before. This is also assuming that you’re a decent human being and aren’t standing there screaming “DIE OLD MAN, DIE!!!” and you actually did care about this old timer’s health. If not, you probably aren’t going to get into this movie. This film is for that crazy part in all our brains that reminds us that we will always be the heroes in our heads and hearts, no matter how crazy or hate filled we may be. It’s a heartstrings tugging tale of redemption and humanity told through the eyes of those forgotten but not yet gone. It’s also about a mummy.bubba_hotep_monster

Bubba Ho-Tep is the name of a Texas mummy who comes to life at night and lives off of the souls it sucks from unsuspecting senior citizens and it’s up to a man who is either Elvis gone into hiding as an Elvis impersonator to escape the perils of success, or he’s an Elvis impersonator who’s kinda wedged his brain, with some help from a little dementia, into believing he’s the real Elvis. Either way, his career ended after he broke his hip falling off a stage during a show, and now he’s hanging out with an elderly black gentleman who is either actually John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of these United States of ‘Merica who was secretly turned into a black man by the government to get rid of him instead of just making him dead, or he’s a crazy old man and, well I think you get it. Maybe that helps you understand the kind of movie this is, or maybe you’re more confused now than before. Either way, I’ve done my job, because we both know you either already love this movie, or are looking forward to loving it thanks to this review and are already putting your boots on and grabbing your coat and hat while still somehow reading this in order to go buy the film. Either way, I’m a happy man, relatively at least.

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