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Prom Night (2008 remake), + closing thoughts on the PROM NIGHT series

At a glance the PROM NIGHT of 2008 doesn’t seem like a remake at all, but more of a re-use of the title. It doesn’t take any major elements of the original or its unrelated sequels – there’s no children’s game turned deadly, no principal’s son or masked killer or prom queen burned alive and back as a ghost or evil priest, no Hamilton High or Brock Simpson or even ambiguity about which North American country it takes place in (it’s in Bridgeport, Oregon, though filmed mostly in L.A.). It does take place on prom night, though, so I totally get why they wanted that title.

If you look closely it is arguably based on a somewhat forgotten plot point of the original 1980 PROM NIGHT, but if so that detail is now a xerox of a xerox of a xerox of the fifth revision of the 13th draft. The part in question is the original’s red herring about the pedophile who was blamed for the sister’s death and now has escaped and the police are trying to make sure he doesn’t come to the prom for revenge. The remake/”remake” uses a similar escaped lunatic template, but in this one it’s ex-teacher turned stalker Richard Fenton (Johnathon Schaech, ACTS OF VENGEANCE) who, three years ago, became delusionally obsessed with his student Donna (Brittany Snow, PITCH PERFECT, BUSHWICK) and murdered her family in front of her. Unlike PROM NIGHT (but like PROM NIGHT IV and their original inspiration, HALLOWEEN) there’s no whodunit mystery in this one. He definitely did it, he really is here, he for sure is killing a bunch of people, and we’re seeing it.

 

This is the PROM NIGHT that’s most serious about being a movie for teens, and not just ones that are normally horror fans. On one level it’s about wish fulfillment. A rich girl (Brianne Davis of CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 I believe?) planned the prom and her dad paid for her to go tens of thousands of dollars over budget on her “cool L.A. club” theme, which includes crowd-hyping DJ Tyler (Jay Phillips, SEMI-PRO, BABY MAMA), a movie premiere style red carpet and holding it at a fancy hotel (which the kids can somehow afford suites in).

Also they have Jones Soda at the prom. That’s a quality soda, and it’s based in Seattle, so it’s kind of a northwest regional detail. Respect.

Another part of the fantasy is that it’s a group of close friends who look and dress very grown up and beautiful and care about each other and with the exception of one boyfriend who’s a dick (Kelly Blatz, lead singer of some band called Capra) they don’t act like dumb assholes that we’re supposed to cheer for the deaths of. And the dick doesn’t get as much screen time as the nice ones.

It also spends more time than the other PROM NIGHTs on common stresses of kids approaching graduation, mostly those involving significant others or friends going to schools far away from each other, questioning each other’s or their own choices for the future, etc.

I believe I’ve heard alot of hate toward the movie, and there’s certainly plenty not to like, but I suspect some of that comes from it being pitched at straight-laced, popular people instead of the outcasts many horror fans see ourselves as or prefer to relate to. Some of us older horror fans instinctively reject movies that feel specifically for a younger generation, and younger ones feel like it’s pandering to the kids at school who they don’t like. This definitely seems to be aimed less at dudes who have vast collections of black t-shirts than at groups of young women who will get each other to go and then one of them will get scared and scream and the rest will laugh at them and then they’ll start laughing. And this one does have a bunch of pop rock in it (I’m not familiar with any of the musicians, but they include Rock Kills Kid, Tokio Hotel, Plain White T’s, Silverspun Pickups.)

Along with that comes a PG-13 rating. IMDb trivia claims it’s the first PG-13 slasher movie and says that’s “an aspect of the film that was critically reviled by fans and critics alike.” I was actually wondering about the rating while watching. A stabbing scene that didn’t show the blood made me suspicious, but it also has a disgusting squooshy sound as he stabs a girl over and over and over and over again. To me, seeing Schaech’s unfeeling eyes and thinking of him as a grown man obsessed with a teenage girl and seeing him kill thirteen people, mostly with throat slashings, seems as intense as many R-rated movies. It’s not like it’s for babies.

He goes around the hotel wearing a baseball cap pulled down low like a celebrity trying not to get recognized in public. He’s one of those mastermind killers who can seem to vanish out of thin air, and only later does somebody figure out he climbed into a ceiling vent or slipped out disguised as a hotel employee. (I think more hotel employees bite it in this than students.)

Snow looks more normal and unglamorous than you expect for the lead of a slick movie like this, which I like, but she comes off as the most bland and square in a clique of prime time soap opera stars. Her only depth comes from the tragedy and her battle to overcome trauma. But it makes sense if she just wants a boring, stable life with her boring, stable boyfriend (Scott Porter, Rex in SPEED RACER), who’s so understanding and supportive I kept wondering if they were gonna have a ludicrous plot twist where he’s, like, the teacher’s evil son or some shit. (NON-SPOILER: they don’t.)

The group of friends includes Claire (Jessica Stroup, THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2, JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK) and Lisa (Dana Davis, COACH CARTER), who badly wants to be prom queen just to spite the mean rich girl Crissy. The others scoff at why their smart friend would care about something so superficial, but they’re not really considering that in modern America popularity actually is an important survival skill, because how else can you get people to donate to your gofundme when you’re sick?

Here’s an odd twist on slasher formula that I found interesting. Lisa’s boyfriend Ronnie (Collins Pennie, STOMP THE YARD: HOMECOMING) keeps trying to get her to come up to the suite. Standard horny boyfriend stuff. But in the middle of making out she realizes why she recognized the guy in the hallway (hint: not from ROAD HOUSE 2: LAST CALL) and goes to warn Donna. And Ronnie is frustrated not because he has blue balls but because he was about to pull out a ring.

I have many thoughts about this. First, do not get engaged that young. Second, if you do, don’t propose at the fucking prom. Third, if you do, make sure it’s not a deadly prom where if she said yes and you managed to survive your marriage would be inextricably tied to the massacre of your friends. But I can see why they did it drama-wise. Poor Lisa (SPOILER) dies without knowing that 1) Ronnie was about to propose to her, 2) she was about to win prom queen and 3) Crissy was gonna be really mad about it like she’d hoped.

Idris Elba (GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE) plays Detective Winn, who worries that Fenton is headed for the prom and tries to catch him. It’s very nice of him not to tell Donna or be spotted by her so that she can still enjoy some of the prom. And it’s definitely wise to fill a generic role like that with such a charismatic actor. He’s also credited as co-writer of a song performed by “Mr. Meinnit.” What’s that about? Is he a rapper or singer or something?

Some other familiar faces pop up. Kellan Lutz (EXPENDABLES 3, ARENA) is another student at the school, Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) has a scene as Donna’s psychiatrist, James Ransone (THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT, KEN PARK) plays another detective, Linden Ashby (MORTAL KOMBAT) plays her uncle, Joshua Leonard (THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT) plays a bellhop.

I think the quality of the cast (especially creepy-ass Schaech), sincerity of emotions and competent construction of cat and mouse scenes makes for a watchable slick-mainstream-formula-slasher. There are some pretty effective emotional moments – for example Pennie does some legitimately good acting when the hotel is evacuated and he can’t find Lisa and gets more and more scared and angry as he asks everyone if they’ve seen her and not only have they not but they’re too preoccupied with everything going on to join him in worrying about it.

But a big weakness is the end. I AM GOING TO SPOIL THE END NOW. Fenton is attacking Donna in her bedroom (where it all began, sort of, seeing her mom murdered while she hid under her bed) and Detective Winn bursts in and shoots him dead. Then he embraces Donna and tells her it’s okay but looks suitably disturbed and depressed by the whole thing.

And, I mean… that’s it? That’s all? No twist or extravagant death or anything, just a police shooting, the end? The only way I can think of to defend it is “well, HALLOWEEN is the classic that inspired the original PROM NIGHT, and that’s basically how it ends too.” Yes, Michael is trying to kill Laurie in her bedroom and the guy who’s been looking for him the whole movie finally catches up and shoots him and she looks for comfort and he can’t honestly give it to her because yes, the boogie man is real.

But even for that first time around there’s another beat. They look out the window and Michael is gone. He’s still alive. He’s out there somewhere. Or he’s everywhere. Obviously PROM NIGHT can’t use that one, that would be horrible. But you gotta have something there. “I shot him, the end” doesn’t work, especially when some happy rock music comes up and it goes into dancing outtakes under the credits.

This is the first theatrical feature by prolific TV director Nelson McCormick (V.I.P., Third Watch, ER, Nip/Tuck, The Good Wife, etc.). He followed it with the 2009 remake of THE STEPFATHER, which I thought was fine, though it was much more of a direct remake than this, without matching the original. Writer J.S. Cardone has a long resume that includes directing THE SLAYER and 8MM 2 and writing SNIPER 3, THE MARKSMAN and THE COVENANT, among many others.

* * *

CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE PROM NIGHT SERIES

According to the wise crowd-sourced scholars of Wikipedia, the tradition of the senior prom is about young people “taking an important step into a new stage in their lives.” So it’s a perfectly horrifying time to find out that some of your friends will not be available for that next stage. They also quote a book that says that during the McCarthy era “schools became implemented curricula intended to keep youth sexually straight. In effect, schools became fundamentally important agencies in the nationwide campaign to fight homosexuality.” So when we hear these stories about schools being assholes about same sex couples or boys who want to wear dresses or girls who want to wear tuxes or whatever, that discrimination may have been deliberately built into the thing.

Therefore it’s fitting that the PROM NIGHT sequels use these conservative ideas, with both III and IV having scenes of same sex advances used as threats. But much more than that they express a fear of sexuality in general, a fitting theme for movies about this rite of passage centered around trying to find a willing date, then impress them. For the males in these they then hope to have sex, for the females they mostly make the choice to accept having sex (with some enthusiastic exceptions like part 1’s Jude and part IV’s Laura).

These are young people dealing with a mixture of biological instinct, societal pressure and worries about adult responsibilities and dangers. In the first one people are killed during sex just by happenstance (or exploitation cliche), but it’s fitting because the killer is punishing people for something they did when they were all still children. He cannot let them pass into adulthood without being held to account.

In II and III, promiscuity is the threat in the form of Mary Lou. It’s really her meanness that makes her bad, but men are helpless in the face of her seductive powers, and her sleeping around is legendary for generations. Alex seals his doom by giving in to her. He could’ve said “I’m flattered, but I have a girlfriend.” But there’s definitely a “Jolene” thing going on here where the men are getting off the hook because Mary Lou’s sex powers are like a tractor beam and no one can be expected to escape them.

Though not nearly as fun as the previous movies, IV admirablys goes in the other direction with a slut-shaming murderer and a heroine who, though established to be the most religious and virginal of the group, has made a decision to become sexually active. It feels a little different from other movies about a guy killing sexually active teens because he states his agenda clearly and the movie so clearly favors her and her sexually aggressive friend, who are the only likable characters in the movie. There’s no sense of “well, if she had been a good kid that wouldn’t have happened.”

In the remake, Ronnie’s attempt to get married young followed by his would-be-fiancee’s murder is a nice violation of that same sex = death slasher cliche. He was trying to follow the traditional rules and it didn’t help.

I think it’s nice that the values (consciously or not) evolved over the 28 years that the franchise spans, even if the entertainment value peaked way back at part II. And I would argue that the series should continue. The ritual of prom night is so loaded with heavy young-people pressures – the social anxieties of finding a date, the worries of impending graduation and leaving home, the sex stuff – that it can easily be mined for further teen horror for each generation without being repetitive. I would like to see one that deals with, say, a lesbian couple causing controversy at a conservative school, and with protagonists who can’t afford limos, or has trouble getting a dress or tux, or can’t get a date at all.

But I’ll be honest, if I was doing a PROM NIGHT remake I would focus on the disco dancing scene and turn it into a full-on STEP UP 3 style dance movie with beheadings. And I would definitely have somebody get their eyes stabbed out with a corsage, and also with a tiara. I don’t think that happened in any of these and I feel like that’s unfortunate.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 at 11:26 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

79 Responses to “Prom Night (2008 remake), + closing thoughts on the PROM NIGHT series”

  1. I’m not a fan of the remake but I LOVE the fact that the killer’s disguise is nothing much re than a baseball cap. It covers his face as well as a goalie mask (Jason should’ve looked into this years ago) and makes him blend in in a crowd which means he can move around freely in public. It helps that Schaech has a menacing jawline. The movie itself is bland but competent, but the hat thing always stuck with me.

  2. Wait, is that why everybody hates this movie? Because of the PG-13? I assumed everyone did like I did and waited like eight years before watching the unrated DVD that they bought at a thrift store for two dollars. Under those conditions, it’s a perfectly acceptable glossy studio slasher, the kind they don’t really make anymore. They can’t all be glimpses through the doorway of ultimate evil. Sometimes you just want something light and stabby, you know?

  3. Proms. We don’t have them. When Germany’s basic school education ends after 10 years, we first have a “storming”, which means a huge party on the schoolyard. First we decorate our bikes with all kinds of colourful stuff (I had a burnt VHS tape hanging on my handlebar for some reason) and ride to different schools while we blow whistles and shoot with waterguns at each other. Also we try to catch other students and smear shaving cream into their hair. Then we put our school on lockdown, which means for the rest of the day it’s partytime and everybody is invited.

    Most of the time they are fun, but they can get out of hand easily. For example when I was in 6th grade, the graduating class provided hundreds of cups of jello for everybody. I don’t know how, but it turned into a Jello fight of silent movie era proportions! (And you can imagine that not every parent was happy when their kid came home dirty and sticky and red and green.) Another time the graduates used huge blocks of shredded paper to block the doorways, until some kids ripped chunks of paper out and started a fight. (The kids at my school really loved to throw stuff at each other, now that I think about it.) The wind blew it down the street and I saw that day a bunch of students roam the city and pick up shredded paper until the late evening hours.

    But I digress.

    Like I said, we don’t really have a prom, but if you are lucky, someone has a barn or rents a gym and after we get our diplomas a week or two after the storming, we have a party, which might count as prom, but nobody dresses up like that. Sometimes it’s also just a simple BBQ at a camping site.

    Another thing we don’t have: Yearbooks. We just sign our storming shirts. (I signed everybody’s with a fake name, because fuck those shitroosters. I was glad to never see most of them again.)

    RE: Tokio Hotel. They were a German poprock band of underage boys, that started out in the early 00s, became incredible successful among pre-teen girls, but also a laughing stock for everybody else. Because seriously: They sucked and seeing those 13 year olds trying to act all cool and sexy, while singing with a raspy pre-puberty voice and pretending to play instruments, was both cringy and hilarious. Not sure if they still exist (because I don’t care) but a few weeks ago the singer started dating Heidi Klum. So how about that for a “Fuck you” to everybody who made fun of him as a teen?

  4. You hit on this a little, but I think a big part of the negative response to the post-SCREAM po-mo slashers is that they were about popular kids (and often the type who wouldn’t want to watch horror movies). PROM NIGHT REMAKE is a little after that phase, but it still has a glossy CW quality. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this approach if it’s done well (I’d take it over the chest-beating of SAW and TURISTAS and stuff), but even other kinds of teen movies are traditionally about outcasts for a reason. It’s a lot harder to make cool kids sympathetic.

    This movie builds a lot on the multi-ethnic teen horror casting that was probably started by SCREAM 2 (continuing into I STILL KNOW…, etc.), but it’s still very vanilla. All the characters are the same color of bland. The concept for the killer’s outfit is literally just a ball cap.

  5. I can’t BELIEVE it’s already been a decade since this flick, while I never saw it I do distinctly remember seeing that goofy poster like it was yesterday, where has the last decade gone, guys? Where has it gone?

    Anyway remember all those 00s horror remakes? There were just. so. many. of them and it’s interesting that the only one that’s really stuck around in the popular consciousness at all is the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake (though I’ll go to bat for the HILLS HAVE EYES remake being good too)

    It’s also interesting how it all petered out after the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake, I can’t think of a single one since, it was a phenomena entirely contained within the 00s.

  6. I think people remember the HALLOWEEN remake because of Rob Zombie. They don’t LIKE it but they remember it.

    Hey, speaking of horror type things, anybody seen UPGRADE? I liked it. It’s like Death Wish crossed with Knight Rider, except Michael Knight and KITT are the same person. Another Blumhouse release that’s funnier and smarter than it strictly needs to be. All the money they socked away from those Paranormal Activities sequels is finally paying off.

  7. Yes, that’s true, people certainly remember the HALLOWEEN remake albeit not in a positive way.

    The vast majority of them are completely forgotten though, I honestly forgot there even WAS a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake.

  8. THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake was the highpoint of the remakes for me.

    You’re right, Griff. The newer THE THING and CARRIE, in particular, both seem erased from cultural memory. And it goes beyond just horror… What about the remakes of ROBOCOP, TOTAL RECALL, POINT BREAK, and VACATION? I’ve seen them, but am still not sure they exist.

  9. grimgrinningchris

    June 5th, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Wouldn’t CRY WOLF have been the “first PG-13 slasher movie”?

    It predated the PROM NIGHT remake by 3 years, was definitely a slasher (and whodunit to boot) and was definitely PG-13.

    Mmmm… Lindy Booth.

  10. I watched this when I was watching nothing but horror movies. I dubbed it the worst slasher movie of all time. It has nothing to do with the PG-13. I don’t buy the that you can’t make a PG-13 horror movie. I also didn’t hate it because it’s the popular people. I don’t buy that as a reason for anybody hating the movie and I find that thought oddly offensive. I hate it because it’s a pile of shit. The funny thing is the entire time I’m watching it I kept dreaming a much more interesting movie. The biggest problem with the movie and why I find it so fucking offensive is just how misogynistic the movie is. Not that it’s a male murdering women but how embarrassingly bad the main girl is written.

    She survives the murderous rampage in the beginning and, instead of showing a girl that over came fear and grief in order to be a stronger person, she’s the same scared girl that needs a man in order to protect her. She does it with her boyfriend at the end and then needs a man to save her at the end of the movie too. Could you imagine how much more interesting this movie would be if we learned that she spent this time learning self defense and being a stronger person. She doesn’t even need to be an outcast and can still be one of the popular girls in the school. It would then have made a much more satisfying ending, especially if she was able to face her fears and kick the murderers ass at the end.

    The movie also does that thing I can’t stand in horror movies when the murderer is able to sneak up on police officers watching the house and murder them. I don’t buy that for one second.

    And they managed to make Idris Elba a complete idiot.

    Ugh I fucking hate this movie.

    I’m not sure I hate it more than Tragedy Girls which is another pile of shit I hate.

  11. I’d argue the Platinum Dunes remake of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is both remembered and fondly remembered for the most part. In fact not only did start the remake cycle but I’d argue even more that it’s the only one that had a true cultural impact and probably has a decent fan following to this day. I still meet people who are shocked that I didn’t care for it. So I think the only two of the remakes that left a mark were that and, as Griff stated, Snyder’s DAWN (though I argue much less than the CHAINSAW remake). Maybe the silly curio that is PIRAHNA 3D in a small niche? Agreed that the HILLS remake should be fondly remembered by the horror community. I’d even go to bat for the LAST HOUSE and CRAZIES remakes.

  12. Honestly, I kind of miss the remake cycle at this point. At least it gave the studios an incentive to release different kinds of horror movies in the theater. Obviously I’d prefer original ideas, but at least on any given weekend you could see monsters, zombies, slashers, all the staples. Now it’s just ghosts and ghost-like things. No variety. What I wouldn’t give to be able to go see a cheesy slasher rip-off or a generic monster movie in the theater. It feels like it’s been decades.

    The best of the remakes was, of course, MANIAC, a truly disturbing tour de force, both stylistically and dramatically. It makes you legitimately uncomfortable without rubbing your nose in depravity, and it makes you feel the tragedy of violent madness for both the victims and the killer. It’s definitely in my top five horror of the 21st century.

  13. THE CRAZIES remake is really good. Not least in cementing Olyphant’s coolness.

  14. I like ghost movies but yeah the novelty was that they were not really making atmospheric horror for a bit there or at least it felt like it (why I liked J-Horror when it started to become a fan favorite niche in the late 90s and early 00s). Now that’s ALL they make. I really enjoy the INSIDIOUS series and the two CONJURINGs (no interest in the spin-offs as of yet) but now everyone is mostly trying to be those. Worst offender is the painfully boring WINCHESTER. I think that’s why I really loved and maybe even overpraise a bit, HAPPY DEATH DAY. It paid respect to the past but forges it’s own. Also why I loved GET OUT so much, along with it being a great movie.

    I was looking forward to HEREDITARY because of how much love it’s been getting and then I remembered the VVITCH and every single other indy-horror movie made in the last five years.

    Agreed about MANIAC as well. What a great surprise that was. Now that’s how you go and remake something that doesn’t need to be remade. See also BLACK X-MAS.

    “a generic monster movie in the theater.”
    What? PACIFIC RIM UPRISING and RAMPAGE ain’t good enough for ya!? (as huge a nerd I am for giant monsters I must admit to not have watched either yet).

    pegs: much cooler there and elsewhere than in HITMAN where they tried to make him cool

  15. I feel the same way about HEREDITARY. I want to get excited about this apparently amazing new horror movie, but as a survivor of the devastating crash of the VVITCH hype train, I’m already kind of rolling my eyes at all the hyperbole. I feel like horror gets made nowadays for people who don’t really like horror, so they’re overly impressed by the usual bag of tricks.

    My problem with this current breed of all-atmosphere horror is that all it’s trying to do is be scary. The thing is, though, I don’t get scared by movies too often. Maybe one in a hundred will provide a few isolated moments of actual terror. So when all a movie has going for it is scares, and you’re not scared, it’s just boring. There isn’t enough of the other stuff (character beats, humor, action, witty dialogue, unique point of view) that makes movies worth watching. It’s all subsumed under this oppressive tone of generic dread. There’s no room for the movie to breathe. I think about the original BLACK CHRISTMAS or Larry Cohen’s horror movies and all those great, quirky character moments that had nothing to do with the scares but added immeasurably to the enjoyability of the movies. Nowadays, those parts would have been cut out entirely or completely buried under a thick layer of atmosphere and sound design. When it’s working, this approach can make a movie feel relentlessly focused. When it’s not, it can feel very one-note.

    Yeah, I liked HAPPY DEATH DAY, too. All it was really missing were some tour-de-force kills. I appreciated that a young actress got the chance to play a Bill Murray-type lovable asshole for a change. Normally we force our pretty blondes to play either flawless exemplars of womanly virtue or total fucking bitches. It’s nice to see one get the chance to have layers. I’d never seen that actress before but I think she pulled it off. She joins Samara Weaving in the new crop of horror actresses giving skinny blondes a good name.

  16. Does THE RING count as part of the remake cycle, or is it separate? I would argue that it’s the most remembered one, but mostly by people who don’t even know it’s a remake.

  17. Mr M: ‘I feel like horror gets made nowadays for people who don’t really like horror, so they’re overly impressed by the usual bag of tricks.’
    That about sums it up… though I remember when asshole gate-keeping horror fans were saying that about SCREAM and it’s crop of wannabes…. but yeah I agree with it here in regards to current critically-praised indy-horror.

    Re-watched BLACK CHRISTMAS when I got home from hearing Kidder died and can you imagine how much they’d probably push or edit to make Barb unlikable today? She has so many great moments but the one where she tricks the poor sap at the police station is great along with her ‘ain’t I a stinker?’ face she has on the whole time. With all her (many) flaws how could you not fall in love (platonically)? Speaking of which, now a days they’d probably actively depict the police as incompetent or uncaring. I’ve always liked it but I love it more and more each subsequent time I watch it. Last re-watch I was kinda taken aback how it’s almost a straight up college dorm room drama that is occasionally invaded by horror movie. If the acting and characters were not interesting the movie would barely work. I think BLACK CHRISTMAS is the ideal many horror filmmakers go for: have you care about the characters and maybe even work as a drama in it’s own right if you took the horror out of it. Wouldn’t be as memorable or great but you know what I’m saying.

    Vern: I originally mentioned THE RING and it’s J-Horror remake but took it out of my post because I think ‘that’ remake cycle is completely different. That was just taking a popular (with a niche crowd) and localizing it for the masses and it started it’s own line of cash-ins (as the original did in Japan) as where Platinum Dune’s TEXAS CHAINSAW was taking something that the masses most definitely (probably) heard of and were repackaging it for them. If we were to include then yeah, I would agree with you, Gore Verbinski’s THE RING is probably the best and most fondly remembered. Rewatched it not long ago and I still think it holds up and now even have to admit I think I like it better than the original. It is also a ghost movie that avoids the prat-falls of all the wannabe James Wan movies right now that Mr. M was talking about.

  18. zero-mentality

    June 6th, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Speaking of remakes, you guys see that SUSPIRIA trailer? Webnerd opinion seems positive but it looks like a prestige reboot of LORDS Of SALEM to me. I was never a psychotic anti-remake person but I think it’s reasonable to say that there is only one SUSPIRIA now and forevermore and it ain’t the one directed by the peach-fucking guy! It’s the one directed by the 18-year-old-daughter-topless-scene-guy. Thank you.

    Isn’t FUNERAL HOME from 1980 a PG?

  19. In terms of HEREDITARY, I’m actually more scared that this will be a bit too much like THE BABADOOK (which, if you remember, I actually liked a lot) and promises us scares and monsters, but in the end only gives us metaphors for real world problems.

  20. grimgrinningchris

    June 6th, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Definitely agree with Majestyk on the actual merits of the remake cycle and that there are actual numerous wholly solid entries IN said cycle. I dunno if Maniac is the best… it is definitely up there and definitely tried to really do something different with the original while still telling the same basic story. I really do love it but… no scratch that… Maniac IS the best- because it is so damn good, it stands on its own and it really went nuts with its staging… but my FAVORITE of the remake cycle is easily Piranha.

  21. I get burned on hyped indy horror a lot but occasionally some work for me like It Follows. I have this weird feeling that Hereditary is going to be a good one. It helps that I’ve read numerous people saying thay the first half is more melodrama so I’m prepared because I have a feeling we will get a good oh shit moment.

    I don’t know a single person until now who even saw the TCM remake.

    Also I love The Ring more than Ringu but my favorite thing are the books. Spiral, the second one, is sooooo oooooo good.

  22. Possible spoiler for Hereditary below (?)
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    .
    .
    Over on the AV club Ignatiy Vishnavetsky recently said that Hereditary “shares a few plot points with” Kill List, which is definitely not a comparison I’ve heard so far, and I trust that guy. Dunno what that says about how scary Hereditary is, but even if it falls into the “more upsetting than truly scary” category, like Babadook, that’s ok with me. And I say that as someone who’d include the French Martyrs on a list of my favorite movies, horror or otherwise. But a horror movie doesnt have to scar me for life for me to think that it’s a great horror movie. The 6th Sense holds up like a motherfucker and that thing is barely scary at all.

    I do agree that it’s kind of a dumb move to orient Hereditary’s (or any horror movie’s) entire marketing strategy around the idea that it’s the scariest thing ever, though.

  23. Oh fuck. Really? KILL LIST was terrible. Comparing any movie to it in any way is going to drop my enthusiasm for said movie considerably.

    Sigh. I’m never seeing another horror movie in the theater again, am I?

  24. HEREDITARY will be divisive no doubt. I thought it was okay. Not scary to my desensetized arse, but enjoyable as a psychotropic melodrama about schizophrenia and the occult and mothers-hating-their-children. The KILL LIST (which I liked and thought was way scarier and more portentously oppressive than HEREDITARY) comparison didn’t enter my thoughts while I was watching it but I guess there’s something there. With movies like this about the supernatural and people’s fears of it, I can’t help but think pragmatically, like for example Rosemary should have just had an abortion before she gave birth to the son of Satan. My annoyance for the stupidity of the characters in these films hampers my enjoyment, but don’t let my whinging turn you off seeing it, if it’s your thing.

  25. The only thing I’ve learned lately is that Mr. M hates everything. Be more positive man.

  26. I take it back Mr. M. I accidentally clicked on the Upgrade talk back before I saw the movie but noticed that you liked it. I like that Mr. M a lot.

  27. geoffreyjar – I wouldn’t say the TEXAS CHAINSAW remake is well remembered or well liked, but I could be wrong.

    I don’t count THE THING as a remake since it’s technically a prequel even though they reuse the title, but CARRIE is the one I was forgetting, but that was already 5 years ago, though I guess there is a SUSPIRIA remake on the way.

    But I consider the J-horror remake cycle to be seperate from the American horror movie remake cycle, though THE RING is definitely well remembered.

    And to reiterate THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake is the one that slipped through the cracks, it’s forgotten but actually pretty good, it’s a shame (I don’t think it ever even got a blu ray release, did it?)

  28. grimgrinningchris

    June 7th, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Is THHE remake really forgotten? All of my horror-fan friends and I love it and speak of it fondly as one of the best of the remakes on its own, but also one of the few that is just a far better movie than its original too.

  29. Online no, it seems it’s generally considered okay at best but the original remains supreme. In real life though I meet a bunch of people who if they do mention CHAINSAW, they mean CHAINSAW and not CHAIN SAW (and if they did see both they will usually say they prefer the remake).

    And the only reason I remember THE THING prequel remake thing is because I subscribe to ADI’s Youtube channel and they still post a bunch of cool BTS stuff for that one.

    RE: HEREDITARY, welp I guess another rental then and not just because I now make excuses to not go to the theatre anymore. Also need to give BADADOOK another shot, maybe I was too hard on it.

  30. chris: I see it brought up with hard core horror fans, but not much with the more casual fans. So like with my prior post about CHAINSAW, I guess it depends on what area we’re talking about. Also, I think I do like the remake more than the original but *I* wouldn’t say it’s ‘way’ better than the original.

  31. Ya know, I wasn’t nuts about Kill List either, once all was said and done — the only thing of Wheatley’s that I’ve actually enjoyed is his Black Mirror episode — but Hereditary and Kill List is enough of a left-field pairing, and Vishnavetsky is such an astute and consistent critic, that it intrigued me more than all the Babadook comparisons have. Not saying Babadook isn’t an incredible film, it is, but given that it and Hereditary are both mom-centric prestige horror (not to mention that Hereditary is probably the only horror movie a lot of these critics have seen since Babadook) it seems like a pretty facile connection to make.

  32. Has anybody seen Wheatley’s “Sightseers” It’s ok but I think the ending is pretty great but the stuff before it is kind of annoying.

  33. “The only thing I’ve learned lately is that Mr. M hates everything.”

    Unsurprisingly, I get that a lot, and I think it’s bullshit. I mentioned like seven things on this page alone that I like, but nobody hears that. I talk about one trend that doesn’t work for me and give the (in my opinion valid) reasons why and all of a sudden I hate everything.

    In the real world when someone accuses me of hating everything because I didn’t like BLACK PANTHER or STRANGER THINGS or whatever other popular property they assume everyone loves, I tell them that I watch a lot more movies and read a lot more books and listen to a lot more music than the average person, and consequently I probably like more things than the average person has even heard of. Just because I don’t like whatever things are widespread and mainstream enough for the norms to be aware of them doesn’t mean I’m not having a grand old time enjoying shit those people didn’t even know existed. I watch or listen to or read something I like nearly every single day, but that stuff doesn’t come up in conversation the way these media juggernaut properties do.

    But I can’t use that excuse here, since you fellas have been around and know the score. I wouldn’t dare try and pull rank on any of you.

    So I’ll just say this: When somebody tells me “You hate everything,” what I’m hearing is “You hate something I like and I can’t wrap my head around that, so I have to assume it’s a problem with you and your temperament and not a legitimate criticism of the thing I like.” That’s bullshit. If you like something I hate, I’m not gonna assume it’s because there’s something wrong with you, but I get the opposite all the time. Not everybody’s gonna like the stuff you like, and assuming it’s because they lack the ability to like stuff is an easy way to not have to question your own taste. To me, questioning your own taste is how you develop taste in the first place, and you don’t get there by dismissing all dissenting arguments as the work of haters. If it’s an opinion worth having, you should be able to defend it better than that.

  34. Lol oh you.

    Anybody check out the Halloween trailer? It looks good but I’m slowly questioning if the plot will really be any better than the other sequels. I mean, what appears to set it off seems dumb as shit.

  35. So…no response. No rebuttal. Just more condescension. “Ha ha, that’s adorable, the way you think you have the right to defend yourself from my unprovoked attack!”

    I clearly annoy the shit out of you, Sternshein. I’m sorry to hear that, not the least because I do not relish being made a distraction from the topic at hand. I wish I could tell you that I could do something about it, but I am what I am and I’m too old to be anything else. And until our host bans me, I’m gonna continue to be what I am on the regular right here on OutlawVern.com.

    Luckily for you, what I am is 100% optional. I say this without malice, because I know I’m an acquired taste and I don’t blame you for not liking me. I doubt I’d like me either. But If all you’re gonna do is snipe whenever I share an opinion, maybe just don’t read my posts anymore. You’ll be happier, and I won’t have to waste everyone’s time with replies that take up valuable conversation space that you’re just going to roll your eyes at anyway.

    And if you do insist on reading them, maybe try keeping my name out of your mouth unless you’re responding to the content of my post and not casting aspersions on my character. This is at least your third time coming at me unprovoked. Eventually I might start taking it personal.

    On topic, HALLOWEEN H20 2: 20 MORE YEARS LATER just looks like more of the same. Which is understandable. Nobody ever seems to enjoy it when this franchise switches things up. I’ll see it because I’m jonesing for a slasher movie and hope springs eternal, but I don’t really get what the big deal is. Every third Halloween sequel takes this back-to-basics approach. Hard to get that excited about yet another reboot just because Jamie Lee has her Laurie hair back and they’re being unreasonably pissy about Part II.

  36. About the HALLOWEEN trailer: It really didn’t do anything for me, but honestly, I’ve never been a Michael Myers fan, so I’m not the target audience.

  37. I’m not 100% sold on the HALLOWEEN movie, but I’m straddling the line between willing to give it a chance and looking forward to it. In an alternate reality sorta way. It’s awesome to have the original Michael back, though.

  38. Maybe I’m taking this too seriously. But this is honestly kind of upsetting to me. I come here because Vern has made it a safe space, in the best sense of that term. I put a lot of myself out there, and it’s because I trust you guys. We’re not just a bunch of randos yelling in each other’s face. We’re friends, of a sort, or at least I like to think so.

    So this situation is kind of making me feel like an asshole, both for doing whatever I did that caused this animosity, and for being such a loudmouth that I assumed everybody here gives a shit what I have to say in the first place. It’s making me feel like I should just keep my mouth shut.

    I don’t want to feel like an asshole, and I don’t want to keep my mouth shut. I’m just trying to be real here. So Sternshein, if you got something to say to me, I wish you’d come out and say it so we could hash it out constructively and maybe be fight brothers afterward. I have no beef with you and I’m sorry for annoying you. I meant no harm. I’m sure you didn’t either, but here we are.

  39. For what it’s worth, Majestyk, I like your comments and think it would be a loss to us if you were to keep your mouth shut. You’ve never said anything that has ruined a movie for me. If I like it and you don’t, fine. I like hearing your comments because they’re always well thought out. I often times can’t say, myself, why I like or dislike something, so I enjoy learning from others here how to put it into words why. Sure, you’re the resident curmudgeon. Sometimes even cantankerous or at times, down right ornery, but your joy also comes out in the things you love.

    It’s been a shitty week, what with a couple high profile suicides. Let’s not forget that this is a place of love. We can bicker, but in the end, I think we all have each other’s backs.

  40. I hope so, Maggie. I admit that I woke up under a cloud the way I do whenever somebody who seems beloved and gifted takes their own life. It’s my greatest fear, honestly, that someday I’ll lose the battle with my own dark side. I like to think I’m getting better, but I have my bad days. Maybe today is one of them and I;m just being sensitive. It happens. I’m not really Charles Bronson. I’m only human.

    Thanks as well for the kind words. You’re a valuable part of the community, too. You got a no-nonsense approach that I appreciate.

    It’s not my intention, but it seems like I’ve been coming to you guys for reinforcement a lot lately. Thanks for always stepping up to the plate. I hope it never becomes tedious.

  41. Well, I also strongly disliked KILL LIST, and have also been told I hate all movies. Which is bullshit. I’m more passionate about movies than anyone I know in real life, and far more than anyone who has ever accused me of that.

  42. EDIT: OK, there are maybe a couple people I know who are as passionate about movies as me, but the general point still stands, especially as it regards the “Do you like anything?” crowd.

  43. Sorry, my intent was not to get you all worked up. I do think you are a very good writer that has strong opinions and I’m not a good writer who has strong opinions so it’s probably just my own insecurities rearing it’s ugly head. I hope you can accept my apology.

    We are both here so I suspect we have more in common so it’s really shitty and unfair for me to have painted you as a grumpy hater.

  44. I don’t comment here, except on very rare occasions, because I honestly don’t know as much about these movies or get to watch any of them as often as you guys, and but I have been eavesdropping on this sight since before geocities and back to the AICN “demon Dave” days (I was ebonic_plague, embarrassingly enough.)

    I read almost every single comment for every review, and i come here for you guy’s commentary and opinions just as much as Vern’s reviews now, and I am spending all this setup to say- you guys make my day. Especially Majestyk, not too get all fellatic on you but as a fella of a certain age, myself, everything you’ve written on your conflicted feelings on the subject of stuff like Star Wars and 80’s/90’s pop culture cash grabbing strikes that same cynical optimist note I’ve often felt, but couldn’t put into such succinct wording. Also I will never not think of a dehydrated gelfling when reading your shit. But it’s all of you guys- Sternshein, CJ, Tawdry, psychic_hits, geoffreyjar, Troy, Maggie, Mouth (is Mouth ok out there? I assume he is nigh invulnerable), David Lambert, Griff, everyone I’m forgetting, allowing each other to be honest in your appreciation and criticisms in the name of excellence- that’s what I appreciate most. This is like a shining little corner of what the internet should I do be, to the point I don’t even want to dirty it up by sticking my nose in too much, like some self aware idiot alien’s prime directive. Its been rough day for me in a rough part of a rough year, and I know I’m not alone, but I just wanted to let you guys know that your random, unfiltered thoughts on various subjects in these comments do not go unappreciated, and I enjoy them most for their authenticity in seeing the way each of you thinks. Thanks for all the thoughtful entertainment, please make more now, thanks guys.

  45. zero-mentality

    June 8th, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Kenny Powers and the guy who directed YOUR HIGHNESS are totally within their rights to do another HALLOWEEN rebootquel if that makes them feel good for whatever reason, but pissing on HALLOWEN II (the only legit HALLOWEEN sequel) is a chump move that’ll only make them look bad when their joint comes out and isn’t half as good a horror flick as Rosenthal/Carpenter’s. Is there a single image in that trailer other than the ridiculous Lewis Carroll mental institution that isn’t totally derivative of something from previous flicks? Do we really need a third scene of the Shape attacking someone taking a shit? Come on.

    I’ll probably see it though. :/

  46. grimgrinningchris

    June 8th, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Yeah, I have never thought of Majestyk as needlessly negative at all- only in relation to nu-SW. Ha

    And geoffreyjar… Even though I like the original THHE and the original Last House, I think both of their remakes exceed them in pretty much every way save for originality.
    I’d go so far as to say that even though I enjoy them for their grimy feel and for great concepts and set ups, as far as the language of film goes, they are both pretty much garbage. Sloppy storytelling, sloppier editing and some really awkward and amateurish staging- to say nothing of Last House’s goofy dips into broad comedy – something that worked with someone more talented behind the camera like Romero with Dawn… but is just confusing in Last House.
    I really think early Craven was a great idea man, but a total dunce behind the typewriter and behind the camera. And it is not a question of era or budget either cuz something like TCM shows infinitely more talent and finesse. But where Craven continued to improve over the course of his career (with some obvious stumbles along the way), Hooper apparently blew whatever load he had with TCM, Salems Lot and The Funhouse cuz the rest of his filmography (not counting whatever it was he did or didn’t do on Poltergeist) is pretty much shit.

  47. SIGHTSEERS and KILL LIST are the only Wheatley films I’ve liked. A FIELD IN ENGLAND and, especially HIGH-RISE, made me want to throw furniture through the TV.

    Crudnasty, you should post more often. Also, where the hell is Shoot these days?

  48. Oh shit, ebonic plague! Good to hear from you.

    I always wonder where Mouth is, too. Also Paul, because he was the one who begged me to watch KILL LIST for months, and I didn’t like it either.

    I’m really into the HALLOWEEN trailer. I’m partial to H20, and this seems to be kind of redoing the best part of it (what would Laurie be like now, having survived HALLOWEEN? And what sort of badass thing would she do if Michael came back?). I reserve the right to still believe in the H20 timeline.

    I think it *is* ballsy to even ignore 2, because it’s so crazy. Everyone remembers the sibling relationship, and Carpenter even wrote, produced, scored and did reshoots on that movie. More ballsy: is it really just called HALLOWEEN? It’s called HALLOWEEN and it comes after the remake called HALLOWEEN but it’s the sequel to the first HALLOWEEN.

    Anyway, hindsight is 20/20 but in my opinion that guy shouldn’t have brought that mask to the asylum, I don’t know what he thought he was tryin to pull.

  49. They should’ve called the new movie THE HALLOWEEN.

  50. CrudNasty

    Wow, thanks man. I feel the same way. It always makes me so happy when I drop out of reading the sight for a while and then return to see the old crew. It’s like catching up with high school friends…but less depressing. Also, flattered to be included, considering how sparsely I post compared to most of the others.

    What’s your favorite moment in vern history? Mine is probably the potpourri trilogy and/or the fountainhead review.

    In summary, go watch Blade II again!

  51. grimgrinningchris

    June 9th, 2018 at 6:23 am

    I was gonna say that they can’t really keep H20 in “canon” without keeping Resurrection in canon too- and nobody wants that- but then I remembered that Resurrection doesn’t exist, so…

    I really like Halloween 2 a whole helluva lot. It is not so much a great Halloween movie as it is just one of the very best (if not the best) of the pulpier 80s Halloween ripoff slashers… It just happens to have all the main characters from Halloween. And the part where the nurse’s shoes fall off- which I contend is one of the best moments in ALL of slasher history- period.

    I also like Zombie’s Halloween 2- again, not as a great Halloween movie- but just as a total exercise is bugnuts (but a more restrained and errr… classy?… kind of bugnuts than like House Of 1000 Corpses).

    And I had zero interest in this new Halloween until seeing that trailer. Now I am on board.

  52. Mr. M: Eh, you know what I think of your writing with our few correspondence. Besides I need you to stick around so I can keep lurking and getting music and TV recommendations along with movie ones.

    RE: HALLOWEEN trailer. I being optimistic about it and looking forward to it. Kinda seems like the guys who made it didn’t like H20 and wanted to remake it better. Well I liked H20 so they’ll have to work convince me that it’s completely worth it but still hopeful.

    CJ: I would have gone with SHIN HALLOWEEN

  53. Hard to say which of the many memorable moments over the years is my favorite, although April Fools’ Day 200x is way up there. Just the other day I randomly thought of the Shrek decal ‘exclusive report’ from that and laughed.

    The first time I went to the Geocities site was after reading Vern’s review of the Paul Walker sled dog movie 8 Below on Aint It Cool, so that was probably 12 or 13 years ago, which is insane. Even that first visit is a fond memory. I was at work, it was a slow day, and the hope of a new Vern review was becoming my only reason to visit to AICN; to realize there was a whole repository of everything the dude had written was mind-altering. After nearly a decade in the ‘new’ format, I want to let you guys know that, in my opinion anyway, the comments section here somehow added to a site that seemed to have no room for improvement. Vern’s influenced me as a writer, a white person, a man, an American, a human being, and a lover of movies and art in general — but being a part of this community frequently reminds me that I’m not the only person out there who’s been open to feeling that influence, appreciated it, and had it become a part of them. Thank you, everyone, for bringing what you bring here and being who you are. The world itself might feel completely broken, but this place is a great reminder for me that plenty of the people living in it are anything but.

  54. I’ve been around forever. I’m pretty sure I used to post as doubleh55. I really wanted to get involved in the comments section in the early days but there was a whole group of people that were just muscling everybody out with all of their well written material. Once people started leaving for whatever reason I swooped in thinking that now I’m one of the cool kids. Nope. lol

    Anyway, still feel really sorry towards Mr. M.

    Vern, what’s the situation with fixing the recent comments part of the site?

  55. Hey, wow, thank for all the love, guys. This community is obviously a big part of my life and I’m proud to be considered a productive member of it. I first wandered over to the geocities sight from AintItCool so long ago now that I barely remember who I was back then, but discovering this treasure trove of hilarious and insightful reviews definitely helped me get through a rough patch in my life when I was going through a bad breakup and dealing with the crippling drudgery of office work for the first time. I always felt I owed a debt for that so I’ve been a champion for our man Vern ever since. I gave SEAGALOGY its first five-star review, as I recall.

    To Sternshein: I accept your apology and offer my own for making such a big deal out of this. I couldn’t tell if you were just teasing me or if there really was some beef that I’d forgotten. Either way, I always thought of you as one of the family so it kind of spun me to think there was animosity between us. And probably I took it hard because, as you all know, my tendency toward negativity is something I battle against on a daily basis, so maybe your remarks hit a little too close to home. In any case, I’m glad we hashed this out and I hope there’s no hard feelings on your end because there’s none on mine.

    I haven’t heard from Mouth in a couple weeks but as far as I know he’s fine. Despite our being friends for several years now, he remains a man of mystery. I’m not 100% clear on what he does for a living now but I’m pretty sure he’s no longer on combat duty, so you guys don’t have to worry about his safety every time he goes radio silent.

    Perhaps I’ve already said too much. If I suddenly disappear, you’ll know why.

  56. well, Shoot did go off the grid for a bit, saw he refollowed me on Twitter but now I see his account is gone again. I really hope he’s doing ok.

  57. I think it’s kind of interesting that this fucking awful piece of shit movie I hate ended up turning into the way it turned out. How about that.

    Since we’re saying nice things, I just want to give a special shout out to geoffreyjar who has been a delight to talk to away from here these last few months. His letterboxd account is a delight.

  58. Group hug, y’all!

    It’s nice that in the same week, where “toxic fan culture” and shit like that became a topic, that even non-nerd news outlets talked about, we all here remember how good we have it at Vern’s place.

    Here’s to the man (not “The Man”, I mean Vern), let me raise my bottle of Fassbrause (which is some alcohol free soda thingy that is apparently made in barrels and produced by beer breweries) to you, this websight and everybody here, even the ones who hate everything winking smiley face!

  59. Tawdry- I think my most memorable Vern moment was the talkback where Bruce showed up (was it Die Hard 4?) and I think Vern kinda caught on before most people believed it was really him. I also get a kick out of the “Tell’s It Like It Is”s because it means I’m in for something to chew on.

    I would point to the Shape of Water review and comments as the most recent shining example of what makes this place great. In a world with academy award winning non-consensual monster fucking, you guys do a public service.

  60. Also, I’m not sure what I meant by “what the internet I should do be,” but I stand by it.

  61. grimgrinningchris

    June 9th, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I can’t decide if my favorite Vern moment was the Walter B talkback or the Demon Dave talkback.

    On the sight here proper, I think my favorite stuff winds up being the stuff that is just the most confounding- just weird people saying weird shit… like the guy that showed up out of nowhere calling Vern names because he obviously didn’t “get” THE PHANTOM, even though Vern gave it a glowing review. Probably the best “professional” review it got next to Ebert’s. Or the guy convinced that TLJ was racist because Lando wasn’t in it. That shit is gold to me.

  62. I don’t remember the PHANTOM thing, I’m gonna have to look it up. Yes, the WalterB incident was crazy because it was so reckless for me to let it be known that I really believed it was him. There was such a high likelihood of making a jackass of myself, but it just seemed legit to me, and it turned out it was. Not to rub it in for Drew, but it made it way funnier that he lashed out condescendingly at everyone, saying of course it’s not Bruce Willis, how gullible can we be, and if it really was him they would obviously give him a black box. And then the next day he had a black box!

    And I’ll have you know that I still think of Demon Dave every time Dave Bautista is getting high praise, for example with the release of HOTEL ARTEMIS (which I obviously will see just because he’s in it). I’m always tempted to say “You know, Demon Dave sort of discovered him.”

    Thanks for the reminiscing. I should also mention the ZOO talkback as a highlight of Ain’t It Cool era I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening.

  63. bastardjackyll

    June 9th, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Bunch of slack-jawed pussies in here!

  64. I remember the time Albert Pyun showed up and was super nice. Or Christopher Copolla, he seemed cool. Or the guy we were pretty sure was Olivier Gruner being a total dick to everyone.

    I remember AU_Armageddon, wild-eyed wardog of the wastelands, come to tell us all how small our manhood was in relation to our wrongness about everything.

    I remember Griff’s weird stalker. The Star Wars No Baggage series. That time we firebombed the Cracked offices.

    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  65. grimgrinningchris

    June 9th, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I wonder if Demon Dave showed Bautista the doorway to pure evil.

  66. grimgrinningchris

    June 9th, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    brad greenspan
    September 23rd, 2010 at 2:26 am

    hey asshole vern,

    The Phantom took place during the 1930’s, the movie’s tone is more that of the 30’s serialized B movies a la Indianna Jones.

    Are you sure you even watched the movie before doing this review?

    Outlaw Vern
    September 23rd, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Hey my friend Brad who is obviously very polite and a careful reader,

    I’m not sure how I could make it any more clear in the review that I understand that “The Phantom took place during the 1930’s, the movie’s tone is more that of the ’30s serialized B movies ala Indiana Jones.” I had hoped the review would convey that the character is straight out of an old serial or the cover of a pulp magazine, especially in the sentence where I wrote “He’s straight out of an old serial or the cover of a pulp magazine.”

    I get the sense that you are angry at me for not liking the movie, which would be kind of weird since the entire review is a rave that begins by saying that it “gets a bad rap and is unfairly ignored” and goes on to use words and phrases like “awesome,” “clearly the role Billy Zane was born to play,” “just about perfect” and “definitely my favorite of the period piece super hero movies.” More importantly I compare Zane’s performance to Wesley Snipes in BLADE, which is not something I throw around lightly.

    Are you sure you even read the review before commenting on this review?

  67. So, I used to work for Billy Zane’s manager. We called him BZ around the office. He was a cool dude. One time, he called up to talk to his manager and said manager was finishing up on another line. I clicked back over to BZ and said, “He’ll be ready in a minute, but… why wait?”

    It was a great moment, quoting an actors best line back to him in casual conversation.

    Another time, one of the managers was trying to visit the set of a show he was EPing. The shoot was in Barstow. He said, “Where the fuck is Barstow?” Without skipping a beat, I responded, “If I recall correctly, it’s where the drugs take hold?”

    I was a wacky assistant.

  68. Can anyone provide links to the articles where these memories come from? I don’t think I saw the Bruce Willis insanity.

  69. grimgrinningchris

    June 10th, 2018 at 4:54 am

    I’d forgotten about Albert Pyun (RIP). Which TalkBack did he show up in? Was it Captain America?

    It’s gonna take some digging to find the Walter B thing from AICN, but here is the Demon Dave one:

    Vern Vs. The CHAOS DVD!!

    Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab This is not the best review Vern has ever written. This is the best review anyone has ever written. I heart Vern. Very, very much. I advise you to read every word of this one...

  70. Chris, I don’t think Albert Pyun is dead yet.

  71. Here’s the link to the Walter B talkback.

    FOX - Vern has some words for you about the pansy-assing of the 4th DIE FLACCID movie.

    A reader named Ed Wilson tipped me off to the following outrageous lunacy: "In June's VANITY FAIR, it states that Bruce Willis was initially disappointed that his fourth DIE HARD film will likely be cut to get a PG-13 rating rather than an...

  72. grimgrinningchris

    June 10th, 2018 at 7:31 am

    What the hell? Why did I think he died 2 or 3 years ago?

  73. grimgrinningchris

    June 10th, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Ahhh… my addled brain must have misremembered from when it was announced a couple of years ago that he had MS. Looks like he recovered from a really rough patch with that. Good for him.

    He can still RIP… he just gets to wake up refreshed afterwards.

  74. grimgrinningchris

    June 10th, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Vern to Bruce: “Also are we allowed to say “fuck” as we are blown through the back or does that change the rating?”

    Fuckin’ Vern, man…

  75. I love Live Free or Die Hard. It’s an above average action movie. We, as adults, need to stop comparing Die Hard sequels to the first Die Hard. None of them can ever live up to that. But we can compare them to other action movies and 3 of the 4 sequels are all above average. The last one is well below average and really bad.

    I think the only thing they really missed the boat on is that Timothy Olyphant’s character should have been doing this on the orders of Theo. He’s the only one who survived Die Hard, he was rotting in jail and now he is a cynical guy pissed off at the world. How fun would that have been huh? They could have even had it where when he notices John McClane was were his demeanor would change to more happy because he can finally get revenge on him.

  76. Sternly: I am 100% in agreement with you on this. LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD is probably my favorite action movie of that decade. (Admittedly, it’s not a great decade for action.) It’s well paced, gives just a taste of character development, and every action beat lands. Only compared to an actual masterpiece does it suffer. The same is true of the other sequels to varying degrees. I even think A GOOD DAY would have more fans if it was just a generic Bruce Willis vehicle.

    I think you’re right that Theo should have showed up in LFODH, but I think he should have been one of the hackers in the background. You don’t really notice him until John’s name comes up and then he’s like, “Whoa, whoa, did you say John MACCLANE? Oh fuck this, I am out of here.” A great opportunity for a Just How Badass Is This Guy? speech.

  77. grimgrinningchris

    June 10th, 2018 at 10:52 am

    LFODH is a solid solid action movie. Walter B’s bald head was offputting at first (bald Bruce is fine elsewhere, but McClane has a grown out fucking crew cut -albeit receding more in 2 and 3) but I’ve gotten over that little follicle-foible. I think the Kevin Smith scene is painful (and I like Kevin Smith) and Olyphant isn’t nearly as good as we all know he can be… but yeah, regardless, by all counts it’s still in the top 3rd of 00s actioners.

  78. I like your idea of Theo doing the “just how badass is he speech” but like whatever the regular guy version is. The biggest problem with that movie and every movie made by Len Wiseman is he’s really bad with scripts. He’s an outstanding action director that I wish would do more. The pilot for Hawaii 5.0 has some amazing action beats by Len Wiseman.

  79. Man, that Walter B talkback is fascinating. It’s a great time capsule of the last moment where something like that could happen. Just a few years later, the whole thing would have been conducted over Twitter in a far more sanitized and boring manner. Legit cultural anthropology there.

    And I will remember Vern Vs Chaos til the day I die. I can’t believe that happened. It’s legitimately mind boggling to look back at the Wild West of “early” internet chats where anyone could be anyone and there wasn’t a system in place for proving authenticity. Language is changing man. Communication, too.

    Finally, anyone listening to KIDS SEE GHOSTS?it’s a trip. Really engrossing musical experience. Check it out.

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