KEEP BUSTIN'

Vern’s Got A Contest For You, Sponsored By Seagal’s KILL SWITCH On DVD!

Hello fellow Seagalogists and others, Steven Seagal’s latest and most recent, KILL SWITCH, arrives on DVD October 7th. Here’s the trailer:

Seagal plays a Memphis homicide detective chasing two unrelated serial killers while committing atrocities against dentistry and possibly juggling more than one family. (read the rest of this shit…)

Dark Age and Tripwire

DARK AGE

In my ongoing tribute to the land of MAD MAX and CHOPPER I have come across another good giant crocodile movie that pre-dates ROGUE by a good 20 years. But this one actually has John Jarrat – the widower Russell in ROGUE, the fuckin maniac in WOLF CREEK – as the park ranger hero.

This one reminds me of RAZORBACK a little, because it reminds me of JAWS a little. The director, Arch Nicholson, was second unit director on RAZORBACK, but his movie is in a more realistic vein, less stylized and exaggerated. The crocodile never runs through the side of a house and steals a baby like the razorback did. The photography is pretty naturalistic, it’s by Andrew Lesnie whose name seems familiar because he did the LORD OF THE RINGS movies, the BABE movies, and I AM LEGEND. (read the rest of this shit…)

Born to Fight

You know how once every 6-12 months you and your buddies will have a brief conversation about what a shame it is SNAKES ON THE PLANE didn’t live up to its potential as entertainment? Yeah, I do that too, and the one thing I always bring up is how they had a character who they told you was a kickboxer and yet they never had him kick a snake… or a person for that matter. No buts about it, that is a dereliction of duty on the part of the filmatists.

Well this time when I said that one of my buddies brought up this movie from Thailand, BORN TO FIGHT, as a movie that lives up to that particular responsibility. The movie has a bunch of athlete characters so when drug lords take an entire village hostage and plan to fire a nuclear missile into Bangkok the athletes rise up and use techniques from each of their sports as combat. (read the rest of this shit…)

Lords of the Street

Take a look at that cover there. If you know me then you know I had to watch that movie.

I’m not stupid. I knew it would be, uh… problematic. “Probaly unwatchable” is I believe how I pre-described it to friends. But I figured as long as it stars the team of DMX and Kris Kristofferson I’m gonna get something out of it.

True, DMX has failed to deliver on the promise I thought I saw in him when I first saw BELLY. He seems to have pretty much lost his mind (up in here, up in here) and is not above making cameos in unwatchable DTV garbage in order to pay the legal bills for his poor driving, impersonating of federal officers and lack of dog feeding. So DMX alone is not a selling point. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Jesse Ventura Story

In 1999, after the pro-wrestler and PREDATOR badass Jesse “The Body” Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota, they made this quickie TV movie about his life. My main problem with it is that it kind of sucks.

TV movies don’t have to be bad. There is the obvious DUEL precedent, but I’m not gonna hold anything to that standard. A more fair comparison would be the EVIL KNIEVEL movie starring George Hamilton. That one’s pretty cool, and personally I think a wrestler who becomes governor is an even better biographical subject than a dude who jumps motorcycles over canyons. (read the rest of this shit…)

2008 Political Conventions

Wow, I’m looking back at my column archives, it’s like a logbook of political burnout. For a while there in the early 2000s I couldn’t stop raging about the latest headlines. By last year I only wrote 2 columns including the one on January 1st. I guess that’s the power of Bush and friends, you start looking at what they’re doing you either turn crazy or turn away.

But now it’s election time, the Ewok celebration song is cued up so the needle can drop the second Bush shuts the door behind him, and I’m getting excited enough to follow politics a little more than I was last year. As usual I’m not an expert, I’m just some dude, and I could be wrong. These are just some impressions from the parts I watched and read about the two political conventions.

By the way, I never been to one of these conventions, or to a comic book convention. But I read about them so much I started to wonder if they’re the same. Do people dress up as their favorite politicians? I’m not sure. Did either of the conventions show exclusive footage from Tron 2? Probaly the republican one. Shine up a rehash of the crappy ’80s and call it CHANGE. (read the rest of this shit…)

Stuck

I like where Stuart Gordon is coming from. Always thought of as a horror director because of REANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND, now he’s just this low profile indie director, doing his own thing, making little movies with playwrights and obscure writers, usually with gore and dark undertones but not really horror anymore. Not that he has disowned the genre – he’s still trying to do another REANIMATOR sequel.

And this new one, STUCK, is an interesting idea. It’s inspired by that horrible case you may remember reading about a few years ago where a nurse’s aide was driving under the influence, ran over a homeless guy, and parked the car in her garage with him still stuck in the windshield. She left him there to die (it was originally reported as taking two days, which is how it’s portrayed in the movie, but from what I’ve read it was actually 2 hours). (read the rest of this shit…)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Part 5 is one of the less popular Freddy pictures, maybe because it made an admirable attempt to get beyond high school. It continues the story of Dream Master Alice and her boyfriend Dan (still played by the same actors, Lisa Wilcox and Danny Hassel) and their new circle of friends who replaced the dead ones. They are just graduating from high school, Alice and Dan are planning a trip to Paris over the summer, and early on Alice finds out that she’s pregnant. So they’re still teens but they’re dealing with some growing up type shit here.

The gimmick this time is that because she has a baby inside her, and because babies (according to the movie) dream all the time, she suddenly starts having Freddy dreams while awake. In the dream world the baby is a kid named Jacob and he does not have a positive male role model in his dream life so unfortunately Freddy comes in and takes advantage of that. You know how a bad uncle lets his little nieces and nephews drink beer, or helps them score pot? Freddy’s like that, he feeds Jacob the souls of Alice’s dead friends. I’m actually not sure what he’s trying to do – will this make the baby grow up into Freddy? Is he just trying to make the baby a killer like him? Or is he just pushing Alice’s buttons by messing with her kid? I don’t really know. (read the rest of this shit…)

Saw IV

People are always talking about “jumping the shark,” making fun of tv shows or movie sequels for trying to come up with new gimmicks to mix it up so they don’t just keep repeating themselves. In a horror series you’re gonna start shaking things up pretty quick. In HALLOWEEN they tried getting rid of Michael Meyers by part 3, though they brought him back for part 4. In ELM STREET 3 they added this idea of a group of kids who can dream together and all have different super powers in their dreams, and people liked that so they stuck with it. For FRIDAY THE 13th 4 they added a little kid (Corey Feldman), not to mention they changed who the killer was in part 2. The Chucky series turned into absurdist comedy by part 4.

All of these series have time passing, they might have a back-to-back story like HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN 2 but for the most part when you get to a sequel it’s been a year or more and a new group of people is here to have a run in with Freddy or whoever. The SAW series is very unusual in that this is part 4 and they are still dealing with the same killing spree, same characters introduced in previous sequels and still connecting everything to those events, and the timeline even overlaps with the last one. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

“Montani semper liberi (Latin, “Mountaineers are Always Free”)”

–West Virginia state motto

I’m always searching for DTV gems and this one has gotten some talk so it’s about time I got to it. But the truth is I didn’t like the first WRONG TURN. I know a few people who like it, but to me it was a big bag of mediocrity, forgettable enough that I apparently forgot to ever review it. So now I can’t read my review to refresh my memory about it. But I do remember that it took one of my favorite horror setups (tourists intrude on crazy backwoods inbred/mutant/cannibals, savagery ensues) and then hardly bothered to riff on it. Too slick, not enough mayhem, not enough imagination. THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake has problems and nobody besides me seems to like it, and I hated the sequel to it. But even in that one you at least get a couple OH SHIT adrenaline moments, some uncomfortable laughs. You don’t know what that ugly crazy fucker is gonna do next. WRONG TURN was the clean studio version of that. TV stars in some Ontario woods running from guys in monster makeup. Just no rush, no grit, no nothin. (read the rest of this shit…)