I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘George Romero’

The Dark Half

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Hollywood George Romero is not my favorite George Romero, but he’s the most underrated one. With THE DARK HALF (1993, but shot in ’90 and ’91) he’s still filming in Pennsylvania (portraying Stephen King’s Castle Rock, Maine), but funded by Orion, with enough of a budget ($15 million) for Academy Award winning movie star lead Timothy Hutton (CITY OF INDUSTRY), three months of training for 4,000 birds, and some early computer effects. It has more of a slick, Hollywood feel than we associate with Romero, less of his hand-crafted-by-local-artisans vibe, but that’s not the end of the world. It’s cool to see how well he can do a straight-forward adaptation of a book by King (“Hoagie Man,” KNIGHTRIDERS). Better than most, it turns out. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Ode to George Romero, Tobe Hooper and the Masters of Horror

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

After two years I was finally starting to get used to a post-Wes Craven world – now all the sudden we Fangorians find ourselves heading into Fall minus George Romero and Tobe Hooper, two of the largest shadows in horror. Like Craven, both of them made an iconic horror classic early on, and remained primarily in the genre for their whole careers, delivering many other gems across multiple decades. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD and Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE are two of my most obsessed upon horror films, the two that seem to take turns being my All Time Favorite on any particular day. Just as important, Romero and Hooper each maintained a distinct voice that made their weaker movies still interesting when taken in context with the larger body of work.

When I think of Romero I think of independence. He and his Pittsburgh based commercial company Latent Image made NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to break into features, a recipe they may have gotten from Herk Harvey’s CARNIVAL OF SOULS. For them it worked, but instead of moving to Hollywood, Romero built his empire in Pennsylvania and filmed almost all of his movies there. That includes his first studio movies, MONKEY SHINES and THE DARK HALF, both of which I think are underrated. Since he later moved to Toronto, his last three films, LAND OF THE DEAD, DIARY OF THE DEAD and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, are filmed around there. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Day of the Dead

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

tn_dayofthedeadI think DAWN OF THE DEAD will always be my favorite zombie movie, but DAY OF THE DEAD is the one that’s grown with me the most. When I first saw it I liked it, but my enthusiasm was held back by the obnoxious performances of the guys playing the soldiers. They’re written as total assholes, taunting everybody, dropping weird racial slurs, and the actors (including makeup artist Greg Nicotero, who is now effects head/producer/director/writer/zombie on The Walking Dead) play them as giggling, yelling wackos, more like Rapist #3 in a cheap vigilante movie than like army professionals. The best performance among them is Joe Pilato as their leader, Colonel Rhodes, but he’s so convincing as a detestable prick that I was always convinced he was just being himself.

But I’ve watched the movie many times over the years and it just gets better and better. What once seemed like major flaws have faded away while its successes seem more and more impressive. These days I love to hate Rhodes, who’s such a dick that I can’t even root for him when he pulls off the award worthy badass move of grunting “Choke on ’em!!” at the zombies who’ve torn him in half and are eating his intestines. And the rest of those guys don’t bother me that much anymore. Their undeniable obnoxiousness has been far eclipsed by the aspects of the movie I love: everything else. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Dawn of the Dead

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

tn_dotd“WE WHIPPED ‘EM AND WE GOT IT ALL!”

How do you write a review of DAWN OF THE DEAD at this point? I’ve discussed it to death with a million people over the years, and I figure we’ve all gone over it all before, right? It’s kind of presumptuous to think you’ve got something semi-new to say about a movie that’s been discussed this much. In a way I’ve already reviewed it in bits and pieces over the years, talking about it in my review of the remake and probly other places. But this year I sat down and watched it again and I thought it was a shame it’s not in my reviews archive, because it’s one of my very favorite movies. Look – I can prove it by going on about it for a while! Let’s discuss how great this movie is. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

tn_notld90I still love the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, a nice, moody little cinematic play about differences of opinion between strangers hiding out in a farm house during the first ever worldwide zombie epidemic. I believe I watched it Halloween night of 2012 and I realized I’d kind of worn it out, it was too burnt into my brain and I’d need to take a break from it for a few years at least so I could appreciate it more next time.

But I was really jonesing to watch DAWN and DAY of the dead before Halloween this year so I decided to do a historically inaccurate color trilogy by substituting the 1990 remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, which I hadn’t watched in some time. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Anybody else watching The Walking Dead?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
"You know, sometimes I wonder... who are the *real* walking dead. Is it them? Or is it in fact-- hey, is that Sophia? No, that's a tree. What was I talking about? I don't know. I lost my train of thought. Oh well."
Sometimes I think about it, and I wonder... who *are* the walking dead, anyway? Is it them? Are *they* the walking dead? Or could it be that in fact, the walking dead are-- Wait, is that Sophia over there?

I guess about 9 million people watched the second season finale of The Walking Dead, so I was thinking maybe one or two of you saw it. And then I saw some of you talking about the show in the comments, so that supports the theory.

For those of you who are watching and all caught up to the end of the second season I need to ask you guys about the last couple episodes, get a couple things off my chest. So this will involve the ol’ spoilers, including deaths of characters, if you care.

* * *

It’s safe to say NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is one of the most famous movies ever, right? It’s been remade and badly remade in 3D and colorized and sequelized and homaged and recut and it’s in the public domain and pretty much everybody’s seen it and even if they haven’t they probly have some kind of familiarity with the guy saying “They’re coming to get you, Barbara” in the cemetery as a zombie stumbles toward them.

(read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Survival of the Dead

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

tn_survivalofthedead“Hey, I didn’t think SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD was all that terrible. Just not very good.” That’s what I told my buddies who had seen it before me. They were surprised and appalled.

The word was abysmal on George Romero’s latest, especially from the guy I saw DIARY OF THE DEAD with. He agreed with me that although that one was an embarrassing  failure at least it had some good parts. He offered no such mercy for the new one. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Vern didn’t think DIARY OF THE DEAD was that hot either!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Dear diary,

I saw George Romero’s new movie DIARY OF THE DEAD. It’s basically “NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD meets BLAIR WITCH PROJECT” or “CLOVERFIELD with zombies” or “CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST – cannibal + zombies but not ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST.” It’s not a sequel to the living dead movies but kind of a do-over with the zombie plague beginning in the present day and depicted in documentary form. Some film students are working on a crappy mummy movie (come on George, this is 2008, only Rob Cohen makes mummy movies) when they start hearing news about the dead coming back to life, and their director is compelled to keep filming. We’re told at the beginning of the movie that his footage was edited by another character along with clips they downloaded from youtube, some news and security cam footage. Also she admits that she added music. And, I’m afraid, she narrates it.

I feel bad saying this but since nobody is reading this and it’s only a diary I will come out and say it: this movie isn’t very good. I enjoyed watching it and will list many of the good things about it right here on these pages, in the interest of balance. And in case Harry reads this because he got real mad at Quint for not liking it and I pretty much agree with everything in Quint’s review. But in my deepest, most personal secret opinion this is a failed experiment for old George. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Land of the Dead

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

I’m working on my review for this one now, having seen it earlier tonight. For now, I’ll leave it in the always-capable hands of Vern:

Fellas –

Well the Batman fans have their good Batman movie to get excited about, the Star Wars fans have their good Star Wars movie to complain and make rape metaphors about*, and now comes the actual, genuine most anticipated movie of the summer. In my opinion.

[*and no, this is not a license to talk about Star Wars in the talkbacks. you even THINK about mentioning Hans shooting whatsisdick the hutt or what have you, even in a relevant comparison to the works of George Romero, you’re fuckin fired]

There’s not much of a rumbling in the media, there doesn’t even seem to be as much excitement on the internet thing here as you’d think there’d be. But some of you out there know what I’m talking about. We’ve been waiting for this movie a long god damn time. I mean how many false alarms can you live through over the years, the guy saying he almost has the money to make another Living Dead movie? It starts to seem like a pipe dream. How many Resident Evils and 28 Days and Haunted Mansions can go by with us saying “fer chrissakes you morons, just give George Romero some money for a living dead picture and make the world a better place for all creeds, colors and stripes.” (read the rest of this shit…)

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.

Best fuckin movie EVER?

Monday, July 31st, 2000

Folks this week I’m gonna cut right to the chase. I have just seen a movie that is new to dvd that is VERY likely the BEST FUCKIN MOVIE EVER. This is a movie many of you have probaly never seen and hell I never even HEARD of this piece until the other day however it is, for those of you just joining us, the BEST FUCKIN MOVIE EVER.

Now I have been tallying and calculating votes for the top 100 Badass Films of All Time and this picture has not received one vote. And I’m not complainin because this is not a Badass picture per se. It is more of a drama than an action film and is more about feeling and sentiment than about attitude and breaking a motherfucker’s arms or whatever.

The name of the picture is Knightriders, a film directed by George A. Romero in 1980. It was one of those movies that did very poorly at the box office and was never heard of again…. until it came to dvd and most people discovered that it was the BEST FUCKIN MOVIE EVER. (read the rest of this shit…)

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.