"If victory favors me, I will protect your child with my life."

"I ask you not to worry about that possibility. Because my son and I live on the Demon Way in Hell, we're prepared to descend into Hell through the Six Realms and Four Lives."

Posts Tagged ‘Michael Ironside’

Highlander II: The Quickening

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

“It’s weird how they built a huge franchise off of the first film. I can’t quite understand it. It’s like they say in the film ‘There can only be one. ‘ In a genre film you can create any scenario you like, but once you break your own rules, the audience feels betrayed, which is what happened with HIGHLANDER II.”–Russell Mulcahy to Money Into Light, 2016

“The more cornered we were, the more stupid things we had to come up with.”–Christopher Lambert

From the dawn of 1986 they came…moving stylishly down through the decades. Movies, TV shows, cartoons, struggling to reach the time of The Reviewing, when Vern will look back at the whole franchise

I missed out on being disappointed by HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING with the rest of the world in 1991. Somehow I never watched the HIGHLANDER movies until the 21st century, at which point I’d lived many years knowing part II had been universally rejected and mocked. And when I did watch it it was the re-edited and 19-minutes-longer “Renegade Version” put together for DVD in 1997, and I’ll be honest – I liked it! I’ve always been one for weird, not-taking-the-easy-road sequels like BABE: PIG IN THE CITY, BATMAN RETURNS, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME, BRIDE OF CHUCKY, RETURN TO OZ, JASON X, etc. So I was into the idea of Connor MacLeod in a dystopian future city working with rebels to, uh… blow up a shield around the earth, because it’s not necessary anymore. I mean — sure. Why not? (read the rest of this shit…)

Nowhere to Hide

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

The humble 1987 action drama NOWHERE TO HIDE opens with soldiers playing war games in the woods, wearing camo and motorcycle helmets, shooting each other with paint pellets. One participant is clearly dominating, creeping around, popping out of hiding places, “killing” them all off one by one. And there’s no point in a dramatic de-helmeting – we can already see that this is a woman winning this game. A small one.

Did she even have a team when they started? Or was this some major handicapping? I don’t know, but she wipes the other side out and takes their Major captive… and then the two of them take their helmets off and kiss. This is Barbara Cutter (Amy Madigan, THE DARK HALF) and her husband Rob (Daniel Hugh Kelly, CUJO).

Before they get into their helicopters to leave, Rob looks up into the hills and muses that “He’s up there.” We will later learn that he’s talking about his hermit brother Ben (Michael Ironside around the time of EXTREME PREJUDICE and PROM NIGHT II), who indeed lives with a couple of dobermans in an isolated cabin on the edge of a cliff above a waterfall, accessible by rope bridge. (read the rest of this shit…)

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the first PROM NIGHT, but it follows the same basic template of opening with a tragic past incident and then skipping to the present day, when older actors playing some of the same characters await impending tragedy at the senior prom.

This one seems even more CARRIE-inspired than the first one, even having a part where the protagonist is teased while playing volleyball in P.E. and gets hit in the head with the ball and knocked to the ground. But instead of having an obvious HALLOWEEN influence it’s the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series. This is, after all, a relatively late sequel – seven years later, in a whole new era of horror.

The classics were just pouring out in 1987: EVIL DEAD II, THE STEPFATHER, THE MONSTER SQUAD, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS, HELLRAISER, PRINCE OF DARKNESS and many others. There was so much going on in the genre that this didn’t make the cover of Fangoria when it came out in October – that honor went to Jason Voorhees, with THE HIDDEN, PUMPKINHEAD, THE UNHOLY, GHOULIES II and WEREWOLF on the sidebar.

When PROM NIGHT came along in 1980 the modern age of horror had been just kind of kicking off. By ’87 it was an industry, it had a built-in audience that worshiped special effects artistry and loved franchises. So hey, PROM NIGHT was a big one. Time for another PROM NIGHT. Doesn’t even need Jamie Lee. She would’ve graduated by now. Who was the killer again? The brother? Well, that doesn’t work. Do a new one. Make her a prom queen. And put her name in the title. Maybe make it rhyme? (read the rest of this shit…)

Top Gun

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

tn_topgunI’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve watched the whole TOP GUN since the ’80s. But I wasn’t too surprised to watch it and see the primordial matter that eventually crawled out and grew into the works of Michael Bay. It’s a mix of gorgeous sunsets, heat trails, fetishized military hardware, bosses played by grizzled character actors (Michael Ironside, Tom Skerritt, the principal guy from BACK TO THE FUTURE), sweaty foreheads, sunglasses, electric guitars, crisp uniforms, the glorification of glistening bodies (in this case mostly male, and good at volleyball), and profoundly unprofessional hot shot yahoos who are supposed to represent the best of the American best.

One difference: less spectacle. This is an impressively small story. For all its bluster this isn’t RED DAWN positing a communist invasion of America. This is about a guy involved in two small international incidents, basically just encounters between jets from opposing armies (nationality unspecified, but you fuckin know it’s Ivan Drago under that helmet). And though it has a reputation as a Navy recruiting film, since it famously worked as one, it’s not politically propagandistic. There’s nothing to make these “Bogies” evil. They’re just part of a system, people doing their job. They see American fighters where they’re not supposed to be, so they try to scare them off. The reverse of what happened in the opening. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: Terminator Salvation

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

tn_terminatorsalvation

2010
2009

If I had turned off TERMINATOR SALVATION about 2/3 in I would’ve come to you and made a case for it being underappreciated. I mean, I think it is, it doesn’t deserve the worldwide wholesale rejection and scorn it gets. But it has such a crippling case of T.A.P.s (third act problems) that it’s hard to be excited about it after you get to the end.

But let’s talk about what’s good in it, because there’s plenty of it, and nobody ever talks about that. First of all, a good cast. John Avatar himself, Sam Worthington, plays the anti-hero Marcus, a death row inmate (we don’t actually know exactly how Riddick he is – “My brother and two cops are dead because of me” is the only explanation of his crimes) who gets the lethal injection and then wakes up in a post-apocalyptic battle between man and machine. On one hand, hey, I’m alive, and I’m free! On the other hand… (read the rest of this shit…)

Visiting Hours

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

tn_visitinghoursslashersearchwinnerVISITING HOURS is up there with the best slasher movies I’ve seen. You think you’ve pretty much exhausted them and then you find out a gem like this that was sitting there all throughout the 1980s, its distinctive VHS box staring at you from the optical illusion eye sockets of its hospital room windows lit in skull formation. I knew that image like I knew my own hands but it never once occurred to me to ask “What is this movie? Should I watch it?” Not until you guys recommended it to me for the hundredth time. So thanks for that.

Some might consider this more suspense thriller than horror. It’s different from a HALLOWEEN or a FRIDAY THE 13TH because there’s nothing supernatural, there’s no mask, we know alot about the killer and he’s not a monster or a legend. He’s just a crazy weirdo who’s slipped through the cracks so far. But I consider it a slasher movie because it has a whole lot of the classic tropes: woman-hating maniac with sexual hangups on a knife rampage, suspenseful stalking sequences, upsetting murders, strong female victims-turned heroes. Carol J. Clover must not’ve known about this one either or she would’ve been all over it in Men, Women, and Chain Saws. (read the rest of this shit…)

Scanners

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

tn_scannersSCANNERS is a story about mutants with psychic powers, a generation of babies messed up by a medicine their mothers took, now grown and finding their brains too powerful, causing them to hear other people’s thoughts, and giving them dangerous powers like they can drop you to the ground with a nose bleed just by thinking about you too hard. If you get a greeting card from a scanner that says “Thinking of you,” take that as a threat. (read the rest of this shit…)

Terminator Salvation

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

tn_terminatorsalvationHere’s my TERMINATOR SALVATION review. Sorry it took me a few days – everybody else on the internet has already reviewed it two or three times each and moved on with their lives. I figured I ought to go the extra mile so my  review includes an optional soundtrack:

 

 

(note: I’m not really gonna pussyfoot around the spoilers in this one, so beware)

I got so much trouble on my mind. I refuse to lose my hope for McG. I had this fantasy – what if McG made an undeniably great TERMINATOR movie, and everybody who ever talked shit about him had to eat crow? They’d be so unprepared to admit they liked a McG movie that their minds would pop like balloons. It would be like reading in the newspaper that a squirrel had built a working rocket ship – just completely out of left field. They wouldn’t know what to do. “Well, his name makes me uncomfortable, but TERMINATOR SALVATION changed my life.” “You know, I went back and gave CHARLIE’S ANGELS FULL THROTTLE another look, it turns out it was ahead of its time. There was no way to really know back then that it was good, only Vern ever understood it, but now it works.” (read the rest of this shit…)

The Machinist

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Not sure if anybody else has noticed this, but this guy Christian Bale is a good actor in my opinion. AMERICAN PSYCHO would have to be up there with Eric Bana in CHOPPER as one of my favorite maniac performances of the last 2-7 years. (Now they’re playing Batman and the Incredible Hulk. They shoulda got the guy from DAHMER for Superman.) Mr. Bale was also pretty good in SHAFT 2K and REIGN OF FIRE, where I wouldn’t’ve even known it was the same guy if I didn’t know how to read and recognize names.

Well here in the machinist he gives another great performance but this time with a special nauseating gimmick: the guy lost a bunch of weight for the movie. He looks like a fuckin skeleton with a pair of pantyhose pulled over it. You know how DeNiro and Del Toro ate a bunch of donuts for RAGIN BULL and FEAR AND LOATHING and that was supposed to be so brave? Well Christian says FUCK THAT, eats nothin but grass and grapeskins for like three months or something, turns his muscles into fuckin corn husks. When I heard about it I figured he gets skinnier over the course of the movie, but no, he looks like this from the beginning. That’s the character. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Next Karate Kid

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

Two time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, hailing from Bellingham, Washington, stars in the explosive finale to the Karate Kid quadilogy. This one was Swank’s first starring role and came out in 1994, when movies were just as crappy but not quite as funny as their ’80s counterparts. The director is Christopher Cain, father of Dean Cain and director of The Amazing Panda Adventure.

Swank plays Julie, a pouty, sullen teenage girl who lives unhappily with her grandma after the death of her parents. Anything anybody says to Julie, she takes offense and throws a hissy fit. You know how old people are, they try to be nice but they don’t really understand where your teenage mind is coming from, so they offer you some lemon bars or something and you’re like “GOD DAMN IT WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE?!” and run out of the room crying. So then Julie goes in and stabs grandma to death in her sleep, while jerkin off. Or was that a different movie? I can’t remember. (read the rest of this shit…)