So once again we have survived.

Posts Tagged ‘Sam Raimi’

Intruder

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Just when the night crew is closing up at the Walnut Lake Market, cashier Jennifer (Elizabeth Cox, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, THE WRAITH) gets assaulted by crazy ex-boyfriend Craig (David Byrnes, WITCHCRAFT 7 and IX). Most of the staff get in a big brawl with him and he runs off. They think he’s still hiding in the store somewhere, but they’re not sure, and the police come and prove to be incompetent.

That’s a solid slasher movie set up. It has that all important sense of time and place – a limited location with all kinds of possibilities for horror gimmicks and gags, a set of characters doing their duties in different parts of the building where they can be picked off, a reason why other people aren’t around and the cops are no help. The few minutes of searching for Craig near the beginning sets up the geography of the store and all the potential hiding places that will become important locations. Though not necessary, INTRUDER also sets up a mystery, because we have the easy-to-jump-to conclusion that this abusive asshole is the murderer, but not showing his face gives us the unsettling feeling that we’re being tricked. (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.

Don’t Breathe

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

tn_dontbreatheDON’T BREATHE is the new film by EVIL DEAD remake director Fede Alvarez, and the most up-my-alley new horror movie I’ve seen in at least a couple years. Once it really got going I found myself alternating between wincing and having a big smile that I couldn’t get off my face. It’s produced by Sam Raimi, and I daresay it is almost a non-supernatural spookablast. I’m not gonna say it’s as good as DRAG ME TO HELL, but that might be the last time I had this much fun watching a horror movie in a theater.

Now, keep in mind, I also liked EVIL DEAD. I had a great experience with some friends who all got a big kick out of its eviscerating-all-previous-standards-of-what-can-be-done-in-an-R-rated-movie audacity. Then almost everybody else I knew, both in life and in the comments here, seemed genuinely offended that I found any redeeming quality of any kind in that movie. It might be the most backlash I ever got for a positive review.

But I think this is different! It’s dark, and it definitely Goes Too Far at one point, but I think it’s more of a crowdpleaser. I think some of you guys will love it? (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.

Maniac Cop

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

tn_maniaccopMANIAC COP is like an ’80s b-movie dream team. William Lustig (MANIAC) directs, Larry Cohen (IT’S ALIVE!) writes, James Glickenhaus (THE EXECUTIONER, THE PROTECTOR) executive produces. And check out this cast: Tom Atkins (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) is Frank McCrae, a tough NYC lieutenant investigating a murder spree by a mysterious dude in a police uniform. Bruce Campbell, one year after EVIL DEAD 2, is Jack Forrest, a cop who is implicated in the murders and goes on the run to find out who really did it. Hundra herself, Laurene Landon, plays his crimp-haired mistress Theresa Mallory, a fellow cop who helps him in his quest. Richard Roundtree (SHAFT) and William Smith (HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN) are the hardass commissioner and captain. Sam Raimi has a cameo. And also Jake LaMotta, for some reason. And Robert Z’Dar (TANGO & CASH) plays the maniac cop. He’s mostly in silhouette, so his superhumanly giant chin is not as much of a distraction as in some movies.

(Wait a minute… how did Bruce Campbell title his autobiography “If Chins Could Talk Kill” when he co-starred with Z’Dar? He knows his chin ain’t shit.)

Jack gets involved because his wife (Victoria Catlin, GHOULIES, Twin Peaks) notices him sneaking around and suspects him of being the maniac cop. But of course he’s really going to see Theresa. Whoops. Since his wife gets killed by the maniac and left in his hotel room, now it looks like he’s the guy. (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.

M.A.N.T.I.S. (pilot movie)

Sunday, March 16th, 2014
He doesn't usually look this much like R. Kelly.
He doesn’t usually look this much like R. Kelly.

Remember M.A.N.T.I.S.? It was a 1994 Fox TV show that only lasted one season. It was about paralyzed-from-the-waist-down scientist Miles Hawkins (Carl Lumbly), who builds an exo-skeleton that allows him to not only walk again but to have super strength and also jump high. The first time he tries it out in public he happens to see a woman getting attacked, so he intervenes and kicks some ass, and that gives him the crimefighting bug.

Get it? I said bug, because he’s called MANTIS and I guess he sorta looks like one with the metal helmet with a giant bluetooth on each side like mandibles.

Seven months before the TV show though there was a pilot TV movie (fortunately included on the complete series DVD), which was pretty different and much more watchable. I can’t pretend it plays like a real movie – like the The Flash TV show of a few years earlier it is kinda sad to see a low budget TV crew in Vancouver try to compete with the incredible production design of Tim Burton’s BATMAN – but having recently watched those ROBOCOP TV shows I’m able to appreciate this for what it is: something that is way better than those ROBOCOP TV shows. (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.

Evil Dead (2013)

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

tn_evildeadnot to be confused with THE EVIL DEAD (1981). They take the ‘the’ out to streamline it, like FAST AND FURIOUS.

I’m an EVIL DEAD 2 man myself. But I love THE EVIL DEAD too. It’s a timeless classic that I dig out every couple of years and it keeps getting better. And I never wanted them to remake it. But the truth is, I’m afraid, that that first one is pretty forgotten in our culture. I know this by the overwhelming number of genuine horror fans, not just Johnny-come-latelys, who are confused why the remake looks so serious. You have to keep explaining to them, no, this is supposed to be a remake of the first EVIL DEAD. The one before EVIL DEAD 2? That sequel is just such a perfect do-over that it eclipses the first one in the popular consciousness.

This is in that rare category of horror remakes where instead of somebody (Platinum Dunes or whoever) buying the rights and cashing in on the name the original director decides to get it over with, picks out a director himself, produces it and is pretty hands on to try to make it worthwhile. The originator of this strategy might’ve been George Romero with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1990). It was also used successfully by Wes Craven for THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006) and THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009). Note that he had nothing to do with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010). That’s what they’re up against here.
(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.

Oz the Great and Powerful

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

tn_ozOZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL could also be called WALT DISNEY’S SAM RAIMI 3D. That’s what I was hoping to see, and that’s what I got. If it had been a WIZARD OF OZ prequel movie made by somebody not as exciting as Raimi I don’t know that I would’ve even bothered, and it’s not my first choice of what he should be doing now that he’s stopped being a captive of SPIDER-MAN. But it turns out to be a better-than-expected use of Raimi’s time and mine.

Before we get into that I’m gonna say what we’re all thinking: let’s call it quits on these revisionist fantasy and fairy tale type movies now. “What if Alice in Alice in Wonderland was really the chosen one and she puts on armor and leads an army against the jabberwocky” made literally a billion dollars, but it was a moronic idea that was not rescued by Tim Burton’s imaginative visuals. I’ll give the Hansel and Gretel one and the Jack and the Beanstalk one a shot on video, but after that maybe it’s enough now, eh fellas? But they’re into this idea now of the recognizable name that’s not copyrighted. (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.

Drag Me To Hell

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

tn_dragmetohellA supernatural horror movie like DRAG ME TO HELL might seem like a weird thing to release in the end of May. But it’s a hell of a fun time at the movies, making up for some of the underwhelming feelings we had from the bigger popcorn type movies. Looks like it’s not doing so well right now, which is too bad. I recommend all horror fans see this immediately. But if you don’t like being bossed around (and I don’t blame you on that) at least read my review please. Thanks.

Have you ever had a friend, a relative or a pet that disappeared for so long you thought they were dead, and after you gave up hope they showed up again? Or maybe your car got stolen, you figured it was gone for good but then one day the cops called you and they found it on the side of a road somewhere without that much damage? Well, that’s Sam Raimi. He was lost so deep in Spider-land we went through a period of denial, then acceptance, then moved on with our lives in a Raimi-free world and forgot all about him. But all the sudden the intercom buzzes in the middle of the night, we rub the sleep from our eyes and look out the window and holy shit if that isn’t Sam Raimi standing at the gate holding DRAG ME TO HELL in a little cage. (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.

Darkman

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I believe you’re all familiar with the director Sam Raimi. You know – kind of a smart ass, wears a tie, master of energetic camerawork, loves the Three Stooges. These days I guess people just think of him as the guy who did the three Spider-man pictures. Nerds curse his name because although the first two touched their hearts and moved their souls the third one was kind of dumb and had a part where he did an evil dance, and apparently in the comic book it is made very clear that the whole point of the Spider-man character is that he would never do an evil dance like that. The Punisher or Blade maybe would do one under the influence of sorcery or an alien ray, but Spider-man – never. So even if Sam Raimi did direct THE EVIL DEAD, EVIL DEAD 2, ARMY OF DARKNESS, SPIDER-MAN, SPIDER-MAN 2, THE QUICK AND THE DEAD and A SIMPLE PLAN it doesn’t matter, that’s all moot now, like Michael Richards’ comedy after he used the n word.

But with this review we gotta transport ourselves back to the early 1990 when Raimi was an underdog, a cult director who had done two drive-in masterpieces and one disowned comedy, and here he was trying to break into the post-BATMAN studio game with a movie that was big budget for him but small compared to the movies it was gonna be held up against. It’s kind of like a comic book movie: a super hero origin story, with music by Danny Elfman, and with ‘man’ in the hero’s name. It’s also kind of a horror movie: he’s a mad scientist and a burnt up Phantom of the Opera type freak whose scarring turns him crazy and murderous. But mostly I think it’s like an action movie: it has R-rated violence, he’s getting revenge one-by-one on the criminals who wronged him, there’s explosions and stunts, and one of the screenwriters is Chuck Pfarrer, the ex-Navy SEAL who wrote NAVY SEALS and HARD TARGET. (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.

Spider-Man 3

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Okay, first off, I only seen Spidermans 1 & 2. I have not seen anything between 1.1 and 1.9 or 2.1 through 2.9, any of these weird DVD special editions. So if I’m missing any info I apologize. But based on this limited theatrical knowledge I would have to say that the conventnerdal wisdom is probaly a little correct: Part 3 is more flawed than Part 1 or Part 2. But not by much. It is the same tone, same combo of boy-girl soap opera, cornball old fashioned comic book reverance for New York City and high-flyin’ CGI action. Only thing is in this one they are telling a more ambitious story (good) which is stitched together with some ridiculous coincidences and occasional bad ideas (bad).

For example, there is a black goo that falls from space which just happens to land right in the park where Spider-man is kickin it with his girl. Okay, admittedly the space goo may have been intentionally honing in on Spider-man’s powers, we don’t really know this. So I will let that one go. But when Tom Hayden Church is running from the pigs he just happens to climb over a fence into a science facility where, at that exact moment, scientists are about to do an experiment with sand which turns him into a sand monster. Admittedly, he did say earlier that he had bad luck, so that is sort of explained why that happens. So I guess I can let that one go too. But what about this. Eddie Brock happens to be in a church praying for God to kill Peter Parker at the exact moment Pete is yanking the evil space goo off of his suit up in the bell tower right above, so the goo falls on Eddie and turns him into a monster!? I mean what are the chances of that? The only way to explain it is that God was pissed that Eddie would defile the church with such a bullshit prayer, so He went Old Testament on him. Hmmm, actually I like that. Come to think of it, never mind, there are no coincidences, it’s air tight. (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.

Spider-Man

Friday, May 3rd, 2002

Spider-man, Spider-man. Sam Raimi, Spider-Man. Bruce Campbell cameos. Spider-man. Spider-man. That is a song I Wrote.

Anyway. This is a picture by Mr. Sam Raimi only it is based on the popular children’s comic strip, “SPIDER-MAN”. If I remember right what that was about was a nerdy kid who gets bit by a magic spider so he puts on a red and blue bodysuit and swings around on webs saving people. This works on account of he now has magic spider powers to climb up buildings, make wisecracks, etc. My internet research indicates that the webs actually did not shoot out of his wrists, as any logical person might assume, in fact they were shot by mechanical laser watches or some stupid shit that Peter Parker invented and this apparently is the building block on which all Marvel Comics are built and should never be altered if Sam Raimi doesn’t want to face a fate similar to that of Salman Rushdie (i.e. years of fear and hiding, followed by a cameo in Bridget Jones’s Diary). (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.