So once again we have survived.

Posts Tagged ‘Tom Atkins’

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.

Lethal Weapon

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

tn_lethalweaponFirst of all, I would like to extend my deepest and most profound apologies for the first time I wrote about LETHAL WEAPON and fixated on Mel Gibson’s Swayze-esque hair and David Sanborn’s Smooth Cop Jazz saxophone. I know my comments hurt alot of people and put alot of negativity into the world, and that is something I simply never wish to do. I would especially like to apologize to Gibson’s hair stylist Paul Abascal, who not only did hair on many Swayze, Stallone and Willis (?) classics, but also went on to direct PAPARAZZI and the reshoots of PAYBACK. I know now it was a different time and place that cannot be held to a newer era’s standards of taste and style. In the years since that review I have changed alot, I have learned, I have grown as a man, as a critic and as a spiritual being. I have looked at pictures of JCVD in HARD TARGET and realized Mel’s mullet coulda been worse. So to get ready for Christmas I decided I was ready to try LETHAL WEAPON again.

It’s hard to separate LETHAL WEAPON from the litter of movies it spawned. In the sequels Murtaugh (Danny Glover, PREDATOR 2) and Riggs (Mel Gibson, MAD god damn MAX) are great buddies and there’s wisecracking and everything and I mix it up in my mind with the cliches of interracial buddy movies. But really the first LETHAL WEAPON is not about race and it’s pre-buddy. It’s about the formation of their buddyship. It’s about this regular working family man cop who, on the day after his 50th birthday, is forced to be partners with a younger crazy guy. Like, not just a loose cannon, a guy that we’ve actually seen wake up in his trailer, put a gun in his mouth and start crying and almost pull the trigger. While watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. He’s been suicidal since the death of his wife in a car accident, even has a special hollow point set aside for the job. (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.

Drive Angry 3D

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

tn_driveangryDid you guys know that Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND is the #6 highest grossing movie of all time? It’s literally made over a billion dollars. Just seems weird to me, because I don’t know anybody that liked that movie. I thought it was pretty terrible but keep finding myself “defending” it trying to convince people that at least it was cool looking. Except for the Mad Hatter.

When I mention that somehow it made that much money everybody says “Well, because the 3D tickets cost more.” I’m sure that was part of it. But it’s not like every 3D movie makes a ton of money.

Case in point: DRIVE ANGRY 3D (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 Creeps

Monday, October 26th, 2009

tn_nightofthecreepsMan, I knew everybody loved NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, but the way people talked about it I always figured it was some nostalgic grew-up-in-the-80s thing like GOONIES or heavy metal. No, it turns out NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is truly fucking great! You guys should’ve been more clear!

It’s a movie with a really unique feel. The only thing it reminds me of is RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, but for nerds instead of punks. It has a similar tone of funny-but-serious, similar stylishly cartoonish effects and puppet zombies (see thumbnail), similar confident visual style and storytelling. It lets the horror unfold a piece at a time (aliens, ax-murdering escaped mental patient in the 1950s, cryogenics, zombies, space slugs) and it just seems to know what it’s doing so I never questioned that it would all come together and make sense. And it did. It’s just great writing and directing – Fred Dekker, I forgive you for ROBOCOP III. (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.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Friday, October 16th, 2009

tn_halloweeniiiHALLOWEEN III isn’t the worst HALLOWEEN sequel, but it’s probly the most hated because it’s a new story unrelated to Michael Myers. Producer John Carpenter had this knuckleheaded idea that it was better to treat it like an anthology series, each one a new story having something to do with the holiday. What he didn’t consider seriously enough, maybe because he’s too modest, is that the first HALLOWEEN is a masterpiece and not a whole lot of stories or concepts feel worthy of being in the same series. Maybe if he’d done HALLOWEEN III: THE THING people would’ve gone for it, but not this.

I do know a cult of horror fans who swear by SEASON OF THE WITCH. Their numbers are smaller than the Thorn Cult from parts 5 and 6, and they’re probly just overcompensating for the people who hate the movie just for being a different story and not on its actual quality. And these cultists had me going a bit, I was starting to remember it as being kind of good. (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.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I believe there are different levels of slasher movies. There are the masterpiece ones like HALLOWEEN and TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE – ingenious, masterful works of art that happen to be about weirdos on murder sprees. Below that there are the perennial favorites, not necessarily on the same level but that I like to dig out every few years: FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, THE PROWLER, BLACK CHRISTMAS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, THE BURNING, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, that kind of stuff. The best in that category are the ones that really master the mechanics of the form. They have great chase scenes, new and innovative forms of fake violence, spooky atmosphere and imagery. And then they usually have an unexpectedly weird touch or two, a few clever surprises, and maybe some laughs (usually unintentional, which is kind of better because I don’t like alot of clownin around in my horror).

Since almost all of the best are made in the ’70s and ’80s I have to admit that part of the appeal is a certain vibe, a nostalgia for that time period and a reaction to whatever modern form of slickness has developed in horror movies since. So I think for me and even moreso for alot of my horror purist buddies the old ones can get away with a level of crappiness that the new ones can’t. I got buddies who will go on and on about hating the characters in some modern horror movie and not believe me when I try to tell them that almost all of their favorite slasher movies from the ’80s were inhabited by characters who were just as obnoxious, but with different clothes and hair. (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.

The Ninth Configuration

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Here’s a weird fuckin movie written and directed by William Peter Blatty, the guy who wrote the novel of THE EXORCIST. I’ve been hearing the title for years so I know it has a cult following, but I think they had trouble selling it because all they could figure was “from the creator of THE EXORCIST” but it’s not like that movie at all. It starts out as a goofy comedy and turns into a sad essay about God, or something. I don’t really understand the meaning of the title, but it has something to do with a protein molecules and the existence of God. It’s mentioned in a dream scene where an astronaut finds a giant crucifix on the moon.

But now I’m making it sound stranger than it actually is. All I can figure to describe it is “ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST meets ROLLING THUNDER.” (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.