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

Posts Tagged ‘William Lustig’

My new most anticipated movie: MANIAC COP

Friday, September 25th, 2015

tn_maniaccopWell, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD had a good decade-plus run as my most anticipated movie. And that worked out well. I doubt I’ll ever see another one pay off like that in my life, but it’s always good to have things to look forward to, to keep you going.

Right now there are plenty of lower key projects to be excited about, from the finally-happening BOYKA: UNDISPUTED IV to the new STAR WARS picture. But right now the one that pushes my buttons the most is actually a remake of MANIAC COP.

This has been in development for a while, to be produced by Nicolas Winding Refn and (last I heard) scripted by Ed Brubaker, writer of acclaimed crime comics (and Seattleite I believe). Sounds fantastic. But what takes this news to the next level is the director: John Hyams, the genius behind UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, DRAGON EYES, THE SMASHING MACHINE and RANK. I have spent the last five years wondering why the hell some studio hasn’t given this guy a budget to deal with, since his straight-to-video works easily out-thrill, out-style and out-smart most big screen action movies, including $200 million dollar duds like, I’m sorry to say, the recent TERMINATOR picture. (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 3: Badge of Silence

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

tn_maniaccop3In the tradition of MANIAC COP 2, MANIAC COP 3: BADGE OF SILENCE begins with footage from the end of the last one. Undead Maniac Cop Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar)’s honor guard funeral is intercut with new scenes of a voodoo priest (Julius Harris, also in Larry Cohen’s BLACK CAESAR) stabbing a head with a ritualistic dagger and chanting. So now we know that part 2’s CARRIE-esque ending is actually a voodoo curse. Man, first Chucky, then Screwface, now this. What the bloodclot, voodoo?

Robert Davi returns as Mac, who is investigating these voodoo guys and suspects a connection to Cordell. Claudia Christian’s character Riley doesn’t show, but there’s another female lead (Gretchen Becker), a younger officer nicknamed “Maniac Kate” for her Dirty Harry type approach to law enforcement. Mac knows her mother and considers her a kid sister, but seems kind of flirtatious in their first scene together at the gun range (hopefully now renamed The Six Target-Shooting Officers Killed By Maniac Cop In Part 2 Memorial Gun Range) where they take turns shooting the target while she vents about getting in trouble for shooting an attempted rapist. Mac says she should’ve waited a little longer so she could’ve shot more than just an attempted rapist. Classy.

Maniac Kate responds to a pharmacy holdup by a crazed pill-feaster (Jackie Earle Haley in the movie that came before the one that earned him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor). Kate and the junkie end up in the hospital, the hostage dead, and a pair of sleazy tabloid video journalists film the whole thing and broadcast an edited version that makes her look like she was in the wrong. (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 2

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

tn_maniaccop2Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon return for the bigger, I think better MANIAC COP 2. I guess it had a bigger budget than the first one and it has a more confident, cinematic feel. Hats off to cinematographer James Lemmo (who also did the first one, MS. 45, VIGILANTE and THE GLADIATOR) for his deliberate, ominous pans through New York City locations. There’s even a great opening credits sequence designed by Pablo Ferro (DR. STRANGELOVE) that really establishes the mood as the camera glides across a police impound lot and the remains of the vehicle involved in the climax of part 1.

This is maybe 2 weeks later, when Jack (Campbell) has been cleared of the murders but is trying to get back on the force. I’m a little confused because there’s a new captain and reference to the previous one being dead, but for some reason the commissioner, played by Michael Lerner (BARTON FINK) instead of Richard Roundtree, and given a different name, is treated as the guy who’s always been there. He sends Jack and Theresa (Landon) to police psychologist Susan Riley (Claudia Christian, HALF PAST DEAD), which is also where a new character, Detective Sean “Mac” McKinney, ends up after shooting a suspect. (He didn’t kill him, but only because he says it’s too much paperwork.)
(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.

Uncle Sam

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

tn_unclesamwarning: I wanted to get this up in a timely manner so I have to throw it on here without re-reading it. Sorry.

Today is the 4th of July, where we in the United States celebrate our independence day. Partly the movie but mostly the historic event. There are flags and barbecues and shit, and fireworks. It’s not as involved as Christmas, but it’s a thing.

I am a fan of the holiday horror movies, so I’m happy that director William Lustig and writer Larry Cohen made this one for Independence Day back in 1996. Lustig was way past his prime and the movie kinda sucks, but I still like that it exists.

This was of course the same team that made MANIAC COP, and this is basically MANIAC SOLDIER. The maniac is Sam Harper (David ‘Shark’ Fralick), killed in a friendly fire incident during Desert Storm, not found until 3 years later. His burnt corpse is shipped back and sits in a flag-draped coffin at his widow’s house for the memorial service. But when his idolizing nephew Jody (Christopher Ogden) puts his box of medals inside the coffin for some reason that turns him into a vengeful zombie just in time for the town’s 4th of July celebration. (Also he pins the medals into his burnt flesh.) (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.

Dark Age and Tripwire

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

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…)

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.

Hit List

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Here’s a VHS only action piece from director William Lustig, who I got some respect for due to the sleazy horror movie MANIAC and the badass Robert Forster revenge thriller VIGILANTE. (whoah, I never realized how similar those two titles are.) This one is closer to VIGILANTE although it was a work-for-hire deal for Lustig and not his usual New York-based independent filmmaking.

Basically this is the story of a regular guy whose kid is mistakenly kidnapped and he tries to get him back. I thought because of the title that he would have a list of people to get revenge on, but really he’s just going after this one guy who has his kid. (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.

Vigilante

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

I don’t know how familiar anybody is with William Lustig. The guy is no genius. He made the MANIAC COP series. He made the picture UNCLE SAM which is a decent holiday slasher picture with subversive Gulf War themes, but it’s kind of a bummer because there is almost no use of stilts after the initial appearance of the Uncle Sam costume in a parade. Anyway after many years of directing bad horror pictures this guy started that company Anchor Bay which put out alot of better ones on video and DVD.

But there are some pretty good ones in his filmography, especially the first one, MANIAC. That was a sleazy, brutal horror picture about a sweaty New York pervert who kills women, staples their scalps to a mannequin, handcuffs himself to the mannequin and cries. Then during the daytime he puts on shades and tries to make it as a hip fashion photographer. It’s a real sick movie with ridiculous gore effects by Mr. Tom Savini. Not recommended for anybody unless they like that kind of crap, which in this case I do. (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.

American Psychos

Monday, April 17th, 2000

This week I decided to take the day off from my World Badass Studies to give a nod to my boys in the horror community. You see back when many of the movie type newsgroups rejected me on account of my harsh language and telling it like it is, etc. I posted a review of the “Sleepy Hollow” over there in the horror newsgroup and you know what happened? Those motherfuckers welcomed me with the openest arms you ever seen on the internet. Those were some of the nicest motherfuckers ever in my opinion. I don’t know what the deal is, they watch the gals getting their tongues ripped out and zombies eating a guy’s balls or whatever, then when they’re ready to call it a day they go online and there’s ol’ Vern and they treat him like just one of the boys. Bunch of sweethearts if you ask me. (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.