Today in S91: JUDGMENT SUMMER I’m going to time travel slightly into the future for some supplementary material. MEDUSA: DARE TO BE TRUTHFUL was not released during the summer – it first aired on Showtime on December 1st. But seeing as how it was a quick-turnaround parody of one of the important films of the summer it seemed to me worthy for the time capsule as a document of attitudes in the culture at the time.
It’s not really a movie per se, but (thankfully) a 51-minute comedy special for Julie Brown (ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN, BLOODY BIRTHDAY), transplanting her ditsy, entitled but well-meaning Valley Girl persona into a parody of Madonna. I was familiar with Brown in the ‘80s from her comedic songs “‘Cause I’m a Blonde” and especially “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun,” where she juxtaposed All-American high school imagery with violence (which seemed edgy in those days), and then from her MTV show Just Say Julie. I had seen her in EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY, but didn’t realize that she wrote and produced it based on one of her songs. At this time she had a sketch comedy show on Fox called The Edge, which co-starred Jennifer Aniston, Wayne Knight and Tom Kenny. (read the rest of this shit…)
Before there was such a thing as Marvel Comics movies, there was BLADE.
Technically it wasn’t the first Marvel movie. It was the fourth. But nobody would’ve expected Marvel Comics to take over the movie business the way they have now. There had been the infamous flop HOWARD THE DUCK in 1986, and a few low rent b-action movies: THE PUNISHER starring Dolph Lundgren in 1989, then Albert Pyun’s DTV movie of CAPTAIN AMERICA in 1990. A Roger Corman production of FANTASTIC FOUR had been made in 1994 merely to extend the movie rights to the characters; it was never released, and the negatives have since been destroyed. I still kinda like THE PUNISHER, but until BLADE came along in 1998 none of these really connected with audiences, and there was no reason to think they would. James Cameron and Golan & Globus had an equal amount of success in trying to make a Spider-man movie, and Marvel had gone bankrupt.
Let’s be honest, most of us never heard of a Blade before the movie. He came from the ’70s series Tomb of Dracula, part of a team of Dracula-hunters made up of descendants of Mina Harker, Abraham Van Helsing and Dracula himself. He wore a red leather jacket and green pants and spoke what creator Marv Wolfman later admitted was “cliche ‘Marvel Black’ dialogue.” But screenwriter David S. Goyer was a fan of the character when New Line Cinema, inspired by the success of FRIDAY, wanted to do a black super hero movie.
At the time it was easier to compare to other vampire movies. Anne Rice style romantic bloodsuckers had dominated the image of the subgenre since at least the movie version of INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE in 1994, and BLADE was part of a pushback that included FROM DUSK TILL DAWN two years before and John Carpenter’s VAMPIRES two months after, all reminding audiences how much fun these creatures could be as vicious monsters that need to be exterminated. Each has their own version of the rules and their own leather-clad hunters with weapons made from silver, garlic, holy water or wood, but only BLADE (and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then two seasons in) treated it as an opportunity for martial arts. (read the rest of this shit…)
SILENT NIGHT is the latest killer Santa movie, directed by Steven C. Miller (AUTOMATON TRANSFUSION, THE AGGRESSION SCALE) and written by Jayson Rothwell (Van Damme’s SECOND IN COMMAND). I hear it’s supposed to be a remake of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, although I didn’t notice it in the credits. There are only two things I spotted that identify it as such:
1. they redo the unforgettable impaled-on-hunting-trophy death of Linnea Quigley’s character from the original
2. the end credits have a punk version of “Silent Night” where they changed the “holy night” lyric to “deadly night” (read the rest of this shit…)
In the popular song and cartoon RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, “reindeer games” are the fun group activities that all the popular reindeers enjoy but Rudolph is excluded from due to his low social caste. In the movie REINDEER GAMES the character “Monster” (Gary Sinise) uses it as a synonym for “funny business,” something that he threatens Rudy (Ben Affleck) not to participate in. This misuse of Christmas terminology doesn’t bother Rudy or probly occur to him, but it does bug him when Clarence Williams III keeps referring to “Santa’s dwarves.” So he does have a certain amount of respect for Christmas tradition.
REINDEER GAMES is not a Christmas movie in the sense that it’s about Christmas, or about somebody coming to a realization about the meaning of Christmas, at least not a very convincing one. But I can guarantee you this much: it takes place in December, with a heist planned for Christmas Eve, and with the participators all dressed as Santa Claus. So there are some discussions of cranberries and what not. Maybe a mention of sugar plums, I can’t remember for sure. (Have you ever had sugar plums? They’re actually really fuckin good. I wish I knew a place that sold them. I might have visions of them dancing in my head now that I remembered them.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Hey folks, Harry here… I’m not allowed to say anything further about Vern, under penalty and threat of death… Knowing the rumors I’ve read about what Vern can do and organize to be done, I have great fear for the man known as Vern. Beware of Vern. Be Afraid… He’ll hurt you with laughter sometimes… sometimes with sledgehammers… You’ll see…
Dearest Harry and Moriarty,
I thought for a second there I discovered a movie you didn’t know about. But after a thorough study of your “search engine” device I found out that some other individual reviewed COMIC BOOK VILLAINS once when it played at Cannes (a popular french film festival). I read over the review though and I disagreed with almost every point he made. I’m not saying it’s BLADE 2 or even CITIZEN KANE, but it is a surprisingly good small straight to video type picture and I have reason to believe that Harry and others would enjoy it when it comes out September 3rd on the video and dvd type mediums. By others I mainly mean Moriarty, I guess. But I will get to the movie after this next paragraph which is just rambling and bullshit, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)
Well friends it looks like ol’ Vern has some explainin to do. And the sad thing is I don’t have jack shit to say for myself. Sometimes a man just has to do what a man does when he has to do it, or whatever. There comes a time in a man’s personal journey, that is to say in man’s life, that that journey must take a break, or sojourn, in that journey, is what I’m trying to say. A hiatus.
Okay some of you motherfuckers are looking at me real blank eyed and what not. I haven’t written a column for a couple weeks, jackasses. I guess you didn’t miss me, then. It was supposed to be mysterious. Like – what is Vern up to? Where has he gone? What personal discoveries has he made? Will we ever be the same? Oh I do hope he comes back. And soon!