Category: childhood nostalgia

VHS Verdict: 90’s Remote Control Radio Shack Robots Gone Psycho in ‘EVOLVER’ !

Hey there I’m back for a whole NEW year in 2018!! Yeeehaw!! I’m starting off with a little review from a recent batch of VHS I bought while thrifting around Portland, Oregon. In my huge stack of weird movies I’ve been burning through, was a movie called ‘Evolver’ from 1994. From the cover of this one I was more than certain this was gonna be some total bull shit show that I’d likely not be able to make it all the way through. HOWEVER I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually dug Evolver!

Let me be clear though, this movie is totally stupid, but in the best way imaginable. It starts off with some shitty virtual reality video game being played in an arcade by our lead character, hot shot video gamer Kyle played by “teen heart throb” Ethan Embry. He’s basically on stage in the arcade and of course there’s a big crowd there cheering him on, becuz in the 90’s that’s what people did dammit! Anyway he’s a computer hacker as well and uses his skills to make himself the prize winner of a new real life robot called “Evolver” a prototype game system that plays laser tag with you in your own house. Evolver kinda looks like the baby of the robots in “Chopping Mall” as he’s only about 3 feet tall, oh yeah and he’s voiced by none other than William. H Macy! At first Evolver is easy to beat but at each new level of household combat that he’s defeated he gets better and even transforms a bit so he can be “more menacing” to his foes.  Continue reading

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Is There An Evil Online Conspiracy Against ‘The Last Jedi’?!

Wow, I wasn’t even planning on writing about ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ because let’s face it, there’s enough material about this movie online for you to read for decades. However after seeing the movie and being thoroughly disappointed, (and more so everyday the more I think about it) I’ve become well aware that I’m NOT the only one who feels this way. Some SPOILERS ahead….

What inspired me to write this post is the recent news of the giant backlash against the movie from fans simply being called a conspiracy by anti-social justice warriors who’re irate about the inclusion of strong female characters & racial diversity in the new movie. It’s claimed they’ve essentially hacked Rotten Tomatoes and have brought the fan score to a whopping low of 54% while the critics reviews rate it 92% fresh. I’ve decided to put my opinion here, to state as a long time fan, since I was a little boy, that the reason I disliked The Last Jedi has absolutely zero to do with strong female characters, white males, racial diversity, or anything that has to do with the current political landscape of the real world.

It actually upsets me that Disney simply can’t accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, their $200 million plus budget movie might not have pleased a huge number of long time fans. I can see many reasons why people absolutely love The Last Jedi AND I can also see just as many reasons why people may absolutely despise it. It may for some all revolve around shitty people being racist, sexist, bigots who’re furious about Rey being female and Finn being a black male fronting the franchise now. I however don’t think that’s the case for most, as The Force Awakens holds an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes by fans and I highly doubt everyone suddenly became upset about the sex and race of characters between the last movie and this one. No, the people I know who were disappointed had completely different issues with the movie entirely. Continue reading

Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek? Sign Me Up!

Well, well, well, it seems that us Star Trek fans may really finally be boldly going where no one has gone before. The apparent news is that Quentin Tarantino has got an interesting story to pitch for the U.S.S. Enterprise and if all things work out the way he’d like them to he’ll be sitting in the director’s chair. Also interesting is that he’s demanding the movie be rated R. Just what the hell would a Star Trek movie of this caliber actually look like? I’ve never even considered a Star Trek movie would ever be able trek into the ‘R’ rated zones of the galaxy!

To me this is an exciting step in possibly the right direction for Star Trek, sure the last theatrical movie was a decent enough time for what it was, but it also just felt a little too “typical bloated cranked out for the masses Hollywood action” to really feel like an authentic Trek adventure. So with Tarantino involved we just might get a cerebral science fiction adventure a bit more akin to the original series and then some. We might also be getting a darker vision of the crew’s space exploration. An ‘R’ rating opens up the possibilities for the crew to face some truly horrifying aliens and sinister villains as well as some creepy as fuck planets to check out. This is something I really hopes comes to fruition, I’d like a different direction for the Star Trek movie universe and different is exactly what we’re likely to get here if it happens.

The next question is what version of ‘Star Trek’ is Tarantino looking to helm? Would he be using the all of the actors from the more recent movie trilogy? Will he go Next Generation? Interesting is that today I saw that Patrick Stewart has opened the doors to Quentin, stating he’s open to reprising his role of Picard. Who knows we might even get some William Shatner action in Tarantino’s version, at this point I think anything is possible.

I think it’d be cool to keep it simple and continue the current rebooted crew putting them into a more complex, dangerous, mind bending sci-fi epic. I think Quentin really understands Star Trek and more importantly truly understands the characters of TOS. I’d love to hear some of his classic banter infused with the Star Trek crew, it could really work in ways we haven’t seen since the TOS movies of the late 1970’s-90’s. I think this could be the throwback style we’ve been waiting for mixed with a totally new vision. It’s an experiment I hope comes to light, I’ve got my fingers crossed…How about you?

How Did I Miss The ‘Defenders of the Earth” Cartoon From 1985?!

Wait a second here! How could it be that I’ve never heard of the cartoon ‘Defenders of the Earth’ from 1985?! Up until a few minutes ago I never even knew it existed. This cool 80’s cartoon even aired for 65 episodes and featured legendary comic characters The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, Lothar along with their children kicking villain ass. I know, everyone probably has seen the shit out of this show except me, I grew up in Wisconsin, never had cable tv and perhaps there it just simply didn’t air around where I lived?!

Whatever the case I’m a bit stunned I missed out, as a kid in 1985 I would have loved this show. The animation looks solid too, and even as a kid I could tell when cartoons had shoddy work done on them, my first thought was that it looked like the same animators that worked on G.I. Joe. There was even a Marvel Comic book series of it too..

I guess Marvel legend Stan Lee even wrote the lyrics for the damn theme song! Damn! Is this some sort of proof of the Mandela Effect manifesting in my life? Anyway this is like a King Features version of The Avengers and I think this could make a pretty cool little movie. Anyone else miss this as a kid?!!

 

Wait now there were also action figures too?! What? Hmm….I am perplexed!!

 

 

And some Robot Chicken…

 

 

VHS Verdict 1991: ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ – Forgotten Monster Noir!

Up until last night I’d never even heard of the HBO movie ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ from 1991, but I was lucky enough to run across a VHS copy of this one recently. It immediately peaked my interest, the box had some quotes on it comparing it to ‘Ghostbusters’ & ‘Roger Rabbit’ with monsters instead of cartoons. Sign me up already! The movies a ton of fun and filled with some sweet totally 80’s style fx work as well as an equally impressive cast. It really perplexed me as to why I’d never even heard of this one as it’s something I would have totally dug back in ’91. Hey I think it’s better sometimes seeing a lost gem from way back in the modern era anyway…it takes me way back…

Anyway this cool movie stars Fred Ward as H.P. Lovecraft (seriously, how have I never heard of this movie?!) a private investigator, who hired to track down the legendary book, the Necronomicon. Lovecraft is one of the only people who’ve chosen not to use magic of any kind making his little quest all that much more difficult to accomplish. It’s a full on 40’s noir, placed in a time when witchcraft has been fully exposed to the general populace and things that go bump in the night are far more common than ever before. We’ve got a  bunch of neat monsters, werewolves & zombies along the way as well as an awesome scene with some pesky gremlins by way of rad old school puppetry. Hell, we even get a random unicorn that enters the equation into this unique little horror noir comedy.

There’s some cool scenes as well that up the movie’s horror factor with some impressive unexpected gore. There’s weird super powered gangsters, voodoo priests and plenty of that classic style animatronic monster mayhem to behold here. It’s also got it’s fair share of comedy though too and it in ways really is a bit like a horror version of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. Director Martin Campell went on to direct more recent stuff like the god awful ‘Green Lantern’ movie and ‘Casino Royale’. Along side Ward is also Julianne Moore, Clancy Brown & David Warner which is a pretty star studded cast for just how relatively forgotten this movie is today.

The movie spawned a sequel as well in 1994 but I haven’t heard to many good things about that one. There’s never been an official DVD release of the movie, but it certainly deserves one. The movie is available to watch on Amazon and a few other online platforms, so if you’re looking for a little lost nostalgia this one’s a cool little forgotten gem of a movie… 

Back Issue Gold 1985: When John Byrne Split The Hulk in Two!

Ahhh yes I can still remember how stoked I was as a kid waaaay back in 1985 when John Byrne took over writing and drawing The Incredible Hulk for a far too short of a run. I was only 11 years old, but I seriously adored John Byrne, he was hands down my favorite comic book artist and The Hulk was my favorite comic book character. Byrne had been writing and drawing Alpha Flight, which of course I was a die hard fan of too, when he switched to full on Hulk mode with issue #314. I was thrilled!

I must have read that issue a hundred times and the cover itself couldn’t have been more awesome as it featured the Jade Giant in all of his Byrne-esque glory along with a gang of his deadliest villains behind him ready to start some shit. The Leader, Modok, The Rhino, Abomination & The Juggernaut! Byrne’s highly detailed artwork pushed The Hulk to new levels of awesomeness, the character was more massive than he’d ever been too. Though the villains on the cover end up being just part of Hulk’s over active imagination, the Byrne run fully  made up for that with making Hulk-centric character Doc Samson one of, if not the main character of his short run. From that point in in Hulk history Doc Samson quickly became one of my favorite Marvel characters, the series also improved upon Doc’s costume, giving him a new one, ditching his classic but sorta awful lightning bolt suit he’d worn previously.

In the past we’d seen Samson tangle with the Hulk but never quite like this. I absolutely love how Byrne’s Hulk completely dwarf’s Samson in size like never before, yet he proves just how much of a bad ass the character really is with not only his brawn but also his brains. This issue is essentially one big fight between the two and begins with a more mindless version of the Hulk who’d been missing in another dimension called The Crossroads, exiled by Doctor Strange for over a year (those were great issues too!). Samson cleverly defeats The Hulk and makes Hulk history using his genius scientific intellect to actually separate Bruce Banner from The Hulk as two living breathing entities.

This was a great era of Hulk history and let’s face it John Byrne was easily one of the best comic book writers and artists of  the 70’s & 80’s if not of all time. During this run he pumped out 8 issues, one being an awesome Marvel Fanfare where’s Byrne’s stunning artwork proved he was easily one of the best of all time when it came to drawing the jade giant. Another was The Hulk annual #14 which he wrote but master Hulk artist Sal Buscema drew. I love the Byrne era Hulk and apparently he’d had big plans for the series but was thwarted, there’s actually a great story about what went down here with the Byrne Hulk run for all of you Hulk-a-maniancs. Also check out ‘Incredible Hulk: Visionaries #1‘ Trade Paperback  which features the whole output of Byrne 80’s Hulk. Ahhh those were the good ol’ days….

Stranger Things: Please Use Practical Monster Effects!!

Stranger Things Season 2 finally dropped this Halloween and damn was it good! So much fun and such a total and complete trip down memory lane. The show plays off of the wonder filled nostalgia of the 80’s and almost perfectly captures the magic of movies like Poltergeist, E.T., The Goonies and The Lost Boys to name a few.

This show couldn’t possibly get any better at delivering the ever so sweet 1980’s cinematic magic could it?  Well I say it could do the job way better, after watching the second season it was apparent once again that this show could really up it’s game by ditching a lot of the shoddy CGI effects it uses for it’s monsters.

 

 

The show sure looks and feels like an 80’s Amblin flick, that is until they introduce us to the other worldly monsters. Then it quickly becomes very apparent it’s 2017 and that some questionable CG has entered my 80’s fantasy! So for season 3 of the show, I think they could do better, to really recreate that magic of old, it’s time for the show to incorporate practical creature effects! Puppetry, makeup, animatronics!

 

 

Imagine the creatures on the show if they had the feel of E.T., The Gremlins or Pumpkinhead?! The CG takes me out of the moment, the realism fades quickly and I imagine how much more effective the experience would really be if it just gave this tweak to say 75% of it’s fx work. That alone would give us the ultimate nostalgia trip, let’s face it, fans would go nuts for this and especially those who are real fans of the genre the show’s replicating. So help me spread this idea #strangerthings80sfx & Let’s demand that 80’s special effects magic be utilized for the next season!!!  They’ve come a long way with practical fx work and blending with CG or using CG to eliminate wires & puppeteers would take the show to a whole next level of 1980’s love….