Category: childhood nostalgia

WILLY’S WONDERLAND: Can Nic Cage Survive ‘FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S’?

I’ve been looking forward to this new Nic Cage horror flick for a long time and the trailer for ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ has finally dropped. Sure like the 2019 ‘Banana Splits’ movie this one is essentially another version of the ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’, which has been in developmental cinematic hell for years. ‘Banana Splits’ was pretty underwhelming, so I’ve been hoping that this Nic Cage lead film would get it right as I do quite love the idea of the creepy ‘Chuck E. Cheese/Showbiz Pizza’ style animatronic cartoon characters coming to life at night and causing bloody chaos. So yeah, we have Cage here hired as a handy man at a cursed amusement park where the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” scenario busts wide open. Check out this sweet poster! 

From the trailer I’ve gotta say I was a teensy bit let down, I know this isn’t academy award fare we’re dealing with, but after starring in the incredible ‘Mandy’ I’ve high hopes for Nic to return with another modern horror classic. This however, from the trailer at least looks kinda chintzy, reminds me of something Cage churns out quickly to pay his mound of back taxes rather than a quality B monster movie. Of course I’m checking it out when drops but I was hoping for a thicker atmosphere of spookiness and the general vibe of it all feels slightly like a flimsy Cage cash grab. Even the cinematography feels a bit cheap at this point. But hey I guess having high hopes for another ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ copycat should NOT have been that high! Dammit Cage please prove me wrong here! What do YOU think?!

 If you wanna go down the animatronic cartoon character rabbit hole from way back in the day for some real chills check THIS out:

And this for the WHOLE history on the restaurants from yesteryear that inspired ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’: 

The MCU Meets The DCEU: The TRUE Secret of the Multiverse Movies?!

I’ve got a prediction here, and remember peeps you heard it HERE first at my measly little “hobby blog” (as John Campea would call it), that it’s no coincidence that BOTH the MCU & The DCEU’s new agenda seems to be the “multiverse” idea. I mean the MCU casting supposedly three different Spider-man actors from the past movies (Toby, Andrew and Tom Holland) & then hearing the news of The Flash going to the multiverse where we have at least Affleck and most exciting Michael Keaton BOTH as Batman sounds suspicious. I’m calling it here, the MCU & the DCEU are going to meet in the finale film’s after credits scene of all this multiverse stuff. Sound crazy? Well maybe you forgot THIS classic comic back from 1981?

Well if it does sound crazy, THAT’s exactly why I think it’s going to happen and think about it, what kind of after credits scene would shock every one after the big ass CGI finale. Think about this- The Flash and the multiple Batmans meeting the Peter Parkers at the end of this phase, or even some of the DCEU’s villains meeting an MCU villain from another dimension? How much hype would the next phase generate? I remember a couple crossovers a couple times back in the 80’s or maybe you’ve forgotten ‘DC Versus MARVEL’ in 1996? That shit was a big damn deal and I’m betting high on something like that taking place cinematically sooner than later. Think of the $$$$$ potential here-there’d be nothing bigger.

This multiverse plot line put forward at the same time by both studios is either the most lame copy cat cinema plan or it’s the event that blows the lid of of both franchises. I think there’s really no other event that could top this idea and for the studios to NOT take advantage of this with some secret back door deals would be actually ludicrous. Something is cooking true believers and remember you heard it at U-Dork first! Count on it! MCU Meets DCEU-suck it Campea!!!

WONDER WOMAN 1984: Diana Was Way More Wonderful in the Actual 80s!

I’m all for 80’s throwback nostalgia, it was the decade where I spent most of my damn childhood for cryin’ out loud. That being said HBO’s “home pandemic theater” holiday release ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ should have really been a dream come true for me. Literally tailor made for someone just like me who still often longs for the good old days and full on nostalgia of the 1980s. However ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ somehow completely misses the mark and simply seems to try an make a checklist of what Hollywood thinks we want to see from that era, it’s the DCEU’s version of 2016’s ‘X-Men: Age of Apocalypse’, which in my opinion supremely failed at what should have been a sure-fire nostalgic hit with the awesome source material they had in their hands.

The funny thing is I’m not quite sure how to pin point just exactly what doesn’t work for me with Wonder Woman 1984. On paper it sounded like a wonder-ful idea to have Diana Prince hangin’ out in that particularly colorful fun filled era of cinema. It just made sense. There seems like so many totally radical scenarios to put her and the supporting characters in, but as the movie slogged by with it’s flimsy plot it was quite clear to me: This was not the 1980s I remember sooooo fondly. I guess the main problem is the plot’s pointlessly random approach to almost everything that occurs in it 2 hour and 30 minute run time. Dressing it all up in wild neon 80s fashion and the whole “fish out of water” approach just doesn’t save this one from being a bit of a stinker. I know Patty Jenkins was attempting to recreate the magic of Richard Donner’s Superman and and in the first 20 minutes it seemed like she was on track. It was soon apparent though it had more in common with say, George Lucas’ ‘Howard the Duck’ than ‘Superman II’.

Something this time around about Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman just didn’t resonate with me in the way it did in the charming first installment. Sure we got the ‘Mandalorian’ himself Pedro Pascal as the greedy “Lex Luthor” type villain who apparently has spent his entire life searching for some ancient magic crystal that grants wishes-why? Who knows and I guess who really cares right? Then you have Kristen Wiig playing the frumpy coworker of Diana’s at the Smithsonian Institute, who’s also set on becoming the next Iconic villain for Wonder Woman. Far from it. Of course Pedro Pascal or ‘Max Lord’ conveniently figures out that the two of them are in possession of and studying his most coveted crystal treasure. Things from there increase to get incredibly uninteresting, the pace slows way down and lets you enjoy the most boring aspects of the 1980s. Oh but wait, we just cannot forget Diana’s ex-lover, Chris Pine shows up, resurrected from the dead and randomly in the body of another man for some reason that I guess is connected to the magic crystal’s wish granting power.

The action scenes are decent, the acting isn’t half-bad and the 80s backdrop was for the most part handled fairly well. But this movie’s bland overly random plot points combined with it’s stereotypically boring supporting characters (mainly two uninteresting villains with ridiculous motivations) had me checking the time counting down the minutes tell it’d finally be over.

We do of course get to see Wonder Woman in a fully CGI final battle against a (for some reason fully CG) generated Kristin Wiig “Cheetah” that harkens back to that terrible final fight underground train sequence in the Black Panther! Yeeehaw! Trust me as someone who grew up in the 80s I can assure you they were much more totally radical than this. As a fan of the first outing this one, as we said in the 80’s this one gagged me with a spoon….I’ll gladly take THIS instead any day!

ELVIRA Mistress of the Dark’s “Rankin Bass” Style Scary X-MAS Short!!

Elvira, ‘Mistress of the Dark’ made a BIG return this last Halloween to try and save the holiday from the pandemic. BUT let’s not forget about a decade ago Elvira returned to Christmas for a little spooky holiday cheer!

We all love the classic Rankin Bass animated movies like Rudolph, Nestor the Long Eared Donkey & The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, well let’s revisit the Elvira holiday short ‘Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scary X-MAS’ Done in that same classic style from her official Youtube page. Here she heads out in search of a Christmas trees and along the way encounters some horrific holiday creatures: Merry Christmas Eve! See you tomorrow!!

 

Jim Henson’s Dark Holiday Tale ‘The Christmas Toy’: the inspiration behind ‘Toy Story’?!

Jim Henson’s 1986 nearly forgotten classic ‘A Christmas Toy’ is definitely on my list this year for holiday viewing. I’ll admit that I’ve yet to see this one, but from my limited poking around here on it, this definitely sounds right up my alley as a bit of a darkly unique Christmas tale. I see some major ‘Toy Story’ vibes here as there’s a gang of toys who spring to life when humans leave the room and keep order amongst themselves based on who’s the most beloved by their child owners!  

We’ve got a whole new gang of puppets to behold from Henson who aren’t the classic Muppets and apparently the stakes and mental health of the toy’s are quite dangerous here. If one is seen by human eyes while moving around they apparently freeze in their tracks for the rest of their lives. I also am noticing the striking similarities to Child’s Play’s “Chucky” doll in the red headed female doll-coincidence? Hmmm….

Henson around this time was involved with a lot of projects and puppets were really all the rage.  Movies like The Dark Crystal & Labyrinth were dominating human consciousness. A year later in 1987 Henson’s TV series “The Storyteller” would come out and that’s something I missed out on back in the day that’s been on my radar to check out for years. It’s a shame that in today’s day and age something like Henson’s fully hands on puppetry fails to somehow enthrall the masses in the way that CGI seems to captivate and dominate media. 

So yes, I’m going to check this one out on Christmas eve this year and see if it’s really truly a lost holiday classic. One thing I’ve heard in several reviews is that The Christmas toy actually plays out more like a horror movie with real stakes and a creepy witch like villain named “Meteora”. This sounds exactly like something as a fan of weird old holiday kids specials that just might be right up my alley. Have you seen it? If so is this one a must watch?

The Animated STAR WARS ‘Heir to the Empire’: Chapter 9 Drops!!

Here’s something else inspiring on the Star Wars front, as everyone’s talking about ‘The Mandalorian’ lately and how damn good it is, we’re getting more cool fan content that simply needs to be seen at this point. As a fan of the Timothy Zahn Star Wars book trilogy from the early 90’s, (the one which many fans had considered the real episodes 7-9 for many years), we get another animated episode from Darth Angelus chronicling, the first installment, Heir to the Empire!!

If you’re a fan of the original trilogy, were underwhelmed with the Disney sequel trilogy, love The Mandalorian and never read those ‘Zahn’ Star Wars books, then I highly suggest checking them out to get the ultimate old school fix of Star Wars! OR simply start with this cool fan animated series! Recently Darth Angelus dropped episode 9 of Heir to the Empire, choosing to render it in the vein of ‘The Clone Wars’ & ‘Rebels series’. With all the hype of Grand Admiral Thrawn from Mando season 2, episode 5, I recommend giving the animated ‘Heir to the Empire’ a look! Thrawn’s on track to be the next live action Darth Vader so get hip to his true origins!! Here’s the new episode:

Underrated Halloween Movie Pick from Japan: 1990’s ‘Hiruko The Goblin’!

‘Hiruko The Goblin’ from 1990 has got to be one of the best horror movies from Japan I’ve ever seen. It hits all the right beats for me in what I personally love from the late 80’s early 90’s genre movies. Directed by the iconic Shinya Tsukamoto, most well known for his epic, bizarre cyber punk horror oddity ‘Tetsuo: the Iron Man’ he delivers another slam dunk here a couple years after with this. However, this particular movie of his has gotten a lot of criticism for being so totally different from ‘Tetsuo’. Haruko spends more time on character development, humor and over the top monsters, as well as a heavy dose of heart. For me this is a much better formula than the grimy bleak mood of most of this directors other work.

This plays out way more like ‘Evil Dead 2’ meets ‘The Ghostbusters’ then his cyberpunk Cronenbergian/ David Lynch tinged outings. The story is simple yet truly bizarre: a school has literally been built on a gate to Hell behind which hordes of demons await the moment they will be freed to wreak havoc on the physical plane. Hiruko is a powerful and cunning creature sent to Earth on a reconnaissance mission, he decapitates humans in order to assemble their heads on demonic spider like bodies and command them to do his wicked deeds. Eventually this gory predicament falls into the lap of an archaeology professor, who’s dramn to the abandoned school during summer time to investigate the supernatural shenanigans and stop this demonic onslaught.

One of my favorite aspects of this movie are the two protagonists a teenage high school student and his odd demon-lore obsessed archeologist uncle. When the boy’s father goes missing while exploring the caverns beneath the school, his eccentric uncle arrives on the scene to help him search the school armed with some nifty demon busting equiptment. From here it leads them on an epic surreal journey facing off with creatures in the creepy empty corridors of the school. It also explores family dynamics, all with a slightly light-hearted comedic edge to it amidst the mayhem.

The other big star of the show here is most definitely the special-effects showcased, if you’re a fan of 80s monster movies this one will definitely be right up your alley Hiruko and his minions are a true sight to behold and the director uses almost every 80’s style effect in the book to bring them to life. From animatronics to stop motion animation, it’s all here and the creepy aesthetics and setting of the film are the perfect place for this all to unfold. Also the movie’s got a relatively lean run time I’d less than 90 minutes, so it’s not something that’s going to put you to sleep. A true visual treat as well, with a little bit of everything for everyone. It’s ambitious horror film from what I consider the tail end of the golden age of the genre that more audiences in the U.S.A need to view. A cross between Ghostbusters, Evil Dead II, Poltergeist & The Thing done by way of Japanese brilliance. Also a perfect movie for this Halloween season that you might not have seen before! Physical copies of this can be pricey and hard to track down but I’m certain it must be streaming somewhere?! This need a deluxe blu ray release badly!!

 

Horror icon: Elvira returns to Save Halloween 2020?!

The legendary horror icon Elvira is back!! However, like many of us, she fears that Halloween might be canceled this year. To make sure that doesn’t happen she’s released a brand new single to try to bring some spooky joy to the holiday. Yes 2020 has been a truly strange year and with coronavirus still being a big problem on planet Earth, Halloween just may indeed end up getting canceled.

BUT Not if Elvira has anything to say about it dammit, and if anyone has the final word on the holiday it’s just got to be HER. I’ve been preparing myself to revisit her classic 1988 comedy ‘Elvira: Mistress of the Dark’ this Halloween and one baffling thing I’ve noticed is something truly bizarre, now at 69 years of age she literally has not aged a day!! Perhaps she really is an immortal undead queen?! Still simply stunning in every way-here’s one thing that doesn’t suck about 2020!

‘WEIRD AL’ Weighs in the the Presidential Debate!?

Ok it’s really no secret that the Presidential debates the other night was a complete and total shit show! I’d go as far to say that it may have been the worst “debate” I’ve ever seen. Anyway apparently I’m not the only person who thought that, in this crazy election year we’ve got the legendary crazy nerd pop star Weird Al Yankovic weighing in with another bonafide cult hit! Check this out as Al gives you his thoughts on these two candidates!!

Movie Review: New ‘Bill & Ted’ a Most Supremely Mediocre Adventure, Dude!!!

Warning do NOT watch ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ or ‘Bogus Journey’ before viewing ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’!! I made the mistake of watching them both in a span of a less than a week and witnessing the comedic genius of these retro gems before viewing the latest installment. Both the previous films have just aged so damn well, I was laughing out loud as it’d been so long since I revisited them and they truly hold up. This along with the hype from critics boldly claiming it was just as good as the first two had me excellently PUMPED for the long awaited sequel! Well, I’m sad to say I was most supremely let down by ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’.

So that’s not to say you shouldn’t check it out, if you’re a fan it’s your obligation dude to see what became of the legendary duo. What I’ll tell you is, the legendary duo isn’t very excellent these days. The two are down on their luck, apparently still trying to write the song that unites the human race. They have their two daughters, who are basically younger versions of them and their struggling with their marriages to the Princesses. Enter two more “excellent adventures” to steal the hit song from their future selves and their daughters to round up legendary musicians to be their back up band ala the first film. 

Sounds like a blast huh? Not so fast! It’s not exactly that simple to be truly excellent in 2020 dude! Alex Winter was pretty on point as Bill to be fair, and carries the whole movie almost entirely on his shoulders. The strangest, most perplexing thing about this damn movie is Keanu Reeves as Ted. It feels like he’s trying to do a bad, unpracticed impression of the iconic character, his delivery is flat, uninspiring and just plain not convincing. This is highly problematic for a Bill & Ted flick! I’m certain Keanu was excited to revisit the role and with the original writers on board along with the director of ‘Galaxy Quest’ this should have been an easy slam dunk! I guess Keanu just couldn’t channel the magic, in fact his daughter in the movie is more convincing as Ted than he is.

I also noticed how silent my viewing was in terms of laughs, I chuckled a few times and my friend barely made a damn sound, as we both laughed our way recently through the first two. There were also too many subplots and a flimsy script left for a pretty disjointed rushed adventure. William Sadler however returning as ‘Death’ was the film’s highlight IMO and probably the funniest part of the whole movie. I think Bill & Ted really needed to ham this thing way up, I was certain seeing the older versions of them being as ridiculous as the first two movies would be a real treat of comedic gold. Instead this one felt like some sort of depressing Bill & Ted “drama” that worked hard to undo the major plot points of the first two films. I guess lightning rarely strikes the same place three times. That all being said I’m happy they did it, or at least tried because they certainly didn’t need to but clearly wanted to give it one more spin. I’m still a bit bummed the day after seeing it that my old pals Bill & Ted aren’t quite the same guys I knew and loved, but at least the film tried it’s best to be optimistic in these strange, troubling & uncertain times….