Category: childhood nostalgia

Comic Cover of the Week: Remembering ROACHMILL!

Back in the 1980’s there were some pretty awesome indie books out there. If you were looking for something different than what the “big two” had to offer there were some unique ones out there, one I was quite intrigued with was ‘Roachmill’! What? You say you never heard of Roachmill? Well this ultra oddball superhero came on the scene in 1986. He was a professional futuristic exterminator, a killer for hire and he was bad to the bone.

He also had two bizarre cockroach arms that extended from his body making it easier for him to kick the living tar outta people and shoot guns a’ plenty . The series was set in New York City during a time when there were hoards of aliens from other planets moving to Earth. Apparently this caused a lot of crime and chaos in the city and they needed badasses like Roachmill to keep humans and aliens alike in line.

This rad indie series was written and drawn by Rich Hedden & Tom McWeeney and had a heroic dose of grit & comedy evenly bound within it’s pages. I’d really like to revisit it soon to see how it holds up in 2017  and being part of my comic book cover of the week posts Roachmill stuck with me all these years as having some totally excellent cover art. In the late 80’s it got picked up by Dark Horse Comics. I totally dig these weird offbeat 80’s series, hey who knows maybe Roachmill will make a return?!

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Blade Runner: The Force Awakens…I Mean 2049!

Wow Blade Runner is officially back with this brand new trailer for the upcoming sequel! I’m really not too sure how I feel about a sequel to Blade Runner which is easily one of my favorite Science Fiction movies ever. It really doesn’t look like Ridley Scott has had much to do with this either which is a shame. Though I did enjoy The Arrival & Prisoners which were both directed by Denis Villeneuve who’s helming this sequel. 

It also though could be the first warning sign that this sequel might not be a real memorable chapter of the Blade Runner mythos. Another thing is the film’s synopsis which sounds like well….The Force Awakens:

“Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.”

It’s become typical that Hollywood is a bit stuck on trying to come up with original ideas, at least this synopsis isn’t the most inspiring. It’s almost like these sequels are just secretly remakes with not a lot in the way of really expanding the stories in new directions. However, this is just a trailer and let’s not forget, we’ve still got Jared Leto to add to the equation. Let me guess though he’s the “Roy Batty” replicant they’ve got to hunt down? I hope he leaves at least his horrible Joker tats and grill in the Suicide Squad!

Seriously though, I don’t wanna hate on this movie too much because it might end up being the next Mad Max: Fury Road which was hands down a modern masterpiece in my opinion. The teaser trailer also looks promising just in the fact that they’re clearly not hiding Harrison Ford in the way they hid Mark Hamill in The Force Awakens. Maybe this will end up the perfect companion to the original movie?

 

Movie Review: ‘Beyond The Gates’ and its Sinister VHS Board Game…

Beyond The Gates‘ is the first feature film from Jackson Stewart, an indie horror movie I’ve been super excited about for a long time. Last night I dropped the seven bones on Google Play to check it out. What originally really excited me about this movie was it’s central focus on a sinister VHS board game from the 1980’s called…you guessed it “Beyond The Gates”. These creepy VHS games were pretty popular back when I was a kid, so of course I automatically dug the nostalgia factor that this one had to offer from the start. I also was quite happy to see Graham Skipper (The Mind’s Eye, Almost Human) as one of the leads and also horror icon Barbara Crampton (From Beyond, Re-animator, We Are Still Here) as the creepy host of the VHS board game. 

This one has a lot going for it from the get go and it’s quite an intriguing little mystery. Long story short, two brothers come to find that their alcoholic father has gone missing leaving behind his business, an old video store that he started back in 1992. Ah yes, the local video store, what great memories I have of those. Well as the brothers meet up to box up video tapes, close shop and reminisce about their childhood they discover the old VHS board game in the office.

Visually this is about as cool as things get in 'Beyond The Gates'

Things get stranger when they realize the VHS tape from the game was the last thing their father had watched before he disappeared. This begins a series of bizarre events as the brothers and one of their girlfriends decide to give the game a try. I don’t want to give away any clues of the story, it’s a pretty engaging movie and a great dramatic story of two brothers finding peace with each other and their past. There’s a lot in this movie that I can relate to personally and that honestly is the strongest aspect of ‘Beyond The Gates’. It’s got a lot of heart.

I did like this movie, however it could have been one of the best horror movies of 2016 if perhaps it had a bit more of an imagination with the horror side of things and hey maybe a bigger budget? The horror aspect of this one kinda let me down. There were a couple of cool scenes that seemed like they were warming us up for a knock out finale. Sadly that knock out never really arrived, in fact the finale seemed like something that we might have expected to see around the half way mark. The movie had a 3 million dollar budget and personally I think they could have stretched it a bit and really given us a more surreal adventurous final act. I’ve seen movies with smaller budgets go a lot further than this. To me it seemed like a good movie that maybe ran out of money near the end of filming. The potential for some truly crazy stylized 80’s horror was definitely there but it lacked the imagination to give fright fans a truly memorable experience.

Overall I liked this movie more as drama and if I’d have known ahead of time that that’s more of what this was I’d be a little less critical of the horror aspect of things. That being said I still give it a thumbs up for a sweet yet creepy story that knows how to pull at your heartstrings. Check it out! 

Comic Cover of the Week: Rob Liefeld Gets It Right – Part 1!

Rob Liefeld has gotten a TON of shit over the years for his highly critiqued artwork filled with bad perspective, highly exaggerated body parts, weird looking feet ect. etc. etc. Yeah we all have seen the criticisms of the guy, who at one point was basically a “rockstar” comic book artist in the 1990’s. I’ve never been a fan of his artwork, in fact a lot of his 90’s stuff (and many other artists from that era) has always made me cringe. Putting all of that aside, the guy had and still does have a ton of people who are big fans of his style. The dude is legendary whether you like it or not, so that leads me to do a little digging and give Liefeld some credit when he does some good work. All of his artwork isn’t all bad right? Well I’m going to use my ‘Comic Book Cover of the Week’ posts to showcase some of, in my opinion, Liefeld’s “hits”.  Here’s a cover by him that I always thought was actually pretty good. I especially like the way Liefeld drew Sabretooth, nice and evil looking in New Mutants #91. Liefeld doesn’t do anything too outrageous here (there may be a missing chin), I think on this one he actually did a pretty decent job. He keeps everyone’s feet nice and hidden as well….What do you think?

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Revisiting: Demon Knight, Dead Calm, Chatting With Billy Zane & V-Force!

I recently decided to watch some classic Billy Zane movies, why you ask? Well a little while ago he filmed a scene for a new movie in my store Hollywood Babylon in Portland, Oregon. Yeah, I was pretty damn excited to arrive at the shop to find out that he was there fully ready to get into character. I actually really like a handful of his movies a lot, but I’d admit it’d been too long since I watched any classic Zane….

First on my list was ‘The Phantom’, which came out twenty years ago. I’ve always thought this was a great comic book movie and dusting off my dvd reinforced just that. Yeah the movie is admittedly totally cheezy but it’s like a superhero version of Indiana Jones: pure pulp, cool sets, great practical effects and a ton of classic action. It apparently didn’t do well at the box office so we never got a sequel, but here Zane shines as a good guy for once. Normally he plays a villain, and always a damn good one so it’s nice here to see him playing the classic comic book icon The Phantom in all of his glory. The movie doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it just delivers a perfect saturday matinee popcorn movie. Give it a watch again, it’s aged quite well. Continue reading

Comic Review: Great Lakes Avengers #1

I’ve been super pumped for the new Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series for quite a while now and this weekend I picked up a stack of new comics and this was one of them. I’ve been a big fan of the team from way back when they were introduced in 1989 for a few reasons. First they were created by the legendary John Byrne, who’s been my favorite comic book artist since I was a kid, second The Great Lakes Avengers are from my home state of Wisconsin (a place where superhero stories rarely take place) and finally I love the pure oddity of these misfit, underdog, d-list characters. I always thought they could be a hit if they were given the proper chance and I STILL think Marvel could make an amazing movie/tv series with this team. So anyway was this debut issue worth the wait for a die hard fan like myself?

I’ve gotta be honest here, I was a bit underwhelmed with issue #1. One reason being perhaps that I recently decided to reread the Dan Slott GLA mini series from 2005, which I think was fantastic. Here we have in 2016 a bit of a more of a lighter playful take on the team rather than the dark comedy that Slott brought us. This new series is obviously trying reeeeaaallly hard to funny and personally I don’t think many of the jokes really land. It can be hard to make pure comedic gold in comic book form and I’ll say I think Slott & Byrne accomplished this more much more solidly. Continue reading

Best of VHS Box Art: Prophecy!!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love monster movies? Well being a huge fan of the creature feature I thought I’d showcase one of my personal favorites. Prophecy from 1979 is a damn good movie that still holds up quite well even in 2016. It’s a monster movie with a message, don’t pollute the rivers cuz if you do you just might end up with a wildly mutated pissed off monster grizzly bear in your forests! Yeah John Frankenheimer does a wonderful job bringing this twister creature feature to life and the box/ poster art is one of my favorites check it:

It really doesn’t get too much better than this as far as awesome cover art goes and also having a movie that’s actually as cool as it’s poster art in this era can at time be a difficult task. As a kid this cover always stuck with me from way back in the video store days. If you haven’t seen this one then make sure this Halloween you track it down, you won’t be disappointed!