Category: Epic Battles

Comic Cover of the Week: HULK Immortalized by Alex Ross!

I’m a HUGE Hulk fan, but I’ll admit I don’t really ready many new comic books anymore, especially stuff by Marvel. I’ve been told by friends that I need to really get into The Immortal Hulk, I’ve read the first trade and found it to be pretty good. However in the landscape of sooooo much media to consume I was just not blown away enough to continue reading. Who knows though, maybe some day? Whatever the case I have seen many of the series brilliant covers and now as it comes to an end with issue #50 I’ve spotted one of my favorites: a brilliant one by none other than Alex Ross! This is easily one of the most epic covers I’ve seen in recent years that features the Jade Giant and his co-stars in ALL of their glory! Continue reading

A RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT: Is Bill Burr Secretly Michael Moriarty’s SON?!

I have a new favorite vampire flick: Return to Salem’s Lot!  It’s surely no secret that Larry Cohen has made some amazing movies, ‘The Stuff’, ‘Q The Winged Serpent’, ‘God Told Me Too’ & ‘It’s Alive’  are considered among his best. However, recently I viewed his 1990 totally underrated & under-seen gem ‘The Ambulance’. It luckily inspired me to go back to check out some of his movies I might have missed out on and the sequel to ‘Salem’s Lot’ from 1987 is in my opinion is one of the best vampire movies of that decade! What took me so long to finally see it?!  The only thing I can think of is that is that I’d watched the Tobe Hooper ‘Salem’s Lot’ Mini series from ’79 and found it good but also a bit slow moving.  I simply figured for so long long that the sequel was yet just another mediocre TV mini series, well that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

So yet again Larry Cohen is at the top of his game in an incredibly colorful tale of ravenous small town bloodsuckers, jam packed with witty dialog, sweet 1980s special effects and of course some totally memorable heroes to cheer for as well as vampirous villains to hate! Michael Moriarty like in The Stuff, leads the cast, and after watching both of these movies basically back-to-back I came to a startling conclusion. Is it possible Michael Moriarty Is actually Bill Burr’s dad?! 

The similarities are stunning! Am I the only person who’s ever thought of this? They look like father and son to me & even speak and sound like the blood relatives! Throughout the movie I couldn’t help but picture Burr  in the role speaking all of the lines, in fact, even though I’m normally against remakes, if they ever do one I would love to see Burr in the role.

Hey next time YOU watch either The Stuff or Return to Salem’s Lot, make sure to  Keep this in mind and you tell me if I’m crazy. I think the similarities are at the very least quite hilarious.

 OK so now that I got that off my chest, I wanna at least mention how awesome the foul mouthed teen son played by Ricky Addison was, only to be rivaled by the potty mouthed pre-teen kid in the 1989 wildly unseen gem ‘The Laughing Dead’! He’s also got some great Corey Haim/Don Johnson-esque “Miami Vice” style as well, this kid is quite the spectacle I’d say.

But that’s not all, the movie’s secret weapon is the old but surprisingly spry, Jewish, Nazi hunter played by Samuel Fuller. He joins the gang, setting his sights on the wicked undead inhabitants of Salem’s Lot! He’s a cool classic horror hero that quite frankly needs a lot more love and that’s one thing Cohen really excels at is bringing memorable characters to the big screen.

Yes there is plenty to love here for eighties horror fanatics, A wildly unpredictable albeit ridiculous plot, a sweet spooky setting and some awesome vamps! Don’t believe me check this dude out!

The kind of vampires who don’t just sport the fake teeth, nope we get some bonafide monster vamps with animatronic faces to amp up the mayhem. I’m not sure what took me so long to finally check this out but I’m glad I did as it’s now become one of my favorites standing above most vampire movies of the 1980s. But most impressively featuring Bill Burr’s father?! Hey you never know right? I got it on a sweet blu ray via Shout Factory that looks beautifully bloody!

Unpublished HULK #300 Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz!

Of Course by now you’ve all realized how much I love the iconic artwork of master Bill Sienkiewicz! Well here’s a little treat, an unpublished cover for the Incredible Hulk #300 from 1984 that he did. The truly epic artwork for a legendary issue that pitted a seemingly mindless Hulk up against some of Marvel’s greatest heroes hell bent on ridding the world once and for all of the monster. Instead though Doctor Strange sends The Hulk into an alternate universe called the “Crossroads” for a truly unforgettable chapter in chapter in The Green Goliath’s history. Check out Bill’s cover:

The original cover by Bret Blevins is equally impressive, but this unfortunately was a time before Marvel cover variants we put out there for fans, Damn how Bill’s cover would have also been perfect…here’s the original: 

 

 

Billy Blanks Channels Mr. Miyagi in the Rad 90’s Karate Kid Rip Off: SHOWDOWN!

Hot damn! How I love me some motherfreakin’ Karate Kid and Cobra Kai! I’ll even openly admit that I love 1994’s ‘The Next Karate Kid’ as well, something I recently watched for the first time after writing it off for sooo many years as some lame soft remake of the original. So while waiting for Cobra Kai season 4 to drop I needed something in the same vein that could tickle my Karate Kid fancy, enter 1993’s big time radical ripoff: Showdown!!

This sweet high-school martial arts action/drama hybrid flick hits all the same beats basically as Karate Kid but with more ridiculous & extreme circumstances around every corner! I guess it exists in the same idiotic type of narrative as Karate Kid Part 3, which is A-ok with me. Story wise I won’t waste your time here it’s pretty much the exact basic premise of the original karate kid except with Billy Blanks being being a janitor of a high school, taking the role of the Miagi mentor type character. It’s also worth noting that the high schoolers here, especially our hero and and his douchey “Johnny Lawrence” style opponent appear to be pushing 40!

We get a mega ridiculous “love” triangle type of thing going on as well that’s far less believable and unromantic than anything in the Karate Kid. Also the villanous karate dojo here is focused around a violent unregulated illegal death matches rather than you’re all Valley karate tournament! Oh yeah and they also have an older sultry seductress working within their ranks who tries to use her feminine charms to seduce high school karate kids and lead them down a sexy path to defeat!

I guess that’s why they needed to up the ante with the inclusion of major bad-ass Billy Blanks doing what he does best in this movie: kicking major highschooler ass.

Jam packed with a ton of ridiculously stupid dialogue And idiotically charming characters, Showdown most definitely makes for a highly entertaining watch for die hard fans of the Karate Kid franchise.

MVD’s “Rewind Collection” released this bad boy on a sweet blu ray with a ton of excellent bonus features!

Check this out in the meantime to get your fix while we all wait patiently wait for Cobra Kai Season 4!

MOVIE MELT: The Best Worst 90s Irish Kung Fu Cinematic Bonanza!

U-Dork teams up again with the Movie Melt podcast to cover 1997’s moronicly bad ass Irish martial arts flick: Fatal Deviation!

Oh Yeah! We lost some serious brain cells here as a 19 year old Van Damme obsessed filmmaker puts himself in the lead role to constantly lose his temper and kick trailer park gangster ass!

Yes another vanity project that would make Tommy Wiseau jealous jam packed with patheticly enjoyable “acting”, mindnumbing ^plot” twists and some impressive indie ass kickin’ kung fu! Take a listen here for a ton of debatably useless cinematic info to get your mind off the stresses of the damn daily grind! Fatal Deviation is a movie that will surely bring a smile to your face if you’re feeling blue!  Check out the new episode right HERE!

IRON MAIDEN Returns With Animated Metal Mayhem!

Legendary epic power metal band Iron Maiden has just dropped a brand new god damn song called ‘The Writing on the Wall’ which is accompanied by a brand new fully animated video that channels the cult classic style of the 1980’s movie ‘Heavy Metal’!

This 7 and a 1/2 minute long fully animated music video showcases a post apocalyptic distopian future with warring global factions hellbent on  ending all civilization. It also features plenty of action, cyborgs, monsters and ghostly motorcycle riding wraiths. All with a soundtrack by the epic band. It also features their mascot Eddie in a battle to the death against the evil forces that plague the planet!  At this point we can only speculate and hope that a new album is right around the corner- Maiden fans rejoice! 

Movie Review: THE LAUGHING DEAD is a Cheezy Ball of Top Notch 80’s Horror!

So if you’re like me, feeling a little blue these days and looking for some solace in cinema to pick you up, I recommend checking out this gory, gooey, giant ball of cheesy 80’s horror goodness, 1989’s ‘The Laughing Dead’ a whirl. I’m always out searching the Golden Era of horror for forgotten gems, and have had plenty of misses throughout the years- but this offering from the Thailand born S.P. Somtow pretty much brings everything that I love about the genre and mashes it into one big package. Somtow’s debut film, which he also wrote, directed, scored and executive-produced is an ambitious project from someone who was first and foremost known for several standout horror novels during the 1980s and 90s. I guess this’d be his ‘Maximum Overdrive’ (Stephen King’s first shot behind the camera).

So he finally took a stab at filmmaking here with the Laughing dead and though the movie was panned way back when, I think it’s time that it finally gets the respect it deserves. The plot is quite a doosie: Father O’Sullivan is a Catholic priest who has recently lost his faith and has arranged a bus trip to the Mayan ruins of Mexico, bringing along a cast of truly hilarious characters for the adventure. However lurking around the ruins is an evil doctor who seeks to transform himself into the Mayan Lord of Death by kidnapping innocent children & ripping out their hearts. Yeah the guy is one evil son of a bitch with major ass maniacal plans for himself and the unsuspecting locals.

Well Father O’Sullivan leaves Tucson, AZ in a cool beat up tour bus and picks up a sweet cast of characters including hilarious new age couple and most importantly an ex-nun whom he had a most scandalous affair with. Oh yeah and her and his unsuspecting son, who’s got the most incredibly filthy mouth you’ve EVER heard on a kid! This kid’s droppin’ f-bombs like nobody’s fucking business making it quite clear from the start that the tone here isn’t to be taken too incredibly serious. Yeah I really enjoyed the characters in this one, the new age couple are a great addition, as I’ve never seen characters quite like this in a horror flick that work so well. They bicker and argue but also dabble with fancy ass crystals and weird-ass meditation techniques and actually add something to the story. Charming characters can make a super low budget movie legit and it’s got some pretty charming ones at it’s heart to root for.

Another thing that’s great about it is every damn thing that’s jam packed into this sweet little production. Firstly the unique plot and setting in 80’s Mexico separates this one from the usual genre fare of the time and when the shit begins to hit the fan you’re definitely in for a spooky unpredictable treat. Exorcisms, zombies, gore, mystical magic and radically cheezy monsters are all on the table here. There’s even a beheading scene that sends said head flying straight into a basketball hoop mid game! Though the tone is quite playful, it for the most part plays the horror and weird ass plot points pretty straight and even manages to give all the characters their moments to shine, at least those who make it out alive! If you dig something like ‘Evil Dead 2’ or say ‘Re-animator’ you’re bound to be charmed by the Laughing dead and all the ridiculous scenarios sprinkled throughout.

They also pull out a trove of sweet 80’s practical fx too, throw it on the wall and most of it sticks. So there’s lot’s of eye candy to behold as well as some great attempts at drama. Nope it’s not all just monster nonsense either, I love how Sumtow manages to give the movie some real heart, even if it’s done with some seriously subpar acting skills, it’s just a giant ball of cheezy fun that hit’s all the right beats and imo has all the right moves. It was never officially released in the USA so I really hope that someone like Vinegar Syndrome or Arrow pick this little comedic horror gem up and give it a proper release. It desperately needs one. The director’s career pretty much ends right here but damn I wish he’d have given it another shot behind the freakin’ camera. I found a decent copy of it on dvd on Ebay or it’s also up on Youtube but it doesn’t look quite as good. Check it out if Covid’s got you down, by the time the movie ends you’re bound to have a smile on your face if you like 80’s cheez as much as I do.  

THE MAGIC CRYSTAL: Hong Kong’s Killer 1986 Cynthia Rothrock Kung Fu Sci-Fi Adventure!

So you’re in the mood for an ass kickin’, science fiction, martial arts packed 80’s adventure? Look no further, ‘The Magic Crystal’ from 1986 delivers the damn goods and THEN some!! It also delivers the iconic action star Cynthia Rothrock in one of her earliest roles doing what she does best, throwing the  beat down on the wise guys. This Hong Kong production filmed largely in Greece, has some truly stunning locations and makes good damn use of them, following a stylin’ cool guy mercenary (Andy Lau) who’s hot on the trail of an alien artifact, you guessed it, a magic crystal. This green crystal which actually looks more like a glowing green glob also houses an alien within it shimmering surface. 

Of course there’s an evil mastermind named Karov (Richard Norton), who’s also head of the KGB and also full on martial arts maestro who’s dead set on acquiring the magic crystal for his own villainous plans. This huge dude is so bad ass it almost always requires at least two kung fu masters to take him on and even then he usually ends up on top. He also wears some awesome evil black studded outfits while he does his sinister business and is just a plain awesome bad guy here.

Andy Lau soon meets up with a small cast of colorful allies, Cynthia Rothrock being one of them, who help him on his pursuit for the alien artifact. Luckily for the mysterious crystal it ends up in the hands of a little boy who quickly discovers what’s actually inside of it. From here the movie goes in another different direction as the kid forms a bond with the alien and we end up with a sorta E.T. type of thing going down. Yeah the crystal even grows a creepy glowing finger and shares some of it’s “ancient wisdom” and “power” with the kid leading them on a bit of an adventure of their own.

The whole movie is simply a delight to behold. With it’s fun sets, beautiful greek isle locations, endearing characters, pulpy villains and that oh so sweet era of the mid 1980’s for it’s ambitious story to take place in. The action is top notch as well and though the movie is jam packed with bone breaking stunts and martial arts it’s definitely not simply just a kung fu flick. In fact the final third of the movie plays out more like an Indiana Jones adventure as our band of heroes delve deep into trap filled caverns and tunnel slides for our characters to glide down to more even more danger.

It actually kinda feels like this flick might have been where Spielberg got his idea for ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’! Hey you never right? There’s so much fun here to be had, the classic 80’s fx in play and a ridiculous paper mache alien that could have used a bit more work still come off as charming. Cynthia is also right on top of her game here as well and it’s fucking awesome to see her in some of these Hong Kong productions where she looks right at home in their frenetic bone breaking action sequences. The kind that US productions never could seem to replicate but never stopped trying. I checked the movie out on Blu Ray, though it sadly wasn’t an official release (it desperately needs one!), you can watch the English Dub on Youtube and get the scoop about the flick from Cynthia herself right here below,   

 

Why Mark Hamill MUST Appear as Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian!!

Mark Hamill surely got the short end of the stick in Disney’s lackluster and uninspiring “sequel” trilogy. All hope was lost to ever see the iconic actor appear again as the iconic hero in Star Wars ever again….then along came The Mandalorian season 2, episode 5!! With Baby Yoda (or ‘Grogu’) now on his way to an ancient Jedi planet called Tython (to call out to the force in hopes of a Jedi sensing him), we’re now closer than ever to a possible Luke Skywalker return to Star wars! And not Jake Skywalker this time!

Videos all over YouTube are speculating about this, but instead of Mark Hamill reprising the role they’re for some odd reason overeager about shoehorning Sebastian Stan into the iconic role as quickly as possible. Um…Ok, I know there’s been talk on the internet about him someday portraying a younger Luke Skywalker but maybe these peeps fail to remember ‘Captain Marvel’ where they perfectly de-aged Samuel L Jackson?! Hello everyone? Why are you all so damn quick so quick to “Alden Ehrenreichthe hell out of Luke Skywalker?!! Jon Favreau and his crew would have to be crazy to NOT utilize the same technology for Mark Hamill and Luke Skywalker! Hell, they even did it already in the ‘Rise of Skywalker’. We’ve got a living breathing Mark Hamill ( Yeah the REAL Luke) here and all these Youtube nerds can think about is giving up his role to Bucky?!

I think if we’re going to do this shit for real in the Mandalorian with Luke Skywalker and most likely have it a one-off episode or two why the hell not get Hamill back in the role for one last hurrah? IMO this would be the perfect “redemption” for Mark AND for Luke Skywalker. Sure it won’t fix everything that the “sequel” trilogy destroyed about his character but at least it’ll give us what we’d all been waiting for, for over 30 plus years. Speaking of Samuel L. Jackson, just to make it that much more unforgettable, how about Luke AND Mace Windu both show up to meet Baby Yoda? How incredible would that be? And while they’re at it, give us an epic battle for the season 2 finale where we really, truly get to see Luke Skywalker in all of his Jedi glory one last time? This whole Sebastian Stan thing can be done a couple years from now, so guys get off your high horses here, fans want the real deal, meaning we want Hamill in the role at least here and now. He deserves it more than anyone after the abomination of the “sequel” trilogy. Putting Sebastian Stan in the role is not going to take away that yucky feeling we all had from ‘The Last Jedi’.

If Star Wars fans truly want to heal, this would be the best remedy to correct the wrongs of the “sequels”. At the end of the day, as much as they all want Sebastian Stan to be Luke, I can guarantee that Jon Favreau, as the true fan that he is, knows for sure: if he’s going to put Luke in his damn series he’s going to give Mark a call! Bet On It! However I wonder if all of this talk of Luke Skywalker and some famous Jedi appearing might all just be hype? And what’s with all this shit talk about some random Jedi dude from a Star Wars video game appearing to take Baby Yoda? Who’s going to think that’s bad ass? We’ll see, but I’m going to say it here, don’t think baby Yoda is going to leave with any Jedi, we heard it was his choice to choose this path. My bet is that he chooses to stay with the Mandalorian! What do you think? Give me one reason why they shouldn’t just de-age Hamill in the same way they did Sam Jackson!

Charlie Brown & The Peanuts Take on John Carpenter’s THE THING?!!

As if 2020 couldn’t get any weirder!!! Charlie Brown & The Peanuts have come face to face with their greatest threat this winter! Snoopy has been replicated into an alien monstrosity ala John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’! Oh the horror Charlie Brown!!!