1983’s ‘GET CRAZY’: The Number One News Years PARTY Flick!

The big question this year: what the hell are you gonna watch tonight on New Year’s Eve?! If you’re like me and sticking around the house tonight (deciding to steer clear of crazy bars and wild crowded parties) then you’re likely gonna be looking for the best damn New Year’s Eve party flicks out there!

We’re looking no further because 1983’s GET CRAZY is about as good as this shit comes! Exactly 40 years ago the slapstick hormone infused cocktail of musical genius is one party worth attending from the seat of your couch. Best served for a thirsty crowd of cinemaniacs! From the director of ‘Rock n’ Roll High School’, it’s game on for New Year’s Eve when a promoter and his wild crew of one of the coolest underground theaters in town plans the ultimate NYE rock concert.

The only problem is an evil corporation lead by Ed Begly Jr is ready to destroy the entire building with a bomb & a rotten plan to gentrify the neighborhood. Don’t fret though because ‘Get Crazy’ provides some seriously wacky gags but it’s not all “Airplane” or “Naked Gun” slapstick here, there’s some real heart to the story and along the way you can expect to get your socks seriously rocked off in the process. Director Allan Arkush also adds a sweet pedigree of punk rock here to please anyone who’s a die hard of the genre.

With an incredible soundtrack and some fictitious bands who crank out some of the coolest 80s songs you’ve never heard in one of the wildest concert settings ever put to film- There’s just simply no way to be bored here with Get Crazy. If you have the option tonight to run this through your stereo system and crank it, definitely do so, that’s the best way to watch this one-loud and proud!

Starring familiar faces like Lee Ving, Malcom McDowell, Lou Reed, Bill Henderson, the early 80s never felt so vibrant and colorfully drug addled.  Everything in this movie looks wonderful. It’s filled with incredible colorful set pieces and really captures a slice of the wild life during the holiday season in 1982. There’s a great blu ray edition out of this movie by Kino Lorber and you can watch it FREE on Youtube.

Easily one of my favorite movies I’ve watched for the 1st time in 2022. I highly recommend if you’re staying home tonight & love cinema to check this out for sure and crank it up! Happy New Years!

Comic Cover of the Week: Iron Man Gets Seriously Bullied!

I loved the old Marvel Fanfare, back in the day it worked as a unique little anthology book. Featuring some lesser known, as well as big name superheroes in their own little self contained unique adventures. Printed on glossy paper and featuring often times more unconventional stories in the way they were presented. They also of course had some knockout covers, this one, from Marvel Fanfare #22 from 1982 features a  unique moment where we see Doctor Octopus and unlikely villain for Iron Man completely intimidating him with a gang of dangerous supervillains all getting ready to gang up on Tony Stark! I’ve always loved to see comic books where superheroes face off against villains who they might not normally be associated with. This one is a great representation of that as we see Iron Man truly vulnerable, in a deadly situation beautifully illustrated by Ken Steacy in this iconic fold out cover!  Oh how I miss the 1980s…

Bizarre Holiday Viewing from New Zealand: 1981’s The MONSTER’S CHRISTMAS!

OK Are you reeeeeally looking for something to watch that’s truly off the beaten path to this holiday season?! Look no further, the 1981 lost classic ‘The Monster’s Christmas’ all the way from New Zealand will stuff your stocking with some truly bizarre yuletide treats!

 This is a genuine bonafide oddball all the way from New Zealand that sort of feels like a fucked up version of HR Pufnstuf. The monster’s Christmas features some pretty genuinely impressive fully disturbing creatures for a kid’s Christmas special. I mean take a look at this guy hes one of the most frightening things I’ve seen probably in the last decade! 

 That’s “Mr. Nasty” the creepiest henchman of an “evil” witch who is obsessed with exercising, who lives inside of a mountain deep within a beautiful natural cavern. But I guess I’m jumping ahead little too quickly here. Our story starts out on Christmas Eve with the cutest little New Zealander you’ve ever seen, who just happens to be reading a book called ‘The Monster’s Christmas’ to her Teddy bear before bed. If this is a real book, I need to find a copy ASAP!

However it doesn’t take long before she’s awoken by a noise in her living room and instead of finding Santa there’s a giant green cyclops monster with a smokestack on the top of his noggin and some sort of creepy floral oozin’ eye. She agrees to help him out with the evil wicked witch who threatens the monsters world. The little girl quickly decides to go on a bizarre little adventure that ends up being almost like a travel video to some spectacular New Zealand locales that masquerade quite nicely for the monsters world. Only one thing, she’s got to get home by Christmas day!

 This is probably one of my favorite new discoveries especially for Christmas viewing in 2022. Filled with some beautiful locations, a wondrerful main character and even a few charming little songs thrown in for good measure. But let’s be honest here it’s mostly about the freaky ass monsters presented on screen! They’re all pretty awesome and it’s a crime this little holiday special doesn’t have a HUGE cult following. I think it’s ripe for a fancy ass blu ray release – Vinegar Syndrome are you game or WHAT?

Ok so as I mentioned before Mr. Nasty is one creepy character, he’s some sort of strange hybrid of a human, a mole and a bat. He is a truly terrifying creation but he’s completely loyal to the wicked witch, who by the way has her own complete personal gym inside of her cave! And believe me she gets some great use out of it!

She’s quite charming as she spends most of her free time trying to get fit and is dressed to the nines in regal 1980s aerobic garb! Pretty much everything about this little 45 minute feature is utterly bizarre and hits all of the right beats to make something truly obscure that is an absolute must add to your Christmas viewing! I’d say this one’s perfect for the kids although Mr. Nasty, be warned is quite the embodiment of a living breathing nightmare. He sorta steals the show..

If you’re a fan of obscure bizarre yuletide viewing I highly recommend tracking The Monster’s Chtistmas down and watching it this year. I just found a full version of it is available now on YouTube or you can add it to your collection by getting the dvd which I highly recommend. If anyone has an extra copy of the VHS please send me one!  Oh yeah, thank you New Zealand!

 

 

Bizzaro Lost 90’s Christmas Flick: FANTASTIC GAMES is a Holiday Fever Dream!

Are you looking for something truly bizarre to watch this holiday season? Well you’ve definitely come to the right damn place, as I recently ran across a movie from 1998 that takes place on Christmas Eve and is just about as wildly perplexing and insane as they come!

‘Fantastic Games’ is a movie that’s passed through the years almost completely unwatched by anyone, save for a few die hards of weird-o cinema on Letterboxd! Director Alvaro Passeri crafted a cool little practical effects heavy monster flick from 1994 called ‘Creatures from the Abyss‘ AKA ‘Plankton’ that much like ‘Fantastic Games’ has also gone many years oddly without a cult following, it’s a pretty fun stupid little practical fx heavy creature feature that deserves a much wider audience in my opinion.

Fantastic Games (which is only available to watch on YouTube for some reason) revolves around a family during a snowy Christmas Eve trying to take care of their sick daughter. Her father on top of it all is missing, trapped out in the cold winter night somewhere and a weird family “friend” pops in during the snow storm with some clearly ulterior motives.

Her brother insists on reading her a crazy colorfully cosmic adventure story from a strange book that materializes on screen in all of it’s wacky epic glory & barely makes a lick of freakin’ sense. About 15  Minutes into this movie I didn’t know what the flying fuck was going on! However it’s such a delicious visual treat to lay your eyes upon it really doesn’t matter. Basically it involves a teenage girl who flies on a surfboard through space with her dog companion Toby. Sort of mirroring a “Dorothy and Toto” type a trope.

She gets mixed up in some sort of “live action” video game I guess you could refer to it as a “fantastic game” set forth by some weird ornery horned alien villain with a shiny plate glass face who loves to yell at people any chance he gets.

I’m guessing it’s trying to replicate the magic of ‘The Neverending Story’, to intensely up the ante with its cadre of creatures, satanic skeleton filled caverns, creepy puppet faced space wizards and just about any reason to display some sort of fever-dreamlike special fx sequence.

The amount of effort the director must have put in to this truly inventive yet incredibly incoherent little visual feast is really quite ambitious. Viewing this for the 1st time left me scratching my head on just how this strange psychotronic nineties oddity has passed everyone by for so many years without a peep from genre fanatics. 

I’d say this one’s in desperate need of a blu ray restoration and a big modern day cult following. It’s the type of movie you wanna watch with a gang of cinema junkies & plenty of merry drinks during the holidays!  It features more than enough Christmas visuals too to qualify as a bonafide holiday gem.

However it’s easily one of the most perplexing and confusing pieces of cinema I viewed in some time. Get ready to behold some weird shit, like the meek little dog companion Tony extinguish a raging fire in the pits of hell with his own pee! All bets are off on how these two are gonna survive and further to the finish line of the sinister “Fantastic” game. The events that happen in this creepy world also seem to be mirroring the fever of the sick girl and troubling family events on Christmas Eve.

It’s a pretty interesting to watch how this all unfolds- even though it doesn’t make really sense.  Imagine a sort of D-list Terry Gilliam style wacko cinescape that thrives to be bigger and more boisterous visually but plotwise more incohesive while not giving a damn. Director Alvaro Passeri is either a madman or a incredibly underrated visionary waiting for a legion of fans who salivate for something straight out of a nightmare.

Check out his website and you tell me that this guy isn’t perhaps a secret genius: He’s clearly a master of practical effects and an inventor of some of the weirdest shit I’ve seen in a long time, check this out if you doubt me:

Clearly a Renaissance man of bizarre proportions, I see good things on the horizon for Paserri once word finally gets out about his unique secret cinematic achievements and oddball inventions. So this Christmas season why don’t you take a trippy trip into his strange holiday nightmare world of Fantastic Games. You can watch the whole movie right here! 

 

 

 

Comic Cover of the Week: Jim Lee’s BIG Break- Samurai Santa!!

A skilled japanese martial artist masquerading as a department store Santa Clause isn’t what anyone thinks of when thinking of comic book icon Jim Lee. HOWEVER Samurai Santa one shot from 1986 was really his BIG break!

This cool little long forgotten indie comic book is perfect for the Christmas season! Jim Lee was the inker on this one shot holiday themed adventure, which eventually landed him a job with Marvel Comics on Alpha Flight in the late 80s. This is a cool little off the wall Christmas story and a sweet simple one for the season! It might be time to give this one a re-read and hey maybe someone needs to adapt it into a live action movie?!

 

‘VIOLENT NIGHT’: A Killer Santa You Can Really Root For!

As far as modern holiday horror goes there’s a clear over abundance of yuletide garbage out there being mass produced as of the last 10 years. I don’t know what triggered it but it seems every year the floodgates open with a slew of sub par cinematic Christmas sludge. Well this year we’ve got a killer Santa Claus movie, but this time with a Kris Kringle that you can really get behind with some holiday cheer!

From director Tommy Wirkola, who helmed the highly entertaining “Dead Snow” franchise and also the equally enjoyable ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’. ‘Violent Night’ is easily just as fun as his previous films, part Die Hard, part Home Alone with a little bit of Santa’s Slay thrown into the mix for good measure. We get the real deal Santa Claus who’s feeling a bit down on his luck getting thrown into a truly “violent night”. He’s forced to use his unique supernatural yuletide abilities to defend a wealthy family trapped in their mansion from a gang of vicious criminals led by John Leguizamo!

 Santa though has gotta sober up quickly, as he spent most of the evening drinking at a dive bar rather than delivering presents to kids on his “nice” list this Christmas eve. However all the action doesn’t necessarily fall just on Santa’s shoulders, we also have a little girl named Trudy played by Leah Brady who’s hell bent on helping Santa and her family annihilate the greedy criminals as well from inside the mansion.

That’s where the “Home Alone” aspect of this film really takes shape and boy does it deliver some bloody boobie traps! Brady is totally charming in the role and really helps make this little adventure memorable. Like much the director’s previous work this one is equal part comedy as well as action while managing to not let anything slip into a total farce. Yes, there’s plenty of legitimate thrills to be had here and really fun colorful characters that really help drive this film. John Leguizamo shines as the big baddie and it’s been soooo long since I’ve seen him, his presence was truly a welcome addition to the mayhem. David Harbour though steals the show as Santa Claus, I’ve always felt he has a special onscreen charisma and it really continues to shine here in the role. There’s also some pretty neat little twists and turns in the plot, some concerning Santa himself that makes for a uniquely intriguing back story to jolly ol’ elf.

What was most surprising was the inclusion of Beverly D’Angelo (of Christmas Vacation fame), who for the 1st quarter of the movie I was left scratching my head trying to figure out where I’d recognized her from?  It’s been so long since I’ve seen her in anything and she does look quite different these days. It’s quite nice to see some of these actors in a major motion picture this holiday season!

The action sequences are also really well choreographed and filled with some pretty over the top gore, Violent Night definitely doesn’t skimp on the red stuff! There’s a lot to love here and the movie also showcases a fair amount of heartfelt family holiday drama, it’s not simply just another hack and slash. 

I highly recommend seeing this on the big screen and I definithey will be returning to it next year if not maybe one more time in the theater this year! Violent Night is THE wild holiday flick of 2022,  Don’t snooze on this one!

 

INDIANA JONES 5 Trailer’s “Crystal Skull” Style VFX are TROUBLSOME!

So a few days ago we finally got the long awaited ‘Indiana Jones 5’ teaser trailer! Yes the final installment ‘The Dial of Destiny’ will indeed arrive in June of 2023. After the backlash of ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ from 2008 it’s been promised that we’d get a proper legit style Indiana Jones movie finally. Though that promise seems quite thin as the original creative team of Spielberg and George Lucas is nowhere to be seen this time around. It seems if I’m being honest with myself that Disney is now again going to give us, like they did with Star Wars, more of their bloated big budget fan fiction!

 I really don’t wanna be so negative here when it comes to sequels these days of beloved eighties franchises, but after watching this trailer a few times I’m quite worried. As I browsed YouTube for fan reactions it seems that I’m surely in the minority here. Almost everyone who viewed it seems to think that this looks like legit old school Indy. It makes me wonder if we were watching the same damn trailer? Now I’m not gonna say that it wasn’t a blast seeing and hearing Sallah again, of course I do wonder just how much he’s actually in the movie and if they’ve decided to not feature Ke Huy Kwan, aka “Shortround” then in my opinion this movie’s already made a major misstep for that alone. I’m willing to not jump to any major conclusions so far as it’s just a 2 minute trailer right?!

What I can say without a shadow of a doubt though is that the visual FX work here is borrowing heavily from the “Crystal Skull” playbook. Over the years I’ve grown to warm up to that movie (though deep down in my heart I know how truly disappointing it was), though it took some time and leniency, I was certain that director James Mangold was going to really do it justice giving us something that felt grounded in the reality of the original’s practical effects, locales and real sets. I’ve always felt that last installment really suffered from the clear overuse of wretched CGI and in my opinion it has no place anywhere near an Indiana Jones film. So I’m quite surprised that’s this new trailer relies so heavily on sub par computer graphics and obvious green screening.

What the hell are they thinking over there at Disney? The only real criticism I’ve seen are from YouTubers are from the legions of whom are obsessed with reporting and whining about “woke” elements being in Disney properties. They seem to be very triggered about Indiana Jones having a female sidekick here. These people in my opinion are just as irritating as the ones on the opposite side of the spectrum. None of them seem to have any real criticism about what’s being displayed so far on screen visually. So many of these scenes in the trailer look out of place, like him running on top of a train, riding on a damn horse and even the underwater skull and eels all look pretty cheaply rendered by digital technology. And those are only a few instances of the many questionable moments in the trailer. Even him jumping from one car to another looks like some sort of bad blurry CGI. What gives here? Is Hollywood completely uncapable of doing anything on set anymore?

The final Indiana Jones movie jam packed with sub par CGI again after all of the complaining about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Who the hell is greenlighting all of this shit? I often wonder is this just a cost issue? A corporation that has billions of dollars can’t afford to film on real sets with real actors with real practical effects and stunt work?  I’ve got a real bad feeling about this one…and we haven’t even gotten to the story yet.

 I’m also at this point getting a little tired of the whole de-aging deep fake techniques  that apparently are all the rage still. I would have much rather preferred Anthony Ingruber appearing in the role of a young Indiana Jones than some computer generated Harrison Ford mumbo jumbo face faking.

I would’ve surely preferred River Phoenix to have appeared as the younger version again if he’d still been alive. I’m really hoping this trend doesn’t replace the real actors portraying younger versions of a character.  I find all of this very troubling and at the very least was hoping for one last hurrah in the Indiana Jones universe that felt somewhat on the same level as the original trilogy. But I do understand how misguided Hollywood really is and for me to really expect anything different in this day and age is just a pipe dream, that keeps reaccurring over and over.. I’m really hoping that I’m proven wrong and I’m going to go in to this final installment as indifferent and neutral as possible, but hey if I’m gonna be honest so far this looks like a possible flamin’ turd in the making!

 

 

 

 

‘MANDY’ Director Finally Returns With More WTF Horror in ‘THE VIEWING’!

I’ve been waiting quite some time for Panos Cosmatos to follow up his dark epic adventure film ‘Mandy’ & to my surprise he did so late October. I guess I’m late to the damn party on it as I really don’t watch much streaming content on Netflix anymore, for me personally most of the stuff on the platform just doesn’t cut it. Most of it feels like factory filmmaking, but I was pleasantly surprised to check out Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ there and come to find an episode of his new horror anthology called ‘The Viewing’ fresh from the director of ‘Mandy’ and ‘Black Rainbow’!!

 I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure just what to expect but this bizarre episode packs a punch with its finale and along the way manages to blend in some great humor and the cast of interesting characters to keep this mysterious story moving quickly with intrigue. It’s an interesting plot too, taking place in 1979, with icon Peter Weller (Robocop) playing an elusive billionaire who invites several TV personalities to his bizarre mansion for a “viewing” of something seemingly otherworldly.

Cosmatos constructs a genuinely humorous character study as the drug fueled gathering slowly transitions into utter chaos by its end. I really enjoyed this episode, it definitely had the signature “Panos” feel to it, at least visually and sonically. It really has that same dreamlike quality as his previous two features and the score again here with The Viewing is something I’d definitely listen too in my spare time.

It’s rich atmosphere is full of color and visually abstract in all the best weirdest ways possible. I was a bit surprised with the humorous tone presented, which sticks around right till the very end, leading me to be extra curious about what his next film ‘Nekrokosm’ might bring to the table. Take note though, it’s not all fun and games, when the shit finally does hit the fan (which does sorta take a little longer than I’d hoped) we’re treated to some legit WTF moments of monster mayhem and headscratching horror in the way Panos most definitely excels at.

The FX here too are quite impressive, as I’d hoped and kinda expected them to be. It’s clear that The Viewing rises above the rest of the flock as a all too welcome walk into the mind of one of the genres most creative visionaries. I can WAIT to feast my eyes and mind upon his next full feature film…if you dug ‘Mandy’ go check this shit out!

Stephen King Presents: William Hurt vs Pissed Off Toy Soldiers!

I just checked out a crazy fun episode of the 2006 Stephen King series ‘Nightmares and Dreamscapes”.The very first episode “Battleground” is a blast, LITERALLY!  It seems this series went under the radar of most horror fans, probably because the rest of the episodes are pretty mediocre  adaptations of some of Stephen King’s short stories of the same name. 

Battleground starring William Hurt though is quite the exception to say the least. Directed by Brian Henson (son of Jim Henson) it of course features some pretty SPECIAL fx work. The premise of the story makes perfect sense to for Henson to be at the helm here and this almost demented “Small Soldiers” style story is a sweet little bloody brawl that’s enthralling to watch unfold.

William Hurt (R.I.P. who doesn’t speak a word in the entire episode) plays a cunning hitman who’s hired to take out the brainy CEO of a prominent toy corporation. It seems like a slam, dunk easy job and he heads home to his lavish high rise apartment after doing the dirty little deed. However it doesn’t take long for strange things to begin happening when he receives a mysterious package delivered to him. 

Come to find out it’s filled with a shit load of toy soldiers as well as toy army tanks, planes, helicopters and jeeps. He doesn’t think much of it until he is viciously attacked as the toys aggressively come to life with one goal: to destroy this giant assassin!

What transpires is a pretty intense and bloody battle between a full grown assassin and a vicious toy battalion in Hurt’s fancy highrise and it’s one helluva spectacle. It even harkens back to such classics as the Trilogy of Terror’s Zuni fetish warrior doll and the classic King horror anthology, Cat’s Eye! 

 Brian Henson also does sn excellent job here directing, creating truly tense thrills and some really inventive special effects using very minimal CGI and mostly real human beings to create some truly stunning action sequences with the toys. There’s a great little special effects featurette on the DVD that shows how he brought this gruesome little minature war to life.

Hurt also does a really great job as the silent assassin, who relies on all of his expertise to try and survive the encounter. You really get a sense that he has finally met his match, wasting no time trying to figure out why or how this is happening and just simply focuses on how to exterminate the enemy. I highly recommend checking this wildly unique little episode down as it certainly packs a wallop!  Thankfully someone has posted it right on YouTube:

 

 

 

Halloween Comic Cover of the Day: Jack-O-Lantern Attacks!

When we think of Marvel Comics’ most Halloween themed characters normally The Green Goblin or The Hobgoblin come to mind first. However there’s one villain who takes the cake as the most Halloween themed character in all of the Marvel’s history: Jack-O-Lantern!

This character might be a bit of a rip off of The Green Goblin but I’ve always thought he was pretty cool looking, pretty bad ass and a bit underutilized as a villain. Oddly enough he 1st appeared in Machine Man #19 from 1981, the same year as the Spider-man issue showcased above.

 

Obviously Jack-O is the perfect villain for the Halloween season!  He’s battled a lot of A-listers like like Captain America, as you can see right here hes got some spooky skills to show off.

He definitely deserves some love today and though I could go on and give you his entire back story why not just take a look at this awesome little entry in the Marvel Universe Official Handbook from way back in the day for the scoop on this weirdo!