Tagged: 1990’s

VHS Verdict: 1993’s STEPMONSTER Makes Mom a Mutant!!

I’m always excited to use what little power I have on U-Dork to hype up a forgotten gem of movie that warrants a fancy blu ray release and 1993’s Stepmonster is just that kind of flick. With a solid cast featuring Alan Thicke, Ami Dolenz and Corey Feldman (among others) we get a sweet little early 90s, PG-13, cheezed out creature feature! Right up my alley..

 Produced by Fred Olen Ray and Roger Corman you might already have a pretty good idea of what to expect here.  It’s a bit of a coming of age horror flick mixed with monsters and suburban comedy. Pre-teen kid Todd’s mother goes mysteriously missing on a family camping trip and a few months later his Dad (Alan Thicke of COURSE)  has strangely got a new mysterious lady movin’ in who’s soon to be Todd’s new mom. Ummm…TOO soon Alan!

To make matters worse dead bodies start turning up in suburbia and Todd begins to suspect that his mother is some sort of vicious shapeshifting mutant monster that made her way from the forest on their camping trip into their freakin’ family home. Of course no one believes him and he spends his time trying to convince his crush Amy Dolenz & her stoner rocker boyfriend (played by Corey Feldman) of the danger the neighborhood is in. 

That’s the one part of this movie that could have been greatly improved-it needed WAY more Corey!  He comes across here like his Frog Brother persona or better yet like his character from The Burbs. This might as well exist in the same universe as that movie and that’s more than just fine with me. Oh yeah young Todd is also a perv!

 There’s a ton of fun to be had here in this little creepy adventure that feels more like it belongs in the eighties than the nineties to be honest. Some of the humor as well feels a notch or 2 above it’s PG-13 rating, which I guess can be expected judging by the producers sassy reputations. That being said, it’s really got that Amblin “kids in danger” vibe that I love so much, along with the cool creature and special effects that go along with movies of that genre so well. The creature design is also pretty impressive for such a low budget affair and feature some of that classic early nineties face morphing that maybe has an aged so well?

Luckily Stepmonster has its heart mostly in all the right places and pretty much hits all the right beats making it a great double feature aside movies like ‘The Goonies’ or ‘The Gate’.  It also wastes no time, with its lean 86 minute run time, it’s a great party movie that nearly anyone can enjoy, who knows maybe there’s an “R rated cut” of the movie somewhere, I’d love to see the movie get even darker. Nonetheless this is a pretty sweet little family horror flick that’s tailer made for fans of the eighties and early nineties. Stepmonster def deserves a fancy blu ray release with a ton of extras!

 

 

Spider-Man Atari 2600: The Greatest TV Commercial of the 80’s!!!

So today I want everyone to check out the greatest TV commercial of the 1980s: Atari 2600’s Spider-Man’s home video game!! I of course remember this one quite well, back then this shit was cutting edge to the MAX!

Sure it was a good time but what really sold this for me was the wild n’ crazy live action commercial, that featured the Green Goblin in all of his sparky pumpkin bomb glory. Check this out for a little refresher on how to make a totally bad ass TV comnercial! College kids in advertising take NOTE!!

Yeah so what 80s commercial is better? If you got one send it my way. If you’re too young to remember this one and what the actual game looked like then you’re likely in for a shock, things have changed a LOT in video game graphics since ’82! Check out the cutting edge gameplay of the Atari 2600 Spider-man!!

Ok & just for good measure here’s a cool, but not nearly as ambitious commercial for 1994’s Incredible HULK game from Sega Genesis!

This was a ton of fun and I really dig the graphics! I need to revisit this one ASAP!

They reeeeeeally needed a live action Lou Ferrigno HULK appearance to really sell this one! Oh well!!

Comic Cover of the Week: When Wolverine was still Bad Ass!

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been quite a while since I bought any new comic books from Marvel. Every few years I give it an honest shot, but time after time the same thing happens, They only remind me of what I so desperately miss from the eighties. The unique and edgy storytelling that Marvel actually brought to the table. Yeah and I miss when comic books looked and felt like comic books Rather than glossy computer scans on synthetic paper.Today’s cover is yet another example of an artist on top of his game, John Byrne’s cover for ‘Marvel Comics Presents’ #47: Wolverine! His eye for detail was always incredible and this damn cover shows his skill level at its peak! It also shows Wolverine when he was still a mysterious bad ass! There was nothing quite like Wolverine in the 1980s…

Freddy Krueger vs. The Goo Goo Dolls?!!

Hey I gotta admit, I love the old Goo Goo Dolls stuff and what most peeps don’t realize is that they started out as a punk rock band! Yep they had a very different sound in the late 80s and even in the early 90s were essentially an extension of sound to Minneapolis’ pop punk icons The Replacements. What even more people have forgotten is their horror themed music video they pumped out back in 1991 for ‘Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare’!

They indeed appeared on the soundtrack with a song called ‘I’m Awake Now’, this was when they were still brilliantly ripping off Paul Westerberg’s sound and touring with The Replacements on their final tours.

As it turns out The Goo Goo Dolls actually have 3 songs featured on the soundtrack as well as others by Iggy Pop & The Junk Monkeys. 

No wonder why I liked them so much back then they obviously were super down with Fred!

 And then there’s this super awesome fan made Freddy’s Dead video as well, that really highlights the movie’s insanity nice work OCPcommunications (a cool Youtube channel) on putting that together-A sweet little Halloween morsel!

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!

I Was Wrong For So Long: 1994’s ‘THE NEXT KARATE KID’ Kicks Ass!

Ok as a HUGE fan of the first two Karate Kid movies and fan of the third installment for all the wrong reasons, I’ll admit that up until recently I’d never given ‘The Next Karate Kid’ from 1994 a watch or for that matter a fair chance. I’d always wrote it off as some irrelevant, unrelated knock off of the franchise. However, as I’d rewatched some of the first season of Cobra Kai, once again I’d realized just how much I missed Mr. Miagi and how even more awesome the show would have been if he was still with us. I thought what I’d give for just one last adventure with the character.

Then I’d read in an interview with the creators of Cobra Kai that they’d addressed the 1994 sequel as cannon in the series and slightly teased how all of those movies characters are on the table for possible appearances in future seasons of the show. It dawned up me quickly, after all these years there was indeed one last adventure out there with Pat Morita in his legendary role that as a Karate Kid fanatic I’d ignored for all these years. It was finally time to put my snobby Karate Kid purist attitude aside, to see a movie 27 years in waiting!

So I’m here to report that not only is ‘The Next Karate Kid’ a way better film than ‘Karate Kid 3’ but I think it’s imperative that Hillary Swank return to her role as Julie Pierce in Cobra Kai. Clearly she has a story to tell Daniel with her history with Miagi and she also shares his karate style, something that would make for a great plot element in the series. As far as the fourth installment of the Karate Kid franchise goes, it really was so sweet to see Mr. Miagi in this role, in a movie I’d put off for some reason for so long. It felt like a rare treat to see it when I finally did as I was also surprised at how wrong I’d been, the movie was by no means the flimsy carbon copy sequel I’d guessed it was. Nope quite the contrary, Hillary Swank and Pat Morita both kick ass here in a movie that has a true heart of it’s own and explore more into the history of the Miagi character.

We delve into his past as he heads off to Massachusetts  to accept a prestigious award for Japanese American soldiers of WWII & also meets back up with an old friend, Louisa Pierce, the widow of his commanding officer. At Pierce’s home, they catch up on old times, war stories and there he meets his next student, Julie Pierce. The troubled teen is taken under Miagi’s wing and she even finds time to care for an injured hawk at her school. Miagi sees quite early on that she, like Daniel has got some true karate potential and also anger management issues of her own to take care of. She’s also got some problems with some weirdo violent militant Frat boys that need taking care of, something Miagi is happy to help with! The great thing here is that it goes a lot of different directions, we don’t have Daniel’s story for Hillary Swank retold like a “Force Awakens” Karate Kid sequel. Instead she nurses a bird of prey, visits a Buddhist monastery where she befriends a group of charming  monks, learns karate and also finds time to fight an elite group of assholes not in a tournament either but in a real damn bare knuckle brawl!

So yeah, I was wrong The Next Karate Kid is a cool movie that not only adds to the Karate Kid legacy but it also expands the story of the late great Miagi. It’s a sweet 90’s sequel that seriously deserves a second chance from Karate Kid purists and fans of Cobra Kai alike. Let’s face it, if the Netflix show can snag Hillary Swank, who’s an incredible actor to come back as Julie Pierce, they’re going to be utilizing the secret weapon of the franchise. I’m sure we’ll be seeing her in the near future on Cobra Kai but in the meantime I think the fans need to give this little 90’s gem a re-watch. There’s so much fun to be had in The Next Karate Kid and I’m glad I finally saw it almost three decades later for my first viewing! A welcome slice of epic lore that makes the Cobra Kai series missing character, Pat “Mr. Miagi” Morita that much more special and severely missed by all the fans….

Marvel Team Up: Spider-man & Chef Boyardee vs Mysterio?!!

So back in 1996 Spidey teamed up with none other than Chef Boyardee for his signature brand pasta that lead him on one wild and crazy 30 second animated adventure!

I love these old commercials when you had stuff like this on tv! Check this out as Spider-man squares off against his classic nemesis Mysterio to protect his pasta!!

U-Dork Rock: 90’s Alt Pop Punkers DOUGHBOYS + MEGA CITY FOUR Lost Vids!

I rarely ever do music posts here, but every now and again I’ll throw something up that really means something to me. Well today I wanted to share a few videos that recently surfaced from one of my all time favorite nearly forgotten bands, Canada’s own DOUGHBOYS. The Doughboys, who formed in ’86 have been a staple in my teen years right up to today. My best description of them would probably be to call them Canada’s answer to HUSKER DU (except with more focus on vocal harmonies) another of my all time faves. Blending their punk roots with crunchy power pop before the likes of Blink 182 was everyone’s go to idea of what pop punk is. I’d even go as far to say that in the early 90’s they were kinda like what the the classic early Foo Fighters would eventually become.

They also were one of the most entertaining & energetic live bands I’ve ever seen, I often felt bad for any band who had to follow them on a bill and the sheer amount of hair this band had collectively would leave any metal band envious. If you like the sound of what I’m laying out here I recommend checking out their 5 albums, you won’t be disappointed. So back in 1996 these guys released their last album ‘Turn Me On’ and it was one of their best. My old band, Ben Grim, even opened for them once in Green Bay, Wisconsin at the iconic ‘Concert Cafe’ during this period, ah those were the days.

Ok so the one thing that was exciting about this era of the Doughboys was that they replaced their longtime lead guitarist. Normally I’d have been upset by the news, but they chose Darren “Wiz” Brown (RIP), the singer/guitarist of one of my other all time favorite bands, Mega City Four, to keep the band in tact. Mega City Four is basically the British counterpart to bands like Husker DU and the Doughboys & Wiz even co wrote songs with the band. So hearing he’d joined made me and my friends most excited for what they might come up with for their next album. However that sadly was not the case, the Doughboys career didn’t last much longer and to my knowledge they only recorded one song with the Wiz in the line up (unless of course they did some demos?!). Still, he was clearly a Doughboy and was pictured on the album and also in the videos that ‘Turn Me On’ produced.

Yeah there were a couple videos back then that never saw the light of day here in the USA, but now 25 years later they of course surface on Youtube! The damn wonders of the internet, I tell you. So hopefully this post might be seen by other fans of the band. who like me. missed out on them decades ago, it was a big deal for Mega City Four and the Doughboys to merge back in the mid 90’s. For a few minutes upon watching these videos I felt the pressures of the modern day vanish into simpler sweeter times of alternative 90’s rock. Check out ‘I Never Liked You’ one of the band’s best songs from ‘Turn Me On’ that also features the late great Wiz on guitar…

….and another great one ‘Everything and After’ from the same album:

Also some footage I posted from the same era:

 

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!!

 

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….