Tagged: 1991

VHS Verdict 1991: ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ – Forgotten Monster Noir!

Up until last night I’d never even heard of the HBO movie ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ from 1991, but I was lucky enough to run across a VHS copy of this one recently. It immediately peaked my interest, the box had some quotes on it comparing it to ‘Ghostbusters’ & ‘Roger Rabbit’ with monsters instead of cartoons. Sign me up already! The movies a ton of fun and filled with some sweet totally 80’s style fx work as well as an equally impressive cast. It really perplexed me as to why I’d never even heard of this one as it’s something I would have totally dug back in ’91. Hey I think it’s better sometimes seeing a lost gem from way back in the modern era anyway…it takes me way back…

Anyway this cool movie stars Fred Ward as H.P. Lovecraft (seriously, how have I never heard of this movie?!) a private investigator, who hired to track down the legendary book, the Necronomicon. Lovecraft is one of the only people who’ve chosen not to use magic of any kind making his little quest all that much more difficult to accomplish. It’s a full on 40’s noir, placed in a time when witchcraft has been fully exposed to the general populace and things that go bump in the night are far more common than ever before. We’ve got a  bunch of neat monsters, werewolves & zombies along the way as well as an awesome scene with some pesky gremlins by way of rad old school puppetry. Hell, we even get a random unicorn that enters the equation into this unique little horror noir comedy.

There’s some cool scenes as well that up the movie’s horror factor with some impressive unexpected gore. There’s weird super powered gangsters, voodoo priests and plenty of that classic style animatronic monster mayhem to behold here. It’s also got it’s fair share of comedy though too and it in ways really is a bit like a horror version of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. Director Martin Campell went on to direct more recent stuff like the god awful ‘Green Lantern’ movie and ‘Casino Royale’. Along side Ward is also Julianne Moore, Clancy Brown & David Warner which is a pretty star studded cast for just how relatively forgotten this movie is today.

The movie spawned a sequel as well in 1994 but I haven’t heard to many good things about that one. There’s never been an official DVD release of the movie, but it certainly deserves one. The movie is available to watch on Amazon and a few other online platforms, so if you’re looking for a little lost nostalgia this one’s a cool little forgotten gem of a movie… 

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Forgotten Movie Gems: Operation Scorpio’s Kung Fu Comic Book Artist!

Hot Dayum! Here’s a rad ass kung fu movie I recently checked out that deserves some serious love yet remains all but forgotten by most here in the USA. If you dig comic books and kung fu I say you gotta take a moment to check out…

Operation Scorpio, aka The Scorpion King (1991)

 

This unique Hong Kong kung Fu movie from 1991 is barrel of zany fun. It’s jam packed with some truly stunning action and hyper-crazy early 1990’s Kung Fu mayhem!! This one’s got a ton of heart and a cool ass story about a comic book artist, Yu Shu, who’s got a wild ass imagination and spends his time daydreaming of being a real life superhero. It opens with a great sequence that perfectly sets the stage for the frantic charming martial arts extravaganza. His wild imagination gets the best of him when his ‘in class cartooning’ soon gets him expelled from medical school leaving him to help his Uncle’s buddy, Master Yat around his popular noodle restaurant. But Yu soon finds himself  fully wrapped up in the evil web of a criminal prostitution ring, when going out on a limb, he helps a woman escape from their stronghold late one evening while walking about town. Now the duo are on the run and take shelter hiding out in Master Yat’s noodle house, they’ll eventually find a lot more than noodle’s in his bustling restaurant. 

 

 

Shit gets pretty awesome as the movie constantly introduces us to a colorful cast of unique characters and the villain’s seemingly superhuman fighting abilities inspire our main character to take a stab at kung fu himself. He secretly heads off to local martial arts school that’s taught by one of the most bad ass, muscle bound kung fu experts I’ve ever seen in cinema. This dude rivals Bolo Yueng! The movie plays out a bit like a comic book version of “My Bodyguard” & “The Karate Kid” and it’s filled with comedy, romance and downright incredible martial arts sequences. Sonny, (The Scorpion King), the lanky villain of the movie, shows that size clearly doesn’t matter when it comes to superhuman kung fu and proves himself to be quite a cinematic threat to anyone who stands in his way. His “scorpion” style of fighting is a treat to see in action as well and one of the best action scenes is when Yu’s Hulking kung fu teacher decides to try and put an end to his problems himself. This truly epic and a bit of a heartbreaking confrontation is definitely not to be missed..

 

 

We’ve got a ton of cool shit going on in this one & one of the most entertainingly cheezy sequences of the movie involves the rigorous kung fu training endured by Yu as he masters martial arts through a full on noodle making work out. We’ve got some great twists and turns in the plot as well and just about everything in this movie is quirky enough to elevate this one to a level of it’s own in the ranks of late 80’s early 90’s martial arts movies. Cool sets, ultra colorful characters, superhuman kung fu, heart and unique little story drive this movie into territory I wasn’t even aware existed in the genre. Operation Scorpio, aka ‘The Scorpion King’ is a total treat for any comic book fan and it’s no wonder the flick was produced by the legendary Sammo Hung. It stands on it’s own and really deserves a lot more attention and notoriety for it’s pure charm and ultra endearing cheez factor it delivers. Seek this one out, as it really is a forgotten gem… 

 

 

She-Hulk Was The Original Deadpool!!

Ok so I saw the latest Deadpool flick and though I was never a huge fan of the character (aside from him in the Remender X-Force books which I totally dug) in this case I’ll actually say I think Deadpool works better on the silver screen than in the funny books! Yep, I really quite enjoyed the Deadpool flick, heck I thought this was the first good movie Ryan Reynolds starred in as the lead. It was action packed, well written, never boring, surprisingly funny and was about as over the top as you can get.

It’s also responsible for getting us an upcoming R-rated Wolverine flick by golly, something I’ve hoped for forever. So yeah, nice work for once Hollywood! Anyway I keep reading all these articles about how Deadpool was the first major superhero to “break the fourth wall” in the comics, something many think is the key to his success as he and the audience are “in it together”. Well I got news for you! For those of you who may have forgotten the late 1980’s She-Hulk run from John Byrne you need to bust out the back issues asap! She-Hulk, you betcha was “doing the Deadpool” before he was even created!

Yep back in 1989 The Sensational She-Hulk came out and it was one of the best comic books ever. In fact Dead Pool comedy-wise in the comic books can’t hold a candle to Byrne’s She-Hulk.

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VHS Verdict: ‘Body Parts’ is a Forgotten Classic!

I do so much second hand shopping for my vintage clothing store Hollywood Babylon here in Portland Oregon and one of the best things about it is picking up awesome(or incredibly bad) old VHS tapes which end up for sale in the shop after I get done watching them!

Well one of my most recent viewings was a 1991 flick called Body Parts starring Jeff Fahey and Brad “Chucky” Dourif and let me tell you this one is a great creepy ass little horror flick!

I realize that this one here has pretty much been forgotten for some reason but it’s a well done thrilling and gory tale. It follows Fahey’s character Bill Chrushank as he loses his arm in an auto wreck and is given a chance to receive an arm transplant as a subject of a new experimental procedure.

Sounds like a bargain huh? Well that’s what Bill thinks until his arm begins to have mind of his own turning him into an aggressive dickhead who lashes out at his family! He begins a quest to figure out where this new arm of his came from and comes to find he’s not the only one who’s got recent limb transplants.

Nope he meets Brad Dourif who also got a new arm and has become a successful bizarro painter because of it. Shit gets pretty wild as the recipients of these limbs start winding up dead! This ones got it all, a clever creepy story, decent acting, gore, great fx work, action, car chases and some impressive stunts and some rad explosions! 

A true forgotten and underrated gem of flick with a bit of an X-Files-ish vibe to it, in fact it seems to me that the X-Files may have stolen a bit from this one in the ‘I Want to Believe’ 2008 movie. Anyway hunt this one down it’s worth it!

VHS Verdict: Let the Highway to Hell Take You Back to the 90’s!

 

I recently scored this cool flick from 1991 on VHS- “Highway to Hell” is a ton of fun! This is a great, totally forgotten flick with an incredibly ridiculous plot to keep the party going. It stars Chad Lowe, you guessed it Rob Lowe’s lesser known younger brother as the teenage hero who must rescue his girlfriend Kristy “original Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Swanson from an evil demonic cop who kidnaps her. Where does he take her you may ask? The Highway to Hell duh! Check out the movie poster which for some reason Kristy Swanson decided not to be featured on?! 

Chad Lowe quickly manages to get a rad old classic car from a weird ass gas station owner who just happens to know the the story of the creepy cop and the Highway to Hell-how convenient! He sends him off down the mythic highway in a scene which seriously calls to mind Marty Mcfly in the DeLorean in Back to the Future. Soon Lowe is transported to another dimension where he must venture to find his lost lover and encounter some familiar faces from the early 90’s, most notably Ben Stiller as a crazy diner cook and the sexy vixen rocker Lita Ford! Yeeeeah!

This one’s a cooky adventure filled with a ton of lovably stupid characters, cameos and early 90’s fashion. And some of the best damn hand cuffs in the history of all cinema! Add a goofy climax race scene against the demon cop arranged by Beezlebub himself and you’ve got a sure fire hit for lovers of bad cinema. Don’t take this one too seriously but do watch it with a bunch of friends and plenty of booze!

 

 

The Awesome Lost TV Pilot: ‘Tag Team’ with Rowdy Roddy Piper & Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura!

I recently discovered an awesome little bit of information about a tv show pilot from way back in 1991 called “Tag Team”- an awesome little pilot that for some reason never made it into a full blown series. Tag Team starred Jesse Ventura & Rowdy Roddy Piper as two tag team professional wrestlers who get black mailed into becoming cops. The show brought in the writers from Magnum PI and they aimed high for an A-Team type of show filled with comedy and plenty of action. I was recently listening to the latest “We the People” which is Jesse Ventura’s podcast, where he has Roddy Piper on as his guest and they discuss some of their greatest wrasslin’ memories together. They spend a decent amount of time talking about “Tag Team” and the troubles they ran into getting the show on the air.

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Both of these guys were favorites of mine as a kid and honestly I’m quite surprised that I haven’t heard about this show until just now. Considering that both of them star in some of my favorite movies ever like “Predator” and “They Live” and neither of these two guys appear to be slowing down one bit these days. Piper has his own podcast appropriately called “Piper’s Pit” and has a cool new HP Lovecraft inspired horror flick in the works called “Portal to Hell” which I am dying to see!

Roddy has been praised by his fans as being one of the coolest guys to meet. Ventura has been Governor of Minnesota and most recently has started his own political web series called “Off the Grid” and has been hinting at a Presidential run in 2016 to really shake things up.

 

I’m a big fan of Ventura and his no B.S. political views would be a breath of fresh air, so I’m hoping he runs as Universal Dork will be behind him if he does. Either way the whole lost pilot of Tag Team can be seen right here on Youtube! Check this out it’s a ton of fun~!

 

VHS Score: Richard Grieco Totally Ditches Summer School for Big Time Adventure!

I’ve been picking up a ton of VHS while out on the town doing while doing vintage shopping for my business here in Portland Oregon, that means that I’m watching a ton of awesome old flicks that have been somehow lost in the shuffle for years, at least for me! So the other night I decided to put on an interesting looking one called “If Looks Could Kill” way back from 1991, starring none other than fan fave from 21 Jumpstreet (the original series yo!) Richard “Booker” Grieco! Ol’ Grieco was destined for stardom when he exploded onto Jumpstreet & briefly rivaled Johnny Depp as the series heart throb. So Grieco quickly got some offers to make some movies-some bad and some good in a bad way. This particular film is pretty awesome, directed by William Dear hot off the success of the brilliant “Harry and The Hendersons”.

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What we get here is a great obnoxious teen comedy (which I’m a big fan of, well, since I myself was a teen!) with a heavy dose of James Bond & equal parts Indiana Jones! What’s not to love there?! Dear clearly had a budget for this box office flop and it shows as it rarely skimps on cool set pieces and rather impressive action sequences. The flick was panned by critics, but like me, Roger Ebert got it and awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars. The plot’s simple, Grieco is a high school student flunking out of his french class while too busy boozin’ it up and slackin’ off. Now before I continue I have to ad that Grieco is clearly no teenager, nope- he’s got a serious dark ass five o’clock shadow the entire movie and the body of an olympic athlete, truth be told that in 1991 he was nearly 2y years old, though to me he looks more like 37!

 

Anyway because he flunks French he’s forced to…get this….go France for summer school!! Boo hoo what a life huh? Fail and get a free trip to France? Yeah right!! So that’s where things get crazy, as he’s quickly mistaken for a secret agent bearing the same name as his and begins an adventure of his own! Mistaken identity never felt so good. He’s almost tempted to reveal that he’s simply a high school student until the British Gov’t gives him a Ferrari to roll around in, so then at that point he decides it’s totally like worth playing along! Duh!

This begins a zany chain of events that involves Grieco playing his teenage luck with deadly sexy secret agent ladies, explosive chewing gum, wall walkin’ suction cup LA Gear sneakers, killer scorpions and a dastardly villain with a robotic Terminator style hand. It’s pure camp gold and a entertains with quite an impressive finale with Grieco trapped in an Indiana Jones style deadly villain castle hide out! So if you’re looking for a fun flick to watch with friends and a few beers check this one out-it should have made ol’ Grieco a star like Depp! Oh well!!