Ho ho ho! The Christmas spirit is in the air again and it’s once again time to check out some crazy holiday movies! Last night I watched a pretty ridiculous one to say the least, the final installment of the ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ franchise, part 5: ‘The Toymaker’ from 1991! Now if you’re in the mood for some totally idiotic yet entertaining holiday movie mayhem I’d say this here is definitely worth a watch this year. As with the 4th installment of the ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ franchise, this one has got absolutely zilch to do with the original, clearly a sequel only in name and I’m quite fine with that becuz really now, how many damn movies do we need with a killer in a Santa Suit?
So “The Toymaker” goes a way different direction with a totally absurd plot directed by Martin Kitrosser & co-written by horror icon Brian Yuzna (Night of the Living Dead 3, Bride of Re-Aminator, Society), which finds a little kid whose family is “terrorized” by killer presents..ahem “toys” made by a weird ass old dude toymaker named ‘Joe Petto’ played by the one and only Mickey Rooney! How the hell they got Rooney to do this flick is a bit of a wonder. First he’s clearly got the star power here, though in 1991 he must have been in dire need of acting work and even more bizarre is that Rooney wrote a protest letter against the first Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). Claiming the “scum” who made it should be “run out of town” for having fucked with the sacred holiday. Oddly then six years later he joined the damn franchise!! He must have just loved the damn script so much he couldn’t resist! The world may never know..
Anyway Rooney runs his own creepy toy shop in town called “Petto’s” which is probably the WORST name you could pick for a toy store, oh and he’s got his socially awkward son working the shop too and yeah…..his name is ‘Pino’. I recognized this kid actor Brian Bremer from Pumpkinhead as well as starring in Tobe Hooper’s Spontaneous Combustion & Yuzna’s ‘Society’. So are you catching on here to the brilliance of this story here yet? Well Joe Petto makes toys that kill people and his weirdo son who lives in the dank cellar helps him out and also gets yelled at a lot by Petto after he’s been drinkin’ on the job during shop hours.
The meat of the plot here revolves around Joe Petto’s evil toy’s stalking a single mom and her child for some “unknown reason” right around Christmas. We get some pretty ridiculous bullshit going on here when the toys viciously attack and we even got Screamin’ Mad George (Predator, Nightmare on Elm St. 3) doing his best with the budget on special fx duty. Killer toy army men, toy centipede larva, heck even some killer roller blades! The movie’s filled with crazy ass plot twists too, the kind that are so stupid you can’t help but find idioticlly endearing.
The Toymaker goes for the jugular with a “shocking” finale too, that kinda just has to be seen to be believed as it’s about as stupidly awesome things come. There’s plenty to enjoy here for the holiday as the story somehow operates nicely within the Christmas season. It’s likely the second best installment of the ‘Silent Night’ franchise and the perfect holiday party flick as it’s got a lean, just over 80 minute run time that moves at a nice brisk pace. If you want a full on holiday party flick this one’s got the goods, just make sure you’ve got your sense of humor intact, plenty of weed and boozy egg nog there to wash this one down with…you’ll be needing it!
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…
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…
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.
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!
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!
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.
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~!