The Best of Netflix DVD: Reggie Banister Enters the CEMETERY GATES!!
Reggie Banister of “Phantasm fame” is one of my favorite horror heroes-hands down! The horror franchise is my all time favorite of the genre, Reggie is one of the main reasons why it resonates with me so hard. What I’ve noticed though is Reg really doesn’t take center stage in any other movies I can think of, it’s usually just brief cameos in things like ‘Bubba Ho-tep’ or even ‘Kenny & Company’. Well that’s what I was led to believe but low and behold through the Netflix “red envelope” dvd mailer program (that’s sadly coming to an end soon), I received a movie from queue that’d been sitting there for years! The 2004 (or 2006?) horror flick CEMETERY GATES finally arrived in the mail, I really had quite low expectations and quickly noticed Reggie Banister was appearing, I figured he’d likely be doing another “horror cameo” in a low budget production. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I was pleasantly surprised, Reggie is one of the main characters in this one & better yet even the movie is somehow a total gem-a gore soaked, practical fx creature feature with heart and a heroic dose of humor while also a somewhat intriguing story at play. Yeah I was expecting a steamin’ load of shit and what I got was one of my new favorites of the 2000’s horror movies. It’s filled with a cast of fun characters, many of which are total boneheads, which make this little gnarly flick even more of a blast. It’s the story of an escaped lab animal-a giant mutated Tasmanian devil named “Precious” who goes on a muderous rampage in the countryside when set loose by some numbskull animal rights activists.
The lab Precious came from is owned by……Reggie Banister, a seasoned scientist who’s sad about his son moving out on his own. His son an aspiring horror filmmaker is heading out to the country with his horny numb nut buddies to film a zombie film, little does he know his childhood now mutated “pet” Precious (who was experimented on) is running wild in the vicinity.
Precious though is not the only threat, there’s some horny braindead hillbillies, who look like the perfect lunch for a tasmanian devil, also raising hell. Reggie and his sexy scientist buddy soon discover the missing creature and set out to the countryside to try and track it down before it goes completely bonkers on the local population.
Cemetery Gates has got a lot going for it, Reggie pretty awesome in it and there’s a certain bit of idiotic charm to his relationship with his son AND his son’s relationship with the former lab pet turned mutant. It’s also a load of fun to see all these utterly moronic characters get ripped to shreds by Precious. We’ve got the idiotic hillbillies, some middle aged stoners, Richard Elfman as an insane fisherman, the bonehead amateur actors and a few random hikers that suffer the brunt of the gore. The fun is really had when we see Precious in the flesh on it’s killing spree. She tears limbs, decapitates and rips apart a ton of people all in gloriously gooey practical fx and real onscreen “blood” galore. The creature looks pretty damn good too in that sorta 1980s style monster mayhem.
It’s so absurdly charming looking in the flesh and when the final confrontation goes down with Precious it becomes a “family affair’. Reggie, his son, his girlfriend and Reggie’s hot lab partner go all in on taking down the mutated ‘taz in a dark subterranean lair beneath a cemetery. There’s some real heart here at it’s core that sincerely shines through all of the moronic antics that occur and I really appreciate the entire fiasco.
It to me, hits all the right beats, finally another film essentially featuring Reggie front and center to love. He’s here in all of his hair dyed glory to kick some monster booty once again & who’d have thought it’d be again in the mid 2000’s? There’s some good atmosphere and plenty of mischief for Reggie & co to get into as well. If this thing had been released in the 80s it’d be a bonafide cult classic. I’ve NEVER heard anyone speak a peep about Cemetery Gates, so I’m taking it to my platform to get the damn word out.
It’s the perfect midnight movie to rock with some starving cinemaniacs-they may doubt it’s merit by it’s cover but chances are it’ll quench any gorehounds thirst as well as tickle their funny bone. Cemetery Gates is true 2000’s cult classic in the wings….
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: