Comic Cover of the Week: Barry Windsor Smith’s EPIC Machine Man!!
I recently pulled out my old ‘Machine Man’ limited series from 1984, some thing I do pretty regularly because it’s just that damn awesome. The series brings Machine Man into the future of 2020 where he faces off with the evil Arno Stark, the next Iron Man! The thing that sets this series apart from a lot of the stuff back then is the fact that Barry Windsor Smith showcases how much of a bad ass he is with his stunning artwork on not only the cover but the inside as well. The series of 4 covers is pretty amazing as it shows his circuitry transforming him into his original form. Here’s issue #3:
They reissued the series again a decade later and then issued a trade paperback with yet another amazing cover by Barry!!
Movie Melt Podcast: ‘FIGHT OF FURY’ is like if ‘THE ROOM’ was an Action Flick!
So if you thought Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’ was the most ridiculous modern cinematic experience, then I’ve got new for you! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet until you’ve seen Shuny Bee’s outrageous 2020’s vanity project ‘Fight of Fury’! Universal Dork returned to the Movie Melt podcast to get into the nitty gritty of it all!
Check this episode out as we get the full details on ‘Fight of Fury’ director Shuny Bee’s epic unintentionally hilarious action flick that in my opinion ups the ante on some of the most ridiculous filmmaking/acting I’ve ever seen. It’s been quite a while since I’ve laughed this hard during a movie with characters, dialogue and action sequences that really just need to be seen to be fucking believed. You think I’m joking? Well check this out and tell me what you think!
Listen to the full MOVIE MELT podcast HERE where we cover this modern cult classic and so much more in the world of bizarre cinema!! This one needs way more eyes on it!
LOVE AND MONSTERS: A Sweet Escape from Reality into the Monsterpocalypse?!
One of the sweetest, feel good movies in recent memory, ‘Love & Monsters’ came as a totally welcome surprise! And that’s all being said as someone who’s normally pretty tough on newer horror/fantasy/sci fi movies. Love & Monsters which came out last year may not have the most original plot but it more than makes up for any shortcomings with its impressive special effects and it’s truly heartwarming adventure. I guess I’d at first glance describe this as having somewhat of a “Zombieland” type of a thing going on and it might be easily dismissed as just some wimpy copycat. On the contrary, Love and Monsters buries ‘Zombieland’ (and especially the sequel), with what I think are just plain more likable characters who embark a much more compelling and colorful adventure in general.
Roughly seven years after the Earth was subjected to a mysterious monster invasion, the rather cowardly Joel Dawson has been living underground with a small pod of people trying to avoid what lurks above. He spends his time reconnecting over the radio with his high school girlfriend, Aimee, whom he was separated from when the tragedy hit and also cooking his signature soup for his crew. When the feelings of isolation and cabin fever finally get the best him he decides to muster up the courage to head to the world above. Seeking to finally reunite with his lost love who resides 80 miles away at a coastal colony, as he surmises that there’s nothing really left for him underground anymore. As he heads out alone he soon realizes he’s hardly prepared for the dangers all around him in the outside world. Mutant monsters are hungry and lurking around nearly every corner.
One of the high points here is the inclusion of charming canine character named “Boy”. Lifting a bit from ‘A Boy and his Dog’ (minus the weird sex plot) in a much sweeter way, we get the best of both world’s here for this little apocalyptic adventure. ‘Boy’ proves to be the show stealer here imo and his bond with Joel makes dealing with the dangers a bit less frightening, all things considered. The two make an excellent team against the creatures and it’s clear that they both need each other more than they likely ever realized for piece of mind in a crazy world. He also meets a few other interesting characters, a pair of wandering scavengers, Michael Rooker along with the ruff and tumble little girl named ‘Minnow’. Joel soon learns the tricks of the trade from them and has to make a big decision on the outcome of his journey. One of the best scenes involves a strange AI intelligence, who brings even more unexpected meaning to his travels.
The whole thing is a great exercise in escapism during these real life uncertain times we all face at the moment. It also shows just how important real human (and animal) connections will hopefully always be to us here on the planet as we move forward. As we’re feeling isolated to certain degrees currently, Love and Monsters showcases some parallels to the current state of affairs. I guess we can all at least be relieved that big mutant monsters aren’t waiting to chomp us to bit when we head outside at least?
Let me get to the monsters here as well, I was half expecting some sort of chintzy fx work here to spoil the damn party. Not the case, the creatures here though mostly CGI are a treat to behold and for the most part are pretty convincing threats to our heroes. As a HUGE fan of monster movies I think it hits that sweet spot quite nicely. There’s also some cool plot twists and of course some admittedly hokey ones that otherwise might not have worked without such strong characters at the forefront. If you’re looking for “Calgon to take you away” (80’s kids you know the reference) from the worries of the real world, I can’t think of a better new fantasy adventure flick to visit than ‘Love and Monsters’, easily one of my faves of 2020!
WILLY’S WONDERLAND: Can Nic Cage Survive ‘FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S’?
I’ve been looking forward to this new Nic Cage horror flick for a long time and the trailer for ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ has finally dropped. Sure like the 2019 ‘Banana Splits’ movie this one is essentially another version of the ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’, which has been in developmental cinematic hell for years. ‘Banana Splits’ was pretty underwhelming, so I’ve been hoping that this Nic Cage lead film would get it right as I do quite love the idea of the creepy ‘Chuck E. Cheese/Showbiz Pizza’ style animatronic cartoon characters coming to life at night and causing bloody chaos. So yeah, we have Cage here hired as a handy man at a cursed amusement park where the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” scenario busts wide open. Check out this sweet poster!
From the trailer I’ve gotta say I was a teensy bit let down, I know this isn’t academy award fare we’re dealing with, but after starring in the incredible ‘Mandy’ I’ve high hopes for Nic to return with another modern horror classic. This however, from the trailer at least looks kinda chintzy, reminds me of something Cage churns out quickly to pay his mound of back taxes rather than a quality B monster movie. Of course I’m checking it out when drops but I was hoping for a thicker atmosphere of spookiness and the general vibe of it all feels slightly like a flimsy Cage cash grab. Even the cinematography feels a bit cheap at this point. But hey I guess having high hopes for another ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ copycat should NOT have been that high! Dammit Cage please prove me wrong here! What do YOU think?!
If you wanna go down the animatronic cartoon character rabbit hole from way back in the day for some real chills check THIS out:
And this for the WHOLE history on the restaurants from yesteryear that inspired ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’:
ELVIRA Mistress of the Dark’s “Rankin Bass” Style Scary X-MAS Short!!
Elvira, ‘Mistress of the Dark’ made a BIG return this last Halloween to try and save the holiday from the pandemic. BUT let’s not forget about a decade ago Elvira returned to Christmas for a little spooky holiday cheer!
We all love the classic Rankin Bass animated movies like Rudolph, Nestor the Long Eared Donkey & The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, well let’s revisit the Elvira holiday short ‘Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scary X-MAS’ Done in that same classic style from her official Youtube page. Here she heads out in search of a Christmas trees and along the way encounters some horrific holiday creatures: Merry Christmas Eve! See you tomorrow!!
Horror icon: Elvira returns to Save Halloween 2020?!
The legendary horror icon Elvira is back!! However, like many of us, she fears that Halloween might be canceled this year. To make sure that doesn’t happen she’s released a brand new single to try to bring some spooky joy to the holiday. Yes 2020 has been a truly strange year and with coronavirus still being a big problem on planet Earth, Halloween just may indeed end up getting canceled.
BUT Not if Elvira has anything to say about it dammit, and if anyone has the final word on the holiday it’s just got to be HER. I’ve been preparing myself to revisit her classic 1988 comedy ‘Elvira: Mistress of the Dark’ this Halloween and one baffling thing I’ve noticed is something truly bizarre, now at 69 years of age she literally has not aged a day!! Perhaps she really is an immortal undead queen?! Still simply stunning in every way-here’s one thing that doesn’t suck about 2020!
Hong Kong Halloween: 1987’s ‘Vampire’s Breakfast’ is FANG-tastic!
This Halloween I’m gonna make a few obscure retro foreign horror movie recommendations that you may have missed out on from that oh so sweet era of the genre: the 1980’s! I just checked out a rad little Hong Kong Horror movie from 1987 called ‘Vampire’s Breakfast’!!
This forgotten little horror gem is a load of fun with a heapin’ dose of spooky settings, comedy, romance and action in the way that only Hong Kong cinema delivered back in the day. I really enjoyed how for the most part this one plays the horror pretty straight, keeping the all too usual Hong Kong “slapstick potty humor” out of the equation entirely. For me some of the 80’s Hong Kong stuff can be completely ruined by crappy potty humor and comedy that just plain hasn’t aged well (and keep in mind I’m not normally easily offended either). Nope, here we have a cool cast of characters and genuinely nasty “American/European” style vamp on the loose rather than the traditional Chinese hopping kind. We’ve got some funky footage of Hong Kong in the 80’s here and totally sweet fashion of the era in full swing.
The iconic Kent Cheng stars as a newspaper reporter who’s hot on the trail of a serial killer and after poking around a police crime scene begins to suspect that the killer might actually be a living breathing vampire. No one takes him seriously except a boozed up car stereo thief, who he reluctantly teams up with to track down the suspected bloodsucker. Along the way though he interviews one of the killer’s victims who barely escaped with her life, the oh soooo cute Emily Chu looking as stylee as ever.
Of course it’s love at first sight and we’re then treated to a full on 80’s style Hong Kong “John Hughs” cheezy romance, which is a total charm amidst the horror. The thing I really dig about this is movie, are the horror elements, unafraid to get nasty when it needs to as well as some action sequences that can be pretty exciting as well. No kung fu here though, which is kind of nice actually as it plants this one in a more believable horror setting, but that’s not to say the portly Kent Cheng can’t deliver the kicks, check out 1989’s ‘Vampire Buster’ to see his skills.
There’s a lot to love here if you’re looking for something different this Halloween, the vampire here is plenty fierce as well. He’s got a pretty sinister look and raises plenty of Hell on the foggy streets of Hong Kong. There’s also some unexpected moments of gore as well that ramp things up nicely in the finale. I’d say this one definitely deserves more love and most definitely a cleaned up blu ray release with more fleshed out subtitles. A colorful, creepy tale full of endearing characters and a brisk pace make this one standout viewing this Halloween for those who love uncovering hidden gems from horror’s sweet spot era of the 1980’s.
Movie Review: ‘BUTT BOY’ is a 100% WTF Genre Blend!
Ok so WTF did I just watch? Well ‘Butt Boy’ is a 2020 horror/thriller/mystery with a truly bizarre plot. It’s a genre melder that’s 110% absurd yet played straight & somehow for the most part actually kinda works. Now that’s not to say I really give this one my stamp of approval, but at the same time I’m not going to NOT recommend it either. I’d say the less you know about the plot the better, as going in completely blind for me at least felt like the best way to view this thing.
I guess if I had to describe it briefly I’d say it’s basic story might have been concocted during a heavy drinking session by a couple adults with a severe case of juvenile humor. Then the next morning they decided to pitch the idea to someone who’s a big fan of ‘Stranger Things’ looking to produce a serious gritty supernatural thriller. I don’t know why someone would spend serious time and money on a movie with a plot this damn ridiculous but hey it’s 2020 and yes anything at this point seems possible. I suppose the allure here is just that, a film with a premise so absurd that’s for the most part pretty well acted, atmospheric, mysterious and taken quite seriously most of the time. If you wanna check this out blindly, STOP reading here! I won’t spoil the whole thing but I will mention the plot synopsis and a few details I took away from my viewing.
Detective Fox, a ruff and tumble guy loves his work and also is a bonafide alcoholic. After finally deciding to check himself into AA, he meets mild mannered Chip, who becomes his sponsor. However there’s been someone out there on a child abduction spree and Detective Fox begins to suspect Chip could somehow be responsible. More so he begin’s to think Chip has something sinister helping him cover his tracks and his suspicions lead him down a dark hole of terror no one could ever imagine or believe possible.
So that’s it in a nutshell, the flick from the get go starts off pretty odd and will likely leave you doing some serious head scratching as things quickly unfold. And yeah soon you’ll probably begin to think of the stupid ways this film could all go and likely you’re dumbest scenario will probably be correct! That all being said ‘Butt Boy’ somehow manages to be pretty entertaining and even somewhat…engaging? Forget the absurd plot, the real interesting thing here is the execution of of the whole damn thing. Sure there’s humor, but there’s also a degree of tension that at times actually make this feel like a pretty decent thriller. The supernatural aspect of it all never gets any explanation and at times it make it feel a bit like some dumb dream you might have had as a teenager. ‘Butt Boy’ is worth a viewing if you’re up for something different and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, does that make this one good? I honestly don’t know still what to make of it all, butt I guess I’m going to have to keep pondering it for maybe I’ve just somehow missed some powerful deeper meaning……
‘WEIRD AL’ Weighs in the the Presidential Debate!?
Ok it’s really no secret that the Presidential debates the other night was a complete and total shit show! I’d go as far to say that it may have been the worst “debate” I’ve ever seen. Anyway apparently I’m not the only person who thought that, in this crazy election year we’ve got the legendary crazy nerd pop star Weird Al Yankovic weighing in with another bonafide cult hit! Check this out as Al gives you his thoughts on these two candidates!!
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….