I’ve been waiting quite some time for Panos Cosmatos to follow up his dark epic adventure film ‘Mandy’ & to my surprise he did so late October. I guess I’m late to the damn party on it as I really don’t watch much streaming content on Netflix anymore, for me personally most of the stuff on the platform just doesn’t cut it. Most of it feels like factory filmmaking, but I was pleasantly surprised to check out Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ there and come to find an episode of his new horror anthology called ‘The Viewing’ fresh from the director of ‘Mandy’ and ‘Black Rainbow’!!
I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure just what to expect but this bizarre episode packs a punch with its finale and along the way manages to blend in some great humor and the cast of interesting characters to keep this mysterious story moving quickly with intrigue. It’s an interesting plot too, taking place in 1979, with icon Peter Weller (Robocop) playing an elusive billionaire who invites several TV personalities to his bizarre mansion for a “viewing” of something seemingly otherworldly.
Cosmatos constructs a genuinely humorous character study as the drug fueled gathering slowly transitions into utter chaos by its end. I really enjoyed this episode, it definitely had the signature “Panos” feel to it, at least visually and sonically. It really has that same dreamlike quality as his previous two features and the score again here with The Viewing is something I’d definitely listen too in my spare time.
It’s rich atmosphere is full of color and visually abstract in all the best weirdest ways possible. I was a bit surprised with the humorous tone presented, which sticks around right till the very end, leading me to be extra curious about what his next film ‘Nekrokosm’ might bring to the table. Take note though, it’s not all fun and games, when the shit finally does hit the fan (which does sorta take a little longer than I’d hoped) we’re treated to some legit WTF moments of monster mayhem and headscratching horror in the way Panos most definitely excels at.
The FX here too are quite impressive, as I’d hoped and kinda expected them to be. It’s clear that The Viewing rises above the rest of the flock as a all too welcome walk into the mind of one of the genres most creative visionaries. I can WAIT to feast my eyes and mind upon his next full feature film…if you dug ‘Mandy’ go check this shit out!
Late last night I stumbled upon an odd little gem on YouTube called ‘Mystery Incorporated’, a live action 53 minute long pilot that was just released that’s based on Scooby Doo. We basically got a brand new mysterious teen drama featuring the iconic mystery solving gang, funded completely on Kickstarter that also most definitely feeds off of that “Riverdale” type of vibe. It sorta feels like a live action version of the incredible animated series Scooby Doo! ‘Mystery Incorporated’ from 2010. A Scooby Doo “prequel” just like this one!
Being a big fan of Scooby Doo, this was quite a nice little late nite surprise to stumble across. I had no idea that this was something that’d been in the works for a while. As of right now there’s only one episode, which apparently was completely crowd funded. But did it quench my Scooby Doo thirst?
Well, it’s definitely grounded more in reality in some ways and in other ways more fantastical than some of the incarnations of Scoob’ we’ve seen in the past. First and foremost don’t expect a talking dog, Scooby here however is the perfect looking live action incarnation of the iconic character.. The same thing can be said about the rest of the gang, they all look great, but have much more of a real world vibe than any previous versions we’ve been presented with.
It’s teen drama/mystery with a true supernatural aspect unlike the original series. It also harkens back to the OG series with lots of fun easter eggs and character traits. You might notice even some familiar classic adversaries of the ol’ gang. At first this reminded me of 2012 ‘Saturday Morning Mystery’ a horror movie that spun the same type of “Scooby Doo” narrative. If you’re a fan of Scoob’ you might want to check that out just for the hell of it. It”s quite interesting on how dark it is, maybe not the best version of a Scooby Doo themed horror movie that I would have loved to have seen, but still I dig the effort that went into the concept.
Over all I think this pilot was pretty well filmed, it looks slick and the special effects were also quite well done with a pretty cool practical fx creature/villain. Of course some of it’s dialogue does feel a little bit hokey (but it IS based on Scooby Doo) and “CW network” feeling at times. We get an overabundance of cheesy pop music, which I could’ve done with less of, but it’s clear there’s a lot of love that went into this. Clear love for the classic with a modern spin and twist. I’ve also been reading a book that’s similar in style to this called “Meddling Kids” although much darker and intense. That’s a definite recommendation for Scooby fans of the older age.
I’d also like to add that even though Scooby Doo doesn’t speak in the pilot episode I see several ways where that could clearly change that in the future by way of the supernatural elements involved. Anyway if you’re bored and find yourself going down weird YouTube rabbit holes definitely give this a try if you’re a fan of Scooby Doo! Or just watch it right here:
A sad fact for me to admit is that sometimes when I watch a movie at home, all by myself I’m easily tempted to be distracted by my phone while “watching”. Usually it’s a sign that the flick I’m watchin’ just ain’t cutting the damn mustard! It’s probably also a sign of phone addiction, but that’s another depressing topic in itself. So imagine how pleased I was at the first viewing of ‘Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires’, probably my favorite new movie of the last few years hands down, I never even looked at my phone ONCE the entire time!
This one was released overseas in 2018 but just this year hit streaming services. But before I get ahead of myself, a lot might wonder just what the hell is this thing? Well to put it simply it’s probably one of the greatest stop motion animation full length features I’ve ever seen. Easily one of the most unique movies stylistically. There’s literally been nothing quite like it before. It’s essentially a stop motion version of a 1980s action movie / horror/sex comedy hybrid mash up for all you fans of those midnight B-movies of yesteryear!
Chuck Steel is a full on meat-head, numbskull cop who’s fully proficient with just three things: martial arts, big guns and his big bad attitude. A self proclaimed loner, he pretty much handles every situation with his fists or a gun, a hardened heroic dipshit, losing the only woman he ever loved to an evil ninja crime syndicate of course!
Chuck’s pretty much able to finagle his way out of any situations with sheer brute force, until an occult menace comes to town, bringing a slew of bizarre creatures called trampires to roam the foggy night streets. He’s soon forced to adopt new buddy cop partners to work with and also teams up with a “Peter Vincent/Fright Night” type old guy vampire slayer to try the rid the city of this supernatural scourge.
Along the way of course we get a ton of insane martial arts brawls, spectacular explosions, car chases, crazy gore & a load of ferocious monsters to feast our eyes upon.
To say this movie is ambitious would be an understatement as this took years to film, building dozens of stunning miniature sets and using all practical puppets to create some of the most breathtaking stop motion animation I’ve ever witnessed.
Everything looks absolutely incredible and this is a literal cult horror b-movie fanatics dream come true! As I understand it the director, Mike Mort, had created the character when he was a teenager and & just now finally bringing the adventure to the big screen and eventually getting a funding of 20 million dollars, and boy does the effort and money show.
I’m honestly quite surprised that this movie hasn’t gotten WAY more attention. It does of course feature some very un-PC humor, nothing incredibly offensive, but definitely the kind of jokes you would hear directly in a classic, raunchy eighties comedy. The character in a nutshell emulates the same type of humor you might expect from Ash in Evil Dead or Johnny Lawrence from Cobra Kai.
Perhaps that’s why this one hasn’t garnered major attention so far? I’m perplexed! Whatever the case ‘Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires’ is a true spectacle to behold and a loving tribute to everything that us weirdo movie maniacs appreciate about about the 1980s and the golden era of horror.
Check this out if you’re a fan of B-Movies that drip of over the top characters, action, monsters, martial arts, crude comedy and one liners galore!
I watched the new Netflix Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie a few nights ago and was surprisingly entertained with what ol’ Leatherface, (who must be pushin’ seventy by now?) served me up. That’s not to say this movie was perfect, In fact none of the sequels to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre are anywhere near perfection. That doesn’t mean though some of them aren’t a damn good time. The 2022 sequel is clearly trying to mimic the same playbook as Halloween 2018, Bringing back the 1974 film’s “final girl” Sally for It’s big return. Sadly the original actor, Marilyn Burns died but they did bring back her character which was kinda cool… However I think they should bring back another classic character….
This got me thinking about where this franchise could be headed if they were looking to truly please fans. I think the perfect direction would be to piggyback off of 1990’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3: Leatherface’. I recently revisited that one and had a fucking great time with it & fair to say it’s imo easily the best of the sequels. One of the biggest reasons for me that it holds up so well was the addition of horror icon Ken “Dawn of the Dead” Foree to the mix.
It’s a real treat to see him in the 1990 sequel, an actual black character who doesn’t get picked off and killed senselessly. Most important, Ken is just a damn great actor & horror legend with a ton of onscreen charisma, Spoiler alert he survives the entire gruesome encounter of the third installment. As I’m sure you’ve probably already realized…
I’ve heard that this new “time line” of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) is actually disregarding all the sequels in the same way that ‘Halloween’ 2018 did. Bad move, especially when you could bring back Ken’s iconic bad ass character ‘Benny’ into the sequel for the next installment. I could easily see him finally going to settle the score with Leatherface once he hears the news of the masked psychopath’s re-emergence in rural Texas. Maybe Benny decides to hire a team of experts to aid him in taking them down?
Or maybe he gives ‘final girl’ Kate Hodge aka Michelle a call to head off and hunt the bastard down for some sweet long overdue payback.
Incorporating a living legend like Ken would give this new timeline some much needed credibility and adding Hodge would be the icing on the cake. To help out Leatherface they could even rope in Viggo Mortensen, as he appeared as a cannibalistic killer in the 3rd installment as well. I know a lot of people have forgotten about that little tidbit over the years.
Of course they would have to at least recognize part III in the franchise as actual cannon in this time line and why the hell not? Imagine the hunter being hunted this time, Leatherface on the run basically from a cast of characters dead set on ridding Texas of the elusive maniac. Pay attention Netflix and give Ken a call ASAP!
The Winter Olympics are in session and even though not a lot of people seem to be particularly interested this year I thought it would be cool to showcase a classic GIGANTO comic book cover that features a sporting event that’s WAY more up my alley!
The Winter Olympics featuring The Incredible Hulk versus Spider-man center stage! Now that’s one event that I’ll show up for any time of the the damn year!
This particular issue is presented in one of my favorite formats that Marvel used to put out, the gigantic treasury edition comic books were absolutely nuts to have as a child! This was an epic issue from 1980 that had a sweet back cover as well featuring some Olympic Winter Mole Man mayhem!
I’ve joked with friends for many years about Steven Spielberg’s classic film E.T. having a sequel made, that was only released for audiences overseas. I mean of course I’d want a sequel to the movie, but not some pile of shit that’s made today where they fuck everything up with bad “special” overblown fx, a cut and paste recycled plot and a cast of terrible new characters “who are passed the torch” from the beloved but neglected older now sidelined classic ones. Well come to find out that Spielberg was indeed planning a sequel to E.T. back in 1982! He even wrote a story treatment for it that he actually turned in and while it’s not at all what you’d expect, it’s something just weird enough to have been the WTF cult classic E.T. deserved!
While The A.V. Club recently stated we should “be glad the cancelled sequel never got made” I say we should be downright enraged the cancelled sequel never saw the light of the silver screen. Officially titled ‘E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears’ you can tell this thing would have been right up my damn alley. Yep, think of more of an alien abduction horror tinged adventure for Elliot & fam this time. In Steven’s sweet nine page treatment, he amps up the Amblin “kids in danger” factor to eleven. Elliot, Michael and Gerty are sorely missing life without E.T. by their side, they still long to reunite with him again someday often gazing into the night skies. Well just as their world seems to turn mundane, they once again discover an alien craft at night in the woods nearby. Baffled, they assume it must be E.T’s return to them. However, what’s on board this time around are not so friendly, something far more terrifying: white skinned humanoid extraterrestrial carnivores, sporting huge red eyes and razor sharp fangs.
It’s not by coincidence either they land in the woods nearby, as they’re in search of their old pal E.T. & a few steps behind him in pursuit. It turns out they’re at odd’s with E.T.’s race and have come to Earth for any information on his whereabouts. Oh yeah the creatures also mutilate cattle and raise hell in the suburbs. Elliot, Gerty and Mike are pursued relentlessly by them in a game of cat and mouse and are eventually captured, where they’re tortured for info on their pal E.T.’s whereabouts. Elliot is so traumatized by their wicked methods of interrogation that at one point his blood curdling scream sends a emotional signal deep through the outer reaches of space to his old alien friend. Of course E.T. wastes no time and immediately rushes back on a mission to save his human companions from the clutches of his evil alien rivals. It’s also revealed E.T.’s real name is ‘Zrek’! Yowza COUNT ME SO IN!
The A.V. Club obviously doesn’t know a cult classic 80’s sequel if it punched them in their freakin’ face! Apparently Spielberg decided to back off the sequel because he thought it’d ruin the innocence of the original movie. Deeming it too dark and simply based too much in horror. Take a look at the concept designs for Rick Baker’s evil aliens, for the unmade ‘Night Skies’ that were also rumored to be considered for ‘Nocturnal Fears’:
So this is clearly to me at least an awesome sequel, and in an alternate reality would’ve been a classic, though likely a box office bomb. Spielberg could have had Tobe Hooper direct this thing too! Part of me wishes they’d pull this treatment out of the old dusty file cabinets and just give us THIS sequel today! Keep the same basic story, but have the original cast reunite, older now with their families deal with this identical situation and reunite with E.T. , I mean Zrek, sorry! As much as I’d love this I can only assume some greedy Hollywood execs would step in to trash the story, killing off Elliot, Gerty & Mike in the opening scene or something lame and then throw in a bunch of shitty CGI aliens and have E.T. die before he can see his old friends. There’d also probably be a new “E.T.” in his place that was more in line with current online trends somehow. So for now ‘E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears’ will just have to get a special place in my mind as the ‘what if’ sequel that should have been. Check out this extensive look at Steven Spielbergs story treatment in this Youtube video, beware though this Youtube channel also seems to think the script sucks(WTF?), clearly this person doesn’t know a sweet sequel when he sees it – c’mon people!!:
Oh and if you’re still craving an E.T. sequel here’s that weird Xfinity commercial they decided to make instead of a real sequel:
Ok, so my title above is a bit misleading because as of right now there’s not currently rumors about Jonathan Ke Quan returning to the role of “Short Round” for the upcoming Indiana Jones Part 5. BUT let’s start that rumor here because maybe it will catch fire on the web and actually happen!
So this whole idea really began the other evening when I saw the amazing 1991 movie ‘Breathing Fire’ starring Ke Quan as a teenage ass kicking kung fu machine. If you haven’t seen this movie and love his roles in Indiana Jones and Goonies you best check this one out asap. Seriously. Movies rarely reach level of pure fun and some great over the top kung fu! He even faces off against the legendary Bolo Yueng and it’s just jam packed with amazingly awesome & hilarious retro action cheeze. Seek this one out asap. The full movie can be found on Youtube.com!
However I digress, Ke Quan’s acting career ended in 2002 with the Hong Kong sci fi feature film “Second Time Around” so he’s not exactly been focused on acting lately. As you can tell from the previous Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Speilberg is heavily focused on nostalgia from the previous films as one of the key moments is the return of Marion Ravenwood. So in this next installment how amazing would it be to have Indy once again team up with his buddy Short Round on another adventure?
During filming ‘Temple Of Doom’, Quan studied Tae Kwon Do under film choreographer Phillip Tan. Something about the discipline of martial arts really appealed to him, so he began rigorously studying many different techniques. Once his acting career had become more quiet, Quan became an assistant fight choreographer to Hong Kong legend Corey Yeun on movies like ‘X-Men’ and Jet Li vehicle ‘The One’. Ke Quan now is 45 years old, has kept himself in great shape and could likely bring his seasoned martial arts exploits into the next Indy flick with pure adoration from longtime fans. He’s even been asked more recently from fans about appearing in part five answering with an enthusiastic “I don’t know!”. From what I understand he’s also down for a trip down nostalgia lane for the forever talked about Goonies sequel. So this here is all a real possibility considering Indiana Jones part 5 is indeed happening for sure.
I’ve got high hopes for the next Indy movie, I enjoyed the last one but I’ll agree it’s far from perfect and nowhere near as classic as the first three. Still this next movie is likely Harrison Ford’s last as the character so Speilberg will get one last shot to right the wrongs of the last movie. Ditch the ridiculous CG you promised you weren’t going to use and give us something that truly feels like a classic Indy movie and please leave Shia Labeouf’s Mutt Willaims at home. Let’s feel the nostalgia and let’s see Jones & Short Round team up once again, I know that fans would flip their shit if this was worked into the movie and it’d make sense that a fully able, older Short Round could help Indiana Jones kick some butt this time as our aging main character likely needs all the help he can get this time around. What do you think? Would you like to see Johnny Ke Quan return? If so share this post and let’s make it happen!