I checked out a perplexing VHS tape last night, ‘The Caller’, a “thriller” from 1987 starring Malcolm Mcdowell & Madolyn Smith. Now even though I’d been told this flick had a twist ending and even on the cover it boasts “a surprise ending”, somehow I’d just had no way of predicting what was gonna go down no matter how hard I tried during. That’s a pretty difficult task especially in this day and age. M Night Shyamalan eat your heart out. Warning, this one’s got a ton o’ dialogue and then some, oh boy and then some. At it’s beginning something is most definitely off with our two main characters and immediately my mind began racing to try to figure out just what the hell it could be. Basically it’s just two actors the entire movie and is a simple story about a woman who resides in an cabin out in the woods, who one dark night has a strange creeping man, Mcdowell, appear at her front door, claiming his car broke down and needs to use a phone.
From that point on both of these characters act in truly bizarre ways, they talk to each other about how they’d get away with murdering one another and at times actually get quite physical while doing so. There’s a ton of tense talk here and overacting a ‘plenty to behold from them both. The premise though startlingly simplistic and a bit absurd does a decent enough job of keeping you curious about where the fuck this one’s going to end up. It’s not the average “stalker” movie that the cover makes it out to be either, think more of an extended episode of The Twilight Zone instead. I’ve gotta admit the interesting thing about this one is that about an hour in I was getting a bit frustrated and had some serious doubts that things were going anywhere remotely interesting. There’s a lot of weird motive flip flopping amongst the two leads & at one point it almost seemed as if it might sharply go the erotic thriller route.
The odd banter at times can become quite tiresome but as the movie ended, I appreciated it and actually consider the lengthy chatty-ness of it all to make the finale that much more effective. Being a bit of a sleuth at the movie’s beginning I’d noticed a couple things that reinforced my will to stick it through to the end the first being the legendary horror b-movie bandit Charles Band was an executive producer, Richard Band did the music and also fx wizard John Carl Beuchler who’s know for his work on Friday The 13th Part 7: The New Blood (which is one of my faves), Nightmare on Elm St. 4: The Dream Master & Re-Animator was behind the fx work. These three things should give you enough of a reason to check this one out, if in fact the names mean anything to you. Definitely a hidden gem, that most definitely worth one solid viewing!! It also may deserve a quick re-watch to see if there perhaps are some clues amidst all the dialogue that may have really foreshadowed the movies bizarre ending. A neat-o 80’s low budget mind bender~
I couldn’t find a trailer for this one but here’s the whole damn movie if you’re feeling frisky!
Back in the 1980’s there were some pretty awesome indie books out there. If you were looking for something different than what the “big two” had to offer there were some unique ones out there, one I was quite intrigued with was ‘Roachmill’! What? You say you never heard of Roachmill? Well this ultra oddball superhero came on the scene in 1986. He was a professional futuristic exterminator, a killer for hire and he was bad to the bone.
He also had two bizarre cockroach arms that extended from his body making it easier for him to kick the living tar outta people and shoot guns a’ plenty . The series was set in New York City during a time when there were hoards of aliens from other planets moving to Earth. Apparently this caused a lot of crime and chaos in the city and they needed badasses like Roachmill to keep humans and aliens alike in line.
This rad indie series was written and drawn by Rich Hedden & Tom McWeeney and had a heroic dose of grit & comedy evenly bound within it’s pages. I’d really like to revisit it soon to see how it holds up in 2017 and being part of my comic book cover of the week posts Roachmill stuck with me all these years as having some totally excellent cover art. In the late 80’s it got picked up by Dark Horse Comics. I totally dig these weird offbeat 80’s series, hey who knows maybe Roachmill will make a return?!
I just finished ‘Paper Girls’ #1 by hotshot writer Brian K. Vaughan and it’s one of best debut issues I’ve read in a long time. What’s even better is at it’s $2.99 cover price it’s a double sized issue filled with a great little story just waiting to burst into a retro ‘Amblin’ style adventure set way back in 1988. Not only do we get an intriguing story here but also some great artwork by Cliff Chiang. We follow twelve year old Erin as she heads out onto the streets to do her paper route in wee hours of the A.M. after a extremely peculiar dream, involving apples, aliens, winged astronauts and classroom demons speaking what seems to be gibberish. I love the way the dream sequence is played out in the pages here, with a ton of strange symbolism, conversations that seemingly make no sense and some frightening creatures, it really feels like an actual dream which is quite nice.
The setting in the morning is the night after Halloween, so as Erin hits the streets with her sack of papers she encounters some neighborhood bullies still roaming. Luckily three other paper girls arrive on rad bmx bikes to the scene to her defense. From this point Erin decides to ride with the girls on her route and discovers that the three of them too had been jumped by some strange “people” dressed as ghosts who stole one of their walkie talkies.
I don’t want to spoil any of the story as there are some cool surprises that develop along the way. But what I will say is this has the perfect setting for a lost 80’s flick and puts some cool supernatural elements in the mix that leave you longing for issue #2. A super solid debut and just the kind of comic book story that I love even if for some reason we get a bit of prominent product placement by the way of Apple computers. Check this one out, this issue gives you more bang for your buck too as it’s twice the normal size. A great scheme to get people to drop their hard earned cash these days on a comic book!
Let’s take a second to look at some cool action figures way back from the 1960’s! The Outer Space Men by Colorforms!! You may know Colorforms better as those little plastic stickers of your fav cartoon characters you’d stick on and peel off the backgrounds way back when. But Colorforms also put out these totally radical bendy alien action figures as well!
They had kick ass names too like Commander Comet, Xodiac, Colossus Rex, Electron+, Astro-Nautilus, Alpha 7 & Orbitron. They wasn’t much to their backstory just a gang of groovy aliens you could collect and play with all day, unfortunately I wasn’t born yet when the hit the stands and the chances of finding one in good shape of the original series is pretty slim. Also the bendy figures with the wire inside them had a limit to their lives normally, you’d often break the wires and get a bunch of limp wristed bad asses- not a good combo!
A couple nights ago I finally got to see Chris Nolan’s “Interstellar” and it was an incredibly thought provoking science fiction flick, one I’d love to sit an analyze for hours with friends on it’s meaning and scientific relevance. Movies like this are what often times I truly love about Sci-Fi, a great mind bender. Don’t get me wrong I’m totally down for the laser battling, space adventuring of Star Wars but a part of me hopes NOT to get too much of that in my next Star Trek movie. The reboot/sequel JJ Abrams did was a downright awesome movie, filled with action, great fx, the perfect amount of nostalgia but by the time the second movie came around, trying to recreate the Khan storyline I’d somehow began to realize that JJ was better suited for Star Wars than Trek. Let’s face it the two franchises are indeed very different beasts and for a moment during Interstellar I delightfully pictured a Christopher Nolan helmed Star Trek film in my mind.
So today as I think about entering the theater to see a new Star Trek movie I hope for something a little different, something perhaps a little more challenging to the mind. I think back to some of the classic original series episodes which the crew face threats or situations that truly perplexed them all (The City on the Edge of Forever, The Changeling, Amok Time, Obsession, The Corbomite Manuever). I’m talking classic plot driven science fiction. That’s exactly where I’d love to see Kirk & Spock head of to. Sure giant aliens are rad, and who doesn’t love a good space battle with two opposing ships blasting the shit out of each other?! Well sometimes I like my Trek with a little more mind and that’s why of the directors being considered to helm the next movie I’m really hoping they give Duncan Jones(who is indeed in the running) for the job.
Yes, David Bowie’s son has already given us a couple great, more mind bending science fiction movies. ‘Moon’ being one of my favorite modern Sci Fi flicks and ‘Source Code’ being a totally solid twisting puzzle of movie. I feel Jones could really deliver us a great classic/modern space adventure with nods to The Twilight Zone which also had it’s influence in some of the best original Trek episodes. “Into Darkness” felt a little like Star Trek for people with ADD and the last thing I want to see is someone like Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious movies) taking the reigns, who is indeed a contender. So I’m putting it out there, endorsing Duncan Jones as the perfect man for the job, heck I’d say he could even write the thing. However even if he didn’t write it knowing he was at the reigns would give me hope for a good script to be approved and to get a truly unique science fiction adventure beyond the stars with the USS Enterprise!
If anyone out there likes their sci-fi with a side of brains and heart like I do then look no further! “The Signal” delivers and then some! Not to be mistaken for the zombie type “The Signal” flick from 2007, which was actually pretty decent. This is a completely different movie that only recently came out on dvd, Itunes ect. I’ve seen quite a bit of dumb ass sci-fi making it’s way to the masses over the years, so it’s great to see movies that actually challenge the brain like “Moon”, “Looper” or “The Europa Report” to name a few. The Signal, starring Brenton Thwaites and Laurence Fishburne is quite an adventure that will have you scratching your head in confusion and wonder all the way to the films incredibly tense climax.
The films premise starts out simple enough,On a road trip, Nic and two friends are drawn to an isolated area by a computer hacker, who’s been toying with them online all school year. Upon investigating an old seemingly abandoned house where the traced the hacker’s signal, one of them disappears. When everything suddenly goes dark, Nic regains consciousness – only to find himself alone & confused, in an odd medical facility. To give away anything would be a crime, but this one is indeed filled with some great twists and turns that will have you guessing all the way.
The Signal has top notch acting, incredible special effects and a ton of thrills that will have you on the edge of your seat. I’m excited to check out what else the film’s director William Eubank has done and what he’s got planned next. He’s certainly a director to watch in the future. I’m hoping that we can get more serious sci-fi elements into the next installments of something like Star Trek on the big screen, as even with the old episodes from the 1960’s they often had some really great plots that really made you think. An element that is often missing from modern sci-fi, instead we often end up with sci-fi for people with A.D.D.! So I say waste no time and check this one out right away if you want something truly unique, original and totally exciting!!
As far as debut issues of comic books go these days I’d say the Boom! Studios debut issue of ‘The Woods” is one of the best! It’s a great little sci-fi/horror story that involves an entire High School (yes the building and all of the students and faculty) being transported to a strange forest seemingly on another planet. That’s the least of their worries though as they soon find out they are not alone there. With no idea how or why this happened students and faculty go head to head with each other trying to figure out the best plan of survival. This is a great start to hopefully a great series, the first issue has a little bit of a “LOST” which I adore, being a giant fan of that tv series. It also reminds me a bit of the tv show because of the mysterious situation, which for the time being there is no explanation for that they have found themselves having to deal with. It leaves me wondering what’s next and longing to read the next issue. It’s a lot of fun, with fair parts of horror, gore and comedy mixed in at just the right amounts.
The artwork done by Michael Dialynas is also alot of fun here and adds to the strength of this debut. It’s a really great to find a good solid first issue and a new series to look forward too. I’m finding it harder and harder to find books I want to stick with by Marvel or DC. I actually realized that at the moment I am not reading ANY tltles by the big two. Now that could easily change at any moment, but it’s a bit shocking that I’m not absorbed into any title right now that they are offering and at four or even five bucks a pop now a comic book better be good!I am open to suggestions also because at that price it’s not exactly easy to sample the platter, as comic books can easily add up every week at these prices. So here’s a little comic I think is a safe bet, The Woods was a damn fine fun ride-check it out!