I finally checked out an animated movie I’ve been curious about for years! ‘The Plague Dogs’ from 1982 is from the same team who brought us ‘Watership Down’ so if you’re familiar with that you know right off the bat that you’re in for something quite special. Like Watership down The Plague Dogs is hardly a children’s movie, it deals with some pretty damn heavy stuff. We the follow two dogs Snitter (John Hurt) & Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) who’re caged in a lab where they’re continuously abused by scientists for testing purposes.
However one day, one of the “white coats” (as the dog’s call the doctors) accidentally leaves Snitter’s cage door ajar and both him and Rowf escape to the open countryside. In the wild they struggle to find food and shelter and find help from a mischevious fox named the Tod (James Bolam). The three of them go on an epic journey. where the two dogs long to find a new kind family to take them in, but once the Government tell the locals that the two of them are infected with the bubonic plague, it becomes a race for survival as true danger lurks around every corner.
The Plague Dogs goes in some shockingly dark directions, some sequences so surprising I’d paused the movie to double check the rating. Much of it’s admittedly depressing and bleak but done so beautifully with it’s animation and painted backdrops that’s it’s really worth the effort. It’s the morning after and the movie still weighs heavily in my mind so much so that I’d really rank this in the top 10 best animated features I’ve seen. There’s so much heart in it’s characters and by mid point in the movie there’s nothing more I’d wanted than to see these characters get a happy ending. Be warned though, this one doesn’t play out like a Disney movie of the 80’s, no one remains safe here and some of the directions it goes in will literally have you on the edge of your seat. At least it did for me. All that being said I’d wondered who they made this movie for back in the early 1980s, as most kids seeing it might be fully scarred after viewing. I suppose ‘Watership Down’ follows this same formula and has a similar reputation. I’m surprised it took me this long to finally view as it’s clearly in a league of it’s own, one that nearly had me in tears several times, unlike anything I’ve seen in recent years. Continue reading
After the last two installments of the “Skywalker Saga” sequel trilogy ‘The Force Awakens & The Last Jedi’ from Disney I’ve decided to look elsewhere for a good fix of the iconic series til ‘Episode IX’ drops. There’s definitely not a better spot to start than with Timothy Zahn’s iconic “Thrawn” Trilogy!! There’s a lot of Star Wars fans out there, like myself, who’ve never really seriously delved into the EU (expanded universe) stuff, I’d been recommended this trilogy of books, ‘Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising & The Last Command’ for a long time as they’re considered by many fans the real Episodes 7, 8 & 9. I can firmly say I’d wished they’d have drawn from this storyline for the current trilogy as it’s not a direct “retelling” that mirrors the original trilogy. It has incredible villains at it’s core as well, that bury characters like Snoke, Kylo Ren & Phasma. The current trilogy is actually more of a reboot, borrowing major plot points from previous movies, even Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi” while supposedly attempting to subvert audience expectations still follows very similar beats with the original trilogy.
Heir to the Empire is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, the Rebellion, which is now known as the New Republic, is still fighting the final remnants of the Imperial resistance and trying to set up a strong new government. But in outer reaches of the galaxy, the most cunning of all the hand picked Grand Admirals is quickly gaining power and preparing to launch a series of deadly attacks on the New Republic. After convincing a crazed Dark Jedi to join his side, Grand Admiral ‘Thrawn’ is scheming his ultimate victory. I’ve been listening to the audio books, narrated by Marc Thomson and damn does that guy nail the voices of almost all character to perfection, as I listened I could picture it all unfolding on screen with the original actors, so if you’re a bit late to the party (it came out in 1991!) & wanna check this out most definitely check out this version of the story, it’s a ton of fun.
So obviously I began to think about how much I’d like to see this basic story on the big screen & while it is true, that because of the newest trilogy they’d have to change a few of the plot points I think they could still manage to tell a decent version of the original story. Fore instance Leia is newly pregnant with twins at the time in the book, that’d have to change, it’d have to be baby Kylo and it could take place a bit later than 5 years after Return of the Jedi. Still though, this story could indeed be brought to the big screen as many of the major characters required for this adventure have actually already been recast in ‘Solo’ and ‘Rogue One’. I have my doubts however this movie would happen at this point in time, as ‘Solo’ was a bit of a flop and perhaps Disney wouldn’t want to take a chance recasting the original trilogy characters again. If they ever do bring this to life though, I’ve got the actors right here cast that’d likely please hardcore fans- let’s take a look at some choices for major characters in the story that I think would be great for the movie version of the epic trilogy….
Han Solo: Alden Ehrenreich
Obviously we’ve got to to cast Alden again as Han right? To keep with continuity of the new ‘Solo’ film it makes perfect sense he’d be up for the role again. I of course wish they’d have given Anthony Ingruber a shot as he’s a spitting image and mastered the general vibe of Harrison Ford. But in this case we’ve already got our new Han so we might as well roll with it right? That’s the good thing here, some of the casting is already complete. Phew!
Lando Calrissian: Donald Glover
Another no brainer, as Glover did an excellent job as portraying Lando in ‘Solo’. He had it down and obviously did his homework on mastering a similar swagger of icon Billie Dee Williams. There’s a lot of Lando here in this Star Wars adventure and it further cements him and Han’s friendship after the events of ROTJ. It’d be amazing to see Glover back again and cement his legacy as a younger Lando once again as this story has a good deal of trouble for him and Han to get into!
Princess Leia: Billie Lourd
To me Billie Lourd is the only real option for Leia. She’s the perfect age to play the role, she’s totally beautiful like Carrie and she’s Carrie’s daughter!! She’s also looks a lot like her and has already expressed interest in playing a young version of the character. How truly sweet would it be to have her play her mother’s iconic character? Check this out as she states how she wishes she could play a young Leia:
I know she’s got a small role in the latest trilogy but this would be a whole new timeline. I’d love to see Billie as Leia learning to use a lightsaber as well as tapping into the Force like she did in the book. How could you turn her down for the role? You’d have to have no damn soul!
Rise of the Back Flame #1 is another totally solid debut straight from the Mignolaverse. This one traces the origins of the legendary villain, The black Flame from the pages of Hellboy/BPRD and gives us an excellent set up for an intriguing jungle horror adventure that I’m sure Indiana Jones would most certainly sign up for. The setting is Burma and there’s been a series of disappearances of young girls that the locals believe to be the devilish work of a near by cult.
On the case are two Brittish detectives who’re on the case searching for clues, quickly meet Sarah Jewell and Marie-Therese Lafleur who tell them they’ve got an expedition set up to find the Temple of the Black Flame. Sarah Jewell goes on to tell them of some of her incredible supernatural adventures she’s shared with The Witchfinder himself Sir Edward Grey. I’m getting the feeling we’ll be seeing much more of these characters in the future of the Mignolaverse….if they can survive this expedition that is.
Here we have again everything I love about reading comics, grand adventure set in exotic locales with a supernatural mystery brewing. Like I’ve said before Mignola’s books to me are the best on the scene, whether it be Hellboy, BPRD, Witchfinder or Lobster Johnson. They’re always a helluva great time to read and are all connected by a deep lore that’s been running strong for decades. So here we have the opening of another chapter in the saga and a true prequel for fans of the villain of the BPRD’s ‘Hell on Earth’. I’m certainly going to be back for issue #2 as it’s bound to be filled with some excellent storytelling and some creepy jungle adventure, for a good time check out this debut!
I’m super excited to get this brand spankin’ new collected version of ‘Video Tonfa’ just released by Floating World Comics here in Portland Oregon. I’ve posted here before about indie comic artist, writer & publisher Tim Goodyear’s incredibly inventive & honest movie reviews which can be read regularly in Pork Magazine – But now movie maniacs can get a collected version of over 600 pages worth of them.
Goodyear not only reviews them in his own words but also recreated each movie’s classic and not so classic VHS covers. Any fan of cult, weirdo, horror, action and the like is bound to dig the creativity and time put into this project. Also reviewed are probably a truckload of flicks you’ve never heard of and that alone can lead you to some pretty excellent film finds if you’re willing to take the time to track em’ down for yourself!
Luckily Goodyear has put in the long hours to weed through it all for for you and give you his own take of what’s been overlooked in the vast sea of lost VHS treasures and turds. So yeah, if you’re like me and just can’t seem to get enough of the largely forgotten cinema of yesteryear then this is a book you’ll wanna reference quite often! Check it out here!
I had to take a few moments to post a few really cool monster-centric trailers I’ve seen recently, hands down my favorite type of movie-first up is “A Monster Calls” which kinda feels like the brother film to Pan’s Labyrinth.
Check out this trailer if you haven’t already. It’s directed by Juan Antonio Bayona who also did the wonderfully creepy flick The Orphanage, this one won’t be out until October of 2016:
And now a little change of tone with “Lumberjack Man” a crazy probably idiotic supernatural slasher flick that’s got a deranged lumberjack who carts around giant pancakes and is in hot pursuit of bible campers blood to use as pancake syrup!
This one looks like a good stupid time and is out now all over the interwebz:
Next is a movie called “The Hallow” which has a family out in their cabin in the woods of Ireland facing off with pissed off fairy tale like creatures.
The trailer looks pretty awesome filled with some incredible visuals and super creepy creatures- Sign me up! This one is already released here this month in the USA and can be rented online all over.
Last we’ve got “Howl” a cool ass looking werewolf movie set on a train! The trailer looks awesome and Paul Hyett who did all the special effects in the Neil Marshall movies The Descent and Dog Soldiers is responsible for what you see here in Howl!
It also features Shauna Macdonald who starred as the lead in The Descent & Sean Pertwee from Dog Soldiers in this one-gotta love a great werewolf flick I hope this one tops that list…No release date yet here for the USA.
So you’re looking for an awesome 80’s survival flick huh? Well look no further because “Fortress” from 1985 delivers the goods big time!! This one seems to be somewhat of a forgotten gem, it was released on HBO back in the 80’s and later in 86′ in theaters in Australia where the movie was produced. I take great joy in watching awesome (or bad) movies from the 1980’s that some slipped under my radar for some reason and this one pretty much non stop awesomeness. It tells the simple story of a school teacher who’s class comes under attack by shotgun wielding masked psychos hell bent on taking everyone captive and hiding them in a cave in the Australian outback.
All goes as planned until the teacher (Rachel Ward) decides to take matters into her own hands. You got a ton of action, some truly awesome locales, creepy bad guys (one who with a Santa Claus mask) and a bit of an Amblin “kids in danger” style film making here that was surely missed by the masses.
Right around the third act the movie gets pretty intense when the teacher and her students become a major force to be reckoned with. Almost transforming into bloodthirsty “Lord of the Flies” type savages the finale of this film is awesome.
Then add in the shocking end scene the movie becomes even more perplexing and unforgettable! Trust me if you’re a fan of weird 80’s horror/thriller/kids movie hybrid flicks then this one will not disappoint!! You can get this one right on Netflix too!
What if monsters really did exist? What if they were all around us all of the time but we just couldn’t see them?! Well here’s a rad monster movie that answers those very questions called “Digging Up The Marrow”. This one’s brought to us by modern horror master Adam Green who’s already scared the shit out of us with his awesome old school throwback “Hatchet” films and the super ski lift suspense shocker “Frozen”!
This one is a mockumentary about Green and his film crew as they get contacted by a strange man who claims he can prove to them that monsters are indeed real. This one looks like my kind of movie, filled with a fun plot filled with twists and of course creepy ass looking monsters. At first glance this one reminds me a little bit of the Norwegian flick “Trollhunter” which I thoroughly enjoyed. So sign me up I can’t wait for Green to prove to me that things that go bump in the night are indeed a reality!! Look for this one on Feb. 20th 2015!!
And more about the movie from the director….
Ho Ho Ho & the horror of it all! I just finished the novel “Krampus: The Yule Lord” by Brom the other evening and it was an awesome holiday journey! Now this could in fact be old news to a lot of you out there, but I was only recently turned on to Brom by way of this here book. Even though I LOVE the Krampus mythology to death I wasn’t quite sure about delving into the book until I read one of the endorsements on the back cover by easily one of my favorite comic book writers and artists of all time, Mike Mignola. Yeah the man most well known for Hellboy was quoted saying “Terrific. A wild ride–the idea sounded like a stretch and I’m not sure how many guys could have really pulled it off, but Brom sure has. I loved it. It hooked me and I couldn’t put it down. Plus, the illustrations are amazing.”
At that moment I knew I was going to love this book to death. Turns out Mignola was dead on (of course), the book is simply an incredible epic ride. It reads more like a comic book and in my mind I had grand visions of Guillermo Del Toro adapting this one to film. It tells a the story of a man named Jesse who’s a down on his luck, boozin’ musician in West Virginia who lives in a trailer and longs to win the love of his ex-wife and daughter back. On Christmas eve though this year, after a night of drinking he spots something quite strange in the sky above, what appears to be “Santa” flying in his sleigh trying to fight off some sort of demonic men. As Jesse is no believer in Santa, he’s downright perplexed until this sleigh from the sky crashes nearby and he’s face to face in the dead of a cold winter’s night with the creatures himself. As he fights for his life he also stumbles upon something else that has fallen from the mysterious sleigh, an odd bag that seemingly has no bottom to it.
This begins a tale full of mystery, monsters, folklore and grand adventure. Don’t be fooled by the whole “Santa Claus” aspect of it though, this isn’t a kid’s book by any means. This story is filled to the brim with gore, scares, suspense and foul backwoods language. It’s also got a some great twists and turns in the plot that will have you guessing ’til the very end. And it doesn’t hurt that Brom has a truly unique way with words that puts you right there in all of the creepy action as he paints the perfect picture quite literally. Yes, Brom is also quite an amazing artist getting his start with Dungeons & Dragons way back in the day(yeah how cool is that!), this book has some truly breathtaking art within. I’m eagerly awaiting checking out more of this guy’s work.
I’ve gotta say it- now is the time to pick this book up it’s a must read this holiday season and appeared first back in 2012. Once you jump into the first chapter you won’t be able to stop reading, especially if you’re a fan of Christmas horror and Krampus mythos. The story is huge, Brom did his homework on the vast Krampus folklore but it’s kept to a very personal level following Jesse (who I picture in my head as kind of like Nick Stahl in Carnivale every time the character opens his mouth). I hope Mignola adapts this to comic book form or someone picks this up as a movie. I’d love to say more about this book but alas I wouldn’t dare want to spoil all of the surprises-Pick this up now, grab some spiked egg nog, a candy cane and curl up by the fire this season you won’t be disappointed! The Krampus is on the move this holiday season!! Here’s a cool interview with Brom:
Just discovered ‘Covered‘ probably a bit too late in the game, but nonetheless it’s a damn fun blog to look at! It’s a blog that ended it’s run in September 2012. Having 1000 popular and unpopular comic book covers posted with another artists representation posted side by side. At least now we don’t have to wait for them to be posted!
Most of these artists that recreate the covers are up and coming or mostly unknowns but they all provide a cool new vision of the classics. Apparently there is a “Covered” book on the way in the near future but in the mean time there’s a thousand of these bad boys to check out-Gotta love it!
I recently checked out ‘John Dies at the End’ a flick which I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time now via VOD the other night for a whopping $9.99 viewing price. I’ve read the non stop hype on this one for a while now and I’ve been pumped for it, especially as it’s coming from Don Coscarelli, one of my all time favorite horror directors. Don’s most well known for his Phantasm films and more recently Bubba Ho-tep which has become a full on modern day cult classic. ‘John’ had all the ingredients of another horror hit, we even get Paul Giamatti in a spporting role along with a wild and crazy story that plays something like Bill and Ted’s meets The Matrix meets Evil Dead. I was hoping deep down inside this’d play like a companion peice to Phantasm II, my favorite of his films. So my question is why did I find myself a bored while watching it? Maybe I didn’t “get it”? Was it too quirky? I’m not entirely sure what about this movie didn’t work for me. It’s based on a book by David Wong, and the premise of it surely sounds like a winner. Check it and this truly “more awesome than the movie itself” poster:
A new killer drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit has been circulating the party scene. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t.
Now this certainly sounds like my kind of movie and it’s clear this was going to be a challenge to translate to film on a small budget. The acting was decent and Giamatti is always a pleasure to have on screen. However for me the two lead characters weren’t quite interesting enough and the movie just kinda rode this straight line with really nothing that leap out entirely at me to get my blood really pumping. The plot seemed a bit disjointed, confusing and the pacing seemed a bit off to me as well. The movie is basically our hero Dave is dicussing the unbelievable events that have transpired to a reporter (Giamatti) at a diner. His buddy John uses this new drug “soy sauce”, which is given to him by the most generic “jamaican guy” you’re likely to see onscreen and suddenly their worlds are turned upside down as they enter into a confusing quirky quest into other dimensions. For for me to really describe how the plot thickens would probably require me to be typing about this movie far, far longer than I’d like to be. But that’s not to say the movie doesn’t have some fun and unique moments within.
The special effects in this movie were well done for the most part, some decent but not incredible practical monster effects were employed. The scene with the freezer meat monster was probably my favorite use of them and is bound to be a memorable movie monster. The CG effects were a bit on the sub par side but passable and the action was kept at a slower moving pace than what I was hoping for. The movie has been described as “hilarious” but I’d say it was chuckle worthy at best. In the end I wish I had more to say about this one, at best for me upon first viewing it was a mediocre movie experience which left me less than a little less than satisfied. The more I think about it though I think it might be a movie that deserves a second viewing upon which I’m hoping the second time around I get it…..