Tagged: creature feature

NOPE: Easily One of the BEST of 2022!!

I’m not gonna waste too much time reviewing the hell out of ‘Nope’ because I know that it’s soooooo 2 weeks ago! But being as finicky as I am about new new Hollywood  summer blockbuster movies I’ve got to take at least a moment here to tell you how fucking much I enjoyed the new Jordan peel movie!

I went into this one with no real expectations except that I might get another tale covering ssome sort of allegory about race or modern culture.  However with the modern “culture war” and basically the world at each other’s throats, falling apart I’ll have to be quite honest, I really wasn’t in the mood to think more about real world injustices or real life human struggles as I entered the theater. 

Thankfully Jordan Peele decided to give us a mysterious compelling monster movie  with no real strings attached but with plenty of layers to peel and dissect. Nope will leave you pondering all of the unique plot points sprinkled about for days. Our duo of well crafted main characters are black ranchers and he doesn’t need to make some sort of big statement about it. They’re just great characters who happen to be black. It also features some very curious and intriguing supporting characters one being a fairly convincing CGI chimpanzee that almost steals the show!

Nope really harkens back to the golden era of Stephen Spielberg movies in the best way possible  But adding a much more sinister, brooding touch. After trying to make it through his rebooted Twilight Zone series I was beginning to have my doubts about his next film as I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Us’ , that being said, trying to follow up the brilliant ‘Get Out’ seems like an impossible feat. Fortunately he was able pull it off with ease with his 3rd full length movie which is just as mindbending in my opinion at least as his first.

A beautiful looking movie filled with A super solid cast, great locales and an excellent creature design make this a truly engaging movie to see in the theater and so much more than I was expecting. It’s a different animal altogether than the summer Hollywood blockbuster you might be expecting.

Don’t go in thinking you’re gonna get Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness type effects either. Peele uses CGI sparingly and perfectly to create something that feels visceral, real and highly imaginative in today’s landscape of bloated big budget sludge. If you haven’t seen Nope yet go into the movie completely blind if you can, the less you know the better. What plays out on screen I think is one of the best cinematic events of 2022 hands down.

‘PREY’ Brings the Goods But Can’t Top ‘PREDATOR 2’!

[OK so it seems everyone is flipping out over the new ‘Predator’ prequel ‘Prey’ just released yesterday on Hulu! Most are claiming it to be the best of the franchise since the original 87′ masterpeice, some even boldly claiming it better than the original. Well I’m here to clear things up because in 1987 Predator was the very first ‘R rated’ movie I ever saw in the theater and I snuck into it at the age of 13!!

At this point I’d pretty much lost any enthusiasm for another Predator movie after 2018’s pathetic sequel ‘The Predator’. However I’m quite happy to report that 2022 has brought us the latest movie in the series, ‘Prey’ and it’s overall a sweet breath of fresh air finally. I’m gonna put it slightly above ‘Predators’ which I thought mixed things up nicely with a unique plot that deviates from the others. Prey goes back to the basics and it essentially works, the time setting of 1719 and the physical setting of the Great Plains combined with its unique Native American tribal characters make for a visually stunning survival adventure. I gotta be honest though, the dialogue of the tribe felt way out of place and took me out of the movie’s supposed era several times, it felt WAY too “modern America”, if like the tribe were actually modern day cosplayers from LA or something. They really could have done better to make them feel a bit more convincing vocally because they looked amazing.

 But one of the best things though was indeed the setting, beautiful locations that of course make me wonder how much of what we saw on screen was actually real or created via CGI? I hope it was filmed on actual location. Whatever the case it really worked in this particular situation, at times rivaling the jungles of the original film. Of course the basic plot set up does feel a bit heavily treaded as of late at least, it features a young, strong female lead who’s marginalized by her male tribe members who believe she doesn’t have what it takes to be a true warrior. However she’s a total badass master hunter, fighter, tracker & her male peers just refuse to accept her. 

The lead, Naru, like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch is a force to be reckoned with. However when Dutch finally becomes the hunted it’s clear his macho-man antics are simply not going to save his ass from the Predator. Nope, he’s going to have to massively reevaluate everything he’s learned in order to survive the Predator’s attack. I felt Prey lacked much of that visceral tension, urgency and nail biting suspense of the original. Perhaps because Naru seems more than capable of besting The Predator in hand to hand combat right from the get-go. I personally would’ve prefered a bit more character struggle that let the tension rise to its boiling point. I never really feared for Naru’s life at any point in Prey. It could’ve featured her crafting some inventive new tricks to outwit the Predator but instead felt like it lacked the clever hero’s ingenuity humans normally need to come out on top against an alien force. Instead it relies more on her just facing it straight on with hand-to-hand combat. The action scenes were quite well done but I wish there would’ve been a little more to her having to “Macguyver” her way to victory. Given the script though, Amber Midthunder, who portrays Naru, did a great job as our new hero. She’s cool but maybe just a bit too badass at times for me to truly believe that she’s ever in any actual legit danger. Still the whole vibe, time period, dazzling looking characters and her awesome dog companion made this a real welcome surprise when put neatly all together.

I also had some issues with some of the CGI work done with the animals in the movie. It’s a cool concept to see the Predator go one on one with a bear and a wolf but the way it was executed took me out of the movie again as the CGI sadly just wasn’t convincing enough. I also have somewhat of a problem with the Predator’s new look this time around as it was clear there must have been some sort of wonky CGI going on with it’s normally amazing practical animatronic face. Something that cannot be topped from the first 2 movies at least. Still though it managed to breathe some much needed fresh air into a fully dying franchise and at no point in the movie was I ever bored. So all in all I can admit this is a pretty damn solid entry in the franchise, one of the best installments but I can also say quite firmly that imo it’s NOT the best sequel to Predator.

I recently rewatched ‘Predator 2’ on Blu-Ray and it’s aged like a fine wine. Danny Glover is an amazing charismatic lead and the city setting/concrete jungle created a whole new creepy exciting scenario for the brutal carnage. PREY In my opinion doesn’t come close to besting Predator 2. Perhaps if the it was released in the early nineties it might have felt much more fresh than it does now today but sadly the franchise just doesn’t feel anywhere near as interesting as it used to no matter what scenario you might want to introduce.  In many ways the Predator franchise has simply run out a gas.

But if you still find yourself a die hard thirsty fan of the franchise looking for something new, you can’t go wrong with this new installment. It delivers enough of what we loved about the original to make it a worthwhile survival adventure flick! It’s a fairly unique little creature feature that would have been fun if it’d shown up in theaters…or 32 years ago!

The PREDATOR is Back….But Maybe Too Damn Soon!

So there’s s new trailer out for the next chapter of the Predator saga. I should be fuckin’ pumped on this news right? I mean the 1st R rated movie I ever saw in theaters was Predator, one that I snuck into way back in the late eighties before I was of legsl age. It was one of my greatest cinematic experiences ever! So now its 2022, does a new “Predator” movie hold any weight for an old school fan?!

I’m gonna be completely honest here, the idea of more Predator is a pretty underwhelming freakin’ concept, especially  after that last load of dog shit we got served up. We never got to see Arnold return as Dutch or even team up with Danny Glover. We did get some sorta uninspiring AVP movies and a Topher Grace starring Predators…ugggggh. it’s not been a good  run for the muscle bound alien since 1990. But here we are yet AGAIN with a Predator prequel called “Prey”. They literally ran out of ways to use the word “Predator” it seems!

So whether ya like it or not the God damn Predator is back……again. So we got the teaser today and it looks actually like a decent simple concept, The Predator arrives to take down a Commanche tribe 300 years ago. With the hero being a skilled female warrior, the face off begins…Am I stoked like 1987? Nah…but I’ll check it out, but this time I hope there’s something new and fresh spun into the story because I’m starting to think this concept was really just good ultimately for one go round.

Where can they take this? Who cares! I guess this one will be on Hulu in August, NOT in theaters, I’m just fine with that, my expectations for ‘Prey’ are not high, I’m actually pretty surprised the alien is back THIS soon honestly. As expectations are low I hope to be pleasantly surprised, probably my big mistake! In the meantime just enjoy Batman: Dead End, for imo the BEST sequel to Predator 2!!

VHS Verdict: 1993’s STEPMONSTER Makes Mom a Mutant!!

I’m always excited to use what little power I have on U-Dork to hype up a forgotten gem of movie that warrants a fancy blu ray release and 1993’s Stepmonster is just that kind of flick. With a solid cast featuring Alan Thicke, Ami Dolenz and Corey Feldman (among others) we get a sweet little early 90s, PG-13, cheezed out creature feature! Right up my alley..

 Produced by Fred Olen Ray and Roger Corman you might already have a pretty good idea of what to expect here.  It’s a bit of a coming of age horror flick mixed with monsters and suburban comedy. Pre-teen kid Todd’s mother goes mysteriously missing on a family camping trip and a few months later his Dad (Alan Thicke of COURSE)  has strangely got a new mysterious lady movin’ in who’s soon to be Todd’s new mom. Ummm…TOO soon Alan!

To make matters worse dead bodies start turning up in suburbia and Todd begins to suspect that his mother is some sort of vicious shapeshifting mutant monster that made her way from the forest on their camping trip into their freakin’ family home. Of course no one believes him and he spends his time trying to convince his crush Amy Dolenz & her stoner rocker boyfriend (played by Corey Feldman) of the danger the neighborhood is in. 

That’s the one part of this movie that could have been greatly improved-it needed WAY more Corey!  He comes across here like his Frog Brother persona or better yet like his character from The Burbs. This might as well exist in the same universe as that movie and that’s more than just fine with me. Oh yeah young Todd is also a perv!

 There’s a ton of fun to be had here in this little creepy adventure that feels more like it belongs in the eighties than the nineties to be honest. Some of the humor as well feels a notch or 2 above it’s PG-13 rating, which I guess can be expected judging by the producers sassy reputations. That being said, it’s really got that Amblin “kids in danger” vibe that I love so much, along with the cool creature and special effects that go along with movies of that genre so well. The creature design is also pretty impressive for such a low budget affair and feature some of that classic early nineties face morphing that maybe has an aged so well?

Luckily Stepmonster has its heart mostly in all the right places and pretty much hits all the right beats making it a great double feature aside movies like ‘The Goonies’ or ‘The Gate’.  It also wastes no time, with its lean 86 minute run time, it’s a great party movie that nearly anyone can enjoy, who knows maybe there’s an “R rated cut” of the movie somewhere, I’d love to see the movie get even darker. Nonetheless this is a pretty sweet little family horror flick that’s tailer made for fans of the eighties and early nineties. Stepmonster def deserves a fancy blu ray release with a ton of extras!

 

 

Scooby-Doo gets Serious with the Live Action ‘Mystery Incorporated’!

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: 

80s Stop Motion Mayhem: Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires!

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!

Movie Melt Podcast: Bryan Yuzna’s Gory Y2K Spawn Ripoff FAUST!!

YES! U-Dork joined forced with the ‘Movie Melt‘ podcast where we give major coverage to the nearly forgotten Y2K Spawn rip off ‘Faust: Love of the Damned’!

Yes Brian Yuzna who’s helmed some real fucking horror gems, the likes ‘The Bride of  Reanimator’,  ‘Return of the Living Dead 3’ and total horror jam ‘Society’ deserves WAAAY more damn love! Instead of covering those though we decide to go REAL “hardcore Yuzna” and cover one of his most under appreciated films from an era of horror that’s not very widely beloved! The damn year 2000!! Who many consider to be one of the worst years for horror!

This darkly ridiculous superhero horror romp kinda has to be seen to be believed, Jam packed with a full soundtrack of freakin’ nu-metal, hot babez, hunky duderz, over the top gore and cool practical fx monsters!

You’ll learn more about this rad director and this obsurdly charming movie then you ever dreamnt possible.

But that’s not all there’s plenty of ridiculous cinematic junk food covered as in addition to FAUST! The Internet’s most unsuccessful blogger gets real with the cast of Movie Melt and shit gets def! Check out the mayhem right HERE! 

Cult Flicks In Desperate Need of a Blu Ray: 1988’s ‘WATCHERS’!

I’ve been looking at my VHS tapes lately and have been compiling a list of some of my favorite cult horror flicks that for some god forsaken reason have still gone without an official fancy new blu ray release! One of the first movies that comes to mind is one of my all time favorite underrated gems of the late 80s, featuring Corey Haim in the lead role in this nostalgic, yet largely underseen creature feature ‘Watchers’ directed by Jon Hess (Alligator II).

 I definitely consider this to be “prime” Cory Haim and quite frankly the perfect addition to a double feature with ‘The Lost Boys’. In some ways it almost feels like an extension of Haim’s character “Sam Emerson” in The Lost Boys. He’s got his rad eighties fashion, comedic licks and hair dialed up to an 11 and really is perfectly in line with the tone of The Lost Boys. In my opinion at least, it’s a perfect campy 80s creature feature/coming of age adventure featuring teen heart throb Haim on the run with with a canine who possesses human intelligence thats escaped from a secret nearby research facility. If you’re a fan of dogs in leading roles in horror movies this is definitely a gem!

What are they on the run from? Well, Michael Ironside and a savage mutant beast dead set on reuniting with the dog and literally destroying anything in its path of course! To put this in a nutshell, this flick is the epitome of what a series like Stranger Things is trying to desperately replicate. The Watchers is the real deal & it’s naturally got the authentic 80s “kids in danger” charm down perfectly to a T. Like an R-rated Amblin production.

 I actually also really dig the special effects on display here, there’s some cool gore and also a pretty sweet realistic, yet slightly stupid looking savage hairy monster! I really don’t mean that to be a negative either, I like the monster, he just looks kinda like a moron!

A very realistic stupid looking monster, hey I’ll take that any day of the damn week! This movie was based on a Dean Koontz novel and spawned several sequels. My second favorite of them is 1998’s ‘Watchers Reborn’ the 4th installment which features Mark Hamill in the leading role. I’d love to see all of the sequels get a Blu-ray release as well and hoping that someone like Vinegar Syndrome or Shout Factory can grab this and give it some new gas in it’s tank.

It was released on VHS and also an out of print combo DVD with the sequel that features “Beastmaster” Mark Singer included which is very hard to find now. So all kick ass blu ray labels out there take notice, The Watchers is the perfect movie to get into the grimy hands of some hungry horror hounds and ripe for the picken!

The Craziest Movie Subtitles of ALL Time!

So for New Years this year I rewatched 1999’s ‘The Last Ghost Standing’. A totally bonkers Hong-Kong horror movie that takes place on New Year’s Eve. If you ever get the chance to check it out I highly recommend it, especially if you like movies like Evil Dead 2, it will not disappoint! Once again I had to freeze frame it and officially document this bizarre subtitle!!  This easily makes the list of the craziest subtitles of all time..

WTF New Years Eve Hong Kong 90s Horror Gem: ‘Last Ghost Standing’!

Wild and weird New Years flicks are not easy to come by. But god damn do I have one of the most WTF movies taking place on New Years Eve you will ever see to recommend! ‘Last Ghost Standing’ from 1999 is essentially a night in the life of a young couple on a New Year’s Eve date to a creepy theater that’s showing it’s very final picture before closing forever…

 It doesn’t take long however for things to get downright dirty, spooky and simultaneously zany when evil forces from the netherworld descend from from the depths of hell to kill everyone who has purchased a ticket to the final show at the theater. Basically a mix of ‘Demons’ and ‘Evil Dead 2’ with even more senseless comedy and insane goopy antics. Yes, this one dials the idiotic insanity up to 11 with a barely cohesive story holding this creature together by the withering tendons. I’d make sure you’re a few drinks in or stoned outta your gord before checking this one out on New Year’s Eve. You’ve been warned!

It’s jam packed with awesome cheap-o B-movie fx & gross out moments a’ plenty.  Particularly a scene where a group of wild raver teens are attacked by a disgusting toilet poop monster in the restroom.  Barely any of this late nineties gem makes a lick of sense either, I think it’s all there just to give our eyes a visual feast  & at the same time make you lose a brain cell or two just from watching.

Things get so out of control in the theater that they eventually have to call in a mock Jackie Chan type character with a fake prosthetic nose to come and try to settle the supernatural score with the demons. The funny thing is it would appear that the demonic forces in this movie aren’t fully satisfied with the state of modern cinema at the time and are ready to rip it’s existence entirely from our world.  The essential reason for their attack on the patrons.

If you’re a horror fanatic and looking for something truly bizarre on New Year’s Eve today, this is definitely going to deliver the goods right to your damn doorstep. It’s silly, gross and a lot of frenetic fun & I can certainly guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it before! Happy 2022!!