You like classic alien abduction flicks as much as I do? Well the recently released ‘Dark Encounter’ brings to mind movies like ‘Communion’, ‘Fire in the Sky’, ‘Close Encounters’ but also brings some new dramatic plot points to the traditional alien abduction story. Basically we’ve got a small town scenario here where a family’s 8 year old daughter suddenly goes missing one sunny afternoon while home alone. A year passes, with no clues of her whereabouts and the family, along with some close friends gather at their home for a memorial, still trying to come to terms with what happened to her. As the night descends upon their gathering so does a seemingly sinister alien force. Mysterious lights in the sky are seen and soon members of the family begin to go missing in the woods that surrounds the house. It’s not long before the strange lights fill the home and the remaining must try to survive the night while piecing together the very mystery for which they gathered.
It all takes place in the 1980’s and much of it’s imagery is clearly influenced by those classics like ‘E.T’. & ‘Close Encounters’ but it still manages to set those similarities apart by going in unexpected directions. It starts off as the classic extraterrestrial abduction story but ends up with revelations far more disturbing to the family dynamic set up earlier. It looks great too, beautifully shot with plenty of tense scenes set out in the woods while strange colors shine through the trees. They capture a sense of a looming alien presence that’s purely unsettling and mysterious creating some great scenes of raw tension. There’s some great acting here as well, everyone’s quite convincing in their roles which lends tremendously to the mystery of it. As far as those little green men though, people waiting for alien mayhem might walk away a bit disappointed from Dark Encounter. While I ultimately appreciated the movie at it’s end for different reasons I was of course hoping things were going to climax with some human vs E.T. action. I still think someone needs to churn out a bonkers gray alien vs human abduction flick, I know it was attempted by ‘The Vicious Brothers’ with their 2014 film ‘Extraterrestrial’ and again with “Dark Skies” but somehow in my opinion just missed the mark.
That all being said I think Dark Encounter is most definitely worth watching for fans of the “Alien Abduction” film genre. It’s got an intriguing mystery at it’s core and goes in some surprising directions that also land it firmly into the family drama category as well. Hey if I’m going to watch a family drama this is the kind of move I want to do so with. It will leave you with a bittersweet feeling but it’s definitely an interesting encounter with visitors not of this Earth.
Stranger Things Season 2 finally dropped this Halloween and damn was it good! So much fun and such a total and complete trip down memory lane. The show plays off of the wonder filled nostalgia of the 80’s and almost perfectly captures the magic of movies like Poltergeist, E.T., The Goonies and The Lost Boys to name a few.
This show couldn’t possibly get any better at delivering the ever so sweet 1980’s cinematic magic could it? Well I say it could do the job way better, after watching the second season it was apparent once again that this show could really up it’s game by ditching a lot of the shoddy CGI effects it uses for it’s monsters.
The show sure looks and feels like an 80’s Amblin flick, that is until they introduce us to the other worldly monsters. Then it quickly becomes very apparent it’s 2017 and that some questionable CG has entered my 80’s fantasy! So for season 3 of the show, I think they could do better, to really recreate that magic of old, it’s time for the show to incorporate practical creature effects! Puppetry, makeup, animatronics!
Imagine the creatures on the show if they had the feel of E.T., The Gremlins or Pumpkinhead?! The CG takes me out of the moment, the realism fades quickly and I imagine how much more effective the experience would really be if it just gave this tweak to say 75% of it’s fx work. That alone would give us the ultimate nostalgia trip, let’s face it, fans would go nuts for this and especially those who are real fans of the genre the show’s replicating. So help me spread this idea #strangerthings80sfx & Let’s demand that 80’s special effects magic be utilized for the next season!!! They’ve come a long way with practical fx work and blending with CG or using CG to eliminate wires & puppeteers would take the show to a whole next level of 1980’s love….
“Stranger Things” is the series to binge on this summer, I absolutely loved it. Secondly it’s very obvious that The Duffer Brothers are fans of The Goonies, E.T., Poltergeist, Gremlins, Close Encounters and fully succeeded in replicating the nostalgic vibe of those movies for the Netflix series this summer. They gave us that special feeling we’ve all missed for so many years, especially if you grew up in those times. People are already clamoring for a second season, so what are we all supposed to do in the meantime? Well I’ve put together a list of some movies that I think likely were an inspiration to the hit series that you might have totally missed out or haven’t seen in a while!
Most of these flicks follow the “Amblin” formula. Amblin cranked out a lot of the spooky 80’s Speilberg style movies. It was a formula that seemed to put kids on dangerous adventures, most often supernatural ones, usually in small towns or the suburbs and most often trying to prove to their parents some crazy story to be true with often times unlucky results. These stories were filled with wonder and most of all they were so undeniably fun to watch that to see a series like Stranger Things in this day and age is a breath of fresh air. So here today in response I’d like to honor 10 of the lesser known movies you’ve gotta hunt down if you dug Stranger Things as much as I did.
1. The Gate (1986) To say they weren’t influenced by this movie when making Stranger Things would be a crime!!
Well it looks as if Netflix has done it again with the totally awesome new ‘Stranger Things’ series! I’ve gotta say thus far being on episode six it’s easily one of my favorite shows ever. I’m hoping these last three episodes will totally deliver the goods. A lot of new movies have tried to replicate the classic 80’s adventure, movies like Super 8 & even the X-men: Apocalypse. None of these movies have really been able to fully channel the vibes of what it was like to be a kid back then but then comes along this series and they NAIL it. It’s thus far the perfect blend of movies like E.T., Firestarter, Poltergeist & The Goonies all wrapped up neatly in a box. Everything down to the wardrobe, the music and the sheer adventure captures that old Amblin/Speilberg vibe perfectly. It’s not a carbon copy tho they’re also bringing the scares in a big way.
Also awesome is to have Winona Ryder back front and center, she of course is a big 80’s crush of mine (duh right?) AND Matthew Modine too, so that definitely adds to the 80’s authenticity of the show. I’m curious what Netflix’s plan is for the series? Is it a one off or are they looking at more seasons? I guess I need to finish it and see where it’s left off. Here’s what The series creators and directors The Duffer Brothers had to say at this time about a possible second season:
“We wanted to do a couple things with this [first] season. We didn’t want to do The Killing thing. We wanted it to resolve that main thing of Will going missing in the first season. So in that sense, it is like an eight-hour movie. Now, we don’t answer all the questions by the end of the season — there are definitely some dangling threads. The hope is that it feels satisfying but that we left room and that if people respond to it we can go back into this world. But if we do get to go back, it’s not a second season as much as a sequel.”
A sequel season sounds great to me, perhaps they could find a few other 80’s icons to flesh it out? Hmmm..Molly Ringwald or Ralph Macchio anyone?! The possibilities are pretty amazing if you think about it. Continue reading
I love digging up these old VHS boxes as so many of them feature iconic artwork that’s never left my mind from way back in the days of the video store experience of the 80’s. So today I’m featuring a pretty unknown jem of a movie from 1985 by Independence Day director Roland Emmerich.
This one is a great movie, a total 80’s Amblin, Speilberg rip off but a ton of fun. It borrows heavily from movies like E.T., Poltergeist and Close Encounters. It was also known as ‘Joey’ and features a villainous ventriloquist doll so yeah there’s that too! Anyway I’ve always totally dug the cover art from when I was a kid and it totally represents the movie as well. You know most more obscure 80’s flicks feature some totally wicked cover art but then the movie just doesn’t deliver one tenth of that awesomeness. Making Contact has a great cover and is actually a pretty cool little flick too!
This cool ass box art was done by Barry E. Jackson, if you want the full scoop on him and some of the other totally epic cover check out this link from one of my favorite blogs Camera Viscera!!
I’m quite excited about this cool new Netflix original series coming out July 15th! ‘Stranger Things’ has all of the vibes of those amazing Amblin style adventures that I grew up with as a kid. Judging from the trailer we’re getting a bit of an E.T., Poltergeist, Close Encounters and even a bit of a Goonies feel to this series.
The kind of movies where the heroes were kids in danger, the adults just wouldn’t believe a word they’d say, kids would cruise around unsupervised on BMX bikes trying to solve crazy mysteries. There’s something special about those movies that many directors over the recent years have tried to capture in movies like JJ Abram’s ‘Super 8’, Krampus and recently ‘The Midnight Special’. Add one of my biggest 80’s crushes, Winona Ryder to the mix and it so far looks like a surefire hit.
I just heard about this today as it kinda just came out of nowhere it seems but it’s one series I’ll be checking out the day it drops see the trailer for yourself and lets cross our fingers that this one captures the mystery of those old Stephen King classics!
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!