Wow, my mind has officially been blown by Panos Cosmatos’ second feature film ‘Mandy’! I was lucky enough to catch it this crazy ass flick last Sunday evening at Cinema 21 here in Portland with a rowdy packed theater. I’m damn glad I decided to make a run to the cinema rather than renting this online ‘cuz in my opinion that’s the absolute best way to see this one for the first time. After watching the steaming pile of crap that was ‘The Predator’ at a matinee Friday, a movie like Mandy was a complete and total breath of fresh air. I guess the best thing to say here is this movie may not be for everyone, but if you’re ready to take one of the craziest mind bending cinematic journeys of the last couple decades then you’re gonna fucking love it. Hell even the poster is awesome!
Mandy is a completely insane revenge flick set in the early 80’s and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before. I’m so used to seeing big crappy Hollywood blockbusters in the theater, so this was a bit of of a welcome shock to my noggin. The whole movie plays out like an uncomfortable fever dream, with Nicholas Cage as a logger named “Red” who lives out in the Pacific Northwest with his beautiful but eerily mesmerizing girlfriend Mandy. They live a quiet, serene life in an incredibly strange home in the middle of the woods, with large glass walls that bring to mind elements of a real life fairy tale. Everything’s dark yet overly drenched in vibrant hues of reds, purples & thick lush colors creating a surreal landscape that feels like a dream put right on the screen in front of you. It’s a spectacle to behold and it’s clear from the start that Red & Mandy have been through a lot together, sharing a truly special bond in their secluded life. Mandy works at a nearby convenience store, wears cool heavy metal tees and loses herself in fantasy novels while Red spends his time chopping down trees with his chainsaw. The two of them are pictured intently watching 80’s horror flicks together (NIGHTBEAST!), chatting about what their favorite planets are, showing they’re living a rather sweet, simple and innocent life together at this point.
Well shit majorly hits the fan when a crazy van full of uber religious cult members roll into the area and their leader spots the oddly beautiful Mandy walking on the road one day. The cult leader is seemingly hypnotized by her and quickly declares that he must have her for his own. The first hour of the movie is pretty slow moving but in the best way possible, though we don’t get much backstory, we do get a clear picture of the love Mandy & Red share for each other, which makes what follows all that more intensely heartbreaking. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but let’s just say this cult goes the full distance to send Nicholas Cage into a fully batshit crazy journey that’s part Evil Dead, part Hellraiser and part LSD drenched revenge fantasy. I know people have a sort of ironic love for Nicholas Cage these days but seriously Cage fully shines here in easily one of his best performances of his career. He’s awesome and not in some ridiculous sort of way. The movie goes to some truly bizarre places, the violence plentiful and there are a ton of oddball surprises all along the way.
The movie even has a sense of humor as well, though it feels like an unsettling waking nightmare most of it’s run time, there’s something truly comforting about having Nic Cage there with you as your guide through the mayhem of it all. It gives you a sense of hope that just maybe you’ll make it out of it all alive somehow. There’s also a strong heavy metal vibe to film, not just in it’s imagery but also in the score, which is completely breathtaking in it’s thunderous doom metal delivery through the hellish otherworldly landscapes. The music here is incredible and liley half of the charm of why Mandy works so damn well honestly.
There’s also cool hand drawn animated interludes that bring to mind the 1981 cult classic “Heavy Metal” in the best ways possible. Add in amazing practical fx work, crazy gore, epic weapon crafting, chainsaws, Goblin Mac & Cheese (just wait and see), drugs galore, demonic cenobite like bikers and a sweet ass cameo from Predator’s Bill Duke and you’ve got yourself one truly freaky epic horror masterpiece unlike anything you’ve like ever seen before. I can’t say enuff good things about this movie, it’s still floating around in my head four days after viewing it. I can though easily say that Mandy thus far is my favorite movie of 2018!
Now here’s a new crazy looking monster movie that looks pretty damn sweet and totally ready to quench my thirst for those gooey creature features of the 80’s! There’s something about most modern monster movies that just doesn’t cut the cake for me, I’m rarely convinced these days that a CGI creation is much of a threat on screen, as they don’t really look like they’re actually there in the flesh. Rather floating around on a separate computerized layer. So as much as I loved “A Quiet Place” the monsters were probably my least favorite thing about the movie. Give me an 80’s classic like ‘The Thing’, ‘The Blob’, ‘Gremlins’ or even something like “Neon Maniacs” any day of the damn week!
Judging by the new trailer for “Book of Monsters” I might’ve just found the kind of movie I’m looking for. It looks like a long lost 80’s creature feature in the best way possible. The premise sounds like a fun time as well, besides the whole “evil book” thing which might be considered a bit played out at this point, it still looks like a ton of gory fun filled with a lots of old school practical fx monster mayhem.
“Sophie’s 18th birthday party becomes a total bloodbath when six horrific monsters descend upon her home, intent on devouring the party guests and killing anyone who tries to escape their clutches. As her school friends are ripped to shreds and eaten, Sophie must rally a band of misfits and take up arms to send their party crashers back to the depths of hell. To survive the night, Sophie will face her destiny; monsters are real – and she’s the only one who can stop them.”
Check out the trailer, this one’s set to drop on August 25th..
It seems our ol’ pal Ash Williams might be in need of our help, Season 3 of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ just recently kicked off & it seems there’s a serious possibility that the show may not be renewed for ‘Season 4’ by Starz. The show is one of the most pirated out there meaning all of us Evil Dead fans haven’t really been supporting the return of Bruce Campbell in the way he’d hoped we would. I’m fully up to date having just finished watching the most current episode of season 3. I’ve at the moment got a free 7 day trial for Starz, that’ll be over in a couple days and I’m planning on getting a membership at least for a month to watch the rest of the show. I figure $8.99 is way more than worth it for rest of the season, besides I spend more than that to see a movie at the theaters usually for a movie that wasn’t that all that good. So if you’re a real fan of the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise it just might be time to show up for real, cough up 9 bux and support Ash in his quest to stomp out evil!
Now onto season 3 thus far, upon watching the first episode, it felt a bit too familiar to season 2, Ash is now the hero of his small home town, everything seems to be peachy for him again and his companions (starting off a bit too much like the “Jacksonville paradise” season 2 first episode). Of course the Necronomicon appears again, someone recites it’s passages and ‘Deadites’ are back raising hell for the small quaint town. My only initial gripe was that we’re spending yet another season in Ash’s hometown, at least for now & I’d really have liked for Ash and his crew to have been sucked into another time warp similar to ‘Army of Darkness’ to really mix things up. However it was apparent my small gripe would soon be totally erased by just how bat shit crazy and fun everything quickly escalated to. So far season three just might be the best of them all, every episode delivers the wild and crazy gore, monsters & special fx fans have been clamoring for all these years. Continue reading
I checked out the first episode last night of season two of Ash vs Evil Dead that’s streaming for FREE on Starz website. I’ve gotta say I think this episode might be one of the best ones thus far in the whole series. I really enjoyed season one, it did exactly what it set out to do which was bring us a fully over the top adventure featuring everyone’s favorite iconic cult horror anti-hero Ash. Did it have it’s flaws? Certainly. Some of the FX work relied too much on some questionable CG and at times there were a couple episodes that were just a little bit flat. Overall though, it packed the punch it promised and it was truly incredible to finally see Bruce back in the role. I gotta say I really never thought it would actually happen.
So season two comes around and part of me wonders if this whole formula will grow tired? Well the first episode did NOT disappoint! I couldn’t help but smile during it, Bruce is just so damn lovable and his two sidekicks have definitely grown on me, In fact someday I could see these two continue on the Evil Dead franchise without Bruce if he someday decided to hang up the chainsaw. I also loved the opening, having lived in Jacksonville Florida myself, the whole idea that THAT city is Ash’s personal view of paradise makes the idea that much more comedically potent.
I’m totally diggin’ where the show is going and we get to meet Ash’s very non PC dad (Lee Majors) which is a total treat. I do wish they’d have stayed a bit longer in Jacksonville, but I love how we’re getting some of Ash’s backstory in his home town in Michigan. What really do we know about the character otherwise? This begins to really flesh him out. Also someone must have been listening to fans reaction to the CG FX because the season two debut is almost entirely done with gory ass practical effects. It really looks great and feels more like the original movies than any of the other episodes. Well done. This show is pretty damn awesome and it’s the perfect thing to get you into a good mood if you’re feeling blue. I’ve just gotta catch this season weekly, it really is a show that makes me smile. In the meantime I’m going to watch this episode again, yeah it’s that good…
Here’s the teaser for the next episode:
We recently once again got “news” from Sam Raimi at Comic Con that he’s writing an Evil Dead TV series with his brother and Bruce “Ash” Campbell. Wow sound like an awesome idea huh? Well as everyone on the internet flips out about this, I’m saying I’ll believe it when I see It! Look, this all seem like a really swell idea, but how many damn times does Mr. Raimi expect us to get excited about this whole damn Evil Dead thing?! The idea of a true modern sequel has been announced many times by Sam, then either he or Bruce come back and say stuff like they were just kidding, weren’t serious, or just trying to say what the crowd wants to hear etc, etc, etc.
I’m personally getting a little tired of the whole idea of another movie with Bruce as Ash. I’m tired of hearing about a sequel to the reboot, that’s not going to happen and then is going to happen and then nothing. I’m tired of hearing about how we’ll be getting a new Evil Dead sequel from Fede Alvarez, then getting Army of Darkness 2, then the universes colliding in a final installment with Bruce and then hearing that- that is NOT actually the plan, nope now we’re gonna get a nifty TV series with Bruce Campbell in the leading role…..becuz i’m sure in a week from now Bruce will make some smart ass comment about it saying it ain’t gonna happen. The more I see Raimi’s recent work the more I hope that he just gives up on the idea! He’s stated several times that he’s really not into doing any more Evil Dead-so why would I want to see a movie or TV series by someone who ain’t interested?! That’s not the Evil Dead flick I’ve been waiting for!
So these three guys can keep talking at Comic Con’s every year about a new Evil Dead movie, a sequel, a tv series, a crossover blah blah blah. This won’t mean shit to me until it’s on a screen in front of me! If they don’t make something happen soon it will indeed be too late. Now is the time to put Bruce back in the role, not ANOTHER 10 years from now! So Raimi, listen up, don’t do more Evil Dead if you really don’t care about it anymore, because we still do. How fun is it dating someone you’re super stoked on who’s simply looking for something better to come along? Answer is it totally blows! So until the whole gang can get their heads out of their rear ends and come up with something solid that everyone involved is actually truly pumped on then I suggest just keeping your ideas to yourself at Comic Con. Ok, rant is done, now prove me wrong please! I can’t bear to watch another clip like this dammit!!
So there we have it, The Evil Dead “remake” in all of it’s bloody glory! I saw it this last weekend on a Sunday afternoon matinee, with a packed theater and I am happy to say the flick exceeded my expectations! Kudos to Fede Alvarez for putting his heart and soul into a movie that I feel real horror fans can get behind. I can’t express enough how awesome it was to see a mainstream Hollywood horror movie deliver the gore the way it was meant to be. CG blood was no where in sight, the effects made me cringe and the story was simple and brutal. I enjoyed it even more so because to me this really wasn’t a remake, we got several hints through the film that these events were talking place after Ash’s experience there and if you stuck around after the credits we indeed got a message from the man himself. Alvarez swore up and down that Ash would NOT appear, even in a cameo in this one. I’m not saying the last scene promises anything to fans but the simple fact that we’re now hearing about Ash returning in Army of Darkness 2 and then both movie worlds colliding for one final flick make me just about wet my pants!
Now that’s not to say this was a perfect movie, like many reviewers have complained, I’ll agree there’s not much for character development here. But you know what, Evil Dead was never known for in depth character development! It delivered one purpose, to send chills down your spine and attempt to gross you out as much as possible. I think this flick did exactly what is was supposed to and then some. It makes me think of how rad it will be to see Ash plopped into this sick and twisted reality as the same old idiotic hero we’ve come to know and love. Older but not the least bit wiser. Finally giving us fans what we’ve wanted, one more night out with the King.
It seems the movie was a success too at the box office making over 30 Million in it’s first weekend snagging the number one spot. Things are looking good in the world of the Deadites! So let this be a lesson to all these Hollywood so called horror directors. Give people a quality movie, skip the CG blood-it looks like shit and always will, get creative without solely relying on your computer, plan your shots and make us feel and believe that we’re really there fighting for our survival! Something this latest Evil Dead succeeds at on so many levels!
Here we go again and again….So it seems the big news is that Sam Raimi has mentioned that he’s going to write the script this summer for Evil Dead 4 with his brother. Apparently he mentioned this in an interview promoting his new “Oz the Great & Powerful” movie opening soon. First I really can’t say I am excited for this new Wizard of Oz prequel, Raimi to me seems like the new Tim Burton and unfortunately that’s not a compliment. Aside from his sorta return to form film “Drag Me to Hell” it’s been a while since he’s put out anything too stellar. This Oz film reminds me of more of the same “Alice in Wonderland” style glittery forgettable Hollywood schlock. I just don’t have any interest in sitting through more of that type of stuff anymore. However a piece of me got excited about this Evil Dead script thing and then I remembered he promised back in 2008 that part 4 was in the works back at the San Diego Comic-Con and then I remember he’s been making these promises since the early 2000’s!
So what we all need now is less talk. Let’s see some REAL progress! I would love to see one last adventure with an older, wiser, grumpier Ash. Bruce is not too old for the role either he’s only 54, I am certain if he spent a little time getting into shape (or not) he could bring us all the performance we’ve been hoping for. My question is if Raimi get’s his ass in gear and makes this happen is it going to be a glittery pile of Hollywood shit? Is he going to go for an Army of Darkness style plot where it’s Bruce in front of a green screen for an hour and a half? Or will this new Evil Dead reboot “boasting no CG” set the bar for the way this fourth movie is filmed? We can only hope! Drag Me to Hell showed a glimmer of promise for a fourth installment, yet if Ash would have been the lead character in that movie I would have been sorely disappointed. If Evil Dead 4 is to work it’s got to push the bar real high, pushing the Horror Comedy genre to a new level and set a new standard. With all the money Raimi has now from Spider-man we had better see a movie that outshines it’s two predecessors. It’s one thing for Raimi to be a “Tim Burton” but if he becomes a modern day “George Lucas” then Evil Dead 4 (if it ever really sees the light of day) it could be a tough stain to erase from our minds for a nearly pitch perfect horror franchise….Raimi I’ll be watching you!
P.S. Hey Sam if you know what the true fans want, it’s not special effects like this!