So today the first episode of the long awaited SHE-HULK series premieres on Disney Plus & though I’m excited for it I’m still a bit saddened that we will never have gotten a LIVE action She-Hulk on the big OR small screen. If I’m not making myself entirely clear it’s because the version of She-Hulk we’re getting today is indeed a fully CGI generated character. However what most people don’t realize is that waaaay back in the early nineties there was indeed a live action She- Hulk movie in the works!
Even more amazing was that at its helm was Larry Cohen one of my all time favorite cult cinema directors- Even MORE “sensational” was the inclusion of Brigitte Nielsen in the title role of the Jade Giantess! This was indeed a match made in heaven. And after watching Larry Cohen’s brilliant 1990 movie ‘The Ambulance’ I’m convinced Stan Lee and him had made the connection for producing a She-Hulk movie during that production.
If you’ve never seen ‘The Ambulance’ you gotta check it out. Eric Roberts stars as a Marvel Comic Book artist who goes on an insane journey chasing a mysterious ambulance across New York City. Stan even makes several cameos in it as himself (above).
After the the Cohen/Stan Lee connection had been established, New World Pictures was seemingly ready to produce a live action She-Hulk movie, shooting for a 1992 release & indeed had Larry attached to direct (and rumored to have written the script). Apparently an attempt was made to attract investors by doing some concept photo shoots for the character with Brigitte Nielsen, who would also be in the role of Jennifer Walters.
I remember running across these photos in ‘Comics Scene’ magazine way back when and being pretty excited about what the possibilities of this collaboration might produce even if her look and outfit were a bit off in the promo photos. The script is shrouded in mystery and has never really but really had any sort of leaks except that Eric Roberts was to appear as a villain. I can only imagine with Larry Cohen directing we would have gotten something at the very least intriguing and fun. It’s also not certain whether these concept photos were really reflective of the true “final look” of the character. It’s imagined that once production was started on it they would’ve fleshed out her character design much more & hopefully made her skin tone at least darker green.
Whatever the case Brigitte would have filled the role perfectly, The Red Sonja star was a dream cast for the movie. I can only imagine that this ultra campy version of the character might have eventually morphed into a cult classic. The early synopsis promo:
SHE-HULK (Larry Cohen, 1992). A mild-mannered lawyer (Brigitte Nielsen) receives a life-altering blood-transfusion after being shot by a local mobster (Eric Roberts). As a result, she finds herself transformed into a magical green rage-monster.
Though it sounded promising, they had several cinematic misses under their belt by that time with Howard the Duck, Captain America & The Punisher films all flopping and barely meeting the mark for comic fanatics. However my faith in Larry Cohen as a director and script writer only confirms that this particular project would’ve indeed been something memorable. Brigitte in 1990 was fully fit and definitely ready for the role.
It’s a real shame that never it never happened, I think a She-Hulk movie coming from that era would have been so much fun and I’m so curious where are they would have gone with everything. Even if it had turned out to be one giant ball of gamma radiated cheese it still would’ve been interesting to see a real live action version of the character and given Brigitte a chance to shine like Lou Ferrrigno did in his classic role….
All these years I’ve sorta avoided ‘Uncle Sam’ from 1996, assuming it was some sort of idiotic throw away, direct to video waste of time. The VHS cover was unforgettable, a wild lenticular evil Uncle Sam in glorious 3-D! Still for decades I never checked this out kind of on purpose.
This 4th of July however I was looking for something in the horror genre that might take place around the holiday and of COURSE there was good ol ‘Uncle Sam’ front and center. I almost passed on it yet again, but this time I noticed something that I def hadn’t before. It was directed by William Lustig famed for the brilliant ‘Maniac Cop’ franchise and written by one of my genre favorites Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, The Ambulance, Return to Salem’s Lot, Q: The Winged Serpent). Why the Hell hadn’t I realized this sooner?!
Well Uncle Sam indeed delivered everything I’d hoped it would and much more! It’s a great horror flick with some razor sharp comedy/social commentary, just what you’d hope it would have being written by Larry Cohen. It’s a wild story about a kid who’s freakishly obsessed with becoming a soldier, kickin’ ass for the USA & doing whatever the fuck President tells him to! He’s also obsessed with his Uncle, who’s real name is Sam, who tragically dies in the Iraq war from “friendly fire”.
When his body is shipped back to their home(?) to sit until his grave is dug, bizarre events lead to his dead decaying body reanimating and donning an Uncle Sam outfit which he strips from a peeping Tom on stilts after after murdering him!
At this point Uncle Sam embarks on a full on “Jason Voorhees” killing spree during the 4th of July as the small town starts to celebrate. I’d always assumed that this movie was a total farce/spoof, but far from it. It’s got a cool fast paced story, plenty of obnoxious patriotic humor and even a strong social commentary about the US government and war itself. There’s also some inventive kills (with fireworks of course!), cool make up effects and a cast which stars fan favorites Robert Forster and Isaac Hayes.
Probably one of the most ridiculous aspects and enjoyable parts of the whole movie is the kid and his crazy ass obsession with the United States and his over the top ludicrous patriotism on full display. It’s pretty gut busting and as a whole Uncle Sam is a total delight that somehow eluded me for almost three damn decades.
As far as 4th of July viewing you really can’t do better than this, the most “4th of July” horror movie of all time thankfully has got all the right moves and the talent behind it is evident in the final product. I got this bad boy on blu ray from Blue Underground! But now I want that damn 3-D lenticular VHS too! Hunt down Uncle Sam THIS 4th of July!!
I have a new favorite vampire flick: Return to Salem’s Lot! It’s surely no secret that Larry Cohen has made some amazing movies, ‘The Stuff’, ‘Q The Winged Serpent’, ‘God Told Me Too’ & ‘It’s Alive’ are considered among his best. However, recently I viewed his 1990 totally underrated & under-seen gem ‘The Ambulance’. It luckily inspired me to go back to check out some of his movies I might have missed out on and the sequel to ‘Salem’s Lot’ from 1987 is in my opinion is one of the best vampire movies of that decade! What took me so long to finally see it?! The only thing I can think of is that is that I’d watched the Tobe Hooper ‘Salem’s Lot’ Mini series from ’79 and found it good but also a bit slow moving. I simply figured for so long long that the sequel was yet just another mediocre TV mini series, well that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
So yet again Larry Cohen is at the top of his game in an incredibly colorful tale of ravenous small town bloodsuckers, jam packed with witty dialog, sweet 1980s special effects and of course some totally memorable heroes to cheer for as well as vampirous villains to hate! Michael Moriarty like in The Stuff, leads the cast, and after watching both of these movies basically back-to-back I came to a startling conclusion. Is it possible Michael Moriarty Is actually Bill Burr’s dad?!
The similarities are stunning! Am I the only person who’s ever thought of this? They look like father and son to me & even speak and sound like the blood relatives! Throughout the movie I couldn’t help but picture Burr in the role speaking all of the lines, in fact, even though I’m normally against remakes, if they ever do one I would love to see Burr in the role.
Hey next time YOU watch either The Stuff or Return to Salem’s Lot, make sure to Keep this in mind and you tell me if I’m crazy. I think the similarities are at the very least quite hilarious.
OK so now that I got that off my chest, I wanna at least mention how awesome the foul mouthed teen son played by Ricky Addison was, only to be rivaled by the potty mouthed pre-teen kid in the 1989 wildly unseen gem ‘The Laughing Dead’! He’s also got some great Corey Haim/Don Johnson-esque “Miami Vice” style as well, this kid is quite the spectacle I’d say.
But that’s not all, the movie’s secret weapon is the old but surprisingly spry, Jewish, Nazi hunter played by Samuel Fuller. He joins the gang, setting his sights on the wicked undead inhabitants of Salem’s Lot! He’s a cool classic horror hero that quite frankly needs a lot more love and that’s one thing Cohen really excels at is bringing memorable characters to the big screen.
Yes there is plenty to love here for eighties horror fanatics, A wildly unpredictable albeit ridiculous plot, a sweet spooky setting and some awesome vamps! Don’t believe me check this dude out!
The kind of vampires who don’t just sport the fake teeth, nope we get some bonafide monster vamps with animatronic faces to amp up the mayhem. I’m not sure what took me so long to finally check this out but I’m glad I did as it’s now become one of my favorites standing above most vampire movies of the 1980s. But most impressively featuring Bill Burr’s father?! Hey you never know right? I got it on a sweet blu ray via Shout Factory that looks beautifully bloody!
Here’s a favorite of mine that fully succeeds in the creepy concept of “less is more” for one hell of a scary ass movie cover! Yeah “It’s Alive” is a pretty cool ass little monster movie all the way back from 1974. The cover here has always stuck with me as we get the creepiest baby crib scene of all time. This crib merely features the clawed hand of the Davis baby, that pesky little infant creature who no matter how much killing it does is still fully loved by his parents ’til the end. The movie itself delivers the chills and the Davis Baby is brought to life in an incredibly realistic way via some wicked practical effects, especially being that it was 1974 it’s pretty dang impressive. A truly awesome & effective cover that still gives me the creeps today….