Tagged: monster movie

Stan Winston’s Incredible Forgotten Monster Creation in 1998’s ‘CREATURE’!!

So I really wasn’t expecting much at all when I came across this dvd in a bargain bin, but dammit 1998’s ‘Creature’ somehow delivered exactly what I love! With a run time of almost 3 hours long I really expected to be bored out of my gord, but with a solid cast of great actors like Craig T. Nelson, Giancarlo Esposito & Kim Cattrall it was off to a great start. Taking place on a beautiful breathtaking Caribbean island also sealed part of the deal as well, but really what immediately caught my eye in the opening credits was Stan Winston being credited with the creature fx! Still though a tv mini-series from 1998 would more than likely end up being a snoozer, quite the contrary!

 

We have two shark researchers, Craig T. Nelson and his ex-wife Kim Cattrall, as beautiful ever, along with their teenage son ready to get into some serious trouble in paradise. A rogue great white shark is killing people around the island, but this one’s ready to eat “Jaws” for breakfast. The secret weapon of what might have been a forgettable mini series if of course Stan’s mutant monster shark!

This creature is one of his best creations too and luckily it doesn’t just stay hidden until the very end. We get plenty of monster mayhem to behold and also a great performance from Giancarlo Esposito, of recent Mandalorian fame to up the ante here even more.

Even with its rather hefty run time it never drags, likely due in part to its charming cast of characters, bad Caribbean accents and of course some gooey creature craziness make this an entertaining little adventure. It’s also got decent production value, sweet cinematography, the lush setting of St. Lucia in the 90’s along with some pretty well done action and genuinely thrilling moments of horror. It’s stunning too that somehow one of Stan Winston’s coolest creatures made it into this forgotten gem. All practical fx too! I didn’t see a lick of CGI here.

If you dig his work this is simply a must watch. I did it in two sittings and after the first half I was hungry to finish the second half. This actually already has a blu ray that’s quite easy to get, I also think it’d be pretty sweet if someone trimmed it down with a lean edit to an hour and a half or so. There’s a pretty rad monster “movie” that could be crafted from the miniseries. Still tho at its current length even, it’s a fun, creepy, carribean vacation that monster flick fanatics should embark on!

Willy’s Wonderland: Nic Cage vs Evil Chuck E. Cheese = Cinematic Food Poisoning!

So I was at 7 Eleven the other day and thought it was the time to finally check out the most recent effort from Nic Cage, Willy’s Wonderland. Yes it was RedBox time yeeehaw!! I’d been looking forward to this movie for a while now, I mean Nic Cage spends the night at a haunted Chuck E. Cheese style pizza place funland and battles the animatronic cartoon band? SIGN ME THE HELL UP!



Well this little horror flick most definitely did NOT bring anything remotely wonderful to the damn party! Just like the 2019 ‘Banana Splits’ movie, 2021’s Willy’s Wonderland makes another attempt at a live action “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and somehow manages again to deliver a shit sandwich. I mean how can Nic Cage battling killer cartoon robots be so fucking boring? It’s almost like you have to be working hard to make this concept suck so bad. Plot? Barely any, but basically Nic Cage is a “cool guy” who drives around a lame sports car really fast (you know cuz that’s what bad asses do) & gets a flat tire. He then has to get it fixed (tuff guys can’t change tires), but the city has no ATM so he makes a deal to work off the car repair by working a graveyard shift cleaning ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ which is basically a low rent version of the much sweeter ‘Showbiz Pizza’.

Ok so Nic Cage’s character also apparently doesn’t speak, I’m not sure why, maybe tuff guys don’t like to talk or more likely Cage didn’t want to waste his time memorizing lines for a movie he knew was giant steaming turd. Everything about this movie basically sucks. Willy’s Wonderland (the actual place) should have been the major draw of the creepy fun, but here this funland restaurant looks like it was cobbled together in 15 minutes with bad props found in some dipshit’s garage. It’s a boring, ugly, sterile set piece that should have been a uniquely awesome creepy place for a horror adventure to take place. The acting also sucks and not in a good way. It tries way too hard to be edgy & make Cage’s character some sort of cool ass modern horror icon but instead just makes him look like some mega lame ass middle aged numbskull. If you like seeing Cage beat up furry robots over and over and over and defeating with no effort while drinking generic energy drinks this one is for you. Zero tension and zero shits given for any of the annoying characters easily make this one of the worst & most disappointing movies I’ve seen in quite some time. 

Like I said, the battles are super duper boring and while the cartoon robot monsters don’t look particularly bad, any chance of them being a threat is ruined early on by showing how weak they are when Nic Cage easily “beats them up” early on. They at least try to weave in some lame recycled plot they stole from ‘Child’s Play’, but by the time that arrives in the movie it’s just too late to give a damn. Then they decide to try even harder to make Cage’s character memorable by having him do a lame “sexy” dance sequence while he plays pinball but it’s just so pathetic that it almost tarnishes his brilliant more recent performance in ‘Mandy’. I know Nic takes pretty much any role he’s offered these days, but I personally thought he was on some sort of sweet comeback? Nope Cage still makes plenty of horse shit and Willie’s Wonderland is a prime example of just that! Please, for the love of God, no more ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ themed “horror” flicks! Let this put the nail in that coffin! 

Spielberg’s Awesome WTF Sequel Treatment – ‘E.T. 2: NOCTURNAL FEARS’!

I’ve joked with friends for many years about Steven Spielberg’s classic film E.T. having a sequel made, that was only released for audiences overseas. I mean of course I’d want a sequel to the movie, but not some pile of shit that’s made today where they fuck everything up with bad “special” overblown fx, a cut and paste recycled plot and a cast of terrible new characters “who are passed the torch” from the beloved but neglected older now sidelined classic ones. Well come to find out that Spielberg was indeed planning a sequel to E.T. back in 1982! He even wrote a story treatment for it that he actually turned in and while it’s not at all what you’d expect, it’s something just weird enough to have been the WTF cult classic E.T. deserved!

While The A.V. Club recently stated we should “be glad the cancelled sequel never got made” I say we should be downright enraged the cancelled sequel never saw the light of the silver screen. Officially titled ‘E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears’ you can tell this thing would have been right up my damn alley. Yep, think of more of an alien abduction horror tinged adventure for Elliot & fam this time. In Steven’s sweet nine page treatment, he amps up the Amblin “kids in danger” factor to eleven. Elliot, Michael and Gerty are sorely missing life without E.T. by their side, they still long to reunite with him again someday often gazing into the night skies. Well just as their world seems to turn mundane, they once again discover an alien craft at night in the woods nearby. Baffled, they assume it must be E.T’s return to them. However, what’s on board this time around are not so friendly, something far more terrifying: white skinned humanoid extraterrestrial carnivores, sporting huge red eyes and razor sharp fangs.

It’s not by coincidence either they land in the woods nearby, as they’re in search of their old pal E.T. & a few steps behind him in pursuit. It turns out they’re at odd’s with E.T.’s race and have come to Earth for any information on his whereabouts. Oh yeah the creatures also mutilate cattle and raise hell in the suburbs. Elliot, Gerty and Mike are pursued relentlessly by them in a game of cat and mouse and are eventually captured, where they’re tortured for info on their pal E.T.’s whereabouts. Elliot is so traumatized by their wicked methods of interrogation that at one point his blood curdling scream sends a emotional signal deep through the outer reaches of space to his old alien friend. Of course E.T. wastes no time and immediately rushes back on a mission to save his human companions from the clutches of his evil alien rivals. It’s also revealed E.T.’s real name is ‘Zrek’! Yowza COUNT ME SO IN!

The A.V. Club obviously doesn’t know a cult classic 80’s sequel if it punched them in their freakin’ face! Apparently Spielberg decided to back off the sequel because he thought it’d ruin the innocence of the original movie. Deeming it too dark and simply based too much in horror. Take a look at the concept designs for Rick Baker’s evil aliens, for the unmade ‘Night Skies’ that were also rumored to be considered for ‘Nocturnal Fears’:

So this is clearly to me at least an awesome sequel, and in an alternate reality would’ve been a classic, though likely a box office bomb. Spielberg could have had Tobe Hooper direct this thing too! Part of me wishes they’d pull this treatment out of the old dusty file cabinets and just give us THIS sequel today! Keep the same basic story, but have the original cast reunite, older now with their families deal with this identical situation and reunite with E.T. , I mean Zrek, sorry! As much as I’d love this I can only assume some greedy Hollywood execs would step in to trash the story, killing off Elliot, Gerty & Mike in the opening scene or something lame and then throw in a bunch of shitty CGI aliens and have E.T. die before he can see his old friends. There’d also probably be a new “E.T.” in his place that was more in line with current online trends somehow. So for now ‘E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears’ will just have to get a special place in my mind as the ‘what if’ sequel that should have been. Check out this extensive look at Steven Spielbergs story treatment in this Youtube video, beware though this Youtube channel also seems to think the script sucks(WTF?), clearly this person doesn’t know a sweet sequel when he sees it – c’mon people!!: 

Oh and if you’re still craving an E.T. sequel here’s that weird Xfinity commercial they decided to make instead of a real sequel:

Movie Melt: 1989’s THE LAUGHING DEAD Gets Some Cult Classic Cred!

Hey horror hounds! I’m willing to bet top dollar that you have probably never heard of or seen 1989’s bonker’s horror comedy ‘The Laughing Dead’?! I reviewed it right here not too long ago but enjoyed this weird wild cinematic journey so much I chose it as the feature presentation to cover for the latest episode of the Movie Melt Podcast!

So if you dig 80’s horror flicks like Evil Dead II, Re-animator or Terrorvision and haven’t got the scoop on this one you should check out the podcast for sure. With FX legend John Carl Buechler (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Friday the 13th VII, Troll ) bringing the gooey gore & monsters to life along with the offbeat horror story set in Oaxaca, Mexico, it’s a shame this movie never saw an official release here in the USA.

 Written & directed by Splatterpunk cult horror novelist/composer S.P. Somtow, makes it a guaranteed treat for 80’s horror fanatics. Check out the episode RIGHT HERE for the scoop on ‘The Laughing Dead’ as well as a whole heap of crazy shenanigans and useless movie info! Here’s the trailer for the movie…

LOVE AND MONSTERS: A Sweet Escape from Reality into the Monsterpocalypse?!

One of the sweetest, feel good movies in recent memory, ‘Love & Monsters’ came as a totally welcome surprise! And that’s all being said as someone who’s normally pretty tough on newer horror/fantasy/sci fi movies. Love & Monsters which came out last year may not have the most original plot but it more than makes up for any shortcomings with its impressive special effects and it’s truly heartwarming adventure. I guess I’d at first glance describe this as having somewhat of a “Zombieland” type of a thing going on and it might be easily dismissed as just some wimpy copycat. On the contrary, Love and Monsters buries ‘Zombieland’ (and especially the sequel), with what I think are just plain more likable characters who embark a much more compelling and colorful adventure in general.

Roughly seven years after the Earth was subjected to a mysterious monster invasion, the rather cowardly Joel Dawson has been living underground with a small pod of people trying to avoid what lurks above. He spends his time reconnecting over the radio with his high school girlfriend, Aimee, whom he was separated from when the tragedy hit and also cooking his signature soup for his crew. When the feelings of isolation and cabin fever finally get the best him he decides to muster up the courage to head to the world above. Seeking to finally reunite with his lost love who resides 80 miles away at a coastal colony, as he surmises that there’s nothing really left for him underground anymore. As he heads out alone he soon realizes he’s hardly prepared for the dangers all around him in the outside world. Mutant monsters are hungry and lurking around nearly every corner.

One of the high points here is the inclusion of charming canine character named “Boy”. Lifting a bit from ‘A Boy and his Dog’ (minus the weird sex plot) in a much sweeter way, we get the best of both world’s here for this little apocalyptic adventure. ‘Boy’ proves to be the show stealer here imo and his bond with Joel makes dealing with the dangers a bit less frightening, all things considered. The two make an excellent team against the creatures and it’s clear that they both need each other more than they likely ever realized for piece of mind in a crazy world. He also meets a few other interesting characters, a pair of wandering scavengers, Michael Rooker along with the ruff and tumble little girl named ‘Minnow’. Joel soon learns the tricks of the trade from them and has to make a big decision on the outcome of his journey. One of the best scenes involves a strange AI intelligence, who brings even more unexpected meaning to his travels.

The whole thing is a great exercise in escapism during these real life uncertain times we all face at the moment. It also shows just how important real human (and animal) connections will hopefully always be to us here on the planet as we move forward. As we’re feeling isolated to certain degrees currently, Love and Monsters showcases some parallels to the current state of affairs. I guess we can all at least be relieved that big mutant monsters aren’t waiting to chomp us to bit when we head outside at least?

Let me get to the monsters here as well, I was half expecting some sort of chintzy fx work here to spoil the damn party. Not the case, the creatures here though mostly CGI are a treat to behold and for the most part are pretty convincing threats to our heroes. As a HUGE fan of monster movies I think it hits that sweet spot quite nicely. There’s also some cool plot twists and of course some admittedly hokey ones that otherwise might not have worked without such strong characters at the forefront. If you’re looking for “Calgon to take you away” (80’s kids you know the reference) from the worries of the real world, I can’t think of a better new fantasy adventure flick to visit than ‘Love and Monsters’, easily one of my faves of 2020!

Hidden Holiday Horror: 1988’s Icky Monster Movie THE BRAIN!!

Who knew that 1988’s Canadian cult creature feature ‘The Brain’ was actually a hidden holiday horror gem? Yep this monster movie from the opening scene has got Christmas decorations strewn all over the place and keeps up this trend for the full duration of the film. Christmas lights, trees, tinsel and Santa decorations are carefully placed in view. People every year search for those lost holiday horror gems and I’d say we can put ‘The Brain’ firmly in the “Takes place during the Christmas season” movies & if ‘Die Hard’ qualifies as a holiday film then this one certainly does as well!

Well is it worth the trouble to track down and check out this 2020 holiday season? YES! The Brain has everything I love in an 80’s horror flick. Cool likable characters, a wild giant rubbery monster, plenty of action and a ridiculous plot reminiscent of those classic 1950’s sci-fi creature features. Creepy ass Dr. Blakely (the dude from Re-Animator who loses his head-and does in The Brain too!) runs a seemingly normal TV show called “Independent Thinkers”, a  popular weekly “self-help” program. However he’s not making his audience any wiser, he secretly serves an alien organism called The Brain, that brainwashes (duh!) the viewers using it’s other-worldy mind control techniques. It’s also got a hunger for human flesh & as it consumes it’s victims it also increases in size. The only one who stands to save the city and possibly the Earth is a wise crackin’ teenage practical joker and his super cute stylin’ girlfriend.

The Brain is a fun filled totally 80’s horror romp with plenty of action, cool villains and a rad slightly idiotic looking monster that’s brought to life via puppetry and animatronics. He’s kind of like giant hulking “Madball” toy from the 1980s. He attacks his victims with limited mobility as he “cruises” around on his snake-y bod. There’s also some cool kills that are unexpectedly sprinkled about the holiday landscape and rarely a dull moment to behold.

Most of the movie features our two main characters on the run and some of the settings are pretty sweet. I’m always a sucker for hiding out inside of an empty closed school all night! Easily one of my favorite places for mayhem to ensue. As I mentioned before, there’s enough holiday decor strewn about to warrant this one a watch during the Christmas season if you’re looking for something different this year. Besides that The Brain is a solid, entertaining, charming little monster movie that’s got a sweet release on blu ray from Scream Factory that looks great and has some cool little extras to give you tons of useless information on the the movies origins!

Underrated Halloween Movie Pick from Japan: 1990’s ‘Hiruko The Goblin’!

‘Hiruko The Goblin’ from 1990 has got to be one of the best horror movies from Japan I’ve ever seen. It hits all the right beats for me in what I personally love from the late 80’s early 90’s genre movies. Directed by the iconic Shinya Tsukamoto, most well known for his epic, bizarre cyber punk horror oddity ‘Tetsuo: the Iron Man’ he delivers another slam dunk here a couple years after with this. However, this particular movie of his has gotten a lot of criticism for being so totally different from ‘Tetsuo’. Haruko spends more time on character development, humor and over the top monsters, as well as a heavy dose of heart. For me this is a much better formula than the grimy bleak mood of most of this directors other work.

This plays out way more like ‘Evil Dead 2’ meets ‘The Ghostbusters’ then his cyberpunk Cronenbergian/ David Lynch tinged outings. The story is simple yet truly bizarre: a school has literally been built on a gate to Hell behind which hordes of demons await the moment they will be freed to wreak havoc on the physical plane. Hiruko is a powerful and cunning creature sent to Earth on a reconnaissance mission, he decapitates humans in order to assemble their heads on demonic spider like bodies and command them to do his wicked deeds. Eventually this gory predicament falls into the lap of an archaeology professor, who’s dramn to the abandoned school during summer time to investigate the supernatural shenanigans and stop this demonic onslaught.

One of my favorite aspects of this movie are the two protagonists a teenage high school student and his odd demon-lore obsessed archeologist uncle. When the boy’s father goes missing while exploring the caverns beneath the school, his eccentric uncle arrives on the scene to help him search the school armed with some nifty demon busting equiptment. From here it leads them on an epic surreal journey facing off with creatures in the creepy empty corridors of the school. It also explores family dynamics, all with a slightly light-hearted comedic edge to it amidst the mayhem.

The other big star of the show here is most definitely the special-effects showcased, if you’re a fan of 80s monster movies this one will definitely be right up your alley Hiruko and his minions are a true sight to behold and the director uses almost every 80’s style effect in the book to bring them to life. From animatronics to stop motion animation, it’s all here and the creepy aesthetics and setting of the film are the perfect place for this all to unfold. Also the movie’s got a relatively lean run time I’d less than 90 minutes, so it’s not something that’s going to put you to sleep. A true visual treat as well, with a little bit of everything for everyone. It’s ambitious horror film from what I consider the tail end of the golden age of the genre that more audiences in the U.S.A need to view. A cross between Ghostbusters, Evil Dead II, Poltergeist & The Thing done by way of Japanese brilliance. Also a perfect movie for this Halloween season that you might not have seen before! Physical copies of this can be pricey and hard to track down but I’m certain it must be streaming somewhere?! This need a deluxe blu ray release badly!!

 

Hong Kong Halloween: 1987’s ‘Vampire’s Breakfast’ is FANG-tastic!

This Halloween I’m gonna make a few obscure retro foreign horror movie recommendations that you may have missed out on from that oh so sweet era of the genre: the 1980’s! I just checked out a rad little Hong Kong Horror movie from 1987 called ‘Vampire’s Breakfast’!!

This forgotten little horror gem is a load of fun with a heapin’ dose of spooky settings, comedy, romance and action in the way that only Hong Kong cinema delivered back in the day. I really enjoyed how for the most part this one plays the horror pretty straight, keeping the all too usual Hong Kong “slapstick potty humor” out of the equation entirely. For me some of the 80’s Hong Kong stuff can be completely ruined by crappy potty humor and comedy that just plain hasn’t aged well (and keep in mind I’m not normally easily offended either). Nope, here we have a cool cast of characters and genuinely nasty “American/European” style vamp on the loose rather than the traditional Chinese hopping kind. We’ve got some funky footage of Hong Kong in the 80’s here and totally sweet fashion of the era in full swing.

The iconic Kent Cheng stars as a newspaper reporter who’s hot on the trail of a serial killer and after poking around a police crime scene begins to suspect that the killer might actually be a living breathing vampire. No one takes him seriously except a boozed up car stereo thief, who he reluctantly teams up with to track down the suspected bloodsucker. Along the way though he interviews one of the killer’s victims who barely escaped with her life, the oh soooo cute Emily Chu looking as stylee as ever.

Of course it’s love at first sight and we’re then treated to a full on 80’s style Hong Kong “John Hughs” cheezy romance, which is a total charm amidst the horror. The thing I really dig about this is movie, are the horror elements, unafraid to get nasty when it needs to as well as some action sequences that can be pretty exciting as well. No kung fu here though, which is kind of nice actually as it plants this one in a more believable horror setting, but that’s not to say the portly Kent Cheng can’t deliver the kicks, check out 1989’s ‘Vampire Buster’ to see his skills.

There’s a lot to love here if you’re looking for something different this Halloween, the vampire here is plenty fierce as well. He’s got a pretty sinister look and raises plenty of Hell on the foggy streets of Hong Kong. There’s also some unexpected moments of gore as well that ramp things up nicely in the finale. I’d say this one definitely deserves more love and most definitely a cleaned up blu ray release with more fleshed out subtitles. A colorful, creepy tale full of endearing characters and a brisk pace make this one standout viewing this Halloween for those who love uncovering hidden gems from horror’s sweet spot era of the 1980’s.

Bonkers Brazillian Supernatural Slasher Trailer: ‘SKULL: The MASK’!

I’ve been looking around for interesting movies during the lockdown and this one definitely looks like it’s got potential if you’re into crazy gooey practical fx and supernatural slashers. ‘Skull: The Mask’ comes from Brazil and the trailer looks pretty damn promising!

We follow the story of an ancient relic in the from of a creepy ass mask that turns it’s wearer into a rampaging maniac that looks like he just had a successful audition for GWAR!

“In the year 1944, an artifact is used in a military experiment. The artifact is the Mask of Anhangá, the executioner of Tahawantinsupay, a Pre-Columbian God. The experience fails. Nowadays, the Mask arrives at Sao Paulo. The Mask possesses a body and starts to commit visceral sacrifices on vengeance for the incarnation of its God, initiating a blood bath. The policewoman Beatriz Obdias is in charge of the crimes, challenging her beliefs”

Check this one out Horror hounds it looks like a ton of fun!

Totally Crazy 80’s Indonesian Horror Mayhem: Mystics in Bali!

Mystics in Bali’ from 1981 is truly one one wild and crazy Indonesian horror flick and just what I was craving during lockdown! My first viewing of this gem would have admittedly been better had I not known a damn thing about the plot, so if you’re reading this and are interested, I’d suggest checking it out blindly to get maximum enjoyment! So you’ve been warned…

Anyway I’m kinda new to the whole Indonesian cult cinema scene, but I can say so far everything I’ve checked out has been pretty top notch. Mystics in Bali is 100% weird and wild. It follows an American named Cathy who travels to Bali to do extensive research for her book on the mystic ways of the mysterious black magic cult of the Leyak. She meets the handsome Mahendra a local man with knowledge of the dark local magic who also happens to have connections to a woodland witch. He takes her out to the forest to her lair and the bizarre woman vows to expose the secrets of the dark arts and their rituals to Cathy. Excited to get this exclusive info for her book she continues to meet the witch, who in turn tricks her into becoming her evil minion, transforming her into a Penanggalan, a horrific flying head with internal organs hanging from her neck!! GAAAHHHH!

Things go from bad to worse, as Mahendra has fallen in love with Cathy by this point and has no other choice than to ask his uncle Machessea practitioner of magic himself, to help him stop the witch and save Cathy from the curse of the sinister Leyak. This leads to a pretty epic battle towards the end making the whole thing a such a bizarre slice of foreign 80’s horror, it’s most definitely essential viewing for genre fans! There’s a pretty intriguing story here to fuel the horror as well along with the sets and general locale of the film make this a special treat by just that alone. There’s also some low budget but fully ambitious special effects at play here that really amp up the general madness of this movie. Also prevalent are a few relatively shocking moments here that are unlike anything I’ve personally ever seen before in a horror flick.

Some “must see” sequences that will stick with fans of the genre and leave you scratching your head in disbelief! The creature Cathy becomes is clearly the main attraction here and surely is one of the freakiest movie monsters I’ve seen in some time. The final showdown is a pretty great time as well, sure it’s a clunky battle, but it’s a ton of fun to behold. It’s no wonder that this movie was done by the same director, H. Tjut Djalil who also brought us the mega bonkers ‘Lady terminator’ which is def worth tracking down! I’ve also heard that his movie ‘Dangerous Seductress’ is quite a wild gem as well. So..Mystics in Bali is a true oddball, one of a kind horror flick and leads me further down the path of an era of movies other countries were producing during the 80’s that rival some of the best the USA had to offer-Check it out!