Tagged: mystery

VHS Verdict 1991: ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ – Forgotten Monster Noir!

Up until last night I’d never even heard of the HBO movie ‘Cast A Deadly Spell’ from 1991, but I was lucky enough to run across a VHS copy of this one recently. It immediately peaked my interest, the box had some quotes on it comparing it to ‘Ghostbusters’ & ‘Roger Rabbit’ with monsters instead of cartoons. Sign me up already! The movies a ton of fun and filled with some sweet totally 80’s style fx work as well as an equally impressive cast. It really perplexed me as to why I’d never even heard of this one as it’s something I would have totally dug back in ’91. Hey I think it’s better sometimes seeing a lost gem from way back in the modern era anyway…it takes me way back…

Anyway this cool movie stars Fred Ward as H.P. Lovecraft (seriously, how have I never heard of this movie?!) a private investigator, who hired to track down the legendary book, the Necronomicon. Lovecraft is one of the only people who’ve chosen not to use magic of any kind making his little quest all that much more difficult to accomplish. It’s a full on 40’s noir, placed in a time when witchcraft has been fully exposed to the general populace and things that go bump in the night are far more common than ever before. We’ve got a  bunch of neat monsters, werewolves & zombies along the way as well as an awesome scene with some pesky gremlins by way of rad old school puppetry. Hell, we even get a random unicorn that enters the equation into this unique little horror noir comedy.

There’s some cool scenes as well that up the movie’s horror factor with some impressive unexpected gore. There’s weird super powered gangsters, voodoo priests and plenty of that classic style animatronic monster mayhem to behold here. It’s also got it’s fair share of comedy though too and it in ways really is a bit like a horror version of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. Director Martin Campell went on to direct more recent stuff like the god awful ‘Green Lantern’ movie and ‘Casino Royale’. Along side Ward is also Julianne Moore, Clancy Brown & David Warner which is a pretty star studded cast for just how relatively forgotten this movie is today.

The movie spawned a sequel as well in 1994 but I haven’t heard to many good things about that one. There’s never been an official DVD release of the movie, but it certainly deserves one. The movie is available to watch on Amazon and a few other online platforms, so if you’re looking for a little lost nostalgia this one’s a cool little forgotten gem of a movie… 

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Comic Review: ‘There’s Nothing There’ #1 is Seriously Strange & Sexy!

Here’s a cool solid debut comic book from Black Mask Studios called ‘There’s Nothing There’ from the co-creator Patrick Kindlon of the awesome series “We Can Never Go Home”. This issue starts off instantly with a cool but familiar feeling set up as we follow a woman named Reno who attends a mysterious elite costume party with one of her friends. Think a little ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ here as soon it’s revealed that things are set to get kinky real quick.

We’re not entirely sure who’s party this is or what’s at stake as we’re introduced to some mega richie rich ‘Bill Clinton’ looking dude who emerges and delivers an odd slightly religious sexually charged speech to the party goers that seems to signify they’ll be creating something important together. The place quickly erupts in a full on orgy, and Reno fully partakes in the festivities as we’re given a fairly detailed look at the sexual endeavors that ensue over a few pages. During it all Reno sees something strange appear outside in the sky that at first appear almost like some sort of UFO’s floating in a pink cloud shrouding the sky.

The next morning Reno’s mind is clearly in a bit of a haze and as she meets a friend for breakfast we discover she’s some sort of star who’s worried about the paparazzi following her and not following her at the same time. She soon begins to have hallucinations of odd people appearing on the streets and we’re not quite sure if she’s suffering from the effects of drugs from the night before or if perhaps she’s developed some sort of sixth sense to see dead people. Is this the result of an elite ritual from night before? Likely, but things continue on this way even after she returns home to get some rest.

There’s some great potential here and has set up a mysterious plot that could easily go in any number of directions and I hope it pushes the envelope as the story progresses into some unfamiliar terrifying territory. We’re treated as well to some pretty sweet stylized artwork here from Maria LLovet that works perfectly with the story’s tone & mysterious set up. I’m not always these days drawn to stories about rich sexy elites as it seems that most characters in comics somehow come from this sort of classist privileged environment. However, I’m getting the feeling that this might deliver a lot of twists and turns that will likely place our main characters into some unfamiliar territory.

Black Mask is putting out cool books and is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers. ‘There’s Nothing There’ #1 is a solid debut (that’s new on the shelves this week) and it’ll be interesting to see if this one can craft an unpredictable mystery as the series continues. Check it out!

Comic Review: The Dregs #2 Continues The Meanest Mystery In Town!

The Dregs is easily one of the most compelling comic books out there. After a amazing first issue this new series from Black Mask keeps this unique mystery building, leaving you with plenty to think about after the last page. We’ve got one of the most original books on the shelves that breaks the mold of of anything you’re likely reading at the moment. Issue #2 starts off with a bang as we follow the exploits of Arnold, a homeless addict who’s hell bent on solving the mystery of a missing friend named Manny who’s seemed to vanish into thin air from the streets. The first issue also let us in on something incredibly sinister going on in the gentrified area of of the city where it appears that a hip bougie restaurant was serving up plates of food with people on the menu.

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I don’t want to give too much away about the plot but the second issue delivers the tension, mystery & then some. The opening sequence of it sets a dark tone unlike many other comic book I’ve read. This series is full on grit and hits some serious issues in our society you rarely ever see in the pages of comic books. Aside from those the story doesn’t rely entirely on social commentary to be interesting, it’s pages bring about a truly creepy and hopeless air that’s hard to shake. The light at the end of the tunnel looks very, very dim at this point. Continue reading

Comic Review: The Dregs #1 Begins an Intense Urban Mystery!

The Dregs is a new series from Black Mask and the debut issue is great, engaging & totally original read. I love comic books that genuinely bring something new to the table and The Dregs is totally fresh one that at least for the time being doesn’t seem like it’s been done before. It take place in Vancouver BC and begins an intriguing mystery to life in a city that’s rapidly gentrifying. The main character here isn’t handsome or rich, we follow a drug addicted homeless man as he embarks on a bizarre journey to find one of his friends who’s suddenly disappeared from the streets without a trace. Lucky for us his whereabouts are revealed to us within the first few pages, very unlucky for him though.

The story starts off with quite an opening that you’re likely to be thinking about long after you put down the first issue. The Dregs looks like it’s going to be tackling some real world issues as we see the hip yuppy filled city from the eyes of the people who actually live within it’s darkest corners. For me I’m seeing a lot of what’s happening within the pages of this debut issue happening for years within my place of residence Portland, Oregon. People have been being pushed out of their homes now for year and recently at a more alarming rate that ever before. Many cities all over are getting complete makeovers, filling quickly with shiny boutiques, high priced coffee houses & hip over priced restaurants. The wealthy are flocking to places while  housing and rent prices have shot through the roof. Continue reading

‘Get Out’ Trailer Looks Like a WTF Horror Masterpiece!

I’m always looking for some truly original horror movies to check out and a lot of the trailers I see, even the good ones, usually seem to be lifting directly from some other movie that was done better thirty years ago. Hey, I get it, it’s hard to be original in 2016, I mean everything has been done before right?!

Well take a look at this awesome new trailer for the upcoming fright flick “Get Out” because I think it’s one of the most intriguing trailers I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s one of those movies I’ll likely avoid any additional info on until I’ve got my ass seated firmly in the theater. ‘Get Out’ is due out Feb. 24th and it looks like a full on WTF mind bender, with a totally original & mysteriously crazy looking storyline. Hands down this one looks like a total treat!

“The Boy” is a Creepy, Fun but Oddly Familiar Thriller….

Let’s face the facts folks, right now at the major theaters the pickins’ are damn slim for anything super tantalizing. So yesterday feeling the urge to go to the movies with a Fandango gift card I received for Christmas, I decided to take a chance on the latest in “freaky” doll flicks (which I always welcome with open arms) with “The Boy”. I gotta say the bar was set were pretty freaking low here and I was expecting the worse from a major Hollywood horror flick released in January. However to my delight The Boy was actually a pretty solid little thriller! For the most part…

That’s not to say it broke much in the way of new ground but still it was the perfect little matinee movie for a rainy day. This one isn’t going to give Chucky a run for his money and in all honesty it’s a completely different kind of freaky doll movie altogether. If you’re looking for a crazy killer doll flick then you’re in the wrong part of town with The Boy. Most of it’s charm really comes from the setting, which takes place in a huge old mansion in the English countryside. A woman named Greta travels there from the USA taking a nanny job watching over a life sized porcelain boy doll. Yeah at first her reaction is exactly what you might expect but the money is good enough so she agrees. Of course when “the boy’s” parents decide to go on vacation things quickly get really creepy.

Greta of course when left alone does what any of us might do in the situation, toss the freaky ass doll in it’s room, drink some damn wine and pass the hell out. However “the boy” clearly isn’t into being ignored and soon begins to seriously creep Greta the fuck out. Yep the doll pulls all kinds of weird pranks, soon she’s convinced the doll is indeed alive and is haunted by the spirit of the family’s real deceased child. So she suddenly decides to do her damn job and begin’s treating the doll like a real kid. Yon know like she agreed to in the first place! You’d think then the story might have a happy ending though right? Wrong! I forgot to mention that Greta is also on the run from her super douchebag, stalker ex boyfriend.

This makes matters worse and what happens soon leads to a few relatively unexpected twists and turns. Overall the movie was a cool little old school thriller with not a speck of bad CG anywhere. A solid ghost story and to only be spoiled for me by the fact (Now here’s a bit of a SPOILER) that I’d already seen an incredible indie movie from 2015 called “Housebound”. Yep “The Boy” borrows largely from that movie, which is a far superior movie. However if you’ve never seen Housebound “The Boy” will most certainly please anyone in search of a simple, creepy tale that’s perfect when there’s not much else on the tube.  

Joe Golem Occult Detective #1: Mignola & Co Bring the Thrills & Chills Again!

Mike Mignola rarely lets me down, in fact I’d go as far to say that these days the Mignola-verse is where I really like to spend most of my comic book time. So yesterday it was a no-brainer that I’d have to pick up issue #1 of Joe Golem: Occult Detective. The series is based on characters from the ‘Joe Golem & The Drowning City’ Novel by Mike Mignola & Chris Golden, but the comic is meant to be a stand alone story (actually outside of the Mignola BPRD / Hellboy world) so you don’t need to read the novel first. However this first issue has peaked my interest in the book so I’ll probably check that out soon as well.

Well as you can guess by the title, this one is a bit of a pulp style supernatural thriller and takes place in severely flooded New York City in 1965. There in waters that fill the streets children are disappearing, being abducted by vicious creatures that roam below. We’ve got Joe Golem on the case though trying to figure out just what the hell is really going on here, we also get a bit of background into the cities past and some strange flashbacks or nightmares that will somehow tie into the dangerous waters of New York City.

We also meet Golem’s partner Simon Church a mysterious old man who seems to keep himself alive with strange magic, he also keeps a golem like clay monster in is house that’s likely to play a major role in this story. The artwork by Patric Reynolds is also excellent giving us a great look and feel of the gloom of the dark flooded waterways of mid century Manhattan.

The story is titled “The Rat Catcher” and I’m most definitely on board for the rest of the 5 issues (though inside it states there’s only 3 parts to this story? hmm….) and some spooky tales of adventure & mystery that Mike Mignola has become a legend for telling!