The Best of Netflix DVD: Reggie Banister Enters the CEMETERY GATES!!
Reggie Banister of “Phantasm fame” is one of my favorite horror heroes-hands down! The horror franchise is my all time favorite of the genre, Reggie is one of the main reasons why it resonates with me so hard. What I’ve noticed though is Reg really doesn’t take center stage in any other movies I can think of, it’s usually just brief cameos in things like ‘Bubba Ho-tep’ or even ‘Kenny & Company’. Well that’s what I was led to believe but low and behold through the Netflix “red envelope” dvd mailer program (that’s sadly coming to an end soon), I received a movie from queue that’d been sitting there for years! The 2004 (or 2006?) horror flick CEMETERY GATES finally arrived in the mail, I really had quite low expectations and quickly noticed Reggie Banister was appearing, I figured he’d likely be doing another “horror cameo” in a low budget production. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I was pleasantly surprised, Reggie is one of the main characters in this one & better yet even the movie is somehow a total gem-a gore soaked, practical fx creature feature with heart and a heroic dose of humor while also a somewhat intriguing story at play. Yeah I was expecting a steamin’ load of shit and what I got was one of my new favorites of the 2000’s horror movies. It’s filled with a cast of fun characters, many of which are total boneheads, which make this little gnarly flick even more of a blast. It’s the story of an escaped lab animal-a giant mutated Tasmanian devil named “Precious” who goes on a muderous rampage in the countryside when set loose by some numbskull animal rights activists.
The lab Precious came from is owned by……Reggie Banister, a seasoned scientist who’s sad about his son moving out on his own. His son an aspiring horror filmmaker is heading out to the country with his horny numb nut buddies to film a zombie film, little does he know his childhood now mutated “pet” Precious (who was experimented on) is running wild in the vicinity.
Precious though is not the only threat, there’s some horny braindead hillbillies, who look like the perfect lunch for a tasmanian devil, also raising hell. Reggie and his sexy scientist buddy soon discover the missing creature and set out to the countryside to try and track it down before it goes completely bonkers on the local population.
Cemetery Gates has got a lot going for it, Reggie pretty awesome in it and there’s a certain bit of idiotic charm to his relationship with his son AND his son’s relationship with the former lab pet turned mutant. It’s also a load of fun to see all these utterly moronic characters get ripped to shreds by Precious. We’ve got the idiotic hillbillies, some middle aged stoners, Richard Elfman as an insane fisherman, the bonehead amateur actors and a few random hikers that suffer the brunt of the gore. The fun is really had when we see Precious in the flesh on it’s killing spree. She tears limbs, decapitates and rips apart a ton of people all in gloriously gooey practical fx and real onscreen “blood” galore. The creature looks pretty damn good too in that sorta 1980s style monster mayhem.
It’s so absurdly charming looking in the flesh and when the final confrontation goes down with Precious it becomes a “family affair’. Reggie, his son, his girlfriend and Reggie’s hot lab partner go all in on taking down the mutated ‘taz in a dark subterranean lair beneath a cemetery. There’s some real heart here at it’s core that sincerely shines through all of the moronic antics that occur and I really appreciate the entire fiasco.
It to me, hits all the right beats, finally another film essentially featuring Reggie front and center to love. He’s here in all of his hair dyed glory to kick some monster booty once again & who’d have thought it’d be again in the mid 2000’s? There’s some good atmosphere and plenty of mischief for Reggie & co to get into as well. If this thing had been released in the 80s it’d be a bonafide cult classic. I’ve NEVER heard anyone speak a peep about Cemetery Gates, so I’m taking it to my platform to get the damn word out.
It’s the perfect midnight movie to rock with some starving cinemaniacs-they may doubt it’s merit by it’s cover but chances are it’ll quench any gorehounds thirst as well as tickle their funny bone. Cemetery Gates is true 2000’s cult classic in the wings….
Survival Quest: Don Coscarelli’s Forgotten 80’s Wilderness GEM!
I had the pure pleasure the other night of watching a perfect 1980’s adventure flick I’d somehow never seen before! Survival Quest has got all the right moves to make it the ultimate 80’s flick for a movie that somehow slipped through the cracks into obscurity. Let’s count the things it has going for it, First it was directed than Don Coscarelli of Phantasm and Bubba Ho-tep fame, I mean I really don’t think I really need to go on, on that alone! But let’s continue, it’s also got Reggie Bannister, Dermot Mulroney, a young Catherine Keener and Lance Henriksen when it really meant something good when he appeared in movies. It’s got everything you want from the beloved era, an awesome score, incredibly hokey heartfelt moments (and there are many), some killer action and some laugh out loud ridiculous moments that only 1988 could give us in film making.
The premise simple, a group of mismatched people fly into a remote airstrip for a four week long survival quest adventure with team leader/guide/teacher Lance Henriksen. Sounds like fun huh? Well it might be except there’s also a troop of teenagers on the same land who’re being trained by a crazy, over the top, trigger happy survivalist who’s a cross between Eminem & Woody Harrelson!
This movie is non stop fun from the get go and never lets up in a way movies of today only dream of being. The survival quest soon ramps up to much more than enduring the elements of the wilderness. This is one of those movies that’s a real treat for anyone whom loves movies from the 80’s like Karate Kid or White Water Summer which actually would be the perfect flick to accompany this one as a double feature! What are you waiting for check this shit out-it’s on Netflix!
‘John Dies at the End’ Leaves Me Unsatisfied…
I recently checked out ‘John Dies at the End’ a flick which I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time now via VOD the other night for a whopping $9.99 viewing price. I’ve read the non stop hype on this one for a while now and I’ve been pumped for it, especially as it’s coming from Don Coscarelli, one of my all time favorite horror directors. Don’s most well known for his Phantasm films and more recently Bubba Ho-tep which has become a full on modern day cult classic. ‘John’ had all the ingredients of another horror hit, we even get Paul Giamatti in a spporting role along with a wild and crazy story that plays something like Bill and Ted’s meets The Matrix meets Evil Dead. I was hoping deep down inside this’d play like a companion peice to Phantasm II, my favorite of his films. So my question is why did I find myself a bored while watching it? Maybe I didn’t “get it”? Was it too quirky? I’m not entirely sure what about this movie didn’t work for me. It’s based on a book by David Wong, and the premise of it surely sounds like a winner. Check it and this truly “more awesome than the movie itself” poster:
A new killer drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit has been circulating the party scene. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t.
Now this certainly sounds like my kind of movie and it’s clear this was going to be a challenge to translate to film on a small budget. The acting was decent and Giamatti is always a pleasure to have on screen. However for me the two lead characters weren’t quite interesting enough and the movie just kinda rode this straight line with really nothing that leap out entirely at me to get my blood really pumping. The plot seemed a bit disjointed, confusing and the pacing seemed a bit off to me as well. The movie is basically our hero Dave is dicussing the unbelievable events that have transpired to a reporter (Giamatti) at a diner. His buddy John uses this new drug “soy sauce”, which is given to him by the most generic “jamaican guy” you’re likely to see onscreen and suddenly their worlds are turned upside down as they enter into a confusing quirky quest into other dimensions. For for me to really describe how the plot thickens would probably require me to be typing about this movie far, far longer than I’d like to be. But that’s not to say the movie doesn’t have some fun and unique moments within.
The special effects in this movie were well done for the most part, some decent but not incredible practical monster effects were employed. The scene with the freezer meat monster was probably my favorite use of them and is bound to be a memorable movie monster. The CG effects were a bit on the sub par side but passable and the action was kept at a slower moving pace than what I was hoping for. The movie has been described as “hilarious” but I’d say it was chuckle worthy at best. In the end I wish I had more to say about this one, at best for me upon first viewing it was a mediocre movie experience which left me less than a little less than satisfied. The more I think about it though I think it might be a movie that deserves a second viewing upon which I’m hoping the second time around I get it…..
TerrorDrome the Video Game: Slasher vs. Slasher!
Have you heard about TerrorDrome: Rise of the Boogeymen yet? It’s a new fan made fighting video game that let’s you choose your favorite horror movie icon and go head to head with in a battle to the death with another! If you thought Freddy vs. Jason was as far as it would go you’re dead wrong! This game is a true horror junkies dream. The characters you can choose to play are quite amazing to say the least!