Tagged: review

‘HALLOWEEN: H20’ Holds Up Even Better after ‘HALLOWEEN KILLS’!

Ok so here we are again, doing the whole John Carpenter Halloween “sequel” reboot hype machine again! But to be honest I’m not at all that hyped yet again this time around. As I stated In 2018, I found ‘Halloween: H20’ to be my favorite finale of the Laurie Strode vs Michael Myers saga.

It was exciting way back in 1998 to witness their epic familial final confrontation unfold on the big screen. It was a big deal for horror fans. Sure the movie was made during the hype of the “Scream” phenomenon and is a bit of a sign of the times of what horror was back then stylistically. The same could be said of horror movies set in the 1970s and 80s really, so I can’t really fault it for that. What it did bring was its own uniquely original story and wasn’t a basic retread of things we had already seen in the very first film. I like to refer to ‘H40’ as the “Force Awakens” of the franchise. I don’t consider that a big positive either, rather a sign of Hollywood’s continual laziness.

 So now we get the supposed long awaited sequel to the “sequel”, of an amazing movie that in my opinion ALREADY had an amazing sequel directed by John Carpenter himself. So already it seemed a bit pointless to me. Watching ‘Halloween Kills’ I continuously found myself wondering what really is the point of this all? What was this movie actually adding to the mythos of the Halloween franchise? To me it just seemed like more backtracking for no real reason and began to remind me of recent tired Hollywood retreads like ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’.

If you simply came to observe Michael Myers back in action, hacking and slashing random people to bits, then you were likely somewhat satisfied. To me though, my level of engagement started to quickly wane to the lows of the Rob Zombie era Halloween which ends up just being a boring flat downer. I also don’t think that this current sequel reboot features any real likable characters at this point either.  Sure it was cool to see Anthony Michael Hall back in a movie again, and I guess it was exciting(?) to see Jamie Lee Curtis again? Not sure if I give a damn anymore. Basically I feel like this movie simply took all of the most unique elements of Halloween 2 & Halloween 4 and squashed them into one bleak, brutal somewhat generic package. Nothing new to see here. If you’re going to go through this much trouble to re-tell a sequel series you’d better damn well make sure you’ve got something interesting and fresh going on in the plot.

To me ‘Halloween Kills’ offers nothing really. Just a collection of brutal kills, most feeling completely random and senseless. It left me completely underwhelmed for what was to come in the supposed final installment. However it also again completely improves the staying power, charm & heart of ‘Halloween H20’ as it ages like a fine bloody red wine.

I already got my Laurie vs Michael finale when it was a fresh idea, now it just feels like ‘Halloween: Ressurection’,  completely unnecessary….then again not surprising when a horror movie franchise is rebooted by the guy who directed ‘The Pineapple Express’ I guess. Well that being said if you dig H20 check out this new sweet video that really puts into perspective how much Hollywood screws with good ideas from Jamie Lee Curtis herself! 

Movie Review: Classical Thai Horror of ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’!

I’m a big fan of the 1989 cult horror flick ‘The Laughing Dead’, If you’ve never heard of it and are a1980’s gore horror fiend, well I’ve a feeling that it’s gonna be your new favorite “lost” 80s gem. Rumor has it that it just might be getting a fancy blu ray release?! I hope that’s true! Well it’s director/cult horror novelist/composer extraordinaire S.P. Somtow is back after a long hiatus starring in and writing the latest creepy outing all the way from Thailand with ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’.

The tale of a musical genius haunted by his past and pushed into a state of pure insanity, The Maestro tells the story of a mentally unstable man named Arun (S.P. Somtow), a dedicated composer who attempted a run for fame in Europe but ultimately finds himself deeply depressed, back in Thailand teaching rich kids music at a local shopping mall. Behind the scenes though, he’s been secretly planning a wildly dark magnum opus called ‘The Tongues of Angels’, his ultimate goal: premiering it to the entire world on a livestream during the Covid 19 pandemic. His wildly demented ambition however may induce a lot more than musical madness but also death to those who threaten his journey.

So yeah I’ve been quite excited to check this out, but also had hoped Somtow would be at the mantle as director on the project. I really enjoyed his campy approach on ‘The Laughing Dead’ and the comedic elements incorporated with the heavy effects work of legend John Carl Buechler made it a total blast. That all being said ‘The Maestro’ does definitely deliver some of Somtow’s signature tones, but perhaps with a more artistic approach. Director Paul Spurrier does a decent job behind the camera, giving the movie at times a more slick approach then what I’d ultimately prefered. It combines lighter elements of horror with tense hypnotic dark classical music but also has a few more deeply disturbing psychological aspects at hand here as well that at times made me a bit uncomfortable. The lush locales of Thailand combined with Somtow’s intensely creepy musical compositions sonically assault in a truly unique way.


To be quite honest, his beautifully dark score is probably the biggest star of the entire movie. I’d been expecting something quite a bit different, with more old school fx leaning in on much more on the horror side of things. Instead this one plays out more a psychological thriller and is the first movie I’ve seen that takes place actually during the Covid 19 era. We finally see people on screen irritated with and fussing with their masks as well as trying to navigate life through these current bizarre times. But that doesn’t stop the shamed Maestro from seeking out his pawns, a crew of young musicians gathered from his mall class and the even from the streets.

Most of the madness takes place at a stunningly creepy decrepit mansion In the countryside where the symphony of horror begins to take shape. The Maestro has one thing on his mind: his music and will let nothing get in his way of composing the ultimate dark symphony.

This one’s definitely worth a watch, it’s got a great cast of young actors and Somtow shines again as the villain in a similar way he did back in ‘The Laughing Dead’.

I’m glad that S.P. has again returned to his horror roots, overall I think this is a pretty solid return to form. Going forward I’d like to encourage him to get back behind the camera again, I think he’s got the chops that the people thirst for today with the 80s cult camp fanatics. If anything ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’ must be watched for it’s incredible musical finale, which blew me away. I’ll be hunting down the soundtrack for sure!!

U-Dork on The MOVIE MELT Podcast: The Horror of ‘PROM NIGHT 3’!

So in preparation for the Halloween season I joined the Movie Melt podcast to yet again discuss another cinematic oddity! This time we covered the largely forgotten 1989 cult horror gem ‘Prom Night 3: The Last Kiss’.

This one’s even better than the original Jamie Lee Curtis slasher classic! A great sequel to the Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou, which is also a MUST see this ‘Ween season.

Anyway this episode though covers sooo much more than just ‘Prom Night 3’ take a listen to find out what flicks you should be checking out right now and learn even more useless, but epically awesome movie info you can share with everyone and your cat. Listen here for the scoop on the horror cult comedy and melt your mind with cinematic mayhem! LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE!

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Comic Cover of the Week: HULK Immortalized by Alex Ross!

I’m a HUGE Hulk fan, but I’ll admit I don’t really ready many new comic books anymore, especially stuff by Marvel. I’ve been told by friends that I need to really get into The Immortal Hulk, I’ve read the first trade and found it to be pretty good. However in the landscape of sooooo much media to consume I was just not blown away enough to continue reading. Who knows though, maybe some day? Whatever the case I have seen many of the series brilliant covers and now as it comes to an end with issue #50 I’ve spotted one of my favorites: a brilliant one by none other than Alex Ross! This is easily one of the most epic covers I’ve seen in recent years that features the Jade Giant and his co-stars in ALL of their glory! Continue reading

A RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT: Is Bill Burr Secretly Michael Moriarty’s SON?!

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!

The Top 5 Most BAD ASS He-man Action Figures! Plus Kevin Smith’s He-man Hatred?!

So it seems that the ‘Masters of the Universe’ right now are all the rage for ALL the wrong reasons!  Yes, Kevin Smith is in the hot seat for his Netflix masters”He-man” series, having watched the first 5 episodes I will admit, I was pretty freakin’ underwhelmed. The animation was indeed pretty great but some of the voice work I wasn’t a fan of and the general storyline feels like Kevin Smith’s failed attempt at recreating the Transformers movie from 1986 while trying to model the series after what’s trending on Twitter. Killing off He-man twice in the first 5 episodes was a bit of a disappointment and having the “new & improved” Teela take over the entire show was all too predictable in this current landscape of the oddly forced “strong female lead” narrative. I mean if we wanted a female He-man we already got one: where the hell is She-Ra dammit?  The show is only halfway finished so maybe Kevin Smith will redeem himself with some masterful storytelling, however I don’t have too much faith as the guy hasn’t made a good movie in about 15 years. I mean has anyone actually ever been able to finish ‘Yoga Hosers’? DOUBTFUL! 

All this  made me want to take a moment to go back to my childhood as I was a huge collector of the Masters of the Universe toy line and a BIG fan of the cartoon. My favorite thing about the toys were most definitely He-man’s cast of colorful villains!  So I wanted to take a moment to throw out there my top 5 favorite He-man action figures which were most def always the bad guys!

Trap Jaw!!

 Of all of them I’ve gotta say that ol’ Trapjaw was easily my favorite as a kid! His movable jaw, his interchangeable weapon arms and just his rad look in general made him my all time favorite Masters of the Universe action figure! This guy was a true bad-ass, I literally carried him around everywhere with me.


Modulok!!

 I really love this fucked up bad dude, he’s so damn bizarre & cut from a different cloth than the regular Masters of the Universe action figures.  I’d spend hours trying to configure him into the weirdest shapes and sizes that I could, big & small! Modulok was one of the coolest, and also a bit frightening! If you bought two Moduloks you could make him even bigger and weirder!


Two Bad!

 Oooooh yeah this guy was a damn gem, a true freak of nature! When I first saw him in Shopko I was so PUMPED! He was also cut from a different mold with his 2 heads and strange giganto torso along with his spring action arms made him a true freakazoid enemy of He-man!! Two Bad was double the pleasure and two time the EVIL!!

Whiplash!!

 Oh boy, I couldn’t get enough of Whiplash!! the first time I saw him in the package at Toy R’ Us I begged my mom To let me take him home with me. This bad-ass, green reptilian, half breed alligator man was one of my favorites and his rubbery tail could certainly give Prince Adam the ass whoopin’ that he always needed. Easily one of my favorite action figures of all time! I’d take this dude in the tub with me for a swamp alligator style  MOTU adventure – He-man was truly put to the test…thos were the days. Get bent Kevin Smith! Ahhh!


Clawful!!

Oh I just loved this freaky crab human hybrid baddie SO  damn much! As a kid I had hermit crabs and as an adult I still got one! So when I saw this guy At K-mart it was love at first sight!  I don’t know why, but as a kid I was obsessed with crabs and crayfish. When Skeletor added Clawful to the mix you wouldn’t hear me complaining. Nope, I dig his fiddler crab style look and his spring action giant claw hand was his greatest selling point! 



BONUS: Hordak!!

Damn it how I fucking loved Hordak! I was so happy with his introduction a fresh new bad guy and IMO he was cooler than Skeletor. He was a truly exciting addition to the evil gang and not only a rival to He-man but ALSO to Skeletor. So many good times with this evil asshole, but you know what, the whole damn ‘Evil Horde’ needs to make this list, they were all so bad ass and unique and screw anyone who thinks Grizzlor and Manteena were stupid-they were fucking rad-Kevin Smith you could redeem yourself by bringing in Hordak and his crew to kick Teela and Skeletor’s butts and just bring She-ra back to fight them ALL! 

 

Billy Blanks Channels Mr. Miyagi in the Rad 90’s Karate Kid Rip Off: SHOWDOWN!

Hot damn! How I love me some motherfreakin’ Karate Kid and Cobra Kai! I’ll even openly admit that I love 1994’s ‘The Next Karate Kid’ as well, something I recently watched for the first time after writing it off for sooo many years as some lame soft remake of the original. So while waiting for Cobra Kai season 4 to drop I needed something in the same vein that could tickle my Karate Kid fancy, enter 1993’s big time radical ripoff: Showdown!!

This sweet high-school martial arts action/drama hybrid flick hits all the same beats basically as Karate Kid but with more ridiculous & extreme circumstances around every corner! I guess it exists in the same idiotic type of narrative as Karate Kid Part 3, which is A-ok with me. Story wise I won’t waste your time here it’s pretty much the exact basic premise of the original karate kid except with Billy Blanks being being a janitor of a high school, taking the role of the Miagi mentor type character. It’s also worth noting that the high schoolers here, especially our hero and and his douchey “Johnny Lawrence” style opponent appear to be pushing 40!

We get a mega ridiculous “love” triangle type of thing going on as well that’s far less believable and unromantic than anything in the Karate Kid. Also the villanous karate dojo here is focused around a violent unregulated illegal death matches rather than you’re all Valley karate tournament! Oh yeah and they also have an older sultry seductress working within their ranks who tries to use her feminine charms to seduce high school karate kids and lead them down a sexy path to defeat!

I guess that’s why they needed to up the ante with the inclusion of major bad-ass Billy Blanks doing what he does best in this movie: kicking major highschooler ass.

Jam packed with a ton of ridiculously stupid dialogue And idiotically charming characters, Showdown most definitely makes for a highly entertaining watch for die hard fans of the Karate Kid franchise.

MVD’s “Rewind Collection” released this bad boy on a sweet blu ray with a ton of excellent bonus features!

Check this out in the meantime to get your fix while we all wait patiently wait for Cobra Kai Season 4!

MOVIE MELT: The Best Worst 90s Irish Kung Fu Cinematic Bonanza!

U-Dork teams up again with the Movie Melt podcast to cover 1997’s moronicly bad ass Irish martial arts flick: Fatal Deviation!

Oh Yeah! We lost some serious brain cells here as a 19 year old Van Damme obsessed filmmaker puts himself in the lead role to constantly lose his temper and kick trailer park gangster ass!

Yes another vanity project that would make Tommy Wiseau jealous jam packed with patheticly enjoyable “acting”, mindnumbing ^plot” twists and some impressive indie ass kickin’ kung fu! Take a listen here for a ton of debatably useless cinematic info to get your mind off the stresses of the damn daily grind! Fatal Deviation is a movie that will surely bring a smile to your face if you’re feeling blue!  Check out the new episode right HERE!

The DESCENDENTS Find a Time Machine & Bring Back Their Lost 80s Album!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of The Descendents, so you can imagine how damn stoked I am for their latest release ‘9th & Walnut’. Long story short, all of these songs from the new album are from the late seventies and early eighties. Lost tracks the band demoed but never released, instead produced a batch of new songs that became their iconic album ‘Milo Goes to College’. 

Well in 2002 the original line up recorded this lost album and in 2020 lead singer Milo Aukerman finally recorded the lead vocals for it. What we end up with is a bonafide classic brought back to the future, literally a lost punk rock time capsule. It oozes of eighties goodness with the sound and type of songs that I feel have been missing largely from the band’s last two albums. 

It also Clearly is oozing with teen angst, nowhere to be found are songs about getting too old or not being able to eat the greasy food you want anymore. Instead we get a batch of snotty love songs and angry punk ragers clearly fueled by a hefty dose of caffeine & french fries. This is the exact way that I love my Descendents, drenched in the 1980s sunshine and no filter.  It’s also notable that the sound comes full circle with the original lineup intact even though sadly guitarist Frank Navetta passed away not long after this was recorded.

Jam packed with classic guitar riffs with plenty of their nostalgic attitude & the sweet melodies of their original bassist Tony Lombardo bring me back to simpler times. This  album IMO is an absolute dream come true for hardcore fans who grew up listening to them in the 1980s. The anthems of those awkward teen nerds come alive one last time with this latest release from the Descendents! Mmmm…TOTALLY!

V-FORCE Trailer: Low Budget Superheroes vs. Billy Zane in PDX!

Well I just discovered that ‘V-Force: New Dawn of V.I.C.T.O.R.Y.’ a superhero flick that was filming way back in 2017 here in Portland Oregon has finally got a trailer up! Why do I care about some low grade superhero movie that’s been in post production hell for nearly four years? Well, one of it’s scenes was filmed in my shop, Hollywood Babylon, here in Portland Oregon with none other than the legendary Billy Zane. I might add that when they filmed it I was there and ended up spending a little time chatting’ with him about my favorite Zane films like ‘Demon Knight’, ‘Dead Calm’, ‘The Phantom’ & yes of course ‘The Titanic’. You can check out my experience that day right HERE as I blogged that shit up the same day it happened!

However no matter how stoked I was by this whole scenario it turned out the film was put on hiatus due to some sort of loss of funding to pay the crew. Well randomly I decided to do my yearly “V-Force” check up to see if any damn updates were out there on it, because let’s face it, if you filmed most of a movie with the likes of not only Billy Zane but also Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Bruce Dern & Keith David you must at some point be planning to get the funding to release the damn thing. Oh yeah and here’s a picture from that day, with me on the right and of course The Phantom in the center!

Well it seems my “Billy Zane fantasy filming in my vintage shop” just might be seeing the light of day sometime soon? I dunno, because I see there is now an official trailer up and that’s about all, the thing only has a few hundred views and virtually no press out there on it! Well U-Dork is here to give it some internet fire power with this post, so yes folks check out the latest trailer for V-FORCE!! A movie bound for Redbox and just maybe the like of SYFY?! Who the fuck knows, if it ever gets a release I’m going to push for it to be showcased on an episode of the Movie Melt podcast! Oh yeah I also noticed this trailers been up for almost a year now too-WTF?!! Release the shit now!! I want the whole world to see Billy Zane hanging out in my damn shop already!!!