Tagged: Sam Raimi

VHS Verdict: ‘Riki-Oh’ Director’s ‘THE CAT’ from 1991 is Equally Bonkers!

I finally after years of searching, got a copy of the highly elusive, lost Hong Kong Horror / Sci-fi flick from 1991! If you’ve ever seen the director’s previous movie ‘Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki’ then you’ve got a decent idea of what you’re in for here. Lam Ngai Kai, the cult director at the helm here ended his wild and truly weird film making run with this crazy gem and then completely disappeared, likely completely satisfied with the truly bonkers back catalog of films he left behind.

‘The Cat’ is the perfect finale to his cult legacy as well, the only problem is, it’s a damn hard one to track down unless you search it down on Youtube and can find decent a version with subtitles, I’m not a big fan of the film quality that turns up there for many of these “lost” movies. But sometimes it’s the only way to check these rare flicks out. Filmed back to back with ‘Riki-Oh’, this one again is a short, sweet briskly paced, frenetic adventure with a runtime just under 80 minutes.

The story of course is yet another truly weird one: an amorphous blob of tentacled evil, is set loose from somewhere in deep space down to the streets of Hong Kong. Meanwhile mild mannered adventure novelist Wisely, is given an odd tip from a friend who suspects something strange afoot at his normally quiet apartment complex, discovering his next door neighbors are a trio aliens from another planet being lead by their “pet” cat named ‘The General’. Stranded on Earth they’re intent on completing a mysterious secret mission. Soon Wisley’s stuck in a mind bending web of utter mayhem when he tracks down & befriends the alien trio, embarking on a horror drenched adventure to stop the evil alien blob from continuing it’s path of destruction.

The Cat’s got a lot going for it, especially if you’re a fan of gooey, fast moving horror movies like Evil Dead II & stuff like The Terminator and The Thing. It’s got sweet 80’s style special FX galore, “Cat vs Dog” fist fights, over the top gun play & a down right bizarre train wreck of a plot. I mean that in the best way possible and some of the way it comes off is likely do to the crude translation of the dialogue via subtitles. It’s got a few scenes that kinda just have to be seen to be believed, not nearly anywhere as gory as Riki-Oh, but surely a unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a movie before. Particularly a sequence where the intelligent alien cat “General” is pursued by Hong Kong’s most dangerous canine, a hulking mastiff, who’s been sent by Wisely to hunt him down. Dog & cat duke it out in a creepy junkyard while the ‘General’ the cat displays some incredible human fighting techniques and even sports an unbelievable wresting move right out of the WWF to end the whole damn confrontation!

There’s tons of colorful, gooey practical fx to marvel over as well, puppets, gore, stunts & that classic 80’s electricity used to pure perfection. Director Lam Ngai Kai truly revels in the absurdity of it all and clearly used his stunning fx spectacles as the center pieces for his films. Turning your mind off and simply enjoying the eye candy is the best approach to his movies. I’m stunned most only know his movie Riki-Oh, which is now a bonafide cult classic, when he’s got a trove of incredible movies that all rival it. Do yourself a favor and check out ‘The Seventh Curse’ & ‘The Ghost Snatchers’ from 1986, ‘The Peacock King’ from 1989 as well as ‘The Cat’ & ‘Riki Oh’ 9if you haven’t seen that one yet). All of these movies deserve a remastered official blu ray release dammit!! Until then I’ve got some extra boot VHS copies of the movie If you’re interested!!

 

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VHS Verdict: 1991’s ‘Children of the Night’ is a Forgotten Horror Gem!

Been on a VHS binge lately watching tons of old forgotten movies, some are of course are steamin’ turds but every now and again you come across something that’s a total delight! I ran across a copy of 1991’s ‘Children of the Night’ and was fairly certain it was again going to be another crapper, however this one proved to be a totally sweet romp of a horror comedy. I’m a giganto fan of 80’s horror and this one while being from 91′ has still got that great old school vibe and charm coming off the tail end of 1980’s. In my opinion a lot of flicks up through 1994 more or less continue to keep that feel in tact. That being said, I had a good feeling about this one when I’d seen that Peter Deluise of ’21 Jump Street” fame was billed as the star, I watched the shit out of that show as a kid in the 80’s and he was one of my favorite characters from the series for sure. Then I noticed Karen Black also starred and then that the director was Tony Randel of ‘Hellraiser 2’ & ‘Ticks’ fame. 

Well I’m pleased to say from the start of this one (which I found out later was actually a Fangoria production) it fully delivered the goods and then some in all the ways I’d hoped for. Playing much more like a horror comedy we get a sweet little story of of teenage girl played by Ami Dolenz (also in ‘Ticks’ from 1993) who lives in a small town and accidentally awakens a wicked vampire lord while swimming in an underground pond below a church. Yeah that’s what she and her buddy do for fun…..well schoolteacher played by Peter Deluise later comes to town to see what’s up and ends up in the thick of a vampire attack where he teams up with the teen girl and a local town drunken preacher played by vinatge SNL alumni Garrett Morris. I gotta say when he arrived it was the icing on the damn cake, he’s known also as “Chocolate Chip Charlie” from the horror classic ‘The Stuff’ from 1985 and in this movie he drives around town at night drinkin’ mad amounts of whiskey in a crazy van that’s got a giant glowing cross spear mounted on the front it it to impale vampires with. By that point in the movie I was already in, but this solidified the deal for sure.

At the end of the ‘Children of the Night’ day plays a bit like ‘Evil Dead 2’ none of it can be taken too seriously but it’s not a full on spoof either. There’s a lot of cool FX work going on here as well as cool spooky inventive sets and locations. It’s a neat little horror adventure that’s not afraid to add some heart to it either. A lot like gory teen horror comedy that’d fit quite nicely along with 80’s cult classics like ‘Vamp’, ‘Critters’ or the highly underrated ‘Night Life’ from 1989. There’s also some cool ass action sequences and you also get some Karen Black super weird vampire lung moments to ponder upon! If you’re looking for some super fun lost nostalgia to watch with a gang of movie maniacs ‘Children of the Night’ is a prime choice in my opinion!

Hong Kong’s Sam Raimi: Whatever Happened to Riki-Oh’s Lam Nai-Choi?!

One of the most wild & unpredictable filmmakers of all time hands down has got to be Hong Kong’s Lam Ngai Kai aka Lam Nai-choi, Most well known for his mega cult classic ‘RIKI-OH/The Story of Riki’ it’s clear this guy is, in my opinion one of the most underrated directors in the horror genre. Imagine if Sam Raimi made movies as consistently awesome as the Evil Dead trilogy, well that’s a good way to sum up this guy’s catalogue of crazy ass films. I’ve been fully surprised at how many people love ‘Riki-Oh’ yet aren’t familiar with anything else this guy’s done.

It probably doesn’t help that he completely disappeared off the movie map in 1992 for unknown reasons. Perhaps he realized he’d unlikely ever be able to top the craziness of his back catalogue of bizarre flicks. I’d love to know what he’s up to today and what I’d love even more would be his return to filmmaking. There’s however, literally zero info on why he stopped his film career and what the dude’s been up to these days. That being said let’s take a quick look at some of his coolest flicks you may not have even known existed! First if you’ve never seen Riki-Oh from 1991 it’s easily one of the wildest action/horror hybrid movies out there and totally on par with the awesomeness of Evil Dead 2. It features some of the most over the top action/gore of all time:

 

Next is another equally crazy ass flick from 1986 called ‘The Seventh Curse‘ which is like Indiana Jones on acid fighting monsters and exploring some truly epic locations. It features Chow Young Fat in a small role and continues with totally frantic action sequences that never slows it’s pace right to the very end. A true hidden gem of a movie that many 80’s horror fans have completely missed out on over the years. Seek this out asap as it’s more proof this guy’s got chops on par with the likes of early Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi & Don Coscarelli.

 

Kai’s got more under his belt too if you want another horror adventure that’s a true spectacle to behold check out ‘The Peacock King‘ from 1988. A totally unique movie that’s also a full on FX extravaganza. This one literally utilizes nearly every 80’s special fx in the book, from stop motion monsters, to animatronic creatures etc. etc. etc. you name it, this movie will take you on tour of the bizarre set to a super fun, dark yet equally light hearted adventure. Check it out: Continue reading

‘Ash Vs Evil Dead’ is Done. Damn….

Dang it, it’s now official ‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’ has been cancelled by Starz. I’m gonna admit, I’m pretty bummed out about this news as for decades I’d always hoped for Bruce Campbell to return to the iconic role of Ash Williams which he brilliantly portrayed in the Evil Dead & Army of Darkness films from the 80’s and early 90’s. When it was announced the series was a go in 2015 I was beyond thrilled. I’m fully up to date on season 3 and to this point I’m still a big fan of the series. I think it’s been a mighty fun gory and gooey ride and was fully looking forward to seeing where season 4 might take us. It seemed the show from the start had quite a big buzz and lots of Evil Dead fans were there to check it out the mayhem. Over time however, the viewership shrunk and of course it also ended up being one of the most pirated shows on the internet. At the end of the day we’ve gotta wonder what the hell went wrong here ultimately?

Aside from people pirating the show and being a bunch of cheap skate Evil Dead fans I’d say there’s a couple issues at hand that might have led to it’s demise (the show being on Starz honestly was a problem from the start-because who the hell has Starz to begin with?). The good was we had Bruce back wisecracking his way in and out of every episode. We had a ton of old school 80’s inspired gore galore & it seemed that perhaps was all that fans needed to keep interested in the series. But perhaps that’s not quite the case? If I look at it critically, even though I adore the show and really didn’t expect much more than what we got there’s a few things I think may have hindered it’s success. I’m not sure first of all that the story presented throughout the three seasons was really interesting enough to keep most on board for THREE full seasons. At a half hour each in length that’s a lot of slapstick horror for most people & one season may have been just enough? Not for me.. Continue reading

Save ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ & Support ‘Season 3’ For Real!!!

It seems our ol’ pal Ash Williams might be in need of our help, Season 3 of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ just recently kicked off & it seems there’s a serious possibility that the show may not be renewed for ‘Season 4’ by Starz. The show is one of the most pirated out there meaning all of us Evil Dead fans haven’t really been supporting the return of Bruce Campbell in the way he’d hoped we would. I’m fully up to date having just finished watching the most current episode of season 3. I’ve at the moment got a free 7 day trial for Starz, that’ll be over in a couple days and I’m planning on getting a membership at least for a month to watch the rest of the show. I figure $8.99 is way more than worth it for rest of the season,  besides I spend more than that to see a movie at the theaters usually for a movie that wasn’t that all that good. So if you’re a real fan of the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise it just might be time to show up for real, cough up 9 bux and support Ash in his quest to stomp out evil!

Now onto season 3 thus far, upon watching the first episode, it felt a bit too familiar to season 2, Ash is now the hero of his small home town, everything seems to be peachy for him again and his companions (starting off a bit too much like the “Jacksonville paradise” season 2 first episode). Of course the Necronomicon appears again, someone recites it’s passages and ‘Deadites’ are back raising hell for the small quaint town. My only initial gripe was that we’re spending yet another season in Ash’s hometown, at least for now & I’d really have liked for Ash and his crew to have been sucked into another time warp similar to ‘Army of Darkness’ to really mix things up. However it was apparent my small gripe would soon be totally erased by just how bat shit crazy and fun everything quickly escalated to. So far season three just might be the best of them all, every episode delivers the wild and crazy gore, monsters & special fx fans have been clamoring for all these years. Continue reading

Let’s Get Phantasm’s Reggie Bannister to Appear on ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’!!

Bruce Campbell is horror icon & ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ is definitely here to stay now with season three announced recently. Heck, season two was even BETTER than the first and gave a more detailed look at just who Ash really is as we hung out in his hometown for the majority of the show. This all got me thinking about other horror franchises and their unique heroes who haven’t quite gotten the level of respect that Bruce has gotten over the years. I recently re-watched the entire ‘Phantasm’ series and found myself drawing parallels between Bruce’s ‘Ash Williams’ and Reggie Bannister. Heck I’d say that Reggie from ‘Phantasm’ is just as badass as Ash and that the two of them would likely end up being good buddies if they ever met up to kick some evil monster booty.

Interestingly enough I ran across a petition online that someone had made that actually proposes the idea of getting the Phantasm’s Reggie into the ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ series on Starz. It hasn’t gotten much publicity yet but I actually think it’d be an incredible idea to incorporate characters from other similar franchises into the series. I guess it’d be a little bit like an ‘Expendables’ of horror with some grizzled, aged heroes teaming up together. I think a cool place to start would actually be introducing ‘Reggie’ into the series to give Ash a hand. Both have a lot in common and it’d be comic gold to have these two older ass kickin’ dudes team up and let’s face it, I think fans would eat something like this up. To be clear I’m not just proposing that the actor Reggie Bannister makes a small cameo, I’m saying he should appear as the character ‘Reggie’ from the ‘Phantasm’ series.

Reggie’s got the attitude and even in the somewhat lackluster “Phantasm: Ravager” he proved he’s still got what it takes to kick evil right in the ass. Ash may have his boomstick but Reggie’s got his signature quadruple barrel shotgun and can use a chainsaw like the best of ’em. Yep this retired ice cream man still’s got the moves & the charm with the ladies (or so he likes to believe). Another thing him and Ash have in common. He’d be a perfect addition to the Starz series and Ash could pay him a visit hearing lore about another older dude who’s spent his life fighting evil while hopping into different dimensions. It might take some convincing from Ash, Pablo & Kelly to get him on board but I could see the four of them teaming up being quite a incredible little slice of horror history in the making.

How likely is this idea? Probably slim to none, but let’s consider at least that Don Coscarelli (The mastermind behind Phantasm) has already worked with Bruce Campbell, giving him one of his best roles of his career in ‘Bubba Ho-tep’. To my knowledge the two of them are friends despite not ever being able to agree on how to proceed with ‘Bubba Ho-tep 2’ which for a while was going under the title of ‘Bubba Nosferatu’. It’d be amazing to see Don Coscarelli direct a couple episodes of ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ as well wouldn’t it? We also saw a cameo in ‘Bubba Ho-tep’ from Reggie Bannister so it’s very likely the two of them already know each other. Bannister is also still working in horror, in 2016 he starred in Phantasm: Ravager, The Obsidian Curse & Bonejangles. I’ve gotta check out the latter two.

I even took a moment to send Reggie a message on Facebook about the possibility of an appearance on ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ and got a response saying “Anything could happen but no one has approached us”. So it sounds like he’d be open to it but really fans have to make a stir in order for anything like this to actually ever materialize. What do you think? Would you like to see Reggie and Ash team up? Are there any other horror icons you think would fit nicely on the series? Share this post if you wanna see Reggie & Ash together!

Review: Ash Vs Evil Dead Season Two Debut!

I checked out the first episode last night of season two of Ash vs Evil Dead that’s streaming for FREE on Starz website. I’ve gotta say I think this episode might be one of the best ones thus far in the whole series. I really enjoyed season one, it did exactly what it set out to do which was bring us a fully over the top adventure featuring everyone’s favorite iconic cult horror anti-hero Ash. Did it have it’s flaws? Certainly. Some of the FX work relied too much on some questionable CG and at times there were a couple episodes that were just a little bit flat. Overall though, it packed the punch it promised and it was truly incredible to finally see Bruce back in the role. I gotta say I really never thought it would actually happen.

So season two comes around and part of me wonders if this whole formula will grow tired? Well the first episode did NOT disappoint! I couldn’t help but smile during it, Bruce is just so damn lovable and his two sidekicks have definitely grown on me, In fact someday I could see these two continue on the Evil Dead franchise without Bruce if he someday decided to hang up the chainsaw. I also loved the opening, having lived in Jacksonville Florida myself, the whole idea that THAT city is Ash’s personal view of paradise makes the idea that much more comedically potent.

I’m totally diggin’ where the show is going and we get to meet Ash’s very non PC dad (Lee Majors) which is a total treat. I do wish they’d have stayed a bit longer in Jacksonville, but I love how we’re getting some of Ash’s backstory in his home town in Michigan. What really do we know about the character otherwise? This begins to really flesh him out. Also someone must have been listening to fans reaction to the CG FX because the season two debut is almost entirely done with gory ass practical effects. It really looks great and feels more like the original movies than any of the other episodes. Well done. This show is pretty damn awesome and it’s the perfect thing to get you into a good mood if you’re feeling blue. I’ve just gotta catch this season weekly, it really is a show that makes me smile. In the meantime I’m going to watch this episode again, yeah it’s that good…  

Here’s the teaser for the next episode: