Here’s something truly unique and inspiring on the Star Wars front, as everyone’s talking about ‘The Mandalorian’ Disney Plus series this week and how damn good it was. I mean do you really need another review of the show at this point? I didn’t think so! Well it’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Timothy Zahn Star Wars book trilogy from the early 90’s, one which many fans had considered the real episodes 7-9 for many years until recently. If you’re a fan of the original trilogy, were underwhelmed with the Disney sequel trilogy and never read those books I highly suggest checking them out to get the ultimate old school fix of Star Wars! In fact the best way to check them out is in the audio book form narrated by Marc Thompson, whose vocal impersonations of the original characters is mind blowing, as well as the music and sound fx that’ll make you feel like the movie has come to life. It’s really that good.
Well recently I discovered something pretty amazing on Youtube, it seems a fan named ‘DarthAngelus’ is attempting to animate the story of the first installment “Heir to the Empire” in a Clone Wars/Rebels style series. A truly ambitious project and a welcome one for the true OT fan. It’s the very first time we meet the iconic villain ‘Thrawn’ who really should have been utilized in the sequel trilogy as the big baddie in my opinion. I’ve really enjoyed what he’s done here and I’m looking forward to what comes next and how just the action sequences will unravel, which will be a big part of how well this epic story translates to this animation. So far it’s a real treat to see how much love a fan has for the series, if there was a way for them to put Marc Thompson’s (the audiobook’s narrator) voice into this it’d even more of a spectacle. In the meantime kudos to this fan, more people need to know about this as I think it’s something truly special in the works! Check it out:
John Byrne’s run on the Fantastic Four in the 80’s is arguably the best the title has ever seen. One of the biggest changes the legendary team encountered during his run was when The Thing left the team & She-Hulk replaced him. It was a risky move at the time, but Jennifer Walters rounded out the female ratio quite nicely with her brute strength, beauty and charming sense of humor. We all know that Byrne was a huge fan of She-Hulk and Fantastic Four #275 features the character in one of my favorite covers. She-Hulk, especially in the 80’s had to deal with a LOT of sleazy men gawking over her, this cover features a prime example of exactly that. I’m also looking at this cover and thinking this depiction of the character would be a great one to base look of the upcoming MCU tv series character on. There’s so much you could do with She-Hulk in a live action series and I’m hoping it adds the comedic elements of Byrne’s classic version of the character. I’ve always loved John Byrne and to this day his iconic 70’s and 80’s comic book art, in my opinion, is easily some of the best of the era. This cover is truly classic SHE-HULK!
So last night I got a sneak peak of the first two upcoming episodes of Youtube Red’s new series ‘Cobra Kai’ AND ‘The Karate Kid’ side by side on the big screen! Yeah, I’ve been super pumped about the new series as The Karate Kid still remains in my top five favorite movies of the 1980’s and maybe even of all time. I like it that much, so as a big fan I’m gonna give it to you straight. The first two episodes of Cobra Kai are everything you’d hope them to be and then some especially if you’re a fan of the original 80’s classic. If you’ve somehow never seen The Karate Kid, you really should do so first to fully appreciate this series, but if not I still think it’s got just as much to offer to those who don’t know the history of the franchise. Here’s some of the basic story set up in the first two episodes without spoiling anything, as a good deal of the stuff I’m about to tell you about the plot is in the trailers for the show…
Original stars/rivals Ralph Macchio as ‘Daniel LaRusso’ & William Zabka as ‘Johnny Lawrence’ return and both look amazing in 2018. In fact they look so eerily similar to the way they did in the 80’s at times it’s a bit surreal. The story here picks up in the present day & former high school mega bully karate champion Johnny is no longer the rich “cool guy” he was back in the 80’s. He’s a jaded, down on his luck alcoholic who still spends a fair amount of his days reminiscing about the glory days of his high school years. Despite all of that from the very opening he also displays he can kick ass just like he used to just as well. He ends up accidentally saving a high school kid from a major ass kicking from a bunch of bullies. Not out of the kindness of his heart but because they’ve possible messed up his 80’s sports car in the process of doing so. Continue reading
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
I heard recently that John Carpenter is co-writing an official sequel comic book series to his classic “Big Trouble in Little China” called “Old Man Jack”. It’s set in 2020 and follows the further adventures of the now 60 year old Jack Burton as he once again does battle with evil forces looking to conquer the Earth. Coming this September, this new series from Boom! Studios is getting the internet talking about getting Carpenter to adapt the comic to the big screen by long time fans. Sounds like a god damn bonafide slam dunk huh?!
Well not so fast movie maniacs! What a lot of people have forgotten is that 20th Century Fox has been threatening all of us fans of the original movie with a remake starring Duane “The Rock” Johnson as the new Jack Burton. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like The Rock, but when it comes to the choice of a sequel to ‘Big Trouble’ with Kurt Russell at the very least written by Carpenter, it’s a no brainer. At the very least, give us the damn sequel first!! You can always reboot that shit later. I’d hope at this point Hollywood gets the very simple fact that people want sequels (done with integrity mind you) for their favorite movies rather than another throw away, cookie cutter, “here today gone tomorrow” remakes of a cult classic they keep servin’ us up. It should be proof enough with sequels to Star Wars, Blade Runner & tv shows like Ash vs Evil Dead that prove people don’t really want a full on remake. They want the story to continue. The solution to the problem at hand is simple, just add Duane Johnson to the damn cast of the sequel, have him team up with Kurt Russell! DUH! Continue reading
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!
Ok so I wanted to take a minute to briefly comment on Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ as I FINALLY finished the whole damn thing. So at first I admit I thought the series wasn’t too bad but as I completed the finale it was clear that this show just didn’t deliver much of anything interesting. Now I’m not saying it deserves a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes but hey let’s be honest it kinda sucked. The show was pretty damn boring and I admit EVERY one of the Marvel Netflix shows reach a point where this becomes the case. There’s simply way too many episodes, way too much exposition and it just gets to be a bit of a LOOOONG ass process trying to get to the end of these shows. Some of these Iron Fist episodes felt like they were hours long. Combine that with the terrible meandering plot of ‘villains’ Harold and The Hand and the corporate board room BS and it just drags on and on.
I really wanted to like this one but god damn am I glad it’s just over with. One thing this series excelled at was being totally consistently mediocre. Even the finale was a bonafide snoozefest. He barely ever even used the ‘iron fist’ at all throughout this damn show but damn was he hyped on telling everyone he was “the Iron Fist” every damn chance he could. I even kinda liked Finn Jones as the clueless, largely directionless, tantrum throwing rich brat superhero. And to be clear Danny Rand was most definitely not a “white savior” in any respect in this series. He actually was more of a “white screwup” – so to all of the people who had their undies in a bundle I suggest watching the show before you throw your online tantrums. Iron Fist could and should have have been great, pushing the kung fu action to crazy new levels, sadly I give this one a solid D+. Oh well let’s hope they get it right in The Defenders!
On the brighter and more exciting side of things I did start a relatively new series on Netflix last night called “Hap & Leonard” it hooked me right away and I ended up watching three of the six episodes last night. SIX episodes thankfully NOT thirteen!!! I had to mention this one because it’s got some damn good things going for it & here’s a few reasons why you should check it out. First it’s based on the Joe R. Lansdale book series based on these characters. He’s responsible for writing some incredibly cool stories that have been adapted to film like ‘Bubba Ho-tep’, ‘Incident On and Off a Mountain Road’, ‘Cold in July’ & ‘Christmas with the Dead’ to name a few.
Next the directors Jim Mickle & Nick Damici have done some cool flicks like ‘Stakeland’, ‘Mulberry Street’ & ‘We are What We Are’. There’s a big horror connection to this series but so far it really doesn’t quite fit into any genre really. Instead I see aspects of horror, mystery & adventure all crammed nicely into this series. Another plus for me is that it takes place in 1988 and damn do I love the eighties. It’s got some real interesting characters as well, Hap’s a poor rugged private investigator and his best friend Leonard is a gay, black, conservative cowboy who finds more in common with Elvis than Martin Luther King. Both guys are also martial artists and into getting into all sorts of mayhem in the backwoods of east Texas.
It also stars Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks (who’s a total babe and a great actor) as Hap’s ex wife who’s sent them on a wild goose chase to find a sunken getaway car supposedly filled with a million bucks somewhere on the bottom of a alligator infested river. There’s also a weird ass serial killer duo on the loose, one of them is Pollyanna MacIntosh who’s known for her intense role in Lucky McKee’s horror flick “The Woman”. She’s just as wild n’ crazy in ‘Hap & Leonard’.
Yeah it’s a breath of fresh air after Iron Fist that’s for sure. Check it out, it’s a thrill so far and full of surprises!! I’m thrilled this one’s got a second season as it appears there’s plenty o’ crazy source material for out there already from Mr. Lansdale!