KIDS vs. ALIENS: If “Goosebumps” was Rated R!
I’ve been looking forward to Jason Eisener’s ‘Kid’s vs. Aliens’ since I heard the ‘Hobo With a Shotgun’ director was making a feature length film based on his awesome short horror segment in V/H/S/ 2. Granted it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, I remember really digging the concept and execution of it.
The simple premise of this movie is so right up my alley it feels like it almost was tailor made just for me. In a nutshell some kids have a Halloween party that goes off the rails when evil aliens descend upon their lakeside household. The alien visitors for the most part resemble our traditional “Greys”, which I find to be one of the most terrifying creatures of the more modern era. I guess though they’d be more in line with what we saw in 2014’s ‘Extraterrestrial’ though (minus the CGI) than say the brilliantly bizarre 1989 Whitley Strieber biopic ‘Communion’. That being said, you’ve gotta admire how ambitious this movie is with all of its practical effects work and not a shred of CGI really anywhere to be found. Add in a lean run time of around 75 minutes (68 of them actual movie time) and you’ve got a nice, fast paced horror adventure at the ready.
Plus the main kid protagonists of this movie are also quite charming for the most part. None of them get bogged down in modern online politics or social commentary, they’re just kids in danger with wildly filthy mouths being….kids. In essence they’re a fairly solid attempt of mixing the kids in Stand By Me with The Goonies. I’d say for the first 3rd of the movie I was pretty sure this might end up being one of my favorite horror films of 2023. It’s got a lot of heart at its core as well (maybe trying a bit too hard at times) and characters who you can for the most part get behind on this weird little ride.
However with ALL of that going for it, still there’s something here that in my opinion just didn’t quite click the way it should’ve. That’s not to say this isn’t a fun little movie, becuz it is. It just misses the mark at being a modern horror classic, maybe because they’re trying just a bit too hard at mostly everything they attempt to sell the audience. It’s same problems I had at times with 2013’s ‘Knights of Badassdom’ a movie which I do admittedly still enjoy quite a bit.
I guess I would say what it does succeed at being is a pretty excellent R-rated “Goosebumps” movie. In many ways, even the way it’s filmed looks a little bit like a vintage Goosebumps episode for better or for worse at times. I guess my problem was maybe my personal expectations weren’t quite met in the way I’d initially hoped for. Though this movie in many ways borrows heavily from the likes of classics like Fire In The Sky, it really lacks the intensity, atmosphere and mystery that could have pulled from it, even if just a little bit of it. The aliens In my opinion are shown way too much in plain sight. All of the things that make grey aliens so terrifying is completely absent here, they run around roaring like enraged grizzly bears.
The aliens also look a bit too much like men in rubber suits, which I usually don’t mind, but easily hiding them a bit more might have benefited this greatly. More of the monsters isn’t always better. Overall though I do appreciate the almost entirely practical nature of this film’s special effects. It’s refreshing to see filmmakers getting a bit more old school these days!
Though the characters for the most part are fun wonky children, they do try a bit too hard to sell us that on all levels. Much of the character development feels a bit forced. The kids and their antagonist teen enemies end up being somewhat over the top caricatures and don’t always feel like “real’ people. The kids are NERDS, the older teen sister-hero is a NERD and the teens are really reeeeally meanies who don’t like NERDS. By the middle of the movie I found myself wishing their personas had been toned down. They started to feel like they were written by the “modern day Kevin Smith” or something. Ok, well maybe not that bad. Instead of growing to like them more as the movie progressed, I found myself becoming slightly annoyed with everyone’s behaviors and actions even if they were good in nature.
Looking at it now though with zero expectations, it’s still one I do plan on revisiting again. It’s got plenty of action and really does try to feature a cast of heartwarming lead characters and pathetically almost unbelievably evil teen villains to you are basically told to hate anytime they appear. It also takes place on Halloween and makes it prime viewing for the holiday. There’s a lot of good here so don’t get me wrong, I just feel like someone needs to put together an amazing home invasion Grey alien horror film and do it the right way. In the perfect world I was hoping this would be a mix of 1989’s Communion and maybe like Evil Dead. (here’s a still photo from Communion).
Instead it leans hard into the campy territory and doesn’t skimp on some impressive Gore FX either. Perhaps it’s really my own expectations that took this down a few pegs for myself, with all the crappy stuff out there streaming I do think there’s a lot of fun to be had. Check this one out, it’s worth a rental, but don’t go in expecting it to be quite as cool as his segment was in V/H/S 2. Still thank you Jason for adding an entertaining alien invasion flick to the cinematic horror library!
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!
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.
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!
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!!
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!
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!
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!
How Cool Was Hasbro’s Monster Face?!!
The year was 1992 and I gotta admit I had taken a break from playing with toys-though I still kept them all (I still have them all to this day) and still went to the comic book shop every week. However when I look back today at some of the early 90’s toys I have to say there were some pretty great ones on the market! One such toy I remember was Hasbro’s “Monster Face”, as I never really stopped watching cartoons I fondly remember this commercial!
Really monster face was kind of a Fuck You to Mr. Potato head! Back in those days everything was 10 times as rad when you added slime to it-and monster face oozed some mean ass slime! Seriously had this come out in the mid to even late 80’s I would have been al over that shit-now today I just may have to hunt one down!!