Tagged: Special Effects

Movie Review: ‘Mosquito’ the Proper Sequel to ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’!

I finally hooked myself up with a copy of ‘Mosquito’ from 1994 and was quite pleased to find it was worth the effort tracking down. I’d been curious about this movie for a long time, I actually have owned a ‘region 2’ dvd for years but never could get it to play on any player. So recently I found a proper American copy of the movie, which boasts a couple interesting people in major roles. Ron Asheton (R.I.P.), legendary guitarist for The Stooges as a heroic but bumbling park ranger & Gunnar Hansen (R.I.P.), the original Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a tuff guy military dude. What a random combo huh?  That alone was enough to peak my interest.

Being that this movie was released in 1994 I was always a bit skeptical on whether this one would rely on some horrendously shoddy amateur CGI for it’s pesky monster insects. Boy was I wrong, Mosquito ended up being a comically inspiring practical effects creature feature that could have easily been released in 1984. It feels like it’s an 80’s flick in every way imaginable. We get some nifty fx here done by way of puppetry, animatronics, cartoons and full on stop motion animation. Talk about utiltilizing all aspects of the fx spectrum, Mosquito goes the distance or at least tries it’s hardest with the budget it had. That’s not to say the special effects are amazing, quite the contrary, however the movie has some serious charm for the effort it goes to try an make this as epic as possible. This is clearly because the film’s director Gary Jones has been an fx who’s worked on films like Evil Dead II & Army of Darkness. There’s also cool RV crash and a real exploding house too. So yeah they were trying to cover their bases here on the action.

The plot is your basic ‘ufo crashes near a small town and pesky monsters attack the locals’ and that’s a good thing because it’s trying it’s best to be on par with movies like Critters or The Blob. It’s pretty heavy on comedy but at the same time really tries it’s damnedest to be fully bad ass. I really dig Gunnar Hansen in this movie too, he’s a total asset and they make sure to give you exactly what you want from him. A wise choice to give Gunnar his trusty signature chainsaw to do battle with the blood sucking beasts. There’s a line where he comes busting out with his chainsaw and says something like “Man, I haven’t handled one of these babies in 20 years”.

As Hansen never reprised his Leatherface role in a sequel you might be able to say perhaps the man behind the mask made good and helped fight off some killer mosquitos 20 years later! Hey maybe this is cannon in the Texas Chainsaw universe?! The further adventures of Leatherface…Anyway This is a super fun, totally cheezy 90’s monster movie if you are looking for a good party movie ‘Mosquito’ delivers the goods and then some!  

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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:

Movie Review: ‘The Mind’s Eye’ Is Early 90’s Movie Mayhem!

I checked out the ‘The Mind’s Eye’ the latest feature film from up and coming horror director Joe Begos last night and it was well worth the seven bucks spent on Googleplay for the rental. As I mentioned in a recent post it’s been described as the perfect sequel to Cronenberg’s classic “Scanners”. I’d say that’s a great description of what you’re in store for with The Mind’s Eye. The movie set in 1990 certainly feels like it was indeed made back then and set in the same Scanners universe. It’s a mean, gritty little movie that’s packed with exploding heads and gore a plenty. There’s no comedy mixed in either which is nice when a director is taking some chances delivering a no B.S. action movie on a low budget.

It follows two people on the run from a sinister government organization who’re hellbent on weaponizing the their telekinetic powers. The movie’s over the top villain, a normal man who’s figured out how to harvest their powers for his own however is hot on their trail along with a gang of goons ready to be torn to pieces. It’s a simple plot and maybe not the most original concept as the movie clearly borrows from ‘Firestarter’ & Brian De Palma’s ‘The Fury’ but you know what? That’s totally ok-because ‘Stranger Things’ was amazing and really a just a full on rip off of similar movies as well. We’ve also got Graham Skipper back in the lead who previously starred in Bego’s first flick ‘Almost Human’ along with Larry Fessenden in the role of his father. I never tire of seeing Larry show up in my horror movies, he’s a great addition to this one as well though his role is quite brief.

The cool thing about this movie is that it really does feel like it’s been plucked from the late 80’s. Begos uses his effects wisely and nothing that he does feels like it would have appeared in a movie after 1990. You won’t get any CG here everything is done by way of practical effects making everything feel way more organic and real world. While not being a better movie than Scanners (But better than it’s many sequels) it certainly feels like a lost sci-fi/horror movie from the era, one that you might be hunting down today for a rare vhs copy of.

As cool as all this is there are points in the movie where you’re hoping for the psycho-kinetic battles to go a bit farther than they did. Begos doesn’t give you much new to chew on here and I was hoping a few times for things to get a bit more batshit crazy towards the end. Perhaps if Begos was given a bigger budget he’d have been able to expand on the genre rather than keep it evenly at bay. Either way if you come in it not expecting anything more than a cool ass movie that feel like it was made back in 1990 you won’t be disappointed. I’ve a feeling we’ll be seeing Joe Begos rise to the top of the horror genre in the next few years, I’ll definitely be there again for his next movie.

The Mind’s Eye: The Scanners Sequel You’ve Been Waiting For?!

Here’s something to check out this weekend, a brand new release if you’re craving something on the retro side of science fiction horror. The Mind’s Eye is the second movie from Joe Begos and it looks like another winner. I dug his first movie “Almost Human” which was neat little alien flick that also had that retro 80’s vibe to it part Invasion of the Body Snatchers and part Fire in the Sky. Now we’ve got his undenialble homage to Cronenberg.

Borrowing a more than it’s fair share of Scanners, boasting a lot of exploding heads and psychic warfare this movie sounds like a damn good time for a Saturday night. Add to all that another awesome movie poster (Almost Human had a great one too) and some Larry Fessenden to the cast – This one is on the top of my list of new Horror and was just released yesterday for a limited theatrical run and VOD!

 

 

 

Arachnid Delivers Classic Monster Madness!

I stumbled upon a cool little gem of a movie  a few days ago called “Arachnid” back from 2001 and was quite happy to see a cool classic style creature feature done the right way! Yeah Arachnid was made during a time when pretty much anything of the monster movie genre was rendered in super shitty digital effects.

arachnid

However Arachnid somehow went against the grain at the time and pulled off some damn inspiring practical monster effects by way of animatronics, stop motion and puppetry. It also doesn’t hurt that the movie was directed by Jack Sholder (Nightmare on Elm St. 2, The Hidden, Wishmaster) either. It’s clear he loves the genre and likely pushed for the old school 80’s style monster mash with Arachnid.

The movie takes us to an exotic island that’s infested with monster spiders and even a big spider snake hybrid. It’s basically a fight for survival as a group of people become trapped on the island after their plane crashes. It’s pretty light on plot but once the movie kicks into gear it really does feel like a campy 80’s creature feature.

This one is a cool little forgotten flick that over the years I ignored largely because I figured the effects were going to be a weaker version of the questionable CG of  Eight Legged Freaks, which hasn’t aged well. Arachnid though will deliver to anyone who’s a fan of the way monster movies were done back in the 70’s & 80’s! Track this one down, it’s available through Netflix on dvd too! 

Freaky Friday Night at The Movies: 3615 code Pere Noel & Howl!!

I’ve been doing little movie nights at my shop Hollywood Babylon here in Portland, Oregon quite regularly now and I thought it’d be cool to start doing reviews of the flicks that we watch. I’ve gotta say investing in a projector is really one of the best things you can do if you’re a movie buff! The shop transforms into a mini theater and we can get as rowdy as we want! Often we try to pair an old and new movie together in hopes of ultimate cinematic bliss which is a hard task when you’re often trying to view something that’s new to everyone there. So last night seemed promising as we started off with a rare french flick from 1989 called:

                                            “3615 CODE PERE NOEL” aka DEADLY GAMES, GAME OVER

What a treat this one was, I had meant to get this one this year for Christmas but it’s a hard one to track down at least with English subtitles or in real physical form. I don’t do the whole online downloading very often so I went to Ioffer.com which is your best bet for finding really rare movies “on DVD” unfortunately it didn’t arrive quite in time for Christmas this year.

3615 code Pere Noel or as it’s also known as “Deadly Games” is a total gem of a basically lost and forgotten 1980’s french holiday horror movie. The movies plot is simple and awesome. There’s a poor weird bearded guy who’s wandering the streets looking for children to “play” with during Christmas time and he lands himself a job at big time department store as their Santa Claus. Bad move because this dude is bat shit crazy and it’s not long before some little kid sitting on his lap tells him him she “doesn’t like his face”.

This sends him into an abusive rage which ends up getting the weird dude fired and sets him on course to our protagonist’s giant castle mansion. Yep the hero of this film is one cool ass nine year old kid who lives in a crazy mansion that’d make Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons jealous! Continue reading

5 Reasons Why Netflix Marvel is Better Than Movie Marvel!

I’m really enjoying the latest Marvel Netflix original series ‘Jessica Jones’ and I totally loved Daredevil. It really got me thinking about why these shows seem so far (at least to me) so much better than the Marvel cinematic experience!

After a little thought I decided to nail down my five reasons Marvel should send some of their more popular characters down the same path as Jessica & Matt Murdok!

1.Better Character Development:

 It’s clear one of the main reasons why I’ve liked the tv shows more so than the movies is simply because we have so much more time to really get to know the characters inside and out. It can be tough sometimes within only a couple hours to really get a character to the point where you actually understand them and their true motivations without everything feeling a bit rushed.

Netflix gives us the time we need without boring us to really fall in love with the characters. It plays out much more like a comic book taking the time it needs to tell a great story. Some of the Marvel movies simply try and pack way too much shit into too small a time. Not only that but Marvel movies are so concerned with tying everything together between franchises that sometimes you get lost in a big sloppy plot. Imagine for a minute if Captain America would have been a tv series, how much more it would have meant to see Bucky come back as the Winter Soldier after spending a whole season with him and Cap in World Ward II?!

2. Believable Special Effects:

Sometimes when I’m watching a Marvel movie I feel like I’m watching a frikin’ cartoon. There’s soooo much CG and special FX work that it ends up a bit feeling like I’m watching ‘Roger Rabbit’. The Netflix shows have really done a spectacular job with the special effects and they flow nicely alongside the story and the action sequences.

They haven’t required the amount of CG that say The Avengers used but sometimes I really wonder if these big bloated shiny CG stuffed spectacles really need to be telling stories that need that much in the way of FX. More is NOT always better folks and some of these Marvel movies just have NOT aged well and it hasn’t even been that long.

3.Better Villains:

One thing the Marvel movies do NOT have going for them are good villains. The Netflix series works hard at giving us reasons to love and at times really hate the villains. We never really get much in the way of character development for the bad guys in a Marvel movie. Usually they’re just merely there as a reason to see some crazy ass battle go down.

The Netflix series give us the time with the bad guys that we need to really understand them or just really wanna see them get their asses served up. I haven’t once given two shits about any villain in a Marvel movie. And folks your superheroes are only as good as their evil counterparts. So if you ain’t got a good bad guy you ain’t got shit.

4.No Ratings:

Yep, the Marvel movies are all about money and selling boatloads of shit to the kids. Making a killing with merchandise means the movies can never go too dark. However the Netflix Marvel stuff doesn’t have to worry about that, they can cuss, draw blood and have tons of sex if they want to.

The Marvel movies don’t dare go too dark or violent, perhaps that’s one reason why their villains just suck so bad? They’re not allowed to really get all of their evil out onscreen, now imagine the what the Red Skull would have been like in a Netflix series…

5.They Don’t Follow the Marvel Movie Formula:

Let’s all face it, the Marvel movies most definitely have a bit of a tired and predictable formula. I really liked Ant-man but it really felt so “2008”, while watching it’s plot unfold I thought “man we’re really doing this whole thing again?” It felt pretty interchangeable with any other Marvel movies I’ve seen. Good guy gets powers, boring bad guy who has similar powers, cute love interest in danger, big CG fight at end. Blah blah blah..

Or if you’re The Avengers movies you have them all fight a super blah bad guy and then at the end of the movie a big CG slugfest, in a big city, fighting a bunch of similar looking CG clones. The second Avengers movies was really just a retelling of the first, instead of Loki you had Ultron and instead of the hordes of CG Chituari Warriors you had the horde of CG Ultron clones fight at the end in  Sokovia instead of New York.

The Netflix shows have broken away from the usual mold at least for the moment and that’s god damn refreshing. Hmm….But then again there is this now: