Of course, everybody’s looking for the ultimate Halloween viewing this year and it just so happens I’ve got a couple recommendations here that are a MUST see for anyone who’s a fan of those spooky “Amblin* films of the eighties! A lot of people seem to have forgotten about or never even heard of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series ‘Amazing Stories’. That’s truly a shame because many of these episodes are classic “Spielbergian” gems that are indeed quite freakin’ amazing. Better yet, there are a handful of episodes that are absolutely perfect for the Halloween season. Today I’d like to mention two of my all time favorite episodes of the series that just so happen to be quite perfectly spooky and utterly charming.
Easily one of the best episodes of the series comes from the 1st season is called ‘Mummy Daddy’. It’s directed by William Dear who’s most well known for one of my all time favorites ‘Harry and Hendersons’. This features an actor on a creepy fog laden swamp of a movie set who’s dressed in an elaborate mummy costume that’s virtually unremovable. When he suddenly gets a phone call that his wife is about to give birth, he bursts frantically from the set to head off to the hospital, In full mummy garb. What he doesn’t realize is that the backwoods locals are restless as they fear the legend of an actual evil mummy rumored to roam the forest in search of innocents to prey upon is alive and well.
There’s a lot of unique twists and turns in this half hour episode, the mummy fx look incredible and the sets and fog filled moonlit locales are top notch. One thing is clear Steven Spielberg had a movie level budget for the show and he was willing to put it all on the line. This episode features the perfect blend of spooky comedy & horror as well as some excellent supernatural action sequences.
Not to mention one of my favorites, Brion James in the role of the aggro head hillbilly, who’s hell bent on ridding their small town of the mummy’s curse forever! This one is a must see for the Halloween season!
Next up is my absolute favorite episode of the entire series which comes from season 2 called ‘Go to the Head of the Class’.
It’s directed by ‘Back to the Future’s’ own Robert Zemekis, features Mary Stuart Masterson and of course Christopher Lloyd! This one is slso a double length episode, it easily could have been made into an excellent horror flick and would have easily been one of the best episodes of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ if it’d been included in that series, where to be honest it feels like it belongs! In a nutshell it’s a story of two teenagers who who plan an elaborate revenge scheme on their asinine school teacher. However this isn’t your average tale of revenge, they instead employ the powers of the supernatural playing a record backwards and performing a ritual in the cemetery late one night after school that will supposedly put an end to their least fave douchebag headmaster!
Christopher Lloyd shines in the role of the evil teacher and like the last episode I mentioned, the special effects here are done by Stan Winston and all of the horror set pieces are utterly breathtaking in the spookiest way imaginable. It’s jam packed with the perfect blend of comedy, genuine scares and familiar faces of the eighties that are certain to put a smile on your face.
These two episodes will pack the perfect double duo punch and give you something different to check out this Halloween season. Yeah horror from a much simpler time from the golden era of horror! Do not snooze on these this year!
Well here’s a bit of interesting news, it seems that James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) is looking bring back everyone’s favorite spooky spider film ‘Arachnophobia’ with a brand new “sequel”. 1990’s family friendly horror flick is one of my favorite, most underrated little Amblin movies. This is great news and Wan’s already eyeing up John Goodman to return in his role of master exterminator Delbert Mclintock to fight another pack of pesky spiders.
If this movie indeed does happen I hope they amp up the spider mayhem ten fold and again incorporate the use of real spiders on set. The main reason why Arachnophobia was so effective was because the real thing is just so much more creepy than CG arachnids. Let’s hope they don’t rely too much on CGI to create the spiders and hopefully there will be yet another even bigger spider to face off against in the end.
This could really be a ton of fun and even though most sites are calling this a reboot Wan’s already confirmed that this will indeed be a sequel. Maybe we could see Jeff Daniels come back too? Either way I think this could be awesome and since the ‘Roseanne’ canceling/controversy it seems Goodman may indeed have the time to come back and kick some spider butt once again….
Last night I had the pleasure of seeing a fantastic lost haunted house 80’s gem from Japan called ‘Sweet Home’! I only heard great things about this one recently online while looking for obscure horror movies and just had to check it out for myself. It was never released here in the USA but luckily there’s a great site called Twisted Anger that has some excellent lost cinema you can purchase if you’re not thrilled about watching movies on Youtube (it however is indeed on Youtube).
Sweet Home has some real sweet things going for it, right from the start of the movie it’s clear some love went into the production of this one. It’s beautifully shot and filled with some stunning locations and sets peices. Writer & director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who’s probably most well known for his 2001 horror film ‘Pulse’ does a great job here letting his spooky tale unfold on screen with tons of color and a great score to accompany it as well. We follow a TV production crew who’re making a documentary about the legendary, now deceased painter, Mamiya Ichiro. They trek out into the foggy countryside to his creepy abandoned mansion and begin exploring, discovering his strange paintings about the house. Soon they begin filming & are confronted by a deadly presence that intends to possess and destroy all who remain inside.
It’s a simplistic story that takes some nice twists and turns along the way and is filled with some colorful characters as well as some nice comedic moments thrown in for good measure. The real star of the show however is clearly the movies excellent special fx work from American master of trade Dick Smith. Smith’s got an impressive resume too as he’s well known for his work on movies like The Exorcist, Poltergeist 2, Scanners, Altered States, Taxi Driver, to name a few. The movie starts off with a quiet tone however when weird shit begins to go down Smith’s stunning fx work really pushes the movie into new territory and is a true glory to behold. The quiet little ghost story by the finale explodes into an action packed visual feast with one of the best onscreen ghostly monsters of the 1980’s. Creepy babies, melting men, monsters & with tons of that 80’s electricity I adore so much, it really contains some “why the fuck have I never seen this before” moments that if you’re a fan of that classic decade of horror you’ll truly appreciate and likely never forget.
From what I’ve read about this movie, it’s been said the director wasn’t happy with this or really most of his 80’s work. Like ‘Poltergeist’ where it’s rumored Steven Speilberg was actually the one on set with the megaphone rather than Tobe Hooper, Sweet Home’s producer was also rumored to be quite an imposing force to director Kurosawa’s final vision. Still the movie manages to be one helluva good time despite any behind the scenes squabbling and is must see for any fans of ghostly 80’s horror done right. The movie also spawned a rather hard to find Nintendo NES Capcom video game as well as being the main inspiration of ‘Resident Evil’. I recommend seeking this odd little lost treasure of flick out this halloween, the fx alone are worth the price of admission!
Ok, so my title above is a bit misleading because as of right now there’s not currently rumors about Jonathan Ke Quan returning to the role of “Short Round” for the upcoming Indiana Jones Part 5. BUT let’s start that rumor here because maybe it will catch fire on the web and actually happen!
So this whole idea really began the other evening when I saw the amazing 1991 movie ‘Breathing Fire’ starring Ke Quan as a teenage ass kicking kung fu machine. If you haven’t seen this movie and love his roles in Indiana Jones and Goonies you best check this one out asap. Seriously. Movies rarely reach level of pure fun and some great over the top kung fu! He even faces off against the legendary Bolo Yueng and it’s just jam packed with amazingly awesome & hilarious retro action cheeze. Seek this one out asap. The full movie can be found on Youtube.com!
However I digress, Ke Quan’s acting career ended in 2002 with the Hong Kong sci fi feature film “Second Time Around” so he’s not exactly been focused on acting lately. As you can tell from the previous Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Speilberg is heavily focused on nostalgia from the previous films as one of the key moments is the return of Marion Ravenwood. So in this next installment how amazing would it be to have Indy once again team up with his buddy Short Round on another adventure?
During filming ‘Temple Of Doom’, Quan studied Tae Kwon Do under film choreographer Phillip Tan. Something about the discipline of martial arts really appealed to him, so he began rigorously studying many different techniques. Once his acting career had become more quiet, Quan became an assistant fight choreographer to Hong Kong legend Corey Yeun on movies like ‘X-Men’ and Jet Li vehicle ‘The One’. Ke Quan now is 45 years old, has kept himself in great shape and could likely bring his seasoned martial arts exploits into the next Indy flick with pure adoration from longtime fans. He’s even been asked more recently from fans about appearing in part five answering with an enthusiastic “I don’t know!”. From what I understand he’s also down for a trip down nostalgia lane for the forever talked about Goonies sequel. So this here is all a real possibility considering Indiana Jones part 5 is indeed happening for sure.
I’ve got high hopes for the next Indy movie, I enjoyed the last one but I’ll agree it’s far from perfect and nowhere near as classic as the first three. Still this next movie is likely Harrison Ford’s last as the character so Speilberg will get one last shot to right the wrongs of the last movie. Ditch the ridiculous CG you promised you weren’t going to use and give us something that truly feels like a classic Indy movie and please leave Shia Labeouf’s Mutt Willaims at home. Let’s feel the nostalgia and let’s see Jones & Short Round team up once again, I know that fans would flip their shit if this was worked into the movie and it’d make sense that a fully able, older Short Round could help Indiana Jones kick some butt this time as our aging main character likely needs all the help he can get this time around. What do you think? Would you like to see Johnny Ke Quan return? If so share this post and let’s make it happen!
Well it looks as if Netflix has done it again with the totally awesome new ‘Stranger Things’ series! I’ve gotta say thus far being on episode six it’s easily one of my favorite shows ever. I’m hoping these last three episodes will totally deliver the goods. A lot of new movies have tried to replicate the classic 80’s adventure, movies like Super 8 & even the X-men: Apocalypse. None of these movies have really been able to fully channel the vibes of what it was like to be a kid back then but then comes along this series and they NAIL it. It’s thus far the perfect blend of movies like E.T., Firestarter, Poltergeist & The Goonies all wrapped up neatly in a box. Everything down to the wardrobe, the music and the sheer adventure captures that old Amblin/Speilberg vibe perfectly. It’s not a carbon copy tho they’re also bringing the scares in a big way.
Also awesome is to have Winona Ryder back front and center, she of course is a big 80’s crush of mine (duh right?) AND Matthew Modine too, so that definitely adds to the 80’s authenticity of the show. I’m curious what Netflix’s plan is for the series? Is it a one off or are they looking at more seasons? I guess I need to finish it and see where it’s left off. Here’s what The series creators and directors The Duffer Brothers had to say at this time about a possible second season:
“We wanted to do a couple things with this [first] season. We didn’t want to do The Killing thing. We wanted it to resolve that main thing of Will going missing in the first season. So in that sense, it is like an eight-hour movie. Now, we don’t answer all the questions by the end of the season — there are definitely some dangling threads. The hope is that it feels satisfying but that we left room and that if people respond to it we can go back into this world. But if we do get to go back, it’s not a second season as much as a sequel.”
A sequel season sounds great to me, perhaps they could find a few other 80’s icons to flesh it out? Hmmm..Molly Ringwald or Ralph Macchio anyone?! The possibilities are pretty amazing if you think about it. Continue reading