I’ve noticed a bit of a trend lately in Hollywood that gives me some hope for the future of sci-fi movies, a slight return to intelligent and engaging genre stories have been slowly materializing on the big screen again. Recent movies like Arrival, Get Out and especially Blade Runner: 2049 have seriously made going to the movies a bit of a different experience in the best way possible. A return to cerebral science fiction mysteries is something I’ve been hoping for for quite some time and the trend continues on with the latest, ‘Annihilation’ in a big way.
Annihilation is quite a mind bender indeed that explores a bizarre alien atmosphere that suddenly yet quietly appears down in the Florida Everglades near a lighthouse on the coast. Referred to in the movie as ‘the shimmer’, this truly strange, rapidly growing area creates a surreal glistening layer to the landscape it encompasses. It’s up to a team of scientists/mercenaries to enter inside it to figure out just what the hell is going on and what happened to the previous team that never returned. A great cast heads this one as well, led by Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh (it’s nice to see her back!), Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and also Oscar “Poe Dameron” Isaac in a chilling supporting role.
I liked the dynamic of having a fully female team of researchers that enter within the shimmer, as once inside, the movie quickly becomes a full on dream like journey into a beautifully bizarre landscape where it’s uncertain exactly what lies ahead. One of the best things about it is indeed the atmosphere and setting of the Everglades as the shimmer has transformed much of it into an eerie colorful creepy spectacle to behold. It really does feel like you’ve entered into an onscreen fever dream that’s peacefully quiet but at the same time incredibly unsettling.
Of course there’s plenty of danger inside and it doesn’t take too long before shit gets crazy, as quiet and introspective as this movie at first seems it also has some pretty intense scenes that cross fully over into the horror genre. It’s horror elements reminding me a bit at times of ‘Event Horizon’ & ‘The Thing’, there’s plenty to behold inside the shimmer. some unexpected gore and even some genuinely frightening monsters enter the equation. In fact there’s one unforgettably frightening creature that pretty much steals the show and is something born of nightmares. So yeah that’s always a plus for me.
Annihilation leaves a lot of room for discussion once the credits begin to role as it’s finale is so strange it’s likely to leave many leaving the theater scratching their heads. That though I feel is the appeal of a movie like this, it’s got a real story to tell that requires you to pay close attention to detail something a lot of science fiction movies used to do way back when. It seems however that the masses today have a hard time digesting movies like this, most everything today is edited so quickly and largely requires our brains to be turned off almost entirely. Movies these days largely feel as if they’re made for our mega short attention span culture so it certainly feels quite special to enter the theater and be pleasantly surprised by a totally different experience all together. Annihilation like Blade Runner:2049 likely won’t do great at the box office, but if you long for those classic stories of cerebral science fiction they way that I often do, you definitely won’t be disappointed with Annihilation.
Happpppy HALLOWEEN boys, ghouls and all freaks of nature!! It’s finally here that special day where all things creepy and spooky are considered the norm amongst all other average humans!! Well today we’re going the distance and going to take a look at one of my favorite topics of all time: MONSTERS!! Duh!
So today many will be transforming themselves into creepy creatures of the night and I want to compile the top ten movie “human to monster” transformations of all time!!! Let’s get on with this shit, in no particular order, it’s time to get gross people, because who doesn’t love seeing humans morph into creepy creatures especially on Halloween!!
10. The Howling (1981)
I just NEVER get sick of this awesome werewolf transformation in the Howling! It’s one of the best human to monster transitions of all time, I just love the fact that Dee Wallace watches the whole damn thing instead of getting the fuck outta dodge!! One of the best!
9. The Beast Within (1982)
Check this shit out, one of the best most bizarre transformations for sure! This time though we witness a troubled teenage transform into some sort of bug/human hybrid! Nasty for sure!! Goddamn do I love some good practical fx!!
7. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)
What a damn fine movie, I just can’t get enuff of this one, it’s got awesome practical old school monster fx and even features Robert Englund in one of his best (maybe the best?!) post Freddy movie roles. Better yet Englund transforms into a big ass monster that look’s like Chet’s brother from “Weird Science”!!
6. The Curse 2: The Bite (1989)
Damn I love this flick, it’s a sequel only in name to the ‘Will Wheaton’ movie “The Curse” from a couple years before. It’s a fun movie with some superb extra special fx and a finale that’s worth the wait of the often meandering story. If you’ve never seen this one maybe skip watching this here and just seek out the full movie, this sequence is most of it’s awesome finale…
5. Tales From The Dark Side: The Movie (1990)
The finale story to ‘Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie’ anthology is super awesome and features a totally memorable monster movie transformation! I still feel bad for the dude who didn’t keep his promise, things were just going so damn well in their relationship! Oh well no amount of counseling could have fixed this deep inner relationship issue! It had to come out at some point!
4. The Company of Wolves (1984)
This rad and totally bizarre, sometimes forgotten gem of a werewolf movie, has several awesome transformations in it. However this one is my favorite. The snout out of the mouth is an awesome totally disgusting effect that still awes me every time. I’ve got to re-watch this one again SOON! This freaked me the fuck out as a kid…
3. The Thing (1982)
Here’s a classic! The Norris transformation sequence in The Thing is one of the best most iconic moments in monster movie history! Like it needs any real introduction-here it is again in all it’s gory glory!
2. Black Sheep (2006)
I love this horror comedy and Weta Workshop did an incredible job giving us a totally memorable transformation sequence! The movie is filled with awesome practical fx work and I love the whole “weresheep angle”, if you’ve never seen this indie gem you better check it out asap-it delivers the goods and then some!!
1.An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Considered by most to be the greatest man to monster movie transformation of all time obviously this one needed to be on the list, so here it is one last time for any of you who’ve been living in a damn cave for the majority of your life! Ohhh the pain of it all!!!
Still haven’t had enuff? Me neither-here’s a few more I totally dig!!
Oh and Luke Skywalker as he transforms into a bug in the shitty “Guyver”…still damn cool tho!
Oh and Drew Barrymore’s crazy transformation in the underrated “Doppleganger”!!
God bless Youtube, Here’s a cool one from The Spookies from 1986~!
Cool one from Waxwork II: Lost in Time!
A great one from the criminally underrated 1987 monster extravaganza ‘The Kindred’!!
….and of course this WHOLE damn movie!!
I was lucky enough to be able to check out the latest 1980’s throwback monster movie ‘The Void’ at the Hollywood Theater here in Portland Oregon last night. I’m pretty fucking stoked that I’m so close to one of the coolest theaters in the country that’s constantly giving us here alternatives to the huge Hollywood blockbusters continuously cranked out. If you’re ever in Portland I highly suggest checking out this place as it always has several incredibly unique events and movies happening there. But I digress, The Void was definitely a thrill to see on the big screen!
I’ve been waiting for this one for quite a while and right now it’s showing all across the country at select theaters. If you’re a fan of classic 1980’s horror flicks like ‘The Thing’, ‘Reanimator’ & ‘Hellraiser’ you’re in for quite a treat. ‘The Void’ captures the look and feel of films like these with ease, similarly creating an incredibly unsettling sense of dread throughout. Seeing it at the particular venue I did intensified the experience, along with the fact I smoked some pot (hey it’s legal here now so get off my back!) before and I felt a little bit like I was transported back to simpler times when horror flicks were at the peak of their charm. It’s story is pretty simple at it’s surface, taking place almost entirely inside a lonely hospital during a graveyard shift. We meet a group of people whose quiet night soon becomes a descent into total madness as the hospital becomes surrounded by a weird ass masked cult dressed in white robes with black triangles displayed upon their hoods. Continue reading
Damn was I disappointed with ‘The Thing’ remake/prequel from 2011! They had all of the ingredients together for a cool ass little prequel set to be a neat little companion piece to the original John Carpenter classic remake. His 1982 movie is the holy grail of monster movie for me and still stands the test of time today. StudioADI had crafted the special effects for the 2011 movie boasting practical effects on par with the 1982 classic. However what we ended up with was a piece o’ shit CG wankfest that was panned by critics and fans alike.
The sad thing is the practical effects they created/filmed were erased and they actually replaced what was really on film with CGI. God damn does that make me furious! Someone tried to take matters into their own hands back in 2015 by releasing a petition trying to get the working print of the film released with all the original fx work. Sadly the petition didn’t gather enough attention. Anyway today studioADI released a new video showing the practical effects that were filmed & designed for the movie!! Check this shit out:
Here’s another great video that gives you the full scoop on what went wrong with ‘The Thing’ 2011:
One of my favorite comic books of the 1980’s was “The Official Handbook of The Marvel Universe” (Deluxe Edition)! Yeah it wasn’t a real comic book per say but damn was it amazing! Back in 1985 all the way through 1988 Marvel released this 20 issue deluxe edition which featured EVERYTHING you could ever want to know about pretty much EVERY character in Marvel comics. This included their real names, specific powers, how much they could bench press, their history, their hometown, yeah I mean EVERYTHING. I spent hours and hours of my time reading these and brushing up on my favorite characters history. This must have taken some serious time to document as it listed the main life events of the heroes and villains that took place in the pages of the comic books. A complete history up until that point. This was a time when Marvel was truly an amazing company…
Each character was drawn by a different comic book artist and it included pictures of the characters in action taken from panels in the comics they’d appeared in. But my whole point here was to talk about the covers which the majority of them were drawn by my personal favorite John Byrne! The cool thing about the covers was that they could all be connected as one super duper long cover of the characters running. So Byrne pretty much tried to include all the characters from each alphabetical issue!! I’d love to see a video montage that follows each issue until it’s end! But until then I’ll include as many of these covers I can find right here! Check this out!
Most of the ones I’ve found online unfortunately don’t feature the back cover as well…
I’ve bitched and moaned here about my complete and utter disappointment for the 2011 version of ‘The Thing’, the prequel to Carpenter’s classic 1982 monster movie! To refresh your memory we were originally promised a movie that would not only be a prequel but also give us the same style of mind blowing practical creature effects the awed us way back in ’82. Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ in my opinion is maybe the best creature feature of all time.
Yeah effects wizards at ADI (Amalgamated Dynamics Inc.) spent a ton of time and effort creating some truly astonishing practical creature FX for the movie only to have nearly ALL of them omitted from the final theatrical version of the film. Instead they gave us fans exactly what we DID NOT want, a bunch of slick, fake looking CGI in it’s place. This was a nightmare come true for all fans of the original. Well now it seems that that someone has decided to create a petition directed straight at the CEO of Universal Pictures Ronald Meyer. The petition is asking for what the fans wanted all along, the release of the work print of the 2011 film with all of the original practical monster effects that ADI worked so hard to bring us fans of the original!
This is a superb idea and something i have wondered about for so long. What would that film have looked like in it’s original form? Well now it’s time to demand that we see the film we were promised! If you’ve seen some of the Youtube videos of these FX then you know how incredible this movie just may have been!
So all of you Thing fans out there please take a minute to sign this petition and lets get the version of the prequel we all had been hoping for once and for all you can sign the Change.org petition right HERE! What are you waiting for?!
I love that people these days are using online avenues to make cool movies. Nothing satisfies me more than knowing people are getting things done with the help of true fans. In the end it means that most often times people are really getting what they want rather than a big studio pushing its influence on directors and turning a good idea into a load of bullshit. So we’ve got to take some time out from covering the glossy, over hyped, fully bloated flicks that Marvel & DC are cranking out and give some smaller projects some hype here. One such project is called “The Void” which you can help fund directly on Indiegogo if you’re a fan of old school monster movies, the kind we used to get back in the 1980’s back when life was a little more simplistic and the movies were a bit more of an art form. It’s pretty clear just by this amazing poster for the project that these guys are on to something awesome!
Here’s a little more info on the pitch:
“Cult indie directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie (Manborg, “W Is for WISH” from ABCs of Death 2) and producer Casey Walker of Cave Painting Pictures (A Little Bit Zombie) have launched an Indiegogo campaign to get a head start on pre-production for THE VOID, an original horror film that pits a small-town police officer against all manner of otherworldly creatures in a derelict, rural hospital.
“We’re launching this campaign early in order ensure that the film’s special effects are achieved practically. It’s important to start building our film’s creatures immediately to ensure we can realize them on set and in-camera,” said Kostanski and Gillespie.”
This sounds like my kinda movie, the type I’m always hunting down, whether it be a lost 80’s flick or a new one this is the kind of stuff I want to talking about here at Universal Dork. This trailer looks like a damn fine time and the effects look quite impressive already-so imagine what could be done with a little more funding. Check this shit out and if you have a few bucks to spare throw it their way! I’ll be watching out for this one!