Friday, November 24, 2017

Holiday Cover Art: Black Friday (1940)

Somehow there is not an actual Black Friday Film!  Why not this AND Cyber Monday?

It has been a couple of Decades, so...what's the deal?

In the meantime, enjoy this Film with a similar Title.  This is the Poster...
Nice.

Having seen the Movie, I do have to ask why they feature Karloff and Lugosi (who has a small Role), but not the real Lead.

Weird.

Here's the original Poster, which I didn't have to do much for, really.
As far as the Colors go, I don't know why either.  Enjoy your shopping.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Holiday Cover Art: Home Sweet Home (1981)

Another year- another attempt to avoid watching Thankskilling.

Yes, even the Sequel.

Instead of either of those, here's the bad-ass Poster to the Thanksgiving Slasher Film Home Sweet Home...

Bad-ass!

Too bad the Film is...well, annoying, dull and forgettable.

Speaking of forgetting, I can't forget to highlight the untouched Version of this I found- creases and all.
Still kind of bad-ass, but messy.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Creepy Rigatoni: Channel Zero, No-End House- The Damage

Before the Holidays, take one last trip into that crazy place before the Finale...
Back in the real world, our Heroines try to find peace...but are haunted by memories- or lack thereof- as the past refuses to go away.
Speaking of not going away, The Father lingers about.  What will he do in this world?
Who or what is his latest victim?  Can he be stopped?
Can the group deal with him in this world before they end up stuck with him forever?

To find out, watch the Show.
As usual, another slow burn of an Episode.  This one gets a moment or two to 'rest' from all of the big stuff in Episode 4.  That's not to say that nothing happens- far from it.  Like the best parts of the Episodes, this one makes slow, lingering dread really interesting.  They also have to address an obvious issue: what do you do with a being that doesn't belong in your world, but also looks like your Dad?  Can you kill what isn't really alive?  Should you?  The whole thing continues to blend unreality and reality quite well.  This is still not the usual kind of Horror Show and I'm okay with that.  As usual, gather your friends to see how this one ends...
Next time, one final trip inside of the House.  Will its name prove to be proven true in the end?  See you then...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Immediate Response: Thor- Ragnarok

After far too long of a wait, I saw this one.  Even though I waited until Video for The Dark World, here's why I'm glad that I didn't wait too long for Part 3...
The Good
- Great Humor.
- Great Action.
- A big, exciting Story.
- Hemsworth and company deliver in a big way.  Having seen him play Comedy, I knew that he had it in him.
- Big props for making Valkyrie- Internet rage aside- into a standout Character.
- The Film makes an amazing use of Color, putting stuff like Batman v Superman to shame.  Yeah, I went there!
- A big set of status quo changes that I'm curious to see pay off.

The Bad
- I have to wait until May 2018 for Avengers: Infinity War.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Impossibly-Ripped Off Cover Art: The Scarehouse

There's the Deja Vu again!

While looking at Films via On Demand, I saw something that looked familiar.

I hadn't seen this Film...but it felt like I had.

Which Film, you ask?  This one...
I've never heard of this...but something feels so familiar.  Have I watched so many Horror Films that they can blend together?

Well, yes...just not in this case.

The reason for my familiarity is this...
Really?!?

REALLY?!?

Did you even try to hide it?!?  Tilting the head slightly to the left is barely even any attempt.

Even worse, you have a good Poster without stealing...
Just use this.  It's fine!

Friday, November 17, 2017

'90s Trash: Justice League of America (1997 TV Pilot)

Well, this seems obvious.  After all, everyone and their great-aunt has ragged on Batman v Superman (myself included), nobody but David Ayer seems to love Suicide Squad and everyone BUT James Cameron seems to agree on how good Wonder Woman is.  It was either this or trash the 2011 Green Lantern Film- which I actually like.  Is it cheesy-looking and kind of shallow- yes.  I still like it.  This one, however, nobody in their right mind is stepping up to defend!  In 1997, an attempt was made to bring the Justice League to TV.  It only aired as a Pilot in Europe, so...not good.  Just like with the '90s Avengers Cartoon, they couldn't get the bigger names on the team.  You want Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman?  Too bad- you get Guy Gardner, The Atom and Ice!  Aside from that disappointment, there's, well, so much disappointment.  The narrative is clunky, the Costumes are questionable, the Writing is bad and the whole thing feels super-dated.  They don't go full 'Go Ninja Go' on us, but they get pretty close.  The Justice League has many great Villains to choose from- Darkseid, Lex Luthor, Braniac and Despero.  They aren't here.  In their place, The Weatherman.  It isn't even Nicholas Cage with a bow & arrow.  I hope the 5 of you that get that reference are happy.  Is this legendarily-bad for no reason or something to be derided?  To find out, read on...
Okay- I immediately have questions!

This one begins with the Justice League Members being interviewed for some sort of Real World-like Show, out of costume and with their real names showing.

If you want to know why any of this is happening, well...um, I guess it was going to be on the Show.
The League is here to stop the efforts of The Weatherman- clearly not Miguel Ferrer- to extort the City with his random weather attacks.  Please ignore how silly this mask looks.
Before you think that this is some sort of Superhero Show, we get lots of random backstory for the Characters (that makes sense if it was going to be a long-running thing).

Do you care that Guy is a cad or that Barry can't keep a job?  Nope.
Late in the Film/Pilot, we see the Leader of the Team- a lead balloon painted up like Martian Manhunter.

I kid, I kid...but seriously, was THAT the best look?  Damn!
The team must initiate a new member- Ice.  She's a Meteorological Scientist who got ice powers from...um...a magic Weather Machine.  Just go with it!

Can she learn to use her powers in time?
Is it worth watching the whole Film to see this one actually-neat effect?  No.
The team gets it together to stop the Weatherman when...they all basically do nothing and Ice saves the day.  Teamwork!

Ice joins the team for their further adventures in *CANCELLED*.  The End.
Just as bad as everyone says.  To be fair, it was bad for me in *different* ways than these often are.  From the get-go, the Framing Device both makes no sense and kills all Drama.  I could go on for hours about how having them interviewed out of costume for some TV Show within a Show makes no damn sense.  Aside from that, it tells us in advance that Ice joins the team and that they all survive.  You'd have to really cheat to somehow have surprises in a Story with this format- e.c. Monster Hunter.  In addition to that hurdle, the Film just constantly stops to tell you random anecdotes about the Characters.  I. don't. care.  There's also a C-Plot involving Fire being wooed by a young man and having to use Martian Manhunter to convince him that she's not Fire.  He only leaves the lair twice in the Film- another issue!- and this is one of those times.  It is worth mentioning a second time how bad Manhunter looks here too- not that I'm trying to fat-shame him.  Speaking of looks, the use of Guy Gardner is confusing here, as he's modeled as part-Guy, part-Hal Jordan and part-Kyle Rayner.  He's the Frankenlantern!  The Weatherman is also a pretty lame Villain, given how he uses generic devices to commit his crimes and then just runs away when it all gets ruined.  Thankfully, Ferrer would go on to play Weather Wizard to *much* better effect.  This is the best and worst description of the Show- 'Justice League Meets FRIENDS.'  Just imagine the worst combination of those two, add in worse writing and you have this Pilot.  Thank Xenu it wasn't picked up, since we got this far better version a bit later...
Next time, a tale of suspense and...a rat?  Is this really a lost gem of the '80s?  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Creepy Rigatoni: Channel Zero, No-End House- The Exit

I might as well make up for lost time!  Another Episode of creeping insanity, please!
After all that has happened, the group just wants to get the hell out of there.  Cannibal Dad eating your memories will make you sour on a place, I guess.
Our Heroine observes an Orchid Mantis, which is totally not just a metaphor for one of them being a stranger in disguise.

I do realize that the Story involves other Dimensions and Memory-Eating Cannibals, but...that bug does only exists in Southeast Asia.  Thanks, Google!
Unfortunately, the Exits involves going through a Corn Maze.   Dark Harvest 2 Flashbacks!
Can they escape the House?  Will Cannibal Dad catch up to them before they do?

To find out, watch the Show.
Another good, creepy Episode.  This one is much more about Character Moments than overall Plot.  All the Plot you need- they try to go home.  With that aside, I liked all of the character stuff.  A whole lot of that goes on.  In the Show's defense, they set up a pretty simple scenario for them to stop and wait.  Would you go into an interdimensional corn maze at night full of cannibals?  I thought not.  This Episode is chock full of big moments- none of which I will SPOIL.  The whole thing is a nice, big Episode to take the Series over the 'hump' (even though it only has 6 Episodes).  Keep watching, folks.  As for me, I'll get my bath ready...
Next time, chaos comes to the real world.  It can't be good, right?  See you then...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Poor Bastards of Cinema: Trick or Treats (1982)

The Film Trick or Treats was pretty damn disappointing.

Oh well, I got another Update out of it though.

In the Film, a wannabe Actress is babysitting on Halloween.  After a distracting time-filler where we see people Editing a different, but still bad Film, we meet her friend.

While standing in front of a cheesy Film's Poster, she agrees to drop off a print of the Film to her...
She goes to the House and somehow doesn't run into her or the boy she's sitting.

Fun fact: having Characters wander around aimlessly *can* build suspense.  It just doesn't here.
She's eventually picked off by the angry Ex-Husband (who took his sweet time!) and her body is later discovered...in a bit they obviously stole from Friday the 13th.
Basically, she's just there to artificially-raise the Film's meager body count.

The lesson: don't deliver Films to people on Halloween.  Hell, going anywhere on that day usually doesn't work out!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Worst of the Worst: Astro-Zombies M4- Invaders from Cyberspace - Bob's View

Back again for Worst of the Worst, and today I'm providing my take on Astro-Zombies M4 - Invaders from Cyberspace.
...what is with the M, by the way? I didn't ask that last time, but why is it "M4" and not just "4?" Just one more strange thing about this series, I guess.

So...let's start with one minor good note: Unlike Astro-Zombies M3, they do at least realize what part of the plot they should probably be focusing on this time. There are lots of scenes of Astro-Zombies attacking people in this movie.

There are in fact far too many of them.

The saying "be careful what you wish for" comes to mind.
Seen here in a bit cut from the Film.
There's just too much of it before we get to any real, actual plot...we get repeated, endlessly repeated shots of Astro-Zombies attacking random cities in various countries, all so people could use their vacation footage, I guess, and then footage of news reports about the attacks (some of which are handled decently, others of which are just awful - I particularly loved the one lady who was trying to act as a reporter reporting on a horrible disaster, but was all smiles the whole time, probably super-excited to finally get to show off her foreign language skills on film). Over. And over. And over.

But really, this is a good thing compared to the prior movie. A large portion of this film is people getting attacked by Astro-Zombies, and considering that the entire point of this sort of movie is to show people running from and/or being killed by the monster of the film until someone finds a way to survive, that's good. It is, in that way, anyway, an improvement over the prior film in the series, which focused the majority of its runtime on people squabbling over a nonsensical cloning project and only got around to having Astro-Zombies attack in the closing portion of the film, shortly before the Astro-Zombies themselves were wiped out with extreme ease.

But...the problem is that this film still doesn't get the other part of this story concept, which is to have a group of characters that we reliably follow through the attacks and can on some level root for - characters that will make us feel suspense as we worry over whether they will live or die.

We get flashes of it, mind: There's a couple who kind of start out looking like they'll be the ones we follow in constant danger throughout the film. The film really doesn't focus a whole heck of a lot on them, though, and after an initial attack or two, when it does focus on them they tend to not actually be in much danger. They do get attacked again near the end and end up finding how to stop the Astro-Zombies in the process, if I recall, but they just don't have a full plot.

Similarly, there's a bit of build to the possibility of the president's family being in danger, but...uh...nothing really seems to go anywhere with that. They even take away one of the kid's smartphones, and he just pulls out a spare (because...uh...don't you carry a spare smartphone at all times?) and nothing comes of that.

Instead, as Al noted, the film decides to focus on repeatedly starting plots with characters and then just killing them off and unceremoniously ending the plotline. He highlighted probably the best case already - a guy who steals critical technology from a research lab, uses it to contact the Astro-Zombies and try to ally with them, and just gets killed by them instead. We spend an inordinate amount of time on him for a plot that really doesn't end up relating to anything or mattering in any way whatsoever. No one goes looking for the tech he stole later, the Astro-Zombies don't seem to use it to accomplish anything, he doesn't cause any trouble for anyone, and no one else in the film cares that he's dead. It is an entirely pointless little side plot that looks like it should be at least moderately important, gets a lot of screen time, and then just ends without being of any consequence. We even have a further little side plot with his loser brother who is trying to become a music star...who dies like 30 seconds after the first guy dies.

To be very clear here, this isn't a case where the guy's introduced stealing something, works the rest of the film to try to accomplish his plan, receives a lot of character development, has interactions with other main characters where he is a threat to them, and is then undone by his own evil plot. That's what would happen in a good movie...or at least an acceptable one. No, in this film, he steals the stuff, goes home, argues with his brother, summons an Astro-Zombie, and gets killed off. There's no story break there and no point where he gets involved in anything else in the film. We just run straight through his little plot and find out it was meaningless.

Also his accent changes like four times over the course of his participation in the film.

That's the worst example in the film, probably, but this happens pretty frequently. Characters are introduced into the film for no purpose other than to die to Astro-Zombie attacks, but we spend more time on them than is necessary for that purpose. This would be fine if we were talking about following a few storylines through the film...say, 3 different sets of characters, each of whom had some run-ins with the Astro-Zombies and escaped a few times, only for some to finally be killed as their plots resolved and others to finally escape...but that's not what's happening here. What's happening here is that we keep being introduced to characters, following them slowly down the street or hearing about their life goals or otherwise spending a few boring minutes on them, and then they just get killed off unceremoniously and no one cares in the slightest.

At least this film doesn't waste quite as much time on any of them as M3 did with the plot about the author who thought the Astro-Zombie was his brother or whatever that was.

Oh, and that's not all! There are characters who don't die but still don't matter in the slightest! In particular, there's this remote viewing group that the military and/or research guys bring in midway through the film to find out more about the threat. They produce a drawing of an Astro-Zombie.

Which has already been clearly shown drawn on a whiteboard in the military briefing room in a prior scene.

In other words, the remote viewing group serves to tell the military guys precisely what they already know. We spend a pretty lengthy segment on this group, and even show them starting another job afterwards, like we're building to something else...and then absolutely nothing happens with them again. They are entirely, blatantly pointless.

Another thing...this is one of those films that is just terrible to watch if you've actually watched a prior film in a series. This film features the exact same general as the previous film, but he now seems entirely unaware of what Astro-Zombies are...despite the fact that he was in charge of cloning them in the prior film. I can only assume he's supposed to be a different character...that looks and dresses exactly the same. Or that Astro-Zombies M3 didn't happen, which...is probably a safe bet, actually, considering that nothing about its ending seems to apply to this film in the least.

...of course, the Astro-Zombies themselves, who can talk now by the way, reference some events from prior movies, so...uh...I guess some stuff happened and some didn't, and it's up to the viewer to guess?
How did Ted V. Mikels forget how to make Films?!?
Overall, the film is just really incoherent...and inconsistent. One moment Astro-Zombies are popping through computer screens, the next they're attacking by electrocuting you through your cell phone, the next they're being sent bodily through space...what exactly is their method? And once people figure out that cell phones are a danger, why does everyone keep using their cell phone? And when they do...why do Astro-Zombies just kind of stop attacking that way?

The film's conclusion is ridiculous, but it flirts with being the good kind of ridiculous, at least for bad movie fans. There is something honestly funny about seeing people moving around like they're in an epic gun battle in the streets, except that they're using mirrors against aliens with laser beam eyes. It doesn't make much sense, but I found some parts of it pretty amusing - people do all the things you'd expect to see in a gun fight, using cover, popping out for quick shots, all that sort of stuff, but they're holding little hand mirrors.

It just goes on too long, gets too repetitive, and features Astro-Zombies willfully aiming directly for the mirror - it's fine to have the lasers hit the mirrors when the person actually brings them up defensively just as the Astro-Zombie is firing, but when the person is clearly holding this tiny little hand mirror in place while the Astro-Zombie is taking aim, uh...wouldn't it just aim somewhere else? We're not talking about floor-to-ceiling mirrors here, these are little fist-sized hand mirrors. There's plenty of room to shoot something that's not defended.

Also, did the Astro-Zombies just forget how to use melee weapons? They spent the last movie attacking in extremely repetitive ways with machetes...I don't recall any of them using one as a backup weapon here. Seems like if your laser beam eyes turned out to not work you might at least try something else, right?

I know it sounds like I'm asking a lot of a movie named Astro-Zombies M4, but this is pretty basic stuff. When you're putting together a fight scene or chase scene or what-have-you, these are things you have to consider. You can't just film the same exact thing over and over and over - characters will have different strategies that alter over the course of an action scene. If one thing doesn't work, they'll stop trying it and try something else.

That's both appropriate realistic strategy and a method to ensure that the viewer doesn't get bored out of his dang mind by watching your film.
Why the hell was I in this Film?
I'm torn on whether Astro-Zombies M4 is better than Astro-Zombies M3. It has more action, which tells me that the people making this mess at least better understood the whole point of their movie...but it's also less organized and more prone to just introducing plots that go absolutely nowhere. I think in the end I have to say it is a slight improvement, but...very slight. It is better than M3, but still not a watchable film.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Quick Reviews: The Bye-Bye Man

Is the most derided Film of the Year so far (save for maybe The Snowman or Geostorm) worthy of such hate?  Let's see...
In a Cold Open in 1969, this guy- aka the Director of Insidious: Chapter 3!- kills his family and all that seem to know about a strange figure.
In a much less interesting Plot, these three move into a House in the Present.  The Lead Guy finds a carving in an old Desk mentioning 'The Bye-Bye Man.'

Considering the lengths we see the guy go to, why would he do that?  Oh right- the Plot.
After feeling something weird during a Party full of drinking and one unattended Child, they do a Séance with the Girlfriend's Psychic-leaning Friend.  It doesn't go well.
Following that, all involved start to see weird visions courtesy of you-know-who.  When in doubt, make your Villain vague and make his powers limitless!
As they try not to Think It or Say It (TM?), he finally shows himself.  If you want to know who this guy is, too freaking bad!  We have Jump Scares and Hallucinations to focus on!
Will The Bye-Bye Man succeed?  Is this a sillier name than Pazuzu?  To find out the answer (to the first question), watch the Film.

On the plus side, I just showed you the creature, so you can skip it if you *only* wanted to see it.
Pretty damn bad.  The good- some Visuals are freaky and the make-up (seen above) is good.  The bad- nearly everything else.  What is this creature?  What is his goal?  You never know anything of the sort.  I guess they were saving it for the Sequel- oops.  The only good parts of the Film are predicated upon you accepting the strange, silly idea of this creature.  Knowing his name means that he can infect you and somehow grows stronger the more you say it or think it.  I get it- an enigmatic, spiritual creature can be scarier.  I also get that this is all sorts of cheating.  Speaking of cheating, the Film was apparently cut to get a PG-13 Rating and it shows.  Someone is shot in the chest with a shotgun- no blood.  Someone is shot at close range- no blood.  Someone is run over by a train- no blood!  You only see it in visions or on objects, which I guess is an exception that the MPAA has made.  The whole thing is just a pile of silliness and really not scary.  The Villain looks neat, but has no clear motivation and our Heroes are just kind of unlikable.  That kid sure is adorable, but that's really it.  Nobody comes off all that good here, not even Carrie-Ann Moss.  On the plus side, people are too busy focusing on her being in Iron Fist & The Defenders to remember this (which was shot in 2015!).  Oops.  I'll leave you with the Film's hilariously-bad attempt at 'Viral Marketing'...
Just about as bad as everyone said at the time.  At best, it is uninspired.  At worst, everything else about it.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Creepy Rigatoni: Channel Zero, No-End House- Beware the Cannibals

After missing the update last week due to the Holidays, I might as well try to catch up now...
The group is still stuck in the House and...things are not going great.
Our Heroine learns a pretty big truth about 'her Father.'  It's not a SPOILER if it is literally in the Episode Title, right?

It would be like The Village: Where People Pretend It is the 18th Century.  Oops.
The Father is on the loose- no doubt looking for his Clown make-up- and it will take the whole group's efforts to escape.
Can they work together to escape the House?  Is this normal?
I know that this sure as hell isn't normal!  What will happen next?

Watch the Show to find out...
Another odd, but good Episode.  As per the usual, Channel Zero is not a fast-paced Horror Show.  It is all about building dread and giving you a little bit of pay off each time.  In this case, it is what happens with the 'forgetful' wife & the bit where they run through the street.  Hearing 'The Father' talk about what he does in such an honest, frank way is kind of interesting too.  He's not shy about it, nor is he really that secretive.  For all the of the overtly-interesting stuff, there continues to be weird, unexplainable stuff.  What's up with the weird orb (above) that seems to take your memories?  Will any of this get a clear answer?  Probably not, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it all the same.  I won't waste any more of your time- the Show is not for everyone.  If you're like me, gather you friends and get them to watch it with you.
Next time, more murder and insanity in the House.  Where's the guy to flick the lights on and off to make you leave?  See you then...