Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Starz Struck: American Gods- Episode 2

As the Internet gives me WAY too many Shows to focus on, I might as well talk more about this one...
As if they knew that they'd have to top the 'Guy Gets Shot 1,000 Times with Arrows' bit, the 2nd Episode brings us...Orlando Jones as an African Spider God who helps Slaves.  Alright.
After heartbreak, loss and a near-fatal attack, our Hero really needs some advice.  Unfortunately, he's stuck with this guy.
He continues to process his grief- and all of his old stuff- as this Show continues to, well, not have much of a Plot.
Gillian Anderson is here, at least.

Does this balance out David Duchovny back on Twin Peaks?
 In lieu of more 'Plot' or SPOILERS, here is what the Show does best- neat-looking shots of nothing.
More of the same stuff, although with less Buffalo with fire for eyes.  Actually, it has the same amount of that.  In place of the basic set-up, we get weird stuff like Orlando Jones leading a Slave Revolt, Gillian Anderson as Lucille Ball and 'That Guy From Everything...but Mostly Fargo.'  I still like it, but I see the complaints about a lack of Plot.  We know that Gods are meeting for something.  We know that Mr. Wednesday hates both Highways and Cell Phones.  We know that Cloris Leachman can't cook.   Other than that, the Show still leaves you guessing.  That said, it does provide good Dialog, good Acting and neat Visuals.  How long can that be enough?  I'd question more of this, but, ooh, a pretty Spider!
Next time, will the Plot really pick up?  How will they randomly-open next?  See you then...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Old School TV: One Step Beyond- Goodbye Grandpa

After a long gap, I bring you the final Episode (that I own) of...
Our Narrator randomly appears in front of a set of train tracks to bring us the Story...
A pair of kids live with their Grandparents on a pretty poor Farm.  The girl tries to be the Adult to her Brother- aggressively so!
Unfortunately, things don't stay happy too long as Grandpa has a stroke (off-camera).
Things get really sad around the household.  Joy.
 Grandpa had told the boy that he wouldn't leave without saying good-bye...but then he did.  Sad.

However, after all his talk about hearing his old train coming, Grandpa's words seem to come true...
...as the kids see and hear a train go by, seemingly-taking Grandpa to Heaven.  Aw.  The End.
Depressing for the most part, but at least it picks up at the end.  This one is the one that I put off until the end.  To be honest, most of these Episodes are pretty depressing.  TV in the 50s sure wasn't fun!  Thank God The Beatles came over!  All jokes aside, this is a good, if too-condensed Story.  We barely know the people and then BOOM! he's dead.  The thing is only 24-25 minutes long, so do bear that in mind.  They spend about 5 minutes (it feels like it, at least) on the girl not letting her Brother eat Raisins on his Cereal, so maybe time could have been better spent.  As it is, the Episode is a bit hokey, but good.  The strongest Episode is probably still 'The Sorcerer,' but this is a solid one.  Let's take one last look at this guy before we go...
Should I keep checking out this Show?  Leave me a comment.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Holiday Flix: The Zombie Army

Well, it has to be more fun than that Monsters Sequel.  Today's Film is The Zombie Army, a 1991 Shot-on-Video Film with a micro-budget.  This is cheap.  This is a little sleazy.  This is a little dumb.  Okay, that last one is a lie.  It is a very dumb Film.  It has the Military and Zombies though, so it is perfect!  The Plot here is all sorts of silly.  Do you really want to know what happens?  The Director has no other Credits on IMDB.  Nobody in the Film seems to either.  Let's just get this over with, shall we?
In the Cold Open. this guy lectures a Class about his fellow Doctor's study on Idiot Savants.  He talks about the test subject.

Naturally, this turns out to be him.  Shocking, said nobody.
Some time later, the Asylum has been abandoned and the Military is taking over.  However...
The guy from earlier (and some lady) have hid out there for years (somehow) and kill the 2 Soldiers inside.  They try to turn them into...
Zombies!

All you need to do, it seems, is zap a dead body with enough voltage to revive it...but not so much that you blow up the head.
As the body count slowly rises (the Film stretches to fill 90 minutes), more Soldiers join up.

Do I highlight the random Soldier with a Katana or this lady with goggles?  The latter.
They randomly introduce a Couple who start to have PG-13 sex nearby.  How they hear NONE OF THIS is beyond me.

The pay-off- death.
As more Soldier die, they come up with a new plan: Acid.
And lo, they did melt the Zombies with acid until they turn into goop.
Randomly-unnecessary wrap-up Scene?  Why not?  The End.
This is certainly not the best or the brightest.   Yes, I know that it isn't the Army's thing.  This Film has a decent, if ridiculous idea.  The problem is that it was made pretty poorly.  Big Budget or small Budget- this isn't that good.  It is slow where it should be fast and it is fast where it should be slow.  I will say that some of the Music is fun and the Make-Up is generally better than you might think.  Other than that, it is pretty forgettable.  It feels like the first (and only) effort from someone who could maybe do better with more experience.  Unfortunately, I don't think that they ever did anything else.  Oh well.  As a Bonus, the Film comes with Previews for other Films that I probably won't see, including this 'Animated Classic'...
Enjoy your Memorial Day and stay out of abandoned Asylums.  Do you *need* to be told that though?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: The Giant Spider Invasion

I came across this one a while ago, but wanted to take my time with it.

The Giant Spider Invasion is a Monster Movie cheapie known to most due to its being featured on MST3K.

How did the Japanese make it look good?
Damn!  I want to see that Movie!!!

Oh right- I have.  It is kind of lame.

To note, the Japanese Poster isn't *that* different from the more common ones in America...
This is arguably less of a lie, but not by much.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

'90s Trash: Embrace of the Vampire (1995)

Alright, so is the Original any better?  Today's Film is Embrace of the Vampire, a 1995 Horror Film that is more notable for other stuff besides scares.  Basically, this was one of many vehicles for a now-adult Actress to go 'Look- I'm grown up!  Cast me as an Adult!'  For other examples, see, well, just about every Poison Ivy Film ever.  Speaking of which, Alyssa Milano was in Poison Ivy 2 because of this Film's success.  If you saw my Review of the 2013 Remake, you mostly know the Plot.  Young girl, Private School, Vampire and Nudity.  This one is a bit different, so belated kudos to the Remake.  The basic Plot is still the same just with a few differences that I'll highlight.  To find out whether or not this has more than just Alyssa Milano's boobs (as nice as they are), read on...
In some random Exposition (that comes after long opening Credits), this guy has a trist with a Royal Lady (or something).  Afterwards, he just lays there in the Forest (for some reason) and is converted by 3 topless Vampire Ladies!
He then exposits- to nobody- that his long life will come to an end in 3 days if he doesn't convert Milano.  Why 3 days?  That's when she turns 18.

In other words, this Film makes a point of sexualizing a '17 year old' (Milano is 23 here FYI).
In addition, he has to make her want him, as opposed to just taking her...which he can apparently just do quite easily.  Got all of that?
Milano is an Art Student who was quite literally cloistered until recently and 'repressed.'  Yes, this is her Poison Ivy 2 Character.

She's still a Virgin, although possibly not for long.
To help convert her, the Vampire destroys her cross (by simply holding it!) and replaces it with an Ankh.  Her friends accidentally help as they try to 'loosen her up.'
Well, she does so a little bit after many random visions (not scary ones like the Remake) and...the same bit of basic Fan Service.
The visions continue, now including her boyfriend and the girl from above.

Interesting note about this Scene.  The vein on Martin Kemp's head is not make-up.  He actually had a Brain Tumor that he wasn't aware of!
Oh and Jennifer Tilly is in this for a few minutes.  I just thought that you should know this.
Can our Heroine save herself from corruption?  Can her love last?

In spite of the Vampire suddenly shooting lightning (really), the answer is...yes.  Anti-climax ahoy!
Silly, Cinemax-y stuff.  This whole thing is pretty forgettable save for the obvious stuff.  The whole thing is very melodramatic.  Everyone tries to act like this is all super-serious stuff.  Honestly, it really isn't.  A Vampire waits until an arbitrary deadline to try and convert a co-ed.  That's it.  It has all sorts of silliness happen, from Ankhs that glow blue to disintegrating crosses to telepathic Vampires.  I guess he's telepathic, since he seems to appear to her and nobody else.  Do they explain this?  Nope.  They also don't explain how 3 Students go missing and nobody bats an eye either.  The whole thing is a pretty loose Story to connect a bunch of Scenes of Nudity.  Let's not pretend otherwise, alright?  As far as that goes, no complaints.  The whole thing is just so shallow, in spite of them slapping 'The Nosferatu Diaries' on the Title.  Just like The Mermaid Chronicles (aka She-Creature), there is no other Film in the 'Series' that I can find.  If you watch this for the reason that most people do, I suppose you won't be disappointed.  Just don't expect a complete and total Film to go along with those Clips that are probably online anyway.
Next up, some random nonsense that has been building on my Computer.  Most likely, Japan is involved.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lost in Translation?: Star Wars- The Empire Strikes Back

I meant to use this one for May 4th...but forgot.

As luck would have it, another Star Wars Day happens this Month, so...why not?

While this is not for A New Hope, it is bad-ass and I did spend time 'sprucing this up,' so...
Bad.  Ass.

Japan is always good for making bad Films seem good, so when they get something great like Empire, they cannot lose.

May the 4th...er, 25th Be With You.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Quick Reviews: The Creature Below (2016)

Since only Stuart Gordon can do actual Lovecraft wrong, what happens when someone does *almost* Lovecraft?  Let's find out...
In a surprisingly-quick opening, a woman essentially recruits herself for a deep sea dive...when things go awry.
The Equipment is smashed, but she is saved.  She has no memory of what happened down below.
Fired by the Suit's Creator/Owner, she investigates the event on her own and finds...an Egg!
Now stranded back home, she discovers that something has come out of the egg.

Unfortunately, the Film can't afford *great* Special Effects, so enjoy not seeing much.
What is the secret of this creepy creature?  Will this actually be Lovecraft at any point?
Will this creature doom humanity?  To find out, watch the Film.
Some good ideas, but some issues with the execution.  Let me just say this again- if you can't do CG good, don't.  I get that this is a Low-Budget Movie.  That's fine.  They do a good job of not having bad CG most of the time, but commit that sin a few notable times.  That aside, the actual Film is good.  It is all about one Character going through a slow, steady transformation.  This is as Lovecraft as you can get without being Lovecraft!  The Monster is not super-unique, but they made sure to do 99% of it with Practical Effects.  They build up suspense by not showing you the whole thing, rather than just looking cheap.  Its Monster Vision- seen above- is also quite interesting.  That was how Prince saw everything right?  For the most part, it all works.  If you can focus on the good Acting, unique Story and bleak, but interesting, Tone, this one works pretty well.  Like I said- the distractingly-bad CG at times is the only real downside.  It does something else I haven't seen often- thank Steve Jackson Games in its Credits!
A good Film that unfortunately tries to do too much sometimes.  Just don't do CG if you can't do it right, guys.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Impossibly-Mistranslated Cover Art: Swamp Shark

Alright, so here is the basic Story...

In Japan, they market awful stuff like Jersey Shore Shark Attack with amazing posters- seen here.

One of them is called Flying Jaws- even though it is for Swamp Shark.  However, it is also known under a different Title if you look hard enough...
Yes, Frying Jaws.  Yes, it is real.

Granted- I added some pizazz to the whole thing in Photoshop...but I did not change that 'L' to an 'R.'  I'm not that good.
Some terrible clich├ęs are true, apparently.