Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Friday The 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter

Previously on Friday the 13th Part III...

We finally got the REAL Jason Voorhees on film, as he donned his iconic hockey mask for the first time and morphed into a fearless badass that didn't cower from chainsaws. Amped up by a rocking disco soundtrack, he hacked and slashed his way through the usual gang of idiots and into our hearts. Awww!

Hey, I'm back! Sorry about the hiatus, but zombie things came up. Being undead can get rather busy at times, and just an occurrence popped up the last couple of weeks. We're going to continue with the Friday the 13th franchise since that's been so much fun to review, continuing with the fourth film of the series: the so-called “final” chapter. This was the first movie to break the yearly release trend the series had become known for, as the studio wisely took 1983 off because the dreaded “genre fatigue” had finally set in around this time. It feels like in the early 1980s every 1.3 films released was a slasher movie, something audiences were finally getting sick of.

Steve Miner was done with the franchise at this point, so writer/director Joseph Zito was brought in to helm the new movie. Zito was fresh off the cult classic slasher the Prowler, which is most notable for featuring makeup effects by the Horror Lord and Saviour, Tom Savini. Luckily for all of us, Zito brought Savini along with him, giving him another chance to wreak havoc with the character he helped to create. At the time this was intended to truly be the swan song of Jason's story, so Savini wanted to send off our lovable slasher in style. With a quality team of filmmakers on-board and a year to build anticipation, the movie turned out to be a monster hit, grossing over $30 million dollars off a budget somewhere around two million. Critics once again hated it, but fans loved it to the point it's considered one of the best movies of the series. It even ended up outgrossing Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street, which was also released the same year. Let's find out why, so get ready to rise from the dead again because it's time for A Ghoul Versus Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Friday The 13th Part III (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Shelly's mopefest is interrupted by the sound of a twig breaking in the woods, so he goes off to investigate. OH HELL YEAH! You see what that's all about! His search takes him to the barn, that beautiful, beautiful place where dreams come true. We... cut away?! What, NO! DON'T YOU DARE, MOVIE! Don't rob of us of this moment! BOOOO! So we cut away to Vera, who suddenly remembers she still has Shelly's wallet on her after the incident back at the shop. She drops it into the lake, for some reason going into the water to retrieve it. Who freaking cares?! She sees a giant burly man in a hockey mask walking towards her, naturally assuming it's Shelly despite the fact he's a chubby little punk.

Vera does wise up after a few seconds and realizes it's not that waste of oxygen, asking who he is. Jason responds by raising the spear gun he's carrying and SHOOTS HER THROUGH THE EYE. Boom, headshot! At 57 minutes in, we now have our first OFFICIAL Jason kill of the franchise, hockey mask and all. So what made them decide on a hockey mask for his new look? Like some of the most iconic images in pop culture, it was 100% pure random chance. They knew he was going to wear a mask in this one, but until shooting began still hadn't figured out what kind. Martin Jay Sadoff, who supervised the film's stunning 3D sequences, just happened to have a bag full of hockey gear on him since he was a hardcore fan and I guess that's what being a hardcore hockey fan entails. They created a new sculpt of the goalie's mask, giving us the instantly recognizable one that we all know and love.

Jason goes into the house to kill Andy and Debbie, who just got done having sex to sign their death warrant. Debbie's death has always been disturbing to me, which I alluded to earlier. She is pregnant, so Jason just killed her unborn child along with her. I just feel in a movie with this light of a tone something that dark was completely uncalled for, especially since they do nothing to add gravity to her being pregnant outside of that one throwaway line in the van. If this had been in the first film it would have been fine, since that film was very dark and almost completely devoid of comedy. Here, it just really stands out in what is a very lighthearted story, even with people getting butchered.

A Ghoul Versus Friday The 13th Part III (Part 1)

Previously on Friday The 13th Part II...

PLOT TWIST! Jason's been alive the entire time... somehow. And he's spent his entire life hiding from his beloved mother... for some reason. I don't know, I've been watching that movie on and off my entire life and I'm still no closer to figuring out the plot. The film detailed Jason killing a bunch of camp counselors... for no real reason besides he's crazy? Rhaargh, that freaking movie!

Before it was decided to make a straight sequel to the first Friday The 13th, the producers were flirting with making it an anthology series where each movie would be a completely unrelated horror story sharing only the fact they took place on the same date. With Part III, they were planning to make it the final part of Jason's story because there's NO WAY audiences were going to keep watching these things right?

Friday The 13th IV: The Final Chapter (1984) – made $30+ million
Friday The 13th V: A New Beginning (1985) – made $19+ million
Friday The 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) – made $16+ million
Friday The 13th VII: The New Blood (1988) – made $16+ million
Friday The 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) – made $9+ million
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993) – made $12+ million
Jason X (2001) – made $2+ million
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003) – made $90+ million
Friday The 13th (2009) – made $70+ million

With the exception of Jason X, which is fucking awesome and one of the finest love letters to Jason fans ever written, all of the movies made a decent to great profit. No matter how hackneyed and trite the movies got, no matter how much they ran out of ideas, people still showed up in droves to see Jason get his groove on. But, just to hedge their bets, the filmmakers decided the latest chapter better capitalize on the current trend at the time: 3D. Gah, just like the present. Are we just constantly doomed to suffer through Hollywood recycling everything over and over again? Answer: yes.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Friday The 13th Part II (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Ginny and Paul return to camp, Ted staying behind to try his luck with a waitress. They find the aftermath of Jason's bloody rampage, but no bodies so they decide to go looking for everyone. They don't even make it out of the cabin when Jason attacks Paul in FULL SIGHT of Ginny, making this one of the most unique slasher films of ALL TIME. A killer who can run and doesn't pick people off one by one? MORE PLEASE! Paul doesn't stand a chance here, partially because Ginny just stands around doing nothing while Jason kills him. I guess she's racked with fear, but Alice sure as hell wouldn't have just STOOD THERE. She would have grabbed a fucking blunt instrument and started caving Jason's skull in... then ran without making sure he was dead. Still, my point remains.

Some nice shots of Ginny trying to escape the cabin while Jason keeps blocking her follow, leading up to a scene where she opens a closet only to have Ralph's body fall out that was in no way, shape, or form inspired by a similar one in Halloween, so shut up. She finally gets outside through a kitchen window and dashes to her car, which starts up just fine and let's her get aw- YEAH, FUCKING RIGHT. The movie gets this one though, as they properly established it ran like shit and had constant problems turning over. Jason starts stabbing through the roof of the car with a pitchfork so she bails, the killer running after her. She hides in a tree and waits for him to run by, jumping out and KICKING HIM IN THE NUTS! HAHAH! Ginny, you have wholeheartedly redeemed yourself in my eyes. She runs into an adjacent cabin where she hides under a bed while Jason enters and prowls around.

A Ghoul Versus Friday The 13th Part II (Part 1)

Is it Friday the 13th already?! I swear we just had one last month!”

Previously on Friday The 13th...

One of the most iconic horror franchise of all time was kicked off with a TOTAL DUD, giving us one of the most boring slasher films ever made. If it hadn't been for special effects genius Tom Savini, it's doubtful the movie would have gotten any attention and gone of to become the legendary piece of pop culture that it has. The story itself wasn't much, the mother of a child who died at a camp due to negligence comes back every time the camp is reopened to kill people as a twisted form of revenge. Eventually she kills everyone down to a Final Girl named Alice, who kicks her ass AND cuts her head off for good measure.

And that's it, how in the world can they drag a sequel out of THAT? The villain is dead and there is absolutely NO supernatural elements in this, so she ain't coming back. The main brains behind the film, director Sean S. Cunningham, screenplay writer Victor Miller, and Savini all shared this thought process and moved on to other projects. Steve Miner, who helped produce the first film, was promoted to director due to his knowledge of the inner workings of all things Friday the 13th. He brought back much of the film's original crew, including the cinematographer and editor to ensure it'd maintain the consistency already established.

The keeping it in the family tradition also extended to the sequel's new writer, Ron Kurz, who actually did some rewriting of Victor's script from Part 1. Phil Scuderi, one of the studio producers, assisted in the writing and is the one who came up with the idea of how to continue the story. The very, very, VERY confusing and nonsensical idea that to this day illustrates story was not the focus of the series. We're going to have some fun with this one as we try to figure out what the hell is going on, so pack your bags because it's time to return to Camp Crystal Lake in A Ghoul Versus Friday The 13th Part II!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Previously on the Hunger Games: Catching Fire...

Katniss' life continued to redefine suck. After barely surviving an arena battle to the death where she was hunted like sport, she returned home to her crapsack district to live with her newly developed case of PTSD. Peeta was no help as she broke his heart by revealing she never loved him and faked the whole thing for the cameras, so now she has that hanging over her head as well. The fun didn't stop there though, because President Snow has come to hold her personally responsible for the growing rebellion in his fragile dictatorship.

Utilizing one of the biggest “fuck yous” EVER, he threw her back into the next Hunger Games event so she'd finally be out of his epically white hair. Things didn't quite work out as he planned, because not only did she survive but she was rescued by a band of rebels. Even though he was able to prevent Peeta from escaping with her, this wasn't enough so he had District 12 bombed back into the Stone Age.

The Hunger Games novel, 374 pages. Adapted into a 142 minute film.
Catching Fire novel, 391 pages. Adapted into a 146 minute film.
Mockingjay novel, 390 pages. Adapted into TWO films, the first one being 123 minutes and the second likely to be at least that long.

YEP, even an extremely high quality franchise like the Hunger Games isn't immune to “Split the Final Book Into 2 Movies” syndrome. Harry Potter kicked off this madness back in 2010, and when it proved to be financially successful beyond anyone's dreams, the doors were kicked open for good. Twilight was soon to follow and it added a touch of innovation in the form of making the movies PADDED OUT AS HELL. I suppose one COULD make the case Harry Potter did this as well since the first film is basically an hour of the Power Trio camping, but that's a story for another day. The Hunger Games was next in line to adopt this free money trend, and DAYMN did it ever work as Mockingjay Part 1 became the highest grossing film of 2014, although it JUST lost that title to American Sniper and its 2015 staying power.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Thanks to Cinna's latest efforts, Katniss and Peeta steal the show once again as their outfits burst into flame and THIS TIME they look hella real. You can tell Lionsgate really took the first film's special effects being ripped apart by the critics personally since they nearly doubled the budget for Catching Fire and does it EVER show. Post-parade, Haymitch introduces them to District's 11 tributes: Chaff and Seeder. Chaff greets Katniss by kissing her straight on the lips, the resulting look on her face being PRICELESS. One almost has to wonder if they told Jennifer Lawrence he was going to do that, or if she's just that great at acting.

We're not done with the hilarious introductions yet though, as one of the District 7 tributes, Johanna Mason, gets on the elevator with the District 12 crew as they're leaving. Johanna is played by Jena Malone, an excellent actress who never seems to get the spotlight she deserves. Johanna talks about how much she hates her stylist, throws some shade at Katniss, and then strips naked in front of everyone. Peeta and Haymitch are ALL SMILES while Katniss determinedly looks the other direction, probably making her hands bleed with how tight her hands must be balled up right now. Have I mentioned how much Jennifer Lawrence rules? I don't think I have. JENNIFER LAWRENCE RULES.

A Ghoul Versus The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Part 1)

Previously on the Hunger Games...

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the 74th Annual Hunger Games, won an arena style battle to the death designed by a fascist government to keep all of its citizens in place by constantly reminding them how helpless they are. However, they did so in a defiant manner which drew the ire of President Snow, Chief Fascist and part time Santa Claus. There's no way he's going to let two uppity teenagers upset his balance of power, so get ready for an overly elaborate plan that could have easily been solved by JUST KILLING THEM.

Because really, when you think about it, none of this makes any sense. Snow outright says he doesn't want to kill Katniss because it'll just make her a martyr and inspire many others to take her place, but this is neglecting one key detail. The only districts that seem to have a problem with the Capitol are the outlying ones, the ones filled with dirt poor workers who suffer the most under Panem's jackbooted heels. HOW are they going to revolt? They have no real technology and no real way to get to the Capitol short of WALKING THERE, so there is no way to overthrow Snow that way.

Sure, they could just stop working and producing the supplies the Capitol needs, but they have small numbers and would be no match if Snow send his army of hovercraft and Stormtroopers over there to resolve the stoppage. And on THAT topic, what does a technologically advanced paradise like the Capitol need COAL for anyway? That physical holographic technology of theirs run off coal? In summary, Snow is a fucking idiot and is just begging to be the cause of his own undoing, giving Katniss every weapon she needs to do so.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Hunger Games (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Katniss watches the carnage unfold in a daze, as we see kids hacking and stabbing each other to death. It's done with no sound effects and only a muted score, making it all the more harrowing. She finally snaps back to reality and runs into the nearby forest, grabbing a backpack along the way. Twelve tributes die in the opening carnage, each death signaled by a blast from a cannon. With nothing better to do, Katniss ties herself high up in a tree and rests. This is where the movie is at its weakest, as in the book we got several chapters of Katniss trying to come up with a survival plan while she scavenged for food and water. It was very captivating stuff, as it really allowed us to get into her mind state and the desperation she was going through. Here, she just hangs out in a tree.

She gets woken up that night by some voices beneath her, as she sees a gang of career tributes has banded together to take out everyone else. They're comprised of two hulks named Cato and Marvel, two femme fatales named Glimmer and Clove, and... Peeta?! Oh snap! The next day Seneca, who is watching everything unfold via cameras hidden everywhere in the environment, summons up a batch of flames to move Katniss back into competition. She runs afoul of the pack, climbing a nearby tree to escape them. Cato tries to climb after her but lacks her nimbleness, so the group tries to shoot her down with arrows. However they all suck and miss her, leading Katniss to taunt them. Hahah, in the face of insurmountable odds she ain't backing down!

Peeta suggests they set up shop and wait til she's forced to come down, because she can't stay up there forever. The rest agree, and make camp for the night. Morning comes and Katniss finds Rue is in a tree across from her, gesturing at a gigantic wasp nest hanging in the branches above the pack. I'd make a snide comment about how convenient that is, but since we've seen Seneca can conjure things out of thin air to keep the game moving, I'm giving this one a pass. Caesar, doing commentary on the games along with the equally ridiculously dressed Claudius Templesmith, announces those just aren't ANY wasps but tracker jackers, lethal creations whose sting can cause hallucinations in small doses, death in larger ones.

A Ghoul Versus The Hunger Games (Part 1)

"May the odds ever be in your favour."

The Hunger Games kind of turned out to be a multimedia juggernaut, didn't it? Beginning as a red hot trilogy of books written by Suzanne Collins that are among some of the best sellers of all time, it's gone on to become a movie franchise that has grossed nearly two and a half billion dollars worldwide. Hell, even the soundtracks to the movies have ruled the sales charts. It also helped launch the career of Jennifer Lawrence into the stratosphere, to the point where she is arguably THE marquee actor in Hollywood today, male or female.

HOWEVER you can pretty much say nearly the exact same things about the Twilight Saga franchise, which was one of the darkest chapters in cinematic history, so the Hunger Games must just be more overly marketed tween garbage... right? Plot twist, no! The books and the movies are, for the most part, critically acclaimed due to how well written and developed they are. The protagonist of the books, Katniss Everdeen, has been hailed as one of the better strong female characters to come out in a long time, a positive role model who doesn't just sit around and pine for some sparkly chested boy to make her happy. She is basically the Anti-Bella, a character that isn't a vile and manipulative harpy that you want to see get eaten by the Loch Ness Monster. That's what Twilight was about, wasn't it?

I would describe myself as a fairly large fan of the franchise. I absolutely LOVE the books, as I found them to be one of the most realistic portrayals of what would actually happen to a character's psyche that went through a crazy ass, world changing series of violent adventures. Hint: it's not positive. We all have our favourite kind of stories, mine is where you can watch the gradual descent of a character into madness, and do those books ever deliver on that. I don't quite have the movies on that same level of quality, as the removal of Katniss' internal monologue and insight instantly hurts everything going on, BUT for Hollywood blockbuster films I do consider them among the best outside of the Daniel Craig James Bond series.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Pascal Laugier's The Tall Man

The Tall Man? Is that like the Slender Man's low budget cousin?”

The New French Extremity is a so-called movement used to describe certain French filmmakers that deal in, let's be honest here, some of the most fucked up films imaginable. Films hit with this label often specialize in a combination of EXTREME sexuality and violence, with a heavy learning towards the horror genre. I've yet to review any of the films associated with the movement, but have mentioned them on here before when discussing directors Xavier Gens and Alexandre Aja, as both have entries on the list with their films Frontier(s) and High Tension, respectively.

Of all the films I've seen, none affected me as much as 2008's Martyrs, written and directed by Pascal Laugier. Without spoiling anything, it concerns a young woman getting kidnapped by a cult the horrific experiences she has as their captive. It is probably the most uncomfortable move I've EVER watched in my entire life, but unlike torture porn schlock like the Hostel series, its over the top violence had a point. A massively powerful film that I still think about seven years later, which is more than I can say about the majority of movies I've seen since then. I was very anxious to see what else Laugier had done, disappointed to find out he had only made one other film: 2004's Saint Ange, which I've never been able to track down.

Very recently I discovered he made a third film with almost no fanfare whatsoever, 2012's the Tall Man. I vaguely remember seeing trailers for it, but the second I saw Jessica Biel was the star I dismissed it and never gave it a second thought. The film only got a limited theatrical release before being released on home video less than a month later, and it generally faded into the great realm of obscurity. Until today that is, where we're going to check it out and hope that Laugier isn't just a one hit filmmaker. Get ready to cross your fingers and pray he gets a watchable performance out of Jessica Biel, because it is now time for A Ghoul Versus The Tall Man!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Legend Of Hercules

Dueling Movies: The Legend of Hercules Vs. Hercules (2014)!”

It's almost hard to believe, but there was a point in Renny Harlin's career when he was one of the leading directors in Hollywood. Not leading in a sense of critical acclaim, but more like the Michael Bay aspect where his films brought in truckloads of money. He got his big break with 1988's A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master, which was the highest grossing entry of the series at the time, and then went on to direct the second Die Hard, which actually outperformed the beloved original. His next film was 1993's Cliffhanger, which also set the world on fire and earned nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.

It seemed he was the Next Big Thing, so famed movie studio Carolco gave him somewhere in the area of $100 million dollars to direct a larger than life adventure about pirates Cutthroat Island. I'll get into MUCH greater detail about this film when I get around to reviewing it, needless to say the film bombed as hard as humanly possible to the point it was THE biggest box office dud of all time for many years to follow. This effectively killed Harlin's A-list status, and his career has steadily slid downhill ever since.

This brings us to today's film, the Legend of Hercules. Not only did Harlin direct it, but he co-wrote it with the relatively unknown Daniel Giat, who only has two made for TV credits on his resume. Helping out on the script were Giulio Steve and Sean Hood, a name you should recognize if you read my thoughts on the second Cube movie.  Hercules... did not do well. It was made for 70 million dollars, and didn't even make 20 million domestically. Factoring in the all important foreign box office receipts, it barely cleared 60 million dollars total. It didn't fare any well critically, earning a dreadful THREE PERCECT on Rotten Tomatoes and racking up a Michael Bay-esque six Razzie Award nominations. What was SO terrible about it? How could a movie starring the big guy from Twilight perform so horribly? It's time to find out, so break out your gladiator gear, cue up the slow motion, and get ready for A Ghoul Versus The Legend of Hercules!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The 35th Annual Razzie Awards

Tonight are the 87th Academy Awards, in which the best and brightest of the film industry are honoured with the much coveted golden Oscar statues. The Golden Raspberry Awards are the antithesis of this as they honour the worst and the stupidest the industry churns out with cheaply made awards called the Razzies. Begun in 1981 by publicist John J.B. Wilson, they originally were held in the living room of his house but gradually grew in scope over the years until they commanded their own theater attended by hundreds. Even some of Hollywood's biggest stars have shown up to claim their awards, including Ben Affleck, Sandra Bullock, and Halle Berry.

As is the tradition, the Razzies are always held the night before the Oscars and thus the 35th annual show just went down yesterday. You may recall many, many moons ago I predicted the abominable Robocop remake was going to rack up the nominations in the same manner it racked up my complete disdain. I'm always a big enough zombie to admit when I was wrong, but even I was shocked at how wrong I was. Robocop didn't even score a SINGLE nomination, not even in Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off, Or Sequel. Fucking REALLY, Razzies? Did they not see that movie? The Razzies have always had a reputation for picking on what's really popular to hate, hence why Michael Bay and Adam Sandler always do quite well come award season, but to not even give Robocop acknowledgment of any kind? Pitiful. What did win for 2014?

A Ghoul Versus The Houses October Built

Just how Found Footage is your Found Footage movie?”

The Paranormal Activity franchise launched a lot of careers in the movie industry, but I'm not talking about acting ones. Instead I'm referring to producers, specifically Oren Peli (who also wrote and directed the first movie), Jason Blum, and Steven Schneider, who are among THE hottest properties in Hollywood right now. Between these three men, they've produced over thirty mainstream horror movies since 2007, earning well over A BILLION dollars in profit. Even more impressive, they've done this with “micro-budget” films, not a single one of them having a budget that exceeded ten million dollars. This is why no matter how bad it gets (and wow, is it bad right now), mainstream horror will never go away because it's basically guaranteed profit.

Today we're going to be taking a look at one of Schneider's latest productions, The Houses October Built. The film was actually based on a 2011 documentary by the team of Bobby Roe, Zack Andrews, and Jeff Larson, in which they traveled across the country exploring the growing phenomenon of Halloween haunted houses (better known as “haunts”) that go the extra mile to scare people by really amping up the terror. Along with their interviewer Brandy Schaefer and Bobby's brother Mikey, who handled editing duties, they drove around in an RV talking to people who ran the crazier haunts. It was a fairly interesting documentary, but then it took an inexplicable detour into fiction when they started pursuing a legendary place called the Blue Skeleton Inn and ended up getting killed in the end. It was jarring, to say the least.

Cut to a couple of years later and the idea came around to make a movie based out of their documentary, since it was a unique premise in the WAY overcrowded world of found footage horror. All of the film makers signed on to play themselves, Bobby was handed directorial duties, and on October 10, 2014 we had ourselves a movie. Was it any good? That's what I'm here to answer, so put on your best brave face and enter the dark hallway, because it's time for A Ghoul Versus The Houses October Built!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Fit To Kill

Toward the end, when we did Fit To Kill, Dona said to Arlene 'I feel like in this script there's a little bit more nudity,' and Arlene said 'Rest assured, Dona. You're absolutely fucking right.' There was a lot more nudity, but that's the way it's going to be. That's just the way that one worked out.” - Andy Sidaris

Bah, I don't want to relive that. Andy Sidaris gave us an IMMENSELY entertaining story that had all kinds of over the top fun... until he threw a rape in. Oh, and Kane transformed from an elderly Asian man into a white British guy in his late 20's. And like half the cast of the last movie that were killed came back from the dead with new identities- and you know what? I'm wasting my time here. What IS important is that Kane escaped death once again, so you just know he'll be showing his smug face to throw more drama into the lives of Donna and Nicole.

Speaking of Kane, did you know he's played by the son of Roger “James Bond” Moore? Geoffrey Moore's last on screen role was this very film as he now works as a producer and restaurateur, but gave acting one last attempt in 2004 when he auditioned to take his father's place as the new Bond. He faced some stiff competition against people such as Hugh Jackman, Clive Owen, Jude Law, and some guy named Daniel Craig. How'd that ever work out, anyway? Maybe I'll have to find out someday...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Hard Hunted

In making a movie, the most important thing you can do is to keep the action moving as you tell the story. We don’t do long, drawn out scenes with underlying psychological bs. We set the story, set the pace and move on. We know people like our style. And, yes, we throw in nudity whenever possible and augment it with a whole bunch of chases, explosions and gunshots.” - Andy Sidaris

Crime lord Kane (Pat Morita) went full Bond villain and hired a bunch of idiots to try to kill Donna and Nicole when he had them unarmed and fully at his mercy. Donna and her legion of boring idiots killed all the assassins but instead of dealing out the same fate to Kane they secretly had a tracker planted on him so they could get dirt on his entire organization. It- it wasn't a very good movie.

It's 1992 and another Sidaris movie. That's all I got. There's not a lot of information about these films floating around out there, so let's just get to it. We have no Erik Estrada this time so we're just going to have to rely on Shane, Bruce, and Lucas to supply all the cool. ...oh no, WE'RE BONED!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Dracula Untold

Are you ready for ANOTHER reboot? Of course you are! Join us as we journey back to the beginning of the ORIGINAL Batman, Vlad the Impaler!”

I think it's safe to say I'm taking a break from the Andy Sidaris collection for a bit. Just a quick break though, if I can survive Bayformers, Twilight, and all NINE Hellraiser films, a bunch of Playboy Playmates armed with guns and implants sure aren't going to stop me! Today I thought we'd take a look at 2014's Dracula Untold, which was the directorial debut of Gary Shore. Shore made a name for himself directing commercials for companies such as Gatorade and Adidas, which I guess is all the qualifications you need to make a feature film in this day and age.

Dracula Untold had a case of Development Hell to make it to the silver screen, as it was originally set to be a big budget film by Alex “Dark City” Proyas and starring Sam Worthington. That didn't work out because the budget was getting sky high, so it was handed off to Shore and the writing team of Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Sazama and Sharpless are currently hard at word writing the script to MISSILE COMMAND, which is based off the Atari video game where three lumps of pixels blasted pixels at incoming pixels. Should be riveting. They're also credited with the screenplay for the upcoming Clue remake, because THAT totally needed a remake. I'm telling you, reboots of the Princess Bride and the Godfather are right around the corner...

After production was finished, distributor Universal Pictures saw what Marvel was doing with their Cinematic Universe and said “Me too! Me too!” so ordered reshoots to make the film a springboard to their own version. This was to be a reboot/reimagining/remake of their Universal Monsters movies, featuring characters such as Dracula, the Mummy, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, etc etc etc. Oh goody, so that means ALL movie studios will be “borrowing” this format soon doesn't it? Four delayed releases later and the film was FINALLY released on October 10, 2014 where it was ravaged by the critics and only earned 56 million dollars versus its budget of 70 million. It did MUCH better overseas because these kind of movies always do, bringing its total to 215 million and all but guaranteeing the Universal Cinematic Universe will become a thing.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Asylum's Bound (A 50 Shades Of Grey Mockbuster)

Happy Valentine's Day! What better way to celebrate a holiday based around love and romance than a twisted take on bondage, discipline, domination, and submission?!”

At this point, you should be aware of who The Asylum is. They are a film studio that specialize in “mockbusters”, low budget imitations of big budget Hollywood films that usually end up being better than the films they're inspired by. They've given us films such as the Da Vinci Treasure, Pirates of Treasure Island, Transmorphers, AVH: Alien Vs. Hunter, Paranormal Entity and my personal favourite 11/11/11. That was the equivalent of Darren Lynn Bousman's horror film 11-11-11, their clever change of the title's punctuation has always amused me. Of late, they've gained mainstream recognition thanks to a little franchise called Sharknado, which is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT FUN. Those movies are perfect in what they set out to do, and the upcoming third movie is easily my most anticipated movie of 2015. Yes, even over the new Star Wars film.

In the meantime though, they have bills to pay, hence today's film Bound. This is a mockbuster version of 50 Shades Of Grey, the fictional abortion that has been enjoying an unfathomable amount of popularity since 2012. The story behind its creation is so sad and depressing I could dedicate an entire article to it, but author E.L. James originally conceived the story as Twilight fan fiction between Bella and Edward, originally called Master Of The Universe. For added lulz, James posted it under the nickname Snowqueen's Icedragon, which I believe was the original working name for Evangeline Lilly's character in the Hobbit sequels.

James eventually rewrote her story to be about two “original” characters, and the rest is history. Horrible, horrible history that we'll get to when the movie eventually comes out on blu-ray later this year. Getting back on topic, we've got the Asylum's take on a genre that is outside their usual comfort zone of CGIfests and, uh, CGIfests. So break out your nipple clamps and your whips because it's time for A Ghoul Versus The Asylum's Bound!

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Friday The 13th (1980)

Join me as I join the ranks of a zillion other reviewers today in watching Friday The 13th on Friday The 13th!  ORIGINALITY!”

John Carpenter's Halloween is undeniably one of the most influential films of all time, doubling as one of the most ripped off as well. In reality, one can make the claim Halloween ripped off a 1974 indie horror flick called Black Christmas, but that's an article for another day. The fact of the matter is Halloween is the movie EVERYONE saw, and the one everyone attempted to emulate. Sean S. Cunningham, a producer and director, was one such person that viewed Carpenter's classic and thought “Hey, why not me too?”.

Cunningham already had some minor success with his own knockoff versions of the hit 1976 film Bad News Bears, Here Come The Tigers and Manny's Orphans, so he was no stranger to emulating superior movies. Cunningham and his writing partner Victor Miller set out to directly copy all of the signature techniques that made Halloween so original: their film would use a first person view to put audiences behind the eyes of their killer, the killer would get a signature theme that would play whenever he was about to kill, the cast would be a bunch of unknown teenagers that would get killed off one by one with the exception of the Final Girl, pretty much everything Carpenter thought of, they imitated.

Their ONE innovation in the script was to include bucket loads of blood and gore, because Halloween is actually one of the most bloodless horror films ever made. In this aspect, Friday The 13th ALSO became one of the most ripped off films of all time because after it was a hit EVERY slasher film turned into a bloodbath with severed body parts flying everywhere. With all these elements in place, all they needed was a title for their upcoming production. Originally it was going to be called Long Night At Camp Blood, but Cunningham decided to change it to Friday The 13th, which oddly enough was the working title for Manny's Orphans.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Do Or Die

Certain of our girls, like Roberta Vasquez, Dona Speir, and in some cases Cynthia Brimhall, they are as good as the gals who the soaps or do the stuff at night. But because they were Playmates, people thought they weren't going to be very good actresses. Check out some of the fucking broads on late-night television, they've got one blonde broad on The Pretender, and one blonde broad on C.S.I., they are fucking awful. They're not awful, you can't understand them. I've always said at least our girls enunciated.” - Andy Sidaris

The latest chapter of the Trials and Tribulations of Donna Hamilton brought us a very enjoyable caper involving gun smugglers, transvestite assassins, a murder mystery that led to Las Vegas, and Erik “Motherfucking” Estrada. All of this fun came at a high cost however, as we lost our beloved Taryn to... huh. They never actually said, did they? They didn't even MENTION HER ONCE! BASTARDS!

Andy Sidaris went all out for 1991's Do Or Die, not only did he bring Erik Estrada back into the fold, he added Pat Morita as well. Honestly, I'm only excited about Estrada returning as it's REALLY hard to even hear the name Pat Morita and not be reminded of the utter abomination that was Jay Leno's Collision Course.  That movie left SCARS, deep deep scars. Let's hope I don't start getting PTSD-style flashbacks when I see him as I undertake A Ghoul Versus Do Or Die!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Guns

Hope was terrific. She was good on the screen, but she was difficult. She thought she should be doing bigger and better, and we said please go do bigger and better. She was not a team player as much as we would have liked, but she delivered for us. She was always late, and very difficult, and she knows it. But we're happy she did our pictures, and she certainly had great sex appeal, but she just wasn't quite with the program. She's a nice enough person, she just wasn't right for the program. She finally had her breasts made just right, and when we were getting ready to make Guns, she said 'I don't want to expose my breasts.' We said 'Hope, bless you, child, we think the world of you, God Bless you, but we'll see you later.' Who the hell are we kidding?” - Andy Sidaris on Hope Marie Carlton

Previously on Savage Beach...

I'm still not really sure. A Filipino revolutionary named Martinez was playing all sides to steal a bunch of gold, half the cast was masquerading as someone else, and we got some clunky back story about Taryn's grandfather getting murdered by Crazy Katana Man. It was a very rough movie to sit through.

The 1980s are dead, long live the 1990s! The ULTRA creatively titled Guns is kicking off the new decade, although it's still very much a 1980s style movie. 1990s style action wouldn't truly begin until the following year when James Cameron and Terminator 2 redefined the genre forever, but that's another review for another time. Guns is most memorable for bringing the legendary Erik Estrada into the Sidarisverse, one of the most engaging actors to ever grace the silver screen. While his career has mostly consisted of TERRIBLE B and C-grade level movies, you can't once tell me he wasn't the shining highlight of any of them. Let's see what kind of magic he can work with this one, as it's now time for A Ghoul Versus Guns!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Savage Beach (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

The agents check into their room and are brought room service by two other Japanese men that look a tad bit conspicuous, especially when they pull out blades and try to kill them.  One of the men is played by the awesomely mustached Al Leong, a famous actor I'm sure you've seen in at least several movies as he's been in hits such as Die Hard, Big Trouble In Little China, Lethal Weapon, and Bill And Ted's Excellent AdventureA 1980s martial arts movie breaks out as I've pretty much given up on this entire thing. I'm sure the would be assassins will get explained soon enough, but how much shit do we NEED in this movie?! Once again, this feels like Sidaris just put three partial scripts he had in a blender and assembled one movie out of them. The fight between four characters we know absolutely nothing about drags on until the assassins win... and then don't kill the agents.

INSTEAD, they take the agents' clothes because this is now Dress Up: The Movie and forge their own ID's. I really hope at the end of this movie like twenty naked guys run out all at once to call out all the imposters going on.  The assassins search the room and find ANOTHER fucking disc, which mercifully ends the scene. Trying to sit through this movie is an endurance test unto itself. The pilots find a beach to land on but just because they're ostensibly the stars of this movie is no reason to focus on them so let's see what those wacky assassins are doing now. They enter the Pearl Harbor Naval Complex thanks to their faked credentials in a scene highlighted by a security guard glancing directly into the camera as he walks out of the frame.

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Savage Beach (Part 1)

I think I'm a pretty good storyteller. I think Savage Beach is as good a story as anything. It's a throwback to the old days of adventure pictures. Anybody can shoot a back alley and have two guys say 'motherfucker', stab each other and call that a movie. That's what most people do. We don't do that. We don't hold women hostage, or slash their throats. I see movies that are so despicably mean spirited that I can't believe them.” - Andy Sidaris

Donna and Taryn took a backseat from their usual adventuring to get involved in a story about a guy named Salazar trying to kill a guy named Ortiz who was trying to kill members of the Agency, only to have them try to kill him and then try to kill Salazar because... actually, never mind. I'm getting the brain pains just thinking about it.

One year later, one more Sidarisverse movie. This one is Savage Beach, starring the usual gang of blondness and their hedonistic ways. Hopefully another Abilene relative turns up, because Donna's not going to be happy until she's banged her way through the entire family tree. Get ready to hit the jacuzzi, because it's time for A Ghoul Versus Savage Beach!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Picasso Trigger

I feel like when there's nudity required, it's there. Certainly some of it is gratuitous, I'm not going to lie to you, but hey, that's what we're here for. In the play 42nd Street, where he says 'You go on that stage an unknown, you come off that stage a star', I say 'You step into that hot tub an unknown, you step out that hot tub a star'.” - Andy Sidaris

Previously on Hard Ticket To Hawaii...

Andy Sidaris graced the world of cinema with a movie that feels like it was conceived by teenage boys, and yet was a billion times more intelligent and fun than any of the Fast and the Furious movies. We met Donna and Taryn, agents of the DEA whose hobbies include fighting crime, giving tours of Hawaii, hauling cancer infested snakes around, and talking to each other topless. They're back for another round in what is looking like a Cinematic Universe, so SUCK IT MARVEL.

Picasso Trigger is the third movie in the Andy Sidaris collection, released a year after Hard Ticket To Hawaii. This is among the more obscure Sidaris films, a lot of this is likely due to its bizarre and non-attention grabbing title. The Picasso Trigger is actually the state fish of Hawaii, a very beautiful and multi-coloured fish. That doesn't exactly scream a movie with hot babes and guns, so a lot of video stores probably didn't order the title heavily when its name popped up on their forms in 1988. WE however all know better, so let's see what awaits our identical heroines in A Ghoul Versus Picasso Trigger!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Hard Ticket To Hawaii (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Rowdy and his broseph Jade arrive in Honolulu, hopping in a jeep and driving down the road as they talk about how much Jade wants to bang Edy. They drive past a skateboarder doing handstands on his board, commenting he must be doing some “heavy doobies”. This turns out to be one of the thugs who killed the cops from the beginning, meeting up with one of his friends down the road and telling him about the agents. Skater hops in the back of their truck because the passenger seat is occupied by... a blow up doll. UMMM, random movie is random.

They chase after the agents, catching up to them and then... speeding right past them? This scene is made even more incomprehensible by Jade commenting that they're gone, even though the previous shot showed they were LITERALLY side-by-side! Then, the truck warps down the road and Skater gets out, armed with a gun AND THE BLOW UP DOLL. What in God's name is going on in this movie?! Skater heads back down the road, shooting at the jeep along and wounding Jade in the process. Why didn't he just shoot the agents when they DROVE PAST THEM? I bet Skater's wondering that too when Jade backs up the jeep and smashes into him, sending him airborne because Sidaris is ALSO a master student of physics.

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Hard Ticket To Hawaii (Part 1)

I can't do a script, turn it over to a studio, have a reader read it, and have some kid out of college come to me and say 'That doesn't work for me'. I'm gonna kill the fucker, and I'll be in jail. It serves me well, and is cheaper, to finance my own movies.” - Andy Sidaris

We got introduced to the Andy Sidaris film style: bullets, bombs, and boobs! Something was missing though, something that's associated with his work almost as much as naked women: it didn't take place in Hawaii! Sure at the very end Luciana said she fled to Hawaii, but she totally didn't as the entire thing was filmed in California.

Enter Hard Ticket to Hawaii, which is what I'd say is the most famous of the Sidaris Collection by a landslide. It's become THE “go-to” movie people often use to initiate others into the world of Andy Sidaris, and has become so famous Paste Magazine actually named it the greatest B-movie OF ALL TIME, even ahead of Tommy Wiseau's The Room and the 1989 epic Samurai Cop. If THAT'S not high praise, I don't know what is. So let's get ready to see why this film is so beloved amongst fans of the wonder that is B-movies with A Ghoul Versus Hard Ticket To Hawaii!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Malibu Express

My wife Arlene uses all of these fancy words like 'motivation' and 'story'. Where the fuck did you learn those words? I couldn't spell 'story' if you spotted me the 's' and the 't', for Chrissakes.” - Andy Sidaris

The late, great Andy Sidaris had a dream, and that dream was to push the T and A barrier into the stratosphere. Sidaris originally worked as a television producer and director for the ABC television network where he oversaw their sports coverage. Calling himself “the best television director that ever lived”, he was a pioneer of sports broadcasting and helped to develop techniques such as slow motion replay and split screen angles. It's not these revolutionary ideas he's best known for however, as he also involved what is called “the honey shot”, something you've seen a million times if you've ever watched televised sports.

Quite simply he'd zoom in one attractive cheerleaders on the sidelines or beautiful women in the stands, and was completely unapologetic about it despite his style earning much criticism from his peers. His justification was that not only hardcore sports fans watched games, and he wanted to reward the people who weren't obsessed with every single detail of a huddle. Lascivious? Yes, but it's virtually unheard of to hear that kind of honesty in sports.

After nearly three decades on television, Sidaris decided the medium wasn't meeting his creative needs so he decided to branch out into the world of film. He famously described it as “after three million kickoffs, every game is not the end of the world”, which should be transcribed on plaques in every arena across the world. Having already worked on television dramas such as Kojak and Gemini Man, Sidaris tried his hand at action movies. What followed is the legendary “Bullets, Bombs, and Boobs (or Babes, when in polite company)” series of films, twelve action movies that make up the Andy Sidaris Collection.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Cube Zero

"Cube Zero: Real Cube taste and zero calories!  Enjoy (almost) everything!"

Let's see if I can figure this out. The United States government, working with the shadowy Izor corporation, built a giant complex to help them master quantum mechanics, presumably for military applications. They enlisted the help of notorious cyber-terrorist Alex Trusk, a blind teenage girl, to help them with construct it because she's an expert on tesseracts somehow. When Alex learned they were putting people inside of the cube to be tested, she tried to expose them only to have them come after her.

She fled into the cube itself, as she knew they wouldn't risk their lives to pursue her there. Even though she knew the entire time entering the cube was a death sentence, so I'm not sure what she had to gain trapping herself in a place where she had no food or water. Not to mention if Izor caught her, they likely would have stuck her in the cube anyway. There's also the question of how a blind girl was able to enter the cube, as one would have to think the entrance would be heavily guarded but WHATEVER.

Apparently she had some kind of super important device with her, so Izor sent Kate, one of their operatives, into the cube to retrieve it. Kate quickly finds Alex, only SHE DOESN'T KNOW IT'S HER. WHAT?! Izor, who has the power of the entire American government behind them, didn't know what Alex looked like or that she was even female? At the very least, they don't have video surveillance around their precious cube? Oh my God, that movie just gets worse the more you think about it. So a bunch of random bullshit happens, Kate's able to retrieve the device and escape the cube, only to get shot in the back of the head by her supervisors. Yay... and stuff.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Cube 2: Hypercube

Welcome to How Not To Do A Sequel To A Popular Film 101, starring the Cube 2: Hypercube.”

Previously on The Cube...

Five extremely unlikeable people woke up in a deadly complex called the Cube and ended up being more dangerous to themselves than the trap filled rooms. Hey, I just realized how important Rennes' advice about saving themselves from themselves was!

1997's the Cube is a great example of a sleeper hit, although this one had to wait until home video to really find its audience since it had an extremely limited theatrical run. Producers saw potential to make more money with a sequel, so in 2001 they got the cameras rolling on a new one. Cinematographer Andrzej Sekula was tapped to direct it, based on his legendary camera work in all time classics such as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. The fairly new to Hollywood writer Sean Hood wrote the script, a name you might recognize if you're heavily into the horror genre as he's the man who helped bring us the screenplay for the wretched Halloween: Resurrection, a movie so bad it killed the franchise dead until Rob Zombie dug it up to kill it deaderer.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Cube (1997)

Don't look for a reason, look for a way out.”

You know what the Maze Runner reminded me of with its premise of strangers waking up in a deadly maze with no idea how they got there, forced to work together to escape? The Cube, that nearly forgotten cult classic that is nearly twenty years old already. How forgotten is it? So lost to the sands of time that I forget to mention it when doing my Saw reviews, since the franchises had a lot in common... well, at least in the beginning.

Co-written and directed by the excellent Vincenzo Natali, the Cube was filmed in less than a month on a micro budget of $350,000 dollars and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 1997. It's highly unique plot attracted a lot of attention, especially with fans of the horror genre which was floundering at the time. It would go on to spawn a sequel and a prequel, but neither ever hit the popularity of the film film and kind of relegated the series into the background as Saw stepped onto the stage and spent the next decade changing the face of the genre.

Let's get ready to take a trip down memory lane as we step into the world of the Cube with A Ghoul Versus The Cube! And don't touch ANYTHING without making sure it's safe first!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Maze Runner

Who wants to watch a movie about teens in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future taken away from their families and placed into a life or death situation where they divide up into factions? No, this isn't Divergent, they're placed into an arena where they face death. No, this isn't the Hunger Games...”

The Maze Runner was one of the most unexpected hits of 2014: it had very little promotion, featured a cast of unknowns, was made from a first time director, had a miniscule budget, and was based on a series of books that didn't necessarily light the young adult world on fire. Despite all of this, it was able to make TEN TIMES its 34 million dollar budget AND earn critical acclaim in the process. That's quite the accomplishment in this day and age, as that's a LOT of barriers to overcome on your way to box office success.

It's based on the first book of the Maze Runner trilogy, written by James Dashner. Once again I have no idea what they're about, as I am so behind in reading it has officially become pathetic. Wes Ball, the films' director, earned the gig on the strength of a CGI film called Ruin he submitted to 20th Century Fox, who was impressed and offered him Maze Runner since it shared a similar premise. This was after Fox's original choice, Catherine Hardwicke of Twilight fame, dropped out to pursue other projects. That's a shame, I REALLY would have loved to see her spin the camera around the maze runners every five minutes in-between takes of everyone walking in pointless slow motion. Ball promised fans he'd be loyal to the books, but honestly who DOESN'T vow that anymore? A quick search of fan reviews online seem to confirm that he kept his promise, but I won't be able to judge that for a very long time. Just wait until I get to the Harry Potter series though, those are going to be some twenty page reviews where I'll nitpick EVERYTHING TO DEATH!

Keep your hand on the same wall the entire time as we get ready to enter a maze and presumably run at some point, because it's now time for A Ghoul Versus The Maze Runner!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Divergent Series: Divergent (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

After this ends, they talk about fears and the movie FINALLY remembers its intended audience so Tris asks Four what his tattoo is of, seeing as how we've only ever seen a tiny part of it poking out of the back of his shirt. Four takes off said shirt to display his ink, but more importantly shows us his chiseled physique so all the women in the theaters can finally hoot and holler because you know they SO did. That's enough build up so he finally kisses Tris, who is more than happy to kiss back but says she doesn't want to go any further because she wants to take things slow. As far as young adult romances go this is a pretty typical one, as it's based way more off of physical attraction than anything else. Until the last couple, almost every conversation they've had has involved talking about beating up people. Maybe that's a huge turn on for Tris though, who knows? Also a young woman falling in love with her older battle instructor, where have I seen THAT before?

The next morning Four takes Tris outside to show her the Erudite loading many large crates into the Dauntless base containing supplies and computers. He also shows her a vial of serum they've been delivering as well, which is a neuro-chemical of some sort that'll turn whoever is injected with it into a mindless slave that'll follow instructions. Really? THAT'S what we're going with? That sounds like the plot from a 1950s science fiction movie. But I guess it's nice to get another hint of a plot at almost one hour forty minutes, so cheers for that. And just like before Tris doesn't have a chance to process this revelation, because an announcement over the speakers announces it's time for the final test.

A Ghoul Versus The Divergent Series: Divergent (Part 1)

What Makes You Different, Makes You Dangerous... THAT'S a great message for tween girls!”

After the past few months of reviewing horror movies of wildly varying quality, I thought it was time I get back to the other major focus of this blog: young adult fantasy movies. With the Hunger Games saga nearly done for, it seems clear Divergent is primed to take its place as the Next Big Thing. All of the elements are there: a much beloved book series with legions of rabid fans, a superstar actress in the making in the form of Shailene Woodley, resident hunk Theo James, and a production value that seems to treat the property with respect.

The movies are based on the Divergent trilogy, written by Veronica Roth. I haven't read them yet, but I know they concern a rebellious teen girl rising up to fight the power in a standard post-apocalyptic dystopian future where people are divided into different groups. That is, of course, a very broad summary as I've read they focus on character issues and societal aspect much more than anything else, but that hasn't stopped with it being CONSTANTLY compared to the Hunger Games. A quick online search will yield just as many articles saying how it's a Hunger Games ripoff to ones saying it totally isn't.

The film rights to the novels were bought by Summit Entertainment, who was VERY eager to strike gold again after their Twilight Saga films made them a couple of bucks. They had a rather lackluster 2013, as their previous attempts at recapturing the young adult market with Warm Bodies and Ender's Game didn't exactly set the box office on fire. They recruited writer/director Neil Burger to helm the first film, a wise choice as he's yet to make a bad movie in his career. You mileage may vary on that, but I've personally enjoyed everything of his I've seen, ESPECIALLY the amazing 2006 film the Illusionist. How good was that movie? He got a good performance out of JESSICA BIEL in it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Alexandre Aja's Horns

"I'm not making a 'horny' joke because the film already did that for me."

I'm back! After a pretty brutal start to the new year, I decided to take a week off to recoup and get my zombie brain back into order. How was your new year? Uh huh... oh really? Right into the punch bowl, eh? Yikes! Well, let's watch a movie to get our minds off things, that ALWAYS makes things better. Today's film is the just released on blu-ray Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja. Aja exploded onto the film scene with his 2003 tour de force High Tension, a film that TRULY earned the title of “visceral”. There's a lot to say about that film but it'll have to wait for another day, main because I've had a hell of a time finding a copy of it.

Aja's career since High Tension has been disappointing to say the least, as he has almost exclusively done underwhelming remakes of much better films such as the Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors. Even High Tension itself wasn't an original idea, as it does appear a fair amount of it was “inspired” by a novel written by Dean Koonz called Intensity. And by inspired, I pretty much mean ripped off. This time Aja has the actual rights to Joe Hill's novel Horns, ensuring everything will be on the up and up from a legal aspect. With a fantastically unique premise and a talented actor in the form of Daniel Radcliffe, was Aja able to recapture some of his old magic? Time to find out with A Ghoul Versus Alexandre Aja's Horns!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Ghoul Versus New Year's Evil

"Happy 2015!  Let's ring in the new year with... oh, another slasher."

The best way to ring in 2015 is with an appropriately themed movie, but unfortunately I wasn't able to get my hands on a copy of the one I really wanted to review: Kathryn's Bigelow's INSANELY underrated sci-fi film Strange Days. Because some bastard movie studio hasn't felt it necessary to release on blu-ray yet, COUGH COUGH Fox COUGH COUGH, that leaves me stuck looking for another New Year's Eve film.

Let's see what our options are here... we have Love Actually 2: New Year's Eve, which is one of those EVER so delightful vignette-style movies about 300 different people falling in love with each other while at the same time making you PRAY it turns into a slasher movie at some point. Directed by Schmaltz Master himself Garry Marshall, the film did win numerous awards as the worst film of 2011, so that certainly makes it a contender for me to review. Then there's 1999's End of Days, an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie made when his career was rapidly on the decline. It's a truly awful movie, but then again it does feature a scene where Satan himself has a threesome with a mother and her DAUGHTER set to the docile tones of Limp Bizkit, so perhaps we'll save that one for another day.

Or how about another low budget 1980s slasher film made by and starring almost no one you've ever heard of? I mean, seeing as how that's fast becoming a tradition on this corner of the Intrawebs, I think that'd be a GREAT idea! Stepping up to the plate is 1980's New Year's Evil, which I just bet is going to be about a serial killer cutting up people on New Year's Eve. That's just a wild guess, though. I am pretty excited for this one though because it stars Roz Kelly, who is best known for playing the badass Pinky Tuscadero on the television show Happy Days. I am freaking IN LOVE with Pinky and have always been disappointed that Kelly never had a bigger run in Hollywood, so let's see how she did in one of her rare starring performances. Put on your finest party clothes, pop a bottle of bubbly, and get ready for A Ghoul Versus New Year's Evil!