Monday, April 30, 2007

Abridged Movie Review: Prince of Darkness

Time to try something new. Never let it be said that I'm not a joiner!

Over at Final Girl the awesome (yep I still use the word awesome) Stacie Ponder has a film club. This is my humble first attempt at joining in. Mainly I'm doing it because I don't want to be a pitied fool.

First thing is first. I had a really difficult time getting a hold of this movie. Like ridiculously difficult. So much so that I even eventually ventured into the small local library in town here to check their collection of DVDs to see if by chance they had it.... Of course they didn't and I'm pretty sure that my inquiries into a movie called “Prince of Darkness” made me a topic of discussion/worry at at least two or three of the local churches here in town. When I did end up with a copy of the movie I didn't have it long so I unfortunately was a little bit rushed while watching it. I'm hoping to grab myself a copy and revisit it soon and maybe update what I am about to say.


When I sat down to watch “Prince of Darkness” I only knew two things about it. First it is John Carpenter movie and second it is about some sort of “Prince” of Darkness”. So going in blind I really didn't know what to expect and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised...If “pleasantly” is an adjective that can be used when talking about this movie.

Whats that basics?
It seems that the Catholic Church has a secret, a secret that has been hiding for many years in the basement of an old abandoned church. The death of a priest brings a key and diary into the possession Father Loomis (Donald Pleasence) who soon after discovers the church, the basement, and the giant cylinder full of some pretty nasty looking green goo.

Father Loomis consults with a professor (Victor Wong) and it is decided that they along with a few select students will set up shop in the church to decipher just exactly what all is going on here. Naturally once they all get settled in it doesn't take long for things to go wrong... Fatally wrong!

So what works about this movie for me?
Well for starters Carpenter did an awesome job of making with the creepy. Seriously, it is like he reached into his brain and used every disturbing image he could pull out. An old dimly lit church (by the way the lighting was spot on perfect for the mood), evil insects, strange dreams, a murderous Alice Cooper, the list could go on and on!

I may lose man points for this but I swear if I glance up and notice that the window is filling up with worms I'm gone!

I really liked that it was such a slow burn and took the time that was needed. That is something I think a lot of movies recently have been missing. Having that “I wonder what will happen next?” feeling is a lot easier when you have actual time to wonder. Though with all the time that they had I do wish they would have explored a few things a little more fully, the dream/message for instance. To me the reoccurring nature of the dreams and the explanation seemed a bit rushed. I am glad it was included, it played a major role in what I thought was a really good way to end things.

"Prince of Darkness" has a little something for everyone at one point or another. Religious thriller, a bit of science fiction, zombie like minions, killer bugs, some humor, a little romance, and just about the best mustache that has ever been committed to film.

My personal kudos go out to Jameson Parker for having the ability to sport such a masterpiece! I wish I knew his secret.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

nowhere near abridged movie review recap

I'm just going to come out and say it. When I was somewhere between 12 and 14 years old director Fred Olen Ray mind fucked me. He mind fucked me hard.

So I've always had this little thing I like to call insomnia. What that means now is that I am able to sit up and go through blogs all night while occasionally committing my own incoherent thoughts to writing. What it meant when I was younger was that I could stay up all night long and watch any interesting movies that I found.

Well one night I was going through the premium channel listings and I found one that said something along the lines of. “ Four coeds in an old house read from a magic book and accidentally release a cartoon demon. A demon with a taste for sex and blood.” So yeah I tuned in.

See I was smart, I did the math and I realized; “Coeds” = boobs, “cartoon demon” = hilarious, and “taste for sex and blood” = the reason I should be in therapy good clean entertainment!!

Now this is where the trouble began. I watched “Evil Toons.” I watched it and my world crumbled. I was supposed to love this movie. It had coeds, it had a cartoon demon, it had a cartoon demon raping a coed... Where was the love for the movie? Was it a problem with me? Was I incapable of love? Perhaps I was some sort of stone man devoid of human soul, doomed to walk the earth until the end of days never knowing true happiness?

Well I should have moved on from that. But I just couldn't forget that movie and those feelings. Then the damn thing got put on heavy rotation, nearly every night I was given a chance to redeem myself and attempt to regain my soul. The love never came, but a cold tolerance was developed.

Recently some stuff I have read has brought forth some repressed memories and I was forced to dig this thing out of the archives and give it another watch.

Hold on tight cause here we go!

The very first thing we are greeted with here is a message from director/mind fucker Fred Olen Ray. Before the film starts he just wants to make clear to us the viewers/mind fuckees that “The story you are about to see is true. Nothing has been changed. These are actual people who lived this great adventure and this is exactly the way it really happened.”

Moving on. Oh sweet I've always wanted to be able to start out a story like this!

It was a dark and stormy night. There is a spooky looking front door, a spooky looking fence slowly and spookily closes in on the house all by itself. I'm spooked for realz! Wait a minute, is that? Kwai Chang Caine himself David Carradine, oh you know this is going to be rocking now.

Carradine isn't alone, he is carrying a book. A book with a face. A book with a face that speaks “In times of trouble let your conscious be your guide.” And guide him it does, all the way into a basement with a conveniently set up noose which he promptly uses. Like a sucker I forgot to set my noose up before the movie started, so I'm stuck watching.

Now presumably some time has passed since the incident. Enter our coeds. Terry the “team leader”, Jan the generic, Roxanne the slutty girl, and Megan the brain (aka the not so secretly hot one). Apparently they have been hired to stay in this house over the weekend to clean it out for the new owners. For their troubles they will make a whopping $100 a piece. Roxanne doesn't seem too impressed by the amount. I don't know why, this was made in '91/'92, according to my math $100 back then would equal roughly $42,000 today... I think.

The girls start to get settled in and they ask Terry about the rumors of the last family that lived there. Well it seems that they got so freaked out by something that they up and left in the middle of the night leaving everything behind. Even their CD player, no shit! Time to meet the neighbor Mr. Hinchlow, and nearly immediately get the creeps.

Cleaning time, always start with the basement. Wait aren't basements supposed to be attached to the house or at least be underground? Well they call it a basement but it looks more like a garage to me. Either way while cleaning up the place. And by cleaning up I mean snooping around. Terry and Meg find a trunk with a “funky tag.” The contents of the trunk? Oh just a little something I like to call Evil! And a fancy knife, some sort of shroud, and of course skeletal remains. There is always skeletal remains. Ever the thinker Terry decides to keep some of these in case they are antiques and worth money.

Nearly five minutes of almost cleaning, that means break time! Back into the house. Wait, what happened to break time.. now it is night time. Uh oh that storm is back. Uh oh David Carradine is back. Uh oh the book is back.

Roxanne proves her slutty prowess by offering to show the girls how she “gets her hooks” into guys. I myself have often postulated that when college girls get together it soon enough turns into a big strip fest. My suspicions are confirmed, cha-ching!Also confirmed is my theory that Meg the brain is pure, and innocent, but curious and a maybe a little prude. I am still unsure exactly why it is that Meg gets upset and runs upstairs, but there isn't much time to question over it as there is a knock on the door and Caine delivers a package to the ladies. Well what would you call him? We don't know his name yet.

There is that book again. Wait a second that book looks vaguely familiar. Do I know it's brother? Hey look it is the Evil Dead Necronomicon. Well any brother of the Book of the Dead is A-OK in my book! So Terry and Jan are looking through the book but they can't read it they need it translated, now where did that Meg run off to.

Ah ha, found her. Meg is checking herself out in the mirror, and she's naked! Make a mental note to remember these few seconds of the movie and try to forget all else that you have seen.

Remember how I said Meg was the brain? Well that is partially true, she does know how to read a little bit of ancient Latin. What she doesn't know apparently is that you should never ever translate something like that out loud. You always read the full text in your head first, that way you can find the warning before it is too late. Even I know that and I barely read and speak one language.

Bedtime. Well not for Roxanne, she has a guy coming over. Even though the man that hired them Burt said no monkey business. Oh man I can just tell that everything is about to go bananas! Roxanne struggles to pop the cork on a bottle of wine that appears to have a twist top, Carradine skulks about outside, a cartoon monster leaps from the pages of the book into reality. You know same crap different day.

Wait a minute, the monster looks familiar. Do I know it's brother? Hey check it out, its Sherman Fangsworth aka Fangface! Boy I wish you could stick around Fangface, I think these girls are going to have a mystery that needs solving pretty soon.

Boy did the two apples fall in completely different directions on that family tree or what? I don't remember Fangface ever raping, killing a and then assuming the identity of a girl, do you? Well his brother The Monster (that is how he is credited so I take it as his name) seems to excel at that. He isn't all bad though, during the rape he does find time to pass out a compliment, “Nice tits.” Upstairs the girls are having trouble sleeping, who can blame them with all the screaming? Meg decides she needs to go down and check, just in case. Too late though Roxanne is gone and the monster being a master of subterfuge takes her shape and even finds a way to explain away the blood that is covering her naked body.

Carradine looks on.

A knock at the door brings Biff (sadly not Tannen), Roxanne's man friend into the house. The monster still in the guise of the girl takes the opportunity to get some good natured dry humping in before devouring our friend Biff (still not Tannen). Poor Biff (never gonna be Tannen), we barely knew you. More noise, Meg must investigate. If only Fangface were here to help out.

How inconvenient, Burt is sitting there minding his own business watching “A Bucket of Blood” when the phone rings. I wonder if I should find a copy of “A Bucket of Blood”, Burt wonders who would be calling at this hour? Why it's that pesky Mr. Hinchlow telling him about the blood curdling screams. Burt has to go investigate, even if it means missing some Friday night sex with Mrs. Burt (yep that is her credited character name).

By the time Burt shows up to the house he is drunk, I am wishing that I drank, and the girls have discovered the body of Biff (the un-Tannen). Well golly they can't have Burt coming in and finding a dead man's body, they could be fired! They lock him outside and move the body, luckily for Burt Roxanne is going to take him around the back way to let him in... Wait a minute, uh oh.

Ok good Roxanne, with monster inside isn't killing Burt, she is just giving him the tour. Here is where we found the shroud, here is where the dagger was, here is where the trouble started. I'm trouble, are you looking for trouble? Looks like the night wasn't a total bust, he may not be getting Friday night sex but there appears to be a BJ in Burt's immediate future... Wait a minute, uh oh.

Poor Burt.

Thanks to Ms. Smartypants Meg the girls find out that plunging the dagger into the beast will kill it. Being stabbed is also one of my weaknesses.

Back to the garage which is now being called a cellar. The body of Burt is discovered, naturally this leads to running around and screaming.

Carradine looks on.

Hinchlow is back, and he seems to know a little bit too much about the book for my liking. At least he provides us with Carradine's name finally.

Say hello to Gideon Fisk. Wait a minute, Gideon Fisk looks familiar. Do I know his brother? Hey once again I do, it's Keith Carradine from televisions “Complete Savages”. Hey Keith hows it going? I sure do miss your show, it was the Savagey-est-ish-er.....

Once again back on track. The Monster Roxanne momentarily fools the girls into thinking it was all a gag. Back to the basement/cellar/garage to get some payback on the boys for their chicanery. It only takes the girls a few minutes of slapping the corpses around to realize that something isn't right. With the cat out of the bag the Roxanne monster reveals his/her(?) plan to send their souls to the master (Either Satan or Fred Olen Ray, they never say)..

Bye bye generic Jan. You must be sacrificed so the other two can escape. Don't worry though you won't have a boring death. Boy the monster sure does have a thing for boobs doesn't he/she?

Uh oh Roxanne seems to have finished kill/raping Jan and has now found Meg and Terry back in the house. Sorry Terry it is your turn for a little monster/girl on girl rape/killing (I'm not really sure of the order). Run Meg RUN! No don't fall down the stairs run.. Well this looks grim.

This Roxanne monster seems to enjoy exposition almost as much as boobs. Poor Meg, she is expected to read the passage in the book over and over to unleash the rest of the drawing. I guess our monstery friend doesn't know ancient Latin.

Fisk stops looking on

Time for action it seems. He has the knife but sadly lacks the physical strength to overpower the monster. Meg offers a little distraction, and wastes a bottle of wine. Fisk makes with the stabby stabby. The Roxanne monster reverts back to plain old cartoon monster, whiny plain old cartoon monster. Apparently being stabbed hurts, he better head back to the book!

That smart cookie Meg she came up with the clever plan of burning the book in the fireplace. Monster doesn't like that, he vows revenge in the sequel. I silently weep at the thought.

Now that The Monster is dead Meg is all upset, all of her friends are dead. She should really watch this movie so she can see that her “friends” talk a pretty fair amount of crap about her behind her back. Anyway Fisk reveals that she will find them very much alive. Thanks to Meg the monster now never existed. Fisk then disappears, apparently his curse has been lifted.

Cue mega happy ending, morning comes Meg wakes up on the couch, big happy fun time reunion nobody is dead. But everyone (save Meg) is a little confused.

Hinchlow has a thermos of coffee and a portable TV. I hope he plans on sharing I could use some caffeine after all of this.

Why the TV though? It is Saturday morning of course, he though the girls might want to watch some nice cartoons.

Meg screams.

I scream.

The people upstairs stomp on their floor and mutter something about the time. I thank them with four letters.

After the viewing here is what I want to know. What is this movie supposed to be? Slasher horror? Can't be, there is shockingly little gore, and the killings all happen off screen. How about sexy fun time naked boobfest? Nope, there is some nudity, and a lot of sexual suggestions but really only one of the girls, Meg (played by Monique Gabrielle) is all that attractive. Plus there isn't any real sex to speak of, and in all my life I have never ever seen such a pathetic attempt at cartoon on coed rape.

Quite the journey this has been, and nobody can say that this has gone well. But I suppose the journey is the point and not the result right? Wait a minute, uh oh.

Blog Trekking

So not too long ago I was reading through the genius (yep I'm sticking to that title!) aka Kim Morgan's blog and throughout the reading I ended up linked over to Final Girl, I spent a lot of time there, like I mean a lot of time. Seriously, my Pepsi got all warm and flat and gross I was there so long.

Now this could be a sad commentary on my reading skills but it isn't. In fact I'll have you know that I have been reading at a 6th grade level ever since I was 17! No it is more a commentary on the quality on what I was reading. In short, it is my long winded attempt at a compliment.

So not only did I get to add a shiny new link to my favorites (and my links section on the sidebar here) but while I was reading my mind pulled to the surface an old movie that I really needed to re watch, recap, and finally extricate from my brain.

So basically what I am saying is that very soon I will be posting about ”Evil Toons” and instead of being a man and taking all the heat myself I have decided to point fingers and cast blame.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I'm not a big car person. But every once in a while a movie or TV show will come along that showcases a car that catches my eye. When I was much younger that car was a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. A specially modified Trans Am called the “Knight Industries Two Thousand” K.I.T.T. for short. Everyone wanted to own K.I.T.T didn't they? Well now someone can.

I think I'll wait until they sweeten the deal by having William Daniels always at the ready to ride shotgun and make with the witty/sarcastic banter.

For the record I would like to point out that my K.I.T.T obsession was rather short lived. I may be a geek, but I am not “that geek”.

Also I don't believe I currently have a dream car. Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Special Abridged Movie Review for April 1, 2007.

Today is a very exciting day. Today I get to write about one of best movies THE best movie in the last ten years.

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000

It is the year 3000 (hence the title) and the Earth has been overtaken by the evil Psychlos. Humans are scarce, those who do exist are either slaves for the Psychlos or members of small tribe like colonies that exist in mountain areas and the like. Those who are not already enslaved live in fear of being caught or killed. The Psychlos still occupy Earth in an attempt to mine from it of all of it's valuable resources (gold). That is until a group of humans lead by Johnny “Good boy” Tyler (Barry Pepper) who were sent by the chief security officer Terl (A very menacing John Travolta) on a secret illegal mining operation (he intends to keep a large sum of gold for himself) work out a plan to fight back.

How can you go wrong? The special effects are top notch. The acting is superb. The story is airtight. You really feel for these poor humans, their pain both physical but also more importantly mental. As a race they are beaten down, defeated, reduced to the most basic of the basic. Yet they survive.. They fight.. They win.

That is the power of this film, it takes you on multiple journeys and it keeps you engaged and entertained for every second of the 119 minutes (too short I say!). Battlefield Earth is not simply a fantastic sci-fi movie, it is also a deep enriching and ultimately satisfying telling of the triumph of the human spirit over what seems to be impossible odds....and aliens.