Monday, October 31, 2016

Holiday Flix: Repossessed

How come this Sequel isn't ever talked about?  Today's Film is Repossessed, the only Film that's a real Sequel to The Exorcist.  Yes, Exorcist 2 has Regan, but that's pretty much.  Yes, Exorcist III has Karras (sort of) and a new guy as the Detective, but he wasn't exactly the biggest part of that Film.  This one has Regan, Pazzuzu, new Karras and even less electro-shock therapy.  Sure, some may call this a Paroday of the Series, especially since it was released in the same year as Exorcist III.  The Plot involves Regan facing evil yet again, this time with a new Priest on her side.  Will she be able to conquer her literal demon this time?  To find out, read on...
As Regan is freed of her possession in 1973, the Demon vows to return.  Oh crap.
The Demon politely waits nearly 20 years before retaking control of Regan via the TV.

If only there were groups like the PTC around back then to warn her!
Two things to note about this Film....

First- the Film is full of many dated jokes and bits of Casting.  For instance, this Oliver North gag and this extended Cameo by The 'Body by Jake' Guy.
Second- the Film is full of many quick sight gags that are actually clever.  For instance, this bit with Handicapped Parking Spots and Blair reaching across a split-screen to hang up a phone.
I should note that the Story is framed in a Flashback via Leslie Nielsen telling said Story to his class.  How the Priest appears for a Rap Number is anyone's guess then.
Nielsen's Priest is not up to the task of exorcising Regan again, so they'll go with Plan B...
A Televised Exorcism with some Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker Parodies.  Timeless stuff!
A load of sight gags happen at the Exorcism after Nielsen shows up.  There's even a version of the same joke they'd use in Dracula: Dead and Loving It a few years later.

Ultimately, the power of Rock (and dated Parodies) wins the day.  Seriously, how many people get this one?
When one Student questions the Story, he's doused in a double dose of projectile vomit from Blair and Nielsen.  That Student- Willie Garson.

On the plus side, it still isn't Sex and the City 2.  The End.
Okay, the fun is over.  Repossessed is obviously a Parody of The Exorcist.  It is interesting that they made it a Sequel.  Did they do it when Blair made herself available?  Did they realize that the Story of a young Girl being possessed by a Demon isn't going to be that funny?  Whatever the reason, it was a good call.  The Film does Parody key elements of the 1973 Classic- the Vomiting, the tossing of Holy Water and the shaking Bed, just to name a few.  To the Film's credit, the riffs on those bits are pretty good.  This is from the Airplane School of Comedy- constant jokes that fire quickly.  Don't find a joke funny- here's another 5 seconds later.  That helps the Movie cover up its weaker and more dated material, since it passes by so quickly.  You still need to have more winners than losers for it to be a completely-winning formula.  The results- most of the Film is so-so.  I hadn't seen this Film in Years- back when it was on all the damn time on Comedy Central.  I was expecting to like this one alot less than I did.  It's not great, but it has some good moments.  Repossessed is often overlooked for a number of reasons.  It was Directed and Written by the guy who brought us Meatballs 4, Starred the Lead from Return of the Killer Tomatoes and it opens with a fart joke based on THX Sound.  All fair reasons, really, but...it is still worth a look for its random and usually-funny gags.
Next up, I get back to the actual Horror I was planning to do.  Sleep well.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Rip-Off Flix: Return of the Exorcist (1975)

I'm not sure that I remember this Sequel!  Today's Films is Return of the Exorcist, a 1975 Film from Italy that has many Titles.  Amongst the list, there is Cries and Shadows, The Possessor, A Scream from the Darkness (in Italian), Naked Exorcism and Lucifer 3: The Angel Cursed (in Spanish).  To note, my Version is a rip of the UK VHS Version, which is somehow billed as the THIRD Exorcist Film.  Despite Legion not being written until 1983 and even Exorcist II coming out in 1977, this one is 'the third one.'  I'm sure that it was an issue of the Film being released later, but still!  The Director has an interesting Filmography as he started with stuff like this and Mark of Zorro (with George Hilton aka Jorge Hill Acosta y Lara) before ending up doing lots of Adult Films under a different name.  How do you go from an Exorcist-style Film to The Nymphoniac, The Transexual and The Stud?  The Plot is all kinds of a mess, but I'll do my best to sort it out for you.  If that fails, I'll just make fun of it some more.  To find out how crazy this thing is, read on...
This lady looks super-casual in this Cult Den.  It must be the Feng Shui.
This guy- not Richard Lynch this time- is running some sort of Cult.  I sure hope that this goes somewhere...
It all leads to this guy being possessed...before they go back and then show us how it happened.  That's...one way to do it.
It happens when he sees a naked lady and then takes a picture of her.  He finds a medallion that is apparently evil.

Get used to this lady being naked- it happens alot!
As luck would have it, the guy's Sister is a...Sister- a Nun that is.
 I just want to point out how silly this guy looks.  Is he Andy Gibb?
I sure hope that you pretend that this is as interesting as in The Exorcist.  Please?  Pretty please?!?
Kind of like The Exorcist, the Sister takes the amulet and dives off of a nearby cliff.  Of course!
...only for a new guy to get it.  Pointless and stupid sacrifice for the win!  The End.
Confusing, dull and bad.  Let me be honest: the Film is so forgettable that I got the Cult Guy and our 'Hero' mixed up.  They look alike, especially in glorious 240p.  Thanks, VHS Rips from England!  I couldn't figure out how he was leading the Cult and then possessed against his will.  The real answer isn't a whole lot better, of course.  Possessed by a spirit from a Medallion found after seeing a naked Ghost Lady- why not?!?  This one is just plain not good.  It is super-forgettable, super-trashy and just plain not interesting.  It is so bad that even the Film Stock is rejecting it!
Next time, I cover THE REAL Exorcist Sequel.  For real this time, guys.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pre-Holiday Flix: The Exorcist (1973)

It is about time that I finally did the granddaddy of them all!  Today's Film is The Exorcist, a 1973 Film that needs no introduction.  Most people know it as 'The scariest Film ever made.'  For me, the fact that we keep making Transformers Films is the scariest thing ever!  For those who don't know for some reason, this is the Story of a young girl possessed by a Demon and the Priests that must help her.  Since the Film is a product of its time, they also work in a trip to Iraq, random sight-seeing, Father Karras' sub-plot and a running gag about a lonely Detective.  I watched the 'Extended' Cut, so I got more of the good and less-good stuff.  If you still don't know this one yet, let me give you a rundown and some commentary (to die for)...
In Iraq, a Priest (Max Von Sydow) uncovers some freaky stuff involving Satanic-looking statues.  See you in 90 minutes or so!

Let's also note that this Scene is so important that it got a whole Film made to expand upon it even more!  Two if you count Paul Schrader's Cut.
Back in America, young Regan *slowly* begins to act and feel different.

To be fair, I was warned for years about how slow this one is.  The fact is that it was a bit quicker than I expected...
Before too long, she starts to show some pretty strange symptoms.  I don't think your neck can be double-jointed!
Since I watch the 'Version You've Never Seen,' I get to see the Spider-Walk in all of its glory!
Skipping past the whole Karras sub-Plot, the unresolved (until Part 3) Serial Killer Sub-Plot and the unresolved (but not in the Book) sub-Plot of someone desecrating some Statues, Karras finally shows up at the house after things have gotten bad.

Fun Fact- he wasn't supposed to be hit in the face with this, but they kept this take for his natural reaction!
The Priest is flummoxed by how things are going, especially when this happens...
The only solution: call in Father Von Sydow to help in this iconic Scene.

Fun Fact: Linda Blair actually made Von Sydow forget his lines in one take due to her dirty talk!
After taking a break to recover himself, Karras returns to find Von Sydow dead (off-camera)!  He tricks the Demon into taking over his body and dives out a window to drive it away for good (until The Exorcist III).
To wrap things up, a Priest from earlier (who was a real one!) explains things to the Detective and they become friends- even after the former turns into George C. Scott.  The End.
Not a disappointment.  Yes, the Film is real long, especially in the extra-new Version.  Yes, the Film does build up quite a bit.  It still worked for me though, mostly due to Friedkin.  I don't have to tell you that he's a good Director, right?  Most of what the Film does is good, solid stuff.  Little things like Regan's transformation were handled nicely.  Not too fast, not too slow- just right.  The part where they subject her to all of those tests (most of which are dubious in their medical accuracy) makes you really feel for her more!  The Karras stuff is overall pretty good and feels important.  I was a bit bothered by all the stuff that is set up and not followed up on.  You could have probably cut that without too much being lost.  The Detective shows up at Regan's House twice, but both moments don't amount to much.  This was eventually turned into some Sequel-Bait, even though Blatty didn't Write the Book that was turned into The Exorcist III until 1983!  Yes, I do own a First Edition Hardcover Edition of said Book- be jealous!  The stand-out of the Film is all of the work done behind the Scenes- from the lady who did the Spider-Walk to the people that did the Make-Up and especially the voice of Pazuzu.  She has really gotten screwed out of alot of the Credit- literally and figuratively.  The Studio even accidentally on-purpose didn't credit her so that Linda Blair could be nominated for an Oscar!  That said, The Exorcist can be a little slow for some, but is still a Classic.  Take us away, Blatty Cameo...
Next up, the Sequel that nobody talks about.  Is it a disappointment or something to be remembered?  Stay tuned...

Friday, October 28, 2016

Quick Reviews: Good Against Evil (1977)

After all of these years, let's look back at something ABC didn't deem good enough to be a Show, but did decide to air as a Film...
In a very unique idea, this woman gives birth to a creature while under the control of a Satanic Cult.
It is run by Richard Lynch, who apparently has tenure.  After the birth of the kid, they jump ahead 22 years.

Nothing happened during all that time, I guess!
In the Present (of 39 years ago), the Cult is now targeting the grown-up Child.  I hope nobody ever runs across that shrine, dude!
The Cult targets this lady, even going so far as to make a horse go wild and kill a guy.  Traumatic!
Now here's the real issue that comes with this being a Pilot...

The woman disappears with the Cult...who also disappear.  Instead, they focus on this Exorcism that has to be done for someone else.
After mixing Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist, they save the day...except for stopping the Cult and saving that lady.  To see that, you'd have to see the Show...that doesn't exist.  The End.
Interesting at times, but uneven and incomplete.  To be fair to the Film, the fact that the Story doesn't really wrap up is not entirely their fault.  This was a TV Pilot- you couldn't wrap it all up!  They certainly didn't stop to think that I'd be watching it nearly 40 years later on my Computer.  Aside from that notable issue, the Tone and Pace are a bit uneven.  Some interesting stuff happens at the outset and then it lags- alot!  The Romance angle with our Lead has promise, but is kind of boring how they did it.  They don't have the best Chemistry.  The Story is just kind of confused as to what to focus on.  The fact that it includes the Satanic Cult, stalking and an Exorcism is a bit much.  It tries to be too much due to its TV Pilot nature.  As a result, it is kind of a mess, albeit a decent one.  As a bonus, it does feature the most adorable Satanic killers- Cats!
Decent, if unoriginal stuff.  The big problem is just that the Pilot goes nowhere due to it not being picked up.

'Black' History Year: Black Mirror- The Waldo Moment

After a long gap, it is finally time to cover the final Episode of Series 2.  It is Election Time, so...topical!
In The Waldo Moment, we see a Political Comedy Show (a la The Daily Show) that employs Waldo- a wacky Cartoon voiced and manipulated live.

Not as funny as Gitmo was though.
This man is the funny guy behind it all and he's not ready for the attention that he's about to get...
As a joke, Waldo is presented as a Candidate in a local Election.  As a 'Candidate' that represents disdain with the Political Establishment, he gets surprisingly-popular.

He's still more realistic than Trump at least.
His cynicism is infectious and driven by some personal issues in the Comic's life.  The Comic sees things getting out of control though...
Will Waldo get elected?  Will Politics be the same after this?

Well, this Show is still Streaming on Netflix, so go see it already!
Oh- there he is!  This one is a bit different than the other Black Mirror Episodes.   Other Episodes feature dark Horror imagery (White Bear), personal drama (Be Right Back, The Entire History of You) or a look at technology's downsides (15 Million Merits, White Christmas).  This one touches on some of that, but is mostly about Political Satire.  An odd, but interesting choice.  This one is closest to the original Episode- the one about the Prime Minister forced to have sex with a pig-, but still feels pretty different.  Waldo isn't real, but his Creator sure is.  When bad stuff happens to him, he channels it in all of the wrong ways.  They really touch upon whether or not an outsider who just hates everything is good or bad for the system.  Again- made before Trump ran (but after he acted like he would in 2012)!  Why do the Political Episodes get the closest to real life?  Seriously, there was a Story about how David Cameron may have committed Bestiality made *after* the original Black Mirror Episode with the pig- eerie!  This one is a mixed bag as the Satire bit is interesting, but it almost tries to be too much at once.  It attempts to do a bigger scope that didn't quite pan out for me.  As always, your opinion may vary.  This was certainly an odd send-off for the Show...which is why they made a Christmas Special (already covered) and a brand new Season (which nearly doubles the Show's total Episode count!).  I guess I have more to do now.  In the meantime, I finally found Waldo!
Next time, a fresh batch of Episodes that dropped recently on Netflix.  Does the Show still have what it takes?  See you then...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Quick Reviews: Hulk- Where Monsters Dwell (2016)

Let's get both in the Halloween spirit AND in the mood for Doctor Strange with this new Animated Film...
Strange things are happening in New York on Halloween Night.

It is probably just Rudy Giuliani making out with Trump in drag again...
No, it is Doctor Strange, who is always extra-busy on this Night.  In this case, he has to keep some Monsters in check and he needs...
The Hulk!

Unfortunately, it turns out to be a messy and complicated job.
It all involves Nightmare, an evil Spirit who is making people into Monsters as part of his plan to conquer the waking world.

The real scary part- he was once voiced by 'Sheldon Cooper.'  *shiver*
Can Hulk and Dr. Strange stop Nightmare in his own Realm?
Or will Nightmare cross over and put Freddy Kreuger out of business?  To find out, watch the Film.
Good stuff.  The structure of the whole thing is a bit odd, but it works.  Dr. Strange needs help, so he calls in The Hulk.  From there it takes a turn as it just happens that Hulk is already being targeted by Nightmare.  What are the odds?  They make good use of different Monsters, most inspired by previous Marvel creations from the Silver Age.  Even the Film's Subtitle is a reference to Books from that time- neat.  They give focus to some Characters that don't get as much attention as they should (e.c. Man-Thing) which is also kind of neat.  Hell, Warwolf is one of the Leads!  It is interesting to see them use Jasper Sitwell in his Zombie Form, as that only matches Comic Continuity and not the MCU (where he was secretly in Hydra).  The Character Design is top-notch, even if it doesn't match the current Avengers Cartoon.  The Story actually gets a little deep as it examines the Hulk-Banner dynamic and takes a little bit of a darker turn than you might expect from something like this.  All in all, Where Monsters Dwell is a neat little Cartoon to watch for the more Horror-minded kids (or kids at heart) this Halloween.  It also does a nice job of teasing the Film out next week with you-know-who...
A bit deeper and darker than what you see on Saturday Mornings.  Good throwback stuff.