Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Creepy Rigatoni: Channel Zero, The Dream Door- Season Finale

At last, the final Episode ever.  I'm not crying- you're crying!

How does this all wrap up?  Let's see...
Our Villain has kidnapped the Husband and is hiding out in 'the Ghost Community.'  Can he get what he wants?
He has laid a trap there and he's going to take what he wants- by force.  For that, you need an army...
Can our reunited Couple escape to tell the World what happened?  Will they survive the day?
Will we finally get the epic showdown that the 2nd half of the Show promised us?

To find out, watch the finale.  It's still on Streaming and now on DVD too.
I'm going to miss this insanity.  The finale Episode nicely builds off of the previous ones.  Stuff that is set up in little ways pays off, as do big Plot Points.  Our Villain continues to find new and different ways to be evil.  I like how they show the physical breakdown too- he's been exerting himself a lot!  The creature design continues to impress here.  Aside from Pretzel Jack (the clown) and the blond giant (meant to resemble the Father), we get all of the multi-colored monsters.  They are mostly just palette swaps, but they still look nice and freaky.  Without SPOILing anything, one of said monsters gets a new variant before all is said and done.  Everything pays off big here and it feels like a good climax.  The last one had a so-so one (save for the amazing ending) and others have had some issues at the finish line.  This one nails it, so at least they are going out strongly.  All in all, The Dream Door started off simple and got bonkers- as these things should.  It's a shame to see the Show cancelled, but I kind of called it when they dumped all of this Season on Streaming at once.  I guess I'm done with Channel Zero (unless Netflix buys it!), so I'll just have to pick a new door to go into...
Alas there is no more.  Time to go back to reading Creepypastas, I guess.  Or not- since I never started in the first place.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Quick Reviews: Spider-Man- Into the Spider-Verse

For a number of reasons, I wasn't able to see this in Theaters.  Now that it is out (and just won an OSCAR!), I got to finally check it out...
This is Miles Morales.  He's a smart Teenager in New York City.
This is Spider-Man.  He's...well, you know.
Fate intervenes to have Miles bitten by a strange Spider, giving him familiar powers (and some new ones).
Going back to the scene of the incident the next night, Miles ends up in the middle of a battle between Spider-Man and Green Goblin (plus some others).
After a big even that night, a man appears that is...also Spider-Man...only older and disgruntled.
As more of them show up, can Miles become the Hero that he promised to be?

To find out, watch the Film (now on Streaming and Blu-Ray)!
A visual delight.  A touching Story.  A wonderful spectacle.  Sorry, when I watch really good Films, I turn into the guy who writes the blurbs they used on Movie Posters.  Seriously though, the Movie is really good.  I've always been a Spider-Man fan- whether the Films were good, bad or alright.  Hell, I'd probably even like that Canon Film that never got made.  The bar was pretty high for me after the last Spider-Man Film.  Thankfully, this Film has all of the tools to hurdle that bar like a mustachioed Track Star from the 1970s.  The Animation is beautiful.  The Film has tons of style.  The Story has lots of heart.  Miles is finally getting his day on the big Screen.  Here's hoping that this leads to more for Marvel's heir apparent.  I love that the Film goes all-in on certain gags and moments.  Seeing the many different styles of the Spider-Man origin being told (see below) is fun.  All of the Voice Cast is great too, from Nicolas Cage parodying Noir dialog to Lily Tomlin as a fun Aunt May.  Besides, after The Mummy, it is nice to see Jake Johnson get some good material!  All joking aside, Comic Fans will (and did) love this Film.  Non-Comic Fans who can appreciate Animation will (and did) love this Film.  Here's hoping for more of this!
A fun Film that could have just phoned it in with great visuals.  It has heart and substance too, taking it to the next level of great.

Lost in Translation: The Big Lebowski

France is famous for its Baguettes.
Italy is famous for Spaghetti.
Germany is famous for those pointy hats (and NOTHING ELSE!!!).

Ghana is famous for its bizarre Posters.  This is no exception.

You're welcome, Coen Brothers...
….right.

So that's...hilarious, but not accurate in the slightest.

The Coen Brothers' Remake of Hard Boiled though- spot on!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Creepy Rigatoni: Channel Zero, The Dream Door- 'You Belong to Me'

Another week and I'm one-step closer to the finale (for good).  I want to get the final one up in February, so let me get through with this one...
In the aftermath of what happened last Episode, the Husband is worried.  He begins to look into the guy's place...
...which is what his Wife is doing too.  Why does he have an old doll that she used to have?
When she finds out the truth, it leads to more revelations and some surprisingly-candid responses.
Will putting him in the hands of the Law turn out well or just bloody-bad?

To find out, watch the Episode (still on Streaming and DVD).
A strong, bloody Episode.  Without SPOILing too much, there's a lot of death in this Episode.  The Season as a whole has been up and down in regards to that.  Maybe I'm just expecting more after Butcher's Block.  Regardless, this Episode definitely has shock value.  They build up nicely from the previous Episodes and all of the reveals to the Characters feel big.  Kudos to the Actors for making these moments worth 4 Episodes of build-up.  It would be easy to under or overdo the moments Acting-wise.  They find a nice balance and everything works.  The make-up work is notable for this Episode with the creature, who has the unenviable task of following the Contortionist/Clown thing.  I have to really give credit to the Camerawork too.  One big moment has other Characters talking while having the Camera pointed right at one guy's intense expression.  With the pullback, we see that he was just staring at another Character very intensely, so we feel what they would.  There's also a nice bit of spinning the Camera which works if done rarely.  This is probably the most intense and freaky Episode (so far), so bear that in mind if you aren't into that kind of thing.  As for me, I'm going to power through to the final Episode with the contents of Sylvester Stallone's fridge...
Next time, the final Episode ever (sad face).  Will they go out with a bloody bang?  See you then...

Friday, February 22, 2019

'80s Trash?: One Dark Night (1983)

A Film about a Dark Night and it features Batman.  This is One Dark Night, a 1983 Film which is not talked about much.  What's not to talk about though?  An undead killer.  Psychic phenomenon.  Teens being stupid in a Horror Film.  Adam West!  Yes, the late Mr. West is here in a small role, supposedly due to a Casting Director hearing about his hard times.  Hey, the check still cleared!  The Film went through some trouble with post-production, delaying a Film that was shot in 1981 to being released in 1983!  The Director and Writer had apparently zero input, so changes were made without their consent.  After Baba Yaga, who's surprised that this still happens?  I'll get into what changes were made in the wrap-up.  The Plot involves a dead Mystic, a complex teenage prank and a person trying to make themselves into the Heroine, despite barely being in the Film!  It starts out weird and then takes FOREVER to get to the good stuff.  Is it worth the wait?  To find out, read on...
A woman has bad dreams about a strange man and a girl.  What does this mean?

I will tell you that this was actually the LAST thing they shot, since the Producers didn't like the original opening.
The Police arrive some time later to find a dead Mystic/Spiritualist in his Apartment...alongside 6 dead girls.  Also the wall is covered in what seem to be objects thrown at it with great force.
Some other time later, the man is interned in a Mausoleum and is grieved by his Daughter.  Also Adam West is here (but he doesn't do much).
That day, they meet a man who worked with the Father.  He tells her that Dad had great powers, but was also a 'psychic vampire.'

West scoffs at the idea (and how tiny his part is!), but she agrees and takes a tape from the man.
In a seemingly-unconnected bit, a trio of High Schoolers called 'Sisters' (no Margot Kidder!) are 'initiating' a new member.  She's dating the ex of the Leader, so this is more about punishment!

They give one more task to her- spend the night in the Mausoleum!
While she's there, the Daughter listens to the tape, which spells out in VERY exact detail what we need to know.

This was expanded for the official release by the Producers and is a tad drawn out.

One other note: this Film was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Low-Budget Horror Film.  It lost to The Evil Dead, which features a similar scene!
Two of the 3 'Sisters' sneak into the Mausoleum to scare her.  They make noises and eventually just rip off The Red Queen Kills Seven Times.
The Mystic rises from you grave and starts to move the bodies around to terrify the girls in his new home.

This apparently kills the two 'Sisters' when he smothers them, though only in the Producers' Cut here.
The Daughter proves more relevant than our Leads (one in constant peril and one angry, but useless) as she uses...sigh...a compact to redirect his bio-energy to kill him.

In the real Cut, our Heroine is possessed (which is clearly set up), but 'Screw that noise,' said the Producers.  The End.
A strange little Film with one big problem- pacing.  My best guess is that they could only squeeze about thirty minutes of really-interesting stuff in there, but still had to reach a certain length.  Hey, it happens!  Some of this can be attributed to which VERSION you watch too, as I already mentioned the Edits/extensions done by the Producers.  I've only seen the Theatrical Version, so I can't say just how much it truly helps though.  If and when I do see it, I'll let you know.  In the meantime, I have to talk about this one.  The Story is just the right amount of silly that you can take seriously.  They just exposition dump that the guy is 'a psychic vampire' and somehow cheated death to gain more power.  They seem to believe it, so you must too!  None of this makes a whole lot of sense if you even stop to think about it for a minute.  The Acting is pretty good, even if it is not consistent across the board.  Some Actors play it perfectly fine as straight- like West and Meg Tilly.  Others play it a bit broadly and are far less effective.  The random Plot elements kind of work together, but really don't hold up much when they are apart.  She's joining the Group that doesn't want her just to prove that she won't quit?  The guy wanted to die to gain more power?  With as little real Plot as they had, they still had to introduce Characters just to set things up.  The guy who tells them about the Dad is a great example, as is a random girl who tells the Boyfriend who to look for.  If you can deal with the slow pace and uneven Story, the final Product is kind of fun.  It's also one of the few Films where you will see someone serve as both the Screenwriter AND Stunt Driver...
Next time, I stay in the 1980s.  Will I unearth a rare gem...or just your dead cat from the backyard?  Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Lost in Translation?: House II- The Second Story

House II is an odd one.

It turns a somewhat-comedic Horror Film into straight-Comedy.  It's a jump that some Films made.

It also made its way over to Asia, where this Thai Poster was found...
Another one of those 'throw everything on it' Posters that seemed to be common over there.

Mind you, we've started doing it now with all sorts of Blockbusters, so I guess they were just trendsetters!

Here's the original...
Whoever found and scanned this had a VERY red-tinted version.  I did my best to balance it out and add some depth.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

'90s Trash: Tobe Hooper's Night Terrors (1993)

As a fan of Tobe Hooper, this makes me sad.  This is Night Terrors, a 1993 Film made by sort-of Canon Films- now with just Globus.  After failing to get a big hit out of his 3-Picture Deal- TCM 2, Lifeforce and Invaders from Mars-, he managed to keep going.  Following some TV work (and Spontaneous Combustion), he ended back with kind-of-sort-of Canon.  Here's how you know that you should be worried- one-time Screenwriter.  Rom Globus is the Co-Writer and one has to assume he's a direct relative of the more famous Globus here.  I can't find records to confirm what relation they may or may not have, but...come on!  The other Writer is more known for Acting...and he's not really known for that either.  He's one of those guys that pops up in random parts in random things and you never remember him.  He did write- and this is true- Homeboyz: Crack City.  No, really.  It has no Plot listed on IMDB and only one Review (they hated it).  This Plot of THIS Film involves a lot of weird things coinciding for no clear reason.  A woman goes to Israel with her Father and it all ties in to a Gnostic Cult.  The other half of the Story inexplicably involves the Marquis De Sade- why not?!?  The whole thing was a mess behind the Scenes, changing Directors and locations before all was said and done.  Save this Film, Robert Englund!  To find out why even he can't, read on...
In Flashbacks, we see the Marquis- Englund- being tortured and enjoying it.  This sure relates to what happens next...
Our Heroine goes to Egypt- actually Israel- to hang out with her Father, who's an Archaeologist looking into some Gnostic Ruins.
Her Dad is busy, so she wanders the Streets.  Some men try to straight up rape her (!!!), but a woman tells them not to...and they do.

Said women hangs out with her and just happens to love the Marquis AND have his Journal.  Reading is for evil Cults!
Our Heroine hangs out with the woman and has weird visions at a party.  She isn't feeling well the next day, but still goes out to see a Desert Horse Race with her friends, because of a Film Wipe.

She passes out, but ends up hooking up with the Racer after more visions.  This Film is like 40% random visions, just narrowly losing out to The Lords of Salem.
More visions.  Nudity.  More visions.  Nudity.

Englund finally shows up in the Present as Mr. Chevalier- he's no Knight!- and he's part of the group that the woman is.  No reason to distrust any of this!
The Dad occasionally shows up.  He finds some ruins and then immediately gets killed.  Yea.
The group make their move by killing the Nanny- Cliché Concerned Religious Maid Character- and capturing our Heroine.  Shockingly, everyone is working against her- even that guy.

He can't be evil- he once rode a Horse while naked!
There's a whole plan involving killing her that somehow connects to De Sade, but who cares?

The woman has a change of heart and frees our Heroine, only to be killed by Englund.
After 80+ minutes, will our Heroine finally save herself?  Nope- random Monks do.

In the Past, De Sade dies.  Glad we cut back to that!  The End.
A weird mess of a Film.  This could have been...interesting.  I was going to say 'great,' but then thought about it.  This Plot involves the Marquis De Sade, Gnostics and a bunch of weird sex dreams.  That is NOT how people describe Casablanca!  There was no way to truly salvage this Film without massive changes.  Tobe Hooper was a really good Director.  Robert Englund is a good Actor.  That's about where the quality really stops.  The Plot is a mess.  The Pacing is terrible.  The constant distraction of the sex visions is bad.  None of this really works.  Could they have been okay with just the flashback parts being expanded?  Yes.  Could they have been okay with just the present-day stuff being expanded?  Yes.  My biggest problem is with how they wrote/treat the Lead Heroine.  Simply put, she's passive and pathetic.  She goes everywhere people tell her to, only makes minor attempts to speak her mind and can't even stand up for herself as things wrap up.  Does she manage to escape on her own?  No.  The woman just feels bad for her and lets her escape.  Does she at least take down Englund- who was already wounded and bleeding out?  Nope.  She's just pathetic and really speaks to bad Writing and maybe something deeper.  Given that Rom only wrote this, I can only judge him by this Film- which doesn't do him any favors!  Night Terrors is not good and, more importantly, is not about me facing ennui while I sleep!  It is, however, full of subtle symbolism that only a Film featuring a naked man riding a Horse could bring you...
Next time, a trip back the '80s.  I can't stay away from that crazy Decade!  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Doom Patrol- 'Pilot'

After a sudden introduction on Titans and then vanishing from the face of the Earth, the Team is back.  There have been some changes from Backdoor to regular Pilot.

Will it succeed or is it, well, doomed?  Let's see...
In 1948, a man- Alan Tudyk- goes to a Nazi in Brazil to get super-powers.

They turn out to be Breaking the 4th Wall, since he's now our sometimes Narrator a la Deadpool.
Decades later, a Racer is nearly-killed and given new life as, well, this robot body.
He lives at a Mansion with a strange Actress and a man covered in bandages.  "Hey, you sound like the guy from White Collar."
We learn that the Actress- aka Elastigirl- was transformed via...something in Africa in the 1950s and hid here ever since, barely-holding herself together- literally!
After we suddenly move to the Present (and past Titans, it seems), Crazy Jane shows up and creates enough chaos in the nearby Town with the group to get attention.
Said attention is from our omniscient Narrator, who appears to have great power...and an odd sense of humor.

What happens next?  Check out the next Episode to find out!
An interesting Pilot, if a bit slow-paced.  The actual Story here could be really interesting.  A man assembles a group of people with powers who don't fit into society.  The problem- the narrative takes an eternity to play out.  All of the marketing shows the group- including Cyborg.  Yeah, he's not in this.  I don't doubt that he will show up, but he's not in the Pilot for the Series.  It feels weird, especially given how much focus DC in general gives to the Character (literally replacing Martian Manhunter with him at first).  If they had picked up the pace a bit, we could have gotten a more clear explanation about Elastigirl and Negative Man too.  He spends 98% of the Episode as a guy in bandages and then BOOM suddenly a power.  That's...not how that is supposed to work.  I like the focus on Robotman, even if they cheat a little bit with his story.  He gets the lion's share of the focus, which is good...to a point.  This could have been a very, very strong Pilot if everyone got a stronger focus.  Instead, they just used Tudyk's Character to add some Narration- a lazy writing trick- to explain everything.  There are TONS of unanswered questions here, but maybe the Series will answer them.  My biggest one- how long has Crazy Jane been around?  They tell Robotman that she 'comes and goes as she pleases,' but this is after we learn that he's been there since 1995!  As a Pilot, this one is stronger than Titans and at least warrants the more morose tone than that Show did/does.  If they can polish the Pacing issues and give everyone more focus, that would be great.  Of course, I'm a Marvel 'Fanboy' who critiques DC (fairly), so I'm sure that some of you are just glaring at me for continuing to (rightly) complain...
A promising start, even if it continues the 'Dark is interesting' thing at DC.  Can anyone be friendly at some point?