Thursday, August 31, 2017

Stan Winston's Wrong Turn

Ah nature. She brings us water, fresh air, forests to burn down at a whim's notice. Helpless creatures to shoot, skin and cook. That being said, today's requested film will keep most of you out of the woods period. Welcome back to the humdinger today is the Stan Winston production throwback flick, Wrong Turn.

Kids, tobacco is wacko if you're a teen.

Directed by Rob Schmidt (Speed of Life, Crime + Punishment in Suburbia, Wrong Turn, The Alphabet Killer, Fear Itself and Masters of Horror episode) teamed up with sensational writers Alan B McElroy (Halloween 4: Return of Michael Myers, Spawn, The Marine, Thr3e, Tekken, The Marine 4: Moving Target, The Perfect Guy and The Condemned 2) giving us a return to yesteryear. A young couple just have to do some mountain climbing, right? I think that is just freehand climbing know what? I don't care. This is just another contrite means of distracting me with either a graphic murder/jump scare or alluding to a jump scare. Too many jump scares, modern horror. STOP THAT. What's that? Boyfriend's rope went slack and he went deathly quiet? Oh he's pulling a prank on me. Tee hee, I left my brain at the bottom of the mountain.

So we are on the road now with Detective Quinn who doesn't like gridlock apparently. A shame he couldn't used his phone to alert him of traffic conditions. The radio does that too, Joey! Taking a quick route to a rural gas station at the corner of rapey gas station and hillbilly banjo playing cliche, Flynn played by Desmond Harrington finds a less traveled gravel path way through the mountains and back to the main overpass. If I was reading it right, it may actually be a decent short cut. Old Man attendant goes back to spacing off and scratching those story line much needed balls as Flynn gets back on the road less traveled in the hopes of getting to California quicker because... yeah I don't remember why he is even going to Cali. Dexter's in Miami, dude.

Next time on Dexter...

Well done. It's only a parked car you slammed right into. Next time drive staring ahead where you are driving instead of out of your upper eye lids. Jagoff. How the hell was that even possible you ask? No clue. Derptity derp derp.

Detective Flynn flies head on into an obviously parked car. Starting to see why Dexter is still running free.
And remember Horror movie rules, people so cell and smart phones are useless. By the by, this almost feels like exploitation territory except the cast clearly has touch ups and decent foundation.

Our collective camping nitwits are out because Jesse (Eliza Dushku of True Lies, Bring it On, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Catwoman, Batman: Year One, Dollhouse Wet and Open Graves) had a bad break up. Psst, Flynn. Rebound sex is possible so don't screw it up by talking. Son of a bitch, he blew it!  4 of our party decide to go further down the road and look for help given they need new tires. Homemade spike strip assured that. Why don't we all go back the road we came from?  Shaddup!  We ain't got time for your logic!  Well why don't we all go together instead of leaving two of us behind??

Don't breathe....and don't fart really loud either.

Time to thin the cast. Cause weed means a horrible person. So a plethora of horrible weapons used to dispatch our fun loving hippy types and I have had no emotional investment in any of them so I am mystified on how I should feel.

Emanuelle Chriqui of 100 Girls, The Steps, Murder in the First, Entourage and Killing Jesus and Jeremy Sisto of Clueless, Hideaway, Ice, Law & Order,Wicked City and Rent Control are commonly tremendous talent but....not so much here. They leap when they should look ,they speak when they should think and die when they could have avoided it altogether.

So what can be said about this film? Well the FX, make-up and what practical effects were made looked awesome. Some of the CGI wipes, additional and green screens weren't bad per say but I have seen better. Story? Don't go camping in the woods, trying to give the Friday the 13th element back to camping or the Jaws theme of going into the water if you will. It took me what felt like ice ages recognizing actors Lindy Booth and Kevin Zegers because I was not a huge fan of the Dawn of the Dead remake.

A retro-gradation story-line that they should have to dropped it in late 80s or early 90s so the cell phone angle a tad more believeable, plus I really wanted to hear one of the cast use gnarly or bitching. Again not a bad film some of the camera effects were a nice touch. I saw an Dario Argento or more specifically Mario Bava influence with a close-up on eyes and mouths. So impressive were the gore effects practical that I felt the CGI slapped them in the face not matching them up.

With Stan Winston Productions handling practical effects, Hillbilly murderer makeup and static wounds, it would almost be a true 70s grindhouse horror if not for modern elements. Hell I say toss it back into the 70s. Music, clothes, lingo and make it just flow naturally, man. Some Three Dog Night in the background. Hell not like you couldn't find a 1974 album or song title for your Horror
Stan oversaw the makeup, appliances and also his company produced this film so you know he didn't just get his hands dirty. More like his arms were chest deep in a man's sternum.

With all these known quantities maybe that is why the actors feel wasted in this flick. Would have been better with a cast of unknowns and maybe either Sisto or Harrington as a state trooper following a missing persons/death statistic rate hunch and stumbles upon the inbred, redneck mountain men.

This way the kids have a cop to hide behind and he plays mentor to instill some hope and courage in them before he nobly sacrifices himself to save their lives a little bit longer. What the crap?

OoOoO a cut above the rest.

I am so writing this script.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rotten Reelz Reviews Audio Review #37: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

In honor of the passing one of the Masters of Horror, I decided to give some love to his first terrifying flick, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre My Audio Review of course.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

John Carpenter's The Fog

Hey folks. I wanted to do a passage on the Funhouse for the passing of Tobe Hooper but I think I will have an audio review for that. So instead let's have a terrifying legend.  A ghost story of a town's past and how it effects the present. This is The Fog.

Our master of horror, John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing, They Live, Prince of Darkness, Village of the Damned and Vampires) gathers us around a fire to tell tale of sailors that gone on the high seas. I mean we open with an eerie piano score and a quote from Edgar Allen Poe.

Well that could be anyone in all that fog. Cub Scouts probably.

Set in North Cali, in a little fishing village called Antonio Bay the town preps to celebrate in centennial as the mayor's aide and official busybody about town, Kathy Williams (Janet Leigh of Touch of Evil, Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate, Starman, Murder, She Wrote, The Twilight Zone and Halloween: H20) has managed to get the whole town in the swing of the upcoming festivities.

The local parish is looking to find records from that time in 1880 on the founding of Antonio Bay. Father Malone (Hal Holbrook of Wild in the Streets, The Brotherhood, The People Next Door, The Great White Hope, Magnum Force, All the President's Men, Lincoln, Midway and Creepshow) is digging into the archives. Meanwhile at night, a strange glowing fog seems to almost engulf the town. With fishermen out to sea and no one has heard from them since they had a near collision with another vessel. 

A pickled preacher and some vino. What could go wrong?

 During all this, the new DJ Stevie Wayne (Adrianne Barbeau of Maude, Creepshow,Swamp Thing, Escape from New York, Diagnosis Murder, The New Batman Adventures and Mad Max) is giving it her all to make your mornings bearable as the piece of driftwood her boy gave her seeps water and speaks through her 8-track and tape deck announcing" Six Must Die," in a ethereal voice.

With more crazy in the night, horns honking, Tvs turning off and on, windows shattering. Da works. Only one thing to do with this level of strange, make like Nick Castle (Tom Atkins of Halloween, Escape from New York, Maniac Cop, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Night of the Creeps, Lethal Weapon, A Stranger Waits and Drive Angry) and pick up a hot hitchhiker like Liz Solley (Jamie Lee Curtis of Halloween, The Fog, Terror Train, Prom Night, Halloween II, Trading Places, Perfect, True Lies and NCIS) whose only crime is wanting to get to Vancouver. Sad really.

 The twosome got a little froggy in the night and then got bombarded by more bizarre phenomena. All this nuttiness started after the stroke of midnight, but our heroes don't need to know that.

Hey!  I never get a hitchhiker that hot. I cry foul.

Nick and Liz charter a boat to hit the Sea Grass and see if they can't find out where the hell all this fog originated. No sooner are they at the vessel it just looked trashed. Like it fell under a tidal wave and all the plankton, moss and water logging could happen, did happen. They also find the crew in mass levels of decomposition that occurs in weeks not hours.

With familiar faces and voices like Charles Cyphers (Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween and Escape from New York)and Darwin Joston (Assault on Precinct 13, Eraserhead, The Fog, Wild at Heart, Hill Street Blues, Coast to Coast and Gunmen's Blues) so I was safe. Best part is both these men could provide exposition and plot point drops and not feel like it got shoe horned in.

A dark ghoulish story of a town wanting nothing to do with a leper colony leading that ship to the jagged rocks leaving them to drown and die.

Sounds pretty damn festive to me. Our collective townsfolk must try to break this horrible curse before all 6 descendants die. Who knows if this even frees their souls? Maybe it will allow them to torment the town for decades to come.

With director/writer John Carpenter tipped his hat to references to Waitely Point and Arkham Reef both used by H.P. Lovecraft in a fair number of his tales. Primarily it was the influence of the The Creeping Eye that helped him pen this dark tale. Still love that the town doctor is named Phibes. Any Vincent Price fan I am aware of has seen The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again. While the main leads Curtis and Barbeau never share screen time with each other, it is rare a male writer knows what the hell to do with an actress aside from making her the femme fatale or clinging love interest. John has shown time and time again, that it isn't that difficult.

My God! She has a cigarette!! Horror movie confirmed!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rotten Reelz Reviews Audio Review #36 Snowbeast

Straight from the clutches of public domain and my ramblings is the audio review found on

It won't bad touch you like YouTube.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Case of Financial Woe Chapter 3

Hey folks!  Sorry for the absence here.  I have really taken a liking to the audio reviews that I have forgotten to post any written work on the blog.  To tide you over, I present the next chapter of The Case of Financial Woe.  Enjoy.   I will also post the audio review on here as well.

Chapter 3

Well I was wondering how long before this happened. I turned off the ride and slid out nice and slow so my large federal officer didn't have any just cause to go for a sidearm or slam me into my car. He looked mid-thirties, clean shaved and crew cut with a tailored suit to conceal his shoulder holster rig. As taunt as the suit was I am certain he didn't have an ounce of body fat to go with it.

Seriously, this guy was solid. "How can I help you, Agent Reynolds?" Reynolds seemed taken back but then realized he just showed me his credentials less than a minute ago. "You can start by dropping this case on one Chet Baker and that will suffice." "Uh huh. Well I don't see that being a problem as I am after a con man name of Raymond Mezrich. Seems he has acquired less than legal holdings which he has laundered through real estate to make it squeaky clean."

Reynolds looked less than happy at this point. "Yes Mr. Malone you will need to leave him alone as well. You are interfering with an ongoing series of investigations and we would urge you to cease all activities in this nature." I scratched my chin noticing Agent No Name circling around my car and peering into it. Not actually taking stock of anything but I don't care for the action.

"Of course I won't be compensated nor will my client be given the satisfaction of seeing this man going to jail. That about right?" Reynolds now looking annoyed, crossed his rolled carpet thick arms and gave me a glare. "Mr. Malone. You have been ordered by a United States official to back off an ongoing investigation or we will have problems." " Agent Reynolds. Are you threatening me with physical violence and/or to my profession?" "I'm saying jackass, walk away from this or I put you in a hurt locker, slap you with fines and make sure your license gets taken away from you. Now your client's name. I need explain why this issue has to be dropped."

I fixed him with a mediocre scowl I usually reserve when the bank teller says I don't have enough funds in my account than they prefer. " My client is confidential, you have no supeona, no probable cause or for that matter any jurisdiction over me and I do not feel inclined to speak on this matter any further. Good day. I moved off my car and Reynolds pushed me back on it, getting up in my face. "Look dammit. I am a Federal officer and everything sneaky bit of peeping you do in your so-called "profession" can be exactly my business if you don't start cooperating." No Name spoke up. "Take it easy, Blake. Kid's just watching out for his client." "Blow me Clarke."

Reynolds swiped his shades off to reveal an extremely pissed off set of steely blue eyes glaring through me as it was supposed inspire either fear of God or just an involuntary need to shit my pants. "Now start talking or I will rain hell down on you, you'll beg to be thrown in jail." I took his massive hands off my jacket, smoothed out the material and shot him the glance I give when my bank's current balance is greater than my available balance. I muttered soft but audibly, "So assault, verbal abuse and threatening my livelihood is supposed to make me roll over? Man you either have no idea with whom you are speaking with or you think that you stride across water. Now back off."

Well that did it as Reynolds swung a fist at my head. I ducked at the last minute letting him punch Detroit steel, darted out of his range and moved around the front of the car. Agent Clarke came up behind Reynolds in a bear hug trying to calm him down. "Jesus Reynolds! Let it go!" Two minutes of this grappling continued and I had enough.

I opened my jacket, slid my phone out, hit stop and send directly to Tom's account.

I smiled almost Chesire like and glared at Reynolds. So stopping to fix my tie, I decided to break the news.

"Well Agent Reynolds, what we have here is a bit of a situation. I left my phone to record with this nifty attached microphone during your "polite" intentions. It is now pointed out your abuse of authority, an attempt at assault and your need to vent your spleen."

Reynolds went slack in Clarke's arms. He looked like he wanted to kick my nuts up into my throat. His mouth started to open but I continued on. "Furthermore this scuffle just got sent to a very shrewd, capable writer who digs dirt until he finds gold. How long will it take him with his various contacts to find out which department you are from, your supervisor and whether or not you have a career afterwards? My humble advice is you already warned me off and that should suffice. Anything else happens is out of your hands." I beamed at him with my smile that can only be used when encountering a hideous baby.

Reynolds, not thrilled with this outcome shrugged Clarke off his arms and walked up to me. I drew my Sig out of my opened jacket. "Don't." Reynolds and Clarke both froze. "I don't normally have to deal with anyone on this level but I won't trust a damn thing you do or say. Back up and go around the car. I don't aim this at you unless you come a step further." Reynolds went with a feral gaze. "And how will you explain gunning down two federal officers, Mr. Malone?" I replied coldly, "If all things go as I asked, I will never have tell that tale. Last warning, back off Reynolds."

Not completely able to gauge my skill versus they're being 8 feet away, the boys kept their hands down and circled the car slowly. True to my word, I didn't aim or cock the hammer back as they went down the street. "You won't get away with this," Reynold felt the need to fire at me. "Well I'm the guy that was harassed by law enforcement, my lawyer would have a field day with this batch of legal nasties. You've made your point, Reynolds. Now I invite you to leave."

Clarke put Reynolds in the passenger seat after clearly chastising him. What was said I didn't heard but the general vibe was shut up and get in the car. I point the Sig back on the hip holster, glad I didn't have to use it but damn if that wasn't close. Whatever Mezrich was into has enough people worried that a guy that probably isn't this high strung just lost his cool in a big rush. So now becomes the question: Do I stay the course or do I return my client's money and walk away?

I don't like disappointing my clients but sometimes life isn't a gritty Raymond Chandler novel. The Lincoln pulled out and they were off. Presumbly to fix this mondo clusterfuck of an event and smooth things over with their boss. I failed to mention to them both I already knew they were U.S. Marshals with Witness Protection. I thought depriving them of that particular detail might put them at ease. About an hour from now their higher up is going to invite me over for some polished ass kissing seen only from James Spader's performance in Maniquin.

Steady to course, Jake. You know you don't have to behave the way they want you to but you got to tread these waters carefully. Chances are they were tailing him and not me so they haven't any bugs or tails on me so far. Nevertheless I headed back into the office to burn Baker's greatest hits on a thumb drive and hide in my safe. I called Ms Dietrich and gave her the whole story. I told her if she wanted to give this still a go then I will and how I do such will she would not be privvy to that information. The less she knows, the less the feds can climb into her ass about. Rule #1: Protect the client.

After about two minutes pause she finally agreed that I continue on. I thanked her for the blessing and informed her I would be in touch. She decided I might need some discretion funds and will have a courier sent to deliver it personally. Smart, lovely, available and wealthy. Why can't I ever meet that unprofessionally?

Forty minutes ticked by at the office and of course I got a ring from Tom. "So this on the level?" "Hi to you too, Tom. Oh I'm fine and how are you?" "Dude you answered the phone so you are not dead, in jail or maimed. Is this on the level?" "Yes and no. The agent in question was so enraged he couldn't think or see straight. A lot is riding on Baker's testimony I think and some serious fish are looking to get netted. Baker isn't satisfied with the terms so the Marshals are probably massaging out those details or they will cut ties altogether"

Tom sighed. "So nothing beyond what we know already then?" "Bro I don't even know who he'd be ratting out in the first place. So quid pro qo?" Tom smiled with a pleasant voice of the cat that got the canary, "Okay ace detective. You remember a fellow by the name of Eduardo Montoya?" I about crapped my pants. Tom got worried. "Bro you still there?" I gulped and shakely said, "Yeah that name does ring a bell or two. Fuck. So this grease stain could bring the Montoyas down with what he knows?" "That's the skuttlebutt." Tom replied. Oh my God. That whole syndicate squashed due to a lowly employee giving testimony could mean less headaches for say, John Bishop but would also cut down on heroin import and export in L.A., New York and Paris.

"Okay so they have a lot riding on this and yet still no follow through which leads me to believe that something's hinky." Tom scoffed. "That the professional P.I. Terminology? Hinky? Seriously man welcome to 2017." I slouched in my chair, dropping my feet up on the desk. "Well only us hard boiled detectives know the ins and outs of hinky. Sorry kid, but you need your license before I can devulch such secrets." Tom sounded like he snorted sweet tea through his nose. "Dammit. On my good suit too." I chuckled. "Send me the cleaning bill."

Tom distracted from probably dabbling his tie, "Okay so two marshals warned you off and you are on the QT about it. You promise to throw me an exclusive if this gets hot?" I mulled it over. I can't go blurting out my client's name and have it dragged through the mud but I know Tom. He knows how to keep the facts compartmentalized so why the hell not.

"Yeah but again the names will be changed to protect the innocent." I could almost hear his eye rolled as he spoke, "Dude you really need to update your DVD collection. Well I have a deadline. I will talk later. Watch your ass, man." "I always try but I don't bend that way. Later skater."

Putting the phone down I have to wonder what god I annoyed to drop me into this potential meat grinder again. I swear there is this vindictive writer scrolling my life and doesn't throw enough sex with my violence. Didn't see the Montoya angle and frankly that scared the shit out of me. I am already in enough hot water with these people the last time. Apparently selfies with a lieutenant of a crime outfit as he is getting hauled off is not good business. There have been no bomb shaped parcels at my doorstep and I haven't had a visit from a burly dude with a ballbat fixing to bash my skull and/or kneecaps. Still it is food for thought.

Speaking of food, I think it's time for some. I stop wallowing in my office waiting for the aforementioned ass kissing call. I had a craving for red meat and at this hour only one chain will do. Say whatever you will about the dangers and health risks of fast food. Americans love it like any other vice. Smoking, drinking, unprotected sex, Hell even drugs. We can't get enough of it. I mean it's not as though we are all self-destructive but every so often you have to say the hell with the rules and good intentions, have some greasy food dammit. I have friends that simply don't get my next destination. You have the lovers of the golden arches or the cats that swear and worship the king but for my money and more importantly my palette, I'm hitting Jack-in-the-Box. A couple of cheeseburgers, curly fries and a chocolate milk shake will take me right out of my funk.

No sooner I got back to my office, arms full of my ill-gotten greasy heaven the phone rings. I check caller ID and it's a protected number. Screw it then. I am having lunch. Let messenger service pick it up. The aroma of the burgers are making my mouth water. I plunk down on my chair and start opening a container. And they left off the tomato. Maybe the day is perking up.

A half hour later from my veritable feast of doom I am sipping my milkshake and taking my time through the curly fries. My God, even the seasoning on them are just so. I check my service to find at least three messages. Apparently the call I let go straight to it wasn't the only one. I'm a detective. I notice these little details. All three calls hail from a gentleman slowly getting annoyed calling himself director in charge Special Agent Charles Gruber. I'm picturing him in my head and I keep coming back to the principal from Back to the Future, waiting for him to call me slacker.

Dusting my hands off on one of the far too many napkins, I take down that he is concerned for his agents and wants to have a sit down with me. How nice. Meanwhile couldn't these same people give me a fake ID and shuffle me off to Buffalo? I start scratching my beard I forgot to shave again for the third day. Hey I've been busy. I grab the reciever and stab at the numbers letting a belch out I didn't even know was building up. Thank God no one has answered the phone yet.

On the third ring the same pinched nasal voice that left me my delightful messags answers. "Special Agent Gruber. Is that you Mister Malone?" I stiffled a snicker. "Yes it is, Special Agent Gruber and what can I do for you? Wife sneaking out at odd hours?" You could almost hear his eyes narrowing as he spoke. "I am in no mood for leviety, Mr. Malone. Now then I wish to discuss a very sensitive manner but I would rather not do this over the phone." "Uh-huh. And would the nature of this discussion bare anything on the future of an agent and your very department recieving a rather huge black eye?" Gruber sounded like he swallowed a small bug. "Now hold on young man, there's no need for threats." "First off, I'm not that young. Second, I don't like my person, my job or my clients threatened by anyone, badge or no badge."

Gruber sounded antsy. "Well I understand there was a bit of a situation that was not handled the best and on behalf of the..." I cut in. "Save it. I am in no mood for half-assed apologies or some pandering to my better nature speech. Your agent was out of control so much his own damn partner had to restrain him."

Gruber shoots back with I guess he thought was a commanding authority. "And I understand you pulled a firearm on two federal officers in the line of duty. Have you any idea of the trouble you are in, young man?" Oh enough of this shit. "Again, not a young man. If I were, I would have been piss scared, discharged my firearm and would be in custody trying to explain I was afraid for my life. Furthermore I am sure that Agents Reynolds and Clarke both failed to mention that at no point in time was the gun chambered or even aimed at them. It was dicey and eerie as Hell but we all got through it." I let that sit in the ether for a minute noting that Gruber clearly did not know that little tidbit.

Gruber started burbling and I cut him off again. "I would also point out I have a crisp audio recording of Agent Reynolds' misdeeds and as many digital copies I could copy in 2 hours and you would be amazed how many of those are handed to trusted friends in local law enforcement as well as federal so do try this prick waving contest with me. I'm sure your superiors, Hell your deputy director alone will love how this pans out." "Are you threatening a federal officer, son?" I sighed. "Nope I am just going to hang up and place a call to Washington to the US Marshals Service under WitSec. So I guess we are done here."

Gruber jumped in immediately, "Wait a goddamn minute! How the hell do you know those agents are even connected to Witness Security? Did they publicly announce this to you?" "You really want to quibble over details, Agent Gruber? Fine. No they did not identify themselves as Witness Security nor did they identify themselves as US Marshals so their metaphoric balls are in a sling one way or the other. Now unless you want to hash this out at the big boys table, this conversation is over. Ball's in your court, old man."

Yeah I shouldn't have added that last bit but dammit the young man comments were pissing me off. I felt the need to vent my spleen a little. 30 seconds have gone by and I feel the need to hang up when Gruber finally came back to the line. "Alright, you will have to come in so we can go over this with a fine-tooth comb. Now I can send you a car and.." Again he must think I am slow.

"Yeah, that's not going to happen. I am going nowhere an disgruntled former Marine is going to be. So I tell you what, Gruber. You're more than welcome to toodle on down to my office where I don't have to sit in an interrogation room for undisclosed hours on it getting grilled by people that should be just doing their jobs and not busting my hump." Gruber came back pissed. "Look here. This is not a negotiation, Malone." "Good" I piped back. "Because you have no leverage, anything to offer me or any wiggle room. Your boy screwed up and as his supervisor it is on your head."

I was getting annoyed. I'm tired and I haven't slept well this week and clearly it is making me punchy. Of course it could also be that I am tired of people trying to cover their asses regardless of the noble intentions behind that. "Okay you want to meet. It will be public and no black sedans and SVUs waiting for me. I am in no mood for your cloak and dagger bullshit." "You just said your office!" Gruber shot back. "I did." I said. "Then I came to my senses. You can meet me at Broadway Mall by the Fuddruckers. 4 o' clock. No bullshit or this goes viral."

Gruber gets huffy again. "You don't think I can't have your office and apartment tossed?" I rolled my eyes. "With a warrant of probable cause and it's lunch hour, yeah you could get a judge but it will take some time. I have contacts in the press that can make this print in less than 12 hours. Hell if I feel particularly cranky it goes up on the net, off to folks with anti-government standings. I bet I can find a few bloggers to make it circulate in a matter of minutes. Understand me when I say I won't be happy if I get messed with any further, Gruber. 4 o'clock and don't be late."

I slammed down the phone. See, you don't get that same effect from your smartphone unless you aren't worried about cracking the screen. Did I push him too far? How much is riding on this Montoya case? Could this be the final nail in that prick's coffin, let alone his whole organization? How much dirt could a punk like Baker actually have on Montoya?

I rocked back in my chair mulling it over. It just don't add up. Look, I am a fairly bright guy and I can't piece this together. I'm not saying only I could do that but I should be able to get my head around this.

A knock at my outer office door. I went for the Sig in hand and asked whoever to come in. Through the peep hole I can make out three figures in dapper suits and one Eduardo Montoya.

Yeah this day can officially kiss my ass.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Flighty Features: Hercules and the Lost Kingdom

In a time when the gods were petty and cruel. When the world was young and simple folk tried to mount attacks against the rain. Hey folks I thought I would pop in a fun TV movie of the Action Pack 90's years. No it isn't more Tekwar. Only four of those and I think I covered them all. Nope this time around we journey through the lands of New Zealand with Kevin Sorbo. This is Hercules and the Lost Kingdom.

Damn coffee kicked in.

Herc in a small town just attempting to enjoy fresh stew gets attacked by a massive giant. By attacked I mean mocked outright, kicked across a courtyard and mocked further. The giant was a bit of a dick. Herc gives him whatfor bringing the giant down and laying him out with a haymaker. After that fun smackdown, the villagers wish to put up a shrine or give tribute as they do with all the gods but Herc graciously turns them down and heads for his meal. Hera, darling stepmother and queen of the gods has been smiting messengers from the city of Troy not allowing them to return and claim their kingdom. One messenger finally gets to our hero and begs for his help. A confab with Zeus as he tells Herc to forget about it, maybe worship once in a while at Hera's temple to smooth things over. Yeah because it is Herc's fault Zeus got randy and had how many kids?

Seriously though the whole walking to every village, town and kingdom thing gets tedious even in the series. Dude! Buy a horse! Buy several! Get a wagon! Covered and with a mattress for snoozing.

Hooded Monk of Groove Town.

Herc sets out to his new quest when he comes across a gathering of people praying to the water god. I guess saying Posideon means they get a flood? Posssibly an adventure. Their human sacrifice Denaira (Common name apparently as both Renee O Connor and Tawny Kitaen both had it) is saved by the demigod as he warns the villagers these offerings do not interest most of the gods and just simply tells them to irrigate their land. Yup waste some prayers on selfish beings or improve your farming techniques, brohan. Also consider cross cropping (changing the particular crop with another to enrich the soil).

Denaira follow Hercules convinced her destiny is linked with him as they are off to find Troy. A kingdom shrouded by a illusion veil or Hera simply moved it. She's kind of crafty that way.

Traveling to Troy they have need of a magic compass that will lead them to Troy itself. A mysterious robed monk keeps watching out for Denaira and speaks of her destiny. A previous eunuch/slave Waylon journeys with Hercules after the big guy tossed around a few shakedown artists i.e. Thugs run a protection racket.

A Bob Clampett CartOOoOooon!!!

Herc and Denaira get as far as the ridge to an ocean face when a giant sea serpent (insert Benny & Cecil joke) swallows them whole. With a Jonah and the Whale story happening the two are separated as Herc proceeds to punch his way through the serpent. Well damaging it enough to release them. With getting to land finally Denaria meets her destiny that has long been withheld from her. She's...a princess? Hmm I thought she was supposed to hang out with another brunette of awesome power and a round killy thing (Chakram! God bless you!). Oh wait, that's Gabrielle.

With meeting the displaced people of Troy they for some reason cannot go back to their home because the king refused to sacrifice his only daughter to the blue sea serpent. Saaaay... that same creature they just escaped from?? Kooky coincidence???

So what can be said of this TV movie. Well the graphics were cutting edge in its day. Our cast is pretty top notch and who can disagree with New Zealand for a gorgeous setting? Anthony Quinn as Zeus was always a treat. Flirting with girls and women vastly younger than him.

Though I did laugh at the monks. The Blue Cult. The Order of the Blue Serpent I am guessing is better name. Looked like Foot Clan with rubber ghoul masks and duo swords. Cue the M.C. Hammer music!!!

Yeah I am goofing. Overall it is a fun sci-fi fantasy story for all ages. Yes you can plunk young ones down and enjoy with them. 

Jeez my pecs are sweaty.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Meh Movies: Prey of the Jaguar

Hey there. Finishing the Meh Movies we have a story of revenge, avenging the dead and an Australian man wearing an outlandish costume. No not Chris Hemsworth. Not everything is Chris Hemsworth. Sheesh, you people. No instead we have a former Spec Ops soldier avenging the death of his wife and son in an costume that would have made M.A.N.T.I.S. feel off. This is Prey of the Jaguar.

Umm grrr. hiss, hiss.

Well noted prisoner Damien Bandera (Trevor Goddard of Nowhere Man, Yesterday's Target, Fast Money, Mortal Kombat, Assault on Devil's Island, Deep Rising, Babylon 5 and JAG) has to be transferred and you know it is a good budget when I notice the tags for the men's names are done up in Sharpie magic marker. I am not kidding. No velcro tags for this boys, it's Sharpie or nothing.
 Looks like they stole a bus bench and bolted it in a Ecoline 350. Solid transport for the villain. I was amazed the lights worked on it. With his collective cadre of over the top henchmen, they proceed to drop the 4 man team and move the transport and rescue their boss. One prison guard announces to his former partner he is scum in such an ridiculous fashion. Sadly he was only two days to retirement. My bad by the by, as Trevor Goddard is not the hero but the villain and further oops as he is English not Australian. My humble apologies for the presumptions.

Credits rolls as we are treated to a rotoscoped Master Ninja training montage.  MASTER NINJA THEME SONG!!!   I guess we can expect a white ninja to the likes of Franco Nero only many times less cool. You ain't Django, Maxwell Caulfield.   Former Special Operations Agent Jason Sheppard/Derek Leigh (Maxwell Caulfield of Grease 2, The Colbys, Dazzle, The Nanny, Empire Records, Sundown: Vampire in Retreat, Smut, Eragon, Cry of the Winged Serpent and NCIS) is blissfully unaware of the impending doom of his family as notorious Damien is a free man. He gabs with the pregnant wife and even chatters with his imaginative son about a superhero costume he had Mom make for him he devised for his own. Talk of retirement, Leigh is made aware that Bandera is loose by his former Commander (Stacey Keach of Mike Hammer P.I., Raw Justice, Caged Seduction, Texas, Young Ivanhoe, Escape from L.A., The Pathfinder, Future Fear, American History X, Titus and Icebreaker) visits him, gives him the skinny and assures him that he is not known by Bandera being alive and well. Yet he felt the need to drop this news in person.


At his worksite, Tanaka and Bandera make their way through a few workboys leaving a trail of bodies meet up with Leigh and feels the need for exposition as Bandera establishes he killed Leigh's wife and son off-screen. Well at least we were spared that. Shooting Leigh in the chest with a flask in his pocket saved his life.

Meanwhile detectives Cody Johnson (Linda Blair of The Exorcist, Exorcist II: The Heretic, Hell Night, Chained Heat, Savage Streets, Bad Blood, Grotesque, Silent Assassins, Witchery, Nightforce, Sorceress, Scream and Supernatural) Roger Bentley (Tom Badal of Love Streams, Out on Bail, I,Madman, Destination Vegas, Treasure of the Black Jaguar and The Miracle) are hot on the case with only 3 weeks to retirement. Yeah it is an old gag. I'll drop it. Love how Bentley fired up a stogie on the crime scene. I'm sure that won't contaminate evidence whatsoever.

Leigh pops awake (No broken bones from his swan dive or ribs cracked from close range gun shot) and takes Johnson and Bentley's unmarked fleeing home for his big NOOoOOOOOooOO speil that all avenging heroes get to do at least once.

Mood lighting and dry ice means I'm in the netherworld, sweetie.

Hell I am still trying to get past his cheesy mustache. It looks like it was spirit gummed on his face. With nowhere to turn, Leigh visits an old weaponsmith/mechanical engineer he saved and has his suit made by him. Such technological marvels like a weighed and balanced throwing knife which I though was going to go through Caulfield's hand if he fumbled it. Apparently he builds weapons for the "Organization" now and is supposed to give Leigh the brush off.

The clandestine organization didn't realize the platonic love they share or possibly he was bored.

With the help of Master Yee (John Fujioka of American Ninja, Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes, Martial Law, Father Dowling Mysteries, The Road Raiders, Paint it Black, Freddy's Nightmares, Friday's Curse, The Munsters Today, American Samurai, Mortal Kombat, Wirehead Sega CD and Walker, Texas Ranger)giving Leigh a refresher course and hopefully months in his montage set him on his path, Leigh is ready to become...the Jaguar.

Evil or swarmy?  Only you can be the judge.

With Master Yee's blessing every cliche has been managed. The one-liners, the non-lethal attacks, the former warrior made up with peace must take up arms again. God's sake I was waiting for him to be in a Soviet copter blasting rockets at a Vietcong outpost.  Film flubs of composite armor's plastic restraint decoupled, the shoulder pads constantly bounce upward because they are not fastened to his arms, the crossbow probably beating a tattoo into his back as he ran and the stripped face paint was a bit much. It does look better than the Ultimate Warrior granted but not nearly functional as the film wants you to believe.

Director David DeCoteau (Shrieker, Puppet Master III, Curse of the Puppet Master, Voodoo Academy, his 1313 franchise, Blonde Heaven, Beach Babes 2: Cave Girl Island and Petticoat Planet) had his hands full with this. Looked similar some of the DC Comics superheroes of the 90s and I was entertained but not in the sense of action packed fun. So it was unintentionally funny.

Even my cheesy mustache can't cheer me up.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Meh Movies: The A-Team

Welcome back to what can be described as Meh Movies. These are the films that didn't wow me, impress me, have a huge impact or I am so shell shocked from crappy flicks my nerve endings don't work right anymore. Today's film has an amazing cast but it just didn't gel as well as Top Cow Productions would like you to think. Top Cow?? As in the comic book productions via Image Comics. No wonder the story left me unfulfilled. Writer/penciller/executive producer Marc Silvestri of (Witchblade, The Darkness, X-Men 1989-1992) places writer/producer Glen A. Larson's (A-Team, Riptide, Knight Rider, Battlestar Galatica, The Fall Guy, Automan, Manimal and NightMan) dishonorably discharged Special Forces Unit Vietnam vets into Special Forces Unit Iraq vets convicted of a crime they never committed. Giant leap there. This is The A-Team.

Someone's excited for The Defenders.

Operational Detachment Alpha is under the careful eye of Colonel Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson of Miami Vice, High Spirits, Darkman, Rob Roy, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Haunting, Batman Begins and Taken) bailing his subordinate out of trouble in Mexico, a smart but reckless Lt. Face (Bradley Cooperof Nip/Tuck, All about Steve, The Hangover, Limitless, The Words, Hit and Run, American Sniper and Guardians of the Galaxy) attempting to nab a corrupt general with limited success. Hannibal stops a young man name of Bosco B.A. Barracus (UFC Quinton "Rampage" Jackson of Death Warrior, Hell's Chain, Fire with Fire, Vigilante Diaries, See Dan Run and Boone: The Bounty Hunter) and convinced him to aid his friend. After nabbing a burnt, loopy but not completely fried pilot Murdock (Sharlto Copley of District 9, Elysium, Maleficent, Chappie, Powers and Free Fire) to get them under way. 8 years later they are 80 missions in and its 80-0.

You know I trained Batman, right?

One last gig to take printing plates of the Yankee dollar in Iraqi hands so the boy are planning a strike to capture the plates, printing press, the whole damn thing.  A merc team and a CIA prick left them in the wind and the boys are looking at federal time in the big house via Gitmo. OoOoOor....they can pick themselves up, find the fore-mentioned pricks and the plates.  6 months in max security the boys are still being ready waiting and planning. Hannibal has a few plans, strategies, a tactical rough outlines and manages a few clever ideas.

Mexico or Arizona? Meh, it's a lot of desert.

Now the action is decent, the locations well done, and the dark humor is balanced with the characters. The problem with all the plane stunts, fistfights, gunfights and mass explosions. The story isn't bad but some of the dialogue is lacking. Admittedly Cooper screaming" Get some bitch!" I really wanted to hear Rocket Raccoon screaming that while blasting an unfeasibly large gun in his disturbingly human like paws.

Action-packed scenes worthy of a Jason Bourne flicks, well rehearsed fight choreography, some full on Gun Fu but I found the overall cliffhanger based on fantasy, action and actual military terminology. It is over the top, loud and obnoxious male. You know, an action movie but PG-13?? Ugh. Now I understand the notion of using nostalgia against the thirty to forty something crowd, hell we have been down this road since the first Mission: Impossible flick.  I still think this was well-executed and diverting entertainment. I wasn't bowled over by it but it almost didn't bore me to tears.

A good actress relegated to being Face's eyecandy. Classy.

Patrick Wilson forced to be such a douche. Did love Pike and C.I.A. Kyle with the frickin' issues with putting a damn supressor on a pistol. I about cried laughing. Not a brilliant film but not bad either. Worthy of a sequel but apparently the numbers weren't high enough. Cooper and Copley were even talking pay cuts for a sequel but the concept got tanked. Clocking in at 2 hours and 13 minutes is the extended version and YES go watch it.   PG-13 version/theatrical?? Meh.

FYI, Jessica Biel was totally wasted in this movie as a hard ass bureaucrat/Face's love interest.  She deserved better.  She has some range and acting chops.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Meh Movies: Zombie'90: Extreme Pestilence

And we are back folks. Yeah I am reviewing Zombie '90.  Sorry Zombie '90: Extreme Pestilence.

 Yeah plenty of you requested this Andreas Schnaas festivities. I am beginning to think you people hate me. I cannot for the life of me fathom why anyone wants this viewed or needs me to crack jokes at this. Just listen to the audio track in English. It's...kind of like comedy. Okay we've put this off long enough.  Ah yes those zany government types with no safety procedures and check systems. A secret C-17 cargo plane crashes into a dense forest after being up in the air for maybe 20 minutes.  You know they crashed because of the fade to black screen wipe.   Translation: We didn't have a budget for a mock plane crash.  Sheesh, scale model it and go to Hobby Lobby for some model planes to blow up with a firecracker while quarter cranking the film.    

 Why, it's a wonder that IBCMs don't just launch themselves all willy nilly under the government's watch.  Hmm he may have meant Ze Germans.

Damn, Trumpcare got hard core.

Well that's definitely a hospital. You have established that. Well done, movie. We cut to a doctor handling the infection of zombie but not officially called that as they have yet to determine this. By the way, when I look at this man I have to admit I wouldn't have seen Samuel Faux Jackson for his voice. Just doesn't pop immediately in my head. Doctor Berns and his assistant immediately are attacked by the very patient that died on their table but thankfully Berns is packing a Luger. In case Blue Cross doesn't cover the procedure obviously. Couldn't afford the muzzle flash? Just cut away to sound effect and FX bladder.

Sheesh shot him right into the credits. I'm not even kidding. I've seen low budget indies but they were ten times more professional and better edited. Oh that's the problem, the Violent Sh*tters Hamburg edited. Trips to the can made by two guys suffering from dysentery made it impossible to cut this properly. They had Hardee's bacon deluxe no doubt.

My God...the sheer numbers.

Car trouble and Leatherface is prowling the woods with a hard on chainsaw? Now the zombies understand melee weapons and power tools? Why not.

Berns and assistant carry a dead body to study of its reanimating issues. They carted a dead body in a hatchback. Didn't anyone know at least one EMT? Shocking this adventure goes awry as the zombie attacks them but the valiant doctors manage to bust a cap in his ass.

Berns is convinced that this has to do with the plane crash the government has been covering up and the toxic chemicals released in the immediate area...the area about 40 miles out or how ever many klicks. I had no idea that house painting smocks and gas masks equate Hazmat suits. They both check out the site and just start poking things randomly and the dialogue is astounding.
 High tech analysis with a volt meter tells us zombies afoot. Yeah a volt meter. Guess a PK meter prop was hard to build. Couldn't have bought one on Ebay I guess.

That can't be good for her back.

This wide spread contagion is...well a few zombies here and there.
Burns still packing his rod has to smoke zany assistant.  Thank Christ.   I wanted to murder him and blame it as he was turning into a zombie a half hour prior.  Voice was so shrilly.

Oooo new characters.  Will we have scintillating dialogue, meaning and in depth looks into the human psyche? Course not, Schnaas films don't have time for that sh*t.   Besides he had to go take a dump.   His words.   Never go outdoors to piss or the self proclaimed dump. You will die.   By penetrating  Jason Vorhees demon worm??  Okay that one was different.  

It wouldn't be a Schnaas film without some good old fashioned genital mutilation.  Bet you're glad I skipped mentioning or showing that in the audio review.

Doctor Burns just starts taking these undead mothers down. Well you ain't Ash of Evil Dead or Reggie from Phantasm. Hell you're not even Captain Rhodes, buddy!

Burns stumbles and bumbles down a hill and I think is knocked unconscious as we are treated to I guess a dream sequence. The audio is painful as most of the dubbed actors weren't miked worth a damn, some sound like their in a booth, others sound like they are in a hallway.  I would dare say that footage of the C-17 cargo plane was probably along the fence line and illegally obtained.

To give credit, aside from Nikos the Impaler this is the first Schnaas film with a plot, some characters to go with the gore effects. The downside is... it was made. Okay that is all I got and I am out.

Failed hybrid clone of Steve Buscemi and Clint Howard.