Showing posts from March, 2014

The Tall Man's Reign of Terror Continues in Phantasm V: Ravager

Of all the sequels that are scheduled for release next year, one took me completely by surprise--Phantasm V: Ravager, the long-awaited final installment of Don Coscarelli's bizarre horror series that began way back in 1979.

News of the sequel first appeared last week, although Coscarelli has stated that Ravager has quietly been in production for the last two years. Five main cast members from the original movie will be in the sequel, including Angus Scrimm as the enigmatic Tall Man, although Coscarelli has handed the director's chair over to animator David Hartman. According to Coscarelli, Ravager will feature a few surprises for the fans and a trip to the Tall Man's home world, wherever (or whenever?) that may be. With this being the final entry, I hoping that we’ll at least see a brief cameo by James Le Gros, the alternate Mike from Phantasm II (1988).

Even though Ravager has completed production, nothing has been said yet about the exact date of its 2015 release or how …

Five Indiana Jones Crossovers I'd Like to See

Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm and announced the production of a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, rumors have been circulating about the fate of Lucasfilm's other hot property: Indiana Jones. Some say that Harrison Ford's return to the Star Wars franchise was contingent upon him returning to the role of Indy in at least one more movie, while others believe that the next Indiana Jones film will be a reboot with a younger actor sporting the familiar Fedora-and-whip combo. Regardless of what ultimately happens to everyone's favorite pulp archeologist, here are five Indiana Jones crossovers that I would like to see. Click below to see my wish list, arranged according to personal preference.

Body Horror Gets Grafted to Pulp Crime Drama in American Mary (2012)

As horror subgenres go, body horror is a tough nut to crack. At its best, body horror explores the dysfunctional nexus between humanity's abstract concept of self and the imperfect, messy nature of organic existence. Unfortunately, portraying this confused, distraught and sometimes psychotic relationship in a cinematic narrative is far from easy, since the physical dimension of body horror (i.e., gore, decay and disfigurement) is much easier to depict than the psychological; hence, many filmmakers explore body horror through more mundane and straightforward plot structures. Such is the case of American Mary, a 2012 Canadian horror film that was written and directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska. Click below for my complete review.

Home 3D Moves Ahead with LG LED Passive 3D HDTVs

When it comes to home 3D entertainment, the Mrs. and I have fallen on hard times. Our Vizio 3D HDTV shorted out a while back and we didn't have the money to get it completely repaired; thus, while we were able to get the picture back, it would've cost us an extra few hundred to get the part of the TV fixed that sends the 3D signal out to the active 3D glasses. We loved having our high-definition screen back, but our 3D glasses and 3D Blu-ray discs began to collect many layers of dust because there was no way to use them.

I've seen many attempts to transfer 3D entertainment over to television and for a very long time, most of them were spectacular failures. When I was growing up during the '80s and cathode ray tube (CRT) TV sets ruled the world, I remember several attempts on both network and syndicated television to provide 3D content through a passive anaglyph (i.e., red and blue) format. Unfortunately, even the best efforts were only intermittently successful, since C…

Hokey Filipino Exploitation Flicks Get the Spotlight in Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010)

Low-budget filmmaking has been around for as long as people have been making films, and such cost-cutting movies usually feature subject matter that is often regarded as exploitative as a way to secure a profit despite a shoestring budget. Yet not all cheapjack exploitation flicks come from the same place, a fact that is emphasized in the 2010 documentary, Machete Maidens Unleashed!

I recently saw Machete Maidens through Netflix's on-demand service and it provides a lighthearted overview of grindhouse exploitation films from the late '50s up to the early '80s that were made in the Philippines during the rule of Ferdinand Marcos. As the official Machete Maidens site proclaims, "Boasting cheap labour, exotic scenery and non-existent health and safety regulations, the Philippines was a dreamland for exploitation filmmakers whose renegade productions were soon engulfing drive-in screens around the globe like a tidal schlock-wave!"

Machete Maidens contextualizes where t…

The Busts and Model Kits of B-Movie Creature Features (Part 3 of 3): Alien Invaders

In this final post of my three-part series devoted to fan-made creature feature busts and model kits, we'll be taking a look at items based on alien invasion movies.

If you’re interested in picking up a B-movie creature feature bust or model kit for yourself, I've found some places online where you can learn more about these kinds of products. The Amazing Figure Modeler magazine site has links to artists and companies that specialize in creature feature stuff, as well as tips for model making in general. The Monster Model Review site also features links to bust and model artists and companies, as well as video reviews of various kits. For additional pictures of B-movie creature feature busts and model kits, you can check out sites such as The Doctor’s Model Mansion and The Garage Kit Model Gallery of Monster Jones.

The prices of B-movie creature feature busts and model kits are more expensive than reissues of classic Aurora monster model kits, with prices frequently ranging fr…

The Busts and Model Kits of B-Movie Creature Features (Part 2 of 3): Dinosaurs and Monsters

In this second post of my three-part series devoted to B-movie creature feature busts and model kits, we'll be taking a look at items based on dinosaur and monster movies.

I'm not well-versed in the history of fan-made busts and model kits within the horror and sci-fi fandom. I suspect that it probably has much to do with the "monster kid" culture fostered by Forrest J. Ackerman and his Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, as well as Aurora's model kits from the '60s and '70s that were based on popular monsters such as Dracula, the Mummy, and Frankenstein's Monster; as such, what fascinates me the most about the kits is the wide selection of films they cover. The creature features depicted by these items range from classics to cult classics to the very obscure, and almost all points in between. (For example, I even found a kit based on a TV movie from 1972 named Gargoyles.) Some of them represent instances of practical effects at their finest, such as…

The Busts and Model Kits of B-Movie Creature Features (Part 1 of 3): Big Bugs and Mad Science

Throughout the decades, horror and sci-fi fans have shown their appreciation of their favorite titles and franchises in a number of ways: customized action figures, cosplay, fan fiction, fan clubs, and so on. This three-part series of posts will focus on one particular form of fan devotion: fan-made busts and garage kits.

According to Wikipedia, "A garage kit or resin kit is an assembly scale model kit most commonly cast in polyurethane resin. ... Originally garage kits were amateur-produced and the term originated with dedicated hobbyists using their garages as workshops. Unable to find model kits of subjects they wanted on the market, they began producing kits of their own. As the market expanded, professional companies began making similar kits. Sometimes a distinction is made between true garage kits, made by amateurs, and resin kits, manufactured professionally by companies. ... Because of the labor-intensive casting process, garage kits are usually produced in limited number…

There's a Mutant Fungus Among Us in Matango (1963)

Given how much Ishiro Honda has contributed to the horror film subgenre of kaiju flicks, it's easy to forget some of the other top-notch horror films that he made throughout his career. Case in point: Matango, Honda's surreal mood piece from 1963 that was loosely adapted from the short story "The Voice in the Night" by William Hope Hodgson.

Matango tells the story of the crew of a luxury yacht, which consists of a wealthy Japanese businessman, five of his friends, and a hired skipper. After a violent storm interrupts their leisurely afternoon excursion at sea, the yacht's crew becomes stranded on an uncharted island. Their search for food and shelter leads them to the remains of an abandoned schooner that's covered by an odd and possibly edible fungus. As the crew's cohesion as a group begins to deteriorate, they learn more about the connection between the missing schooner crew and the fungus and that they too might share the same ghastly fate.

The outwar…

Adam West Goes Mego in the Classic TV Batman 8-Inch Action Figure Series

Last April, I published a post about how various toy companies are planning the release of Batman merchandise based on the live-action TV series from the '60s and other classic collectibles. Of those companies, Figures Toy Company has been producing figures under its "Batman Retro Action Figures" line that are identical to the figure designs used by Mego during the '70s. Twosets of these 8-inch figures have already been released, and a third set is on its way.

Along those lines, Figures Toy Company is currently taking pre-orders for another line of Mego-based Batman figures, the "Classic TV Batman Action Figures". Like the Mego designs, these 8-inch figures have cloth costumes and multiple points of articulation; however, as the toy line's name suggests, the figures' likenesses are based on the actors who appeared on the '60s Batman TV series. The first set of Classic TV figures will include Batman, Robin, the Joker and the Riddler, and their hea…