For when you're out of Sho Kosugi movies and want to actually BE a ninja...without putting in all the work.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
I mean really, who needs to watch stuff like Halloween or Friday the 13th when Children of the Corn 2 has just popped up on VHS?
That's the end of the ramble, I promise. There will most likely be more when I talk about the third movie later on.
So Children of the Corn 2: The Final Sacrifice (nowhere near the final one, but we all knew that even in 1992) took 8 years to come out, long after the success and interest of the original movie was forgotten by damn near everyone. What was Children of the Corn, we of the early 90s grade school horror fan population needed to know, how could children possibly be the villains, how was Stephen King involved, and how could we convince our parents to rent us R-rated horror movies for the weekend? These were all the questions that needed to be answered and kind of were in between pseudo-bible thumping, Predator-vision in the corn, Indian mysticism, and a handful of decent death scenes.
I know, I promised no more reminiscing. Sorry. On to the actual review.
Children 2 isn't a bad movie - at all. Most of the times when you go back and watch something you loved as a child you see the flaws and the shine's gone before the first reel ends - not so with this one. That's not to say there aren't enough flaws here - particularly the acting - but for a low-budget, DTV sequel to a movie that wasn't all that good to begin with this one really knocks it out of the park. I can't really say what it is about the second and third movies, but something just works - the flow of the movie, the creative deaths, the weirdo preaching/religious stuff. It just works.
The kids overact - the main ones anyway - but that kind of adds to it. Makes their devotion to the corn demon seem a little more real, know what I mean? And they actually come across as creepy, particularly in scenes where they just pop up and start following people in their semi-robotic trance. It works a lot better than modern, creepy-possessed kid stuff because it seems real. Maybe it's the setting, maybe it's the fact that they aren't pulling weird faces or covered in makeup, but it smacks as a much realer thing than some Japanese kid crouching in a closet. Either that or I'm an old man gone blind with nostalgia.
Probably the latter.
The death scenes, while not over graphic, are super effective. The simplistic voodoo/nosebleed scene is still one of the more unsettling deaths I've ever seen in a mainstream horror flick, and continues to be 20 years after my original viewing.
As for acting chops there isn't much to talk about. The always sexy Rosalind Allen (Pinnochio's Revenge, Ticks, Perfect) stars as the main characters love interest and looks great doing so, even though she's sporting a weird 90s short hairdo that looks a little silly. Her teenage counterpart Christie Clark is also pretty cute, and another nostalgic bump that gets the movie super over in my books.
Alright, this is running a little long for the blog. I apologize. If you're a fan of the series or remember the video store days like I do this one will bring back a lot of great memories, and really isn't a bad horror flick even without the added nostalgia. Decent deaths, good atmosphere, a few hot chicks, and surprisingly effective religious overtones. Even if the first movie wasn't your cup of tea - and it really wasn't mine beyond the "OUTLANDER" yelling - give this one a shot, it's a prime example of how good DTV movies used to be.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Monday, October 17, 2016
Sounds a little like a John Carpenter movie, doesn't it? It's actually a lot more like The Warriors. And A Fist Full of Dollars. With a little Death Wish thrown in. Things could get complicated with all those plot lines running through the same movie - good thing it doesn't make much sense.
1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982) is an Italian exploitation movie from the director of countless other post-nuke movies Enzo G Castellari, starring "action hero" Mark Gregory, Vic Morrow (in one of his final roles), and Fred Williamson. Strangely enough all of the above is meant to be taken seriously and precious little - that I could tell anyway - was lost in the translation. The writer/director was looking to capitalize on the recent release of Escape from New York and The Warriors (1981 and 1979 respectively) and the result was 1990, a movie that does its damndest to smash the two ideas together. Two ideas that should, in theory, have easily gone together.
So, what the hell happened to the story here? It starts off with the typical Escape from New York setup, then we're introduced to costumed gangs that run the state (including one group that dresses and acts like jazz dancers, complete with top hats, canes, and the music and another that look like a field hockey team on roller skates!), then The Hammer (not Fred Williamson amazingly - he plays the leader of a sequined gang called The Tigers in little more than a cameo roll), our Snake who looks more like a tired Charles Bronson and acts like a crazed mastermind despite "not carin' about nothin'". Along the way we also meet the hero of the picture, Trash (not Linnea Quigley), the lanky, effeminate leader of The Riders. They'll be the closest thing we get to good guys in this picture as they embark on soliloquy after soliloquy on "growing up from the gutter", "living with death", and "being free to choose". Wow.
Obviously this one doesn't make a lot of sense as it tries to jam a bunch of good American movies together into one bad Italian one. Williamson is largely wasted, there's no skin, gore, decent fighting until the last ten minutes, and the whole thing just makes you wish you were watching one of the better movies it's trying to be. I'm not even going to mention the problem of the long shots revealing traffic, daily life, and even kids playing basketball amid the desolate wasteland of the Bronx...
Normally I have no problem with foreign, low budget rip offs (and I use that term without any harshness) of more popular North American movies. In fact a lot of times they're far more entertaining than the flicks they're imitating - this one though. I'm not sure what happened. Had a harsher edge been put on the film - more violence, more sleaze, non-cabaret street gangs - things might have been better. Had more focus (and a different actor) been on the Hammer character rather than the supremely unconvincing Trash (who looked more comfortable during the cabaret scene than anywhere else in the movie) it might have made more sense. As it is though, we're just treated to what seems like a child's take on two seminal post-nuke style pictures.
At least half the Grindhouse double feature was worth watching. Man, I rewatched Death Proof the other day and what a cluster fuck of a movie that was. Sometimes I wonder why anyone's a fan of Taratino. No story to speak of, a full 80 minutes of dead space cinema with stilted and uninteresting dialogue from either boring or offensive female characters, one decent death scene, a wasted Kurt Russell (who was the only good thing about the flick other than the cars), Tarantino's foot fetish cranked up to 10, and the least surprising "main character kill off" in cinema history. What a joke.