Another glorious day at the old videostore and it got me thinking as I look through all the movies to once again take another journey back in the past. Being 2020, unfortunately, let us go to the year that now celebrates the 25th anniversary of these movie titles. 1995 was a mixed bag for sure. Many would say horror films were in a bad spot. Truth be told for most of the early 90s the genre was suffering. Gone were the glory days of the 80s where films were flying out left, right, and center whether big studio or small indies. No, we were stuck in a funk during this time with only the occasional classic coming out. For every Candyman, Dead Alive, and Cemetary Man there was a Witchcraft VI, Scanner Cop, and The Hidden II. Most movie nerds would say the respectablity, for good or bad, was brought back to the genre in late ’96 with the release of Wes Craven’s Scream. That would be the movie that made horror bankable to Hollywood again and bring on the next wave of films for years to come. But what came the year before Craven rescued horror cinema? Well my friends there was some good, some bad, and some why? So grab a drink, take a deep breath, and let’s explore some of those titles that 1995 gave us shall we?
Ironically I’ll start with Candyman 2: Farewell To The Flesh. Mentioning the original 1992 film in my opening statement as one of the best movies to come out during that time it was no surprise that it would be given a sequel to expand the legend that is Daniel Robitaille.
The only returning character from the original, aside from Tony Todd as the title character, is Michael Culkin who once again plays smarmy writer and academic Phillip Purcell who lasts all of 8 minutes in the film. As he is out taking his book about Candyman on tour he makes the mistake of calling him and gets the old hook in one dirty bathroom in New Orleans. That’s right, gone is the Chicago setting and now it’s Cajun country.
To do a sequel you have to bring somethinjg new to the table. The Mardi Gras setting worked very well and trying to explain Candyman’s family tree was an interesting move even if it feels somewhat forced. The lack of Virgina Madsen’s Helen character was shame but these things happen. And we do get the birth of Candyman in visuals this time.
Not nearly as good as the original Candyman 2 but has enough good things going in it to keep you entertained like it did me. One can not stress how Tony Todd carries this film so well with his presence. Sure, some of the supporting cast seem to be a bit weak at times but every moment you might feel like checking out here comes Candyman. Similiar to Clive Barker’s other iconic creation Pinhead whenever a line is delivered you can’t help but listen up.
Also this movie is directed by future Oscar winner Bill Condon who would go on to win the award for the impressive Gods and Monsters dealing with Frankenstein director James Whale. A movie worth checking out. As always I will say that after this movie we simply pretend Candyman 3 never happened. Even Tony Todd feels that way.
Oh boy…for every decent sequel comes the opposite. Keeping with the theme that ’95 was a mixed bag we go from a respectable sequel to a what the fuck happened to this franchise moment? Now keep in mind back then the idea of ever getting Jaime Lee Curtis back for a Halloween movie was a pipedream because “horror was dead” to Hollywood. And leading up to this film’s release we knew that the great Donald Pleasence had passed away so it would be our final chance to him portray the legendary character of Dr. Sam Loomis. Needless to say this was a gut punch to the fans.
Halloween 6 was such a dissapointment for so many reasons. Waiting for 5 years to find out who the man in black was? Garbage answer. Explaining to us that this whole “thorn” cult was controlling Michael in the lamest way? Yup. Jaime Lloyd gets killed off but not before having our favourite slasher get her pregnant? Sure…I guess. Seriously? What the hell were thinking? And Paul Rudd defeating Myers by beating him with a pipe repeatedly? I know, that was the theater cut not the producer’s cut but on that day in the theater it was pretty WTF again. Infact Halloween 6 was so bad it made Halloween 5 look good. Honestly I could go on about this trainwreck but why? Yes, the producer’s cut was slightly better as in it more sense in a shitty way but that’s about it.
So instead of actually talking about the film I wanna tell you the quick tale of my financial loss that day. Pretty sure that same day or week we found out the O.J. Simpson verdict. That’s right kids…if the glove don’t fit you got to aquitte. Anyways it was strange times. So we are sitting around getting ready for the movie. We were stoked! All the answers were gonna be given to us after ’89s Halloween 5. Now back then the internet did not ruin or more importantly warn us of the disaster we were about to walk into. So hanging with a group of diehard Michael Myers fans I was so confident that after 6 years they got this right I told the boys if the movie sucks I’ll refund all your tickets with own money. Needles to say the credits roll at the end and I just got straight up, left the theater, and went right to the closest ATM machine I could find and handed out bills to my friends and simply said “Sorry”. We never spoke of the film the rest of the day and got drunk instead. A wise choice.
To this day it breaks my heart that this would be the final performance of Donald Pleasence. He deserved better. On the surprisingly bright side it started the career of Paul Rudd of all people and even though his acting in it was, umm, not what we know today atleast it’s another successful actor that the horror genre gave their start too.
Full disclosure. When I first saw Prophecy 25 years ago I was not the biggest fan leaving the theater. In fairness, when I first was reading about it under the original title “God’s Army” in Fangoria magazine earlier that year I was truly expecting this big budget battle film with two armies of angels going head to head in heaven. Ya, that was not this movie and obviously now I’m glad it for that. Reminded me of watching the Terminator films when I was a kid and thinking how badass the battle between humans and Skynet in the future was gonna be to see and then Salvation hit theaters. Ya, not that great. So maybe taking this version of the story was for the best.
Coming from the writer of Highlander 1 and 2 this movie had a pretty great premise. The angels of heaven have been involved in a civil war upstairs. Half are pissed at God for loving humans more than them. The other half stand by the big guy no matter matter what. So the basic plot tells us no one is winning this war without an upper hand. That ace up the sleeve is finding the darkest soul on earth from a recently dead military man that was beyond evil. Get that soul and win the war in heaven. Simple.
What makes this movie work is the cast like most films. In lesser hands this could have come off as B-movie hell, I’m looking at you Part 4 and 5. I would like to say 2 and 3 in this franchise still hold a spot in my heart because of the lead…Christopher Walken as the Angel Gabriel. Now he’s leading the charge against god and is hell bent to get that dark soul no matter what. Humans are nothing more than “monkeys” to him and standing in his way is the angel “Simon” played by Eric Stoltz who hides that soul in a little girl before dying at Gabriel’s hands. Walken has some geat moments and lines in this film like telling us how we got that little dent in our upper lip. He truly owns this part and was a pleasure to watch. But as the movie is coming to it’s conclusion we get, in skinny man opinion, one of the greatest versions of the Devil…EVER! Why? Because it’s cold, quiet, and played with a calm vibe by the one and only Aragorn! I mean Viggo Mortensen.
The idea that Satan himself has step in and deal with this garbage going on upstairs is pretty damn great. Makes sense. He can not have heaven divided in half if god’s army loses. Truly there is only room for one hell and he is the one running that show. He kind of has the monopoly on it. You can just see that Viggo was on the verge of superstardom with the upcoming role in Tolkien’s epic series. He’s acting is simply hard to take your eyes off of and if for no other reason The Prophecy is worth the watch!
Now 90s John Carpenter was kind of a mixed bag with his movies but somehow if he was making a movie we had to see it regardless. This was his remake of the original cult classic black and white film from 30 years earlier. Could he strike remake gold twice after 1982’s The Thing? Short answer…no. That is not to say there is nothing good about this effort. I mean, come on. It’s creepy ass kids plotting to take over and possibly destroy humanity with their freaky powers.
With a solid cast led by the late Christopher Reeve and Kirstie Alley the acting was not gonna be the issue. I think the so-so results were it all felt too similiar to the original. With a freak event happening causing all the local women to get pregnant at the same time and then giving birth months later to identical Hitler youth looking kids the body count would not be an issue. Once the nasty side of these young ones shows up there is no stopping them.
After many “accidents” with the locals who are taken out in some real fun and creative ways it’s up to Dr. Alan Chaffee to do the unthinkable. Kill those little bastards. But he must tread softly because aside from the powers of moving stuff and making people do things they can also read minds. I guess what I’m saying is they are basically Jedi or Sith. Probably Sith. And speaking of Star Wars I can’t forget to mention the always enjoyable Mark Hamill as a preacher pushed to the limits by these little devil spawn. God bless you Mark. You can make the most one dimensional movie characrter fun as hell to watch.
Is the movie worth a watch? Oh for sure. Should you watch the original also? You damn right. This would not be the last we would hear from Mr. Carpenter in 1995 but more on that later.
Sometimes a movie comes your way that is simply, umm, special. This brings us to Sweden’s EVIL ED which you can tell was heavily inspired by the early works of Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi.
You know how some people say horror movies will make you a killer? Well that’s not quite true according to this movie. No, it’s editing those films for days at time in pure isolation that will make you into a complete and utter whack job. Poor Ed, he’s just a shy quiet mannered husband and father who has been given the job to edit together the entire franchise of a slasher series as quickly as possible for his insanely over the top and complete prick boss. To make matters worse he is forced to work alone in a creepy house all alone. Well as soon the cutting of the film begins the cutting of human flesh is soon to follow.
Look, there are some movies that are pointless to review. And sometimes pure enthusiasim by the filmmakers themselves is more than enough to win you over. It would be one thing if it was just Ed going nuts and starting a killing spree like a basic slasher film but this movie does not fit that bill. When the works of Evil Dead and Bad Taste influence the creators you know they are gonna try to throw everything but the kitchen sink at you to keep you amused.
And this film does. Evil Ed is for those movie nerds that just looking for something different and unusual. You can not accuse this movie of being bland and predictable and in the 1995 line up of genre cinema it kind of stands out like a relative the rest of the family is embarrassed to say is with them at a reunion. I guess that means check it out…moving on!
For the third time the band got back together. When I say the band I mean Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, Barabara Crampton, and ofcourse H.P. Lovecraft. After success with Re-Animator and From Beyond these four names joined forces for the final time in ’95 with CASTLE FREAK.
This would be the first time Combs and Crampton would play a couple as they along with their blind daughter go and visit a castle in Italy that they just inherited. That’s great news! Unfortunately in this castle hides a noctural, twisted beast that is laying waste to people and building a pile of corpses in the dungeon. That’s bad.
Instead of leaving with weird shit happening it’s up to them to discover the whys, whos, and whens of the secrets of the castle so they can enjoy their new home. I mean, they did inherit the damn thing and are not gonna let some cannibalistic thing fuck that up for them. Truly I love this film. In fairness out of the three films they made together this one seems like the most simplistic plot wise but with some great gore gags, beautiful setting, and solid acting it fits the Lovecraft world that Stuart Gordon made famous on film quite well.
I also wanted to say that with Combs and Crampton having to deal with locals, cops and workers of the castle to find the truth it does feel like a splatter version of a Scooby Doo plot at times too which in my mind is not a bad thing.
From the director of COCKTAIL came the summer of 1995’s most hyped sci-fi/ action/ horror for us fans. Why? Honestly it came down to one name and no, it was not Fort MacMurray’s Natasha Henstidge starring in it. I mean good for her because she went on to have a solid career and all. Also after this movie came out everyone in this neck of the woods at the time claimed they were best friends with her, related to her, babysat by her. I mean it got pretty silly. No, the one name attatched to the project that got us pumped was HR GIGER. The man who created the iconic Alien for Ridley Scott was back and gonna deliver a new monster that would stay with us for decades to come. Well….not so much in end looking back at it.
With an impressive cast led by Michael Madson, Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker, Alfred Molina, Marg Helgenberger, and the already mentioned Henstridge we knew acting was not gonna be an issue. How about the script? Well the plot looked fun and tense too. Alien and human DNA are spliced together in a government experiment to create SIL. What could go wrong with DNA splicing by the government in a secret lab?
Oh right, they forgot about the part when SIL grows up to be a full adult and escapes from the facility to be on the loose looking like a regular supermodel female who’s only goal is to breed with a human man and create more of herself which would kind of put humanity in jeopardy. Whoops. Anyways, a crew is assembled to track her down and destroy her before this happens without being told what she is because, you know, evil corporation like in the ALIEN/ ALIENS/ ALIEN3 etc. From this point on it’s a fun action and chase kind of film with time running out. No doubt there are some great moments in this film and knowing that soon enough SIL was gonna change into the latest Giger masterpiece I was stoked sitting with my popcorn. And then…
Now hear me out. It did not look bad by any means. No, this sadly comes down to fan expectation no different than waiting for your favourite band to release an album 14 years since their last one and finding out it’s “okay”. That was the reaction with Giger’s last design. I personally also felt it suffered slightly from that mid to late 90s not quite real CGI look as well. So feeling let down with the reveal of the monster we just had to sit back and hope the movie was still gonna be fun and for the most part it was.
It was nott the movie event of the summer by any means but at least it gave us a hard rated R sci-fi action from a major studio and Michael Madsen was great as Preston Lennox. He would return in the sequel as well which I feel really dished out the gore even more so. The less said about part 3 and 4 the better. So even though Species did not reinvent anything it gave Henstridge a career in acting, continued to show Kingsley can play shady characters with ease, and as always reminded the audience the government never really has anything under control when it comes to secret experiements.
The term PARTY MOVIE is used a lot in life for movie nerds like myself. A film you can throw on with some bubs and beers, maybe smoke some weed, and simply let a good time happen infront of your eyes. When Tales From The Crypt decided to go to the big screen with DEMON KNIGHT they made just that film. From the minute it started with a fake movie intro that had murder, betrayal, gore, nudity, and John Larroquette, and a wise cracking Crypt Keeper we knew this was gonna a fun ride.
Setting us up for the ultimate battle between good and evil two great actors were given the task. William Sadler as “Brayker”, our war torn hero that has been trying to keep the world safe from the demons for decades and Billy Zane as “The Collector”, the lead demon with a silver tongue, charm, good looks, and pure demonic nastiness who will stop at nothing to get the lost key that Brayker has been holding on to with life. This key is all that is stopping the demons from another realm from taking over the lands and putting an end to humanity once for all.
The big showdown will take place at a rundown church now converted into a room and board and filled with some colourful characters as man’s final stand against the forces of evil. Included in this group are Jada Pinkett Smith, CCH Pounder, and Thomas Haden Church who all do fantastic with the material they are given. It seemed to me that all involved embraced that great B-movie quality of the movie and just went for it. So many great lines, gore gags, laughs, and sometimes shocking moments that you maybe did not see coming at the time. Demon Knight was one of my favourite theater experiences of the year and we were lucky enough to be able to give it another spin on the big screen at DEDFEST in 2015 to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary at the time. The audience on that day loved it just as much as we did 20 years earlier.
One actor that said it was favourite role to play was the late great Dick Miller. The man is a legend in genre films going back to one of Roger Corman’s go to guys for over 50 years. In his role as town drunk Uncle Willie Miller was just great and his final human scene with Billy Zane is one that you could tell the actor was smiling from ear to ear. I’m sure he would have insisted to get a few takes of that moment.
Now the film gave us one more Crypt film, the much less impressive Bordello Of Blood, but in the end never was the hit it deserved to be. I just never understood that. I know many movies take time to find an audience but I remember leaving the theater that night thinking this was gonna be a money maker for sure. But the people never came out to support. Maybe Billy Zane was right when he said “Humans! You’re not worth the skin you are printed on.”
Some movies you just know are not out to impress everyone. Hell, some are not even out to impress anyone. They are made to try something new, to challenge the audience. And when the name Abel Ferrara is directing you just do not know what to expect. It could be uncomfortable (Ms. 45), it could a descent into madness (Bad Lieuteant), it could be gripping (King Of New York), or pure exploitation (Driller Killer). But when you see he’s making a vampire flick with Christopher Walken you think you have a pretty good idea what to expect. Wrong.
On the surface it seems pretty straight forward. Kathleen is a student in New York but one night is dragged off by a woman and bitten only to be turned into a vamoire with a need and thirst for blood. Great. No problem. This is what a vampire flick should be. What’s the issue here? Well, the issue is this is less a vampire film than a drug addict movie. Not a problem at all to be honest. I mean the damn thing is called Addiction. Literally you could take Harvey Keitel’s character in Bad Lieuteant and make him a vampire too and that would have worked just a fine.
The fact that Kathy, played very well Lily Taylor, is a philosophy student her outlook on good and evil changes quite a bit during her changes. With a film heavily quoted in Dante, Feuerbach, and Nietzsche this film has something to say on a deeper level about her plight. And to be honest at the time I was not really feeling it. Funny how 25 years later and revisiting a film can change your outlook. One of the good things of getting older.
I will say this though. 25 years later and I’m still pissed at the promotional team behind this flick. Not sure who’s decision it was to have Walken front and center on every poster and VHS case but if you were expecting him to be a huge factor in the movie you were sorely disappointed. I think it was about 5 minutes of the great man. That’s fine. No biggie. But don’t splash his image on the cover. That would have been like saying PULP FICTION starring CHRISTOPHER WALKEN! Either way, if you seek a different kind of nigh walker tale and smartly shot in Black and White give this one a go.
Oh Clint Howard you beautiful bastard! Always kind of living in the shadow of his brother Ron Howard to most people out there but to us genre fans we love Clint just being Clint. Aside from popping up in his brother’s films (it’s like a game of Where’s Waldo?) Howard has left his mark to horror/ sci-fi fans for decades. Whether as a child on Star Trek, as the twisted Satanic revenge filled picked on kid in Evil Speak or just randomly showing up as a clown in 3 From Hell. Seriously, was that Clint Howard? Anyways 25 years ago a rare thing happend. Clint Howard was the star of the film just like Evil Speak in 1981.
If there is one thing the man plays well is disturbed, a little crazed, unhinged, and all done with his odd smile. So taking on the role Gregory was an easy fit for the actor. Gregory is a recently released patient from a Saniturium. His heart is filled with the best intentions when getting out. He just wants to make people happy especially children so obviously being the ice cream man is the quickest way to get the job done. Unfortunately things get side tracked with him due the world, people, society, misunderstandings, and ofcourse a slight case of being insane!
Soon enough Gregory just goes with the idea of using people for the new daily specials of his ice cream flavours and we the audience go along for this bizarre ride which is truly carried by Howard’s unique acting for the role. Look, we know what we’re getting into about a killer Ice Cream man played by Opie Cunningham’s brother so rating it from that point of view it’s pretty damn entertaining. More enjoyable is the recent Blu Ray release. Yes, it got a special edition Blu Ray release. Let that sink in. And on it there is a great interview with the man looking back on his career and him talking about the film just makes you know regardless how silly the idea is the love for doing a great job was there and we can all appreciate that.
This one is bittersweet for me to write about. I do not look at this as 25 years since Lord Of Illusions came out. No. This is the 25th anniversary of Clive Barker quitting on directing film. Truly a sad anniversary if you ask me. But can I blame him? No. After the box office failure of the badly promoted and butchered NIGHTBREED five years earlier Barker decided once again to give it another go. And once again the marketing and studio butchering of his film and oddly timed summer release date caused Lord Of Illusions to tank at the box office and Clive Barker called it a career as director. Fuck…
Starring Scott Bakula as P.I. Harry D’Amour we are taken into a world of cults, magicians, and true Illusions. Another sad fact of this movie failing is no further adventures of the D’Amour character. think of him as Mike Hammer if he had paranormal visions and could perform exorcisms to cast out demons. Seriously, Bakula was so good in this role I wanted to see what he would do next. On the side of pure evil once cult leader turned full blown magical evil that defies death itself is NIX played Dabiel von Bargen. He was exactly as good as he needed to be. But not to outdone we have Kevin O’Connor as Swann. A former follower of Nix and his cult in the 70s before being part of a group that had enough with his wicked controlling ways and “killed” him while rescuing a young girl who would grow up to be his wife later (Famke Janssen) and also become the biggest thing in Vegas years before Chris Angel was a thing. Playing Swann was such a departure for O’Connor who most fans would know as the goofy Benny in The Mummy or goofy sidekick in Deep Rising. In this he is depressed and dead serious 24/7.
This movie is a true UNDERRATED film and when seeing the director’s cut compared to the theatrical cut no wonder Barker was fed up with the Studio system. Still, I wish he would give us just one more. We have been hearing rumblings about a Hellraiser reboot and it would be brilliant if he just said “fuck it, give it to me”. Ironically he did end the Pinhead legacy with his book “Scarlet Gospels” which has the Harry D’Amour character front and center in the story. That’s right kids, Lord Of Illusions is in the same universe as Hellraiser. Now you need to see the damn thing!
And one final thought on the film. Timing they say is everything. In the summer of 1995 people were not in the mood I guess. But if this movie would have come out a decade later around the time of The Illusionist or Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige who knows what would have happened? That year people were all about magicians, tricks, and Chris Angel. Food for thought.
Look I’m gonna keep this one short and sweet. Stephen King writes a lot. Short stories. Long stories. Screenplays. Teleplays. You name it the man writes it. He also has a lot of ideas to get out of his system. 9 out of 10 of them are fantastic and make money and stir the minds of his readers. Then there are the others.
The movie is based off of King’s short story about a laundry folding machine that is possessed by a big, nasty demon that enjoys killing people when given the chance. That’s it. That’s the plot. Now there is more to it than that but honestly not that much. I truly enjoy seeing Robert Englund in it having a good old time hamming it up as a piece of shit boss of the place with said machine.
I also enjoyed the creative ways the machine did cause death to the people. But you know it was kind of depressing to watch again (rewatched today actually) and knowing the man directing was the same man who gave us one of the greatest films ever in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. That’s right kids, Tobe Hooper made this beauty, Well I guess a paycheque is just that some times, a paycheque.
Still, the most shocking thing is that fact this movie spawned not one but sequels. Seriously? How did that happen? Whatever…moving on.
From director Rusty Cundieff, the who made the criminally underrated Fear Of The Black Hat which was the gangster rap version of Spinal Tap played to perfection, came TALES FROM THE HOOD.
Taking their love of the classic horror anthologies like Dead Of Night and the old Amicus films but combining them with the early 90s films such as Boys in The Hood, Menace II Society, and Juice Tales From The Hood gave us a well made horror movie with commentary of social injustice, racial predjudice, and domestic violence and rolled them into one great film.
When three gang members visit a funeral to make a deal for drugs they are greeted by Mr. Simms, the funeral director,played so fucking good Clarence Williams III. His over the top delivery of his lines walks a fine line between campy and intense. Before he agrees to make the deal with the young trio of men he takes them on tour of the recently deceased that lay in their coffins and tells the tales that brought them to their final resting place.
With each story we are given a different tale with a different theme. Whether it’s a group of corrupt cops in the wrongful death of an innocent citizen. Sadly still timely in today’s world 25 years later more than ever. Or a story that takes a fantasy twist on a real life domestic abuse situation each segment is equally creative and compelling.
Another great segment is the story of Krazy K. A street gangster who doesn’t think before he shoots. This one plays greatly on the violence that plagued the streets of LA in the early 90s between the Cripes and the Bloods and borrows a little bit of Clockwork Orange theropy for good measure. There is an intense scene between the captured Krazy K and a neo-nazi that is in the cell right next to him that always stood out to me. Either way it’s a great story in this film that packs a punch in my mind.
To this day I’m not quite sure why the movie under performed at the box office. I do not recall it ever playing in our city but I know the minute it hit VHS we were stoked to check it out and it did not disappoint. Tales From The Hood has aged better than I even though it would and sadly many of the issues mixed into this horror movie still haunt society today. Highly recommended film.
Okay, I’m not gonna beat around the bush with this movie. If you were a kid who grew up in the 80s and watched TV, namely Who’s The Boss, Alyssa Milano was one of almost every boys and probably some girls’ childhood crush. I mean between her and Wynonna Ryder it was hormone insanity as a preteen.
Sure their is a story about an 18 year old freshman who is seduced by a sexy male vampire and the emotional and internal stuggles of dealing with it blah, blah, blah but let’s keep it real. We all knew that clothing would be removed in this film. Hell, the promotional campaign was basically “You wanna see Alyssa Milano naked in a a pretty terrible film that should be on late night skin-a-max?”. Well obviously our answer was yes.
Overall it was bland, so-so acted, cheaply filmed vampire dark romance with Milano looking great to our young eyes. I could not tell you how the movie ended. Same way I could not remember the ending of Poison Ivy 2 which also had the lovely Alyssa Milano taking over for Drew Barrymore as the femme fatale. These movies have their place in history. Where? I have no idea but it came out 25 years ago so happy anniversary indeed.
Well I said to open this thing up that horror movies were still not in the best of spots overall in 1995 but Warwick Davis knew how to cash a cheque and keep a gravy train rolling when he had to. The third installment of the “beloved” Leprechaun series graced us (straight to video) and with the setting in Las Vegas this one had the odd chance of being pretty damn fun. Was it? Umm….hmm….well…
I don’t know about the movie being that much fun but this pic of Leprechaun and The King is fucking gold. Look, with the little mischief maker being in the land of sin the possiblities were endless. So much gold, so much gambling. So much potential. Sadly this was the start of the series downfall to really stupid. I can’t believe I’m typing that with a straight face when talking about this franchise.
This movie felt like it held back on going for it and just trying the most outrageous shit in one of the most outrageous cities. Sure, there are some fun kills and decent if not corny one liners that we expect from the green fella but he spends a good chunk of the movie hunting some damn kid and there is this whole green blood or venom thing. Ah hell…it was not Vegas vacation I was hoping for. Originally rumoured to be the final film to make it a trilogy that didn’t happen. It would have made sense finishing it in the casino city with gold everywhere. I mean where could they possibly take him after this third movie? There is no other city on the planet that would have the same potential. Oh wait…right.
One year before Wes Craven saved the genre with SCREAM many feared he finally put the final nail in his directing career with one of the biggest misfires of the year…VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN. Me personally I can’t say if this movie is good or bad. I actually get confused when I watch it still to this day. My question has been and still is what kind of film was it trying to be?
It should have worked. It should have been a hit. Eddie Murphy is one of the greatest of all time. I adore him. Wes Craven was a good to great director. The FX team behind this movie were top notch. The idea of Murphy being able to play a shape shifting vampire to take many forms should have been brilliant because it allowed Murphy to play mulitple characters which worked so well in Coming To America and later as the entire Klump family. Angela Bassett was coming off an Oscar performance as Tina Turner. Hell you had John Witherspoon in this. The man can always make you laugh. Even Kadeem Hardison is a good actor and actually was the stand out in the film after last watching it. So what the hell went wrong?!
As I drink my whiskey and ponder that thought only one thing comes to mind. THE TONE. Simply put it was not funny enough to be a comedy and it was not scary or dark enough to be a horror movie. One minute there is a pretty brutal and bloody vampire kill by Eddie and the next he is wearing heavy make up and looking like a bloated pastor praising the word of Satan or basically talking down god to the people. Both of these scenes would have worked in two different movies. And in the end that’s why this movie failed I think. It is very comparable to the 1991 Dan Aykrold film NOTHING BUT TROUBLE with John Candy, Demi Moore, and Chevy Chase. It was strange, twisted, and crazy with a look of a Rob Zombie film but tried to be a comedy too. In both of these films’ cases they did not make an effort to blend the horror and comedy together but rather just put them together with duct tape hoping no one would notice. Well we did and truly bummed us out having all that talent kind of go to waste. Still, the movie has it’s moments which are worth watching for. I’ll give it that.
Man, do I love this movie! Now here is an example of a small movie that came out of no where that year and was such a pleasure to watch. Directed by Anthony Waller Mute Witness is a great set up for a thrill ride.
How is this for a set up. You are a make FX artist working on a slasher film. Pretty sweet deal right? Oh it gets better. You are working on a slasher flick as make up artist in Moscow with half the crew made up of locals that kind seem shady but maybe you’re just being judgy. On top of that you are mute. You can’t scream. You can not talk. But it’s cool because your sign language skills rule and you are not alone in a strange country making this flick. Your sister and her boyfriend are on this trip too so it’s cool. But one night when filming for the day has wrapped up you have some extra work to do on the set as everyone else has left. Now comes the set up for the rest of the film.
As you are finishing up you notice some of the Russian memebers of the crew come back to the set with equipment. They are setting up a shot and you are curious what’s going on. They do not see you. A young woman is brought on set looking a bit scared. Umm…for good reason. Infront of your eyes you see a murder filmed on camera of this poor woman. Yup, you just witnessed a snuff movie and now have to get the hell out of dodge. Tell your sister and her man. Maybe go to the cops in a strange land but really not knowing who to trust either. Also don’t forget anything as you run off that could show the baddies you were there that night. Oh you did…shit.
Honestly that’s all I would like to say about the plot of this movie because after that many twists and turns happen with a really strange blend of humour involved too. I know, it is odd considering the subject matter. But one thing that I have to mention is one of the final screen appearances from the legend himself…Sir Alec ” Ben Kenobi” Guinness. It was strange seeing him show up in a movie like this but really sweet at the same time. And finally with such a surprise sleeper hit of a movie under his belt what did director Anthony Waller do next…1998’s An American Werewold In Paris. Ohhh….I’m sorry.
Oh hey Dean Koontz, I heard your book was really was really good. Sadly I never read it. I’m sorry. But did see this film adaption with that girl from the Aerosmith music videos and Jeff Goldblum. I kid, ofcourse Alicia Silverstone would have a great year between this and Clueless and last I heard was a pretty damn good producer in Hollywood herself these days.
After suffering a near fatal car accident Goldblum is dead for a few minutes on the operating table but brought back to life with a new type of medicine. But during this dead phase someone has crept into his mind. That someone is killer Vassago played by the underrated Jeremy Sisto who ironically I always felt could play Goldblum’s son in a movie. They look the same. Funny enough later that year he would co-star with Silverstone in the previously mentioned CLUELESS.
Turns out that Vassago killed his parents and tried to kill himself but is still alive and looking to prey upon a young woman in the form of Goldblum’s daughter played by Silverstone. He knows this but no one is believing his wild thoughts and words so it’s up to papa Jeff to look after his own. This is my basic breakdown of the plot with some supernatural high tech stuff thrown in for good measure. As a film I enjoyed it but I hear it does indeed pale in comparision to the book so best to read that as well. But I can say the movie had a kick ass sound track for it’s time and that has to count for something.
Sweet jesus I need this movie in my life! Yup. I love my shitty shark movies and leave it to Bruno Mattei to make this insanely bad 1995 made for TV (not sure who’s) movie CRUEL JAWS AKA JAWS 5! Are you kidding me? Yes please.
So apparently the Navy of all people bred a killing machine great white shark that escapes as it should and is now gone to make a small tourist town called Hampton Bay a living hell. Ofcourse it has to be a tourist town. But it gets more crazy.
The mob has real estate invested in the town so they muscle their way in to keep everyone quiet on the killer shark which sets up more carnage. No Chief Brody to the rescue them here. Infact even the military are being dicks here so it’s up to Sea World Owner “Dag” and his dolphins to save the day. Yup. That’s the plot! Amazing!
I do not care how bad this movie might be. It is my duty as a videostore guy to find it, bring it in, and have it proudly displayed on my shelf to celebrate the 25th anniversary. And more importantly I will need it with the JAWS 5 cover obviously.
And FINALLY…this one I was questioning all day when it came to the release. On most searches it says 1994 but I know for a fact I was out of high school when I saw this son of bitch in the theater 3 times in one week.
So indeed after much searching the movie opened here in our city on Febuary 3rd, 1995 so in my mind it’s 1995. Yes! So happy 25th anniversary to the last great (so far) John Carpenter movie made.
My love for this movie grows every year. From day one I knew it was fantasic. I seriously did hit the same theater 3 times in one week bringing new friends with each screening. Strangely enough it was always the same ticket lady working so she definately thought I had issues. Obviously she never read Sutter Kane before.
I feel I really do not have to break down the plot or tell you why this movie rules here because honestly if you have been to my shop you have heard me talk the movie up enough. If you have not then please just take my word for it and give it a watch. A final entry to Carpenter’s apocalyptic trilogy which began with The Thing, continued with Prince Of Darkness and ended with this bad boy. Sam Neil is a beauty. Sutter Kane is creepy. And Hayden Christenson rides a bike. Nuff said.
Once again thanks for reading my random late night thoughts. I’m taking one last sip on my drink and then passing out because, as always, duty at the old videostore starts early and those movies are not gonna whore themselves out. The shop loves you as always, be safe, wash those hands, and we’ll see soon! Cheers!