Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's still Star Wars to me...



By - Steve Mezo

This one is about the fight over one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies ever. (Hell even calling Star Wars a Sci-Fi movie itself is an argument all it's own) but I'm not here to argue, just give my take on the whole thing.

I still get all warm and fuzzy inside when I see this
accompanied by John Williams Score!

Yeah George has redone the movie quite a few times, but so what they're his to redo as many times as he wants. And I'm sure he'll do a few more tweaks since he has the money while he's still here. 

I still get annoyed when I see Greedo shoot first and seeing Han getting away with disrespecting Jabba in the Docking Bay 94. But other than that I like the other enhancements. I thought it was cool seeing the dewbacks walking around, the X-Wing formation flyby on their way to the Death Star and Han almost running into a hanger full of Stormtroopers. And there's times where I just pop in the old VHS and watch the then remastered originals. 

I just can't believe the arguments over the do overs has become so heated Alexandre O. Philippe  was able to make a documentary about it.

I just hate reading or hearing people say
 "George Lucas raped my childhood!"

Which I reply with "Dude did you just hear yourself say that?"

Okay so he made (Man I even hate typing his name) Jar Jar Binks, but we kept yelling we wanted the first three movies. And George knew he had a whole new audience to make a movie for (After all allot of the fans of the original releases are parents now) so he had to make a movie that appealed to them too and make some money from new merch. You can't blame the guy for wanting a bigger bank account, when we're all wishing we hit the lottery. 

So the first three came out, and even I was kind of put off by the first one. I didn't hate it but I definitely liked the next two better. 

But that doesn't change how I feel about the originals and my childhood. I still thank George for making the original three and giving me something I love just as much as monster movies. 

Linus said it best in Fanboys

 

Linus: You gotta keep the flaws.

  
Crappy effects.

  
Real puppets.

  
That's what makes it so good, you know?

  
Yeah.

  
This was never about the movie.

  
You know, this was, uh - this was about all of us.
 
  
And I'm talking about all of us original fans. We have to stick together, sure we can grumble over what we don't like about do overs but we are all we have. 
If you were a person that despised any and all do overs and we were sitting in a bus together coming out of a tunnel and you said "The cave is collapsing" you know I would say "This is no cave..." and we would be the only two that got it. 

The only complaint I have to George is I wish he didn't spend so much time obsessing over the Original Trilogy and would have made other films. I love American Graffiti and Tucker and wished he had taken the time and money to make more like those.

And if he was was going to take the time to redo anything it should have been The Star Wars Christmas Special. 
Just kidding Mr. Lucas.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't try this at (an abandoned ) home!



By - Steve Mezo

I would like to thank Sue Choitz for sharing her photography in this article.


 WARNING
I do not condone or advise "exploring" or "playing" in an abandoned house. 
You can be seriously injured by rotting floors or staircases as well as possible fire hazards.
Then you could run into people or groups of people that you wouldn't ever want to meet and that goes for wild animals too. There are plenty of ways to wind up as a skeleton that a demolition crew will find later so stay out of them!
Now that that's out of the way let me tell you about my adventures...  

I blame some of it on a wild imagination and having allot of luck that allowed me to be siting here to type this today. But most of all I blame the huge availability of old farm houses back then in New Jersey that looked allot like houses that Sue Choitz had recently taken pictures of in Wisconsin.
And these pictures brought back allot of fun memories when personal safety and self preservation weren't high on my list. Looking back I think to myself "What the hell was I thinking back then?" and then I answer my myself with "Dude it was the ultimate backdrop for every imaginary adventure we ever had!!!"
 With the boat right out front this would have been a house in "Shockwaves"
    And here they come!


This one would have been the house where "Abigail Stone" lived from "Let's Scare Jessica to Death"


With the cars out front and being large this would have been
 "The House on Haunted Hill"
And you know she was in there!


One guess on who I would have imagined lived here
 And you guessed right!

I would spend hours in these places and somehow not wind up a forgotten corpse. And sometimes it would be really creepy because most of the places were still furnished, and it made me wonder why people would just up and leave just about everything behind when they moved out. It wasn't until I got older and found out that sometimes it would be an elderly owner that passed and their adult children didn't want to deal with cleaning the places out. 
And you would think that people constantly telling me to stay out of them would keep me out but nope I kept going in them. Until the one day when I saw Bobby Brady went into one when he was a Hall Monitor and we all know how that one turned out...  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

PIRANHA 3D (Watched in regular 2D) then reviewed.

 
(2010)
Written by - Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg
Directed by - Alexandre Aja


Review by - Steve Mezo

Let me start of with I love the original (1978 ) PIRANHA
 
That was produced by Roger Corman, written by Richard Robinson and John Sayles and directed by Joe Dante.

So starting to watch a remake gave me that "How bad is this going to be?" feeling. But the second I saw Richard Dreyfuss in his "Hooper" gear from JAWS it was like a big old wink from the writers and director that they were gearing up for a hour and a half of fun. 

 
And it was a nod to PIRANHA being Roger's way of trying to make money off of the JAWS craze

It started with an underwater earthquake and the piranha swimming up into the lake from a fissure made by the earthquake. And then we find out that the piranha (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU NEED ONE) are the offspring of piranha that were sealed off from the rest of the underwater world two million years ago by a earthquake back then. And as they kept reproducing the stronger would eat the weaker generation after generation. Unlike the original where they were genetically mutated in a government lab. 


Shortly after the first introduction to the piranha the movie slowed a little while we're introduced to all of the main characters and the setting. But then it kicked into gear quickly with countless college kids being turned into fish food.
And all of this was going on while the main character we're first introduced to is stranded on a party boat. And the reason he's stranded on the party boat is he's hired as a production assistant for a Ladies Gone Crazy video shoot featuring a girl he's attracted too. 

There's countless spring break scenes for it's intended core audience, but lots of entertainment value for us connoisseur's of true cheese. And there's lots of stars we all know and love like Elizabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames, Steven R. McQueen, Christopher Lloyd and Eli Roth. And of course lots and lots of blood and gore. 

"So where does this movie sit?" you ask. Well I can say it definitely has a place on the racks of the Abandoned Mom and Pop Video Store's "DVD's With Extra Cheese" .    

But this is expensive cheese and is held to a higher standard. Unlike Indie or Home Made Horror Cheese that is presenting a solid story and works with what budget it has. Expensive Cheese has all the money it needs for costumes, sets, F/X and name actors but doesn't always have the best writers.    

But Piranha 3D has the humor of movies like Return of The Killer Tomatoes (1988) loved the Pepsi product placement gag, Student Bodies, National Lampoons "Class Reunion" (1982), C.H.U.D. II - Bud The CHUD (1989) and Return of the Living Dead II (1988).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Death Troopers Book Review.


By - Steve Mezo


Tonight a review of 
 
(2009)

I had typed a review for the book quite a while ago in the glory days of the D'Ment'D Cinema and thought it was time to do a reboot after seeing there's still allot of interest in it.  

First I applaud Joe Schreiber for combining two of my favorite things, Zombies and The Imperial Navy. I'm talking Strormtroopers, Biker Scouts, Tie Fighter Pilots and whoever else didn't run fast enough! 

The Story was solid with an Imperial prison barge "The Purge" needing to make repairs with engine parts from a seemingly derelict Imperial Star Destroyer "The Vector". This is when the situation (Like Zombieland said) goes from bad to S#!t Storm. The ten person boarding crew that goes to The Vector gets infected by an Imperial bio weapon that worked a little too well and infects just about everybody on The Purge except for two prisoners that are brothers a Chief Medical Officer and *Groan* Han Solo and Chewbacca... 


This is the only thing that rubbed me the wrong way with the book. I mean the main Star Wars characters don't need to be in every corner of the universe! I could read about squadrons of Stormtroopers on different dangerous planets or Tie Fighter pilots battling space pirates for years. But it's like some of the authors are forced to include the characters (even after their first draft) or the story's not getting published. And you (the reader) pretty much blow those characters off because you know they aren't in any real danger no matter what the situation.   

Now that that's out of the way... The rest of the book was great, it had all of the blood and guts of your favorite horror comics and in Star Wars settings you love. *Spoiler Alert* There's even a part where survivors of The Vector outbreak holed themselves up in a shuttle held by a tractor beam for ten weeks. And went from a group of thirty down to six (By eating each other via lottery). 

Joe did a good job with making you like these new characters so you start to root for them as they fight their way through the Star Destroyer filled with the reanimated dead. 

I definitely recommend this one to anyone that is a Star Wars and Zombie horror fan.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

A salute to women in horror.


By - Steve Mezo

I was rummaging through the old horror section racks in The Abandoned Mom and Pop Video Store trying to find something new to talk about. And as I was looking at the boxes I figured it out Horror movies wouldn't be where they are without "The Women of Horror".

I'm really glad that Female Horror writers and directors like
and others are getting the recognition and respect that they deserve. 

But I'm talking about the ladies in front of the camera getting covered in fake blood and taking the hits. Come to think of it Jen and Sylvia did that too, when your watching "Dead Hooker in a Trunk" watch the scene where Jen is sitting on the edge of the car trunk and Sylvia shoves her head back. When it happens you hear a audible *THUNK* when Jen's head hits the edge of the trunk lid. And she didn't even brake character! And then there was the full on slap that Sylvia gives Jen too!!! 

I have nothing but respect for them doing things that I would never do for a horror movie no matter how much they paid. (Okay I did full frontal way back when) but anything else would have had me quitting real quick and telling the director what he could do with his vision.

 
There are so many women to mention but Marilyn Burns pictured above is a great example of the kind of woman I'm talking about. She was beaten with a (real) broom handle, had her finger sliced open, sat through twenty hours of hundred degree heat with the smell of rotting head cheese and was scratched and cut by all kinds of branches during a chase scene through the woods. Any one of those would have me telling the director to pound salt with both hands. 

Speaking of the woods
 
And how many of these brave women taken off just about everything and were dragged through them (Even over a few Fire Ant nest in the beginning of Devil's Rejects), or ran through them topless and barefoot. Sometimes covered in fake blood and if it was Kayro Syrup based attracted every flying biting insect ever created. Do they complain once? Nope, they knew that the scene needed them and they bucked up and did as many takes as needed.    
 

 And don't even get me started on water!
First off the women in "Creepshow 2" not only jump into a strange body of water they got covered in what I can only guess was jelly doughnut filling and some dye you can only hope doesn't stain. Then there were all of the women in the Filipino 70's drive in movies and "Last House on the left" going right into lakes.

 
There's leeches, snapping turtles and who knows what else living in them. But they got right in and who knew what the temperature of the water was! 

I would have been like Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood"
Bela: God damn it's cold!  

Ed: Once you're in it, it warms up.

Bela: F**k You! You come out here!

I did jump into an inlet and the ocean when the bacteria counts were so high that all the beaches in New Jersey were closed
but you weren't getting me anywhere near a strange lake. 

And they get into the water with Bruce without a second thought
 
 Better her than me that's for sure!!!
 

Then they are able to scream, cry and act terrified the second someone yells action.


And get covered in gallons of fake blood and never utter one complaint.
 Look, this guy is dressed for winter and Sissy is still smiling wearing only a blood soaked prom dress!!!

And with this image I end my salute and thank all of the Women of Horror past and present.

  
 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Paying a visit to Nightmare Alley!


By - Steve Mezo


As I go through the racks of "The DVD's With Extra Cheese" at The Abandoned Mom and Pop Video Store, I was reminded of a favorite by a Thomas Gleba video review at "Nerdmix.com" by the name of Nightmare Alley (2010) 
 

This was written by Scarlet Fry and Laurence Holloway with Laurence as director and Scarlet as co - director. And it is just a (fake) blood soaked joyride the whole time. On top of that it embodies "Cheesy Movie" in every sense. If you clicked on the link and read my definition of a cheesy movie you'll understand what I mean. 

If you grew up loving TROMA movies like myself Nightmare Alley could be considered one of it's offspring. Scarlet and Laurence are two guys that decided to do what Uncle Lloyd always says and made their own damn movie. They had access to a Costume Shop/ Party Store (Bubbles of Joy), musicians, artist and friends to act in the movie. I would have done the same thing in the days when I managed "The Costume Shop in New" Jersey, but the editing programs were beyond expensive and even internet distribution would have been a nightmare itself...

So I give the guys credit for working with what they have, putting together seven stories and getting distribution through "Brain Damage Films".    

It's a collection of seven separate stories with a ghouly host played by "Scarlet Fry".
 

The first story is a "Fist Full of Innards" where the Wild West becomes a bit more wild.

The second is "Rebellion" where a large plastic rat gets himself a driver and goes on a joy ride. 

The third is "Death Chat" which is a tale of online dating gone wrong. 

The fourth is "Meat" and it's what's for dinner. 

The fifth is "Closet Case" which reminds me of an old Bobcat Goldthwait joke.

The sixth is "The Great Damone" which reminds you to be careful about saying you want to be part of an art piece.

And finishes up with "Slash of the blade" where "Jack" is back. 

Now like I said the movie is all about entertainment and not some thought provoking life changer. It's just a flat out brain brake for an hour and a half. There's allot of laughs to be had and the guys definitely made it to do something they've always wanted to.  

Now for myself I think that another reason it's a favorite is I was in Arizona six years before the movie was made and paid a visit to "Bubbles of Joy" in Mesa, Arizona. We were there visiting my wife's sister and I had bought a steer skull at an outdoor market. 
Well this thing was huge and I couldn't carry it on a plane and I wasn't trusting the airlines to take care of it after I had them almost ruin a rattle snake hatband of mine, so I decided to mail it home.

I was going through the phone book and found a listing for a Post Office Shipping Center that was located in a Costume Shop/Party Store called "Bubbles of Joy". And one thing I found really interesting about the store was it was the only one listed. I was used to being in "The Costume Shop" in New Jersey where our ad was surrounded by hundreds of other Party Stores, Costume Shops and Entertainment companies now facing a fight against Halloween Seasonal stores. 

So my wife and I thought it would be a good idea to ask them at the store how the market was there. And when we got there the staff were beyond nice. They were blown away to hear how fierce the competition is in New Jersey and how it was getting harder and harder to compete with the seasonal stores and the distributors selling to anyone and everyone. 

"What the hell does this have to do with the movie?!" you ask? Well the thing is I try to tie in movies I review with parts of my personal history. And when I saw "Nightmare Alley" in 2010 I almost fell over when I recognized not only the alley, but almost every location they filmed at. Then I really laughed my ass off when I saw "Bubbles of Joy" on the screen. And it was almost like getting to visit there again.         
 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Barbie Dolls of The Dead!!!


By - Steve Mezo

In the last article I talked about some of the stuntman action figures I grew up with, but before them I had G.I. Joe.

He was really cool and had a ton of stuff to go on adventures with along with weapons and vehicles, but he didn't have an enemy or anything else to fight outside of my collection of giant spiders, rats and robots.

Then in 1976 somebody thought these would be a good idea...
Special Thanks to Plaid Stallions for keeping a history of all of these toys.

Even at six years old "The Intruders From Another World" made me say "WTF?!" They were as lame as they were stupid... They were way shorter than Joe, but were were supposed to be smarter and stronger? I don't think so...

This was "The Leader" of The Intruders.
 
Special Thanks to The Mego Museum for also keeping a history of the toys.


And these guys were "The Intruder Warriors"
 
Photo Credit: Eduardo Perez III

I guess you were supposed to have one of The Leader and as many Warriors as your parents would let you have. 

But 1976 was a hard year for the Joe Team after thirteen years (The last two I enjoyed) because they had to fight a tidal wave of action figures from "Mego" and the Six Million Dollar man series as well as "Big Jim" and "Big Jim's P.A.C.K." and "Pulsar" he was cool!

So now that I've explained all of that and provided a little bit of a history lesson let me talk about what could have been one of the coolest action figures/enemy of G.I. Joe or any other action figure out there. 

"ZOMBIE BARBIE"
 
Photo Credit and Creator: "Mr. Vader"


It just blows me away that it took thirty years for allot of dudes to catch up to my thinking. Or maybe for the times to change enough to let us take her from being a doll to becoming action figure! Which, well she pretty much is... It's just she was told to be pretty.

Her creator gave her a name and a innocent all American girl lifestyle, but somehow "The Barbie Doll" knew there was more to life than just being a pretty face. And as time went on she would find herself going from just being disfigured by spiteful older brothers to being transformed by horror artist.


I remember playing in friends and relatives yards and trying to think up some kind of enemy or monster for Joe to fight and just getting tired of the same old robots, giant rats, spiders, or close to scale gorillas or dinosaurs. 


 
Oh come on! I have to fight Stretch Monster Agian?!

And I would see some kind of Barbie carcass half buried in yard looking like she could rise up on her own power and really make a bad day happen for Joe.

 Reeeevenge!

These dolls now possible action figures
 had literally gone through a trial by fire!
 

or were gnawed on by dogs
 

 exposed to the elements
 
 or just left in the dirt like some kind of serial killers forgotten dumping ground.
 


Any one of them would have been a great adversary for G.I. Joe . They could have been victims of a mad scientist that committed unspeakable experiments on these women. But the chemical agents he used or maybe a toxic wast dump near the dumping ground causes them to rise and seek vengeance on whoever has the misfortune of finding them. 
  
Now as cool as they looked I wouldn't dare to bring up the idea of using them as monsters because I would be afraid of being made fun of for playing with dolls. Now this was kind of ironic because isn't that what allot of people were saying about us playing with G.I. Joe's anyway? And what did we yell in our own defense "THEY'RE NOT DOLLS THEY'RE ACTION FIGURES!"