CHARACTER AUTOPSY: REGGIE from the PHANTASM FRANCHISE

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Van Helsing, Dr. Loomis, Ash and…Reggie?

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PHANTASM’S REGGIE: IS A “BALDING, MIDDLE-AGED ICE CREAM MAN ” ONE OF HORROR’S GREATEST HEROES?

When one thinks of horror’s greatest heroes, the names that come to mind are those of Van Helsing, Dr. Loomis and Ash Williams…but what about Reggie? You may not think a “balding, middle-aged ice cream man”…as Mike so gently put it in Phantasm II…could be one of horror films’ greatest heroes, but let’s take a look at the man and the Phantasm films and see how this supporting character took center stage and became the true focus…and hero…of this legendary franchise!

CAUTION: There are major spoilers to the Phantasm films needed to discuss Reggie in detail. If you haven’t seen all the chapters of this franchise, you have been warned!

He does have a cool ride!

The character of Reggie (Reggie Bannister) started out in the original Phantasm as a supporting character, a close friend of Jody (Bill Thornbury) and Mike’s (A. Michael Baldwin) who gets drawn into their otherworldly adventures at the Morningside Cemetery due to his biggest and best quality…his loyalty. Reggie heard tales of grave robbing, killer dwarves and the supernatural Tall Man (the late, great Angus Scrimm) and still followed his friends through the gates of hell themselves to get their backs. Even after the destruction of his beloved ice cream truck, Reggie wades into battle with the fiendish Tall Man and it even cost him his life at the hands of the mysterious and sexy Lady in Lavender (Kathy Lester). But that wasn’t the end for Reggie. Phantasm’s epilogue revealed Reggie was alive and this may all have been in Mike’s head, a way of dealing with the death of older brother Jody in a car wreck. Now it’s just Mike and Reggie left to deal with The Tall Man who the last scene reveals may not be a figment of Mike’s grieving imagination after all!

He’s got balls!

Phantasm II starts off right where the first film ends with Reggie and Mike narrowly escaping The Tall Man. Mike is institutionalized, while Reggie has convinced himself it never happened. The story then jumps to years later with an adult Mike (James LeGros) being released and vowing to hunt down and destroy The Tall Man once and for all. Loyal friend and comrade-in-arms Reggie goes with him and tracks the villain to Perigord, another in a series of towns the otherworldly fiend is decimating. Here we see Reggie transform into a four-barreled shotgun wielding warrior who charges into battle alongside Mike, guns and chainsaws blazing. No longer is he the timid and cautious ice cream man of the first film. Here he is a soldier against the forces of evil and Mike’s equal. We also get to see a bit of Reggie the ladies man as he puts the moves on sexy hitchhiker Alchemy (Samantha Phillips). Reggie is no longer a supporting character, but a lead character and an ass-kicker!..though still providing some welcome comic relief as he is still Reggie after all.

He gets the ladies!

Phantasm III found Reggie as the main character with Mike (A. Michael Baldwin returning to the role) being taken by The Tall Man and the loyal Reggie loading up the Hemi-Cuda in hot pursuit. Reggie battles zombies, looters and those pesky silver spheres to rescue his lifelong friend. He picks up a few allies in Rocky and Tim (Gloria Lynne Henry and Kevin Connors) and even finds time to put the moves on Rocky when not battling The Tall Man and his minions. If anyone is becoming a thorn in The Tall Man’s side, it’s Reggie. Things look bad for Reggie at the climax, but this is one ice cream man you shouldn’t underestimate.

He rocks!

The fourth film, Phantasm IV: Oblivion, again finds Reggie again in pursuit of Mike. This time Mike is fleeing of his own accord as The Tall Man is trying to turn him into one of his minions. Reggie once again is in hot pursuit in his Hemi Cuda and this installment shows that the Tall Man is quite aware of Reggie as a threat to his plans, as he sends minions to stop him. Reggie must contend with such threats as a zombie state trooper (Bubba Ho-tep himself, Bob Ivy), a foxy blonde (Heidi Marnhout) who is not quite what she seems and even possibly the spirit of dead friend Jody, who might now be under the Tall Man’s control. The fact that the Tall Man feels the need to stop the loyal Reggie from finding his prey first, proves Reggie has gone from the timid ice cream man of the first film to a warrior that gives the alien mortician cause to be concerned. 

He’s not afraid to look death in the eye!

Phantasm: Ravager has apparently brought the series to a close, as Angus Scrimm is sadly no longer with us, but also nails the concept that Reggie, not Mike, has become the main character. Not only is Reggie once more hunting for the elusive Mike, but there is a subplot that features Reggie as an old man in an institution suffering from dementia. He is visited by Mike who tells him the whole saga of The Tall Man and his flying spheres are just a delusion and all the years of battling the fiend are in his head. As this series is known for it’s surreal narrative, we’re never quite sure if this is true, or one of The Tall Man’s mind games that he has played for years. The film even features Reggie coming face to face with The Tall Man and being offered a truce…if this isn’t recognizing Reggie as a true threat, than what is? The final chapter leaves us with a very apocalyptic end showing Jody, Reggie, Mike and even Rocky reunited to continue battling The Tall Man, even with his appears to have finally taken over the Earth. It’s a fitting end as no film in the Phantasm series ever let one “rest in peace” with an all conclusive finish and shows Reggie willing to fight until the end.He’s possibly the only human that keeps The Tall Man up at night!

So, there you have it. A character that started out as a humble ice cream man and supporting character, took center stage and grew from timid comic relief to an ass-kicking freedom fighter who gave even The Tall Man cause to beware. He is a fighter…though sometimes a bumbling one…and a lover, as in each film, no matter the peril, Reggie takes time to pursue the ladies…with mixed results. He is a loyal friend to Mike and his brother Jody and it is his loyalty that makes him so lovable as his tenacity makes him admirable. As the series comes to a close, it is Reggie’s journey that we have really been watching and it has been a journey from guitar-playing, ice cream man to gun-toting soldier in the fight against evil. A true hero if there ever was one.

The man behind the character…Reggie Bannister is a talented actor and legendary horror icon who should rightfully take his place along with Peter Cushing’s Abraham Van Helsing and Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams as one of horror’s greatest heroes!

-MonsterZero NJ

You can take a look at our reviews of each installment of this legendary franchise by clicking on the respective title: Phantasm Phantasm IIPhantasm III, Phantasm IV: Oblivion and Phantasm: Ravager!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 SUMMER THEMED HORRORS!

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Camp counselor cutie Annie will never make it to Camp Crystal Lake in Friday the 13th

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 SUMMER THEMED HORRORS!

Memorial Day is here and that means the start to the summer vacation season!…It also means camping,  barbecuing, swimming, cabins in the woods and maniacs in hockey masks! Halloween isn’t the only time of the year when things go bump in the night, as these 15 fright flicks prove! (…and no, I didn’t forget the cabin set Evil Dead films, they take place in the fall!)

 

Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

  1. Friday the 13th
  2. Friday the 13th Part 2
  3. Friday the 13th Part 3
  4. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
  5. The Burning
  6. Just Before Dawn
  7. Sleepaway Camp
  8. Cheerleader Camp
  9. Madman
  10. Cabin Fever
  11. Cabin in the Woods
  12. Piranha 1978
  13. Piranha 3D
  14. Summer Camp
  15. Dark Summer

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A group of campers are up sh*t’s creek in The Burning!

-MonsterZero NJ

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES MAY 26-28

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” $62 Million

2. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” $19.8 Million

3. “Baywatch” $18 Million

4. “Alien: Covenant” $10.5 Million

5. “Everything, Everything” $6.2 Million

6. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” $4.4 Million

7. “Snatched” $3.9 Million

8. “King Arthur:Legend of the Sword” $3.2 Million

9. “The Boss Baby” $1.7 Million

10. “Beauty and the Beast” $1.6 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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BARE BONES: A HAUNTING AT SILVER FALLS (2013)

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A HAUNTING AT SILVER FALLS (2013)

Scare-less flick has pretty, orphaned teen, Jordan (Alix Elizabeth Gitter) moving in with her aunt (Tara Westwood) and uncle (Steve Bacic) in the town of Silver Falls after the death of her father. Soon Jordan becomes haunted by the spirits of two twins who died mysteriously. No one believes Jordan, but is this a haunting or a warning?

Directed by Brett Donowho from a generic script by three writers, no less, this is a completely routine haunting flick. We have the lonely teen who stumbles onto a past murder/death and is now being haunted. Her only friend is the local outcast (Tadhg Kelly) and as she has experienced a personal tragedy, no one believes this is anything but emotional duress. Flick has a scant few spooky moments and Gitter makes for a cute, likable and thus sympathetic heroine, but otherwise this supernatural thriller is as cookie cutter as they come. The end reveal is no surprise as we are expecting something like this since we’ve basically seen this movie before. Not quite a complete waste of time, but one can do much better.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 25 HORRORS CURRENTLY ON NETFLIX THAT ARE WORTH WATCHING!

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Jay screams for her life in It Follows!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 25 HORRORS CURRENTLY ON NETFLIX THAT ARE WORTH WATCHING!

Netflix seems to be the go-to place to watch horror movies these days, so MonsterZero NJ has put together a list of twenty-five worth watching fright flicks screaming…oops, streaming…right now!

 

(for reviews of all these flicks pop the title in the search engine above to get MZNJ’s full review!)

 

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Deaf mute Maddie unaware a killer lurks outside her door in Hush!

-MonsterZero NJbars

WYRMWOOD: CHRONICLES OF THE DEAD GETS A COOL PREVIEW!

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The Australian zombie flick Wyrmwood was a deliriously fun and delightfully gory flick that left fans wanting more! Now creators Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner are working on a series based on the cult hit film and it looks like Wyrmwood: Chronicles of the Dead could rival Ash vs. Evil Dead for blood spattered fun. They’ve released a preview scene of a nimble young lass (Nandalie Campbell Killick) fighting to escape those villainous scientists from the first flick. This blood-spattered sequence also indicates ass-kicking Bianca Bradey is back as the zombie controlling Brooke and Jay Gallagher will return as Barry. No word yet as to where and when this will be available, but MonsterZero NJ can’t wait!

 

Caution: This sequence is delightfully NSFW!

source: Youtube

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 FLICKS INSPIRED BY RIDLEY SCOTT’S “ALIEN”!

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Ridley Scott’s classic! Imitated but never equaled!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 FLICKS INSPIRED BY RIDLEY SCOTT’S “ALIEN”!

Ridley Scott’s Alien arrived in 1979 and terrified a generation. It was an almost instant classic and changed the face of horror/sci-fi forever. While not novel in plot, it was one of the most uniquely and thoroughly designed films ever made…including it’s iconic creature…and pretty darn scary, too! Almost forty years later, the franchise is still producing films (review for the latest, Alien: Covenant HERE). It also inspired a bunch of imitators and rip-offs and below is a list of fifteen such pretenders to the H.R. Giger designed throne. Some of these are actually good flicks and stand on their own…others…not so much…

 

Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

1. Galaxy Of Terror

2. Forbidden World

3. Creature

4. Horror Planet

5. Xtro

6. Alien Contamination

7. Split Second

8. Star Crystal

9. Saturn 3

10. Leviathan

11. Pitch Black

12. Sector 7

13. The Intruder Within

14. The Terror Within

15. Alien 2: On Earth

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Forbidden World’s Alien-esque critter photo-bombs the selfie of an ill-fated crew member

-MonsterZero NJbars

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES MAY 19-21

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Alien: Covenant” $36 Million

2. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” $35 Million

3. “Everything, Everything” $12 Million

4. “Snatched” $7.6 Million

5. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” $7.2 Million

6. “King Arthur:Legend of the Sword” $6.85 Million

7. “Fate of the Furious” $3.2 Million

8. “The Boss Baby” $2.8 Million

9. “Beauty and the Beast” $2.4 Million

10. “How To Be A Latin Lover $2.2 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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REVIEW: ALIEN: COVENANT (2017)

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ALIEN: COVENANT (2017)

WARNING: There might be some details here that could be considered as spoilers to those who want to go in knowing as little as possible. Some plot elements had to be divulged somewhat in order to give an accurate opinion. -MZNJ

Prometheus was a pretentious mess that tried to expand on the Alien franchise by delving into our creation and thus that of the Xenomorphs. It didn’t make good on it’s initial ideas and had a crew of supposed genius scientists doing incredibly stupid things. Ridley Scott tries to repair a bit of the damage with Alien: Covenant, which brings us closer to the world he introduced us to in 1979. The flick takes place ten years later with the spaceship Covenant heading to populate a new world with a small crew and over two thousand colonists in hyper-sleep. A massive neutrino burst blasts the ship causing damage and forcing the ship synthetic, Walter (Michael Fassbender) to awaken the crew. While engaging in repairs, they receive a signal from what appears to be a human source on a nearby planet. Upon investigation, the crew finds out not only the fate of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Repace) and the synthetic David (also Michael Fassbender), but discover an awaiting nightmare that they may not escape from.

New chapter in the Alien saga is definitely better than Prometheus, but that’s not saying much, nor is it by the amount needed to restore complete faith in this prequel series. This one is written by John Logan and Dante Harper, from a story by Jack Paglen and Michael Green and the first hour is actually quite dull till we reach the unknown planet and find the synthetic human David living in what appears to once have been a city of otherworldly beings. There the film picks up a bit as it takes on a sort of Frankenstein twist as David has been quite busy playing God on his new world. It then takes till the last act where we start to get some of the action we came for and some familiar faces make their appearance…and that’s also the other problem. At this point the Xenomorph’s are far too familiar to be really frightening and it is the messianic David that really chills one as there are definitely a few screws loose in his reattached, megalomaniacal head. In these scenes the film livens up and delivers some chills as our unsuspecting, stranded crew have no idea what little ole David has been doing to relieve the boredom…but they’re going to find out. There is some surprisingly abundant gore and the film is sumptuous looking, as are all of Scott’s films, but it all comes to a terribly predictable end that we can all see coming almost an hour away. There are a few scenes along the way with some impact…alien interrupted shower sex anyone?…but otherwise it’s the same ole, same ole right up to how the remaining crew decide to deal with the critter…really, after almost 40 years you’re still sticking with that???

The cast are good, though the characters here are very thinly written and it’s hard to connect on an emotional level with anybody but the chill-inducing David. Katherine Waterston is our heroine Daniels Branson and while she is fine in the last act when she goes all Ripley, she really doesn’t make much of an impact until then. One wonders where all the piss and vinegar comes from as she is played very low-key up till that point. Comic actor Danny McBride stands out a bit as pilot Tennessee. McBride is very restrained here and plays the role very seriously…as the film is basically humorless, anyway. He makes a solid hero even if, like Waterston, he doesn’t get to cowboy-up till the last act. Really standing out doing exceptional work is Michael Fassbender as both David and Walter. As Covenant synthetic Walter we get the boyish innocence and Spock-like logic we expect from these android characters. It is when he gets to chew the scenery as the messiah/Dr. Frankenstein mash-up that is David, he really chills with his performance and out-does the creepy critters in the goosebumps department. His relationship with the newer model Walter is quite interesting as he tries to convince the synthetic to see things his way. The scenes revealing what David has been up to the last ten years are among the best in the movie. Once we go back to the alien loose on the ship format, it gets very ‘been there, done that’. As for the rest of the cast that populate this prequel sequel, they are basically two dimensional alien fodder and we never really care about them or remember their names for that matter.

In conclusion, yes it was better than it’s predecessor, but not by much and it takes over an hour to really get going. The characters are bland, the aliens at this point are too familiar to be truly frightening and their antics are getting stale. What makes this movie worth watching is Michael Fassbender’s truly chilling portrayal of David and the messianic Dr. Frankenstein he’s become. His relationship with the xenomorph’s is a highlight, though it does unintentionally clue us in as to how this is all going to end…and it ends exactly how you think it’s going to. Not the pretentious mess that was Prometheus, but still a long way from the original classic or James Cameron’s awesome sequel.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1/2 alien eggs.

 

 

 

 

Be Warned: this is the Red Band trailer…

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