TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: CHILD’S PLAY 3 (1991)

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CHILD’S PLAY 3 (1991)

Child’s Play threequel opened a mere nine months after the second installment and is the last Child’s Play movie involving Chucky’s pursuit of Andy Barclay. Flick takes place eight years after part 2, with Andy (Justin Whalin) now being sixteen and sent to military school. The Play Pals Company has decided to restart production of the Good Guys doll line and uses the plastic from the unfinished models still left in the warehouse where the Child’s Play 2 had it’s finale. Of course the bloody melted hunk of plastic that was Chucky is included and soon Chucky is back once again in action. He tracks Andy to the military academy, but soon sets his sights on shy eight year-old Ronald Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers) as his new host. It’s up to Andy and his new romantic interest Cadet Kristin De Silva (Perrey Reeves) to stop him.

Third flick is directed by Jack Bender from a script by Don Mancini and wisely is the last film in the Andy Barclay story arc, as this installment shows it was running out of gas. It’s the same old shenanigans with a wisecracking Chucky killing anyone who gets in his way or pisses him off. The kills are getting routine and only the carnival funhouse set climax shows a little life. It’s not very scary or suspenseful, but is competently made and Dourif is as fun as ever as the serial killer in a doll’s body. It’s bloody and the military academy setting adds a few wrinkles, but otherwise the series was showing signs of needing some sort of rebooting if it was to continue. One does miss little Alex Vincent, but at least they tried to keep it from getting too stale by upgrading Andy to a teenager and even giving him a love interest with the pretty and spunky Kristin. When he is not trying to save Ronald and convince everyone Chucky is back, he is getting bullied by academy a-hole, Cadet Lt. Col. Brett C. Shelton (Travis Fine). The Chucky and gore FX are still very well done and still help maintain the illusion that the doll is possessed and and alive. It’s a functional enough sequel and has it’s moments, but one understands why the series was given a break and and a new direction after this flick performed only moderately at the box office.

The cast is again fine. Justin Whalin is good as Andy. He evokes the character, but appropriately eight years older. He is a solid hero as being a teen helps him go on the offensive for the first time. Brad Dourif is still excellent in his vocal performance as Chucky. He is still as twisted and malevolent as ever, and getting the best dialogue in the movie…as he should. Jeremy Sylvers is likable and sympathetic as the shy, young Ronald and he makes a good target for Chucky’s plans to resurrect himself out of his plastic shell. Perrey Reeves is energetic and resilient as the tough, but cute Cadet Kristin De Silva. She makes a nice love interest for the now grown Andy Barclay. Travis Fine is a dislikable villain as the academy douche Lt. Col. Shelton and movie vet Andrew Robinson shows up as the twisted academy barber Sgt. Botnick.

In conclusion, Child’s Play 3 is an OK third installment, but shows a series in need of a fresh coat of paint. Andy is now a teen and that and the military academy location add a little something new, but not enough to really makes this an equal to either of it’s predecessors. Chucky creator Don Mancini realized it was time for a change and after a seven year hiatus, Chucky would return with a new story direction, new tone and a love interest of his own in 1998.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) killer dolls!

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: CHILD’S PLAY 2 (1990)

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CHILD’S PLAY 2 (1990)

Child’s Play sequel takes place two years after the first installment with poor Andy (Alex Vincent) now living with foster parents (Jenny Agutter and Gerrit Graham), as his mother is institutionalized for corroborating her son’s story about a killer doll. As for Chucky, the Play Pals Corporation has regained possession of the remains of the Chucky possessed Good Guys doll and uses the inner mechanisms to build a new doll, in order to prove to investors, product malfunction was not a factor in the incident. Once reconstructed, Chucky resumes his hunt for Andy, to once again try to take possession of him. Obviously, the killer doll leaves a trail of bodies in his wake.

Second installment in the popular franchise is this time directed by John Lafia from a script by Don Mancini. It’s not quite an equal, but is an efficient enough sequel. Chucky is up to his old tricks and the kills are played a little bit more for laughs this time, though some are still potent and bloody. Chucky isn’t quite as scary as he was the first time around, as the novelty has worn off, but still can be threatening and his pursuit of Andy, who is again not believed, still is effective. The FX portraying the killer doll are very convincing prosthetics and the slightly larger budget gives the flick a chance to open up a bit with an impressive and fun last act chase and showdown at the Play Pals factory, echoing the climax of The Terminator. There is some suspense and a few chills, though one can see the franchise is trying to have a bit more fun here with a more wisecracking villain.

The cast is fine. Alex Vincent is still very likable and sympathetic as the little boy being pursued by a serial killer in a doll’s body. Brad Dourif is once again excellent in his vocal performance as Chucky. He is twisted, intimidating and gives so much life to a plastic prosthetic, while milking his dialogue for all it’s worth. Agutter and Graham are serviceable as Andy’s foster parents Joanne and Phil Simpson. They are not as endearing as Catherine Hicks’ spunky single mom Karen, but they are likable enough, especially Agutter, who is far more sympathetic to Andy’s traumatic past. Rounding out is Christine Elise as Andy’s tough, street-smart foster sister Kyle, who joins him in the fight against Chucky, and Grace (Galaxy of Terror) Zabriske as the kindly head of the boarding house Andy has been staying at before being adopted by the Simpsons.

Overall, Child’s Play 2 is a fun second installment. Chucky is still a fairly effective villain and there are some suspenseful sequences, some effective kills and a few chills. It’s not quite an equal to the classic original, but at least still played the franchise somewhat seriously before future installments got a lot goofier.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) killer dolls!

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES APRIL 23-25

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES APRIL 23-25

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

1. “Mortal Kombat” $22.5 Million

2. “Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train” $19.5 Million

3. “Godzilla vs Kong” $4.2 Million

4. “Nobody” $1.9 Million

5. “Raya and the Last Dragon” $1.7 Million

6. “The Unholy” $1.4 Million

7. “Tom and Jerry” $650,000

8. “Together Together” $522,440

9. “The Girl Who Believes In Miracles” $336,957

10. “The Courier” $264,175

source: Box Office Mojo

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BARE BONES: 30 COINS (30 MONEDAS) (2020)

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30 COINS (30 MONEDAS) (2020)

30 Coins is a Spanish horror series from director Álex de la Iglesia (The Last Circus) currently streaming on HBO Max. It tells the story of a secret and sinister religious organization that is searching for the 30 coins Judas received to betray Christ. It is said these coins will bring them apocalyptic power and the last coin is in the hands of disgraced priest and exorcist Padre Manuel Vergara (Eduard Fernández) in the remote Spanish village of Pedraza. Hell is literally unleashed on this small farm town as the search for the coin tightens.

30 Coins is a very involving, disturbing and quite creepy series as atmospherically directed by Álex de la Iglesia from his scripts with Jorge Guerricaechevarría. Aside from all the spookiness, there is a lot of gore, some unsettling creatures and it’s not afraid to use heavy biblical lore and imagery in the story. There are some very interesting characters. Eduard Fernández is a badass hero, as disgraced priest and boxer Padre Vergara, Megan Montaner was a strong willed and sexy as hell heroine as village veterinarian Elena and Miguel Ángel Silvestre was a noble hero as Pedraza mayor Paco. Manolo Solo and Cosimo Fusco were also very effective as the scary bad guys. There was also a spooky score by Roque Baños (Evil Dead, Come Play) to add to the atmospherics. It wasn’t perfect. Sometimes the narrative wandered from the main story and there was some weak CGI to lessen the effect of some scenes. Ultimately, though, it was a spooky and disturbing eight episodes of horror television. Definitely would watch a season 2!

All episodes listed below were directed by Álex de la Iglesia and co-written with Jorge Guerricaechevarría :

1. “Cobwebs” (Telarañas)

2. “Ouija” (Ouija)

3. “The Mirror” (El espejo)

4. “Memories” (Recuerdos)

5. “The Double” (El doble)

6. “Holy War” (Guerra Santa)

7. “The Glass Box” (La caja de cristal)

8. “Sacrifice” (Sacrificio)

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: MORTAL KOMBAT (2021)

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MORTAL KOMBAT (2021)

Not having played the game or been a fan of it’s movie franchise may have made it a bit harder to quite get what is going on here, but probably not. Apparently there are other “realms”, or worlds, of which Earth is only one. There are champions on each world who gather together at certain points in time to compete in Mortal Kombat, which is a sort of gladiatorial battle to the death. Dull, pontificating villain Shang Tsung (Chin Han) wants to derail a prophecy predicting his realm’s loss, by eliminating Earth’s champions before the competition.

Tedious flick is directed very by-the-numbers by Simon McQuoid from a messy script by Greg Russo and Dave Callaham, based on the fan favorite video game. There are a lot of fights and CGI bloodshed, but very little storytelling or character development for those of us who are uninitiated in the original game and it’s characters. A movie should not rely on assuming one knows the source material, whether based on a video game or book. There should be some depth to make the characters three dimensional and thus give the audience emotional investment when they fight. The cast are all dull, along with their thinly written characters, and the fights, which are the reason we watch this, are generic and routine with a lot of CGI effects enhancement. Watch any classic Hong Kong flick from the 80s and 90s to learn that martial arts and SPFX can be combined inventively and with energy and excitement. Not so here. At least the catchy song from the 1995 movie gets a remix during the end credits.

Franchise reboot is overall boing and forgettable and will probably set this series back another twenty-four years. Don’t waste your time unless you are a real fan and absolutely have to.

-MonsterZero NJ

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THIRD CONJURING FLICK GETS A TRAILER!

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THIRD CONJURING FLICK GETS A TRAILER !

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A trailer has arrived for the third flick in the Conjuring franchise, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It!

“Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren try to uncover the truth behind a murderer’s claim of demonic possession.”

The film is directed by Michael Chaves from a script by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick for producer James Wan and stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Ed and Lorraine Warren. Flick is due to be released theatrically and on HBO Max on 6/4/21!

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Bloody Disgusting.com and IMDB; Photos; IGN

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BARE BONES: MACHETE (2010)

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MACHETE (2010)

Machete is two things an exploitation flick should never be…overly talky and overly preachy. Co-writer and co-director Robert Rodriguez seems to be more focused on bludgeoning us with his views on illegal immigration and the treatment of those migrant workers, than with delivering the promise of the trailer from Grindhouse, from which this exploitation flick homage grew. The conspiracy plot is too involved for this type of movie and too much time is spent on it rather than delivering the action that this type of film should feature. There are some cool action scenes and blood does flow often, but not enough to get us through the endless dialog sequences. Also curious is why he hired all the eye candy than does very little with them. There is only one sex scene and it seems chopped short. This is exploitation, why hire actresses who won’t disrobe? Also curious is why Rodriguez films the pre-credits scene in the dirty, broken film “grindhouse” style, then abandons it after the credits. It is nice to see, after decades of supporting roles, Danny Trejo get the center spotlight as ex Mexican Federal Isador “Machete” Cortez, but, to be honest, he doesn’t generate the charisma to be a leading man…at least not here.

The original Machete trailer during Rodriguez and Tarantino’s Grindhouse was fun, but maybe it should have stayed a trailer. Flick was co-written by Alvaro Rodriguez and co-directed by Ethan Maniquis and also stars Robert DeNiro, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba and Steven Seagal. There was a sequel, Machete Kills and talk of a third film Machete Kills Again, that has yet to materialize.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: ANVIL-THE STORY OF ANVIL (2008)

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ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL (2008)

Anyone who is a fan of music, especially heavy metal, should watch this fascinating, funny and sometimes sad documentary about the infamous Canadian metal band Anvil, from writer and director Sacha Gervasi. Though listed as inspiration to countless other bands, true success has eluded original Anvil founding members Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner, in their 30 plus years (now 40) together, and this documentary follows them as they continue trying. With a doomed European tour and efforts to put together their 13th album, the band simply refuses to quit despite constant adversity and disappointment. As a metalhead and former band manager myself, this brought back a lot of memories and had me rooting for these old rockers who won’t give up or grow up! Party on dudes!

NOTE: Since this documentary premiered in January of 2008, Anvil has changed bass players a few more times and recorded five more albums to date!-MZNJ

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES APRIL 16-18

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES APRIL 16-18

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

1. “Godzilla vs Kong” $7.7 Million

2. “Nobody” $2.5 Million

3. “The Unholy” $2 Million

4. “Raya and the Last Dragon” $1.9 Million

5. “Tom and Jerry” $1 Million

6. “Voyagers” $790,000

7. “The Girl Who Believes In Miracles” $561,000

8. “In the Earth” $506,000

9. “The Courier” $462,830

10. “The Croods: A New Age” $310,000

source: Box Office Mojo

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: JAKOB’S WIFE (2021)

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JAKOB’S WIFE (2021)

Story finds Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton, who also co-produced) unhappy in her marriage to overbearing Minister Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden). When on an ill-fated rendezvous with an old flame (Robert Rusler), Anne is bitten by a female vampire (Bonnie Aarons). Now Anne suddenly finds the strength to stand up to her husband and be her own person, but only the bad thing is, she also develops a strong appetite for blood.

Tale of female empowerment and vampirism is directed by Travis Stevens (The Girl on the Third Floor) from a script by he, Kathy Charles and Mark Steensland. It’s well intended and there are plenty of effective scenes, but the first third seems a bit bland and slow moving until the spooky stuff really begins. Once things get going, there is plenty of bloodshed and it is when dealing with it’s vampire elements that Travis’ flick really comes to life…pun intended. It’s fun to watch Crampton “vamp’ it up as the bitten Anne and also see Fessenden’s minister going all Van Helsing in order to save his wife. It has it’s slow spots, as Travis seems to be far better at the horror elements than the husband/wife drama between Anne and Jakob. It is fun, though, to see the tables turn, as Anne starts to wear the pants in the relationship and Jakob is revealed to be a bit of a coward. The vampire scenes are chilling and there is a subtle humor laced into the proceedings, so we can have a little fun between the darker and bloodier moments. Travis also avoids the clichés in this type of flick whenever possible and while it is not completely unconventional, the familiar tropes are used very well and it comes to a fitting conclusion. The film also has an effective visual style, as photographed by David Matthews and a fun vampire appropriate score by Tara Busch.

The cast are good, especially an excellent Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, Chopping Mall) as the oppressed wife experiencing a supernaturally charged awakening. It’s one of her best roles in a long time. Larry Fessenden is also well cast as her boorish minister husband who realizes there are vampires afoot…and his wife is one of them. It’s fun to see Robert Rusler (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Vamp) back in a horror, though his appearance is basically an extended cameo. The film also stars Nyisha Bell as a parishioner turned bloodsucker, Jay DeVon Johnson as Sheriff Mike Hess, along with a cameo by former WWE Superstar CM Punk (The Girl on the Third Floor) as a deputy and featuring Bonnie Aarons (The Nun), who is very effective as the master vampiress.

Overall, Jakob’s Wife starts off a little slowly, but finds it’s footing and presents a spooky and entertaining story of a woman rediscovering and asserting herself, with the help of a little vampirism. Some of the dramatic scenes can come across as a little flat, but director Travis Stevens handles the spooky and bloody stuff a lot more effectively to make up for it. The filmmaker has a good cast, especially with a strong performance by lead Crampton. Not a completely fresh take on the traditional vampire tale, but one that has some novel moments, does it’s own thing at times and mixes in some contemporary themes of female empowerment deftly into it’s story. Flick from RLJE Films and Shudder is now available to stream on Amazon Prime and other streaming outlets.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) fangs.

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