HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY TO THE LEGENDARY JOHN CARPENTER!

MZNJ_new_views

HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY TO THE LEGENDARY JOHN CARPENTER!

The_10_best_movie_soundtracks_according_John_Carpenter_photo_by_Kyle_Cassidy_750_501_75_sThe man, the myth, the legend!

Today legendary genre director John Carpenter turns 75! As he has directed so many classics and is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, who’s created some of my all-time favorite films, MonsterZero NJ’s Movie Madhouse wishes him a very happy, healthy 75th birthday!

-MonsterZero NJ

bars

HAPPY 46th ANNIVERSARY ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13!

MZNJ_new_views

HHAPPY 46th ANNIVERSARY ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13!

R
Cops and cons unite against a vengeful youth gang in John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13!

**************************************************

46 years ago on this day, John Carpenter’s now classic first theatrical film, Assault on Precinct 13, was released in theaters!

now playing

assault-on-precinct-13-1976

bars

ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976)

Tasked by producer J.S. Kaplan to make a low budget film for him, John Carpenter came up with this violent and action filled urban version of one of his favorite Howard Hawks westerns, Rio Bravo. Two years before he hit big with Halloween, Carpenter wrote, directed, edited and composed the score for this cult classic about a remote and soon to close ghetto police station, under siege by a vengeful and well-armed youth gang. Lt. Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker) is sent to oversee the closing night of the Anderson ghetto police precinct, an assignment he expects to be routine and dull. But across town a youth gang with a cache of stolen guns and already sworn to avenge the death of some members by a police ambush, roam the streets looking to take their anger out on someone. They pick a poor ice cream vendor (Peter Bruni) and when a little girl (Kim Richards) gets in the way, both vendor and his young customer are brutally murdered. When the little girl’s father (Martin West) follows and kills a gang member, the rest chase him across Anderson where he finds himself at the skeleton crewed police station. Add to that the arrival of a bus carrying prisoners being transported to a state correctional facility who stop at the precinct when one prisoner takes ill and we have a recipe for a night of violence, revenge and a fight to survive. Now Bishop and the meager staff of the precinct must decide if they can trust two hardened criminals as the gang Street Thunder lays siege to the station with intensions of killing everyone inside.

Assault On Precinct 13 is a great little action flick that definitely foreshadows the type of intensity, suspense and style that John Carpenter would become known for. The film is loaded with tense action as the gang tries to get into the station and slaughter all inside and the uneasy alliance of cop and inmate must somehow fend them off with very little arms or ammo. And it works, because not only has Carpenter set up this claustrophobic situation of a remote and small building surrounded by vicious enemies but fills it with great and endearing characters like the noble Bishop, the death row inmate with a sense of honor, Napoleon Wilson (a great Darwin Joston) and resilient and tough secretary, Leigh (Laurie Zimmer).

The acting is top notch with Stoker, Joston and Zimmer really giving intense and well-rounded performances in their respective roles and a good supporting cast including Carpenter familiar faces Charles Cyphers, as the prison bus commanding officer and Nancy Loomis as meek secretary Julie, along with Tony Burton as prison inmate Wells. We never get to personally interact much with the vengeful gang, instead they are presented as a malevolent and deadly force, a faceless wall of death that surrounds and closes in on the station’s occupants and this approach keeps them a dangerous and unpredictable element whom we fear because, like Michael Myers in Halloween, they appear less human and more a force of homicidal rage. It gives them a supernatural quality despite being very much flesh and bone.

The action scenes are very intimate but intense, fast paced and well shot and, as with all Carpenter’s movies, the film has a great visual style that makes good use of its desolate locations and its largely night set scenes. While the film didn’t get much notice upon release, it was a hit in Europe and, as with a lot of Carpenter’s work, is now recognized for the classic film that it is. In my opinion it is one of what I call ‘Carpenter’s Core 5’ which in my opinion are his best films… or at least my favorites… Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York and The Thing. A great low budget action classic!

Available currently from Scream Factory on a collector’s edition Blu-ray!

Rated 4 (out of 5) classic bullets.

assault rating

**************************************************

-MonsterZero NJ

 bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)

MZNJ_Movie_Memories

now playing

Halloween_3_poster_01

bars

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)

halloween III 01

The controversial sequel turns 40 today!!

Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released 40 years ago today and it has brought back memories, as I was there opening night with friends at the now long-gone Cinema 35 in Paramus, NJ. Fans were cautious as this would be a Halloween film without Michael Myers…something that some audience members did not know upon hearing angry and disappointed post-show comments. Carpenter considered Myers’ story over and thus was planning to turn the franchise into an anthology series, with a new and different story each year. This chapter was directed by long-time Carpenter friend and collaborator Tommy Lee Wallace. I really enjoyed this flick and was fully onboard for what Carpenter was planning. My friends whom I attended the showing with weren’t so happy with it and there was much discussion on the way home. Me championing the film all the way while they were highly critical and disappointed. Box office numbers were ultimately disappointing, and Carpenter’s anthology never went any further. Myers returned in a series of lackluster sequels six years later.

 

halloween III 02

 I have been a fan of this sequel ever since and it’s watched every Halloween, along with Halloween and Halloween II as part of the “Big Three.” Personally, I am not a fan of the sequels that followed after Carpenter left the franchise and would have loved to have seen his annual Halloween anthology plans come to pass, with word that Halloween IV would have been a haunted house movie. I am very happy to see this flick finally find it’s fanbase and get the love it deserves. It’s a twisted Halloween tale and possibly embraces the spirit of the holiday even better than its two Michael Myers based predecessors. That’s just my opinion and am glad to celebrate this delightfully gruesome Halloween story with a twisted sense of humor that embraces the term trick or treat!

 

halloween III 07

One of my favorite moments in the film is when asked “why” by hero Dr. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins), bad guy Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy) delivers one of the greatest villain monologues of all time in Halloween III: Season of the Witch!…
“Do I need a reason? Mr. Kupfer was right, you know. I do love a good joke, and this is the best ever: a joke on the children. But there’s a better reason. You don’t really know much about Halloween. You thought no further than the strange custom of having your children wear masks and go out begging for candy.
It was the start of the year in our old Celtic lands, and we’d be waiting in our houses of wattles and clay. The barriers would be down, you see, between the real and the unreal, and the dead might be looking in to sit by our fires of turf.
Halloween… the festival of Samhain! The last great one took place three thousand years ago, when the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children.”
Gives me chills just transcribing it here, and I can hear the late, great Dan O’Herlihy’s deep voice echo in my head as I do!

 

halloween III 09
 
Much maligned for decades, Halloween IIl: Season of the Witch has now earned some well-deserved love and taken its place as classic franchise canon!

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH!

halloween3_rating

-MonsterZero NJ

bars

 

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: HALLOWEEN ENDS (2022)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

halloween ends

bars

HALLOWEEN ENDS (2022)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Sequel to Halloween 2018 and Halloween Kills picks up a year later with the specter of the now vanished Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) still hovering over Haddonfield. An unfortunate series of events on Halloween night leads to a babysitter named Cory (Rohan Campbell) being involved in the death of the little boy he is watching. The film then jumps three years later with Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) now having bought a house, writing a book and trying to move on. Granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) lives with her now and works at Haddonfield Hospital. Allyson meets and becomes involved with the emotionally troubled Cory, while Cory’s increasing inner turmoil catches the attention of a certain someone who has been lurking in Haddonfield’s sewer system waiting to make his return. Somehow this convoluted mess leads to Michael and Laurie having their final showdown.

Halloween Ends is again directed by David Gordon Green from a nonsensical script by he along with Paul Brad Logan, Danny McBride and Chris Bernier. It is a mess that basically makes Michael Myers an extended guest appearance in his own franchise finale, as the film chooses to focus on Allyson and Cory, who appears to be willing to take the torch. Laurie, meanwhile, sees his serial killer potential and tries to warn Allyson who refuses to listen. Cory is so creepy and weird it’s hard to understand why it seems like love at first sight with Allyson, and all this melodrama turns the whole Laurie vs Michael round three into almost an afterthought. When Myers does resurface, he is seen sporadically and even seems to accept Cory as an equal or protégée. If the math is correct, Cory even has the bigger body count here. WTF? The flick doesn’t even feel like it’s part of the last two movies and seems like ninety minutes of filler till all this psycho love story drama finally brings Laurie and Michael together for their last match. That in itself is over far too quickly and how it resolves will piss off a lot of fans. There are a few good kills…again, most of them Cory’s…and Carpenter provides this trilogy’s best score along with son Cody and Daniel Davies. Otherwise there really is little to recommend with this vastly disappointing “final” meeting of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers that will have you scratching your head at some of the awful dialogue, more than anything else.

The cast are a bit disappointing too. Curtis seems like she’s phoning it in this time and it’s sad to see the character go out in such a disappointing manner. Matichak seems to be playing a different person here. The death of Allyson’s parents has affected her, true, but it’s simply not written well. Rohan Campbell is actually good as Cory. The actor makes him sympathetic at first, as someone the town reviles, and then very creepy as he spirals to the dark side and gives in to his inner rage. Returning is Omar J Dorsey as Sheriff Barker, Will Patton as Hawkins, Kyle Richards returning in a do-nothing part as Lindsey and James Jude Courtney is once again imposing as Michael Myers, in what little screen time he has.

Overall, this is a really disappointing finale to one of the most celebrated and long running horror franchises. It has iconic serial killer Michael Myers take a back seat to a newcomer in a film that should have focused on him more than ever. The whole Laurie/Michael final confrontation build-up seems to be more of a subplot and the plot contrivances that bring them together in the last act barely work or make sense. The film focuses on the relationship between Allyson and Cory, and once Cory goes off the rails and starts racking up a body count, it’s almost laughable that Allyson is so oblivious to what he is turning into. A messy, bewildering and basically heartbreaking end to one of the greatest horror franchises of all-time and its iconic characters.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 (out of 4) carving knives. Happy Halloween 🎃!

graduation day rating

**************************************************

bars

HALLOWEEN ENDS GETS A TEASER TRAILER!

MZNJ_NEW_news

HALLOWEEN ENDS GETS A TEASER TRAILER!

halloween ends 03

From the official Universal Pictures Youtube page synopsis…

“This is Laurie Strode’s last stand.

After 45 years, the most acclaimed, revered horror franchise in film history reaches its epic, terrifying conclusion as Laurie Strode faces off for the last time against the embodiment of evil, Michael Myers, in a final confrontation unlike any captured on-screen before. Only one of them will survive.

Icon Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the last time as Laurie Strode, horror’s first “final girl” and the role that launched Curtis’ career. Curtis has portrayed Laurie for more than four decades now, one of the longest actor-character pairings in cinema history. When the franchise relaunched in 2018, Halloween shattered box office records, becoming the franchise’s highest-grossing chapter and set a new record for the biggest opening weekend for a horror film starring a woman.

Four years after the events of last year’s Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and is finishing writing her memoir. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since. Laurie, after allowing the specter of Michael to determine and drive her reality for decades, has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life. But when a young man, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell; The Hardy Boys, Virgin River), is accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force Laurie to finally confront the evil she can’t control, once and for all.

Halloween Ends co-stars returning cast Will Patton as Officer Frank Hawkins, Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace and James Jude Courtney as The Shape.

From the creative team that relaunched the franchise with 2018’s Halloween and Halloween Kills, the film is directed by David Gordon Green from a screenplay by Paul Brad Logan (Manglehorn), Chris Bernier (The Driver series), Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, based on characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Halloween Ends is produced by Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block. The executive producers are John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, Ryan Freimann, Ryan Turek, Andrew Golov, Thom Zadra and Christopher H. Warner.

Universal Pictures, Miramax and Blumhouse present a Malek Akkad production, in association with Rough House Pictures.”

Much anticipated final chapter in the Halloween franchise opens 10/14/22.

halloween ends 01

halloween ends 02

halloween ends 04

 ***************************************************

-MonsterZero NJ

Source/photos: Universal Pictures

bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THE ROAD WARRIOR

MZNJ_SNDF

now playing

double feature_EFNY_RW

bars

This edition of MZNJ’s Saturday Night Double Feature has an apocalyptic theme, with two of MZNJ’s all-time favorite apocalyptic features!…

EscapefromNYposter

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)

bars

Escape From New York is one of my all-time favorite B movies and a bonafide film classic. I instantly fell in love with this film upon seeing it opening night at the legendary Oritani Theater in Hackensack, N.J. and John Carpenter solidified himself as one of my favorite directors.

An outrageously original idea has New York City in a war torn, crime filled, future turned into a maximum-security prison, and legendary director Carpenter makes it work by taking his subject matter just seriously enough to make the audience buy it. Add to that a colorful cast of characters, including one of the greatest, and sadly underused, film anti-heros of all time, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), and you have the recipe for a B movie classic.

The story is simple, war hero turned outlaw, Snake Plissken has been captured and is about to be sentenced to life imprisonment in New York City Penitentiary. Fate intervenes and the President’s (Donald Pleasence) plane is hijacked on the way to a crucial peace summit and crashed inside the city. Former special forces soldier Plissken is the only man skilled enough to sneak in quietly and get him out alive, and Snake now has a chance at a full pardon for all his crimes if he takes the job. A vicious gang leader called The Duke Of New York (Isaac Hayes) has other ideas for both The President and Snake, who has less then 24 hours to complete his mission, or the world goes back to war and the micro explosives implanted in his neck to keep him compliant, will go off.

Director and co-writer (with Nick Castle) Carpenter creates some nice tension and suspense, and his visual eye is great at creating a gloomy hellhole out of the world’s greatest city. Dean Cundey’s cinematography is absolutely beautiful as it captures the world inside New York, which is very effectively portrayed on a small budget. Carpenter moves the film along well, although not as fast paced as today’s audience are used to, and there is plenty of action and chases to keep one entertained. Despite being released in 1981, this film may be the last film to have a real 70s feel to it before the Lethal Weapons and Die Hards changed action films forever. Another film that inspired many and was imitated many times and another great Carpenter film score to add to the atmosphere.

As for the cast… Kurt Russell does his best Clint Eastwood as Snake and it’s only natural then to pair him up with Eastwood co-star Lee Van Cleef as Police Commissioner, Bob Hauk. Rounding out the cast is Halloween vet Donald Pleasence as the President, Harry Dean Stanton as Brain, Carpenter’s then wife, Adrienne Barbeau as Maggie, Ernest Borgnine as Cabbie and legendary soul man Isaac Hayes as The Duke of New York. Not to forget, there is also genre favorite Tom Atkins as Hauk’s right-hand man, Rehme and frequent Carpenter collaborator Charles Cyphers as the Secretary of State. A simply classic B-movie sci-fi/action flick and one of my all-time favorites!

MONSTERZERO NJ EXTRA TRIVIA:  The studio wanted Charles Bronson as Snake, but Carpenter fought for his choice of former Disney child actor, Russell and the rest is history. Also, the SPFX were done in part by a then unknown James Cameron, who went on to direct Terminator and Titanic. And despite its setting, most of the film was lensed in St. Louis and L.A. with only one-night actual shooting in NYC at the Statue of Liberty.

One of the greatest B-movies of all time!

Rated a classic 4 (out of 4) Snakes

escape rating

**************************************************

plus

road warrior

bars

THE ROAD WARRIOR aka MAD MAX 2 (1981)

Road Warrior is simply an action classic and one of my all-time favorite movies. It still holds up today even after over 40 years and is still better than most of the CGI filled action flicks that get churned out today. I was stunned upon leaving the theater after first seeing it at the Stanley Warner in Paramus, N.J. in 1981 and the film still has its magic when I watch it all these years later.

The film is set years after the events of 1979’s Mad Max and takes place after an apocalyptic collapse of society triggered by the drying up of fuel sources and the resulting panic. It follows ex-cop Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), who we last saw avenging the murder of his wife and child against a savage biker gang, and now wanders the wasteland fighting to survive amidst the scavengers, a once loving family man transformed into a ruthless survivor who looks out only for himself. Max stumbles across a small desert community that is manufacturing fuel but is also battling a large gang of thugs who want to take the gas and slaughter all those inside. Max’s need for fuel leads him to align himself with the embattled village but is it something more that makes him risk his life as the villagers make a desperate attempt to escape the ‘vermin on machines’ and find a better place to start a new life.

The Road Warrior is simply a great movie. One of the greatest action films ever made, the film that turned Gibson into a star and launched dozens of cheap imitations and still inspires filmmakers today (I recommend Neil Marshall’s outrageously fun homage Doomsday). George Miller creates a world that is an apocalyptic Sergio Leone western in S & M gear and features some of the most furious action/chase scenes ever committed to film. He populates this world with a cast of eccentric characters from the bizarre and whimsical Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence) to the equally surreal gang leader Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson) and his mohawked henchman Wes (Vernon Wells). Beneath all the leather and carnage, the film also has a heart and a soul and that’s what sets it apart. Ultimately it is about clinging to and regaining one’s humanity in the face of adversity. Not only is Max rediscovering he has a heart underneath the bodies of all those he has killed and all that he has lost but civilization as well is struggling to regain what’s been lost against those who would take advantage of its ruin. Amidst the bone-crushing action and blood-spattering violence there is a message of hope and that is really what makes this film so special and gives it so much substance. Director Miller mixes in his message perfectly with the action, offsetting the brutality with a quirky sense of humor, so the bleak nature of the film never wears you down. A perfect blend of elements if there ever was one. Miller also gives the film a look that would make Leone and Kurosawa proud and Dean Selmer’s cinematography brings it to life along with Norma Moriceau’s inventive costume design and, of course, all the amazing stunt work and action choreography. Wrap that up in Brian May’s pulse pounding score and you have a cinematic experience that is just as effective today as it was over 40 years ago. Miller co-wrote the script with Terry Hayes and Brian Hannant and the film was produced by Miller’s friend and Mad Max producer Byron Kennedy, who would tragically be killed 2 years later in a helicopter crash.

The cast really are perfect, especially for bringing such colorful and strange characters to life. Gibson is both samurai and gunslinger as the iconic Max, portraying a man who is deadly, cunning but still has a heart buried deep down that enables him to become a hero when there are those in need. His actions may seem selfish at first, but the cop and family man are still in there needing a good reason to re-emerge. Bruce Spence is a delight as the goofy Gyro Captain, a bizarre individual who flies a gyro copter over the vicious inhabitants of the wasteland and survives by his wits and the help of his pet snakes. A truly endearing and memorable character. Nilsson and Wells create formidable villains becoming the signature template for all the bad guys in practically every post-apocalyptic action rip-off that arose after this became a sensation. They are both oddballs and nut jobs but very lethal characters with Wells’ Wes practically stealing the show as the loose cannon, psychotic henchman. We also have Michael Preston who is a noble leader as the in-over-his-head Pappagallo, a man who believes civilization is not lost and plans to start again. Young Emil Minty is a hoot as the Feral Child, a stray dog of a little boy who communicates in growls and is quite resourceful and scrappy in a fight, and Virginia Hey is noble and strong as the simply named Warrior Woman, who fights just as hard as any man. There are many other supporting players and they all do well in establishing personalities for their offbeat characters. An almost perfect cast for a film masterpiece.

What else can I say. This film is a masterpiece of action and storytelling and is one of the most influential films of its time. It is one of my all-time favorites and a film that is just as effective today as it was in 1981. It is a clear example that action movies can have a story and a soul and still deliver mind blowing sequences without a lick of CGI. Often imitated but never equaled. A classic in every sense of the word.

Rated 4 (out of 4) warriors of the wasteland!

road warrior rating

**************************************************

bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)

MZNJ_Movie_Memories

now playing

big_trouble_in_little_china_poster_01

bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)

big trouble

Big Trouble!

As it is the anniversary of its release, a look back at this now classic action fantasy…
Once again director John Carpenter was ahead of his time with this spin on the type of SPFX filled supernatural/martial arts flicks that were being made as part of the revisionist Hong Kong cinema of the 80s and 90s like Zu: Warriors From The Magic Mountain (1983). Unfortunately, like his masterpiece The ThingBig Trouble failed at the box office and would only years later be recognized and loved for the classic it is. As an avid fan of Carpenter, I was there opening night in 1986 and my friends and I loved it and immediately started quoting characters and making references, years before it got the attention it deserved. I’m proud to have championed this flick from the beginning. I had yet to see Zu, but heard enough and saw enough from the film, to know what Carpenter was doing. The Hong Kong cinema wouldn’t catch on here in the US till the early 90s and sadly it was only then when movie fans realized that Carpenter nailed the spirit and frantic fun of those movies perfectly with this deliriously entertaining flick!

 

R

Don’t mess with Jack Burton!

 

Photos: 20th Century Fox

-MonsterZero NJ

bars

 

BREAKING NEWS: FATHOM EVENTS TO FIX ASPECT RATIO FOR CARPENTER’S THE THING!

MZNJ_NEW_news

BREAKING NEWS: FATHOM EVENTS TO FIX ASPECT RATIO FOR CARPENTER’S THE THING!

image

***************************************************
After fan anger and disappointment was unleased online, led by filmmaker and horror expert Mick Garris, due to Fathom Events’ sub-par print of John Carpenter’s The Thing that was screened Sunday night, Fathom has responded! As stated in an article appearing on Variety’s website last night, Fathom Events will replace the shoddy print with a print in the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio for Wednesday’s scheduled screenings!
 
Fathom’s statement as per the Variety article…

 

“Your patronage and trust are of utmost importance to us. We know you come to theaters expecting the very best experience possible and we pride ourselves in being the provider of that experience,” the statement reads. “We are aware that the recent showing of ‘The Thing; wasn’t shown in its original aspect ratio and the disappointment it caused. Wednesday’s scheduled event will be shown in the proper aspect ratio, so you can see the film in theaters, as it was meant to be seen.”

Nothing was said about refunding or appeasing those, like myself, that saw it Sunday with the inferior print, but at least those seeing it at the Wednesday showings will get to see it as John Carpenter intended! Thank you, Mick Garris!

***************************************************

msdthin_ec003-e1598299693431

-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Variety and Mick Garris’ Instagram

bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING (1982)!

MZNJ_Movie_Memories

now playing

thing_poster

bars

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING (1982)!

Cast_shot_promotional_image_-_The_Thing_1982

The ill-fated crew of U.S. outpost #31 from John Carpenter’s The Thing!

John Carpenter’s production of The Thing turns 40 years old on 6/25/22 and I was fortunate to see it at a preview screening a week earlier at the long-gone Totowa Cinema in Totowa, N.J. At this point I was already a John Carpenter fan and The Thing from Another World, which is the first film adaptation John W. Campbell Jr’s Who Goes There?, was one of my childhood favorites. I was very excited and as there was no internet to spoil things, I didn’t know what to expect apart from a few stills posted in Starlog and a cast and crew with some familiar faces and names. I was wowed to say the least by this groundbreaking adaptation with some of the most amazing make-up FX I’d ever seen! There was no traditional monster such as in Alien, but a creature that changed shape and form every time you saw it and right before you eyes. I loved the flick and was actually mad when it opened officially a week later to bad reviews and even worse box office. I saw it at least twice more in a theater before it’s sadly brief theatrical run came to an end. now, after four decades I can be happy that the film is finally recognized and regarded as the classic that it is!

 

msdthin_ec003-e1598299693431

Something not of this world has been unleashed from it’s icy tomb!

Last night John Carpenter’s flick, now rightfully recognized as the masterpiece it is, returned to theaters to commemorate it’s 40th anniversary thanks to AMC and Fathom Events. It was a bittersweet return as, sadly, it was an inferior print that was not only faded and sometimes a bit blurry but cropped from the film’s original 2:35 aspect ratio to something more resembling 1:85! WTF!? This totally betrayed Carpenter’s impeccable visual style and Dean Cundey’s masterful cinematography. On that level it was very disappointing. However, the heart and soul of this science fiction/horror was still intact, and it was still a blast and a good time to see Kurt Russell and co-stars up on the big screen once more battling Rob Bottin’s shape-shifting alien monstrosity. It brought back a lot of memories from my first screening in 1982 and proved this flick has lost none of its potency four decades later. It will always remain one of my all-time favorites and if you truly want to see it as intended, pick up Scream Factory’s collector’s edition. The print is a beautifully restored high definition transfer that presents this masterpiece of alien terror in all it’s gory glory!

 

image

A last stand against the alien invader!

**************************************************

-MonsterZero NJ

Photos: Universal Pictures

bars

 

BARE BONES: FIRESTARTER (2022)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

firestarter 2022

FIRESTARTER (2022)

Blumhouse/Universal flick is a remake of the 1984 thriller, which in turn, was an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. The story is the same. A young couple Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) undergo drug experiments that give them special abilities. More troublesome, is their daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) is born with the power to set fires with her mind. Now the shady organization that created them is hunting them down to take control of Charlie’s incendiary skills.

Update is lamely directed by Keith Thomas from a weak script by Scott Teems that fixes none of the problems with the original film’s screenplay. There is no suspense, the film is extremely by-the-numbers and dull, the villains are boring and the performances stale. Only young Ryan Kiera Armstrong gives her underwritten role a little life. There has been little or no publicity for this release and now it’s obvious why. Aside from being completely forgettable, the film even looks cheap. The only redeeming thing about the flick is the score by legendary filmmaker/composer John Carpenter, his son Cody and Daniel A. Davies. The delightful irony here is that Carpenter was originally set to direct the 1984 version before being fired after the lackluster box office performance of The Thing. Now his contribution is the only memorable part of this pointless remake. Film is currently available in theaters and streaming on Peacock.

-MonsterZero NJ

Humerus-Bone1 

bars