Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quintessential Fantasy Films of the 80's

So here we are on the last day of my 80’s blog-a-thon (you guys been diggin’ it?) and I couldn’t leave without doing something on Fantasy Films of the 80’s. Why you ask? Well, because they are a pretty special bunch of films that’s why. Interesting thing about these fantasy films of the 80’s is that a lot of them where box office failures but have endured even to our day because people discover them after the fact and fall in love with them, and continue to watch them. But why if these films where good, did they fail at the box office? Well, certain elements factor into the failure equation, for example Willow was bashed by critics for being too similar to Star Wars, Adventures of Baron Munchausen suffered because of a shift in management at Columbia, Return to Oz was considered too dark for an Oz movie and audiences rejected it. Legend was a huge fiasco; a whole stage was burned down because of a gas line that went out of control. To make matters worse, Ridley Scott got cold feet and re-edited the whole film so it could be more “hip”, apparently he was afraid of rejection from the MTV generation. The film flopped anyways. Masters of the Universe (and Superman IV combined) literally shut down Cannon Films! Labyrinth had David Bowies crotch in 3-D and so on…but for whatever the reason, studios kept making their fantasy films! Thank the movie gods for that!

A scene from Ridley Scott's Legend (1985)

But not all of them were failures of course. For every five fantasy failures, one of these films would be a huge success. Good examples of this are Conan The Barbarian which was huge at the box office; so was Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits. But whatever, success or not at the box office, what matters to us is if the movie is good or not, if they make some sort of lasting impression. If they stay with us, and well, if these movies made it onto my list of Quintessential 80’s Fantasy Films, well, they must have something special about them. What I like about a lot of these 80’s films is that a lot of them where actually original fantasy films and weren’t based on any books or previous films, a lot of them weren’t remakes or anything. A lot of them had original elements to them and that’s something you don’t see a lot of these days. Most of them weren’t 90% computer generated, nope, these babies were hand crafted with tender loving care. So sit back, relax, and check this list out, there’s bound to be one or two on here that you’ll want to either experience for the first time, or revisit for good old times sake. Enjoy! 

Title: Krull (1983)

Comments: Krull tells the tale of Prince Colwyn, a young man whose wedding to Princess Lyssa is interrupted by an alien invasion! You see, there’s this villain called ‘Beast’ who travels around the galaxy on a flying mountain/castle thing, which never stays in the same place, the mountain castle is always traveling around making all the more difficult to catch the guy. But The Beast suddenly has eyes for Lyssa and has his soldiers kidnap her, so he can marry her. Colwyn must search for his love and rescue her from the clutches of The Beast, but first he must find the magical Glave, will he find it? This one, like many fantasy films from this era is all about the main villain falling in love with goodness. If you remember correctly, the same thing happens in Labyrinth and Legend, the purely evil villain is attracted by the innocence and purity of good. 

Quote: “A girl of ancient name shall become queen and she shall choose a king, together they will rule the world and their son will rule the galaxy”

Title: Legend (1985)

Comments: This one has always been one of my favorite fantasy films from the 80’s, but also, one of my favorite fantasy films, period. The world of Legend is so rich, so complex, so visually stunning, that I can’t help but revisit it over and over again. The reason for this films richness is the director behind it, Ridley Scott who is the kind of director who’ll make the unbelievable, believable. At the basis of this story is a battle between the forces of good and innocence embodied by the characters of Jack and Lilly and the darkest form of evil, a villain by the name of ‘Darkness’. What holds the tale together is the purest form of love that Jack and Lilly have for each other. Darkness represents the animal side of human nature, the dark side, the primal side; in one moment of the film Darkness tells Lilly “we are all animals my dear” referring to this. I love that battle between light and dark, one in need of the other, “for what is light, without dark?” As you can see, the script for this film is great and gets quite poetic at times. Darkness is one of the most amazing make up effects creations along with the rest of the creatures that inhabit this film. Rob Bottin was responsible for the creature effects on this show, this film is a great showcase of his work. Darkness is a striking image, as well as the swamp witch known as ‘Meg Mucklebones’, it’s a true delight watching these creatures come to life. Tim Curry out does himself in the role of Darkness, though he is unrecognizable under tons of makeup. Mia Sarah and Tom Cruise do a fantastic job of looking young and innocent and deeply in love. David Bennent also delivers an outstanding performance as ‘Gump’. This is a special kind of fantasy film, if you haven’t experienced it yet, it’s about time you did!

Quote: “The dreams of youth are the regrets of maturity”

Title: Willow (1988)

Comments: Willow got a lot of heat when it was first released back in ’88 because critics thought it was too similar to George Luca’s Star Wars films and since it was Lucas producing Willow, well, they thought he was just rehashing old ideas. I have to say that yeah, it’s true, for every character in Willow you can find its counterpart in Star Wars, but still, who the hell cares, Willow has enough original elements to set it apart from the Star Wars universe. First up, this is a fantasy film, and with that comes magic, witches, sorcerers and dragons! This film was made during a time when genre films were making that jump from using stop motion effects to full CGI creations, so on Willow we get a mix of both. We have one scene in which Fin Raziel, a witch, transforms from one animal to the next until she finally reaches her true human form, all through the use of morphing techniques, which were in diapers back in those days but at the same time we also get stop motion creatures like the two headed ‘Eborsisk Dragon’ which still looks pretty damn cool in my book, a highlight of the film no doubt. Then we have the great cast rounding things out, Val Kilmer plays ‘Madmartigan’, the Han Solo type and Warwick Davis plays Willow Ufgood, the Luke Skywalker type; together they must stop Queen Bavmorda, the Emperor Palpatine of this movie. Okay, so what if it is like Star Wars, Willo is still an extremely enjoyable fantasy film that wallows deep in its fantasy roots, something that sets it apart from anything seen on Star Wars. If you ask me, what Willow was truly influenced by was J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings novels.

Quote: “Magic is the bloodstream of the universe. Forget all you know or think you know. All that you require is your intuition”

Title: Excalibur (1981)

Comments: Excalibur is director John Boorman’s take on the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s a film that depicts a time when “the old ways” (meaning magic)   and the “new ways” (meaning Christianity) where clashing with one another and Christianity was beginning to win the battle. Magic was seen as something that was fading away, something pagan and evil; now Jesus was everyone’s savior. This is a story in which human passion makes people do some really stupid things, totally blinded by lust and desire. It happens to the best of us what can I say?  The films strongest aspect are its visuals, which director John Boorman executed with old school filmmaking techniques. Highly recommend it, as in my opinion it is one of the best retellings of the story.  

Quote: “You are not listening. Well, your heart is not. Love is deaf as well as blind.”

Title: Clash of the Titans (1981)

Comments: Clash of the Titans was such a spectacle when it was first released, back then, stop motion animation was as far as special effects technology had gotten and this was the pinnacle of that form of visual effects. It had gained huge momentum with films like The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and the Argonauts (1963) The Valley of Gwangi (1969) and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) amongst many others. All of these films had one thing in common, stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen was the man responsible for the stop motion animation of all these wonderful creatures that appear on all of these films, but Clash of the Titans was the pinnacle of his carreer, it was the last film that Harryhausen ever animated, so it was his last hurrah, his cinematic swan song and what a song it was! I remember being amazed by this film in theaters, my dad took me to see it and it was a special event for me. This film had a very true sense of adventure, romance and heroism. It tells the tale of Perseus and his adventures in trying to kill The Kraken, a giant beast from the sea to whom the love of his life, Andromeda, will be sacrificed to. Most of the stop motion animation is awesome, some isn’t. For example, the animation on Pegasus, the flying horse, wasn’t the best. This was probably because it was very difficult to animate all the feathers on Pegasus. But creatures like The Kraken and Medusa? True showstoppers! That scene with the good guys entering Medusa’s temple is so effective it almost feels like a horror film. Highly recommend checking this one out, in my opinion it is superior to the remake in many ways.  

Quote: “For the insult you have done to me, and the cruel injury inflicted upon my son, I demand the life of Andromeda, in 30 days.”

Title: Dragonslayer (1981)

Comments: Peter MacNicol plays Galen, a sorcerer’s apprentice who needs to find a way to kill ‘Vermithrax Pejorative’, the fire breathing dragon with whom the king of the realm has made a pact. The pact consists in the dragon getting a virgin sacrificed to her every year, in turn; the dragon leaves the realm alone. If the dragon doesn’t get its yearly virgin, then the realm gets burned to smithereens. But killing an old dragon of this magnitude is no easy task, and so Galen employs the help of his mentor, Ulrich the Sorcerer. Still, to this day, there is no better Dragon movie than Dragonslayer. Some have come close to being as good, but they never reach the level of awesomeness that this film reaches. For example, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films has awesome looking dragons, but the film isn’t about dragons, it only features them in certain scenes. Dragonslayer is a film centered entirely on the mythical creatures, and it’s the best film on the subject, bar none. The special effects work is astounding, even to this day thanks in no small part to the wondrous stop motion work of Phil Tippett. The tone of the film isn’t goofy or silly like some dragon movies I could mention, Dungeons and Dragons I’m looking at you kid! Nope, this movies tone is serious and realistic, which makes it more believable. The films tagline always made perfect sense for me:  “When dragons were real”. 

Quote: “I am Galen Brandwarden, inheritor of Ulrich’s craft and knowledge. I am the sorcerer you seek!”

Title: Time Bandits (1981)

Comments: Terry Gilliam lives and breathes fantasy and escapism perhaps more than any other director in film history. Sure there are a couple of heavy contenders out there (Guillermo del Toro being one of them) but no director has done fantasy as consistently and with such dedication and appreciation for fantasy as Terry Gilliam has. Right from the very beginning of his career with films like Jabberwocky (1977), it’s always been fantasy that has taken the lead in his work. In Time Bandits Gilliam tells the tale of Kevin a young kid who is one day visited by a group of midget/angels who have stolen a map to all the wormholes in the universe from The Supreme Being. That’s right, they stole a map from God! Funny how God has appeared in a lot of these Monty Python/Terry Gilliam films! So anyhow, while running away from The Supreme Being, Kevin and his midget friends embark on a time traveling adventure that takes them to meet everyone from Robin Hood to Napoleon! Kind of like a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure type of film, but with no telephone booth. Like many of Gilliam’s films, this one features excellent miniature work and imaginative special effects. David Warner plays ‘Evil’, basically, he is Satan himself. He wants the map of the universe so he can conquer it. Best part about the film is that because Gilliam comes from Monty Python, the dialog and situations are infused with some truly funny comedy. But deep down inside, this film is very philosophical, it explores the ideas of God and the Devil, good vs. evil, and asks such philosophical questions as “Why does there have to be evil?“

Quote: “I think it has something to do with free will”

Title: The Dark Crystal (1982)

Comments: This is another of Jim Hensons films, he was a busy guy during the 80’s. He made all those Muppet movies, produced the Muppet Show and directed both Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, but this last one he collaborated with Frank Oz in directing. This one is a bit different than Labyrinth because there is not a human in sight, everything on the screen is puppets or people handling puppets, but not a single human is seen on screen. The Dark Crystal is a pure fantasy film, not unlike Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The film tells the story of Jen and Kira, two Gelflins on the quest for a magical crystal shard that will bring unity and peace to their world. Will they ever find it? 

Quote: “What was sundered and undone shall be whole, the two made one”

Title: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

Comments:  During the 80’s and after the success of films like Time Bandit’s, The Meaning of Life and getting critical acclaim for Brazil, Gilliam went on to direct what would be his biggest film ever, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. What’s interesting about this film is that it was Gilliam’s last ultra big budget film, after flopping in theaters, he was never entrusted the mega kajillions again. From here on in he would continue making films, but with fewer millions at his disposal. Sad part is that it was not his fault, this movie was victim of corporate changes at Columbia Pictures. Head Honchos change, and the films that previous studio heads were backing, suddenly get the shaft from the new management, Baron Munchausen was one of the ones that got the shaft during one of those turn arounds at Columbia. Sadly this movie did not deserve to be a flop, it’s such a high quality production, such a beautiful film to look at, so lavish, so epic, that it’s a true tragedy that because of poor marketing techniques, the film went by unseen and undiscovered by audiences. The film is about Baron Munchausen and his attempts to twart an invasion by “The Turks”, he tries to distract the populace by telling them tales of his fantastic battles against the Turks. Are these stories real or are they tall tales? The films highlight is seeing the Baron’s tales come to life on the screen, these tales involve meeting the ‘King of the Moon’ (played by a hilarious Robin Williams) and falling in love with Venus played by a very young and beautiful Uma Thurman. But the incredible cast doesn’t stop there, we also get Eric Idle, Oliver Reed and Sarah Polly as the little girl urging the Baron to not give up his battle against life. Highly recommend this amazing fantasy film if you haven’t given it a go. It is a one of a kind movie experience. 

Quote: “I have a galaxy to run, I don’t have time for flatulence and orgasms!”

Title: Conan The Barbarian (1982) and Conan The Destroyer (1984)

Comments: Though both of these films are vastly different in tone and feel, both are about Robert E. Howard’s most famous creation: Conan the Barbarian, a thief, an adventurer and in the end, also a King! Both of these films are vastly superior then the god awful Marcus Nispel directed, Conan The Barbarian (2011). My advice is skip that horrid take on the character and just watch the first two Conan films. Now the first one is a very anti-religious film about Conan looking to avenge the death of his family and his people at the hands of a religious snake worshipping cult lead by a man known as Thulsa Doom. It’s a serious take on the character, which is something I love about the movie. Its fantasy, but it’s told with a very realistic tone, you almost believe that this world exists. The second one is a different animal all together because it’s more of a comic book movie; still a highly enjoyable film in my book. Here’s where we see the difference that a director can give a project! The first one was written by Oliver Stone and directed by John Millius, two very serious filmmakers who most of the time write and direct films revolving around war. The second was directed by Richard Fleischer, the guy behind Red Sonja (1985) and Amityville 3-D (1983). This is something I love about changing creative teams on a franchise, the different elements they add to each project makes each film unique. Both of these films helped catapult Schwarzenegger to stardom, to this day it is still one of his most recognized characters.     

Quote: “You killed my mother! You killed my father! You killed my people!”

Title: The Never Ending  Story (1984)

Comments: I can’t think of 80’s fantasy films without thinking about The Never Ending Story. The book is amazing, if you’re looking to read an amazing fantasy novel, The Never Ending Story is an amazing book so full of ideas and creatures that when the time came to make the film, they only filmed have of the story. In the book, Bastian visits Fantasia and becomes their leader and a despot! But the film only left the story half way there. I think it was a wise choice because the book tells an epic story! They decided to tell the other half of the story in the horrible sequel, The Never Ending Story II: The Next Chapter (1990) sadly, that sequel didn’t do the book any justice at all. And I don’t even count the third film The Never Ending Story III (1994) because that third entry is one of those films that’s so bad, you’ll freaking blush when you see it. But back to the first film which is a solid, well produced and directed piece of fantasy cinema. On that one we meet Bastian, a young boy who tries to avoid reality by escaping into his fantasy novels. That’s all fine and dandy, the problem is that one of the books he ends up reading is ‘The Never Ending Story’ a magical book that makes its reader a part of the story. So soon, Bastian finds himself entwined in The Never Ending Story, battling against the Gomork and the terrible Nothing which is eating up fantasia.

Quote: “The more wishes you make, the more magnificent fantasia will become”

Title: Highlander (1986)

Comments: With these Highlander films, I’m of the opinion that they should have never done any sequels. And if they did plan on making some sequels then dammit, at least make them good. But no, they went and over complicated things to the point of incomprehension with Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) which is to me tough to link to the original which was simply put a very original fantasy film about Immortals who roam the earth. All they want to do is kill each other so they can obtain ‘the gift’. What is this gift that they so covet? Well, apparently, once you’ve killed all of the Immortals of the earth, and it’s just you, then you’ll  know everything and become the most gifted mind in the world, or something to that effect, it’s never clearly explained. My favorite parts of the original Highlander are those that take place in The Highlands of Scottland, where Connor McLeod, the titular highlander comes from. You see, this film serves as an origin story and so we get to see how McLeod first discovers that he is an immortal and he has Sean Connery to show him the ways of immortality! I love everything about this movie, right down to its rock and roll soundtrack by Queen. This franchise is begging for a reboot, a film that will take everything we’ve come to know about Highlanders and re-package it all and finally make these films make some sense. But this original one? A solid piece of fantasy! Highly recommend it!  

Quote: “From the dawn of time we came, moving silently down through the centuries, living many secret lives…struggling to reach the time of the gathering.”

Title: Masters of the Universe (1987)

Comments: Masters of the Universe is a love it or hate film, I fall on the love it category. Some people feel they didn’t really get a He-Man film. They wanted battle cat and they wanted Skeletor to have a yellow skull. They wanted Orko instead of ‘Gwuildor’ and so forth. But for me, even though I was a big fan of the toys, which along with G.I. Joe’s made up a huge part of my childhood, I still liked the movie just the way it is. It’s kind of difficult not to like this one. It’s an excellent production with top notch visual effects. The film was conceptualized by French artist Jean Giraud, a master comic book artist/fantasist who sadly passed away in 2012. Giraud’s involvement is the reason why all the characters look so damn cool. Sure the film has a couple of flaws here and there (where’s the people of earth at?) but overall, it’s a good he-man film. You will see He-man wielding his sword of power and screaming “I have the power!” You will see Skeletor trying to destroy him; you will see Castle Greyskull and someone actually becoming a Master of the Universe. It’s a big film with some cheesy dialog here and there, but overall, on the fun-o-meter, this one rates pretty high. Visually speaking, Lundgren looks like He-Man come to life, but it’s Frank Langella who steals the show as Skeletor!  

Quote: “The Alpha and the Omega, death and rebirth, and as you die, so shall I be reborn!”

Title: The Princess Bride (1987)

Comments: The Princess Bride is a classic fairy tale filled with castles, witches, swordfights and princesses that need to be rescued from the clutches of an evil prince. We also get a peasant boy who falls in love with a woman who is completely out of his league. You see, The Princess Bride is all about a farm boy named Westley who falls head over heels in love for Princess Buttercup. To avoid Buttercup’s marriage to Humperdink, Westley kidnaps Buttercup and takes her with him to the forest; but will Buttercup still love Wesley even after he's been gone for so many years? Can she deal with the fact that he is now a pirate? This film unfolds like a fairy tale right from the get go; with a grandfather reading a fairy tale to his grandson. “In my time, television was called books” he tells his grandson.  As the grandfather reads the story to his grandson, we see it come to life. One of the best things about the film is that it is perfectly cast! Billy Crystal, Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon, Mandy Patinkin, Fred Savage, Peter Falk… a truly excellent cast that livens up the film, everyone seems to understand the tongue in cheek tone of the film, nobody takes themselves too seriously. Well, all except Indigo Montoya (played by Mandy Patinkin) who wants revenge for the death of his father, which reminds me: this is an extremely quotable film!  

Quote: “My name is Indigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”

Title: Return to Oz (1985)

Comments: A great sequel to the classic film from the 30’s, Return to Oz is so criminally underrated it’s not even funny. Upon it’s release, it was a failure at the box office, but that was only due to the fact that people couldn’t accept a darker version of the Oz universe. Return to Oz is a distinctively grimmer film when compared to the multicolored musical classic. But that’s okay by me, I love dark and spooky and Return to Oz is exactly that. On this one Dorothy is in a mental asylum about to receive electro shock therapy because she’s always talking about Oz. When she finally makes it to Oz, she confronts Queen Mombi, a witch that switches heads all the time, a Gnome King that is made of rock (and is allergic to chickens) and a talking chicken named Bellina and for that matter, a talking couch! There’s more spooky/weird stuff, but I’ll let you discover the wonders of this film all by yourself. This film is a rarity, a dark, “scary” film that comes from the shinny happy people at Disney.  

Quote: “Where’s my Powder of Life!?”

Title: Red Sonja (1985)

Comments: True this movie is considered bad and I’m not going to lie, the dialog is simply atroicious, as if no time was truly given to what these characters would say, somebody just wrote this thing and got a pay check, but I do enjoy certain aspects of the film. Like for example its production values arent all that bad. Effects wise, we don’t really get much save for a metal dragon that they encounter in a lake, which is a pretty cool scene. The film ultimately ends up commenting on weapons of mass destruction, and the power that their wielder holds on humanity. On this film, an evil Queen Gedren want’s to posses this magical orb that can bring destruction upon her enemies. The only problem is that the orb can’t really be controlled, and so it isn’t long before Gedren has the orb bringing forth uncontrollable destruction upon the land. It’s an allegory for nuclear weapons, we gotta remember, this theme was always reoccurring in films of the 80’s because of the fear of nuclear meltdown. On the day Red Sonja premiered Arnold’s wife Maria whispered onto Arnold’s ear and said: “If this movie doesn’t destroy your career, nothing will” Obviously Arnold's charisma took him way further and this movie didn't make a dent, but still, the movie is an interesting curiosity. He looks like Conan in the film, but he isn't playing Conan. Basically, De Laurentis told Arnold he was supposed to play a glorified cameo, truth is Arnold ended up playing a huge part in the film. 

Quote: “No man may have me unless he's beaten me in a fair fight”

Title:  The Beastmaster (1982)

Comments: Basically, if you lived through the 80’s and had cable, there was no way you were going to miss Beastmaster, it was on all the time! It has to be one of the most replayed movies ever. The idea is a pretty interesting one; through the use of black magic, Dar is a human born from a cow who ends up with the ability to communicate with animals! Dar’s on a quest to avenge the death of his family and his people, there’s a crazy religious cult that enjoys destroying little villages, and one of them was Dar’s. On his quest, Dar befriends some people and even some animals that end up helping through his adventure. This one is cheesy to the max and it might even feel a little like a Conan Rip Off, but it is still highly enjoyable. Marc Singer brings The Beastmaster to life; a role he would revisit two more times in the sequels. Tanya Robert’s also stars on this film and on it she looks sexier than ever, exploiting her sexuality every step of the way. Speaking of which, if you can’t get enough of sexy Mrs. Robert’s, you should check her out in Sheena (1984), a film she made after Beastmaster which resembles Beastmaster in many ways, right down to her having abilities to communicate with animals! 
Quote: “The gods have put that mark upon you, and someday, you’ll find out why.”

Title: Labyrinth (1986)

Comments: Anyone who was a kid during the 80’s holds this one close to their heart, it’s a film that has many great things going for it, let’s see, it was produced by George Lucas, it was directed by Muppet creator Jim Henson, written by Monty Python alumni Terry Jones and stars Jennifer Connelly and the one and only David Bowie who by the way wrote and performed most of the songs in the film, which are pretty memorable I might add, this is one of my favorite soundtracks ever. With a cast and crew like that one, it’s no wonder this film is so special. Like many of Jim Henson’s films, this one is populated mostly by puppets, which is what makes it even more special. The beautiful Jennifer Connelly stars on this one as Sarah, the young girl who takes everything for granted. Will she ever get her baby brother back from the clutches of Jareth The Goblin King?

Quote: “You have no power over me”

Title: Fire and Ice (1983)

Comments: Ralph Bakshi’s animated films have a unique element to them, most of the time they are very sketchy in nature, very old school because the techniques they used were traditional animation techniques. But even for traditional animation, Bakshi’s films had a rawness to them that was very tangible,a  style all his own. But to me, Fire and Ice is one of Bakshi’s most polished films, this could have something to do with the fact that he was working alongside master fantasist/painter Frank Frazetta. Frazetta was a legend amongst fantasy artists, stories say that some of the painters that collaborated with him on Fire and Ice found the task so daunting that they actually fainted. Now that’s what I call being an intimidating person! But seriously, Frazetta’s influence is felt on the film, one of the characters even looks like one of his most famous paintings “The Death Dealer”. At the end of the day it’s us the audience who comes out winning because the result is an amalgamation of two very creative individuals. Recommended for lovers of old school animation, also, anyone who is a fan of Masters of the Universe should love this movie as well, Fire and Ice has many similarities with the classic animated series.  It is not a perfect film, it is not without its flaws, but it’s certainly worth a watch, if only, for the amazing artistry that went into making it.

Quote: “Nekkron, I extend my hand in friendship. I offer peace between my people. Will you not take my hand? Will you not call me friend?”

Princess Bride (1987)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Killing Zoe (1993)

Title: Killing Zoe (1993

Director/Writer: Roger Avary

Cast: Eric Stoltz, Julie Delpy, Jean-Hughes Anglade


So the story with director/writer Roger Avary is that back when they where nobodies, Tarantino and Avary worked in a  video club in Los Angeles called ‘Video Archives’ ; a place of gathering for cinephiles and future film directors and producers. This video club turned out to be Tarantino and Avary’s breeding ground, after working there, they both went on to have successful film careers. Avery and Tarantino collaborated in a couple of films like Reservoir Dogs (1992), True Romance (1993) and Pulp Fiction (1994), though for whatever reason, Avary would go uncredited on some of these projects. Both of these talented individuals parted ways because as two great creative outputs, their geniuses would clash. Currently Avary says he can’t hang out with Tarantino because in Avary’s own words: “he sucks stuff from me”. Hey, I’d be pissed too if my buddy would steal ideas from me and then call them his own, or get all the credit for them. The lessons here being, don’t share your ideas with anyone, especially not Hollywood people.

But anyhow, Avary has gone on his own path in Hollywood. His first attempt at directing a film was Killing Zoe, a bank heist movie not unlike Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs in that it’s a heist movie in which everything gets blown to hell. There’s two kinds of bank heist movies out there, the ones in which the heist is spectacularly pulled off, and the ones where everything goes wrong. Well, this is one of the ones where everything goes seriously wrong. First we meet Zed (played by Eric Stoltz) a safecracker who travels to France in order to help an old friend named Eric pull off a bank heist. All he has to do is break the safe, get in, get what they want, get out. The heist sounds simple enough to Zed, especially when the tough shit is left to Eric and his gang of misfits. All Zed has to do is open the safe. Nothing much to this films plot except the question that everyone asks while watching this kind of film: will they pull of the heist?

With Killing Zoe, you definitely feel like you are watching a Tarantino film, there’s drugs, hookers and violence, only Killing Zoe is a bitter affair, there’s no comedy to the proceedings. Avary seems to have a more acid outlook on things and it’s because of this that Killing Zoe is such a serious affair. Save for Eric Stoltz ‘Zed’ and Julie Delpy’s ‘Zoe’, most of the characters in this film are not likable at all, they feel like real douche bags. The first taste of bitterness comes when Zed has had sex with Zoe and they immediately like each other. They seem to be really hooking up, but then Eric comes storming into the room and coldly kicks Zoe out of the room even though she’s completely naked! What a douche bag! So right off the bat, we get a taste of this Eric character, who is very obviously a real asshole. He’s the kind of character who’s bitter sweet.  He’s Zed’s lifelong friend, but he is also extremely rude. We then have to hang out with Eric and his gang of equally douchie junkie friends during a night of debauchery in the streets of France. Eric tells Zed “I’m going to show you the real Paris”.

This whole crazy night was a great part of the film; I really got the vibe that I was hanging out with a group of low lives who like to live on the edge. They’ll try every drug they can, push the limits of what their bodies can take. They hang out in these seedy pubs, doing heroin while everyone watches. You kind of have to wonder how they are going to pull off this heist with the hangover they will probably have the next day. This part of the film feels genuine, probably because the script is partially based on Avery’s own experiences while visiting Paris, you have to wonder what kind of trip Avery took to inspire a film like this, but anyhow, after a crazy night of drugs, booze and broads, the movie shifts into the heist which starts out well enough, but soon degenerates into a blood bath.

Ebert called this movie “generation X’s first heist movie” and the first film from the “film generation”. This whole “film generation” thing that Ebert referred to in his review makes sense, considering this film comes from a real cinephile like Avery. These are really the best kind of films in my book, the filmmakers behind them feed off other films and then do their own updated version of the movies they love, with their own style infused into the proceedings. Tarantino, Scorcese and Del Toro are this way, they are all cinephiles, true lovers of cinema that make movies influenced by hundreds of other movies they’ve seen before. Though to be honest, I couldn’t really compare Killing Zoe to anything I’ve seen before! It has its very own style and mood, very realistic, gritty and violent. It’s got that nihilistic 90’s vibe that the youth of that decade had. I remember being a teen during the 90’s, the young people of that decade were very angry, very upset at the world; their music was not happy music. This is where grunge came from, from all that pent up anger.  The characters in Killing Zoe have an anarchic “fuck everything” mentality to them, these are men who don’t give a crap what happens to them. To them, life is just one big fat stupid joke not meant to be taken seriously.

The only real problem for me with Killing Zoe is that the film is very thin. It’s only about these crazy pissed off characters pulling off a heist, with not very much to say about anything. One of the characters has Aids, and some seem to think the film is some sort of metaphor for aids, but honestly I didn’t see that. Zoe and Zed have a pseudo romantic involvement, but it’s doesn’t go further than their first encounter as hooker and customer.  For a movie coming from a writer, to me Killing Zoe didn’t have any depth to it. It has crazy characters, violence, nudity, drugs, and an overall chaotic feeling to it, but did it say anything to me past its crazy characters and situations? Not in my book. In comparison Reservoir Dogs has all sorts of themes and depth to it, Killing Zoe simply has its kinetic energized style, that’s it. This could have something to do with the fact that Avary wrote the film in a couple of weeks when producer Lawrence Bender found this abandoned bank while scouting locations for Reservoir Dogs. When Avery heard of this location, he immediately wrote the screenplay based on his experiences while traveling through Paris. This is probably why the “hanging out with the crazy junkies” part of the film feels so genuine. Not that I’m complaining, I’m simply saying that Killing Zoe is a good example of style over substance. But is it boring? Not in the least! The film entertains with its sordid characters and the complications that occur during the heist, just don’t expect anything more than that.

Rating: 4 out of 5       

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Title: Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Director: Randal Kleiser

Cast: Cliff De Young, Joey Cramer, Paul Reubens, Veronica Cartwright, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matt Adler


Director Randal Kleiser has had a very eclectic directorial career; he is responsible for a very disparate bunch of successful films, never adhering to one genre. For example, this is the guy that directed one fo the most popular musicals ever; Grease (1978) and yet also the guy who directed Honey I Blew Up the Kid (1992) and The Blue Lagoon (1980). He also made Big Top Pee Wee (1988) which to me is one of the worst movies ever made, but I’ll forgive him for that one, every director is entitled to a stinker or two in their career. Flight of the Navigator is another one of Kleiser’s eclectic directorial choices; a sci-fi family film from Disney. It is one of the most endearing of movies for me because I watched it a whole lot when I was a kid, so yeah, this review is coming from the perspective of my nostalgia goggles, which is kind of cool because you’re getting the opinion of a true child of the 80’s!

Flight of the Navigator starts out in 1978, during a very sunny and beautiful  4th of July day. Here we meet the Freemans, your typical American family comprised of mom, dad, two brothers and a dog. The focus of the story is on David Freeman, a twelve year old kid with twelve year old preoccupations: getting his dog to learn how to catch a Frisbee, fighting with his little brother and having the hots for a girl, but not knowing how to go about it. One day, while searching for his brother in the woods suddenly David discovers that he has traveled seven years into the future! How did this come to be? And what does it have to do with the spaceship that the U.S. government has found? 

So I love this movie for various reasons, one of them is because it sends out a very pro-family message. I am a family man at heart and I love it when films augment the importance of family. Flight of the Navigator speaks about the importance of appreciating your family when you have them, because you never know when you might lose them. The moments when David is sharing time with his family are really good, I mean, Kleiser really captured the feeling of a bright, colorful, sunny day with the family, those moments when the family is just having a great time with each other really clicked for me, made me want to be 12 years old again and spending time with my family. But when David gets swiped to the future, suddenly his family isn’t his family anymore. His little brother is older than he is, his mom and dad are older, it’s just not the family he had back in 1978, back when things were normal. So this is a story of David simply trying to get back to his time, and his family the way he knew them; not the altered reality version of them. Basically this is a kiddy friendly version of Back to the Future (1985), sans the sex and alcohol. And I’m pretty sure this is exactly what these filmmakers where aiming for, after all, just a year before Flight of the Navigator was released, Back to the Future made many millions at the box office, so this type of story was popular at the time.

The difference between both films is the science fiction angle is stronger on Flight of the Navigator. While the DeLorean in the Back to the Future films was created by a semi mad scientist, the time machine in Flight of the Navigator is an alien spaceship from another galaxy. Speaking of the alien spaceship, this is one cool looking ship! When I was a kid, I wanted to be David piloting that super cool alien craft. The ship was voiced by Paul Reuben’s;  a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman. Reuben’s distinct voice goes unnoticeable for most of the film because the filmmakers altered it to make it sound more like a computer, sometimes you’ll hear Reuben’s distinctive Pee Wee like laughter emerging. The ship is a combination of various forms of visual effects, but most noticeable of all is the use of computer generated images, which at the time were just getting started. I remember, as a kid, those few instances of computer generated images where awesome! Now of course, little bits of computer generated images like the ones found in Flight of the Navigator are childsplay; today entire films are computer generated! But back then, seeing something like this was innovative and exciting. So expect a film in which CGI was taking its first baby steps towards becoming the out of control rampaging monster it is today.

Another reason I love this movie is because it instantly takes me back to the 80’s. There’s this moment in which the government takes David to some sort of complex in order to perform some tests on him and in order to make him feel more at home, they buy him a bunch of toys. So when he gets to his room, it’s filled with a bunch of G.I. Joes and Transformers. Wow, now that took me back! They also talk about MTV (back when MTV was cool) and Twisted Sister and they have Sarah Jessica Parker dressed up all Madonna-like; it’s little bits like these that took me back to the decade. Another thing that makes this one very 80’s is how the entire film is centered on a twelve year old kid, so we’re talking about alien spaceships, time travel and mind melds, but everything depends on the actions of this kid! If I had to say anything negative about the film it’s that it’s very simplistic in nature, but then again, this is a film aimed at twelve year olds, so it’s not meant to be deep, the main purpose here is to feel good and have fun, and in this sense the movie delivers. There’s this really cool moment where David is flying the ship while listening to “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, definitely felt some good vibes all around.  But then again, I was feeling good vibes from this movie all the time. It's one of the best kid movies from the 80's which is the reason why I mentioned it on my Quintessential Kid Films from the 80's blogpost, it’s lighthearted family fare of the best kind.

Rated:  3 1/2 out of 5  


Monday, April 22, 2013

Oblivion (2013)

Title: Oblivion (2013)

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough


Joseph Kosinski proved himself to be a very stylish director with great command over the look and design of a film with TRON: Legacy (2010) a film that at first I wasn’t a big fan of, but has sense grown on me. There’s just no denying its visual splendor and the awesomeness of the designs involved in that picture. The look of the sets, the vehicles…the wardrobe, there’s no denying it all looks very slick, very avant garde. So of course, I was extremely curious for his sophomore project, the sci-fi film Oblivion, a film that first started out as a graphic novel written by Kosinski that never got printed. Still, he used that unprinted graphic novel as a sales pitch to studios. Disney didn't bite (they wanted the film to be PG) but Universal did. So as you  can see, we’re talking about an extremely talented individual here. This Kosinski guy isn’t just any run of the mill director, he not only writes graphic novels, and directs films, he’s also got a background in 3-D architectural design, which probably explains why the sets on his films look so freaking awesome and futuristic. It’s pretty obvious that Kosinski siphons all that knowledge into the look of his films. What worries some people is that his films might be stronger on the visual department then on the story or depth department, is this true?

Well, if TRON: Legacy and Oblivion are any indications, Kosinski’s films are solid on both counts, visual and thematic. TRON: Legacy was a film that criticized oppressive governments that want to turn everyone into a robot in their attempts at creating a “perfect society”. This is no light subject matter; in fact, films of this nature have a strong subversive tone to them. I included TRON: Legacy in an article I wrote about SubversiveCinema a while back. Actually TRON even went as far as commenting on how the system controls the media, the entertainment of the people in order to send out a certain message or point of view. Oblivion is the same type of subversive film, it hits on the system and the way things are set in our way of life. So if you ask me, Kosinski is setting a patter as a subversive filmmaker, which is something I love. You gotta have guts to stand up to the system and tell it like it is in this world. Too often people prefer to live life ignoring the realities of the world we live in and “not asking too many questions”. So this isn’t just an empty special effects heavy film that looks pretty. Nope, this is the kind of film that says hell yeah ask questions! In fact, ask as many as you have to and get to the truth. Look at the other side of the coin, not just the side “they” show you.   

First up we meet Jack and Victoria, a couple which typifies the American marriage. Victoria for all intents and purposes is the house wife who stays at home while the man, played by Tom Cruise, goes out to get the job done. Their purpose is to be “an effective team” in service to the system so they can retire and go on to live in paradise, enjoy the good life. This couple has all the comforts of modern technology, but no connection with nature or the planet they live in. In this way Kosinski comments on how technology has distanced us from the finer, simpler pleasures that our world offers us like sitting on a field of grass, basking in the sun, listening to good music, reading a good book. Jack is a character who longs for these things in a world that denies them to him. The system wants to keep him busy, producing, being “effective”, while truthfully, Jack longs for baseball games and a homey, warm cabin by the lake. He wants to live life next to his loved one. In this sense, Oblivion really connected with me and my personal view of life. I, like Jack, and many of you out there I’m sure, long for a life with less buildings, less cars, less machines and more contact with nature, more freedom to enjoy the wonders this world holds for us. But getting the “job done” and surviving in this world always gets in the way.

But there are lies in this world. This is one of those films in which the main character is not who he thinks he is, his entire life is a lie. There’s a bunch of these movies out there that have a main character whose whole life is a lie. I’m doing an article on these types of films so keep an eye out for that, but basically, the message is that you are being lied to by the system, and when I say the system, I mean the powers that be, the media, the government, the big companies that rule everything, big money, the man, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the idea that we’ve been taught one thing, when in reality, things are entirely another way. Take for example the idea of god, as the being who created us, religion as a whole. Is it all real, the idea of an old man floating up in heaven, sitting on a golden throne room with a bunch of angels flying around singing songs to him? The film also addresses this issue, and blasts it into Oblivion. This is a film that is tired of the lies, and wants to unmask them, it longs to unmask the powers that be and show them for what they are.

Take for example war, and the way the media will immediately make you think that people from a certain country are evil or your enemies. I’ve never agreed with this because there is a distinct difference that we as people need to realize, governments are not the same as the people they rule. Sometimes a government will do something which its people do not agree with, but we cannot vilify an entire ethnicity, an entire country for the madness that their government commits. Oblivion speaks of these themes saying if we look at things closer, if we search for the details, for the truth, we’ll realize that we are them, and they are us. Like that scene in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987) where two enemies at war with each other, end up in close hand to hand combat and end up looking at each other in the eyes and suddenly realize: what are we doing here? Why are we killing each other? Who has programmed us and put us here?  Most of the time, soldiers go to a war and they don’t even know why they are there, same as the character of Jack in Oblivion, who does his job, but doesn’t even know for what purpose. He’s just here to get the job done. Like a soldier who simply follows orders, without knowing why he's doing what he's doing.

As you can see, Oblivion is a pretty deep movie. Yet, its strength in design is not to be ignored. I mean, visually, conceptually, the film is a wonder. Hell, yes, this movie is cool looking! I personally enjoyed these robot drones that appear on the film, they look so robotic, and the sounds these robots emit make them come off as so evil, so cold and inhuman! I’m pretty sure this is exactly what they aimed to project with these drones and in my book they achieved it. True, Oblivion does have themes and situations that will remind you of other sci-fi films you have seen. Some moments reminded me of The Matrix (1999) and The Terminator (1984) others of Wall-E (2008) and Independence Day (1996). It even pays homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969) in some points, but at the same time, Oblivion is a film that gives you lot’s of surprises, new ideas and twists keep popping up all the time, so while it does have similarities with older films, it keeps things interesting and flowing. This was a well made movie, it’s brainy, intelligent sci-fi, with great effects, great moments of action, and heavy themes. A grade A sci-fi film with a rebellious streak to it and lot’s to say, highly recommended.

Rating:  4 out of 5   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Original vs. Remake Comparison: The Evil Dead (1981) vs. Evil Dead (2013)

Fede Alvarez’s new Evil Dead film has been the talk of the horror community for some time now. When news emerged that a remake of the classic was in the works, horror fans were instantly apprehensive of the idea. After all, Sam Raimi’s original The Evil Dead (1981)is one of the most beloved horror films of the 80’s, hell, it’s one of the most revered horror films ever, period. Sam Raimi and crew unleashed their independent horror film onto the world way back in 1981, when they were all struggling filmmakers and actors. Back then Raimi wasn’t the Hollywood mogul he is now, back then he was just a guy who loved making movies with his friends, and that he did. With every film they made goofing around, they got better and better, until they finally decided to make their first real feature length film. The Evil Dead’s kinetic style and frenetic pace truly impressed horror fans, so much so that Stephen King himself called it “the most ferociously original horror film of the year” That famous quote was well earned, back then, nobody had seen anything like The Evil Dead.

I first came in contact with the Evil Dead films around 1993 because it kept getting mentioned in Fangoria Magazine. Back then, before the internet, all a horror fan could do to keep up to date with new stuff and learn about the classics was to devour every issue of Fangoria and its sister magazine Gorezone. I kept seeing articles that mentioned The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987) over and over again as films that any true horror fan should experience. Back then, as a neophyte horror fan, I devoured every horror movie I could see. When I finally got around to seeing The Evil Dead, my teenage mind finally realized what all the hype was about. Evil Dead was “the ultimate experience in grueling terror”. It quite simply pushed the limits of what had been done with gore and horror up to that time. Because of its meager budget (350,000) the film was a success and while it was banned in many countries because of its graphic nature, it also served its purpose; it showed the world that Sam Raimi was good at making horror films and that he was a special filmmaker that was here to stay.

Raimi and Campbell on the set of The Evil Dead

Fast forward 30 odd years later into the future and The Evil Dead has spawned two sequels, helped boost the career of both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell and has now spawned the most recent addition in the Evil Dead family: a remake. When I first heard about the remake, I was also apprehensive of it. I guess, that’s a gut reaction from any true horror fan. I also feared that this was going to be a watered down version of the Sam Raimi classic. Various factors lead me to believe this. Why was I so hesitant to believe that a new Evil Dead film was destined to be a “sans cojones”  version of the old one? Well, my main reason for all the trepidation was the sad state of the American Horror Film. For the past couple of years, the American Horror film has suffered from the same ailment that the American action film has suffered from. They just don’t have the guts they use to have; they just don’t make them like they used to. You know this and I know this. When you watch an action film from the 70’s or 80’s you can feel the difference, you can sense the augmented sense of horror and violence; you can see the characters were crazier, edgier somehow. When you watch old horror films from the 70’s and 80’s, you are reminded of what you no longer see in modern horror films. Where are today’s Icons of horror? Where are the Freddy’s and Jason’s of this generation? That shock to the system that you would get from these old horror films is all but gone from cinemas. All you’re left with is what American Horror films are today, a pale imitation of what they used to be. Old horror movies like The Evil Dead serve to remind us just how soft American horror films have become.

Then there’s the fact that the director behind the old Evil Dead films -Sam Raimi- has kind of drifted away from his horror roots, which is a natural progression for any filmmaker who wants to grow. Filmmakers need to stretch their muscles and try other things outside of the horror genre, which Raimi has proven he is adept at. Unfortunately, when Raimi attempted a return to horror he made Drag Me To Hell (2010) a film that I didn’t love because it simply felt like a watered down version of a Sam Raimi film. It was Sam Raimi light. Drag Me to Hell was the studio horror film that couldn’t go very far in terms of horror because it had to play it safe. It was a studio putting kajillions to make a horror film, Raimi couldn’t risk it being a failure. Drag Me to Hell was disappointing because it wasn’t the Raimi that I loved, it wasn’t the guy who pushed the horror genre as far as it could be pushed. Drag Me to Hell felt like Raimi was pushing back, pulling away.  Another thing that worried me are the horror films that Raimi has been producing through his own production company, Ghost House Pictures, a production company that Raimi formed to make new horror films and allow younger directors to take a crack at making them.  I’m talking about films like The Possesion (2012), Boogeyman (2005), Rise (2007), The Grudge (2004), not exactly a mind blowing group of films, not to mention the mind numbing direct to video sequels that followed some of these productions. My big worry was, would this new Evil Dead film also be unspectacular and watered down?

Boy was I wrong! This new Evil Dead film blew me away! It took my expectations and surpassed them in every way imaginable. In my book, Evil Dead is the horror film responsible for giving American horror its balls back. This is what I’m talking about! Evil Dead is a film unafraid to cut away, unafraid to show you the goods, unafraid to be graphic and brutal and unrelenting. In other words, I was a happy horror fan, I cheered, I clapped in approval, I jumped, I cringed, I gasped. It’s a funny thing that the director responsible for giving American Horror films it’s gravitas back is actually Uruguayan! Ha, but seriously folks, I applaud Sam Raimi for giving young filmmakers like Fede Alvarez a chance to just go out and make their own thing, test their mettle, see what they are made of. And let me tell ya, for a first time filmmaker who’d only made short films before this one, Alvarez shows great aplomb with Evil Dead. Editing, cinematography and performance wise the film is solid. It wowed me, it took me by surprise. Let’s explore what worked and didn’t with this remake shall we?

First off, they give the events that happen in the film more depth, more weight. For all its legendary status and legions of fans, the original Evil Dead film is a very simple, straight forward horror movie about a group of friends going to a cabin to have some fun. Their main preoccupation is partying. Demons resurrection passages, the book of the dead and everything else is just something they stumble upon while on their search for good times. There’s a hint of romance between Linda and Ash which gives Ash something to fight for, but for the most part, the main focus of the first Evil Dead film was to shock the hell out of you. Where the remake succeeds in my book is in giving the proceedings meaning, purpoise. The kids on the remake go to the cabin to help their friend break with her cocaine habit. This isn’t a film about people going to have fun as in most horror films, nope, these kids are here to help their friend break the habit, so immediately the film has a more somber/dark tone to it. This mission was a positive addition to the film. I also enjoyed how they used demons as a metaphor for the Mia's personal demons, nice touch.

Then there’s the gore which was plentiful. How plentiful you ask? Well, let me put it this way, in the pantheon of ultra gory horror films like Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive (1992) or Clive Barker’s Hellraiser (1987) which are two of the goriest films I’ve ever seen, Evil Dead can proudly stand next to them. You know how modern horror films don’t linger too long on anything graphic, as if afraid to offend sensors or the Motion Picture Association of America? Well, Evil Dead isn’t like that; if somebody chops off their arm, you see it, if blood splatters, it really splatters! If somebody needs to get chopped up in half with a chainsaw, then this is what you are going to see! I honestly don’t know how the MPAA let this one slip by. That is the question that kept popping into my mind, how the hell did this one slip by them intact? Sam Raimi must’ve pulled a few strings because this is one blood drenched film. Honestly I was getting tired of films being all shy about the gore, this one my friends brings those gory days of the 80’s right back! There’s only one scene that I regret they didn’t include from the original and it’s the scene where Ash chops off his zombie girlfriends head off with a shovel. They do something similar, but they didn’t really do it. It’s the only negative thing I can say about it. But they included so many other cool things that I let that one pass. And the demon possessed folk look really demonic, loved that about it.

When comparing the two Evil Deads, both come out on top. Both are good for different reasons. Evil Dead is the rare remake that is great, it pays its respects, but keeps things interesting as well. Trust me, if you love horror, gore and demons in your entertainment, then go see this one as soon as possible! We get the stuff we love about the original, like kids going to a lonely cabin in the woods, we get a book that brings demons from hell and all that, but the film also offers up new things that we never saw on any of the previous Evil Dead films, but with enough familiar elements to keep Evil Dead fans happy. Its little things here and there, little bits of dialog, or simply, visual gags that pay homage to the original. For example, for most of the film we don’t see a chainsaw anywhere, but there’s this one moment in which a character finally picks one up and turns it on and at that precise moment, the audience cheered as if saying “now it’s really an Evil Dead film!” You’ll see Raimi’s signature yellow 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88; a car that has appeared on all of Raimi’s Evil Dead films, including this one. So from the standpoint of an Evil Dead fan, I can say you’ll be happy.  

Audiences have liked this new remake, actually, audiences have devoured it! It is still number one in theaters and has more than doubled its budget with its box office intake! I personally would like to thank Raimi and Campbell and Alvarez for making this one special, it wasn't a half assed cheap-o sequel cash in. Nope, this one was made with love, and I know that sounds weird because its a movie about people getting chopped up with chainsaw's, but dammit, there's a love for the genre present here. A sequel is no doubt in the horizon as we speak and first time director Fede Alvarez must be feeling all kinds of giddy with his first success. Alvarez has already spoken about a sequel, which as he states it would be an all new story that takes things in a whole new direction, gotta admit, I’m looking forward to that! Evil Dead fans should be rejoicing because if internet buzz is true, then Sam Raimi and his brother are currently writing a new installment in the Evil Dead franchise! With Bruce Campbell playing Ash! Now how groovy is that? Extremely freaking groovy that’s how groovy! And speaking of groovy, take it for me and stay after the credits, there’s a special something for all you hardcore Evil Dead fans! It’s well worth the wait.

Rating for The Evil Dead (1981): 5 out of 5

Rating for Evil Dead (2013): 5 out of 5



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