From The Dream Files…

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alone on a stoopI found myself smitten by a special lady last night. It was while I was in the middle of fighting off an invasion of alien squid creatures. One of the horde had eaten her cat, and she wasn’t happy about it. We managed to beat them back, and as the last of the tentacle faced invaders left, we looked at each other, realizing we may have meet our significant other.

But alas, that very same night, as we sat on the porch, splitting a root beer and telling each other about ourselves, I opened up and told her about my struggles with clinical depression, laying out everything, my flaws and broken-ness, just being as straightforward about what she was getting into. There was silence when I finished. Without saying a word, she stood up, and walked away into the misty night.

Even in my dreams, I end up alone, it seems. Stupid subconscious.

::END TRANSMISSION::

Movie Review: The TERMINATOR

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terminatorOrion
1984
R

“The machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire. Their war to exterminate mankind had raged for decades, but the final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our present. Tonight…”

And thus begins the first in what would become an icon in science fiction movie franchises. What started off as a literal fever dream and made by a studio that thought it would flop right out of the box office turned out to be another bone-fide blockbuster in a year that also featured the release of Ghostbusters, the first Nightmare On Elm Street, and Gremlins. Among others.

And I never watched The Terminator until after watching the sequel. Even then it was on a VHS mix tape featuring three movies my Aunt taped off for me and my sister from HBO.

So, in The Terminator, a killbot from the FUTURE! (TM) is sent back in time to 1984 Los Angeles with one mission programmed into his literal chrome dome: Find and kill Sarah Connor. And, because apparently all directory information databases were lost after the robot apocalypse (and also .JPEG files), the Terminator goes about his mission by looking up all the Sarah Connors in the LA phone book. Meanwhile, the future mother of the leader of the human resistance is blissfully unaware of any danger, and goes about her life and stuff. To help protect Miss Connor from death at the hands of the T-800 is one Kyle Reese, also from the FUTURE! (TM). After a near-miss at a night club, they’re on the run while the Terminator is in close pursuit. Will Sarah Connor survive? Will the Terminator succeed in its mission? Does the fact that there are four sequels and a short-lived television series tell you anything?

So, yeah. The Terminator is a classic sci-fi action flick for good reason. The story is pretty straight-forward (save for the standard logic paradoxes the time travel aspect brings up), the action is great, and the effects still hold up pretty good after all these years. Yeah, there’s a scene in the motel room where it’s quite obvious that it’s a model of Arnold Schwartzenegger’s head, but let’s remember he’s playing a cyborg. That doesn’t take me out of the movie very much, that. Also, the actors were rather good in their roles, the big breakout of course, being Ah-nuld as the T-800 sent back to terminate Sarah Connor. Having watched T2 before watching this one, I have to admit that I was a bit unprepared for the polar opposite that Sarah Connor was in this movie, compared to the badass she would develop into in the sequel. But, narratively, that made sense.

So, do I recommend watching the original Terminator? Yep yep yep. As a matter of fact, this one and the first sequel are all you really need. But, getting ahead of myself again. Check this one out immediately if you haven’t already.

Movie Review: AMERICAN PSYCHO 2

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american psycho 2Lionsgate
2002
R

“I think I’ve identified this person as a textbook sociopath.”
“That seems to be the per-requisite for getting into college in the first place.”

There exists some sequels that, when watched, you get the sense that it started life as something else entirely. But then, it was tweaked somewhere during production to tie it into another, more successful movie. The reason as to why may vary, and sometimes the reworking is successful. Other times, it seems glowingly obvious. Like with American Psycho 2.

If you’ve ever seen the original American Psycho, there are two things evident: 1) This was a movie that wasn’t exactly begging for a sequel. I mean, it was pretty much one-and-done, there. And 2) American Psycho, despite the title, was not a slasher flick. Well, it was, but it wasn’t. Just watch that movie, you’ll get what I’m saying, there.

Which brings us to this sequel. American Psycho 2 is not only a straight slasher flick, but also stars absolutely no one from the first movie, and the only tie in with the original is a flashback from the main character as a little girl witnessing Jason Bateman’s death…which makes absolutely no sense, given the context of the first movie (again, go watch that one instead).

So, the story of American Psycho 2 has a criminology student — played by Mila Kunis — studying under a professor played by William Shatner. Take a minute or two to take that in: This is a sequel that stars the annoying girlfriend from That 70s Show, and William freakin’ Shatner. Anyway, seems the student was traumatized at a young age after she killed Jason Bateman, while he was assaulting her babysitter. Now, she has aspirations for the FBI, and with her professor a former FBI agent, she wants to become his teaching assistant, figuring that would help her chances. Only, the competition for that coveted position is pretty fierce. So, she decides to eliminate the competition the traditional way — by literally killing them. You don’t know how hard it was for me to keep from letting loose with multiple puns at this point. Anyway, wackiness ensues, yadda yadda yadda, then the movie ends. And you’re left lamenting such a waste of your time.

It is quite evident that American Psycho 2 is no sequel. Lionsgate just saw how successful the original movie was, and dusted off an unrelated script to awkwardly shoehorn the weakest tie-in for a quick cash grab. As a movie in and of itself, there’s nothing remarkable about American Psycho 2. It’s you’re standard slasher thriller that tries to be more of a dark comedy with a bit of social commentary, but everything is just “meh”. It’s a forgettable misfire that you can skip entirely. Instead, as I’m mentioned earlier, just watch the original American Psycho. You’ll be all the better for it.

Movie Review: The BABYSITTER

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the babysitterNetflix
2017
TV-MA

“Things get messy when you make a deal with the devil.”

Netflix has come a long way from its roots as a DVD mail rental site in 1997. Now it’s been featuring original content with series and movies, and proving these to be of a quality to rival standard television and movie sources. Case in point: The Babysitter.

So, here we have a movie that begins with the main character Cole, a 12-year-old riddled with phobias and bullied constantly by the neighborhood jerk-wad. His only friends seem to be his classmate Melanie and his babysitter Bee. One day, Cole’s parents take off for a weekend getaway, and Cole and Bee have a blast hanging out together, until Cole has to go to bed. Instead of going to sleep, though, he stays up to see what Bee gets up to after hours. Turns out, she and a bunch of her high school chums are engaged in a harmless hybrid game of Spin The Bottle / Truth Or Dare…until one of them is ritually sacrificed. Yeah, it turns out Bee and her friends are part of a Satanic cult, and Cole just witnessed everything. Of course, Bee and her friends try to convince Cole this was all just a science experiment, but he’s not having any of it. So now, what started as a great day, is now a matter of surviving against literal bloodthirsty Satan worshipers. Wackiness ensues.

Man, oh man, was The Babysitter a fun ride. The movie is a good blend of a John Hughes style coming of age teen comedy mixed with 80s style horror, and flavored with some great dark comedy. The script is great, the actors were fantastic, and there was a good balance between the horror and the comedy elements.

Overall, The Babysitter is a great fun movie that is a loving homage to the fun horror flicks from the 1980s. this movie makes a good cause for quality movies that are streaming service originals. Recommended for checking out.

Movie Review: FREAKS OF NATURE

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freaks of natureColumbia Pictures
2015
R

“I think I’m having brain withdrawals.”

In Freaks of Nature, we welcome you to Dillford, where three days ago, everything was peaceful and business as usual: the vampires were at the top of the social order, the zombies were at the bottom, and the humans were getting along in the middle. But this delicate balance was ripped apart when the alien apocalypse arrived in Dillford and put an end to all the harmony. Now it’s humans vs. vampires vs. zombies in all-out, blood-sucking, brain-eating, vamp-staking mortal combat – and all of them are on the run from the aliens. It is up to three teenagers – one human, one vampire, and one zombie – to team up, figure out how to get rid of the interplanetary visitors, and try to restore order to this “normal” little town.

Freaks Of Nature was apparently released to theaters on the same day that another so-called “horror comedy” going by the name of Scout’s Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse was released. Only, Freaks Of Nature was only in 100 or so theaters on October 30th, 2015. I don’t remember seeing this in any of the local Omaha theaters at the time; each one, though, had a showing of the Scout’s Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse. Which I still haven’t watched. For reasons.

The original script to Freaks Of Nature started life under the title “Kitchen Sink”, something I vaguely remember being reported on back in 2011. It was evidently so memorable I promptly forgot about it until I was doing the usual background investigation on this for the review purposes. Huh. It was filmed in 2013, but was held back by Sony until it was just dumped with little to no fanfare on the previously mentioned date, then slipping into DVD/VOD relative obscurity. Which isn’t necessarily a death sentence, but the question remains: is Freaks Of Nature worth checking out?

Since I’m big on using food-related analogies, I would compare Freaks Of Nature to a good plate of goulash. And in case you were wondering (or aren’t very familiar with the concept of “goulash”), I’m talking about the American Midwest version that really only has the name and maybe the inclusion of beef as the only connection to the original Hungarian dish. It consists mainly of ground beef and macaroni in tomato sauce, and depending on the recipe can include corn, onions and garlic, diced stewed tomatoes, with the option of cheese to be added for taste.

And like goulash, Freaks Of Nature turned out to be a hot mess, but a surprisingly tasty hot mess that was made better with cheese. And if you go back to the original script’s title, you kind of get the idea that the creators of this were in on that fact. The base of this movie feels more like a John Hughes coming-of-age rom com that also features vampires and zombies dwelling together because…reasons. Then aliens invade, and a human, a vampire and a zombie from the local high school have to set aside their prejudices and band together to figure out what the aliens want. Which turns out to be a chemical compound found in the town’s Riblet factory.

For the most part, Freaks Of Nature was enjoyable on a certain level. It’s a movie that’s in desperate need of a focus, but for the most part, I enjoyed it. It’s certainly way better than Vampires Suck. Worth a look-see.

Movie Review: FEVER LAKE

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fever lakeETD Distribution Company
1997
NR

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It takes a special kind of “talent” to ruin a slasher movie. I mean, I’ve seen plenty of bad slashers that fall more under the So Bad It’s Good banner (Sleepaway Camp, Silent Night Deadly Night 2, pretty much anything after Friday The 13th Part 6), but to make a slasher that is dull, boring and utterly forgettable as Fever Lake? That is a whole new kind of special.

Directed by one Ralph E. Portillo, who has directed a whole bunch of movies I’ve never heard of, and released in 1996, Fever Lake stars one of the Two Coreys from the 80s–Corey Haim–and co-stars Mario Lopez (aka Slater from Saved By The Bell, or alternately That One Host from Extra), and B-movie legend Bo Hopkins…plus a bunch of other actors. Haim and Lopez play a couple of 30-something college kids who head out to a small rented house near a lakeside community with some other 30-something college kids for a holiday of shenanigans and whatnot. Only, the lake itself has an evil spirit, one that bubbles out and causes EVIL! Only, we don’t really see it so much as we’re constantly told about it by the whitest Native American stereotype you’ll ever come across. So, when one of the locals is killed by a wolf that magically is never seen in the same frame as she is, the locals get…mildly irritated at the existence of that house the college kids are staying in. Meanwhile, nothing really happens outside of some continued warnings by Dances With Stereotypes, until about the last 20 minutes or so, when the killings start happening in the house. Then the “twist” that everyone saw coming within ten minutes of this movie starting underwhelms you, and the movie ends. And you’re left lamenting the time spent that you will never, ever get back again.

Fever Lake is such a tame slasher movie that you can be forgiven for initially thinking this was made by one of those family oriented cable channels in an effort to be edgy for the Halloween season. The problem is, this is one of those PG-13 type of “horror” movies…only, the PG-13 rating would be too strong for this, really. The aforementioned scene where the local is attacked by the wolf, it’s very apparent that they shot the scenes with the wolf separate, while shooting separately the reactions of the local, and then tried to splice the two bits of footage together, and failed miserably. The acting is 90s era sitcom level at best. Mostly filler and not much else, Fever Lake is just dull. I cannot recommend watching this, even as a bad movie night.

An ounce of prevention, and all that…

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zombiesZombie apocalypse. Trying to convince everyone that using the quiet and far more efficient and effective laser rifles would be highly beneficial, as noise would attract the zombies, and using these would cut down on the risks. But no, big bad manly Alpha men wanna use their big, bad — and very loud — rifles and guns on the undead, despite the swarms they attract. Wankers.

::END TRANSMISSION::

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