Movies + Beer: HELLBOY 2019

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MOVIES + BEERhellboy 2019

James is joined by Brian and Andrea at Sean O’ Casey’s, and discuss the new Hellboy reboot…among other things…



Movie Review: SUMMER OF ’84

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summer of 84Gunpowder & Sky

“Even serial killers live next door to somebody. Tough pill to swallow, I know, but it’s true.”

Summer, 1984: The perfect time to be 15 years old and free. But when neighborhood conspiracy theorist Davey Armstrong begins to suspect his police officer neighbor might be the serial killer all over the local news, he and his three best friends begin an investigation that soon turns dangerous.

Nostalgia-based movies are, admittedly, rather fun to watch. Especially movies based on a year in a specific decade I remember living through. Which is to say, the 1980s. There have been horror movies that have been set in the 1980s that I’ve watched with varying degrees of success. The better ones happen to be the ones where the actual year they’re set in is merely a backdrop to the story, and not bogging down the movie with hamfisted nostalgia references. I seem to hold these kind of movies to a higher standard, mainly because of ties to my own childhood. I know when I’m being pandered to.

That was one of the concerns I had when going into watching the recently released Canadian mystery / horror flick Summer Of ’84. Was this going ot be gimmicky, or is this going to be a rather good mystery thriller with a good story that I can get lost in, with the year itself being merely the backdrop? All indications were to the later, as the various horror movie blogs and sites were giving Summer Of ’84 an enthusiastically positive thumbs up. So, I went ahead and took a gander at this little movie. Kinda glad I did.

Right off the bat, I’ll say that the story behind Summer Of ’84 borrows heavily from the Hitchcock classic Rear Window, with elements of Fright Night (without the vampires) and pretty much any 80s movie that involves a bunch of young teenagers banding together to solve a mystery in their small town. There are several nods to other horror movies, as well as to the classic Hardy Boys Mystery books that I recall devouring in my own youth.

As far as the year that it’s set in, Summer Of ’84 manages to not over-saturate the nostalgia factor, avoiding the temptation to go the “Hey, this is a thing that happened! Isn’t that NEAT?!?” Instead, 1984 is really the backdrop to the overall story, which is one that could have been set in any time period and still would have worked as a movie.

All of the actors were really good in their rolls, and the characters were written in a way that were spot-on, and made you care about their situations. There’s some actual depth to this movie, and not just your run-of-the-mill mystery thriller horror flick. Of course, for the majority of the run time you seem to think that you’ve got everything figured out, and expecting the upbeat type ending. But then, the final 20 minutes bucks the usual conventions and ends the movie with a chilling twist that, even if you did see it coming, will leave you with a hollow bleak feeling. The movie jukes us into a very unconventional ending, and I like that.

Overall, though this movie’s very limited release before being released on VOD came nowhere near Omaha, I would have like to check it out on the big screen, had I been given the chance. Regardless, The Summer Of ’84 was a rather enjoyable and engaging throwback of a movie with a resolution that will stick in your head long after the end credits. Recommended.


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bermuda triangle, theSunn Classic Pictures

The passengers and crew of a boat on a summer cruise in the Caribbean stray near the famed Bermuda Triangle, and mysterious things start happening.

Ah, the Bermuda Triangle. A classic in the pantheon of supposedly haunted mystery spots on this big world of ours. You’ve heard the legends, of ships and aircraft disappearing mysteriously in this stretch of ocean between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and the southern-most tip of Florida. Paranormal enthusiasts have tried to explain things as supernatural something-or-other, alien abductions, or Atlantians annoyed with us surface dwellers. Of course, pop culture has been rather helpful in spreading the mythology and pseudoscience; one of which is the topic of discussion in today’s review, the 1978 Italian/Mexican joint flick The Bermuda Triangle.

Also released under the titles The Secrets Of The Bermuda Triangle and Devil’s Triangle Of Bermuda, The Bermuda Triangle stars writer/director/actor John Huston, a man known throughout his career as the writer and director of genre classics, including the likes of The Maltese Falcon, The Asphalt Jungle, and The African Queen. The rest of the cast is…inconsequential, really.

The plot of The Bermuda Triangle itself, well…if you know your Twilight Zone, you can probably guess the plot, as well as the big twist ending. That part, I don’t mind. No, what makes this movie a chore to get through, it’s the bloody annoying and unlikable characters. Not the choppy editing, not the really bad English dubbing, not even the way it seems to take forever to get to the point. That’s all just rancid icing on this already rancid cake. No, from the get-go, the characters and their interactions and mannerisms make you want to punch them individually, every single time they come on screen. Especially that brat of a kid. To say nothing of the blatant misogyny of the lead character, always verbally ripping apart his wife in front of everybody at the drop of a hat. Then your intelligence is insulted by suggesting that the doll they find floating on the ocean is somehow causing all the weirdness and murder, which leads you to be rather glad that they’re all stuck in a hell of their own making, reliving their doomed voyage in a continuous loop with no hope of respite for all eternity.

What do you mean, “Spoilers”? I just saved you the pain of having to watch this yourself. From here on out, if you do watch The Bermuda Triangle, it’s on you. You’ve been warned. Stay away. Stay away.

Movie Review: The EVANGELIST

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the evangelistITN Distribution

At seven years old, Bill Horton watched in horror as a serial killer murdered his mother. Known as The Evangelist, he places a bible next to her body and quotes scripture as he leaves Bill alone and destroyed. Thirty years later, Bill has grown up and appears to be a model citizen, spending his days cleaning his house and baking. He has, however, picked up the mantle of The Evangelist, killing those who he finds wicked and evil and leaving a bible by their bodies. Bill only opens up to Dr. Laura Cooper, a psychiatrist, who discovers Bill’s dark secret. She contacts young Detective Edward Legros who is working on the case with his cynical, veteran partner, Detective John Vance. But what Vance knows about the original Evangelist will lead to a bloody showdown.

Here we are with another low-budget horror move from the stream, this one featuring the tried and true serial killer who uses Christian religious imagry. Eh, the whole “crazy killer spouting randomly eisageted scripture” thing is an easy type.

The description blurb and cover art looked promising, so I popped The Evangelist on, to see how bad this could get.

You wanna wager a guess at just how bad this movie is? Well, lemme tell you…

As it turns out, The Evangelist is one of those low-budget independent movies that is barely over an hour long, but feels much, much longer when watching it. That’s right, folks. The Evangelist has the ability to bend space and time. Scientists need to get on this to see about harnessing this power for good instead of evil.

But, I digress.

The acting in this movie is of the kind that will cause you to face palm multiple times and groan. At least, that’s what I did, I don’t know what kind of involuntary reactions anybody else gets when viewing movies of this caliber. As an example, early on in the movie, the Red Herring Bad Guy is shown taking a pan of cookies that were obviously store-bought, then proclaim, “Good enough to eat.” Well…yeah, I hope so. Otherwise, you just baked a bunch of chocolate chip coasters, there. The characters are more over-the-top stereotypes than characters, the acting is sub-par, and it’s obvious that this was all filmed in one guy’s house, which is made all the more apparent in the scenes that are supposed to be located at a police station, but is clearly a redressed living room. The hallways still had family pictures hanging in there, for crying out loud. The ending…well, I’m not really all that surprised at how hackneyed the “twist” at the end was. If anything, it’s the appropriate amount of predictable the rest of the plot was.

Speaking of predictable, you could probably see my “Overall” summary of The Evangelist coming from a mile away. And if you guessed “The only thing good about The Evangelist is the movie poster artwork”, then you’re right on the money. Good on you, mate.Yeah, not even the short running time could lessen the pain of watching this movie. Pass this thing up…or, as the young people like to say, left-swipe this. That’s what young people say nowadays, right?

Uncle NecRo Watches: HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U

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happy death day 2u banner

Uncle NecRo is joined by Brian from the Will Code For Beer pubcast in watching the sequel to Happy Death Day, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2 U. Did he loath it as much as the first one? Did the movie actually pull off the impossible and made him like it? It’s…complicated. Let’s just say that, this is the first Uncle NecRo Watches that made him get a beer for the pubcast…


Movie Review: SLENDER MAN

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slender manScreen Gems

When their friend mysteriously disappears, a group of teenage girls explore whether the culprit could be the creepy internet urban legend character Slenderman by summoning him with a ritual. They begin experiencing supernatural phenomena that make them believe the story is real and that they are now being haunted by the Slenderman.

The Slender Man. Or the Slenderman, whichever way you prefer to spell this. For now, we’ll go with what the movie decided to go with, and that would be with the space in-between the two words. Take it up with the filmmakers.

Anyhoo, here we have was essentially boils down to an internet meme being made into a horror movie. And before you say, “It’s like the Blair Witch myth!”, no. It’s not. The Blair Witch online mythos was created as part of the movie promotion; the Slender Man was originally the result of a paranormal-themed Photoshop contest on Something Awful back in 2009. This lead to the birth of the modern Urban Legend, one that lead to bunches of internet fiction, some rather effectively scary video games, and at one point insanity involving a couple of girls stabbing another young girl in the name of the Slender Man. So, of course there had to be a movie made about this guy. Which…technically, there’s been a handful already. But whatever, this one has the title Slender Man! Built-in horror movie marketability, right there!

As far as the movie goes, Slender Man is your standard bored teenager summon a supernatural folk legend entity and mediocre PG-13 rated paranormal wackiness ensues as they each begin to disappear kind of movie. Mainly, the best parts of the movie happen to be the nice dark atmosphere, and the rather effective hallucination/nightmare video effects techniques used. Otherwise, the characters are flat, the acting is wooden, and the story itself is right predictable. The use of the Slender Man itself was rather anticlimactic, as he would show up, wave around his tentacle arms in shadow, and…well, that’s about it. Booga booga booga. Then the movie ends on a sanctimonious slap to your intelligence kind of voice-over that will make you hit the stop button in disgust.

Overall, I would liken Slender Man to a microwavable burrito: hot enticement on the outside, but lukewarm disappointment on the inside. Pass.

Movie Review: 21 DAYS

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21-daysGravitas Ventures

Three filmmakers embark on a paranormal challenge by barricading themselves in a house so haunted, no family has been able to live in more than 21 days, in order to film the supernatural phenomena which presumably occurs. But nothing can prepare them for the evil that lies in wait. There are some places so dark, so evil, where no human–no living thing–should dwell.

Oh, goodie. Another Paranormal Activity-style found footage horror movie. Well, okay, there’s a generous sprinkling of The Blair Witch Project thrown in, with the inclusion of the interviewed locals at the beginning.

One has to think, given the plethora of low-budget found footage horror flicks floating around out there, why another one? Well, as it turns out, according to writer / director / producer Kathleen Behun, 21 Day was born out of a frustrated attempt to produce something commercially viable. Fair enough.

I do have to admit that, although 21 Days manages to hit most, if not almost all of the given tropes and cliches, you would expect from this kind of horror flick (house built on an old Native American burial ground, furniture and other items move around on their own, the characters freak out over every bump, etc.), and the pacing is pretty decent, focusing on a handful of days rather than having us sit through all twenty-one days they were at the house. However, I should point out that there are some stretches in character motivation logic, like near the end, when the paranormal stuff hits the proverbial fan, after calling 911, the surviving bodies call…the lady who initially refused to be interviewed at the beginning of the flick. Mind you, this is merely used as a means of shoehorning in some exposition, but it made no sense.

Overall, though, 21 Days won’t be blowing anyone’s mind, at least the film maker admitted to not having delusions of grandeur when making this movie. At least it’s edited in a way that cuts out a lot of fat. Otherwise, you’re not missing much if you pass this one up.

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