Goon Review: The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks you, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)


Found footage films, when done right, work well. Really well, as a matter of fact. Think of some of the better examples of the genre, like the granddaddy of found footage, Cannibal Holocaust. It’s a hard film to watch (and I mean this in an absolute good way). It’s vividly violent, shocking, perhaps appalling and will make feel uneasy. I think that’s something all good found footage films have in common. Take a look at others, like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity or Lake Mungo, which is more of a mockumentary and shares a common style with the film we’ll be talking about. All are darkly toned and mood, chilling to watch and lead up to one punch of a moment.

The 2007 mockumentary style The Poughkeepsie Tapes has the honor of joining those films. It everything I described. It’s vivid with its violence, but sparing you on the gore, only showing you just enough to quickly turn your stomach before cutting away to the next scene, especially since the quality of the footage warps and degrades, fizzes and blurs at random. During the found footage scenes, you’re only the passenger to what you will see and I have to admit, it made me kinda uncomfortable, but that means the film is doing its job right. Only living about three and a half hours Northwest from Poughkeepsie, I naturally became interested when a friend brought over a bootleg VHS (please note that I do not condone bootlegging) and described it to me and popped it in. Surely I, especially with my grisly interests, would have heard about this infamous serial killer only a mere few hours from me. But now, it had me doubting my own reality, messing with my head before it even began and that is the sign of a damn good movie.

However, The Poughkeepsie Tapes isn’t a straight out, 100% found footage movie, it’s also a hard boiled, tabloid television inspired movie, like Hard Copy or 20/20. It’s actually pretty genius and it fills in those gaps that other found footage films fail to answer the glaring question that every single one of them is plagued with, “why are you filming?” Well, the person doing the filming is a sociopathic serial killer, so that’s why. That’s all the explanation and driving force you need behind it, no need to do any backstory or write yourself into a corner. We’re just seated along with this lunatic for the ride and off we go. We see what he wants us to see and it’s never pretty. The film will use these moments when the tension is riding high to cut to interview segments with various members of law enforcement, like FBI profilers or police officers and regular joes, like the victim’s families.

It all starts with a short walkthrough of the normal, suburban home the killer rented that reveals the closet where hundreds of tapes were discovered, upon which revealing we learn that several are missing and even the FBI agent in charge of watching them all wonders what is on them (I think this would be a cool sequel… The Missing Tapes!). He also remarks how for years those tapes kept him awake and that even his wife, who accidentally saw a tape, wouldn’t let him touch her for a year. Right away, the impression of this killer still remains years after he’s active. Things only get more gritty and chilling when we are introduced to his victim (at least on tape), a little girl, who was bludgeoned to death off camera and the clever use of audio. This sets the tone that anything within this film is possible. Even you haven’t shut it off yet from shock or disgust, things only get more absurd.

Possibly becoming bored, the FBI learns that the killer who calls himself ‘Ed’ in one of the tapes has been mapping routes to kill people, even going as far as toying with them by using sign language captured at a gas station surveillance camera, telling future authorities of where he will be dumping the bodies. But perhaps the most really upsetting part of the film is the abduction of a young woman named Cheryl, who he watches for an unknown period of time until he finally sneaks inside her house and tapes himself hiding in her closet. This scene is sure to make those of you afraid of the dark to check under your bed as well as in your closet. He eventually kidnaps her, ties up and tortures, even forcing her to kill other victims for him until she eventually gets Stockholm Syndrome. This is when we see the really theatrical side of Ed, using 1600’s Italian plague doctor mask and shouting at her that he’s her master and she’s his slave and will do his bidding. I know I’m not doing it great justice by describing it, but these scenes are incredibly hard to watch (again, in a very good way) and are shown in explicit detail to the point where you can see how someone would be driven so mad because of a tormentor. We even can see how Ed used the justice system against those who enforce it and a police officer is executed in his place. The film doesn’t go into great details about the court case or anything (probably a good idea avoiding over explaining anything), but you can see how a truly clever psychopath and gain the system.

I could go on and on with prime examples of scenes from this movie, but I would only be spoiling your enjoyment and I’ve already said far too much. This film is most effective with the less said about it. It’s full of surprises and I didn’t want to spoil a single one of them. Within The Poughkeepsie Tapes, you really get to know Ed and I can’t say that it’s a pleasure. He reminded me of both Henry and Otis from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, using multiple MO’s just as Henry would, but being outlandish and insane like Otis. Hell, this is the type of footage that Henry and Otis would have been watching. The fact that we never know what was driving him reminded me of Michael Myers or Leatherface and that’s the thing that made those guys scary; they just did these things because. It’s those kind of things that make you believe evil is real.

In this day and age where anything is possible, it’s mind blowing that this movie hasn’t seen a wide release until now thanks to Scream Factory, especially consider one of the producers was Patrick Lussier, who directed My Bloody Valentine and Drive Angry. Well, considering those films didn’t do so well, maybe that explains why it was never picked up for wide release. I touched on this was popular in the bootleg circuit, but still managed to stay out of the mainstream’s attention. It did do a few rounds at film circuits when it was released and I’ve heard it ran a very, very limited in theaters, although a few years ago in 2014 it was given a VOD release. But hey, it’s here now for mass consumption and viewing and I cannot stress it enough that you need to watch this movie immediately.


The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a rough and raw flick, capable of fooling some filmgoers. It’s hard to sit through and like Henry, it’s nothing something you could watch repeatedly, because it leaves you with a true taste of dark horror in your mouth. Director John Erick Dowdle made one of the greatest found footage movies ever, being genuinely creepy and unnerving and is sure to give you nightmares. I’m sure his next films will be even better! Wait… Quarantine? Uh, no, I’ll stick with Rec, thank you very much. Devil? Oh, God, no! As Above, So Below? More like, As Above, So Blows or As Above, So Below Average, amirite? Okay, so he hasn’t been able to follow it up with anything good. Well, he’s writing and directing the TV mini-series Waco and that looks pretty promising.

Apprehended: The Pokey Edition, Part 2

(Submitted by Smutmaster Eric, of corpse…Thank you, Klinky Ho-mie! 😉 xoxo)

Suicide Squad (2016)

Braless & Lawless (2012)

Phoenix Marie and her loser husband Jason need to be on a flight except Jason got his ass thrown into lock up. Can Phoenix use her feminine wiles to seduce the officer and get her husband out?

Down by Law (1986)
Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Bonus:

The Inmates

Goon Review: Jackals (2017)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Sincere thanks and hugs, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)


I’ve always been a big fan of the ‘70s and ‘80s Satanic cult movies and home invasion flicks, so when Scream Factory (a company that I adore) began advertising their movie
Jackals, I was more than enthusiastic for it. Even though I’m not a fan of Saw VI or Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, I think director Kevin Greutert could bring elements of fright and gore to Jackals, especially considering he edited The Strangers. It seems like this would have been a homerun (if we are going to use sportsball analogies here), but unfortunately his filmmaking abilities were possibly hindered by working closely with studios and playing it safe that he didn’t know how to make a horror film that fans wanted or even what he wanted. Jackals is pretty cookie cutter as far as plot goes and the scares are predictably put in place by it and coming from the man who made two Saw movies, I expected more gore. I guess you could say my expectations were too high, but I would say that the film itself didn’t meet its expectations.

 

Jackals doesn’t exactly set the most promising tone with opening the film by literally mirroring the opening to John Carpenter’s Halloween. You’ve seen it, because it’s iconic and memorable. The camera acts as some malicious person’s POV moving through the house, putting on a mask of some kind and killing someone or in this case a few people. Now, I’m sure that in the eyes of the filmmakers’, this was paying homage to one of the most memorable horror movie scenes, but Jackals never revisits these characters. We never learn who they are, what their connection was, nothing. It could be removed entirely from the film and it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference in the story. This is like when horror films constantly tried to mimic the ending to Carrie, because, “hey, it worked with that movie, so it’ll work in ours!” without realizing there needs to be context behind it all. It feels so disingenuous. The film also takes place in the early ‘80s, not because it needs to, but I think the filmmakers wanted to give the film an “oldschool” vibe or possibly even remove any type of technology, like cellphones. Being a cult movie, I think it would have worked better set a decade earlier, but maybe that wasn’t in the budget.

What follows, however, is actually rather unique as the driver of a pretty sweet muscle car, a young man named Justin, is beaten and abducted by two hooded figures in a van who take him to a remote cabin in the woods, who can’t help but wonder why in the hell didn’t the movie open with this? Immediately, I was intrigued and inquisiting what it could all be about, especially when we soon learn what it was all about. Turns out, these hooded kidnappers ain’t the bad guys. One is the father of the kid he just kicked the shit out of and the other is an ex-marine turned professional cult deprogrammer named Jimmy played by Stephen Dorff. Jimmy is by far the most interesting character in the film and has also made me consider my career choices. Think of him as like an exorcist but for people that have been brainwashed by a cult. The fact that he’s a marine never really plays into the story though, other to give him a gun for a moment and to give you the idea that he’s a badass, which he is. Stephen Dorff puts in a solid performance as he interrogates Justin using different methods from the tough love sell to using Justin’s family in an intervention.

Let’s talk about the family for a moment. You later learn that the parents are divorced, which you get the feeling they were seeing as the family is estranged. Nobody seems to get along, but they don’t quite hate each other. Everyone wants to blame the other person for what happened to Justin, but in reality nobody is to blame. The family dynamic is quite good and nearly everyone is given a chance to shine. The father, Andrew (Johnathan Schaech), blames himself and yet wants to make amends and when things get rough, he steps up without question and takes control. His brother Campbell (Nick Roux) seems like a selfish dickweed at first, but also steps up when he has, even though at times he seems brash and thickheaded, he just wants his brother back. However, Justin’s mother Kathy (Deborah Kara Unger from Silent Hill) is the stereotype alcoholic-mother-because-my-family-is-falling-apart and there’s nothing else to her. Deborah Kara Unger is completely wasted (I mean that in both ways) in her role and isn’t given much to do other than just be there. Justin’s girlfriend Samantha (Chelsea Ricketts) isn’t given much to do either other than try to be sympathetic to the audience because she had his baby. It isn’t until the end when she tries to separate herself from the cast, but even then it’s pretty predictable. Maybe somebody didn’t know how to write actual female characters, methinks.

This interesting family dynamic is brought to a halt and anything vaguely interesting is tossed out the window when Justin’s new “family” comes back to reclaim him. The usual stuff happens, like the power goes out and suddenly they are surrounded by a number of masked goons in the dark and this is when the movie decides to do exactly what other home invasion horror films before it have done. Stay tride and true to that formula! You wouldn’t want to do your own thing and make something that would stick out, now would you? Jimmy grabs his gun and runs outside chasing a masked figure only to be caught and never seem from again and this the point when I tell people exactly where Jackals went off the rails; the moment Stephen Dorff exits the movie. Of course the most useful character has to do something completely idiotic, otherwise he would have saved the day, although I do give some credit to the writing when Jimmy claims he underestimated them, making me think he let his macho male bravado get the best of him.

Rather than give this cult some personality, maybe some kind of background or even what the hell they worship, they are deduced down to the stock horror cliche of the masked mute villains that spend the majority of the time standing still, staring forward at a tired attempt of being scary. Sure, the cinematography is pretty, what with the cult members constantly being backlit by moonlight and surrounded by fog near the woods, but it’s not enough to sell them as menacing, especially since they get their asses kicked. A lot. There’s nothing to them. No substance, no real motivation outside of wanting a member back. The movie really could have benefited from a little bit of dialogue from them, perhaps with what they are a cult of or even some mindless, lunatic-esque mad rantings, but nothing. They are literally faceless, voiceless killers without motivation which can work in a Halloween type of movie, but the fact that they are a cult and out to reclaim one of their own, you almost need to have something behind these maniacs to make them appear as this all imposing force that are to be feared. For all we know it could be a My Little Pony cult. I’m sure those exist and are probably far more scary.

Andrew takes charge of his family for possibly the last time and they all begin to craft makeshift weapons (there’s that Saw influence) and defend their home. Knowing that they couldn’t make this the entire movie, there is some more turmoil within the family about whether or not they should give Justin back to the cult in exchange for their safety. I gotta say, that’s pretty realistic if you put yourself in that situation. Wouldn’t you consider, even if briefly, handing a loved one back over to a crazy cult if that meant they wouldn’t kill you?


Within Jackals, there was something special, but unfortunately it was never given a chance to shine. Rather than do its own thing, it decided to ape Halloween, The Purge and The Strangers, probably thinking that it would be an interesting mix. Director Kevin Greutert seemed to be too comfortable with what he knew instead of leaving his comfort zone, even briefly. I’m sure the intention from the filmmakers was to pay homage, but when you’re being derivative rather than paying respects, you kinda dropped the ball. Unfortunately, this wasn’t case, so what you get is a pretty predictable paint by numbers horror film. What are we coming to when even indie films are beginning to play it safe? There is enough potential here for a sequel, perhaps delving into the persona of the cult that was not even touched on in this movie. However, the parts of the movie that work actually work really well and draw you in as a viewer, but once the invasion happens it spoils any chance of developing those interesting ideas it started with.

#SupernaturalSaturday Comic Review: Lucifer #6

(Submitted by Senor Prince Adam…Thanks for kicking ass, Kinky Kolleague! 🙂 xoxo)

“Rosemary’s just an average American co-ed bringing her boyfriend, Takehiko, home from college to meet her parents, who happen to be Satanists.” (Vertigo)


When I first started reading through this story, I thought that this was going to be a one off filler issue. Instead, what we get is a jaw dropping mythological twist and the setup for the next big arc. The issue starts off very casually enough. It’s about a boy and a girl, heading to a seemingly quaint town in New England, so the boy can meet the girl’s parents. You even see the girl warning the boy that her family is weird and to be prepared for anything. The stereotype is perpetuated by the boyfriends typical reaction of shrugging her warnings off as hyperbole. While this may sound like a typical romance story, it is anything but that. Shockingly, Rosemary and her parents. are part of a group of Satanists, living in the town of Devil’s Knob. Maybe the name of the town and the fact that this is a Lucifer comic book, should’ve made me think twice about writing this issue off as a romantic filler with some scares. As Rosemary tells her boyfriend the history of Satanism in the town, we the reader get just enough exposition that we need for the payoff for the rest of the story, we learn that a resident named Gordo, who started a church because he knew that if he ran a church, he’d never have to pay taxes, That reasoning is so humorous , yet so believable. I can imagine some lazy bastard doing this because he didn’t want to pay taxes. The fact that the church is in part a Satanic church and a club for Death Metal Band, serves the nature and tone of the comic book on the whole and the overall story. Rosemary tries to soften the idea of her parents being Satanists for her boyfriend Takehiko, by telling him that while there is a segment of Satanists who believe in a devil with horns and a pitchfork, for most, including Rosemary and her parents, Satanism is about physical gratification, putting yourself first, lusting after hot people, eating inappropriately, being a bitch or an asshole and treating it like a sacrament. Takehiko asks Rosemary if there are any true demonic or ghost stories associated with the church, she say yes. We then get the story that really kicks this comic into a high gear and it starts to have relevancy. During one of the parties, things got too crazy and the church/house burnt down with a drunk girl named Joanna Newton, who died inside. Gordo then, as folklore tells it, sold the girls soul for money to build a new church. If this were any standard romance story, the boyfriend would cut it and run. Instead, Takehiko says he’s looking forward to meeting her parents and attending their church function. He is ambushed by her parents and other members of the congregation, who are naked except for wearing robes and horns. They pull a blade on him, claiming to sacrifice him for Lucifer.

At this point, Takehiko snaps and calls them blasphemers and summons the supposedly dead Joanna Newton. Turns out Joanna survived the fire and managed to escape, after Gordo and the others left her for dead. This revelation means that, the deal Gordo made in exchange for her soul is incomplete. After learning the demon Gordo made a deal with was Asmodeus, Takehiko summons him. Here’s where the real twist comes in. Asmodeus is Lucifer’s brother and uncle to Takehiko, meaning Takehiko is the first born son of Lucifer. The book ends with Asmodeus ordering Takehiko to return to hell, allowing him to bring Rosemary, while he keeps Gordo as a slave, as a means to fulfill his deal. With Lucifer back in action, Asmodeus indicates it’s time to challenge Mazikeen for the throne and reclaim his birthright, becoming the King of Hell. I’ll be completely honest, I did not see that twist with Takehiko coming. The sad thing on my part, is that there were hints. For example, its mentioned that, his father was long gone and that eventually he would have to deal with the family business. These bits of writing were in bold, so I should’ve paid them more attention. Even worse, there were small demonic wings sprouting out of his back, as he was having sex. I’m going to use the fact that there was a sex scene and the fact that I was so engrossed in the backstory of the Satanic Church, thus I missed it. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. There was no mention of Lucifer having children in the first story arc and I don’t know enough about Neil Gaiman’s initial run of this series, Given that reasoning, I have to give credit to writer Holly Black, for writing such a fascinating and distracting story.

Art for this issue was drawn by Stephanie Hans. This is a different artist than the first story arc but I liked her work just as much, if not more. While I said that a page or two looked painted in the last story, this whole book had a painted look to it. Specifically, an oil paint style. I don’t think it is actually painted though as it’s not mentioned anywhere in the credits info. Also, they don’t mention a colorist, so I’m going to assume, that too, was done by Stephanie Hans. The opening scenes, with the young couple driving through a wintery New England, was idyllically picturesque. I know people who live in New Hampshire and winter’s can produce quite the snowfall, so this imagery has some accuracy to it. The flashback scenes to the drunken party had this purple filter to them. I’ve seen color pallets such as this used in films and television when people get piss drunk or sky high and I like that this book borrows stylistic choices from other media. The art for the fake Satanic sacrifice ritual poked fun at the stereotypes that are out there about Satanism. I like that the art and this book as a whole, is very self aware and does this sort of thing. While Lucifer and his son look nothing like the stereotypical version of the devil, I’m glad others like Asmodeus do have the more red skinned, horned demon look we are used to. Gives the book some variety. Regarding Takehiko’s red demonic looking wings, as opposed to Lucifer’s white angelic looking wings. I’m going to assume this is due to the fact that Takehiko’s mother is an ancient Japanese demon herself, while we must remember that Lucifer is in fact an angel. Once again there is plenty of nudity in this book and it is very naturalistic and never done to be in your face, or over the top.

This issue is a great example of what a stand alone issue after a main story arc should be. A more personal intimate story that gives the reader time to catch their breath, while at the same time, getting us excited for what’s to come. I am beyond excited for the Game of Thrones-like supernatural battle for the throne of hell, that is about to go down. This book may be about the devil but the quality of writing and art continues to be heavenly good! It’s worth your time and money. After reading this, I am definitely going to do a commentary article on the television series, after Season 3 concludes, especially with Smallville alumni Tom Welling on the series.

#FBF: Eric’s Top 10 Favorite Playboy Playmates

(Submitted by Smutmaster Eric…Thanks for sharing, Kinky Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

Thanks to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017) the world was introduced to so many beauties that were bold enough to take off their clothes to become a Playmate of the Month. Some went on to have stardom in movies and on TV, while others took different career paths. Some died too young, but thankfully many are still with us.

Now, the Top 10 Playmates I love the most:

1. Janet Lupo – Miss November (1975)

2. Shannon Tweed – Miss November (1981)

3. Candy Loving – Miss January (1979)

4. Lynda Wiesmeier – Miss July (1982)

(May 30, 1963 – December 16, 2012)

5. Traci Adell – Miss July (1994) (Ho-stess’s Side Note: Aside from Pammie, Ms. Adell is my personal fave :))

6. Cynthia Jeanette Myers – Miss December (1968)

(September 12, 1950 – November 4, 2011)

7. Petra Verkaik – Miss December (1989)

8. Dorothy Stratten – Miss August (1979)

(February 28, 1960 – August 14, 1980)

9. Pamela Anderson – Miss February (1990) (Ho-stess’s Side Note: #QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!)

10. Julie McCullough – Miss February (1986)

Movie Review: Jeepers Creepers 3

(Full length review submitted by Mr. Anton Phibes…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie. I wasn’t gonna touch this one!! 😉 xoxo)

It’s quite difficult to discuss Jeepers Creepers 3 without mentioning director Victor Salva’s sordid past in some capacity. His actions have divided horror fans and cast a grim shadow on the popular franchise. However, For this review, I will separate the art from the artist. In no way do I condone Salva’s crime, but my opinion will be based solely on the film itself and not on its director. So, when divorced from its creator, is this film any good?

No. Not at all.

Jeepers Creepers 3 takes place after the final moments of the first film.  Brandon Smith reprises the role of Sgt. Tubbs, who joins forces with Sheriff Tashtego  (Stan Shaw) to hunt The Creeper (Jonathan Breck), a winged creature who feeds on human flesh every 23rd day of every 23rd Spring. The two cops eventually team up with Gaylen Brandon (Meg Foster), a half-mad woman who has a history with the creature. Will they succeed in killing the beast or will he feed again in another 23 years? Considering the recent talk of a potential fourth installment, I think you can guess the answer.

Stripped of its controversy, Jeepers Creepers 3 has very little to offer, save for a few unintentional chuckles.  There’s nothing clever, intriguing, frightening, or even weird about it. I’m generally not the kind to be overly critical of a creature feature, but there’s just nothing here. I wasn’t a huge fan of previous entries, but they weren’t quite this bad. And not a fun sort of bad, either. Jeepers Creepers 3 is awful in the most ordinary way. It borrows ideas and frights from other scare fare, but without any life or joy. It’s rare for me not to enjoy a monster-on-the-loose picture, but I’m afraid that this film wasn’t all that frightful.

If you’ve seen the other two films, this one offers nothing fresh or interesting. It teases an origin we never get to see and turns The Creeper’s truck into a Mario Kart-like abomination, but that’s about every new element it has to offer. Imagine a SyFy Channel reboot of the franchise and you’ll have a decent idea of what this film is like. There were a couple of shots I thought were wonderfully moody, but that’s hardly enough to recommend an entire movie. Even the acting, with the exceptional of the great Meg Foster, is blandly poor. Almost everything about this film is uninspired.

The Creeper, once a fairly intimidating force of supernatural evil, is played in a ridiculous manner that suggests camp, but feels out of place in a film that is otherwise pretty straight. Now, I don’t mind a cheeky monster, but it simply doesn’t work here. Even in his first big scene in the film, The Creeper kills all potential menace he might of had by literally wagging a finger at a victim. Apparently, The Creeper enjoys Twilight Zone: The Movie….

If you’re a die-hard fan of this franchise, you may get some amusement out of this film. There are those who’ve been clamoring for this film for over decade now. I’m not one of them, I sincerely hope that this film lives up to their expectations. But for those simply looking for a good monster movie about a man-eating creature that comes every 20-plus years, I suggest you see IT.  Heck, see IT again, if you’ve already seen it. You’ll probably get more out of a repeat viewing of that film than single viewing of this forgettable fright flick.

Goon Review: Missing in Action (1984)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, ya Goon-ie!! 😉 xoxo)

Chuck Norris, perhaps the genesis of what we now know as the meme, was the epitome of “man” in the rah-rah-America, chest thumping, gun shooting, shit ‘sploding, kick-a-man bad ass. He was the kind of man that if you shot him, he would clench up his butt cheeks and fart that bullet right out. Cannon Films recognized this popularity and exclusively signed Chuck to a multi-picture deal, thus bringing us some of the action movie staples that we grew up on in the ‘80s, war movies to be specific. The early ‘80s was a prime time to make Vietnam movies, seeing as how the war was still fresh in our minds, you could shoot them cheap and audiences would flock to them.

If there is one thing Golan and Globus knew how to do better than anyone, it was how to market their film to anyone. The men get plenty of explosions and the women get a number of scenes of Chuck Norris removing his shirt to reveal his ripped, hairy chest for no reason and wearing jeans so tight that any hipster would be envious. There was also a little something for the ladies; to see the sweat glisten off his chest on the hot Vietnam moonlit night, right before he roundhouse kicked a man out a window was worth the price of admission alone. These films from Cannon tended to be (as I heard them best called) B-movies on A-budgets.

Before we get started, Missing in Action and Missing in Action 2 were filmed back to back and Missing in Action is actually the second film in the franchise, believe it or not. However, Cannon felt that Missing in Action 2 was the stronger of the two movies and was released to theaters before the first film, so Missing in Action became a prequel, Missing in Action 2: The Beginning and Missing in Action 2 became Missing in Action. I probably over complicated that explanation, but this is the earliest example of something like this happening that I can think of. Oddly enough, the film very much mirrors the plot of Rambo: First Blood Part II, but Missing in Action was released one year prior. Is this where the idea for the plot of Rambo came from or is it just a coincidence?

Perhaps one of if not his most memorable role, Chuck Norris is Col. James Braddock; a Vietnam veteran who is being disgraced on national television because of his conspiracy theories about Vietnamese POW camps that still contain American prisoners. Braddock stares out of his window deep in thought, chugging an ice cold Bud while totally shirtless, watching the news as they argue whether or not there are American POWs still in Vietnam. Occasionally, he flips the channels to catch Spider-Man cartoons and I seriously thought the film was suddenly becoming a bad bootleg of it, because the shot just meanders for minutes on an episode. There may not seem like there was a purpose for this, but at the time Cannon Films was trying to get their Spider-Man flick off the ground that director Joseph Zito was attached to direct at one point and seeing as how he directed Missing in Action, it seemed like a fun connection.

Braddock comes out of hiding and heads to Vietnam to get some face time with the press and although the Vietnamese government has “witnesses” that claim there are no POWs, he knows otherwise. With the aid of a female reporter whose name escapes me because she matters so little, he uses her as a cover (under the covers) to sneak about a general’s compound to squeeze out some information from General Tran, who you might recognize as Cassandra’s father from Wayne’s World 2. After scaring the shit out of the guy, General Tran coughs up some info on the whereabouts of the prisoners, Chuck escapes a bunch of guards and says goodbye to his female reporter friend and so do we, because she’s not seen or heard from again. I’m certain her only purpose as basically the only female in the movie with a speaking role was to provide some really good side-boob. There are other women in the film, but they are pretty much just topless set pieces. Like I said, Golan and Globus knew how to exploit anything.

His journey continues further into Vietnam, thwarting scumbags that are out to stop him, usually by roundhouse kicking them into or out of things, like windows, walls, you name it. Braddock teams up with an old army buddy, Jack Tucker (M. Emmet Walsh) to help him get what he needs… firepower. And poon, if he wanted, but Braddock ain’t got no time for the pussy. Tuck, on the other hand, practically buries himself in it. Can’t say I blame the man, seeing as he’s afraid to go back into the warzone, but if I him I would be far more concerned with amount of STDs he’s probably contracted. You could wring out his underwear into a beaker and create a new virus.

The two buddies head down river in a sweet, kevlar coated pontoon boat mounted with an M-60 machine gun to continue their search. Needless to say, it’s not going to be easy, especially when there are too many bad guys for Chuck to karate chop or roundhouse kick. Good thing he brought and arsenal with him. After all, you want to see shit get blown up real good, don’t you. The film is odd when it comes to this. The action is either kind of lacking a punch, for lack of a pun, or it is way over the top. For example, when Braddock props a grenade on his jeep, so when the enemy jeep rams it, it explodes. It looks like someone threw a handful of dirt at the thing as people jumped away in all directions. But then you have moments where a camp explodes and Joseph Zito captures it from like four different angles and you watch it from every single one as this things erupts into a giant fireball. Most of the gunfire is reduced to Chuck just spraying a machine gun in all directions as guys fall over, so nothing to comment on that, other than it’s usually to get the body count up. It’s as if they sunk all of their money into a few action scenes and forgot that there were more. Chuck can’t karate kick his way out of all of them!

Saying that Missing in Action is a product of its era is an understatement. It very much spoke to an early ‘80s, post Vietnam when there was a strong sense of American pride, bitter from losing a controversial war. Much like Rambo: First Blood Part II, audiences were given a disgraced war hero given a chance at redemption, so he plunges into the depths of his formal Hell to rescue some POWs. Needless to say, Rambo is much better looking and better made film, but it also had about $42 million dollars more to spend. Given for what it is, Missing in Action is a pretty decent action flick that gives you exactly what you want; a brooding hero with a vendetta and a mission and nothing is going to stop him. The film isn’t necessarily non-stop action, taking breathers occasionally to develop plot, but when it does that the scene usually ends with a group of bad guys bursting into the room to either get drop kicked or blown away. Both are done well and you totally buy Chuck as war hero Braddock, but the film isn’t the best display of what a leading man Chuck Norris can be, as he doesn’t have a massive amount of dialogue and his fight scenes are usually over quick and he’s often paired with people that know how to fight back or take a licking.

Not taking anything away from the film, because it’s an absolute blast and with or without nostalgia, it’s a prime example of ‘80s action exploitation films, but I don’t believe it holds up as well as most of us remember. Sure, Chuck Norris is bad ass as Braddock, there’s plenty of shootouts and explosions, American pride for sale and what not, but it feels a bit like Rambo-lite. Again, not taking anything away from the film and certainly not the performances, because these characters are fun as hell, but it’s not as grand as I recall. That’s a side effect with most Cannon movies, seeing as they were made cheap and on the fly. Of course being younger when we first viewed these, they are going to seem much larger than life, but thirty years later, you can definitely see the weaknesses of them. However, that doesn’t affect the long lasting staying power of these movies and that’s what Cannon (unintentionally?) did; made fun as hell flicks that get some mileage and Missing in Action is a ton of fun.

Kinky Komic Book Review: No Angel: Vol 1

(Submitted by your Super Friend and mine, Mr. Doctor Prince Adam…Thanks, you Naughty Nerd, you! 😉 xoxo)

“No Angel is a cosmological and conspiratorial modern western with super power by way of The Da Vinci Code.”  (Black Mask Studios)

No Angel is an independent comic book, written by the brother sister team of Eric Palicki and Adrianne Palicki.  If that name sounds familiar, it should.  Adrianne Palicki starred in the film Legion, played Mockingbird on Agents of SHIELD and starred in the pilot for the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman series, which never got off the ground.  Her involvement is how this book got on my radar. Thee book starts out with an FBI agent based out of Chicago, returning home to the small town of Tucker’s Mill Wisconsin.  Our protagonist Hannah Gregory, comes upon her old house with her high school friend, now the Sheriff.  The house is now a cordoned off crime scene, as her father and brother have been murdered.  While attending the funeral, Hannah meets a woman who had a relationship with her father.  The woman suggest they should talk, handing Hannah a piece of paper.  Hannah scolds the woman and demands she leaves.  If this is sounding like a paint by the numbers CBS Drama, I thought the same thing at first and was quickly losing interest. However, the book quickly takes an interesting turn, when Hannah reads the note, which has a bible passage on it. This bible passage, tells of angels mating with humans.  Curious, Hannah meets with Miriam Chapman, who tells Hannah that she and her father were indeed a couple, but it was more than just sex.  Miriam and her father believed in the Nephilim , which  are the children created  from the unions of angels and humans.  It turns out that these bible passages have truth to them and that Miriam and Hannah’s fathers research deduced that the bloodline of the Nephilim has survived and that they, along with their family members are descendants of angels.  Adding to the mythology, is that Hannah has a half sister named Jessica. Due to the pairing of two descendants of the Nephilim, she is born complete with actual Angel wings.  I’m sure there are films and television that flirt, or directly deal with the children of Angels  and human fornication. I think the aforementioned Legion starring the co-writer of this book, dealt with a similar idea.  Also, a recent issue of Lucifer, saw  human and a demon give birth to Cain and Abel.  Even Preacher has an angel and demon hooking up and creating a unique offspring.  However, the idea of humans and angels getting together, coupled with the family drama, that originally had my interest waning, actually made the supernatural element more unique.  The further mythology is cool as well. There are several other descendants of angels, that comprise a group know as the Eloise.  The members/descendants of angels are from all denominations of religion, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  I love the decision that, while the conception of angels is rooted in Christian mythology, other religions are included as descendants of the Nephilim and  in the group of believers known as the Elioud.  Religion often divides amongst different denominations, so seeing them all come together under a common belief was a welcome change of pace from the reality we live in at times.

With the mythology now set, the revelation (no pun intended), that the death of Hannah’s father and brother was no random robbery is revealed.  The murders were actually part of a string of murders of Elioud members that began 14 years ago,  The killer is a man named Elliot.  Elliot is a member of the group The Watchers, who believe in the Angel Azazel.  According to The Watchers, Azazel understood the tyrannical potential of his fellow angels, went down to Earth and shared secrets with humanity about angels and helping them create weapons that could kill the angels.  For his deeds, Azazel is punished, disfigured and cast out of heaven.  He is chained and buried underground,  However, he gets free by mutating into a horde of spiders.  He and his followers drove the angels into disappearance.  However, now that they are back via their descendants, The Watchers, via Elliot are back on the hunt.  I loved the classical battle of good and evil, where the roles are so clearly defined.  There’s no black and white and sometimes, that’s okay.  Too many characters are shades of grey in modern stories.    The rest of the book is a chase/hunt, with Elliot hunting Hannah and Jessica, while they race to evade him and try to protect other members of the Elioud.   As a result, I agree with the description calling it a modern day western.  In fact, it reminds me a little bit of Logan, with Hannah being this story’s Wolverine and Jessica being the Laura/X-23 character.  There are deaths as a result of this chase.  Miriam is killed by Elliot and when Eliot  has a gun pointed at Hannah ready to pull the trigger, Jessica ignites a fire at the gas station, burning Elliot to death. Jessica is mortified by what she’s done, after her parents have raised her to be pious and live a peaceful life.  Seeing her half sisters pain, Hannah tells a story about her time in the war in Baghdad,  where to save her partner, she threw a grenade into the apartment the sniper was stationed in.  Ultimately, she  saves her partner and got a commendation for it, yet she was ultimately mortified when she realized the sniper was just a boy.  The similarities between the two siblings actions, and reactions to the consequences of their actions, further bonds them.  This is a big moment for Hannah because at the start of the book, she was very closed off towards her family.  However, each issue showed a progression of Hannah opening up to the notion of a sister, accepting her as part of her family and the fact that she’s an angel, before finally accepting her role in Jessica’s life, post Miriam’s death.  I loved the slow burn of this relationship.  It would have been absolutely disingenuous if Hannah embraced and accepted Jessica straight away.  I also really enjoyed the juxtaposition of Hannah’s war time flashbacks, with Jessica killing Elliot.  This book manages to ground  itself in the unfortunate reality of war, while telling a story with overt supernatural trappings. Not many movies, comic books, or television can balance both as good as it is here.

Art is drawn by Ari Syahrazad.  His art is new to me but is very reminiscent of Michael Lark’s work on Daredevil, though that art is slightly more detailed.  This book had everything,  The dark, gritty, earthy look of war.  You feel like you’re in Baghdad, and that your life is in danger, as you track Hannah and her fellow soldier through that warzone.  The creepiest image is easily seeing spiders crawl out of Elliot’s eye socket’s and all over his face.  The second creepiest is a young Elliot being indoctrinated into The Watchers, while staring at the strung up bones of Azazel.  The opening of the door, to reveal Jessica, Hannah’s literal Angelic half sister looked both impressive as it should, yet rather small scale given the homely setting.  It’s a very unique image to behold.  We’ve got grit, we’ve got a creep factor, and we also have big action sequences.  We’ve got a car chase shoot out, that looks like they could be Need for Speed concept art drawings.  There’s also a gas station explosion and Elliott going down in flames, that would make Michael Bay and James Cameron’s testicles tingle. The artist can seemingly draw literally anything the writers throw at him.

I didn’t even know about this book, let alone have any expectations for it.  Yet, here we are and I really liked it.  This book was a four issue mini series but the ending implies that more is to come (no I won’t spoil the ending.)  I definitely want more, especially after the end of the epilogue.  So, do your part, buy this book and read it, so we can get a volume 2. Buy it because independent  comic books don’t always get the love and exposure they deserve.  More importantly, buy this book because it’s a fantastic story!

#SeXXXOnSunday: The Odd Jobs Edition

(Submitted by Smutmaster Eric, of corpse! 🙂 Thanks, Mr. E, and Happy Sunday Funday to all you Kinky Ho-mies! 😉 xoxo)

Dirty Deeds (2014)

Co-workers Carrie (Stormy Daniels) and Justin (Xander Corvus) are both in need of some extra money. Carrie’s looking for her own place, after discovering her boyfriend’s secret sex tape and Justin’s saving for an expensive engagement ring to satisfy his obnoxious girlfriend. As a result, they begin working odd jobs for extra money.

More Cast: Ryan Driller, Dahlia Skye, Gabrielle Paltrova, Erik Everhard, Misty Stone, Daniel Hunter & Joanna Angel.


Overview:

There’s no real surprise what direction the storyline goes, but it has good sex scenes and is very funny. Stormy and Xander are both good throughout, but it’s Joanna Angel that steals the show in a hilarious non-sex role. I promise it won’t feel like a job watching it and I’m sure you’ll make a sticky mess!

Rating: Smiths, The 3.5 stars of 

Movie Review: Batman & Harley Quinn

(Seemed appropriate for #HarleyQuinnDay…Big thanks to Prince Adam for sharing his Bat-thoughts with us. 🙂 xoxo)

“Batman and Nightwing are forced to team with the Joker’s sometimes-girlfriend Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.” (Warner Brothers)

This movie had me the minute it was set in the style of Batman: The Animated Series, featuring the voices of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Loren Lester as Nightwing, The new addition to the Bat-Family, comes in the form of Melissa Rauch, of The Big Bang Theory fame, as Harley Quinn. To be honest, it was her casting that worried me. I though her name recognition from TBBT and the signature voice of her character, would take me out of the movie and be a hindrance to the character. However, Melissa was fantastic and except for one time when she screamed at someone in the film, did I recognize it was her and get pulled out of the film, otherwise the actress totally disappeared and all I saw and heard was Harley Quinn. Hearing Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester again, felt so right and sounded like the pitch perfect dynamic duo. It’s like they have been doing this for 25 years straight, with no time lapses in between. Giving a voice to Poison Ivy for this film was Paget Brewster. She was okay, but I don’t think she was distinctly Ivy enough. That’s not necessarily her fault though because, she only had one scene where she employs Ivy’s trademark seductive, hypnotic sexiness to get a man to do her bidding. Poison Ivy’s partner in crime n this feature is Jason Woodrue aka the Floronic Man. The inclusion of this villain fits, given Ivy’s involvement and I really like his inclusion, not because I’m a huge fan of the character but because, he’s never really used. Come to think of it, even amongst Batman’s heavy hitters, Poison Ivy was underused. Even when she featured in episodes of Batman: TAS. The Floronic Man is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. This actor voiced The Joker for four seasons on The Batman but never once did I hear The Joker in this performance, which speaks to his range and versatility. Though, his voice is tailor made for portraying a villain.

As for why Harley Quinn would help Batman and Nightwing, it’s because she’s trying to live her life on the straight and narrow. Especially, since she has separated from The Joker. However, due to her criminal past, no reputable organization would hire someone with a criminal past and record, as a psychiatrist. Though, she makes a point at hinting that late nigh risqué movie producers have shown interest. Instead, Harley take a job at a bar called Superbabes. The waitresses all dress up in skimpy superhero costumes and are often ogled and groped by male patrons. One night Harley is grabbed in the ass, flips the customer over a table and starts a bar fight before heading home. This whole time, Nightwing was tailing her, following her back to a rundown, abandoned apartment. Naturally, there is a scuffle and Harley Quinn not only holds her own against Nightwing but knocks him out. When he comes to, Nightwing realizes that he’s tied up. Harley, changing out of her costume is in her bra and panties. She begins being flirtatious with Nightwing, saying they both have something the other wants. Nightwing protests, in a half assed way, before admitting the idea of being with Harley does sound appealing, The lights go out, the costumes come off and the scene cuts away as the implied sex scene happens off screen. Some reactions online, have people up in arms, throwing a hissy fit over this scene. Firstly, some are calling the moment a glorified rape scene, given that he was tied up and at first refused Harley’s suggestion. If you actually rewatch the scene, you can see that it’s quite clear that Nightwing is more than agreeable to having sexual relations with Harley. Once Nightwing agrees, I view the ropes as some kinky, superhero/supervillain role-play type of scenario. Prior to that scene, when both characters were physically fighting, Harley Quinn was verbalizing that she was tired of people telling her what to be and assigning a label to her. For example, some see her as crazy, others see her only as a villain, while others still, view her as a sex object. She mentions, how she wants to be in control and determine who she is. While some see the sex scene as demeaning, only further objectifying Harley, I saw her initiating the flirtation, and being in control of that situation. I saw it as a moment of empowerment for Harley Quinn. That’s my take on the whole “controversy.”

As for why Nightwing was following Harley and not Batman? The Dark Knight was busy doing detective work, uncovering Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man’s diabolical scheme. Firstly, I love that this film focuses on Batman being a detective. To me, Batman: TAS and issues of Detective Comics, are the only two interpretations, that really key in on this aspect of his character. Speaking of our villains’ plan, it involve using samples of Alec Holland’s (Swamp Thing’s) blood, mixed with a chemical agent, that when dispersed, would turn the human population into plant like creatures, such as Floronic Man and Swamp Thing. I like that the evil plot is perfectly symbiotic with the overall goals and beliefs of our villains, unlike that time when Poison Ivy teamed up with Mr. Freeze in 1997, and their plans were in complete opposition and counterintuitive of each other. Back over at Team Batman, when the Caped Crusader rejoins Harley and Nightwing, he catches them in a compromising position. While he doesn’t say it outright, you can tell he is judgemental of what they did. Nightwing responds with; “Oh right, like you’ve never made out with a villain before.” I loved this line because, it’s a clever callback to Batman’s trysts with Catwoman and Talia al Ghul respectively. It also calls out Batman’s hypocrisy in this moment, but also speaks to the closeness and rapport between Batman and Nightwing, that Dick Grayson can speak to Bruce this way. With Harley assisting Batman and Nightwing, you knew humor would be a key feature of this film and it is. As the three drive in the Batmobile to find Ivy’s location, Harley complains that a burrito she ate earlier isn’t agreeing with her and they should pull over. Batman refuses and Harley retorts; you asked for it, before beginning to fire off some farts. Batman & Nightwing’s facial reactions are hilarious. Yes, I know getting laughs from farts is a bit cheap and childish, but in addition to her sexiness, Harley Quinn has always had a childishness about her, so it works. There’s also a scene where Batman calls the Justice League for potential backup. However, all the heavy hitters are off world, so Booster Gold starts naming a bunch of C and D list superheroes that could help out. As Booster Gold’s voice rattles off names through the intercom of the Batmobile, Harley Quinn and Nightwing shake their head no and make faces in disapproval, before ruffling papers to make it sound like their was static, before hanging up on Booster Gold. This was priceless and had me in stiches. Harley Quinn’s influence is clearly rubbing off on Nightwing. Harley takes Batman and Nightwing to a bar for supervillain henchmen, where she meets an informant, who has info on Poison Ivy’s location. To get info out of an informant, Harley has to sing karaoke. That’s not the fun part though, as Melissa Rauch unfortunately is a terrible singer. However, the henchmen featured at this bar, are ones featured in the Batman 66 TV series, specifically noticeable are Catwoman’s henchmen. They even buy Batman a glass of milk, as a nod to his drink of choice on the Adam West series.

When the unlikely trio finds Poison Ivy and Floronic Man, Harley Quinn pretends to double cross Batman and Nightwing, to gain their trust, However, when she pleads with Ivy to not go through with releasing this pathogen, Ivy realizes Harley lied to her. Even Batman tries to appeal to Poison Ivy’s humanity, pointing out that if she makes even one mistake with the formula, all of humanity will be wiped out. When she still doesn’t budge, Harley Quinn removes her mask and makeup, gives Ivy a “puppy dog” look and begins to cry, lamenting that she doesn’t want to die. Ivy can’t resist Harley crying and agrees not to release the toxin on humanity. She too now turns on the Floronic Man. While some may say Poison Ivy’s turn was too easy, I liked it! It really emphasises the close knit relationship and love that Harley and Ivy share. This is both emphasized in the comic books and animated series. There are a few things, that I didn’t like about this film. Aside from the fight scene between Harley Quinn and Nightwing, which was awesome, the action in this film is extremely limited. And when it is their, the film cuts away from it, When you see the henchman bar fight, you’ll know what I mean. Swamp Thing has a cameo in the third act, condemns Ivy & the Floronic Man for what they’ve done, but refuses to get in the fight. He doesn’t get involved because “It’s not his “fight.” What!? How is it not his fight? They tampered with his blood and what they plan to do, is going to alter The Green, the nature that Swamp Thing is sworn to protect. How is that not his fight? It made no sense. What a wasted cameo. Also, I was let down by the final battle with The Floronic Man and it stems (pun intended), from the reasons I just mentioned.

This film has key voice cast from Batman: The Animated Series, the animation style evokes later seasons of Batman: The Animated Series, which was rebranded The New Batman Adventures but one thing that is different is the tone. Sure, there is some dramatic story telling of the classic animated series, but this is more of a comedy set in that world. So prepare yourself for that but you know what, for me, it really works. I have never laughed so much while watching a DC Animated show, or movie. If you want a good laugh and 75 minutes of fun with characters you love, give this film a buy and a watch. Happy Batman/Harley Quinn Takeover Day everyone!