#WerewolfWednesday: Teen Wolf (1985)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Andy, you Goonie!!! 😉 xoxo)

High School is such an awkward period in all of our lives. Maybe the struggles we faced weren’t nearly as bad as they seem now, but back then it would make or break you or shape who you would become. The scare of bullies, struggling to fit in and find your place, finding out who you are and who you will become, striving to be the very best on the sportsball team and then finding out your family is a bunch of werewolves. Well, maybe not exactly that last thing, but the Michael J. Fox teen comedy Teen Wolf explores that very idea. Perhaps it’s some sort of allegory for going through puberty and trying to fit in? If it is, it’s a rather thin one.

So, here’s an unpopular opinion. Have you ever really liked something or at least you thought you did, because of how it’s viewed in pop culture, but then you go back and revisit it and it’s not all that great? That’s Teen Wolf for me. Who doesn’t remember this movie and who didn’t love Michael J. Fox? He’s the charismatic underdog you want to see win the big game. You want to see him give the jerk his comeuppance and you want to see him get the girl. Along the way, he’ll discover who he is, where he fits in and that the girl for him was beside him the whole time. I know I just described every teen comedy ever, but did they all have werewolves? I think not! Does that make this a better film? Eh… well, no.

Michael J. Fox plays your average teen, Scotty Howard, and when I say average, I do mean average. He’s smart, but not brilliant. He plays on the basketball team and he does alright, but he’s no superstar, but he doesn’t completely suck either. He’s not invisible to girls, but he’s no Casanova either. I think you get my drift. Scotty lives with his dad, who seems pretty lame for the most part, but the guy cares about his son and you get the idea that there was some tragedy in his life seeing as how the mother isn’t around. I think maybe it was hinted at, but I don’t believe it was. He has a connection to the principal who has it in for Scotty, always harassing him, but the conclusion to that is rather lackluster. We don’t want the dad character to be too sympathetic and besides, we’ve already wasted the legal limit of cliches on Scotty.

When Scotty isn’t looking way too sweaty playing shooty-hoops at school, he’s hanging out and partying with his friend Stiles. I think everyone remembers Stiles from this movie. Stiles is, like, basically what an STD would be in human form. Actually, they may be an inaccurate description, because you would need to get laid for that to happen and I don’t see anyone or anything sleeping with Stiles. This is a character that was definitely written by an adult who thinks what kids perceive as cool. In every scene, he’s wearing not only different sunglasses, but different t-shirts with such eloquent phrases that in no scream ‘overcompensation,’ like “life sucks and then you die” or “what are you looking at dicknose.” He’s constantly bursting into whatever room it may be, slapping everyone’s shoulders and giving them unwarranted nicknames and trying to make jokes that fall flat. If Stiles were a real person, you would want to kick him in the dick so hard and watch him double over in pain and then just as the pain was starting to go away, you kick him again and repeat. There’s a particular scene that sums up his character perfectly when Scotty isn’t sure what to do about being a werewolf, so he turns to his friend Stiles for advice. Panicked and sweaty, Scotty tells Stiles that he has a secret he needs to tell him. This makes Stiles stop searching for his stash and put a defensive guard up and asks, “Look, are you gonna tell me you’re a fag because if you’re gonna tell me you’re a fag, I don’t think I can handle it.” Scotty then has to quickly reassure his friend that he isn’t gay, but rather a werewolf, because that’s so much better. Don’t worry, homophobe, your buddy isn’t gay… he’s a mythical creature with brute strength and insatiable taste for people. Only in the ‘80s.

Also, Scotty can turn into a werewolf willy-nilly or whenever he’s angry (I guess?). The movie doesn’t really come up with a solid rule on when that can happen and he doesn’t really become a wild animal that goes around eating people. In Teen Wolf, he becomes really good at basketball and dancing and now girls want his hairy wolf dong. After slaying the hot cheerleader poon (who was secretly doing so to make her boyfriend jealous, because the film needs a human antagonist), this starts to get to his head and he understandably gets an ego about it. He parades around school and town as the wolf and everyone is high fiving him. He’s kinda become Stiles, who is now selling Teen Wolf merchandise. I’m not joking. This movie is meta. Also, I need to bring up the fact that the first time he turns into the wolf, nobody seems scared or shocked or at the very least, shitting their pants or screaming. They just look taken aback briefly and then once he starts doing fancy basketball tricks, they cheer their heads off and applaud. I’ve never seen a crowd latch onto something so positively so quickly.


Even though the film is about Scott’s struggles about fitting in by acting like he’s someone else, the person who is really getting shit on is his cute, adorable friend named Boof who has the hots for him. He’s constantly pushing her to the side to oogle over the cheerleader, but she still stands by his side and tells him they should be more than friends. Even after everything he does to her, she still sticks with him. I know it’s because she’s always liked who Scott really is and she can overlook the total dickhead he’s become as the wolf, but I find it inexcusable. I actually felt sorry for her character and wished she would’ve dumped him at the end for a hint of realism, but no. They live happily ever after. Girl, get yourself a real man.

If I were to sum up Teen Wolf in just one word after this recent revisit, I would have to say it’s underwhelming. Apparently, Scream Factory must have thought so too or perhaps anyone involved with the movie, because this Blu-ray release is pretty bare bones and, once again, underwhelming for a new release of such a former popular movie. Apparently, Michael J. Fox hates this movie and hated making it so much, I can see why he wouldn’t want to talk about this film for some extra features. To be fair to this release, it is a brand new high definition transfer that looks incredible, even if it reveals a lot of the faults in the makeup. There’s also an incredibly lengthy, in depth featurette called Never. Say. Die. The Story of Teen Wolf that is nearly two and a half hours long. Other than that it’s the basic roll call of a theatrical trailer and a still gallery. Not even a single commentary from anyone involved, which is kinda weird that Scream couldn’t find anyone willing to sit down and talk about this movie. Or they didn’t try to find anyone, because maybe they realized that nobody really cares about this movie.

I don’t want to take anything away from the movie, I don’t think it’s terrible (which I know must be hard to believe after my ranting), but I don’t think it’s spectacular or this monstrous hit comedy it seems to be selling itself as. Even though Michael J. Fox hates the film, he does a great job as a kid struggling with typical high school problems… and sweating a lot. Seriously, in every transformation or basketball scene, he’s drenched, even if he’s barely done anything. No human could possibly sweat that much. I also thought James Hampton and Susan Ursitti were great and very compassionate in their roles as Scotty’s support. The makeup effects are pretty decent and don’t look horrifying or grotesque like you would see in a horror film, but that’s kinda the point. It’s supposed to be cute and charming, but this makes the transformations scenes (if you can even call them that) suffer. Aside from his ears stretching a little bit, I don’t believe we see an actual transformation and this is during the era of werewolf movies, like The Howling or American Werewolf in London. However, those were horror movies showcasing the agony and the disfiguring transformation that would takes place, whereas Teen Wolf is more about a wolf being a cool thing. The shots will often cut away briefly and cut back to Scotty all wolfed out and ready to surf on top of vans. Oh yeah, he surfs on top of a van to The Beach Boys’ Surfin’ USA, because apparently the movie wanted to start an unneeded trend and set a spike in accidental deaths by stupid teenagers.

Looking back, I’m totally shocked that this movie was popular enough to spin-off a sequel, a Saturday morning cartoon and a reboot TV show in 2011. Sure, this movie is (or was) popular, but I don’t ever remember hearing people clamoring for more of it or talking about the same way we do something like Friday the 13th. When I was a kid, we all had heard about this movie, but we weren’t talking about it like it was the funniest movie ever, like Ghostbusters. It was often mentioned in passing with little enthusiasm. Maybe there is a secret underground cult that really, really loves this movie and that’s the reason it’s so wildly popular, because otherwise I just don’t see it. Teen Wolf is riddled with cliches that were already feeling tired by the mid ‘80s and the only reason this film sticks out from the slew of emotionless, characterless teen comedies of that time is because, I hate to say this, the filmmakers were smart enough to make its main character a goddamn werewolf. One little, odd change and that’s all it took for this move to apparently become a smash hit. I don’t hate the film, but personally I don’t see it’s popularity nor do I remember it. Hell, nobody is even really talking about this upcoming Blu-ray, so maybe it’s one of those movies that is trying to sell you its own hype. Stiles must be part of its marketing.

Goon Review: Species (1995)

(I used to LOVE the shit out of this movie, so seems appropriate to be included in out #TBT offerings…Submitted, of course, by Mr. Goon-y Goon himself, Mr. Andrew Peters. Thanks for the mammaries, Kinky Ho-mie!! 😉 xoxo)

The ‘90s was an odd time for science fiction films. It’s like they couldn’t be made properly and nobody wanted them, but dammit, they were trying. Made on relatively modest budgets for what they were trying to achieve, the films themselves were over ambitious and may have missed the mark, but something about them was noteworthy. Films like The Lawnmower Man, Johnny Mnemonic or Mimic come to mind. When you look at those films, you would be shocked at what the special effects they were able to achieve or what stars they managed to rope into them. Of course, none of them were appreciated upon release, underperforming at the box office, but these kinds of flicks seem to be special to fans of this genre and have gained cult following. However, I think the best example of a smaller budgeted, overhyped (at the time) sci-fi film would be Species. Yeah, remember that movie? Unlike the other ones I mentioned, this actually performed fairly decent and I think we can chalk it up to two things…

Natasha Henstridge’s boobs. After this movie came out, this just became the “did you see Natasha Henstridge’s tits in that one movie” movie. It was all anyone talked about in school and I seem to recall one kid loaning a VHS copy to another kid and need it back by tomorrow before his dad noticed it was missing. Seriously, before rewatching Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray release, the only thing I could recall about this film is that she’s some alien chick and you see her boobs a lot. In fact, I seem to remember this being sold as a very dirty, nearly X rated flick because of the amount of nudity and sex in it. However upon this viewing, I found that although the film does contain those, they weren’t nearly as prominent as I had remembered and it focused more on a cool sci-fi story, even if it is a tad underdeveloped. Seeing as how the film made three times its budget back, I would say that selling the sex angle probably helped it.

Species centers around a young woman named Sil (who at this point in the film is played by a very young Michelle Williams), some sort of alien experiment that seems to be rapidly aging. Her life doesn’t seem as glorious as you may expect an alien visitor to have; she’s kept in a bubble and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do and now some Professor X looking dude with eyeliner named Fitch (Ben Kingsley) decides it’s a good idea to gas her. Luckily for her, unfortunately for them, the underestimate the strength of her prison and the efficiency of their security staff as she manages to escape and twists a hobo around backwards while on the run, all before boarding a train. Cardio is important, even if you have a train to catch.

While aboard the train, she pigs out on all kinds of junk food before doubling over in pain and with the magic of early ‘90s terrible CG, we’re able to see that something is growing inside her. She cocoons inside a train car and I really loved the practical effect in this scene. It reminded me of the ghosts from Silent Hill 4: The Room where the ghosts would touch the wall and that goop would grow or something out of a Resident Evil game. It’s was pulsating and oozing until it gives birth to a fully formed adult Sil, now played by Natasha Henstridge, who parades around her wonderful ta-tas in a dozen scenes. I also want to point out that every decades boobs seem different from the following decades. Do you know what I’m talking about? Look at ‘70s boobs compared to ‘80s boobs and compare them to ‘90s boobs. Natasha Henstridge had probably the best ‘90s boobs, hands down.

So, unfortunately the have to throw in this boring thing called plot instead of having Sil run around naked the whole time. Ben Kingsley hires team of scientists – or scientist type people – and some sort of mercenary hunter dude, Preston “Press” Lennox, played by a post Reservoir Dogs Michael Madsen, so he was in pretty decent shape and his voice hadn’t quite sounded like it had a bottle brush down it, but was a little quiet and gruff. And seriously, “Press” Lennox? You may as well name the dude Max Power or Slam Chunklift. He and the ‘too-hot-to-actually-be-a-doctor’ Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger) seem to hit it off, but honestly I thought she was possibly the weakest character and the film must’ve thought so too, because they give her a sex scene with some nice side boob, but while this sex scene is intercut with Natasha Henstridge and Alfred Molina’s, you don’t really care. Yes, by the way, I did say Alfred Molina. I bet you thought you’d never see Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2 make his “Oh” face, did you? His character kinda becomes the poon hound outta nowhere in a scene when they go out drinking and I think it’s for exposition sake, because if you haven’t guessed already, the whole point to Sil’s rapid growth and obsession with sex is to mate and procreate.

Now the movie never states if it’s because her species are regular horndogs or if she’s trying to recreate her own kind, so to speak, but as the movie progresses it becomes more urgent that she to her that she bangs. I honestly think this may be the filmmakers way of taking a stab at the audience. It’s basically a cat and mouse type of movie at this point, but with plenty of nudity. To be fair, my summary makes this seem much more simplistic than it actually is. Sil’s quite the clever lady and even kidnaps a woman, cuts off her finger and burns her alive to escape, giving her just enough time to change her hair color and become the predator to her prey, the group of scientists that have been hunting her. She manages to turn the tables and the conclusion is a rather interesting mix of creative and very sexualized HR Giger designed practicals to some PS2 level CG. What I took from the conclusion is that I got to see a see a supermodel try and strangle Mr. Blonde with her nipples. Yup, they shoot out like snakes and wrap around his neck. Didn’t see that coming.

It’s funny to me that everyone remembers this movie for having Natasha Henstridge nude for the majority of it when she actually isn’t, but nobody seems to remember Mathilda May being butt nekkid in damn near every scene she’s in throughout Lifeforce. However, for being a sex symbol in what is ultimately a somewhat sleazy, sci-fi/horror film, Natasha Henstridge does put on quite a good show and I’m not just talking about her nude scenes. She’s just as scary as she is sexy and she doesn’t start out totally evil, but instead her instinct and need to procreate overwhelms her she becomes more viscous. She does this transition very well and as I’m typing that out, I also wonder if that was the filmmakers intent, to take another jab at the hormones of the male audience. Or I’ve been overthinking this film way too much. Another great performance I didn’t mention was Forest Whitaker’s character who is kinda clairvoyant, but very emotional when he senses what feelings the other person is feeling. He plays all ends of the emotional spectrum, really showing off his talent and it’s probably why the guy kept getting better and better work. Well, except for Battlefield Earth.

I mentioned earlier that Scream Factory has released Species in a two disc set with the film being a brand new 4K scan and to be fair, that’s probably why the early ‘90s CG looks as bad as it does. It wasn’t really meant to be seen in that kind of quality. The first disc is the movie itself with two separate audio commentary tracks, one of which includes Michael Madsen, Natasha Henstridge and director Roger Donaldson that I recommend checking out. The second disc is home to all of the special features, like the interviews and behind the scenes looks (which there are several extensive ones included), still galleries, trailers and the alternate ending. The main and brand new featurette, Afterbirth: The Evolution of Species is a great look at the pre to post production work on the film and worth watching.

I never disliked Species, but after viewing it this time around, I think I see it in a totally different light and have a newfound appreciation for it. It wasn’t the ultra sleazy, ultra gory taboo film I remembered it being. Sure, the film touches on sleaze, but it has some class and sexiness to it. Most importantly, it has an interesting story with characters worth investing in. It’s not the greatest sci-fi/horror film out there, but hopefully with this release it gets the respect it deserves. There were three sequels, but Species II is the only one that unites the cast and worth watching. Maybe we will see a newly transferred Blu-ray release of that in the near future?

Goon Reviews: Motel Hell (1980)

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

When The Texas Chainsaw Massacre hit the scene in 1974, it was huge. There was nothing quite like it to say the least. No other horror movie had presented itself in that way, so the imitators were sure to follow, although none of them would really come close. In 1980, Motel Hell would come pretty close, but just misses the mark and not in a bad way. In fact, Tobe Hooper (the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) was originally slated to direct. Whereas TCM is dark and grisly, Motel Hell has a whole lot of charm and is quite a lot of fun… you know, for a movie about kidnapping/abducting, murder and cannibalism. As much as I love TCM, you can’t say the same thing, simply because it’s not meant to be.

Motel Hell actually feels more like a cash-in of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, which wouldn’t happen for another five years. It’s odd that a film that didn’t intend on parodying the original TCM ended up blending horror and comedy decently that TCM2 would later also do. However, I don’t feel that Motel Hell is quite as dark as TCM2, not to take anything away from it still being a good film. In fact, Motel Hell was supposed to be much more dark with more violence and gore and included much more disturbing moments in the film, like a bestiality scene. There’s something the TCM films never had. In the end, the tone was lightened, the gore was used sparingly and what we got was still a fairly humorous and entertaining horror comedy armed with one of the best taglines, “It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent fritters!” An obvious nod at the cannibalism in the movie, but a hint at what Farmer Vincent puts in his famous smoked meats, unbeknownst to his customers.

Along with his sister Ida, Farmer Vincent (played by legendary Rory Calhoun) run the Motel Hello – which for fun acts as the title card as the “o” in “Hello” flickers dimly – where they don’t seem to get a whole lot of customers. I guess that’s okay since they are able to keep up their farm and… well now I am just thinking about how weird having a farm and a hotel next to each other is. This is getting into Eaten Alive territory, another Tobe Hooper film. You think all those bills would be stacking up, but it seems like Vincent’s famous smoked meat is so famous, people come around from all over the place just to get a taste of his smoked meat.

For those of you wondering, yes, that pun was intentional.

But what’s in those meats that makes them taste so damn good? Well, nothing but the finest ingredient… people! Vincent and Ida set traps to snare their victims, slicing their vocal cords (so they can no longer scream), plant them up to their chins in soil in a secret garden and feed them nothing but the finest feed, even if they aren’t the finest specimens. Like, would you ever think a balding, doughy health inspector who is nosing around the farm would be tasty? Vincent sure does. How about a drug addled metal group called ‘Ivan and The Terribles,’ one of which happens to be Cheers’ John Ratzenberger? He’s only in a couple scenes and I can’t remember if he even has a line of dialogue, but blink and you could miss him. Or a swinging couple that can’t sense danger when it’s literally tying them up and drugging them. Yeah, farm life is good for Vincent. Nothing quite like waking up and being your own boss, smoking your meat and having others from all over want to savor it.

Okay, I’ll stop with all the meat smoking puns. Anywho, Vincent’s life is about the change (not to make this sound like a wacky romantic comedy, but it kinda is) when a cute victim named Terry survives one of his traps. While being nursed back to health, she understandably has some questions, like “where is my boyfriend?” Vincent informs her along with the Sheriff, Bruce, who just happens to be his dimwitted brother, that he buried the body, so everyone should move on and forget about it. And that’s exactly what happens. Terry just seems to accept it and starts to fall more and more for Vincent while Bruce is falling for Terry. Oh boy, love triangles! Except, this is kinda like a hillbilly one, so you know at some point somebody will be pointing a shotgun at somebody.

Let’s talk about Bruce for a moment. Bruce is the comedic relief in a film that is about half comedy, so needless to say that he’s probably gonna get under your skin at some point. He also comes off as possessive and stalker-ish when it comes to Terry and I know, it’s supposed to be cute and charming, but when he’s forcing himself onto her and trying to make out with her while she screams and begs for him to stop, it’s kinda hard to want to support your lead.

Rejecting Bruce and growing closer with Vincent, even Ida begins to grow jealous of her, even going as far as attempting to drown her. She’s saved by Vincent which pretty much guarantees him a ticket to Bone City, but Vincent suggests that they should be married first and she agrees. Clearly this upsets Bruce so much that he actually goes and does actual cop stuff, like investigate the scene of the accident, even though it’s, like, days or weeks later. Hey, better late than never. Meanwhile, Vincent and Ida are immediately drugging Terry so that she passes out, allowing them to get to work. So, do they plan on doing this to her every night, because it’s going to get suspicious sooner or later, right? Luckily, Vincent plans on showing her the ancient art of smoking meat, a skill that is sure to come in handy on their honeymoon. If she doesn’t go along with it, at least they can always cook her too. Unless Bruce can stop them in time and I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t have faith in him.

Look, it all boils down to a gnarly chainsaw fight between Bruce and Farmer Vincent who is wearing a giant pig’s head. The movie is awesome just for this iconic scene alone, but luckily it’s very entertaining throughout the entire movie and Farmer Vincent is a likable character even if he isn’t doing the right thing, even if he believes he is. He’s a well developed enough of a character that you kinda follow along with him, which is a good thing, because this is his movie. You spend some time with the other characters, but not enough to get to know them outside of the single trait they are given. Except Bruce who comes off as a bumbling buffoon pervert.

However, I can’t say the same about the horror aspect. It’s a film about turning people into food and yet it’s not scary. Hell, it seems like it’s barely the trappings. Even films like Blood Diner explore (or in that case, exploit) the idea of cannibalism and make it visceral, somewhat painful and gory. In Motel Hell, the characters kinda mention it here and there, although occasionally some human carcasses or limbs can be seen. I don’t know if they were hoping it would have the same impact that Quint’s speech from Jaws would have, but the horror element in this film seems a little lackluster. Same can be said about most of the humor and being a horror comedy, like Evil Dead 2 and Blood Diner, they could have really explored using the splat-stick angle (after all, we are talking about people becoming smoked meat), but the film shies away from that as well.

I still like the film, quite a bit actually. I think it’s an honest attempt at a horror comedy and although I don’t think it’s the best example nor does it reach its potential in either genre, it still does both well. A few years ago, Scream Factory released a newly restored Blu-ray that looks fantastic and comes with enough special features to cram your meathole, like  Audio Commentary with director Kevin Connor, moderated by filmmaker Dave Parker, The Making of MOTEL HELL featuring interviews with director Kevin Connor, producers/writers Robert Jaffe and Steven Charles Jaffe and actor Marc Silver, Ida, Be Thy Name: A look back at MOTEL HELL’s frightful female protagonist Ida Smith, Another Head on the Chopping Block: An interview with actor Paul Linke, From Glamour to Gore: An interview with actress Rosanne Katon, as well as a theatrical trailer and a still gallery. It also was given some great new artwork.

It’s an idea that was fully realized, but once the studio thought it would be too weird, they backed down and what you get is a watered down version of that vision, but at least that still entertaining. Especially that chainsaw fight.

Goon Review: The Lawnmower Man (1992)

(Before we get started , I’d like it noted for the record that I LOVE MR. JEFF FAHEY!!! 🙂

Now that that my shameless fangirling needs have been appeased, I’m happy to also let you know that this review was submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

I believe the ‘90s had an extravagant way of overblowing technology in movies more than any other era in film. Sure, the ‘70s and ‘80s brought us some far out movies in terms of where they figured technology would go, but look at films like Alien where it’s very lo-fi. Or how about War Games that when you think it about isn’t as farfetched as it may seem. Even the show Max Headroom predicted quite a few things as crazy as that was amidst all its New Coke slinging. It seemed like movies were showing the progression of computers, from controlling ships to how we interact and communicate in the world to becoming a part of a livable cyber-world and while the examples I listed were fairly spot on in predicting the future, most films seemed to miss the idea. Or they were just having fun.

Something that films have yet to portray accurately – or at least non-unintentionally hysterical – is hacking and virtual reality. These were crazes that were taking the country by storm and being portrayed in the stupidest possible way in media. They were often shown as what old people thought young people thought could be marketed as cool; some kid with socks on his arms, neon colored hair and a ‘tude mashing on his keyboard while spitting made up cyber-jumbo, often pitted against “the man.” See films like Hackers or Game Over (a 2003 movie which uses 35 minutes of Sega CD footage as part of the story, I’m not kidding), but every now and then something would come along and take the material a little more seriously and while still being farfetched, it managed to walk a fine line of believability.

1992’s The Lawnmower Man was such a film, even though I think it’s much better looked upon now then when it was upon its initial release.The virtual reality popularity was at its highest, spawning dozens of movies and TV shows, like the underrated VR.5. Sure, the special effects were bad and the idea of VR never lived up to the hype and the fad died faster than the Lambada craze. Outside of film, the idea of virtual reality was never fully realized, but in cinema… it would change your life, become weaponized (somehow) make you god and would take over the world! Hey, at the time it seemed possible, probably because nobody really understood it or just how unimpressively limp it was. Still, some rather cool ideas came out of it. For example, I never thought I’d see a monkey in a bad Robocop costume.

Seriously. That’s how The Lawnmower Man begins. With a chimp doing some bad Robocop cosplay. Well, there is a reason behind it, so it’s not just something random for the sake of being stupid. A pre-Bond and pre-Mrs. Doubtfire Pierce Brosnan stars as Dr. Lawrence Angelo who is using virtual reality to make chimps smarter, because SCIENCE! Of course, the evil corporation (they are always evil, scheming evil plans to do something evil with your well intentioned creation) Virtual Space Industries – or VSI – wants to use it at a weapon and mixed with the chemicals they’ve been feeding it, the chimp goes ape shit (pun totally intended), steals a gun, guns down a guard and escapes. Now, let’s back up for a second here. VSI wants to use monkey soldiers. They are actually training chimps in virtual reality for use in combat. Now, I want you to think about this and then picture a hundreds of chimps dropping out of choppers or parachuting into combat and mowing down the enemy. Holy shit… this is how Planet of the Apes starts. I never thought the guy from Dante’s Peak would be the cause.

So much wild and weird stuff is happening at once and it’s only going to derail from here, so I’m gonna do my best to stay focused. This isn’t the best movie for someone with ADD to try and explain. It also doesn’t help that there’s a bunch of pretty colors and ‘90s computer graphics mixed with some pretty stupid dialogue. Paying attention to what the hell is going on in the plot was hard enough, now I have to try and not laugh at what I’m seeing and hearing.

The chimp eventually ends up finding and befriending Jobe (Jeff Fahey), a simple man who mows lawns. Hence, The Lawnmower Man. Unfortunately for Jobe, his friendship with the chimp is ended when VSI finds and guns down the primate shortly thereafter, but Dr. Angelo takes note of the surprisingly good looking and buff handicapped man and realizes that he mows his lawn. Wow, what a coincidence, huh? Dr. Angelo entices Jobe with the promise of video games that can make him smarter, so long as Father Francis, Jobe’s caretaker, agrees. Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to mind, just as long as it doesn’t get in the way of his lashing Jobe repeatedly with a belt. It’s a minor subplot, but a subplot nonetheless. I should also point out that although this isn’t taken out of the Stephen King story of the same name, but it is a Stephen King cliche that it follows; misunderstood sad sack who is tormented and picked on until he acquires super-powers and gets revenge.

The reason I’m only now bringing up that this was based on a Stephen King novel is because, well, it’s not. Aside from the name and the character being a lawnmower man, this has nothing to do with Stephen King’s story. In fact, Stephen King sued to have his name taking off the film and all promotional material during the film’s release and won.

Dr. Angelo begins with smaller, interactive quizzes and puzzles with Jobe, building him up to some good ol’ VR racing/action games with his neighbor, young Peter who would later move to a shady NYC neighborhood and have an unhealthy obsession with Arnold Schwarzenegger action flicks. Jobe is quickly getting the hang of things, much to Dr. Angelo’s surprise, even more so when Jobe is showing signs of rapid intelligent growth. Jobe is much smarter now, able to comprehend complicated math equations, any event in world history and to not dress like a country version of a Good Guys doll. One might say he is learning too fast and Dr. Angelo is becoming concerned, but luckily a sultry woman in need of her fluids getting checked, Marnie (played by one of the sexiest creatures on this planet, Near Dark’s Jenny Wright) distracts Jobe with mowing her lawn… and I mean that in both ways. She lays the sexual innuendos on so thick, it’s like biscuit batter. Not a very subtle approach, but then again she still thinks Jobe is mentally challenged. Wait, so why is she hitting on him?

Meanwhile, The Shop (another Stephen King reference) led by a giant head on a TV screen of Dean Norris sends someone to babysit Dr. Angelo and swaps out the improved chemicals he’s been giving Jobe with the old ones that made the monkey crazy to expedite results. Soon, things escalate and Jobe realizes that he now harnesses the power of telekinesis and telepathy and quickly becomes more overwhelmed by his powers and his learning speed. This starts to send him spiraling down a dark path, no longer having content for humans, because of the atrocities they’ve caused and with his newfound powers, sets out on a course of revenge. He even gears up in a sweet VR cyber suit, so at this point it’s almost like a superhero flick, which makes sense seeing as how Jobe’s character was obsessed with comic books. Becoming too powerful for this mortal realm, he decides it’s time to infiltrate the cyber world to take over the world! After all, they didn’t spend all this money on CG for nothing.

I’m sure everyone remembers all the promos on TV and especially in print of the cyber-Jobe. I remember seeing that image of his golden face against that blue, honeycombed patterned background. Advertisement for this movie was everywhere and they were expecting this thing to be huge. On a ten million dollar budget, the film only did about three times as much which wasn’t as much as the studio had expected it to make. Combine that with mixed to negative reviews, the film just kinda came and went. The virtual reality craze was on its way out seeing as how technology just wasn’t quite there and the way it was portrayed in media was now seen as a joke, The Lawnmower Man just went away. It did get a direct to video sequel in 1996, The Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (retitled to The Lawnmower Man 2: Jobe’s War for home video), but it was pretty much hated by everyone and still is. Personally, I fucking love it. It’s one of those ‘so bad, it’s good’ films.

What blows my mind is that Hollywood is still trying to make this movie. Not The Lawnmower Man, but the idea itself of a being becoming so intelligent that it wants to rule the world via computers. Transcendence comes to mind and shades of Lucy as well. It’s a recycled plot that for whatever reason people aren’t really interested in. I think it’s because The Lawnmower Man, as absolutely silly as it is once you think about it, did it really damn well. Sure, it’s not only taking the name from a Stephen King story, but similar plot elements with other various Stephen King stories. Not only that, the basic idea of a simple man becoming more intelligent through the use of technology is the premise of the novel Flowers for Algernon. In essence, you could say The Lawnmower Man is mish mash of cyber-punk with Stephen King tropes. And to be honest, I think it’s fantastic for that. Directed by Brett Leonard (who also directed to paranormal/zombie flick The Dead Pit) took various ideas and materials and wanted to make something that mixed the then trendy cyber-punk idea with various horror elements, like slasher and the idea of a ghost in the machine or a being becoming too powerful to control.

I have to also hand it to all of the actors involved for really selling what is pretty much an atrocious idea and making it work. Normally, this sort of film would have terrible special effects (well, worse than the ones on screen, even though they looked fairly decent for 1992) and littered with technobabble jargon, but all of that stuff is reserved. The use of VR footage is mostly scarce until the climax and Dr. Angelo talks like a normal human being instead of some “hip” hacker type of character just spitting out nonsense dialogue. Jeff Fahey even manages to make Jobe sympathetic, even when he begins to become too smart for himself and goes on a killing spree, but my favorite performance by far is Jenny Wright, because we get to see her boobs. I don’t care if that’s immature, she’s beautiful and so is her body. I’ve always had the hots for her.

The Lawnmower Man is finally available on Blu-ray, both the theatrical and the director’s cut on a 2-disc set thanks to your pals at Scream Factory. Disc one features the theatrical cut, which is also a 4K scan from the original interpositive and has a new look at the film called Cybergod: Creating The Lawnmower Man, featuring interviews with co-writer/director Brett Leonard, actor Jeff Fahey, editor Alan Baumgarten, make-up effects artist Michael Deak and special effects coordinator Frank Ceglia. Brett Leonard and Gimel Everett (writer and producer) provide an audio commentary and you can find some deleted scenes as well as the original EPK, some edited animated sequences and of course, the trailer and TV spots. Disc two is where you’ll find the director’s cut (which is also a 4K scan from the interpositive with additional “Director’s Cut” footage from the original camera negative) alongside another audio commentary from Brett Leonard and Gimel Everett, concept art, BTS and productions stills, as well as some storyboard comparisons. Needless to say, you get a lot of bang for your buck, but for me, just having both cuts of the film looking as freaking beautiful as they do here is worth it alone.

I absolutely adore The Lawnmower Man and that might have something to do with my fondness for the way the media sees computer hacking, gaming and technology. It brings back good nostalgic feelings and it’s worth some chuckles, but this film also takes itself very seriously and gets kinda dark at moments. Even though the idea of the movie is silly, it never once leads you to believe this is a joke and maintains a relatively good balance of taking place in the real world. Hopefully Scream Factory will release Jobe’s War in the near future.

Goon Review: Ben (1972)

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


Willard had a direct sequel after the film’s fan favorite rodent Ben named, well, Ben. I don’t know how well Willard had done in theaters to warrant a sequel, but apparently it did well enough that Bing Crosby backed its production (seeing as he also financed Willard). Yeah, crazy to think that an old school crooner like himself wanted more killer rat movies, but once again this really isn’t about nature striking back. I mean, it kinda has that element going on, but like its predecessor, Ben is more about someone befriending the rodents. Instead of a socially awkward young man using his newfound friends as a means to get revenge, it’s a socially awkward boy just being friends with them and deaths just kind of happen incidentally.

We pick up right where Willard left off and I mean right where it left off. The police find what remains of Willard and uncovering his journal that mentions Socrates and Ben. To be honest, I missed this little tidbit of information at first and was really confused at how the hell the cops could have known the two rats’ names, but after a quick rewind, I saw what I missed. Not sure why I wasn’t paying attention or maybe the detail was glossed over quickly, but nevertheless it’s there. Detective Sergeant Cliff Kirtland is tasked with heading up this investigation, which seems like it should have come to a close almost immediately. Willard has basically been devoured by the rats, so I don’t know if his plan was to arrest all the rats or what. Ben watches menacingly from the rafters above as a single cop, all by his lonesome, hears something behind the wall and decides he should check it out. Now I have to ask because the movie presented it; what the hell was this guy thinking? It’s clearly rats that just ate a person. Why in the love of Nina Hartley’s sweet tits would he crack open the wall? What was his plan here? I’ve been asking, “what’s the plan” a few times now, so it’s safe to assume we’re getting the movie logic of cops that do stupid things in order for events to unfold. So yeah, he gets killed. Surprised?

Being a smart little bugger, Ben knows it’s no longer safe and it’s time for them to find a new home. Luckily, an awkward and lonesome kid named Danny happens to be kind of weird. Hopefully you won’t find him as mildly annoying as I did, because he’s the central character of the film and to desperately make him sympathetic, he has a heart condition that’s never really explained nor is it used to the plot’s convenience all that well other than to occasionally make you feel sorry for him or to build some tension. Sorry, movie, you failed on both accounts.

While putting on his one man puppet show that apparently Danny does to no audience, so it’s in no way kind of creepy, he notices Ben watching him from the window to which Danny tortures the poor rat by submitting him to his little play and the two quickly becomes pals. Don’t count on this ending happily, however, as the Police seem to be narrowing down the places to search and even come by asking questions after Ben and his army of badass rats protect Danny from a bully. In a very creepy turn of his character, Danny stares at the kid accusing him and says to the Police and all of the adults in the room that the bully must have fallen into a rose bush. The bully quickly noticing the Damien from The Omen death stare and agrees he must’ve fallen into a rose bush. It’s almost unsettling and for a brief moment you might be thinking that the movie may take a turn into dark territory with Danny losing his grip on reality, much like Willard had, but nope. They toy with the idea for a moment and discard it. The movie’s credit, it’s at least not trying to repeat Willard and wants to do its own thing.

Ben and the other rats terrorize the city in the sense that they are merely searching for food, but turn over a grocery store in the process and the death toll even spikes a wee bit. Kirtland continues his manhunt, or erm, rathunt and draws nearer and nearer until the film’s climax when it’s an all out war of man versus rats. I may have overhyped it in that last sentence, but I have to admit that it’s a little heartbreaking, especially with Danny desperately trying to save Ben. I can relate to that, because I would do anything for my guinea pigs and the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever experienced is when I lost my first piggie to heart disease. I don’t think the film did very well, so there’s not another sequel, although I have to say I think it would have been great to see the further adventures of Ben. I can say that at least film’s started being kinder to animals around this time, so some poorly composited shots of rats being set on fire is used in place of actually setting rats on fire. Thank goodness this wasn’t an Italian production.

It was nice to finally see rats get some love, at least to some extent, but therein lies the problem… who was this movie made for? The kid becoming friends with the rats and all the whimsy that follows suggest it was made for kids, but the carnage ensues tells me that maybe it’s a horror film. Like with most of these mixed bag films, it can’t seem to decide which it’s trying to be and ultimately doesn’t do well with blending either genres. Although the younger audience might be enticed by the relationship between the humans and animals, they would probably find all the talking and plot development parts boring since it’s trying to speak to an older audience who in turn will find the parts involving Danny and Ben childish and the horror parts rather dull and not scary. While watching it, I couldn’t help but think of Pod People which had the same problem. JP Simon, the director of that film, wanted a horror film and the producers wanted a kiddie film, so both were mixed to poor results (although Pod People is fun as hell to watch, especially the MST3K version).

Ben is somewhat of a lost film in that the original negatives apparently couldn’t be found, but that didn’t stop good ol’ Scream Factory from fine tuning it from whatever source they could find. Seeing as a master source wasn’t used in restoring the movie, so while it doesn’t look as sharp or clean as Willard, I’m genuinely shocked at how good it looks giving what they had to work with. Like Willard, there isn’t much in the way of special features. Aside from a small interview with Lee Montgomery who played Danny in the film who also provides an audio commentary, you get your usual Scream Factory extras, like a theatrical trailer, TV spots, radio spots and a still gallery. Unless you’re a fan of the film or a Scream Factory completist, you’ll probably want to pass on it.

Ben is kind of a forgettable, especially in the horror or nature strikes back or child befriending animal or whatever the hell genre it is, but if there is anything anyone will remember from this movie it’s the theme song sung by Michael Jackson. I know, at first I thought it was a joke too, but an early ‘70s, young Michael Jackson sings the song and even has a giant credit during the opening text. Well, there’s that and Danny’s puppet play with a puppet of Ben which performs in front of Ben. It’s kind of weird. Even Ben looks creeped out. Maybe the movie should have been a puppet play.

Goon Review: Willard (1971)

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

Can we all agree that rats have been treated more than unfairly in films? They are always portrayed as filthy, disease ridden, hell spawn with a lust for blood and devastation. They are looked at as these solitary creatures you just toss in a cage and only take out when you want to monologue to something. In actuality, they are social creatures that are incredibly smart and friendly and make amazing friends. I have two guinea pigs myself and I couldn’t have asked for better buddies. I realize it doesn’t help my point when I basically have no friends and talk to my piggies constantly, but I’m not spewing plans for revenge or training them to gnaw off people’s faces, like the tit-ular character from Willard!

At a glance, Willard is often viewed as a killer rat movie and while there are deaths caused by the rats, it’s hardly that. It’s focus is on the aforementioned tit-ular character, Willard, a socially awkward misfit who befriends a large group of rats, trains them and then when things don’t necessarily work out in his favor, he turns to his friends for help and that leads to darker things as Willard’s state of mind begins to slip. While watching the movie, I really wanted things to work out for the guy, but he makes some really dark choices and I became resentful of the guy. Bruce Davison (Senator Kelly from the X-Men films) plays two sides to Willard; his playful and charming side, which we rarely get to see, and his broken, beaten down side. That’s the side you see more often in the film, because you are with him on his journey of unintentional self destruction and it gives him reasons to do the precarious things he does. We are left wanting more of the well intentioned side of Willard, but it’s used sparingly to show you how damaged he’s become. How he got to become so sympathetic may be pretty standard on paper, but you still feel for the guy.

Martin works at a company for the nefarious Al Martin played by Ernest Borgnine (Escape From New York, BASEketball) who had stolen the company from Martin after his father’s passing. Now the young lad spends his days essentially being the office punching bag by having worked dumped in his lap, forcing him to work nights and weekends while Al mocks him and plays grab ass with some of the office gals. Willard’s home life doesn’t seem to fare much better. He lives with his mother and cares for her in a dilapidated house surrounded by her elderly friends that are constantly berate the boy about how he should be living his life. Between work and tending to all his mother’s needs and wants, the poor kid can’t catch a break and has no friends. He’s basically what every emo kid wishes their life was really like. This all changes when Willard’s mother commands him to take care of the rats that are hanging around the house which he then attempts to drown, but he can’t bring himself to do. Instead, he realizes how intelligent the creatures are and quickly admires them, especially a little white rat he names Socrates.

Willard soon begins teaching the rats commands, like “food” and “empty” and the rats are proving themselves to be smart. Things change with the arrival of a bigger rat that he names Ben, seemingly harmless at first. With the help of his rats, Willard crashes one of his boss’s party and has a laugh from the bushes while his rodent friends send the party goers running and screaming. While Willard seemingly loves all of the rats, that affection isn’t nearly as strong for the affection he has for Socrates, who becomes somewhat of his sidekick. Willard brings him to work in his satchel and even cuddles up with him at night and has conversations with him. Ben takes notice of this love and, as any creature does, wants some of that shared love. You get the feeling as if Ben wants them all to be a happy family, but Willard only cares for Socrates and this is what I believe is his biggest flaw.

You see, I’ve always viewed Willard as the, well not villain, but antagonist of the film. He’s not intentionally a bad person, but he’s been molded in such a deformed way that he focuses all his love onto Socrates. Not to the fault of Socrates and I think Ben realizes this, but Ben wants the same affection Willard gives to Socrates and works hard for it, even finding ways to sneak into the bedroom to bunk with them even if Willard ends up throwing him outside the door multiple times. Ben doesn’t want to give up on Willard and believes that he could one day earn that same love. Unfortunately Willard, possibly having been damaged by his relationship with his own mother, seemingly can only give his attention to one being and that’s Socrates. It’s really tragic in my eyes, because this is the beginning of the preventable downfall.

We come to the inevitable point in the movie when Willard’s mother dies and leaves him the house. Unable to afford the home, Willard’s boss is pushing him to sell the place so that he can buy it at a low cost and demolish it to build an apartment building. In desperate need of money, Willard learns of a secret stash of cashHo-ste and sends in his army of trained rats to steal it, but this isn’t the end of the escalation. While hiding Socrates and Ben in the closet after bringing them to work, another employee spots them and the unthinkable happens to poor Socrates and I actually had to stop the movie here to take a breather. As I said, I have a strong affection for rodents that even simulated abuse or death is hard for me to watch, especially for an endearing, sweet creature like Socrates. I know what it’s liked to be attached to an animal and to have that animal show you that it cares back and to have it stripped away horribly is heartbreaking. Unfortunately for Willard, he cannot show his pain, because then his boss will find out all about his misdoings. Alone with Ben, there’s a gaze in the rat’s eyes that says he knew this would happen if the love wasn’t shared and that he’s ready to Socrates place at Willard’s side (or maybe I’m reading too much into this). Realizing what Ben is trying to tell him, Willard readies his friends for some well deserved revenge, but even Willard may not be ready for what follows.

Ernest Borgnine is usually known for playing lovable characters, be it good or bad and here you really get to see him be a bad guy. He’s disgusting and even though you hate the bastard’s guts, you still enjoy seeing him on screen. The performances of rivalry between Bruce Davison and Ernest Borgnine really give you an underdog to root for and a scoundrel to despise. Their performance styles, however, are much different. Ernest Borgnine, along with a majority of the cast, play up the fact that they are in a horror movie about rats and overperform, like they are trying to chew more scenery than their rodentia co-stars. Bruce Davison, on the other hand, gives a much more grounded performance that I’m sure all geeks can relate to, because at one point in our lives we all have been outcasts. We’ve all been shunned by society and you feel alone until that moment where you find a friend in place you least expected. It really adds three dimensions to the character of Willard and it’s that much more heartbreaking when the character finally snaps and turns on his friends. It makes you feel frustrated and angry at how he could do such a thing, but that’s what makes him flawed and relatable.

Willard is a film that wasn’t very well received by critics upon its initial 1971 release and to my surprise has a seemingly small fan base, but that was enough for Scream Factory to release the film in a brand new transfer. The 4K scan of the original camera negative looks phenomenal. There’s some noise and grain, but that’s comes with the territory and is welcomed. It’s just astonishing that for a film of Willard’s caliber with a seemingly absurd plot that it would get a restoration that makes it look brand new makes me smile. However, there isn’t much in the way of special features. Aside from the conventional trailer, TV spots, radio spots and still gallery, there is only a new interview with Bruce Davison (who also recorded a new commentary for the film) who briefly talks about his experience with the film. He’s actually very funny and entertaining in the short time the feature runs and I say “thank you” to him for coming back and talking with the fans about Willard after all these years.

But it really doesn’t matter that Willard isn’t packed to the gills with special features. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about finally having this heartwarming/heartbreaking mildly horror film available on DVD and Blu-ray and looking sharp. I don’t think every horror fan is going to like the movie, in fact even those who love the “when animals attack” movies may not like it. Maybe because it’s more about a mistreated, socially awkward young man’s descent. Willard is so much more than just a killer rat movie.

I have to say I really love Ben and I wish we could see more of him. Of course, I will be eating those words after seeing the sequel, 1972’s Ben.

Ho-stess’s Note: I thought it was worth pointing out that Willard’s mother was played by Ms. Elsa Lanchester, the Bride of Frankenstein herself!
Ho-stess’s Other Note: I also thought it was worth pointing out that Crispin Glover is ridiculously hot. 😉 #MCM

Ho-stess’s Final Note: Here’s my own little Socrates. (Real Name: Rat Murdock ” #proudratmama :))

Goon Review: Tales from the Hood (1995)

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

When I was going through high school in the ‘90s, I remember the whole surge of gang violence that was taking our country by storm. Kids wearing loosely buttoned, colored flannels, the bandanas, both of which were colored to signify what gang you were representing. Hey, they managed to be color coordinated, so that’s something. I also remember the media taking complete advantage of this and making lots and lots of TV and movies about gangs. There’s a good message to send to the youth: Violence is cool! Well, I’m not here to be the moral police, but I wanted to touch on the gang violence of the ‘90s and rise of the urban movies (I really hate calling them that), like Boyz N the Hood, Juice or Menace II Society. All the ones I mentioned are great films and captured the economical troubles and gang wars that plagued black culture while we ignored it and they deserve their place in the spotlight, but one that is often overlooked is 1995’s Tales From the Hood.

At a glance, Tales From the Hood would appear as a Tales From the Crypt knock off to the casual movie goer, mostly because of the anthology format and, of course, the title. Okay, so the title seems like it may be ripping off the popular TV show, but Tales From the Hood is an homage to the old Amicus films that made all those moody ‘70s horror anthologies, including Tales From the Crypt. So, there. Whereas most anthologies fall apart during one of the segments or a paper thin wrap around, Tales From the Hood is solid from start to finish. I’m going to say that it’s one of the better anthologies out there since Creepshow. It has a very dark moral theme that stays persistent throughout the movie even when the segment changes tone, which it does. While one of the segments may be more sinister or dealing with a domestic issue, the next one might be a comedy, but there’s no denying that the film is trying to say something with the underlying oppressive, racial tone.

Being an anthology, the wrap around segment or the overall main arching story revolves around three gang bangers, Stack (Joe Torry), Ball (De’Aundre Bonds) and Bulldog (Samuel Monroe Jr.) looking to buy “the shit” from some old guy who runs a funeral home and claims he found the drugs in an alley. Nope, nothing bad happening here. Immediately, their senses are telling them to flee, but their pride won’t allow them and they are greeted by Mr. Simms, played by The Mod Squad TV show’s Clarence Williams III (who totally steals the show with his performance as the enigmatic and rebarbative funeral home director). He’s quite the character to say the least, with a devilish grin and hair sticking up like he’s some Looney Tunes character that stuck his finger in the light socket. Needless to say, he’s not the kind of guy you’d want to visit at night, much less buy drugs from in the middle of the night. Once inside, he asks the youngsters to help him with the drugs, so now they tour the inside of the place and this gives Mr. Simms the opportunity to talk about some of his “customers,” which act as segways into their stories.

Rogue Cop Revelation is about a rookie cop named Clarence who, on his first day on the job, witnesses a couple of white cops (the most racist of which is played by Wings Hauser) beating a black man who just so happens to be an important public figure, much in the vein of Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Moorehouse. Clarence interjects and the other cops break up the beating and tell him that they will take him to a hospital, but instead murder him. A year passes and Clarence has quit the force and spends his days drinking, haunted by the fact he did nothing to prevent the murder. He begins hearing Martin’s voice commanding Clarence to bring them to him. Martin eventually convinces those cops to visit Martin’s grave where at first you are sure of what’s going to happen, but as they begin pissing on his grave, you aren’t sure. It plays with your expectations a bit until the inevitable happens and then it turns into a supernatural zombie flick. Martin rises from the grave to get his revenge and has super powers that vary depending on what the script calls for in that situation. It’s a bit silly, but it definitely feels like a ‘60s b-movie and has some great gory effects, including one of the cops getting his head ripped off.

The following segment, Boys Do Get Bruised, is probably the most serious and deals with abuse and a monster of sorts as a teacher begins to notice bruises on one of his students, Walter, a quiet and shy kid. He tells his teacher that he’s being attacked by a monster. Oh, and Walter also crumples up a drawing of one of his bullies and the bully immediately succumbs to an accident. (That’s important for later.) His teacher visits Walter’s home to talk to his parents where we meet his stepfather, played by David Alan Grier. You remember him for his comedic roles in movies and TV, right? Well, this is a total departure from that and he really displays what a serious actor he can be, playing both menacing and frightening. This isn’t the David Alan Grier you remember from In Living Color otherwise Walter would probably be in stitches, get it? Anyway, this story has a pretty good effect of a body mangling and contorting in all kinds of directions and Paula Jai Parker (who plays Walter’s mom) is absolutely beautiful.

The third segment, KKK Comeuppance, is probably my favorite segment, because it’s also the most ridiculous, but I think it’s because it sort of rings more true now with what’s going on politically. A racist, ignorant piece of shit politician named Duke Metger, who also happened to be a clansman at one point, decides to set up his office in an old slave plantation. Classy and tasteful. A protester shouts tales of haunted dolls possessed by tortured slaves don’t want him there, and I’m sure you can figure out what happens from here. It’s actually pretty tense and Corbin Bernsen is solo for the last half of the segment, leaving it to just his intensity and rising fear. He does a damn fine job of switching attitudes like a pair of drawers, from cocky to puzzled to angry to frightened. The stop motion with the puppets is pretty damn good as well and the situation escalates as the story nears its end. You really feel like you might be going crazy with Duke, so this particular segment is truly a wild ride.

Finally, Hard-core Convert is more, well, I hesitate to say psychedelic. Maybe psychological. Three gangbangers gun down a rival, Crazy K, who’s saved by the 5-0. How’s that for, um, irony? Is that the word I’m looking for? Crazy K is put into a special government program in an attempt to rehabilitate him. They do this by strapping him to vertical table, shaving his head and forcing him to watch horrible footage like he’s Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, but the intention of this is to show him he’s just as violent towards his own community as white supremacists. There is a heavy underlying message in this story, but it gets bogged down in glorifying gory images and maybe is cut a little too quick for those to understand. I think what could have been a really strong story gets lost in reveling in violence instead of speaking against it, which is was it was originally trying to do. Not saying it’s bad, because it’s actually good… but it could have been really good.

Well, that was the last story in this movie, so the only thing left to do is wrap up the main story. Our three gangbangers have a connection to that Crazy K fellow in the last segment there, and it has to do with why they are the funeral home. Mr. Simms is acting whackier than ever and seems to be going crazy. The boys wanna bail, but they still need the shit! What’re they to do? I have to admit, it’s an ending that I’m not sure is fitting for the moral, but fitting for the theme of the movie. It’s one that I didn’t see coming the first time I saw it, but after another viewing it becomes pretty obvious.

I have a very strong fondness for this movie. I first discovered it at the video store when I was fourteen or fifteen with my stepbrother. We rented it and thoroughly enjoyed it and I still do to this day. I couldn’t be happier that it finally got a Blu-ray release, especially from a company like Scream Factory. The transfer looks pretty crisp and clean, but doesn’t take away from the ‘90s vibe of lower produced films that Tales From the Hood has. There’s also a new “Making of” featurette called Welcome to Hell: The Making of Tales From the Hood, which includes interviews with Director/Writer Rusty Cundieff, Producer/Writer Darin Scott, actors Corbin Bernsen, Wings Hauser, Anthony Griffith, Special Effects Supervisor Kenneth Hall, and Doll Effects Supervisors Charles Chiodo and Edward Chiodo. There’s also audio commentary from the director and a vintage featurette with your usual still gallery, trailer and TV spots to round it out.

Tales From the Hood is a solid anthology, mostly overlooked because of its theme that has been lampooned to death, especially around that era. It does have some comedy, but for the most part, it’s very dark and very serious, and unlike most of those other films, it has something to say. It’s incredibly well made with lighting that would remind you of the old Amicus films. The performances are incredible to say the least. I know I already mentioned David Alan Grier and Corbin Bernsen, but I really have to hand it to everyone else in the cast and Clarence William III makes for the most bizarre and likable host. Hopefully the film will get more recognition now that it will be more widely available.

Goon Review: Serial Mom (aka Happy Birthday, John Waters!)

Ho-wdy, Ho-rror Ho-mies! Happy John Waters’ 71st Birthday Day!


In ho-nor of the Pope of Trash’s birthaversary, we have a review of his Serial Mom submitted by our very own Mr. Andrew Peters! Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxoxo

The ‘90s was a strange time, especially for movies. The ‘90s didn’t quite have the identity that previous decades had, especially the ‘80s and it seemed like it wanted to forget all about the ‘80s while mimicking it at the same time, making it feel lost. Movies from that time suffered the most, especially the horror and comedy genres. Horror flicks thought they were being clever by attempting to mock the films of the ‘70s and ‘80, but it had a very cynical attitude about it, especially the slasher genre. I think we got the worst slashers out of the ‘90s. Comedies didn’t fare any better. They lacked the heart and characters that carried the films of previous years and decided to focus on cliched stereotypes they felt what their audiences perceived as cool. Oh, and help us if the two genres were attempted to be combined and you know how I feel about those. It’s like nobody knew how to speak to the generation of that time or what was happening in the world.

Nobody except for John Waters, that is. He’s a fashionable man that captures the look and style of a more pop art version of the swinging ‘60s. There’s also something very sleazy and mischievous about him that you can’t help but be fascinated with. He turned everyone’s heads – and stomachs – with the 1972 bizarre trash flick Pink Flamingos that featured both someone performing oral sex and that same person, Divine, eating dog shit. It also showcases someone bending their legs to expose their butthole and open it and close it in a rhythmic fashion. I’m just giving you an idea of what kind of filmmaker John Waters is. He loves to shock you with his sense of humor, but what if you were to take that style out of the trailer park and move it into suburbia? Well, you’d get Serial Mom.

Serial Mom has that humble ‘50s and ‘60s white, wholesome family with a ‘90s aesthetic, but underneath is a sweltering, festering nest of sleaze slowly oozing out and infecting the rest of the film, but by the time you notice it’s too late. Violence and the very mild gore is meant to both disgust you and make you laugh. The film is not only a more subtle parody of the horror genre, but it’s also a very dark comedy that is far more relevant today than it was at the time. It very intelligently brings to attention just what a media circus a famous court case can be and how we over sensationalize and idolize a serial killer, turning a blind eye to the horrors they’ve caused when we shouldn’t. In a way, this movie predicted the OJ Simpson trial if you can believe it.

This isn’t just some low budget, made on the fly type of shlock. This film actually looks like a real film, meaning that the production value is high, cinematography is well done and certain things in have a soft focus to give it a very dreamy or more wholesome quality to it. Serial Mom even has a killer cast to help bring it to a more professional sense (even though it’s just a clever disguise), like Kathleen Turner in the lead role as Beverly Sutphin and Sam Waterston as her husband Eugene, with Matthew Lillard in his first role as her son Chip and Ricki Lake (yes, from The Ricki Lake Show) as her daughter Misty. Together, they appear to be the most perfect family. Mom prepares dinner and cleans the house as dad reads the paper and gets ready for work. Chip and Misty bicker before school about their seemingly important teenage lives, but when everyone leaves and Beverly is all by herself, she immediately partakes in her current favorite hobby; making obscene phone calls to her neighbor Dottie Hinkle. Just the look of pure joy that dons Beverly’s face as she asks Dottie about the pussywillows and if the Cocksucker residents live at 4215 Pussy Way. Immediately, a whiplashing tone is set that’s gonna keep juggling you back and forth. It’s like an amusement park ride; it’s gonna spin you around and make you nauseous, but dammit if it’s not fun.

Between her daughter’s unfaithful boyfriend, a neighbor that don’t recycle and her son’s friend that won’t buckle up, now she has to deal with two detectives nosing around. At first, it’s routine. The police are only digging up clues to find the culprit behind Dottie Hinkle’s phone calls, but with everyone misbehaving, Beverly has to do something about it. After the garbage men and her family wish that certain people were dead, she decides that for the good of her family, she must kill those that can’t be nice or abide by society’s rules. Like one of Chip’s teachers, for example, who believes all of the horror movies that Chip watches is affecting his mental health and that he should seek professional help and that Beverly is a poor parent for allowing him to see such garbage. Well, she’ll show him! Using her car, she runs the sucker down and drives away with no one but a stoner as a witness. Still, the witnesses story summons the police to the Sutphin residence and now they are suspicious, especially after digging through her garbage and finding books on serial killers. The suspicion is heightened when Beverly gores her daughter’s cheating boyfriend with a fireplace poker after catching him shopping around with another girl (Traci Lords in a cameo). Now the police are sniffing around long enough to catch her in the act when she goes after Chip’s friend who is ranting about her being a killer, but fortunately he’s literally caught with his pants down by the Sutphin family and is saved. For now.

That doesn’t thwart Beverly’s rampage, but she’s eventually apprehended by the police and taken to court for her heinous crimes, but like they say, innocent until proven guilty. The final act of the film is her court hearing and it has become a full blown media circus with Misty selling Serial Mom merchandise and Chip acting as her agent for the film being made about her life that will be starring Suzanne Somers who appears as herself. With nobody to defend Beverly but herself, the tables seem like they will be against her, but just wait until how she charms the judge and the jury and proves that maybe she’s not crazy… although she really is.

Scream Factory’s release of Serial Mom is to kill for. I don’t believe this is a 2K transfer, but it certainly looks as sharp as a butcher knife and it also has some killer extra features. Sick of my puns yet? Anyway, the main attraction for the features in my opinion is the feature commentary with director John Waters, who is always entertaining. He also does another new commentary with star Kathleen turner which I also recommend checking out. If you aren’t familiar with John Waters’ commentary, check out his commentary on Christmas Evil. He has nothing to do with the film, but he and the director talk about the movie and it’s pretty funny. Other features include John Waters talking with Kathleen Turner and Mink Stole about the making of the movie and there also a featurette called Serial Mom: Surreal Moments that has interviews with the aforementioned trio along with Matthew Lillard, Ricki Lake, Patricia Hearst and a few others. There’s also an original promotional featurette, The Making of Serial Mom along with The Kings of Gore that looks at the works of Herschel Gordon Lewis and David Friedman and the theatrical trailer for good measure.

Serial Mom is one of the funniest horror comedies to come of… well, ever. We seem to be hitting a wave of them now and they all seem to confuse nostalgia and homage with a half hearted attempt at long running fart jokes made of fads from the era they are supposedly paying respects to. Serial Mom is smart, hilarious and dark. It’s a perfect blend of everything you could want and although it’s not as sleazy as previous John Waters’ films, it really doesn’t need to be and I have to say it’s probably his most well made film.

Happy Birthday, John Waters! Stay filthy, you Prince of Puke! 🙂 xoxoxo

Goon Review: Robocop 3

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Goon-bot!! 🙂 xoxo)

There’s nothing more sad to see a whole franchise crash and burn with a single miscalculation. Well, let me rephrase that, because miscalculation makes it sound like this film was planned for greatness. What’s the word I’m looking for? Fuckery? Yeah, let’s go with fuckery. I choose the word fuckery, because the studio stepped in and shit all over ideas and let the director, the great Fred Dekker, drown in it and killed the franchise until they finally remade it, which cemented its coffin in the ground for good. How did the Robocop franchise die out? I mean, what the hell happened and how could such a great character be treated so disrespectfully? The first film was so revolutionary for sci-fi and action and created one of the most memorable characters and even though the second film didn’t capture the same kind of magic, it still gave us a very entertaining comic book-esque film and remained true to the series. Robocop 3, however, is the watered down, kid friendly, dull sequel nobody was happy with.

I don’t blame director Fred Dekker, I don’t think most people do. I think by now we all know he was a hired gun, excited to work on a Robocop flick using some of Frank Miller’s rejected script ideas from the second film. Robot Ninjas? Sounds like that’s going to be really cool. There are some good ideas here, like with OCP lying to the media about destroying homes to make way for the new Delta City and the people’s uprising to take it back. It feels like the series has been building up to this, but how it gets there isn’t how we wanted it as fans.

Leave it to any studio to step into a multimillion dollar franchise and say, “how can we make MORE money?” Realizing that their audience was primarily young adults and teens, they decided to water down the film, strip it from all the subtle social satire, remove all blood and a good majority of violence to sell more tickets… even though the majority of their younger audience was already seeing the movies. Oh, and we have to add a kid that’s super good at hacking, because that’s relatable to today’s youth and let’s give Robocop a jetpack and an arm mounted machine gun, because we need to sell toys. Needless to say, the end product was not very good, nobody was happy, Orion went bankrupt, poor Fred Dekker was thrown under the bus and the franchise was dead and buried until they would decide to dig it up and defile its corpse in 2014 for the remake.

Detroit has gone to hell, citizens are being bullied out of their home and to relocation camps, which the media is seeing as a friendly gesture, but in reality these folks are being forced from their homes and families are being separated, like Nikko. She’s obsessed with Robocop and others, like ED-209 and seems to be a cliched, smart, tech savvy little lady. At the beginning, she’s stripped from her family by OCP’s armed force, the Urban Rehabilitators (which kinda sounds like a terrible ‘90s rap group) that is also called Rehab, led by the nasty and British McDaggett. Yeah, that combination sounds real trust worthy. She’s sad for about a minute, maybe a minute and a half, until she’s found by a resistance group, led by a woman named Bertha. Bertha is actually based off a Frank Miller character called Martha Washington from his Give Me Liberty comic book. She’s a cliched version of a tough and well organized, militant woman and I say cliched, because it comes off as disingenuous to actual strong women and not only that, but her plans… well, they suck and are terrible and I’m not surprised they get lots of people killed. Upon connecting with her group, Nikko immediately forgets about her parents and helps hack an ED-209 so the group can steal some weapons from a police arsenal. It’s honestly so stupid that it hurts to watch that scene. She just walks up to an ED-209, a machine known for malfunctioning and blowing the everliving shit out of people, hacks into its ankle and then gives a shoulder shrug and a shit eating grin. I was expecting some cartoon trombones to play.

But suddenly, a police car with tinted windows is hot on their tail? Do you think the only person we can’t see could be… Robocop? First of all, why are they keeping him a secret and secondly, how come Robocop is the only guy on the force to get tinted windows? Another pressing matter I should bring up is that because of his commitment to Naked Lunch, Peter Weller was replaced by Robert John Burke. Don’t get me wrong, Burke is a terrific actor, but he seems lifeless and stiff as Robocop, almost more… cyborg. I know that sounds weird, but he lacks the regained emotion that Peter Weller brought to Robo. Doesn’t matter, as Robo gives up his pursuit to help out his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) who crashed into James Lorinz from Frankenhooker while in pursuit. James Lorinz steals the show for a moment, doing his lovable and somewhat mildly insults in his Jersey accent. Unfortunately for him, they realize they are in gang territory and shoot blindly into the dark as most cops are trained to do. Just when they are about to be attacked, Robocop drives off the roof of a building and upon landing, blasts at the gang with his new arm mounted machine gun so the kids can scream, “I WANT THAT TOY!”

OCP now wants Robocop’s emotions wiped (I think or I’m getting confused) and put on the rehabilitation squad, but a turn of unfortunate events would have him do otherwise. In an attempt to get out of the movie, Nancy Allen is shot and killed by McDaggett while her and Murphy are protecting some citizens in a church that the Rehabs are trying to relocate. It’s a weak and relatively unfaithful departure for the character of Anne Lewis, but there are far more problems in the film than this and I’m sure Nancy Allen didn’t care. Robocop takes a grenade to the chest that pretty much lays him out for a good chunk of the film. Yes, the same Robocop that has battled other robots several sizes bigger than him, taken tons of bullets, run over and was even previously set on fire is now completely phased by a shot to the chest. It’s all for the sake of the plot so we can spend time with the human characters, but you’ll soon see just how boring Robocop 3 actually is. It’s not that the characters are unlikable, they are just really uninteresting and it’s hard to care what they are up to, so I’ll just sum up the middle part of the film; they get the doctor who cares for Robocop to fix him up and she realizes that when the resistance robbed the police armory, they stole Robocop’s jetpack, so now he has that.

But Murphy’s (that’s Robocop in case you forgot), got a promise to keep to his old partner. He sets his sights after McDaggett with intention of taking him down. Dead or alive! Well, since this is super neutered PG-13, probably attempt to take him in alive. However, OCP’s parent company, the Kanemitsu Corporation, has sent cyborg ninjas to make sure that Robocop and the resistance are taken care of, so that way OCP stocks won’t plummet and they won’t go bankrupt. Isn’t that an exciting plot for kids? It does lead up to a kinda cool fight scene between Robo and the cyborg ninja, but it could have been a lot more better had the action hadn’t been toned down. It’s also very short, but after it’s done, it’s time for the cops versus OCP in the battle for Detroit! I know, sounds exciting, but trust me… it isn’t. It’s very lackluster and the action equivalent of a tiny, wet fart that you’d barely notice.

Well, what can you say about Robocop 3 that people don’t already know? It’s a goddamn shame. That’s all I can think of when I think of this movie. It’s a shame about what happened to director Fred Dekker (who is an extremely talented man) and it’s a shame that this is the movie we got, because the studio wanted to make more money. Well, they didn’t and they didn’t deserve to for this, but then again, we didn’t deserve this money and Robocop didn’t deserve to go out on this note, dammit. I know, technically he didn’t, he went out on a worse note with the remake, which actually makes Robocop 3 seem not nearly as bad in comparison. I will say that the effects and music in the this film are still quite fantastic, as is the sound design. At least those staples of franchise were kept intact, but everything else from the acting, the characters and most of all, the plot, are all very bad. I know when we talk about films being bad, people think that there must be something funny or entertaining about them, because they are bad. I wish that were always the case, but it rarely is. Some films are just bad.

In any case, Scream Factory brought you Robocop 2, so they are also bringing you Robocop 3, which surprisingly (or not surprisingly) is not presented in a new 2K transfer. There is, however, quite a few new bonus features that deal with the making of the film, interviews with the cast and crew and so on, as well as trailers and such. You know, your usual Scream bonuses.

I can’t recommend Robocop 3 to fans of sci-fi or action film. Hell it’s hard enough to recommend it to even the most die hard Robocop fans. It’s not the worst film or the worst sequel out there, but it’s not a good movie and there’s very little entertainment to be found in it.

Goon Review: RoboCop 2

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Your Gooniness! 🙂 xoxo)

RoboCop was the answer to everything wrong that was going on in the ‘80s, both with cinema and what was happening in the world and politics. It was a heavy-handed satire against violence, corruption and greed while being smart and entertaining about it, as well as an allegory about religion. It’s about a police officer named Alex Murphy who is gunned down in the line of duty only to be brought back to life in a cybernetic body to continue his fight against crime, but the real movie is a about a man lost in a machine trying to regain his human elements. Originally, it was supposed to be a Judge Dredd film, but an original idea was taken instead and it was a blockbuster. I remember having the toys, which is something else the ‘80s did; sell toys for kids based on ‘R’ rated movies! That’s right, I couldn’t watch it, but I could play with the toys. RoboCop was smart, incredibly graphic and fun. The film made a ton of money and in Hollywood that means there is going to be a sequel.

1990 rolls around and RoboCop 2 rolls out. Things in the world have changed, both for better and for worse that made plenty of fodder for the film’s writer, a comic book artist and writer named Frank Miller (ya know, the Sin City guy), to thrust Alex Murphy into and giving the film something to say. However, this time around it isn’t nearly as subtle and it may be trying to say a little too much. I liked the idea of a comic book writer penning the script. It makes total sense seeing as the first film is kind of like a comic book, but RoboCop 2 feels like it was written by a comic book writer if that makes any sense. It’s far more silly than the first film and there is more than enough a,b and c plots going around that arise in the film and are quickly resolved. Every fifteen minutes or so feels like an issue from a comic book series and the film has a more slapsticky sense of humor to it and even the colors are brighter, including RobCcop’s costume which has a very blue tinge to it. Even the dialogue has a very cartoony vibe to it. It’s like the film isn’t taking itself very seriously, at least not nearly as much of the first one, but does this make it better? No, but don’t discredit it as a bad film. RoboCop 2 is a tremendous amount of fun.

The film picks up about a year after the events of RoboCop and RoboCop 2 opens in familiar territory; with a satirical commercial and a Media Break news footage. The commercial is a for a product called Magnavolt that fries criminals who try to break into your car. This is made charming by a cameo from John Glover as the sales person. Now that we’ve opened with some violence and some chuckles, it’s time to get serious. There’s a new drug called Nuke destroying Detroit that seems to flooding the streets and with the police on strike, the Mayor is failing at his job. OCP has plans to overthrow the Mayor and take control of the city by creating a new, more luxurious Detroit called Delta City, thus winning the hearts of the concerned citizens. But being a corporation and coming from a comic writer’s angle, all corporations are evil and OCP plans to put the cops and other public servants out of jobs, citizens out of homes all for the sake of financial gain! Nothing really comes of these plans, but in a rather odd twist of a character, The Old Man (the CEO of OCP) played by Dan O’Herlihy, who seemed like a genuinely good dude in the first film, is now a greedy, backstabbing sonuvabitch. Honestly, it feels like Dan O’Herlihy is playing his Conal Cochran character from Halloween III. I almost expect OCP to sell masks that turn your head into mush and bugs when their commercials play. It’s a character change that kinda feels out of nowhere and for no reason other than the idea of a president for a large company must be evil, because all companies are evil.

There are a few cops that aren’t on strike, like Anne Lewis and her partner Alex Murphy or as you know him, RoboCop. RoboCop is focused on tracking down the Nuke operation and taking it down along with its ringleader, Cain. Tom Noonan, who I mostly remember from the Sega CD game Corpse Killer is a fantastic villain. He always seems like he’s in another world and plays Kane as someone who sees himself as the next messiah. Not to mention he’s very psychotic and calm about it. His partner in crime is a ten year old kid named Hobbs, who is foul mouthed and shoots at cops. Seeing something like this as a kid totally blows you away, like when Macaulay Culkin told Elijah Wood, “Don’t fuck with me,” in The Other Son. You can’t believe how vicious someone your age could be. Well, I should mention RoboCop is tracking Cain down when there isn’t filler to attend to. The first subplot that just as quickly brought up as it is dropped is Robo being a total creep and stalking his wife. I realize the scene was brought up to see that he’s Murphy, a human being and not a cyborg, but when his wife finally confronts him, he just shoos her away and none of this is ever mentioned again.

What other subplots should we mention and then never mention again? I suppose we could talk about some of them to get them out of the way since they are irrelevant to the main plot, like when RoboCop is turned into scrap by Cain and his gang. He’s rebuilt, but OCP wants to give him some new directives that make him more friendly, spends time teaching moral values and thinks about the beautiful day. Sure this scene is funny, but it’s a subplot that is taking a jab at all the complaints the parents had against the first film. One of my favorite scenes is when a kid’s baseball team is robbing an electronics store and even after the coach is shot, he still reads him his rights and then immediately trying to teach the kids why shoplifting is wrong, who in turn cuss at him and run away. It’s a great scene, but again, this subplot bears no weight to the actual storyline. Robo fries himself on an electric fence to reboot, thus deleting all of his prime directives (something RoboCop 3 retcons) and do you know what he immediately does? Rounds up the rest of the cops and goes after Kane, which is what the movie should have been doing all along. These subplots are nothing but padding the overall length of the movie. Sure, they’re fun, but ultimately you don’t need them.

Now we get a big shoot out and a chase scene with plenty of cool moments, like RoboCop stealing someone’s motorcycle and jumping onto a truck to catch Cain, but crashes the truck and Cain may not make it. Luckily for him, The Old Man at OCP has been shacking up with Dr. Faxx (more like Dr. Foxx, amirite?), who seems to be morally bankrupt, so she’ll fit right in. Even more important, she seems to have her own agenda, but what could it be? Well, we never fully find out, but a deleted subplot tells you that she was Cain’s Nuke partner. Her role now is to convince The Old Man to let her find the subject for a new RoboCop and she happens to know where to find the perfect brain… a recently nearly comatosed drug lord on life support should do the trick. After a cool effects scene of removing Cain’s brain, they slap it into the new cyborg body and Dr. Faxx sets him loose to kill the mayor along with Kane’s old crew. Oh yeah, Hobb’s wants to give the money to the Mayor to pay off OCP allowing the Mayor to keep his position in office in exchange for allowing Hobbs to continue selling Nuke, thus making him rich.

There’s too much going on in this movie. No wonder a lot of it was changed or cut. All you need to know now is that RoboCop ain’t taking it and it gonna destroy Cain once and for all in a goofy, Looney Tunes-inspired robot battle.

Essentially, it’s a mega budgeted live action cartoon, complete with wacky slide whistle sound effects (I’m not kidding) that leads up to a pretty badass robot fight. Robo seems to have more of an attitude this time, seemingly more aggressive and angry, but that’s because the world around him has gotten worse as you see through various subplots. I mentioned those in great detail and honestly, you could cut them to get the run time down, but they do offer a lot of entertainment value, so why would you? The humor in this sequel takes a much more cartoon approach and there isn’t as much subtle or satirical comedy, although RoboCop 2 still manages to have a dark sense of humor about everything. The violence is also still intact, but it appears less bloody on screen, but still manages to be visceral, mean and hard to watch at times, like when a traitor cop is slit from sternum to belly button with a scalpel.

Brought to you in a brand new 2K scan from Scream Factory, RoboCop 2 looks absolutely magnificent on Blu-ray. It’s sharp, it’s clean and the colors really jump out and for a comic book stylized movie, it’s exactly how you want to see it. There are some special features that include featurettes and interviews with some of the cast and crew, but glaringly absent from any of these is RoboCop himself, Peter Weller, so I’m left to wonder why he would decline or not be included. I would have loved his perspective on the making of this movie, although there are two new audio commentaries to offer some insight. Another missing would be writer Frank Miller even though one of the special features was how they went about adapting his screenplay that was deemed “unfilmable.” Of course, it’s rounded off with your usual trailers, still galleries and so on.

Seeing as how the first RoboCop made so much money, the studios wanted more of that and this time around you can feel more of their presence. With the nudity, swearing and violence toned down just a touch and the live action cartoon feel trying to reach the kids, it’s clear they wanted to market this for toys and so on for the kids to buy, but for the adults in the theaters, seeing as children would see this on home video anyway. Of course, this would come to bite them in the ass by the time RoboCop 3 comes around, but we’ll get there. It’s not as good as the first film, nor does it have as much to say, but it’s still greatly entertaining and a pretty decent sequel, although some of the subplots could have been dropped while the others could have been reworked a bit to add some more depth to characters and the plot to make it a better film. But hey, RoboCop 3 can’t be as bad, right?