Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Seed of Chucky

What a stupid movie. When I wasn’t loving it, I was hating it, but never so much that I ever stopped enjoying myself. Even when the spirit-possessed Chucky doll (Brad Dourif, as ever) runs Britney Spears (Nadia Dina Ariqat) off of the road and her car explodes in a pique pop culture moment, there was but the briefest moment of doubt before buying into this ridiculous flick once more. This isn’t a good movie, but writer/director, and series creator, Don Mancini, along with producer David Kirschner, were right to go all-in on absurdity. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Seed of Chucky”

October Horrorshow: The Similars, aka Los Parecidos

It was a dark and stormy night in early October, 1968. Like, really stormy. So stormy that, according to radio broadcasts, the entirety of North America, and possibly the world, was enveloped in cloud and heavy rain. At a bus station a few hours drive from Mexico City, a man, Ulises (Gustavo Sánchez Parra), is frantic as he awaits the delayed bus into the city. He’s anxious because his wife has gone into a difficult labor, and he wants to be by her side. But, the rain has made travel impossible.

Ulises harangues the station agent, Martin (Fernando Becerril), who is set to retire and is uninterested in any of Ulises’s nonsense. Ulises calls the hospital in Mexico City, and the garbled call he has with his father-in-law does nothing to allay his fears. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Similars, aka Los Parecidos”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Bride of Chucky

By the time Bride of Chucky was released, in 1998, it had been seven years since the last entry in the Child’s Play franchise. That movie, Child’s Play 3, had made a profit, and it was a better film than the first sequel, but it was clear that things were beginning to slip. Franchise fatigue was setting in. Series creator Don Mancini and producer David Kirschner must have recognized this. Their series was a contemporary of franchise slasher giants Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Surely Mancini and Kirschner saw the depths these franchises sank to in search of a cheap buck, and perhaps they decided that wasn’t for them. Whatever the thinking behind the fourth film in the Child’s Play franchise, Mancini and Kirschner did a brave thing when they decided to pivot and embrace the black comedic elements of the possessed killer doll Chucky, and make a film unlike the previous films. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Bride of Chucky”

October Horrorshow: Tammy and the T-Rex

Pop quiz, hotshot. You have access to an animatronic dinosaur for three weeks, and a million bucks burning a hole in your pocket. What do you do?!

If you’re Etka Sarlui, you call up b-movie auteur Stewart Raffill and ask him if he would like to make a movie. And if you are Stewart Raffill, you then say ‘yes,’ because one should never turn down work. A week later, Raffill, along with Gary Brockette, have a screenplay, and two weeks after that, Tammy and the T-Rex is in the can, the dinosaur is off to a theme park in Texas, amazingly undamaged, and the world has its next insane shitty movie. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Tammy and the T-Rex”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Child’s Play 3

Chucky is at it again! Despite making sure that Chucky was mutilated beyond all recognition at the end of the previous film, Don Mancini found a way to bring his baby back to life for another payday.

Released just ten months after the previous entry, in 1991, Child’s Play 3 picks up eight years after the events of Child’s Play 2. Only in fictional worlds is that kind of timeline possible.

Once more, young Andy Barclay is the protagonist. But, since Alex Vincent was selfishly incapable of aging eight years in time for filming, his part went to Justin Whalin, whom viewers might remember from his regular role on Lois & Clark. Brad Dourif returned to voice Chucky, Don Mancini returned to write the screenplay, while directing duties were handled by Jack Bender. This was his first feature film, but by 1991 he had been directing in television for the past decade. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Child’s Play 3″

October Horrorshow: Bornless Ones

“Today is the day you pay for your consequences.”

That is the line from Bornless Ones, the magnum opus from writer/director Alexander Babaev, that I think about whenever I’m about to give this flick too much praise. It’s not as if mangled idioms aren’t commonplace in film, but it’s a useful reminder that this flick ain’t The Exorcist.

From 2016, Bornless Ones is a neat take on the cabin in the woods subgenre of horror. It’s not great, though. At times it’s not even that good. It’s one of those films that improves on a well-worn idea, but finds itself weighed down by some bad dialogue and weak reads. The second half is awash in blood and gore, so it has that going for it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Bornless Ones”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Child’s Play 2

After watching so many franchise horror sequels for this year’s Horrorshow, my low expectations for movie sequels have only been reinforced. Despite constant change in the movie industry over the last century, sequels are still treated by producers as mostly a moneymaking proposition, and not an artistic one. Hollywood is a business. We get that here at Missile Test. Not every sequel can be The Godfather Part II. Conversely, not every sequel that fails to live up to the original is as bad as Highlander II: The Quickening. Most, like Child’s Play 2, fall into a mediocre middle, an uncanny valley where a movie resembles what came before, but in a less convincing way. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Child’s Play 2″

October Horrorshow: Child’s Play (1988)

We here at Missile Test love it when a movie with a ridiculous premise is made to work. The President of the United States must be rescued from Manhattan Island prison in a dystopian near future? Excellent movie. Dragons are awakened by subway construction in London and scorch the earth? Bring it. A grown man wears tights and a cape and beats the shit out of street level felons and/or crazed super criminals? Yeah, sure. We all seem to like that. But a murderous psychopath possessing a child’s doll and continuing to add to its death toll? That’s a big ask. Fortunately, the people behind Child’s Play, the 1988 supernatural slasher flick, knew what they were doing. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Child’s Play (1988)”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror

Like the previous Children of the Corn flick, this fifth entry in the series, subtitled Fields of Terror, features a future star in the cast, in Eva Mendes. But, that’s not all. There’s also a lesser Arquette and a Zappa progeny. The best part is, all this is wrapped up in a package more in tune with the ley lines of shitty cinema — more aware that bad movies survive on spectacle, and less on good intentions.

From 1998, Fields of Terror, like its previous two predecessors, was released direct-to-video. Ethan Wiley handled both screenwriting and directing duties for this one. The film sees the return of the He Who Walks Behind the Rows child cult, which was jettisoned for the fourth film. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror”

October Horrorshow: The Devil Below

We here at Missile Test love a good monster movie. The Devil Below is not a good monster movie. But, we here at Missile Test also love bad monster movies. The Devil Below is not a bad monster movie, either. However, we here at Missile Test love mediocre monster movies, and The Devil Below is a mediocre monster movie. In fact, we love just about all monster movies here at Missile Test, mostly because it’s a subgenre of horror that is almost impossible to mess up into unwatchability.

Released this year, The Devil Below comes to us via screenwriters Eric Scherbarth and Stefan Jaworksi, and director Bradley Parker. It follows a scientific expedition that is trekking to rural Kentucky to find the lost mining town of Shookum Hills. In the late 1970s, the town was abandoned after a coal seam fire was ignited at the mine, à la Centralia, Pennsylvania. Or was it really a fire? Of course it wasn’t, or we wouldn’t have a monster movie. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Devil Below”