By 1993, when Ozone was released, J.R. Bookwalter had already established himself as Akron, Ohio’s finest filmmaker. That’s not a knock on Jim Jarmusch, just an acknowledgment that Bookwalter actually shot his movies in Akron.
The filmmaker behind such trash horror classics as The Dead Next Door and Robot Ninja, Bookwalter began his movie career shooting on film, before making the switch to video for Kingdom of the Vampire in 1991. After a string of shorter movies, Ozone returned Bookwalter to full feature length production. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Ozone”
There are some bad horror franchises out there. Some are intentionally bad (I’m looking at you, Sharknado). Some, like Amityville, are victim to the fact that trademarking the name of a town is tricky, so anyone with a camera and fifty bucks can make an entry. Some, like the Leprechaun franchise, were sprung from a substandard horror flick that somehow made enough money to justify sequels.
The early 1990s were very much a weird time. It was an extended hangover from our experience of the ’80s, and movies reflected that. As important as music was in redefining style, and giving the younger Gen-X slackers senseless purposelessness, there was still a fair amount of big hair and mullets out there alongside the flannels and unkempt coiffures. In shitty cinema, sharp suits, tight skirts, and cocaine were still the rage, while out in the real world, alternative rock had rediscovered heroin. Movies were playing a game of catch-up when it came to popular culture, resulting in some films looking like anachronisms.
1993 saw the release of No Escape No Return, a cheap buddy cop flick that takes all the well-worn clichés of the last decade-plus and stirs them into a shitty mush. Charles T. Kanganis handled writing and directing. More importantly, Joseph Merhi, a Shitty Movie Sundays Hall of Fame inductee, was one of the producers, adding this film to an impressive list of subpar accomplishments. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: No Escape No Return, or, Three Riggses and No Murtaughs”
Ah, the early 1990s. It was a time of transition. The neon styles of the ’80s were losing their cool, and the plaid drabness that supplanted it was crossing over into movies and television. In the cities, violent crime reached its peak, and gentrification was an idea that had yet to find its execution. The ’90s as a whole were a time when the rough edges still existed, but the polishing was underway.
I bring this up because one would be hard pressed to find a movie that looks more 1990s than Ticks. Released in 1993, Ticks comes to viewers via director Tony Randel and screenwriter Brent V. Friedman. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Ticks”
There’s a whole lot of plot in this shitty movie. Friday the 13th was a franchise tottering along towards its demise by the time Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday was released in 1993. The producers must have thought that expanding the lore around Jason Vorhees would make up for older plot ideas that had gone stale. It was the wrong way to go.
Directed by Adam Marcus, from a convoluted screenplay (the victim of precipitous rewrites, apparently) by Jay Huguely and Dean Lovey, Jason Goes to Hell is one gigantic mess of a movie. A viewer could be forgiven if they thought this flick was a continuation of the previous film in the series, as characters refer to previous, unseen events to which they were witness. But the flick before this was Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. None of the characters in that shitfest are in Jason Goes to Hell. Nor are any characters from Part VII, VI, V…all down the line. This movie feels like a sequel to a movie that wasn’t made, and that’s kind of weird. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday”
I didn’t think I was going to like this silly movie. If not for this month of reviews, I doubt I would have seen it again, ever. Demolition Man feels like a pure expression of movie by committee. The action genre had had much of its life polished out of it by the time this flick came around in 1993. The effect on this film is that, bizarrely, it feels as much like a stage play at times as it does a movie. There is no possibility for suspension of disbelief, nor does the movie require it for the viewer to be entertained. The ideas behind the film are outlandish, something of which the filmmakers were aware. Therefore they wisely shied away from heavy-handed seriousness in favor of the absurd. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Demolition Man”
Is it an homage? Is it a parody? Last Action Hero is both. It is also a film whose idea was better than its execution. From 1993, Last Action Hero was released two years after Terminator 2. In the interregnum, Arnold directed a TV movie, Christmas in Connecticut (which I will NOT be watching), did a little voiceover work, became a restaurateur, appeared as himself in Dave (another film I’m choosing to skip), and slept on a mattress filled with Krugerrands. I’m not totally sure that last bit is true, as, sometimes, facts which we find on the internet turn out to be less than truthful. What I do know is that two years was an awful long time to wait for Arnold to build on the success of Terminator 2. I’m also not convinced that Arnold’s sabbatical from starring roles was unrelated to the decline of the American action star. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Last Action Hero”