Schwarzenegger Month: Batman & Robin

Ah, Batman & Robin, the movie that killed the Batman film franchise. I get it. After the Batman comic books took on a darker tone in the late ’80s, it was only natural that the new films that began with Tim Burton’s Batman would become more serious and less campy. Batman, his character and his fictional world, had changed. I also get what the director of this film, Joel Schumacher, was trying to do. He understood the character of Batman from a different era. When he chose to craft a Batman movie he chose to do so in the form of a costume ball. Bright colors, festive music, outrageous outfits — its participants are all out for a wonderful night on the town, and all seem to be in on the joke. This was the Batman from the comics, just not the right Batman comics. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: Batman & Robin”

October Horrorshow: Deep Blue Sea

There are some serious contenders on the short list of Official Movie of Shitty Movie Sundays. Alien: Resurrection holds the crown by default, but challengers include stalwart paragons of shittiness such as Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, and Reign of Fire. Both of those films differ from Alien: Resurrection in one important aspect: they are fun. Alien: Resurrection is an overwrought chore of a film. It has none of the loose bravura of Spacehunter or the hilariously over the top seriousness of Reign of Fire. Why then, does Alien: Resurrection continue to hold the crown? Because it was first. Someday I’ll tire of using Alien: Resurrection as my prototype. For now, long live the king. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Deep Blue Sea”

October Horrorshow: Paranormal Activity 3

The only way to kill a movie franchise is to look away. The business model of the film industry necessarily requires that films display a certain amount of histrionic personality disorder (after all, if it ain’t worth looking at, it ain’t gonna make money), but eventually all franchises end up wearing out their welcomes. Narcissism, egocentricity, etc.; a person could have a field day going through the DSM looking up conditions that apply to the film industry, but it all gets back to money. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Paranormal Activity 3″

October Horrorshow, Retroactive: The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, I Am Legend

The Omega ManThe three films adapted from Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend vary widely in scope, story, and distance from the original source material. They are all shaky and mostly forgettable, but The Omega Man maintains a special place in cinema as one of star Charlton Heston’s many 1970s forays into post-apocalyptic science fiction. For that, it is the most interesting of the three adaptations, if not the best, edging The Last Man on Earth by a close margin.

The Last Man on Earth was the first of the adaptations, released in 1964. It was an Italian production following the spaghetti western model, and was credited with two directors, Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow. The film stars Vincent Price, at his Priciest, as it were. Price’s acting style takes some getting used to. He was a consummate professional who was more than capable in most of his roles. In Theatre of Blood, he was excellent. But he was victimized not just by type casting, but his own insistence on becoming a caricature of himself at times. The Last Man on Earth is b-cinema, and unfortunately, Price, playing protagonist Robert Morgan, fits right in. His many solitary scenes all seem to play like the boat deck scene in King Kong, where Robert Armstrong screen tests Fay Wray, giving audible directions for her first off camera encounter with a wild beast, finally yelling for her to “scream, Ann, scream for your life!” Continue readingOctober Horrorshow, Retroactive: The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, I Am Legend”