And here I am thinking it was guys who always got lost. Women always ask for directions. Here's the movie lowdown from IMDb: "A plane crash-lands on a jungle island inhabited by a scientist and his nubile young daughters. Complications ensue." I love a movie with a simple plot, don't you? Boys will be boys, and women in 1950s movies could always be found on tropical islands, lost lagoons, and rocket ships (to keep the coffee warm).
Issue 43 of The Monster Times looks at demons and devils in movies and comics. The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, Night of the Demon, Haxan, and a lot of lesser demons and devils get face time. Those Lousy Lovecraft Films ponders why demons leave home, and Ban It Yourself Exorcism Products takes a page or two out of Cracked's For Monsters Only book of zany. Even Captain Kirk gets into the action (he always did, didn't he?) with a rundown on all the devils banished in Star Trek. A first rate TMT issue, entertaining and informative, all around. By 1975, the monsterkid craze was a fond memory, but it had mutated into something greater: now it was the time of the monsterteens, who gobbled up everything on comics and contemporary horror movies they could sink their teeth into.
Some caustic comments direct towards Hercules in the comic books, mention of horror host The Creep's return to Creature Features on Channel 5 in NYC (I loved The Creep!), and another horror host, Doctor Shock, gets his due. By 1973, the monster kid era was waning, so it's great to see coverage of the horror hosts who still carried the burning torch for monsters. Interestingly enough, horror on television was exploding, and this issue of Monster Times covers Gargoyles (with wonderful creature makeup by Stan Winston and Ellis Burman). Closer to my own collecting passion, there's Is This Any Way to Sell a Movie!?! Being a collector of pressbooks and movie promotion material, I only wish the article was longer; but it's a fun read.
Sadly, Breaking Glass Pictures is perpetuating the horror of Tommy Faircloth's Dollface (aka Dorchester's Revenge: The Return of Crinoline Head) by unfettering it from the festival circuit. Which is not a benefit for discerning horror fans. Case in point: cut every scene with Debbie Rochon and you wouldn't notice she's missing (neither would the story); or eliminate the interminable, witless dialog that wastes most of the movie's time and you'd probably ask for it back because, without it, you clearly see the misfire of maybe-it's-a-slasher, maybe-it's-a-parody, or maybe--and this is what I think-- the director and the actors had no clue which direction to take this sequel to Faircloth's Crinoline Head (1995) so they winged it along for an excruciatingly scares-less and humorless ride, botched by all the ad libitum blathering and the monotonous pacing and editing. Whoever the people are who gave this a 7.6 rating on IMDb, and the critics who keep referring to this as a classic 1980s style slasher in tone, they must either be nuts, friends of the director, or want to keep getting screeners.
Dollface is simply not smart enough to be bad, and not good enough to watch, even if, as one blogging critic made note of Faircloth's recommendation, you see it with a buzz on. A full-blown drunken stupor wouldn't help this turkey from getting roasted. The acting? It's passable and hints that, given more hand's on direction and an actual script, would have been much better. The drag queens getting lost while driving to a show and then getting stranded in the woods when their car breaks down? Oh my lord, this was the movie that should have been! Imagine drag queens squared off against a slasher maniac! Or trying to run away in terror wearing high heels! The script would write itself, for heaven's sake.
Instead, we get a little repartee between them, a little teasing screen time with them preening in costume--yes, they're still late and lost in getting to that show-- and then they're quickly sliced and diced off camera. Not much happens in frame anyway, so why bother adding more visual efx gags that require more prep? With the most entertaining characters eliminated, we return to the college ones waiting for their turn at being sliced and diced. With them, you really, really, want them to get killed quickly.
The one thing director Faircloth gets right is the seemingly endless school daze we experience as Professor Paul Donner (Jason Vail) tells his class about Dorchester Stewart, the little mother's boy (Andrew Wicklum) who cannibalized his mom after she died suddenly. Kids. Go figure. Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but watching this scene will remind you of your own school haze and daze and energy-displacement professors slowing everything down to a crawl. Stewart grows up and turns into the serial killer known as Crinoline Head. The professor relates his experience with the sordid affair. Slowly. And more slowly. With an echo. It's impossible that any college class with a professor like that would be so bright and chipper. And attentive. Another reason why I think the actors are better than what's in the can.
A stream-screener was provided for this review. After this, I'm sure I won't be offered many more of them.
I included the double bill sheet with this pressbook for The Night the World Exploded. I can't say I'd hold much hope for it being a good movie, since it was paired with The Giant Claw. And disaster movies on a budget just don't provide the oomph big budget disaster movies do. Pretty good idea, though, of having "Element 112" blowing things up as it's exposed to air.
The Fantastic Four Face Their Greatest Foes -- The Director and Writers of Fantastic Four 2015!
Brought to you in all its mind-blowing tragedy by Zombos and Company
Embellished by JM Cozzoli Lettered by Typepad
"The poster is wrong. Change isn't coming for the Fantastic Four," I said to Zombos.
"You are taking this way too personally, you know," he replied. "It is only a reboot of a reboot, once more into the breach and popcorn bucket, after all. Just look at that mugshot poster. Dreadful. One expects them to break into a West Side Story song at any moment."
I started humming the theme from West Side Story. I imagined Ben Grimm and Victor Von Doom squaring off in a choreographed dance of battle. If only this movie were that clever.
But it isn't. It's contrite. It's tedious. It's misguided. It's not the Fantastic Four, the superheroes that helped usher in the Silver Age of comic books. I was grievously disappointed with Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007, but this is worse. This wounds my comic book fan soul deeply.
My thoughts were racing alongside the snail-pace of this movie--
--If you dare do another origin story, I'll blow my brains out. We got it, get it, and don't need it anymore. Ditto with Spidey--
--Can you please crack open a goddamn Fantastic Four comic book? Just the Kirby and Lee issues will do if -- NOT the ULTIMATE series! --you're pressed for time. Note the use of COLORs and CHARACTER INTERPLAY and the ENERGY shown. I know this is hard to believe, but Batman's the gloom and doom guy. Most other superheroes live in a brighter, even chipper, albeit still troubled, world--which always seems to be going toward the apocalyptic, oddly enough--
--So, you want me to believe that the most important thing for Dr. Doom and Reed Richards, and just about everyone else in this movie, is finding another dimension. Sticking to this one too demanding for you? It's a hell of a stretch that Richards just happens to have the same itch for dimension hopping that everyone else has, and BAMM! he hooks up with like-minded folk to help complete the dimension hopping project. Wow. Most comic books have more of a plot line than this--
--Why, after taking us to another dimension, are we still in the same one with another gloomy story, gloomy character angst abounding, and insufferably gloomy lighting and color-muting in every freaking scene? I overheard a couple, leaving ahead of me after the early bird showing, say how awful this movie is. They thought the first movie was better. I agree, somewhat, but I'd stop short declaring this movie is awful. It's just misguided. And if you took out the Fantastic Four it would even be okay--
But it's a movie about the Fantastic Four and that's what's wrong here. So many issues, so many storylines, so many worlds to visit, yet, once again, we watch Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell)--
"You hesitated there. I bet you were tempted to write Tony Kibles and Bits, were you not?" said Zombos, standing over my shoulder like Uatu the Watcher.
"No, I certainly was not going to be so unprofessional and take a cheap shot like...well, yeah, okay, I was tempted. But I fought it and won, okay," I said in defense.
--in the same story we've seen before, now rehashed with younger characters for the Young Adult market, with zero camera chemistry between them. So one immediately wonders how good a team they would really be. Doom is more even more anti-social this time, but he's AGAIN imbued with cosmic powers and an alien skin that mimics his actual (and quite technologically lethal) armor in the comic books. It's amazing how Iron Man and every other superhero and villain can get away with wearing a costume or body armor, but Doom's just pegged by Hollywood to forever wear an apologetic and organic suit every time.
He's AGAIN ready to destroy, destroy, destroy. This time he's got a nifty Scanners' ability to blow up heads, which he does a lot. Great summer family movie idea there. Hey, let's give him green-glowing eyes and have him pop heads with splots of blood and gore. He just doesn't use his head-popping power on the FF because, well, then the movie would be over. But everybody else is fair game, okay?
"Yes, but the Thing's (Jamie Bell) rocky start is rather good one, do you not think so? He really looks like a thing this time," said Zombos.
"Sure, for a horror movie, if you think spending most of the movie in a rock pile is super, then I suppose so. Not much clobbering time for the Thing or anyone else for that matter, except for the studio's tacked on battle at the end with Doom in the rock and energy dimension. So Ben Grimm is very very grim all through the movie, gets his rocky start, then mopes some more while we wait for Reed Richards (Miles Teller) to come out of his forced exile and lead the future team he abandoned. Meanwhile Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) come to grips with their powers while the military schmoozes them for tactical engagements. More than two-thirds of the movie is spent on them finding the dimension, then finding themselves, and we don't even get the satisfaction of seeing Richards grow up and take charge. He's caught like a limp noodle. He doesn't come to his senses and return to his friends, he's forced to come back. If I were the Thing I would've bounded him to silly-putty."
"So, what is your point?" asked Zombos.
"My point is "why?" This scripted character angst works for Batman. He had to confront his demons and win. There's a stronger family dynamic going on in the Fantastic Four. This movie misses all that and focuses on Batman-esque motifs when it needed to riff on what makes the Fantastic Four fantastic. Like their powers, not Jessica Alba."
"But they have their powers in this movie," said Zombos.
"Yes, sort of. But they can't control them this time around. It's torture watching Reed Richards in this movie. It's like a scene out of the Saw series. I can imagine how many kids whose parents took them to see this movie are now checking under their beds at night. The FF's powers are a problem when they never were, so we spend lots of time watching them cope. Except for Ben Grimm, the Thing. His metamorphosis immediately makes him an outsider. He has a legitimate reason to be unhappy and angry and pissed off. Instead, he just mopes around his rock pile, the most herculean creature in Area 51, and takes orders from the military to break things. Talk about script logic."
"Well, then, let us talk about script logic," said Zombos.