Friday Night Flix: Nightbreed (The Director’s Cut)

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 9.26.33 PMWelcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. When the mood strikes, I’ll use this space to recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Nightbreed! (Netflix) FINALLY.

Can you believe I’ve never seen Nightbreed? I’m not the biggest Clive Barker fan but I never would have missed a movie of Nightbreed’s cult cachet were it not for the fact that it has been damn near impossible to find for the past 15 years.

It came out in 1990 and did less box office than it’s meager (though enormous by Barker’s standards at the time) budget of $11 million. Barker’s original edit was like two and a half hours long. The studio hacked it down to around 100 minutes before pushing it out to theaters with a tepid marketing campaign that made it look like a slasher movie, rather than the elaborate, crazy ass horror fantasy it was.

A guy who did a few of my tattoos was so obsessed with Nightbreed he had each of the main characters’ faces inked on his legs over the course of a very painful week. I won’t say I liked it that much, but there’s a lot of really cool shit going on here.

First off, Barker is a nutcase. His Books of Blood novels have spawned as many coherent films as they have batshit insane ones. This leans more toward the latter, which is a good thing in my book. The best part is it’s totally original. For this movie (well, the novella he wrote first) Barker created a detailed, totally fresh mythology rooted in snippets from the Old Testament. He populated it with zillions of unique creatures, gave them a bunch of ornate sets to play on, and then presumably made everyone eat their weight in acid while filming.

The plot goes from rock n roll love story to a serial killer movie to a mad monster party to full-on Armageddon in no time at all. That’s a lot to squeeze in so naturally there are hits and misses. Barker’s biggest mistake is directing this shit himself. He has no sense of spatial relations or exposition, so a lot of the time you’re left wondering who the fuck is doing what the fuck and why.

The monsters live in a place called Midian, a mythical world hidden beneath a forgotten graveyard in the middle of nowhere. Except it’s not hidden or mythical, or even a world at first. It’s just an ordinary mausoleum with a back room. For the first half of the movie, all we see of this “world” is two tiny cement rooms. Then, out of nowhere — Oops! — it’s a whole cave system with hundreds of residents. It’s a shame he decided to cast David Cronenberg in the movie instead of asking him direct the damn thing.

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The sloppiness of Nightbreed has always been laid on dumbass studio meddling. That’s probably true but even in this version — supposedly the definitive cut — a lot of things make little sense. The rules of Night Club (I funny!) tend to change radically from moment to moment. An invincible Nightbreed can casually decimate a police station full of armed cops, yet later he’ll get his head chopped off in a fight with one knife-wielding middle aged dude.

Characters do things that make no sense, like the drunken priest who’s released from jail to act as some kind of spiritual guide for a lynch mob. At some point he decides the monsters aren’t evil and tries to stop an attack on them. A few minutes later, he decides he needs to kill them all himself. Um, what?

Enjoy this movie for its loco, off the wall ideas and visuals. Try not to get to caught up in the details. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to see this edit. According to Barker it’s truer to what he intended than any version so far, including the 7,000 minute “Cabal Cut” that made the festival rounds a few years back. Shout Factory used that version’s buzz to build an audience for this one. By all accounts fans are finally getting what they wanted. We live in heady times.

Added Bonus: Why is one of the monsters just a shirtless white dude with a nipple clamp and a Boston terrier? Who knows!

Trailer Park: Batman: Arkham Knight

Keepin it REAL Batman around here lately. I like how Rocksteady came out of nowhere* (clearly not true) to make THE definitive series of Batman games that seem to only get better with each iteration. You get real heft & movement, a sense of weight and force behind everything that happens in the world, which not many games are able to pull off. I always thought the PS3 Killzone games were particularly good at this as well, specifically Killzone 2. Pair that with the stunning visuals and amazing character & set designs and no wonder you’re left with an eagerly anticipated third entry in a series. I’d love to see a Rocksteady Marvel game.

More Batman Mondo Posters Than You Can Shake a Crowbar Covered in Jason Todd’s Blood At

You have to hand it to them: when Mondo decides to go big, they go BIG. To celebrate 75 years of Batman, they’ve commissioned an epic crap ton of Batman art which they first showed off in their swank Austin, TX gallery and have now put up for sale. Grab ‘em while you can but based on how Mondo things go, they are probably all sold out. Sorry bro! But at least you can peep them all here to your heart’s content. PEEP AWAY!

The Black Mirror by Jock & Francesco Francavilla. 24”x36” screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 275. Printed D&L Screenprinting. $50

The Black Mirror by Jock & Francesco Francavilla. 24”x36” screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 275. Printed D&L Screenprinting. $50

Red Rain by Francesco Francavilla. 24”x36” screen print. Hand Numbered. Edition of 225. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. $50

Red Rain by Francesco Francavilla. 24”x36” screen print. Hand Numbered. Edition of 225. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. $50

The Riddler by Jason Edmiston. 18”x24” screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 200. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. $45

The Riddler by Jason Edmiston. 18”x24” screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 200. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. $45

Batman by Brandon Holt. 18”x24” screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 275. Printed by Burlesque of North America. $45

Batman by Brandon Holt. 18”x24” screen print. Hand numbered. Edition of 275. Printed by Burlesque of North America. $45

Batman / Man Bat by Alex Pardee. 24”x36” screen print. Hand Numbered. Edition of 200. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. $80 / set

Batman / Man Bat by Alex Pardee. 24”x36” screen print. Hand Numbered. Edition of 200. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. $80 / set

Heart of Ice (Variant) by Phantom City Creative. 18”x24” screen print. Hand Numbered. Edition of 125. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. $65

Heart of Ice (Variant) by Phantom City Creative. 18”x24” screen print. Hand Numbered. Edition of 125. Printed by D&L Screenprinting. $65

More than you even possibly believe, after the jump. Continue reading

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Ninety-Six: Zero Dark Sidetracks: Moments of Pop Culture Joy to Temporarily Distract You From Crying Babies, Ebola-Death-Pops (Part of a Nutritious Breakfast!), and the Argumentative Inconsequence of Your Subsistence

You know you want it. A way out. Bruce Lee High Heel to Your Grumbleshift of a Life. Here they be, the daggers to pierce your atrophy. Kentucky has the dope, now I’ll throw ya a rope. Climb, victim, climb…

1. The “F*ck You, Audience” Award goes to … The Mist.  Thomas Jane, twice-baked Punisher and Bane of Sharks, cannot register to the Greatest Wrong Way in the History of Moviemaking. I am Number 6 of the 39 Shamelessly Perverse Cinemaphiles who Rose and Hollered Approval at the conclusion of this MAW-sterpiece. We get together once a month at the Starbucks in Middletown to yuk it up.

2. Dirk and the Cylon – “Faceman” comes face-to-face with a strutting silvery scrap of his late 70s space adventures. While filming an episode of “The A-Team” at Universal Studios, Dirk Benedict spotted the Cylon & insisted on filming a walk-on for the erstwhile antagonist. The moment, cut and pasted into the opening credits, was sometimes more explosively crowd-pleasing than the majority of the episodes of the show’s flimsy final season. G*ddammit, Robert Vaughn, you tainted “Superman III” and “The A-Team”. Must be why he’s doing generic law firm commercials now…”Tell the insurance companies you aren’t going to take it anymore! Call Flair, Blanchard, Anderson and Anderson, Georgia’s toughest law firm!” <—-If anyone gets this reference, mazel tov, you’re a monkee!

3. The Goofy Yell – It always puts you in a better place.

4. The Bizarro Goofy Yell – It always puts you in a better place…but no one believes you.

5. My Sonic Guitar Will Kick Your @$$: A Fitting Tribute for Colonel Bluegrass:

The Space Cowboy featured above was the pilot of the Miraj, the vehicle that launched the Silverhawks into battle against Mon-Star and his minions. Yes, the show was a money-grubbin’ toy-tie-in afterthought to the Thundercats, but, again, I am firmly sided with the underdogs…er, underhawks…er, silverdogs? Before I decided I wanted to grow up to become “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase’s greedy son, “Billion Dollar Birthright” Brad DiBiase, I aspired to sonic guitar space rockin’ as Col. Bluegrass. Though he was the only Silverhawk who didn’t fly, this cat really soared.  Evidence below:

6. The Iron Grenadiers: Destro Goes Solo – Another resplendent entry into the “Oh, Yeah, That’s RIGHT…!” files. Eventually, Destro tired of interposing himself between the cacophonous conflicts of Cobra Commander and Serpentor, deciding to John Lennon himself into his own band of deadly misfits, the Iron Grenadiers.

A great and refreshing twist to the G.I.Joe mythology with one glaringly hideous problem: the animated series presented the Grenadiers as an off-shoot of Cobra. Hey, it was nice for a little bit to chase your own dreams, wasn’t it, Destro?

Perhaps a little music shall soothe the savage weapons dealer…

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Ninety-Five: The Last Year of the Lou Albano Look

1995 was the last time I was able to braid my infamous facial hair, subjugating the structure into facial follicle art with leftover orthodontic rubber bands. A summer job in a defunct “intellectual” toy store called for a trim of the whiskers, and the goat never restored itself to full-blown dark-black-stink-netherworld-tentacled glory. Captain Lou Albano, we miss you.

Now, we progress to the topic of the day, and I’m gonna keep it brief: I’ve had a particular opinion solicited by the founder of this website. I’ve been asked to provide my thoughts on the super(annoying) super-hero mania that has gripped the TV and cinema nations since Dafoe channeled the Goblin 12 years ago. I was fair to the TV shows, so I watched a few episodes “on demand”: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham, and The Flash. I gritted my teeth and endured the viewings. Upon their conclusion, I hit the white boxes in the back of the closet. The “slick and polish” treatment and the youthful twist are as equally offensive as the “gritty” loquaciousness and mundane posturing. Look, kids, I’m always gonna be on the outside looking in, leering with the gargoyles before being eaten by the moon. I simply cannot endorse this movement because the shows & movies are so g*ddamned boring. They are akin to the zombie craze: the more you shoot ‘em, the more they don’t just stay dead, and more of ‘em explode from the armpits of Hollywood. Same ol’ song and dance without anything so original that you are transfixed. If you crave good superhero TV, IFC shows “Batman” on the weekends. There’s the outland of which we can all be proud. I am sorry I can’t improve upon this review; I can only say it all stinks and their collective popularity are creating the wrong kind of comic book fans, the ones who think “Justice League Europe” is delightfully retro and who never crack a grin while reading ” ‘Mazing Man”. Just get ‘em off my planet and call me when it’s done; I’ll be under the bed with the back issues, keeping the purists and the whole g*ddamned renaissance of comic books on life support.

Friday Night Flix: Beneath

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.59.21 AMWelcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. When the mood strikes, I’ll use this space recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

What is it with bargain bin horror and generic titles? How on earth can your movie gain any traction when no one can remember its name? Today’s selection is Beneath (Netflix), which is a perfectly relevant title since it takes place primarily in a coal mine. That would put our characters beneath tons of rock. So, sure, appropriate. But ten minutes after I saw it I forgot what the exact title was. I’ve seen a dozen movies with similar titles and I’m sure in a week I won’t be able to tell you which one of them was Beneath. Beneath, Below, Behind, Betwixt, Be-BORING.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.56.40 AMI’m a stickler for titles, and this one could have had a million better ones. But that’s admittedly a minor (Ha! Miner!) issue. Beneath has bigger problems. Like the central conceit. A coal miner’s daughter (not kidding) comes back to her home town to celebrate her pop’s retirement. The party occurs the night BEFORE his last day at work, which makes exactly zero sense. A few drinks, some bold talk from manly miner types, and suddenly our heroine decides she’ll show these tough guys what’s what by volunteering to spend a day working in the mine. No one has a problem with this. For real? Like it wouldn’t be a huge insurance risk to take an untrained dilettante down into a mine shaft on a bet?

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.57.34 AMGetting past the silliness of that setup, you have to admire what the writers do here. They clearly did their homework on mining lingo and culture. It gives the movie a ring of authenticity that many low budget horror movies lack. Even if it all kind of spirals into a thoughtless, throwaway ending it’s a pretty tense ride. It even has a brief but terrifying claustrophobia sequence that reminded me of The Descent. 

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Added bonus: This movie is not Canadian! Usually when you see an unheralded English language horror movie with exactly one known actor (in this case, Jeff Fahey) surrounded by a troupe of nobodies, it’s because it was made in Canada. There are huge financial incentives for shooting in Canada as long as you use a certain number of Canadian actors. Production companies just pay one American “star” to come out and work for a week or two so their movie can pass as a Hollywood feature. I assumed that’s what this was but apparently it’s not. That’s right, your added bonus is me admitting I was wrong. Don’t get used to it.

Friday Night Flix Double Feature: The Taking of Deborah Logan and Mine Games

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 7.53.48 AMWelcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

HAPPY MOTHERFUCKING HALLOWEEN!!!! RRRAAAARRRRGH!

Dude I love this holiday. Love it. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million more: Halloween is a unique, wonderful day. All the other holidays are family holidays. This one is a community holiday. Rather than staying home with family, eating and drinking ourselves into a coma, on this day we go to our strange ass neighbors’ houses with our dolled up kiddies and fucking commune. It’s rare. It’s annoying and takes way to much preparation but we don’t do it any other day of the year. In honor of this, my most favoritest of holidays, I’m bringing you not one but TWO watchable horror features. You’re welcome, America.

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First we have The Taking of Deborah Logan (Netflix). Yes, it’s a found footage/mockumentary type deal but it’s not nearly as annoying some of the other crap I’ve covered. It’s a lot like The Last Exorcism, classy and smart and not overly reliant on absurd camera tricks. It veers a little too far into the obviously paranormal for my taste but for the first hour it’s ridiculously plausible and unsettling.

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You know what’s really scary? It’s not ghosts or demons or serial killers. It’s the human brain, turning on itself. That’s what dementia is: the ultimate horror story. For a good hour, this movie walks the line between “Is something supernatural going on?” and “Is this just a sad, disturbing tale of an extreme case of Alzheimer’s?” That’s when it’s at its best, when you’re not sure if something spectral is at work or not. I’m glad the movie plants its flag and picks a direction eventually but I wish it was left a little bit more vague. Vaguer? Sure. Nevertheless it’s fun as shit and features a tour de force performance by a woman who is what Patricia Clarkson wishes she could be.

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I don’t know who Jill Larson is but she is incredible. She’s apparently some soap opera star. She’s only 67 and has the physicality of a much younger woman, yet she’s so lithe and slender she’s able to play much older in this role. One moment she looks like she’s on her deathbed, the next she’s vaulting across a room to choke some unsuspecting priest. She elevates the whole movie and is perhaps the biggest reason why this is better than the otherwise excellent Last Exorcism. In that movie the possessee was an overacting weirdo. Jill Larson is the shit.


The second movie is possibly a bit better even though it’s a rehash of circular thought experiments like Time Crimes and Triangle. It’s a circular horror puzzle by the name of Mine Games (Netflix). Silly pun name notwithstanding, this is a super slick thriller featuring a gang of not-that-annoying 20-somethings doing the typical weekend excursion turned bad. As expected none of them are particularly engaging or discernible, yet they play their parts well and carry out their parts of the narrative without too much whining. That may not sound like high praise but think of how many times you’ve watched a horror movie and spent most of your time despising the pretty, angsty young people that populated it.

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There are no real surprises here and nothing especially novel, yet it’s smooth and well-paced. It positively races to the finish with very little wasted energy. If you haven’t seen Time Crimes or Triangle, the cycle of death thing might actually blow your mind a little. For psychological/supernatural horror you could do a lot worse.

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Added Bonus: This is going to be my last regular FNF for a while. I’ll still drop by on occasion but work and work and other work are taking precedence right now. It’s a shame and I’m sure my 2.3 readers per week will be positively devastated. Try not to cry. You can still catch me talking over Joe like it’s my job on the ModernBorecast, and you can read some of my ramblings at IGN.com. Heck, you can even follow me on Twitter at @adamdileo if you’re that sort of person. I don’t judge.

Happy Halloween!