Friday Night Flix: Crawlspace

Crawlspace2Welcome 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.

Did you know Australia has its very own Area 51? Me neither! It’s called Pine Gap, which I find adorably pastoral. I’m surprised this place has been in existence for 25 years, yet I’ve never come across a movie that exploited its reputation for classified operations until now. Enter, Crawlspace (Netflix).

Crawlspace4Wasting no time at all, a terse title card informs us that, for reasons unknown, the government has lost all communications with Pine Gap. Fuck exposition, man. A boatload of commandos chopper out to the site. Awesomely, they’re given nothing more than a list of detainees and orders to exterminate the lot of them. No one has a problem with this.  But oh ho, things are not what they seem in the narrow confines of the duct system in which this movie inexplicably and almost exclusively plays out. (“I agree it doesn’t make sense to have everyone crawling through vents instead of just using the hallways. Then again, we already paid for the domain name…”)

Crawlspace1Stuff like that happens more frequently than I’d like, requiring some substantial leaps of logic. One minute the facility is on total lockdown so there’s absolutely no way out, until, oops, my bad, there’s the exit right there. If you can get past all that, Crawlspace is fun in a twisty but familiar way. (To my surprise, the black eyeball effect is alive and well. Adobe thanks you for purchasing After Effects!) Perhaps the best recommendation I can give Crawlspace is to describe it as Aliens meets Scanners, or perhaps Aliens meets Watchers. Definitely Aliens meets some movie with a perception-based title.

Added Bonus: Aside from gunning down civilians, which they are excellent at, the army men can’t shoot worth a damn. There are multiple scenes in which these highly trained operators are unable to hit targets less than 20 feet away and trapped in a ventilation shaft. If that’s even remotely close to reality, New Zealand should really think about invading Australia.Crawlspace3

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Sixty-Four: Saturday Night Poetry

Dedicated warmly to the fellow horsemen of Modern Borefare & rabid Bill Paxton fans everywhere…

    LV-426 (Ode to “Aliens”)

Twelve little Marines decided to get their kicks
Huntin’ down some nasty aliens on LV-426.
Ripley tagged along to spill some acid as she waits
for “Ghostbusters II” to start to film in 1988.
They brought along an android to do the dirty work
and comedian Paul Reiser as a greedy little jerk
(bummer for the funnyman, as his loyalty’s misguided
and because he plays the asshole, his fate has been decided).
Ray-Banned Corporal Ferro dropped ‘em in the pipe, five by five,
twelve little Marines, but how many will survive?
Touchdown on LV-426 with the Marines taking their route
and meeting the lone survivor, the silent child nicknamed Newt.
Then Dietrich met an alien who wanted to hold her hand,
And their love released a kiss of fire that torched her fellow man –
Private Frost was cooked alive and dropped his bag of boom,
Exploding into fire, hurling Crowe across the room.
Wierzbowski hit the panic button and screamed all bloody heck,
as he was killed off-screen (we think?); I hope he cashed his check!
This cloud has a silver lining, Wierzbowski-ites, so do not fret,
for his legend lives forever online at wierzbowski.net!
Meanwhile, ol’ Sarge Apone was barking orders at his crew,
as Lt. Gorman was idly drooling back at base, without a clue.
Apone was charging forward as his squadron was left reeling
when an alien with an appetite yanked him through the ceiling.
A fast retreat was made to escape from this debacle,
while Ripley called the Cheyenne to take them back to the Solaco.
Ferro and Spunkmeyer heard the call and jumped at the command,
but an alien interruption caused a disastrous change of plan.
The gang just kept on shooting, leaving corpses in their wake,
when a splash of Eau de Alien burned the smirk off Private Drake.
Round One went to the aliens, high-fives passed all around,
and Ripley and her rascals weren’t sure how they’d be found.
Burke reveals his true intention: save the eggs and kill the soldiers,
trap Rip and Newt with facehuggers, so there wouldn’t be leftovers.
Another heated problem is quickly added to the load:
The station is unstable and is likely to explode!
“Well, we’ve got that android, so send him through the ducts!”
Bishop shrugs, says “OK, I guess”, and risks his android butt
to venture to the outside – bless his synthetic soul –
and program the other dropship via remote control.
Round Two begins, and Burke is killed, but I wouldn’t feel too bad;
Mike Jacobs loves this guy so much , he hires him for “My Two Dads”!
Hudson screams, “Game over, man!” and is dragged to a hero’s death,
Vasquez and Gorman die as martyrs, cursing to their final breath.
Bishop brings the dropship and gathers the weary trio,
Energy level of the warriors, collectively at zero.
But movie logic dictates there’s usually a catch –
The Alien queen has hitched a ride and busted through the hatch!
Bishop takes the hit and is sharply torn in two,
Robot guts are everywhere! (What’s inside him…glue?!)
Ripley’s had just quite enough – She’s gotta kill this monster!
If she does, she’ll be rewarded with a brand-new Oscar!
(sadly, the Academy had decided that ain’t happenin’,
As the golden statue for Best Actress was given to Marlee Matlin)
Pissed beyond a potty break, Ripley dons her exosuit,
a cargo loader armed for blood, and she’s in hot pursuit!
The queen gets feisty and snatches Newt: “Hey, Ripley, make a wish!
Ripley ends this love affair: “Get away from her, you bitch!
The queen gets thrown into the airlock and sucked into outer space,
the nebulous void of galaxy as her final resting place.
Ripley rejoins her friends, including Bishop, who’s still together,
to fly away to planet Earth and certain better weather.
The journey’s gonna take a while so to shorten the big leap,
Ripley says, “It’s been some fun, but let’s go the f*ck to sleep.”
And so the adventure of 426 terminates with a glow
(oh yeah, the colony did explode, as if you didn’t know!)
Ripley’s got some fight left, and the aliens got some, too,
so the story resumes after “Lethal Weapon 3” in Summer ’92!!!

G’night, lil’ facehuggers…Don’t let ’em grip too tight!

Friday Night Flix: Death Machine

Death Machine 1Welcome 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.

You guys! I’m back! Did you miss me? Given the high quality of my stand-ins, I don’t blame you if you didn’t. Huge thanks to Jay, VPH and the boss man for stepping up while I was making with the wailing and the gnashing of teeth. Huger thanks to Jay for doing double, superhero-themed duty, while managing to avoid Griff the Lifeless Invisible. We have to have a talk about your hatred for big budget comic book adaptations though. I’m worried you may have a tumor or something.

Death Machine 3I’m delighted to finally post about Death Machine (Netflix), a movie I was thiiiiiis close to recommending in February until Netflix yanked it from the streaming menu. For reasons passing understanding, I adore this utterly generic, excruciatingly 90s, anti-corporate sci-fi/horror flick.

Death Machine is so much a product of its decade it makes me want to hacky sack. For example:

  • Punk environmentalists plot to take down an evil megacorporation from the back of a van while puffing comically huge doobies. Fighting for change with the power of jorts!
  • Villainous Brad Dourif threatens to employ the grandaddy of all lazy cyberpunk buzzwords: HACKING. Oh movie hackers, I’ve loved and laughed at your implausible antics since Lex magically navigated a 3D UNIX system in Jurassic Park.
  • The unstoppable, autonomous weapons platform is conveniently housed at Evil Corporate HQ where all the executives work and not, you know, in a secure test facility in the desert.

Death Machine 5And yet, Death Machine is a prime example of how a dash of well-designed tech makes up for a world of flaws. (So is Masters of the Universe. Now give me that key, Gwildor!) For most of the movie whatever escaped from Vault 10 is nothing more than frantic glimpses of slashing claws and chompers. I’m assuming the complete model would look something like a chrome-plated xenomorph but there isn’t ever a real money shot, which is a tsunami level tragedy. Even so, the mechanized monster feels tangible and ferocious. That may be a product of a wisely juxtaposed styrofoam Robocop knockoff who, well, yeah. 90s!

Death Machine 2Added bonus: characters bizarrely named Ridley Scott, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi, plus the two hero dudes, Weyland and Yutani. Just in case anyone didn’t realize Death Machine shamelessly rips off every major sci-fi movie of the last 20 years. Awesomely, Yutani is an Asian character played by a bald white guy with a face tattoo. That is some Charlie Chan shit right there.

When Titling Your Film for International Release

American films sometimes have much different titles when shown abroad. . If You Leave Me, I Delete You  f/k/a Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Hot Shots? Nah, Warm Shots.  I wonder whether Hot Shots Part Deux is Warmer Shots or Warm Shots Part Dvě.

China clearly seems they don’t want any of their movie goers to have a good time so just spoil the endings for you.   Sixth Sense? Nope, He’s A Ghost. Thanks for the heads up guys.  Here are some badass movie posters that go along with some of the bizarre names. Trust me, these posters are a hell of alot cooler.  I think Poland takes the cake on how to make a movie poster.

via WhatCulture

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas: Incredible New Aliens Action Figures From NECA

aliens-asstI am not an action figure enthusiast. I think they’re neat and all but I don’t really appreciate them so much as look at other people’s collections and say, “Cool.” That being said…

Dear Santa, please PLEASE bring me all three of these gorgeously carved and painted NECA Aliens collectibles so I can love them and squeeze them and reenact my favorite scenes when no one is looking. Hicks, Hudson (“I’m Hudson. He’s Hicks.”) and their pal, the xenomorph, all measure in at more than seven inches tall with 30+ points of articulation, which sounds to me like a lot.

My only gripe: no Vasquez. Without her, we’re in some real pretty shit now, man.

[Via Dread Central]