Thirty-One Days O’Horror Begins Tomorrow!

“When the crypt doors creak….”

Despite a major hurricane destroying most of my home and internet service that won’t be very reliable, yours truly will go forward with Thirty-One Days O’Horror! My first post will be published tomorrow and I will do my best to review a minimum of three films each week and I’ll also throw in a few other horrific goodies not pertaining to this year’s theme: Disney Horror.

One of those wonderful extras will be a review of David J. Skal’s Hollywood Gothic. Be sure to look for that review in a couple of weeks. Other reviews will include a few creepy collectibles, possibly another book or two, and a few other spook-tacular tidbits that I’ll surprise you all with during the month.

My research into Disney horror started prior to the hurricane, so I’ve already found some ghastly gems that will definitely haunt you as you read my posts this month. If there’s something in particular that you’d like me to cover, let me know in the comments section!

As always, thanks for reading. Get ready for a month of monsters, mayhem, and Mickey!

Featured image from the flickr account of Matt Pasant. Check out his work here.

Crawl (2019)

So Wrong….But So Fun!

If you have ever lived along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico or along the Atlantic coast in the United States of America, you’ve probably lived through a hurricane or two. 2019’s Crawl, starring Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper, gets so many things wrong with hurricanes, alligators, and blood loss, but gets so many other things right that you can ignore its shortcomings.

The film’s plot is pretty simple: Haley (Scodelario) heads to her father’s home in southern Florida to check on him and hopefully convince him to evacuate before a Category Five hurricane slams into the state. She finds him injured and trapped in the crawlspace beneath his home. She attempts to pull him to safety but is cutoff by alligators that have apparently slipped into the crawlspace with them.

As the film continues, Haley and her father, Dave (Pepper), attempt to outwit the gators as the water rises under the house and the crawlspace begins to flood. Looters show up and are dealt with as expected by the gators as are a few other folks intending to help Haley and Dave. Eventually the water forces Haley to take drastic measures in order to save herself and her father.

The film is carried by the performances of Scodelario and Pepper. With lesser actors in the roles, the film would have flopped terribly. The alligators’ behavior is terribly off (I am from Louisiana and know what I am talking about) and things that happen (and don’t happen) as a result of the hurricane (again, Louisiana boy here) are wildly inaccurate, but the acting and direction lift the film above those shortcomings and makes for a really fun flick.

There are a number of genuinely suspenseful moments and a few “gotcha” scares that work to perfection. I found myself cheering on Haley and Dave and couldn’t wait for the next big obstacle to land in front of them throughout the film. The special effects are fairly solid and there’s plenty of action to keep horror and suspense fans interested. It’s a really fun ride and I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading my post. If you’ve seen Crawl, let me know what you thought about it in the comments section. If you want to know more about the miscues in the film, let me know and I might make another post specifically about the screw ups.

Days O’Horror and Hurricane Laura Update

Changes Are Coming

As many of you already know, my home was lost in the destructive path of Hurricane Laura. My family and I will be spending the next six to eight months (possibly more, hopefully less) in a temporary home until our house is repaired and rebuilt. I still plan on going ahead with my Thirty-One Days O’Horror in October, but I probably will not be posting on all thirty-one days.

One special surprise that I was going to hold off on announcing was a review of the book Hollywood Gothic by David J. Skal. However, I decided to go ahead and announce it today since I probably won’t be reviewing another book that I hoped to sink my fangs into, Legendary Comics’ Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I really want to buy this graphic novel, but I probably won’t have the time nor the money to pick it up. Sooner or later I will get a copy and review it, but it probably won’t be for October of this year.

The story will be a more direct interpretation of Bram Stoker’s famous tale than the classic 1931 film featuring Bela Lugosi. It will feature illustrations that include Lugosi in the role that made him, and vampires in general, a worldwide phenomenon. El Garing and Kerry Gamill will breathe new life into the immortal Lugosi as he takes the stage (at least on paper) one more time as the infamous Count Dracula.

As far as the previously announced Disney horror films that I’ve mentioned, I’ll definitely review the films that I haven’t seen, but I might hold off on films that I’ve already reviewed like The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Haunted Mansion. Just know that I’ll do my best to keep Thirty-One Days O’Horror interesting.

I lost some collectible items as a result of the hurricane but I did manage to save all of my film and television Blu ray/DVD collection. If you are able, please donate time, money, or supplies to southwest Louisiana. My family and I will be okay, but many other families will continue to struggle long after the government and volunteer groups have left the area.

Let’s Kick It! A Look At Cobra Kai (2018-Present)

“A Coors Banquet for me and a Shirley Temple for the lady”

Originally released in 2018 on YouTube Red, Cobra Kai is a web series that continues the story of two of the primary characters from the classic The Karate Kid franchise. Those two characters are Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). I’m a huge fan of the original film and this series picks up over thirty years after the events of the original film and its sequels, so it was a no-brainer for me to watch this series once it hit Netflix.

Mild Spoilers Ahead!!!

The series opens with Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) as a man trapped in the 1980’s, haunted by his failures as a member of the Cobra Kai dojo, and a generally down-on-his-luck person. He loses his job as a handyman and still lives in the shadow of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who owns a successful line of car dealerships throughout the Los Angeles area.

Somewhat desperate for work, Johnny agrees to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo and takes on his first student, the quiet and somewhat nerdy Miguel (Xolo Mariduena), who is practically a mirror image of Daniel LaRusso from the original film. Eventually more outcasts and nerd-types join Cobra Kai including Aisha (Nichole Brown) and Eli (Jacob Bertrand). Johnny is verbally abusive at first, but he slowly comes to love and appreciate the students. His abrasive form of caring convinces Eli to revamp himself as “Hawk,” a bully with a massive mohawk and all of the other students hold fast to the “No Mercy” mantra of Cobra Kai.

As the series rolls along, Johnny and Daniel reignite their rivalry, with Daniel reviving the Miyagi-Do dojo and unknowingly taking on Johnny’s son, Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan), as his first student. Daniel also has to come to terms with his daughter, Sam (Mary Mouser), being in a relationship with Miguel, who continues to believe in his sensei despite Johnny’s many shortcomings.

While Johnny is battling his own demons, Daniel’s revival of Miyagi-Do dojo doesn’t go over as well as he’d hoped. He struggles to find students and helps build the rivalry between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do despite his good intentions. In both business and personal affairs, Daniel consistently makes bad decisions that cause issues between him and his family and between him and Johnny. In particular, the second season focuses on how Daniel’s desire to best Johnny results in a strained relationship with his wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler).

A number of other relationships and rivalries build over the show’s two seasons. Robby and Sam become close and events happen that cause Robby and Miguel to despise one another. Hawk develops a rivalry with his longtime friend, Demetri (Giani Decenzo), who is forced out of Cobra Kai by the returning John Kreese, Johnny’s sadistic sensei from the original films. Tory Nichols (Peyton List) is thrown into the fray in the second season as a foil to Sam.

The series works on three levels in my opinion: 1) The nostalgia is deeply rooted in each episode. From classic 80’s music to fan favorite characters and references, the series is loaded with Easter eggs for those of us who grew up with the original films. 2) It’s a solid teen drama that develops all of the new young characters for the younger demographic but doesn’t sacrifice the adult drama of the classic characters for older fans. 3) It’s a morality tale that shows us that just because Johnny was the “villain” long ago, it doesn’t mean that he can’t change. Also, Daniel isn’t the great white knight that some older fans might remember him to be from the old films.

The cast is solid all around. Zabka really gets to shine as Johnny and Macchio shows his range as Daniel struggling with poor decisions. The younger cast do great jobs, especially Xolo Mariduena and Nichole Brown. Martin Kove slithers right back into his devilish role as Kreese, and does a great job of undermining both Daniel and Johnny. Fans of The Big Bang Theory will recognize Courtney Henggeler as Sheldon’s twin sister, Missy. The rest of the cast do great jobs as well, giving us characters to love, hate, cheer for, or despise altogether.

Flashbacks help catch up any viewers that haven’t seen the original films, but they don’t overshadow the new stories in the series. Old fans will love seeing these moments and new fans will find them useful to understand Daniel and Johnny’s backstory.

This is an excellent series. For myself, nostalgia made me watch the show initially, but the stories and relationships of the series have kept me interested. Season Three is due out sometime next year on Netflix, and I can’t wait to see how Johnny and Daniel come together or grow farther apart in the series. Season Two ended with a bang, with a number of the characters in terrible positions. I’m excited to see how everything is resolved.

Thanks for reading this post. Be sure to check out Cobra Kai. You will not regret it! Also, I’m totally in love with Courtney Henggeler, so if you know her or anybody that does, please get me in touch with them because I want an autographed photo of Courtney!

KISS Funko Wacky Wobbler Bobbleheads

Hurricane Laura Edition:

As some of you may already know, I lost my home as a result of Hurricane Laura. My family and I were forced to pack over ten years worth of our lives in just a few days in order to prep our house for a demolition team. One of the few good things about losing my home was that I got to dig up a bunch of my collectibles that I haven’t really looked at in a long time. The KISS Funko Wacky Wobbler Bobbleheads that I’ve collected were some of the first items that I boxed up and packed away. I have a decent collection of bobbleheads, most of which I’ve opened, but these KISS Wacky Wobblers are three that have never left their boxes.

Released in 2011, I managed to collect three of the four bobbleheads. The Spaceman (Ace Frehley, Tommy Thayer) is the only one that has eluded me over the years. I’ve found plenty of the figures on the web, but the ones in “new” or “like new” condition have all been too expensive for my blood.

The three figures that I do have are all in excellent shape and look pretty good. Although they are sold with images of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss on the boxes, I do think that the actual bobbleheads resemble Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. I’m not complaining about this at all as I have no issue with any of the members, past or present, represented on KISS items.

Sooner or later I will break down and purchase the Spaceman to finish my collection. Until then, I’ll enjoy the three that I do have in my possession.

Thanks for reading my post. Be prepared for more posts similar to this one as I’ll be revisiting a lot of old collectibles that I’ve uncovered due to the hurricane. Posts will be sporadic, but I will do my best to keep this blog from dying.

Hurricane Laura

My home was lost in Hurricane Laura. Please help out the people in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas if you are able. Spread the word about the destruction left in Laura’s wake. We need help down here.

I still plan on blogging, but it will be sporadic. Please bear with me as I navigate insurance, FEMA, and everything else that is waiting for me.