My latest discovery on the Dollar General book rack happened to be the novelization of a film that I enjoyed for the most part. Pacific Rim Uprising was a decent film but it lacked the style and overall “coolness” of its predecessor. The printed version of the story was a fun read, but the battles between the Jaegers and Kaiju lost something on the page. Whether that was due to Alex Irvine’s writing style or my inability to visualize the battles in my head, I’m not sure.
Irvine is no stranger to writing film novelizations. He wrote the novelization for the first Pacific Rim film as well as others including Independence Day: Resurgence and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, so I’m not sure why his descriptions of the battles in Uprising came across as flat. In his defense, the battles in the film were a tad flat as well, so it might just be that the source material needed more dressing up than Irvine could provide.
The book’s plot is relatively simple: It has been ten years since the Battle of the Breach. The Jaeger program, deemed to be too expensive to maintain any longer, is about to be replaced by drones designed and manufactured by the Shao Corporation. When a rogue Jaeger attacks members of the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps while assessing the new drones, Jake Pentecost, son of PPDC hero Stacker Pentecost, and a young woman named Amara Namani are thrown into an entirely new war with the Kaiju. They join up with an old friend who feels slighted by Jake and a team of young recruits to battle new Kaiju designed by the Precursors and a surprise ally. The story is fast, full of action, and pretty entertaining for the most part.
I picked up this book for three dollars. It’s definitely worth that much. I recommend giving it a shot. I also recommend checking out the film that it is based upon. It’s not as good as the first film, but it’s still a fun ride.
Thanks for reading my post. I’m already reading another Dime Store Read and can’t wait to tell you about it!
Spin Master’s newest wave of 4″ Batman figures is starting to hit shelves. In fact, I’ve been seeing them on the shelf for about a month now. There’s a packaging redesign, a few new molds, a few old molds with repaints, and a couple of new characters added to the lineup.
Like previous figures in this line, articulation is decent and the paint schemes pop with color. The Bat-Tech Batman appears to have a new sculpt as does the Joker (same head as before, new body). Some of the new additions to the lineup include the Riddler and Mr. Freeze, a Target exclusive who is already showing up at bloated prices on Ebay. Hopefully I can find one in the wild and purchase it at its retail price.
I’ll be completely honest and state that I do not care much for the new package design. The classic design featured an opening panel that revealed a collectible card and three “lockers” that you could open to see which three “surprise” accessories you received. The new design also features the accessories in secret compartments (and just like the other waves, the accessories are mostly lame) but it’s a pain to open them. Both the compartments and the figure have to be accessed by the back of the package. The collectible card is (sadly) not included with the new packaging but a decent looking poster featuring Batman and Robin in the Batcave is included with the figure checklist.
While I miss the collector cards, I do like many of the paint schemes on the new figures. Another wave is expected in the spring. Most of the figures appear to be repaints from previous lines. I’m not completely sure, but I do believe that the Batgirl figure is a new addition to the upcoming line. She features the Bat-Tech paint scheme, which makes me believe that there was a figure of her in one of the earlier lines in this series.
These figures are fun to collect and, at least in my opinion, look great on a shelf. Yes, they are geared toward children for play, but there’s something very satisfying about looking up at a shelf full of these colorful characters.
Thanks for checking out this post. I’ve got a few more of these figures that I could review, but there isn’t much to say about them. I may highlight one or two specific figures, especially some of the Target exclusives. Let me know what you think about these figures in the comments section. See you again soon!
“From the creepy swamps deep in the heart of Cajun Country…”
I’ve been attending conventions for over a decade now and one of the things that I enjoy most about going to them is the journey there and the ride back home. Why? Because while me and my friends are cruising down the highway to a convention, we talk about things. Those things range from memories of prior conventions to upcoming book and film releases. We also make lists: top five favorite…, top ten best…, etc. The Fave Five From Fans Podcast took this type of discussion that many con-goers engage in and put it in podcast form.
Host Jamie Ray invites a friend (or two…and in at least one case, three) to join him on the air to share their list of their five favorites of a specific subject. The subject can literally be anything from their five favorite Chuck Norris movies to their five favorite slasher towns. The guests and Jamie take turns alternately revealing their favorites from fifth to first with a couple of honorable mentions tossed in for good measure. They also give their reasons for putting things on their lists. Some of the reasons are sentimental, others are more technical, and a few might even be admittedly silly. That’s what makes each episode so much fun. You never know what’s going to be on the list and the reasons that things make the list can open up some excellent conversations.
Two of my favorite episodes featured Jamie and guest Matt Hernandez discussing Batman. Specifically, one episode dealt with Jamie and Matt’s favorite versions of Batman from the comics and the other episode focused on Batman in films and television. It was interesting to hear how Jamie’s list contrasted with Matt’s list and how their own lives molded their viewpoints on each version of Batman that they chose for their list. Other episodes include favorite Disney films, shark films, Six Million Dollar Man episodes, and even Jimmy Stewart films.
I met Jamie at a convention (surprise) a few years ago and we’ve talked with one another at conventions ever since. He’s an extremely nice guy and a wonderful podcast host. I highly recommend Fave Five From From Fans. The show is available on multiple podcasting platforms and has a large social media presence across the web. Visit the show’s website to learn more about the show and the find links to all of their podcasts and social media accounts. Hopefully I’ll get to be a part of the show in the future. I’ve got plenty of lists in my brain.
Thanks for checking out my latest post. I’ll be covering more podcasts, more Dimestore Reads, action figures, and a new tabletop game in the very near future!
With a smaller budget and a smaller ape, 1933’s Son of Kong still manages to delight. It was released just a few months after its predecessor. Returning for the sequel are King Kong stars Robert Armstrong, Frank Reicher, and Victor Wong, all reprising their roles from the original film.
The film plays out as somewhat of a redemption story for Armstrong’s Carl Denham and, to a lesser degree, Reicher’s Captain Englehorn. Both men are broke and Denham is hated by everyone in New York City. The duo team up with Wong’s Charlie (the cook from the first film) to sail the seas as cargo shippers. In the port of Dakang, Denham, Englehorn, and Cook run into the other primary players in the film, Hilda (Helen Mack) and Nils Helstrom (John Marston). Helstrom kills Hilda’s father in a fight. Attempting to escape the authorities, he has a chance meeting with Denham and Englehorn. Denham immediately recognizes Helstrom as the man who gave him the map to the island where King Kong was first discovered. Helstrom lies to Englehorn and Denham, telling them that there is a treasure on the island and he offers to show them where it is in return for safe passage out of Dakang. Hilda befriends Denham and eventually stows away on Englehorn’s ship, not knowing that Helstrom is also aboard.
By the time the ship has arrived at the island, Helstrom manages to stage a mutiny and the crew throws Englehorn and Denham off of the ship. They also force Hilda to leave as well. Charlie decides to go with his captain because he doesn’t like the rest of the men on the ship. In a surprising turn of events. the crew also toss Helstrom overboard, refusing to allow him to be captain.
The ousted group eventually make their way to the island. There, they are forced to seek shelter on the far side of the island by the natives who blame them for the destruction of their village. Denham and Hilda pair off and Charlie, Englehorn, and Helstrom form another group. Denham and Hilda befriend “Little Kong” after helping him escape quicksand and patching him up when he hurts his hand. Little Kong battles a number of beasts to protect the group and eventually leads Denham and Hilda to a treasure trove on the island. Apparently after taking the treasure from the island, an earthquake and violent storm are triggered. The island begins to crumble, killing all of the natives and dinosaurs. Helstrom is killed by a sea serpent and Little Kong sacrifices himself to save Denham. Luckily for the survivors, Denham manages to save a bit of the treasure.
The movie is okay. Although Denham feels guilty for ruining (and ending) King Kong’s life and tries his best to redeem himself by helping Little Kong, his redemption never really materializes. In fact, Denham, Englehorn, and Charlie come out pretty good thanks to the treasure that Little Kong leads Denham to in the film. Hilda makes out pretty good as well.
Ernest B. Schoedsack, who co-directed King Kong with Merian C. Cooper, does a decent job of giving viewers a solid action flick. What the film lacks in plot and character development is made up for by having a big dose of humor and tons of dinosaur/giant bear/Little Kong fight sequences. Music composed by Max Steiner for the first film was reused in parts of Son of Kong as were some of the models and armatures created by Willis O’Brien, who also handed new effects created for the film.
The cast is excellent. Armstrong carries the bulk of the film on his shoulders and Victor Wong gets to expand the character of Charlie a bit. Reicher injects a decent amount of humor on his own as Captain Englehorn. John Marston is seedily perfect as the evil Helstrom. Helen Mack really shines as Hilda. She’s absolutely gorgeous and stole my heart the minute that she showed up on the screen.
Son of Kong isn’t a stellar film, but it is very fun. The cast does a great job and the action is really amped up despite only being a small part of the film. If you’ve never seen it before, give it a look and let me know what you think about it in the comments section.
Thanks for checking out my post! See you all again real soon!
Welcome to the second entry in my Dime Store Reads series. I picked up this book at a local Dollar General store for three dollars. In all honesty, the rack at this particular location was lacking. It was primarily romance novels and, to be quite honest, I wasn’t too sure if The Jackal’s Head was nothing more than a romance novel set in Egypt or more of a suspense/mystery novel. For my beloved readers, I took a chance on this one and the result was….just okay.
Thankfully the book was a legitimate suspense novel with just a little romance tossed in for good measure. The book was written by Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz), a novelist who has written a number of popular book series and standalone novels and some nonfiction titles about ancient Egypt. It tells the story of Althea Tomlinson, the daughter of an archeologist who apparently killed himself, who returns to Egypt to uncover the truth about her father’s death and to expose the true villain that ruined her father’s career.
In the novel, Althea, called “Tommy” by friends, acquaintances, and a few enemies, receives a cryptic letter from Abdelal, her friend and her father’s colleague, that recommends she return to Egypt to meet with him. Not wanting to make herself known to others that might be in Luxor, she takes a job as a caregiver and assistant to a young lady, Dee Bloch, who is meeting her father, the very polite and very rich, Mr. Bloch.
Despite her attempt at going incognito, Tommy immediately runs into trouble with a man who used to be one of her father’s greatest allies, Dr. John McIntire, and his assistant, Mike Cassata. Tommy also discovers that Abdelal is dead and that his two sons, Hassan and Achmed, are the only connections left to him. She trusts Achmed, but not Hassan.
Soon enough, a scheme is uncovered that includes Nefertiti’s tomb, illegally trafficked Egyptian artifacts, and murder. Can Tommy clear her father’s name? Will she find Nefertiti’s tomb? Can she trust anyone? You’ll have to read The Jackal’s Head to find out!
This was the first book by Peters that I have read. It is also one of her earliest novels. The characters are rather interesting, especially Tommy. As I was reading the book, I envisioned her to look like Evie from the 1999 film The Mummy even though Peters’ physical description of the character is nothing like Evie. Tommy’s relationships with other characters in the book are somewhat confusing to say the least. She quickly forgives one character for almost killing her and falls in love with him. She is assaulted in her room by another character but lets his actions slide. A third character in the story also makes advances on her, advances that she welcomes, despite the fact that she never really trusts him. All three of those interactions are bizarre in my opinion. Other reviews state that these relationships are a product of the times in which the novel was written (late 1960’s), but I don’t buy into that theory. The relationships don’t work at all to me.
The character of John McIntire comes off as an uber male chauvinist that has a hint of Indiana Jones in him. I just cannot like the guy no matter what he does. In fact, he’s a jerk for almost the entire novel, save for a couple of moments.
The build up to the book’s climax was excessive and rather dull. We spend a number of pages alone with Tommy as she attempts to find her way out of a tomb. She outwits herself a number of times and allows the villain to outwit her as well. The eventual payoff is just….blah. I wanted more than the ending provided when all was said and done. I picked out the real villain(s) early on in this novel and the revelation of their true identities came as no surprise. Despite this, I do recommend The Jackal’s Head and I do plan on reading more of Peters’ works in the future. Apparently her writing gets a lot better in the 1970’s.
Should you read this book? Sure. It’s not as exciting as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Tommy is a terrible judge of character, but the story itself is pretty cool. It inspired me to look up Nefertiti and her husband, Akhenaton, and learn more about them. I was already somewhat familiar with Nefrtiti, but I never knew that her husband was such a rebel.
Thanks for checking out my post. I’ll be spinning the bargain rack again real soon!
This is the fourth Mega Construx Masters of the Universe set that I’ve built and the third one that I have reviewed on this blog. Of all of the MOTU sets that I’ve built, this was one of the fastest and most fun to build. At only 188 pieces, this set can be handled by most age groups, but younger builders might need a little bit of assistance.
Much like every other MOTU set that Mega Construx has released, the Battle Ram has the same playability as the classic 1980’s toy that it is based upon. It comes with four bags of parts and two individually wrapped figures. Those figures, by the way, are extremely awesome. The Tri-Klops figure comes with a rotating visor just like the figure from my youth. The Mekaneck figure’s neck doesn’t extend in the same fashion as the old action figure does, but it does come with two extenders that can be attached to extend his neck. Both figures look great.
Building this vehicle was fun and took me about two hours to complete on my own. At the beginning of the building process, there are two support pieces that have to be used in order to build the Battle Ram. These pieces are meant to stabilize the vehicle until you put the wheels on it near the end of the build.
The vehicle can be split into two pieces or locked together as one. There are two head pieces for the ram as well. The figures fit well on the vehicle and look great while posed either on the vehicle or simply on their stands.
I can’t say enough how much fun building this vehicle was for me. Every MOTU release by Mega Construx so far has been wonderful and I can’t wait for the next one!
Thanks for reading my post! I’ve got a couple of cool review coming up in the next few days
A Serious And Entertaining Look At The World Of Bigfoot
I love Bigfoot. I first fell in love with the big guy as a child when I saw television shows such as In Search Of…, documentaries, and many, many (usually bad) movies about him, the Abominable Snowman, and other cryptids. Specifically, the movie that really sparked my interest in Bigfoot was Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues. Most Bigfoot enthusiasts and Squatchers reference 1972’s The Legend of Boggy Creek as the film that struck home for them, but its official 1985 sequel was the first cryptid film that I ever saw in a theater and I was hooked. I was nine years old at the time and decided that I wanted to grow up to find Sasquatch. I haven’t found him yet.
Despite being unsuccessful in finding Bigfoot, I’ve remained a huge fan. I read books on Sasquatch, follow a number of Bigfoot research groups and individuals on the web, and watch television programs on the subject of Bigfoot such as Finding Bigfoot. In the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to podcasts about cryptozoology. One of the podcasts, Sasquatch Tracks, turned me on to another podcast, Wild Thing. I highly recommend Sasquatch Tracks and I’ll blog about them in another post, but for now I want to focus on Wild Thing hosted by Laura Krantz.
Wild Thing is a great podcast. All of the episodes clock in under an hour (usually thirty to forty minutes) and feature Krantz, a distant cousin of Sasquatch legend anthropologist Grover Krantz. While she doesn’t necessarily believe in Bigfoot, she does want to learn about the hunt for the creature and those individuals in pursuit of the legend. That’s what separates this particular podcast from the others. Krantz treats the subject with dignity and respects all of those that she interviews. She goes on a hunt, talks with a number of well known and not-so-well-known Bigfooters, scientists, and individuals and even gets some DNA samples tested. She does this not to ridicule anyone or to prove that Bigfoot exists. She does it simply to learn about the wild world of Bigfoot.
Krantz does inject some humor throughout each episode. Again, it doesn’t make light of the subject or of any of the people involved, it just adds more appeal to the podcast as a whole. Some of the topics covered in Wild Thing include Grover Krantz, Peter Byrne, the Woo, evidence collection, people that profit off of Bigfoot, and many other wonderfully cryptid things.
The first season is nine episodes long with a few bonus episodes thrown in for good measure. There’s also a second season of Wild Thing that focuses on UFOs, aliens, and strange things in the nighttime sky. I haven’t listened to that season yet, but I will definitely check it out soon.
If you’re interested in Bigfoot, the Yeti, or any other apelike cryptids out there and want a serious and genuine look at the people that are on the lookout for such things, give Wild Thing a listen. Let me know what you think of the podcast if you have listened to it and drop some of your favorite podcasts in the comments section!
Thanks for checking out this post. I’ll be adding more podcast posts in the near future.
At five hundred pieces, this Mattel Masters of the Universe puzzle of He-Man and Battle Cat may not be much of a challenge for some, but it’s a beautiful piece when completed. Over the course of two nights at roughly two and a half hours a night, I put this puzzle together with minor assistance from my kids. In total they probably helped me out for about two hours.
The puzzle features He-Man astride Battle Cat in front of a dark yellow and brown background. He-Man has on his Battle Armor and is holding his battle axe.
I really enjoyed putting this puzzle together. The biggest challenge was obviously the background, but the finished puzzle is so great looking that it’s worth the challenge. The puzzle’s size is 19″ x 14.25″ and it comes with a mini poster.
Thanks for checking out this review. Have you tackled any puzzles lately? Tell me about them in the comments section!
Every once in awhile my laptop takes me to bizarre corners of the internet. Sometimes those forays into wilder parts of the web prove to be fruitful, but most of the time I regret ever leaving the beaten path. For example, I recently discovered 1988’s Robo Vampire. Based on the film’s movie poster, it looks like Robocop has hopped over to Hong Kong to battle vampires and helicopters. Based on the actual movie, though, I’m not sure what the heck happened.
Just FYI, there are gonna be spoilers for this train wreck.
What kinda passes for a plot in this movie is that a narcotics agent named Tom Wilde is attacked and killed by vampires and drug lords during a drug raid. His body is scooped up by the agency that he works for and after a few alterations, he is transformed into a Robo Warrior that can apparently take out vampires but can’t handle powerful artillery. Tom is also supposed to be on a rescue mission to save another agent, but instead, he appears to wander around aimlessly through city streets, on the beach, in a sparse forest, and pretty much wherever else he wants to go while a hired man is also sent to find the kidnapped agent.
A vicious drug lord has hired a wizard (yes, a wizard) who controls vampires (yes, vampires) to battle the narcs and believes that one vampire in particular (his name is Peter, Peter the Vampire) with a gorilla mask and a vengeful ghost girlfriend with a see-thru top can stop Robo Warrior Tom. Peter leads a squad of bunny hopping vampires that blow smoke on their victims and shoot firecrackers at anybody that gets in their way.
While Robo Warrior Tom is wandering around and fighting vampires, the secondary group successfully makes their way to the kidnapped agent (I believe her name was Sophie). They save Sophie, make friends with a criminal that tries to kill them (and give him a gun to boot), and are never seen again.
The final battle is between Robo Warrior Tom, Peter, Peter the Vampire, See-Thru Top Ghost Girl, bunny hoppers, and the wizard. Ghost Girl, ticked off that the wizard made Peter a vampire, battles the wizard. She gets so angry that she rips her top off. Exposing herself as she does, the wizard smears something all over her chest and she apparently dies…..until she appears out of nowhere and rakes the wizard’s eyes out, killing him. Robo Warrior Tom decimates the vampires and the screen turns a maroonish color with “The End” across it.
This film is bad. It is apparently two films spliced together to flesh out the runtime. 1984’s Paa Lohgan was the source of all of the hostage rescue footage in Robo Vampire. It’s actually the better of the two films although there are a ton of plotholes in the story. The music is surprisingly well done in my opinion, but everything else is terrible. I do recommend watching it just to see how truly terrible it is, but you probably won’t want to watch it again.
If you’re in the mood for a truly terrible film, check out Robo Vampire. It’s currently available for free on the Tubi app. Watch it if you dare!
Thanks for checking out this post. Please leave some comments about this film, as I’m dying to know what everyone else thinks about it.
“Close your eyes for a second….and sleep forever.”
On its surface, 1982’s The Slumber Party Massacre is just one more entry in a long line of standard 1980’s slasher films that feature plenty of sexually active teens winding up on the business end of a murder weapon. There are plenty of attractive young ladies in skimpy outfits, pointless nude scenes, and poor choice making skills as well as an insane killer on the loose. When you look a bit deeper, however, you’ll quickly find out that this sleepover is different.
The film’s plot is pretty simple. Our leading lady, Trish (Michele Michaels), has the house to herself for the evening and decides to invite over a few friends. She also plans on inviting the new girl in school, Valerie (Robin Stille), but Trish’s friend Diane (Gina Mari), says a few derogatory things about her and Valerie declines Trish’s offer. On the radio at the beginning of the film, the news reports that a mass murderer has recently escaped from prison and might be in the area. After killing a couple of people at the local high school, the murderer, Russ Thorne (Michael Villella), makes his way to Trish’s house and starts picking off the girls one by one.
Sounds pretty standard for slasher films, right? Well, The Slumber Party Massacre is anything but standard. The movie was written by feminist Rita Mae Brown, directed by Amy Holden Jones, and edited by Wendy Greene Bricmont (with Sean Foley). In the film, traditionally male roles are given to female actors including a telephone worker (Jean Vargas), a brave coach (Pamela Royance), and a carpenter (Pamela Canzano). On top of that, the damsels in distress fight back, especially the final five ladies.
The few males in the film prove to be defenseless against the murderer. Two boys (Joseph Alan Johnson and David Millbern) sneak up on the girls, watch them getting dressed, and then try to scare them. When the murderer arrives, the boys attempt to save the day and fail. Mr. Contant (Rigg Kennedy), the only real male rival to the murderer, is offed early in the evening. It’s up to the girls, including Valerie, her little sister, Courtney (Jennifer Meyers), and Coach Jana (Royance), to finish the job.
Despite the women-taking-charge message, the film falls into all of the standard trappings of 80’s slasher films. In the opening moments of the film, Trish is shown topless. Later on, there’s a basketball game that features plenty of lingering shots on the legs and backsides of the girls. Then comes the obligatory shower scene that features long pauses focused on the rears of some of the young women. It’s a bit excessive, especially considering the fact that this film was directed by a woman, but it’s not unusual for these types of films. There are a couple of other skin-baring moments in the film as well. Some of the young ladies make poor decisions, the boys split up, and loud noises distract some of the characters from hearing the deaths of the killer’s victims. There’s even a bratty younger sister that gets in the way…..a lot.
That being said, these ladies really do take charge in this film. Instead of running from the killer, some of the ladies take a stand against him. The most impressive one in my opinion is Kim who, while our heroine cowers in the corner, takes charge of the situation and starts throwing things at the killer. Her efforts prove fruitless, but she buys Trish some time to escape. Coach Jana, Valerie, and Courtney also face off with the killer. I won’t spoil what happens when these ladies battle Russ Thorne.
The movie is pretty good, but it does have a few shortfalls. For starters, the killer’s weapon of choice is a power drill with a long bit. The weapon is awkward, entirely too noisy, and easily dispatched by a machete late in the film. I also didn’t care for Russ Thorne’s motives for killing: He loves the beautiful girls. He’s obviously deranged, but I would have preferred to not even know what reasons he had for killing these young ladies. There were also quite a few continuity goofs in the film. I’ll let you watch the movie and see how many of them you can spot.
The film’s standout performances were by Michaels and Deliso. Deliso was my favorite actress in the entire film and I want to see more of her work. She’s currently a professor at USC among other things. Brinke Stevens has a small role in the film as Linda. It was her biggest early role, and we all know that she would go on to become a scream queen in her own right.
I do recommend checking out The Slumber Party Massacre. It’s a bit exploitative but the feminist overtones drown out the skimpy clothes and the flesh. Thanks for reading my post. I’ll be posting again real soon.