We Summon The Darkness (2020)

Be careful what you pray for.

We Summon The Darkness is proof that Alexandra Daddario will star in any film that’s willing to pay her. It premiered in February of 2019 at the Mammoth Mountain Film Festival but didn’t streaming services until April of 2020. It turns the whole Satanic Panic event of the 1980’s on its head, a decent idea for a film, but totally drops the ball.

JUST FYI…..SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

The film opens with with three young ladies, Alexis, Bev, and Val, heading to a huge metal concert somewhere in Indiana. They stop at a convenience store where we are introduced to Reverend John Henry Butler, a leading opponent of heavy metal and the supposed leader in the battle against a string of Satanic cult ritual murders happening across the United States, on television. Then the girls hit the road once again. A van passes them and throws a milkshake at their window. When the girls arrive at the concert venue, they discover the van and play a trick on its occupants, a trio of metal heads named Mark, Ivan, and Kovacs. Ultimately the two trios bond and the girls take the boys back to Alexis’ house.

Once they arrive at the house, the girls drug the boys, strip them down to their underwear, and set up a staged Satanic ritual to kill them. Why? Because the girls are actually part of Reverend Butler’s church and they are using the murders to bring more people to Christ in a very twisted way. The only thing wrong with this, besides the murder part, is that Butler is actually utilizing the murders to increase his church’s membership AND bring in the big bucks. When Bev uncovers the truth, she has second thoughts about murdering the boys and tries to help the survivors escape. Alexis, still believing that she’s doing the Lord’s work, then turns on Bev, her stepmother, the cops, and anybody else that gets in her way. Val sides with Alexis and tries to take out Bev and the survivors as well. Then the reverend shows up and all hell breaks loose.

On paper this sounds like a pretty good horror film. In actuality it’s a dull, plodding flick with a weak plot, bad acting, and not one decent character. I couldn’t care less if any of the characters died. The kills were uninspired and despite all of her attempts to completely “crazy” it up, Alexandra Daddario just fell flat.

I figured out the plot in the first few minutes of the film, so the “twist” didn’t come as a surprise. This film was a huge disappointment. Heck, I preferred Daddario’s performances in a couple of her other horror films, Texas Chainsaw and Bereavement, and I didn’t really care for either of those films. The only actors that did decent jobs were Amy Forsyth as Bev and Allison McAtee as Susan, Alexis’ stepmother. Sadly she wasn’t in the film long enough to help it out enough.

Don’t waste your time on this one. A much better heavy metal inspired horror film is Deathgasm (2015), a horror comedy that knows exactly what it is and delivers the goods. That being said, We Summon The Darkness is available on Netflix.

Thanks for checking out my review. I wish that I had better things to say about We Summon The Darkness but I can’t honestly recommend it. I might just have to review Deathgasm in the near future. See you again soon!

The Year Of KISS: Love Gun (1977)

“Make Me Feel Better…..”

By 1977, KISS was one of the most popular bands in the world. Not only were Alive!, Destroyer, and Rock And Roll Over all successful albums, the band’s name and faces were plastered on tons of merchandise. KISS comics from Marvel, toy guitars, and a KISS radio were all released in 1977 and were soon followed by trading cards, a pinball machine, and more items in 1978. KISS also released their sixth album, Love Gun, in June of 1977. It shipped platinum and is considered to be one of KISS’ greatest albums.

Love Gun contains elements of all of KISS’ other studio albums up to that point. It has sludgy rockers like Hotter Than Hell, raw guitars that echo their self-titled debut, the slick production of Rock And Roll Over, a few sonic experiments as can be found in Destroyer, and the punchy drums and guitars of Dressed To Kill. It’s an amazing album that is home to some of KISS’ most beloved tracks. Of all of the “make-up” year releases, it feels like the most complete album in my opinion.

The album features ten tracks. Two singles were released. The first one, the slightly-less-creepier-than-Goin’ Blind track titled Christine Sixteen, tells the story of a man (Gene Simmons in this case) who has fallen for a sixteen year old girl. It topped out at #25 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. The second single was the album’s title track, Love Gun. It reached #61 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and has been a mainstay of every KISS tour since it was first released. Christine Sixteen, however, faded from the band’s setlist in the early 1980’s and has infrequently returned over the years ever since.

Track Listing:

  1. I Stole Your Love
  2. Christine Sixteen (Single)
  3. Got Love For Sale
  4. Shock Me
  5. Tomorrow And Tonight
  6. Love Gun (Single)
  7. Hooligan
  8. Almost Human
  9. Plaster Caster
  10. Then She Kissed Me

Personnel: Paul Stanley (lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitars), Gene Simmons (lead and backing vocals, bass), Ace Frehley (lead and backing vocals, lead guitar), Peter Criss (lead and backing vocals, drums).

As I previously stated, this album sounds like the fusion of all five of the studio albums that preceded it. I Stole Your Love, Hooligan, and Shock Me remind me of the band’s gritty beginnings. Tomorrow And Tonight makes me think about the first three albums by the group. Love Gun could have easily been a track on Rock And Roll Over. The blistering drums from Peter Criss prove that he’s more than just a jazz drummer at heart. Tracks such as Almost Human recall Destroyer and Plaster Caster is definitely a Dressed To Kill era tune.

This is the first album to feature Ace on lead vocals. He takes the helm on Shock Me and also provides, in my opinion, one of his best guitar solos on the song as well. It’s easily one of my favorite KISS tunes. Hooligan is Peter Criss’ lone lead vocal contribution to the album. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the record. Peter’s aforementioned drums and Paul Stanley’s amazing vocals and sexual innuendo-laden lyrics on Love Gun make it another favorite song of mine.

Gene Simmons’ vocals are strong on all of the songs that he fronts on the album. Christine Sixteen and Almost Human are my favorite tracks by him on this album. Plaster Caster never connected with me for some reason. It’s my least favorite song on the album including the cover of Then He Kissed Me (titled Then She Kissed Me on this album) originally performed by The Crystals and written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, and Jeff Barry.

Ken Kelly did the amazing cover art. Along with Destroyer (also done by Kelly), it’s probably one of the most recognized and beloved album covers of all time. It has been slapped on tons of KISS merchandise and was also recreated in statue form. McFarlane Toys released an amazing statue of the album cover in 2004 and it has become a highly sought after collector’s item. I personally own a t-shirt and a blanket with the album’s iconic cover emblazoned upon it.

The album is seen by many as one of the group’s best releases. It was the final album to feature all four members of the band on every track. There were internal problems in the band that were starting to affect the group’s mentality and their performances on tour. Despite being on top of the world, KISS’ popularity was about to start fading.

The KISS Love Gun, a cardboard insert found in the original LP release of the album.

After the release of Love Gun, KISS would release Alive II in October of 1977 and then their first compilation album, Double Platinum, in April of 1978. The group would go on to release four solo albums in September of that same year. I’ll be reviewing those four albums in June and July. In May of 1979 KISS would release Dynasty………and things would begin to fall apart.

I can’t wait for you to read my reviews of Dynasty and Unmasked next month. Those albums and Music “From The Elder” are probably the band’s three most polarizing albums. My last studio album review prior to the “solo album summer break” in June and July will be of Creatures of the Night. Oh, and here’s a photo of Love Gun Girl. She’s a KISS super fan who can be found on Twitter at @Official_LGG and on Instagram at @detroitrockcece. Go show her some love and tell her that Ken’s Alternate Universe sent you her way.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed all of my reviews so far in this series. With six studio albums down it means that I have fourteen left to revisit! Thanks for reading my reviews!

The Phantom Never Dies Podcast

“The Ghost who walks……

I recently completed listening to the six episode podcast The Phantom Never Dies. Hosted by the amazing Maria Lewis, The Phantom Never Dies takes a look at the world’s first superhero. From the printed page to the big screen and on all formats in between, Kit Walker, a.k.a. The Phantom, has been around since 1936.

Lewis takes listeners on a journey that starts…well…at the beginning of the Phantom’s story. If you check out the podcast (and I hope that you do), you’ll learn how Lee Falk came up with the idea of the character and how a man who is very much mortal manages to never die. You’ll get juicy information on attempts to make a film prior to the Billy Zane fronted 1990’s film. You’ll learn about the Phantom’s impact on Indigenous Australians and the Wahgi People. You’ll also get to hear about Defenders Of The Earth, the Fantomen, and the Jennifer Lopez connection to the character.

If you regularly read my blog posts or happen to be my friend in the real world, you know how much I love the Phantom, especially the classic serial starring Tom Tyler. You also know that I’ve reviewed the NECA Defenders of the Earth action figure released awhile back, the Billy Zane film, and (SPOILER ALERT) I’ll be reviewing the most recently released NECA figure of the Phantom very soon. Finding this podcast fueled my love for the character even more and encouraged me to seek out some of the old comics.

Pop Culture Queen Supreme Maria Lewis.

I’ll be talking about the Phantom and other serial superheroes on April 2, 2022 at CyPhaCon. I’ll definitely mention The Phantom Never Dies as well. I hope to see all of you there and I hope that you hit me up about Maria Lewis’ amazing podcast.

Thanks for checking out my post. You need to listen to The Phantom Never Dies. It’s really fun and delivered by Lewis with a ton of energy and a twinkle in her eye!

McFarlane Toys DC Multiverse The Dark Knight Returns Build-A-Horse Set (2022)

I want you to remember…my hand…at your throat…”

McFarlane Toys and DC unleashed a fearsome foursome recently. Based upon their comic likenesses in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns story line, McFarlane gives us figures for Batman, Superman, Robin (Carrie Kelley), and the Joker. Not only were four figures released, but each one comes with pieces to build the horse that Batman rides in the story in the final battle. As far as I know this is the first time that the build-a-figure has been a full-sized horse. It’s pretty epic.

This review is going to be a bit different since I am covering five figures. I’ll start with Batman, Superman, Joker, and Robin, giving you general pros and cons about all of them. Then I’ll focus on the horse figure. Feel free to look through the images in order to get a good look at each figure. Also, please forgive the “dust” in some of the photos. I didn’t use my photo box because of the size of this collection, so these photos may look a little dirty. It’s actually dust from opening up the boxes. I tried to clean it up as much as possible.

All four figures come with a DC figure base and a collector card. All four of them also come with at least one accessory and at least two pieces to build the horse figure. Batman comes with the tail and both front legs. Superman comes with both rear legs. The Joker has the head and saddle. Carrie Kelley comes with the two largest pieces of the horse, its left and ride torso. Batman and Superman come with a swappable set of hands. Batman also comes with the lasso with a batarang on the end that he uses in the comic. Joker comes with a knife and a swappable left hand. Carrie Kelley comes with her slingshot.

All three of the males in this line feature very stiff joints with the exception of Joker’s ankles which are extremely loose. This may be specific to my figure but it’s worth mentioning as it does make posing Joker a bit of a challenge. Carrie Kelley’s ankles and arms are also very loose. Batman and Joker’s accessories are very soft and it’s extremely difficult to get the lasso and knife in their respective hands. In fact, I stopped trying to put Joker’s knife in his hand because I didn’t want to damage the figure or the accessory.

I’m not a big fan of Miller’s art style. The clunky figures look awkward on the page in my opinion. That being said, Miller’s style translates extremely well in these action figures. All of them, excepting Robin, are heavy and solid figures. All four of them look simply amazing. I really love how the bright colors pop on Robin and Superman. Joker looks quite dapper in his white suit with a flowing tie. Batman looks absolutely fierce.

The horse is surprisingly light once you put it all together. The pieces snap together with relative ease. The horse has slight articulation at the top of its neck and the entire head can move up and down at the shoulder. All four legs have multiple points of articulation at well. The tail is fairly limited to spinning around. Once the horse is assembled, you can take it apart if you’d like. The front legs are the hardest pieces to disassemble. Also, the saddle does not unbuckle, so make sure that you place it on the horse’s torso before you snap in the legs and head or you’ll end up having to remove them like I did.

The horse looks pretty good but mine has a few marks on the head. It can be posed with relative ease but if you plan on posing it reared up on two legs with Batman in the saddle, you’ll need some sort of support as the ankles can’t handle the weight. Batman does fit on the horse but the reins are too soft to easily snap into Batman’s hands. Otherwise, Batman looks good in the saddle.

All five of these figures look nice. I don’t plan on displaying Batman on the horse because he looks better standing in my opinion. If I had to pick only one figure out of the bunch to grab, it would be Carrie Kelley simply because she doesn’t have a lot of figures and this one looks amazing. All four of them would be great for display, though, so buy one or buy all of them if you’d like.

Thanks for reading my post. I’ve included a couple of comparison photos below of other McFarlane figures to give you an idea of the size of each figure. The Armored Batman from The Dark Knight Returns was a previous release but it goes well with this line. I hope that you enjoyed this review. Let me know what you think of the figures in the comments.

The Year Of KISS: Rock And Roll Over (1976)

“You need my love, baby, oh so bad….”

Still riding a massive wave of success with both Alive! and Destroyer and eager to solidify their popularity, KISS went back to the studio in September of 1976 to record Rock And Roll Over. Released in November of 1976, the album is considered by many to be the “workhorse” album that is sandwiched between two of KISS’ biggest studio albums, Destroyer and Love Gun.

I can definitely understand the “workhorse” title when compared to the other albums released during KISS’ prime years. Destroyer experimented with new sounds, instruments, and musical stylings. Love Gun fused those new sounds with KISS’ louder and rawer early efforts. Rock And Roll Over feels like the album that should have been released after Dressed To Kill. It sounds just like KISS’ first three studio albums but features a band that is clearly in sync, more mature, and polished. It’s the oddball of KISS’ glory years but I love it. It’s one of my favorite KISS albums.

Produced by Eddie Kramer, who previously produced Alive! and would also produce Love Gun, Alive III, and Ace Frehley (solo album), the album featured ten tracks. Two singles, Hard Luck Woman and Calling Dr. Love, were released with Hard Luck Woman reaching #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Calling Dr. Love almost matching its predecessor by peaking at #16. The album itself reached platinum status and went to #11 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Track Listing:

  1. I Want You
  2. Take Me
  3. Calling Dr. Love
  4. Ladies Room
  5. Baby Driver
  6. Love’Em And Leave’Em
  7. Mr. Speed
  8. See You In Your Dreams
  9. Hard Luck Woman
  10. Makin’ Love

Personnel: Paul Stanley (lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar, additional guitars), Ace Frehley (backing vocals, lead guitar), Peter Criss (lead and backing vocals, drums), Gene Simmons (lead and backing vocals, bass)

The album is definitely a callback to the group’s first three albums. The guitar solos by Ace are crunchy, fast, and amazing. Peter’s vocals are gritty and sand paper perfection. His drums are boogie woogie and blues inspired as well. Gene gives yet another sinister performance and he shines in particular on Calling Dr. Love. Paul is credited with writing or co-writing five of the album’s ten tracks and you can easily hear his influence on the overall KISS sound on this album. His vocals are amazing as well.

I have quite a few favorite tracks on this album. Hard Luck Woman is one of my favorite KISS tracks of all time. I also love Calling Dr. Love. Ace’s solo on that track is one of my favorites by him. Of the songs that weren’t released as singles, Baby Driver and I Want You are my favorites. I also have to give a nod to Makin’ Love and Ladies Room. Oh, and that opening riff on Mr. Speed! I really can’t find a track on this album that I dislike. All of them are excellent.

I also have to mention the amazing album cover art by Michael Doret. It’s one of my favorite album covers of all time. The stylized heads of the band members are fused together in a circle that looks a lot like a buzzsaw. Each head features a background unique to each member of the band. Gene features fire, Paul features angelic wings, Peter has jungle grass, and Ace is firing lasers out of his eyes with space as a backdrop. It’s a cool cover simply put.

Thanks for revisiting Rock And Roll Over with me today. Let me know in the comments which tracks you enjoy on the album. Up next is Love Gun. It features quite a few of my favorite tracks and I’ll talk about all of them next week. See you again real soon!

Throwback Thursday: Leprechaun (1993)

“Where’s me gold????”

Almost two years prior to her iconic role as Rachel Green on Friends, Jennifer Aniston starred alongside Ken Olandt and Warwick Davis in the horror comedy Leprechaun (1993). Aniston would like to forget that the film was ever made and I don’t necessarily disagree with her. It’s not that great (which is why it isn’t part of my Classic Horror category) but it does have a few high points.

In the film Aniston portrays Tory, a stuck up young lady who has to spend the summer with her father in a rundown farmhouse in North Dakota. When they arrive on the farm, a local man, Nathan (Olandt), is painting the house with his little brother, Alex (Robert Hy Gorman), and their friend, Ozzie (Mark Holton). Little do they know that ten years earlier, the original owner of the farmhouse, Dan O’Grady (Shay Duffin), pinned a devious leprechaun down in a crate using a four leaf clover. The clover is the only thing that has prevented the leprechaun from seeking out his bag of gold. Ozzie, a simpleton with a childlike demeanor, unintentionally knocks away the clover, releasing the leprechaun. When he tries to tell Nathan, Alex, and Tory about the evil creature, they don’t believe him. Then Ozzie and Alex discover the leprechaun’s gold. They decide to hide it so that they can use it later to “fix Ozzie’s brain.” Instead, the leprechaun goes on the hunt, intent on killing anyone that gets in his way of his gold. Can Rachel….uh, Tory stop the little monster? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

The film has a made-for-television-movie feel to it and it should come as no surprise since its director/writer, Mark Jones, cut his teeth on television with series like The A-Team. There’s really nothing that special about it overall. It’s a pretty straightforward horror comedy. The biggest highlights are the performances of Warwick Davis as the leprechaun and the makeup done by Gabe Bartalos. There’s absolutely no indication that Jennifer Aniston would be a massive star just a couple of years later, either. I will admit that it was cool seeing Mark Holton in the film. Genre fans might recognize him from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (Francis) or Teen Wolf (Chubby). Other than that, Leprechaun is simply an average flick.

Despite being so average and for having received terrible reviews over the years, the film spawned a franchise that currently stands at eight films. The first film only cost around one million dollars to make and it made 8.5 million in theaters. It generated fifteen million more on home video. I’ve only seen a few of the sequels but I remember enjoying them a lot more than the original film.

I don’t necessarily recommend this film but I won’t tell you not to see it. It’s an enjoyable enough movie and it’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s also pretty neat to see Jennifer Aniston in her first starring role in a film. I plan on reviewing some of the sequels later.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading my post. Tomorrow I’ll be visiting the next album in my Year of KISS series. See you then!

Throwback Thursday: Weird Science (1985)

“From my heart and from my hand, why don’t people understand?”

John Hughes wrote and directed the teen science fiction comedy Weird Science. Despite being a very successful film, it is rarely mentioned in conversations about some of Hughes’ most successful films such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Home Alone, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I can actually understand this, as Weird Science isn’t nearly as iconic as those films, but it definitely deserves a little bit of attention.

The film stars Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith as Gary and Wyatt, two high school losers who decide to create a virtual woman to interact with in order to become noticed by girls in the real world. Instead of creating a virtual woman, however, the duo manage to conjure up Lisa (Kelly Lebrock), a very real, very beautiful, and apparently very magical dream woman. Lisa takes the boys to a bar, throws a huge party at their home, and does her best to make the boys become confident enough to approach girls on their own and find love. The results are chaotic and absurd. A nuclear missile emerges from Wyatt’s bedroom, a biker gang invades his home, his brother is transformed into a pile of poop, and more insane things occur. It’s a wild film that tosses any and all actual science out of the window.

Mitchell-Smith and Hall are hilarious as the duo of Wyatt and Gary. Lebrock is simply stunning as Lisa. She’s also the funniest cast member in my opinion. Bill Paxton co-stars as Chet, Wyatt’s older, meaner, and pompous brother. Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Rusler appear as Ian and Max, two bullies who terrorize Wyatt and Gary throughout the film and force them to create another dream woman just for them. Suzanne Snyder and Judie Aronson star as Deb and Hilly. The are Ian and Max’s girlfriends but they hate the way that the duo torture Wyatt and Gary. Wyatt and Gary pursue relationships with them in the film.

The film also features science fiction and horror regulars Vernon Wells and Michael Berryman as members of the biker gang that infiltrate the party at Wyatt’s house. Kim Malin, Playboy Playmate of the Month in May, 1982, also has a brief but very revealing role in the film as a young woman playing the piano during Wyatt’s party who has her clothes sucked off of her body and is then unceremoniously tossed out of the house and into a pool via the chimney. Malin performed her own stunts in the film.

The film is completely bonkers and panders to the lowest common denominator with its sophomoric humor. It was ripped apart by contemporary critics who felt that it was written for fourteen year-old boys. I don’t disagree with them on the lowbrow humor, but the film is much better than they say in my opinion. Yes, there are moments such as the previously mentioned young lady that gets her clothes ripped off and Gary and Wyatt taking a shower in their underwear with a very naked Lisa (although no nudity is shown in that particular scene), but there are also hilarious moments involving Gary and Wyatt getting drunk at a bar and talking about their “love” lives and Chet simply being Chet.

The film definitely isn’t one of Hughes’ best movies but it is worth a look. Heck, it spawned a reasonably successful TV series in the 1990’s that starred Vanessa Angel, so someone found it worthy of their attention. Many of the film’s stars would go on to very successful careers such as Downey, Jr. and Paxton. Lebrock was already a well known model who previously starred in The Woman In Red (1984) and her career would continue to be successful well into the 1990’s. Anthony Michael Hall was already very popular thanks to his appearances in Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, but his star would fade not long after Weird Science. He would spend the late 80’s and all of the 90’s in excellent supporting roles and would rise to fame once again as the star of the television series based upon the film The Dead Zone in the early 2000’s.

Also of note is the film’s theme song, Weird Science, performed by Oingo Boingo and written by that band’s frontman (and future film composer for a ton of successful Tim Burton films), Danny Elfman.

Yes, Weird Science is a completely insane sophomoric film but it works. The science doesn’t add up, Lisa is apparently gifted with unlimited knowledge and magical powers, and the boys are placed in completely unbelievable situations but the movie is funny and worth a look.

Thanks for revisiting this oft forgotten film from John Hughes. I hope that you enjoyed my review. Let me know what you love or hate about this film in the comments section!

Classic Horror: A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you….”

I revisited 1984’s A Nightmare On Elm Street over the weekend. It’s been quite a long time since I last saw it and decided to see just how well the film has stood up over time. Aside from a few aged special effects, it holds up surprisingly well. The review below features spoilers, so beware.

For anyone unfamiliar with the film, here’s a quick plot rundown for you: A group of teenagers are terrorized by a creepy villain with a bladed glove. He’s severely burned and tends to hang out in a boiler room. He picks off the teens one by one but one of the potential victims, Nancy Thompson, begins to study the villain and discovers a way to put an end to his reign of terror. She then actively pursues the villain. Oh, did I forget to mention that the baddie, whose name is Fred Krueger, attacks the teens in their dreams? Yep, that’s exactly what he does and it’s up to Nancy to stop him.

The film stars Heather Langenkamp as Nancy and John Saxon and Ronee Blakley as her divorced parents. Her boyfriend, Glen, is portrayed by Johnny Depp is his first film role. Her best friend, Tina, is played by Amanda Wyss and Tina’s boyfriend, Rod, is played by Nick Corri. Fred Krueger (best known as Freddy Krueger) is portrayed by Robert Englund and would continue to be portrayed by Englund until the 2010 reboot when Jackie Earle Haley would slip on the glove.

The film is probably best known for many of its kill scenes and the fact that Nancy doesn’t cower to Freddy but instead actively seeks him out. This is one of the earliest slasher films to feature an intelligent “final girl” who isn’t saved by someone else or makes a bunch of mistakes throughout the film. The movie spawned seven sequels including one “real world” sequel where Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, and writer/director Wes Craven portray themselves being pursued by a real Freddy Krueger. As already stated, a reboot was released in 2010.

Tina and Glen were lucky (or perhaps unlucky) enough to have been the victims in two of the most iconic kill scenes in cinematic history. In her dream Tina is battling Freddy. In the real world, Rod is watching helplessly as Tina battles an unseen villain under the sheets. He then sees her lifted out of the bed with blood spilling from her stomach and watches as she is smeared across the walls and ceiling of the room. Glen is literally sucked into his bed. A massive shower of blood then emits from the hole and covers the entire ceiling. Both of these kills were visually amazing and done with practical effects alone.

Other moments weren’t quite as iconic nor have they held up over time. At one point in the film Nancy answers a call from Freddy. He says, “I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy,” and the receiver of the phone turns into a tongue that licks Nancy’s face. Perhaps the worst effect in the film is at the end when an obvious dummy of Nancy’s mom is pulled through the glass on a door. Moments like this are a harbinger of what’s to come in the franchise as many of the kills become progressively sillier with each sequel until Wes Craven’s New Nightmare makes Freddy a more serious villain.

Freddy is a pop culture icon that is right up there with Jason, Michael Myers, and Ghostface. You don’t have to be a horror fan to know who he is and that shows you just how popular the character has become over the years. A Nightmare On Elm Street isn’t perfect, but it is a perfect introduction for Freddy and the character of Nancy has spawned plenty of copycat final girls who aren’t afraid of the bad guy and will do anything to end him. I really loved how Nancy’s hair actually gains grey streaks as she tries to stay awake, fights with everyone who believes that she’s going crazy, and eventually successfully squares off with Freddy…..or does she?

Check this movie out. It really scared me as a child but has lost all of its bite as I’ve matured. Langenkamp, Wyss, Depp, and Corri all give solid performances. Saxon is excellent as Nancy’s helpless father who is attempting to discover the real murderer. Blakley is great as Nancy’s alcoholic mother. Robert Englund IS Freddy Krueger. Craven kept the pace moving nicely and the film never gets boring. I definitely recommend it.

Thanks for reading my post. I’ll be visiting more classic horror films soon!

The Batman (2022)

“I’m Vengeance.”

Spoiler-Free Review

Culling its primary tale from DC Comics’ The Long Halloween, Year One, and other Batman stories, 2022’s The Batman is a very solid movie. In the story, the Riddler is on a killing spree and Batman is trying to decipher all of the clues left in the wake of each murder. All of the murders are linked together and each one is executed with specific intentions to expose the true villains of Gotham City. Batman teams up with Jim Gordon and Catwoman to figure out the Riddler’s next move and take him down before he murders again. You’ll have to watch the film to see what happens and I highly recommend checking it out for yourself.

The film gives us a version of Batman that casual and film-only fans may not be familiar with: The Dark Knight Detective. Batman actively works with Gotham City’s police department, specifically James Gordon, and uses evidence, clues, and some sweet technology to decipher the Riddler’s game plan. Alfred is there as well, assisting Batman with his detective work. Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, has her own motives for helping Batman but I don’t want to spoil any of that in this review.

The film also gives us a look at the seedy underbelly of Gotham. Fans will recognize characters such as Carmine Falcone and the Penguin and a few other folks that I won’t mention at the moment. As the Riddler slowly reveals his plans to Batman and the rest of Gotham City, we learn that many of the villains in the film aren’t as obvious as they seem. Of course, if you’re a reader of the comics, you’re well aware that the “white knights” of Gotham are sometimes just as crooked as or even worse than the obvious villains.

Pros:

  • The detective work: It was refreshing to see Batman actively working with GCPD. The police were uncomfortable with him in their territory but understood that he was most likely their best hope to solve the Riddler’s motives for murder and successfully capture him. Their relationship with Batman is uneasy.
  • The Penguin: Although he’s essentially a high level stooge for other crime bosses in this film, Colin Farrell’s portrayal of Oswald Cobblepot hints at much bigger things to come for the character. Farrrell was completely unrecognizable in the role and he gave the best performance of the entire cast in this film. He also provided some humorous moments in an otherwise dark film.
  • The Batman: Robert Pattinson’s Batman gets beat up a lot in this film and he has the scars to show it. He questions himself, questions others, and is methodical with everything that he does in the movie. He also provides some genuinely suspenseful moments in the film as he is often only heard and/or briefly seen at times. When villains peer into the darkness and hear footfalls but see nothing, you know that trouble is on the way for them.
  • Bruce Wayne: Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne looks worn out and depressed throughout the film. He actually looks and acts like a man who lives a double life and gets very little sleep as a result. I’m expecting the “playboy” persona to eventually come to light in later films, but this is the right Bruce Wayne for this story as it takes place.
  • James Gordon: Jeffrey Wright gives a stellar performance as Lt. Gordon. It’s a meat-and-potatoes version of the character who stands as the only member of GCPD that Batman fully trusts. They work together excellently in this film.
  • The Batmobile: It spends most of the film as part of the back drop, covered by a tarp. When it is finally revealed in all of its glory, however, it is shown to be the best Batmobile since the iconic 1989 version of the vehicle. It’s a monster on wheels and it strikes terror into those that dare square off against it.
  • Minimal CGI: Did they even use it in this film at all? If they did, the production does a great job of hiding it. Almost all of the effects in this film are practical and that, in my opinion, only adds to the grittiness and “realness” of the movie.
  • No On Screen Death Of The Parents: For the first time in a long time we get to see a Batman film that doesn’t include a flashback scene with Bruce’s parents getting murdered. Sure, that element is still present in the film, but how many times has that specific moment been visited over the years? It’s almost as bad as poor Uncle Ben getting shot down in the Spidey flicks!

Cons:

  • The film’s length: Clocking in at almost three hours in length, The Batman begins to wear out its welcome in the third act. In all honesty, they could have stopped the film thirty or so minutes earlier and I would have been just happy. When you believe that the film is almost over, a new threat arises and drags things out longer than necessary.

Yep, the film’s length is my only gripe. Had director Matt Reeves ended the tale just a little bit earlier this film would have been perfect. Everything else is well done. It’s not my favorite Batman film and it’s far from a masterpiece, but The Batman is an excellent Batman film that deserves any and all accolades that it receives.

The Cast:

  • Robert Pattinson as Batman/Bruce Wayne
  • Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman
  • Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon
  • John Turturro as Carmine Falcone
  • Paul Dano as The Riddler
  • Colin Farrell as The Penguin
  • Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth

Other cast members include Peter Sarsgaard, Charlie and Max Carver, Gil Perez-Abraham, and Jayme Lawson. All of the cast do great jobs but I cannot say enough about Farrell’s portrayal of the Penguin. John Turturro deserves a nod for his portrayal of Falcone as well.

So, there you have it. The Batman is a very good movie and it definitely needs to be seen on the big screen. I hope that you enjoyed my spoiler free review of the movie and I thank you for reading it. Be sure to check out the film!