Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nightcrawler (2014) Review

Written by Stu Cooper

The last film I had a chance to see in theaters was a little gem called "Nightcrawler" starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton. The film was written and directed by Dan Gilroy. Gilroy had previously worked on Real Steel, The Fall, The Bourne franchise and many other pictures. The film made it's debut at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year but premiered nationally on Halloween Day. The Halloween day release would prove appropriate for this crime thriller, but more on that later. The film just left my local theater but if you have a discount theater or Alamo Drafthouse theater you may still be able to catch it. The film proved to be a character departure for the clean cut Gyllenhaal. It would prove to be one of his most bizzare, and memorable roles.

"Nightcrawler" tells the story of a lonely psychopath who is looking for some direction in life. Louis Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is a bizarre unhinged introvert who is desperately searching for a purpose. He steals fence chain and mugs people to get by, but he is clearly searching for something more. Something that could prove more profitable. After being rejected when trying to get a conventional job, it's not until witnessing a car accident that Bloom gets his idea. Bloom witnesses a car accident and as the police try to save the victim from the flaming vehicle, a cameraman looms over the accident. The man films the victim screaming and almost burning up, without a bit of remorse. This gets the of attention of Bloom who begins to question the man. He finds out the cameraman (played by Paxton) is what the journalism world refers to as a "Nightcrawler". He listens to police scanners and tries to arrive at incidents in time to film the gory outcomes. It's a rather despicable job by most peoples standards, but Bloom is intrigued.

After being inspired by the local crew, Bloom sets out to start his own "Nightcrawler" operation. He starts off stealing a bicycle and trading it in for a camera. He attempts to film some local accidents, but ultimately fails due to inexperience and poor equipment. It's not until Bloom captures a rather gruesome death that he gains momentum. He sells the gruesome footage to a local news producer, played by Rene Russo. Russo encourages him to bring in more footage like that to get more money. This leads Bloom down a dangerous path of a bizarre nature. Bloom progressively evolves into an even bigger psychopath who has a fancy for filming the dead. Like all psychopaths Bloom finds a way to be charismatic and uses that to get what he wants. Bloom hires a helper named Rick who he immediately exploits. Rick is down on his luck and basically homeless, so he is easily manipulated.

After continuing to film gruesome events, Bloom's stock begins to rise. Bloom upgrades his equipment and continues to up the ante. Bloom blurs the lines of morality and journalism with every thing he films. The news producer also continues to encourage him, despite knowing the sadistic nature of what she's paying for. There is another producer who objects to the whole thing, but he doesn't have any pull and immediately gets shut down. A massive real life commentary on how news and professional journalism works. It brings to light a dark side of the media that people don't like to think about.

With his increasing popularity Bloom turns into an egotistical monster. It's quite the sight to behold. There is some amazing monologues from Gyllanhaal. The interactions between Gyllenhaal and Russo are chilling. There is also a moment when Bloom stares at himself in the mirror and shatters it in frustration. Saying that his character is unhinged is the understatement of the year. As with most movie psychos, this makes for great cinema. It actually reminds me a lot of Robin Williams in "One Hour Photo", mixed with Christian Bale in "American Psycho".

I was pretty underwhelmed with Bill Paxton's role in the film but I was very impressed with Riz Ahmed. Bloom's assistant Rick was a pretty likable character, and you could see how someone in his situation could be manipulated by someone like Bloom. You can't help but root for the guy to get out of the situation before he is corrupted. Russo plays the heartless News Producer very well. There is some great stuff between her and Gyllanhaal, highlighted by a disturbing sexual situation that I won't spoil. Overall the cast works together smoothly, but it is definitely the Jake Gyllenhaal show!

The film says a lot about the current state of journalism, and that's the scariest thing about it. It's no shock to anyone who watches FoxNews,CNN,Access Hollywood, E! News, local news, etc. that sex and violence is what sells. In this case, it focuses on the violence. It's all about the saddest thing that happened that day. In some cases the news actually exploits death and unfortunate events. People get paid thousands of dollars to report and film this kind of thing. There is also something to be said for the growing popularity in the past decade of paparazzi. Whether it's the death of Princess Diana or the idea that someone like Kim Kardashian is famous enough that people flock to her while she is grocery shopping. The Bloom character sees all of this, and sees dollar signs. He is able to make a cold separation and rake in the dough. That is absolutely psychopathic, but totally realistic. I wouldn't be surprised if many journalists are equally as twisted. That's what makes this film particularly scary and effective.

The cinematography in the film is quite impressive. It displays the lonesome ambient tone of the film that fits Bloom's character. You also get a sense of that hip "DRIVE" feeling anytime Gyllanhaal is out driving at night. There is some great driving cam footage with some impressive car mount cameras. I remember noting to the person I went with that some of the car shots had to be very difficult to get. The camera view is a switch between first person POV to normal style, which can be a bit jarring. That style proves effective in the last act of the film when there is a gigantic car chase. It feels like a rollercoaster at some points.

Lastly I'd like to talk about Gyllenhaal's performance. Gyllenhaal brought a new kind of character to the table, at least for him. He often plays the hero or the protagonist, so it was cool to see him as a villain. Gyllenhaal also lost 30 pounds for this role, just to look extra creepy. Gyllanhaal also reportedly shadowed real life Night Crawlers in preparation for the role. He goes the extra mile to fulfill the role and it shows. He plays the perfect long gangly creeper. If anything I was left wanting to see MORE of this character and his story. The ending of the film is quite up in the air, and leaves you wanting more. I would suggest everybody check this one out, and see for yourself. "Nightcrawler" was a excellent film and I would highly recommend it.

Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of Monster Mania: Day 21: BEETLEJUICE

Written by Stu Cooper

We are breaking into the final 10 entries in Monster mania, and before we know it Halloween will be over. Let's all give one collective sigh right now. Have no fear tho, you are in good hands. Today I am talking about one of the most iconic horror films of all-time. This film came out of the mind of Tim Burton and into the hearts of pretty much every human being who has seen it. This film launched Michael Keaton into mainstream success and led to him playing Batman. Today's entry is all about the ghost with the most, "BEETLEJUICE"!

"Beetlejuice" came out in March 1988. The film was a critical and financial success across the board. The film had a 15 million dollar budget and made over 70 million in the box office. The film was Directed by Tim Burton and it absolutely shows. The music is also provided by Danny Elfman. With those two teaming up, you can't fail. "Beetlejuice" stars Michael Keaton as a bio-exorcist dead guy who tricks newly dead souls into requesting his help. He is somewhat like an evil genie. Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Gina Davis) are two townspeople who recently died in an accident, and are still inhabiting their home. New residents move into the house and the couple decides to seek out the help of Beetlejuice (Keaton).

The couple of Adam and Barbara are what you would consider the modern middle class happy couple. They seem to live in a very small town where everyone knows your name, and they own some type of local store. They live in a absolutely beautiful home on top of this hill. The home is shaped very bizarrely, almost warped. Part of that Tim Burton style charm you will see throughout the film. The couple die when their car goes off a bridge. Not realizing they are dead the couple head back to their home and after a series of tests, they come to realize they are no longer alive. Upon realizing this Adam actually finds a book called "Guide to the Recently Deceased" which supposedly tells them all they need to know. The book is overly complicated and the couple gets very confused about where to go from there. They then meet their undead counselor, and she tells them NOT to contact Beetlejuice, and to scare the residents out of the house.

Adam and Barbara attempt to scare the new residents out of the house, but they quickly realize the people cannot actually see them. With one exception, the daughter. The incredibly dark depressed daughter is played by the classic Winona Ryder. She plays Lydia Deetz. She for whatever reason can actually see the ghosts, and later on she can see Beetlejuice. Her depressive dark side must be so powerful that it actually attracts the dead. That's quite bizarre, but you will have no issues rolling with it. Lydia immediately finds Adam and Barbara endearing and cooler than her actual parents. Lydia agrees to help the two ghosts find a way to scare off the new residents. After some failed attempts the couple gives in and calls upon Beetlejuice. What ensues after this point in the film is pure madness. Michael Keaton's opening monologues as Beetlejuice are some of the most unforgettable lines in movie history. I can't tell you how many times I've quoted some of the things Beetlejuice says. Beetlejuice immediately seems creepy and perverted, but hilarious. The couple seem to immediately regret calling him for help. They see him do some pretty gross stuff but they have no choice. They inform him of the current situation and he offers his help.

The new couple inhabiting the house is played by Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones, two memorable 80's comedy actors. They would be accompanied throughout the film by their fashion and poltergeist guru friend Otho played by Glenn Shadix. The three of them together absolutely personify greed and 80's yuppie lifestyle. You find them very easy to hate, and it's easy to root for Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice wrecks a dinner party via dance routine, chases them in the form of a snake, and even puts on a little horror show for them. While mostly petrified, the couple actually find a way to spin this into a chance to make money, and they propose building the town on the fact that there are ghosts everywhere.

After Lydia sees what happens and the couple fails at their attempts to scare off the new residents, all hope seems to be lost. At this point the yuppie couple begins shopping out the town to various potential investors, and at one point they have over several guests to perform a summoning of sorts. Otho reads the book for the recently deceased and decides to give this undead thing a shot. He performs a spell that causes Adam and Barbara to resurrect in physical form. Unfortunately for them it's zombie physical form and their bodies are decaying. The couple and Otho show they actually have a heart and immediately regret doing this, but it's too late, the spell can't be stopped. Lydia is forced to call upon Beetlejuice for help, on one condition. She must marry him. She quickly agrees to save her friends lives, and Beetlejuice returns to action. Beetlejuice quickly disposes of the guests, two of which I'm pretty sure he kills. He makes the awful art work of the mother come alive and take the couple hostage. At this point a wedding is being performed. Adam and Barbara appear to be going back to their normal selves but aren't able to stop Beetlejuice. It seems that Beetlejuice has won until Barbara storms into the room on a sandworm and essentially knocks Beetlejuice back into the dead world.

After the insane events that take place, the yuppie couple agrees to live in harmony with Adam and Barbara. Lydia adopts them as a second set of parents, and celebrates by communicating with the dead some more. It's a really bizarre film, but somehow it works. The film has an incredibly unique look and the acting is so spot on, you don't question it for a second. Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice is one of the best film performances in history. You don't think about it being him at all, and the lines are so good you believe in him. The little nods or dances that Keaton does while in character are even good. The dance Beetlejuice does into the zombie brothel is one of my favorite parts. It's truly a classic film full of great one liners, insane dream like sets, and a unique concept. The film also had great make-up effects, so much so that it actually won the film an Academy Award for Best Make-up! Also a side note to indicate how lovable this film is, the actor who played Otho sadly passed away in 2010, but at his funeral he actually requested that they play "Day-O" from his famous Beetlejuice scene. Talk about one last tribute! That had to be a moving experience.

The film would see so much success that it would even spawn a cartoon and several toy lines. There was also a video game for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) but it was horrible, so I wouldn't recommend it. The cartoon was a bit different than the film and the character's perverted side was obviously toned down. Beetlejuice actually uses curse words at one point in the film, so i'm surprised the reception for the cartoon was so positive. Different times, different rules I guess!

Overall the film itself is an absolute gem in every way possible. You have one of those mysterious winning combinations that really stands the test of time. I've watched this movie countless times and I always laugh. The attention to detail in the film is great, especially in the waiting room scenes. You get to see all sorts of people who died of different things, stuck in their form of death. You have a guy smoking cigarettes who is all burnt up, you have a guy who works in the file room because he is flat as paper, and you have the couples legal council who has a slit throat where smoke comes out when she inhales. It's all so brilliant and fun. It really makes you think of this whole universe of the undead where everything is goofy. I can't recommend this film enough, it's a Halloween home run!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days of Monster Mania: Day 20: Constantine

Written by Stu Cooper

It's time to hit the road and get on the highway to hell with NBC's "Constantine"! The new series made it's debut this past Friday and it was just in time for the Halloween season. The series is separate from the film and comic series, opting to create it's own universe. The pilot episode was directed by Neil Marshall and written by Daniel Cerone & David S. Goyer. The title of the first episode was "Non Est Asylum". Matt Ryan stars as "John Constantine" an exorcist and ghost whisperer of sorts. He is followed by an angel named Manny played by Harold Perrineau.

The first episode revolves around Constantine dealing with the aftermath of a botched exorcism. During the exorcism a young girl was taken by a demon, and Constantine could not save her. He has never forgiven himself, and is apparently doomed to go to hell. He decides to use his remaining time on earth to battle demons and exorcise them from the earth. Manny the Angel plays a helper who likes to rudely remind him of his doomed fate.

The show opens with Constantine admitting himself to an asylum. He is drugged up and goes through therapy, trying to purge himself of his illness and sadness. He seems to consider his life a burden instead of the typical super hero approach. He is definitely a reluctant super hero. He is freed from the asylum after encountering a demon. At this point the show introduces his cab driver Chas who proves to be a special individual later in the show.

Constantine later meets the daughter of his old friend Jasper. Jasper has passed away but left a medallion with magical powers. Constantine gives the medallion to Jasper's daughter Liv. At first Liv struggles to believe all of this mystical stuff and writes John off as crazy. Soon Liv sees first hand the power of the demons around her and she has no choice but to believe. This leads to a team-up between Liv and Constantine. Throughout the episode we see Constantine teach Liv different terms and ideas in the demon world. He shows her how to detect demon activity, essentially helping her fight it. He also shares with her the story of Astra, the girl he lost to the Devil. Astra becomes a regular character in the thoughts of John.

A big staple of the Constantine prior to the series was the cigarette smoking, but you will notice right off the bat that this incarnation does not feature that. I suppose it was NBC's conscious decision to be overly sensitive and politically correct. The problem is, the smoking is important. In the film Constantine gets lung cancer and that's how he meets his fate, and I believe something similar happens in the comics. It will be interesting to see how they fill that void in the character. Overall tho I was pleased with the portrayal of the character. He has a bit of a "Doctor Who" element to him which may turn some off. I actually told my friend that he looks like a evil Gordon Ramsey. Only time will tell whether his character is good or not. Not a bad start. The effects are also well done, and when you see John finally use his power it's a really cool sight to see.

Overall the quality of the show was quite impressive and goes well with something like "Grimm". It's fairly light on the violence and may seem tame compared to the comic and the previous film. It's more of a CW kind of show. I would be surprised if this show ended up being edgey. Only time will tell and I'll stick around to find out. The characters are interesting and who doesn't want to see a man fight demons? It's not too late to jump into the series. It's on Friday nights on NBC so check it out, just in time for the Halloween season!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monster Mania Day 19: Bordello of Blood

Written by Stu Cooper

Day 19 in the Monster Mania review-a-thon is once again about "Tales From The Crypt"! The series returned to the cinema again in "Bordello of Blood". The film was the second in a planned trilogy. Unfortunately due to poor box office reception the third film was straight to dvd and had little to do with the universe. "Bordello of Blood" was heavy on the comedy and was not nearly as scary as "Demon Knight". I think that was the cause for the poor box office numbers and the bad reviews. I myself find this film quite enjoyable and a solid entry in the Cryptkeeper's book of tales. Let's dive into this film and talk about why it's worthy of Monster Mania!

"Bordello of Blood" starred Dennis Miller, Angie Everhart, Corey Feldman and Erika Eleniak. The film was released in August 1996 and made about 5.5 million total gross in theaters. The film was once again independent from the comics, but still an entry into the cryptkeeper's universe. The story was written by Bob Gale with some contribution by series creator William Gaines.

"Bordello of Blood" is a vampire movie at it's core. The film tells the story of an ancient vampire prostitute by the name of Lilith. This "Lilith" is a reference to the mother of all vampires. A scumbag version of Indiana Jones known as Vincent travels to the jungle with his associates in search of Lilith. Once he finds her tomb, he takes a key full of blood (the same one from Demon Knight) and pours it on Lilith's dead skeleton. This causes the skeleton to regenerate, and it attacks all of the migrant workers that got conned into helping Vincent. After she eats a few guys she regenerates her entire figure, which happens to be an extremely hot red headed woman. Vincent uses the key to keep her under control. She is deathly afraid of the key. This sticks with the demon theme established in "Demon Knight".

We are then introduced to Catherine and Caleb Verdoux, two local residents who are brother and sister. Caleb is a rebellious punk rocker type played by Corey Feldman. Caleb heads out to the local hole in the wall bar with some of his friends. While getting drunk and acting like total morons, the group is confronted by a skiddish biker who tells them there is a local brothel that the boys should checkout. Caleb and one other friend are the only ones interested in going. The two of them head out to the brothel, and it turns out the location is a funeral parlor. The boys knock on the door and are welcomed in by a igor-esque mortician. The mortician is a servant of Lilith's who lures them into the brothel. The boys are confronted with an army of beautiful lustful women and they see many other local gentlemen engaging the women. The two of them break off with women of their choosing only to be confronted by Lilith. Lilith then exposes her true intentions when she begins eating the boys alive! She LITERALLY eats one of their hearts out. It's quite a disturbing visual moment. For whatever reason she decides to keep Caleb alive, and he becomes a vampire minion of hers. I have to admit the brothel cover is quite clever and would totally work. Men get stupid when surrounded by beautiful women, and there are a lot of horny men out there. That's a lot of meals.

After her brother goes missing Catherine decides to approach the police. The police don't offer her much help so she enlists the aid of a goofy private detective named Rafe Guttman. Rafe is incredibly sarcastic, witty, and curious about the unknown. He offers to help Catherine track down her brother and that's where the real story begins. Rafe follows a trail of bread crumbs around the town which leads him to the brothel.

Meanwhile Catherine goes to work at a church. This is where we meet Reverend Current. Current is a corrupt self righteous televangelist and Catherine is his assistant. He cuts really cheesy sermons and often performs music while having giant lasers shot out around him. He is about as hammy as it gets. The thing that makes Current so great is the casting. He is played by horror icon Chris Sarandon who played Jerry Dandridge in the original "Fright Night". You find yourself rooting for his character despite him being a horrible human being. As the film progresses we find out that Reverend Current is so corrupt that he is even involved in Lilith and Vincent's plan. The Reverend craves more exposure, which is exactly what he would get if he confronted and dealt with the world's first vampire.

Rafe invades the brothel and barely escapes with his life. He goes to warn Catherine and the two of them team up. Meanwhile Lilith manipulates Vincent into destroying the key, which now makes Lilith immortal. Rafe and Catherine are eventually confronted by the vampire version of Caleb. He attacks Rafe and Catherine, and captures Catherine.

Rafe is caught by the police and locked up. Shortly after Reverend Current helps out Rafe and seeks forgiveness for being selfish. He vows to help Rafe defeat the vampires and repents for his wrongdoings. The two of them fill up squirt guns with holy water and lead an assault on the brothel. What happens beyond that point is an absolute bloodbath set to "Ballroom Blitz". It's a really fun scene in a fun film. After battling the army of vampire prostitutes Rafe and Current are confronted by Lilith. I don't want to spoil of the ending of the film, it is a gory bloodbath with a sprinkle of fun.

"Bordello of Blood" is the epitome of cheesy horror. The film is incredibly goofy and gory. You get to see some pretty twisted stuff that exists in a rather silly universe. Dennis Miller delivers most of his lines as if it's stand up, but you don't really care because he is battling hot vampires and Corey Feldman. Let's also not forget that Feldman played The Frog Brother in "The Lost Boys" so there is a bit of irony in his role. Angie Everhart as Lilith is truly unforgettable. She has no acting experience, and she doesn't need much, but what lines she does have are delivered well. She oozes sex appeal and is incredibly intimidating. You really get the vibe that she is a mature woman who has seen and done a lot of things. Most red blooded males would fall for her tricks, so that makes her a pretty scary villain in my eyes. The scares themselves are few and far between. The scare factor is mostly gore related. "Demon Knight" had a very dark subplot and a dark vibe, where as "Bordello of Blood" is almost like a Simpson's Treehouse of Horror tale. The tone of the film is borderline slapstick. Despite it's change in tone, I loved the movie. I'm actually sad that it performed badly because a third entry in theaters would have been nice. If you're a fan of "Tales from The Crypt" and horror comedies, this would be a great choice.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

31 Days of Monster Mania: Day 18: Demon Knight

Written by Stu Cooper

It's time to meet up with one of my favorite characters in horror history, The Cryptkeeper! Last year I talked about some of my favorite "Tales From The Crypt" episodes but this year I'm going to address some of the feature films that the series created. The first "Tales From The Crypt" feature was known as "Demon Knight". The script was originally written almost 2 years before the show had even started, but it had been bounced around by multiple directors, never truly finding a home until Joel Silver got it. The film was initially supposed to be part of a Three-Part trilogy, but the other scripts weren't strong enough. "Demon Knight" was the only one out of the original 3 to get made. The other two proposed were called "Body Count" and "Dead Easy". Those two never made it to production and instead they made "Bordello of Blood" and "Ritual" as the follow-ups. The film was directed by Ernest Dickerson and released in January 1995, though the original intention was to release the film Halloween of 1994. The film stars William Sadler, Billy Zane, and Jada Pinkett Smith. The film also co-stars horror familiar Dick Miller, and Thomas Hayden Church.

"Demon Knight" tells the story of a man on the run from a demon. The demon wants an item that the man has in his possession, and he will do anything to obtain it. The film starts off with "The Collector" played by Billy Zane chasing a man named Brayker (Sadler). The two are involved in a high speed chase on the freeway which leads to a massive car crash. Brayker barely escapes with his life, while "The Collector" walks away with ease. Brayker goes to the nearest building he can find which happens to be a old crusty hotel full of colorful low-life individuals. The apprehensive hotel staff let Brayker stay there. This is when we are introduced to Jeryline (Pinkett) who is the rude degraded assistant at the hotel. She is apparently stuck there having to scrub the floors and clean up the beds (even after the prostitute is done with them). The film focuses heavily on Brayker, but also on the Jeryline character. Brayker joins some of the locals for dinner and that is when the hotel staff begin to suspect something is up with the guy. Soon after "The Collector" gathers the help of the police and tells them Brayker stole a very expensive item from him, and he aims to get it back.

After being introduced to a cast of misfits such as the disgruntled Postman (Charles Fleischer), the local prostitute (Brenda Bakke), the hotel Manager Irene (CCH Pounder) and many more, we get a true sense of the tone of this film. It's very slapstick in it's nature, but balances the slapstick with brutality. We get to know each of the guests in the hotel in some way or another. The postman goes on depressive rants, the prostitute shows she wants love but can't find it, Jeryline shows she wants an adventurous life. They each have some type of wish or hope.

When "The Collector" arrives at the hotel in search of Brayker, he uses the hopes and dreams of each individual against them. The Collector disposes of the police once he locates Brayker and the story escalates rather quickly from that point on. He makes it clear to the inhabitants of the hotel that Brayker possesses some type of antique key that he needs, and he is willing to grant any desire to obtain it. We find out through a series of conversations between Brayker and the hotel people that he is a chosen guardian. He is the guardian of the key. The key he is guarding actually contains the blood of Christ. It doesn't get anymore serious than that. I'd like to see somebody bring that thing into the Pawn Stars shop! The key seems to contain a semi-infinite amount of blood as long as it's in a guardian's hands. The blood can be used to created locked gates on property. If you put the blood on a doorway, it essentially blocks that doorway from allowing any demons inside. Brayker uses this to protect himself and the hotel people from The Collector.

The Collector quickly grows frustrated with the situation and decides to create an army of demons to patrol the hotel and take control of the key. The movie then turns into a zombie survival type situation where everyone is stuck inside the hotel, fighting for their lives against these bizarre demons. The demons themselves look a bit like the crypt keeper, which makes you wonder if they are somehow related to him. That unfortunately is never elaborated on. To provide some levity in the movie, The Collector is actually quite the goofball. Billy Zane plays the part perfectly. He balances a sense of demonic evil with a goofy comedian like persona. He often dances around and makes jokes, while threatening the lives of the humans. He also possesses the power to cause hallucinations, which can lead to possessing or manipulating humans into doing his bidding. He can make the humans see their deepest darkest desires, and he offers them a chance to grant that wish. Of course like any Faust or Devil character, he is full of shit. Any human that falls for his manipulation is doomed. It's up to those with strong will power to defeat The Collector.

Through out the film we are given some background on Brayker and the key that he has in his possession. We find out that this key contains the blood of christ from his actual crucifixion and the demons were actually present for that moment. The war for good and evil has been waged ever since. If the demons get a hold of the key, they will win the war and essentially conquer humanity. Brayker is one of many in a long line of guardians that have existed since the time of Jesus. He is actually ready to pass on the key to a new guardian, which is where Jada Pinkett comes in. I'm not a huge fan of her, so the fact that she is the next guardian in line didn't do much for me. Her acting is pretty bland, and her character is really obnoxious. You will find yourself wondering what makes her special enough to carry such a heavy burden.

I don't want to spoil the end result for you, but I will say the film is full of action and classic Faust story telling. It's one part zombie movie and one part "Bedazzled". The supporting characters also provide a lot of fun dialogue, and most of them are good actors. Thomas Hayden Church is always good in whatever he does, and Brenda Bakke is incredibly sexy in her role. William Sadler does a good job playing the role of Brayken and at this point he was actually a "Tales From The Crypt" veteran. He had appeared in a couple episodes, and even appears as The Crypt Keeper's mummified friend in "Bordello of Blood". Sadler is a quality actor and it shows. Billy Zane is the perfect counter for Sadler's serious attitude.

Overall "Demon Knight" is a fun and entertaining horror movie. I find myself watching the film often, and I never get sick of it. It has a great cast, an interesting story, and a truly kick ass soundtrack. I'd actually recommend picking up the soundtrack by itself. It features a lot of good rap and even some Henry Rollins. Out of the three "Tales from the Crypt" films that were released, this one is by far the best. If you want a spooky story with a little bit of humor, this is an excellent choice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days of Monster Mania: Day 17: Star Trek Enterprise "Impulse"

Written by Stu Cooper

It's time for yet another entry in the Monster Mania countdown! Today I'm going back to the vast Trekverse to discuss another creepy Halloween themed Star Trek episode. The episode I will be discussing isn't exactly Halloween themed, but it's the closest thing we will ever get to a live action "Night of the Living Trekkies". For today's entry I'm discussing the Star Trek Enterprise episode "Impulse" which is essentially about Vulcan zombies!

For those who aren't familiar with Star Trek: Enterprise it's the last Star Trek series to air on television, but timeline wise it's the first. It's a prequel to all the other series, so this is before Picard, and before Kirk. It's essentially about the first group of Starfleet people to explore space. This makes for a pretty interesting series that people seem to either love or hate. The look and feel of the show is far different from it's predecessors. Since it's a prequel a lot of the technology and costumes look different than what we are used to. That rubs some people the wrong way, but I'm pretty neutral about that factor as long as the storytelling is good. The captain of the Enterprise in this incarnation is Scott Bakula who plays Captain Archer. Some of the other crew members include the insanely beautiful Vulcan T'Pol (Jolene Blalock), Engineer Trip Tucker (Connor Trineer), Dr.Phlox (John Billingsly), Hoshi Sato (Linda Park), Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating), and the always smiley Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery). The crew experiences all sorts of first time adventures while in space, but one they couldn't have possibly predicted is an encounter with zombie Vulcans!

The episode starts with Captain Archer looking battle damaged and he is hauling an irrational acting T'pol into sickbay. There is something seriously wrong with T'pol. She's acting like she is losing her Vulcan mind! Cue Rod Stewart theme tune. Flashback to one day earlier. The crew of the Enterprise receives a distress signal from a Vulcan ship called The Seleya (beautiful name) which was a ship lost in the expanse over 9 months ago. The crew follow the distress signal which leads to an asteroid field full of a rare mineral called trellium. Trip seems to think the Vulcan ship went out into the asteroid field to collect this mineral and something happened. Archer wants to investigate but realizes the Enterprise is too big to navigate through the asteroid field. Archer decides to take the shuttlepod over to the Seleya, he is joined by T'pol and Reed. T'pol reveals that she actually served on the Seleya for over a year as a science officer before joining the Enterprise. She had already left the ship by the time they had gotten stuck in the expanse. The Seleya appeared to become a victim to a "subspace eddy", never to be heard from again. Any ships sent to retrieve them were never heard from again either.

The shuttlepod makes it to the Vulcan ship, and Hawkins joins the crew as well. Reed, Archer, T'pol, and Hawkins all board the Seleya. T'pol and Archer are investigating some odd biosign readings. After Reed finds trellium and Vulcan blood covering some of the bulkheads. This is obviously not a good sign. Soon after this Archer and T'pol are confronted by a Vulcan who appears crazed. He charges at them with a weapon and takes several phaser shots to dispose of. The Vulcan also appears to have warped skin, as if he has some kind of virus. The crew continues to be attacked by Vulcans throughout the ship, all with the same crazed virus. The Vulcans seem to have lost all sense of reality and logic, bent on killing the crew. The crew uses the stun setting and continues to take out every Vulcan they see. Reed decides to set his phaser to kill, which causes a dispute between him and T'pol. T'pol believes he has no issues killing her people, despite the fact that they could be saved. Archer agrees and orders the crew to continue stunning the Vulcan zombies instead of killing them. The crew realizes that there are 147 Vulcans on board, and they are going to have a serious fight on their hands.

After battling through several decks, T'pol begins showing signs of the same Vulcan virus the crew of the Seleya have. It becomes Archer's priority to get her help before it's too late. Meanwhile Tucker and Mayweather are using another shuttlepod to mine trellium from a nearby asteroid, which isn't going so well for them. Archer and the crew eventually reach the sickbay of the Seleya where they run into a Vulcan that T'pol knows. The Chief Engineer of the ship, but unfortunately he gives into the madness and is unable to give them any answers. T'pol begins getting irrational and angry, and Archer knows her time is running out. The crew decide to continue battling their way through the Seleya, fighting off Vulcan zombies one by one.

Meanwhile back on the Enterprise Trip and Mayweather are able to gather the materials they needed from the asteroid, but as a result of their messing around a giant asteroid is now heading directly for the ship. Two asteroids collide in front of the ship and cause a serious delay in any kind of rescue. It's up to Archer and his crew members on the Seleya to save themselves. As they continue battling the zombies, T'pol begins to turn crazy. She starts making lots of snide remarks towards the crew members, including a remark to Archer about his father's failed work. She soon convinces herself that Archer just wants to kill the Vulcans and get revenge against them. She sets her phaser for kill and holds the crew hostage. Thankfully the crew are able to disarm her and subdue her. Archer realizes the only way to free themselves is to override the ship, which would lead to a warp core breach. Archer sends Dr.Phlox some bio information that will allow him to treat T'pol and the crew are rescued at the last minute by Trip and Mayweather. The Seleya explodes. T'pol is treated afterwards but is still haunted by the memories of the zombie Vulcans and feels a bit betrayed by her crew. She felt that it was not necessary to kill all of the infected Vulcans, but they had no choice.

"Impulse" was a Season 3 episode and by this point we had gotten to know the characters quite well. The crew was actually in the middle of a big story arc with an alien race called The Xindi, but it's not a factor in this episode. The episode originally aired in October 2003, just in time for the Halloween season! The episode itself is pretty one dimension but it's a lot of fun. If you ever wondered what "Night of the Living Vulcans" would be like, this does it justice. It's basic zombie movie scares, but in a Star Trek universe. The one interesting layer of depth to the story would be the psychotic breakdown of T'pol. We get to see T'pol become very emotional, which for a Vulcan is rare. She ends up expressing her true feelings regarding some of the crew members and says some things that can't be taken back. This issue reaches such a heated point that she actually requests that the Captain leave her on the next habitable planet. It provides a pretty interesting element to the bland zombie story we've seen 1,000 times. If you're looking for a good Star Trek Halloween episode, you can't go wrong with "Impulse", even if you aren't an Enterprise fan!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Film Enimga: 31 Days of Monster Mania: Day 16: Ultimate Spider-man: Web Warriors Halloween Special

Written by Stu Cooper

Last year I covered the Ultimate Spider-man Halloween special which ended up being incredibly entertaining. Last year Spider-man had a run-in with a werewolf,Frankenstein, and Dracula! It will be hard to top that. This year's special is called "Halloween at the Museum" and apparently features an animated version of a Disney show called "Jessie". I don't keep up with modern children's shows other than a few cartoons, so I have no idea who these people are. It really feels like those old Scooby Doo specials where they have a random celebrity appearance like the classic Batman or Harlem Globetrotters. These kids are not quite as cool. Although immediately I notice one of the kids in the group is in a Doctor Octopus costume, which gave me a brief smile.

The special starts with Jessie and her group touring a local museum late at night. The group accidentally messes with an archaic sword and it activates some kind of ghostly spirit. The spirit collides with Spider-man, and the opening credits hit! Definitely feeling like a scooby doo episode. Messing with the sword ends up waking up a witch who thanks the group for their help, then immediately threatens to destroy and conquer them all. Spider-man quickly subdues the witch and doesn't take her seriously. She gets free of her webbed restraints and proceeds to go psychotic. She casts a spell that causes parts of the museum to come alive!

For some reason this museum is full of the most nightmarish exhibits imaginable starting with a giant worm that attacks Spider-man and Jessie. Also There's one kid in Jessie's group who seems to be a gigantic Indian stereotype. He makes mention that in his homeland, they have cobras instead of worms. Cause he's Indian...get it? Pretty low-brow stuff. The next monster they encounter is a gigantic Jack'O Lantern demon who I'm assuming is the Ghost of Sleepy Hollow. Also a bit unusual that any museum would have a Sleep Hollow exhibit, but I went with it. Later Spider-man beats up some cave men who kidnap Jessie, then he immediately has to fight living dinosaur bones. It seems to be a "Best of" random Scooby Doo-esque villains.

After running the museum gauntlet Spider-man, Jessie, and friends are confronted by the evil witch again. The witch remains confident she'll conquer the world despite the fact that Spider-man just whooped all of her monsters. The witch demonstrates her power by summoning a gigantic dragon to attack the group. While Spider-man fights off the dragon, Jessie uses the special sword to battle the witch. Jessie throws down a bunch of one liners and whips out some Sailor Moon fighting moves, tho she is not a super hero. Despite Jessie's fighting skills the witch shrugs Jessie off and vows to black out the sky, and turn the world into a modern Camelot. After befriending the indian boy, the dragon decides to turn against the witch and distracts her while Jessie puts the sword back into the magical spot. This imprisons the witch once again. Basically teaching the lesson that you should never...ever touch the museum exhibits.

The special goes by rather quickly and is only 30 minutes compared to last year's one hour special. This special felt pretty generic and definitely aimed at a younger audience. Not much to take from this special, and no legendary villains or monsters to be impressed by. I would say this is a sad excuse for a Halloween special and you'd be better off seeking out the "Spider-man and Friends" Dracula episode or last year's special. If you're a fan of the Disney show Jessie, you may feel differently. The special mainly focused on her and since I've only seen that show in passing, I had little frame of reference for it. It seemed pretty lowbrow and dumb, but then again this is a children's show. Give it a shot if you see it on a Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

31 Days of Monster Mania: Day 15: Tremors

Written by Stu Cooper

Today's entry is another childhood favorite of mine. This is a film I discovered on TV late at night around age 8. I fell in love with the film then and nearly 20 years later I still feel the same. You'll have to make sure not to make any noise reading this review, because today's entry is "Tremors"! "Tremors" was released in January of 1990. It was directed by Ron Underwood with a budget of 11 million. The film starred Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross, Finn Carter, and Reba McEntire among many others. The film is notable for being a 90's cult classic and is universally liked. I've never met a person who watched "Tremors" and didn't like something about it. I would go as far as to say it's one of my top 10 favorite horror films of all-time. "Tremors" is a gem because of the casting, the concept, and most importantly the cheese factor.

"Tremors" is all about two handymen named Val and Earl. The two of them do various handyman jobs, mostly in the small town of Perfection,Nevada. Perfection is a tiny ex-mining community that consists of mostly trailers and a small town area. Needless to say, the boys are struggling for money and both men seem like broke down cowboys. I would say the two men are best friends, but it seems like they annoy each other more than anything. The two men are not content with their current lifestyle, so they often mention moving to Bixby. Bixby being the nearest "big city".

On their way to Bixby the guys stumble upon a bizarre crime scene. A local man named Edgar has climbed an electrical pole, and died from apparent starvation. This means that he stood atop that pole for so long that he died. The guys forgo their journey to Bixby because they have to warn the town about a possible killer. As the duo heads back to Perfection, the rest of the town begins experiencing some gruesome events. One man witnesses his sheep being pulled into the ground, another couple has their entire vehicle pulled into the ground, and some construction workers experience a similar fate. Val and Earl seem to be missing all of this just by a few minutes. When the guys get back to the town, the phone lines are down, and the guys are forced to improvise. It's decided that the two men will ride by horseback into Bixby and get the police.

After riding for a few miles the guys run into the buried car, then are confronted by the attackers. It was no man that did all this, no natural disaster, it was...worms! That's right, worms are going on a homicidal killing spree in this small town. Not just any kind of worm, a worm that burrows underground and has the power to pop up at anytime and grab you! Earl later names them "Graboids" because of this very reason. The creatures have no eyes and travel by sense of sound. The creatures also have living snake like tongues that come out and feel around for the freshest meal. The graboid grabs the horses the guys are on, and the guys decide to make a run for it. After running onto an aqua duct, the graboid pursues. The graboid ends up accidentally killing itself by running out the side of the duct. This means Earl and Val can now further inspect the creature.

On their way back to town the two meet a woman named Rhonda. Rhonda is some type of geological expert who has been studying recent anomalies within the ground. After the guys share their story, Rhonda believes them and they begin to connect some dots. They eventually figure out that the creatures sense everything by hearing ground movement and that there is 3 worms remaining. The three of them are confronted by another graboid which leads to them running to the nearest thick rock, which appears to be one of the monster's weaknesses. After playing mind games with the graboid, the three of them make it back to town and try to warn them. Obviously the townspeople have a hard time believing the story until they are confronted with the creatures. The remainder of the film takes place mostly at the local shop and the home of the Gummers.

Speaking of The Gummers, they are a local couple who are certified badasses. You have Burt Gummer (Grossman) and his equally hardcore wife Heather (McEntire), and both are a force to be reckoned with. Burt in particular has been waiting for this kind of day. The couple live in a armored fortress of sorts with a variety of guns and hunting equipment. Unfortunately they never could have anticipated an underground attack, and that's what they are faced with. The couple manage to take down a graboid after it crashes into their den, but they have to use half their weapons to do it. The couple play a huge part in the film, and are very interesting editions to the group. Val and Earl are obviously the main characters, but in my opinion Burt is the best character. Thankfully the writers agreed and Burt is a huge character in the Tremors mythos from this point on.

I don't want to spoil the third act of film (if for some ungodly reason you haven't seen this film) but let's just say it's action packed. The graboids are incredibly scary and intimidating. It is kind of the "JAWS" idea of the monster hidden beneath your feet. Nothing more frightening than a villain you can't see until your death. Like "Gremlins" these creatures have rules and through encounters with the townspeople we slowly find those rules out.

I remember first finding out about "Tremors" on USA's "Up All Night" with Rhonda Shear. The busty blond would show cult movies or B movies late at night, and I happened to see this one. The film actually didn't do all that great in the box office but saw massive sales and rental numbers on Home Video. You could definitely say it earned it's hit status through VHS. The concept of the film was also unique at the time, tho it does borrow heavily from films like "JAWS". I believe it's merely an homage to classic 50's-60's science fiction mixed with "JAWS". The combination of absurdity is perfect.

The cast of characters is also something that works really well. Kevin Bacon is great as Val, despite the fact that he actually put down the film before it's release. He apparently told his wife that he thought his career was at it's all-time low because he was doing a movie about worms. Just like his Friday the 13th performance, it would see cult success despite his lack of support. Fred Ward as Earl is very fitting. Ward plays a hard ass cowboy with ease. You may remember him playing an equally grumpy southerner in "Road Trip". I enjoy his grumpiness and it is the perfect balance to Bacon's goofiness. The highlight of the film for me was Michael Gross's performance as Burt. Gross had begun filming this movie immediately after his last day on "Family Ties". I find that hilarious considering Burt stands for everything the wholesome father role on "Family Ties" stood for. Gross is such a great actor tho and he has no problem transitioning. His role as Burt is very lovable and he stands out as a true hero in the film. His wife Heather is played by Reba McEntire and this was actually her first acting role. She was becoming a popular country music star by this point, and this was a great first choice for her. If you're looking to appeal to southerners, shooting sand worms with automatic weapons is a good start! Bacon's love interest Rhonda played by Finn Carter is fine, but nothing special. She is a cute woman, and has fine chemistry with Bacon. Neither her nor Bacon would return for any of the sequels. If you like the Earl and Burt characters tho, you will be happy to know they continued to show up in the sequels.

Overall "Tremors" is an absolute gem. The film is very memorable for it's action, one liners, and unique creature design. It's a great example of good sci-fi horror and it delivers in pretty much every way. If you're looking for a B monster movie that leaves you completely entertained, then there is no question "Tremors" is for you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 Days of Monster Mania: Day 14: Odd Thomas

Written by Stu Cooper

It's time for the Monster Mania countdown to get odd. Today's edition is all about the 2013 mystery horror film “Odd Thomas”. The film is based off of Dean Koontz’s novel of the same name. From my understanding the book and the film are quite similar with only a few minor differences. The film is written and directed by Stephen Summers. Sommers had worked on The Mummy series, Van Helsing, and most recently Rise of Cobra. Needless to say, Sommer's IMDB reads like a whose who of corny science fiction movies. That's why I was pleasantly surprised with “Odd Thomas”. The film stars Anton Yelchin as the lead Odd Thomas, Willem Dafoe as his father Wyatt, and Addison Timlin as Odd's girlfriend Stormy.

“Odd Thomas” is all about a teenager named Odd who has a special power. Odd has the power to see dead people. Not only can he see dead people, but he can also see demons. Instead of approaching this concept like “The Sixth Sense”, this film does the total opposite. It gets right to the point, tells you what is going on, and the action kicks off. Almost immediately we see that Odd uses his power to be a bit of a hero. He helps his detective father solve murders by communicating with some of these dead people. Not only does he help solve the mysteries, but he randomly opens a can of whoop ass on a few of these guilty parties. It definitely has a Scott Pilgrim feel when it comes to the action sequences and the dialogue between the characters. The film's tone however is a bit darker than Scott Pilgrim.

One downside to Odds powers is the demons that he can see. He refers to them as bodachs. These “bodachs” feed off of the negative energy produced by evil acts being committed. If someone dies, they want to feed off that dead person. Odd also realized that the bodachs were invisible to the rest of the world. So he has to pretend he does not see them. That's some serious concentration. The amount of bodachs in his town begins to increase, which leads Odd to think something's up. Odd is correct and there a lot of murder that's about to take place. It's up to Odd to solve the mystery and stop the event from happening. This leads to some pretty interesting ghost investigation stuff, along with some random fight scenes and horror scares. This movie is all over the place in terms of tone. You have some comedy, some Pilgrim-esque quirky dialogue, some fight sequences, and some serious horror scares. I would say it's on the same level as “Scream” in terms of handling multiple tones at once.

Anton Yelchin is very likable in the role of "Odd". I already liked the actor after his role in "Fright Night" and his fun version of Chekov in the new "Star Trek". The character is kind of like an apprehensive super hero. He didn't ask for this power, but the power chose him. Odd proves throughout the film that his level of commitment is high. The film balances the scooby doo mystery feel with a splash of real horror. There is a sequence where Odd and Stormy are trapped in a church being hunted by a ghost and it's quite intense. You really get a sense of darkness in the character's world, despite the comical style of the dialogue.

Overall I found “Odd Thomas” to be a pleasant surprise, with a dark underlying theme. The film deals with some dark subject matter, but in a very light way. I really felt myself caring about the characters. The relationship Odd has with his father, and his girlfriend seem incredibly genuine. The actors all really mesh well and feel like real people.

Addison Timlin is intoxicatingly cute in the film. She does a superb job playing the supportive girlfriend that Odd really needs. She also has lots of quick comedy and fun dialogue with Odd's dad. I think she was cast perfectly in the role. Willem Dafoe is great as always, tho it left me wanting to see more of him. Gugu Mbatha-Raw also stars as Viola Peabody, a good friend of Odds. She doesn't have much to do in the film, but it's always nice to see her pop up. We also get a creepy performance out of Nico Tortorella who plays a cop in the film. He played a villain in "The Following" and I thought he brought a lot of the same creepiness to the table in this one.

I'd love to see a sequel to the film or a series based on the film. Odd could easily go on more ghost adventures. I'm hoping to read the book at some point just to see more of this character. There is also some graphic novels based on the character that I may track down. I highly recommend this film. It's not exactly a Halloween horror film, but it's a cool unique take on ghosts that will leave you entertained.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

31 Days of Monster Mania: Day 13: WWF's 1985 Halloween Special

Written by Stu Cooper

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a massive pro wrestling fan and have been since I was a toddler. So it should come as no surprise that I've tracked down a wrestling oriented Halloween special to discuss! For Day 13 of Monster Mania I have hopped in the time machine once again and traveled back to November 1st, 1985. At this point the WWF had begun running a special show called Saturday Night's Main Event. The show would be once every couple weeks, and this edition happened to fall on the Saturday after that year's Halloween. Even tho it was technically November, the WWF decided to celebrate Halloween anyways. What resulted was about an hour of absolutely hilarious costumes, and various halloween competitions between The Heenan Family (Bobby The Brain's group) and The Hillbillies (Jim, Elmer, and some cousins). Let's sink our teeth into this hilarious hour of 80's television!

The show begins with Jesse "The Body" Ventura interviewing Roddy Piper who is dawning a "Super Roddy" costume. Roddy mocks the Hillbilly group for being trash, and makes remarks about Uncle Elmer's recent wedding. Piper said he vows to confront the Hillbilly family tonight on Piper's Pit. We then cut to Mean Gene who is with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Heenan is dressed up as Davey Crockett with the coon-skin cap on, but he is immediately mistaken for a weasel and that becomes a running joke through the episode. Heenan is training for a miniature pumpkin bobbing contest that will take place later in the evening. I was unaware that bobbing for mini-pumpkins in chocolate was a thing. You can't exactly just eat a pumpkin right through the skin, so what's the point? Bizarre that they didn't just do apples. We will get back to that contest later.

We get some camera shots of children and adults throughout the audience dressed as some of their favorite WWF Superstars. Which results in an incredibly creepy shot of a kid in a Hulk Hogan mask. We are then introduced to our commentary team for the night which consists of Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Vince Mcmahon. The opening contest for the show is Terry Funk vs. The Junkyard Dog. Funk had recently been going around beating up ringside attendants and using his branding iron on wrestlers (despite the fact that it can't possibly be hot). We get a short interview from Funk where he spits chewing tobacco all over the camera (and probably the poor camera man). The superstars hit the ring and the match is off to a hot start. We see both men trade punches, headbutts, piledrivers, etc. Jimmy Hart is managing Funk at the time and he interferes every chance he gets. Funk ends up using Hart's megaphone to hit JYD over the head for the pinfall win. After the match Funk attempts to brand JYD, but JYD fights it off and ends up using the branding iron on Jimmy Hart's bum. It's classic goofy 80's WWF.

Next up is the pie eating contest between King Kong Bundy and Captain Lou Albano, two staples of 80's wrestling. Albano represents the Hillbillies, and Bundy represents the Heenan Family. Each side is accompanied by various good guys and bad guys dressed in costume. The highlight of these costumes is the absolutely ridiculous Iron Sheik as Batman and his partner Nikolai Volkoff as Robin. Seeing the two of them dressed up is just priceless and brought an immediate smile to my face. Macho Man and Liz are also dressed as Tarzan and Jane. Liz has never looked hotter in the Jane outfit, and Mean Gene gets an eye full every chance he's got. After 60 seconds of pie-eating, Albano is declared the winner. Bundy doesn't take this well and a food fight ensues.

The next segment is Piper's Pit which was hyped up earlier on the show. This segment was quite boring and uneventful compared to the rest of the show. You can tell it was taped several days before and there isn't really anything Halloween about it. The feud between the Hillbillies and Piper doesn't really lead to anything, but we do get a fun appearance by Ventura. Ventura runs down Uncle Elmer's wife and doesn't back down when threatened. It was cool to see Ventura get all hyped up, even tho his in-ring career was done at that point.

Next up was the Pumpkin bobbing game! This game would consist of a member from each team bobbing for pumpkins in a giant bucket of chocolate. Whoever has the most when the time runs out, wins. Heenan represents his team, and Cousin Junior represents the Hillbillies. With ease Heenan is able to defeat Junior, probably thanks to his practice from earlier. We get to see the always intense Macho Man hamming it up helping Heenan put the pumpkins into a trash bag. It's all pretty stupid, but fun none the less. This means that the Hillbillies and the Heenan Family are tied 1-1 and the final deciding game will be a "Pumpkin Toss" later on in the evening.

The next match up is dubbed the "Dream Team" matchup which pits Hulk Hogan and his partner Andre The Giant vs. Heenan's boys Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy. The four of these men had been feuding for several months leading up to this. The match itself is really just a heavy hitter brawl between Andre and Bundy, with Hogan hitting some ax-handles and boots every once and awhile. There is a false DQ finish where a ref gets knocked out, only for the match to end on a disqualification anyways. A nice reminder that you're watching a free TV match, which usually means no clean win. After the match we have Mean Gene interviewing Macho Man and he asks him possibly the dumbest question ever when he says "Why a woman manager?". Macho quickly retorts with "You're either a blind man, or a stupid man, which one are ya Gene?".

After Macho's interview he goes to the ring for his chance at the IC title against Tito Santana. Macho was quickly climbing the ladder at this point and his IC title reign was coming up soon. Unfortunately for those in attendance in Hershey,PA, it wouldn't be that night. The two go at the mat pretty hard and there is some good moves and exchanges. There is a good spot near the end where Macho goes for his classic top rope axe handle, and is hit in the gut by Santana. The two end up brawling outside and both men are counted out. Yet another non-finish on a special show. Unfortunately a common thing in 80's WWF.

After this match we are off to Roddy Piper's house for a bizarre skit. Vince Mcmahon has arrived at the house to ask Piper about Halloween. Piper is wrapping up giant bricks to make them look like giant chocolates, and bowling balls disguised as giant candy apples. He says that the Scottish like to celebrate "the trick" part of Trick or Treat. Piper then receives some Trick or Treaters. Piper invites them in and in true asshole fashion begins to ridicule the children and trick them into giving him their candy in exchange for his fake candy. It's a literal translation of the saying "like stealing candy from a baby". A real prick moment in the life of Roddy Piper, but I loved every second of it.

Next up is the final match of the evening which is a special "Kung Fu Challenge" between Ricky Steamboat and Mr.Fuji. The rules of the contest are quite vague. So much so that the commentators don't seem to know. From what I gathered tho, the wrestler's were only allowed to use Karate-like moves. You see the two of them exchange hyper exaggerated chops and kicks. Ultimately Steamboat gets the better of Mr.Fuji and gets the win, but afterwards Don Muraco runs in and spits red mist on the eyes of Steamboat. Steamboat gets beat down, and I guess the trick is on him.

The final segment of the night is the tie breaker between the Heenan Family and The Hillbillies! The WWF chose to settle this in possibly the most awkward way possible, by having teams of wrestlers pass a pumpkin underneath their chin. You know that game you do at middle school parties in a weird attempt to get close to the opposite sex? Well instead of that, you get a bunch of giant wrestlers in costumes trying to do it. Lots of awkward hilarity ensues. The good guys go first and get through 5 people before Captain Albano drops the pumpkin. The bad guys then follow and unfortunately for Liz, she drops the pumpkin and loses the game for the team. But who cares about that when we are all treated to many shots of Elizabeth in her Jane outfit. Savage of course goes ballistic and blames Liz for every problem ever known.

That concludes this absolutely bizarre and fun 1985 Halloween special. If you have access to the "WWE Network" I would highly recommend checking this episode out before Halloween hits. It's one of the more entertaining Saturday Night Main Event episodes, and a great flashback to the "good ole days" of the WWF (now WWE).