According to Deadline, Tarantino has just signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins. The first book on the schedule is a novelization of his most recent film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Clearly, the filmmaker is influenced by the novelizations that were so prevalent in his youth and he’s expecting to bring that love to his first work of fiction.
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” novelization will expand on the story of his film and give us a deeper dive into the lives of TV actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double/best friend, Cliff Booth. The novel will arrive in stores next summer.
The second book on the horizon from Tarantino is titled “Cinema Speculation.” The non-fiction book is described as a “deep dive into the movies of the 1970’s, a rich mix of essays, reviews, personal writing, and tantalizing ‘what if’s,’ from one of cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers, and its most devoted fan.” So, if you’re a fan of the various essays and interviews Tarantino has given about old Hollywood and his adoration of films, this is right up your alley.
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Welcome back to another installment of what to watch while in quarantine. Once again today I will be looking at an action film. This particular one is streaming on Amazon Prime free with ads. Its called Recoil. And let me tell you, you cant go wrong with this one. Directed by Art Camacho, and starring Gary Daniels Recoil was one of PM Entertainments best films, and that is saying something considering there vast library of action films from the 90’s. Come to think of it, a ton of their great ones starred Gary Daniels. This one was over the top in terms of car chases, explosions and martial arts fighting that you came to see. Its such a staple of PM Entertainment many of the scenes were later used in not only their LA Heat TV show (Which was amazing) but in several of their other films
Recoil stars Gary Daniels as kickboxing machine police detective Ray Morgan. In the beginning of the film we open hot to a bank robbery in downtown Los Angeles. Morgan and his partner get the call while on patrol and head to the crime scene, which is reminiscent of a wasteland. Cops are dead and wounded, things are blown up, and these robbers mean business. They are decked out in armor and packing highly explosive weapons. Thanks to some fast footwork and fancy shooting Ray is able to turn things to the police departments favor. Problem is one of the robbers hops on a motorcycle and speeds off. That doesn’t stop Ray, or about 10 other cops as what follows is one amazing chase. From back alleys to the busy streets, through a warehouse, even on the freeway this crook can drive. He even likes to fling grenades are random cars to block the cops path. Thing eventually run out and the perp is gunned down by the remaining cops, Ray included.
Now you would think that would have been all, but we are only about 15min in. Turns out said criminal was the son of Mob Boss Vincent Sloan (No relation to David) and he wants the cops responsible for this dead. As its family he has his sons take the hit. They get help in the form of a dirty cop named Brown. The Sloan’s are able to kill 4 of the cops saving Ray for last. Ray is tough to kill and after a few attempts he takes his family into the country to stay until the cops catch these killers. Unfortunately for Ray Brown has planted a tracker on his jeep and shows up with some goons to try and kill ray and his family. Yes his wife and children are in the car with him. They run Ray off the road and down a cliff killing his entire family. But Ray survives and is no determined to hunt down the Sloan family, and Brown and kill them for what they did to his family and friends.
You wanna talk about non stop action, well here you go. Violent as can be. Art Camacho directed this film and boy does he show off all his skill behind the camera with this one. Car chases, motorcycle chases, gun fights, martial arts action, suspense, and drama, its all here. The action, directed and choreographed by Spiro Razatos (and Gary Daniels) was fantastic as he brought everything together. This is without a doubt PM’s best film. It’s a nonstop treat for action fans who love martial arts. From the opening few minutes until the end you are in for a roller coaster ride of violence. What Art Camacho and Spiro Razatos were able to do in terms of the stunts and action is simply amazing. This was not a big budget film but it looks and feels like it should have had a major theatrical release. Its one of the best action films to come out of the 90’s period.
Gary Daniels is great as Ray Morgan. Daniels was a key player for PM starring in a good handful of their films and always delivering. He has the look of a classic action hero, the British accents to give him a touch of James Bond flair, and he’s a martial arts wizard. Kickboxing, Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Taekwondo, and more Daniels has trained in multiple styles and competed as well. He’s a great actor. He plays Ray as a hardened cop but as a quiet man as well. You truly feel for him when his family dies, as the emotion he conveys during the car scene where they eventually perish is heartbreaking. He takes, sorrow, anger, and fear all rolled into one and shows it perfectly. Now at the end he shows mostly just rage and he comes off as a total killing machine. The casting of Daniels is really what set this film apart. His martial arts skills are fantastic to say the least, and his acting is fantastic. As I said he’s a tough guy but not a stereotypical one. He plays the role of the family man perfectly as well. He also choreographed his own fight scenes in the film giving it a great personal touch/
So there you have it. You need something to watch tonight during quarantine? Get on over to Amazon Prime and select Recoil. Make sure you pick the one from 1998. There is another one made, same title no relation in 2011. That’s good as well, but you want the PM Entertainment action fest from 1998. Enjoy.
As a horror aficionado I often get asked my opinion on certain franchises. Friday the 13thbeing one of them. I have been asked on many occasions to rank the films. That’s a hard one for me as for being the same they all have a different look and feel. Sure the plot has never changed, except for part 9 but as we have revolving actors, different writers, and directors, heck even various actors under the Jason mask each film is a bit of its own entity. However after receiving he amazing Scream Factory box set I decided to sit back and watch the 10 films. Sorry I am not going to rank Freddy vs Jason (which stinks) or the remake (which I enjoyed). No I am going to do the original 10. No please keep in mind this is my opinion its not based on any rankings or polls or any of that nonsense. This is, in my opinion the Friday the 13thFranchise ranked by me, and also remember. I like all of them.
10) Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning: No Jason, just nonsense. Only redeeming quality is some of the kills. Years after Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd) murdered hockey-masked serial killer Jason Voorhees, he resides in a mental hospital and struggles with the trauma of the experience. When Tommy moves to an isolated halfway house, he has nightmares about Jason's return, and soon one of the patients (Dominick Brascia) is killed. As the body count grows, Tommy begins to question his sanity and wonder if Jason has risen from the dead. But, to determine the killer's identity, Tommy will need to survive.
9) Friday the 13th II: I have no problem that Jason wears a sack on his head with only one eye hole cut out, the bottom line is this film isn’t that great. The second entry in the long-running horror series focuses on a group of teenage would-be counselors converging on Camp Crystal Lake for training under the tutelage of head counselor Paul (John Furey). Inevitably, Paul relates the story of Jason Voorhees (Warrington Gillette), a boy who ostensibly drowned at the camp and whose mother murdered a group of counselors in revenge. No one takes the tale seriously until a very much alive Jason begins gruesomely eliminating people.
8) Jason X: Not as bad as some people make it out, its still a bit to goofy for me. The year is 2455. The Place is Old Earth. Once the shimmering blue jewel of the galaxy, Old Earth is now a contaminated planet abandoned for centuries. Yet humans have returned to the deadly place that they once fled. Not to live, but to research the ancient rusting artifacts of the bygone civilizations that caused this environmental disaster. And little does the most recent landing party of intrepid young explorers realize the fate that awaits them.
7) Friday the 13th III 3-D: The first one I saw in the theater, and in 3-D. Sure its red and blue 3-D but still cool. Its also the first one where Jason gets his iconic Hockey mask. The third installment in the "Friday the 13th" series picks up on the day after the carnage with homicidal maniac Jason Voorhees (Richard Brooker) stealing some clothes and killing a local store owner. Meanwhile, Chris (Dana Kimmell) and her sometimes boyfriend, Rick (Paul Kratka), are hosting a group of teenage friends at Chris' lake house. Despite a run-in with a local biker gang, they enjoy an amiable weekend together -- that is, until Jason begins knocking off kids and bikers alike.
6) Friday the 13th: Yes the original is not number one on my list. And yes, it’s the first, and blah blah blah. It’s a great film, a classic even. Doesn’t even matter Jason is not the killer. I just like some of the other entries better. Crystal Lake's history of murder doesn't deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals warn against it, but the fresh-faced young people -- Jack (Kevin Bacon), Alice (Adrienne King), Bill (Harry Crosby), Marcie (Jeannine Taylor) and Ned (Mark Nelson) -- pay little heed to the old-timers. Then they find themselves stalked by a brutal killer. As they're slashed, shot and stabbed, the counselors struggle to stay alive against a merciless opponent.
5) Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday: Body jumping, fist fighting, a crazy bounty hunter. I love this one. Some people do not. I am not one of those people. After being blown away by a team of FBI agents, Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) needs to find a way to overcome certain death. When his bloodied remains are sent to the morgue, his heart, still intact, is able to hypnotize a coroner and take over his body. After brutally dispatching a couple of FBI agents, he heads back to his favorite stomping grounds: Crystal Lake. Jason commences another teen massacre while a bounty hunter (Steven Williams) discovers the only way to kill him.
4) Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan: Even though Jason is only in Canada, I mean Manhattan for about 20min and spend the majority on a boat this is a fantastic entry. I saw it opening night in a packed theater and I will always have found memories of this one. Mass murderer Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) is resurrected from the bottom of Crystal Lake. After he kills a passing boat's occupants, he stows away on a cruise ship filled with a high-school graduating class bound for New York City. Biology teacher Charles McCulloch (Peter Mark Richman) is on board with his niece, Rennie (Jensen Daggett), who has visions of Jason drowning as a child. They escape his bloody shipboard rampage, but, when Rennie and Charles reach Manhattan, Jason is close by.
3) Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood: A more supernatural style entry in the franchise. Think of it as Jason meets Carrie. Years after the strange drowning death of her father, Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln) returns to the site of his demise, Crystal Lake. Her developing psychic powers were responsible for ending his life, leaving Tina riddled with guilt as an adult. While deceitful Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser) tries to manipulate her abilities for his own ends, both physician and patient are in for a shock when Tina's powers unwittingly free camper-killer Jason Voorhees from his watery slumber.
2) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives: This is the film that brought Jason back from the dead. Not only in the film, but to audiences as well. Mixing humor, a heavy metal soundtrack and bringing back Tommy Jarvis as the hero this film is definitely the most fun of the series. Years ago, Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) killed infamous hockey-masked murderer Jason Voorhees (C.J. Graham), and the intensity of the experience has landed him in a mental institution. To end his torment and achieve a level of closure, Tommy escapes from the hospital and heads to the graveyard where Jason is buried, intending to dig up the body and cremate it. But, before this total annihilation can occur, a freak electrical accident resurrects Jason from the dead, and the terror begins anew.
1) Friday the 13: The Final Chapter: The best of the series in my opinion. A great story, amazing special effects, and a great cast. This was meant to be the final entry of the series. I personally am glad is was not. But it sure is the best one out there. A carefree lakeside vacation is interrupted by the re-emergence of killer Jason Voorhees (Ted White). After he escapes from a morgue, leaving bodies in his wake, Jason travels to Camp Crystal Lake where a group of friends is staying. The teens meet some locals: Tommy (Corey Feldman) and Trish (Kimberly Beck), as well as secretive hiker Rob (Erich Anderson). As the group of teenagers engages in drunken debauchery, their numbers begin to dwindle, and pieces of the past resurface.
Ok so its time for an other 80s list. This one is going to be for Sci-Fi films. I’ve done horror and action so Sci-Fi would be my next logical choice. Now let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am not the worlds biggest science fiction fan. It’s my least favorite genre. Not saying I hate it, I just don’t go out of my way to watch them. So let me say in advance that this is MY OPINION. I have to admit while researching these that the 80’s were definitely a great time for this type of film. Over the top, and either fun or just down right violent the 80’s really was the most magical time for film. The first 5 films on this list are five of my all-time favorite films. And before anyone asks I am not a star Wars or Star Trek fan hence why none of those are in here.
10) Aliens: Yes, a film that most people will say should be number 1 is actually number 10 for me. The action was cranked up to 1000 compared to the first one. It’s almost to long a film, at least for me but it’s a definite winner and an all time classic for a reason. After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds of aliens that have invaded the colony.
9) Flash Gordon. I love Flash Gordon. It’s a campy classic that features a great soundtrack, fantastic story, and so bad they are amazing special effects. I’ve met Sam Jones, and interviewed him as well and I must say he is a class act all the way. It’s a shame there weren’t 4 more of these films. Although NASA scientists are claiming the unexpected eclipse and strange "hot hail" are nothing to worry about, Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol) knows better, and takes football star Flash Gordon (Sam Jones) and travel agent Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) with him into space to rectify things. They land on planet Mongo, where the despot Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow) is attacking Earth out of pure boredom. With the help of a race of Hawkmen, Flash and the gang struggle to save their home planet.
8) Repo Man: If you were a punk rocker like me back in the 80’s you didn’t have much to watch if you wanted to see punks on screen or hear that sweet angry music. Luckily though you did have Repo Man, the best film Emilio Estevez has ever done. Yes Emilio, the Mighty Duck Man Himself. It’s a great film with a fantastic soundtrack featuring Iggy Pop, Circle Jerks, Black Flag and more. Its also a very surreal film. After being fired from his job, Los Angeles slacker and punk rocker Otto (Emilio Estevez) lands a gig working for an eccentric repossession agent named Bud (Harry Dean Stanton). At first, Otto is reluctant to work as a repo man, but he grows to love the fast-paced job. After learning of a Chevy Malibu that has been given a $20,000 price tag, Otto embarks on a quest to find the car with the beautiful Leila (Olivia Barash), who claims the trunk's contents are otherworldly.
7) Back to the Future: The family film about time travel and incest. Yes this film has it all, moms trying to have sex with their kids, and attempted rape, peeping toms, you name it. But don’t worry it’s a family film. Sort of, I guess? California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown back into the '50s when an experiment by his eccentric scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) goes awry. Traveling through time in a modified DeLorean car, Marty encounters young versions of his parents (Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson), and must make sure that they fall in love or he'll cease to exist. Even more dauntingly, Marty has to return to his own time and save the life of Doc Brown.
6) The Running Man: One of the best action films of the 80’s is actually a Science Fiction classic. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his first appearance on this list, yes you will be seeing him again on here in this knock down drag out game show hunting humans film. Arnold, Jim Brown, Jessie Ventura, and even Richard Dawson all get on the act. In the year 2019, America is a totalitarian state where the favorite television program is "The Running Man" -- a game show in which prisoners must run to freedom to avoid a brutal death. Having been made a scapegoat by the government, an imprisoned Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has the opportunity to make it back to the outside again by being a contestant on the deadly show, although the twisted host, Damon Killian (Richard Dawson), has no intention of letting him escape.
5) Predator: Arnold is back to take a spot in the top 5 with this groundbreaking film that created a franchise that is still going strong today. Movies, Games, Toys, Comics, the Predator has become a pop culture phenomenon and rightfully so. This is considered one of the best action films ever made for a reason. I just happen to lump it more toward Sci-Fi. Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians trapped in Guatemala. But when Dutch and his team, which includes weapons expert Blain (Jesse Ventura) and CIA agent George (Carl Weathers), land in Central America, something is gravely wrong. After finding a string of dead bodies, the crew discovers they are being hunted by a brutal creature with superhuman strength and the ability to disappear into its surroundings.
4) They Live: John Carpenter takes his first spot on this list as well with this mind bending subliminal alien film starring wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Not only is this a fantastic story it also features on of, if not the most iconic fight in film history. I remember going to see this only because Piper was in it, not knowing even the plot at the time. But it ended up becoming one of my favorite films of all time. I make it a point to watch it at least once a year. Nada (Roddy Piper), a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world the way it truly is. As he walks the streets of Los Angeles, Nada notices that both the media and the government are comprised of subliminal messages meant to keep the population subdued, and that most of the social elite are skull-faced aliens bent on world domination. With this shocking discovery, Nada fights to free humanity from the mind-controlling aliens.
3) Terminator: Arnold is back again with a film that encompasses many genres. Action, Sci-Fi (where is place it) and even horror. It’s the film that launched his career, created the line “I’ll be back!” and much like Predator became a pop culture success. This one also has spawned toy, comics, tv shows, and movies to this day, although I wish the latter would really stop. This is one of the best films ever made. And it deserves to be on this list. Disguised as a human, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Sent to protect Sarah is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), who divulges the coming of Skynet, an artificial intelligence system that will spark a nuclear holocaust. Sarah is targeted because Skynet knows that her unborn son will lead the fight against them. With the virtually unstoppable Terminator in hot pursuit, she and Kyle attempt to escape.
2) Robocop: Another great blend of sci-fi and very violent action Robocop is an all-time classic. It was originally given an X rating for the violence, trimmed down to get a hard R it still shocks to this day. Like a few of the other films it has spawned tv shows, toys, comic, games, and unfortunately more films. I say unfortunately because this one is the only good one. I saw this on opening night in a packed house when I was a kid and the entire theater was going nuts during the whole film. Its without a doubt one of my favorite memories of going to a film on opening night. In a violent, near-apocalyptic Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the police force. To test their crime-eradicating cyborgs, the company leads street cop Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) into an armed confrontation with crime lord Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) so they can use his body to support their untested Robocop prototype. But when Robocop learns of the company's nefarious plans, he turns on his masters.
1) Escape From New York: John Carpenter returns. The first R Rated film I ever saw and it will always hold a special place in my heart. And yes it took place in the future so I go with Sci-Fi. I vowed to one day get a big snake tattooed on my stomach, but decided a dragon would look better. I have an original poster framed in my basement in perfect condition. Hell I even loved Escape From LA. Snake Plissken is the best anti hero ever created, and this without a doubt is John Carpenter and Kurt Russell’s best film ever. I still to this day watch this film at least 3 times a year. Its not only the best sci-fi film ever made its in my top 5 favorite films of all time. In 1997, a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding, and the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a giant maximum security prison. When Air Force One is hijacked and crashes into the island, the president (Donald Pleasence) is taken hostage by a group of inmates. Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former Special Forces soldier turned criminal, is recruited to retrieve the president in exchange for his own freedom.
NEW YORK (AP) — The family of Sinbad says the comedian-actor is recovering from a recent stroke.
The Adkins family says in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that "it is out of sincere love that we share Sinbad, our beloved husband and father, is recovering from a recent stroke.
“Sinbad is a light source of love and joy for many generations. While he is beginning his road to recovery, we are faithful and optimistic that he will bring laughter into our hearts soon,” the statement continued.
The 64-year-old Sinbad, born David Adkins, is known for his stand-up work and appearances in the sitcoms “A Different World” and “The Sinbad Show.” The entertainer has also appeared in several movies
“Our family thanks you in advance for your love and support and ask for continued prayers for his healing. We also ask that you please respect our privacy during this time,” the family statement read
With their being a pandemic and all going on, and lockdowns looming everywhere (I am all for the latter) you may be sitting at home wondering what to watch. Well fear not, as I will help you. Yes this will be the start of a new daily (I hope) section where I will recommend a film to watch during the pandemic. I mean now a days we have access to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and many many more so finding something is never hard. No the problem can be deciding what to watch as you have such a great choice at your finger tip. I am going to start out with an action film today. Its fun, action packed, and it will take up 90min of your quarantined life. Todays Film is entitled BloodFist III: Forced To Fight starring Don The Dragon Wilson. Why did I recommend part 3 over part 1? Truthfully because I enjoy it more, and second, the films are connected in name only. Aside from 1 and 2 the others are all stand alone pictures so you won’t be lost.
BloodFist III: Forced to Fight is a martial arts prison film. So right there we have two great types of film blended into one. Don The Dragon stars as Jimmy Boland. It’s the typical guy in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Luckily that is about zero percent of the story. Its just said so you wont think Jimmy is a mass murdering psycho or something. You have to know he is a good guy right from the start. And you find that out when his buddy, and fellow prisoner is getting beaten, and bent over if you know what I mean by a group of fellow inmates. Well Jimmy does not like that so he uses his Kickboxing skills (Side not for those of you who don’t know Don Wilson is the greatest Kickboxer of all time. If you think I’m joking look it up) and beats everyone senseless, killing the leader, Luther, of this gang in the process. Now the warden, who is about 1 level below corrupt decides to just transfer Jimmy to the black wing of the prison. This is not good as the gang leader Jimmy killed was not only black, but he supplied rugs to another Black gang leader named Blue.
Jimmy is transferred and sent to share a cell with Samuel Stark (Richard Roundtree of Shaft fame). Samuel is a calm prisoner who likes to fight with the law and books. He takes Jimmy under his wing, knowing that the person he killed was no good and invites him to work with his crew. A group of older wiser inmates who take care of the Prison Roof top garden for their work detail. Jimmy is also approached by Wheelhead the leader of the White Supremacist gang who offer him protection for joining them. Jimmy wants no part of that and decides to simply work with Stark and his group, that is after beating up a group of the white power weirdos himself. So now Jimmy has two problems, well three if you count the fact that he is in prison as one of them. He has the Black gang after him and now the White Power gang as well. In a moment of racial harmony they decide to work together to kill him.
Now Jimmy has one friend, other than Stark in this prison, the good natured sex offender named Diddler. Its never said what type of sex crime he did, but I think you can figure that out. He saves Jimmy from a murder attempt in the yard. Jimmy and Stark also become very close as Stark tries to help Jimmy better himself. Now the problem her is that lots of the guards don’t want to see Stark get out, let alone live. See as a prison advocate he’s a pain in the ass to them, as well as the warden who wants to run for Attorney General so they plan on getting rid of him. Luckily Jimmy is there to save him, and the rest of the prison as well.
Now as I am recommending this to watch I cant give the ending, or for that fact most of the middle away. I can tell you it follows a great formula. Someone, or a group of people go after Jimmy and he beats them up. Yes, this is a violent prison as fights happen every 5 to 10 minutes on average. The other thing I want to point out is the acting. Sure you don’t watch Bloodfist III for high drama, but you actually get that here. Don Wilson is outstanding as Jimmy. A nice guy deep down, but with a huge chip on his shoulder. He plays the part perfectly. In fact I think after Redemption, this is his second best film to date. Richard Roundtree is always fantastic and adds heart and hope to this picture. Its one of his best films as well. The rest of the cast does a fine job as well. The budget is low but that’s not exactly a problem when the setting is a prison.
If you like lots of action, with just a touch of drama Bloodfist III: Forced To fight is the film for you. You can watch it on Amazon Prime now. It’s a prison movie with a heart, and lots of martial arts action. Watch it tonight.
When I was 9 years old I would watch sitcoms every evening. I know lots of young people don’t remember those as only a handful are on the air, but in my day we had 3 channels all of which ad a good 2, sometimes 3 hour block of sitcoms on a nightly basis. One of my favorites was Threes Company. A show that was family friendly even though it was essentially about a guy who pretended to be gay so he could live with two women, while juggling multiple dates in each episode. Yes fans, go back and watch. Great show, same thing each week. Anyway one night during commercials I saw a commercial for a new horror film called Silent Night deadly Night. It was a nothing commercial (I included it) below that featured glimpses of a Santa and a few people screaming. Nothing crazy, just standard horror movie advertising. I paid no real attention because during commercials I just waited for the show to return. Well apparently a lot of people took notice of that commercial.
By the next morning stations were flooded with complaints from angry parents. Stating how ads for this film should not run when young children are watching wholesome tv. It will make them scared of Santa, and afraid of what will happen on Christmas they screamed. My school PTA actually had a meeting about this. I know that because my wacked out grandmother went to it. Eventually stations started airing the promos later in the evening, but that was not enough. No angry parents had to go to the local theaters that were showing the film to hold up signs and demand the film close. They would picket the film while singing Christmas Carols to be honest. Siskel and Ebert gave it a horrid review, and even said “Shame on you” to the creators. The angry public could do nothing but yell about how the film was going to mentally damage the children. Here’s the thing, speaking as a kid from that time. We didn’t care. Commercials we cared about were for GI Joe, and He-Man. We didn’t pay attention to much else commercial wise. That was bathroom and snack get time. But still angry weirdos marched on. They picketed, sent letters, called television stations. Basically they created a huge outlet of free advertising for the film. No different than the “Satanic Panic” of the 80’s as well.
The film was not doing great at the box office, but truthfully not so much because of the insane parent groups, no it was because it was a horror film, in December with a limited release. But that didn’t matter either as a Milwaukee group calling themselves the “Citizens Against Movie Madness” began going on TV shows, radio show, hell they probably had rallies at a local Burger King for all I know at that point. But they generated enough traction to freak out the studio which was Tristar might I add, and they decided to pull the plug on the film 10 days into its release. I’m sure it was not just because of some crazy protesters, I mean Phil Donahue, Leonard Maltin, and others bashing it on television did not help, nor did the fact it opened at number 8 at the box office. Ironically another horror film entitled A Nightmare on Elm Street opened at the same time and was in fact getting beat by Silent Night at the box office. Ironically when Silent Night was pulled Elm Street went on to capture the horror crowd and become a huge success.
Now here are a few reason why this controversy was so stupid. Black Christmas had a killer dressed like Santa and that came out many years prior and no one cared, but that was never the real kicker to me. The real kicker was the fact that Santa was not a killer. See protesters, at least the vast majority of them never bothered to watch the film. They simply yelled about how Santa Clause was not a killer. Guess what, he’s not, nor was he in the film. The film had nothing to do with that. None at all. Nowhere in there did Santa snap and go on a killing spree in the North Pole, nor did he go down chimneys and kill kids instead of giving them presents. No none of that happened, but parents sure thought it did. So what we had were a massive group of people who encouraged you to not watch a film that they themselves never saw.
For those unfamiliar, Silent Night Deadly Night is the story of Billy. He and his family are heading home after visiting his crazy Grandfather in rest home of sorts. His Grandfather tells Billy that Santa punishes naughty kids. Things go from bad to worse for Billy when his family stops to help a stranded motorist dressed as Santa. Problem is the guy dresses as Santa just robbed gas station and kills Billy’s father, and Mother, after raping her that is. Billy and his little brother run off to hide during this and are taken to an Orphanage run by a sadistic nun, know only as Mother Superior. She beats kids, punishes them, ties them up you name it. She doesn’t like Billy and vows to cure him of his fear of Santa. She does that by forcing him to sit on Santa’s lap when they bring a Santa in for Christmas. He punches the guy and runs away and receives another beating in the process.
Billy grows up and 10 years later gets a job at a local toy store right before Christmas thanks to a nun who was actually always kind to him. He does good work, is well liked, hell he even has the hots for Pamela, his co-worker. Unfortunately the store Santa they have gets hurt and as Billy is a good sized guy, not fat, just big and tall, the owner has him dress as Santa for the kids. Billy is freaked out, but he does ok and when the store closes for their little Christmas party he is actually being told how great a job he did. He’s of course depressed as is family died on this holiday but when he sees Pamela being manhandled by Andy, a warehouse worker he doesn’t like he finally snaps. Yes, nothing to do with Christmas. Billy sees a woman he likes about to be raped, just like his mother was and finally snaps and murders Andy with some Christmas lights. He’s also by this point fully nuts and stabs Pamela as well. For good measure he kills the rest of the employees as well.
From there good old Billy just starts walking around town murdering people. He impales a girl on some antlers, cuts off a head, and stabs a few. Always telling them they were naughty. He is of course doing this in the Santa outfit he haws been wearing all day. He finally decides he just needs to head back to the orphanage and murder the Mother Superior for all the abuse she dealt him over the years. Luckily the police realize what his plan is and they are able to stop him, but not before gunning him down in front of his little Brother Ricky, who is still in the orphanage. Ricky sees this and says “Naughty” before the film ends, setting up a sequel. In fact the film did get a sequel, it got 4 sequels and even a remake.
Is the film good? Yes, in my opinion its very good. The sequel is not bad either. Sure it features a lot of inserted footage of part one, but it holds up fine as well. 3, 4, and 5, are terrible, but the remake is pretty good as well. See all these years later us kids who grew up realized what we kind of knew all along, our parents were nuts. Now that’s ok because I’m sure our children will grow up thinking the same thing. It’s a cycle that’s unavoidable. But finally Silent Night Deadly Night gets the respect it always deserved as a good slasher film. Figures from NECA, a fantast Blu-ray release of the first two films from Scream Factory, an upcoming box set from 101 films, shirts, jackets, hell last year I got an activity book from Fright Rags. This small film, bashed before its release has become a pop culture phenomenon. I always wonder what would have happened had there been no controversy. If they film merely opened and closed would anyone have even cared, let alone watched it to this day? I cant answer that. All I can do is look back and laugh at how bent out of shape people were when Silent Night Deadly Night came out. If you want a great horror film to watch on Christmas, then this is your movie. Put it on and enjoy.
So when the pandemic hit essentially every movie got pushed back a year. Sure Tenant came out, but it made change thanks in fac to most theaters being closed. Films like the new James Bond kept getting pushed further and further back. Fast and Furious 9 decided just to push back until 2021. A few films, smaller ones like say Bill & Ted Face The Music and New Mutants got a release when things opened up, but that was short lived as the majority were all forced to close again. In fact where I live nothing is opened any more. The last two films also had VOD releases which I personally took advantage of. But one film that is still planned, at this point for a big release is Wonder Woman 1984.
Wonder Woman is in fact the last film that is still on the slate for a big release. Warner Brothers is still targeting for Christmas. Only problem is, things, unfortunately our not getting better. In fact they seem to be getting worse. SO now there is talk that WW may still get a theatrical release for the few screens that are open but then premiere on HBO MAX a few weeks later. That would actually be a good move as HBO Max is not exactly setting the world on fire as far as subscriptions go. A big film like this would really help it. Second, the only other option would be to move it to 2021 summer, which has two problems. One, it already going to be an over crowded summer with all the other blockbusters that moved to next year, on top of the ones scheduled to open. Second, what’s to say the county will be in good enough shape to return to normal by then.
For now Wonder Woman 1984 is still set for a December release but that could all change in a second, and to be honest I am sure it will. With only six weeks to go till its planned release and with cases spiking am I sure we will hear a new date or roll out any time now.
In 1989 a small little film came out entitled The Punisher. Yes, it was based on the Marvel character of the same name, but back then superhero movies weren’t what they are now. Back then things were much different. Spiderman on tv shot a rope, the Hulk was a big guy painted green, and the few movies that came out mostly stunk. Yes, stunk. See people praise Superman because it was a good wholesome film. Watch it now, it stinks. The Fantastic Four movie never ever came out it was so bad (Side note I actually enjoyed it). See back then Superhero movies were essentially laughed at, not because they were awful (In some cases they were) but it was because technology was not advance enough to make them look real like they do now. Now when the Punisher was announced that should not have been a problem. Guy’s family gets killed in the park during a mob hit gone bad, guy puts on a skull shirt, guy starts killing criminals. It’s the most basic of all plot’s and the 80’s were a ripe time to do it.
New World, which was a much smaller budget company had somehow acquired the rights to make a Punisher film. That was great news. They hired Dolph Lundgren to play the title role, also great news. And the film was going to get a hard R rating, which was exactly what fans wanted to hear. Now when the film came out people liked it, sort of, but comic book fans really hated it. I consider myself a different breed of comic fan as I am smart enough to know that us comic readers are about 2% of the audience. SO little things like a different costume, or possibly a different look in general didn’t really bother me. It still doesn’t. I mean as long as they keep the origin the same and stick to the material its all good. Sadly the Punisher missed the boat on a few things, but it got the heart and soul correct.
Now first off the vast majority of Punisher stories take place in New York. Guess what, it cost a lot of money to film there. This film had a budget of less than 10 million, so New York filing was never in the cards. But that’s ok, tons of movies set in New York are actually filmed in Canada. Well that costs money too, but luckily New World had Australian ties so the film was simply filmed in Australia. It does in now way shape of form look anything like New York. But that’s ok. Dolph Lundgren will openly tell you he had no knowledge of who the Punisher was. He was not a comic reader, but he didn’t need to be. Now the one issue I have always had with the film, and still do is that The Punisher does not wear his skull shirt. See that’s the costume. I mean back then he was drawn in a spandex outfit with the skull but they could have very easily just given him a shirt like they did in the Thomas Jane film, or even just a painted vest like in Warzone. No they simply had him wear a t shirt, jeans, leather jacket, but had him throw knives with the little skull on them for his calling card. I wont lie that was stupid.
They also changed the origin story a bit. See in the comics and most recently in the now canceled Netflix series, that got most of it correct Frank was a former soldier who when taking his family out to a picnic in Central Park watched them die during a mob hit gone bad. It caused him to snap and become the Punisher. A man who simply had a one man war against crime. If you were a criminal he killed you. Pretty basic. Well in this film Frank was a cop who was investigating the local mob. His family died in a car bombing that was meant for him. Everyone just assumed he died as well and because of this he became the Punisher. He now lives in the sewers and carries on a one man war against the mob. In fact he’s killed over 125 mobsters in the five years he has been on his crusade. He is added by a drunk washed up theater actor named Shake. I never got that part. Now his old partner Jake (Louis Gossett Jr) believes that Frank is still alive and that he’s the Punisher. In fact he’s been chasing him for the last five years.
The plot of the film is basic enough. With most of the mobsters dead because of the Punisher, mafia kingpin Gianni Franco comes to the states to unify the families in the hopes of stopping the punisher and continuing their illegal trades. Problem here is that the Yakuza decide they was the territory for themselves. Lead by Lady Tanaka they have a genius plan. Kidnap all the children of the mobsters and hold them for ransom. It’s a very good idea but the Punisher had other plans. He decides to save the kids from the Yakuza and destroy their operation as well. As the odds are stacked against him and with his former partner closing in Frank teams up with Gianni for a final assault on the Yakuza headquarters, which is a massive high rise tower.
The film is violent. Very violent. In fact it was originally heavily censored to simply get the R rating. Weather you watch the R or the uncensored you will enjoy the film as it kept the spirt of the character alive. Mob kills family, you snap, you kill criminals. That’s it its plane and simple. This is the version that does it the best (as far as the films go) to say the least. Problem was the film came out during a time, as I said, when comic book films meant nothing. Sure it got a wide release overseas, but it got nothing here. Just a VHS that came and went. Comic fans were less than impressed as the skull outfit was nowhere to be found, but action fans embraced it.
Now as the years progressed the comic fans are starting to come around. The Thomas Jane big budget Marvel film fell flat amongst comic and action fans. Sure they had the look right but they changed the origin a bit to give it more of a movie flare but the part that hurt it was really the lack of action. In fact with the exception of the fight with the Russian and a little bit of explosions at the end the film is pretty much a drama. Not saying it’s a bad film its just not a punisher film. The follow up, War Zone, suffered a bit as well. It gave the violence back and turned it way up but the villains were played so over the top they were akin to the old Batman 1966 villains. It had a nice amount of action but it just never really came together, for me at least. Now the Netflix Show so far is the best version I have seen, but that’s a story for another day.
If you have never seen the 1989 Punisher film it’s definitely a must watch. If you have seen it seek out the Umbrella Blu-ray release as it’s the nicest print out there so far. Forget the fact he’s not wearing a skull shirt, just sit back and enjoy the 80’s version of Punishment