Tag Archives: movie reviews

DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT (2010)

Dylan DogDYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT (2010) Halloween Month continues with a look at the luckless Brandon Routh’s turn as this film’s title character, Tiziano Sclavi’s horror hero from Italian comic books. Sclavi launched Dylan Dog’s series in October of 1986 and under various creative teams the series is still running.

(Years ago I reviewed the film version of Tiziano Sclavi’s Dellamorte Dellamore from 1994.) 

Dylan Dog, an investigator of vampires, werewolves and other monsters, is an international cult hero beloved by comics fans around the world … which, of course, meant that any deviation from what the fan-boys wanted would cause them to hamstring the movie adaptation at the box office. The internet giveth and the internet taketh away.

In my opinion Dylan Dog: Dead of Night does not deserve its bad reputation. Compared to the many, many other films and television programs about heroic battlers of the paranormal this was certainly a top shelf production. The fact that this cinematic adaptation came along decades later than it should have is the main problem.  

Dylan Dog 2Let’s go by the numbers, knowing full well that budget and projected box office returns limited many of the creative decisions:

I. The Dylan Dog comic book was set in London (?). This movie was set in New Orleans, a change of locale that I actually like, given London’s overuse in horror films. Needless to say, this put the worst type of fan-boys in a VERY bad mood right off the bat.

II. The creative team behind Dylan Dog: Dead of Night kept the mood light. I agree with that choice given the inherent campiness and absurdity of an investigator who encounters werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc in horrific settings that are often reminiscent of Film Noir detective stories. The worst type of fan-boys bemoaned the “lack of the sad and serious tone of the comic books.”

III. In the comic book Dylan Dog’s sidekick in his investigations was Groucho, a Groucho Marx impersonator whose built-in craziness caused him to BE Groucho 24/7. For obvious legal and monetary reasons an American film version could not use Groucho as Dylan’s sidekick. The worst type of fan-boys were even more disenchanted.

Dylan Dog 3IV. The cinematic sidekick for Dylan was a new creation – Marcus, played by Sam Huntington, who had previously appeared with star Brandon Routh in the ill-fated Superman Returns (2006).

(Poor Routh. If only he had also starred in Frank Miller’s 2008 movie The Spirit he could have notched an all-time Hat Trick for starring in unfortunate comic book adaptations.)    Continue reading

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FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH: THE ORPHAN (1977) – MOVIE REVIEW

Friday the 13th The Orphan biggerFRIDAY THE 13th: THE ORPHAN (1977) – H.H. Munro must have turned over in his grave at this adaptation of one of his short stories. This quasi-horror film was re-released in 1979 as just The Orphan and despite the original title it has no connection to the Friday the 13th series of slasher flicks. At least, no REAL connection. I’m surprised some unscrupulous distributor never tried sneaking this into theaters in the 1980’s as a “prequel” to the slasher movies by presenting the insane young boy in the movie as the grandfather of Jason Voorhees.

Even so the title makes it hard not to think of our wealthy young protagonist “David” (Mark Owens) as an ancestor of the hockey- masked slice and dice man from Crystal Lake. In the 1920’s David’s mother accidentally shoots his African Big Game Hunter father Kevin to death during an argument about his frequent overseas trips. David not only witnesses this but sees his mother put the gun in her mouth and kill herself immediately afterward.

Next David gets VERY disturbed when a presumed family member (an uncredited Christopher Lloyd in a “blink-and-you’ll- miss- him” appearance) forces him to kiss his dead father as he lies in his coffin. Continue reading

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ROCKTOBER BLOOD (1984): HEAVY METAL HORROR

Rocktober BloodROCKTOBER BLOOD (1984) -This example of the Heavy Metal Horror films of the 1980s was produced, directed and written by Beverly and Ferd Sebastian, a well-known pair to all of us Bad Movie Geeks. The premise of this hilariously bad movie is that Heavy Metal star Billy Eye programs something sinister into his latest album by way of backward-masking. (Like “I buried Paul” and others) 

After listening to those hidden messages to make sure they “took,” Billy Eye molests his just-dumped girlfriend Lynn Starling (Donna Scoggin) then uses a knife to injure her. He’s just getting started, though, and from there he proceeds to slaughter most of his band members, a security guard and nearly 20 other innocent people! 

Billy is tried, convicted and executed for the killing spree. One year after his execution his former flame Lynn Starling has formed her own Heavy Metal group called Headmistress. The band is starting its first nationwide tour, called the Rocktober Blood Tour, unaware of the tedium horror about to envelope them. Continue reading

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FOUR NEGLECTED MEXICAN HORROR FILMS

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with a look at four unjustly neglected horror films from Mexico.

la loba

La Loba

SHE WOLF (1964) – AKA La Loba, this film features a female lycanthrope in all her violent glory. Generally a very good film, with La Loba making several kills in the opening minutes of the story. The special effects for its time and budget are very nice and the unique way the She Wolf leaps around like she’s practically flying is visually appealing and memorable. Think of the way Wonder Woman leaped around on the tv show, but even better.

And the movie takes the common sense approach of having La Loba sprout full- body hair when she transforms, none of this cheap “just the head and hands get furry” look. The transformation rips our female lycanthrope’s clothing to pieces, too, but her hair, already long in her human form, becomes even longer in her lupine form and discreetly covers the parts of her body that might cause a problem for the prudish.   Continue reading

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NOW ON BLU-RAY: THINGS AREN’T WHAT THEY SEEM (2013)

Kansas mapTHINGS AREN’T WHAT THEY SEEM (2013) – A Liberal college professor finds her hatred of all Christian Conservatives to be ill-founded when she winds up interacting with her new neighbors from Kansas.

By movie’s end she has abandoned her condescending attitude toward them and has resolved to relate to all human beings as individuals instead of as simplistic stereotypes.

Freed from the snobbery of her political prejudices she finds herself on the outs with her slavishly conformist colleagues at the university and must choose between career advancement and standing up for what she believes is right. Continue reading

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TWIN PEAKS IN B-MOVIE TERMS

Laura Palmer wrapped in plasticIt’s been just over two weeks since the finale of the 18 episode run of new Twin Peaks chapters on cable. Like many other fans I’m still digesting some of those new episodes in light of the gloriously dark and nightmarish conclusion, so this particular blog post applies ONLY to the original Twin Peaks television series, the 1992 film Fire Walk With Me and its deleted scenes from The Missing Pieces.

Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’m often surprised at the way so many detractors still try to insist that the show and the movie made no sense. And bear in mind I am NOT referring to the various theories over particular symbolism or the lengthy debates to be had over the ethical and philosophical implications of the storyline.

No, I’m referring to the way some people dismiss the entire project as if it’s a bunch of weirdness with no discernible plot or storyline. There IS SO a (very) easily discernible plot and storyline. And I’ll say again I’m NOT talking about deeper meanings which no two people may ever agree upon, but the basic tale. Continue reading

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Filed under Bad and weird movies, Forgotten Television, Halloween Season, opinion

FILMMAKER NEIL BREEN: HE’S TOMMY WISEAU TIMES FOUR!

Neil Breen making a faceHere at Balladeer’s Blog my love of enjoyably bad movies has been well established. You can count me as one of the many “Human Breens” as fans of filmmaker Neil Breen are called.  

Neil Breen (PBUH) started out as an architect and realtor with minor show-biz dabblings as a dancer in Madonna’s Vogue video and as a cop in Scream. Years later Breen surfaced once again in the entertainment world, this time as an independent filmmaker.

Neil Breen realtorAs with the best of the bad auteurs Neil churns out productions that are uniquely his own. There is no mistaking a Neil Breen film with a film made by anyone else. Picture The Room’s Tommy Wiseau trying to make a David Lynch movie. But with a LOT more needless violence against laptop computers.

Read on for a look at the first four examples of Breen Cinema.

Double DownDOUBLE DOWN (2005) – Neil Breen starred, wrote and directed this movie – and quite obviously he or an associate even wrote the IMDb description of the plot. That description calls Double Down “an edgy action thriller,” which would certainly come as a surprise to anyone who has actually SEEN the film. 

Double Down set the pattern for all things Breen, which is to say it redefines Vanity Projects AND Mary Sue-ing. He casts himself as (insert some sort of human or superhuman paragon here) who (engages in some sort of activity) while looking down on everyone else with a judgmental air of disapproval and ennui. And needless to say, he’s the BEST at looking down on everyone else with a judgmental air of disapproval and ennui.  Continue reading

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