Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just an update on things.

Hey gang! Yeah I haven't been around much, but that's because I've been trying to rest up a bit. Work was horrible last week, so much went wrong, mainly on my shift, so once Sunday came around, I just lounged in my basement domicile and relaxed... that is, after I helped my dad with some hard manual labor for a good 3-4 hours. Then my girlfriend came up Sunday evening and we spent some real, honest to goodness, quality time together. Then yesterday, work again enveloped my life as I was called in to cover for a sick co-worker. Now my work schedule is going to be a bit topsy-turvy this week as I won't have off until next Wednesday and Thursday. Needless to say, I'm going to be a bit tired once March 4th rolls around, but I do have one consolation: I'll be able to pick up some DVDs that I really, really want next Wednesday! "Borat" comes out, as does "The Manitou," "Solarbabies," "Night of the Comet," and "The Revenge of the Nerds Collection!" I may not have enough for all of the, but damn it, I'm going to get as many as my budget will allow!!!

Anyway, I have to get some stuff done before I go into work. The upside of working yesterday is that I'll be allowed to come in late throughout the rest of the week! WOOHOO! However in my offtime tonight and tomorrow, I have to finish up ALL of my Rogue Cinema stuff. I started watching "Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant" last night and I was actually enjoying it, but unfortunately I was really tired and opted to get some sleep rather than finish the last twenty minutes of the movie. So tonight I'll be watching the rest of that and another screener DVD, then I'll write reviews for them and dig into my Genre Watch article. Again its all last minute work, but with my crappy work schedule and lack of interest in writing lately, it's been tough to really accomplish anything (including that pesky review for "The Beast of Hollow Mountain" which is so very close to completion). So hang in there for another few weeks and you all shall be rewarded with two new reviews, as well as two old ones that will be given a facelift!

Well gotta go b-movie fans, so as always, I'll blog ya later! ;-)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Woohoo! I actually made some progress!

Well I made more progress tonight on my review of "The Beast of Hollow Mountain." All that's left is to finish up my film review section, type up some stuff in the EXTRAS section, and then proofread and spellcheck the entire thing. Hopefully I'll find the time to complete it tomorrow. After that I plan on moving onto my review for "The Valley of Gwangi" plus I want to update (and upload) my old reviews for "Dinosaurus!" and "The Crater Lake Monster," two other stop motion dinosaur flicks that I have fond memories of.

Concerning Rogue Cinema this month, I've chopped my workload down to my Genre Watch article, and three screener reviews. I pushed back my interview with Johnny Allen Shaw until next month as I just haven't gotten around to typing up questions to send him and I don't want to rush things right now, especially with the end of the month so rapidly approaching. It was cool with John anyway, as he is apparently very busy himself, what with promoting his film in a variety of newspapers and trying to get it into various film festivals (namely Shadowfest). I have Sunday and Monday off from work, so (when I'm not helping my parents with stuff) I'll be home and busily working on my RC stuff.

Well that's it for tonight folks. I'm hitting the hay a bit earlier than usual because I had a hellacious night at work, due to multiple (and hitherto unexplained) power outages and various computer malfunctions. Here's hoping tomorrow night's shift is quiet, normal, and problem free!

Blog ya later b-movie fans!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mini Review: Ghost Rider (2007)

Marvel has really been kicking things into high gear lately, with a deluge of live-action flicks (such as "Spider-Man 3" and "The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer") and awesome animated films (which include "Ultimate Avengers," "Ultimate Avengers 2," "The Invincible Iron Man," and, in August, "Doctor Strange!"), and I'm happy to say that their latest offering is pretty darn good. "Ghost Rider" is the tale of a young stuntman/daredevil named Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage), who ends up in the service of Mephistopheles (aka The Devil, played by Peter Fonda) after a botched deal. ("Man, if you can't trust the Devil, then who can you trust?!") Years after Johnny sells his soul, Old Scratch comes a knockin' and forces the world-renowned stunt driver to become the Ghost Rider: A flame-skulled bounty hunter with superhuman-strength, amazingly powerful supernatural powers, and an awesome flaming motorcycle from Hell!

As the film progresses, the Ghost Rider takes on Satan's son, Blackheart (played by Wes Bentley) and his elemental cronies, in a race to prevent Hell on Earth. Can Marvel's "Spirit of Vengeance" save the day?! (As if I have to tell you the answer to that. ;-) "Ghost Rider" is an exceptionally fun adventure and features some fantastic special effects. A lot of CGI is utilized in the film and most of it is very well done. (There are a handful of scenes where some improvements could have been made.) As this is an origin tale, the movie tries to pack a lot into its (nearly) two-hour running time, and in doing so, it hits a few snags. On the plus side, we get to see the evolution of Ghost Rider; how he gets his powers, and obtains his trademark leather jacket with metal studs, his chain (and weapon of choice in the film), and his shotgun that blasts pure hellfire. However, it seems like they made this popular Marvel hero a bit too powerful.

Ghost Rider's battles against Blackheart's trio of demonic henchmen are pretty much one-sided. As each fight starts, an Elemental attacks Ghost Rider and seemingly delivers a crushing blow, only to find out that Johnny Blaze's alter-ego was just playing 'possum. And Blackheart, for all the power that he has, succumbs fairly easily at the film's climax, after proving his dominance over Ghost Rider. (And on that note, the film's villains are all pretty disappointing, which is a problem that plagued "Batman Begins," another excellent superhero flick that had lackluster baddies.) Essentially, by the time "Ghost Rider" is over, you're left craving more.

As of my writing this, I've seen "Ghost Rider" twice and I enjoyed it both times! There's a lot of humor strewn throughout the movie, a lot of great effects sequences, great music (particularly Spiderbait's cover of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" which plays during my favorite part of the film and during the end credits), Sam Elliot in all his coolness, and Eva Mendes' beautiful cleavage! (I love you Eva! Please marry me, support me with all the money you make with your acting career, and make love to me three times a day! Five times on Fridays! ;-) There's plenty to like here folks, so if you're heading to a theater sometime this week, I suggest that you give "Ghost Rider" a chance. But please, if you do, don't bring a mentally retarded person that has random outbursts of laughter and nonsensical babbling. It is sort of distracting, so please, think of the other theater patrons.

Anyways, I'm proud to give "Ghost Rider" THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE 'RADS!' It’s a lot of fun, treats the source material with respect (my comic book geek buddy Chris had NO complaints... odd), and showcases Eva Mendes' heavenly cleavage. What's not to like?!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I said Hey - what's goin' on?!

The answer, not much. This has been a hellacious week for yours truly, mainly at work. Due to the huge dumping of snow on Wednesday, things were all out of whack this week (plus shoveling feet of snow and mopping up the snow/salt residue left by customers is no fun at all), plus I missed a day of work so I have to be more careful than usual with my next paycheck. (Drats! Guess I'll have to hold off on buying any DVDs until mid-March!)

Concerning Rogue Cinema and the Vault.... I've made absolutely NO progress on anything this week. However, my deadline is coming up for RC, so starting Monday, I'll have to bust my butt on a daily (and nightly) basis in order to complete everything. And I've hardly done much at all with my review for "Beast of Hollow Mountain" for the Vault. In the last week, I've only typed up a handful of paragraphs (after deleting most of my first draft) and I'm finding it extremely hard to get back into the swing of things. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I can assure you that the urge is there. I want to get the review done, but I just can't seem to find the willpower or the energy to sit here and finish it off and move onto "Valley of Gwangi." (And "Spacemen & Go Go Girls.")

In non-movie/website news, I've gotten a slew of stuff from "Centerfield Cards and Comics" in Endicott, NY (<== See that Scott? Free plug!) I had a great deal of stuff on order and spent 50 bucks on: Issue #1 of Marvel's Limited "Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born" Series, Issues #1 and 2 of "War of the Undead," Issue #2 of Avatar's "Night of the Living Dead: The Beginning," Issue #2 of Wildstorm's "Friday the 13th" series, Issue #5 of Wildstorm's "Nightmare on Elm Street" series, Issue #3 of Wildstorm's "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" series, Issue #3 of Dynamite's "Darkman vs. Army of Darkness" mini-series, and finally, the latest issues of "Fangoria Magazine" and "G-Fan!" So far I've delved into the "Dark Tower" comic and issue #1 of "War of the Undead." The former is awesome, and boasts an excellently written story (that mirrors King's writing from his 7 book epic) with beautiful artwork. The latter boasts a cool, but thus far incomprehensible storyline involving the Third Reich's army of undead beasties (which include zombies, a mummy, Dracula, werewolves, Frankenstein's Monster, and other critters). This stuff should hold me over until "Army of Darkness vs. Marvel Zombies" comes out! I can't wait for that!

Well that's it for now gang. I'm going to really try hard to get some writing done this week. (Truthfully, I have no choice!) Along with the stuff I've been promising to deliver, I am also going to post a mini review for "Audition" here in the Blog, and possibly even one for "Ghost Rider" if I do manage to see it tomorrow night with my girlfriend. So until then, keep fighting the good fight for b-movie lovers everywhere as I have done for the last six (going on seven) years!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mini Review: Nightbreed (1990)

"Nightbreed" (based on a director Clive Barker's novel "Cabal") is a film that I grew up watching multiple times on television. Though most know Clive for his creation of Pinhead and the Cenobites, I think a little time should be set aside for this seemingly forgotten film. In "Nightbreed," a young man named Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) becomes and undead hero for a race of mutants and monsters that live in a fabled underground city called Midian. (As a monster named Peloquin says:"God's an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow, and Midian's where the monsters live.") Boone's legendary status doesn't come easy as he is framed for multiple murders by the sadistic Dr. Philip K. Decker (played with zeal by David Cronenberg), killed, brought back to life, and forced to live in, and eventually defend Midian.

The storyline to this flick is pretty convoluted to say the least, as it strives to pack an entire mythology from a novel into a swift 102 minute running time. Despite that though, we do get to see a lot of cool creatures and some wonderful makeup and special f/x that's done in the old school fashion! The "Nightbreed," as Midian's denizens call themselves, are all different and each one has its own distinct ability and weakness. Some can be killed by sunlight (as one unfortunate nightbreed shows us), others buy bullets or knives, and still others by fire or other conventional means. Sadly, a good number of the nightbreed bite the dust toward the end of the flick during a minitaure apocalyptic battle between man and monster. (But in this fight, men are the true monsters, as they attempt to destroy what they're frightened of and don't understand.) In the midst of the battle, Boone battles his arch-nemesis, Dr. Decker, who wears one of the creepiest masks I've ever seen in my life. (Two creepy button eyes and a zipper mouth; Pictured Below!)

(Seriously, isn't that one of the freakiest things you've ever seen?!) During the battle, Boone emerges victorious, as do the surviving nightbreed, but now they must find a new home for Midian has been decimated. Sadly the film ends here before letting us know the fate of these wondrous beings while simultaneously setting things up for a sequel that was never (or has yet to) be made. (Note: Apparently a 25-issue comic book series was issued after the release of the film. I think I need to track it down!)

As I said, earlier, this movie just tries too hard to pack in a lot of backstory and origins of the titular creatures, but sort of gets lost along the way. But the awkward plot doesn't really hurt the film too much because of the great cast and special effects! (And a great sountrack courtesy of Danny Elfman!) The makeup in this film is fantastic and the variety of creatures in Midian is astounding. There's a sensual porcupine woman, a chick that can shapeshift into smoke (sounds lame, but damn she puts it to good use), various other shapeshifters, humanoid beings with multiple eyes and/or appendages, and then you have the highly dangerous (but bottom-rung) Berzerkers that are super-strong, impervious to conventional weaponry, and vicious as hell! As for the cast, I'd have to say that Dave Cronenberg wins out as the most memorable (and most terrifying) character in the film.

Apparently Clive Barker has some major issues with every branch of the medical profession (see also "Hellbound: Hellraiser II") as the real villain in this piece is Dr. Decker, the crazed psychologist that (figuratively) wears a mask of sanity to fool patients and colleagues alike. The distorted and utterly freaky mask he puts on (damn thing gives me the shivers) is in essence, his true face. (Yikes, am I throwing too much symbolism at you here?) And once he dons his "true face," Dr. Decker does what he wants, to who he wants, and the results are usually pretty bloody. In contrast, Boone (Craig Sheffer) is sort of a boring hero (and nightbreed) but I guess we can chalk that up to the screenplay and not Craig's acting. The fact that he's been stabbed and shot throughout the film sort of makes his final battle with Decker seem moot as the mad doctor is a mere mortal, armed with dual machetes.

In the end, "Nightbreed" manages to rise above its shortcomings to become one of the coolest monster flicks of all time. (At least in my book.) Fans of Clive Barker and monster cinema in general should give this flick a try, and kids from our newer generations need to see it, if only to see that there's no school like the old school when it comes to special effects in a film! I'm a bit torn as to what rating I should give this, but I feel pretty comfortable in award "Nightbreed" with THREE AND A HALF 'RADS'!

Oh and before I forget, if you want to read the novel "Cabal" on which this film is based, you can pick up a paperback copy at Amazon.com for a fairly decent price. For more info, click on the link to your right. I think I may have to pick this bad boy up. It sounds fairly enticing, and I'd love to know more about the nightbreed and their tumultuous history.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A quick update on things.

Before I get into any updates involving my site or Rogue Cinema, be sure to read my mini-review for "Near Dark" right here in my blog. (CLICK HERE for the review.)

Ok, so I've slowly been getting more work done on my overdue review for "The Beast of Hollow Mountain." I'm finding it hard to build up any momentum, but I can assure you that that particular review will appear at the Vault very soon. (Along with reviews for "The Valley of Gwangi" and "Spacemen & Go Go Girls Double Feature.")

In other Vault news, I've recently allied myself with WTF-FILM.com, an excellent online store that boasts a small, but mouth-watering collection of cinematic obscurities and rarities such as "The Deadly Mantis," "The Green Slime," and "Prophecies of Nostradamus!" If you see anything you simply must have then you can score yourself 10% off your purchase by clicking on this banner:
Save 10% off your order by using the discount code or just telling the webmaster that 'Jordan sent you!'

If you use the shopping cart on the site, type in bmfv10 to obtain your 10%-off coupon! If you'd rather send a money order or pay with PayPal, then e-mail the webmaster and let him know that Jordan sent you. ;-)

In Rogue Cinema news, I have yet to get my butt in gear on that stuff. I'm planning on sending out interview questions to Johnny Allen Shaw, the director of "My Big Fat Homeless Berkeley Movie" and I should start taking notes for my monthly Genre Watch article soon. Then there's the stack of screeners I have to watch.... (You know, sometimes this feels more like a job than a hobby.)

Lastly, expect to see more mini-reviews here on the Blog as I would like to type up the occasional short review every now and again after watching a movie. The next two films I plan on writing capsule reviews for are Clive Barker's "Nightbreed" and Takashi Miike's "Audition."

That's it for now, so I'll catch you on the flipside b-movie fans! Blog ya later! ;-)

Mini Review: Near Dark (1987)

Believe it or not folks until this very night I have never seen "Near Dark." The main reason is because the opportunity never presented itself until recently in which I bought (a used copy of) the old Anchor Bay single disc release for $5.95. And it was definitely a good buy! The film centers around a young man named Caleb who makes the mistake of falling in love with Mae, a mysterious young woman that isn't big on horses or the sun. Yes folks, Mae is a vampire and soon she turns her new boyfriend into one against his will. Soon Caleb falls in with Mae and her nomadic (and usually sadistic) family of vampires but calls it quits when the bloodsuckers try to make a meal out of his sister and father. Caleb manages to escape from the vampire clan and actually returns to his human form after receiving a complete blood transfusion from his father (played by Tim "Jack Deth" Thomerson). And when the film finally comes to a head, it delivers a quick and extremely anticlimactic ending.

"Near Dark" is a pretty good entry into vampiric cinema though it does take a bit too long to get started, and ends far too quickly than you'd wish. Bill Paxton easily steals the show in this movie as Severen, the most violent vampire of the bunch. His performance is extremely memorable and he definitely overshadows the rest of the crowd, even Lance Henriksen, who plays the key role of Jesse Hooker, leader of the vampire clan. Another plus in this flick was the awesome makeup f/x done of the vampires! These guys suffer so much sunburn and battle damage, and the special effects team just went all out! (Bill Paxton looks pretty messy toward the end of the film and plenty of blood oozes out of his ravaged face.) The effects were easily the best part of the film! As for the "Tangerine Dream" soundtrack.... the movie could've done without it; it just didn't seem to fit! (Another case in point, the theatrical cut of "Legend" features music by Tangerine Dream which is thankfully missing from the Director's Cut.) The music was so out of place at times, that it made my buddy Chris and I burst into laughter on several occasions. Seriously in the future folks remember this little equation: Tangerine music in a film = BAD IDEA!

All in all, I would definitely recommend "Near Dark" as it is a very well made movie with some interesting concepts involving the vampire mythos. And the makeup f/x and the fantastic cast more than make up for the plodding storyline and lousy music. So I'm more than happy to announce that this movie is worthy of THREE out of FIVE 'RADS!'

Thursday, February 8, 2007

I'm a Member of Movie Bloggers.com!

I got an invite to join Movie Bloggers.com late last week and after mulling it over, I figured "eh, what the hell" and signed up. If you have a Blog and write about anything movie related in it on a frequent basis, then why not sign up too? Just click on one of the little buttons over on the left column of the page (should be right under my mini-profile) and you'll be whisked away to the site. Signing up is quick and painless and soon, lots of people will be visiting your blog to read about movie stuff!

Blog ya later b-movie fans!

A lil update before I go to bed.

Hey gang! Sorry I haven't been blogging much, but I've been keeping very busy. I've got a lot to do for Rogue Cinema this month (with less time than usual because this stupid month is missing three days!) and I have a lot planned for the Vault! Speaking of which I just updated the DVD Shop and upgraded and updated the Poster Shop as well. Be sure to check them out and do a bit of shopping if you have any extra cash. Every purchase helps keep the Vault (and its poor webmaster) alive! Tonight I began work on my review for "The Beast of Hollow Mountain." The review is about 50% complete or so and should be done within the next few days. After that I'm going to tackle "The Valley of Gwangi" and the "Spacemen & Go Go Girls Double Feature" and then I'm going to dive into my Rogue Cinema material head first! If I manage to get all of that done within the next two weeks, then you may expect to see a review for "The Host" over at the Vault before February ends. (But I make no promises on that.) After I get the new stuff completed and uploaded, I plan on taking time to really dig in and get my older reviews back online. So once March rolls around, don't expect to see too many NEW reviews at the Vault, but do expect to see some old ones (that look new!).

Well that's it folks, I'm wiped out! I'll blog ya later!

Sunday, February 4, 2007


I was supposed to work today, but due to some curious happenstances at work, I've got the day off and can now enjoy the greatest sporting event mankind has ever known (next to "Beerfest" of course ;-). I'm leaving for my girlfriend's house in a few hours with an empty stomach that will soon be filled with wings, pizza, soda, chips, and maybe a beer or two! WOOHOO! SUPERBOWL! GO COLTS! LEAVE SOME HOOF-MARKS ON THE BEARS! CHICKEN WINGS!!!!!!!!!

The best part? I get to watch the game in Dolby Surround Sound on a flatscreen, HD-ready TV that's what..... 62... 64 inches? I forget, but its BIG! WOOHOO! Blog ya tomorrow football fans!

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Vault's January traffic stats!

Hey Blogheads, the Vault has experienced a huge surge in traffic since the big move late last year! If this keeps up, I imagine that the Vault will have 5,000+ unique visitors a month by the time December rolls around. Maybe even more! Here's January's traffic at the lil' ole Vault: (For comparative purposes, here's last month's traffic.)

1,308 unique visitors (408 of which have added my site to their Favorites folder) ventured into the Vault and racked up 1,631 visits and a whopping 40,358 hits! (And on a side note, my best day was January 25th, with 72 unique visitors!)

The five most popular reviews at the Vault in January were: The Monster Squad, Arena, Alien Predators, The Alligator People, and Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove!

The Vault was visited by folks from across the world, from over 50 countries! Once again America gave its (relatively unknown) favorite son the most lovin', with Canada, Australia, and Great Britain making up the remainder of the heavy hitters. (Apparently most English-speaking nations find my site at least a little bit interesting.)

The most used keyphrase used to find my site last month was "resident evil extinction." (Due to a news story that I posted on the main page concerning the next Resident Evil film.)

Not a bad start to 2007 at all if I do say so myself. I've already had over a hundred unique visitors and it's only the third day of the month!

All I can say is keep visiting people! Knowing that a good number of folks from across the globe are viewing my site will be a help in getting me off my lazy arse to get some reviews uploaded! ;-) That's all I wanted to share tonight b-movie fans, so for now, I must bid thee goodnight.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

February issue of Rogue Cinema is online!

Hey gang, the latest issue of Rogue Cinema (www.roguecinema.com) is now online and though it's smaller than the last few, there's still three interviews, five articles, and NINETEEN movie reviews to browse through! Here are my contributions:

An Interview with Chris and Jim McLennan

Rogue Cinema Genre Watch - February 2007

Review: The Host (2006)

Review: My Big Fat Homeless Berkeley Movie (2006)

Review: Spacemen & Go Go Girls Double Feature (2006)

The next issue will show up on March 1st and already I have plenty of stuff to do! I'll be interviewing Johnny Allen Shaw, the (homeless) director of "My Big Fat Homeless Berkeley Movie," doing yet another Genre Watch article (and maybe a new kaiju article if I have the strength), plus I've already got a few screeners to tackle including "The Monster of Phantom Lake" and "Whispers from a Shallow Grave!"

That's all the Rogue Cinema news I have for you, so as I always like to say.... Blog ya later!