REVIEW: STEPHEN KING’S IT (1990)

CAST

Tim Curry (Legend)
Harry Anderson (The Escape Artist)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Dennis Christopher (Fade To Black)
Richard Masur (The Burning Bed)
Annette O’ Toole (Smallville)
Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps)
Tim Reid (That 70s Show)
John Ritter (Bad Santa)
Richard Thomas (The Waltons)
Jonathan Brandis (Seaquest)
Michael Cole (Chuka)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Frank C. Turner (Alone In The Dark)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Steve Makaj (Stargate SG.1)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Megan Leitch (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Laura Harris (Dead Like Me)

In Derry, Maine, 1960, a young boy named George “Georgie” Denbrough is lured to a storm drain by a strange, yet seemingly kind, man dressed in a clown costume named Pennywise. After a brief conversation, Pennywise reveals his malevolent nature and murders Georgie. Georgie’s older brother Bill is taunted by Pennywise as well. He and six other outcast children, who form a group called the Losers Club, discover they are all being tormented by the ambiguous clown. The rest of the group consists of the overweight but smart Ben Hanscom, asthmatic Eddie Kaspbrak who lives with his overprotective mother, Beverly Marsh who lives with her alcoholic father, comical Richie Tozier, Jewish boy scout Stan Uris, and African-American student Mike Hanlon. In turn, all of them are bullied by the psychotic Henry Bowers and his gang.

The Losers soon theorize that Pennywise is not a human being, he is instead an otherworldly creature that surfaces every thirty years in Derry to murder children and therefore they dub him “It”. To avenge Georgie and others killed by It, the Losers venture into the sewers where the clown lurks. They are followed by Henry and his friends Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, who threaten Stan, only for It to kill Victor and Belch, but spares the terrified Henry, whose hair turns white. It, as Pennywise, catches up to the Losers and grabs Stan, bragging that he is immortal and eats children. Guessing It’s powers are based around imagination, the Losers fight back using the same power, melting Pennywise’s face with imaginary battery acid and Beverly smashes a hole in his head using a silver projectile. Pennywise escapes wounded, and the seven make a promise to return and kill him should It resurface. Henry is arrested and institutionalized when he confesses to murdering his friends and the children It killed.

Thirty years later, in 1990, Pennywise returns and begins murdering children in Derry. Mike, a librarian still living in Derry, summons his six friends back to Derry to fulfil their vow. Bill has become a horror novelist married to actress Audra Phillips, Ben is an architect, Beverly is a fashion designer but in an unhappy relationship, Richie is a late night TV comedian, Eddie runs a limousine service but still lives with his mother, and Stan is a real estate broker. While five of them agree to come, Stan commits suicide in his bath tub and writes “It” on the wall in blood. The remaining six are individually scared by Pennywise, before reuniting for dinner, though Pennywise frightens them there too. They soon learn of Stan’s suicide shortly after.

Elsewhere, an older Henry is visited and befriended by Pennywise who sends him to Derry to kill the Losers. Audra also arrives in town following Bill but falls victim to It’s paralyzing “deadlights” and falls into a catatonic state. Henry wounds Mike, but is killed by his own knife during a scuffle with the other Losers. With Mike hospitalised, the five remaining Losers decide to destroy It for good. They confront It, who now appears as a monstrous spider. Eddie is killed by It, but Beverly mortally wounds It with her slingshot, and the Losers tear the spider apart. They remove the comatose Audra and Eddie’s body from the sewers, burying him in Derry’s cemetery.
The Losers go their separate ways, free from It’s torment forever. Richie is cast in a film, Beverly and Ben get married and are expecting their first child, and Mike recovers. Bill manages to coax Audra out of her catatonia by going on a ride on his childhood bicycle, which had once freed a young Stan from his fear. With It gone, the Losers can move on with their lives and leave Derry behind.Tim Curry is amazing as Pennywise, bringing a truly terrifying dimension to the evil clown. There are incredible performances from the child stars, all of whom are engaging and. The adult versions of the children are also excellent, particularly Tim Reid, Richard Thomas and, of course, the late, great John Ritter.  It’s worth mentioning that the DVD of “Stephen King’s It” contains an excellent commentary by the actors mentioned and the director, Tommy Lee Wallace (who also directed “Halloween 3:Season Of The Witch”). It is full of great trivia and anecdotes and John Ritter’s charisma and genuine love of the project shines through. So if you’re a fan of great horror and don’t mind developing a fear of clowns, then I highly recommend this under-rated gem of a movie!

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

CAST
Olvia Hussey (IT)
Keir Dullea (Blind Date)
Margot Kidder (Superman 1-4)
John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Andra Martin (Anastasia)
Art Hindle (Mutant X)
Leslie Carlson (Highlander: The Series)
A disoriented man climbs up into the attic of a sorority house while the occupants hold a Christmas party. Jess Bradford (Olivia Hussey) receives an obscene phone call from “the moaner”, a man who has recently been calling the house. After she calls sorority friends Barb Coard (Margot Kidder), Phyllis Phyl Carlson (Andrea Martin), Clare Harrison (Lynne Griffin) and the several other girls to listen, he starts saying perverted things to them, until Barb provokes the caller, to which he replies, “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU.” Barb and Clare argue about the things she said to him, and Clare leaves. She is then attacked and killed with plastic wrapping; her body is carried up into the attic, where the killer places her in a rocking chair and puts a doll in her lap.
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The next day, Clare’s father arrives to take her home for the holidays. The housemother, Mrs. Mac (Marian Waldman), cannot help him, and neither can Phyl or Barb. Meanwhile, Jess meets her boyfriend, Peter Smythe (Keir Dullea), a neurotic aspiring pianist, at the piano recital hall to inform him that she is pregnant and wants to have an abortion. Peter is upset and urges her to discuss the situation with him but she refuses. Elsewhere, Mr. Harrison, Barb, and Phyl go to the police to report Clare’s disappearance.Clare’s boyfriend, Chris (Art Hindle), is informed by Jess about the disappearance; they discuss it with Lt. Kenneth Fuller (John Saxon). A mother reports that her daughter, Janice, is missing as well. That evening, Mr. Harrison, Chris, and the sorority sisters join a search party for Janice and Clare. Back at the house, Mrs. Mac is packing her things and chases her cat up into the attic only to discover Clare’s body but is murdered by the killer by having a hook impaled in her throat. He then hangs her corpse up in the attic by the neck. After the search party finds Janice’s dead body, Jess returns home and receives another obscene call. Jess phones the police to report it; Peter arrives and argues with Jess about her planned abortion. He leaves after Lt. Fuller arrives to discuss the phone calls. A technician places a tap “bug tracer” onto the phone. Lt. Fuller also reminds Jess and Phyl that there will be an officer stationed outside the house. Christmas carolers then pay a visit to the house and sing Jess a song. The killer takes this opportunity to sneak in Barb’s room and murder her by stabbing her with a glass unicorn head, her screams for help are drowned out by the carolers so Jess and Phyl do not hear her. Jess receives another obscene call that quotes a part of the argument she had with Peter.
Phyl goes upstairs to bed and pays a visit to Barb’s room to check on her, as she discovers her corpse the door closes; she is murdered off-screen. Another call comes in, and this time, Jess manages to keep the caller on the phone for a minute, allowing the police to trace it inside the house. Jess is ordered to leave the house immediately and meet up with Officer Jennings (Julian Reed) outside not knowing that the killer slit his throat. Jess puts down the phone and yells up to Barb and Phyl. She arms herself with a fireplace poker and ventures upstairs, finding Barb and Phyl’s dead bodies propped up on the bed. Then, Jess sees the killer spying on her through the door crack, telling her not to Tell what we did, Agnes.., before she slams the door on him. The killer then attacks Jess and chases her through the house before Jess locks herself in the cellar. Peter appears outside a basement window, telling Jess he heard screaming. Jess, believing him to be the attacker, backs into a corner as he approaches.
Lt. Fuller and the police arrive and find Jess in the basement with Peter, whom she has bludgeoned to death in self-defense. Jess is sedated as Fuller and the officers discuss how Peter must have been the killer all along. They also discuss the fact that Clare and Mrs. Mac still have not been found, revealing that the attic has not been searched. The officers leave Jess to sleep in her bed while one cop keeps guard outside the house to wait for forensics to arrive to search the house and retrieve Barb, Phyl, Peter, and Jennings’ bodies. Once the house is quiet, the camera pans from Jess’s room to the attic ladder and up, with Clare and Mrs. Mac’s bodies. The killer says “Agnes, it’s me Billy”; the telephone begins to ring as the credits roll. Jess’ ultimate fate is left unknown.
A classic slice of Horror/Suspense from 1974. It’s a great atmospheric piece of film making It even manages to add some great moments of humour in this creepy and suspenseful film. It’s a true classic in the Horror genre.

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: BATMAN BEYOND- SEASON 3

Main Cast
Will Friedle (Batman Ninja)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Cree Summer (Bambi II)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast
George Lazenby (Gettysburg)
Sarah Douglas (Superman I & II)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Parker Stevenson (Baywatch)
Gabrielle Carteris (The Event)
Angie Harmon (Agent Cody Banks)
Nicholas Guest (Trading Places)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Ryan O’Donohue (Toy Story)
Victor Raider-Wexler (Dr. Dolittle 2)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Shannon Kenny (The Invisible Man)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th 8)
Clyde Kusatsu (Paradise Road)
Stephen Baldwin (Bio-Dome)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Gary Anthony Sturgis (Demise)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Malachi Throne (Catch Me If You Can)
Christopher McDonald (Stargate Universe)
Farrah Forke (Lois & Clark)
Wayne Brady (How I Met Your Mother)
Jodi Benson (Enchanted)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Takayo Fischer (War of The Worlds)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Henry Rollins (Wrong Turn 2)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Julie Nathanson (Dallas & Robo)
Keone Young (Crank)
Kerrigan Mahan (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Sean Marquette (Van Wilder)
Victor Rivers (Hulk)

MV5BNDc3MTU5NDY2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODg5OTQ1MjE@._V1_The episodes in this final release aren’t as dark as some of the great shows in the first box, but they’re still very exciting. The villains don’t have that tragic quality which translated so well from the regular Batman universe, but this lack of atmosphere is made up for with a great sense of adventure and fun.MV5BMTc1NTIxNTUwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzA5OTQ1MjE@._V1_“The Call”, for example, is a fantastic two-parter that sees Batman team-up with a future Justice League – it’s probably too much to assume that this “Justice League Unlimited” was a conscious forbearer to the actual series, but it’s certainly a great cartoon-geek moment. In the episode, Terry McGuiness uproots a villain who conspires to take over the JLU in a suspenseful story that has a great connection to the original comic book origin of the League.MV5BMTgwMzc0MTY4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTk4OTQ1MjE@._V1_But the champion episode of the box – and perhaps the series – is “Out of The Past” (would it surprise you to learn that it’s penned by Paul Dini?). Not only does the episode bring back two excellent characters from Bruce Wayne’s past, Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia, and not only does it do it in a way that resonates with both Batman and Bruce, but it’s got, hands down, one of the best tongue-in-cheek moments in the entire DC Animated Universe. It is the stories, and their execution, where the true appeal of these episodes lies. Sure there’s a great setting and a great character, but each of these mini sci-fi/fantasy stories is a very fun and exciting peak into a great imaginary world. Sure, one that happens to borrow a lot from the Batman mythology, but it’s the show’s imaginative qualities that make it a unique world that translates perfectly to the cartoon form.x1080-lasWhile the traditional episode structure does tend to bore, it also does its job. Furthermore, the imaginative fight scenes – whether they be with a villain who is physically untouchable, or a fight in a giant wind tunnel – will keep your attention long after more kinetic, but ultimately rote new series have lost their appeal.  A major sticking point to this set is the lack of a satisfactory conclusion. The series was rather abruptly put to a stop after its checkpoint 52-episode run in 2001. It wasn’t until Justice League Unlimited’s Season Four finale, “Epilogue”, that Batman Beyond was given a proper send-off. But what a send-off it was! After you finish this set it is highly recommended that you seek out the aforementioned episode. While this box’s closer, “Unmasked”, is a nice story, it’s not the series finale that, ironically – yet thankfully – another series would provide. Batman Beyond was born out of a WB executive’s desire to cash in on a popular and recognizable franchise. Because of the fantastic people behind the show, what might have been a hollow concept was turned into something fresh, imaginative, and very worthwhile.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 3

Starring

Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)
Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives)
David Kaufman (Stargate SG.1)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sharon Lawrence (The Ranch)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Renée Taylor (The Nanny)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Brad Garrett (Christopher Robin)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Steve Sandor (The Yellow Rose)
Joseph Bologna (Big Daddy)
Bruce Weitz (Half Past Dead)
Victor Brandt (The Batman)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
Diane Michelle (Robotech: The Movie)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
William H. Macy (Fargo)
Peter Gallagher (The Gifted)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mathew Valencia (The New Batman Advntures)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
John Glover (Smallville)
Paul Williams (Smokey and The Bandit)
Henry Silva (Above The Law)
Bob Hastings (The Poseidon Adventure)
Charity James (Space Jam)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
Chad Lowe (Unfaithful)
Melissa Joan Hart (No GOod Nick)
Joely Fisher (The Mask)
Bud Cort (Harold and Maude)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Gilbert Gottfried (Critters: A New Binge)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Carl Lumbly (Supergirl)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Michael P. Greco (Bleach)
George Dzundza (Crimson Tide)
Peter Mark Richman (Defenders of The Earth)
Melissa Disney (Superman vs The Elite)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Billy West (Futurama)
Stephen Root (Barry)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
David Warner (Tron)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Michael Horse (Roswell)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)

3447328-absolute-powerSuperman is everywhere. He’s also been everywhere; for nearly seventy years now the character has been inspiring us with his tales of heroism, adventure, and fantasy. Seventy years is a long time and with a character as popular as Superman it equates to a lot of different interpretations. From the original comic books to a radio series to a handful of television shows, it seems that the Last Son of Krypton has done it all. We are very lucky then to have these DVDs, because in all of that time, throughout all the years, the stories found in Superman: The Animated Series are his best. The fifty-four cartoon episodes (spread across three boxed sets) that make up the complete run of Superman: The Animated Series aren’t just the best take on the character because they’re faithful. Nor is it because they’re animated, for all ages, or very imaginative. It’s for all of these reasons. And several more.3447300-little_big_head_manThe creative team behind the series has plundered the rich mythology of the character and come up with a fantastic take on each and every piece of the Superman universe. For starters, their Clark Kent and Lois Lane interpretation is spot-on. Clark isn’t too much of a goof, nor is he too simple. Similarly, Lois is fiery, funny, and lovely. Seeing the characters come together at the end of Legacy, Part 2 makes for a great cathartic moment. Superman has saved Lois a countless number of times, it is only fitting then that Lois save him when he needs it. The main arc of this season borrows from the comic book universe and brings Darkseid and his homeworld to the forefront. Hinted at earlier in the show, it’s in this third volume that the Lord of Apokolips finally gets his payoff – and his payback. In a trio of two-parters, Apokolips… Now!, Little Girl Lost, and Legacy, Superman fights one of his most ruthless foes in a series of episodes that offer some excellent action, drama, and science fiction fun.maxresdefault (1)While these episodes are very faithful to the mythos, we’ve also got a great selection of original stories that go to prove that with a character like Superman, there is no limit to the stories that you can tell. One of my favorites is Knight Time. When Batman goes missing, Superman pays a visit to Gotham City and tries to find out where his friend has gone. Supes inadvertently ends up masquerading as Batman – dressing up in the Dark Knight’s costume and everything! – and teams up with Robin to solve the mystery of the missing Bruce Wayne. Not only is the episode entertaining, but it’s also got a great sense of humor. Seeing Superman do his best impersonation of Batman is wonderful – Clark doesn’t know which utility pockets contain what, and his attempts at being grim (nodding his head instead of speaking) are great.stas-legacy7Watching these shows you get the feeling that it was during this final stretch of episodes that the show’s producers were finding new ways of playing with the formula that they had designed, and perfected, with both Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. Not only do these Superman episodes have a lot of two-parters, but we’ve also got some great guest-stars; it seems that this show is the precursor to Justice League. We’ve got heroes, Kyle Rayner from In Brightest Day, and villains, Ra’s Al Ghul in The Demon Reborn, and everyone in between – everyone’s favorite master of the sea, Aquaman in Fish Story. We also get an expansion of the Superman supporting cast when Supergirl makes a welcome appearance in the Little Girl Lost two-parter.Superman_TAS_2x27_001The animation is somewhat more limited when compared to the fancy digital effects that more modern shows exhibit, but the handcrafted style gives the show a wonderful atmosphere. If you pay close attention you’ll notice that a lot of effort has gone into the design of the animation – much more so than most animated series. The framing here is frequently packed. Helping flesh out the world are all of the voice actors; everyone from Tim Daly (as Superman/Clark) to Clancy Brown (as Lex Luthor) is perfect in his or her role. The only thing holding the show back, and this is a small point, is the fact that the stories, due to their child-friendly animated nature, are a little more limited than the best television shows tend to be. Even so, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better adventure series – animated or live action.Superman_meets_SupergirlIn one of the episodes found in this collection, Superman pays his final respects to a recently departed friend. In the graveyard, Superman comes to realize something very important: “In the end, the world didn’t really need a Super man. Just a brave one.” This show gives us a character who is both brave and super. It gives us a real hero. It gives us Superman… as good as he’s ever been.

REVIEW: GARDEN OF EVIL (AKA The Gardener)

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CAST
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween I & II)
Angie Everhart (Last Action Hero)
Richard Grieco (22 Jump Street)
Olivia Hussey (IT)
Kelly Nelson (Children of The Corn III)
Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

 

Malcolm McDowell plays Ben Carter, an introvert and well-regarded among his peers because of his beautiful flowers – roses, irises, lilies – no one can grow them like Ben. Enter Kelly, a detective, whose partner, Iris, goes missing after a drug bust and was last seen buying flowers at the Garden of Eden Nursery. Kelly decides to investigate Ben and she finds out about his history – he is actually a 35 year old man but has a disease that makes him look twice his age. And according to his aunt, he regards women as impure because he felt betrayed by his mother and high school girl friend, so he stays away from women and just spends his time tending his garden.

 

Kelly couldn’t link Ben to Iris’ disappearance and to the disappearance of other beautiful women around the area so she is forced to leave him alone. But she couldn’t so she takes a leave and follows Ben around and puts him under surveillance. One night, while he was out of the house, she was able to get soil samples from one of his flower pots and sends it to the lab. The results showed that the soil has traces of human blood in it. She sends it back so they could run a DNA test on Iris’ blood to see if it matches the one found in the soil. Ben finds out that Kelly is following him and confronts her. Charming as he is, he was able to convince her that he is innocent and is just a harmless gardener. Kelly, convinced, accepts his invitation for tea in his house. Wrong move. Kelly loses consciousness after drinking the tea and she wakes up tied up in Ben’s basement. There, he reveals the truth about the secret of his prize winning flowers. Ben tells Kelly that women are impure and that the only way they can be cleansed and live again is through his flowers. Before Ben kills her, she escapes (of course) and the lieutenant, Dean, who finds out about the lab tests, arrives just in time to save her.

Funny it may sound but the film is pretty decent. The special effects were good though some camera angles were a bit dizzying and inappropriate. McDowell was great as the charming and loner Ben. The scenes where he is alone were excellent as he was able to show the character’s demented side effectively i.e. talking to his flowers (and himself), concocting his ‘special’ fertilizer or communing with nature. Angie Everhart was fine as Kelly. It’s worth checking out for a small part from Walter Jones (Power Rangers) and also for  the flashback scenes where Malcolm McDowell plays a teenager in a hideous wig.