31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS

CAST

Robert Englund (V)
Heather Langenkamp (Hellraiser: Judgement)
Craig Wasson (Body Double)
Patricia Arquette (Medium)
Ken Sagoes (Death By Dialogue)
Rodney Eastman (Mobsters)
Jennifer Rubin (Screamers)
Bradley Gregg (Nightwatch)
Ira Heiden (Student Exchange)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Penelope Sudrow (Bronx Zoo)
John Saxon (War Wolves)
Priscilla Pointer (The Flash 90s)
Clayton Landey (Norma Rae)
Brooke Bundy (Lassie)
Nan Martin (Loving Couples)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (Batman 60s)
Stacey Alden (Grotesque)

Kristen Parker is a young girl who dreams herself into an abandoned house in Elm Street where she is chased by serial killer Freddy Krueger. She wakes up and goes to the bathroom, where she is attacked by Freddy again and slices her wrist with a straight razor. Believing her to be suicidal, her mother has her sent to Westin Hospital, run by Dr. Neil Gordon, where she fights against the orderlies who try to sedate her, for fear of falling asleep. She is eventually calmed by intern therapist Nancy Thompson who recites part of Freddy’s nursery rhyme and earns her trust.

Nancy is introduced to the rest of the patients: Phillip, a habitual sleepwalker; Kincaid, a tough kid from the streets who is prone to violence; Jennifer, a hopeful television actress; Will, who is confined to a wheelchair after a suicide attempt; Taryn, a former drug addict; and Joey, who is too traumatized to speak. Later, Kristen is attacked by Freddy again (this time as a giant snake), and unwittingly pulls Nancy into her dream with her, allowing them both to escape. Kristen reveals she has had the ability to pull people into her dreams since she was a little girl. Over the next two nights, Freddy throws Phillip off a roof in what looks like a suicide attempt and kills Jennifer by smashing her head into a television that she was watching.

In their next group session, Nancy reveals to the remaining patients that they are the last surviving children of the people who banded together and burned Krueger to death many years ago. Nancy and Neil encourage them to try group hypnosis so that they can experience a shared dream and discover their dream powers. In the dream, Joey wanders off and is captured by Freddy, leaving him comatose in the real world; Nancy and Neil are fired. Neil is told by a nun, Sister Mary Helena, that Freddy is the son of a young nun who was accidentally locked in a room with hundreds of mental patients who raped her continually, and that the only way to stop him is to lay his bones to rest. He and Nancy go to her father, Don Thompson, to discover where the bones are hidden, but he is uncooperative. Nancy rushes back to the hospital after she hears Kristen is going to be sedated, while Neil convinces Thompson to help them.

Nancy and the others again go through group hypnosis so they can reunite with Kristen, but are all separated after Freddy interrupts them. Taryn and Will are subsequently killed by Freddy while Kirsten, Nancy, and Kincaid find one another. The trio rescue Joey but are unable to defeat Freddy, who has become too powerful because of all the souls he has consumed. However, Freddy senses that his remains have been found in an auto salvage yard and possesses his own skeleton to kill Thompson and incapacitate Neil. He returns to attack the others, but Joey uses his dream power voice to send him away. Thompson appears to Nancy to tell her that he is “crossing over”, but he is revealed to be Freddy in disguise, who stabs and kills Nancy. As he is about to kill Kristen too, Nancy rises from behind and uses Freddy’s own claws to stab himself, saving Kristen heroically. Neil awakens and consecrates the bones, finally destroying him. Nancy dies in Kristen’s arms. At Nancy’s funeral, Neil sees Mary Helena again and when he tries to follow her, finds her tombstone, revealing herself as Amanda Krueger, Freddy’s mother.

This is a very much improved part of a franchise that could of died early on if it wasn’t for this third installment that brought sparkle back into the invading dreams plot with hugely improved acting,set pieces and at last genuine frights and humor when its needed.

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REVIEW: THE NAKED GUN 2 1/2: THE SMELL OF FEAR

CAST

Leslie Nielsen (Airplane)
Priscilla Presley (Dallas)
George Kennedy (The Dirty Dozen)
O.J. Simpson (C.I.A)
Robet Goulet (Two Guys and a Girl)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
Jacqueline Brookes (The Good Son)
Anthony James (The Teacher)
Lloyd Bochner (Drums of Africa)
Tim O’Connor(Wheels)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th – Part VIII)
Weird Al Yankovic (Halloween II)
Vitamin C (Get Over it)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (60s Batman)

maxresdefaultFrank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) is honored at the White House, where President George H. W. Bush (John Roarke) announces that he will base his recommendation for the country’s energy program on Dr. Albert Meinheimer’s (Richard Griffiths) advice at the National Press Club dinner the following week. The heads of the coal and oil (fossil fuel) and nuclear industries are apparently distressed by this fact, as Dr. Meinheimer is an advocate for renewable energy. Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley), now working for Dr. Meinheimer, is working late at his research institute, crying about Frank, when she spots a man leaving in a red van. A maintenance worker, emptying out garbage cans, discovers a clock with dynamite attached and takes it to the security guards, accidentally triggering it.
600full-the-naked-gun -from-the-files-of-police-squad!-screenshotThe next morning, Frank reacquaints himself with Jane as he interviews her about the explosion. He is shown around the institute and meets Jane’s boyfriend, Hexagon Oil executive Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet), of whom he becomes exceedingly jealous. Frank’s boss, Ed Hocken (George Kennedy), finds him and Jane at a lonely blues bar, where Frank promptly blows another chance to make up with her. Meanwhile, at a meeting of the “energy” industry leaders, Hapsburg reveals that he has kidnapped Dr. Meinheimer and found an exact double for him, Earl Hacker, who will give their recommendation to the President endorsing fossil and nuclear fuels.
600full-the-naked-gun -from-the-files-of-police-squad!-screenshot6Police Squad tracks down the driver of the van, Hector Savage, and find him connected to a sex toy shop. Once he discovers the cops are onto him, Hector holes up in a house, demanding money. Frank then takes it upon himself to drive a SWAT tank into and through the house, allowing Hector to escape and causing more damage when he loses control of the tank and crashes into the city zoo, causing all of the animals to escape. Later that evening, at a party Frank makes matters worse when he attempts to push the wheelchair-bound doctor up to the front of the room. However, in the encounter he notices that Dr. Meinheimer did not remember him upon sight. Since Jane told him he had a photographic memory, Frank confronts her with that at her home following the party. She refuses to believe him and dismisses him. Moments later, Hector enters the house trying to kill Jane, who spots and alerts Frank. After a tussle where Frank causes Hector’s body to burst by sticking a fire hose in his mouth and turning it on full blast, Frank confronts Jane again and she realizes that he was right. They then rekindle their romance.
32323232The next day Police Squad stakes out Hexagon Oil’s headquarters where Dr. Meinheimer is being held. Frank tries to go undercover into the building, but instead is discovered and tied up by Quentin’s henchmen. The rest of Police Squad is able to return after a snafu and free both Frank and Dr. Meinheimer, and head to the Press Club Dinner to try and intercept Earl. Finding their only way in locked, Frank, Ed, Nordberg (O.J. Simpson), and Dr. Meinheimer commandeer a mariachi band’s costumes and head in, stopping briefly to perform for the gathered crowd. After heading backstage, Frank encounters Earl, who attacks him. Several members of the Chicago Bears see this and begin attacking Frank, not knowing he is not attacking a defenseless man. The confusion ends when Ed and Meinheimer take out Earl so the doctor can begin his speech.
a4a636377f325d1ebc01de3d025a1045However, due to the confusion Frank does not know that Earl has been eliminated and goes into the gathering assuming Dr. Meinheimer is the fake one. After embarrassing himself for a few seconds, Ed comes in to inform the audience that Quentin is the mastermind of the whole scam. However, he has already left the room with Jane, and after a shootout on the roof of the building Quentin informs Frank that he has one more trick up his sleeve; he has rigged the building with a small nuclear device which will kill everyone in there except for him and render Dr. Meinheimer’s speech useless. As Frank gains the upper hand and is about to get the disarming code, Ed enters and throws Quentin out a window. On his way down Quentin hits an awning and is able to come to the sidewalk unscathed, but is immediately met by a lion and devoured. Frank frees Jane from being handcuffed to the bomb, and they attempt to disarm it while Ed and Nordberg go back into the ballroom to evacuate it. After several failed attempts, Frank finally manages to disarm the bomb at the last second by tripping over the power cord, unplugging it. He is commended by the President, who offers him a special post as head of the Federal Bureau of Police Squad. He declines, instead asking Jane to marry him, which she accepts. They go out to a balcony, where they accept commendations from the crowd. Frank spins around and accidentally knocks Barbara Bush (Margery Ross) off onto the edge. She manages to hold on, although in an attempt to help her, Frank pulls off her dress.
960I thought this film was hilarious! It was funny from the first shot to the last. Leslie Nielson was perfect for his role

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE COMPLETE 60’S SERIES

CAST

Adam West (Family Guy)
Burt Ward (Legends of The Super Heroes)
Alan Napier (Marnie)
Neil Hamilton (Tarzan The Ape Man)
Stafford Repp (Plunder Road)
Madge Blake (The Long, Long Trailer)
Yvonne Craig (Olivia)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Frank Gorshin (Star Trek)
Jill St. John (Diamonds Are Forever)
Burgess Meredith (Rocky)
David Lewis (The Apartment0
Leslie Parrish (Sex and The Single Girl)
Cesar Romero (The Thin Man)
Nancy Kovack (Marooned)
George Sanders (All About Eve)
Anne Baxter (I Confess)
Susan Silo (James Bond JR)
David Wayne (The Andromeda Strain)
Malachi Throne (Catch Me If You Can)
Myma Fahey (House of Usher)
Julie Newmar (Mckenna’s Gold)
Ziva Rodann (Forty Guns)
Victor Buono (Beneath The Planet of The Apes)
Olan Soule (The Toweing Inferno)
Francine York (The Family Man)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
Sherry Jackson (Brenda Starr, Reporter)
Julie Gregg (The Godfather)
Barbara Nichols (Where the Boys Are)
Art Carney (Last Action Hero)
Van Johnson (The Caine Mutiny)
Phyllis Diller (A Bug’s Life)
Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects)
Michael Pataki (Rocky 4)
Bruce Lee (Enter The Dragon)
Van Williams (Surfside 6)
Shelley Winters (Alfie)
Walter Slezak (Lifeboat)
Vincent Price (Edward Scissorhands)
Liberace (Another World)
Woodrow Parfrey (Dirty Harry)
Otto Preminger (Anatomy of Murder)
Carolyn Jones (The Addams Family)
Cliff Robertson (Spider-Man)
Ted Cassidy (Genesis II)
Maurice Evans (Rosemary’s Baby)
Michael Rennie (The Day The Earth Stood Still)
James Brolin (Hotel)
Lesley Gore (The Pied Piper of Astroworld)
Bob Hastings (batman: TAS)
Roger C. Carmel (Star Trek)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Seymour Cassel (Rushmore)
Lee Meriwether (Barnaby Jones)
Grace Lee Whitney (Star Trek)
Tallulah Bankhead (A Royal Scandal)
Eli Wallach (The Holiday)
Elisha Cook Jr. (Rosemary’s Baby)
Joan Collins (Dynasty)
Ethel Merman (Call Me Madam)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Milton Berle (Hey, Abbott!)
Glynis Johns (Mary Poppins)
Rudy Vallee (Sunburst)
Eartha Kitt (Holes)
Barbara Rush (When Worlds Collide)
Dina Merrill (Caddyshack II)
Linda Harrison (Planet of The Apes)
Ida Lupino (High Sierra)
Howard Duff (Kramer vs Kramer)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (Jack of Diamonds)

This is the show that set the tone for the Batman franchise for decades, good and bad, as its indelible mark is hard to erase. The power of the show is in how iconic it was, with every element so vibrant that it’s impossible to forget. Yes, it had the advantage of being the first modern-era mass-media representation of the character, and it also basically had the stage to itself forever, but there was so many memorable ingredients that made it the definitive Batman for generations. First among those were the performances of Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. Playing it completely straight–West with thoughtful gravitas, Ward with youthful enthusiasm–these actors kept the show from descending into parody. The world may be crazy, but our heroes remain vigilant defenders and detectives. The contrast makes their square-jawed heroics comedic, and the effect is enhanced when things get unusual like seeing Batman dance or surf, or when the Dynamic Duo are chilling out in the Batmobile eating burgers.
The structure of the series, which leans heavily on the style of the old serials and a well-defined formula, was also a big reason for the show’s success and long-lasting legacy. During the first two seasons, stories were split over two half-hour episodes, shown twice a week. The first episode would always end with Batman and Robin on the edge of destruction in some sort of insane death-dealing set-up, with the now classic refrain “same Bat-time, same Bat-channel” reminding viewers to come back to see the story’s weekly conclusion. These cliffhangers, along with the emphatic narration, the atmospheric music, the wonderfully detailed sets and costumes and the choreographed fight scenes, which feature the show’s famous “Pow!” and “Bam” visual sound effects, all serve to create a larger-than-life adventure series that’s great fun to watch.
Though West doesn’t appreciate the show being described as campy, it’s hard to think of a word that fits the series better. The thing is, you have to separate the ideas of bad and camp. Camp doesn’t have to be bad. It just has to be absurdly silly. So much of the show is obviously aiming for comedy, be it the way Batman solves impossible clues impossibly quick, the goofy names of the bad guys’ labeled henchmen, the villains’ strange obsession with personal branding, the overly literal signs seen all over the place, or the strangely specific gadgets Batman always has at the ready. I mean, really…an empty alphabet soup bat-container? Then there are the overtly humorous parts, like the cameos when Batman and Robin climb up the sides of buildings, which feature celebrity cameos from Sammy Davis Jr., Don Ho, Santa Claus and Lurch from The Addams Family. Elements like this earn plenty of chuckles throughout the series, but they don’t take away from the fun of the action or the crime-fighting plots. They also serve to make for what might be the most accessible Batman ever; enjoyable for young and old alike.
The show burned brightly, but only for three seasons, crashing hard considering the show’s immense popularity. Perhaps it was overexposure due to the twice-a-week schedule, with 58 episodes in season two, but the show was definitely showing signs of slowing down in the final season before cancellation, including mostly eliminating the cliffhanger, instead linking episodes via a coda at the end. Whether it was an artistic choice or otherwise, the weird way the show started to use “suggested sets,” in which parts of a set were placed in an otherwise black room to create the idea of the setting, made it seem like something had changed for the worse. Another major change in the third season also stood out somewhat negatively, as Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl (the crime-fighting alter-ego of police commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara) was added to the show as a regular. She didn’t bring a great deal to the party though, outside of a great costume design, as she often needed saving as much as she helped the team.
The other issue with Batgirl was she was further evidence of the show being a product of its time, as, in addition to the clothes, sets and language all being heavily dated to the ‘60s (especially in the third run), sexism is rampant throughout the series, whether display via the eye-candy molls of the villains or the drooling narration for the new distaff member of the Bat-team. The portrayal of women is pretty much entirely negative in the show, with flippant remarks about the vanity of women or their value, while one villain, Nora Clavicle, is actually a women’s rights activist, who replaces the police force with women, who are only interested in coupons and recipes. The rampant misogyny is odd considering the show was progressive enough to have an interracial flirtation between West’s Batman and Kitt’s Catwoman.
Though the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder are obviously the stars of the show, the villains are what defines the series, as has always been the case with Batman. In addition to his traditional rogues gallery, including Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman, this series introduced a number of freshly-minted felons, some of which eventually were incorporated into the comic books, like Victor Buono’s over-acted King Tut. The oft-ridiculous nature of these baddies, which were often created to give big celebrities of the day a chance to play, like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Minerva, Milton Berle’s Louie the Lilac or Liberace’s Fingers, was a big part of why the show was viewed as campy.
As goofy as the new creation were, the originals were wonderfully evil, especially Cesar Romero’s Joker, Frank Gorshin’s Riddler and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman (though that shouldn’t take anything away from Eartha Kitt’s purr-fect turn in the cat suit in the show’s third season.) These three each brought something special to the show, be it Romero’s manic glee, Gorshin’s dark intensity or Newmar’s unrestrained sensuality. The problem with having the villains be such a focal point of the show is it makes the series uneven, as a weak villain, like Van Johnson’s Minstrel or Maurice Evans’ Puzzler, usually makes for a weak episode. The exception to that rule would have to the two-part “A Piece of the Action”/”Batman’s Satisfaction”, which had a terrible nemesis in the stamp-forging Colonel Gumm, but which is great fun because of a crossover with The Green Hornet, which meant Van Williams and Bruce Lee were on hand for twice the crime-fighting action. Just seeing Lee on Batman was great, but having two masked heroes and their rich alter-egos interacting without each other knowing made for a fun twist on the heroes.

Looking at the set as a whole, it’s easy to wonder why the first 12 discs are extras-free. There’s not a commentary to be found. Considering how long the wait has been, and how influential and popular the show is, you’d think there would be plenty of people that would want to sit down and talk about this show. It’s bad enough that the lengthy delays have resulted in many of the cast and creators passing before its release, but to not have any contemporary perspectives is just doubling down on this problem.
There’s also the fact that two separate releases of bonus content that have been released in the past, “Holy Batmania!,” which offered four documentaries on the series, and “Adam West Naked,” a collection of recollections produced by West himself. Some of this contest should have been included on the third disc of season three, which has just two 30 minute episodes. What’s worse is Warner Brothers is offering “Adam West Naked” as part of an odd package online that includes the first 64 episodes, the Batman ‘60s movie and some ephemera.
Thankfully the 13th disc fills in a lot of the gaps holding all of the set’s bonus content, most of which is courtesy of master extra maker Alexander Gray, who has produced and directed this kind of material for loads of DC-related DVDs. It all starts with “Hanging with Batman” (29:56), which focuses on West, looking at his life, from his childhood to his acting career, with plenty of time on his experiences as Batman and the legacy of that performance. The piece, which is loaded with archival photos and video, isn’t fluffy in any way, touching on some of the darker moments of West’s life, including controversy that surrounded him at his peak as a star and his personal and professional struggles in the wake of the show’s cancellation and the character’s rebirth with the Tim Burton movies. An excellent profile of a charismatic man with an interesting life.
“Holy Memorabilia, Batman!” (29:59) looks at the fans, a few in particular, and the collecting that sprung up around the show, including the key pieces and the process of acquiring them. With Toy Hunter’s Jordan Hembrough providing expert (and some personal) perspective, the featurette checks out the collections of actor Ralph Garman (Family Guy, the Hollywood Babble-On podcast) and Guinness record-holder Kevin Silva, as well as the work of Mark Racop, who builds replica Batmobiles. The Garman segments also feature a visit by West to check out (and even try on) the goods, and the result is an excellent look at a side product of the series.
An odd inclusion is “Na Na Na Batman” (12:15) which features a huge roster of producers and directors from Warner Brothers-produced series talking about the Batman series, including their memories of watching the show (if they are old enough) along with the costumes and villains. The connection to the show for most of these participants, which include Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Mike O’Malley, Stephen Amell, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles, is beyond tangential, which coats the whole piece with a sheen of promotion, but if you’re a fan of shows like Supernatural, Arrow, The Following and The Mentalist, perhaps you’ll enjoy these worlds crashing together. Wedged in here with all these people is West and Burt Ward, bringing things back to center a bit.
The point of “Batmania Born!” (29:41) isn’t entirely clear, as it can get a bit scattered in terms of the subject matter, but it seems to mainly talk about the look of the series, and mainly features the voices of people from the world of comic books and related TV series, though some production design and costuming people sneak in as well to discuss the visuals of Batman, including the influences of the comic books, the animated opening, the tights and, most interestingly, the negative effect the show had on comic books in the larger world of entertainment. Among those sitting down to chat are Jim Lee, Bruce Timm and Julie Newmar, long with archival clips of Cesar Romero and Frank Gorshin, making this catnip for comics fans.
Lee and Garman return in “Bats of the Round Table” (45:08), joining Batman superfan Kevin Smith and actor Phil Morris (Smallville), as they sit down for a meal with West. Unsurprisingly, the chat is dominated by Smith–a natural conversationalist–but they all chime in at some point, peppering West with questions and actually getting some interesting answers, including talk about dealing with a difficult Otto Preminger, who West’s favorite guest star and favorite Catwoman was, life on the set and a fun story about Ward and Bruce Lee. One wonders how the mostly unconnected Morris got in on this group (though he does have a Batman story of his own to share), but they all interact well in a smooth-flowing get-together. The ending may be slightly cheesy, but it’s a satisfying featurette.
Though there are no commentaries in this set, there are two pseudo-commentaries, in the form of the two-part “Inventing Batman: In the Words of Adam West.” These pieces, which run a total of 59:08, feature West, in occasional picture-in-picture appearances, reading excerpts from his shooting scripts for “Hi Diddle Riddle” and “Stuck in the Middle” while the episodes play. There’s a tremendous amount of dead air (probably more than half the episodes are just the original audio), which may explain the lack of commentaries, but it’s great when West shares the notes he made on the script during the production process and his thought process for the character.
The bonuses wrap up with a quartet of rarities, which are mostly great to check out. First up is the 7:54 pilot for Batgirl. This never-aired “episode” was intended to show the character could work, in advance of her introduction in Batman’s third season. This compact adventure, which features Batgirl fighting Killer Moth and his gang alongside the Dynamic Duo in a library, feels just like the Batman series, complete with the “Pow!”s, but with a lot more sexism, courtesy of the narrator and Batman himself. Today, it’s really kind of creepy.
Also included are a pair of screen tests for the show, which are truly fascinating. First up is West and Ward (6:16), in a proto-Wayne Manor and the Batcave, doing a pair of scenes, following by a brief tumbling and karate demonstration by Ward and some silent footage of the pair in the ‘Cave. The performances were so fully formed right off the bat (no pun intended) that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the roles. That’s solidified when you see Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell try out for the parts (4:23), doing the same roles on the same sets, with the same sketchy costumes. Robin is more childish in Deyell’s performance, while Waggoner doesn’t bring the same measured intensity as West. Watching it though, allows you to picture an entirely different history for Batman.
The final entry is a James Blakely Tribute (2:24). The title is a bit misleading, as it’s just a clip of Blakely, post-production supervisor on the show, discussing the story of the series’ development and the idea of editing in the show’s iconic sound-effects graphics. It’s not really a tribute in the traditional manner.
 It’s only natural that waiting so long for these episodes to arrive on home video has made expectations unmeetable, but between the wonderfully silly show, the quality of the presentation and the excellent extras that actually have been included, this set is one all Batman fans will want to own.