Posts Tagged ‘Comic Book’

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Creepshow 2 (1987 New World Pictures Dir. Michael Gornick)

How do you follow the success of one of the most popular horror anthology movies ever? You make Tales from the Darkside for TV of course. What if you’re knee deep in that program and someone reminds you that Creepshow was a theatrical release and that they’d like to have another movie? Well, if you make a sort of halfhearted sequel that’s under funded and as a result fails to capture quite the spirit of the original. I place no blame at the feet of director Michael Gornick. I’ve listened to his commentary and it sounds like he made the best product he could with the tools he was given to work with. The problem was that New World Pictures was trying to make the movie on less than half what the first movie cost, which I can’t help but wonder if that frustrated Romero, which caused him to pass on directing duties. As I understand it, Romero was going to write and direct, and then decided to pass the directing duties to Tom Savini, who either because of time or not wanting to deal with what was becoming a cost cutting adventure passed it on to Gornick. Additionally, because of some production problems, the bonding company ended up placing extra pressure on the company asking them to speed up the production. So, there was some frustration in production, and that caused the end product to be less than stellar. It’s not even that this is bad, or not an enjoyable ride. It’s good, it’s fun, it’s just not as good or as fun as the original. It’s worth watching though, so let’s dive in and check it out.

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Creepshow (1982 Warner Bros. Dir. George A. Romero)

How does one begin to talk about Creepshow? I have to do an above the fold description, but it’s hard to know where to begin. This is a strange celebration of so many things that established wisdom says is bad for you. The horror comics of the E.C. era, anthology films, and of cheap and dirty storytelling. See, anthology movies never work. So says Hollywood. Argument not without some merit, as they rarely find an audience, thus they have poor box office and are difficult to manage artistically. The horror comic scare of demented perverts like Fredric Wertham* are the reason wanna be lawmakers even today try to demonize funny books. And even the short stories that these tales are based on are looked down on by snooty critics who can’t find any merit is works that people might actually enjoy reading. This is just a big bowl of everything that’s bad for you. I guess that’s why it’s so darn good. This is King and Romero doing their best scary-fun work.

*I’m just saying, no one ever though Batman and Robin were gay until this guy pointed it out. We also didn’t know Plastic Man was a phallic reference before him, or that Wonder Woman was a lesbian slut or that Superman was an un-American fascist. The guy was deranged, and a seriously shitty researcher to boot. I honestly can’t decry the fuckbag enough.

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Tales from the Crypt (1972 Amicus Productions Dir. Freddie Francis)

Tales from the Crypt! No, not this Tales from the Crypt, nor this one, not even that one that had Dennis Miller in it, but the 1972 UK movie. The Stories are based on the old EC comics though, just not all of them are from Tales. One is from The Vault of Horror, two are from The Haunt of Fear and two are from Tales from the Crypt. However, as they were all owned by EC Comics, I’m sure it doesn’t matter. Most the guys who actually wrote the stories that these short films were based on worked on all three comics so there was a lot of cross pollination and I’m sure it really didn’t matter too much which comic they actually got published in as long as there was money involved. Hell, since The Old Witch, Vault Keeper and the Crypt Keeper kept showing up in all three titles, I’m pretty sure any given artist or writer had no idea what title would end up being slapped on any given book on any given day! “Enough history!” I hear you cry out. “What about the movie?”

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There is a flaw in this list. I’m hoping if I point it out in the introduction, I’ll be forgiven for the flaw. See, this isn’t really the best movies based on comic books that aren’t superhero themed, just the best ones I’ve personally seen. Ghost World is supposed to be really good, but I’ve just never gotten around to watching it. As a result, it can’t get on the list. That fact flaws this list immensely, but hopefully not to a point where it becomes unforgivable.

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Azumi (2003 Dir. Ryûhei Kitamura)

This one is by special request. Actually, Syd suggested it more than requested it, but it sounded better to say it was a request. You might want to make yourself a Samurai Girl before we start though, as a cocktail sometimes helps the movie gown down a little more easily. This is a movie based on a manga, which I’ve never read and thus have no idea if it matches the source material or not. I’m not finding a lot of information, so we’ll go the route of ignoring the comic book for the moment. I only bring it up because this is clearly a manga-ish movie. It’s also a sort of uneven movie in several respects. I’m going to say it at the start, so I won’t feel compelled to say it every time it comes up. Aya Ueto can act, but she’s not the best actor you’ve ever seen. What she can’t do is sword fight. It’s clear she was picked because she was cute and she was clearly a rising star at the time. She’s not exactly bad in this, but it’s pretty clear the character of Azumi is supposed to be a badass with the sword and it doesn’t come off properly here. Anyway, shall we begin? I should state here and now that my copy comes from England that I bought it about a year or two before there was a Region 1 disc and has it burned in subtitles. If you see subs in the screen caps, that’s just because of my troubles getting the shot I wanted. If you buy anything but the Optimum Asia disc from the UK, you probably won’t have burned in subs. If you need a drink with your film, try a Samurai Girl, which is actually pretty delicious.

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Title page!

The Spirit (2008 Lionsgate Dir. Frank Miller)

Get out your manliest whiskey for this one kids. Not because you like it, but because that’s what a Real Man® is supposed to drink. Yes, once again, my love for the silly and the stupid comes through. Here’s a controversial statement for you, The Spirit is actually pretty good. Okay, yes, the movie is bad. BUT! It’s a good kind of bad. It’s a “Saturday night with friends and a bottle” bad. In fact, it’s a lot of fun if you watch it with the right mindset. Yes, that mindset is that this is going to be a fun, campy, adolescent thrill ride, but I will point out it is based on a comic book.

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Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972 Toho Dir. Kenji Misumi)

How about an above the fold summary of the review? A decent actioner, which influenced the Invincible Hero movies of the 80s. While it’s got good action and story, it is heavily marred by misogyny and violence towards women.

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