“Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!” – Louis sets the scene in Ghostbusters.
Kim Jong-Il, the last but one despot in charge of North Korea, was a massive Godzilla & Kaiju film genre fanboy. To the extent that he arranged for the kidnapped South Korean director Shin Sang-ok to make this oddity. Unlike the films to which it pays homage, it’s set in days of yore rather than contemporary times. Due to North Korea being even more insular than the US, it didn’t reach audiences outside that country until 1998…
The same guy in the rubber suit as the Japanese Godzilla films shows up as the titular iron-eating monster and the production company Toho were only to happy to assist with special effects, no doubt for a hefty fee.
The same director would go on to make the awful Three Ninjas films under the Hollywood nom-de-plume Simon Sheen. Maybe there’s a case for totalitarian despotism when it comes to films after all! Enjoy!
Pulgasari (1985) – IMDB
We love us a bit of Crossroads. It taps into our love of eighties movies and guitar wizardry. Since watching it for the first time some twenty years ago though, we hadn’t rewatched the whole film. Instead we’ve just been watching the ending over and over.
It’s easy to write off the movie as Karate Kid with guitars, and it’s a fair comparison in many ways, but it’s also a decent buddy/road movie in its own right. It follows the story of Eugene Martone, a talented music student who takes a break from his classical guitar studies to track down Willie Brown, a legendary blues harmonica player who has ended up in a secure old folks unit after a lifetime of bad choices.
After breaking Willie out, the pair head South in search of the crossroads where Willie sold his soul. The journey is the good part though as Eugene slowly earns himself some blues cred by getting into arguments, playing in blues clubs and by getting himself dumped by the girl who went on to play Star in Lost Boys.
While the road trip is engaging and enjoyable, the final ten or so minutes are what the film is remembered for as Eugene battles for his and Willie’s souls in an epic guitar duel with Jack Butler (played by the talented Steve Vai).
They trade blows with blues-rock licks before Steve Vai drops in his entire bag of tricks and drops a mid-80s guitar tech bomb all over Eugene. Just as it all looks lost, Eugene fucks off the bottleneck and blues riffs and falls back on his classical training. A minute of classical guitar later and Jack Butler is defeated and it’s party time for Eugene and Willie.
Road movies, especially those set in the Deep South, are usually pretty timeless and that’s the case here. You can imagine much of the scenery is unchanged now and the quality of the music, and the acting, make Crossroads stand out from the usual mid-80s dramas.
You know, opinions are opinions and no-one is right and no-one is wrong but if you don’t like Big Trouble in Little China then you are dead to us. John Carpenter’s majestic masterpiece is so full of good moments that making a list like this is pointless.
It’s the number one movie that whenever it is on TV, we have to watch it to the end no matter which point we came in at. It’s full of great action, sharp humour and some magnificent individual performances. It’s also THE BEST FILM EVER MADE. Here’s why.
1. “Son of a bitch must pay”
How’s that for a fucking line? Kurt Russell’s portrayal of a typical tough guy is full of phony toughness and played as a parody but when he says lines like that, you have to believe!
2. Dennis Dunn. The little fella never practiced martial arts before taking the role of Wang. However, you wouldn’t know as he kicks and flips his way through the baddies. The martial arts action in this movie is spot on and before Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon came along and blew the illusion with all its overblown wire work, the action here was mindblowing.
3. David Lopan. The eight foot tall truck-chickening demon is truly badass with his ability to shoot light out of his gob but his best moment is in his elderly form when he takes the piss out of a recently-captured Kim Cattrall.
4. The Three Storms. Oh man…. all of them are badass. Especially Lightning who went on to influence Lord Raiden in the Mortal Kombat games. The electricity effects on that guy still look amazing. We’re not sure how useful Thunder’s special ability is though.
5. “Have you paid your dues, Jack?”
YES SIR, THE CHEQUE IS IN THE MAIL.
6. Jack’s face when he has to jump into the hole. Afraid?
7. The scene in the lift.
Jack Burton: Feel pretty good. I’m not, uh, I’m not scared at all. I just feel kind of… feel kind of invincible.
Wang Chi: Me, too. I got a very positive attitude about this.
Jack Burton: Good, me too.
Wang Chi: Yeah!
Jack Burton: Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?
8. The Chang Sing. Do the hand signal to someone who grew up in the ’80s. If they look at you funny, they aren’t worth knowing. Or they are Wing Kong and need hitting with machetes.
9. “Who are these people? Friends of yours, huh? Now this really pisses me off to no end!
10. Like I told my ex-wife, I never drive faster than I can see. And besides, it’s all in the reflexes.
Superhero movies are very much in vogue at the moment and I have to admit I’ve enjoyed the occasional Iron Man and X-Men movie. That said, for all their budgets and dazzling special effects, they will never top the mighty Superman II. No amount of CGI is going to match Zod and chums terrorising Metropolis. Man of Steel proved that.
Now when I say Superman II is my favourite superhero movie I mean it. Its a film that I truly love. Because of this, I had never watched Superman IV. Some memories are too precious to tarnish (only my deep love of Richard Pryor and that scene where evil Supes flicks peanuts at bottles makes Superman III tolerable to me) so I had avoided it.
However, the same chap that is responsible for me being in a DEATH PACT that means I have to watch the piss-poor crime drama, Bones, until it is cancelled or one of us dies, also demanded that I sit down and pay my Superman IV: The Quest for Peace dues. Fuck.
So, on a particularly lazy Easter Monday I sat down and finally watched it (despite owning it as part of a boxset for a few years now).
Superman IV is famous for being so awful that it led to the series being canned for the best part of two decades. I had seen bits of it. Terrible bits. But this was my first proper viewing.
So how was it? Well, controversially I have to say it’s not that bad. It’s bad, sure. It doesn’t deserve to be in the same series as the mighty Superman 1 and 2 but I was expecting it to fail on every level but it does have some redeeming features.
Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman all reprise their roles as Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luther respectively and all do a good job. Certainly they’ve never been surpassed in Man of Steel or Superman Returns, even if they are somewhat dialling it in in this movie.
And the film looks pretty good for the most part, despite being apparently filmed in Milton Keynes.
Where it falls down, hard, is in the effects, pacing and the story. The film is rooted in America’s cold war obsession of the 1980s and is a bit heavy-handed with its ‘gee, I wish there was no nukes’ message. The two main plot points are Superman ridding the world of nukes (by carrying them into fucking space, putting them in a giant fucking net and flinging them into the sun) and Lex creating Nuclear Man.
Now Nuclear Man is about the worst thing from any superhero movie. A mulleted English man who was born when Superman’s cloned DNA (from a strand of his ‘super hair’ for fucksake) is throw into the sun. They even explain away how he manages to be born with clothes. It’s complete horseshit. Worse is the fact that they build up all this bullshit for an hour and then cram in the fighting (they fight, Supes loses and runs off, he gets better, comes back and wins. You know, the usual) into the last thirty minutes.
It’s all a big load of rubbery old bollocks. Especially the scene with the Kryptonian elders that looks like a scene from A Christmas Carol and the fact that Lois’ love rival (whose name I can’t even be bothered to look up) is flown into space wearing a skirt and blouse and totally survives. WHAT?
That said, for a slice of ’80s family fun, it could be worse. The cast and production save it from being truly awful but it’s never good either. That said, it’s a shame that this was probably Reeve’s last major role and it turned out to be a stinker.
(note: we stole at least one GIF from this article and it’s pretty fucking good, so read that)
Like most things that were ever good, the Terminator franchise has been kind of ruined. Firstly by cunts calling it a ‘franchise’ and secondly by some shoddy treatment by people who shouldn’t be let near it. For me, the decline started with T2. Yeah, yeah I know. You all love Terminator 2 but don’t. It’s good, if not literally fantastic, by today’s standards but it was Disney Terminator. I know now why you cry? Yeah it’s because of lines like that.
When it comes to Terminator it all starts and ends with the original. Sure, it was a low-budget affair that seems tailor-made for the limited acting capabilities of Arnold Schwarzenegger but it’s a remarkable film even now. Often mistaken for sci-fi, The Terminator is in fact one of the greatest horror movies ever made and here’s why…
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger is not to be fucked with. Sure, his stint as the Governor of California took away the few cool points that his risible 90s output left him with but in this film he was terrifying. Ruthless, efficient, emotionless and built like a series of well-stacked brick shithouses, it’s easy to forget that Arnold in this film was about one thing: murder. No jokes, no learning human emotions. He barely has any lines in the movie and one of them is ‘fuck you, asshole.’
You kind of have to admire that.
2. In Terminator 2, Sarah Connor tells her son that he doesn’t know how hard it is to kill a T-800. In this film you saw exactly how hard it is. It keeps advancing after car crashes, multiple gunshots, getting exploded in a fuel tanker, getting its leg blown off by a homemade explosive and… er… getting hit about the head with an iron bar.
Eventually, Sarah has to crush the unyielding mechanical bastard in an industrial press. And it still leaves an arm behind that ultimately creates Robert Patrick or something.
3. Michael Biehn. He may be like 5ft nothing below sea-level but god damn it Biehn is the best ’80s action hero. He fucking acts his arse off in this film and manages to get laid wearing tramp trousers. What a bad motherfucker.
His scenes in the police station are pure gold as he tries to explain to everyone just what a robotic prick the T-800 is and even though he dies a cheap death it’s still his movie.
4. Detective Hal Vukovich. As played by Lance Henriksen. Lance was the original choice to play the T-800 (which might have been awesome given his occasionally creepy turn as Bishop in Aliens). Instead he gets to play a cop but he does it well and has this fun little annecdote.
“That guy Silberman cracks me up. Last week he had this guy in here that burned his Afghan. He screwed it first and then he set it on fir…”
I wonder where that was going?
5. Sarah Connor. Before the weight of six billion impending deaths sent her into a chain-smoking, chin-up repping tailspin, this film sees Sarah dealing with the insanity of this time-travelling, cyborg-fleeing adventure with the confusion and vulnerability that is a lot easier to relate to. It’s a big hearted performance by Linda Hamilton.
6. “I love you too,” says the hugely muscular cyborg with the grandmother’s voice. Creepy.
7. Club Tech Noir. From that moment on, every club scene in every movie was the Club Tech Noir scene. Fuck the first fifteen minutes of Blade. Club Tech Noir, baby.
8. Hey! It’s that guy!
9. Franco Columbu tearing up the future with his mini-gun of DOOM. “The 600 series had rubber skin, we spotted them easy.” Yet you weren’t suspicious of a tiny Italian Mr Olympia runner up who can LIFT CARS IN REAL LIFE even though the only protein intake in the future is from roasted rats?
10. “You’re terminated, fucker” and I’m off to spend the next decade getting Mexicans to teach me how to strip AK-47s. Good ending, great quote.
Didn’t you just…. yeah we did, shut up. So, we love The Thing. It’s the best horror film ever made. Fact. It may also be the best film ever made. It’s so good that it even spawned a fairly credible follow up.
How do you not love The Thing with it’s ridiculously tight casting and insanely good practical effects? It’s the greatest movie ever made (according to us today in our particularly fickle opinion) and here are ten reasons why we’re right about this.
1. If you speak Norwegian, the opening scene tells you what the film is going to be about. “Get the hell outta there. That’s not a dog, it’s some sort of thing! It’s imitating a dog, it isn’t real! Get away, you idiots!”
2. Even if, like us, you’ve seen it roughly a million times, you’re never quite sure who is a Thing at any given time. Seriously, watch it again RIGHT NOW. You’ll get so caught up in the suspense of the whole thing, your mind will forget that that guy is about to go all tendrils at everyone. How have they managed this?!
3. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!”
Simply the greatest line ever uttered. Sums up the situation quite well. Guy has heart attack, falls back, is defibrilated, chest opens up and chews the doctor’s hands off, gets set on fire, head peels off of his body, grows legs and runs off.
4. Except it’s not the best line ever uttered. It’s not even the best line in The Thing! That’ll be ” I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!”
5. MacReady. Kurt Russell nails this role. A mixture of laid back American heroism and utter terror and paranoia. From pouring drinks into chess machines to laying waste with a flamethrower, MacReady is the man.
6. The bit with the dogs. Even now, over thirty years since it was made, this scene is still terrifying and hard to watch. Some of the best special effects ever committed to celluloid.
7. The tension of the blood test scene. Holy shit!
8. Snow. Not enough films are set in the snow. I got married in Lapland earlier this year and it’s because of The Thing. Wrong hemisphere, I know, but fuck you. Snow is excellent.
9. Childs. GOD DAMN Keith David is a bad motherfucker. Childs is awesome in Alan Dean Foster’s novel (which has some fun stuff about him growing pot) but Keith David is unfuckwittable in this movie. Never been as good since but then again none of them have. Apart from Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China.
10. Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack, which is mainly just a note being repeatedly played on a bass guitar, is FANTASTIC. Minimalist and stripped down to the core, just like the movie. Arguably the second best ever soundtrack (after Lalo Schifrin’s Enter The Dragon score).
Despite owning Aliens multiple times (VHS, DVD sets, BluRay Anthology), I ended up watching it over the weekend because it was on television. Thing is, much like Big Trouble in Little China, when it starts you can’t look away. Even if it means enduring E4′s ridiculously frequent, and oddly preachy, advert breaks.
This was the first time I’d watched it since watching the BluRay extras and so it kind of broke the spell a bit initially as I kind of know how they did everything but after a few minutes you’re hooked again. It occured to me that that Aliens is the best film ever made. It’s always been in my top five (maybe three behind Repo Man and The Thing) but looking through more inquisitive eyes, I was amazed at how fucking great it really is.
1. Sigourney Weaver acts her arse off in this film. The bit where she first enters the colony after Apone and Gorman agree the area is secured. She looks fucking terrified. Especially when someone accidentally makes her jump. Then she goes from abject terror to motherly concern to righteous fury and everything inbetween.
2. Hudson. He’s whiny and oddly a bit of a macho arsehole for a guy who’s basically their IT techie but his despair and fear are palpable. A stunning performance and a really entertaining character who dies a hero’s death. Has pretty much all the best lines too. “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.”
“Well that’s a switch!”
3. That fucking bit where Hicks looks above the false ceiling. Look we know. Yes. They just turned the camera upside down but the impact of seeing those xenomorphs crawling towards him upside down… Jesus. Literally terrifying and awesome.
4. The bit with the sentry guns. It wasn’t even in the theatrical cut but it’s completely fab. “Next time they walk up and knock.”
“Yeah, but they don’t know that.”
5. Burke. The complete embodiment of corporate bastardness. How do you not love Burke? Even if he is a “rat fuck son of a bitch.”
Alas, we didn’t get to see his true comeuppance but his face to face meeting with a snarling xenomorph doesn’t leave you guessing what’ll happen next.
6. The battle under the primary heat exchangers. Absolutely terrifying chaos. Seeing each of the marines getting picked off one by one. When Apone buys it, it’s as shocking for the audience as it is for Gorman. “Apone? Talk to me.”
Also, I totally fucking thought Al Matthews was dead. He’s not. I saw him last year in person. He’s tiny!
7. The power loader. I don’t know how much of it is trickery but to me it looks like they built a proper fucking power loader.
And it looks like Sigourney Weaver was capable of operating it. Makes for a fab final battle with Queeny too. We probably shouldn’t mention Ripley crawling out of the airlock with open space on one side of her and a giant fucking alien hanging off of her ankle. But why let physics spoil your enjoyment of one of the best fight scenes in history.
8. Spunkmeyer. We barely got to know you, Spunkmeyer. But you had the best name. Ever.
9. Corporal Ferro. Colette Ferro may well be our favourite character. Also she buys it from the same xenomorph as Spunky did but is there a cooler character than her when she’s bringing down the dropship from the Sulaco? No. While Hudson is hyperactively reeling off their arsenal, Ferro’s going on about being in the pipe. Five by five, Ferro. Whatever that means.
10. Most importantly. Even now after watching this movie at least a hundred times, when the marines first go in I still feel like they are in charge and are going to make it. It’s only when the dropship crashes that I remember they are all doomed.
Aliens is unfuckwittable, son.
Trading Places was on TV the other day and had to be watched. It is, after all, one of the top five comedy movies of all time.
It’s a great movie with a ton of quotable lines (I still say ‘Merry New Year!’ each year) but this one-worder, delivered by the outstanding Denholm Elliott, is probably my favourite.
And there it is on Youtube already. This is the best time to be alive!
When it comes to John Carpenter’s criminally-underrated Prince of Darkness (1987), the whole movie’s pretty bleak. You’d think we’d be desensitised to a horror movie we’ve seen several times but no, Prince of Darkness is fucking terrifying.
The story about a group of scientists being possessed and murdered all in the name of the anti-matter God (ie: the Devil, ignore the sketchy science) in a creepy delapidated church is set up for all sorts of moody deaths and while Carpenter mixes it up with deaths by bike, nun, bugs and hobos (our four least favourite things), it’s the death of Calder, played by Jessie Lawrence Ferguson that is perhaps the hardest to watch.
After getting trapped by two possessed female colleagues (one of whom is mental as fuck and typing ‘I LIVE! I LIVE!’ into her computer), he ends up with one of them on top of him spewing demonic goo directly into his gob (this particular version of the Prince of Darkness’ favourite possession technique). Instead of going on a kill-crazy rampage like everyone else who gets possessed, he instead wanders up the stairs simultaneously crying, laughing and singing Amazing Grace before taking a piece of wood and ripping out his own throat with it.
He also makes a comeback, finding himself resurrected and looking in a mirror while continuing to cry. Bad times.