Ten reasons why The Terminator is the best film ever made.

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…

Fuck you, asshole!

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.

Fuck!

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.

Fuck you, asshole!

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.

Fuck you, asshole!

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?

Fuck you, asshole!

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.

Ten reasons why The Thing is the best film ever made.

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!”

Audacious!

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?!

Fucking SPIDER HEAD!

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!”

R. J. MacReady. Pilot. Probable human. Badass.

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.

Who’s a fluffy fella? Aw!!!

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).

Ten reasons why Aliens is the best film ever made.

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.”

You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamned percentage.

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!

Ripley about to take Queeny off to Bay 12.

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.

Coming around for a seven zero niner.

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.

Quote of the Day! – Trading Places

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!

 

Worryingly Bleak Deaths of the 80s #4 – Prince of Darkness

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.

Bleak.

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.

Scrooged (1988)

Many people will have Scrooged down to watch as part of their regular Christmas routine. I should be one of those people but every year I forget to watch it or am otherwise indisposed and then the moment is over. After Christmas, if I’m in need of a Bill Murray fix I go to Ghostbusters or the mighty Groundhog Day.

So, yesterday I actively made a point of watching Scrooged again for the first time since Ms Spurrier put the film on in high school for us back in 1990 and my irritating mate Stu ruined it by laughing at literally everything. He repeated the same trick with T2 a few years later, despite T2 having like two mildly funny moments.

You know you want to watch this movie immediately.

Anyway. Scrooged still delivers. It is, of course, a reimagining of the classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ and a blatant Bill Murray vehicle. That’s okay though, back in the ’80s Bill Murray was so unfuckwittable that films that were 99% about him looking deadpan were completely acceptable.

Bill plays Frank Cross, a cynical TV executive who is just a empty-hearted suit with a baffling hairdo. After setting up the first part of the film by showing him being a heartless humbugging monster, we get into the ghostly visitations part of the story as the ghosts of christmas past, present and future help Frank take a good, long look at himself.

The insane hair of Bill Murray.

The ghosts themselves are fantastic with David Johansen, the craggy-faced singer for The New York Dolls, putting in an amazing turn as the Ghost of Christmas Past and a hectic Carol Kane doing a fine job as his Present counterpart. The non-speaking, kind of terrifying Ghost of Christmas Future has his moments too and while the story isn’t going to throw any twists at you if you know the story, it’s still a perfect Christmas family movie.

The ending is odd and echoes that of Stripes in that it has Bill doing that odd singing thing that he occasionally does. It probably worked a lot better in a cinema full of whooping Americans but it’s still good fun to see. Not sure you’d get away with such silliness now but Bill Murray can do exactly what the fuck he wants. Them’s the rules.

WarGames (1983) – Review

Joking about the current lack of sci-fi toys promised in old movies such as jet packs is something that comes up every time someone fakes the destination date from Back to the Future on Twitter, but there’s something quite miraculous about the fact that many of you are reading this on a handheld device that lets you communicate with anyone in the world, access most of the sum of human knowledge and will let you order a pizza and then, for reasons unknown, photograph it and share that for all the world to see.

This is brought into sharp focus when you watch a film like WarGames which in 1983 was looking at the cutting edge of technology and now looks like a byproduct from the Industrial Revolution.  Back in the ’80s anything ‘tech’ was in and it was beguiling.  Films like Tron fantasised about what it was like to be in a computer and things like Weird Science even imagined being able to create a Kelly LeBrock with something that would make a current wristwatch look like alien technology.

Tech as heck, son!

In WarGames a young Matthew Broderick is cast as David, a young hacker, who accidentally gets a computer to start a countdown to nuclear armageddon.  This is all made possible when he guesses its password, Joshua, which is the name of its programmer’s son.  Aside from that quaint little touch, the fact that hacking into NORAD would now get you locked away in Camp Waterboarding for the rest of your life whereas here it gets him affectionately rubbed on the head makes you pine for these simpler Cold War days.

The ’80s. When you could hack into military hardware using a typewriter sellotaped to a Vectrex.

WarGames is no ’80s B-movie.  The NORAD set is impressive (and it should be given that it cost a cool million back when a million was an unfathomably large sum of money to spend on boxes with flashing lights on them), the story entertaining and the acting performances are spot on.  Broderick is in less smug form than usual but still manages to make hacking seem cool.  This is aided by him getting to hang out with Jennifer, ably played by the fantastic Ally Sheedy. 

What the end of the world looked like back in the ’80s.

The film’s end sequence is undeniably stupid and makes leaps of faith that don’t help the tension that the film is trying to build up but overthinking WarGames is a mistake you don’t want to make.  It’s a charming film that’s put together well enough that it was nominated for a handful of Oscars and was as enjoyable today as it was back in the ’80s.

From Beyond (1986) – Review

Lightning certainly did strike twice on Saturday. Firstly, we watched Waxwork for the first time and loved it. So, we decided to finally tick another cult classic off of our list with From Beyond.

The worry with watching an ’80s classic for the first time is that you won’t get the same impact as people who watched it back then. We often wonder how, for example, The Thing would be regarded by young people now and then we think ‘fuck them’ because we don’t care. Luckily, From Beyond is a great film that mixes classic ’80s aesthetics with some legit bodyshock horror.

The plot, apparently based on a H.P. Lovecraft short story, sees two physicists experimenting on the pineal gland in an attic and accidentally opening up a gateway to another dimension. One of them dies (thanks to a trans-dimensional worm thing eating his fucking head) and the other, Crawford Tillinghast (played by the ever-intense Jeffrey Combs of Re-Animator fame) ends up a nervous wreck in an institution. He is then coerced into recreating the experiment by the morally-ambiguous Dr. Katherine McMichaels and so they return to the house, this time protected by a Detective Bubba Brownlee, who is some sort of ex-American footballer.

Om nom nom!

Anyway, the experiment is a success and that’s when everything starts to go wrong. Crawford goes back to his jumpy self, Bubba is pissed off because weird bitey shit in getting up in his face from another dimension and Katherine ends up addicted to having her pineal gland stimulated and ends up turning into some sort of pineal crack whore.

In the meantime, Dr. Edward Pretorius (Crawford’s former partner in the original experiment) has morphed into some sort of super-powered sex pest who likes to women’s heads and he manages to break through into our realm, while resembling the final form of The Thing. Eventually, they end up somewhat worse for wear outside the house. To the film’s credit the finale ramps up both the scares and the shocks and even throws in a sure-fire future addition to our Worrying Bleak Deaths of the ’80s series.

Oh God… it’s a terrifying mutant Savile from another realm!

From Beyond really wasn’t what we were expecting. The title suggests a sci-fi space horror but this is more in line with films like Flatliners and the spectacular practical effects and insane plot really do elevate it from the usual genre stereotypes.

The use of neon colours gives the film such a great ’80s feel but the gruesomeness puts it on another level, even if it’s the kind of thing that’d make a modern cinema audience giggle like seated cunts at.  If you respect your horror movies though, this is actually pretty scary.

Of course this means we have to go back to the Re-Animator films now. It’s been a looooong time.

Waxwork (1988) – Review

As far as random Netflix horror picks on a lazy Saturday afternoon go, Waxwork really is a hidden gem. Sure, the ‘waxwork exhibition comes to life and starts kicking off’ angle had been done before and has been since, but Waxwork is such a well-presented, varied film that it could almost feature in our world-not-famous Portmanteau-a-go-go section.

The film revolves around a gang of college kids who get an invitation to a private showing of a new waxworks from its creepy proprietor (played by a very familiar David Warner that we most remember as Dr David Necessiter from The Man With Two Brains, a film that needs a good rewatching and soon!). They, rather unwisely, take him up on the offer and go to a midnight showing. Personally, I would have walked away as soon as the FUCKING MIDGET answered the door but that’s just me.

Old dude remembers The Alamo.

They are soon picked off one at a time as the find themselves trapped inside the various worlds magically linked to the exhibits. It starts with Tony getting stuck in a cabin with a werewolf which a fun scene but let down slightly by the fact that only a small handful of movies have ever managed to do werewolves right. His would-be rescuers get one of the gorier scenes as one of them is torn in half by the wolf. Fun stuff.

Tony’s girlfriend, China, flips the otherside of the Twilight coin so to speak and ends up in a vampire castle in another gory but solid scene. The rest of the gang escape but some of them come back and end up in scenes featuring a mummy’s curse, the Marquis De Sade and some pretty good zombies.

A proper vampire with no hair gel in sight.

Overall, the story hangs together well and still looks great with its bright palette and decent special effects reminding me of T8MC favourite Fright Night. Particularly enjoyable is the film’s final battle which pre-dates 2012′s fantastic Cabin in the Woods and does almost as good a job in its own charming way.

Anyone got a bandage?

So, overall Waxwork turned out to be a hugely enjoyable horror romp with good action and comedy and a some creative scenes of horror and gore. A new T8MC favourite? Maybe. Waxwork II: Lost in Time may be even better and apparently features Bruce Campbell, so expect us break our remit and take a look at that early ’90s sequel in the next week or so. We can’t wait!

Terror Train (1981)

Terror Train is really odd.

I had a choice.  I was either going to watch this (having never seen it before) or go with the tried, tested and thoroughly wonderful Romancing The Stone and have to admit, I was bedazzled by this film’s stupid title.

It turns out that it was a post-Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis vehicle that followed Halloween’s slasher flick template albeit with a few twists and turns.

AGENT!!!!

The set up is predictable enough.  There are a bunch of dickhead high school kids led by Doc (played by the same chap who was Harry the terrible negotiator in Die Hard) who pull a very nasty prank on Kenny, your standard slow kid.  They trick him into thinking he’s about to sleep with Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis) and instead have him kissing a dead body.  It’s all very, very standard early ’80s nonsense.

He goes mad (literally) and three years later they all get on a train.  In fancy dress.  At this point you’re reminded of Trading Places and incredibly sad that you’re watching this instead.  Then the killings start.

The killer. Looking fucking dapper!

Terror Train doesn’t go for too much gore, at least during the kills themselves, but is big on suspense.  At first it’s alright.  The deaths are reasonably creative and the fancy dress element means you’re never sure who’s who.

Then David fucking Copperfield turns up as a smug magician and you fucking hate him because the film becomes an extended magic show for far too long.  The focus on all this magic pretty much signposts that magic is involved and before long, Alana is pretty sure he’s the guy.  Despite the fact that HE HAS A VERY DIFFERENT FACE NOW AND IS INCREDIBLY ARTICULATE FOR A VERY SLOW GUY.

A bird who swallowed a plate (m’lord).

After nine killings, you find out who the killer is and are left pretty surprised.  The ending almost makes the film worth watching despite the incredibly limited set and some very poor acting performances.

Jamie Lee Curtis does an admirable job with the script though and gets through it like a pro but ultimately it’s not a very good film.  It’s also pretty far behind Silver Streak when it comes to badass films set on trains.  I can’t think of another.  Under Siege 2 was bollocks.