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Dec 282016
 

Many of us remember the classic Batman TV show from the 60s. But with all those darker edgier versions of Batman over the years, I never thought I’d see the day when the campy style of the franchise would make a comeback, like in the straight to DVD animated release, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.

Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar reprise their roles as Batman, Robin, and Catwoman. Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon are also featured. It’s so amazing that even though the original actors from the TV series have all passed on; the voice talents in this movie sound a lot like them from the Joker’s laugh to the Riddler’s maniacal giggle.

I met Adam West at FX Convention in 2008.

What’s also amazing is that characters like Chief O’Hara, Warden Crichton, and Dick Grayson’s aunt Harriet Cooper also appear, since they were never featured in any other version of Batman.

Even the fight scenes contain the same level of excitement as the TV series, words and all. Not to mention, the perils the caped crusaders end up in have the same thrills. The only difference is that there is no narrator. In a way, that’s a good thing.

Here’s another cool tidbit. During a fight scene, Batman gets hit in the head and temporarily sees three cat women, each one different. Now that’s funny, since three different actresses played Catwoman over the series run.

As for the story line, Catwoman uses a potion to turn Batman evil. During the process, Batman acts more brutal and edgier, which is a shock to everyone, including the villains. In any other version of Batman, that’s normal. Heck, in Superman vs. Batman, he goes as far as using a bat shaped branding iron to leave his mark on the criminals he defeats. It certainly makes you think.

In addition, Batman uses a replica ray to clone himself many times as a means to take over Gotham City. Robin comes up with an idea to stop Batman by sending other villains after him by breaking them out of jail. (Remember that there was no Arkham Asylum in the old version of Batman.) They include Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, Egg Head, King Tut, Bookworm, Louie the Lilac, the Siren, the Minstrel, the Archer, the Clock King, Shame, Black Widow, Sandman, and False Face. Even though these are only cameo appearances, it’s nice to see these retro villains make a comeback.

This was an excellent movie containing all the charm of the classic Batman series, as well as the authentic animation. If you’re highly familiar with the old version, it’s very easy to catch on to the nostalgia it contains, including how female villains like Catwoman never get punched out like the other criminals.

Nov 192013
 

Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus is yet another giant monster film from the Sci-Fi Channel. This time there’s no mention of how the giant shark and giant crocodile came to be, but one thing’s for sure. They must be stopped and killed in order to save the human race.

The hero is Navy officer Lt. Terry McCormick (Jaleel White), who likes to experiment with his shark-repelling device. When he warns his superiors about the giant shark coming for them, no one listens. Then all of a sudden, McCormick is the sole survivor on the ship. When he mentions that the shark has returned, that made me realize that this movie is a sequel to another “monster verses monster” movie. They can be hard to keep track of sometimes, since there are quite a few.

I met Jaleel White at FX Convention 2013. His most well known character is Steve Urkel from the 90s sitcom Family Matters. I also know him as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog in three different animated versions. Jaleel was a real nice guy and liked that I was a Sonic fan when he saw my shirt.

Meanwhile, hunter Nigel Putnam (Gary Stretch) encounters a giant crocodile that emerged from a cave in the Congo. He manages to tranquilize it just as it was about to eat him. That was certainly a close shave. I was actually convinced that it got Putnam, but it didn’t.

While the giant crocodile sleeps, Putnam has it put on a cargo ship. During the trip, the giant shark attacks and the croc wakes up and escapes. Now there are two giant monsters loose in the ocean. Putnam is one of the only survivors from that ship. Now he and McCormick must team up to stop them.

Leading this mission is Admiral Calvin (Robert Picardo) and he makes certain that everyone follows the one objective, which is to find and kill the giant shark. Once they do he can smoke his expensive cigar happily.

I met Robert Picardo at MegaCon 2010.

If you think the Admiral is serious, then you should see Special Agent Hutchinson (Sarah Lieving). She doesn’t let any emotions come between her and her duty. Putnam takes a liking to Hutchinson, but she comes off cold.
As for monster fighting action, the two giant monsters do fight each other, but we don’t get to see much of that. That’s very disappointing since I expected this to be like a Godzilla movie.

Then another problem is revealed. The giant crocodile has laid eggs in different locations. Even though the giant shark ate many of them, any other hatchlings become more trouble.

This was an interesting film. Even the Army’s tanks couldn’t stop the giant crocodile when it went into the city. The croc causes chaos when it takes a quick stroll into Sea World. If it wanted to see Shamu, couldn’t it just buy a ticket like everyone else?

Freddy Kruger Horror Icon

 80's Films, Horror Films  Comments Off on Freddy Kruger Horror Icon
Oct 132010
 

One of the top horror movie monsters is Freddy Kruger from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, which was made famous by Robert Englund. Freddy’s story is simple. He was a child killer and the townspeople execute him out of vigilante justice. Freddy seeks revenge from beyond the grave by terrorizing their children from within their dreams.

You might find this hard to believe, but I first heard about the franchise from the Nightmare on Elm Street video game for the NES. The hero(s) is an unknown teen, who goes through various levels to gather Freddy’s bones and fight numerous enemies that resemble Freddy with only his fists. That left just a tiny bit of a Power Ranger factor there, which I found interesting.

To become more familiar with the Nightmare on Elm Street films, I decided to start with Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors because it left me under the impression that it was the most accurate to the video game. Unfortunately, I was wrong. That sequel wasn’t bad, but it totally ran short of my expectations, with the possible exception of the young teen who dreams himself as the Wizard Master.

It wasn’t until recently when I saw the original A Nightmare on Elm Street movie for the very first time. Hey, I didn’t know this was Johnny Depp’s first movie.

It starts out with a group of teens having nightmares for no apparent reason, which also affects them in reality, emotionally and physically. Tina (Amanda Wyss) is the first to be attacked. The next morning she tells her friends Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), Glen (Johnny Depp), and Rod (Nick Corri). They tell Tina that they each had nightmares also, which were highly similar, but no one knows why or who the attacker is.

I met both Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss at Spooky Empire 2010. Heather was very sweet and I remembered her best as Marie Lubbock from the 80s sitcom Just the Ten of Us. Heather was a bit surprised that anyone remembers that show and said that it was a favorite of hers because it was so dear to her heart.

Amanda Wyss was also very sweet and was making sure that I was having a good time, which I was.

At first, the four teens think the nightmares are nothing. Then the nightmares continue and Tina gets killed. Unfortunately, Rod gets blamed and arrested for it. To make matters worse, Nancy is too scared to sleep for she could be next. Staying awake is the only sure way to stay safe, but Nancy’s parents don’t believe her and insist that she should sleep. Now isn’t that frustrating? It’s like they just don’t get it, no matter what.

Nancy’s nightmares continue to get worse and her mother takes her to Dr. King (Charles Fleischer, who is the voice of Roger Rabbit) to monitor her dreams. The machinery goes haywire, but Nancy makes a breakthrough by snatching Freddy’s hat and waking up with it. It wasn’t until that point when Freddy Kruger is finally revealed as the killer. Yet Nancy’s mom, Marge (Ronee Blakley), still insists that Nancy should be sleeping, even after Freddy’s other attacks.

I met Charles Fleischer at FX Convention 2008.

Nancy is a fighter in this movie, but not like in the video game. However, I did notice a few similarities with the locations. Some of the levels included houses, the junkyard, the cemetery, and the high school. It would’ve made more sense if Nancy had been the hero in the video game instead of an unknown teen(s).

What is it with these monsters peeping on young ladies in the bathtub?

I must admit that Freddy is creative with his attacks because in the dream world, the possibilities are endless. That’s how he appears so sneaky. Freddy could be hiding anywhere, and I do mean anywhere. It’s still difficult to understand how he gets into other people’s psyches so easily.

Nightmare on Elm Street turned out to be a really good film. It had quite a few sequels, including Freddy vs. Jason. Freddy is like Dracula. He gets defeated, but keeps coming back.

Sep 172010
 

Mel Brooks once said that you can’t spoof anything you don’t really love. Spaceballs is a spoof on Star Wars movies with a touch of several other sci-fi films from the 70s and 80s. Unfortunately, it was made back before the Star Wars prequels. So it’s a bit limited in that area, but it still works on many other levels.

It starts with a giant starship that takes about two and a half minutes to show. I mean, what is that thing? A flying Smithsonian?

 

Rick Moranis plays the evil Darth Vader character known as Dark Helmet. He carries a ring that represents the dark side of the Schwartz, but must Dark Helmet always aim for the groin? It’s as common as the hand chopping that occurs during the light saber fights on Star Wars.

There are also plenty of spoofed character names throughout the movie, which make it more comedic like Pizza the Hutt (voice of Dom Deluise), Prince Valium (Jim J. Bullock), Dot Matrix (voice of Joan Rivers), and Yogurt (Mel Brooks).

Michael Winslow plays the Spaceball radar technician, who discovers the “jammed” radar. (That’s such a priceless gag.) My sister and I saw him at FX Convention 2008. He was terrific performing his many sound effects and Jimi Hendrix music.

The heroes in this story are Lone Star (Bill Pullman) and Barf (John Candy) the mawg. When Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) of Panet Druidia runs away from her wedding to Prince Valium, her father King Roland (Dick Van Patten) hires the heroes to save her. In an attempt to bring Vespa back, they crash land on a desert planet called the Sands of Vega. Dark Helmet and the Spaceballs look for them by combing the desert… with giant combs?

Yogurt (Mel Brooks) shows that merchandising is where the real money from the movie is made. From that point on, we see Spaceballs merchandise on all sorts of things from bed sheets to toilet paper. I think that also includes Dark Helmet’s dolls.

There’s a point when Dark Helmet takes the form of Vespa’s father King Roland (Dick Van Patten) and lures her into his clutches. It always reminds me of the time when Evil-Lynn did that trick on the Masters of the Universe movie.

At the climax, Lone Star and Dark Helmet battle with their Schwartz rings used as light sabers. Although it takes both hands to use them, it was still exciting to watch.

This was a great sci-fi spoof movie and a real 80s classic. “May the Schwartz be with you,” as Yogurt would say.

Sep 062010
 

I am fortunate to live in an area where I can attend so many conventions and meet so many amazing people.  Sometimes celebrities at conventions don’t participate in Q&A’s and sometimes the celebrities I meet don’t have much to say but are very nice all the same.  That was the case when I met Elisabeth Rohm and Jewel Staite, both are very lovely ladies.  They were both extremely nice and friendly.

Elisabeth Rohm – Best known to Whedonverse fans as Detective Kate Lockley on Angel.  I met Elisabeth at the 2008 FX show.  She was pregnant and appreciated me kneeling down to have my photo taken with her.  She also mentioned the autograph photo I chose was her “sexy pose”.  I would have to agree.

Jewel Staite – Best known as Kaylee Frye in both the Joss Whedon show Firefly and the 2005 film Serenity.  I met her at Mini MegaCon 2009. I also remember Jewel from her role as Heidi Gotts from the short-lived FOX show Wonder Falls. Of course I watched most all of the episodes on DVD because FOX cancelled Wonder Falls before it ever had a chance to survive.

Well it’s been one year since I started my blog. It is my hope that you have enjoyed my posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I look forward to sharing my convention adventures, and my thoughts about other entertainment venues during the upcoming year. Thank you for your support. Also, I want to thank my sister Stacey for all her help and encouragement over the past year.