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Aug 272012

“It’s showtime!” The horror comedy Beetlejuice takes on a whole different look at the afterlife. Married couple Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) Maitland drown in a car accident and end up as ghosts, who are confined to their house. All they have to go by is a handbook called Handbook of the Recently Deceased. A lot of help that is, since it reads like stereo instructions.

Soon after, a family called the Deetzes moves into the house. Adam and Barbara try to scare them away, but it doesn’t work because nobody can see or hear them. Then all of sudden, Adam and Barbara hear about Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) the bio-exorcist on a mysterious TV commercial. Could it be a coincidence, or a trap?

Here’s an interesting twist. The Deetzes’ daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder), a gothic girl, can see Adam and Barbara and follow the handbook.

Adam and Barbara soon find themselves in a waiting room filled with other deceased people. It’s easy to tell how they died based on their appearances, but Adam and Barbara still look the same after they had drowned. That used to confuse me.

Adam and Barbara soon find help with Juno (Sylvia Sydney) a caseworker and she warns them that Beetlejuice is a troublemaker and cannot to be trusted. How bad could he be?

Well, Beetlejuice turns out to be a comedic pervert with amazing powers, but fears the sand worms. I don’t blame him. They’re as dangerous as the graboids from the Tremors films.

Nevertheless, the Deetzes don’t get scared away. Interior Designer and paranormal expert Otho (Glenn Shadix) decides to hold a séance to summon Adam and Barbara, but it doesn’t go as planned. Lydia summons Beetlejuice to save them. I could tell that Beetlejuice has feelings for her. I’m sure that’s why he agrees to the task, if Lydia agrees to marry him.

This was a good movie with neat effects, humor, and Harry Belafonte music. I still have the Beetlejuice action figures with detachable heads and expressions. Does anyone remember these?

Feb 012012

In the horror spoof Transylvania 6-5000, tabloid reporters Jack (Jeff Goldblum) and Gil (Ed Begley Jr.) are sent to Transylvania to get a scoop on the Frankenstein monster. However, this takes place in the “modern day”. So the odds of getting such a scoop are slim to none.

After Jack and Gil arrive in Transylvania, Gil asks the locals if they’ve seen Frankenstein, only to make him and Jack a laughing stock. What was he thinking?

Michael Richards is hilarious as Fejos the butler with his catchphrase, “Is good, eh?” Fejos is a klutz, but creatively funny. You never know where you’ll find him or what he’ll do next for a laugh with all those secret passages throughout the hotel.

Soon Gil finds a lead on the monster story. Dr. Malavaqua (Joseph Bologna, who I remember best as Nick Foley from Rags to Riches) lost his medical license for practicing medicine. Hmm, curious. Maybe there is something monstrous going on after all, but what?

As it turns out, Malavaqua is a mad scientist, but only when he’s in the secret laboratory. Outside of it, he’s completely sane and friendly. What is it about the lab that changes him so quickly?

Another crazy character is Odette (Geena Davis), who is a vampire that loves Gil to pieces. She may be a nymphomaniac, but I think Odette really does have feelings for him.

While in the forest, Jack and Gil run into other monsters. They include Frankenstein (Petar Buntic), the Wolfman (Donald Gibb), and Twisto (Dusko Valentic) a mangled man. But they’re not real monsters, are they?

This was a classic film and a good example of a creative monster movie, even if there is no gore in it.

May 202011

“Aarrgh!” With the premiere of the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, I decided to post a list of my top ten favorite pirates in pop culture, who have all left their marks as top plunderers of the sea.

#10) Pirate Ghosts from Garfield’s Halloween Adventure: Very little is known about these characters, only that they buried their treasure inside a house and vowed to return in 100 years to retrieve it. The pirates did come for the treasure and chase Garfield and Odie because they witnessed it. Those pirates were never seen or heard from again after that.

#9) Divatox (Hilary Shepard Turner) from Power Rangers Turbo: This female pirate and her crew come from outer space to raid riches and reign terror on the galaxy. Divatox’s pirate ship is actually a submarine with torpedoes that are used to make her henchmonsters giant-sized, which is a signature tactic with every Power Rangers arch villain. Divatox is highly emotional. Whatever the outcome of her evil plans, she gets very angry, very joyful, or very smug. Divatox never fights her own battles, but she has her ways.

#8) Black Jackson the pirate (Glenda Jackson) from The Muppet Show: In season five when Glenda Jackson made a guest appearance, she somehow becomes a pirate captain who takes over the theater. With the help of her pirate crew, Black Jackson turns it into a ship and they search for buried treasure. While out at sea, Black Jackson and her crew also like to sing and dance, even while battling with cannons.

#7) Long John Silver (Tim Curry) from Muppet Treasure Island: He was a ship cook, who befriends Jim Hawkins throughout the voyage to Treasure Island, only to find out that he is a dangerous pirate. Yet, Long John has a soft spot for young Jim, which makes him a pirate with honor.

#6) Captain James Hook from Peter Pan: There are quite a few versions of this pirate that I remember well. On Disney’s Peter Pan, Hook is as suave as he is wicked. What really stands out is his fear of the crocodile that loves the taste of him after Peter Pan fed Hook’s hand to it. Hook really freaks out whenever that crocodile arrives for a handout. In the sequel Return to Neverland, an octopus craves him. What is Hook flavored with, that sea creatures love so much?

Then in Peter Pan and the Pirates, I thought Tim Curry did a great job voicing the role of Peter Pan’s arch foe. This is also the only version of Hook who would use Shakespearean references to express his emotions.

Shortly afterward came Dustin Hoffman’s version on Hook, who is more merciless than ever. He kidnaps Peter Pan’s children for his own and he actually kills those who oppose him. How low can a pirate get?

And lastly on Shrek the Third, Hook is a piano player at a tavern called The Poison Apple. He has a pirate crew, but they prefer to attack on land instead of the sea, equipped with cannons and a piano that the captain plays while the crew fights.

#5) Captain Bones from Crashbox: Normally pirate captains, even dead ones, would have a crew but this one is a loner on a ship that’s been marooned for a long time. Captain Bones doesn’t haunt the ship. He merely tries to occupy his time by making math puzzles out of his own bones. As Captain Bones presents them, he insults those who can’t figure them out. Now there’s a pirate who has to pull himself together frequently.

#4) Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) from Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3: The name “Davy Jones” is often mentioned among pirates and sailors alike as a term for drowning at sea. In this franchise, Davy Jones is a cursed pirate captain that’s half-man and half-squid. He’s a soul collector, who likes to play the organ with the tentacles on his face. Now I understand the term better, which includes Davy Jones’s locker. Pirates don’t come any creepier than this character.

#3) Long John Scarechrome from Ghostbusters (1986 version): This pirate ghost is known as the sailor of the seven galaxies. Unlike other pirates, Long John is crafty with his high-tech weapons in his walking stick and steel leg. Even his ghost ship has satellites on the sails, laser cannons, and rockets to travel through space. It makes you wonder what kind of pirate Long John was when he was alive.

#2) Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from Pirates of the Caribbean: Here’s a pirate who is like no other. He is both roguish and charming, despite that the ladies keep slapping him. Jack pillages and plunders, but he also has honor and a sense of humor. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out which side he’s on, but you gotta love this guy.

#1) Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) from Cutthroat Island: This resourceful pirate is my most favorite. She is highly skilled and knows how to take charge, like a warrior woman. Morgan is also witty, even in a dangerous situation. She has killed many pirates in battle, but Morgan is tougher than most and fights with honor. It would’ve been nice to see this classic heroine on some of her other adventures, as great as she is.

May 092011

Before the Pirates of the Caribbean films, there was Cutthroat Island, a great pirate adventure movie with Geena Davis as pirate captain, Morgan Adams. I was impressed to see Geena Davis doing such a kick butt role, since I have only seen her in comedies like Beetlejuice, Transylvania 6-5000, and Earth Girls are Easy.

Back in the year 1668, Morgan’s father Black Harry (Harris Yulin) was captain of a ship called the Morning Star. Harry gets murdered by his brother Dawg Brown (Frank Langella, who I remember best as Skeletor from Masters of the Universe the movie) and leaves the ship and crew to Morgan as they look for a lost treasure on Cutthroat Island. However, they have to make a few stops along the way because in order to find the treasure, the crew needs the treasure map, which was split into three pieces. Morgan has one piece, her Uncle Mordachai (George Murcell) has the second, and Dawg has the third.

Since the map is written in Latin, the first stop is in Port Royal, where they find a translator. It’s none other than William Shaw (Matthew Modine). He’s a thief, who can slip out of some tight situations. Despite that he gets smacked upside the head pretty frequently. I think that’s hilarious.

Unfortunately, Morgan has a bounty on her head, (Not a very good picture of her.) The chase from Port Royal becomes an exciting chase on a stagecoach back to the ship.

After rescuing Shaw from the slave traders, the crew heads for Spittlefield to find Mordachai and ask for his alliance. Mordachai agrees, but Dawg and his crew are there also. This leads to yet another exciting battle back to the ship. However, Mordachai gets killed and Morgan gets shot. Luckily, Shaw was able to save her as they sail for Cutthroat. This soon leads to Shaw becoming Morgan’s love interest, but trust was another issue. He had Mordachai’s piece of the map, but refuses to share it. I don’t see the point of that after all he and Morgan went through so far.

Meanwhile, Dawg and his crew follow in pursuit on their ship, which is called the Reaper. Both ships arrive at the island and Shaw manages to snatch the third piece of the map. It takes a little while, but Shaw has proven himself to Morgan that he can be trustworthy.

Now with all three pieces of the map, Morgan and Shaw find the treasure in a cave under a cliff. However, it doesn’t end here. Dawg and his crew capture the crew and the treasure after Morgan falls off the cliff. However, she can’t be killed that easily.

She frees the crew on the Morning Star and it becomes a major battle between both pirate ships with cannons and everything in order to get the treasure back.

This film has a great amount of humor as well as action and adventure. It’s too bad there wasn’t a sequel. Oh, and did I mention that Geena Davis kicks butt?

One last item: There was also a video game based on this film for both the Super NES and Sega Genesis. It wasn’t bad, but not what I expected.

Morgan stands boldly as she stares out at the distance, preparing herself for the challenge that lies ahead.

Apr 292011

For my 300th post, I have decided to add a few extra vampire women to my list of favorites.

We all know the most common role of female vampires in pop culture. She seduces a victim before putting the bite on him. However, there are also vamps that are much different and I find their peculiarities enjoyable as well. I have here a list of my top five favorite vampire women who have qualities that are highly out of the ordinary.

#5) Harmony (Mercedes McNab) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: She used to be the queen bee of Sunnydale High School after Cordelia stepped down. During graduation, Harmony was bitten and became a vampire. Now normally when that happens, the victim’s personality changes when their humanity is gone. Here’s the thing, Harmony’s personality didn’t change at all. She has only become more materialistic, which can drive other vampires and some victims up the wall. Spike will tell ya, since they used to live in a cave together.

#4) Katrina (Grace Jones) from Vamp: This vampire is a seductive stripper with an odd sense of style. Katrina doesn’t speak, but if a guy wants her she digs right in. When Katrina reveals her fangs, she goes from beautiful to horrifying in a matter of seconds with a werewolf-like presence and fast growing toenails. In a way, Katrina is even scarier than Regine Dandridge from Fright Night Part 2, and that’s saying a lot. When she bites a victim, she slurps his blood right up. That’s right, slurp. Ewe!

#3) Vam-Mi (Kira Clavell and voice of Saffron Henderson) from: Ninja Turtles, the Next Mutation: This fiercely wicked Chinese vampire was separated from her heart years ago and given to the turtles. She will do anything to get it back, otherwise she will die. Vam-Mi is 2000 years old, indestructible, and a total drama queen. Even her master, the Ancient Grand Vampire Prince of the first blood, thinks she’s the silliest vampire he’s ever known because the turtles keep kicking her butt.

#2) Odette (Geena Davis) from Transylvania 6-5000: Although she’s not really a vampire, she likes to use that guise to get male attention. Odette is a sneaky beauty and is more of a nymphomaniac than a seductress, but she’s friendly, sometimes too friendly. No wonder she’s usually chained to the wall.

#1) Space Girl (Mathilda May) from Lifeforce: I’d have to say that she is the most unusual vampire in the bunch. Not only because she’s unnamed and comes from outer space, but also has different methods to claim victims. Space Girl seduces with telepathy and uses electrical impulses to literally suck people dry and can jump into different bodies to keep from getting caught by anyone. Space Girl is beautiful and never shows any fangs, unlike other vampires, but is still just as dangerous. I’ll tell ya, it doesn’t get much weirder than that.