Jacking away your time and money… A different form of meditation.

Celtic Totem Animals: With Drumming CD

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See it at Amazon 

(1/5)

Find a Pet Rock, it would have as much life as this Box-set!

The Jack Move:

I hunted for a unique book on animals at a book store for about an hour before stumbling upon this box set in the New Age section. This box set claims to be able to connect you with animal spirits known as “Totem animals”, a shamanic tradition and belief system…

It advertises on the packaging the following contents: A 70-minute CD of Shamanic drumming, 20 cards with wood-cut depictions of Totem Animals and an illustrated book that guides you on your own shamanic journey. (Wow sounded pretty cool to me so I read on…) Play the Shamanic drumming and choose a card with the animal that appeals to you to help you with a problem or help you make a decision. Follow the simple instructions for guided visualization-and witness how these animals can guide and empower you.

All right… sounds like I may get in contact with the spirits of animals that I love. I looked at the price located under the text (what I just quoted) and saw US $24.95. I thought about this and decided that for a book, cards and a Celtic drumming CD I couldn’t go wrong. I pulled out my wallet and jerked out my hard earned money and gave into this classic “Bait and switch” (They must have seen me coming?)


The Book and Cards:

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192 Pages filled with lifeless philosophy no photos except for what is shown on the cards and no detailed information on what the animals in Celtic tradition represent. Here are two examples of our most popular animals:

Cat: Cats appear several times in Celtic myth notably in the Voyage of Maelduin where the voyagers encounter an innocent-seeming kitten leaping to and fro on the tops of four pillars…
(It goes on for about a paragraph and then reveals its importance). The significance of the cat which we can derive from this is that it is strong in guardianship, and a good protector of one’s inner powers. It might be invoked when about to enter a confrontational situation, when its fierceness is deemed appropriate. (however,  don’t use it as an excuse to lose your temper!) (At this point I’m already starting to lose my patience!!!)

Dog: There are many famous dogs in Celtic tradition, as one would expect in a race so addicted to hunting.
(Well, I did hunt for a book like this.) Authur’s great hound Cafall left its footprint on a stone, called to this day Carn Cafall, which if moved in the evening is back in its original place next day. (This continues for about three more paragraphs and then reveals its importance). The dog was also associated with healing, since its saliva was said to have curative properties… …there was an established association between hunting and healing, making the Dog a good companion when in search of the latter. (At this point I’m starting to become annoyed!!!)Totem-Dog-216x300

The book has little to no educational value, explains very little of  how to meditate upon the animal that grabs your attention:  No explanation on how to use it to help solve your problems… It doesn’t help at all and in fact it gave me a huge headache reading a book half the size of a DVD case and with all of its horrid editing: It was lighthearted and simple… (That was the Problem it was written in a way that assumes you already know about Shaman Animal Totems.)

20 Animals are depicted on flimsy cardboard squares they are colorless and lifeless as the rest of this set… The animal totems are: Badger, Bear, Bee, Blackbird, Cat, Cow, Crane, Crow, Dog, Eagle, Eel, Hawk, Horse, Otter, Owl, Pig, Salmon, Stag, Swan, Wolf, and a graph of which animals correspond to different months of the year.. Need I continue? (Unfortunately I have to because of the dreadful CD!!!)


The CD and Final thoughts:

Banging your head consecutively into a brick wall would probably have the same effect;  produce the same sounds as this CD!!!

Track 1:  Single drumming for 20 minutes. (One drum and One sound for 20 Minutes!)

Track 2 : Double drumming for 20 minutes. (One drum and the same sound twice for 20 Minutes!)

Track 3: Single drumming for 30 minutes. (Same drum and Same sound for 30 Minutes!)

They didn’t bother with or need to include…
Track 4: Double drumming for 30 minutes. (That sound was already pounding inside my head for 70 Minutes!)

The basic idea’s are friendly and lighthearted but I didn’t really see the benefit from this box-set. I wish I would have passed on this product. (I can drum up more fun, exciting and inexpensive ways to meditate.)

The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 3 (Marvel Masterworks)

The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 3 (Marvel Masterworks)

Price: $29.99

(4.5/5)

Pros: One very cool debut and overall strong volume

Cons: Only a couple of weaker issues

J. Jonah Jameson’s hatred for Spider-Man gets the better of him which leads to his newest plan. He learns about a scientist that has learned how to cause artificial mutations in animals, such as mutating mice to breath under water like fish. Jameson pays him to perform the mutation on Mac Gargan whom volunteers for the operation, and this leads to him becoming the Scorpion. Jameson immediately sends him after Spider-Man to try to defeat and unmask him. -summary

While slightly weaker than the previous volume; Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3 is still a very good trade as Stan Lee makes room for new villains, and at the same time begins a developing storyline that brings Spider-Man to blows once again with the Green Goblin making their feud even more personal. There’s very little to complain about here with the issues continuing to arouse interest and suspense in some way. This TPB collects The Amazing Spider-Man issues 20-30 and Annual # 2.

This book begins with a bang immediately as Spider-Man goes one on with the Scorpion through a trilogy of brawls in a single issue. This encounter is easily the most unappreciated slugfest in Marvel 60’s comics. Whenever people toss together their favorite slugfest of that time period, you will always see the Thor vs. Hulk or Thor vs. Hercules encounters right away or something else with this one completely forgotten. I always found those two fights to be slightly over-rated because they simply lack the savage fury of Spider-Man vs. Scorpion in Amazing Spider-Man #20; these two really go at it bare knuckle for awhile and many of their confrontations would end up like this.  There’s also another good slugfest taking place during the Molten Man’s first appearance, and the reader will also get an entertaining battle along with the precursor to Spider-Man’s deadly feud with the Spider-Slayers.

Stan Lee works very well in developing Spider-Man’s world all around; the Green Goblin returns with hopes of conquering New York’s underworld gangs which leads him into a rivalry with the Crimemaster whom has the same goal. In addition to all of this, Peter Parker’s relationship with Betty Brant receives the love triangle formula when reporter Ned Leeds is introduced, and their relationship becomes quite complicated. Although it can feel somewhat repetitive at times, Lee keeps the narrative moving at a brisk pace with something new and cool each issue.

I love Steve Ditko’s artwork here when following the action-filled narrative. There are so many cool moments here and even during the shorter altercations. There’s a good amount of imagination when Human Torch and Spider-Man mix it up. Plus the savage brawls with Scorpion pack the right amount of collateral damage. I like the facial designs here from Flash Thompson’s jealousy, to Jameson’s victory gloating, on to Scorpion outright snapping. I have no problems with the recoloring since everything looks so lively.

I have to admit that many of the best encounters took place in the previous book. However, there’s nothing here to really turn a nose up to either. It’s so obvious that Spider-Man was Stan Lee’s baby because when compared to all the titles he was writing; it seemed as if his heart was into this most. Everything from Spider-Man’s adventures to Peter’s complications with everyday life never seems to feel dull. I highly recommend this volume to comic and Spider-Man fans. It also isn’t a bad place to start either but I would recommend starting from the beginning.

Sidney Sheldon’s The Tides of Memory

Sidney Sheldon’s The Tides of Memory

 

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See it at Amazon 

(5/5)

Pros: Incredibly fun ride

Cons: None for me!

Let’s discuss the author, first.  Don’t be fooled by the book’s title. Despite being called Sidney Sheldon’s The Tides of Memory, this is NOT a Sidney Sheldon book.  After all, it’s only a year old, and Mr. Sheldon died a few years back.  It’s not even one of his “lost manuscripts” brought to life and published posthumously.  Nope, Mr. Sheldon didn’t write this book – Tilly Bagshawe did.  Ms. Bagshawe pens novels in Sheldon’s very popular style.   Full of suspense, strong female characters, and major intrigue – these novels do, indeed, read like Sheldon novels.  Hence I’m likely to enjoy them, having been a fan of the original.

And The Tides of Memory does not disappoint, that’s for sure.  I admit it – I was hooked from the first page.  We are introduced to a present-day lady high up in England’s political structure, a lady well-respected as she makes huge decisions, leading her country.  With her family standing behind her, we can’t help but admire Alexia De Vere.

We also go back 40 years.  It’s Maine, in the 70’s, and a group of teenagers are having the time of their lives during summer camp. But one moment of carelessness leads to a tragedy.

The initial portion of the book goes back and forth between the two stories.  The reader knows that eventually the two stories will merge, but it remains a mystery exactly how.

And once it happens, once we understand how the two stories relate – that’s when the fun really begins.  Because what follows can only be described as a wild roller coaster ride.  Full of ups, downs, and everything in between.  Basically, Bagshawe gives us a soap opera condensed into 450 pages – you just wouldn’t believe the twists and turns this story takes.

It was a wild ride, and I loved every minute of it.  I was completely hooked, wanting to find out how it would all work out.  So many different paths the story could have taken, the fun was guessing whether Bagshawe would zig or zag.

Strong, likeable characters.  Tons of fun surprises, and a story that kept me hooked from beginning to end.  For those who enjoy high-energy, crazy twisty stories, I highly recommend Sidney Sheldon’s The Tides of Memory.  I’m a fan of Sidney Sheldon, and I have to say Ms. Bagshawe does a fine job honoring his memory.

Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk Volume 3

Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk Volume 3

Price: $17.56

(4/5)

Pros: Solid follow up that delivers some good action

Cons: Feels rushed at times and even quite repetitive

The Hulk sits alone in a desert and ponders on why the world fears and hunts him. At that moment he’s captured by his enemy, the underworld ruler Tyrannus. It appears that Tyrannus is badly losing a turf war to the Mole Man, and he needs the Hulk to help him; the green skinned goliath agrees to help and the battle soon begins. -summary

Similar to Stan Lee’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man. It appears Lee knew immediately the formula to get the Hulk going. It quickly becomes clear to me on what made the Hulk into one of Marvel’s most popular characters. This batch of issues are rarely dull as the Hulk is not only plunged into one slugfest after the other, but the reader will begin to feel for this tortured soul as he quickly learns there’s just no place for him among mankind. Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk Volume 3 collects Tales to Astonish issues 80 – 101 and The Incredible Hulk 102. It’s worth noting that during The Hulk’s Tales to Astonish run he at one point shared the title with Namor the Sub-Mariner; Namor’s stories are collected in his own TPB.

Stan Lee kicks things off well enough with the Hulk’s continuing character development as he searches for some form of acceptance; by this time he had already been kicked out of the Avengers and he literally had only one friend in Rick Jones, and this was mainly because he knew that Bruce Banner was the Hulk.  Eventually the series becomes more complicated when the Hulk’s identity is revealed, and the woman whom loves Banner by the name of Betty Ross, constantly pleads with her father General Ross not to kill him. There are plenty of subplots tossed into this, along with a developing love triangle taking place with Major Glenn Talbot, whom wants Banner dead in order to claim Betty for himself.

The stories are well balanced with drama and action which is a good thing. The action segments follow Hulk taking on the US Army and even militaristic terrorist groups; but things pick up quite a bit as the mercenary Boomerang targets the Hulk as an enemy, due to the green goliath interfering and ruining a job for him. Lee wrote these confrontations well giving Boomerang something of a chance against him. For those unfamiliar with this feud, and mainly know Boomerang as a nemesis for Spider-Man, this battle really isn’t that lopsided as one may expect. These issues feature a classic confrontation with the Silver Surfer, the first appearance and a brutal slugfest with the Abomination, and finally one of the more savage fights between Hulk and Sub-Mariner which easily goes down as one of my top personal favorites.

The flaws in these issues mainly come from how familiar some of this already feels due to the earlier volumes. However, this really shouldn’t be an issue since this is what the Hulk is about; tragedy, loneliness, and simply being misunderstood makes these stories and Lee finds different ways to explore these things. If I do have a complaint, then it’s the Abomination battle. That conflict had potential to become one of the greatest all out brawls of all time, yet it felt way too short and should have gotten the length that other stories had gotten.

Marie Severin becomes the main artist, but others such as Jack Kirby, Bill Everett, John Buscema, and Gil Kane join in with some good to great action panels.  There’s plenty of fun here with some devastating looking blows and explosions. This is how a powerhouse character should be portrayed, and this is the main reason why I always and very quickly fell for the Hulk before Thor. The character designs at times can be the only real flaw due to inconsistency, with the Hulk not looking as menacing as he should, plus Boomerang being drawn with quite possibly the worst costume I have ever seen.

Overall, this is a solid batch of issues and it probably wouldn’t hurt to start here. Stan Lee wrote a pretty good Hulk run but I think there were others to come after him that pulled it off much better. In any case, I think the Hulk titles are among the easier old Silver Age series to run through, and if you’re looking for some cool action at times then you have it here.

Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor, Vol. 3

Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor, Vol. 3

Price: $20.59 

(3.5/5)

Pros: Kirby’s pencils are the shining star once again

Cons: Lee’s writing for this title took baby steps moving forward

While Thor battled against Mr. Hyde and Cobra, Donald Blake’s assistant, Jane Foster, was injured by a collapsing ceiling. Thor uses the powers of his magical hammer to stop time in the conflict in order to halt her possible death. Thor battles on in hopes of defeating his enemies and some how hopes to save Jane’s life. – summary

It feels almost monotonous when talking about how shaky Stan Lee’s writing was in regards to Thor, and the small baby steps he took towards progress around this time. Unfortunately, his writing still has some shaky moments, however it seems as if he found what actually works here. In this batch of issues it seems as if there was more of a focus on the adventures of Thor, and a lot less of his alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake; and thankfully this is the case too because Blake’s life is too damn boring. There’s more of an emphasis on Thor’s heroics, and through flashback issues more background detailing Loki’s jealousy of Thor, and his obvious path towards becoming the God of Evil.  I will have to say this is by far the best volume at this point. Marvel Masterworks Thor Volume 3 collects Journey into Mystery issues 111 – 120.

The feud with Mr. Hyde and Cobra concludes quickly here and despite the interesting story elements going on involving their increased strength to perhaps equal Thor. It lacked that big slugfest feel and I also felt the outcome was quite vanilla.  The stories begin to pick up when we witness the debut of The Absorbing Man, a villain that would go on to feature in some of my personal favorite clashes years later against the Hulk, Spider-Man, and Avengers. He provides Thor with his toughest and most gripping battle at this point. It’s something else to see how formidable he was in this initial conflict as his powers would receive a subtle downgrade.

The action continues with a conflict plus first appearance against the Destroyer robot created by Odin himself. Plus two one on one encounters with both the Hulk and Hercules that would go on to become classics. These two fights were no doubt great for their era with the right amount of intensity and dialog to go along with them, plus many people praise them for their influence in regards to super heavyweight encounters; but I would definitely say they had better encounters, and several battles around this time were much better due to their intensity and sheer savagery: Hulk vs. Sub-Mariner in Tales to Astonish # 100, Spider-Man vs. Scorpion in Amazing Spider-Man #20, and Iron Man vs. Sub-Mariner in Tales of Suspense 79 -80, to only name a few.

The overall storytelling has some good moments with further development of Loki, and how he simply lives up to his titles as the God of Tricks, Lies, Mischief, & Evil. Plus I also like how Absorbing Man especially didn’t come off as another stock guy with no depth at all. I loved the segment when he daydreamed on what to do with his new powers, because he truly felt there was nothing out of his reach.

The main gripes I have with these stories mainly involves the action. For a superhero whose strength is legendary, there just simply wasn’t enough brutal fisticuffs involving Thor. He’s treated with kid gloves most of the time and many of the fights are limited to almost non-brutal action. The people whom claim this shouldn’t be an issue due to the time these stories were written are quick to forget that Captain America vs. Batroc, plus the battles I previously mentioned were high octane slugfest, and their stories were also well written with plenty of character development. I would expect that someone whom wields a hammer around as a weapon would actually use it to pummel his enemies into submission, especially when one of them is a robot. In addition, I’m very aware of the Vietnam conflict, but I think it hurt taking Thor out of his element to feature a quick battle taking place with a  communist. I don’t care what anyone says, I personally find Stan Lee to be among the least when talking about those whom had written Thor.

Once again Jack Kirby’s artwork helps elevate Lee’s writing. He was definitely able to put together some good action and settings. The moments on Asgard are indeed the best with various changes of clothes for some of the characters, and the backgrounds deliver some nice scenery. The character designs have very good moments with Loki appearing as if he was born to be evil, along with the creativity and imagination involving the Absorbing Man. Although some artist would go on to use him better; Kirby set the foundation on how this unique character could actually be used. It’s no wonder he caught on quickly with readers. I always loved the Absorbing Man and even though Marvel has used him well at times; I still think of him as being quite underused.

In closing, despite its various weaknesses this trade is worth reading and it’s the best of Thor at this point. If Thor already aroused one’s interest before this then here’s more entertainment for those readers. However, for those whom read the previous two books and had been wondering “what’s all the fuss about?’, then there really isn’t much here to wow you. Especially if you had been reading the Spider-Man, Hulk, and Iron Man Masterwork lines. For those completely unfamiliar with this era of Thor, then I would advise to start here.

 

A Lame but Watchable Final Chapter in the Franchise: SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5: THE TOY MAKER

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5: THE TOY MAKER

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Triple Feature DVD at Amazon 

(2.5/5) meh

Pros: It’s amusing to see Mickey Rooney appearing in this garbage; cool robotics and mechanical effects

Cons: Weak script; not all that suspenseful or scary

Upon the release of the original Silent Night, Deadly Night back in 1984, venerable film and television star Mickey Rooney wrote the producers condemning the film and its use of a killer Santa Claus -think of the children! How ironic then that, come 1991, Rooney himself would appear in the fifth (and final) film of the original series. Having little in common (at least in terms of its basic story) with any of the previous series films, Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker deals with a young boy named Derek, recently traumatized by the death of his father. Derek’s father didn’t quite die in a natural way: upon opening a mysterious Christmas present intended for his son, the cute little toy inside proceeded to strangle the man until he fell chest first into an upturned fireplace poker. Having witnessed this event, Derek no longer speaks and wants little to do with toys, Christmas, or his increasingly worried mother. A few weeks after the incident, as Derek’s mother Sarah tries to restore some normalcy to the lives of her and her son, another mysterious package arrives. Where could these “gifts” be coming from, what connection do they have to wacky toy shop owner named Joe Petto, and who is the shady man who appears to be stalking Sarah and Derek?

The irony...
The irony…

Co-written and co-produced by Brian Yuzna (who previously had made the delirious fourth film in the series), SNDN5 is the product of co-writer and director Martin Kitrosser, whose first directorial job it was. Though I could say that the script for the film (at least early on) is generally tolerable, accentuating the efforts of Sarah to try and communicate with her skittish and mute son, Kitrosser is never quite able to inject energy into the proceedings. Taken in the context of a fourth series entry that was completely bonkers in terms of its presentation and story, The Toy Maker not only seems bland throughout, but downright boring at times.

face
That expression says it all: Jane Higginson as the mom.

As it unfolds, a viewer becomes aware that there’s something not quite right about the whiskey-swilling toy shop owner Joe Petto and his wild-eyed “son” named Pino (as might be obvious, both these characters are named after figures from the story of Pinocchio). Kitrosser and Yuzna’s script heaps on the mystery early on, but within about a five minute span late in the going, suddenly tries to explain away all the ambiguity that had been building. This not only seems a lousy way to progress the story and tie up loose ends, but it’s downright cheap: I could at least somewhat buy into the material occurring early in the film which related to the eccentricities of the various characters, but the script almost trivializes these elements late in the going. Furthermore, the big “twist” which occurs at the film’s climax is entirely predictable and rather unexciting. After 75 minutes of escalation, the ending comes across as a monumental letdown, one which resorts to a tried and true horror movie formula instead of offering up something new and original. I guess after seeing what Yuzna had done with part four of the series (to say nothing of his debut film Society or the fairly decent Re-Animator sequel), I had expected his involvement in part five to be a indication of the relative quality of the piece. This simply isn’t entirely the case.

minimal horror elements
The film contains a minimum of horror movie elements, though the mechanical effects are pretty neat.

To be fair, a substantial amount of blame for the failure of this film to really connect with an audience falls on the shoulders of a cast who try their best, but ultimately can’t do much with what they’re given. Child actor William Thorne arguably fares about the worst, and maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to give a young actor a part in which he had to relate all his emotions solely with non-verbal communication. Thorne’s main task throughout the film seems to be to flash the “WHOA I’M REALLY SCARED NOW” expression and hope for the best, but this doesn’t work in every situation he’s faced with. Jane Higginson as his worried mother isn’t much better: I simply couldn’t buy into her character’s motivations – especially late in the going. And what’s with the hackneyed dialogue she’s given? After a certain point in the picture, Derek no longer has a name, but is referred to only as “my boy,” making the dialogue seem almost hilariously overblown. Meanwhile, Tracy Fraim slithers around in the periphery of the story through much of the running time, seeming like the most obvious villain character until his true (rather unbelievable) motivations are revealed late in the going. I should point out that here that both Neith Hunter and Clint Howard appear in the film, essentially reprising their roles from the fourth SNDN film: this adds some semblance of consistency with regard to the previous series entry.

judging from the look...
I know kid. I’m wondering what he’s doing in this film too.

Honestly, one of the few things I appreciated about the film was the chance to see Mickey Rooney play a raving lunatic. Sure, in the opening scenes, Rooney (playing the titular character of Joe Petto) seems like a friend to all children, but give this guy some booze and suddenly he turns into a slurry-voiced, abusive father who has no problem throwing his son Pino (an oddball character played in a very odd manner by Brian Bremer) down a flight of stairs. This scene alone almost makes the film worthwhile: for me, there was just something joyful about hearing Rooney hollering at his child and repeatedly referring to him as a “bastard” or a “son of a bitch.” It’s kind of like hearing June Lockart let loose in the extremely goofy and warped 1986 film Troll: I simply never expected to see an actor of Rooney’s stature reduced to playing in a film like this – or digging into a character that comes across as a total scumbag at least part of the time.

Larry the Larvae
Larry the Larvae – the perfect holiday gift for the kids!

Despite the fact that SNDN5 offers up only trace amounts of suspense or thrills, there are a few scenes that would satisfy viewers accustomed to the violent and bizarre excesses of horror films from the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Screaming Mad George handled the special effects here, and his team manages to create some pretty nifty killer toys – though they only show up a handful of times. (Interesting that many genre films from this period seemed to include killer toys – the hit-or-miss Puppet Master series comes to mind, as does Child’s Play and 1992’s Demonic Toys.) I had to chuckle when one man is killed by a toy called the “Larry the Larvae” doll – a crawling maggot that eventually burrows through his skull and pops out his eye socket. This is obviously a reference to the fourth film which was crawling with flies, maggots, roaches, and other creepy crawlies, and a scene in which a couple having sex is interrupted by an army of toys on the prowl is also fun. I especially liked the severed hand who manages to work his way into the lovemaking act. The effects team also does a fine job of creating some detailed robotics that appear in the film’s finale – considering when this film was made (and the obvious budget limitations), I’d have to say these mechanical effects are pretty outstanding. I also should point out that although the relative amount of violence in the film is generally pretty low, the brief gore shots that are here are fairly graphic.

killer toys
A gaggle of killer toys – too bad they don’t play a bigger part in the film.

In the end, the story kind of flops, becoming downright ludicrous by the time the credits roll, and the acting is very spotty, but The Toy Maker is definitely an improvement from the first two SNDN sequels that were simply horrible across the board (though possibly fun in their own way). Cinematographer James Mathers ensures the film looks nice, and Michael Morse’s music is pretty decent, reminding me of various soundtrack tunes created by Danny Elfman. This final entry will neither make nor break the Silent Night, Deadly Night series for any viewer, and though I might have liked something with more pop to it, it has just enough to make it of moderate interest to horror movie fans.

larvae!

disc deets
Lions Gate triple feature DVD also includes parts three and four of the Silent Night, Deadly Night series. The films are presented in full-frame format with no extras.

blood & guts
3/10 : A few graphic and/or gory moments, but the film is somewhat of a letdown in the horror department.

smack talk
4/10 : Occasional harsh profanity.

fap factor
4/10 : Some rather strong sex scenes and related dialogue…yet not even a glimpse of nudity.

whack attack
4/10 : Not a bad movie, but doesn’t stack up well against the off-the-wall fourth film in the series – or the original for that matter.

GI JOE
Mickey Rooney explains his very ironic appearance in the film: “Fate plays some cruel tricks on us all…”

son, I am disappoint

Trailer (Possible NSFW):

“You Must Feed Your Fears or They Feed on You…” SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 4: INITIATION

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 4: INITIATION

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Triple Feature DVD at Amazon 

(3/5) decent

Pros: Very weird, with some impressive special effects

Cons: Acting is pretty rough across the board; screenplay seems confused

Director Brian Yuzna’s Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation, made for video in 1990, begins with an unknown woman falling from the top of a building while completely alight. This event is witnessed by a crusty homeless man named Ricky (it’s unclear if this is the same character as featured in previous series entries) who, prior to watching the woman’s fiery death, had been ready to chow down on a fly-covered burger he found in a gutter. Immediately after this opening scene and a magnificently cheesy opening title sequence, the script unleashes a sex scene which only solidifies the point that this definitively odd fourth entry in the series of Christmas-related horror films is a much different animal than the positively listless third film. Featuring a multitude of wild special effects work by Screaming Mad George, Yuzna’s film is rather deranged from start to finish though probably not something anyone would consider to be a “good movie.” It comes across as being quite similar to (the IMHO underrated) Halloween III: Season of the Witch due to the fact it has precisely nothing to do with the previous Silent Night, Deadly Night films (and precious little connection with Christmas for that matter either), but this hardly matters in the wild world of horror cinema. If anything, this fourth volume is exactly the shot in the arm that the increasingly tiresome SNDN series needed.

clint howard
Lots of slimy critters in this one. And Clint Howard, who seems a little “off” himself.

The script by Woody Keith (who previously had written Yuzna’s equally whacked-out 1989 feature Society) deals with a reporter named Kim who takes it upon herself to investigate the apparent suicide of the woman who fell from the building. As she digs deeper into the story, Kim becomes (perhaps a little too) acquainted with a mysterious (and man-hating) woman named Fima who appears to know more about the woman’s death than she readily admits. Fascinated by the enigmatic woman, Kim starts to spend more and more time with Fima, which turns out to be a bad call. Fima is actually the head of a truly bizarre coven of witches and has it in her mind to use the reporter as a vessel with which to conjure her daughter from beyond the grave.

fingers
The effects by Screaming Mad George certainly are the best seen in thus far the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise.

Though Keith’s script seems to bog down in all the mumbo jumbo relating to the occult and therefore get confused and confusing, it’s mostly an excuse for Yuzna, with help from the crack effects team, to unleash plenty of goopy, slimy, and downright gross visuals for the viewer to look at. Giant maggots and roaches wind up crawling into many sequences in the film, and there are plenty of regular-sized bugs scurrying around as well – it’s not all that surprising that when the film was released in the UK, it did so under the name of “Bugs.” Additionally, we get a bunch of scenes of bodies twisting and cavorting as if they’re being ripped apart from the inside. Many of these scenes seem to have been lifted straight out of Yuzna’s previous film Society, and when SNDN4 unleashes a pair of eye-opening and horrific “initiation” sequences it reaches a level of insanity that few films strive for, let alone achieve.

guess
You can probably guess what’s about to go down….

During the first of these sequences, a giant larval caterpillar is inserted into Kim (you figure out how it gets there) and proceeds to squirm its way up her torso until she regurgitates the creature whole. From this point, Ricky, the filthy homeless guy, slices the worm in half and lets the juices ooze onto Kim’s body in a very suggestive manner. The second half of the initiation ritual finds Kim being raped by Ricky (who sports a phallic mask the entire time for good measure), subsequently watching in horror as her legs fuse together and bend back on each other while she starts to ooze as if giving birth. Drenched in a sickly reddish hue, this entire scene firmly plants SNDN4 in the realm of jaw-dropping cinema. Both of these two scenes are relatively pointless in the bigger picture of the script, but they certainly give the picture some notoriety. This has to be one of the more genuinely and unexpectedly disturbed films I’ve seen in a while – quite a surprise considering the sleep-inducing third Silent Night, Deadly Night film.

um...yeah
This film goes off the deep end at times, but it’s a welcome changeup in a film series that had grown tiresome.

All the crazy visuals in the world however can’t make up for the fact that the acting on display in the film is sketchy at best. Former model Neith Hunter plays Kim and appears to have gotten the role largely due to her willingness to disrobe on command (this just in: she looks great naked). Honestly, Hunter’s not terrible in the part, and at least tries to make the character believable – even when the script calls for her to unleash a string of mood changes that becomes difficult to keep up with. That’s more than I can say for the atrocious Tommy Hinkley, who appears as her horndog boyfriend. A viewer simply can’t take this guy’s performance seriously at all, which makes the romantic scenes between he and Hunter almost laughable: watch for the scene in which Hinkley tells his girlfriend, with a straight face and in the most emotionally disconnected manner possible, “I care about you.” I literally almost threw up. Meanwhile, Maud Adams (who had the distinction of appearing as two different Bond girls) plays Fima as a slithering, predatory lesbian who just happens to be a witch. Adams certainly is creepy in the part, but the script hands her some of the most ludicrous material imaginable to work with: it’d really be hard for anyone to add credibility to this character. Clint (“yes, I’m Ron’s brother”) Howard nearly steals the show playing the loose cannon Ricky, a menacing role that almost becomes comedic in way its played here. Howard’s eyes quite often seem to be bugging out of his skull as he rants, raves, and runs around like a maniac – the fact that he sounds like Richie Cunningham whenever he’s given a line of dialogue only adds to a viewer’s enjoyment of his performance. Look for Phantasm‘s Reggie Bannister in a smaller role.

WTF
Um…yeah.

It’d be very easy to be extremely harsh on this film: for one thing, Keith’s script has a tendency to go off on tangents, the most groan-inducing of which involves the character of Hinkley’s father chastising Kim for her lack of Christmas spirit (“she’s Jewish dad…she doesn’t celebrate Christmas…”). Additionally, there are a few moments during the course of the film in which Yuzna appears to have about no clue what he’s trying to accomplish, appearing during these times to be about as lost as many viewers of the film would be. His handling of the material in the end is quite clunky, but the sputtering, stop-start quality of the narrative benefits the film since it plays out in a surreal and nightmarish sort of way. Probably the best thing I could say about the picture is that it’s downright grody, quite ugly, and occasionally disgusting – qualities that benefit a horror movie like this. I was actually quite shocked to find a genuinely eccentric film like this existing in the otherwise fairly tame and conventional Silent Night, Deadly Night series: photographed capably by Philip Holahan and featuring a nice music score by the reliable Richard Band, this is easily the most fascinating and (excessively?) inventive film in the series, although it’s not the outright best. Even (or perhaps especially) those who didn’t like the previous SNDN films might just get a kick out of this one: it’s not a great movie and may be too extreme for many viewers, but I’d recommend it to horror movie fans.

clint

disc deets
Released by Lions Gate in a package that also includes parts three and five of the Silent Night, Deadly Night series. The films are presented in full-frame format with no extras.

blood & guts ugh
8/10 : A handful of rather extreme moments, including some gore and plentiful weirdness. This film also really piles on the gross visuals.

smack talk
6/10 : Recurring harsh profanity.

fap factor smile
7/10 : Former model Neith Hunter is naked quite a bit and the film also includes quite a few sexual situations, some related dialog and an implied rape.

whack attack roach
8/10 : Easily the most bizarre of the Silent Night, Deadly Night series and a film that would likely perplex and/or disgust some viewers.

GI JOE
“I don’t know what it is about that woman burning, but when I first saw it, I could almost feel it…”

Trailer (Possible NSFW – Weirdness):

“That’s All? A Scary Santa??!?” SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 3: BETTER WATCH OUT!

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 3: BETTER WATCH OUT!

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See Triple Feature Package at Amazon 

(1/5) ugh

Pros: Technically capable and hey – it’s somewhat consistent with the earlier series entries

Cons: Acting; script; lack of tension; miserable as a horror flick

The second sequel to the highly controversial and surprisingly decent ‘80s slasher dealing with a killer Santa Claus, 1989’s Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! was directed by Monte Hellman (known for such films as Two-Lane Blacktop, Cockfighter, and The Shooting) who regards it as his best work. Note the wording there: Hellman didn’t say his “best film” and rightfully so, since SNDN3 pales in comparison to even the worst of the aforementioned trio. Consider that the original script was rewritten in a week’s time and that director Hellman had the finished film in the can a month later and you can begin to see his point: it’s frankly a miracle that SNDN3 was completed in the first place. The downside to all this is that the film plays like it was thrown together very quickly, having a terrible sense of pacing, a script that’s so unfocused it borders on being incoherent, and amateurish acting that very nearly makes the film seem more like a parody than a straight-faced effort. From a purely technical standpoint, SNDN3 is an improvement over the extremely sloppy second series film, but it’s nowhere near as much fun.

yawn
Only one scene in the film involves a killer Santa, meaning that the main gimmick of the SNDN series is all but absent.

Remaining somewhat consistent with the original story of brothers Billy and Ricky Caldwell who, having witnessed the murder of their parents by a man dressed up as Santa Claus as children, grow up to carry on murder sprees of their own, SNDN3 begins by introducing us to a blind psychic named Laura who’s been recruited by a somewhat sketchy scientist named Dr. Newbury to “tap into” the brain of now-comatosed Ricky (who survived the second film when his brain was “surgically reconstructed”). This attempt by Laura to communicate with the unresponsive serial killer establishes a link between the brains of these two characters, and after (surprise!) Ricky miraculously snaps out of his coma on Christmas Eve, it’s of course Laura who he sets off to track down and kill. The young woman, meanwhile, has headed to her grandma’s house for a family get-together with her brother Chris and his slutty girlfriend Jerri, but the newly-awakened Ricky soon crashes the party. Can Laura learn to appreciate her psychic “gift” before she’s the latest victim of the merciless killer?

ricky
Bill Moseley, best known as one of Rob Zombie’s regular actors, plays the zombie-like Ricky, but can’t do much to add pop to the tiresome story.

Carlos Laszlo’s script for this made-for-video piece is, frankly, a disaster. Nevermind the familiarity and predictability of the material or the fact that the story resorts to the old “psychic girl versus unbeatable murderer” gimmick that had been the basis for the previous year’s Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood: the real problem with Laszlo’s script is that it’s full of pointless dialogue scenes added to pad this baby out to a feature run time of around ninety minutes. While the reanimated Ricky Caldwell (his brain exposed through a clear plastic container sitting atop his head) stalks Laura, her brother and his girlfriend, the film’s narrative routinely switches up to focus on a concurrent storyline involving Dr Newbury and a gruff police detective trying to track the killer down. Having seen more than enough Japanese monster flicks in which subplots routinely intrude on the monster action, I can deal with this almost obligatory secondary story – but when we start to get lengthy dialogues between these two characters in which they discuss the then-brand new technology of cell phones or reveal their contrasting philosophies about scientific ethics, the film becomes not only frustrating but downright hopeless. What purpose do these dialogues serve other than to kill time? In a film that’s already light in terms of its horror elements, it seems an incredibly foolish and plain asinine thing to do to slow the pace down even further.

obvious effect
This severed head sitting on a desk is about as good as the special effects get in this movie, which is to say they’re kinda shoddy.

In ways, this third series entry has the most in common with the vast majority of other classic slashers since the killer is portrayed as a Michael Myers-like “boogeyman,” but as mentioned, the film has extremely limited amounts of the typical horror movie trappings. Most of the killings in this film occur offscreen, and the few that are included in the picture are not only poorly-handled, but plain tedious. We have the usual stabbings and shootings as well as a severed head positioned perfectly on a desk, but the only truly notable moment occurring when a sharp stake punctures a human torso. Gore effects are also few and far between and often quite lousy – I almost held my head in shame when, as a woman has her throat slit off-camera, what appears to be watered-down strawberry syrup is flung across a desk to simulate the blood splatter. What’s worse than the lack of violence and gore is the inexcusable lack of any tension or suspense in the film. Hellman seems utterly incapable of creating any honest interest in the plight of the characters: it’s a given that these people’s lives are in danger…but you wouldn’t know it. The stalking scenes are plain pathetic, clumsily edited and often accompanied by silence on the soundtrack. Mind you, Steven Soles’ very 1980s-sounding music seems wildly inappropriate in the first place, but I would have hoped that Hellman would use some piercing music cues or sound effects to punctuate these scenes (after all, these moments are theoretically the ones in which viewer excitement should be at its maximum).

samantha scully
OK, so Samantha Scully is cute, but her portrayal of the somewhat bitchy, Gothed-out blind girl Laura is none too spectacular.

Given the performances by the likes of Samantha Scully (as the noticeably unlikable Laura), Eric DaRe (her brother), Laura Harring (the brother’s girlfriend, who alternates between having a Spanish accent and not having one), Richard Beymer (Dr. Newbury), and Robert Culp (the detective), one could almost be led to believe that Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 is supposed to be a parody of the slasher genre. Unfortunately, even if this crew of actors (and particularly Beymer and Culp) puts forth some almost laughable line deliveries, the tone of the movie appears to be serious, which is another ill-advised decision from the writer and/or director. Part two of the Silent Night, Deadly Night series was completely pathetic from a filmmaking standpoint, yet is undeniably watchable since lead actor Eric Freeman goes so overboard with his performance: I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen even if my jaw was hitting the floor at how downright dumb the whole thing was. Hellman, on the other hand, seems to purposely avoid anything that could possibly add to one’s enjoyment of the picture – it’s utterly joyless and ultimately pointless viewing. Even the appearance of horror movie icon Bill Moseley as the almost zombie-like Ricky is forgettable.

Here's Johnny
“Here’s Johnny…” oops. wrong movie.

I suppose I could blame part of the problem with this film on the fact that it was thrown together in a matter of days, but director Hellman quite honestly seems to have precisely no penchant for handling this type of material – at least not in 1989 (one of Hellman’s first movies – a corny but very watchable horror film called The Terror – is seen playing on televisions throughout SNDN3). Sure, he gets the thing done, but it’s difficult to imagine any director turning in a film worse than the finished version of Silent Night, Deadly Night 3. Lacking even the basic ingredients that would make it successful as a genre film, this unfocused, unexciting, undeniably lame film drags on and on for ninety minutes and provides the viewer a scant payoff in the end. I honestly can’t come up with a single reason why anyone in their right mind would want to sit through this mess: though I liked some of the more hallucinatory and dream-like bits of the film – most of which take place in the first half hour or so, it’s downright sad to see a director like Hellman reduced to making this kind of trash to pay the bills. This film is best avoided.

meh

disc deets
Though the film is also available in a hit-or-miss four-movie pack with the likes of My Best Friend Is A Vampire, Repossessed, and Slaughter High, the three-movie set which includes parts 3,4,and 5 of the Silent Night, Deadly Night series may be the better bet (implying there is such a thing as a good bet when referring to these titles). Either package is full screen, with no extras.

blood & guts
3/10 : An absolute minimum of gore since most killings occur offscreen; what is here is pretty tedious.

smack talk
3/10 : An f-bomb or two as well as some other minor profanity.

fap factor OK!
3/10 : One scene of topless nudity presented in a non-sexual context and some fleeting innuendo.

whack attack
2/10 : Mostly a curio piece considering it was directed by a well-regarded filmmaker, but this is pretty pathetic overall.

GI JOE
“Well, studying snakes is your thing, Doc. Stompin’ on ’em is mine. And speaking of snakes, pardon me while I relieve the reptile.”

Amusing Promotional Home Video Trailer

(Possible NSFW: Violence):

Grievous Sin by Faye Kellerman – decent story, but some really bad dialog

Grievous Sin by Faye Kellerman

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See it at Amazon 

(3/5)  Totally Average!

Pros: Decent mystery for us to solve

Cons: Horrible dialog, characters making me dislike them

Grievous Sin is another fine mystery in Faye Kellerman’s series featuring Rina and Peter Decker. For those unfamiliar, the Deckers are a blended family full of kids, step-kids, in-laws, and Orthodox Jewish traditions. Peter is a detective who often relies on his wife’s keen insights to help him solve cases.

In Grievous Sin the mystery hits just a bit too close to home. Rina has just had a baby.  And while complications leave her unable to have additional children, Peter has his hands full when a baby and a nurse go missing from the nursery.

While Rina tries to come to terms with her new reality, Peter works tirelessly to put the puzzle pieces together – trying to find the nurse and the baby, while the mystery baffles, and the body count rises.

It was a pretty good story, and the mystery definitely held my interest.  It wasn’t at all clear exactly what went on in the nursery that night, and the clues that eventually came together started to form a fascinating story.

However, the book suffers from some very stilted dialogue – making me dislike some of the characters, despite having enjoyed them in previous books of the series.

First of all, let’s talk about Rina’s situation.  Yes, it’s very scary and sad, when you have a new baby and complications of any kind arise.  It’s sad when you’re told you won’t be able to have any more children.  I’m not trying to make light of this situation.  However, if Rina cried one more time about how “useless” she is I was going to toss the book out the window.  She actually refers to herself as “useless and uterusless”.  Puh-leaze.  The woman has three healthy children.  Can she just be grateful for that, for her own health, and that of her husband?  Nope.  None of that matters, apparently.  Only the fact that she’s now a “useless woman” (her words, not mine).  Her ability to sit there and cry and feel sorry for herself knew no bounds.  Poor Peter is working round-the-clock trying to solve a kidnapping only he has to stop what he’s doing, constantly, to console poor Rina and tell her that Yes, he still loves her and No, he’s not going to leave her because she’s “useless” now.  What a joke!

Then there’s Cindy, Peter’s daughter from his first marriage.  She’s in college – somewhere between a kid and an adult. But in Grievous Sin she might as well be a kid, and a bratty one at that.  I get that she’s trying to be helpful, but mostly she’s a total pain.  She’s not in the hospital’s nursery five minutes before she’s already getting in the way, preventing the nurses from doing their jobs, and being a general nuisance.  Later, when she actually takes the time to complain to her father about one of the nurses and uses the phrase “She hates me!!!” it reminded me of all the times that kids talk that way about their teachers, in justification of their bad grades.  One can just picture college-age Cindy crossing her arms, stamping her feet, and holding her breath until she gets her way.  Later she goes off on her own, in the name of being “helpful” and could have compromised the entire investigation, not to mention putting herself in potential danger.  What an idiot!

So, as you can tell, Grievous Sin was a decent book, with a decent mystery for us to solve along with Peter.  But Faye Kellerman should take care to write her characters with a kinder, gentler pen, if she wants me to like them.  Overall, not a terrible book, but not the best.

 

“Maybe We’re Just Jerkin Off Here…” SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2

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Find it at Amazon 

(2/5) meh

Pros: I laughed quite a bit; Eric Freeman’s acting ability is really something

Cons: So many…oh so many…

In the annals of truly pathetic horror movies, a few titles rise above the rest. Made in 1990, Troll 2 has become widely known as one of the “best, worst movies” ever made: an earnest attempt to make a decent flick that simply went horribly, almost inexplicably wrong. What made the film so memorable was that its “humor” was completely organic: writer/director Claudio Fragasso wasn’t trying to be funny when he wrote the script, but the whole production is so utterly absurd that it becomes the stuff of comic genius. 1987’s Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 plays in a somewhat similar manner in that it positively cannot be taken seriously.

more fun & games
More ’80s slasher fun & games!

Continuing more or less where the first film lets off, SN, DN 2 follows the story of Ricky, the younger brother of the killer from the first film. Like his brother Billy, Ricky is troubled by the fact that a man dressed up as Santa Claus killed his parents while he was still a baby, and he’s forced to live in a strict orphanage run by a borderline sadistic nun. In his teenage years, Ricky starts to have the sort of mental breakdown that led his brother down a path to murder, and by the time he’s in his early twenties, he’s a unstable live wire that’s ready to snap. While none of this material seems at all inspired, this is the type of story that low budget horror movies are made of: an excuse to have a murder spree occur at some point during the film. Unfortunately, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 was afforded almost none of the production resources of the genuinely decent first series entry, resulting in a finished product that’s immensely unimaginative, largely incoherent, and utterly hopeless from a technical standpoint.

din't get enough
Didn’t get enough Silent Night, Deadly Night the first time around? You’re in luck, since the “best” moments from the first film are screened again here.

If the story is correct, director Lee Harry was given instructions by the film’s producer to re-edit footage seen in the first Silent Night, Deadly Night and pass off the results as a standalone sequel. Harry demanded that new footage be shot and rightly so: who would want to watch a second movie made from the same, already-seen material and what could be done to make said recycled footage seem remotely fresh? Even when production money was allotted to the project however, there wasn’t enough to create an entirely new film, thus Harry in collaboration with Joseph H. Earle came up with a screenplay that operates mostly as a flashback, told from Ricky’s perspective as he sits in a mental hospital, spilling his guts to a court-ordered psychiatrist. The opening half of SN, DN 2 then consists almost entirely of footage recycled from first film with occasional voiceover narration provided by the profanity-spewing Ricky. Literally, this series of flashbacks ripped directly from the original film lasts more than half an hour, by which point anyone who’s seen the first film would not only be bored to tears, but plain insulted by the fact that this hunkajunk sequel be passed off as a new and different film. Once Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 starts engaging in its own story, i.e. the one relating specifically to Ricky and his own descent into madness, the film improves to some extent – but maybe not in the way that was originally intended.

yep
That’s kinda what watching this film is like.

To put it simply, the original footage seen in Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (roughly comprising the final 45 minutes or so of the movie) is atrocious, largely due to the mind-boggling lack of acting chops possessed by the hulking Eric Freeman who plays Ricky. Freeman seems to have attended the Arnold Schwarzenegger school of acting, overemphasizing nearly everything he says thus making the entirety of the script feel like an extended one-liner while delivering lines in a choppy and hilariously punctuated manner (his declaration of “young and stupid…that’s my problem” says all too much about the nature of this film). If that’s not bad enough, his performance is so forced and overdone that the film winds up seeming almost like an overly violent live-action cartoon. Watch as Freeman, the perpetual bad attitude Sally that he is, spits vitriol at everyone in sight, insulting the psychiatrist who may be able to spring him from the mental hospital he’s confined in (“I could squash you like a bug”), and contorts his face into some of the most ridiculous expressions possible at inopportune moments. Coming across as a complete wisenheimer, Freeman’s crowning moment occurs when he goes on a murder rampage culminating in the shooting of a man positioning his trash cans by the curb. “GARBAGE DAY!” Freeman exclaims with a little too much gusto. It’s unbelievable that someone who sought employment in film would overact to the extent that Freeman does in this film: his soul-crushingly tasteless performance has to be one of the worst I’ve ever seen in a theatrically-released film, yet it’s perhaps the one element that makes Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 watchable on some level. Simply put, this performance has to be seen to be believed.

Sadly, there’s not much else here that warrants a viewer’s attention: even beyond the fact that it includes so much recycled footage, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is horrendous, more a series of vignettes than a coherent motion picture. Precisely no imagination has been applied to this material: gee, do you think Ricky will eventually break out of the mental hospital and try to seek revenge on the nun who abused him and his brother as children? And then there’s the big murder spree itself, which consists of some of the least thrilling kill scenes ever included in a slasher film: we have several shootings (yawn), an umbrella through a torso, and jumper cables inserted into a man’s mouth. The special effects seen are lousy, and there’s almost no gore quotient to the film whatsoever. Elizabeth Cayton (as Ricky’s ill-fated girlfriend), Ken Weichert (as the girlfriend’s sleazeball ex), and an especially listless James Newman (as the shrink) sleepwalk through their parts, making one wish the whole film was instead a performance art piece or stand-up act from the ultra-hammy and corny Freeman. At least that would have been something to see.

the insanity of Eric Freeman
The insanity of Eric Freeman really is the film’s only selling point.

Instead we have to pretend to be satiated by an exploding Chevrolet Chevette and a completely different actress sporting bubbly scars on her face pretending to be the same Mother Superior as seen in the first film. One wonders just what the hell was going through the mind of director Lee Harry when the production of this film was taking place. It’s astounding to think that he would have be tolerant of the completely off-the-wall performance being turned in by his lead actor, yet maybe by that point Harry (who surprisingly, still finds work in the industry working as an editor) was just trying to get the film in the can, whatever the cost. All things considered, that may have been the best call.

few gory moments
Despite a few graphic moments, SNDN2 seems incredibly lame as a horror movie.

In any case, the entirety of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 seems to have been a production nightmare for everyone involved, and it’s absolutely amazing that the film was not only completed, but that it’s still remembered – even if for the wrong reasons. Though this would undoubtedly amuse viewers who enjoy really, really, I’m talking seriously bad movies, it’s honestly very nearly so pathetic as to warrant me to unanimously dismiss it as complete trash. Still, there’s something fascinating about watching a cinematic trainwreck of this caliber: director Harry’s film has to be placed on a pedestal with such jaw-dropping abominations as Manos: The Hands of Fate and The Room. I can’t in good conscience recommend this flick to anyone, but I’ll say that on some level I did enjoy it. Taken as a comedy, this is pure gold – but the very select crowd who could/would appreciate something like this would likely know who they are. All others, beware: my two star rating could very easily be a negative three.

disc deets
I’d say the best way to see this film would be the double feature DVD which also contains the surprisingly decent first series entry (widescreen; no extras). The film can also be streamed at amazon.

blood & guts
5/10 : Recycles all the good kills straight out of the first film, the new footage only offers up a plate of leftovers. As a horror film, this is undeniably lousy with below-average effects.

smack talk
8/10 : Ricky lets loose with a barrage of profanity at every available opportunity.

fap factor
4/10 : OK, so the film does include nudity pulled straight out of the first film, but director Harry cops out right when he could deliver some top-notch nudity of his own. As with most other aspects of the movie, it’s disappointing in this regard.

whack attack ay!
9/10 : Almost a must for fans of truly awful cinema; this has to be one of the worst horror flicks of the ’80s.

GI JOE
“You tend to get paranoid when everyone around you gets dead.”

Craptastic Trailer: