Archive for the ‘Craig McGee’ Category

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REVIEW: Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader

August 30, 2012

Craig McGee

Written by:  Mike MacLean

Directed by:  Kevin O’Neill

Starring:  Jena Sims, Ryan Merriman, Sasha Jackson, Olivia Alexander, AJ Llamas, and Treat Williams

 

 

QUICK FIX:

In this update of the 1958 classic, ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN, cute yet pimply and mousy college freshman scientist Cassie helps develop a new serum that could revolutionize the beauty industry and will quickly turn a “Butterface” (or worse) into “OHHHH HELLS YEAH!!!” seemingly overnight.   With the funding she gets from this, the world could be her burrito – guys, money, fame, new science projects…everything a lab geek could possibly want, right?

Well, not exactly.  See, Cassie, more than anything else in the world, just wants love and acceptance but she’s a girl that’s lookin for love in all the wrong places – from pleasing her vain mother to joining the cheer squad to getting into the hottest sorority on campus – those are her college goals.  So what’s a cute yet pimply and mousy college freshman scientist to do?  Faster than you can say “THE NUTTY PROFESSOR”, she runs back to the lab and injects herself with the magical serum and the next morning BAM, superfox.  But that’s not all…of course with the super hotness also comes getting accepted everywhere she wanted that shunned her before, as well as greater strength, enhanced coordination, etc.  But then our gorgeous young Cassie begins to grow…and grow…and GROW…and before long a guy would need goggles and a snorkel just to…oh, wait…kids read this, don’t they?

Anyway, it isn’t long before a pesky arachnid and Cassie’s hot yet peskily bitchy nemesis, Brittany, also fall victim to the side effects of the body growth serum and on top of dealing with that there’s the pesky-nasty pharmaceutical company rep and his platoon of goons trying to harness Cassie and her size as well.  As Confucius would say, “Short man who dance with tall woman get bust in mouth.”  Let’s hope our gorgeous heroine is able to…stand tall, during all of this…

RAMBLINGS:

Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader

Oh, Roger Corman, you’ve done it again!!!  For decades you’ve been entertaining me in the wildest ways by producing flicks on a budget for each movie that was more than likely lower than my annual property taxes and for that I’m not only thankful, but more than a little envious as well.  You’ve had way more hits with me than misses and that far exceeds most other writer/director/producers in any genre, especially horror, so thanks for the mammaries and here’s to many more to come…CHEERS!!!

Speaking of hits…I know that in two years’ time, I’ve written now a total of four glowing reviews for all four movies that Mike MacLean has written.  DINOCROC vs. SUPERGATOR, SHARKTOPUS, PIRANHACONDA, and now ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT CHEERLEADER.  That’s four for four, for those of you keeping track.  I don’t know this man personally and unfortunately he doesn’t pay me for these awesome reviews, I just like to reward excellence and repeatedly thank the man for writing flicks that I am constantly and consistently entertained by and can watch over and over and over again.  I say this again – keep your eyes on this dude, he is a force to be reckoned with.  His writing that I already love improves with every feature and you just can’t ask for much more than that.  This was also a departure for MacLean, as yes there are still giants in this movie, but except for two little scenes all the giants are in fact human.  I always enjoy little breakout moments like these, especially when the giant female cast is so easy on the eyes!  MacLean…KEEP WRITING MOVIES!!!!

The horror vet cameo list is long and distinguished this time around with appearances by the awesome Mary Woronov, Sean Young, Ted Raimi, and in one hilarious classroom scene (one of my favorite scenes) John Landis and The Man himself, Roger Corman.  Not to mention we get Treat Williams (who will forever be Finnegan to me, as well as my favorite Substitute) chewing up every scene he’s in with the glee of 37 William Shatners and seems to enjoy every second of his time on screen.  I know I sure as hell did – one great line after another.  But my favorite came when Cassie’s nerdy scientist colleague whipped out his phone and threatened to call the FDA on them.  But of course, Treat sez, “Why don’t you set your phone to ‘Shut The Fuck Up!’” before tazing the shit out of him.  Ohhhhhh, what I wouldn’t pay to have that line as my ringtone!!

LAST WORDS:

This may come as a surprise once you see my name attached to this review, but it was actually NOT a SyFy Saturday premiere.  It was in fact a Saturday, but it premiered on the Epix Movie Channel instead and I for one am thrilled and grateful.  This flick would NOT have worked on SyFy very well.  Why?  BOOBS, GLORIOUS BOOOOBS!!!!  The giant topless Royal Rumble at the end alone would’ve had to have been heavily blocked or edited and we just cannot have that in this day and age.  No, sez I.  Yes, I AM still a 12 year old at heart, thank you very much.  But think about it – when a hot chick grows to ten times her normal height, the clothes don’t expand with her…thank goodness, if you catch my drift.

No word yet on a DVD release date, but we will keep you posted.  I cannot wait to add this flick to my collection.  Oh, which reminds me…I FLIPPIN LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!  Take the giant Jena Sims and stack the giant Olivia Alexander on top of her (Hmmm…) and multiply by 1000 and that MIGHT come close to explaining my love for it.  Cheesy, schlocky, hokey giant woman flick where toplessness happens at random; a giddy Treat Williams chomping up scenery like a starving Sharktopus, and trademark Mike MacLean one-liners, ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT CHEERLEADER is my favorite Saturday night date so far this year!!!

– Craig

 

 

 

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SEPTEMBER (AKA – MY BIRTHDAY MONTH, EXCELLENT; THE MONTH BEFORE HALLOWEEN, ROCK ON; AND THE FIRST BIG MONTH FOR HORROR DVD RELEASES, MOST IMPORTANT!!!!!)

August 27, 2012

Craig McGee

WOOOOOO!!!!!  I can’t help it…I know that round here at mrfrights.com we’re supposed to be Halloween-365, and I AM, I swear.  BUT, geeks everywhere also know that July & August are the months that us starving writers start hooking for loose change and saving as much of it as we possibly can and then every Tuesday in September we SPEND our asses off like we just got our first huge royalty check in the mail!!!

Now, my list here is, for the most part, more mainstream with a gem and a couple of intriguing Indies thrown in for good measure.  There’s a lil bit for everyone, but these are the highlights that I could dig up at the moment.  Plus, I don’t have near enough time, space, or energy to go through, research, and list all the “8 Best Horror Films” or “50 Greatest Horror Films” packs they’re putting out between now and Halloween, of which there are already several dozen listed online.  I’m sure you’ll find them on your own in the $5.00 bins at your local Wal-Mart soon enough.

 

September 4th:

PIRANHA 3DD

PIRANHA 3DD: Sequel to the wildly fun PIRANHA 3D that wound up falling way too short for me.  Even Busey and Hasselhoff looked embarrassed to be in this one and I can understand why – the writing team of Melton & Dunstan have embarrassingly screwed up some of my favorite franchises in the last few years, but that’s just one writer’s opinion.

HAVEN: The Complete 2nd Season – SyFy Original Series fans, rejoice!!  This one started off slow for me, but the 2nd season was much better in my opinion, especially when WWE Superstar Edge showed up for a story arc.  Yep, I’m THAT guy…

FRINGE: The Complete 4th Season – Started out really promising but then tried to out X-Files The X-Files and wound up tripping over its own mythology week after week, as most J.J. Abrams television series tend to do, and I was done with it after Season Two.  But for all you loyal fans out there that have kept it going this long, here you go!

 

September 11th (this is a BIG one):

CHILLERS: A creepy, well-told anthology flick from 1987 with five stories told to each other by strangers waiting on a late bus.  Well worth adding to your collection since it’s finally getting some DVD lovin.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY Trilogy: To me, the most overhyped, boring “horror” flicks to come along since THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, but obviously some people like them as each sequel seems to out-gross the last in terms of ticket sales.  For those of you that have been holding out, now you can finally get the first three in one package to gear up for the 4th hitting theaters in October.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: The Complete 3rd Season – Kevin Williamson, one of my writing idols, is behind this yet I’m ashamed to say I’ve never watched a single episode.  I’ve heard nothing but great things though, so rest assured I will catch up very soon.

TERRA NOVA: The Complete Series – I couldn’t WAIT for this to hit the small screen…time-travel, dinosaurs, military involvement; what’s not to love??  Well, too much family drama that belonged on THE O.C. with other whiney teens and not enough dino carnage for me.  Obviously many others thought the same as it never made it past 13 episodes.  But I do know a couple of fans out there so if you’re reading this, here’s your chance to get the entire short-lived series.

CASTLE: The Complete 4th Season – My 2nd favorite show on TV (behind Psych and Californication, who are both tied for first) and it keeps getting better and better every season!!  It comes out just in time for you to refresh yourself before the 5th season starts, and you know this happy geek has already pre-ordered it!

PSYCH-O-WEEN

THE PSYCH-O-WEEN COLLECTION: Besides snagging the 6th season when it’s released, this is probably what I’m looking forward to most.  Includes 4 episodes altogether, 2 of which have never been to DVD – both horror-themed episodes from last season – “This Episode Sucks” and “Heeeeeere’s Lassie” and both of them instant classics.  No word at all that I could find on what the other two episodes are, but that will give us all something to speculate on and geek out about very soon!

 

 

 

 

 

September 18th (only two that matter):

SUPERNATURAL Season 7

SUPERNATURAL: The Complete 7th Season – The Winchester Brothers spend less of this season emoting than normal and more time kicking all sorts of demon ass, and that’s just fine by me!!!  My 3rd favorite show on TV saw last season spending most of the time with the nasty critters from Purgatory trying to go global with their lining us up as cattle for the slaughter to feed them for eternity.  Ending with the typical cliffhanger we’ve all known to love yet curse at until the next season starts, for me the 8th season can’t start soon enough!!

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS: I’ve blogged about this one, I’ve praised it endlessly, I’ve seen it several times and even so YES, I’m buying this one immediately.  THE SINGLE BEST EPIC FLIPPIN HORROR MOVIE OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS!!!!!  Not to everyone, but to me and most everyone I know that watched it.  With tributes to EVIL DEAD, intelligent writing and characters that turn horror as we know it on its ear, and a final 20 minutes that is so batshit crazy-awesome it STILL has to be seen to be believed…I still can’t get enough of it.  BRING IT ON!!!

 

September 25th:

STRIPPERS vs. WEREWOLVES: Yes, it’s just exactly as much fun as the title suggests.  Low budget and lowbrow humor abound.  Take it for what it is and enjoy the hell out of it!

THE TALL MAN: Unfortunately NOT a documentary on Angus Scrimm’s involvement in the PHANTASM franchise, but instead a Jessica Biel-starring ghost or demon child-snatching flick…or something.  Never heard of it till now, but it’s the hotness of Miss Biel, so I’ll watch it once.  At least heh heh.

VAMPIRE DOG: Wackiness ensues in fun for the whole family when a boy unwittingly adopts a wisecracking 600 year old talking vampire dog.  Okay, I’m not positive about the wisecracking part; it just seemed to fit in there.  I haven’t actually seen it, but now I’m curious…

ZOMBIE BABIES: You don’t really need a synopsis for this, do ya?  The title pretty much says it all and it just screams out something sick and twisted that I MUST watch.  So yeah, I’m ordering this one!

The Avengers

THE AVENGERS: Yep, I’m throwing this in here simply because it’s a Joss Whedon flick, and it’s the greatest superhero movie ever made.  Nuff said.  And yep, it’s already pre-ordered!

So there you have it!  Hope you enjoy some happy shopping next month, I know I will.  Especially after I sell a kidney or two to get my credit card balance down enough so I can snag all these suckers when they hit the shelves!  What??  I didn’t say they would be MY kidneys…

 

 

 

 

– Craig McGee

 

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REVIEW: PIRANHACONDA

August 15, 2012

Craig McGee

Written by:  Mike MacLean  

Directed by:  Jim Wynorski  

Starring:  Michael Madsen, Rachel Hunter, Robert “Rib” Hillis, Terri Ivens, Shandi Finnessey

 
 

QUICK FIX:

After an arousingly catchy BEACH BLANKET BINGO-style opening theme song warning us to “Look out, look out – PIRANHACONDAAAAAAAAA!!!” by a band I’ve since become a fan of – The Cheetah Whores – we’re treated to Mr. Blonde himself as a University professor trying to bring an egg or four from Hawaii back to the mainland to study, even though we know he’s got ulterior motives since he admits he’s been tracking these creatures for over 20 years since his Daddy went missing.   

From there we get introduced to more main characters than a Frank Herbert novel – an entire low budget film crew shooting a slasher flick, an army of mercenaries led by an awesome dude who looks like a buffed-up Sean Connery and a still hotter than doughnut grease Rachel Hunter who kidnaps the rich and holds them for ransom till they gets paid, a scrawny movie geek and his big-boobed-blonde girlfriend, and a GORGEOUS female doctor looking for the legendary Ghost Orchid along with her trusty assistant and a female guide.   

Meanwhile, our title creature is chomping up main characters and tourists and extras faster than I was shoveling my homemade special recipe Deluxe Fatass Nachos into my piehole loving the shit outta the major cheese I was watching on my TV screen!! And all this is happening in Hawaii??  MAGNUM P.I. definitely left the seamier side of the island out of his stories, I take it…  

 

RAMBLINGS:

Why such a huge cast for a SyFy Saturday premiere, you may or may not ask?  The answer is, of course, easier than my first wife – when you’ve got a couple 100ft fish-snakes (Finakes?  Snish??) trying to track down their missing eggs, that’s a hellabig workout and they get hungry.  They’re out for vengeance AND sustenance, so many, many characters are needed to feed these suckers and chew up the running time.
 
That being said, there are writers out there that I will admit I have huge admiration for that in a couple of cases even borders on worship and envy – Joss Whedon, James Gunn, and Todd Farmer immediately come to mind.  But when I want to sit back and chill on a Saturday night with a big glass of rum and enjoy a bloody, funny, schlock-filled cheesefest of a SyFy Saturday creature feature there’s only one name that comes to mind, and that name is Mike MacLean.
 
Mike MacLean speaks to me.  Not in real life, but this is the first time that a writer has been so in tune with my Saturday night needs that ALL of his movies are in constant rotation in my house.  Let’s do a headcount – DINOCROC vs. SUPERGATOR; SHARKTOPUS; PIRANHACONDA.  And I’m positive that his next effort, debuting in late-August on the Epix Network – ATTACK OF THE 50FT CHEERLEADER – will be even MORE epic (nope, not doin the pun… too easy) to me than any of his previous work.
 
Never in my side job reviewing movies nor in the history of SyFy Saturdays has one writer knocked it out of the park for me every single time. To be quite honest, they usually piss me off more times than not. So when I praise this man’s genius, it’s not kissing ass – we’ve never met, we don’t know each other personally, he doesn’t call me at home, I’m not getting anything from him in return; it’s just a professional respect from one writer to another.  Plus in this case, this is one writer who also moonlights as a horror movie reviewer so I get to throw my voice out there to be heard and spread the good word.  A sample, you say?  Sure, like this exchange between three mercenary characters:
 

“It’s like an unholy union between a piranha and an anaconda.”
“You mean, a Piranhaconda??”
“I can’t believe you just said that.”

Or my personal favorite that I have taken to using on several occasions over the last couple of months:

“You guys are cuckoo for Psycho Puffs.”

See what I’m saying…it’s like he’s writing specifically for my sense of humor!  Apparently, I AM his target audience!!
 

Syfy Original Movie – Piranhaconda – YouTube.


 
 
LAST WORDS:
 
I love how the miraculous healing powers of the Ghost Orchid will never be known.  I love how the old “I’ll be right back” trick was used to perfect effect and I still laugh my ass off every time even though I knew what was gonna happen the first time.  I love my new drinking game, The Stumbling Leilani, which is where you take a shot every time two characters say Leilani’s name in just one four minute scene – use the bottle, you won’t have time to pour shots into a glass, trust me heh heh heh.  And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ending… well played, Sir.  It’s all part of the magic that makes this movie very special to me.  Mike MacLean, your mission is simple… write more movies NOW – my SyFy Saturday crew needs you!!
 
No word on the DVD release date yet, but you can bet your sweet schlock-lovin asses I’ll keep you posted.  One word of warning though – if you didn’t like SHARKTOPUS, chances are you’re not going to have your tongue planted anywhere close to firmly enough in your cheek to truly enjoy PIRANHACONDA, and that’s alright – it’s not for everyone.  Speaking of that, last year when I wrote that SHARKTOPUS was “full of kickassitude” and “cheesy goodness covered in awesome sauce”, I totally meant it.  But PIRANHACONDA goes way beyond that… it’s like a ginormous ball of cheese deep fried in awesomocity and is in full-throttle kickasstastic mode from start to finish and never, never, NEVER lets up on the gas or gives you a chance to breathe, and that’s just the way I like it!!!!

– Craig McGee

 

 

 

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VENGEANCE (AKA – SOMETHING THAT WAS A LADY NAMED, SOMETHING JOHN McCLANE CAME BACK TO DIE HARD WITH A, AND SOMETHING I WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE RIGHT NOW THAN TO UNLEASH THE SPIRIT OF ALL OVER THE DRECK KNOWN AS GHOST RIDER 2)

July 10, 2012

Craig McGee

I finally made it all the way through GHOST RIDER 2: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE without passing out from boredom or turning it off in anger and for once, I am shaking my head in speechless confusion.  So very, very many names and talents in this one huge movie that I truly enjoy and admire both in front of and behind the camera…from the usually excellent action scene coordinating talents of directing team of Neveldine/Taylor to the normally dead-on writing of David S. Goyer to the outstanding Nicholas Cage as the one and only Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider, this flick had EVERYTHING positive in its corner and should have been a runaway money train hit and been movie of the year without even batting an eye.

But somewhere, somehow, even with everything positive going for it, things went inexplicably wrong from start to finish.  The action, with the exception of a couple of big set pieces, was incredibly trite and poorly executed with deplorable CGI.  The dialogue was so contrived, over the top, and laughably bad that many times I either scratched my head that a particular line ever made it past the editor OR test audience, or I actually played the scene over & over again so I could laugh my ass off at the hamminess and unintentional hilarity of the words that just spewed forth from the actors’ mouths, and Mr. Cage…not sure what you were thinking this time around but please, please, please, in the name of Zeus’ BUTTHOLE, do NOT ever again listen to a director who tells you that instead of your usual harsh-yet-witty banter or your patented “Crazy Eyes” look, that merely turning your head sideways several times with a clueless stare and goofy grin and/or uttering a ridiculous howl at the strangest times is in any way menacing or belongs anywhere near the tortured soul that is the iconic character of Johnny Blaze.  You’re still one of my favorite actors, but I’m actually offended that you went along with that suggestion.

Speaking of Nic Cage being one of my favorite actors as well as being able to throw himself into almost any role and whoop its ass and make it his own, his over the top craziness has turned many a movie from good to HELLS YEAH for me.  FACE/OFF and THE ROCK especially, as well as the final 20 minutes of THE WICKER MAN, and most notably one of the best damn movies of the last decade – the Todd Farmer-scripted DRIVE ANGRY – all rank among just a few of my many Favorite Cage Flicks.  But as much as I enjoy the man’s work, I’ve never pictured him as being right for Johnny Blaze.  Miscasting happens all the time, unfortunately.  Liev Schreiber, another favorite actor of mine, was completely miscast as Sabretooth in the abominable X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.  But then again, that flick should have never been made in the first place.  At least not like it was.  Marvel dropped the ball there with that entire flick too (I’ll never forgive you for what you did to my beloved Deadpool.  Grrrr, bastards) but that’s a rant for another time.

Anyway, call me crazy but I always pictured Kiefer Sutherland as the perfect Blaze/GR.  No one, and I mean NO ONE, can do tortured soul like Kiefer.  Eight extremely successful and suspenseful seasons of 24 proved that point.  Jack Bauer was the most tortured soul on national television.  Plus, Kiefer is a genius actor on a level of which I believe few can top.  Plus-Plus, he’s got the perfect voice for a supernatural superhero.  Hollyweird suits, put the coke straw and hookers down for a sec and heed my advice – since this flick flopped miserably and rightfully so, and I’m pretty sure you won’t be greenlighting a third installment anytime soon, I have no doubts that you’ll go the route you did when HULK got out of hand and sucked so horribly – you wait a few years and reboot the franchise with a new actor and strike gold this time around like you did with THE INCREDIBLE HULK in 2008.  When you come out of your haze and decide to finally do the GHOST RIDER character justice, look long and hard at Kiefer Sutherland and for the love of all that’s good and holy, hire Todd Farmer to write the damn script!!

Why?  Easy.  I seem to remember reading awhile back, before this film even went before the cameras, a rumor that the one and only Todd Farmer (JASON X, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D, DRIVE ANGRY), whom I greatly admire as a writer, had written a sizable treatment for his own version of a GHOST RIDER sequel and word was it kicked all kinds of ass.  Oh what I wouldn’t give to see that version filmed, especially since I am a fan of and know exactly what Mr. Farmer is capable of as a writer.  Once again, suits, if this rumor is in fact true and in a couple of years you use my reboot idea, in addition to getting Kiefer to play Johnny Blaze make sure you hire Todd Farmer too.  And don’t be afraid to give the flick its rightful R-rating either.  They can still be smash franchise hits with us older folks who want to see the true carnage that our beloved characters are capable of.  THE PUNISHER or the BLADE franchise ring a bell??

Another place this movie totally dropped the proverbial ball for me – I realize they may not be marquee headlining names anymore but seriously – you get ultra-talent like Anthony Head and Christopher Lambert to sign on to your lil flick, DO NOT SHOVE THEM UNDER THE RUG AND MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR FIVE MINUTES AFTER DELIGHTING ME WITH THEM BEING ON SCREEN!!!!!!!  To me, that’s usually called a cameo.  In this case, it was a cruel joke to fans like me.  And those two actors are better than that.  Shame on you again, filmmakers.

I normally don’t use this blog to trash movies or actors or to review movies.  In fact, I think this was the first time doing so for me here and to be honest yes, I do feel a little guilty for doing so.  But I’ve also never sat through anything that should’ve been so amazingly full of awesomocity and wound up being such an empty-headed steaming pile of shit, and I want to warn the rest of the world who haven’t suffered through this trainwreck yet and that still have their 93 minutes and change intact & unwasted to stay very far, far away and spend their valuable time and money elsewhere.

 

 

I really wanted to love this movie.  I should have been raving all about it all over the web for months now.  But sadly, I can’t find a single positive thing to say about it.  Come to think of it, Marvel’s biggest cinematic missteps for me – the 2003 HULK, ELEKTRA, WOLVERINE, and FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER all put together do not equal as huge of a turkey that is GHOST RIDER 2: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE.  Mark Steven Johnson, I totally owe you an apology.  I now appreciate your vision of GHOST RIDER so much more than I did five years ago when you made that movie, and I’m sorry I ever spoke ill of it.  I still don’t get your casting of Wes Bentley of all people as the main bad guy, but I’m sure you had your good reasons.  Again, my apologies.  The first GHOST RIDER now rocks.  But one of these days we still gotta have a little talk about DAREDEVIL…

 

– Craig McGee

 

 

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AVENGERS’ CABIN (AKA – TWO…TWO…TWO MOVIES IN ONE YEAR THAT WERE NOT ONLY WRITTEN BY THE SAME GUY BUT THAT BOTH GAVE ME A FULL-ON GEEKGASM EVERY TIME I WATCHED THEM)

July 9, 2012

Craig McGee

First, I suddenly realized after writing the title above how much I am totally in love with the word “Geekgasm” and have come to the conclusion that, A) I should Trademark the word before it’s stolen from me like “Crackwhore” was by Norm MacDonald back in the day, and 2) I don’t use it in sentences nearly as much as I should.   But that can easily be remedied as I shall from this point forth incorporate that word into as many daily conversations as possible right along side my other favorites – “Holy balls”, “I’ve heard it both ways”, and “Said the liar…

Second, I consider myself a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s work.  I’ve especially always envied the way he can juggle so many main characters at once and give them ALL something important to do and say (no one is really a secondary throwaway character in his stories) – and I’ve liked practically everything he’s ever come out with…well, except DOLLHOUSE…yes, Eliza Dushku is hotter than doughnut grease without a doubt, but I just couldn’t get into this one.  But while it’s true I am a huge fan of the man’s work, I have always vehemently fought against the rabid fanboys out there (Looking at you most of all on this one, Milhouse) who’ve tried their damnedest to get me to join their herded ranks and classify me as a “Whedonite”.  But after this year I’m seriously considering rethinking my stance on that…

And seriously, who wouldn’t reconsider??  HAPPY FATHERS DAY DADDY LOVE, ALLYCAT!!  **WRITER’S NOTE – As I started writing this blog on Father’s Day, the realization hit me that any writings I leave open on screen and unattended while I go outside for a smoke break are fair game for anyone, especially my deceivingly crafty yet incredibly sweet daughter.  Plus, it’s so damn cute and thoughtful I had to leave it intact.  So, thank you very much, Allycat ? I love you too!!  END WRITER’S NOTE**

Now where was I…oh yeah, got it!  And seriously, who wouldn’t reconsider??  The man single-handedly brought quality, multifaceted horror with all the high school to college to adulthood angst that goes with it as well as a very entertaining and successful spinoff to that series that constantly reinvented itself to great success every season, as well as a sadly short-lived Sci-Fi/Western series followed by a wrap-up feature film companion to that show which to me is undeniably the best Science Fiction movie since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and hasn’t been topped since.  SERENITY is indeed THE bombdiggity of Sci-Fi flicks.

But let’s talk about now, shall we?  In a story that started in Joss’ head about 10 years ago and finally got written and greenlighted and shot, it still took another three long years to get it to the big screen.  First it was going to be converted to 3-D, so that took forever.  Then suddenly it wasn’t again.  Then it seemed to disappear for over a year completely off anyone’s radar as if it had been unmercifully shelved for good.  But then…then…BAM!!!  CABIN IN THE WOODS had a definitive release date and the studio stuck with it.  Even though it has been three months since its theatrical debut, I still don’t feel as if I can talk about it properly without spoiling anything for those that haven’t seen it yet.  Yes, it’s THAT good.  And it’s nothing like the previews made it out to be.  And with the exception of a very obvious tribute to the EVIL DEAD movies and just a smidge of THE CUBE thrown in, it is NOTHING like you’ve ever seen before.  For me, it is THE horror film to beat so far this year, hands down.  I will be arrogantly smug and confident enough right now to proclaim that it will make the top of my year-end list.

AVENGERS….assemble!!!!  Yep, I’m well aware that this flick ain’t horror.  Although if you stretch & squeeze the Vikings making Thor and Loki into deities, the inter-dimensional travel aspects of supernaturally mechanical buggers that Loki brings into our world to destroy us, and who we ultimately find out he was working for (nope, won’t spoil that here either), then you can certainly find horror elements to it, soooooooo, THTHTPPPPTTT, it counts.  Whew, I pulled that off!  And, Joss Whedon pulled off writing & directing duties on this movie amazingly (even for him) well given the huge task at hand – seamlessly incorporating already laid down storylines told over the last four years in several superhero origin movies done by other writers and directors before he took over the reins on this one while at the same time giving us his own vision of how The Avengers would come to work together and setting up a new storyline and sequel perfectly.  I never doubted him for an instant.

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As I said before, Whedon (along with James Gunn) are the only solo writers that comes to mind at the moment who can juggle so many main characters all at once and give them so very much life and purpose and not a single one of them gets shorted on screen.  But now my envy has turned to inspiration and from this point forward I will try my absolute best to stretch and grow myself as a writer by trying to incorporate their storytelling traits & talents into my very own traits & talents and certainly into my own work.

 

 

 

 

So yeah, this can be considered my gushing fanboy blog of the year, and I couldn’t have picked a better guy, in this announcer’s humble opinion.  Both movies hit DVD/Bluray in September, and I suggest you start saving your hard-earned pennies now.  Both movies Joss Whedon had a huge hand in bringing to us, both movies are my two favorite of the year so far in any genre, and both movies deserve to be in everyone’s collection!!

 

– Craig McGee

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CREATURES (AKA – GINORMOUS GENETICALLY ALTERED BEASTIES RUNNING AMUCK DEVOURING EVERYONE & EVERYTHING IN SIGHT LAYING WASTE TO MATT LAUER AND THE REST OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT

March 1, 2012

There’s a definite ex-wife-is-a-money-grubbing-trollop joke in that title somewhere too, but I’m not sure I should flesh it out due to the possibility of lawsuits and whatnot.  Wait, can I get sued for libel even if it’s true?  Hmmm…just in case, probably best to not take that chance at this juncture in my career. 

    Maybe some of you know this, maybe you don’t, maybe you don’t really care.  In which case I have to ask, “Mom, why are you reading my blog anyway?”  Speaking of my Mom, I have her to thank for this particular blog.  Sure, we all know by now that HALLOWEEN was my first true theatrical horror flick followed by PHANTASM a few months later, and they’re the ones that hooked me on horror for life.  But long before those two, even long before Hitchcock, she got me hooked on the creatures.

Phantasm

    On my quest to climb to the top of the screenwriter heap (or at least sleep my way to the middle), and being part of Team Frights right here, I also review horror movies for Horrornews.net – mainly low-budget indie horror and especially SyFy Channel Saturday night premieres.  It is that particular job – the SyFy Saturday reviews – that sometimes gain very positive attention for myself and the site, such as part of my review for SHARKTOPUS being used on the back of that flick’s DVD cover.  Aaaaand then there’s the majority of the time…

    Many of my reviews of SyFy movies – especially, but not limited to creature features with tongues planted firmly in cheek such as MEGA PIRANHA, SHARKTOPUS, MEGA PYTHON vs. GATOROID, and CAMEL SPIDERS – are the ones that I give the most positive reviews to the majority of the time.  They’re the ones I wind up loving the most.  They’re also the ones that I inevitably catch the most shit for.  I don’t even have to be near my computer when I will get the inevitable text or Facebook message from someone or someones consistently saying something along the lines of, “Sooo, I know you watched it.  I caught two minutes of it and it f**king sucked.  But I know you’ll give it a glowing review although I can’t see how.”  Wow…thanks guys!

Them

    One person’s trash though, is usually my treasure.  I said I have my Mom to thank for this blog and that’s true.  But I have her to thank for my love of beasties run amuck too.  Friday nights at my house, the Plenty Scary movie on Channel 8 out of Tulsa was mandatory viewing.  Through the years of my childhood in the 70s, from the age of four years old and on, thanks to her and that weekly show, there wasn’t a giant creature flick that I didn’t see.  From THEM! to EMPIRE OF THE ANTS to FOOD OF THE GODS, I was there and I was loving every second of it.  There is no doubt in my mind why TREMORS and all its sequels and the short-lived TV series are all held very near & dear to me and always will be.  TREMORS was a total package flick though, one of my favorite movies ever, and more than a few bits of it have inspired me so much in my own writing, but that’s a story for another time.

Foodofthegods

    I haven’t loved them all though, not by a long shot.  Some I downright hated passionately for their insipid writing and ripping off of much better cheese that came before them. You doubt me?  Check my less than favorable reviews for SAND SERPENTS or WARBIRDS.  Holy shit on a shingle, Batman, did those ever suck. 

So see…many of my reviews may look to the untrained eye that I’m just doing it for attention since so many others bash the SyFy creature features, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I’m still every bit the tough but fair geek reviewer you’ve come to know and love through the years.  But thanks to my upbringing, specifically my Mom’s own unspoken horror geekness, I just have a huge soft spot when it comes to genetically altered, havoc wreaking freaks of nature and I’m not one tiny bit ashamed of that.  So thank you, Mom.  I’m sure the Sharktopus will thank you too, once he’s done chomping on naïve tourists.  The rest of you – Hail to The King, babies…the King of Schlock, that is!

   
– Craig McGee

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FAVORITE (AKA – THAT THING IN LIFE THAT ABOVE ALL OTHERS IN THAT CATEGORY, IT IS THE ONE YOU LOVE THE MOST. FOR EXAMPLE – I LOVE “FROM THE HIP” IMMENSELY, BUT “THE BREAKFAST CLUB” IS MY FAVORITE JUDD NELSON MOVIE)

January 3, 2012

Damn, I gotta say it – 2011 was one very kickass year for movies in every genre I partook in; from action to comic books to drama to comedy, and especially for our beloved horror.  It truly feels as though I watched more movies this year than possibly any year in at least the last five and while some truly beyond any shadow of any doubt sucked a cherry-frosted goat’s posterior, I don’t even want to mention those here.  Why bother?  This blog be all about the positive!  Besides, I have no doubt in my mind that all the hacks behind all those overbaked, overpriced turkeys are too busy drinking themselves into depressed stupors to read my drivel anyway.  But like I said, we’re here to focus on the positive, and the horror. The positive horror, if you will – my absolute favorite horror movie of 2011.  Drum roll, if you please…

Kevin Smith, thank you so, so very much for convincing the studio to let you film RED STATE.  Since 1994, your movies have been making me laugh so flippin’ hard that I truly believe now that a person can get muscular abs from laughter.  But then out of nowhere, you hear rumblings that Kevin has written a “Horror” movie.  Not necessarily horror, per se, but a tense dramatic action flick based on the horrific lunatics at the Westboro Baptist “Church” right here in my beloved Kansas.  A flick that contained absolutely zero characters – everyone from church flock to victims to cops to federal agents – not one single character had one single fiber of morality in them to persuade us to cheer them on.  None of them.  And you know what?  That’s how I like to roll.

    So how was it so damned entertaining? How could it top my list of BEST HORROR FLICKS OF 2011?  Simple…Mr. Smith has always had a perfect knack for characters and character dialogue and making long, intricate diatribes very funny and interesting.  Here, he switches gears to make the same enormous diatribes not only interesting, but shiver-inducing as well.  Then when the action kicks in out of nowhere, it doesn’t let up until the last eight or so minutes for the winding down and wrapping up.  And since it is loosely based on something very real and only a mere 70 miles away from where I currently live not only did it hit home, it was hit way out of the park.  And let’s face it…truth, even loosely-based truth, is way more messed up than fiction could ever hope to be.  But while yes, I truly loved RED STATE above all other horror flicks this year, we all know me and my movies are like Lay’s Potato Chips – no one can eat just one, and there’s no way that I can pick or write about just one.  Which brings us to…

HONORABLE MENTIONS (AKA – THE ONES I LOVED VERY MUCH ALSO, BUT CAME IN JUST UNDER MY PERSONAL FAVORITE…FOR EXAMPLE – JUDD NELSON IS MY FAVORITE ACTOR FROM THE 80s, BUT EMILIO ESTEVEZ, VAL KILMER, AND KEVIN BACON ARE MY HONORABLE MENTIONS)

    I would be very remiss if I didn’t mention my other favorites of 2011 and yes, somehow I’ve narrowed it down to only four which I suppose if I do the math right, would round out my Top Five, and that’s good enough for me.

    The big boy studios gave us two very excellent and hugely budgeted flicks, both of which have been the subject of past blogs of mine here for Mr. Frights.  First up, FRIGHT NIGHT, a remake that actually got it right on every level for me from writing to directing to a very well-placed cameo by Chris Sarandon (the O.J. – Original Jerry) to Colin Ferrell nailing it to the garlic-covered cross as next door neighbor/psycho vampire, Jerry Dandridge.  I was very critical of this one going in not only for being yet another remake, but also because the original is still one of my favorite vampire movies.  Thankfully, my worries quickly diminished once I saw this was no lovestruck sap of a vamp – this dude was, in fact, a charismatic yet soulless killing machine, and I ate up every second of this movie.

    The second flick to come to us from a major studio that simply blew me away – SCREAM 4, or SCRE4M, to geeks like us.  It wasn’t a remake or reboot, it was a continuation with a reunion of the same three major players from the original trilogy updated to the modern age of texting and Facebook, among other things, and I again praise the suits with money for taking the huge chance to continue the storyline rather than bandwagon jump and remake the original for a quick buck.  Kevin Williamson is one of my screenwriting idols and once again, he did not disappoint.  While I love them all very much, even Part 3 which was trite and iffy in many ways, this entry in the series was my favorite since the original and I honestly hope they keep going with it.

    Given the amount of independent/low, lower, and frayed shoestrings budgeted horror that I review over on Horrornews.net, I can’t leave out the little guys with the testicular fortitude to stick it to The Man and give the guys with tons of money a run for their…well…money.  First up we have a very talky yet somehow incredibly entertaining, intelligent, well-written, awesomely acted, skewering satire – NOT ANOTHER B MOVIE.  Don’t believe a movie about three guys sitting around a restaurant table arguing over how to write their current horror project while being bothered by a young beautiful actress waiting on their table who just wants her big break while being interspersed with scenes from the movie they’re arguing over how to write can actually be entertaining?  Rent it or buy it and see – you won’t be sorry.

    The second indie flick to blow me away was also my second favorite horror movie of 2011 – TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL.  Horror comedies can be extremely hit or miss, but this one was a hit all the way.  They took the backwoods rednecks vs. snotty college kids scenario that’s been done waaay past to death (we’re talking JASON TAKES MANHATTAN territory), did a total 180 degree turn with it, and gave us something very original, entertaining, bloody as all hell, and absolutely hi-freakin-larious.  This movie deserves to be in every single horror fan’s DVD collection. Every year there’s at least one movie I see that I love so much that I instantly become incredibly envious and pissed off that I’m not the one who came up with the idea first…TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL is that movie.

    So there you have it – my own personal favorite Best Of for 2011.  With some awesome looking horror coming to us in 2012, it looks to be yet another banner year for our beloved genre and I cannot wait to see every single one of these offerings coming to theaters near me.  If you haven’t seen my Top Five movies, I highly recommend you check them out as soon as possible.  I must leave you for now, but I will be back with a die hard with a vengeance in 2012 so until then – everyone have a very prosperous & happy but above all else, BLOODY NEW YEAR!!!!!

   

– Craig McGee

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