[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 24 – Day of the Dead (1985)

Director: George A. Romero

Cast: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joe Pilato, Richard Liberty

Screenplay: George A. Romero

96 mins. Not Rated.

 

We lost a great one this year. Director George A. Romero (Bruiser, The Dark Half) was an innovative and topical storyteller who forever changed movies, both as a genre filmmaker and an independent one. Romero was most notable for his Living Dead franchise, and today we will be looking at the third film in that series, Day of the Dead.

The world has ended. Society has crumbled. The living dead have taken the world. What’s left of the government is in hiding in military bases, trying to solve the undead crisis. Doctor Logan (Richard Liberty, Flight of the Navigator, The Crazies), known as Frankenstein around the Everglades-based military outpost, is trying to cure the disease. On the other side, the military man Rhodes (Joe Pilato, Pulp Fiction, Digimon: The Movie) is trying to maintain order under his command in a dictatorial rule, and stuck in the middle is Dr. Sarah Bowman (Lori Cardille, No Pets, Dead and Alive: The Race for Gus Farace). As egos clash and weapons are drawn, it becomes clear that the living might be more dangerous than the dead.

I love Day of the Dead. In the six-film series, I think Day of the Dead is the best installment. A lot of my colleagues can’t stop praising Dawn of the Dead, and I love Dawn of the Dead, but for me, Day takes the finale of Dawn of the Dead and makes an entire movie out of it, and it works so well.

The performances aren’t all perfectly tuned, especially from the tertiary characters, but the tension that builds with every interaction involving Rhodes or Logan just amps it up. I won’t say that Day of the Dead is as satirical as its predecessor, and it isn’t a fun time for viewers, but the realism is disturbing and I love it.

Day of the Dead is worthy of any zombie fans praise. I think it’s Romero’s best film in a great career. If you love modern zombie works like The Walking Dead, you have to look back and see where this all came from, and Day of the Dead is the zombie genre at its most perfected.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, click here.

For my review of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, click here.

For my review of George A. Romero’s Monkey Shines, click here.

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 10 – Fright Night (1985)

 

Director: Tom Holland

Cast: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys, Roddy McDowall

Screenplay: Tom Holland

106 mins. Rated R.

 

Being a teenager is tough, especially when you aren’t getting any. Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale, Left Behind, TV’s Herman’s Head) gets it. He gets it all too well. He and girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse, Skirtchasers, TV’s Married with Children) have been hot and cold a lot, so Charley’s been searching out other forms of entertainment, like watching his new neighbor Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon, The Nightmare Before Christmas, I Smile Back). But when Charley sees Jerry committing some truly horrific acts next door, there’s really one answer: Vampires. But who will believe him? His annoying friend Evil Ed (Stephen Geoffreys, 976-EVIL, Lazarus: Apocalypse)? His mother? Not even the famed vampire-hunter-actor Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall, Planet of the Apes, A Bug’s Life) believe Charley. So what does he do?

Fright Night is a classic of 1980s horror film. Writer/Director Tom Holland (Child’s Play, Thinner) weaves together an interesting play on voyeur films like Rear Window and then takes it to somewhere different with the terrific Peter Vincent character. In fact, all the characters are well-rounded, like the lead vampire Jerry. Jerry is incredibly complex and enjoys his hunt as he tracks down Charley.

I think the best element of Fright Night, though, is its fun and inventive effects. This has some of the goriest goofiest effects I’ve seen and they age really well, playing to the silliness of the whole thing.

Fright Night is a rare property in that the original film and its remake are both damn enjoyable and impressive for very different reasons. I think you should give it a try, and I also suggest the hard-to-find sequel Fright Night Part II (the remake has a sequel too but I haven’t ever tried watching it). This is exciting campy horror at its finest, its only flaw being one of pacing in the first act or so.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Tom Holland’s Child’s Play, click here.

For my review of Tom Holland’s Thinner, click here.

[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 2 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

Director: Jack Sholder

Cast: Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager, Hope Lange, Robert Englund

Screenplay: David Chaskin

87 mins. Rated R.

 

The first sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the more interesting tales out of Hollywood. The sequel that saved New Line Cinema.

Five years after the events of the first film, the Walsh family has moved into Springwood. Jesse (Mark Patton, Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Family Possessions) has not been sleeping well since the move. The air conditioner is broken, the heat upstairs is unruly, and the nightmares have been unyielding. But things are looking up. He has the hots for Lisa (Kim Myers, Hellraiser: Bloodline, 10,000 Days) and a new best friend in Grady (Robert Rusler, Weird Science, Blood Feast), but he still can’t shake the feeling that there is something dangerous within him. In his dreams, that danger takes the form of a burned man named Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund, Kantamir, Lake Placid vs. Anaconda).

So let’s talk about the magic that is Robert Englund. This franchise would be nothing without him, and he seems to find himself in a different way with each installment. The magic in this series mostly rests on him, as we’ve seen in the remake that did not feature the iconic actor in role. Just think, though, that there was a time when Robert Englund had not been hired for this sequel. Instead, New Line thought it best to get an extra or stuntman. Thankfully, that mistake was rectified a few weeks into production and we now have the franchise and character we know and love.

I want to shift focus now to the screenplay and David Chaskin. For those of you that have watched the brilliant Never Sleep Again documentary that chronicles the making of this franchise, you will already know that in its time since release, Freddy’s Revenge has been discussed heavily for its homoerotic themes. Director Jack Sholder (The Hidden, 12 Days of Terror) has vehemently denied any knowledge of it, and screenwriter David Chaskin (Midnight Child, I, Madman) has only recently taken credit for the themes in his screenplay. Couple that with Mark Patton’s performance (Patton himself claimed he was the first male screen queen) and you can see the layers of sexual repression and how Jesse just wants to bottle up all the anger and hatred and fear that one would experience after coming out and you can see where this is all coming from. It’s an interesting theory but I have to call bullshit on David Chaskin. I don’t believe for a second that Chaskin chose to put this in the screenplay. Chaskin, in interviews, comes across as a smarmy liar who wants credit for everything good in the film but takes no blame on any of its faults.

I think what angered a lot of people about the way Freddy’s Revenge conducted itself was that it seemingly threw the rule book out and took the mythology in a completely wrong direction. In certain circumstances this could work, but for Freddy’s Revenge, it took all the magic out of a film and turned Freddy Krueger into a traditional slasher. He loses all his power. There’s some cool new pieces to the mythology but overall it’s a disappointing installment.

That being said, this installment happens to be my fiance’s favorite and I have a special place in my heart for it being that a sequence in the film was so frightening that I had nightmares for years as a child. Can you imagine if I had been deranged?

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, click here.

For my review of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, click here.

For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2, click here.

For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part III, click here.

For my review of Joseph Zito’s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, click here.

For my review of Danny Steinmann’s Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning, click here.

 

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

[Friday the 13th] Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

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Director: Danny Steinmann

Cast: Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Marco St. John, Juliette Cummins, Carol Locatell, Vernon Washington, John Robert Dixon, Jerry Pavlon, Caskey Swaim, Mark Venturini, Anthony Barrile, Dominick Brascia, Tiffany Helm, Richard Lineback, Corey Feldman

Screenplay: Martin Kitrosser, David Cohen, Danny Steinmann

92 mins. Rated R.

 

Well, here we are. Another Friday the 13th. Another Friday the 13th film review. Tonight, we’re looking at the strange and unusual Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.

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Jason is dead. The young boy who killed him, Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd, The Hunt for Red October, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius), is now a trouble teen being transferred to Pinehurst, a home for teens who need special attention. But when a member of Pinehurst is murdered soon after he arrives, Pinehurst doesn’t seem so safe anymore, and there are more killings on the way, all performed to a killer wearing Jason’s fabled hockey mask. Is there a copycat killer, or is Jason seriously back from the dead?

Occasional porno director Danny Steinmann (The Unseen, Savage Streets) helmed the fifth film in this franchise, which holds the distinction of being a total hit at the box office while universally angering fans of the franchise. Steinmann’s direction was poor with his actors, Shepherd was a terrible Tommy Jarvis, even if aided by a cameo from Corey Feldman (Stand by Me, Lost Boys: The Thirst) at the beginning, and the way the “troubled” teens of Pinehurst are portrayed is a little insensitive. A New Beginning is just a really weird movie.

On the other hand, it’s the first Friday film that’s just a damn fun film to watch. The characters are uniquely over-the-top, the scenes are fantastical and interesting, and the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, in a way that the follow-up would later perfect.

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Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning isn’t a good movie, but it definitely belongs in the so-bad-it’s-good category. I have a soft spot in my heart for it even if I absolutely hate the finale. It’s still a good time with a terrible movie.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For my review of Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, click here.

For my review of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, click here.

For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2, click here.

For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part III, click here.

For my review of Joseph Zito’s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, click here.

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 16 – Demons (1985)

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Director: Lamberto Bava

Cast: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny

Screenplay: Dardano Sacchetti, Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Franco Ferrini

88 mins. Not Rated.

 

After yesterday, I think it’s time to return to the world of Dario Argento with a film he helped produce and write: Demons from director Lamberto Bava (Macabre, Delirium).

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Student Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) receives free tickets to a screening at the Metropol cinema. She and her friend Kathy arrive to a crowded theater along with many other theatergoers. One of the other women arriving at the cinema scratches her face with a strange and unusual mask in the lobby. As the film begins playing, the woman’s scratch turns her into a horrific and monstrous demon, and she escapes into the theater, murdering others and turning them into demons as well. Cheryl and another man at the theater, George (Urbano Barberini, Casino Royale, Opera), are forced to defend themselves as the oncoming onslaught of creatures threaten to rip them apart and send the Earth into an unholy apocalypse.

This is another foray into Italian horror from the legendary Dario Argento, who put a lot of work into creating Demons. The screenplay, which he contributed to, creates a strange and mysterious mythology which drew me in as I put the pieces together.

I also want to talk about the incredibly fun heavy metal soundtrack with music from Billy Idol, Motley Crue, Rick Springfield, and Saxon. I have no idea how the music worked its way into the movie, but it does create a unique tone for the film that is unexpectedly more fun.

Now, I still don’t like the ADR voice work here. I understand it is the way that Italian horror cinema was back then, but it did pull me out this time, whereas it didn’t completely pull me out of Suspiria. I think that’s the big difference between two film: the directors. Argento’s directing of Suspiria was cold and calculated, and each drop of blood meant something. Bava (who is the son of Mario Bava, director of Twitch of the Death Nerve) doesn’t have the same experience to keep his film higher-brow, and it shows as the movie devolves into an epic splatter-fest.

I also would’ve cut out the punks driving around for half the movie and then joining the carnage. It doesn’t add anything to the movie and just pulls you out. It’s more fun to not know what’s happening in the outside world.

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Demons has some great elements, and a lot of it worked for me, but there were definite mistakes made by an inexperienced director. Thankfully, Lamberto Bava was tutored by Argento, which elevates certain elements of the film. I think that Demons is a great starter course for these kinds of film, so check it out if you can find it. I had a lot of fun, and I think that’s what the film wants.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

31 Days of Horror Part II: Day 22 – Clue (1985)

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Director: Jonathan Lynn

Cast: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren

Screenplay: Jonathan Lynn

94 mins. Rated PG for violence.

 

Everyone out there is discussing the possible upcoming video game boom. I’m just over here thinking about the board game boom.

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Clue is the story of six people, a butler, a maid, a cook and a man named Boddy. Mr. Boddy has gathered Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan, The Sting, Murder by Death), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future, A Million Ways to Die in the West), Mr. Green (Michael McKean, TV’s Better Call Saul, This is Spinal Tap), Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull, TV’s Dads, Mrs. Doubtfire), and Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren, Secretary, Jobs) together to discuss something. Before he gets the chance to do so, he is murdered by one of the attendees in the room. Now, these conveniently placed people, each with a motive for murdering Mr. Boddy, each with a weapon of choice, have to discover who is the killer? Was it Professor Plum in the billiard room with the revolver? Was is Miss Scarlet with the rope in the kitchen? And what about Wadsworth (Tim Curry, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Burke and Hare), the butler? Is he involved?

My favorite aspect of this film is that writer/director Jonathan Lynn (Nuns on the Run) found interesting  yet convoluted ways to make the board game adaptation actually work. Things like the corny names and the motives, the general campiness of the game/plot, all of it really works well. He even found a way to work in multiple endings (depending on your home video release, you may have a version with all three endings sewn together or one that randomly picks an ending; both are great options).

Now, the decision to cast comic actors who can handle drama seals the deal here. What a terrific cast! Mel Brooks could have directed this film, that’s how impressive our players are. Add to that an impressive direction from Lynn and you have the reason why Clue is such a masterfully beloved cult classic.

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Clue is a classic, even if you present me with a less-than-stellar Rotten Tomatoes score. It’s a classic and I don’t care what you say. See this film and then, hell, play the game. It makes for a fun evening.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

31 Days of Horror Part II: Day 18 [Happy 30th Birthday!] – Re-Animator (1985)

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Director: Stuart Gordon

Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson

Screenplay: Dennis Paoli, William Norris, Stuart Gordon

104 mins. Not Rated.

 

I think I genuinely avoided Re-Animator growing up, though I don’t entirely understand why. It matters not in the grand scheme of things. I eventually did see it, and I couldn’t stop raving about it. The beautiful concoction of quirky strange horror with comedic elements absolutely mesmerized me.

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Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott, TV’s Dark Justice, The Prophecy II) has a new roommate in Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs, The Frighteners, Beethoven’s Treasure Tail), an unstable med student with an interesting emphasis: he wants to re-animate the dead. When West revives the dead cat that belongs to Dan’s girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton, You’re Next, We Are Still Here), the young doctor-in-training joins Herbert West and the two dig themselves into the questionable territory separating the laws of man from those of God.

Director Stuart Gordon (From Beyond, Edmond) plays his film like an episode of Tales from the Crypt, enjoying the strange and eclectic tale based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft. Jeffrey Combs does possibly the best performance of his career, and he gets great backplay from David Gale (Guyver, Savage Weekend) as Dr. Carl Hill, a professor at the school who seems out to destroy West and his career. On the flipside, I wasn’t entirely impressed by Abbott’s portrayal of Dan, although he is raised by the terrific work of his costars.

Then there is the real star of the film, and that is the use of practical effects, which elevate the craft by being as real as possible. These effects still work amazingly well even 30 years later.

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Re-Animator is just about a damn near overlooked classic of the horror genre. It features a perfect performance by Jeffrey Combs and the masterful directing of Stuart Gordon. If you haven’t seen this terrific display of strange horror, please do yourself a favor soon.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

31 Days of Horror Part II: Day 11 [Happy 30th Birthday!] – Silver Bullet (1985)

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Director: Daniel Attias

Cast: Gary Busey, Everitt McGill, Corey Haim, Tovah Feldshuh

Screenplay: Stephen King

95 mins. Rated R for intense, graphic horror violence/gore, language and alcohol/smoking used.

 

I’ve mentioned my love for Stephen King several times. One of my favorite tales of his is Cycle of the Werewolf, a short novella with illustrations by Bernie Wrightson. I really enjoyed it. But the adaptation, changed to Silver Bullet, doesn’t really hold a candle to it. The characters in it have that Stephen King flair to them, but the film doesn’t really do it what it should do.

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Wheelchair-bound Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim, The Lost Boys, License to Drive) is seeing the people of Tarker’s Mills being picked off one by one by a mysterious killer and just wants to solve it. His uncle Red (Gary Busey, Lethal Weapon, Entourage) only wants to be a presence in his nephew’s life but doesn’t believe Marty’s belief that a werewolf is involved. Marty and his sister must now set aside their differences to stop the lethal creature from killing again.

I had a lot of fun watching Silver Bullet. It celebrates that cheese factor that makes it so much fun. The performances aren’t crazy good but they service the tone of the screenplay. Unfortunately director Daniel Attias (TV’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) can’t seem to figure out the tone for his film and that derails it. I like King’s script but I don’t think it attaches to this completed work very well.

The werewolf was probably the biggest detractor. This film has a tendency to forget that less is more. It should’ve taken a Jaws approach which would have helped it immensely. When you see too much, it loses realism.

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Silver Bullet is riddled with problems from start to finish. I enjoyed watching the 1980s campy film, but I can why others wouldn’t. It has a whole lot of trouble with it, though.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

[Happy 30th Birthday!] [Top 250 Friday] #51: Back to the Future (1985)

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Director: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Screenplay: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale

116 mins. Rated PG.

  • Academy Award Winner: Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Sound
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Music, Original Song “The Power of Love”

iMDB Top 250: #44 (as of 03/04/2016)

 

Director Robert Zemeckis (Cast Away, Flight) is one of my all-time favorite directors. Back to the Future is one of my all-time favorite films. I could watch it as well as both sequels over and over again until the end of time, but when I was really young, it was just the third film that I was addicted to. I must’ve watched our old VHS tape a thousand times. I ruined that tape. It wasn’t until my teen years that I understood and fell in love with the original film.

Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox, TV’s Family Ties, Annie) is a slacker, a young man addicted to a dream of musical stardom. Those around him attribute his failings on his strange friendship with Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), an equally floundering individual who has potential but hasn’t invented anything of significance. But when Doc invited Marty to see his ultimate new experiment, a time machine in the body of a DeLorean, Marty ends up on an adventure through time as he tries to avoid creating a paradox while also trying to get back to the future!

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Zemeckis turned an incredible screenplay with Bob Gale into an incredibly crafted film about more than just time travel. The true path of the film centers on Marty’s inability to connect to his parents, Lorraine (Lea Thompson, TV’s Caroline in the City, Left Behind) and George (Crispin Glover, Alice in Wonderland, Open Season 3), until he meets them as teenagers in 1955. His completed film is perfect in every way, but it took some time to actually get there.

Michael J. Fox so well embodies a 1980s teenage like Marty McFly that it’s almost impossible to see the character played by anyone. His performance is perfect casting, but his hiring didn’t happen smoothly. Fox had to pass on the role due to his heightened role on Family Ties, so Zemeckis hired actor Eric Stoltz. Stoltz was a method actor and did his best with the role, but he just wasn’t working out actor several weeks of trying. By that time, Fox’s commitment to Family Ties had been able to free him up, so he replaced Stoltz and the rest is history. Apparently, other future big names like Johnny Depp also tested for the role, but he wasn’t very memorable.

There were other problems with the cast. Crispin Glover hadn’t been as infamous a performer as he was later known for. The actor, who famously went…how do I put it…batshit as his career derailed into minutiae, got so nervous while performing some lines that he had to mouth the lines and fix them in post-production. His performance as George McFly, a loser who doesn’t think himself worthy of his future wife’s love.

The rest of the cast worked perfectly. Christopher Lloyd gives the best performance of his career as Doc, Lea Thompson as Marty’s mother who unknowingly has the hots for him in 1955, and of course Thomas F. Wilson as the legendary bully Biff, who improvised many of his most famous lines like “make like a tree and get out of here.”

Perhaps the most well-known character in the film is the time machine itself. It is so wonderfully 80s that it helped define an entire generation of moviegoers. They used three DeLoreans in production (ironically more DeLoreans than were actually sold).

The set design in the film is very important. The production needed to find dual sets that displayed how things change between 1955 and 1985, yet also how things stay the same. In fact, they used actual set pieces from the 1959 original pilot for The Twilight Zone to emulate 1955 Hill Valley.

The score from Alan Silvestri is so grandiose and well-complementing with Huey Lewis and the News’ Oscar-nominated songs that it turns what could be construed as a relatively simple coming-of-age story into a cosmic cool tale of sci-fi that raises the stakes of the adventure. Huey Lewis himself cameos early in the film as the judge of Marty’s band. In fact, music plays such a big part in placing scenes within a particular time period as well as the characters. In fact, when Marty is performing “Johnny B. Goode” later in the film, he emulates the best current musicians like The Who (kicking over the speaker), AC/DC (playing on his back on the floor), Chuck Berry (hopping on one leg across the stage), and Jimi Hendrix/Eddie Van Halen (with the emphasized guitar solo).

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Back to the Future is a classic film that has ages so perfectly. The film is virtually flawless and each time I watch it, I discover something new (it took me so long to catch the Twin Pines Mall reference that Marty butterfly-effects after traveling to 1955). It helped launch one of the most recognizable and beloved franchises in film history and remains a film that other filmmakers only aspire to reach. I recommend it to teens today who haven’t seen it as a part of popular culture. Hell, I recommend it to everyone.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Happy 30th Birthday!] Cat’s Eye (1985)

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Director: Lewis Teague

Cast: Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Alan King, Kenneth McMillan, Robert Hays, Candy Clark

Screenplay: Stephen King

94 mins. Rated PG-13.

 

A cat named General is on a mission in this adaptation of two Stephen King stories with an all new tale from the master of horror. The three stories are linked by General making his way to a little girl named Amanda (Drew Barrymore, Donnie Darko, Blended). In the first story, “Quitters, Inc.”, Dick Morrison (James Woods, Once Upon a Time in America, White House Down) has a problem: smoking. He needs to quit and he needs to do it now. Quitters, Inc. is the place to go, though the man in charge, Dr. Vinny Donatti (Alan King, Casino, Rush Hour 2), has some very unique methods in ensuring that his clientele quit for good. In “The Ledge”, Johnny Norris (Robert Hays, Airplane!, Sharknado 2: The Second One) has been kidnapped by Cressner (Kenneth McMillan, Amadeus, Dune), a wealthy gambler who has discovered Norris sleeping with his wife. Cressner challenges Norris to a bet: walk around the ledge outside Cressner’s penthouse or die trying. Finally, in “General”, our cat has made it to the home of Amanda, who is being hunter by a troll who wants to kill her in her sleep, and only General can stop it. Lewis Teague (The Jewel of the Nile, Navy Seals) directs and Stephen King (A Good Marriage, Desperation) himself writes in this heightened reality collection of stories which celebrates thirty years today, but is it good?

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I say yes. Cat’s Eye is quirky and goofy and classic King. Few films choose to display King’s twisted sense of humor the right way like this one. I saw a lot of dreamlike sequences like one where Dick has been without cigarettes long enough to be seeing them in the mouths of everyone he encounters at a party. James Rebhorn plays Morrison’s work partner as he lights up a dozen cigarettes all at once while dancing packs of smokes encircle the struggling addict. It is chilling and a little silly and amazing. Any fan of King’s work should be sold on this film.

It doesn’t help to have some great performances from genre actors like James Woods and Robert Hays. Teague knows his target audience here as well, and he crafted what could be construed as an early attempt at a shared universe with references to Cujo and Christine. More than anything, it’s a lot of fun.

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Cat’s Eye is a mostly enjoyable experience with callbacks to some of King’s more iconic work. With a tonally perfect screenplay from the master of horror himself, some of King’s stranger work makes it to the screen in one piece, mostly. Now it isn’t perhaps as scary as it could be, but it still works. I would like to see this film immortalized as part of a possible Stephen King shared universe (and yes, there is currently one being worked out with the impending Dark Tower adaptations). Enjoy this film for what it is: a piece of 80s candy.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

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