They Came, They Saw, They Kicked Ass: The Unbeatable Brilliance of Ghostbusters

On Saturday, 26th of December 1987 the UK terrestrial premiere of Ivan Reitman’s 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters was very much a big deal.

I won’t lie, it blew my six-year old mind. My main memories of that first viewing are mostly of scenes in the second half, especially the spectacular, mad climax where, among other wild and fantastic occurrences, a gigantic marshmallow man was accidentally willed into existence and started stomping on New York City. I mean, what was this film? I wanted in. From that point onwards, it was Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters. I wanted the toys (oh, how I wanted the fire station so much), I wanted the comics, I wanted the Panini sticker album […]

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Great Expectations: Daniel LaRusso and the Demise of the Underdog

Sequels can be a very tricky prospect indeed.

This is particularly true for movies that are planned as standalone features, only to be thrust back into the spotlight care of popular demand. Back before the marketing process was so regimented and ruthless, not everything was looked upon as a potential money-spinning franchise. I mean, Hollywood was still Hollywood, and if something had legs producers would run it into the ground with so many unnecessary sequels you were at risk of developing eye blisters. Still, original ideas were plentiful, and instead of making a mint off of past glories, original screenplays would forge their own commercial path, whether […]

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Reality, Identity and Satire in Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall

Prior to joining forces with Joe Eszterhas to develop subversive, erotic thriller Basic Instinct in the early 90s, Paul Verhoeven would follow up his dystopian masterclass Robocop with a similarly subversive sci-fi extravaganza.

In theory, Total Recall would be a big budget sci-fi action vehicle starring former Pumping Iron alumni and future Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. In practice, however, Verhoeven would once again manage to create a blockbuster movie loaded with his own inimitable brand of humorous contempt, while also providing the sort of rollicking adventure yarn studio execs could happily support […]

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Redux of the Dead: 1990’s Night of the Living Dead

There was a time when “remake” wasn’t a dirty word among cinema fans.

This was before the term became synonymous with Hollywood at its most cynical and predatory. Before the mere mention of the r-word caused an outpouring of consternation, bemoaning—and, not without some merit—accusations that the big studios were all out of new ideas, or worse, had simply stopped caring, the scared and belittled remake once had its day in the sun. It was a period when the game plan wasn’t to simply target beloved and finely executed classics such as Robocop, Halloween, or A Nightmare on Elm Street just for their built-in audiences […]

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