Child’s Play 2 (1990)

“Sorry, Jack! Chucky’s back!”

For those of you who remember, this was the acerbic proclamation that announced the return of a very different breed of antihero, and unless you were on the receiving end of a plethora of sadistic doll-related murders back in 1990, it was a return that was very much welcome. If you don’t remember, take a quick look at this trailer for the much-anticipated Child’s Play 2, the inevitable follow up to Tom Holland’s cult sleeper hit, and a movie that would spawn a decades-long franchise of rare endurance […]

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This Month In . . . 1993 (June)

June 1993 was all about one movie: the long-anticipated adaptation of Michael Crichton’s prehistoric Techno-thriller Jurassic Park.

In hindsight, it is hard to imagine anyone other than Spielberg at the helm of such a big-money extravaganza, but everyone from Tim Burton to Richard Donner were clambering for the hotseat until Universal finally won out and snatched the rights. Naturally, they presented their prize asset to the man who gave birth to the summer blockbuster […]

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The Power of Nostalgia: Back to the Future Part II

Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion.

In recent times it has become a billion-dollar industry, but back in 1985 its use was rather less calculated, and when director Robert Zemeckis released Back to the Future that same year, his time-travelling ode to 1950’s culture was still something of a novelty.

Back to the Future Part 2 is a resourceful sequel, promising a futuristic landscape but delivering something altogether different. When Christopher Lloyd’s Dr Emmett Brown uttered his immortal, sequel-setting words during the conclusion of the first picture, we had already booked our ticket […]

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Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

What makes a great horror villain?

A good backstory helps, perhaps an incident in a monster’s life that made them a monster, that motivates them to keep on killing year after year, sequel after sequel. Jason Voorhees, for example, was left to drown by negligent camp councillors before magically resurfacing and wreaking bloody vengeance on generations of teens at the infamous Camp Crystal Lake. Other contributing factors are a villain’s appearance (Michael Myers’ iconic mask); an interesting gimmick […]

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Lurking on the Periphery: the Anomalous Friday the 13th Part 2

When you think of anomalous franchise entries, Friday the 13th Part 2 is not a movie that immediately springs to mind.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Halloween III: Season of the Witch can both be considered anomalous for obvious reasons, and when it comes to Jason Voorhees specifically, you would probably have to look to body-swapping ‘Hidden’ clone Jason Goes to Hell or the space-bound Jason X. In fact, every instalment but part 2 can be considered anomalous in a superficial sense due to […]

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The Glimmer Man (1996)

Seagal has starred in so many second-rate movies during the past two decades you sometimes forget he was once a rather formidable action star.

Back in his early to mid-90’s prime, he starred in some pretty decent efforts, the kind with enough of a budget to attract some top-level acting talent. Take The Glimmer Man for example. Keenan Ivory Wayans may not be first choice when it comes to a humorous, street-talking sidekick, but he’s too good for the kind of bargain-basement efforts Seagal now stars in. Similarly, Manhunter’s Brian Cox and The Shawshank Redemption’s Bob Gunton are both very fine actors whose mere presence can elevate any old nonsense you care to throw at them […]

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For the Love of the Con: Fast Eddie and The Color of Money

For the most part, The Color of Money doesn’t feel like a Scorsese film.

That may sound like negative criticism, but I actually like this movie a great deal. Instead, what I mean is that this seems like an anomalous entry in the director’s rich and varied canon. His thumbprint is visible, but it doesn’t seem to carry his DNA. For one thing, it is a relatively conventional movie when the vast majority of his career has been anything but. These are characters that you invest in, that you remember fondly, but they don’t have the intensity or pzazz of those featured in his other marquee titles […]

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Avenging Force (1986)

Dudikoff and James are back in tandem, proving without a shadow of a doubt that they are the very cream of the Cannon crop.

Forget Seagal, Van Damme and . . . well, not Stallone and Schwarzenegger, but for me Dudikoff and James come in at a close third. Any action movie aficionado worth their salt is aware of the iconic duo’s legacy, and for those who aren’t they are the Mel Gibson and Danny Glover of the B-movie scene, starring in such high-kicking classics as the American Ninja series […]

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976-Evil (1988)

After mainstream success as the fritter-faced Fred Krueger, Robert Englund swapped his razor-fingered glove for the camera, making his directorial bow with supernatural horror 976-Evil. Thankfully, Englund’s was a short-lived career.

That’s not to say the movie is terrible. It is adequate. Unspectacular. Banished to mediocrity by cheap sets and bad special effects. But the main problem is the total lack of scares on offer. For all the gore and the violence, this never really feels like a horror movie. There is nobody to care about, nobody to root for, and, most importantly, nobody to fear […]

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Intruder (1989)

By the turn of the 90s, the censorship boards at the BBFC and MPAA had all but slayed the slasher movie.

Back in the early 1980s, the ‘video nasties’ scandal would trigger a moral outrage, a diet of shock politics and tabloid sensationalism striking fear into the population, leading to the once explicit sub-genre’s descent into mediocrity. Many tricks and gimmicks would succeed in stretching its lifespan, and no more so than in the Friday the 13th series, which would rely on 3-D, false promises, impostor killers, Carrie clones, and iconic (if barely seen) locations to keep the lolly rolling in, all of it tied to a new tongue-in-cheek meta approach that would somehow make a protagonist out of the inimitable masked killer […]

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