After the premiere as a part of Midnight Madness selection of Toronto International Film Festival Richard Stanley’s comeback feature, Lovecraft’s Color out of Space staring Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson and Tommy Chong we finally got a release date and the official trailer.

Stanley haven’t lost his weird, supernatural touch and Cage looks to be in a fine form.  Critics are of course divided with some praising it as one of the best Lovecraft adaptations (OK track record for those isn’t that great) and an awesome comeback for Stanley while others deemed it unwatchable.

RLJ Entertainment will release the film in theaters on  January 24, 2020. Hope to see you in the cinema.

Trivia: Producers of the movie, SpectreVision’s Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings) and Daniel Noah also revealed that they are in the early stages of development of The Dunwich Horror adaptation with Stanley too, saying that they hope there’s enough interest to make at least three HP Lovecraft adaptations. It seems they could give Brian Yuzna run for his money.

 

Most first time directors begin their careers with a zombie film. Why? I don’t know, I guess it’s a cheap way to make a first feature film. Shot on 35mm foralmost no money by first time director Brett Leonard  (also known for Lawnmower Man) The Dead Pit is perfect example of this claim. It features some impressive make up and effects work, especially considering the budget. Michael Hinton created the film’s optical effects, while the prosthetic special effects were created by FX artist Ed Martinez. Other than that it is complete crap with unintentional black humor.

deadpit

 

At an overfilled and under-staffed mental hospital, Dr. Colin Ramzi (played by Danny Gochnauer) decides to use the excess patients for his own personal experiments into death and the unknown. His evil deeds are ended abruptly when his colleague, Dr. Gerald Swan (Jeremy Slate), puts a bullet in his head. Dr. Ramzi and the corpses of his experiments are then sealed up in a mass grave beneath the hospital and forgotten. Well, only for twenty years, until a mysterious Jane Doe (played by Cheryl Lawson) arrives at the hospital with no memory of who she is or where she came from. She complains about not losing her memory but rather someone got it stolen from her. Hm I think I know where this movie leads to. Anyway, apparently Jane Doe got so upset about her memories theft that she causes an earthquake and unrest at the, until then, peaceful underground mass grave. Result of this: we get to see Dr. Ramzi gets free from captivity, leading the army of loyal zombies. And also we get to see Jane’s tits in wet shirt.

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While Jane is wandering around freely wearing only underpants and tight shirt Dr. Ramzi continues his research. So that means he needs more bodies. You can guess what comes next. Meanwhile, Dr. Gerald hypnotizes Jane where he discovers her real name is Sarah and that mother tried to take her away from her father when she was only 3 years old. Hm I wonder why? Of course, all of this is followed by inconvenient flat acting. The following night good Dr. Ramzi is back. He kills one of the lunatics and one of the staff member, whose head he later uses to scare Jane and drive her insane.

 

Dr. Gerald hypnotizes Jane once more. She remembered crazy surgeon experimenting on her. Dr. Ramzi somehow takes control of her body and in his own voice threaten Dr. Gerald. Ok now we got The Exorcist element here. This movie keeps expanding in a way no one could possibly expect. Dr. Gerald gets so upset about this that he throws poor Jane out of office and then helps himself with his secret stash of whisky. On the other side of asylum, Jane and some Irish madman are making a plan for escaping. Of course, that plan is foiled by Dr. Ramzi and Jane ends up captured in the dead pit. Mad surgeon raises his army of the zombies from the pit and they all together start stealing brains from mental patients. Mad Irishman saves Jane from imprisonment and they return to fight Ramzi and his ever-growing army of zombies. Meanwhile, Dr. Gerald got drunk and slept through entire chaos in his office.

 

They discover that holy water kills zombies (I am no shitting you here) so with help of demented nun who happens to be in asylum as mental patient (how convenient) Jane and Irish dude devise a plan to bless entire nearby water tower and blow it up with handmade bomb. Sounds bulletproof to me enough. Meanwhile, Dr. Ramzi has haptured Dr. Gerald and performs brain extraction operation on him, despite Gerald’s plea “Don’t cut my brain please”. He shows that juicy brain to Jane during their next encounter spiced with silly one-liner “Dr. Swan wants to give you piece of his mind”. Classic! And yeah, we also find out he is Jane’s father. What a twist, would you say? Anyway, mad Irishman (*cough* pleonasm) took the opportunity of this family reunion to sacrifice himself (due to his stupidity of making the fuse too long) and blow up water tower which leads us to scene of mass melting zombies, including Dr. Ramzi, which is second to none even compared to famous scene from The incredible melting man.

 

Conclusion: Zombies, mad scientist, body possession, holy water, exorcism, tits, wide open heads, this movie has it all, you just name it. I haven’t seen such  concentration of madness since Beyond Re-animator (and believe me, that movie is so fucked up). As for the acting, it isn’t heinously bad, for the most part, but you’ll still wince from time to time. The zombies actually look fairly decent. With Brett Leonard, when you look at his earliest picture, all you can really see are hints of the mediocrity that would spell out his career. The Dead Pit isn’t a bad movie, it’s just very forgettable. At least, it provides some nice gore so it is worth watching.

At least the cover is cool. I like that Mad Max/ Road Warrior pose.

Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research. A prototype robot intended for crime combat escapes from the development lab and goes on a killing rampage.

Brilliant scientist of this movie Barrett Coldyron turns out to be a farmer. He also feeds his horse his morning coffee (not sure that’s good for him) and eats the carrot himself.  This seems to be the theme of this whole movie, by trying to subvert our expectations director Cullen Blaine manages only to spoil everything in this middle-to-low budget production and make it have no sense whatsoever.

Sometimes, it’s much better to just play the cards that you’ve been dealt (instead of trying to change the whole game).

Coldyron lead a fun presentation of Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research aka R.O.T.O.R. including a horrible stop- motion dancing? Or was that Karate?

One thing is for sure, that thing is EVIL.

Now, according to him it will take anything from 4 to 25 years(!!!) for R.O.T.O.R. to be functional but his boss’s career depends on it and he want’s it now! Even worse than those video- game crunch times we have right now. It seems the programmers will never get a break, it will only gets worse in the future. So, Coldyron tells him to show it and goes back to being a private citizen, or a Cop? I’m not really sure- he seems to contain multitudes.

And did we mention the retarded robot side-kick they have in the police station.

 

On the other hand his mustached subordinate doesn’t have the guts to quit and ends up being a project leader. Predictably he manages to fuck things up with the R.O.T.O.R.‘s program. Then a bizarre gay- looking Native American scientist starts boasting like mad and manages to activate the damn robot!

 

Now that the R.O.T.O.R is on, he starts cruising in his police- motorcycle. First car he stops is one with the young couple arguing like idiots. We’ll things escalate with yelling at a (robo)cop and you would think that machine wouldn’t get his feelings hurt/ get too emotional but R.O.T.O.R is activated. And as we all know, it takes time to iron out the kinks in the program. First car he stops is one with the young couple arguing like idiots.

We’ll things escalate with yelling at a (Robo)Cop and you would think that machine wouldn’t get his feelings hurt but R.O.T.O.R. is special. Driver tries to come him down and even pulls out a 20 dollars bill (39 dollars in today’s money). R.O.T.O.R. just shoots him point blank.  Also trajectory of the bullet seems a bit strange, bullet seemingly ricochets of a dollar bill and hits the dude straight in the forehead! His girlfriends goes into a panic- mode and tries to get away.

R.O.T.O.R. keeps pursuing her like she’s freakin’ Sarah Connor and not just a girlfriend of the random lousy driver. He follows her all the way to some Trucker Bar but where R.O.T.O.R. ends up in honest-to-God bar brawl with rednecks who know Martial Arts with one of them seemingly being a Bodybuilder too! You couldn’t make this shit up.

Coldyron then finally catches up to them a saves a girl and it’s all far from over. Coldyron prepares for a final showdown by picking up Dr. Steel, an engeneer who designed  the robot’s chassis and she’s for some reason a super- muscular woman with a skank haircut? Yeah, you heard that right. Hell, she’s the biggest Alpha “Male” of the whole movie! And she does Martial Arts too.

When they lay the trap for R.O.T.O.R. shes the one kickboxing and wrestling with the machine. I guess she made him so she knows all of his weak spots.  And she did have some sucess before being pummeled to the ground. They finally trap him by forcing him to step on lasso (does Cowboy skills of Coldyron finaly came in handy) and then tearing him apart with cars! He then of course explodes, ’cause everything explodes.

 

Police interogates Coldyron with him being the only survivor and he’s just about to drive into the sunset when his old boss shows up and shoots him in a head with a riffle!!! That’s lesson for you all, don’t disrespect your boss at work or else!

We’re still waiting for this one!

 

Verdict: Combining different franchise elements ala Philip J. Roth ( A.P.E.X, Total Reality (1997)) with R.O.T.O.R.  we end up with a redneck version of RoboCop gone bad crossed with a healthy dose of The Terminator and a dash of Judge Dredd.  That doesn’t automatically make it bad,  but on the other hand- bad voicover, idiotic humor and nonsensical plot really don’t help it’ cause.

Director Cullen Blaine of the movie worked almost exclusively in animation and I can’t help but think that with over the top quality of this movie, it would work much better in the animated form. Even the name reminds me of the Saturday Mourning Cartoons (like the M.A.S.K etc). Maybe if we start a petition it’s still not too late to get that done, why do you think?

Trivia: Richard Gesswein plays Coldyron buth he’s dubbed with the voice of Loren Bivens that makes everything a bit surreal. And super- muscular Dr. Steel is played by Jayne Smith who’s only other credit is sequel of the erotic- parody of Flash Gordon, Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders (1990). How ’bout that?

Earlier this week we saw Fox’s The Return of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space (in 3D) as one of the number of projects (including The Sims movie?) that Disney has canceled after the acquisition. But now it seems that things are actually looking up for the Chiodo Brothers.

In a Hollywood Reporter interview Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Jungle Book) casually mentioned an animated project with Chiodo Brothers, and it seems it’s a done deal.  He said “…even talking to [an outlet] like Quibi about doing short-form stop motion, working with Netflix on a stop-motion Christmas special. I’ve been trying to work with these guys the Chiodo brothers, who did the stop-motion on Elf, it took over 15 years, only because the business model changed.”

Then the brothers let it slip that the special is actually based on their ’15 Christmas picture book ALIEN XMAS.

Nothing says Christmas like marauding aliens who mistake Santa’s workshop fora weapon-building facility.

 

Color me interested! We don’t know how far along it is, but hopefully we’ll get it this Christmas on Netflix.

As a part of Midnight Madness selection from Toronto International Film Festival (5- 15 September ’19) there will be a premiere of Color Out of Space, a rare non-Brian Yuzna produced HP Lovecraft adaptation.

In fact it’s directed by the Hardware (1990) director Richard Stanley, his first non- documentary feature since ’90! He was famously let go from the The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) with Brando and Val Kilmer and has since concentrated primarily on script writing and documentary film-making. So, this could be a bit of a much needed comeback for Stanley + this seem like a perfect Nic Cage vehicle after already cult- Mandy (2018) last year. We definitely have our hopes up for this one (and let’s just be honest- as far as Lovecraft adaptations go, the bar isn’t set too high at all).

Visuals are actually quite striking here and I do hope they can keep it up and have this level of attention to details throughout the whole movie, they are doing it all with a smaller budget but we’ve seen some impressive horror films make the most of it time and time again.

Cage, Richardson and Stanley on set

Other interesting members of the cast beside Cage (Nathan Gardner) are Joely Richardson (Nip/ Tuck, Event Horizon) as Theresa Gardner, a one time Pocahontas Q’orianka Kilcher as Mayor Tooma and Tommy Chong (of Cheech & Chong fame) as Ezra.

 

You can check out more Midnight Madness stuff on their official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MidnightMadnessTIFF/

 

 

Recently we talked about the upcoming Bolo Yeung documentary but we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on another legendary movie villain who’s documentary is just about to come out.

After an indiegogo campaign and  almost three years of production Henchmen: The Al Leong Story is finally done. It had it’s premiere mere days ago on June 7th on Days of the Dead convention in Las Vegas and it’s coming out on DVD on July 16th. Being a long time fan on the Fu Manchu-ed villain I’m pretty sure it was worth the wait.

Synopsis: This documentary explores the life of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces from 80’s action films. In addition to being the greatest cinematic henchman, Al Leong is also a martial arts champion, stuntman, biker, cancer survivor, and much more. From Die Hard and Lethal Weapon to Big Trouble in Little China and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, follow the career of Al Leong with vintage footage, film clips and candid interviews from the likes of John Carpenter, Jeff Imada, Craig Baxley and more.

And for those who missed it the first time around my favorite Al Leong fight scene with non other than Brandon Lee in his ’92’s film Rapid Fire:

 

Probably the most imposing bad guy in the history of Martial Arts cinema Yang Sze aka Bolo Yeung is finally getting his own documentary and we must say- it’s long overdue. From learning Kung Fu with different masters as a child to his competitive Bodybuilding years (he would go on hold a Mr. Hong Kong title for a whole decade) his story fits the “stranger than fiction” category easily. Not to mention the fact that he freakin’ swam from China to Hong Kong to escape Communism!!! Or the fact that he met Bruce Lee while filming Winston Cigarettes commercial (you just got to love the ’70s).

He stared (mostly as a villain) in over 100 movies raging from Shaw Brothers (The Heroic Ones, The Deadly Duo) to Golden Harvest (Enter The Dragon) to Bruceploitation (Clones of Bruce Lee, Dragon Lee Fights Again) to Van Damme films (Bloodsport, Double Impact) and even Jalal Merhi films (Tiger Claws 1 and 2, TC 2000). He even showed that he could be an awesome good guy/ wise mentor character in films such as Shootfighter 1 and 2 (featuring Karate Kid/ Cobra Kai’s Billy Zabka).

Movie is being directed by Aziz Cem and Pavel Nyziak (who Bolo actually collaborated with on his final movie, the Kazakhstani produced The Whole World at Our Feet aka Diamond Cartel) and features exclusive interviews with the likes of Bob Wall, Richard Norton, Cynthia Rothrock, Matthias Hues, Coreena Everson, Cung Le and many, many others.