Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)

If the first movie is close to the comic with some kid elements and the second backs off from that, the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie goes all into silliness, as the turtles go back in time to feudal Japan and switch places with the honor guard of Lord Norinaga (Saburo Shimono).

It’s all because of some things that April O’Neil (Paige Turco) buys at a flea market, including a scepter for Master Splinter. At least Casey Jones (Elias Koteas) gets to be in this one, even if he just sits around for most of the movie.

Only Brian Tochi (Leonardo) and Robbie Rist (Michelangelo) did voices for all three of the original movies, but Corey Feldman returned as Donatello and Tim Kelleher is Raphael, with James Murray taking over as the voice and puppeteer of Splinter.

Co-creator Kevin Eastman said of this movie, “What we tried to do with the third movie was to make it as good of a story as we could. We went through a painstaking level of do’s and don’ts, what they could and couldn’t do. We wanted something that would be good for all ages again. I call movie one the best, movie two the worst, and movie three halfway in between.” A lot of the ideas in this come from the “Masks” story in issues 46 and 47 of the original comics. The time scepter looks a lot like the one that Renet, the apprentice timestress of Lord Simultaneous uses.

What we do get to see is the Turtles helping Lord Norinage’s son Kenshin (Henry Hayashi) and his lover Mitsu (Vivian Wu) to stop the war between villages and the sale of guns to the samurai by Walker (Stuart Wilson). The whole idea of not changing time is never even considered by this movie.

The costumes were made by All Effects Company instead of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. I guess Golden Harvest was pretty much done with the movies by this point and didn’t feel like spending much.

This was directed by Stuart Gillard, who wrote the script with Turtles creators Eastman and Laird. He also directed Lost Boys: The ThirstWar Games: The Dead Code, the remake of The Initiation of Sarah and the Disney movie Girl vs. Monster.

Even though I don’t like this one, I did do this art of a Samurai Leonardo.

SALEM HORROR FEST: Mahakaal (1993)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This movie was watched as part of Salem Horror Fest.

There are people that are just going to watch this movie — which combines Freddy Kreuger, Michael Jackson, Bollywood song and dance numbers and a low budget — just to laugh. And you know, I kind of dislike that foreign remix cinema is seen as such a joke. You try making a movie that lives up to a Hollywood big budget movie within a country that can’t raise those funds while working within the confines of the way movies are presented. Most of u slack the imagination and sheer nerve to do it.

So when Seema has a nightmare of a scarred man wearing steel claws, our western minds instantly see this as a cheap knock-off. But the film plays with expectations, as the villain is not some average custodian, but the evil magician Shakaal, who needed children to increase his magical powers and was only stopped by Anita’s father, who has kept the claw glove in a drawer all these years later.

An American — even an Italian — remix film would not take everything. Bad Dreams may have a burned up villain and Taryn from Dream Warriors, but it is very much its own film. Night Killer only takes the mask. Mahakaal takes everything, even the actual music from the first two A Nightmare on Elm Street movies and keeps on giving.

There’s also the Michael Jackson-loving Canteen, who becomes a werewolf by the end of the movie because, well, who knows. This isn’t the kind of linear cinema that you grew up on. Strangely — or not that much when you think of it — there’s another Bollywood Elm Street cover called Khooni Murdaa that even takes the end of Dream Warriors but redeems itself because it tells the origin story of Ranjit — Fareed Krueger — who escapes prison and gets thrown into a campfire, creating the dream version that destroys everyone else.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Santo: la leyenda del enmascarado de plata (1993)

April 6: Viva Mexico — Pick a movie from Mexico and escribir acerca de por qué es tan increíble.

Directed and written by Gilberto de Anda, Santo: The Legend of the Silver Mask tells the origin of El Hijo del Santo and how he came to wear the mask of his father. It’s also about the issues a young kid obsessed with Santo has with growing up.

My wife said that if you want to die, you should play a drinking game where you do a shot every time someone says Santo. There’s no way you would survive.

Hijo Del Santo’s pro wrestling debut was under the name and mask of Korak. His father would not agree to this, as while he wanted one of his sons to carry on the name and legacy, he wanted them to graduate college first.

Months after he got his Communication Science degree, Hijo del Santo made his debut with the mask of his father as a team with Ringo Mendoza versus Coloso Colosetti and Sangre Chicana. While fans were skeptical of him at first — Santo cast a very big shadow — he soon showed that he was an even better wrestler than his father, if not as big of a cultural icon.

While all this is happening, Don Severo tries to steal the farm of Marcos Arriaga, a widower who lives with his young son Benito. Benito is such a fan of Santo that he even wears his mask when he takes test in school.

Then, when the elder Santo dies of a heart attack, Benito is left depressed and hoping that Santo will return. He goes to Mexico City to find him while El Hijo del Santo trains and learns from his father’s sidekick, Carlitos (Carlos Suarez, who really was Santo’s friend in his later movies). There’s an amazing moment when he takes El Hijo del Santo into the near-Batcave of Santo which is filled with inventions and cool cars. They open a locked box which contains the original mask of his father and fog comes out of it.

At the end, when Santo saves Benito and his father by deflecting bullets and blowing stuff up real good with his laser car — just after winning the mask of Espanto Jr. — I couldn’t help but get excited. This is nowhere as good as the movies of his father, but El Hijo del Santo really should have gone wild and fought slasher killers and demons.

Espanto Jr.’s real name is Jesús Andrade Salas. He was such a rival of Santo that he lost his mask and hair three times to him. When AAA formed, he jumped there and eventually became an evil Santo named Santo Negro and had a lot of heat. Santo’s family objected to the idea of a fighter coming from South America to destroy El Hijo del Santo and take his mask, so they forced AAA to stop using the name. Instead, Salas became the original Pentagon and did a similar angle with AAA star Octagon. He had to retire in 1996 after he collapsed in the ring and was replaced by the former Metalico as Pentagón Black. There’s also a Pentagon III who lost his mask and hair to Octagon and, if you watch AEW, the one-time Zairus and Dark Dragon is now known as Pentagón Jr. or Penta el Zero M. He’s the nephew of Blue Demon Jr., so if El Hijo del Santo was still wrestling full-time or if his son El Nieto del Santo ever gets started, he’d be a natural rival for him.

There’s also some great footage of Santo hitting some of his topes in this that make them seem really dangerous and in your face, as well as Blue Demon looking so smooth in the ring.

You can watch this on YouTube.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: El asesino del zodiaco (1993)

April 6: Viva Mexico — Pick a movie from Mexico and escribir acerca de por qué es tan increíble.

Released in theaters as El asesino del zodiaco (The Zodiac Killer), it was put out on video as Un instante para morir (An Instant to Die). It’s all about a police commander, a forensic scientist and a reporter all on the hunt for a killer who uses the zodiac to plan his murders. You know. A zodiac killer.

It’s directed by Christian González (ThanatosComando terrorista) and written by Marcelo Del Rio, who would go on to work in the art department for movies like the remake of Vantage Point and Limitless and Ricardo Del Río, who was a production coordinator on Kill Bill Volume 2 and was also a line producer on several big films made in Mexico.

It’s also a Mexico giallo and looks great, which is probably due to Rodrigo Prieto being the cinematographer. Since these somewhat humble beginnings — he also El jugador and Ratas nocturnas in this same time period — he went on to do the cinematography or direct the photography for some major movies such as 21 GramsBrokeback MountainThe Wolf of Wall Street and videos for Taylor Swift, Lana Del Ray and Travis Scott. He’s the director of photography on the upcoming Barbie as well.

I like how there are chapters for each segment using the zodiac signs and it looks and feels way better than a low budget Mexican genre picture — not that that’s a bad thing, because I love those too.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Zapatlela (1993)

April 4: Remake, remix, ripoff — A shameless remake, remix or ripoff of a much better known movie. Allow your writing to travel the world (we recommend Italy or Turkey).

In Mumbai, Tatya Vinchu (Dilip Prabhavalkar) and his henchman Kubdya Khavis (Bipin Varti) enter the cave of Baba Chamatkar (Raghavendra Kadkol), a wizard who knows the Mrutyunjay Mantra, a mantra that can place someone’s soul into another body or object. They’re being tailed by Inspector Mahesh Jadhav (Mahesh Kothare), who has been obsessed with catching Tatya Vinchu. He tracks him down to his warehouse headquarters and they get into a shootout, at which point Mahesh fatally wounds Tatya Vinchu. Before he passes on, the criminal uses the Mrutyunjay Mantra to transfer his soul into the closest thing nearby: a doll.

Yes, that’s right. This Indian Marathi-language film, directed by Kothare, is Child’s Play.

Mahesh’s boss Superintendent Jairam Ghatge (Jairam Kulkarni) has a daughter who has just Gauri (Kishori Ambiye) who just came back from the U.S. And she has another relative —  seriously, this gets a little confusing keeping track of who is family with who — called Lakshya (Laxmikant Berde) who is a ventriloquist. He’s in love with Aavadi (Pooja Pawar), whose father Constable Tukaram (Ravindra Berde) has already arranged her marraige to anotehr cop, Constable Sakharam (Vijay Chavan). As you can imagine, the doll with the spirit of Tatya Vinchu ends up being owned by Lakshya.

He starts his reign of terror by killing Lakshya’s evil landlord Dhanajirao Dhanavate, a crime that lands our protagonist in jail. He’s cleared of all charges, but Tatya Vinchu leaves for Mumbai, where he discovers that the only way out of the body of the doll is to possess the first person he revealed himself to, who would by Lakshya, who has now been sent to a mental institution as he can’t stop screaming about the possessed doll. Mahesh and Gauri also learn from the wizard that the only way to stop the killer is to shoot the doll directly between the eyes.

Mahesh Kothare wrote the movie in a few days — I mean, he pretty much just remade Child’s Play, so while this is impressive, is it? And he named Tatya Vinchu as an amalgamation of his make-up man’s name Tatya and the translated name for a movie he loved, Red Scorpion. Seeing as how the Dolph Lundgren Red Scorpion was only five years old when this was made, I assume that it was not the movie he was referring to.

In 2013, there was a 3D sequel madd called Zapatlela 2. It was also remade as Ammo Bomma, which is kind of funny that it’s a remake of a ripoff. I mean, Dolly Dearest and M3GAN did the same thing and no one really was all that upset, right?

You ucan watch this on YouTube.

APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Firearm (1993)

April 2: Forgotten Heroes — Share a superhero movie that no one knows but you.

At one point, in the midst of the comic book boom of the early 90s, Malibu Comics — owned by Dave Olbrich and Tom Mason with the private financing of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg — was big enough to encompass Eternity Comics, Aircel, Adventure and from 1992 to 1993, Image Comics.

That’s right. Despite the small origins of starting with Ex-Mutants, Maliby eventually was published licensed comics for Planet of the Apes and Alien Nation, as well as being the publisher in record of books like Youngblood and Spawn, becoming 10% of the entire comic book industry and for a time, they were bigger than D.C.

Their own characters like the aforementioned Ex-Mutants and Dinosaurs for Hire got video games and the company was doing well when Image got big enough to publish its own books. This led to Malibu’s Ultraverse, which looked quite different than other comics on the racks, as Malibu premiered digital coloring and higher quality paper.

The continuity of the Ultraverse was, well, ultra tight and packed with crossovers. There was also plenty of talent on the first books. Prime has Bob Jacob, Gerard Jones, Len Strazewski, Norm Breyfogle and Bret Blevins. Hardcase was created by James D. Hudnall. And the last of the initial three books, The Strangers, was by Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg. Other major creators would come on board like Mike W. Barr, Steve Gerber and James Robinson.

There was a thirteen-episode Ultraforce cartoon — and toyline! — and a Glen A. Larson-created Nightman series that came out of the imprint before Marvel Comics bought the company in November 1994 supposedly so they could purchase their in-house coloring studio or maybe to keep D.C. from buying them. The Ultraverse became Earth-93060 and gradually was whittled down to fewer and fewer titles until the line ended by the end of 1997.

In 2003, Steve Englehart was commissioned by Marvel to relaunch the Ultraverse, but it never happened. There’s a rumor that the way profit sharing was part of the company — or allegedly the. shady business dealings of Rosenberg — will keep these characters in limbo.

But I told you that to tell you this.

At one point — 1993 — Malibu introduced their new hero Firearm by making a 35-minute VHS that came with an issue of the comic.

Created by writer James Robinson and artists Howard Chaykin and Cully Hamner, Firearm lasted nineteen issues and told the story of private detective Alec Swan, who keeps getting pulled into ultra-human work.

Directed by Darren Doane — who also made Blink 182’s “Dammit” and oh Lord, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas — and written by Robinson, this introduces you to Alec Swan (James Jude Courtney, yes, the man who would one day by The Shape), a British SBS commando who became a member of the secretive Lodge, a group of secret agents who operate outside of the rules of governments. He’s called Firearm because, well, he can kill anyone and just about anything thanks to his gun shooting abilities. He’s also obsessed with film noir, hence relocating to Los Angeles and trying to be an old-fashioned detective.

The movie introduces his antagonist Duet (Joe Hulser) and is a basic 80s tough cop action film, but man, it has tons of squibs in it. It leads directly into issue zero of the comic, which it was packed with for $14.95.

Robinson went on to write one of the best comics of, well, ever in Starman and a comic book movie that is the inverse in quality of the comic that inspired it, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

As for this movie, well, it’s certainly interesting that it even exists.

You can watch this on YouTube.

The Hidden (1993)

Michael Wilcott (Simon Mosely) lost his parents in a plane crash and his brother to a murderer. Now, as he hunts down that man — instead of killing himself — he finds himself getting close to The Hidden. And yes, there’s another movie with the same title, but director Nathan Hill and writer Nick Goodman didn’t know that.

Everyone is as Australian as can be and if you are ready to work your way through the accents, you’ll also be rewarded by two shirtless men having an incredible fistfight on the side of a cliff. There’s also a cocaine addicted monster which is really a man in a bear suit, so this also has that going to for it.

I mean, this is a movie where a bear lives in the sewers and eats a man on coke, gets into coke and appears for one scene and you name it The Hidden. This is a movie that demands sheer insanity throughout and instead feels like teenagers trying to make a serious movie except that, yes let me say it again, it has a zooted-out bear in it.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Goblin (1993)

I really like Todd Sheets, because he seems like someone just as willing to passionately discuss his favorite Fulci movie as he is someone ready to make something astounding like Moonchild. He may not be the biggest fan of this movie and sees a lot he could have done better — or so he says — but I had a blast watching it. It made me feel like when I was a teenager and all I cared about was reading Fangoria and driving to other towns to find mom and pop video stores with different libraries of horror movies than the ones I’d exhausted around me.

This movie is exactly what I was looking for.

The plot is simple but that’s just to get the creature into our world and killing everyone he can. A farmer named Romero once wanted his crops to do better so he tried some magic and ended up with, well, a goblin. So he dropped it in a well and years later, when a young couple buys the place, they accidentally unleash it, as you do, and things go wrong for everyone and right for you, the viewer.

So yeah, I would have been 21 when this came out and that was the perfect time for me to enjoy Fulci references, heavy metal soundtracks and people just randomly showing up and trying to speak dialogue that they are ill-prepared to deliver and they still end up sounding like every art school party I ever attended with the cheapest bottle of vodka in my hand.

Now, wondering like why a goblin needs a drill to take out someone’s eyeball is the kind of thing that people wonder about when they get too intellectual about movies like this. Other questions would be why is there so much genital mutilation and why do zombies just show up? These are dumb questions no one cares about. Stop asking questions. Stop making sense.

The goblin looks great, the music is pretty solid and the video quality is absolutely horrible. The guts look like real animal parts which is how they do it in Texas on productions big and small, but this was made in Kansas City. They have good barbecue in both places and I guess the sloppiness of the sauce on the meat translates to how grimy the guts look in horror films too. Why is this movie making me hungry instead of nauseated? Have I gone too far?

This was shot under a full moon with a video camera. That’s as perfect as life gets.

Say no to drugs. Get high on horror!

Requiem der Teufel (1993)

Jan Reiff went on to be a director of photography on movies like Iron Doors and Slave, but before that he made this shot on video tale of Ludwig Herrmann, who killed his wife Elizabeth — and her lover — when he caught them in bed together. Then he killed a witness who was completely innocent. And oh yeah, then they came back as zombies.

Translated as Requiem for the Devil, this feels like a German Fulci superfan made his own movie because, well, that’s exactly what it is. Those zombies put him through hell — razor blades in the spaghetti anyone? — but Ludwig isn’t going down easy.

That said, he also kills his wife in a way that will get him on one one my many Letterboxd lists: he throws a hairdryer into the bathtub while she’s in it. Then he shoots her lover and runs him over to be totally sure, then because that witness saw everything, he remembers Italy and jabs out one of his eyeballs.

I mean, this has a lot going for it, beyond the gore, like an eighty minute running time and an ending that has, well alright it’s mostly the gore because the wife gets her face ripped clean off before quite literally facefucking our protagonist with a drill and then finger banging the hole left behind because, you know, why not? I’ll bet Ludwig wished he just kept playing his Gameboy and never looked around to see if he was being cucked. I mean, there are some questions you don’t want the answers to.

You can watch this on YouTube thanks to altohippiegabber.

JEAN ROLLIN-UARY: Killing Car (1993)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was first on the site on December 9, 2020.

Also known as Femme Dangereuse (Dangerous Woman), this Jean Rollin-directed movie is all about an Asian woman known as the Car Woman. This role was specifically written for model Tiki Tsang, who is actually Australian. Rollin worked on this film until he grew too ill to complete it, then edited it years later*.

The Car Woman kills throughout the film, leaving a toy car behind as a calling card for each murder. Literally the entire film is a series of episodes with people meeting Car Woman and getting killed, whether they are women who get an army of doomed prostitutes to help them, a boyfriend and girlfriend who end up shot and stabbed with a golden fork respectively or a photographer and her model in New York City.

You have to love that Car Woman cocks her gun every time she shoots it, which isn’t needed after the first shot. It’d just waste ammo. This is what I think of when I should just be watching Jean Rollin movies and staring at all of the women, huh?

*It was shot on 16mm and originally intended for a direct-to-video release, although it did have a brief theatrical appearance in 1993. No usable print or negative of the film exists today, so what you get on video is what you get.