Russian-Kazakh Timur Bekmambetov started as a production designer before making Peshavar Waltz and a remake of The Arena for Roger Corman. He may be best-known in the U.S. for his movies Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and his Screenlife movies Unfriended, Searching and Profile. He’s also the owner of Walt Disney’s Los Angeles mansion.
For geeks like me, well, he’s known for this movie, a Russian horror superhero action movie based on the 1998 novel The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. The concept — the armies of light and dark ended a battle when the two leaders, Geser and Zavulon, called a truce and each side commissioned a quasi-police force to ensure it was kept with the Light called the Night Watch and the Dark the Day Watch — gets out of the way quickly so Bekmambetov can do what he loves: absolutely berserk action that goes way too far in the best of ways.
Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky) is a member of the Night Watch. He got there when he was caught paying a witch to cast a spell to bring back his wife at the cost of her unborn child which was not his. He was able to see the Watch members who came to stop this and is one of the Others and he must stop a prophecy that claims that the world will soon end when the Light and the Dark go to war for the final time.
There are six books in the series, but after the sequel Day Watch, Bekmambetov decided to not finish the planned trilogy. Lukyanenko’s books are very anti-Ukrainian and none of that is in the movie. This was controversial as an underground nonconformist intellectual movement named Padonki said that it was too Hollywood and had no ideas. They called it Night Shame.
What is a shame is that this movie was a big deal in 2004 and no one talks about it today. I mean, it has possessed baby dolls used as soldiers! Cars flip all over the place! Watch it!
Don Mancini has written every Child’s Play except for the reboot. He also directed this one in which we meet Glen, the good guy — literally — doll son of Chucky and Tiffany. He’s found a living working as a dummy for an abusive ventriloquist, but when he sees a preview of Jennifer Tilly’s new horror film Chucky Goes Psycho and sees Chucky and Tiffany rebuilt from their original remains, he realizes who he really is. He uses the Heart of Damballa to bring them both back to life. The killing starts almost from the first second they are awake.
This is a strange world that is Hollywood but a bit removed from our own, a reality in which Jennifer Tilly attempts to seduce Redman as he prepares to make a movie about the Virgin Mary, where John Waters plays a paparazzi who gets killed with acid (unlike Dawn Davenport, he does not survive), where Glen has an evil twin who can possess him and why wouldn’t she be called Glenda?
Universal Pictures, which produced the previous three films, wanted a more conventional slasher film. They rejected the script with the note “This is too gay.” 2004 was not all that long ago. It was finalldistributeded by Rogue Pictures.
With the release of Prey, it’s time to break down all of the Predator movies in one place and try and figure out why I love this franchise so much when I outright hate at least one of these movies.
The inspiration for the film came from a joke that after Rocky IV, Stallone had run out of opponents on Earth. If they made another film, he’d have to fight an alien. Jim and John Thomas were inspired by that and wrote Hunter, which became Predator. One could argue that they had seen Without Warning, which is nearly the same idea, with an alien — armed with futuristic weaponry and also played by Kevin Peter Hall — on Earth to hunt humans.
Predator (1987): As Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” blares, helicopters carrying Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Poncho (Richard Chaves), Billy (Sonny Landham), Mac (Bill Duke), Hawkins (Shane Black), Blain (Jesse Ventura) and Dillon (Carl Weathers) lands in Central America to free a foreign cabinet minister and his aide.
On their way to the target, Dutch discovers a destroyed helicopter and three skinned bodies of a failed rescue attempt. After Dutch’s team decimates the enemy, including some Soviet officers, they learn that it was all a set-up by Dillon to get information from the enemy. Only one is left alive — Anna (Elpidia Carrillo) — so the team takes her to the extraction zone.
And this is where Predator flips the script.
Written by Jim and John Thomas (Mission to Mars, Executive Decision) and directed by John McTiernan (DieHard, Last Action Hero), this film starts as a testosterone-laced ode to American firepower and then becomes a slasher, as the team is followed by an invisible, nearly-unstoppable alien hunter (Kevin Peter Hall) who has come from space just for the sport of hunting these soldiers.
There are so many stories about how JCVD was once the Predator. Why that ended is up for debate. Maybe it’s because Van Damme was only 5’9″. Or it could have been because all Jean Claude did was complain about the suit being so hot that he kept passing out. Or maybe the original design just didn’t work. The Stan Winston redesign? It’s as iconic as the xenomorphs of Alien, which the Predator would get to battling soon enough.
Predator 2 (1989): The beauty of Predator is that it starts as a war movie and suddenly becomes a slasher before you even realize it. It subverts the macho tropes of Arnold movies by inserting a killing machine that is tougher, better armed and just plain unstoppable. And that killer? He’s just here for sport.
So why do I love Predator 2 so much? Because it’s literally a grindhouse or Italian exploitation version of Predator. Instead of the jungle, we get a literal concrete jungle. Instead of Arnold, Jesse and Carl Weathers, we get character actors galore, like Danny Glover, Robert Davi, Gary Busey and Bill Paxton. It has the feel of RoboCop with a non-stop media barrage led by real-life junk TV icon Morton Downey, Jr. (“Zip it, pinhead!”), and a populace that is constantly armed and always looking for a chance to use it. It’s one of the few slices of the future where it feels like today — the technology is only nominally better and everything pretty much sucks for everyone. And holy shit, is it fucking hot.
The 1997 of this movie is really 2018, to be honest. Except LA is in the midst of a war between the Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels. It’s a perfect place for a Predator to hunt — and once that alien sees Lt. Harrigan (Glover) in action, it seems like it’s playing a game to capture the lawman as his ultimate prize. That’s when we meet Special Agent Peter Keyes (Busey), who is posing as a DEA agent, and new team member Detective Jerry Lambert (Paxton at his most manic).
There’s a scene where the Predator interrupts a voodoo ritual (the girlfriend screaming for her life is former Playboy Playmate turned porn star (that was a rare thing in the 1990s) Teri Weigel) and wipes out everyone, skinning them alive and taking pieces of them as trophies. One of the team, Danny (singer Rubén Blades) comes back to the crime scene, only to be killed by the camouflaged alien.
Harrigan starts tracking the killer, thinking he’s dealing with a human. He even consults King Willie (Calvin Lockhart, The Beast Must Die), the voodoo loving gang leader. That’s when we get that immortal line that Ice Cube sampled, “There’s no stopping what can’t be stopped. No killing what can’t be killed.” A short battle follows with an awesome two cut (literally) of Willie screaming and his severed head being carried away, continuing the scream.
Two massive action scenes follow: Lambert and team member Cantrell (María Conchita Alonso) battling a gang and the Predator on a train, then Keyes and his team battling the Predator in what they think is the perfect situation.
It comes down to Harrigan and the Predator battling one on one, from rooftop to buildings to a spacecraft. Harrigan overcomes the alien with its own weapons, then an army of other Predators appear (this made me stand up and cheer when I saw this 27 years ago in the theater) and one of them hands the cop an ancient gun as a trophy before they leave him behind. That gun is engraved “Raphael Adolini 1715,” a reference to the Dark Horse comic book story Predator: 1718, which was published in A Decade of Dark Horse #1.
To be honest — a TON of this film is taken from Dark Horse’s Predator: Concrete Jungle. The first few issues feature Detective Schaefer, the brother of Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, as he and his partner, Detective Rasche, fight a Predator in New York City. And the inclusion of the Alien skull was inspired by Dark Horse’s Aliens vs. Predator series.
I love that Lilyan Chauvin is in this as Dr. Irene Richards, the chief medical examiner and forensic pathologist of Los Angeles. How woke is Predator 2? The main cop is African American leading an ethnically diverse team when that diversity isn’t an issue at all? Then you have a woman in charge of all pathology? How ahead of its time is this movie?
Adam Baldwin from TV’s Firefly has a brief role as a member of Keyes’ team. Plus, Robert Davi plays a police captain, Kent McCord from TV’s Adam-12 is a cop, Steve Kahan (who played Glover’s boss in four Lethal Weapon films) plays a police sergeant and Elpidia Carrillo reprises her role as Anna Gonsalves from the original in a cameo.
If you read the book version, you learn even more: Keyes recalls memories of speaking with Dutch in a hospital, as he suffered from radiation sickness. However, the soldier escaped, never to be seen again. Arnold himself escaped, refusing to do this movie because of the script, and he was nearly replaced by Steven Seagal and Patrick Swayze!
Director Stephen Hopkins went on to direct The Reaping, Lost in Space, The Ghost and the Darkness and Judgement Night (he also directed A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Childbefore this). He had to recut the film twenty times to get an R rating! I’d love to see the uncut version of this. Shout Factory, how about it?
One of my favorite things about the film is this outtake. Stick through it to see Danny Glover dance along with some Predators!
Also: Holy shit, Gary Busey. He is in character the entire time, discussing how they’re hunting the Predator while also talking about it as a film. If this doesn’t make you love him, nothing will.
Predators (2010): Produced by Robert Rodriguez (who also came up with the story) and directed by Nimród E. Antal, this is the forgotten film of the Predator franchise. Its title relates to Aliens and it also describes the humans who have come to this alien planet.
Royce (Adrien Brody, cast against type here but awesome in his role; he has even offered to return in sequels) is a mercenary who awakens as he parachutes into an unfamiliar jungle. It’s a great sequence that sets up the non-stop chase that makes up the movie. Soon, he meets other predators: Mexican gang member Cuchillo (Danny Trejo), Spetsnaz Russian soldier Nikolai (UFC fight Oleg Taktarov, who was happy to play a rare positive Russian character in an American film), Israeli sniper Isabelle (Alice Braga, The Rite), RUF soldier Mombasa (Mahershala Ali, Moonlight), Yakuza gang member Hanzo, San Quentin death row inmate Stan (Walton Goggins, House of 1000 Corpses) and a doctor named Edwin (Topher Grace fromTV’s That 70’s Show), who doesn’t seem to fit. They finally make their way through the jungle to a clearing where they stare up at multiple planets. It’s a jarring scene that reminds us that we are far away from Earth.
It turns out that this planet is a game preserve where the Predators gather game to be hunted. Soon, Cuchillo is killed and used as a trap. Then, they find a captive Predator and three larger hunters, known as the Tracker, Berserker and Falconer. Mombasa is killed and Royce demands to know why Isabelle knew who the aliens were. That’s because she knew Dutch from the original movie and heard his story.
They then meet Noland (Laurence Fishburne), a soldier who has survived for ten seasons. Even though he explains the rules to them, he tries to kill them for their supplies. As they escape, Royce hatches a plan to exploit the feud between the smaller and larger Predators.
As he tries to escape the fire, the Tracker kills Noland but is taken out by Nikolai’s mines as he sacrifices himself to help the party. Similarly, Stan saves everyone by facing off with the Berserker, but his skull and spine are ripped out. Hanzo is the last to put himself before the group as he and the Falconer duel, with both dying from their wounds.
Royce, Isabelle and Edwin make their way to the camp, but Edwin is injured and Isabelle won’t leave him behind. Royce then frees the smaller Predator and they set the ship’s course for Earth. Unfortunately, the Berserker returns, kills his rival and blows the ship up. It’s revealed why Edwin is there: he was a killer and uses poison he found on the planet to paralyze Isabelle. Royce arrives in the nick of time and saves her.
Our heroes cover Edwin with grenades and then Royce battles the Predator one on one, killing it with an axe just as more parachutes come down from the sky. Soon, more Predators will come, but they will be ready.
I really enjoyed this film, both in the theater and then revisiting it a few weeks ago on blu-ray. It deserves to have more people watch it.
The Predator (2018): When it comes to a reboot of the franchise, I wanted it to be something amazing. Yet I heard so many bad reviews of this movie — directed and written by original writer Shane Black with help from Fred Dekker — that I avoided it until it came out on DVD.
The truth is, it’s fine. But for a Predator movie, it better be way better than fine. It’s a movie that has trouble trying to figure out if it’s a buddy comedy, an alien movie or an action film. The original film went up against those odds and knew when to subtly go from a testosterone-fueled epic to a horror movie. This one doesn’t manage that quite as well.
It all starts with a Predator ship crashes on the Earth in the middle of Army Ranger sniper Quinn McKenna’s (Boyd Holbrook) team’s hostage rescue mission. You know how snipers work in the field in the middle of hostage rescue instead of being off on their own taking out targets. That isn’t the only military error here — Nettles discusses flying Hueys when the Army discontinued their usage in 1984 and switched to the UH-60 Blackhawk.
But anyways, McKenna hurts the Predator long enough to send its armor to his PO Box so that he has proof of alien existence when he’s taken by government agent Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) and sent to military prison.
Meanwhile, evolutionary biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) has been recruited to study the Predator alongside Sean Keyes, the son of Peter Keyes (Jake Busey, whose dad Gary played Peter in Predator 2). The alien wakes up and wipes out the lab, except for Casey who finds the bus full of military prisoners and escapes.
Those escapees include former Marines Gaylord “Nebraska” Williams (Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight), Coyle (the always welcome Keegan-Michael Key), Lynch (Alfie Allen, brother of Lily), Baxley (Thomas Jane, this character was named for the stunt coordinator of the first movie and whose Tourette’s was as a tribute to Black’s wife) and Nettles. They go to find McKenna’s ex-wife Emily (Yvonne Strahovski from TV’s Chuck) and son Rory (Jacob Tremblay, who was amazing in Room), an autistic child who found the package and has already used to blow up a house on Halloween.
When they arrive, the Predator’s dogs ambush them. Just when they are about to give the alien his armor back, a larger Predator arrives to kill the first and lets them go. Soon, however, it realizes that the stolen alien equipment it seeks is with the military men.
Because no one can leave well enough alone, it turns out that the Predators are taking DNA from different planets and using it to make themselves better, faster, stronger and more like the Hulk. This goes against the theme of the Predators looking for sport in their hunt, which is presumably why the first Predator was here to give something to humans.
The big green Predator kills just about everyone other than Quinn, his son and Dr. Casey before they figure out how to take him out. In the end, Rory is helping the government translate the Predator’s language and it turns out that the equipment is a suit of armor that can kill Predators.
There were two different reshoots of the film, with the entire third act being reshot after test screenings hated the original finale. Black wanted there to be two versions of the home release — Predator AM and Predator PM, as the film’s original ending was during the day — but the studio didn’t want to pay to complete the special effects.
The original ending had the military prisoners and the army teaming up with even more good Predators to fight the upgraded Predator and other hybrids, which the fugitive was trying to steal and keep from the upgraded Predators. Edward James Olmos was a general in these scenes, as are plenty of moments in the trailers, which were all cut. Supposedly this third act was too talky, but cutting it out resulted in plenty of holes in the story and continuity errors.
Sadly, the original script ended with Quinn, Casey and Rory healing after defeating the upgraded Predator when a helicopter lands. Dutch, played by Arnold himself, would step out and say, “Come with me.” Sadly, Arnold read the script and turned it down.
Behind the scenes, this wasn’t without controversy. Director Shane Black hired his longtime friend, Steven Wilder Striegel for a minor role, despite Wilder being a registered sex offender since he pled guilty into trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into having sex over email. A few days before the film was finally edited, Olivia Munn learned of this and asked that he be removed from the film. At first, Black defended his actions until the backlash forced him to go back on his arguments. Of the actors in the film, only Sterling K. Brown initially stood with Munn.
The other issue is that there’s a thesis in the film that kids with Asperger’s and autism are actually the next level of evolution, which would be nice if it had any science behind it. I’m certain that the parents of these children may not agree with this story.
I wanted to enjoy this movie. I did, but throughout, it felt like a failed opportunity for one of my favorite film series to be essential. Instead, it’s a throwaway that I won’t remember for long. And that’s pretty sad.
Alien vs. Predator (2004): The first Alien vs. Predator story by Randy Stradley and Chris Warner appeared in Dark Horse Presents #34–36 a year before Predator 2 revealed that Xenomorph skull as one of the Predator’s trophies.
Directed and written by Paul W. S. Anderson, he used Erich von Däniken’s Ancient Astronaut theories, as the Predators taught Mayans how to build pyramids and used sacrificed humans to incubate Xenomorphs which they would hunt every hundred years, until one battle ended badly and the Predators nuked the area with one of their self-destruct devices.
The other big idea here is that Lance Henriksen plays Charles Bishop Weyland, the CEO of Weyland Industries which will one day become the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. He’s leading a team to Antarctica to find another pyramid. As he’s terminally ill, he wants something to be remembered by. Guided by Lex Woods (Sanaa Lathan), he leads his team directly into a trap filled with facehuggers and a sleeping queen (this movie has a lot of ties to Lovecraft along with its Alien and Predator mythology).
Three Predators known as Scar, Celtic and Chopper show up to hunt. Now, you may wonder, why do they come to such a cold place when they’re attracted to heat? Because this is their big test as hunters, to go outside of their natural hunting areas. After deaths on both sides, Lex and Scar bond — he even burns a Predator mark into her face, echoing a scene in the Dark Horse comics — and she alone survives. His body is taken by the Predators, who gift her with one of their weapons, before his in-state body gives birth to an Alien and Predator hybrid.
While I’d never say this is my favorite film in either franchise, if you approach it as just fun, it’s fine. You want it to be better, but it never gets to the mania of the comics or video game. Then again, Anderson was only given two and a half months to film this while post-production was given just four months.
This movie caused James Cameron to stop working on an Alien movie, “To me, that was Frankenstein Meets Werewolf. It was Universal just taking their assets and starting to play them off against each other…Milking it.” But after watching it, he said, “it was actually pretty good. I think of the five Alien films, I’d rate it third. I actually liked it. I actually liked it a lot.”
Ridley Scott said it was “a daft idea” that brought down the franchise.
Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2010): Immediately after the end of the last movie, the Predator crashes into a forest outside of Gunnison, Colorado. The Alien Predator hybrid — let’s call it the Predalien escapes and attacks everyone in its way. An older veteran Predator named Wolf arrives, ready to erase the evidence and stop what could be the ultimate killing machine.
Beyond getting to see Françoise Yip play Ms. Yutani, the CEO of the Yutani Corporation, this movie has the PredAlien impregnating homeless people and already pregnant women to make an army of Xenomorphs to take over the town.
Directed by Greg and Colin Strause (Skyline) and written by Shane Salerno (Armageddon), this movie really feels like a collection of video game cut sequences instead of an actual film and ends like Return of the Living Dead, which is probably making Dan O’Bannon laugh in whatever reality he’s in now.
Speaking of horror royalty, this movie had Daniel Pearl as its director of photography. That said, critics hated the dark lighting and handheld camerawork he used, as he didn’t like how the first movie was so bright and showed so much of the creatures.
There was a lot of the movie that ended up being reshot, like Ricky impaled and ripped in half by the Predalien inside the hospital — instead of just being wounded — and the entire team of survivors getting nuked. There was an even rougher ending where Special Forces tracked them all down and killed them so there were no witnesses.
An ending that was not filmed had Ms Yutani taking the Predator gun and it transforming into a Weyland-Yutani logo on a spaceship that flies to a planet where Predators are hunting a gigantic winged dinosaur-like Alien, but no one was all that excited — probably other than me, even after this movie — for a third fight between the Yautja and the Xenomorphs.
Warner Bros. owned the rights to the 1956 movie of this story, so they had planned a remake with Stephen Sommers directing and Brendan Fraser starring. That’s when this film got in motion, with Jackie Chan being paid $18 million for his role and was somehow made with one of the highest budgets a movie has ever had before it even had a distributor, which ended up being Disney. It only made $72.2 million on a $110 million budget, so factoring in promotion and all of the unseen costs of making movies and you can see that this was a huge bomb.
Directed by Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Click) from a script by David Titcher (the creator of The Librarian series), David Benullo and David Goldstein, the movie is about Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan, perhaps not the head of a tentpole movie you were looking for) and his assistant Passepartout (Chan) trying to make it around the world in — you knew it — 80 days.
They’re joined by Cécile de France (HighTension) as Monique Laroche, a painter who wants to see the world and a ton of cameos, including Kathy Bates as Queen Victoria, Arnold Schwarzenegger as a prince in his last movie before becoming a governor, Richard Branson as a balloon man, John Cleese as a cop, Will Forte as another cop, Macy Gray as a sleeping French woman, Luke and Owen Wilson as the Wright brothers, Rob Schneider as a hobo and Chan’s adopted brother Sammo Hung as a karate fighter.
It’s not horrible or great — it fits somewhere in the middle, the kind of movie that you throw on when you have unexpected children over and realize that the majority of your home movie collection is filled with cannibals and nudity.
Dwight Little also made Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Marked for Death, Rapid Fire and of course Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home. This time, the researchers are looking for Perrinnia Immortalis (Blood Orchid), a flower that could very well be the Fountain of Youth. And he had less of a budget and therefore less of a cast. Probably the one you’ll know is Morris Chestnut.
Hans Bauer wrote the original as well as another reptile gone wild movie, Komodo. He was joined on the scripting for this film by the team of Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. (who wrote Top Gun, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Legal Eagles, Turner & Hooch, The Secret of My Success and Dick Tracy together). Yes, the same team as the original Anaconda.
Can flowers make snakes live forever? Do they really burn like that? Have I watched way too many movies? So many questions.
Most bigfeet, bigfoots, skunk apes and otherwise hominoid cryptids tend to stay in the woods or far away from the eyes of man. Yet in Dave Wascavage’s $550 wonder Suburban Sasquatch, the creature has no issues in attacking human beings right in the small bedroom communities where they believe that they’re safe.
A lot of folks through the word auteur around like it means only doing one or two things on your movie. Dave earned this distinction by being the director, writer, editor, producer, cinematographer, composer, art, video effects, costume, sound, firearms, the voice of the sasquatch and playing the following roles: Dave the Fisherman, Hunter Victim 2, Waiter, Guest and, of course, the Suburban Sasquatch itself.
He’s also smart. Most of the budget went to the food for the wrap party.
Wascavage also knows how to talk about his movies, saying that this “…is a movie about famil, A statement about life as humanity presses onward into nature. The creature is a mystical creature seeking to change humanity.”
So many lives are touched by the madness that is the creature. Rick Harlan (Bill Ushler) is a directionless man who sleeps on the box springs and a mattress with no need for a bed frame. He may dream of being an investigative reporter beyond just covering local community events, but even his best friends tell him that his dreams are, frankly, stupid.
John Rush (Dave Bonavita) is a cop who moved to town after losing his wife in a sasquatch attack, thinking that the suburbs would be a place to rest and heal. He’s wrong.
Talla (Sue Lynn Sanchez) is a Native American warrior who must fulfill the destiny of her family and hunt the beast as her ancestors have done since before we even measured time. She’s also where most of the film’s budget went, as Dave took Sanchez to a mall and found sound boots and fringed clothing that said “Native American warrior.”
As for the sasquatch itself — played by Bonavita, Juan Fernandez, Wes Miller and, as we said before, Wascavage who also created the beast’s distinctive vocalization by growling into a microphone, dropping the pitch and deciding that after three minutes, he had achieved perfection.
Perhaps the most charming thing is that this movie was a family affair, as Wascavage wrote it with his wife Mary, who also has that auteur gene, as she was also the caterer, screenplay editor, assistant propmaster and wrote the songs “Trust In Thee” and “Collision Force,” performing the latter. Dave’s mom Loretta also appears as Rick’s mom — owning every moment she’s on screen with lines like “And remember, I don’t like you. I love you.” — and his father and brother are also in the cast.
There are real estate women devouring hot dogs, a child being menaced by a bigfoot and then watching their mother get eviscerated, said bigfoot launching a cop car into the air in a feat of low grade CGI mayhem, bloody human limbs being used as weapons and a black garbage bag crafted lair filled with body parts that reminds me of the best parts of Don’t Go Into the Woods. Actually, that movie feels like the absent father of this film, drunkenly calling it on its birthday and awkwardly explaining why it can’t come to its birthday party.
Also: the sasquatch can teleport.
The best shot on video bigfoot movie ever made in West Chester, PA — home of CKY, some of the Jackass crew, Matisyahu, Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part 2 and Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day — this is a movie with a heart — a bloody and gore-covered one — that makes it so much better than it has any right to be. For all the famous directors that bemoan what is and what is not cinema, they could do more for the art form by picking up a camera and finding a bigfoot suit with some prominent titties.
Want to hear even more from me and Bill from Drive-In Asylum?
We’re on the commentary track for the blu ray of this movie from new label Visual Vengeance which is available from MVD.
Select Bonus Features:
New 2021 Commentary by Director David Wascavage
Commentary from Sam Panico of B&S About Movies and Bill Van Ryn of Drive-In Asylum
Includes full RIFFTRAX version of the movie
Archival Behind The Scenes Featurette
Making The CGI for Suburban Sasquatch
From The Director’s POV: Archival Interviews
Limited Edition Slipcover designed by Earl Kessler FIRST PRINTING ONLY
Also known as Genie in a String Bikini and The Erotic Dreams of Jeannie, this is the movie you’d assume it is: a sexy I Dream of Jeannie with Nicole Sheridan as Barbara Eden, basically.
I mean, it’s literally the exact same set-up as the first episodes of the show but the story is told by the same crew Fred Olen Ray used for his mid-2000s softcore films, folks like Evan Stone, Voodoo, Beverly Lynne, Danielle Petty and Dolorian.
The genie does not wear a bikini.
I’m astounded that this movie came out in a time when the internet was around and actual porn was not hard to find. I mean, you could watch actual sex instead of the lead-up and frottage that this movie gives you.
Perhaps there’s a bigger audience for an I Dream of Jeannie parody than I could ever imagine.
You can watch this on Tubi with most of the lovemaking edited out.
If you’re a prehistoric cave girl accidentally transported to the future — like Tahra (Jezebelle Bond), our heroine — the first thing you’d probably do is have a threeway with some archaeologists named Richard (Alexandre Boisvert) and Sharon (Kennedy Johnston). I guess, right? Aren’t we all in the Fred Olen Ray cinematic universe?
I leave it to you to decide how a cavegirl got tattoos.
Also known as Teenage Cavegirls, this movie has a sex scene every 12 minutes or so — the Tubi version is somewhat edited — and footage taken from Planet of the Dinosaurs. The only person who doesn’t have sex is Professor James Matthews (John Henry Richardson, a Ray regular).
Those that do have wild cave sex include Lezley Zen, Nicole Sheridan, Voodoo, Danielle Petty and Evan Stone, who I have been in awe of since I saw him in Pirates and he somehow lived through a vigorous scene with Belladonna and Sasha Grey. I can only imagine he’s some kind of demigod or cyborg.
Editor’s note: To check out Wild Things, click here.
Wild Things 2 (2004): Directed by Jack Perez (Unauthorized: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story, Unauthorized: Brady Bunch – The Final Days) and written by Ross Helford (who also wrote the Sniper sequels) and Andy Hurst (who wrote the sequel to Single White Female), this movie does credit Stephen Peters for characters, but there’s not a single continuing character. In fact, it’s pretty much the same story and a very similar threesome scene, which you’ll soon discover just might be the defining moment of any movie called Wild Things.
Brittney Havers (Susan Ward) is a wealthy Florida high school senior who has list her mother to a car crash on Gator Alley — where she was presumably devoured by alligators — and her stepfather Niles Dunlap (Anthony Denison, who was Joey Buttafucco in The Amy Fisher Story, the Drew Barrymore one) has just died when his private plane went down. She’s about to earn a small amount of money each year until she’s done with college and then $25,000 a year, with the rest of the will — $70 million dollars worth — going to an heir if they can be found. That heir ends up being one of her classmates, Maya King (Leila Arcieri).
We soon see Brittney, Maya and the DNA test doctor all having some MFF action, which clues us in that this is all a ruse. Insurance investigator Terence Bridge (Isaiah Washington) thinks that it’s a scam too, as Dunlap once had scarlet fever and was possibly sterile. That means the DNA doctor is a crocodile meal and then, well, the twists and turns start to add up. Dead people are alive, partners get double-crossed, people on the side of the law aren’t and there’s even an open ending that makes you think that the backstabbing hasn’t stopped.
Imagine if they just redid the first one, had no major stars, still had the threesome scene and shot it like a prime time soap opera. That’s kind of a success in my book.
Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough (2005): I love when a movie can be sold just on the title and doesn’t need to be tied into anything in any of the other movies in the series. So here we go. Another Wild Things, this one directed by Jay Lowi (Tangled) from a script by Andy Hurst and Ross Helfer, the same guys who wrote the last one.
Marie Clifton was given two diamonds — the “mother and daughter” — in her mother’s will, but her step-father Jay Clifton (Brad Johnson, who was in Nam Angels and was also a former Marlboro Man) has changed the will because he wants them for himself.
Meanwhile, there’s a sex ed seminar at school with Dr. Chad Johnson and probation officer Kristen Richards (Dina Meyer, once Batgirl on Birds of Prey as well as roles in D-Tox, Starship Troopers and Saw), who reveals that she was the victim of a sex crime when she was in high school, which totally shuts down the raucous senior audience.
Now here’s where the Wild Things drama comes in: Marie has a swim meet and her stepfather meets towel girl Elena Sandoval (Sanda McCoy, who was in the secret Porky’s movie Porky’s: Pimpin’ Pee Wee), who he invites to Marie’s eighteenth birthday party. The girls do not get along — that’s putting it mildly — so Jay takes her to one of his construction sites and you know what happens next allegedly. Now, Detective Michael Morrison (Linden Ashby) and Richards are on the case, along with Dr. Johnson, who is to examine Elena.
If you’re wondering how long it takes until Marie, Elena and the doctor are all reenacting scenes from You, Me and Dupree, it’s about as long as it takes to read this sentence.
But man, the twists and turns of this one are so plentiful that they take one of the things that worked so well in the original movie and show how it all came together over the credits. And for some reason, the good guys actually come out on top in this one.
How much sex, illegitimate children, gator eating and swamp chases can one small Florida town have? Well, they made four movies out of this. There’s your answer. This one has the sense to just go wild — no pun intended.
Wild Things: Foursome (2010): Each Wild Things movie seems like a remake of sorts. This installment has Andy Hurst, who wrote the second and third, directing and a script by Howard Zemski and Monty Featherstone, the team who wrote Sharkman.
The major difference is that this time, we’re talking about twenty-year-olds and not high schoolers. Carson Wheetly (Ashley Parker Angel, who was in O-Town) is the rich and spoiled son of NASCAR car racer Ted Wheetly (Cameron Daddo). He thinks his dad may have killed his mother, but first, let’s get to this movie’s other main difference.
Whereas every Wild Things is built around a threesome, this one goes one better and has, as the title spoils for you, a foursome between Carson, his girlfriend Rachel Thomas (Marnette Patterson), Brandi Cox (Jillian Murray, Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero) and Linda Dobson (Jessie Nickson).
Within a few days of that MFFF miracle — surely Carson is some level of science fiction character or at least a former boy band member — his father dies in a car crash that Bruno Mattei’s some Days of Thunder footage. That death is suspicious, so Detective Frank Walker (John Schneider, who may know a thing or two about car crashes) starts to investigate just as the will is announced, which states that Carson cannot inherit his father’s money and estate until he turns thirty or marries.
That means a quick marriage to Rachel, but they had a deal with everyone in the foursome, so Brandi and Linda seem to be dead meat, except that Rachel and Brandi are also working together to kill Carson. Once the girls end up — spoiler warning — using sex to kill Carson, they start conspiring to keep making love and attempting to murder one another.
This is the sort of movie that keeps the twists coming after the credits roll. All I have to say is keep your eye on lawyer George Stuben (Ethan Smith).
I miss the swamps of the other movies, but appreciate that this one is all about death and sex, which let’s face it, all giallo should be. It doesn’t get to that level, as it needs more fashion and better music, but it certainly has the sleaze — well, homogenized 2000s sleaze — going for it.
I kind of wish there was a fifth movie just to see if they’d get a fiveway into it.
Consider Tubi the Wild Things network, because they have every one of these movies.
Ah, 2004, a time when fascist racists had not yet taken the skull of the Punisher and used it to show us who they were or deify fake heroes who had bragged about killing numerous civilians in the name of service to their country. Yes, the Punisher skull, owned by Disney, a company that sues mom and pop daycares for daring to bootleg their mouse on their walls somehow allows white supremacy and the over militarization of the police state to run wild and take over their IP.
Anyways, you still here?
Taking most of the Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon stories and putting them up on the screen, the second take on The Punisher realizes that if you want to do it right, he needs that skull and he needs to just tear through human beings.
Director Jonathan Hensleigh wrote Die Hard with a Vengeance and Jumanji. This was produced by his wife, Gale Anne Hurd, and written with Michael France, who wrote movies for Marvel characters before the MCU like The Hulk and Fantastic Four. Hensleigh said, “The underlying events that give rise to Frank Castle’s vigilantism are not from the comic. I invented a lot of that. I made it a lot worse.”
Yes, the era when the comics were not good enough. This is why the MCU works. But at this point, comics were — and probably still are — looked at as junk and always loosely adapted.
So instead of being just home from Vietnam and seeing his family for the first time before they’re all killed, Frank Castle is an undercover cop who gets exposed and his entire family killed at a reunion.
Yeah, it’s more death, but it doesn’t hit as hard.
Then again, you do get Roy Scheider as the Punisher’s dad.
And Kevin Nash as the Russian.
But as good as Thomas Jane is, you also get John Travolta as Howard Saint. And that’s kind of the issue with the Punisher. His villains, outside of Jigsaw and Barracuda, never seem to live all that long. Then again, the movies miss the fact that Punisher is a serial killer, a villain worse than the criminals he murders, a man who has long since gotten revenge over those who rubbed out his family and now is endlessly just killing and killing because he has nothing left.
To close, I love the Punisher. I had a poster — the Mike Zeck cover to issue #1 of the 1986 mini-series — on my dorm wall forever. I just wish that people understood what the character really stands for and that someone would finally make a good movie with the character.