Archive for the nostalgia Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Jason X (2001) review

Posted in Friday the 13th, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, Jason Vorhees, movies, nostalgia with tags , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2016 by Paxton

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Yesterday for my “greatest hits of AWESOME-tober-fest” week, I looked at the novelization for the movie Jason X, of which I am a fan.  I thought maybe for Fangoria Movie Friday I should revisit the movie itself and see if I do still, in fact, enjoy it.  A 15 years later retrospective on a very maligned movie.

In the late 90s, when Freddy vs Jason was still in “development hell”, Friday the 13th creator Sean Cunningham wanted to make another Jason movie to continue fostering interest in the character. Writer Todd Farmer pitched “Jason in space” and develpment began on what would become the 10th Friday the 13th movie, Jason X.

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The movie starts off in 2010. Jason has been captured by the government and kept in the Crystal Lake Research Facility. They have been testing his ability to regenerate tissue and stay alive. After several failed attempts to kill him it is decided to put him in cryo stasis, but certain other shadowy government departments want him for further study so they prep him for transfer to another facility. However, Jason escapes and kills nearly everyone. One of the researchers, Rowan, traps him in the cryo chamber, but Jason pierces the chamber with his machete and both Jason and Rowan are trapped in cryo sleep as the facility goes into lockdown mode.

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Over 445 years later, a scientific team stumbles upon the two and transports them to their ship. The crew revive Rowan from cryo sleep with nanotechnology and just as she is about to warn them about Jason he revives and starts killing all of the scientists. Rowan and the few survivors must figure out a way to stop Jason and get off the ship before it is destroyed.

That’s the elevator pitch, there’s a little bit more to it. But not much.  Getting this out of the way, the movie is ultra low budget.  Especially for being in space.  The actors are mostly unknowns but the lead girl, Rowan, was on Andromeda, as was one other cast member.  The cast is as good as any other standard Friday the 13th.  The kills are pretty good.  One of the more infamous being the “liquid nitrogen head smash”.

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For the characters, Rowan is pretty good as the female lead. The other “lead” if you want to call her that is an android a la Data from Star Trek: TNG named KM-14. You also get the typical smattering of other character types; “the tough military sergeant”, “the computer dork” and “the outspoken one with loose morals”. They work as well as any of the other F13 movies. Certainly no worse than Jason Takes Manhattan or New Beginning.  But saying “they work as well” and “they are good and interesting characters” are two different things.  They do what they need to do but they aren’t great.

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As far as the story goes, I like the idea of the government wanting to test the captured Jason’s supernatural healing abilities. He has this ability to regenerate after nearly 100% damage. Of course the government is going to want to study him.  I also like the idea of trapping people on a spaceship with a hunting Jason. You can tell the premise of this movie was “borrowed” from Alien. As a plot device, for me, it works.  What also works for me is the idea of Uber Jason.  Towards the end of the movie, the android character gets “an upload”, becomes Rambo and “kills” Jason by shooting off his leg, part of his rib cage and part of his head.  And despite the fact that Jason hasn’t died from some seemingly fatal wound at least 5 times before this, everyone assumes he’s dead.  Then the damaged medical station thinks Jason needs to be fixed so it takes over and rebuilds Jason.  As a cyborg.

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And so is born the best thing in this movie, Uber Jason.  We get precious little time with Uber Jason.  He’s awesome and should have been onscreen more than 20 minutes.  He’s relentless and kills gloriously.  The movie really picks up and seems more fun once Uber Jason is on the scene.  Here’s a nice gallery of Uber Jason pics.

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At one point they trap Uber Jason in a simulated 1980 Camp Crystal Lake environment.  He gets to kill two simulated co-eds by smacking their sleeping bags against a tree.  It’s a pretty great homage to past movies (the sleeping bag stunt was done back in Part VII).

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So, is this a great movie? No, not really. But it’s fun. It has fun with the concept of Jason and the idea to move him into outer space and turn him into a futuristic cyborg Jason was a clever idea. Did everything 100% work? No, of course not. The budget is uber cheap and you get what you pay for with the actors. But I had fun with what the filmmakers were trying to do and I still say I enjoy this movie.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Jason X movie novelization by Pat Cadigan

Posted in books, Friday the 13th, Genres, horror, Jason Vorhees, movies, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2016 by Paxton

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Back when I did Movie Maniacs in 2012, I reviewed several 80s horror movie novelizations.  They are pretty rare out there in the wild, so it was a treat to be able to cover several of them.  If you’re curious, check out my reviews of Nightmares on Elm Street (Parts 1-3), Friday the 13th Part III and Friday the 13th Part VI.

While I’m a fan of both Freddy and Jason franchises, I probably gravitate towards Jason as my favorite overall. And being a fan of Friday the 13th, I’m telling you that Jason X is a very polarizing entry in the franchise.  Many people hate it.  I’m not one of them. I see some potential in this movie. It goes mostly unfulfilled, but there’s potential there.

Anyway, in 2005, about 5 years after the movie was released, during the media blitz for Freddy vs Jason, Black Flame books got the license to print Friday the 13th novels.  They would do two series, one of them being in the original timeline and another series in the Jason X timeline.  There would eventually be about five books in the Jason X series and it started off with a novelization of the movie by Pat Cadigan.

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Picking up this book I should tell you it’s hefty for a slasher movie novelization.  The general rule for movie books is about 1 page per 1 minute of action.  So a 90 minute movie would generally be about a 90 page book if it was a straight translation.  Give or take some flourishes by the author.  Well, this book is over 400 pages long.  Jason X the movie is 92 minutes long.  So there may be one or two flourishes by the author.

I have lots of hopes for this extra 300+ pages of content.  I want the futuristic world fleshed out. They barely mention what the future world is like aside from “the Earth has become uninhabitable”.  And who are the members of the crew that find Jason?  Are they scientists?  Explorers?  Archeologists?  What?  It’s not really explained in the movie.  And lastly, I’m hoping I get more action and murder with Uber Jason.

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So, I’ve read the book, did it meet any of my expectations? Was it any good?  The easy answer is yes, it was good.  If not great.  As a fan of the movie, I also enjoyed the book.  Unfortunately, the page count is due to the author fleshing out existing scenes with more exposition and not creating brand new scenes or subplots not in the movie. Well, the main character, Rowan, is given a definite romantic interest with Brodski who has a larger part in the book.  But, it ultimately goes nowhere because he meets the same fate in the book as he does in the movie.

So what new stuff is there?  Well, the author does add some very interesting content in the form of character backstories and many ruminations on the nature of Jason Voorhees.  We also get a good description of what the universe is like 4.5 centuries in the future which we don’t get in the movie.

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Per the book, after Rowan and Jason were frozen together, the Army did go to the facility to help, but found the entire complex on lockdown and decided to leave it alone as they finally had Jason contained and the world was starting to have bigger issues like food riots and global warming.  Things got so bad martial law was declared.  One hundred years after Jason is frozen the Earth starts to burn starting at the equator.  Surviving humanity escape to biospheres in orbit and we eventually contact alien life and trade them for the blueprints to a “hyper drive”.  Rowan and Jason were left on Earth, cryogenically frozen and forgotten for the next 3 centuries.  And I guess the power grid stayed “hot” for that long as well since the system stayed on lockdown and frozen for that long.  Eventually, using the alien “hyper drives”, humans settled on an Earth II.  Earth I would be studied in colleges as history and one college, New Harvard, would send field trips back to the original Earth led by Professor Lowe who is considered the foremost authority on Earth I.  It is one of these field trips, populated by the Professor, a team of military escorts and a group of students that discover the frozen and forgotten Jason and Rowan.

So the group that discovers Jason is just a class field trip?  I did not pick up on that.  Anyway, the other new things Cadigan adds includes lots of insight into the nature of Jason.  We learn that Jason’s existence is elemental.  He’s not evil per se, but anti-life.  An anti-life elemental.  Living things had many purposes but the basic one is life itself.  By contrast anti-life had one purpose.  Cancel out life.  KILL.  We also get a kind of explanation to why bawdy teenagers set Jason off.  Life stimulates survival instinct in many ways, one of which is sex.  Sex makes humans feel more alive and it helps create more life.  This is what Jason, as an entity of anti-life, is drawn to.  This is why Jason’s urge to kill becomes more apparent when these things are happening.  I like how this book is trying to explain some of the nature of Jason’s existence.  It doesn’t go too far, it goes just far enough.  I like it.  Cadigan also describes Jason’s senses and how he hunts his victims.  He has a “life radar”.  He can sense the life around him.  Once someone gets on his “radar” he can track them.  Again, I like these types of explanations.

Another thing I like about this book is it deals with Jason being captured and studied scientifically.  It makes sense the government of course wants to figure out how Jason does what he does.  And it makes sense the government would want to weaponize those talents.  This movie sort of touches on those ideas.  We see Jason being tested in the beginning but we also see lots of cell testing on the space ship Grendel after he’s been taken out of cryo-freeze.  I don’t want the government to figure anything out, I want them to think they have everything under control, see results of their “tests”, get confused and then Jason “unexpectedly” comes alive and ruins all their plans by killing everybody.  That’s what I want.  And we get that here.

So, yes, the book delivers as a solid adaptation of the movie itself.  It fills in some holes and adds some interesting back story to many of the characters.  If I have to say anything against it, it does feel a bit long.  Four hundred pages is a lot for a slasher novel and it kind of feels long.  But I was rarely bored.

Like I said, this novelization was the beginning of a series of novels based in the Jason X universe. The novels sound interesting, but all of them are around 400 pages which is a little too long for a Jason Voorhees novel. However, Pat Cadigan did followup the Jason X novelization with the next book in the series, Jason X: The Experiment.

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The gist of the plot involves the government using skin grafts from Jason to create a super soldier who then goes rogue. It sounds kind of cool having Uber Jason vs a super soldier. It seems the other four books in the series also deal with the government’s attempts to weaponize the unnatural abilities of Jason Voorhees.  I liked this novelization enough that I would consider reading Cadigan’s followup book.

Unfortunately, this book series is pretty hard to find. Actually, all of the Friday the 13th books are pretty hard to find.  I got lucky when I found this particular book on PaperbackSwap.com several years ago. I’ve only ever seen one other book in the series in the wild. It was the third book, Jason X: Planet of the Beast by Nancy Kilpatrick.  I found it in an old used bookstore in Auburn, AL back in early 2010.  But I’m always on the lookout and hopefully someday I’ll find that second Pat Cadigan Jason X book.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: I Love Mummy (2002)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2016 by Paxton

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Okay, I went back and forth on several mummy TV shows to feature today, but I think I found a good one. And by “good one”, I mean it’s terrible. Let’s check out I Love Mummy, a UK-Canadian production from 2002.

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A family inherits an old house which inexplicable contains the sarcophagus of a 3000 year old Egyptian prince in the attic.

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The young son unwittingly opens the sarcophagus and out pops the wrapped up prince.  And a chase around the kitchen table ensues.

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After lots of screaming and the aforementioned chase around the kitchen table, we find out the prince is sort of a spoiled royal brat. We even flashback to ancient Egypt to see proof of his bratty behavior.

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After he died while surfing down the exterior of the Sphinx, he became stuck in purgatory. He’ll have to stay stuck in purgatory until he completes a list (on a scroll, of course) of things he has to learn on his own.  I wonder if this is where the idea for My Name is Earl came from.

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Obviously the family is reluctant to take this responsibility on, but the young son has become “attached”. So he doofuses his way into making the family “keep” the undead pharaoh. Because, let’s not forget, he is undead.

The show is, in a word, awful. I didn’t expect any better, to be honest. But there are two things that make this show interesting.  First, the daughter, Stephy, played by Kelly Turner, is crazy hot.

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Second, the mummy, Nuff, is played by Elyes Gabel. You may not recognize that name, but he’s currently the star of that CBS show, Scorpion.

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And after seeing both shows, I don’t think there’s that much a difference in quality between the two.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: The Mummy: The Animated Series (2001)

Posted in cartoons, holiday, monsters, movies, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 18, 2016 by Paxton

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This year, despite my theme being mummies, I decided not to watch or review the most recent Universal The Mummy movies starring Brendan Fraser as Rick O’Connell.  I liked those movies okay, but I had other lesser known movies I wanted to watch and talk about first.  However, as a compromise, I decided to mention the animated series that is based on those movies.

In 2001, the WB aired The Mummy: The Animated Series. It was loosely based on the first two Stephen Sommers The Mummy movies.

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The main characters are, of course, Evie and Rick O’Connell, their son Alex, Evie’s brother Johnathan and the evil mummy Imhotep.  Rick O’Connell, surprisingly, is not voiced by Brendan Fraser (what, was he busy?).  He’s voiced by none other than Bo Duke himself, John Schneider.  There’s another character in here called The Minotaur that is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson who voiced The Joker in the 2004 animated The Batman series as well as a slew of other roles in super hero cartoons like Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, Ultimate Spider-Man, Young Justice, etc.

The plot somewhat retcons the movies a little.  Back in ancient Egypt, Imhotep is in possession of the Scrolls of Thebes and is searching for the Manacle of Osiris. Just as he’s about to steal it, he’s caught and sentenced to be mummified alive (again, why ALIVE?!).  Flash forward to present day, Imhotep is revived by Colin Weasler and he begins the hunt for the Manacle anew.  Like in The Mummy Returns, Alex gets the Manacle on his own arm which causes Imhotep to hunt him to obtain it.  Rick and Evie battle Imhotep to keep the Manacle away from him with the help of the Medjai, sacred protectors of ancient Egypt.

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There’s a lot of Medjai back story in the cartoon as well as plenty of searches for things with “of” in the title (Manacle of Osiris, Scythe of Anubis, Lake of Eternity, etc, etc).  It’s a not bad, if not great, animated cartoon adventure series. About as good as those last two Fraser Mummy movies.


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Mummies Alive! (1997)

Posted in cartoons, holiday, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by Paxton

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In 1997 DIC Entertainment released the animated series Mummies Alive!

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The premise is very mummy-y. Evil sorcerer Scarab kills the Pharaoh’s son but is entombed alive for his crime (why do they never KILL these guys? It’s always entombed ALIVE). He revives in modern day (1997) and searches for the reincarnation of the prince he killed. However, the prince’s protectors are also revived to protect him from harm. It’s a constant battle to keep Scarab from getting his hands on the reincarnated prince.

The prince’s guardians are all mummies each with the power of an Egyptian god. Ja-Kal uses the spirit of falcon, Rath uses the spirit of snake, Armon uses the spirit of ram, and Nefer-Tina uses the spirit of cat. They are able to call upon these powers for magical armor and abilities.

And in typical “cartoon magical transformations” form they call on the powers when they are in immediate danger but then it takes 30 seconds or more for all four mummies to fully transform and by then, in reality, they’d all be dead.

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To trigger their powers, the mummies call out the phrase “With the Strength of Ra!” Using these magical abilities depletes their strength, so once their strength is exhausted, they must rest in their sarcophagi to regain their abilities.

Along with Scarab, the mummies had to contend with a litany of Egyptian gods and monsters like Anubis, Set and Sekhmet.  But the best episode has to be the one where the mummies actually take a tour of Alcatraz (not even kidding).  Here’s the cartoon version of Alcatraz Island.

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The show only ran one season but managed to pump out 42 episodes.

You can check out the very first episode, Ra! Ra! Ra! below:

Here’s the episode called The Bird-Mummy of Alcatraz where the mummies take the tour of the infamous prison:


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AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: Marvel’s The Living Mummy

Posted in comic books, monsters, mummy, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2016 by Paxton

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Marvel has had a long history with monsters.  I’ve covered several monster titles from Marvel for previous AWESOME-tober-fests like Tomb of Dracula, Frankenstein and Werewolf by Night.  Well, not surprisingly, Marvel also had a mummy character.  He was called The Living Mummy and he debuted in the horror anthology series Supernatural Thrillers, issue #5, August 1973.

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You may remember the comic Supernatural Thrillers as I reviewed issue #2 last year which contained an adaptation of HG Wells’ The Invisible Man.

The first four issues of Supernatural Thrillers were mostly adaptations of existing work; Stephenson’s Jeckyll & Hyde, Robert Howard’s Valley of the Worm, Sturgeon’s It! and the aforementioned The Invisible Man.  With issue #5, editor Roy Thomas had Steve Gerber create a new original character to be run as a feature.  While issue #6 would contain a somewhat sequel to Irving’s Sleepy Hollow, issues #7-15 would solely feature the character The Living Mummy.

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The Living Mummy started out as N’Kantu, son of the Chief of the Swarili Tribe in ancient Cairo.  He is 21 and is preparing to become a tribal warrior by taking the Test of the Lion.  While away on a hunt, N’Kantu returns to his tribe to discover that the Pharoah Aram-Set has conquered his tribe and enslaved them to work building monuments. N’Kantu helps plot a rebellion, but his planning is discovered and he is sprayed with a paralyzing liquid that renders him immobile. Then his blood is replaced by a special alchemical embalming fluid, he is wrapped in bandages and put in a coffin to lay, immobile, for the next thousand years.

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After about a thousand years, the paralyzing liquid wears off and N’Kantu escapes from his coffin, however, he is completely insane due to being trapped immobile in the dark for a millennia. So he goes on a rampage in “modern” Cairo.

He gets electrocuted which knocks him out, then is electrocuted AGAIN and is revived.  Goes on another rampage.  Meets an archaeologist who cures his insanity, but unfortunately N’Kantu is then sent to another dimension. And in this dimension, we get a few stories of The Living Mummy…wait for it…IN SPACE.

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Yep, he’s trapped in space fighting aliens.  Doesn’t get much more awesome than that, ladies and gentlemen.

After the mummy shenanigans in Supernatural Thrillers, N’Kantu would break out and guest star in other titles like Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up and Deadpool Team Up.  He made the jump to television in the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, Super Hero Squad and Hulk and the Agents of SMASH and even joined The Legion of Monsters at one point.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Krush Groove the novel now exists. FINALLY.

Posted in Beastie Boys, books, movies, music, nostalgia, pop culture, rap, Run-DMC with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2016 by Paxton

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In the latest episode of the Cult Film Club podcast, we are talking about one of my favorite movies, Krush Groove, from 1985. It’s a fun discussion and a great look back at essentially the genesis of my interest in rap, which was around early 1985 when the first Fat Boys album and Run-DMC’s second album, King of Rock, was released.

Later that year, in October 1985, the movie Krush Groove was released.  I did a small review of the movie back in 2010 for the 25th anniversary.  Check out episode #36 of the Cult Film Club podcast for my more in depth thoughts on the movie.

What I really want to talk about is, why wasn’t there a Krush Groove novelization?  The obvious answer is that it was a movie focusing on the music industry and it may have been hard to translate that since there are at least 3 music video sized interludes in the movie.  But that shouldn’t have stopped them.  I just finished reading the novelization to Jason X and that book expands the sparse 1 hour and 20 minute movie into a 400+ page novel.  You telling me something couldn’t be done with Krush Groove?

So, to correct this rather EGREGIOUS oversight, I created my own Krush Groove novelization based mostly on the design of the soundtrack album cover.

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I think it goes without saying that I would have read the sh*t out of this book.