Archive for pop culture

Batman Redemption – Creating a brand new Tim Burton Batman sequel

Posted in Batman, movies with tags , , , on April 30, 2018 by Paxton

Back in January, the SequelQuest Podcast did a whole show where they brainstormed ideas for a third Tim Burton Batman movie.  It’s a good idea for an episode that led to some interesting discussions and went in a few places I didn’t expect.  It got me to think.  And think some more.  I started to have my own ideas of what a third Burton Batman film would look like so I organized my thoughts in order to write them down.

I started talking with CT about this a while ago and we decided to sort of do this together.  I would put my ideas up here and he’d put his over on Nerd Lunch.  I don’t know a lot about his idea, I’ve only gotten small bits and pieces so I’m excited to hear what he has to say, but before you head on over there, let’s take a look at my ideas.

Before crafting a new Burton Batman movie, there are things to consider.  Do you ignore the Schumacher films and create your new Burton film back in the mid 90s?  Or do you have Burton create the film now revisiting his characters from the 80s-90s?  I think CT went with the former.  I’m going with the latter.

For my story idea, this movie would be released in modern day.  The events in this movie would be a sequel to Batman Returns and ignore both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.  I’d love to get most of the crew from the 1989 movie to return with Burton.  Michael Keaton would return to the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.  Danny Elfman would score.  Obviously I’d love to go back to Anton Furst to redesign his “Hell on Earth” Gotham City but unfortunately he died back in 1991.  No slight to Sam Hamm or Warren Skaaren (who died back in 1991), but I think I’d like to get newer, more modern writers to translate my ideas to the silver screen.  Maybe the Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things) would be a good nostalgically modern choice for writers. 

All that being said, let’s talk about my story idea.  The title of my project is Batman Redemption.

Like I said, the story takes place modern day.  Keaton is an older Batman.  He is wrestling with the fact that he doesn’t want to be Batman anymore.  He finds he’s losing interest in the constant fight and bandaging old wounds.  Alfred is dead.  Selina Kyle has either died, or she dies in the cold open of the movie.  Bruce is essentially alone being Batman and living in Wayne Manor.  He decides that it may be time to retire.  He’s just not sure how to do that.  He’s rudderless.  He goes through the motions of running patrols in the evenings.  He doesn’t know what Gotham looks like, or Bruce Wayne, for that matter, post Batman.  

Suddenly, a rash of violent crimes start occurring.  Unexplained crimes.  Crimes that have a familiar look and feel.  Clown based crimes.  It sort of shocks Bruce out of his melancholy.  He suddenly has a purpose.  Is the Joker back?  Is there a copycat?  Bruce obsessively studies the crimes looking for clues.  Without Alfred there to rein him in Bruce pushes himself to the limit trying to figure out if this is the real Joker or not.  It couldn’t be possible though, right?  The Joker died.  He fell from the top of Gotham Cathedral.

Joker death

We get to see a lot of Bruce Wayne in a scarf and trench coat, walking the streets of Gotham like we saw him do so many times in the 1989 Batman movie.  He’ll go to Gotham Library and start looking at old newspaper headlines on a bunch of microfiche film.  Then back to walking the wet streets of Gotham.  While all of this is going on the clown crimes continue.  On one of Bruce’s sojourns he comes face to face with Nicholson’s Joker.  He’s back.  Bruce is caught flat footed. “Jack? You’re dead!”  The Joker maniacally answers, “Sorry, Batsy, the man who laughs lives and I’m back to put a bee in that little bat bonnet of yours! HAHAHAHAHA!”  Bruce is swarmed by creepy clown mimes and starts to fight back until he realizes he’s Bruce, not Batman, and out in broad daylight, so he stops fighting. The clown mimes clear out and Bruce is again alone on the streets.  

The Joker begins establishing himself as the new crime boss of Gotham.  We see him pulling off murderous pranks, killing city officials. All the kooky antics we remember from 1989.  We see his hideout in the old abandoned Axis Chemicals building. We make sure to focus a lot on the Joker and his thugs as they run rampant through the Gotham criminal underworld.  We see Joker joy buzzer electrocuting and whoopie cushion exploding all the crime bosses in Gotham who refuse to follow him.  Lots of kooky kills for Joker, including killing his own crew when he feels they’re “cooling off his casserole”.  There will be lots of random, weird metaphors by Joker.

Meanwhile Bruce is baffled how Jack could be back.  Bruce has to go out as Batman and track down the cops who worked the morgue that night the Joker died, trying to pin down what exactly happened after he fell off the tall, gothic church.  Bruce discovers that Joker’s body actually disappeared sometime after it had been taken to the Gotham City Morgue but the disappearance was kept silent.  Batman confronts Gordon about it, but discovers he didn’t know either.  All the while, Batman is constantly mocked by Joker at every turn.  Bruce continues to be one step behind him.

Bruce pieces together some things but remains unsure of the whole story of Joker’s return.  He has a few more run ins with the Joker and eventually finds himself captured by the Clown Prince of Crime and awakes inside his headquarters.  It’s here, through an elaborate flashback, we learn what actually transpired that night as Joker can finally “reveal it all” to Batman.  We see the final minute or so of the original Batman 1989 climax scene, Joker’s fall, then the pan out of the “dead” Joker with the laugh machine.  Then, the camera, stops, and pans back down closing in on Joker as we see mysterious men enter the frame and drag the Joker’s body away.  These mysterious men keep him alive as they take him to a secluded building on the outskirts of Gotham where he is prepped for travel.  

Back in Gotham PD headquarters, officials in the morgue on Joker’s new benefactor’s payroll place a body double in the drawer with paperwork saying it’s the Joker.  There is so much going on that no one is able to double check.  Then later, the appearance of Penguin and Catwoman would further obscure the body switch from the proper authorities. 

Meanwhile, Joker’s actual body is again transported, this time to a secluded temple in the middle of nowhere.  At this point Joker is still alive, but only barely.  He meets a very beautiful but severe looking woman surrounded by a bunch of scary looking thugs.  The woman introduces herself as Talia (played by Eva Green). 

She has a proposition for Joker.  He’s dying.  Quickly.  But she can save him, if and only if, he helps her with a little problem she’s having.  Joker agrees because he’s got nothing else to lose at this point, so Talia’s men carry Joker over to what looks like a hot spring filled with a softly glowing sludge.  He at first is scared, worried they are throwing him into radioactive waste, but once submerged in the glowing sludge, the “pit” begins reviving him.  Joker comes out of the pit whole, and possibly even a little crazier than he was going in.  Talia explains that her father has plans for him.  Joker asks, “Do they involve a certain 6 foot Bat in Gotham City?” Talia just smiles. Cut to a shot of Joker laughing maniacally.

Ultimately, the climax is Batman fighting Joker and Talia.  Batman learns during the climax that it was Talia who ordered Selina’s death and it was Joker who killed her.  The climax may even take place in the aforementioned secluded temple with the Lazarus Pit, which I don’t plan on even mentioning by name.  It’ll be just “the pit”.  I imagine at some point, while fighting Talia, that Batman will be flung into the pit.  Batman doesn’t know what it is either, so he quickly climbs out.  The quick submersion, though, winds up reviving him and helping him to win the climatic battle.  The submersion in the pit would also renew his passion for being Batman and continuing the fight against evil. 

Ra’s al Ghul is a presence, but will essentially be the Darth Sideous of this movie.  We may not even see him.  At the most, we would get a quick scene of him talking to his daughter.  Maybe.  At the end of the movie Joker is defeated and more than likely killed.  Again.  Talia will escape to possibly return in another sequel.

And that’s my Tim Burton Batman sequel. Talia seemed like the perfect “Burton babe” to use in this sequel. Plus I wanted to bring back Joker and the Lazarus Pit is the perfect way to do that. Hope you enjoyed this pitch, remember, head on over to Nerd Lunch to check out CT’s pitch called Batman Continues.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Lost Boys sequel comic from Vertigo

Posted in comic books, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , on October 30, 2017 by Paxton

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The Lost Boys is a cult classic.  It is beloved by many.  It’s not hard to argue since the movie is so good in so many ways.  It’s a great addition to the vampire mythos.  It has the two Coreys.  It has a beefy, oily guy in chains playing the sax.  It has a rockin’ soundtrack.  It was a literal time capsule of the 90s.  Not much to really argue about there.  Why didn’t we ever get a decent sequel?

You probably already know about those two The Lost Boys “sequel” movies. The Tribe and The Thirst.

I’ve seen them. They’re terrible. They even bring back the Frog Brothers. Still terrible. Actually, that probably makes them even more terrible.

Back in 2008, Wildstorm put out a sequel comic called Reign of Frogs that also brought back the Frogs and made the story more about them.  And it was a bit nonsensical and not very good either.

That first movie is so good and beloved, you really want these projects to work.  But for the most part, they don’t.

Flash forward back to 2016.  Vertigo starts releasing a Lost Boys comic.  Written by Tim Seely.  It is billed as the Lost Boys sequel you always wanted.

We’ll see about that.

The story takes place in Santa Carla very soon after the first movie. The Frogs are training with Grandpa who now, we know, belongs to a group of vampire hunters. Michael is dating Star. The mom is back at the video store. Things are trying to get back to normal. Until a group of vampires called the Blood Belles show up and start killing all the resident vampire hunters. So the Frogs have to weapon up with Sam and Michael to stop whatever plans they have in store for Santa Carla.

It’s a decent setup.  The writing is mostly solid.  The covers are great and the interior art is mostly good but the faces on the characters are off.  It was confusing to read because I couldn’t tell the difference between Michael and Sam nor either of the Frog Brothers.  So it was tough understanding at first who is talking.  Other than that, I felt like Tim Seely represented the characters well and wrote in their voices that I can remember from the original movie.

Other than that the overall plot is good.  We get the return of a few more characters from the original movie.  It’s fun.  Nothing ground breaking or amazing but a solid return to that world.

Or at the very least, a more solid return than any of the other returns we’ve gotten before.



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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: Cult Film Club Podcast – Trick or Treat (1986)

Posted in Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2017 by Paxton

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That’s right, my friends, Cult Film Club is back. Today we are releasing episode 41 where we talk about the 1986 horror flick, Trick or Treat.

Trick or Treat

We’ve threatened to do this movie before and we thought this Halloween was the perfect time to do it.  The movie stars Family Ties’ Marc Price with cameos by Gene Simmons, Ozzy Ozbourne, and Showbiz Pizza’s Billy Bob (not even joking).  It’s a classic 80s horror movie that is better than you think it is with a rocking soundtrack.

Download the show on iTunes, Stitcher, Google or any of your usual podcasting places.  Or you can listen to it directly right here.



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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Original Ghost Rider (1949)

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, Genres, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, Western with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2017 by Paxton

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Everyone knows Ghost Rider. The flaming skull. The Hellcycle. Penance Stare. Hell, just last week I posted a Cavalcade Comics cover featuring the motorcycle riding demon fighting the Headless Horseman.  But did you know that Ghost Rider was originally a supernatural western hero?

Back in 1949, Magazine Enterprises was publishing a western comic called Tim Holt: Cowboy Star of the Movies.  In issue #11, a backup story was introduced featuring the ghostly first appearance of the Ghost Rider.

The story was written by Ray Krank and drawn by Dick Ayers. It told the origin of the Ghost Rider.  Rex Fury, aka the Calico Kid, is ambushed by renegade Indians.  He fights the attacking braves while saying classy things like this:

fire water

It *was* 1949.  Anyway, the Indians’ numbers eventually overcome the Calico Kid and they throw him and his Chinese manservant, Sing-Song (I’m not even joking.  1949, guys.), into the “Devil’s Sink”, a bottomless whirlpool from which no one that has fallen in has ever returned.  Except Rex Fury.  After somehow washing up inside a hidden cave system, Rex decides to come back as the spectral Ghost Rider to fight crime and get the men who sent him to his watery grave.

Ghost Rider would appear in Tim Holt a few more times before, in 1950, getting his own title.

For this new title the character was again drawn by co-creator Dick Ayers. The first issue retold the character’s origin from Tim Holt #11 but with new art and an expanded story. This time they expanded on his time in the Devil’s Sink.  Instead of washing up in a hidden cave system, he enters something like the afterlife, or Purgatory.  While there he learns skills from famous Western heroes like Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, Kit Carson, etc so he can return to the living and fight evil.  They even give him the suit.

The title was a different type of Western and the Ghost Rider was a different type of Western hero.  The book was essentially a horror title.  The stories pitted our hero against a motley assortment of ghosts, monsters, cursed treasure, witches, and demons.

I’ve read a few issues of this title and there are some fun issues. Ghost Rider even manages to meet another of my AWESOME-tober-fest theme monsters, Frankenstein.  In issue #10.

The character was a big hit for Magazine Enterprises for nearly a decade until the company went bankrupt. In 1967, after the trademark on the character had expired, Marvel Comics released their own almost exact copy of the character in his own title written by Roy Thomas and again drawn by Dick Ayers.

Unfortunately Marvel stripped out all of the horror and supernatural elements and made Ghost Rider a more traditional western gunfighting hero.  Several years later, after Marvel introduced their motorcycle riding demon version of Ghost Rider, they renamed this Western character Phantom Rider.  Phantom Rider would team up with the new Ghost Rider several times for Marvel.

For Halloween a few years ago I did a Cavalcade Comics cover featuring a meet up of the Original Ghost Rider and the New Ghost Rider.



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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Six Million Dollar Man – The Secret of Bigfoot (1976)

Posted in cartoons, pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2017 by Paxton

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I’ve always been fascinated by cryptozoology and the idea of monsters roaming the Earth.  I’ve listened to a few cryptid podcasts and I’ve followed a few blogs.  It’s fascinating stuff.  I’ve wanted to do an entire month of urban legends and mythical monsters for AWESOME-tober-fest for many years now.  I’d planned articles on Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, the Jersey Devil, and Mothman.  There’s an abundance of Sasquatch, Nessie, and UFO material, but the other stuff is a bit thin pop culture wise aside from a movie or TV program here and there.  So, I’d sort of sat on it.

Well, now I get to do one.  Today, I want to talk about Bigfoot.  Specifically, I want to talk about the Bionic Bigfoot from The Six Million Dollar Man.  Bigfoot appeared a couple times but I’m going to talk about Season 3, episodes 16-17.  The Secret of Bigfoot.  His first bionic appearance.

OSI is escorting a couple of scientists to a remote mountain forest to study seismic activity.  The scientists are attacked and taken by a beast who turns out to possibly be the Sasquatch of legend.  Steve Austin, while looking for the missing scientists, is also taken hostage and gets to meet his strange captors.  Meanwhile Oscar is back at base camp facing a level 7 earthquake strike in seven hours to the entire California coast and is planning to detonate a nuclear bomb under the mountain to relive the geologic pressure and prevent the massive quake.  Can he find Steve in time?

There really is a lot going on in this one.  But it’s a fun episode.

SMDM title card Bigfoot title card
These episodes first aired in 1976. The story is a two parter.

Andre the Giant
In these two episodes Bigfoot is played by Andre the Giant.  Bigfoot would return in season 4 for another two episode story, but that time he’d be played by Lurch himself, Ted Cassidy.


Steve and Oscar escort these scientists into the mountains.  The scientists have experimental OSI sensing equipment. While setting up they are attacked by the creature.


Steve finds this footprint and goes after the scientists. He uses his bionics to run and jump all over the forest looking for the missing people.  It has been established in previous episodes that Steve is the worst secret keeper when it comes to his bionics.


While Steve is galavanting around the forest showing off his bionics there is a shady group watching his every move. Marveling at his abilities.


Steve encounters Bigfoot and has a pretty epic battle against him. The “trees are picked up and used as baseball bats” kind of epic.


Steve tracks Bigfoot to a cave where it disappears. But Steve TEARS DOWN PART OF THE MOUNTAIN to find a hidden door.  How’d he know to look there?  Then he has to walk through this amazing gizmo.  I’m not even sure what that is.  A revolving ice tunnel?  As soon as Steve walks in he collapses to the floor.  All I know is it looks exactly like the ice tunnel from the Misfits of Science pilot.  However, they show that tunnel in this episode several times.  You get several LOOOONG looks.  I totally get that, they should be proud.  It’s an amazing set piece.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: My favorite movie and TV Devils

Posted in monsters, pop culture, The Devil, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2017 by Paxton

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I’m fascinated by the concept of Lucifer.  I’m fascinated in how pop culture plays that concept.  From books to movies to TV it’s interesting to see this evil archetype play out in a story.  Will the creators lean hard into the “ultimate evil” angle, or will the portrayal be more of a sympathetic character?  Will the Devil be a monster, or a charismatic presence you can’t help but enjoy despite being, you know, THE DEVIL.

The Devil has a long history in film and TV.  So many versions from silly to serious and played by a range of actors from unknown to mega-famous.  I always like seeing how Hollywood will try to portray Satan, the Devil, ‘ol Scratch, Lucifer, et al on the screen.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Here are a few of my favorite on-screen Devils from movies and TV.  Just a note, these are a few of my favorites.  But there will be some notable entries missing as I didn’t want to necessarily do a “top 10”.


Gabriel Byrne – End of Days – I don’t love this movie. I love the concept, but I don’t love the movie. However, I *do* love Gabriel Byrne as the Earthly incarnation of Satan.  He really goes for it and plays this Devil as “ultimate evil”.


Elizabeth Hurley – Bedazzled – Again, like End of Days, I love the concept of this movie, but I don’t love the actual movie. But Hurley is great as the Devil offering wishes to the hapless Brendan Fraser.  She is sultry and sexy, but at times actually pulls off scary when she needs to.  She’s definitely the charismatic character you can’t help but enjoy despite who she is.


Ray Wise – Reaper – I loved Reaper on the CW. I watched it when it aired all the way through the second season. The show is really good even if it falls off the rails a bit in the second season. Still a fun watch and Ray Wise is awesome as The Devil. He’s funny and super charming.  This Devil is mostly played for laughs but Wise doesn’t make his Devil a joke.  He’s “The Devil” who just happens to be funny as well.


Peter Stormare – Constantine – I don’t care what you say, I liked the Constantine movie. Could they have gotten someone better than Keanu as the lead?  Yes, they could have, but it’s still a dark, atmospheric movie that builds a visually interesting world filled with magic.  And Stormare is a highlight as Lucifer.  Creepy. Unnerving. Weird. So good.  That end scene when Lucifer shows up to have the final conversation with John is my favorite part of the movie.


Viggo Mortensen – The Prophecy – I love that first Prophecy movie with Christopher Walken.  Again, it builds up a pretty great world and the Angel war in Heaven that is hinted at is very enticing.  Many people forget that Viggo made a small but significant appearance in that movie as the Devil.  And in his small screen time he really gives off a great, terrifying presence as the Fallen One.

Those are five of my favorite on screen Devils.  I know people are screaming at the screen because I left someone off.  “WHAT ABOUT DARKNESS FROM LEGEND, JACKASS?!  WHAT ABOUT AL PACINO, D-BAG?!”  Well, I liked both of them, but they didn’t make this list.  Sorry, guy who was sort of rude about my list.  Go start a blog and make your own list.

Everyone else, hope you enjoyed the list.  What are some of your favorite interpretations of the Devil?



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

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: Goober and the Ghost Chasers (1973)

Posted in cartoons, ghosts, monsters, pop culture, TV shows, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2017 by Paxton

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Today I’m going to talk about the cartoon series Goober and the Ghost Chasers.  It was produced by Hanna-Barbera and aired in late 1973.  It was created to capitalize on the popularity of Scooby-Doo.

Much like Scooby-Doo, the show involved a group of teenagers and their dog driving around solving mysteries.

Goober, obviously, was the dog.  He had similar mannerisms to Scooby.  Sort of a coward.  Very goofy and jokey.  He talked.  But it’s interesting, it’s not directly acknowledged in the cartoon if the teens can understand Goober when he talks.  They talk to Goober, but when Goober talks, it’s usually directly to camera and the teens never give any indication that he talked or that they heard he talked.  It’s weird.  The teens were Ted, Tina and Gilly.  The teens worked for a supernatural investigation magazine called Ghost Chasers.  Obviously Ted = Fred.  Tina is very much a cross between Daphne and Velma.  And Gilly is sort of his own thing.  He’s Goober’s closest human companion.  He’s not a stoner or a coward.  He doesn’t love to eat.  He’s the photographer for the magazine.  In some ways like Shaggy but in most ways he’s different.  Gilly is probably the most annoying.  I like everyone else.

The mysteries this crew investigate usually wind up having a real supernatural aspect to them. As in real ghosts and real monsters as opposed to Scooby in which the mysteries had a basis in reality.  Plus, for some reason, Goober can turn invisible. He can’t control it, and it usually happens when he gets scared, but it happens.

Like Scooby, many episodes would have “special guests” show up to help solve crimes.  For at least half of the one and only season the Ghost Chasers crew were joined by the Partridge Kids (Danny, Laurie, Tracy, Chris, seen below in the middle).

The Partridge kids were voiced by the actual actors; Danny Bonaduce, Susan Dey, Suzanne Crough and Brian Forster.  For some reason, around episode 11, the Partridge Kids disappear and never make another appearance.  However, don’t feel bad for them, about a year later they would get their own cartoon series.

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