Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Whoever Wins, We Lose: AVP - Alien Vs. Predator

Hello everyone, hope everyone's doing well. Also if you haven't had a chance yet, go check out Prey on Hulu in the Comanche dub. I loved the film, but the Comanche is a whole new level of immersion in the story they are telling. And it should not be missed. 

So far, we have covered the Predator films - a ranking will be coming after I cover the Alien films. I consider all the films to be connected. So stay tuned as we will get to the Alien films down the road. But why not take a peek at the two films connecting Alien and Predator?

I am talking about 2004's AVP: Alien Vs. Predator and 2007's Aliens Vs. PREDATOR: Requiem. 

Now, crossover films are something that have been featured in films before. The Universal Monsters did it with Frankenstein vs. Wolfman and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. New Line Cinema did it with the long awaited Freddy Vs. Jason to success. So, it made sense that 20th Century Fox would do so with Alien and Predator. Especially as this had been featured in comics and games for awhile by this point. 

When I first heard about the film, I was excited. I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing either a Predator or Alien film in theater yet. So this would be my first time seeing them on the big screen. I remember the summer of 2004 very fondly as we had just switched our cable services and I had discovered TechTV, later becoming G4. That summer it seemed like every other commercial break was for Alien Vs. Predator. I could not help but be excited for it. 

I had heard that Paul W. S. Anderson was directing the film. By this point, I was already a fan of the first Resident Evil film. So I wanted to see what he would do with the film. Then word had gotten out that Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff's ADI would be responsible for the Predator and Alien effects. Again, 16 year old me was excited. 

I even had tracked down the novelization and read it. It's still super solid even with its differences from the film. 5 Predators instead of the 3 we received. Like the Spider-Man novelization,  there were at least three readthroughs up to the release of the film.

On the opening day, my Dad and I went to see the film. It made absolute sense as we already watched the first two Predator films a lot while I was growing up. So it meant a lot getting to see it. 

When I walked out the theater, I was pretty happy with it. Yeah, I understood that it was missing something.  The rating was PG13 after all. So, the action in the film did feel like it lacked an impact when it came to the humans. However, there was Alien and Predator blood flying everywhere. And that made me pretty happy. The cast all delivered pretty solid performances. Each and every one of them was very believable. When I compare it to Freddy Vs. Jason, I feel like AVP was a better film. 

For the most part, Paul W. S. Anderson did have a solid idea of the Alien films. On the Predator side of things, it felt like it could have used a little bit more work. 

AVP is a film that I would consider a comfort film. It's fun to throw on and have for background noise. It delivers a simple story. The action is pretty solid, could have been better. But when the Queen is let loose, it's pretty damn cool. Grid was an interesting idea to give us an Alien that was antagonist. And if I am going to watch any version, I'll be throwing the Unrated on. The Unrated Cut feels safely at home between both franchises. It also definitely leans heavily on the Alien elements.

Rating: 4 out of 5. 

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Monday, August 8, 2022

GET TO THE CHOPPAH: THE PREDATOR (2018)

After 2010s Predators wasn't as successful as the studio was hoping for, 20th Century Fox decided to put the franchise to bed for a bit. This was the second time that an installment featuring a Predator had failed, previous one being Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem. Thus, the franchise went into hibernation. 

However after some time, I believe 20th Century Fox had been seeing what other studios were doing. I mean it makes absolute sense as a lot of the 2010s felt like what I'd call the 'MCU' effect. Marvel had been widely successful with their movies. Every studios seemed to be trying their best to attempt to replicate it. I mean X-Men was back in full swing with the First Class films, Spider-Man would be reinvigorated with Amazing, Warner Bros. were attempting the DCEU, Dracula Untold and The Mummy would be swing and misses for the Dark Universe. Every one was trying to throw something to see what sticks. And not surprisingly, 20th Century Fox thought that maybe Predator would be a fit for a Cinematic Universe. Least, that's what I keep telling myself. 

Enter the next attempt at reinvigorating the franchise with The Predator. The studio had decided to bring in Shane Black to direct and co-write alongside Fred Dekker. Black is well known and was even featured in that original film. Dekker also is remembered for Monster Squad, Night of the Creeps, and House. It sounds like it'd be a good fit, right? I thought so too. 

So, production went underway. Things were leaking...set photos and such. Mentions of multiple Predators in the film. Then came news that the whole third act of the film was scrapped and would need reshoots. What exactly was wrong with that initial third act? I honestly don't know. But I do know is that we had seen Predators in Military Fatigues with rifles in set photos. But in the finished film, nope. They are no longer there. However, they would appear immortalized in NECAs line of The Predator figures. I have to find them. Oh yeah, they were also featured in the Predator Evolution special feature on the Blu Ray. 

What did these reshoots result in? First and foremost, studio interference. It was to the point where I don't think Black or Dekker are proud of the finished product. It wasn't necessarily what they had originally planned for. No, instead the finished product feels like it's a superhero film. Like it was their attempt to Marvel-ize the Predator franchise with more humor. That is definitely something I noticed was the larger frequency of jokes in the film. The action results in bigger spectacle. However, it loses itself in the use of CG.

One thing I will admit is that I love the Looneys. These guys work really well together. They bounce off of one another and it's a bit fun. Looking at it under the superhero perspective, huh? It sounds like a crazier version of the Howling Commandos from The First Avenger. Oh, that also explains McKenna. He's basically this film's version of Steve Rogers but at the end turns into Iron Predator. 

The idea of the Upgraded Predator is a bit bigger. But not out there as we had seen previously with the Super Predators of Predators. Honestly, it feels like it's the Predator version of Dutch. He's just bout as big and beefy as you might imagine a Schwarzen-Pred to be. Hell, it sucks we couldn't have gotten Schwarzenegger's Dutch to return to help. 

But while have a bigger enemy, it kinda nerfs the Fugitive Predator. It basically treats Fugitive as nothing more than a sidenote. And that's very disappointing, even more so after the removal of the Commando Predators. Fugitive is kinda cool in his opening and after he awakes. But then the fight with the Upgrade happens. And it's something that is over in a few seconds. Why? Why couldn't we have Fugitive stand a bit taller? Why couldn't he have held his own a little better? Oh, to make the Upgrade seem more impressive? Hell no. That's not supposed to happen like that. 

And then there's the Predator Dogs. Don't get me started on those. Predators did it better. Here, it falls extremely flat.

Who the hell is THE PREDATOR in The Predator? Well, it certainly isn't Upgrade or Fugitive. If you look at the evidence, it turns out it's McKenna. Seriously? 

I watched The Predator with my son. He's only seen the original '87. He enjoyed this a lot cause of the action. Is this what the studio was planning for? Honestly don't think so. It feels like a failed attempt at Marvel-izing something that didn't need it for a last minute attempt to help the studio. After that, pretty sure they were bought out by Disney.  

Rating: 

2.5 out of 5. (When viewed as a Predator fan)

3 out of 5(When viewed through superhero perspective)

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Friday, August 5, 2022

IF IT BLEEDS: PREY (2022)

Hello everyone, I hope you've had a good week. Here at BlazinBlue's Review, it's been a solid week. We have talked about a variety of movies and books. There's been some focus on the Predator films. And honestly, it's for good reason. If you didn't know yet, there is a new Predator film releasing on HULU today - PREY. 

I have had the chance to check it out. I have also spent some time gathering my thoughts on it. I have seen a huge amount of praise for the film. It's hard to not get excited when hearing all these great things. In the past, I will say that I've let that influence my thoughts. But I've somehow managed to let myself go in blind. 

PREY is an interesting experience. By now, you know that I love the Predator franchise. It's one that means a lot to me as it was one of my first action franchises I was able to watch with my Dad. And now, been able to share that love and introduce it to my son. At this point, you'll have seen three installments of GET TO THE CHOPPAH, my Predator Retrospective. I chose to hold off on the last installment because I wanted to do it after seeing Prey. 

When I first heard of Prey, it was just called Skulls. I knew that it was being made by Dan Trachtenberg, director of 10 Cloverfield Lane. It was mentioned that it would focus on a Comanche tribe's first interaction with something not from this world. With that very broad mention, I was interested. It had managed to just get my attention enough. And then there were small rumblings.

These small rumblings led it to be announced that it was a Predator prequel. I was excited and interested to see what that could entail. All we had seen of the Predator, so far, had been present day. But part of me was a little disappointed. There is a huge part of me that would have absolutely loved if it had more hush hush about the Predator connection. I would have been so down of not finding that out till was already watching the movie. Hell, that's part of the reason I applaud Split so much. It was kept so quiet about it being connected to Unbreakable. But again, it was just the studio not fully going all in.

For those interested in synopsis, here it is:

Set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago, “Prey” is the story of a young woman, Naru, a fierce and highly skilled warrior. She has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the Great Plains, so when danger threatens her camp, she sets out to protect her people. The prey she stalks, and ultimately confronts, turns out to be a highly evolved alien predator with a technically advanced arsenal, resulting in a vicious and terrifying showdown between the two adversaries.

Like I said earlier, Prey is an experience. It is something that turns a page on the Predator franchise. Total game changer. It's also so fascinating that it is the 1st film in history to be dubbed in Comanche. That is so cool to see. 

When I watched it the first viewing, I watched the English version. I wanted to see how the film would play out. Would it feel out of place seeing members of the Comanche Tribe speaking English? Honestly, I don't feel like it was. There may be some people that will say it was. Does it add an entirely new layer to the film to watch it in the Comanche dub? Hell to the yes. It transforms it into a whole new feeling. And I applaud everyone for making the film this way. 

The cast in this film is fantastic. Amber Midthunder absolutely runs this film. Her performance as Naru is so damn good. The way she's able to portray the journey that she goes on the film is great. She's trying to be a hunter - something she knows she can do when everyone else says she can't. Everyone else doesn't believe in her. Honestly, I'd say her brother Taabe, performed by Dakota Beavers, does believe in her. He's also trying to do his best to protect and look out for Naru. Cause there's definitely a way that most of the tribesmen believe things should go. And that all comes to a head at one specific point in the film. Dane DiLiegro is great as the Predator. This is a creature that is similar in certain aspects to what has come before. Yet at the same time, there is a whole new primal feel to it and it's fantastic. 

The way that the film plays out doesn't feel out of place in this franchise. They are able to weave Naru's journey with the Predator's. Both are doing their best to try and prove themselves. And that's a pretty cool parallel. The action in the film is pretty strong. There were quite a few moments where I felt a lot of anxiety. There's a character in the film where I was like protect at all cost. The way the action sequences occurred in the film felt like something out of a comic. A kinetic energy that just propelled things into high gear. 

Yes, there are some small callbacks. However, they are recontextualized really well. I applaud the way they addressed hiding ones heat signature. That was really damn cool. There was also an egg surrounding the flintlock. If you are a fan of this franchise, you will know it well. It didn't feel shoehorned in. Though, I was a little sad that there wasn't more with it.

Overall, I loved Prey. Dan Trachtenberg and everyone involved were able to brilliantly reintroduce the Predator to a modern audience. Its a whole new chapter with limitless potential now. Honestly, if this is considered to be a reboot. That's fine with me as it handled things beautifully. This is a film that allows time to breathe, experience things with the characters, and end on a strong note.  I hope that we will be seeing other films in this franchise taking note.

Rating: 5 out of 5. (Strong New Beginning)

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Thursday, August 4, 2022

GET TO THE CHOPPAH: PREDATORS (2010)

After Predator 2 was released, there was a bit of a rocky road ahead. It was the lowest grossing Predator film at the time. Critics weren't exactly welcoming it either. They applauded Danny Glover as the hero. However, other than that, it was seen as a mean-spirited mindless sequel or that not a lot of thought was put into it. Over the years, it has managed to find an audience. 

The studio was trying to see where they could go next with the franchise. Robert Rodriguez was tapped to write a script. It was something that since become a bit of a legend. It had the mention of space pirates. At the time, it probably was unfilmable. 

Years passed, Rodriguez had become a huge name with the success of films and properties. As well as the fact that ran his own studio. Rodriguez was then asked once again to revisit the idea of a third Predator film. Nimrod Antal was brought in to helm this third entry, Predators. 

Predators is a unique entry in the franchise. It was very much ahead of the curve. This was a film that would be a sequel, yet would reference earlier films. In my opinion, I would easily consider it to be a requel. And this was well before we had seen lots of successes with the requel trend we find ourselves in now. 

This film is very much a back to basics approach. It took what made the first film so successful: group in jungle being hunted and added its own twist. Each member that's being hunted is a Predator in their own way. That is something that is pretty fantastic, especially when it comes to Topher Grace. That character was something on first watch felt off. Like he was the odd man out when compared to the rest at first. Adrien Brody is the merc that is in the vein of Schwarzenegger's Dutch. This actually had a pretty big cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Alice Braga, Walter Goggins, and Laurence Fishburne are a few. Mahershala Ali, later cast in Luke Cage and Blade, would also be featured. I honestly feel like the big surprise in the film is with Fishburne's character. Or at the very least, how long he is in the film.

We have the third film in a series. What can we do that's different? That's what I feel like a bit of the motto was. Well, in this film, we are given the idea of another race of Predators - the Super Predators. We would see three different instances of them - the Falconer, Mr. Black or Berserker, and Tracker. Each of them are extremely distinct. The only downside is how long Tracker and Falconer last. Before we know it, we have a similar showdown of the first film - Brody alongside a Jungle Hunter Predator this time against Mr. Black. But each new bit adds more Lore to the franchise overall. The coolest being the falcon drone that Falconer uses to spy on the prey. And Mr. Black is definitely pretty intimidating until his mask comes off. 

The film has a nice rollercoaster pace. It doesn't overstay its welcome. It honestly doesn't even stay in one place too long. The set pieces are well thought out as well. Whenever, I look at the film I'm amazed at what they were able to do with it. 

The only downside I have to the film is that it ends on a cliffhanger. Why did it have to do that? Couldn't we have ended it in a more definite fashion? Instead we have Brody and Braga stuck on the Jungle Preserve Planet out in Space. 

After time away, this was a nice return to form. It was able to reinvigorate the series for a time. Besides the fact that some aspects would be criticized by fans sometimes harshly. The Hunting Dogs and Mr. BLACK'S appearance under the mask being prime examples. Go give it a watch.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5. 

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.



GET TO THE CHOPPAH: PREDATOR 2 (1990)

Welcome Back to GET TO THE CHOOPAH. The first installment was one that was a lot of fun to do. It's not every day that able to get my son to watch and contribute. Maybe later a little closer to Halloween Ends, I'll do something with the TV Cut of the original '78 classic. If you haven't checked out our thoughts on the '87 Predator, go check it out.

With this installment, I am flying solo. After watching Predator 2, its just not time for LugNut (nickname for my son) to see it yet. In a few years, he will get to check it out. So join me as we travel to Los Angeles for Predator 2. 

After the success of the first Predator, it became apparent that the studio was game to do a sequel. By this point with sequels in a film series, they tended to play it a little safe and rehash the original with some tweaks. With Arnold's Dutch surviving that original film, it seemed like a sure thing we could get his involvement again. But honestly, it wasn't meant to be as a producer says he wanted too much money. What could a Predator 2 without Arnold look like? 

Well, we know what happened next. They brought in Danny Glover. At the time, Lethal Weapon was pretty successful. So, it felt like a no brainer to have Glover as a detective. It allows things to be different. It honestly opens up the world and lets the film add to the franchise as a whole. If Arnold had been in it, would it have felt like a retread? I think yeah. It would have been Predator but with a changing of the setting. With Predator 2 as it is, it has a whole lot to make it stand out - the City scape and its people are really big highlights. There will probably be even those that consider Predator 2 to be a superior film. 

My first time seeing Predator 2 was on TV with my Dad. Yeah, it was edited for content. But at the time, I never knew that. I ended up loving it as much as the original. The City Hunter is a really cool companion to the first's Jungle Hunter. It feels like a whole other creature. Plus, he had some cool gadgets that added to the world building of the Predator. We have the spear gun, the smart disc, spear, and the first aid kit. And then, there was the whole aspect of the Lost Tribe at the end of the film. Super solid. 

On this rewatch of the film, I noticed something different. There's a whole media angle that I never thought about. With this watch, all the media felt like something out of Verhoven's original ROBOCOP. So, the film is like Lethal Weapon meets Robocop's Media meets Gang War meets Predator. It's incredibly layered and if it could have taken place later on, I'd consider it to be canon with Robocop. 

And then, there's the whole Peter Keyes stuff. I get that we needed to show that the government was acknowledging the Predators. Gary Busey as Keyes just strikes me as a little wrong. Like a small miscasting. But that might just be me because I'm not really a Busey fan. The cool thing is that with all of that stuff, it opens the world up wide open. And that's a nice thing, especially as we will later see it again in the franchise. Is it done well then? Yes and no, stick around and find out. 

Predator 2 is a fun, interesting film. It delivers on all cylinders. It builds on what made the original so successful while standing on its own. Yeah, there may be some things here and there that I don't like. But overall, it's on par with the first film. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

GET TO THE CHOPPAH: PREDATOR (1987)

Growing up, I was introduced to the horror genre relatively early. As far as I remember, it was because my family rented some and my mother and sister said should give them a shot. I was probably around 1st or 2nd grade at the time. Pretty early but not necessarily a bad thing. It gave me a good introduction to the genre that I love. 

A few of the best memories that I have are with my Dad. On the weekends, we would always manage to find a channel that was airing some movies or there'd be Hercules and Xena playing. Two of the instances I remember the most was finding Predator and House on WGN. By this point, it may have even been a double feature. But I remember catching these with him and just loving both movies. Personally,  it was always great getting to watch movies with him. And that's something that I am able to do with my son now.

For Predator, I didn't know much going in to it. I knew it had Arnold Schwarzenegger in it. I may or may not have seen Terminator. Predator may have been my first introduction to him. If that is, then it's a hell of an introduction. There were a group of guys going in to do something. I never was quite clear on it back then. Now, of course, I know Arnold led a squad (like the Expendables) into South America to try to rescue someone. Then things just happened to take a huge ass turn into science fiction. I can always recall the final battle with Arnold facing off with the Predator. My younger self always considered it to be a hell of a film.

Now that I'm older, I had the chance to share this experience with my son. He's pretty much in the same age range as I was when I first seen it. So, it's a great growing up moment. And we were able to sit down and watch it the other day.

I will preface this with saying that he has seen the first Alien Vs. PREDATOR and seen me play Predator Hunting Grounds. So it wasn't necessarily his first experience with the Predator in general. 

The film started and the space ship soared across the screen. My son turns to me and says "There's an alien!". I told him that he needed to keep watching to find out. Clearly, that opening shot had already hooked him on it. The film moves and before he knows it, Arnold's squad is going into the village. My son was extremely just taken aback with how quickly the film is moving. But every time, the guns started shooting or an explosion, "It's time for fwee fwee." would ring out. He said his favorite moment was the whole final battle between Arnold and the Predator. Just seeing the two go toe to toe against one another was great. He really hadn't seen anything like that before. His final verdict of the film was, "It wasn't what I expected. I was expecting the movie to be people standing around talking like Tremors, which I hate. This wasn't slow. It had lots or action. And the Predator was really cool.". 

I'm so happy that was able to share this experience with my son. It's something special that I'll always remember. Especially as it is a nice tradition that hopefully he will be able to share with his son later on. 

But with this watch for me, I was able to see the film through a few new perspectives. It's the first time watching it with my son. It's the first time watching Predator since I started writing reviews. The first time watching the original since The Predator was released. So, it made for an interesting experience. 

Predator is a classic and for good reason. It is those dirty dozen going into the jungle mixed with an Alien hunting them. Everything in the film holds up so well. It's definitely a master class in how to make a film. It's extremely well paced. It takes its time letting us get an idea of what characters we are going on a journey with. Quickly, it gives us little things that make each character memorable. The best examples are Hawkins jokes, the machismo of Jesse Ventura, and the quiet and stillness of Billy. Then when things take a turn and they are being picked off, we care. And all of it pushes forth into an unforgettable ending. Few films will ever be able to stand up to or surpass what they were able to do here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.



BLADE: THE IRON CROSS

Hello everyone, earlier this week I talked about Nat Brehmer's Puppet Master Complete. A fantastic companion to the Puppet Master franchise the same way that Crystal Lake Memories is to Friday the 13th. If you get a chance, pick it up. While reading it, I was reminded that there was still more Puppet Master.

All this brings me to BLADE: The Iron Cross. This was the first time that Puppet Master would receive a spin-off. Not surprising is that it would focus on Blade, the poster child of the franchise in a way. There is another spin-off coming with Doctor Death. It's honestly a natural progression and evolution of the series. 

The story of The Iron Cross picks up after the ending of Axis Termination. Oh yes, we are still in the WWII Era - 1945. By this point, it could easily feel like a cash grab. I mean, in my opinion, the Axis trilogy wasn't necessarily a hit for me. Well at least, Axis Termination kinda fell off the mark. But we have Elisa Ivannov, who is now the keeper of Toulon's Trunk of Puppets, working with Blade. They seem to have a nice back and forth in a sense. Elisa is now a journalist and is investigating random series of murders. This leads them to an off shoot of Nazis still trying to take over the world. 

Honestly, this a solid simple story. It knows what it's trying to do. The fact that there is only Blade helps it immensely. It allows us to focus as well as being practical.  The downsides of the Axis Trilogy is the Puppets, unfortunately because of the crunch of production time. The way things are handled here was super solid. It easily allows this to surpass the trilogy and probably rank a bit high for me. One or the interesting things is that this was a film shot in 4 Days. That's something that is extremely commendable. 

The cast all deliver relatively solid performances. Tania Fox does a good job and that's huge considering it's kinda all riding on her shoulders. Vincent Cusimano is great as the Detective. He is exactly what you imagine when you think of 1940s detective. And the villains are a bit cheesy. But isn't that the point? 

I honestly could go into more. But this is a successful spin-off, in my opinion. It gives you what you'd like to see. Could there be more Blade? Yes. However, they do a good job with what we have. There is also some fantastic callbacks. There is a mention of Dr. Hess. For those that know, it's cool knowing that Hess inhabits Blade. So it adds a layer of a redemption story to it. I'm now at the point where I'm looking forward to Doctor Death, as that gets to explore modern day. This is a film that has me hyped again for this franchise. 

Rating: 4 out of 5. (Doesn't overstay its welcome.)

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Do You Hear It's Call: The Black Phone (2022)


Welcome back. In 2012, Scott Derrickson and Ethan Hawke teamed up a small horror film. It ended up doing really well from what I recall. It's hard to believe that in just ten years, some would consider Sinister to be a classic. I definitely would consider it to be one.  It definitely broke some ground and left a lasting impression with the Bughuul. Don't worry, I plan on revisiting those movies soon so stay tuned. 

When it was announced that Derrickson and Hawke would be reteaming, I was extremely interested. Their first film together was super solid. Could this one recapture the lightning in a bottle? Then I began to look more into the film and found it was an adaptation of a Joe Hill story. 

By this point, I had seen Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe. It was also a Joe Hill adaptation. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. So I roughly had an idea of what to expect going into it. Especially considering that Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King, but he's written a lot of solid work. 

I made sure that I stayed away from any trailers for the film. I wanted to go in completely blind. Just let the story speak for itself. Besides the wonderful poster, that is exactly what happened. 

For those who would like to know more about the story of The Black Phone, the synopsis is as follows:

Finney Blake is a shy but clever 13-year-old boy who is abducted by a sadistic killer and trapped in a soundproof basement where screaming is of no use. When a disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring, Finney discovers that he can hear the voices of the killer's previous victims. And they are dead-set on making sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to Finney.

The Black Phone is a bit of an experience. It is a film that I would consider to recapture the magic that Derrickson and Hawke had provided in Sinister. While Hawke delivers a fantastic performance as the Grabber, each and every scene he is in is pretty captivating. There are a few different layers that one could see in the initial watch. Then with each subsequent view, people may uncover a little bit more. 

The big characters in The Black Phone are the children. Each and every one delivers a super impressive performance. Mason Thames is awesome as Finney. Finney goes on such an incredible journey over the course of the story. He goes from someone that is down on their luck to rising above it. Madeline McGraw is fantastic as Finney's sister, Gwen. She is quick to look out for her brother while also calling others out. The interaction between the two is incredibly key to the film. Honestly, I don't think there's a performance that falters in the film. 

This story is one that doesn't overstep its boundary. It allows the story to breathe and take us on an incredible journey. On a second rewatch, there were some layers that I hadn't discovered before - especially with the family relationships and interactions.  The Black Phone is a film that delivers and something I would highly recommend checking out.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5. 

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Monday, August 1, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: PUPPET MASTER COMPLETE by Nat Brehmer (McFarland Books)

Welcome back everyone, I hope that everyone's doing okay. Last year, we had our Tiny Terrors series. It was something that was pretty special to me. It was a chance to not cover just one franchise, but three in total. It was a pretty ambitious thing at the time. I hadn't been writing very long, but it provided a bit of a drive that I needed. It gave a focus and structure in a new way that I had never done before. 
But one of the franchises that we had covered was Puppet Master. Puppet Master is a franchise that is a bit close to me. There are plenty of memories that I have from watching this franchise with my Dad and being among the first ones that I was able to watch. So there's a small bit of nostalgia to it like a warm blanket. Plus, I remember going to a Suncoast that was in the Mall with my Dad and Grandma. I happened upon a 12" figure of Blade that was being released. It was the bloody variant. I hadn't seen anything so cool at the time. And it later became a gift from my Grandma for my birthday. Later on, I'd end up getting the Freddy Krueger doll and the Ghostface that was released. So when I get my movie room/office completed, they will be sitting there proudly displayed. 

This brings me to when Crystal Lake Memories was released. It was one of the first big franchise Retrospective books that I remember seeing. Since then we've had the Taking Shape (Halloween, Phantasm Exhumed, making of Tremors and other books, it became clear that these were pretty successful. For me, I was hoping that we would see other franchises covered. One of my big wishes is that we will see a Texas Chainsaw Massacre book. However, I am happy to say that we received a book on the Puppet Master franchise. 

Puppet Master Complete was written by Nat Brehmer, a horror journalist. He's written for Bloody-Disgusting, Dread Central, Wicked Horror, and Diabolique magazine. It was published by McFarland Books. To begin with, I'd like to thank McFarland Books for sending a copy to review. 

My younger self was absolutely thrilled when I discovered Puppet Master Complete. This was a very in-depth franchise. It went to places that I never even considered. I mean, there is a section dedicated to the action figures as well as the Action Lab comics. It made me so happy to read through it all. 

One of the best aspects is that this is a fan's recollection. Brehmer is a fellow fan of the series. He knows exactly what he's talking about. It's also extremely clear how much love and passion went into this book. 

Brehmer is able to deliver such a clear look at the series than any one commentary could do on its own. We are able to hear a lot of the different stories that have happened behind the scenes. This was something that I absolutely loved. Getting even an inside glimpse at what the Puppet Wars could have been. I absolutely had forgotten about Puppet Wars over the years. It's a clear concept that would have been fantastic to have received, however it wasn't in the cards. But we get to see the ideas that would later find themselves added in to later entries. 

I could go on and on about this book. It delivers a essential must have look. It does it so well. At this point, if you are a fan of Puppet Master - you need to have this in your collection. 

Rating: 10/10 (An Essential Must Have)

You can find Puppet Master Complete from McFarland Books. It can also be found on Amazon. 

Follow Nat Brehmer on Twitter.

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

The Black Room (2017)

I miss video stores. I miss being able to go and rent a movie. Yeah, we have VUDU and Redbox. But none of that really hits like that used to. Being able to go to a Blockbuster or Family Video was something to do on the weekend. For someone that loves movies, those were some of the best times had growing up. 

It felt like direct to videos were something that wasn't exactly just a dime a dozen. It felt like there was some thought put into them before it became 'let's slap the film on the shelves and that's that.'. Nowadays, they are so common that it's hard to figure out the good from the bad. 

Well, The Black Room sounds Iike it could be a forgettable throwaway. At least on an initial glance. A married couple move into their dream home, however, it soon becomes a living nightmare after discovering that the basement is inhabitated by an evil and lustful spirit that conspires to destory the world.

When I first got wind of the film, it made it sound like it was going to be something else. However, this film was an experience. It was something that I honestly never expected nor saw coming. The Black Box honestly felt like it was from Charles Band and Full Moon. It is the type of experience you would have expected out of 90s Full Moon. It may not have been what the film was supposed to be. However, I applaud it for it. 

This is a film that just gave me so many memories of those 90s direct to video horror films you'd see at your local video store. Does it take itself seriously? Honestly, I would say no. It does make it so damn fun. Everyone seems to know what kind of film they were making. 

For the cast, there's a few that I recognized. We have Lin Shaye, Natasha Henstridge, Lukas Hassel, and James Duval. 

Now, Lin Shaye is someone that is extremely well known nowadays from the Insidious movies. However, she's always been part of the genre. Don't believe me? Go check out Nightmare on Elm Street. It seems she loves acting in the genre. And it's pretty much always a pleasure. 

Natasha Henstridge is definitely someone we should know. Species. If you've never seen it, go check it out. She does an incredible job in it. Plus it had some interesting effects with a side of Giger-ness. 

Lukas Hassel was someone I hadn't really seen before. But looking at his credits, he was in the short Slapface. Yeah, the short that led to the film you can find on Shudder. He was also in Art of the Dead. Stay tuned for that one as it is in the Dollar Tree backlog. However, he does a fantastic job in this film. 

And then there's James Duval. This is someone that just has such a recognizable face. When he first appeared, I was like oh shit? It's the dude from Independence Day. My partner looked at me and I explained that he was Randy Quaid's son in it. It was fantastic seeing him again. He was an interesting addition but just wished for more. 

I won't go any deeper into the plot. It's something that I will not spoil. But if you are looking for something in that shlocky 90s horror vein, well you are in for something. The effects were pretty solid though.

Rating: 8 out of 10. (It was a fun throwback.)

Follow BlazinBlue's Review on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Whoever Wins, We Lose: AVP - Alien Vs. Predator

Hello everyone, hope everyone's doing well. Also if you haven't had a chance yet, go check out Prey on Hulu in the Coman...