Swimfan Preview

With the collars popped on their jean jackets and bubble gum a-poppin’, Rich and Poe ‘board their way to Seattle Tech (or as the kids call it, Seattle Blech. Rad). They’ve been on the case for a week and have deftly used their social skillz and disregard for the rulez to glean info from the high school rumor mill. With that they have targeted the auto vocational class as suspect numero uno. Word on the street is that they’ve developed some new tech that let’s them boost some of the sweet wheels around town. Selling them on the blackmarket can fetch a pretty penny, but these punks better be ready to step up to the streetz or all they’ll fetch is a world of hurt. “This has got to be the tech Gruber is after. Let’s take down this punks, get the ‘ware, and save my family,” says Rich, but Poe doesn’t like this one bit. Will they themselves become fugitives from the law by helping Gruber? No time for hesitation, though, as they stroll into class and immediately win over the gang of car thieves. One of them is wary, but the leader, Blaze, is pretty sure he can trust these new cool bros. They are soon pulled into the heists, and ultimately become part of their family. “Blaze,” Rich says, “you’re real cool, bro. I have something to tell you. We’re the fuzz. I’m sorry.” Blaze is shocked and horrified, “you gonna turn us in, bro?” tears glistening in his eyes. But they can’t and just ask him to hand over the tech. But Blaze is confused. Tech? What tech? They’ve mostly just been jimmying the locks and using their mad driving skillz to get away. But Blaze does remember some rumors about the Swim Team and their unlikely run to the championship last season. “They gotta have the tech, bros,” Blaze says, “so I suggest we grab some speedos and become some swim fans.” That’s right! We’re watching the teen thriller classic Swimfan starring our boy Jesse Bradford of Hackers fame. It’s a wonder he became such a swim champ after drinking coffee, smoking cigs, and hacking his life away just a short while before. What’s not a wonder is that he caught the eye of the crazy high school stalker. He’s Jesse Bradford! Let’s go!

Swimfan (2002) – BMeTric: 56.3 

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(Holy shit, it was in the 4.0s? That seems quite low for a cheesy teen thriller. Then again, IMDb does tend to skew against films that target female viewership, so I shouldn’t be so surprised.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Waterlogged teenage version of Fatal Attraction with Christensen as a new girl in town who sets her sights on high school swimming champion Bradford – who already has a girlfriend – and doesn’t take rejection well. Even as a formula film this falls short, becoming outlandish, with laughable plot turns and dialogue.

(Yes, that is really all I want Leonard, outlandish and laughable plot turns. Yellow card for the terrible “waterlogged” use at the beginning, but then again, this is a Maltin review, so I don’t know what I expected really.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-RGVruG7Y0/

(That looks thrilling. I am thrilled. I’m officially super excited to watch Jesse Bradford swim around. I might be a swimfan … hold your breath!)

Directors – John Polson – (Known For: Tenderness; Siam Sunset; Future BMT: Hide and Seek; BMT: Swimfan; Notes: Started out as an actor, even having a named part in Mission: Impossible II. He’s transitioned to directing and producing, including producing Elementary starring none other than Jonny Lee Miller.)

Writers – Charles F. Bohl (written by) (as Charles Bohl) – (BMT: Swimfan; Notes: Died in 2018, he basically wrote this and then a bunch of television movies, notably one about Martha Stewart’s time in prison.)

Phillip Schneider (written by) – (BMT: Swimfan; Notes: Nothing about this guy except that weirdly he’s had an “announced” film on IMDb since 2017 called Homicidal which I fear will never see the light of day.)

Actors – Jesse Bradford – (Known For: Romeo + Juliet; Bring It On; Flags of Our Fathers; W.; Presumed Innocent; The Year of Spectacular Men; My Blue Heaven; Happy Endings; Falling in Love; Cherry Falls; King of the Hill; Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog; Heights; Bound; Prancer; A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; Future BMT: Clockstoppers; 10 Rules for Sleeping Around; Dead Awake; Hackers; Dancing at the Blue Iguana; Speedway Junky; Eulogy; BMT: Swimfan; I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell; Notes: Both of his parents are actors, he debuted as an infant in a Q-Tip commercial. He graduated from Columbia with a degree in film.)

Erika Christensen – (Known For: Traffic; The Case for Christ; The Upside of Anger; The Banger Sisters; Home Room; Mercy; Future BMT: Riding the Bullet; The Perfect Score; The Tortured; Leave It to Beaver; Flightplan; How to Rob a Bank (and 10 Tips to Actually Get Away with It); BMT: Swimfan; Notes: A Scientologist, and was clearly born into it, going to a Scientologist school as a kid. Was in over 100 episodes of parenthood.)

Shiri Appleby – (Known For: Charlie Wilson’s War; The Devil’s Candy; Havoc; I Love You to Death; The Meddler; Lemon; Undertow; I’m Reed Fish; When Do We Eat?; Future BMT: The Battle of Shaker Heights; The Other Sister; What Love Is; BMT: Swimfan; Notes: Was in over 50 episodes of Roswell right before landing this role. Is married to the celebrity chef Jon Shook.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $28,564,995 (Worldwide: $34,411,240)

(That’s a solid haul. Where is Swimfan 2: Olympic Dreams? WHERE?!)

#18 for the Thriller – Psycho / Stalker / Blank from Hell genre

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(Wow this made less money than The Roommate and The Boy Next Door?! On a bit of a hiatus, but they always do come back. Might already be sequestered to VOD though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (14/92): A Fatal Attraction rip-off, Swimfan is a predictable, mediocre thriller.

(Basically what everyone says it that is well made, but predictable. Wait … is Fatal Attraction the film the following review is talking about? Reviewer Highlight: Director John Polson mutes the conservative sexual politics of the original film, focusing on the lightweight, efficient suspense story. – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader)

Poster – Sklogfan (D+)

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(Terrible poster, but also a little ahead of its time. I feel like this is a type of poster that has only gotten more popular AS (After Swimfan). But yeah, it sucks and even the font is a little lackluster. I give it a bump for being a little artistic.).

Tagline(s) – His biggest fan just became his worst nightmare. (C)

(My brain is having trouble figuring out whether this is good. It’s on the verge of being too long and on the verge of being clever (I think). It does paint a very clear picture of what the film is about… but is that good. It’s like they were trying to land perfectly at mediocre.)

Keyword(s) – fatal attraction; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.3 Basic Instinct 2 (2006); 70.2 The Boy Next Door (2015); 68.6 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 64.5 Body of Evidence (1992); 63.0 Obsessed (2009); 60.1 Sliver (1993); 56.3 Swimfan (2002); 55.8 Eye of the Beholder (1999); 55.2 Queen of the Damned (2002); 49.3 In the Cut (2003);

(I love this keyword. It is now officially my goal that we complete this keyword. They do indeed all qualify, phew!)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 27) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jason Ritter is No. 5 billed in Swimfan and No. 16 billed in The Wicker Man, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 16 + 5 + 1 = 27. If we were to watch Hackers, and Mindhunters we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – The scenes inside Madison’s house are the only ones where a light blue tint was not added to the screen. (Whaaaaaaaa?)

Erika Christensen took cello lessons for three months prior to filming. (WHAAAAAAAA?)

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The Guardian (1990) Recap

Jamie

A young LA couple hire a nanny to take care of their young son but, while great with the child, she unfortunately turns out to be a tree spirit monster that literally feeds children to trees. Can they stop her from… feeding their child to a tree before it’s too late? Find out in The Guardian (1990).

How?! After moving to LA and having a baby Kate and Phil decide to hire a nanny so they can both continue to work. After their first choice dies in a tragic and highly suspicious bike accident, Camilla, their second choice, moves in and is wonderful. They seems like quite the cozy family, you know other than the fact that Camilla is in fact a tree witch who sacrifices babies to a tree. Oops. But at least the tree is super far away and hard to get to… oh wait, it’s basically in their backyard. Double oops. When Phil starts to have weird dreams about Camilla and their next door neighbor is killed by a pack of wolves randomly (for real) Phil starts to have some suspicions. It’s only after getting a call from a woman who tells him in great detail exactly how Camilla stole her baby and sacrificed it to a tree does he finally decide that it’s time for her to go. Unfortunately Camilla doesn’t think so and she transforms into a monstrous tree creature and attempts to take the baby against their will. After unsuccessfully trying to kill her by running her over with a car, Phil takes a chainsaw and runs into the forest where he does battle with the tree (I’m seriously not joking. This is real). He’s able to injure the tree enough for Kate to overpower the tree monster witch nanny and send her back to… Hell, I guess. I’m not sure where she’s actually from. THE END.

Why?! It’s become a trend that the motivations of the antagonists are always much more interesting than the main characters. Mostly protagonists do things for justice or love. Same here. Phil and Kate just love their baby. As for the tree nanny, she’s scouring the greater LA area looking for babies that are just on the verge of ripeness (apparently just about four weeks, according to this movie… which by all accounts in the definitive source). At that point she can sacrifice them and the tree gets that sweet baby juice so it can keep living and make Camilla stronger.

Who?! I thought for sure that such a small film wouldn’t have anything of interest for these categories. I was wrong as Def Leppard drummer Frank Noon played one of the wildly stereotypical punks that get killed by the tree (how scary. I super scared of that tree). He’s actually had a long career in TV and film.

What?! I do occasionally like to highlight some specific plot devices these films use when there isn’t anything to note otherwise (and there really isn’t here). I probably should do it more since I’m sure there have been some hilarious Chekhov’s Guns thrown around. Anyway, we do have a pretty solid Deus Ex Machina here as the film spends a long time telling us how amazing the tree monster nanny is at taking care of children to the point where it would be hard to imagine what would make Phil and Kate decide that their wonderful nanny was a tree monster… apparently a call from a stranger who happens to own a Hansel and Gretel children’s book you dreamed about once. Good enough for me, “get the fuck out of here, wonderful nanny! You are clearly a deranged tree monster in disguise. I have been given all the clues needed.”

Where?! As implied above this is a great example of late-80’s, early-90’s Los Angeles, which honestly seems like one of the weirdest places on Earth. These films make it seem like a totally foreign land full of complete weirdos living in crazy houses… about 400 ft from a giant, ancient tree that a nanny feeds babies to. B+

When?! While we can’t get an exact date from it, Phil and Kate do mention that the baby is a Libra and was born in October. Considering a majority of the film takes place between when the baby is 2 and 4 weeks old, we can assume that it’s end of October into November. Part of me thinks that this is probably hinting that the baby will be four weeks just around Halloween… but that’s just me wishing it were so. C+.

I feel like Friedkin fell into all the trapping of a Color of Night and yet somehow made a less ridiculous film, despite basing the entire premise of his film on a nanny that feeds children to trees. It’s literally “what if I made Hansel & Gretel except set in cocaine fueled LA instead?” and yet he swam out of it with a film that is certainly bad, but also has a ton of kinda weird visual stuff going on (which I can appreciate). Pretty easily the worst part of it all is the actual storytelling and acting. Everything seems to just float along until the main character gets a call from someone who is like “your nanny is a tree monster” and he’s like noooooooo, I 100% believe you despite there being no evidence for this being the case and it’s also insane. Then he runs into the forest and has to literally battle nature with a chainsaw and try to cut down her tree before it’s too late. It’s actually kind of amazing in a literal metaphor kind of way. I’m not sure I didn’t kinda dig it. But it’s hard to tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! For the second time we’ve watched a film called The Guardian for BMT. This time it was the one with the creepy tree nanny. I know there is nothing scarier than a creepy tree nanny. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I was actually genuinely excited for this film. It was a genre I traditionally haven’t watched a ton of (horror), and a sub-genre which was very weird (nature horror? Religious horror?), from a director who is known for one of the greatest religious horror films ever (The Exorcist, which I hadn’t seen prior to watching The Guardian either). There was literally no frame of reference going into the film. None.

The Good – I think the fact that mid-way through the film the main character strikes a woman across the face and my reaction wasn’t a shock or horror it was “yeah!” is a testament to Friedkin’s ability to make me think of Seagrove’s character as a non-human monster despite looking like a young woman throughout. I do think that at the very least Friedkin was up to the task even if ultimately the film was a losing effort on his part. The practical effects at times were also decent.

The Bad – The film looks cheap, and has cheap acting (beyond, I think, Seagrove). While eerie the film still falls short. First by resorting to kind of gorey nonsense horror, and later by not pulling out the cool makeup effect earlier and instead using the (fairly weak) wolf scene. For something like this you don’t really have to be scary, but it just wasn’t very spooky at all. Even the idea of a nanny who manages to get away with giving fake references twice (at least) from same company where a baby went missing months prior just doesn’t really fly.

The BMT – Eh I don’t think so. I’ll certainly add it to my horror film repertoire, but I don’t think this is a BMT film really. I think we’ll get to that more in the awards predictions as well. There just is not very much meat on the bone. The film is honestly a bit too good in some respects, definitely a bit too weird and interesting, for me to call someone up and tell them to watch this bad movie. There is very little reason to watch this as a bad movie in the end, unless you are a huuuuuge Friedkin-head.

Roast-radamus – There is a very tiny Setting as a Character (Where?) here for Los Angeles. I wish I could say it was a secret holiday film, but despite taking place around Halloween (the baby was an October baby they say, and is only two weeks old) there is no actual evidence of that fact in the film. Does the tree count as a MacGuffin … I don’t think so, because people aren’t trying to obtain it, it doesn’t really drive the plot. The very tiny setting is really it, I don’t think it gets a Good, Bad, or BMT nod in the end. See, the film really brings very little to the table.

StreetCreditReport.com – First I will just say this film has at least some cred. It was on an end of the year worst of list for Siskel and Ebert. So a reviewer watched this film and thought “that was terrible”. Otherwise I can find no evidence this film exists let alone was considered bad at the time. In my defense though, it is basically impossible to search for The Guardian as it is the name of a giant British tabloid.

Good Movie Twins – Prior to The Guardian I had seen Friedkin’s The French Connection, which I quite liked. But I had never seen The Exorcist. So I popped that in and I have to say I loved it. The film takes on a 70s style as you would expect, the story initially just follows the daily lives of our characters to lend insight into their personalities, which has been how I tend to feel 70s cinema operated from my limited experience. The young priest is very compelling, a conflicted man who loses his mother and is in crisis just as he is enlisted to battle a demon on Earth. Linda Blair and especially Ellen Burstyn were amazing. Bringing a religious horror element up against a very (almost overly) scientific analysis of Regan is a crux of many horror films to this day, specifically in J-Horror where demons and spirits often exploit or inhabit the newly technological world we live in. You can see elements of The Exorcist in The Guardian as well, just from a pagan perspective instead. There the modern yuppie culture is infiltrated by the ancient almost unknowable evil that is Camilla and they do battle with what sometimes feels like nature itself. Consider the storyline in which Camilla wants Kate to continue breastfeeding Jake instead of using formula. Nature versus the modern sensibilities of child-rearing. It kind of makes me wish the end of the film was Phil hacking the tree apart with an ax, an idea of returning to a more natural state (an ax instead of a chainsaw) to destroy the natural evil that is the tree. Horror films are great.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Guardian (1990) Quiz

Oh man. Last night I go soooooo drunk, and then woke up naked in a tree. It was real strange. I vaguely remember The Guardian had the same storyline, it must have been hilarious. Can you help me remember?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning we see the creeeeeepy nanny taking care of two children, a young boy and a newborn baby, while their parents go off for the weekend. What story is the young boy reading?

2) Months later we meet a young advertising writer, Phil, and his wife Kate newly arrived in Los Angeles for a job opportunity. Where did they live previously?

3) This young couple decides to have a baby, and in the meantime also make some very good friends. Phil’s two bosses come over for dinner parties, but also Ned Runcie who lives nearby and has taken a shine to their nanny Camilla. What unique relationship does the couple have with Ned?

4) The climax of the film comes when Phil receives two messages on his answering machine concerning the nanny. What were these messages?

5) During the film how many people do we see the tree / nanny kill?

Answers

The Guardian (1990) Preview

Hats backward and cargo shorts a-baggin’, Rich and Poe skateboard their way to the Italiano Arcade & Pizzeria to smash on some video games and eat some ‘za. They immediately own a bunch of middle schoolers in Super Mario Bros 3 like some video game wizards and make their way to the top of the social pyramid. There are some dope tweens around, but they are by far the dopest. “Haven’t seen you two around here before. You guys sure can whiz on the j-stick,” one of the kids say, “they call me Toad, who are you?” Rich steps up, “I’m Big M and this is my bro LJ. We’d mash the ‘cade all day, but our Granny is a real lamester. You chilling me?” Toad nods and laughs while Poe tries not to cry. That’s his beloved Granny they’re talking about. Nobody calls her a lamester. Rich continues, “but maybe that’s not the worst thing, you feelz? We heard some real slippery things going on around here.” Toad looks a bit nervous, “Yeah, real canopy thang. But it’s just Elivira, the new nanny. Everyone else is icy.” Rich and Poe look at each other. Elvira? That doesn’t sound like Gruber. They looks around but Poe can’t see anyone that looks suspicious. “Rich, I don’t think this is working… Rich?” Rich is staring off into the distance. The crowds part between him and the most beautiful woman in the world. She flips her golden hair to the side and beckons to him. He floats towards her… the seductive and super creepy nanny who looks both ageless and yet thousands of years old. His mind is telling him to resist, but he has eyes only for this scary witch nanny and the creepy tree she’s sitting in. Wait, what? That’s right! You knew right from the start when I was talking about witch nannies and creepy trees that there was only one film I could be talking about. Let’s say it all together. The Guardian (1990). Of course. That film that everyone knows. Well at least one person knew about it and his name was Roger Ebert and he hated this film. In fact he said it was one of the worst he had ever seen. Good enough for us. Let’s go!

The Guardian (1990) – BMeTric: 31.9

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(The rating feels really low for a film from the early 90s and for a film I’ve never heard of. Even after the regression that is pretty astonishing. It really must be a terrible horror film. Getting a little excited here.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Yuppie couple hires a nanny for their newborn child, but we know there’s something odd about her: she feeds babies to a tree in a nearby gully. Friedkin’s first return to horror after The Exorcist has a few good scenes, but a ludicrous story and a hormorless approach. Seagrove is very good in an almost unplayable role. Cowritten by the director from the novel The Nanny by Dan Greenburg.

(I probably knew this was based on a book and forgot to be honest. Everything in this preview is about Friedkin. He really squandered a lot of his good will by 1990 it seems. He only really directed sporadically after 1985.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbl1b664ivk/

(‘Member the Exorcist? Me too … member that thing where William Friedkin was the director … cool me too.’ I literally have no idea what this film is about or what it is beyond a horror film made by the director of the Exorcist. Should I watch the Exorcist then? It feels like a good extra homework assignment.)

Directors – William Friedkin – (Known For: The Exorcist; The French Connection; Killer Joe; To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Sorcerer; Bug; The Boys in the Band; Rampage; The Brink’s Job; Future BMT: Jade; Deal of the Century; The Hunted; Blue Chips; Rules of Engagement; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Given he directed The Exorcist it might be surprising to know he grew up Jewish, became agnostic, and then is clearly a Christian in some capacity given recent quotes.)

Writers – Dan Greenburg (novel & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Private Lessons; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Was married to Nora Ephron ages ago. His son was the kid in Lorenzo’s Oil.)

Stephen Volk (screenplay) – (Known For: The Awakening; Gothic; Future BMT: Octane; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Famously wrote and directed Ghostwatch, a fake documentary which played on the BBC which confused a bunch of people who thought it was real. It was banned from replay for a decade.)

William Friedkin (screenplay) – (Known For: To Live and Die in L.A.; Cruising; Rampage; BMT: The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Cruising in 1981; Notes: Cruising was considered by many as anti-gay, and the film was protested by the gay community at the time of production)

Actors – Jenny Seagrove – (Known For: Local Hero; Another Mother’s Son; Moonlighting; Future BMT: Run for Your Wife; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: Long time partner of Bill Kenwright who is an actor and … the chairman of Everton F.C. since 2004? Still works as an actress, although not as often.)

Dwier Brown – (Known For: Field of Dreams; House; Red Dragon; Gettysburg; To Live and Die in L.A.; The Cutting Edge; Reunion; Future BMT: House II: The Second Story; Mom and Dad Save the World; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out who he was in Field of Dreams, he was Kevin Costner’s father at the end.)

Carey Lowell – (Known For: Leaving Las Vegas; Licence to Kill; Sleepless in Seattle; Fierce Creatures; Future BMT: Club Paradise; Love Affair; BMT: The Guardian; Notes: You’d know her from Law & Order, she was on the order side of things, as a DA.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $17,037,887

(Probably not great … although you could make these things for less than a million around this point in time, so maybe it turned as profit.)

#233 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(It feels like this came at a peak of the genre in the late eighties. Kind of went on a bit of a hiatus after. Still having a moment now, especially with It Part 2 coming out this year, should be good for R-rated horror.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (2/9): No Consensus

(Nice I get to make a consensus: Hysterically funny … wait, it was supposed to be a horror film? Reviewer Highlight: Maybe after years of banging his head against the system Friedkin decided with “The Guardian” to make a frankly commercial exploitation film. … give us a break. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Guardian Not Starring Kevin Costner (B+)

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(Too many words and the image itself is a bit small, but I’m digging the simplicity of it and the coloring. The font isn’t the worst either. Good effort.)

Tagline(s) – Tonight, while the world is asleep… an ancient evil is about to awaken. (F)

(I literally don’t understand this… when? Tonight? Is that like… when I’m watching the movie or is the film set over a single night during which the ancient evil awakens? Neither? Cool cool cool. Just one more thing. Would it have mattered if that ancient evil awoke while everyone was awake? No? Interesting.)

Keyword(s) – baby; Top Ten by BMeTric: 92.6 Date Movie (2006); 92.1 Son of the Mask (2005); 91.0 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 84.0 Baby Geniuses (1999); 76.3 Junior (1994); 75.9 In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); 74.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 73.9 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 70.6 The Animal (2001); 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013);

(Shit. I have to watch The Animal for a third time. Maybe Jamie will appreciate it more given it stars someone from Survivor. [Editor’s Note: I will])

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 24) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Xander Berkeley is No. 10 billed in The Guardian and No. 6 billed in Seeking Justice, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 10 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 24. If we were to watch Savage Islands we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Jenny Seagrove was unhappy with the film’s constant re-writes, and wanted to make a completely different film. She said to The Guardian in 2007: “It was about this druid nanny who became a tree. I begged Universal to make it about a real nanny who kidnaps babies. ‘No, no, we can’t do that,’ they said, ‘the thirty somethings in America won’t come and see the film.’ I said, ‘I think you’re completely wrong; this film is total fantasy, and it’s just awful.’ Two years later The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) was released, so I rang up my friend at Universal and he said, ‘Don’t. Don’t even talk about it, you were right.’ ” (haha)

Was to originally be directed by Sam Raimi, but he left the project early to direct Darkman (1990). Producers brought in William Friedkin, and the project suffered through several re-writes sending co-writer Stephen Volk into a breakdown. Friedkin eventually took over the writing duties. (oooooooooooof)

William Friedkin’s first horror movie in seventeen years since The Exorcist (1973). (Maybe a mistake)

One of only two feature films that William Friedkin wrote nothing about, positive or negative, in his memoir The Friedkin Connection (see also Deal of the Century (1983)).

A new effects crew was brought onto the scene after the initial tree failed to work mechanically. The new team constructed a tree that held 500 gallons of fake blood and detachable bark. (oh no, haha)

The delivery scene used real footage of an actual live birth. (oh no … I would just say haha here, but that would feel redundant)

The film was released three years after its source novel “The Nanny” by Dan Greenburg had been published in 1987. (Fact: I did not read this book)

The movie’s dark villain, Camilla (Jenny Seagrove), is included in the compilation film Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation (2001).

A cable television version of the film is not billed to William Friedkin, but to Alan Smithee, a generic name which is used by directors when they don’t want to be associated with a picture. This, despite the fact that Friedkin claims on the film’s audio-commentary he never heard of such a version. There are two versions of “The Guardian”: the theatrical cut, credited to Friedkin, and a modified cut, credited to Smithee. The Smithee cut has never been released on home video or DVD, and has only been shown on cable. It includes new scenes, including another scene in the hospital, different dream sequences, a scene of the nanny waking the wife up and alternate angles for other scenes. Also, the ending of the cable cut is different and omits much of the gore. (Oh wow, that is kind of cool. They cut a version and clearly didn’t ask him about it. Sounds like we can’t get it though)

Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert named the picture one of his “Most Hated Films” of all-time. (Noice, it is on his end of the year worst of list so …)

One of three movies with “The Guardian” title made during the modern era of Hollywood. This supernatural horror movie was made and released around six years after the 1984 action crime thriller The Guardian (1984) and sixteen years before the sea rescue drama The Guardian (2006). (We have now watched two for BMT. Martin Sheen’s 1984 film doesn’t have any reviews. That sounds like I have to cook up 5 fake reviews to get this onto Rotten Tomatoes …)

Troll Recap

Jamie

When the Potter family moves into their new apartment their young daughter is taken possession by an evil wizard/troll. It’s up to the young Harry Potter to team up with the sorceress upstairs to stop the evil plan. Can they stop the troll and get his sister back before it’s too late? Find out in… Troll.

How?! The Potters are ready to live it up in their new apartment in San Fran, but on the very day they move in an evil wizard turned troll, Torok, possesses their daughter, Wendy, and begins to wreak havoc on the apartment building. While the parents are largely oblivious, their son, Harry Potter (seriously), is pretty much like “this girl has super strength and is a psychopath, something is going on.” He learns from Eunice, the witch that lives upstairs, about the whole troll business and she explains that he is trying to transform the apartment building into a fairy world. Once he is able to turn all the other tenants of the building into totally gross plants/fairies/trolls/giant bear monsters he will be able to take over the human realm in its entirety (which seems a bit arbitrary… why the apartment building?… whatever). She informs Harry that he needs to stab the heart of the fairy world in order to stop Torok. By doing this he’ll save his sister since Torok needs her to be his bride in his new kingdom. In a final climactic battle Harry confronts a giant bear-bat monster thing but is totally pwned like a noob. However, Torok is horrified when his creation gets out of control and attempts to kill Wendy (which would spoil his whole plan) and kills the monster himself. The fairy realm is thus destroyed and the Potter family skedaddles real quick before anyone realizes that a whole bunch of people died in that apartment building. In the end we see a police officer enter the basement of the building and the troll possesses him. BUM BUM BUM. THE END.

Why?! We are really given a lot of exposition by Eunice on exactly why the troll is doing what he’s doing. Back in the day the fairy and human realms were in perfect balance. Torok attempted to rise up and break this balance and there was a big war and the humans won. This resulted in Torok being turned into a troll. Only occasionally can Torok try to reclaim his power. As for our hero, Harry Potter, he’s just a kid who wants his lame little sister back rather than a psychopathic monster.

Who?! There are a bunch of interesting and not traditional things to highlight here. We have Phil Fondacaro playing two characters, Torok and Malcolm. We have the same role portrayed by two people as Eunice St. Claire is an old woman for most of the film, but also transformed into her younger self. These roles were portrayed by mother/daughter June and Anne Lockhart. Finally the recently deceased director of the film John Carl Buechler was featured uncredited as Torok in human/wizard form.

What?! There are certainly some Coca-Cola cups laying around, but nothing really pops as super interesting. I’m much more interested in what props were for sale for this film and lo and behold my little mushroom guy was! Look at the price he was asking for it. Can’t say I have $2000 laying around ready to be spent on a little mushroom puppet no matter how much I like it singing its little heart out.

Where?! We get a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge near the Potter’s apartment so this is a San Francisco treat. Doesn’t really come into play beyond that though seeing as we spend the whole movie in the apartment building. B-.

When?! You are probably like “No way. Troll couldn’t possibly be a Secret Holiday Film.” Wrong! We are told by Eunice that the day that Wendy was transformed was Walpurgis Night, which lands on May 1st. The rest of the film follows from there. This is made somewhat confusing by an October calendar on Eunice’s wall, but I chalk that up to her being a witch land loving Halloween so much she keeps it up all year round. Weirdly specific and part of the plot. A-.

What a weird interesting movie. I can 100% see why this became a cult film. Like there is a moment when the troll is starting to build his fairy world and there is this creepy music going on and a little mushroom person is singing and shit and I was straight digging it. It also has a super nerd alert fantasy storyline without a lick of irony, which I always appreciate. All that said, the acting, writing, and general filmmaking is not good at all… so a mixed bag. On the one hand there is a little singing mushroom person, on the other everything else is bad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Troll is super weird. Like Leprechaun it is hard to tell whether I’m supposed to think the movie is terrible on purpose or what. I imagine not. I mean … It at least seems like they want to make all of the practical effects work. They don’t. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The only reason we watched this film is because of Troll 2 honestly. Oh … and I think the Worst Of wiki page is severely lacking in horror films. As a matter of fact I think we literally had to choose between Vampire in Brooklyn (a comedy in actuality) and this, and we chose this. I figured it was going to be nonsense. I was right.

The Good – As a fantasy story it actually is decently interesting. A remake (which is apparently in the works) is perfect for a film like this. Just for the love of God don’t make it an actual horror film. Just make it an adventure fantasy with the Troll being a kind of goofy antagonist. I think that would work much better. That’s it, I enjoyed the vibe of the film, but not much else. At times the VFX were impressive for 1986.

The Bad – The film is certainly nonsensical. I had a hell of a time making a quiz for it because I couldn’t even remember who all of the characters were. It isn’t a horror film and I don’t know why places suggest it is. Like maybe earlier in the 80s you could have gotten away with it, but at this point it should have been a Leprechaun-esque horror comedy. I’m not even sure the Troll actually kills anyone. Do they come back in the end? Otherwise wouldn’t the Potters be going to prison for killing them all? See the movie is ultra confusing. Top to bottom the acting is terrible. Like an early 80s syndicated television series instead of a film.

The BMT – As mentioned in the preview the film itself is mainly notable as being the not-really prior installment to the actual maybe-worst-film-ever in Troll 2. The film itself doesn’t have that BMT magic though. It feels a bit like you are punching down when a film is this small and looks so amateurly made. Especially when it isn’t made by a lunatic, but instead by a well-meaning FX artist who literally just died a few days ago. I’m a bit stumped as to why anyone would think this is one of the worst films ever made.

Roast-radamus – Huh. Nothing really comes to mind. No big cameos, no product placement from what I could recall, no twists, no Planchet getting ripped on in every scene. The movie isn’t good, but it isn’t horrible, and it isn’t really our cup of BMTea if you get my drift. A tiny Where (Setting) for San Francisco, but not even that. A recipe for completely forgetting I watched this film in a month.

StreetCreditReport.com – Lists from the 80s are few and far between naturally, but amazingly it did make this random list. The list itself is solid, we’ve seen quite a few of those for BMT. And I agree wholeheartedly with the Troll assessment there. It has some cred as a bad horror film of the mid-80s, and as the precursor to the notorious Troll 2, but not much else.

You Just Got Schooled – I was hoping there would be a doc or something about the film, and it turns out there is!:

It looks like the production company may have made it as some sort of promotion for their films since it is somehow related to Ghoulies. I would say watch the first ten minutes and you’ll get most of the interesting stories. The back half is fine, but all with the VFX guys and it is just very technical. I wish more movies had this kind of stuff. Instead of reading a never ending stream of IMDb nonsense you can get it straight from the source. Also makes me want to look into Fangoria. I can’t believe it still exists.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Troll Preview

Sergeant Godzilla roars with anger at Officer Fultz, who simply scoffs and asks if he can go. He’s got some actual bad guys to stop with lethal force and no time for pencil-pushing bullshit. “RAWR, not till you tell me why you broke all those rules last week. And who are these two bozos with you?” Fultz looks back at Jamie and Patrick, “Just some scum I caught littering in the dead zone.” Godzilla seems taken aback, “The dead zone, huh? Get outta here you rule-breaking nogoodnik and don’t let me catch you breaking any more rules.” With that Jamie and Patrick are left alone with Godzilla. “Mighty dangerous place out there in the dead zone. Wanna tell me what you were looking for besides trouble?” Knowing this might be their only shot Patrick speaks up, “A couple of your officers we hope… Rich and Poe? Do they work for you, sir?” Godzilla squints at them. For a moment recognition seems to dawn on his scaly face but then it’s gone, “No. Nobody by that name here. They sound like a couple of rule-breakers anyway. Perhaps they work over in Bridgetown. That’s the toughest precinct in these parts.” Jamie and Patrick ask if they can head that way but Godzilla seems hesitant, “It’s not exactly police friendly and you both seem like you follow the law.” Jamie and Patrick nod and think about all the coolz rulez they follow. “They won’t take kindly to either of us. But I can drop you over at an informant’s apartment and he might know something of interest. Just don’t… make a deal with him. He’s trouble.” They hop in Godzilla’s specialty police racecar and zoom on over to the apartment. When they approach the door it creaks open and a warty troll hand beckons them in. That’s right! We’re watching the 1986 cult classic Troll. Made on a shoestring budget and earning $5 million at the box office this was such an cult success that they later attempted to rebrand two different films as its sequel. Troll 2 actually is considered one of the worst films ever made and Troll 3 (originally The Crawlers) is largely forgotten. This was apparently mentioned on a list of the 50 worst films ever made, but that’s not enough to make it on the Wikipedia list so it was rejected. Let’s go!

Troll (1986) – BMeTric: 57.1

TrollIMDb_BMeT

TrollIMDb_RV

(The rating has kind of hilariously been all over the place. Around 4.0 is obviously solid though. Interesting that it has nearly 10K votes as well, heartening.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  If your idea of entertainment is seeing Sonny Bono metamorphose into an apartment of foliage, this is the movie for you. Angelic tyke is possessed by a troll, who takes over her body and starts turning the neighbors into seed pods that eventually turn into new trolls. Too close to Gremlins; some viewers may get off on hearing June Lockhart swear. Sequel: Troll II.

(Troll II isn’t a sequel to Troll. Or at least, it is a SINO, a Sequel in Name Only. And yeah Leonard … seeing Sonny Bono morph into a forest is exactly what entertains me.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7rg8C8w5ZY/

(“The weirdest, and wildest … creature of them all. That troll legit just looks like the troll from Ernest Scared Stupid … or maybe Hoggle from Labyrinth?)

Directors – John Carl Buechler – (BMT: Troll; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Visual Effects for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie in 1988; Notes: A Special Effects guy back in the heyday of 80s horror. He actually directed a number of features, most just don’t have reviews online.)

Writers – John Carl Buechler (story) (uncredited) – (BMT: Troll; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Visual Effects for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie in 1988; Notes: Awwww he was just diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer, like Alex Trebek.)

Ed Naha (written by) – (Known For: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Honey I Blew Up the Kid; Dolls; Future BMT: The Ten Commandments; BMT: Troll; Notes: He wrote two RoboCop novelizations. Pretty cheap.)

Actors – Michael Moriarty – (Known For: Pale Rider; Courage Under Fire; The Stuff; The Last Detail; Q; Bang the Drum Slowly; Shiloh; Dog Soldiers; It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive; Hickey & Boggs; Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season; Future BMT: Along Came a Spider; Neverwas; BMT: Troll; Notes: Probably most well known for Law & Order where he was the prosecutor for the first four years of the series’ run. He was eventually replaced by Sam Waterston.)

Shelley Hack – (Known For: Annie Hall; The King of Comedy; Time After Time; The Stepfather; Future BMT: House Arrest; BMT: Troll; Notes: Was a Charlie’s Angel for a season in 1979.)

Noah Hathaway – (Known For: The NeverEnding Story; Sushi Girl; Best Friends; BMT: Troll; Notes: He played Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story. He holds black belts in Tang Soo Do and Shotokan, and (at the time this sketchy IMDb bio was written) is learning American Kenpo. Hmmm, American Kenpo you say)

Budget/Gross – $700,000-1.1 million / Domestic: $5,450,815

(I mean sure. You couldn’t not make money with cheap horror films back in the day it seems.)

#113 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

troll_liveactionfantasy

(Juuuuust beats out In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale for our lowest grossing film in this genre. Right before the big Willow / Princess Bride boom in the 80s. Then everything kind of died off when people realized the effects looked like crap and were expensive. And then Highlander: Endgame changes the game in 2000 .. Joking, it was Harry Potter.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (2/8)No Consensus

(Very few reviews naturally, and surprisingly bad considering how innocuous the trailer looks. The consensus can be summed up as: Boring, insufferable, and not scary. Reviewer Highlight: Almost as scary as the Leprechaun – Kevin Fiddler, Henderson Home News)

Poster – [Placeholder Picture] (F+)

TROLL_(1986_movie_poster)

(This is so hard to distinguish what it’s trying to show that it has to have been done intentionally because they knew the troll looked dumb. It’s just like… a bad photo. A very tiny amount of credit for the font I guess.)

Tagline(s) – Apartment for Rent. Inquire Within… (D-)

(Things aren’t going well for the Troll marketing team. Is there a joke here… are we supposed to be enticed by the prospect of a Troll landlord? At least it’s short and all the words make sense when put together.)

Keyword(s) – troll; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.3 Troll 2 (1990); 57.1 Troll (1986); 54.1 Leprechaun 2 (1994); 49.5 Seventh Son (I) (2014); 45.0 Slackers (2002); 32.4 A Troll in Central Park (1994); 30.9 Snow White and the Huntsman (2012); 30.7 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013); 30.1 Beowulf & Grendel (2005); 29.0 Ernest Scared Stupid (1991);

(The original keyword was “girl in a notably short outfit” for reals. How about fucking “troll”?! Who wrote this email generator … oh yeah, I did. Anyways I manually replaced it. I’ve seen … most of these kind of sadly. I don’t see how Slackers applies though … maybe they are referring to like … online trolls there?)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 25) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is No. 3 billed in Troll and No. 3 billed in North, which also stars Elijah Wood (No. 1 billed) who is in The Last Witch Hunter (No. 3 billed), which also stars Vin Diesel (No. 1 billed) who is in Babylon A. D. (No. 1 billed), which also stars Michelle Yeoh (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 4 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 25. If we were to watch Fathers’ Day, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – The hero of this film is a boy named Harry Potter Junior, who is surrounded by a fantasy world of witches, wizards and magic, 11 years before J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels swept the publishing world.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ film debut.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has admitted being embarrassed by her role. In April 2013, Jay Leno showed her scene as a nymph on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.125 (2013). Louis-Dreyfus was surprised and visibly annoyed that Leno dredged up her connection to the film. (Yeah not a good look. I sometimes think about how annoying it would be if I was like “My God, Jason Statham. I loved you in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.” I imagine he would punch me square in the face).

Brad Hall and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play an on-screen couple in this film. In real life, the two were dating, and married the year following the film’s release. It remains the only live-action film in which they starred together, although both provided their voices to A Bug’s Life (1998).

Although she remained covered in the film for her transformation into the Faery, an on-set photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus was published in the March 1986 issue of Cinefantastique Magazine in which her bare breasts were visible. (Oh no)

The movie Troll 2 (1990), despite its title, is not a sequel to this movie and also does not contain Trolls. (Yeah they are goblins from Nilbog in that one)

In John Carl Buechler’s original story treatment, Torok was a monster who was systematically killing off the inhabitants of the building slasher-movie style. Producer Charles Band wanted to create a PG-13 movie, so the story was altered and the fantasy element was created.

The picture of Galwyn in his human form (before being turned into a mushroom) that Eunice St. Clair shows Harry Potter Jr. is a caricature of the film’s director, John Carl Buechler.

As production began, Michael Moriarty complained to director John Carl Buechler that he didn’t understand his character. The day that they shot the scene in which the Potter family moves into the building, Buechler snatched a bucket hat off the head of first assistant director Mauro Sacripanti and put it on Moriarty. “I look ridiculous,” Moriarty said. “So Harry Potter is ridiculous?” A light-bulb went off and there was no further discussion of the character. (I’m ridiculous … all I needed to know m’man. Jesus, this movie)

The Ratspit puppet from “The Dungeonmaster” (aka Ragewar (1984)) is recycled.

Director John Carl Buechler had been so impressed with Noah Hathaway’s performance in “The Neverending Story” that he cast him as the lead in the film.

“Cantos Profane,” otherwise known as “The Troll Song,” was recorded prior to shooting and set the tone for the rest of Richard Band’s musical score. The characters were supposed to perform it as a full-blown production number, but due to limitations in the low-budget puppets they had to grunt along to the music. (Oh no, I’m getting whiffs of Garbage Pail Kids the Movie)

While the film is not short on hideous or disgusting creatures, Torok is the only troll to appear on screen. The other creatures are fey folk, nymphs, goblins, and other mythical beings. (Coooooool)

The role of Malcolm Mallory was explicitly written for Phil Fondacaro but director/FX man John Carl Buechler was pressured to cast Billy Barty. Originally, a fully animatronic puppet was intended to have been utilized for Torok the Troll, but Buechler scrapped his plan and sculpted a creature costume directly onto Fondacaro’s life cast, knowing that the producers wouldn’t want to pay two different actors. (The guy seems like a straight up VFX genius)

Hellraiser: Bloodline Recap

Jamie

Pinhead is back, Jack! And boy howdy does he want to take over the world. How? By forcing John Merchant, the extra special descendent of the original creator of the puzzle box/portal to “Hell,” to build a giant permanent one. Can John stop the horrors before it’s too late? Find out in… Hellraiser IV: Bloodline.

How?! We open in 2127 on a space station… … *checks notes* yeah, I guess… I guess this is Hellraiser now. Cool, cool, cool. A mad scientist named Phillip Merchant has worked tirelessly to destroy Pinhead once and for all but just as he opens the portal to the Hellraiser dimension he is captured by some space police (all rights reserved). He explains that far in the past (1796 to be exact) his ancestor Paul L’Merchant was commissioned to create a puzzle box. Upon delivering his art piece an eeeeeevil Duke uses it to open a portal to “Hell” and use black magic to summon a demon named Angelique. Him and his protege, Jacques, have a grand old time experiencing the forbidden pleasures of the alternate dimension until our boy Phil attempts to steal back the puzzle box and modify it so as to close it forever. Unfortunately the demon kills him and curses his bloodline for all eternity. You’d think that the demon would go on to wreak havoc upon the world at this point but she is controlled by Jacques who just wants her for his own hedonistic pleasures and to live forever (I think, it’s hard to follow). Anyway, they basically bang until 1996 (that’s a lot of banging) when she’s all like “yo, I rediscovered that curses bloodline in John Merchant and I really want to use him to reopen the portal” but Jacques is like “but can’t we just bang?” and Angelique is like no and kills him and heads to NYC. There she finds the building shown at the end of the third Hellraiser and frees the puzzle box from its foundations. She opens the portal and frees Pinhead and begins work on using her sexy demon wiles to trick John into using the building as an even bigger puzzle box and opening a permanent portal to “Hell.” Pinhead tires of this and decides to take John’s family hostage instead. They all run around for a while and there is a cenobite dog and some cenobite twins and shit. Eventually they get him to activate the building, but he does some fancy hacking on the computer like a computer whiz and reverses the portal to send them back to “Hell.” Flash back to space and the space police (all rights reserved) are shook. Pinhead starts killing them and so they let Paul go so he can try to stop him. He again uses some fancy computer work to trick Pinhead with a hologram and then zooms away on a spaceship as the space station turns into a puzzle box and explodes for some reason and this apparently kills Pinhead (though I’m not sure why you would necessarily believe that). THE END.  

Why?! Hoo boy. Uh… the demons are still demons but this time you control them if you summon them (unless you get in the way of Hell’s plan). When Angelique finally tires of banging Jacques after 200 years she is freed and then only wants one thing: to permanently connect Earth and “Hell.” Everyone else in this film is kind of useless and don’t really know what they are doing most of the time. Only Paul has the right idea with his super genius space station bomb that kills pinhead for some reason… It’s a dumb film.

Who?! Oh boy! It’s one of our favorite. A rare treat where we get a new Twin Film that we weren’t expecting. That’s because in Hellraiser: Bloodline there are a couple of twin security guards who stumble upon Pinhead and Angelique. They are promptly turned into twin Cenobites and… basically disappear from the film. Underutilized talent! Come on! Use those twin cenobites or lose those twin cenobites. Fun nonetheless.

What?! Have to talk about the occasional MacGuffin, the Lament Configuration. It’s a puzzle box that is the key to unlocking “Hell” and all its pain. In the first film it is simply that, but as the films go on it gains more and more power. In the third it is what keeps Pinhead locked away in “Hell” and thus what he most wants to destroy. In the fourth it could forever connect Earth and “Hell,” but also (if configured correctly) is the key to destroying Pinhead forever. I’m sure it gets even weirder and crazier in the later straight-to-DVD entries, but scientists contend we may never know the plots of those films.

Where?! I believe the first two films took place in an undisclosed location. Filmed in the UK and certainly looked like it. In the third, though, they veer over to the Big Apple and stick around there for the fourth one. There is a flashback scene in France and a future scene in Space, but the primary focus is in NYC and its nice cityscapes. B.

When?! We start in 2127 and jump back to 1796 and then forward two hundred years to 1996 before finishing back in 2127. While these are no more specific than years, some bonus points for the intertitles informing us of that information and specific years in the far past and far future. It’s pretty amazing and I love it. A-.

There is nothing like trying to write a recap for a film to help you realize just how much nonsense it is. This film makes no sense. It’s almost like they made a film, didn’t like it, reshot a huge amount, then tried to cobble it together into a film and failed miserably. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happened. It hurt my brain trying to meander through the plot and the best things in it (Twin cenobites!) are thrown out immediately and barely play a role at all. What a tragic mistake. Put another notch in the belt you use to keep track of all the horror films that haven’t gotten better by taking it to space: Leprechaun, Friday the 13th, James Bond, and now this. What’s that? James Bond isn’t a horror franchise? News to me, cause he slayed the ladies. Boom. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever watch a movie and are like “wow, that was cool, I want some more.” And then the creators just shove dog poo in your face continuously for multiple sequels? Well I have with Hellraiser. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I had seen Hellraiser before a while back and looooooooved it. I’m not a huge fan of gory horror, but this had cool practical effects, an interesting story, and enough mystery to make the cenobites and living dead feel like something very rare and interesting as far as horror went. Like with the Friday the 13th series, I was excited to actually tackle a franchise in full.

The Good – Uh, with the fourth one? As a matter of fact with the second or third as well? Not much. The second brought back all of the main players, and did attempt to expand on the lore which, at first was interesting. Then woof. The third and fourth really don’t do much, although the woman who played Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 was the main character in the third which was cool. And that one had a fun journalist team-up with a street rat thing going for it. That’s it, the fourth is trash.

The Bad – The lore. They expand upon it in an interesting way in the second one for a short bit, and then things go off the rails. It’s actually hell now, there are weird circuses, pinhead is the only cenobite now, he makes new cenobites, he was good, now he’s bad, now he wants to bring hell to earth, now he’s dead. The entire problem with most horror franchises is they try and expand on the lore too much. Hellraiser takes that to 1000% and then hires a bunch of television actors, and throws blood and guts everywhere as if that is what I want. It isn’t. I hated this series after the first, it was a travesty.

You Just Got Schooled – Fun fact, I read the short story that became the first film, Hellbound Heart. It was great. Being able to expand a bit more about where our antagonist Frank ends up, and lending a bit more mystery to the cenobites (who are almost definitely non-human interdimensional beings of some kind). And in the end it makes a ton of sense that the first film does the adaptation so well. The underlying lore established in the short story is concise and interesting without delving too deeply into the details. Perfecto. I would grade the initial adaptation as an A, and then all subsequent adaptations as F’s. It is inexcusable to make the cenobites transformed humans residing in hell. It doesn’t even need an explanation! They can just be cenobites!

The BMT – A huge success naturally. I love expanding my sub-genre experiences, especially with horror. And this franchise is basically the entirety of a niche supernatural gory horror genre. I don’t like gore, although when done practically it was quite spooky. And I think this is just an added example of one of my film hot takes: horror lore is the worst and should never be expanded. Nothing ruins a franchise quite like over-explanitis.

Welcome to Earf – I don’t believe we’ve seen any of the main players in other BMT players, so, to IMDb I go! Ah yes, Adam Scott is inexplicable in this film, which we have seen in at least one other BMT film, Torque starring Ice Cube, who was in Ghosts of Mars with Jason Statham, who was in Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – The film is too small to make the main lists, but I knew it was going to be on a worst horror of the 90s list. And it makes perfect sense. A nail in the coffin for a signature 80s horror franchise. And yeah … the 90s was horrible for horror.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs