Fantasy Island Preview

“Quick, follow me,” Mr. Big says, pulling Poe through a trapdoor with the gray ninjas close on their heels. “To the plane, the plane,” he says urgently, quickly taking off. Behind them, the gray ninjas have procured a dirigible of some sort and are in hot pursuit. Gunfire crackles around the hull of the small biplane and Poe can tell that Mr. Big is nervous. The little plane can’t take much more heat. He hands the book over to Poe, opens the side window and begins to futilely fire a handgun at the approaching blimp. Finally he sighs and collapses in the pilot’s seat. “We have protected this book for generations. It’s up to you know,” he says somberly, handing Poe the only parachute, “but it’s important to tell you that in reality…” with a whistle, a bullet shatters the side window of the plane and kills Mr. Big. “Noooooo,” Poe screams. His best friend! The blimp sidles up the plane and the gray ninjas reveal themselves as Rich and the gang (duh). “We saved you!” Rich exclaims happily, “and you got the book!” But Poe is not talking to him right now because of the whole killing his best friend business. “What’s that smell?” Rich asks suddenly, wrinkling his nose at the stench. they both look up and see the blimp, sagging sadly, losing air through a small hole in the middle of the giant “G” that spells out its name: The Great Nut. “Huh,” notes Rich before looking down to where they are about to crash land, “looks like we are heading for that island. If we can get across it then it’s just a short trek back to Nic. Should be no prob,” he says cheerily. But that sounds like a fantasy to Poe. That’s right! We’re watching one of the few major 2020 BMT theatrical releases in Fantasy Island. A rare Blumhouse flub, it’s no wonder since they turned a mild 70’s fantasy show into a horror movie for some reason. It should be obvious why we chose the Bring a Friend 2020 nonqualifying film to be paired with Fantasy Island. That’s right, we’re watching the 2020 straight-to-streaming sequel to JCVD’s Sudden Death called Welcome to Sudden Death for some reason. I’m excited. Let’s go!

Fantasy Island (2020) – BMeTric: 64.8; Notability: 25 

(Shockingly low IMDb rating which is surprising. I know horror fans are quite harsh no bad examples of the genre, but it is so close to being a horror comedy I’m a little surprised there weren’t more people some of the silliness. High notability I feel like for a Blumhouse film, but maybe that’s the IP effect.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – So yes, “Fantasy Island” is a terrible movie—this probably won’t come as a shock to most people—but more than that, it seems to have been made with absolutely no one in mind. Anyone who might have actually wanted to see a straight-up adaptation of the show will be put off by the way that it lurches into more ostensibly horrific areas. Those in the mood for a horror film will be annoyed by the pedestrian scares and its pilfering from other examples of the genre. Fans of actors like Michael Pena, Maggie Q and Lucy Hale (who is hereby advised to let any further calls from Wadlow go directly to voicemail) will be put out with how thoroughly they are wasted here. Look, I am no “Fantasy Island” fanatic by any means—I’ve only seen two episodes in my life, both of them featuring Michelle Phillips as one of the guest stars, strangely enough—but even it deserved better than this brainless product that’s no sane person’s fantasy of a half-decent movie.

(Yeah, it does seem that it was mostly just incredibly confusing as to why this was chosen to be the adaptation. Once they tacked so far away from the original premise, why not just make it original? It feels like it would have been easy to do. I guess you still want that sweet IP street cred.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6O30nJ02PU/

(Pretty good trailer. Still feels weird that this is the direction they decided to take the property. It feels like an empty sci-fi horror film, and very unlikely to satisfy anyone familiar with the property.)

Directors – Jeff Wadlow – (Future BMT: Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; Never Back Down; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Like with a lot of Blumhouse stuff he also is a producer on the film. That is typically by design as his salary is probably largely determined by the box office return.)

Writers – Jeff Wadlow (written by) – (Future BMT: Prey; Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Bloodshot; Notes: Oh, he wrote two of our 2020 films, that’s impressive. Katie Couric’s nephew, he got his start writing and directing short films.)

Christopher Roach (written by) (as Chris Roach) – (Known For: Non-Stop; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was an executive producer on multiple series of Big Brother, among other unscripted television series. It is interesting that he’s made the leap to scripted films.)

Jillian Jacobs (written by) – (BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was a producer on Big Brother, so I imagine she is operating as a writing partner with Roach in some capacity.)

Gene Levitt (based upon the television series created by) – (BMT: Fantasy Island; Notes: Created fantasy island, and while he was a writer on a ton of television in the 50s and 60s this was the only one he created and he seemed to have retired right after. He died in 1999.)

Actors – Michael Peña – (Known For: The Martian; The Mule; Fury; American Hustle; Ant-Man; Crash; The Lincoln Lawyer; Dora and the Lost City of Gold; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Million Dollar Baby; Shooter; Tower Heist; End of Watch; 12 Strong; Babel; A Wrinkle in Time; Turbo; The Lego Ninjago Movie; My Little Pony; 30 Minutes or Less; Future BMT: The Vatican Tapes; Extinction; Hell and Back; Vacation; The Calcium Kid; Lions for Lambs; Jexi; Collateral Beauty; Star Maps; Cesar Chavez; The Lucky Ones; The United States of Leland; BMT: Fantasy Island; Battle: Los Angeles; CHIPS; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Gangster Squad; Notes: Born in Chicago, and has starred in character roles in film and on television across the years, like Eastbound & Down. Apparently plays bass guitar, hopefully he starts a band.)

Maggie Q – (Known For: Divergent; Die Hard 4.0; Mission: Impossible III; Rush Hour 2; The Argument; Rogues Gallery; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; The Con Is On; Priest; Allegiant; Slumber; Death of Me; Deception; Insurgent; New York, I Love You; Jekyll Island; BMT: Fantasy Island; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Played the lead role in the Nikita remake. Grew up in Hawaii, but ended up becoming a huge star in Hong Kong before breaking out in Hollywood.)

Lucy Hale – (Known For: Scream 4; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2; The Unicorn; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; Future BMT: A Nice Girl Like You; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was part of the band American Juniors which was assembled on a reality series. Amazingly appeared in The O.C. way back in the day, but most well-known for her leading role in Pretty Little Liars.)

Budget/Gross – $7,000,000 / Domestic: $27,309,289 (Worldwide: $48,811,343)

(Still an incredible return on investment. Blum really can’t lose with these things. I wonder if they’ll think about doing another? I mean, in theory they could do the whole again with a new group. Could be a fun franchise if they fix whatever issues it had.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (8/107): Fantasy Island tries to show audiences the dark side of wish fulfillment, but mainly serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of exhuming long-dead franchises.

(“Who is this film for?” seems to be the common question. Not horror fans. Not Fantasy Island fans … so Blumhouse fans? Probably not that either. Reviewer Highlight: Contrived and loony, it feels like someone planted about a half-dozen different scripts all over this Fantasy Island. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Fancy Tree Island

(Clever. I think that’s a really good poster. Give me a little more on the font front and it might even be a perfect poster. Really artistic and beautiful. Too bad something so nice isn’t associated with a better film. Despite the font I’ll still give it an A. Just not an A+.)

Tagline(s) – Anything you desire. Everything you fear. (A)

(Blumhouse is good at what they do and despite flubbing a bit with the film as a whole you can still see that they know what’s up. Good poster, good tagline. This has the cadence, the length, and the specificity to the film at hand. I like it.)

Keyword – based on tv series

Top 10: Fantasy Island (2020), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), Charlie’s Angels (2019), Star Trek (2009), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Baywatch (2017), Addams Family Values (1993), Serenity (2005), State of Play (2009)

Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);

BMT: Fantasy Island (2020), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Lost in Space (1998), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Æon Flux (2005), The Avengers (1998), Garfield (2004), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), I Spy (2002), Garfield 2 (2006), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)

(My God, we’ve watched so many. And we still have so many to go. And again, no need to remake television series anymore, you can just you know … make the television series again on Netflix or whatever. So it is no wonder it is dying as a mini-genre.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Michael Rooker is No. 8 billed in Fantasy Island and No. 4 billed in Here on Earth => 8 + 4 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Jason Blum wanted Nicolas Cage to play Mr. Roarke but Cage passed on the role.

The movie is a reimagining of Fantasy Island (1977) in a horror genre, inspired by The Cabin in the Woods (2011) and Westworld (2016).

Principal photography on the film began in January 2019 in Fiji.In October 2018, Michael Peña, Jimmy O. Yang, Dave Bautista and Lucy Hale joined the cast. In November 2018, during an interview, Jeff Wadlow disclosed that Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday and Ryan Hansen had joined the cast, as well as suggesting Bautista may no longer be able to appear in the film. (Huh … I wonder who Bautista would have been. I guess maybe the Rooker role? Or many the army captain)

Congo Preview

Poe describes the beautiful road trip that he and Mr. Big would take, bonding over their shared interests of Tetherball and early 20th century Bildungsroman literature. Starting in Sacramento, California (for obvious reasons) they would proceed north through Idaho and continue straight on to Saskatoon. “Would we be able to stop at the Western Development Museum?” Mr. Big asks dreamily. Poe nods, “Darn tootin’. Wouldn’t be a trip to Saskatoon without it and we might even splurge for one of those old timey photos where we dress up in old western clothes.” Mr. Big frowns. He knows that Poe is really just saying these things because he wants to get the Book of Secrets… but he can’t help but tell him meekly to continue describing the road trip. “You’d think we’d be heading straight to Winnipeg at this point… but you’d be wrong. Cause we’re continuing east,” Poe explains. “No,” whispers Mr. Big, “you don’t mean…” but Poe nods, “The ‘Ware.” Mr. Big looks at him startled, “You’d take me to… Delaware?” And Poe shrugs his shoulders, “it seems only appropriate after you were so kind to let me into The Skulls.” With tears in his eyes Mr. Big walks over to Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved). He picks it up, kisses it and brings it over to Poe. “I thought this,” he says waving to the large ornate chamber, “was The Skulls,” his voice cracking with emotion, “but today you proved that The Skulls… was inside you the whole time.” Just as he is about to hand the book over they are surrounded by people in gray ninja gear and lasers. “Give us the book,” one of them says. Poe, realizing what is happening, begins to speak up but it’s too late… the laser beams start a-flyin’. That’s right! If I mention laser beams there is only one film I’m thinking about. “Entrapment?” you ask… OK, two films. The other is Congo. The major film release where a lady mows down grey gorillas with a laser. Celebrate for us on this very momentus 25th anniversary of the release of Laser Gorillas aka Congo. Let’s go!   

Congo (1995) – BMeTric: 54.3; Notability: 81 

(It has a really low IMDb rating. It used to have a BMeTric of like 65 too! And a notability of 81? My god, when was the last time we had a film with that high of a Notability? I just checked and we haven’t done an 80+ since 2019 (where we actually did quite a few of them). I am very much looking forward to just how big of a disappointment this must have been.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “Congo” is a splendid example of a genre no longer much in fashion, the jungle adventure story. Perhaps aware that its material was already dated when Stewart Granger made “King Solomon’s Mines” in 1950, the filmmakers have cheerfully turned it into an action comedy, and the actors have gone a step further, treating it like one of those movies like “Beat the Devil” that is a put-on of itself. The result is not a movie that is very good, exactly, but it’s entertaining and funny. False sophisticates will scorn it. Real sophisticates will relish it.

(Shots fired at the end. This feels like right around when Ebert started to consider things “good for what they are” and became a bit less pretentious (to use a loaded term) about things. This is pretty soon after Arachnophobia which is, by all accounts, a genuine horror comedy, so I could definitely see Marshall going back to the tongue-in-cheek creature feature well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icu59hembVk/

(The thing I remember from the trailer was the guy stumbling down the stairs. It made me think it was a horror film. It isn’t a horror film and you barely see the gorillas in the end. Good trailer though regardless, even shows off the laser weapon.)

Directors – Frank Marshall – (Known For: Alive; Eight Below; Arachnophobia; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Congo in 1996; Notes: Married to Kathlene Kennedy he has an interesting career having worked as a producer for LucasArts before leaving to form his own production company (with his wife) and begin directing.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel) – (Known For: Jurassic Park; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Jurassic World; Twister; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Jurassic Park III; Westworld; Disclosure; Runaway; The First Great Train Robbery; The Andromeda Strain; Coma; The Terminal Man; Future BMT: Sphere; Rising Sun; Looker; BMT: Congo; Timeline; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Almost 6’9’’, and married 5 times. He famously submitted an essay written by George Orwell in graduate school where he studied English which got a B-, and he quit soon after. He also trained to be a doctor and quit right after qualifying.)

John Patrick Shanley (screenplay) – (Known For: Moonstruck; Doubt; Alive; Joe Versus the Volcano; The Thief and the Cobbler; Five Corners; Future BMT: The January Man; We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Congo in 1996; Notes: Won an Oscar for Moonstruck and a Tony for Doubt. He also was nominated for an Emmy for Live From Baghdad. No apparently Grammy aspirations so his EGOT hopes are probably non-existent.)

Actors – Laura Linney – (Known For: Love Actually; The Truman Show; Nocturnal Animals; Primal Fear; Mystic River; Arthur Christmas; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; Falling; Searching for Bobby Fischer; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Squid and the Whale; Dave; Absolute Power; Genius; The Mothman Prophecies; Kinsey; The Roads Not Taken; Mr. Holmes; Breach; You Can Count on Me; Future BMT: The Other Man; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; Hyde Park on Hudson; The Nanny Diaries; The Fifth Estate; Man of the Year; Sympathy for Delicious; The Hottest State; The City of Your Final Destination; Maze; Lush; The Life of David Gale; BMT: Congo; Notes: Nominated three times for an Oscar (You Can Count on Me, Kinsey, and The Savages). Also the star of The Big C which she won an Emmy for.)

Tim Curry – (Known For: The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Clue; The Hunt for Red October; Annie; Charlie’s Angels; Times Square; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; Kinsey; The Cat Returns; Muppet Treasure Island; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; The Wild Thornberrys Movie; The Shout; Future BMT: Scary Movie 2; McHale’s Navy; Fly Me to the Moon; Valiant; Rugrats Go Wild; Christmas in Wonderland; The Shadow; The Pebble and the Penguin; Loaded Weapon 1; Ritual; Burke and Hare; The Secret of Moonacre; The Three Musketeers; Legend; Oscar; Bailey’s Billion$; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Passed Away; BMT: Garfield 2; Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Congo in 1996; Notes: Was nominated for three Tony awards and an Emmy in his career. Had a stroke a few years ago and is now confined to a wheelchair, but he has started doing voiceover work again which is something he had become very famous for in his career.)

Dylan Walsh – (Known For: We Were Soldiers; Nobody’s Fool; Secretariat; Loverboy; Blood Work; Edmond; Betsy’s Wedding; Future BMT: The Stepfather; Authors Anonymous; Where the Heart Is; BMT: Congo; The Lake House; Notes: Ended up as a big name television actor starring in Nip/Tuck and Unforgettable and now does short stints on things like Blue Bloods and Law & Order.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $81,022,101 (Worldwide: $152,022,101)

(That’s actually a decent amount of money, although they were obviously looking for that Jurassic Park money. So in that sense maybe less of a bomb and more of a disappointment as expected.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (11/51): Mired in campy visual effects and charmless characters, Congo is a suspenseless adventure that betrays little curiosity about the scientific concepts it purports to care about.

(I’m not sure what scientific concepts they are referring to here. Is it the giant diamonds from King Solomon’s Mind which illogically are the only things that can produce a laser weapon? Or perhaps the killer ape guardsmen? Or the sign language gorilla robot arm? Reviewer Highlight: The entire tone of the book has been transformed from tension to tongue-in-cheek with dismal results. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Goril-lazer Beamz

(The poster already tells you the film’s gonna be nuts. It’s just a giant fake gorilla face with a bunch of computer code on it and the dutchest of all dutch angle titles. I’m not sure what I would even think if I saw this in a movie theater. It’s bold, that’s for sure. But probably not in a good way. C)

Tagline(s) – Where you are the endangered species (B+)

(But this is solid. Congo… where you are the endangered species. Yeah that’s kinda nice. Flipping things around on you with the image of the gorilla. Telling you that you’re in for an adventure of derring-do. I dig it.)

Keyword – gorilla

Top 10: Red Sparrow (2018), Dolittle (2020), Green Book (2018), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), 2012 (2009), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Sing (2016), Zookeeper (2011), King Kong (2005), Trading Places (1983)

Future BMT: 72.1 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013), 54.8 Evan Almighty (2007), 48.9 The Omen (2006), 40.4 Hollow Man (2000), 34.1 The Tourist (2010), 28.8 Buddy (1997), 28.4 Baby’s Day Out (1994), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.1 The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), 21.9 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), 2012 (2009), Zookeeper (2011), Congo (1995), Old Dogs (2009), King Kong Lives (1986)

(There weren’t very good keywords this time for some reason. I have seen most of these, which maybe Ace Ventura 2 being the one I’m most excited for. The plot doesn’t tell me much except maybe that in the 2000s with CGI technology it became a lot easier to put gorillas in films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ernie Hudson is No. 3 billed in Congo and No. 6 billed in Miss Congeniality 2 Armed and Fabulous, which also stars Sandra Bullock (No. 1 billed) who is in Demolition Man (No. 3 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 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 + 6 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch The Nanny Diaries, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Ernie Hudson stated that playing the character “Captain Munroe Kelly” is his personal favorite from his career. (He does seem to have a great time with it)

Executive producer and director Frank Marshall originally intended to use the computer work pioneered on Jurassic Park (1993) for the gorillas, but opted for models, as the computers weren’t capable of reproducing hair. (Yeah, it was a bit too early for that)

The “diamonds” used for the scenes during the climax of the movie were actually Herkimer Diamonds borrowed from the Herkimer Diamond Mines of Middleville, New York. They are doubly-terminated (two-ended) quartz crystals that are found in only two places in the world. They were the only gems that would look enough like diamonds and be that large. As a kind of tribute, Tim Curry’s character’s first name is “Herkermer” (his character does not appear in the Michael Crichton novel upon which the movie was based). (Wait … he isn’t in the book?! What a crazy character to add)

The part of the 727 pilot was played by musician and pop icon Jimmy Buffett. (huh)

Executive producer Frank Yablans had been involved in this project since its inception. Michael Crichton had pitched his idea for a modern-day King Solomon’s Mines to him, before he had even written the novel. Yablans liked the idea so much that, without Crichton’s authorization, he sold the movie rights to Twentieth Century Fox in 1979, a year before the book was published. The technology to create the apes was not available at the time, however, and the project never materialized. During the production of Jurassic Park (1993), Crichton was impressed with the dinosaurs that Stan Winston’s studio had created. Producer Kathleen Kennedy (who produced both movies) suggested using Winston again for the apes, and suggested the project itself to her husband, executive producer and director Frank Marshall, and Crichton agreed. This resulted in Yablans, Marshall, and Kennedy collaborating on this movie.

Although the movie mentions King Solomon’s Mines, it bears several key points in common with “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”, the book and movies based on it.

There are rumors of a deleted scene where one of the gorillas, in a pivotal scene in the movie, wields a laser gun. Nobody is sure if these rumored scenes exist, but YouTube channel Funhaus has started an investigation after discussing it on their movie podcast. (This feels like a dumb Mandela Effect thing. People who say this 25 years ago probably has smushed Amy fending off the evil gorillas using her sign language translator, with Laura Linney shooting lasers at them right after)

Composer Jerry Goldsmith was originally brought on-board when this movie was being conceived in the 1980s. When it went into production again in the 1990s, James Newton Howard was hired to write the score. Howard composed the tribal chant used in this movie, but had to back out of the project. Goldsmith was then brought back on-board.

In addition to Amy, Stan Winston Studio created twelve genetically mutated gray gorillas for Congo, eight of which were built as fully articulated hero heads and suits. To initiate the design of the twelve grays, Chris Swift rendered a series of drawings. Stan Winston then gave key artists at the studio the opportunity to design and sculpt one unique character each. Because the grays were a fictional, mutant breed of gorillas, the sculptors enjoyed a lot of creative freedom in devising their designs. 

Rather than re-create the features of a mountain gorilla, the studio had instructions to design Amy so that she would more closely resemble the ‘cuter’ lowland gorilla.

Stan Winston’s crew lifecast the main Amy performer, Lorene Noh, at the studio, then sculpted Amy over her lifecast. From that sculpture, the crew created a ‘hero’ Amy head that was covered in silicone skin and hand-tied hair. It was one of the first times the studio would use these new silicone formulas, rather than foam latex, for a character.

Fred Thompson turned down a key role. (Ha, definitely the eeeeevil corporate telecom CEO)

Problems with the grays in the design stage only intensified when the characters started shooting. The mine in which the Grays’ scenes were set was essentially a large, empty cavern of red rock. There was no foliage of any kind, and without it, director of photography Allen Daviau was unable to justify the kind of dappled lighting that would have gone a long way in making the grays look more authentic. “In any kind of creature work,” Stan Winston commented, “so much of its success depends on the lighting and setting those characters are in. I wasn’t at all happy with the Grays’ environment. That big red cave didn’t allow for interesting or dramatic lighting at all.”

One of the most critical elements for bringing Congo’s gorillas to life was the performances of the actors and actresses inside the suits. Under the direction of veteran gorilla performer Peter Elliott, it took approximately six months of intensive rehearsal for Lorene Noh and Misty Rosas to become Amy, and for the gray gorilla actors to become mutant primates.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Tim Curry, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Frank Marshall, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (John Patrick Shanley, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Jerry Goldsmith, Lebo M., 1996)

Sex and the City 2 Preview

“You gotta help us!” Poe wails and he, Rich and their new BFFF Kilgorn follow close behind the fleeing ghost. But the ghost is having none of it. “Uh uh. You better back on up. I ain’t no Casper the Friendly Ghost and you ain’t no Ghostbusters and if it wasn’t for the good Lord Jesus I’d punch you square in the faces.” They all can’t help but smile at the ghost and how sassy she is. Suddenly Poe has an idea, “But that’s just it,” he explains, “we are doing this for the good Lord Jesus.” Suddenly the sassy ghost is listening. “You see the Book of Secrets is the devil’s book and we’re going to destroy it.” The ghost ponders for a minute and eventually relents and nods for them to follow. Soon they reach a brightly lit club with a neon sign blinking the words “Hollywood Badass.” Progressive psytrance music blasts each time the door opens and the group knows they have no chance at getting in. Unless… Rich and Poe leap to put their masters of disguise skillz to the test. “Alright, keep cool, I know this club” the big sassy ghosts says, “These disguises have got to be tight. So let’s go over our backstory. I’m Carrie, a gal about town looking for love. You three are my friends. You’re prim and proper Charlotte,” she says pointing to Kilgorn, who beams. “You’re the overworked voice of reason, Miranda,” she says pointing to Rich who acts upset (but is secretly thrilled). “And you’re Samantha,” she growls pointing to Poe. Poe frowns and starts to explain why the ghost is really more the Samantha of the bunch, but stops when he sees the scowl on the sassy ghost’s face. He gives a reluctant thumbs up. That’s right! We’re finally hitting up the classic squeak-quel Sex in the City 2, the one where they go to the Middle East for some reason and their old and married pretty much. We’ve been reluctant, and let’s see if it was for good reason. Let’s go!

Sex and the City 2 (2010) – BMeTric: 79.6; Notability: 67 

(An incredibly low rating. And an incredibly high Notability. I should check, but is that because of cameos, or literally just because the IMDb cast list is just enormous. I bet there are a lot of cameos. And now I’m excited.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of “Sex and the City 2” are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row. Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies. They must plan their wardrobes on the phone, so often do they appear in different basic colors, like the plugs you pound into a Playskool workbench.

(I mean, while true that “consuming things” wasn’t necessarily the crux of the show (Carrie has a thing about fashion and shoes, and Samantha works in that industry, but most stories were about, you know … sex and New York City), that definitely was a very obviously strange part of the first film. It is interesting to see how much more it seemed to grate on critics this time around.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djz0q-GeboM/

(Wow that really doesn’t show much huh. I guess that is good. Somehow the fact that it is getting more obviously about worshiping consumerism and rich people in general does make its shininess seem … dirty. Also the more I look into this film for the preview the more perplexed I am that they chose Abu Dhabi. It seems like it could have just as easily been Paris, or Morocco, or Tokyo, or Sydney. Tokyo would have probably made the most sense since I think they went to Paris in the later seasons of the show.)

Directors – Michael Patrick King – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Directed 10 episodes of Sex and the City, and both movies. Won two Emmys for his work on the series.)

Writers – Michael Patrick King (written by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Wrote 31 episodes of the series. Ultimately went on to create 2 Broke Girls.)

Candace Bushnell (characters from the book by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Has had two of her books made into television series, the other being Lipstick Jungle.)

Darren Star (television series creator) – (Known For: Sex and the City; Future BMT: Teen Agent; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Notably created and produced Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Sex and the City. His current show is Younger which is in its 7th season.)

Actors – Sarah Jessica Parker – (Known For: Footloose; Mars Attacks!; The First Wives Club; Sex and the City; Ed Wood; Flight of the Navigator; The Family Stone; L.A. Story; Honeymoon in Vegas; Extreme Measures; Strangers with Candy; State and Main; Smart People; Miami Rhapsody; The Substance of Fire; Future BMT: I Don’t Know How She Does It; If Lucy Fell; Striking Distance; ‘Til There Was You; Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Blue Night; Spinning Into Butter; Hocus Pocus; Moving In; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Dudley Do-Right; Failure to Launch; New Year’s Eve; Escape from Planet Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 2010 for Did You Hear About the Morgans?; and in 2012 for I Don’t Know How She Does It, and New Year’s Eve; Notes: Won two Emmys for played Carrie in Sex and the City. Had been married to Matthew Broderick since 1997.)

Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Big Trouble in Little China; Sex and the City; The Ghost; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Ice Princess; Horrible Histories: The Movie; Masquerade; Above Suspicion; Meet Monica Velour; The Return of the Musketeers; Ticket to Heaven; Midnight Crossing; Future BMT: Mannequin; 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Live Nude Girls; Unforgettable; Turk 182; The Tiger’s Tail; Rosebud; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; Sex and the City 2; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Police Academy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy five times for her role in Sex and the City, but never won. Is somewhat notable as one of the last actors to have been part of the studio contract system.)

Kristin Davis – (Known For: The Knight Before Christmas; Sex and the City; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Future BMT: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D; The Shaggy Dog; Deck the Halls; Couples Retreat; Nine Months; Holiday in the Wild; Sour Grapes; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy once for her role in Sex and the City. She was in Melrose Place for one year, but was written out, reportedly because viewer hated her character and they didn’t know what to do with her.)

Budget/Gross – $100,000,000 / Domestic: $95,347,692 (Worldwide: $290,745,055)

(That’s a success. I can see why you would look at the reviews and think that they really stretched the concept too far and should quit while they are behind. Also I bet at least one of the actresses would just have no interest at this point.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (34/217): Straining under a thin plot stretched to its limit by a bloated running time, Sex and the City 2 adds an unfortunate coda to the long-running HBO series.

(Uh oh. A bloated running time, how long are these films … they are both 2.5 hours. Shoot. I have to watch 5 hours of Sex and the City this weekend? Reviewer Highlight: It’s an almost avant-garde adventure in aimlessness. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)

Poster – Sklogs in the City 2

(While I do not personally find the poster aesthetically pleasing and question the need for a Dutch angle, I also cannot fault them for this poster. You have your four glam girls up front and a little desert and sky to give a taste of that desert heat. Throw in some fine font work and I think it’s doing a job. B.)

Tagline(s) – Carrie on (D)

(I’m glad to see this tagline isn’t on the poster and in fact this is probably one of the few times where I don’t think it needs one. Besides the tagline is trash. The only thing that would make it good is if the person who wrote it revealed that he was actually playing on the desert theme and the fact that they all will carrion for vultures one they succumb to the heat.)

Keyword – based on tv series

Top 10: The Addams Family (1991), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), Addams Family Values (1993), The Addams Family (2019), Star Trek Beyond (2016), Fantasy Island (2020), The Avengers (1998), Dark Shadows (2012), Brüno (2009), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);

BMT: The Avengers (1998), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Lost in Space (1998), Æon Flux (2005), Garfield (2004), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Garfield 2 (2006), I Spy (2002), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)

(This is a rare instance where I think the plot actually is suggesting this filmmaking trend is well and truly dying. I think it is entirely due to television becoming prestige enough that television series don’t merely have to dream of becoming a major motion picture anymore. When you want to redo a series or make a sequel to a series you just make another series a la Twin Peaks. So I do imagine that in the future we’ll just stop seeing feature films based on television shows and instead we’ll get little 2 or 3 episode seasons instead.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sarah Jessica Parker is No. 1 billed in Sex and the City 2 and No. 2 billed in Dudley Do-Right, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 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) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch If Lucy Fell, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Kim Cattrall occasionally came to the set wearing a wedding dress for the benefit of the paparazzi photographers, to trick the public into thinking that her character Samantha Jones would get married in this film.

The dress Carrie wears to dinner when Mr. Big picks her up from her old apartment is the same one she wore when apologizing to Natasha, Mr. Big’s ex-wife, for her and Mr. Big’s affair in Sex and the City: What Goes Around Comes Around (2000).

The government of Abu Dhabi did not allow filming, calling the film “too sexual”.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Penélope Cruz mentioned that she shot her cameo in two hours. She said that she wanted to do it because she was a fan of the series and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The airport, when the ladies arrive in the Middle East, is not the Abu Dhabi airport. It is the airport of Marrakesh, Morocco, famous as well for its architecture.

In May 2015, Sarah Jessica Parker posted a teasing photo of her with a shopping bag, in order to promote her collaboration with Bloomingdales. However, the photo went viral, when it proved so ambiguous, that several fans believed the photo teased a potential third “Sex and the City” movie. Several online outlets reported the announcement, and an unaware and puzzled Cynthia Nixon, co-star of the show, was asked about it during a live interview. In the end, Warner Brothers Studios had to make an official statement that there was no plans for a “Sex and the City 3”.

“Sex and the City 3” has been discussed, but not yet confirmed. Sarah Jessica Parker went a bit into detail in an interview on Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003), but in 2017 confirmed that it’s “not gonna happen”.

When Samantha makes a comment about Charlotte’s Irish nanny not wearing a bra, she says, “you mean Erin go bra-less”. “Erin Go Bragh” is an Irish saying that means “Ireland Forever”.

Jennifer Hudson’s character didn’t return for this film. Hudson herself still featured in the film, as she recorded the original song “Love is Your Color” for the production.

The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

The blue Manolo Blahnik pumps that Carrie leaves in the penthouse and that Mr. Big uses as the “diamond to seal the deal” are visible over her left shoulder when she’s in her closet packing for Abu Dhabi.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, 2011)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble (2011)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Liza Minnelli, 2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Patrick King, 2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael Patrick King, 2011)

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Preview

“Ghosts shmosts,” scoffs Poe, walking boldly into the forest. “Yeah, ghosts… uh.. Shmosts,” says Rich hesitantly and both he and Kilgorn cling to each other as then more slowly creep their way forward. The forest is dark and their breath comes out in white puffs. When did it become so cold? “Poe?” Rich whispers urgently. Suddenly they bump into the back of Poe. Rich begins to explain how he and Kilgorn weren’t scared, per se, it’s just that with the forest being so cold they felt like they needed to stay close for warmth. But Poe doesn’t even react to the totally believable story (and why shouldn’t he believe it? It’s true), instead he stands frozen with a look of horror on his face. Shakily he raises a hand and mouths through lips white with terror, “gh-gh-gh-ghost.” Egad! For in front of them is indeed a ghost of a terrifyingly huge lady. Oh woe is he who grapples with such a monstrous phantom. Rich and Poe are ready to put their famous quick twitch muscles to the test when suddenly the ghost speaks, “Hellur.” Rich and Poe chuckle and even Kilgorn is amused because, as he says, “the ghost said hellur when saying hello.” Suddenly they are at ease, as if they’ve been reunited with an old friend, “Hellur to you, too,” says Rich but the ghost just looks cross and starts to lay into them about their general behavior. Daaaaang, this ghost got sass. Just as it’s finishing a story about prostituting themselves and running from the fuzz back in the day Poe is able to quickly interject and ask about Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved) and the Great Nut. The ghost recoils and crosses herself. “We don’t speak about the Book of Shadows in these woods.” That’s right! We are watching the follow-up to the 1999 smash hit The Blair Witch Project which was turned around so fast that they couldn’t even figure out whether they wanted to try to capture the magic or do something totally new. By all accounts they instead made a garbled mess that destroyed what could have been a franchise. Nice one. Let’s go!

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) – BMeTric: 83.7; Notability: 29 

(Holy crap, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film so slowly creep downward over time! That is really a new one. Like people just became more convinced of it over time that this was a generic piece of trash. The notability is also off the chart. That is huge for a found footage horror film I think … I suppose because everyone involved in the original became famous afterwards.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “The Blair Witch Project” was perhaps one of a kind. Its success made a sequel inevitable, but this is not the sequel, I suspect, anyone much wanted. The opening scenes–the documentary showing the townspeople affected by the first film–is a more promising approach, because instead of trying to cover similar ground, it goes outside the first film and makes its own stand.

(This review is a bit better and more forgiving than I would have expected. In the context of the original, everything I’ve read is that it is just a regular horror film, so maybe this review is more right than the general consensus. Should the film be compared to the original? Maybe not, maybe it is fine to be fine on its own merits.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WtrIgbvsWU/

(Forget everything you’ve heard … like if you’ve heard this film is a generic piece of garbage, just go ahead and forget that … like it might not be, right? This does look like garbage though, what a perplexing decision.)

Directors – Joe Berlinger – (Known For: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Famous documentary filmmaker for the Paradise Lost series about the West Memphis Three. Won an Emmy for the first one, nominated for an Emmy for the second, and nominated for an Oscar for the third.)

Writers – Daniel Myrick (characters) – (Known For: The Blair Witch Project; Skyman; Future BMT: The Objective; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Developed the lore and screenplay for the original film in 1994 (which is when the original film was set) directly out of film school.)

Eduardo Sánchez (characters) – (Known For: The Blair Witch Project; Lovely Molly; Future BMT: Exists; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Born in Cuba. Reportedly him and Myrick were paid $4 million as a result of the success of the original film.)

Dick Beebe (written by) – (Future BMT: House on Haunted Hill; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: His last film credit. He created the television series The Lazarus Man starring Robert Urich, which appears to be notable because TNT cancelled it because Urich was diagnosed with cancer and there was a lawsuit filed concerning the scandal.)

Joe Berlinger (written by) – (BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: This is the only non-fiction film he has a writing credit on.)

Actors – Jeffrey Donovan – (Known For: Honest Thief; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; Sicario; Changeling; Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Sleepers; Shot Caller; Hitch; J. Edgar; Villains; LBJ; Wonder Woman: Bloodlines; Come Early Morning; Believe in Me; Future BMT: Lucy in the Sky; Vegas Vacation; Extinction; Bait; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Notes: Has a black belt in Shotokan karate. Probably most notable as the main character in Burn Notice.)

Stephen Barker Turner – (BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Notes: Seems to have mostly done one off episodes in his career, including single episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The trifecta!!)

Erica Leerhsen – (Known For: Magic in the Moonlight; Anything Else; Hollywood Ending; Little Athens; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Seems like she’s mostly stopped acting at this point. Had a recurring role on The Guardian in the early 2000s.)

Budget/Gross – $15,000,000 / Domestic: $26,437,094 (Worldwide: $47,737,094)

(Obviously not what they would have been expecting. But also not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It probably turned a profit just because the budget was small.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (15/108): This sequel to Blair Witch Project is all formula and no creativity, mechanically borrowing elements from the original and other horror movies.

(There it is. Yeah this is the consensus I heard. That it is just another horror film. Given that I’ll be watching the original directly before I suppose I will actually find out. Reviewer Highlight: Even formula-slasher-pic fans are likely to find this hectic, unfocused effort a letdown. – Dennis Harvey, Variety)

Poster – Blair Witch Too

(I like the font and I kinda like the boldness of the tree ring motif of the whole thing. I just think it looks a little cheap. Like I look at it and go “that’s not a good movie” so if that’s what they were going for then I guess it’s a success. B.)

Tagline(s) – Evil Doesn’t Die. (C)

(I don’t see a tagline on the poster which is a ding, but this one is on imdb so I’ll go with it. I guess I kinda like the vibe and the shortness of it, but a little generic.)

Keyword – supernatural horror

Top 10: Sinister (2012), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Doctor Sleep (2019), The Conjuring (2013), Poltergeist (1982), Insidious (2010), The Lost Boys (1987), Final Destination (2000), The Sixth Sense (1999), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Future BMT: 77.9 Boogeyman (2005), 76.2 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 64.3 The Darkness (2016), 64.1 The Grudge 2 (2006), 64.1 The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008), 61.9 Poltergeist III (1988), 61.6 Soul Survivors (2001), 61.0 Legion (2010), 60.9 Darkness Falls (2003);

BMT: The Haunting (1999), Ghost Ship (2002), Silent Hill (2006), Hellboy (2019), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Rings (2017), Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), The Fog (2005), The Ring 2 (2005), An American Haunting (2005), Troll (1986), One Missed Call (2008), The Gallows (2015), The Devil Inside (2012), Bless the Child (2000)

(I think it is fairly obvious Blair Witch Project helped kick off the big boom in the 2000s. And man they were huuuuuge in the 00s. I bet the drop more recently is just that they started not involving as many famous names as they did in the 2000s.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Erica Leerhsen is No. 3 billed in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and No. 3 billed in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), which also stars Jessica Biel (No. 1 billed) who is in Valentine’s Day (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 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 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Next we can get the HoE Number down to 18.

Notes – Unhappy with Joe Berlinger’s version of the film, Artisan opted to re-shoot certain scenes to add more “traditional” horror movie elements and re-cut the movie to make it more commercial. Berlinger repeatedly states on the DVD commentary that he doesn’t like the changes that were made and that they ruin the ambiguous tone of the plot.

Artisan Entertainment, who distributed the original movie, was keen to produce a sequel quickly, to take advantage of its predecessor’s popularity. However, Haxan Films, the producers of the first film (which included original directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez), weren’t comfortable working on a sequel so quickly, and preferred to wait until the hype had diminished a bit. Artisan (who had the rights) then decided to produce the sequel without Haxan Films. Myrick and Sanchez were given an executive producers credit, but both men later stated that they had very little creative input, and disliked the final film.

The film was to originally open with Frank Sinatra’s song “Witchcraft” to give off a lighter atmosphere before the plot unfolded but Artisan Entertainment forced Berlinger to instead include Marilyn Manson’s “Disposable Teens” for the opening scene for a punk rock feel instead. (The soundtrack is an abomination BTW)

When the tour group picks up Kim Diamond in the cemetery, she is lying on a tomb marked “Treacle.” According to the companion mockumentary Curse of the Blair Witch (1999), Eileen Treacle was one of the Blair Witch’s alleged victims who was drowned in a creek in Burkittsville in August 1825.

When Erica Leerhsen had originally auditioned for Kim Director’s role, she went to the audition with short blonde hair and as director Joe Berlinger described “completely Gothed-out”, but ultimately was given the supporting role of “Erica”. It was Joe Berlinger who decided to make her a longhaired redhead.

In the scene in which Jeffrey is sitting at a table in the madhouse and the camera moves towards him you can see an old s/w photograph hanging on the wall. This is a photo of Kyle Brody, the 8th kid kidnapped by Rustin Parr and the only one who wasn’t killed by him. Kyle Brody was the main witness in the Rustin Parr trial and he described how the children were killed. He spent most of his life in a madhouse. So the madhouse in which Jeffrey lives could be exactly the one in which Kyle Brody spent his life. As the photo shows Kyle Brody as a grown-up, it was shot in the madhouse, too.

The symbols referred to as “The Witches Alphabet” are actually Norse runic symbols known as The Elder Futhaark.

One of the Symbols written on the walls of the Rustin Parr Ruins, the one that looks like ‘Þ’, is the Celtic Symbol Thorn. The Bringer of Death (Somewhat famous in horror circles because the Cult of Thorn because a big part of the Halloween franchise and a reason Michael Myers is effectively immortal in the original series).

In the dream when the baby is submerged in the water, watch the lower right-hand side of the screen. You’ll see the shadow of a stickman emerge and come higher into the frame.

Unlike its predecessor, this film is not presented in a found footage format. It is also the only film in the series not filmed in found footage as Blair Witch (2016), the third film, is presented in this format.

Joe Berlinger: appears as Burkittsville resident “Joe” during the documentary opening sequence.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (Bill Carraro, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joe Berlinger, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, Dick Beebe, Joe Berlinger, 2001)

Boo! A Madea Halloween Preview

“The great nut?” Rich scoffs incredulously, “you serious?” He insists to Poe that this is all absurd. Yes, it’s true, that tiny cute squirrel scroll was rather specific in how they were meant to cure “the Great One,” and indeed that aptly describes our boy Cage, but I mean… this is all vague scroll nonsense… right? But Poe isn’t so sure. Looking around he mutters, “the great nut… the… great nut,” when suddenly a burly man on a horse rides up and rears gallantly into the sky. “Did I hear you mutter something about the great nut?” he says happily, “oh boy! I knew today would be a wonderful day where I could help someone! It felt a bit like… oh, I don’t know.” He scratches his head happily. “Destiny?” Rich hesitantly offers. “Yes! Like destiny. Oh boy! This’ll be fun and we’ll be BFFs forever. My name is Kilgorn from Abelstar and I had a dream about the great nut. Isn’t that fun?!” He’s bursting with glee. Rich and Poe shuffle their feet awkwardly for a moment before filling the silence with a soft affirmative. It will be fun. “I know! Hooray! Follow me! My dream told me to ride this way” and with that Kilgorn begins to ride off through the woods. Rich and Poe look at each other and sigh. “Maybe Nic Cage can tough it out without Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved)?” Poe suggests but they both sigh again and start following their new BFFF Kilgorn. Up ahead they see him stopped at the edge of a wood. He’s quaking with fear and grabs Rich and Poe close against his bare, greasy chest. “This was also in my dream… or more like my nightmare,” he says, voice quavering, and then points into the woods, “gh-gh-gh-ghosts.” That’s right! We’re doing a special BMT Live (ish (not really)) by breaking out of the cycle in order to grab a festive Halloween edition of BMT. Gotta hit up some sweet Madea action with Boo! A Madea Halloween. I’m not sure where we stand on Madea given our up and down experience with the franchise, so maybe this’ll help us figure that out. Let’s go!

Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016) – BMeTric: 52.6; Notability: 17 

(Honestly? That is really impressive. You’d think the legion that is Perry’s fanbase who maybe do a halfway decent job at defending the rating. But then again, they would undoubtedly have to counter a brigade of racists who tend to deflate any black lead film. Still a bit surprising at how low the score is. As is the notability, but it was filmed in six days, so there are only so many famous people you could get involved.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – At 103 minutes, this film has way too much dead weight. Scenes are repeated over and over, and some of the acting would not cut it in a school play. But in the rare moments when “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” is firing on all cylinders, it displays a cleverness which hints that, with more time and a few more iterations of the script, this might have been a good movie. For the most part, the film has a rushed, haphazard quality that makes it feel like a selfish cash grab by its creator. But I know better; Perry’s love for his audience radiates off the screen and is returned just as powerfully by his fans. The real problem isn’t that he’s preaching to a built-in choir, it’s that the choir too easily forgives cinematic trespasses like this. That’s the Christian thing to do, I suppose, but I’m going to be a heathen here. Madea would understand.

(Interesting. The entire review is actually pretty fascinating, as is Tyler Perry and his creation Madea. A character created essentially for someone who is the opposite for myself. I try hard not to presume much about what we are watching because of that. We’ve seen two other Madea films, and this is poised to be the worst one we’ve seen.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sPHseSGr9Q/

(Oh boy. Part of that actually looks kind of funny. The idea of random characters being in various horror films is just amusing. Like, imagine 23 Jump Street just being those characters in Friday the 13th or something? That’s a funny idea. Also Bella Thorne is in this film? That’s wild.)

Directors – Tyler Perry – (Known For: Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nobody’s Fool; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; A Fall from Grace; Acrimony; Daddy’s Little Girls; For Colored Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Notes: Notably started out writing while living in his car. He parlayed a single play into a playhouse, and then a multimedia empire. He is estimated to now be worth nearly $1 billion, and will likely cross that threshold relatively soon as he makes $80 million a year himself from a deal with CBS.)

Tyler Perry Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 2014 for A Madea Christmas; and in 2018 for Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nominee for Worst Director in 2013 for Good Deeds, and Madea’s Witness Protection; in 2014 for A Madea Christmas, and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; and in 2017 for Boo! A Madea Halloween; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, Worst Actress, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for A Madea Family Funeral in 2020; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Combo for A Madea Christmas in 2014; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2013 for Alex Cross, and Good Deeds; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Combo for Boo! A Madea Halloween in 2017; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Madea’s Witness Protection in 2013; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween in 2018;

Writers – Tyler Perry (written by) – (Known For: Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nobody’s Fool; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; A Fall from Grace; Acrimony; Daddy’s Little Girls; For Colored Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Notes: I think he currently has maybe six television shows on the air. He has produced nearly 1000 episodes of television in general, which also likely make an enormous amount of money for streaming rights alone.)

Actors – Tyler Perry – (Known For: Gone Girl; Star Trek; Vice; Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; The Star; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; A Fall from Grace; Brain on Fire; BMT: Alex Cross; Boo! A Madea Halloween; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Notes: He has received multiple lifetime achievement awards for his achievements in television and movie production, including the 2020 Governor’s Award from the Primetime Emmys.)

Cassi Davis – (Known For: School Daze; Future BMT: Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Daddy’s Little Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for A Madea Family Funeral in 2020; Notes: Almost entirely known for the roles of Aunt Bam (various Tyler Perry films), Ellen Payne (House of Payne) and also appeared as a voice in The PJs prior to that.)

Patrice Lovely – (Future BMT: Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; A Madea Family Funeral; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Notes: Was the ringmaster for the UniverSoul Circus for years prior to acting with Perry on stage as Hattie.)

Budget/Gross – $20,000,000 / Domestic: $73,206,343 (Worldwide: $74,827,344)

(Given it was filmed in 6 days I’m going to guess that $18 million of that goes directly into Tyler Perry’s pocket. $1 million is for the crew and sets. $1 million for all of the other actors. And then Tyler Perry likely makes another $35 million straight cash. I bet he makes like $50 million dollars when he releases a movie … my god!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (8/43): Boo! A Madea Halloween won’t win Tyler Perry’s long-running franchise many new converts — but at nine films and counting, it hardly needs to.

(Shockingly high critic score now that I look at it. Looking through it the good reviews seem like a mix of “the least religious and thus most tolerable of the Madea films” and “Madea fans will like it.” Reviewer Highlight: Madea remains a distinctive, weirdly compelling character. Maybe someday Perry will make a good comedy for her. – Jesse Hassenger, AV Club)

Poster – Happy Hellurween

(I like my title actually. But this poster makes sense. It’s selling Madea, it’s got some sweet font, etc. I guess I’d like it if they were a bit more stylish in bringing in more orange. A little amateurish in that way. But still good. B.)

Tagline(s) – Trick or treat, fools. (B+)

(This is solid. You could have also used my Happy Hellur-ween. But don’t worry about it, not a big deal. This is catchy and I think it works quite well. Gives you the attitude of the film in a short and sweet package.)

Keyword – halloween

Top 10: Hocus Pocus (1993), The Addams Family (1991), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Karate Kid (1984), Addams Family Values (1993), Halloween (2018), Casper (1995), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Zodiac (2007)

Future BMT: 92.3 Son of the Mask (2005), 82.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.3 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 67.0 Halloween II (2009), 63.7 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 60.7 Skinwalkers (2006), 58.9 Pet Sematary II (1992), 57.7 The Next Best Thing (2000);

BMT: Thir13en Ghosts (2001), The Predator (2018), Batman Forever (1995), Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016), Made of Honour (2008), Deadly Friend (1986), Town & Country (2001)

(The Predator is a real deal Halloween film. The others I can’t really remember … Deadly Friend is I think, I think I remember someone smashing a pumpkin. Oh yeah, and Warren Beatty is dressed as someone in Town & Country, wild. The notability plot is somewhat inexplicable … maybe just holiday films in general have become smaller affairs with horror films dominating Halloween and blockbusters dominating Christmas? I would believe it I suppose.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tyler Perry is No. 1 billed in Boo! A Madea Halloween and No. 1 billed in Alex Cross, which also stars Jean Reno (No. 3 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 5 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Shot in six days.

Tyler Perry says the idea was conceived after watching the film Top Five (2014). In that film, Chris Rock’s character enters a movie theater and sees movie goers lined up for a fictional Tyler Perry movie about Madea fighting ghosts in a haunted house. That movie was also called “Boo!”

The film netted $74 million between domestic and international runs and $72 million of that was domestic. Having only a six-day shooting schedule, it made roughly $12.3 million per day of shooting.

YouTubers Liza Koshy, known by her fans as “little brown girl,” Mike Tornabene, a.k.a. “Dom Mazzeti,” Yousef Erakat, a.k.a. “FouseyTUBE,” YouTubers Kian Lawley and J.C. Caylen all have roles in the film (I combined a bunch of notes here. I wonder if this was a move to pull in a built in audience, or whether this was just because YouTubers are incredibly cheap actors …)

In the scene where BJ walks through the living room, the actor is holding the iPad of the film’s script supervisor which happened to have a PDF of the script on the screen as the prop was improvised as cameras started rolling on the scene.

While both Bam and Hattie call Madea by her given name, Bam also calls her ‘Dea’, and Hattie calls her ‘Ma’.

The first film in the franchise to feature Hattie and the second film in the franchise to feature Aunt Bam.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Red Sonja Preview

“How… how are we talking to you?” Rich asks the small squirrel that has appeared in front of them. “Destiny,” it whispers in importance, dancing excitedly on its tiny feet, “it is foretold in the ancient scroll. Come.” Its eyes are shining and it hurries off, occasionally turning back and beckoning them forth. Rich and Poe shrug their shoulders. What’s one more adventure? Besides, Nic Cage needs saving and this, however bizarre, is their best lead. Upon arriving at the squirrel’s tree they see that word has already spread, for hundreds of squirrels are there chattering amongst themselves. A gray, wizened squirrel waddles up with a little tiny knobbly cane and it’s all very sweet and Rich and Poe both think it’s very cute. “It has been foretold,” the old squirrel wheezes, “in the ancient scroll,” it continues pulling out the cutest, tiniest scroll and unrolling it. Thank god they don’t have to read it themselves because it’s so little and tiny and they’d need tiny cute glasses to read it, which the old squirrel has. He clears his throat and reads, “It is foretold in this ancient scroll that there will come a time where the great one will fall ill and a pair of twins will arrive to seek out the cure. The Great Nut that will be broken and through its shattering will clear the bowels of humanity.” The bad movie twins frown. “And with a mighty expulsion of putrid air and waste, which is foretold in this scroll, the world will be empty and the movement satisfactory.” The old squirrel hacks and coughs with the effort of speaking and really this whole thing is a little less cute once it’s all laid out like that. Recovering, it squeaks out a final, “Destiny,” before waving them away. That’s right! We’re watching the Conan the Barbarian adjacent sword and sandals film Red Sonja starring a new-on-the-scene Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold (but not playing Conan for some reason). Let’s see if 35 years have aged this fantasy action film into a fine wine. Let’s go!

Red Sonja (1985) – BMeTric: 60.0; Notability: 33 

(Surprisingly low. I guess I’m not surprised it has been rising with the number of votes though. I feel like these cheesy 80s properties are ripe for cult status. Very high notability given though considering it looks like garbage.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Spectacularly silly sword-and-sorcery saga with female lead, based on pulp writings of Robert E. Howard (of Conan fame). Might amuse juvenile viewers, but only point of interest for adults is deciding who gives the worse performance, Nielsen or villainess Bergman. Schwarzenegger has a brief guest spot.

(I don’t think Arnold’s guest sport is all that brief. I think he’s in like half the film. This feels like a review that was written much closer to the time of the film’s release. Somewhat interesting that he gave the same score to Conan the Destroyer, which was a genuinely terrible film from what I can recall.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUHsZEo4I24/

(They basically go all out on “THIS IS A CONAN FILM” … but he’s Lord Kalidor don’t worry about it. Man they really don’t make films like this anymore. It is basically a pulp novel come to life!)

Directors – Richard Fleischer – (Known For: Soylent Green; Tora! Tora! Tora!; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Fantastic Voyage; The Vikings; 10 Rillington Place; Compulsion; Mr. Majestyk; The Boston Strangler; Barabbas; See No Evil; The Last Run; The Narrow Margin; Violent Saturday; Future BMT: Amityville 3-D; The Jazz Singer; Doctor Dolittle; Mandingo; Million Dollar Mystery; The Incredible Sarah; BMT: Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for The Jazz Singer in 1981; Notes: )

Writers – Robert E. Howard (based on the character created by) – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Kull the Conqueror; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Sadly killed himself on the night his mother died when he was 30 years old. Was friends with H. P. Lovecraft and one of the Lovecraft Circle.)

Clive Exton (written by) – (Known For: 10 Rillington Place; Isadora; Future BMT: The Awakening; BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: His last major motion picture. He wrote 21 episodes of Poirot, which is great and I highly recommend.)

George MacDonald Fraser (written by) – (Known For: Octopussy; The Three Musketeers; The Four Musketeers; The Return of the Musketeers; BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: Created Harry Flashman, the bully of Tom Brown’s School Days. The character appeared in the film Royal Flash starring Malcolm McDowell.)

Roy Thomas (comic book) (uncredited) – (Known For: Logan; Fire and Ice; BMT: Red Sonja; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Wrote for a bunch of comic companies, but probably most notably Marvel. Credited on Morbius, and Captain Marvel among many others because of that. Wrote three sword and sorcery films in 1983, 1984, and 1985.)

Barry Windsor-Smith (comic book) (uncredited) – (BMT: Red Sonja; Notes: Notably wrote on the Weapon X storyline for Marvel comics in addition to the Conan the Barbarian comics.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator: Dark Fate; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; Total Recall; Commando; Predator; Dave; True Lies; Kindergarten Cop; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Escape Plan; The Running Man; Twins; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; The 6th Day; Maggie; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Collateral Damage; Jingle All The Way; End of Days; Cactus Jack; The Iron Mask; Eraser; Terminator Genisys; Last Action Hero; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Red Sonja; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1983 for Conan the Barbarian; in 1994 for Last Action Hero; in 2000 for End of Days; and in 2001 for The 6th Day; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Batman & Robin; in 2001 for The 6th Day; in 2005 for Around the World in 80 Days; and in 2015 for The Expendables 3; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The 6th Day in 2001; Notes: A little odd he gets top billing in the film. Anyhoo, he just had heart surgery, but is in recovery and feeling “fantastic”. Arnold is the best.)

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Rocky IV; BMT: Red Sonja; Cobra; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst New Star for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst New Star for Red Sonja in 1986; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1986 for Red Sonja; in 1987 for Cobra; and in 1990 for Bye Bye Baby; Notes: Famously was engaged to Sly Stallone during Rocky IV and then married soon after. She’s famously 6’1’’ which is part of the reason they approached her for this film.)

Sandahl Bergman – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; All That Jazz; Airplane II: The Sequel; Hell Comes to Frogtown; Future BMT: Xanadu; The Singing Detective; Mame; BMT: Red Sonja; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Red Sonja in 1986; Notes: Oddly, much like Arnold, she played two different characters in this and the original Conan the Barbarian. Apparently she was originally asked to play Sonja … I wonder with Arnold and her in the two leading roles whether they would have more explicitly suggested they were Conan and Valerie.)

Budget/Gross – $17.9 million / Domestic: $6,948,633 (Worldwide: $6,951,415)

(Yeah that’s a disaster. I’m not sure I believe the nearly $20 million budget though, but perhaps that explains why they pumped the brakes on King Conan, the third film that was eventually turned into Kull the Conqueror … oh yeah I forgot we have a final Conan film to watch!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (4/26): Dull, poorly directed, and badly miscast, Red Sonja is an uninspired conclusion to Schwarzenegger’s barbarian trilogy.

(Most reviews appear to lament how miscast Nielsen is, and how if she were the least bit charming or funny the film would end up being a light romp. Instead it is a deathly serious disaster. Reviewer Highlight: Red Sonja returns to those olden days when women were women and the menfolk stood around with funny hats on until called forth to be whacked at. – Variety)

Poster – Red Skloga

(Yes. … … oh you want more? This fits a mold that makes my brain happy and I wish I could go back in time, ask for a large poster for my room, and hang it there because it’s cool. It feels like the cover of a book I’d read and it would be kinda terrible but also I’d like reading it. So I don’t even think I can give an unbiased opinion on this so I’ll rate it J. Stands for “Jamie likes this.”)

Tagline(s) – A woman and a warrior that became a legend. (C-)

(Bringing me down to Earth. I can judge this without bias and I don’t like it because it’s bad. It’s too long and doesn’t flow. It isn’t clever and is kinda vague.)

Keyword – sword and sorcery

Top 10: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Troy (2004), Dune (1984), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Princess Bride (1987), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), 300 (2006), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Stardust (2007)

Future BMT: 65.9 Highlander: Endgame (2000), 53.2 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), 50.6 Your Highness (2011), 49.7 The Last Legion (2007), 46.9 Kull the Conqueror (1997), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 44.4 Wrath of the Titans (2012), 42.9 Hercules (1983), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983);

BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Hellboy (2019), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), The Last Airbender (2010), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Masters of the Universe (1987), Seventh Son (2014), The 13th Warrior (1999), Eragon (2006), Conan the Destroyer (1984), Red Sonja (1985), Season of the Witch (2011), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

(I mean … I wouldn’t count the Harry Potter films personally. But certainly the genre had a moment with Lord of the Rings in the early 00s. And now they are having a big moment on television with Game of Thrones and now the upcoming Wheel of Time (which I hope is good), a reboot of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and things like The Witcher. NeverEnding Story II is a wild one from the BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Arnold Schwarzenegger is No. 1 billed in Red Sonja and No. 4 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 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) => 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 13. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character was originally intended to be a reprisal of Conan, star of the comic book in which Red Sonja first appeared, but the film did not have the rights to this name. An unofficial explanation endorsed by fans is that Kalidor is one of Conan’s “traveling names,” a common feature of multi-national mythical/legendary heroes such as Zeus (a.k.a. Jupiter) and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gandalf (a.k.a. Mithrandir). (Oh, I just thought they were trying to get that Conan sheen while not having to deal with it being a Conan movie explicitly. Weird they didn’t have the rights)

Arnold Schwarzenegger eschews this movie as one of his worst, yet he (laughingly) claims that it’s an excellent disciplinary tool for his children. “I tell them, if they get on my bad side, they’ll be forced to watch Red Sonja (1985) ten times in a row. It must be working, because none of my kids has ever given me much trouble.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger signed up for a glorified cameo, as a favor to producer Dino De Laurentiis. Much to his surprise, he was on the set for four weeks, three weeks longer than expected. He discovered after watching a rough cut of the movie that his role had been expanded to co-star, thanks to crafty angles and multiple cameras. Soon after, Schwarzenegger decided to terminate his 10-year contract with De Laurentiss. (Ha! See I knew the Maltin note was kind of wrong. He’s in like half the movie.)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen had an affair during filming. (Future wife of Sly … I wonder if there is any bad blood about that stuff)

Sigourney Weaver was considered for Red Sonja. (That would have been amazing)

It is commonly believed that Robert E. Howard created the character of Red Sonja in one of his Conan short stories. He actually created Red Sonya, who appeared in “Shadow of the Vulture,” a story set in 16th-century Turkey with no Conan connections. She was the namesake of the famous “Red Sonja” who first appeared in a Conan comic book written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Barry Windsor-Smith.

A remake was announced in 2009, with Robert Rodriguez directing and Rose McGowan to star as Red Sonja. When Conan the Barbarian (2011) failed at the box office, Rodriguez and McGowan backed out of the project. As of 2015, the remake is in development hell. (… but Rose McGowan was the bad guy in the 2011 Conan film … I don’t get it)

Sandahl Bergman was initially cast as the title character. She decided to portray Queen Gedren to help avoid typecasting. (Poor decision, would have been cooler with the Conan connection there)

It took Dino De Laurentiis almost a year to find an actress “Amazonian” enough to play the title character. Eight weeks before production was set to begin, he saw Brigitte Nielsen on the cover of a fashion magazine. The 21-year-old native of Helsingør, Denmark, in Milan for a modeling job, soon found herself on a plane heading for Rome and a successful screen test.

On a 2015 episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, soap opera actress Eileen Davidson revealed that she auditioned for the role and was actually runner-up to Brigitte Nielsen.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brigitte Nielsen, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Sandahl Bergman, 1986)

House of Wax Preview

As the gamemasters cackle and begin the unnecessarily long process of putting the two pieces of the Dongle back together, Rich begins to hear a whistle. It steadily grows louder until even the gamemasters stop and look around. A lightning strike suddenly hits the Earth. It quakes and Poe emerges from a crack. “Im… impossible,” John Travolta gasps in horror. Rich and Poe clasp hands in a Predator high five. “I’m here, brother,” Poe says, “now let’s pound some dweebs.” While Rich and Poe’s greasy abs, gleaming in the sunlight, would normally strike fear into anyone’s hearts (and in fact, even more so now as Poe emerged from the Earth entirely in the nude), the gamemasters simply smile. “Silly brothers, you have no chance against the power of the twins,” screams Travolta in crazed glee, but when he attempts to smash the pieces of the Dongle together an unseen power prevents him. “Wha wha whaaaaaa?” he says like a total dumbo. The pieces of the dongle are suddenly wrenched from his hands and float over to Rich and Poe. A look of peace is on their face as they use their new found powers to provide an anticlimactic ten minute long expository monologue directly into the gamemasters’ heads. It’s incredibly detailed and reveals formerly unknown facts about Rich and Poe’s upbringing on the bayou. It’s a tale of twins, separated at birth, one taken in by a rich family, the other a poor, but forever linked by their sense of justice and attitude towards rulez. They are and have forever been… the Bad Movie Twins. And with that they place the pieces of the Dongle together and totally pound those dweebs. The ceremonial chamber melts under the intense power of the Dongle. Looks like it’s time to blow this joint. That’s right! We are transitioning to a very special 2020 year in review cycle by watching House of Wax (2005). I’m sure you’re all like “but wait, that wasn’t made in 2020!” and you’d be right. Because of world events there just aren’t that many major motion pictures for the year. So instead we are doing what we are calling Hindsight is 2020. We are mixing together some of the films that did get released early in the year with a retrospective look at films released 5, 10, 15, etc. years ago and a few holiday films to boot. It’ll be an extravaganza the likes of which we’ll (hopefully) never see again. Let’s go!

The literary agent looks in fear at the two cyborg men. “Wh-what do you want with me?” he asks in fear and then looks down at the basket they have brought into the office, “and what’s in the basket?” he wonders aloud. “Oh, just something I think you’ll be very interested in,” the two cyborg men say before they turn and take off their stylish fedoras to reveal none other than… Sticks and Stones! Bum bum bum. That’s right! We are finishing our Bring a Friend cycle by partaking in the lesser known horror franchise Basket Case 2. It’s a little questionable just how bad some of these films are as they have niche audiences that love them, but can’t we just watch a weird horror sequel involving a tiny deformed twin in a basket in peace? Let’s go!

House of Wax (2005) – BMeTric: 58.0; Notability: 34 

(Nice, 2005 is basically the oldest a movie can be and still see the beginning of the film’s release on the internet archive it looks like. I find it interesting that it opened so low … maybe finicky horror fans slamming a not-great horror film? Maybe people trying to brigade a Paris Hilton film? Maybe back then IMDb was much more of a movie aficionado’s site. It is hard to tell, but still pleasantly low rating even today. Fun trajectory.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – The Dead Teenager Movie has grown up. The characters in “House of Wax” are in their 20s and yet still repeat the fatal errors of all the “Friday the 13th” kids who checked into Camp Crystal Lake and didn’t check out. … Where the movie excels is in its special effects and set design. Graham “Grace” Walker masterminds a spectacular closing sequence in which the House of Wax literally melts down, and characters sink into stairs, fall through floors and claw through walls. There is also an eerie sequence in which a living victim is sprayed with hot wax and ends up with a finish you’d have to pay an extra four bucks for at the car wash.

(I agree with Ebert about the final scene. I saw this film long ago and that is, indeed, an impressive set piece in a way. I’m more surprised, though, that he didn’t reject the film flat out as torture porn garbage. Because it is pretty close to Hostel-level in how it revels in gore. Unpleasant in my opinion, just not my cup of tea as far as horror is concerned. This is, of course, based on my memory of watching it over 15 years ago.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DnFKwVcM10/

(Pretty standard. Having watched it a few times now I can say they are being a bit deceptive about the set up for the film. The set up is epically stupid. But it gives the right vibe: Texas Chainsaw Massacre basically.)

Directors – Jaume Collet-Serra – (Known For: Orphan; The Shallows; The Commuter; Non-Stop; Unknown; Run All Night; Future BMT: Goal II: Living the Dream; BMT: House of Wax; Notes: Tapped for Black Adam and Jungle Cruise, two upcoming Dwayne Johnson features. From Spain, and directs music videos under the mononym Juame.)

Writers – Charles Belden (story) – (Known For: House of Wax; Dracula’s Daughter; Mystery of the Wax Museum; Charlie Chan at the Opera; BMT: House of Wax; Notes: This is why I found it odd that people talk about the 1953 film as the predecessor, when this guy wrote the 1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum and gets a credit listed on IMDb on this and the 1953 film. The story is a lot closer for that film as well.)

Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes (screenplay) – (Known For: The Conjuring; The Conjuring 2; Future BMT: The Turning; The Reaping; The Crucifixion; BMT: House of Wax; Whiteout; Notes: You guessed it, they are twins! They are twins that wrote a horror film about twins. They also played twins in the movie Rad starring Lori Loughlin. They are part of the writing team for the Die Hard prequel McClane.)

Actors – Chad Michael Murray – (Known For: Freaky Friday; Max Winslow and the House of Secrets; Fruitvale Station; Camp Cold Brook; Future BMT: The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia; Survive the Night; Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; A Cinderella Story; Home of the Brave; Cavemen; Outlaws and Angels; BMT: Left Behind; House of Wax; A Madea Christmas; Notes: Most notable for his star turn on One Tree Hill. He never quite made it to being a movie star, but he’s done a ton of television. Apparently he was up for the Ryan Atwood role on The O.C. but turned it down to do One Tree Hill.)

Paris Hilton – (Known For: Zoolander; The Bling Ring; Snakes on a Plane; Repo! The Genetic Opera; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Future BMT: The Hottie & the Nottie; Pledge This!; Raising Helen; Wonderland; BMT: The Cat in the Hat; House of Wax; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for The Hottie & the Nottie in 2009; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress in 2006 for House of Wax; and in 2009 for Repo! The Genetic Opera; and Winner for Worst Actress of the Decade in 2010 for House of Wax, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and The Hottie & the Nottie; Notes: The heiress of the Hilton fortune, but apparently has made around $300 million herself mostly through fragrance royalties overseas. Allegedly her antics caused her grandfather to donate 97% of his fortune to charity, thus costing her relatives billions in inheritance. Can’t say I’m crying a river over that, that sounds swell.)

Elisha Cuthbert – (Known For: The Girl Next Door; Love Actually; Old School; Goon: Last of the Enforcers; He Was a Quiet Man; Future BMT: Captivity; The Quiet; Just Before I Go; BMT: House of Wax; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Captivity in 2008; Notes: I think she’s still known for being Jack Bauer’s daughter on 24. But beyond that she also had a starring role on Happy Endings, and on Ashton Kutcher’s show The Ranch. Married to the professional hockey player Dion Phaneuf.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $32,064,800 (Worldwide: $68,766,121)

(Hmmmm, not great. I’m actually really surprised by this, usually horror films are money in the bank. I have two guesses. First, its word of mouth was so bad it torpedoed the release. This is most likely. Second, this is right around when things like Hostel were starting to come out and it ended up playing into a much more niche audience than the producers realized. This is maybe supported by Hostel, a film I feel is wildly successful and spawned multiple sequels, “only” made $47 million domestically. Saw II and The Ring 2 were released the same year and made far more despite being worse than Hostel … but maybe that is the sequel effect.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (41/158): Bearing little resemblance to the 1953 original, House of Wax is a formulaic but better-than-average teen slasher flick.

(I’m actually a bit surprised they even mention the original. The original really has nothing to do with this film. I don’t even really think they considered it a remake in any capacity, it just used the same name. Reviewer Highlight: Related to the 1953 Vincent Price film in name, embalming technique and Warner Bros. pedigree only, the new House of Wax is a dreary, predictable tale. – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Time)

Poster – House of Racks on Racks

(That house is making bank on those wax sculptures fo sho. This is just a flat out good poster. Creepy and getting me intrigued. I like the subtle color scheme and the font is just enough, although I would have enjoyed them melting a little too. A)

Tagline(s) – Prey. Slay. Display. (A+)

(I mean… that’s… I’m speechless. This is the creativity I want. Stay within the tried and true formula while also surprising me. Rule of three with a rhyme scheme?! Come on. A little hint of the gory details of the plot and do it all in three words?!?! It’s a masterclass.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Great Outdoors (1988), House of Wax (2005), Lord of the Flies (1990), A Cinderella Story (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: House of Wax (2005), Double Impact (1991), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Father Figures (2017), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Jack and Jill (2011), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Pluto Nash (2002), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(And with that we finish our twin cycle with eleven bona fide “twins” films. A wild success if I say so myself. It Takes Two is probably the only one on the list which is definitely “twins” and we should do. A Cinderella Story is close, but it is just the step sisters that are twins in that case (and it is really hard to tell if it is real or assumed online).)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Chad Michael Murray is No. 5 billed in House of Wax and No. 2 billed in Left Behind (2014), 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) => 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Aside from the title and the setting of a wax museum, this film has no connection to the original film House of Wax (1953) in terms of plot.

Jared Padalecki is one foot taller than co-star Elisha Cuthbert. To make herself appear taller in scenes where she and Padalecki would be filmed together, Cuthbert taped two-inch blocks of wood to the bottoms of her boots. This was only done during scenes where they would be shot from the knee and up.

Names mentioned in the script but not the film are the roadkill collector (Lester), and Carly and Nick’s last name (Jones). Chad Michael Murray (Nick), in a radio interview, was shocked to hear his character finally had a last name, and said that it was an ongoing debate on set.

The town of Ambrose was constructed in 10 weeks, and was modeled after a real town in Eritrea called Asmara. Asmara was built by the Italians in Africa during World War II in the Modern Style rather than the Deco Style, which was more popular at the time. (Whaaaaaa?)

On 26 June 2004, a sound stage being used for the film burned to the ground during a test of special-effects equipment. The fire, started by a candle, destroyed a studio at Warner Bros Movie World on Australia’s Gold Coast. One crew member was treated for burns to his arm, but no one else was injured.

Paris Hilton was actually the first to be cast for this film. The cast was then built around her. (Whaaaaaa?)

Though the film takes place in Florida, USA, the film was actually shot in Australia. (False, the film is set in Louisiana, they are coming from Florida. But whatever)

The first end credits song and one of the songs on the film’s soundtrack, “Helena” which is by the rock band, My Chemical Romance, was released about two months before the film’s release and was already a huge hit. (I love fun facts about made-for-film songs. Just bizarre how famous some songs ostensibly made for films can be over time despite the films themselves not being particularly notable)

This is Dark Castle Entertainment’s fifth film.

The film takes place in Florida. One of the filming locations of this film’s predecessor, House of Wax (1953), was Saint Augustine, Florida. (Wait … this is the second note to suggest it is in Florida. But I swear, they are travelling to Louisiana to see a Florida-LSU game? Maybe I have the direction wrong. This has to be confirmed!)

The film originally opened with a character named Jennifer (Emma Lung) stuck on an empty road with car troubles and is attacked and killed by either Bo or Vincent (this alternate opening is included as a special feature on the DVD and Blu-ray). Though this scene was scrapped, Jennifer’s presence still lingers in the film. She is the female sculpture that Vincent is working on and is later displayed with a pink dress and bouquet of flowers outside the movie theater. (WHAT? This is my exact criticism of the film. That they needed an early kill of a person you’d later see as a wax figure. Why scrap it?)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress of the Decade (Paris Hilton, 2010)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Paris Hilton, 2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (2006)

The Astronaut’s Wife Preview

“Alright, kid” Rich says, tipping his hat and taking a long drag from his cigarette, “what’s a nice dame like you doing in a dangerous place like this? Why don’t you let me handle the Dongle?” Dr. Summersly smirks and replies huskily, “and what? Let you have all the fun? If anyone’s going to handle the Dongle it’s going to be me.” Gruber watches this display in disgust. It’s all a little… overt for his tastes. Rich winks at Dr. Summersly and gets back to brass tacks. He’s got to get his hands on that Dongle and fast! Dr. Summersly is counting on him and perhaps with its vast power he’ll be able to bring back Poe and then he can sort out this damned case of mistaken identity. He and the good doctor are meant to be! Poe just has to realize that! Putting their heads together they try to think of who could be the secret buyer of the Dongle. “El Flamenco?” Summersly suggests, but Rich is pretty sure he’s safely behind bars. “What about Spider Gruber?” Gruber interjects, shuddering at the thought of the Spider version of himself, but he’s a big ol’ gross spider person and could hardly skulk around unnoticed. Suddenly Rich has an idea. “Get in the car,” he says putting on his fedora. As they drive, Rich recounts the devious plan to ransom the moon of 2 Rich 2 Poe: Reclamation fame. Summersly suddenly gasps, “Jim? It can’t be.” That’s right, Jim McBrawn, renowned astronaut and sex symbol, who was never the same after the plan left his reputation in tatters and estranged from his father… Poe. They pull up to a suburban house. “This is the place?” Summersly says, confused. But Rich shakes his head. “Not Jim… his wife.” That’s right! We’re watching The Astronaut’s Wife as the SciFi entry in the cycle. Johnny Depp plays an astronaut who comes back from space changed and immediately impregnates his wife with twins… very specifically twins. Can’t wait to figure out what creepy reason they came up with that necessitates alium twin babies. Let’s go!

Three’s a crowd, but four’s a party. But where is Poe gonna find a fourth for this Dragon Party (patent pending). Suddenly he has an idea and whips out a pair of total nerd glasses he keeps handy for his incognito undercover cases. “Why hello,” he says and then puts on the glasses, “and also hello, we are Rich and Poe. Two people for two beautiful ladies.” The Dragons are confused, but intrigued. Perhaps they’ll entertain this odd couple, RIch and Poe, before blasting them away in a total… That’s right! We’re watching Firestorm as the SciFi Friend. It takes place in the far future where two twins have to something something something. Twins, future, Firestorm. That’s all you need to know. Let’s go!

The Astronaut’s Wife (1999) – BMeTric: 52.1; Notability: 35 

(The BMeTric is shockingly high. The sheer number of votes is also weirdly high to me. This film is perplexing, I do not remember this coming out at all, and yet it seems to be a fairly large release, considered fairly bad, and has been seen a decent amount. Weird.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Happily married astronaut has a strange experience during a space mission. Has he changed somehow, or is it his young wife’s imagination? Rosemary’s Baby-style thriller is just a big tease; sluggish and unsatisfying, with an especially stupid finale.

(Yes! I’m here for an incredibly stupid ending … unless the real tease is this review. Now we’re cooking with fire, this seems like maybe it is a genuinely terrible low key sci-fi film. Do you know what else is a tease? Leonard with semicolons. Absolutely love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu_TmXgGEG8/

(Alien Twins. Bad Twins. There are so many good titles for this film which is so so incredibly about twins in the weirdest way possible. Looks boring otherwise, but the Maltin review gives me hope.)

Directors – Rand Ravich – (BMT: The Astronaut’s Wife; Notes: Now produces and writes for television, Life being one of the bigger examples.)

Writers – Rand Ravich (written by) – (Future BMT: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh; BMT: The Astronaut’s Wife; Notes: Started writing straight-video / cable films including Inside Out IV, a send of soft core films made by Playboy … which is crazy.)

Actors – Charlize Theron – (Known For: The Old Guard; Bombshell; Mad Max: Fury Road; Prometheus; The Devil’s Advocate; Fast & Furious 8; Monster; The Italian Job; Long Shot; Snow White and the Huntsman; The Addams Family; Atomic Blonde; The Cider House Rules; The Road; That Thing You Do!; North Country; Hancock; Tully; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Young Adult; Future BMT: The Last Face; Reindeer Games; A Million Ways to Die in the West; Waking Up in Reno; The Huntsman: Winter’s War; 15 Minutes; Gringo; Dark Places; Trapped; Sleepwalking; Sweet November; Head in the Clouds; The Burning Plain; BMT: The Astronaut’s Wife; Æon Flux; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Combo for A Million Ways to Die in the West in 2015; and Nominee for Worst Actress for Sweet November in 2002; Notes: Still absolutely one of the biggest actresses around, and branching into production. She was the executive producer on the very excellent show Mindhunters which sadly has been cancelled and won’t get a third season. But the first two seasons are excellent.)

Johnny Depp – (Known For: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Waiting for the Barbarians; Murder on the Orient Express; Platoon; Sleepy Hollow; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Alice in Wonderland; Edward Scissorhands; Tusk; A Nightmare on Elm Street; 21 Jump Street; Blow; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Donnie Brasco; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Public Enemies; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Yoga Hosers; London Fields; Sherlock Gnomes; Private Resort; The Tourist; Dark Shadows; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Nick of Time; The Libertine; The Man Who Cried; The Brave; Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; The Professor; BMT: Jack and Jill; The Astronaut’s Wife; Mortdecai; Transcendence; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2014 for The Lone Ranger; in 2016 for Mortdecai; in 2018 for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; and in 2019 for Sherlock Gnomes; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo in 2016 for Mortdecai; in 2018 for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; and in 2019 for Sherlock Gnomes; Notes: Has become somewhat of a joke in the past 15 years or so. Mostly this is just because of his apparent insistence on wild makeup and acting choices (e.g. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Is currently going through a high profile divorce and libel trial involving his ex-wife Amber Heard.)

Joe Morton – (Known For: Justice League; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Speed; Godzilla: King of the Monsters; American Gangster; What Lies Beneath; Ali; Of Mice and Men; Blues Brothers 2000; Crossroads; Forever Young; Apt Pupil; …and justice for all.; Executive Decision; Lone Star; Bounce; The Brother from Another Planet; Tap; The Good Mother; Between the Lines; Future BMT: Curse of the Pink Panther; The Pest; The Night Listener; Dragonfly; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; The Walking Dead; The Inkwell; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Stealth; The Astronaut’s Wife; Paycheck; Notes: An amazingly prolific television actor starring in Eureka, Scandal, and God Friended Me. Was nominated for an Emmy for his work in Scandal.)

Budget/Gross – $75,000,000 / Domestic: $10,672,566 (Worldwide: $19,598,588)

(Holy crap, that is a colossal failure. An incredible failure. Why would a weirdo Sci-Fi / Thriller get a $75 million budget? Maybe … I bet this was supposed to be a space thing. I bet they spent a ton of money on space hoping to get people in looking for big CGI. It is the only thing that makes sense.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (9/59): Despite the best efforts of its talented leads, The Astronaut’s Wife moves at a snail’s pace and fails to generate enough intrigue to keep viewers engaged.

(I actually have to do two Reviewer Highlights here for the terrible overplayed cliches. Reviewer Highlight: Houston, we have a problem. It’s called The Astronaut’s Wife. – Andy Seller, USA Today. Reviewer Highlight: In space, no one can hear you snore. – Peter Howell, Toronto Star)

Poster – More like Astro-NOT

(I think… I think I really like this. I was gonna criticize the darkness of it and the font. But I think there is something artistic in the framing that is pretty nice… the font could still be better. A-.)

Tagline(s) – Imagine the face of terror is the one you love. (A-)

(This is pretty good. I’m a little surprised it hasn’t been used before. Because it’s almost everything I’m looking for. It tells me what’s up, it twists things around in a clever way, and isn’t egregiously long. Could be a little cleverer and shorter, but pretty good.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Meet the Robinsons (2007), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), House of Wax (2005), Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Jack and Jill (2011), Father Figures (2017), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), Pluto Nash (2002), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(I forgot I added twins to Cheaper by the Dozen and its sequel. So we are at nine films. Which means once we watch Double Impact we will have watched ten films with the twins keyword. A truly landmark achievement for the Bad Movie Twins.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Johnny Depp is No. 1 billed in The Astronaut’s Wife and No. 1 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 13. If we were to watch Reindeer Games, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – The movie that Jillian and Spencer watch together is Penny Serenade (1941).

Clea Duvall (Nan) can be seen wearing blue contacts during several scenes in the movie. In some scenes, she sports her natural brown eyes.

When Mr. Reese tracks Jillian to the toy store, he opens his briefcase to show her documents. The lock code was set to ‘666’.

According to the script and novelization, Spencer has formed a telepathic link with the twins his wife is carrying. The fetal twins emitted supersonic pulses which tuned with their father’s senses. This explains why the alien always managed to track down Jillian wherever she went.

Urban Legends: Final Cut Preview

“Hey Poe, what’s wrong? Looks like you saw a ghost.” Rich’s mouth has run dry at the sight of none other than Helmut Gruber. He leaps to his feet and tackles him to the ground, handcuffing him to the desk. “What the hell are you doing Poe?” the captain asks incredulously. “Let DETECTIVE Heinerich Gruber up and get to work.” Detective? Heinrich? Rich needs to get out of here and fast, but before he can leave the chief grabs his arm and stops him. “I know this is hard, but do this for Rich. The fact is that we no longer think his death was a freak dressage accident. We think it’s… murder.” Everyone gasps. Murder? But why? “For this,” the chief says and turns on a projector. On the screen is the Obsidian Dongle. Gasps ring out again. “That’s right,” the chief says, “Rich had gotten close to a seller of the Dongle. You think you can keep it cool and get this done?” Rich stops rubbing his chest and nods his head. In the car he and Gruber discuss the plan. A quick karate chop to the neck should do it. When they enter the abandoned cement factory where the deal is supposed to take place they are greeted with a gruesome scene. “Is that… the seller?” Rich asks. Gruber nods and gulps, taking in a man pinned to the wall by an arrow, his blood smeared on the wall, “Sincerely, The Sparrow.” Rich ponders for a moment. Sparrow… arrow… he turns to Gruber and asks again how Rich was killed. Gruber sighs, “Like you heard, a freak dressage accident. He got tangled in the reigns of his horse and literally rode until he couldn’t anymore.” My god, Rich thinks, we’ve got a serial killer on the loose. That’s right, we’re doubling up and crushing the Urban Legend(s) franchise. While the first is totally bereft of twins (mistake), the sequel is twin centric. Hopefully the twins are used for good instead of evil. But there’s only one way to find out. Let’s go!

Poe looks at the twin dragons circling the smoking mountain. If that’s the way back to help Rich then that’s where he will go. “How?” he asks his twin protectors. They look at each other and nod, “To defeat the twin dragons you must have strength.” Poe thinks for a moment, “So like a killer workout routine?” But the twins laugh. “No,” they say, still shaking their heads, “food… it’s munchies time.” That’s right! We’re pairing up our horror cycle with the Gremlins super-knockoff Munchies where they literally hired the editor of Gremlins and told her to make another one. Let’s go!

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) – BMeTric: 68.8; Notability: 31 

(Brutal rating. It floated sub-4.0 for years prior to a more recent inexplicable uptick. I think I finall have a good grasp on the notability. A film with 50+ means they are pulling out all the stops on the budget and pretty rare for bad films. 30-50 are normal theatrical releases. Some odd tweener films are from 20-30 where it is released to theaters, but they are going with a smaller budget or skimping on the cast. Anything in 10-20 might be independent, or some straight-to-video with recognizable faces, etc. Anything below 10 is a nothing movie. There you have it.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – I don’t know if you’re tired of terrified girls racing through shadowy basements pursued by masked slashers while the soundtrack pulses with variations on the “Halloween” theme, but I am. Real tired. This time the killer wears a fencing mask, and at the end no one even thinks to say “touche!”

(I can’t believe he gave this a 2, that’s so crazy. By all accounts this is much worse than the first, and yet he just shrugs and is like “all the same to me I suppose”. If he’s so tired of the genre why give it a two out of four?)

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

(Oh shit, the scene where they fake the girl’s death they clearly had to color the blood black to get around issues with putting the trailer on television. It is the only explanation. Immediately a much worse concept than the first film … basically just a rip off of the cooler concept of Scream 2. Seriously, what is wrong with the people making Urban Legend that they are literally just copying Scream beat for beat?)

Directors – John Ottman – (BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Notes: Mostly a composer, he is the notorious editor for Bohemian Rhapsody, a film most critics seemed to think was poorly edited, but evidently the mere fact that he cobbled together a film from what was apparently a pile of nonsense earned him accolades in the editor community (who are the ones who vote on the award).)

Writers – Silvio Horta (characters) – (Future BMT: Urban Legend; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Notes: Didn’t seem to actually write this, this is just a character credit. Executive produced The Chronicle a one and done workplace comedy set at a tabloid newspaper.)

Paul Harris Boardman (written by) – (Known For: The Exorcism of Emily Rose; Future BMT: Deliver Us from Evil; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Devil’s Knot; Notes: Appears to have only written horror films in his career. Wrote Hellraiser: Inferno, the fifth Hellraiser film.)

Scott Derrickson (written by) – (Known For: Doctor Strange; Sinister; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; Land of Plenty; Future BMT: Sinister 2; Deliver Us from Evil; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Devil’s Knot; Notes: A major director and producer now for Disney, he not only wrote Doctor Strange, he also directed it and is involved with the Labyrinth sequel.)

Actors – Jennifer Morrison – (Known For: Bombshell; Star Trek; Warrior; Star Trek into Darkness; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; The Report; Assassination Nation; Stir of Echoes; Superfly; Miracle on 34th Street; Back Roads; All Creatures Here Below; Sun Dogs; Some Girl(s); Future BMT: The Darkness; Amityville: The Awakening; Surviving Christmas; Intersection; Big Stan; Knife Fight; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Grind; Notes: You’d know her from the first few seasons of House, and she was one of the main characters in Once Upon a Time. Started modelling as a child in things like JCPenney.)

Matthew Davis – (Known For: Legally Blonde; Blue Crush; Tigerland; Below; Heights; Future BMT: BloodRayne; S. Darko; Pearl Harbor; Finding Bliss; Seeing Other People; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Waiting for Forever; Notes: Briefly a star in the early 2000s, he was the bad guy in Legally Blonde. Starred in Vampire Diaries and the spinoff series Legacies.)

Hart Bochner – (Known For: Die Hard; Carrie; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; For Your Consideration; Rules Don’t Apply; Breaking Away; Bulworth; Anywhere But Here; Making Mr. Right; Rich and Famous; Islands in the Stream; Apartment Zero; Future BMT: Supergirl; Spread; Liberty Stands Still; Terror Train; Mr. Destiny; The Innocent; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Notes: Was the yuppie asshole Harry Ellis in Die Hard, and has always been juuuuuust not quite a star throughout his career. Directed PCU and High School High, and is the son of Lloyd Bochner who was all over television and film in the 60s and 70s.)

Budget/Gross – $14,000,000 / Domestic: $21,468,807 (Worldwide: $38,574,362)

(Ehhhhhh this would be considered a pretty bad haul by most standards just because it relies on worldwide take to recoup a 2x on the budget. So definitely not surprising they didn’t go for a third. I have to assume at some point you’re running on fumes with some mediocre urban legends.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (7/82): This teen horror movie brings nothing new to an already exhausted genre. And it’s bad. Really bad.

(Yeah, that’s a rouch sub-10 percentage there. It is pretty sad how exhausted the slasher genre got only a few years after Scream revitalized it. Reviewer Highlight: It delivers bald-faced variations on devices that were originally deployed, albeit with a redeeming glint of irony, in the Scream films and in Scary Movie. – David Chute, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Karl Urban Legends: Ghost Ship with the Most Ship

(I really appreciate that they went all in on a Jason style mask even before the mask premiered in the franchise. As if we are supposed to know what a fencing mask is supposed to mean in this context. Like the orange, but needs that sweet sweet font and feels very crowded. C+.)

Tagline(s) – Legends never die (A)

(I think… I think I like it. It’s very short and sweet and gets to the point. It’s also a little double meaning mixed in and lets you know you’re in for some thrills and chills. Yeah, I like it. Weird to use a word from the title in the tagline, but OK.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Great Outdoors (1988), House of Wax (2005), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), Despicable Me 3 (2017), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 52.0 The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 17.3 Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), Father Figures (2017), Pluto Nash (2002), The Identical (2014)

(We are getting there. We have at least three more of these on the docket, so we are moving through them. Came in right before the big twins boom of the Harry Potter franchise it looks like.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Eva Mendes is No. 6 billed in Urban Legends: Final Cut and No. 2 billed in Ghost Rider, 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) => 6 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Originally set to film on the campus of the University of Western Ontario, it was turned down by the administration, because of its violent nature.

The opening sequence in the film was originally supposed to take place on a boat. During a location scout, they found the airplane set, and decided to revise the script. As it turns out, the original boat sequence was originally inspired by the airplane sequence in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).

The character of P.A. Kevin was based on an actual student at USC, where John Ottman, Paul Harris Boardman, and Scott Derrickson attended. (Ha)

The snow storm seen in the film was unintended.

Since the campus used as Alpine University in the film didn’t have an actual bell tower, a one hundred fifty foot tower was built at an estimated one hundred fifty thousand dollars. All of the interiors were done on a separate stage and the bell was papier-mâché. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)

The campus used during filming was Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.

Anson Mount originally auditioned for the role of Travis/Trevor. (I think he would have been better honestly)

Reached number one at the box office opening weekend with a mere gross of $8,505,513. The film was a moderate financial success, but only grossed about half of what the original made, leading to the third film, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005) being released straight-to-video.

The ice in the bathtub during Lisa’s death scene was actually made of silicon, and very heavy. The kidney used in this scene was actually a goat’s kidney.

The sequence with Lisa (Jacinda Barrett), Trevor (Matthew Davis), and Toby (Anson Mount) at the bar shortly before her death was a reshoot. It was filmed several months after principal photography was completed. It was decided after the film was done, that a death scene needed to occur much earlier in the film to add a sense of danger. This is why the character is never mentioned before or after her appearance. Mount had to wear a wig during this sequence, because he had cut his hair significantly since. (Ahhhhhh this makes so much sense! Because there is no logical reason for the murders to have started occurring until the idea of an Urban Legend film was pitched, but that happens after the first death)

While the killers are different (as was the studio that produced it), this film picks up on the same urban legend where the first movie left off, The Kidney Heist. (Yeah I find that a bit odd actually)

The character of Vanessa being revealed to be a lesbian with a crush on Amy was a holdover from the original draft of the first film, where Reese was originally going to be a lesbian.

Cyborg Preview

As Poe peers into the blinding light of the puzzle box supernova he glimpses Rich fighting for his life against the robot gals. They are pulling him towards the Hell that resides within and as they do he’s becoming younger and younger. Poe stares into the eyes of 12-year-old Rich, who is now barely able to fend off their robot strength. Young Rich, that dope tween who so many years ago in the bayou professed his love for B*Witched. Who wore the shit out of a jean jacket and helped Jellyroll out of every jam. Who taught Ernie how to dance and was… was Poe’s best friend. His best friend, whose eyes now pleaded with him for help. Together they could defeat them, but Poe’s love prevented that. “Think!” Poe screams in agony. “Why must love hurt so much?!” he shouts, pounding his fists against the puzzle box. It closes slightly under the force and suddenly Poe knows what he must do. Love won’t let him destroy his lady (robot) loves, but perhaps… perhaps their love could be preserved. And with that he reaches out to Rich. The power within Rich reaches out in response and together they make the impossible possible. Rich is ripped out of the box and back into the ghost ship with the most ship. He looks away and Poe asks what he saw. “You… you were an old man,” Poe nods in understanding. He saw a Young Rich, while Rich saw Old Poe. Make sense. But Rich stops him and continues, “you weren’t just an old man. You were the old man… from the Six Flags commercial.” And they both shudder in horror, the spell only broken by a cough from the robot ladies. “You ready for a cyborg fight?” they ask. That’s right. We’re watching the JCVD classic (?) Cyborg. It’s set in a far apocalyptic future and presumably has cyborgs in it. That’s enough for us. Let’s go!

“You’re a cyborg, too,” the guard whispers in fear, his eyes darting wildly around the room. “Yes,” the two disfigured men say, “but this ain’t no nightmare. And soon the… twins,” one spits in disgust, “will know what we are capable of. Once we possess their… power.” And with that they enter the portal. That’s right! We’re watching Cyborg 2, the straight-to-video sequel to Cyborg that starred Angelina Jolie in her first film role. A whole two years before Hackers! Let’s go!

Cyborg (1989) – BMeTric: 57.8; Notability: 18 

(I’m a bit surprised that a film produced by a studio which had basically already went bankrupt managed to get 18 well known people involved. The ratings they are arising, but it is still close to being in the fours which is very very low. Sweet 2011 inflection as well.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – I am not sure I remember the opening words of “Cyborg” exactly, but I believe they were, “After the plague, things really got bad.” I do remember laughing heartily at that point, about 30 seconds into the movie. Few genres amuse me more than post-apocalyptic fantasies about supermen fighting for survival. “Cyborg” is one of the funniest examples of this category, which crosses “Escape from New York” with “The Road Warrior” but cheats on the budget.

(Haha, yeah that sounds about right. It is a totally earnest knock-off of other better films while trying to make it all on a sub-$1 millon budget. Ebert shouldn’t have pulled the punch though, give it the full thumbs down.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BeaSdMxehg/

(Man I love Cannon. They made just insane films! “Take him out!” The cyborg-vision looks suspiciously like the interface in Universal Soldier. And oh shit, he’s doing the splits!!! I am amped for Cyborg!!!!)

Directors – Albert Pyun – (Known For: The Sword and the Sorcerer; Future BMT: Captain America; Kickboxer 2: The Road Back; Alien from L.A.; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Dangerously Close; BMT: Cyborg; Notes: Inducted into the B-movie Hall of Fame in 2011. He thrived in the 90s straight-to-video era. Released a Director’s Cut of this film in 2011.)

Writers – Albert Pyun (written by) (as Kitty Chalmers) – (Known For: The Sword and the Sorcerer; Future BMT: Alien from L.A.; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; BMT: Cyborg; Notes: Apparently actually filmed a Cyborg sequel, but due to health issues it remains stuck in post-production.)

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: Bloodsport; Kung Fu Panda 3; The Expendables 2; Kung Fu Panda 2; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Kickboxer; Hard Target; Timecop; Kickboxer: Vengeance; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Sudden Death; Lukas; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Welcome to the Jungle; The Order; Legionnaire; Double Impact; Maximum Risk; Inferno; Replicant; The Quest; Black Water; Missing in Action; Pound of Flesh; Nowhere to Run; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Breakin’; Last Action Hero; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Cyborg; Knock Off; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Y’all know JCVD. He used to re-edit his early films to make the action scenes better, and this film is no exception. He apparently re-edited the film for two months prior to its release.)

Deborah Richter – (Known For: One on One; Promised Land; Future BMT: Square Dance; BMT: Cyborg; Notes: Was married to Charles Haid who was on Hill Street Blues (she played his wife in that show on occasion as well).)

Vincent Klyn – (Known For: Point Break; Future BMT: Kickboxer 2: The Road Back; In God’s Hands; BMT: Double Dragon; Cyborg; Notes: A professional surfer, he was at one point a top five surfer in the world. Pyun saw him at a tournament and then chose him as the antagonist of Cyborg based on his intimidating look.)

Budget/Gross – $500,000 / Domestic: $10,166,459 (Worldwide: $10,166,459)

(That is an incredible return! See, this is how Cannon made its dough back in the day. Well … Actually this was their last release before going bankrupt. They would come back for a bit in the early 90s, but they completely collapsed by 1994.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (3/15)

(I get to make a consensus: Just another martial arts film, and just another post-apocalyptic film with a main character which requires no acting ability to play. Reviewer Highlight: Mr. Van Damme’s Gibson is so opaque that he makes Mel Gibson’s Mad Max seem weepy by comparison. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Sklogborg

(I was trying to make the hardest to pronounce fake film name and I think I succeeded. Half sklog, half robot, all rock-and-roll. Sklogborg. Oh right, the poster. Uh, that’s crazy. But also just crazy enough that if I saw that in a theater I’d probably be intrigued. C+)

Tagline(s) – He’s the First Hero of the 21st Century…And He’s Our Only Hope. (D)

(Those seem like two random sentences smashed together into a cyborg of a tagline. It’s simply terrible. But not so terrible that I’m embarrassed for it.)

Keyword – cyborg

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Bloodshot (2020), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Deadpool 2 (2018), Alita: Battle Angel (2019), Mortal Engines (2018), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Future BMT: 55.9 The Stepford Wives (2004), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 46.6 Solo (1996), 30.0 Mortal Engines (2018), 29.2 Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), 25.0 Teen Agent (1991), 23.4 Impostor (2001), 22.0 Terminator Genisys (2015), 19.4 Terminator Salvation (2009);

BMT: Bloodshot (2020), Sucker Punch (2011), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Masters of the Universe (1987), Universal Soldier (1992), Judge Dredd (1995), RoboCop 2 (1990), Jason X (2001), RoboCop 3 (1993), Cyborg (1989), Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)

(The later uptick is clearly because of Marvel and DC films … but it does seem like cyborgs are having a moment doesn’t it? Ooooo I really want to watch Solo, it seems like an insane film.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jean-Claude Van Damme is No. 1 billed in Cyborg and No. 1 billed in Double Team, which also stars Mickey Rourke (No. 3 billed) who is in Get Carter (2000) (No. 4 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 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) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Maximum Risk we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Jean-Claude Van Damme accidentally wounded Jackson ‘Rock’ Pinckney’s eye during a swordfight scene, permanently blinding him in that eye. He took Van Damme to court, and eventually won a settlement.

This was the last official theatrical release for Cannon Films after going bankrupt in 1987. (Wow! That is fun)

Jean-Claude Van Damme re-edited the film, much as he did with Bloodsport (1988), to make the fight scenes more exciting and trim down the drama. Van Damme spent two months editing the film. He would do the same on Hard Target (1993) (WTF?!)

This film was conceived to use the costumes and sets built for a Masters of the Universe (1987) sequel and a live action ‘Spider-Man’ film. Albert Pyun planned to shoot both projects simultaneously. Cannon Films had to cancel deals with Mattel and Marvel because of their financial troubles, and they needed to recoup the money spent on both projects. Pyun created the film’s script, under the pseudonym of Kitty Chalmers, using two previous scripts, “Johnny Guitar” and “Alex Rain”. Some network television channels still give the film’s title as ‘Masters of the Universe 2: Cyborg,’ leading people to think it’s a sequel. (WHAT IS HAPPENING! That is a crazy story. I want to read both Johnny Guitar and Alex Rain!)

The MPAA originally gave the film an “X” rating. Numerous cuts got it rated “R”, including a good deal of blood in the village massacre and one character’s death scene. (What? The film isn’t even that violent)

The test screening was a disaster. Only one out of 100 people surveyed liked the film. Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus tried to convince Jean-Claude Van Damme to allow them to release the movie as it was. Instead, Van Damme convinced both producers to let him edit the film, as he had done with Bloodsport (1988), and asked them for 2 months. Cyborg was finally released 2 months later. (Jeez)

The budget, including Jean-Claude Van Damme’s salary, was $500,000. The studio had already spent $2 million on production design, costumes, and miscellaneous prep work on the aborted projects “Masters of the Universe 2” and “Spider-Man.” (Ah, so with the box office take of about $10 million it was probably not that far from a wash in the end)

Matthias Hues turned down a role in the film. Years later, he claims to regret the decision. (But why would he regret it?)

The chain mail and forearm guards worn by Fender were part of the costume for the character “Blade” in Masters of the Universe (1987). (Ahhhhhh right!)

After the success of Bloodsport (1988), Cannon films offered Jean-Claude Van Damme the lead in Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990), American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989), or this film. He chose the latter, and later admitted “I didn’t like the film so much.” (Neither of the other two were very good though.)

Albert Pyun originally envisioned the film as a heavy opera without dialogue, shot in granulated black and white. The producers rejected the idea. (How much cocaine was Pyun doing when he pitched that idea?)

Albert Pyun is currently developing a prequel to this film, which was originally titled “Cyborg: Rise of the Slingers”, before the title was changed to “Cyborg Nemesis”. The film which takes place before “Cyborg”, details the formation of the Slingers, after the plague brought about the fall of civilization and the Pirates begin terrorizing the survivors and the Slingers are organized to deal with them. (Yeah it isn’t happening because Pyun retired after being diagnosed with MS)

In 2011, Curnan Pictures got hold of the missing tapes of the original cut of the film through Tony Riparetti, Albert Pyun’s original choice for score artist. This director’s cut features Pyun’s editing and previously unreleased scenes. It is commercially available through the director himself. Pyun’s director’s cut was released in 2014 in Germany with the film’s original title, “Slinger”. (What? Wait …. What? I can watch the Director’s Cut of Cyborg?)

The original theatrical version does not explain what Slingers are. In the director’s cut, the opening crawl defines Slingers as hired warriors who safely escort people out of cities and protect them from pirates.

When the film was first released on VHS in Germany, so many violent scenes were cut out that it ran only around 58 minutes, not even reaching feature length.

The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

The film is believed to be a remake of Fist of the North Star (1986).