Mannequin Recap

Jamie

Jonathan Switcher is a true artist who just can’t seem to hold down a job. That is until his most prized creation (a beautiful mannequin) shows up in a store window. This begins his wild ride as a top display window creator. (Oh and also the mannequin comes alive only for him and he’s in love with it.) Can they stop the dastardly rival store before it’s too late? Find out in… Mannequin.

How?! Jonathan Switcher just crafted his masterpiece. A paragon of artistic achievement. A mannequin? Wha-wha-whaaaa. While he can’t get his bodacious mannequin out of his head, he also can’t hold down a job due to his artistic vision. Wandering the streets, no job, no girlfriend, no hope he suddenly happens upon his mannequin queen in the window of a store. Oh, glorious day! He shows up the next day and through some quick thinking he gets on the good side of the owner of the store. She insists he get a job and soon he’s working alongside the mannequin herself. What a dream! And what’s even more fantastic is that the mannequin also turns out to be a cursed Egyptian princess, Emmy, who comes alive when Jonathan and her are alone (not making this up). Now they are rocking out together and totally in love, not to mention that Jonathan has found his true calling as a display window creative. Soon he’s the talk of the town and the crosstown rivals, who are also hoping to buy their store, are ready to swipe Jonathan away. With the help of his ex-girlfriend and the smarmy manager of the store, they are able to figure out that the mannequin is the key to it all. They swipe Emmy and Jonathan and his pals are soon in hot pursuit. It’s a classic 80’s action sequence that ends with Jonathan rescuing Emmy from an industrial shredder. As a result Emmy no longer is cursed to only be alive for Jonathan and everyone is like “Woah, that lady was a mannequin but now she’s just a hot alive person,” and Emmy and Jonathan smooch a bunch. THE END.

Why?! Love, and that’s not even a joke. While I like to compare the film to the ludicrousness of Weekend at Bernie’s, that film was much closer to the greed-is-goodness of the 80’s ideal. This is all about Emmy not being forced to marry and instead find true love. Now the bad guys… those guys are just about greed being good.

Who?! There is an interesting Producer aspect to this film. Joseph Farrell was an executive producer. At the time he was the founder and chief executive of NRG, the original market testing firm in Hollywood. He basically created the focus group. Apparently he stepped in on this film to prove that the method really worked and made significant changes (hiring McCarthy was one). Despite it being BMT it was a big success and got us Mannequin 2: On the Move. So thank you, Joseph Farrell.

What?! Unfortunately Emmy herself is the MacGuffin here. Everyone wants and needs her, but the audiences could care less about that. They just want them sweet smooches between Emmy and Jonathan. I also do believe this was the one where Patrick and I spied a Dunkin Donuts coffee in the background of a scene and exclaimed “Mannequin runs on Dunkin” and it was pretty great.

Where?! You can read articles online where people suggest this is one of the substantial Philly settings of all time. The gist of the argument is that Mannequin really does take you around Philly and reiterate the setting of Philly and celebrate Philly to an extent that you just don’t see very often. Obviously it’s not going to compete with Rocky, but it is a surprisingly strong setting film/franchise. B+.

When?! I really would have thought this could have been a secret holiday film cause everyone knows that the holidays are prime display window season. The rival company could have been all like “We need him, Christmas is just around the corner,” and that would have done. But the real issue is that I just don’t really remember if there was a specific time mentioned… and I blame the movie itself by not setting it during Christmas. F.

Mannequin is pleasant enough once you get past the set up. It opens with a totally unnecessary and poorly acted scene set in “ancient Egypt” in order to set up the (also totally unnecessary) plot point that Emmy is an Egyptian princess trapped in the mannequin’s body until she is able to find true love. They should have learned a thing or two from Xanadu and just rolled with Emmy being alive because of the power of art/love or whatever. But beyond that it’s just a silly farce a la Weekend at Bernie’s. Similar to that film it really mostly suffers by reputation. When your concept is that a man falls in love with a mannequin who comes to life only when they are alone (a concept that would likely be frowned upon by today’s standards), you are playing a bit behind the eight ball… much like if, you know, you came up with a film where a couple of dopes have to pretend their boss is alive for a weekend and parade around with his corpse… kinda like that. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Mannequin? What, does this Mannequin not even know how to move? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I think the most startling thing was realizing that despite no one mentioning this fact, the mannequin is actually from ancient Egypt. I had just figured she was, you know … a magic mannequin or something. But then only Leonard Maltin talks about the whole beginning in Egypt. Still totally different than the set up to the sequel, but a lot closer than most of the preview would suggest. What were my expectations? I only really expected Kim Cattrall to be amazing as usual. Otherwise I was excited for (1) a dance sequence, and (2) just how 80s everything was going to be. So I knew I would at least be entertained by that.

The Good – Kim Cattrall is, as expected, very charming in the film, and mostly saves it from just being forgettable 80s nonsense. The way they play into the silliness of the concept is also very winning, and Hollywood Montrose as a character might be offensive by some standards these days, but I think it ends up being the right tone of ridiculousness. That isn’t to say the film works because the plot is nonsensical, but there are good performances, and it is less self-serious than one might think going into it. Best Bit: Kim Cattrall.

The Bad – It feels like Spader and Carole Davis were in a totally different movie, the aforementioned self-serious Mannequin … which now that I think about, I’ll definitely be writing a pitch for in the later Remake section. I think the major strike against the film is that it is virtually plotless. A guy can’t hold down a job, ends up finding a magic mannequin … uh, I guess he foils the B-plot of a takeover of a Philadelphia department store? Wait, is that actually the plot of the film? See, it slides off your brain like water off of a mannequin’s slick exterior. Fatal Flaw: Nothing story.

The BMT – I think this film is better than it has any right to be. And I think given the second film, it ends up being far more enjoyable that you would think given that as context. As far as BMT is concerned, this is exactly the type of film you forget actually qualified until one day you check Rotten Tomatoes and it is sitting at 40% and no longer qualifies. Then you thank god for giving you the instinct to watch the film while it was still considered bad. Did it meet my expectations? The dance sequence is b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-bonkers, and makes the movie worth watching just for that. Well … I guess in reality it makes it worth finding that specific clip on Youtube. Still, so very very 80s.

Roast-radamus – Some solid Product Placement (What?) with Mannequin running on Dunkin’ (Donuts), and Carnival Cruises doing one of the window displays at the department stores (uh, big pull for a down-on-its-luck department store to get their window display sponsored by Carnival, but whatever). Really nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for Philadelphia. Which is bigger for Philadelphia, the Mannequin Cinematic Universe, or Rocky? Let the debate rage. In the end I think this is closest to Good.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I already mentioned it, I’m doing the gritty Remake of the Mannequin franchise. Jonathan Switcher is a happy-go-lucky artist creating ou-of-this-world mannequin creations for local department store Prince & Company in 80s Philadelphia. He has a wonderful life and a wonderful wife and couldn’t be happier. That is, up until the eeeevil Richards, a corporate raider hell bent on owning Prince & Company once and for all, sends thugs to work Switcher over and accidentally kills his beloved wife Emmy! Descending into madness and grief Switcher goes to the department store and fashions an exact replica of Emmy from the mannequin displays, and as he prays to god to take him and return Emmy, she … comes alive? He’s horrified, but maybe, just maybe this is a sign. He asks Emmy who killed her and she reveals it was Richards! His old nemesis did this! Hell bent on vengeance, Switcher and Mannequin Emmy take out Richards’ thugs, and work their way up to a showdown at Richards’ corporate headquarters. As Switcher shoots down Richards in cold blood he turns to his lady love to find her to be a mannequin once more. Was it all in his head? Or did the vengeance release her restless soul from its terrestrial prison? You’ll have to wait for the sequel to find out. Now called The Mannequin.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mannequin Preview

Jamie and Patrick sit nervously in their limousine. Fortunately the hours worth of makeup covering Michael Myers’ chest shielded him from the brunt of the sniper’s bullet. The rest of production went off without a hitch, but even so Banks insisted they have a bodyguard for the premier. “It’s the next logical place they’ll try to take you out,” the suave bodyguard says. They watch the final cut of Rich & Poe: Legends Never Die: The Director’s Cut with mixed emotions and pat each other on the back when the crowd rises in thunderous applause. While a disaster would have stopped the cyborgs they can’t help but cherish the return of Rich and Poe. They smile as it’s announced that the Academy has met early and awarded them Best Picture. On stage, they lean into the microphone but stop, puzzled. Something is off…. Suddenly they see their bodyguard amidst the crowd. “He’s got a gun!” they scream but as a shot rings out they find themselves pushed to the side. On the ground is Kyle, their old friend from prison, having taken a bullet for them. 

A week later they sit in their apartment waiting with bated breath as the reviews for the R&P rip-off pour in. 37%… 38%… 39% and it stops. “One review and it would have topped 40% and never qualified,” Jamie says banging the giant box still taking up half the apartment. “If only we knew someone else who had a review website… that would be perfect,” Patrick says with a chuckle. Kyle, staying with them while recovering, softly says, “I do, but you probably aren’t interested in it.” He shrugs, red-faced. They look at him quizzically. “Uh,” he continues, “it’s called SMT… SexyMannequinTimes.com… we primarily review films that have sexy mannequins in them.” That’s right! We are indeed watching the premier film series for SexyMannequinTimes.com (warning: not a real website… hopefully) Mannequin and Mannequin 2: On the Move. The mere existence is dumbfounding, but no more dumbfounding than the existence of Weekend at Bernie’s and Weekend at Bernie’s 2. This also marked the transition from sequels/franchises into big ol’ bomb town where we are only watching films that are rated BOMB in Leonard Maltin’s review book. Let’s go!

Mannequin (1987) – BMeTric: 33.2; Notability: 27

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 11.6%; Notability: top 50.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 12.6% Higher BMeT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Teen Wolf Too, Ishtar, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, Surf Nazis Must Die, Who’s That Girl, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, Masters of the Universe, House II: The Second Story, Over the Top, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Burglar, Cherry 2000; Higher Notability: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Masters of the Universe, Who’s That Girl, Ishtar, Walker, Cherry 2000, Blind Date, Burglar, Fatal Beauty, Over the Top, House II: The Second Story, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, The Sicilian, Slam Dance, The Believers, Nuts, Creepshow 2, Malone, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, Rent-a-Cop, and 8 more; Lower RT: Teen Wolf Too, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, House II: The Second Story, The Sicilian, Hello Again, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Date with an Angel, Flowers in the Attic, Masters of the Universe, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Russkies, The Squeeze, Rent-a-Cop, Siesta, Beyond Therapy, Slam Dance, Surf Nazis Must Die; Notes: Borderline cult classic right there. You get that up to around 6.2 and you’re cooking with fire. The Notability is relatively low which is interesting … I assume there are like five characters total and the film is basically just Weird Science but with a mannequin.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Cattrall is an ancient Egyptian spirit who embodies a department store mannequin; McCarthy is the only one who sees her come to life, and falls in love with her. Attempt [sic] to recreate the feeling of old screwball comedies is absolute rock-bottom fare. Dispiriting to anyone who remembers what movie comedy ought to be. Followed by a sequel.

(Huh … uh, none of the advertisements or anything actually suggest the Egyptian spirit thing. I sure hope they expand on that explicitly in a bizarre opening segment. If not that I hope they instead basically never mention it at all.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTfhUj4LZVE/

(Oh shit, Cannon. Wait a minute, is that the cop from Police Academy … they really were on a studio contract back in the day. The concept of the film is so very, very strange … I kind of dig it. The 80s were a hell of a drug.)

Directors – Michael Gottlieb – (Known For: The Shrimp on the Barbie; Future BMT: Mr. Nanny; A Kid in King Arthur’s Court; BMT: Mannequin; Notes: The Shrip on the Barbie was a film he disowned, an Alan Smithee film. He became a video game producer after he stopped directing. He died in 2014.)

Writers – Edward Rugoff (written by) – (Known For: Double Take; Future BMT: Mr. Nanny; BMT: Mannequin: On the Move; Mannequin; Notes: Clearly the writing partner of Gottlieb. His father was also in the movie business and ran something called Cinema 5 which was some independent film thing back in the day.)

Michael Gottlieb (written by) – (Future BMT: Mr. Nanny; BMT: Mannequin: On the Move; Mannequin; Notes: Filmed, edited, and directed the Playboy Mid Summer Night’s Dream Party in 1985.)

Actors – Andrew McCarthy – (Known For: Weekend at Bernie’s; Pretty in Pink; St. Elmo’s Fire; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Less Than Zero; The Joy Luck Club; Main Street; Only You; The Good Guy; Jours tranquilles à Clichy; Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle; Night of the Running Man; The Beniker Gang; Camp Hell; I Woke Up Early the Day I Died; Getting In; Stag; New Waterford Girl; Dr. M; Cosas que nunca te dije; Future BMT: Class; Fresh Horses; Mulholland Falls; Year of the Gun; Kansas; Catholic Boys; BMT: Weekend at Bernie’s II; Mannequin; Notes: Is a pretty big television director, directing things like The Black List and Orange is the New Black. He still acts in stuff, although I couldn’t tell you the last thing I saw him in.)

Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Sex and the City; Big Trouble in Little China; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Ghost; Live Nude Girls; Ice Princess; The Devil and Daniel Webster; Horrible Histories: The Movie; Masquerade; The Return of the Musketeers; Rosebud; Hold-Up; Above Suspicion; City Limits; Meet Monica Velour; The Tiger’s Tail; Tribute; Midnight Crossing; Ticket to Heaven; Future BMT: 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Unforgettable; Turk 182; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; Sex and the City 2; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Mannequin; 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: She had a wild career, being on the last actors on the studio contract system (I think in the late 70s, hard to tell). She has had a very public feud with Sarah Jessica Parker about Sex and the City and is not going to appear in the third film.)

Estelle Getty – (Known For: Mask; Tootsie; Stuart Little; Deadly Force; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Mannequin; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot in 1993; Notes: Won an emmy for Golden Girls. Was married for over 50 years.)

Budget/Gross – $7.9 million / Domestic: $42,721,196 (Worldwide: $42,721,196)

(That is a huge success! No wonder they decided to make a sequel. It is still confusing that they decided to make a sequel with a whole new cast and a totally different plotline … but we’ll deal with that in that preview.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (8/39): Mannequin is a real dummy, outfitted with a ludicrous concept and a painfully earnest script that never springs to life, despite the best efforts of an impossibly charming Kim Cattrall.

(They had to go with “dummy” huh? I would have as well. And yes, Kim Cattrall was impossibly charming in the 80s, just go watch Police Academy! Reviewer Highlight: There`s some solid talent here, but Gottlieb’s overemphatic direction reduces them all to broad caricature — the kind of crazed mugging that isn’t often seen outside the boundaries of Saturday morning kiddie shows. – Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune)

Poster – Manalive

(This poster really tickles me for a variety of reasons. Like why is he leaning against a rad motorcycle?… why is he wearing a tuxedo?… the dude is a down on his luck artist. And those are kind of the most normal parts of the poster. It is bad, but kinda ironically good… but still other than the font it is basically everything I hate in a poster. C-.)

Tagline(s) – When she comes to life, anything can happen! (C-)

(Good thing they didn’t use the first tagline here, cause that one doesn’t make sense. This at least is telling you the plot of the film, albeit in the blandest, least creative way possible. Also a tad too long.)

Keyword – mannequin

Top 10: Eyes Wide Shut (1999), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Prisoners (2013), Blade Runner (1982), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Escape Room (2019), Stardust (2007), Now You See Me (2013), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), V for Vendetta (2005)

Future BMT: 95.8 Disaster Movie (2008), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 55.1 The Bachelor (1999), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 49.8 Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), 47.0 Beverly Hills Ninja (1997), 46.1 Sleepover (2004), 42.7 Maximum Risk (1996), 42.2 Transylvania 6-5000 (1985);

BMT: Mannequin: On the Move (1991), Mannequin (1987), Friday the 13th (2009), House of Wax (2005), Battlefield Earth (2000), Perfect Stranger (2007), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), Grind (2003)

(Hell yeah there is a mannequin in Silent Hill: Revelation. There is a whole mannequin monster! The Bachelor, now that is a film I haven’t thought of in years! I can’t wait to watch bonafide movie star Chris O’Donnell in action.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Estelle Getty is No. 3 billed in Mannequin and No. 2 billed in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, 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 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Director Michael Gottlieb got the idea for this film when he was walking by a store window and was startled to “see” a mannequin move by itself. He realized it was just an optical illusion caused by a combination of lights and shadows, but began to wonder what would happen if a mannequin actually DID come to life.

The scenes for the rival store Illustra were filmed at an actual department store, Boscov’s in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. It’s easy to distinguish by the square chandeliers and neon department signs on the walls. (Probably not actually that easy …)

Originally, the lead role was written to be an older, lonely storekeeper, with Dudley Moore in mind for the role, but when Andrew McCarthy came on board, the role was rewritten to be the role of a young artist. (fun)

Before filming this movie, Kim Cattrall spent six weeks posing for a Santa Monica sculptor, who captured her likeness. Six mannequins, each with a different expression, were made. Cattrall later recalled, “There’s no way to play a mannequin except if you want to sit there as a dummy. I did a lot of body-building because I wanted to be as streamlined as possible. I wanted to match the mannequins as closely as I could.” (Kim Cattrall you are a gem)

The organ Jonathan Switcher sits at in the dance sequence is an actual organ in the John Wanamaker building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the largest operational pipe organ in the world. (wait wait wait wait wait … dance sequence?)

Kim Cattrall stated doing this movie made her feel grown up: “I’ve become more of a leading lady instead of, like, the girl. All the other movies that I’ve done I played the girl, and the plot was around the guy. I’ve never had anybody to do special lighting for me, or find out what clothes look good on me, or what camera angles are best for me. In this movie, I learned a lot from it. It’s almost like learning old Hollywood techniques. I’ve always been sort of a tomboy. I feel great being a girl, wearing a dress.”

One of the original Emmy mannequins used in the filming of the movie was restored by the store South Fellini and is currently on display in their store, which is located in the Fashion District in center city Philadelphia (the head/torso are the original pieces).

David Isaacs and Ken Levine did an uncredited rewrite of the screenplay. They later did a rewrite for Mannequin: On the Move (1991) for which they were credited. (Cool)

This movie is the rare Hollywood romance where the lead actress is older than the lead actor. Kim Cattrall was 30 years old when she played Ema Hesire aka Emmy; Andrew McCarthy was only 24 years old when he played Jonathan Switcher.

Meshach Taylor made a cameo as flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose in the music video of the movie’s theme song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by the rock band Jefferson Starship. He also reprised the role in the sequel Mannequin: On the Move (1991). (A cameo? He’s basically the entire trailer!)

The series episode Journey to the Unknown: Eve (1968) featured the story of Albert Baker (Dennis Waterman), a young man who sees in the display window of a department store an attractive mannequin. It comes to life and smiles at him, he falls in love and so gets a job at the store as a window dresser. (Isn’t this all based on Pygmalion?)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Albert Hammond, Diane Warren, 1988)

Problem Child Recap

Jamie

Junior is a child and also is a problem. As a result he keeps getting returned to the orphanage. That is until Ben and Flo Healy show up looking to enter the exclusive parental club. While Junior wreaks havoc across the land, driving everyone around him crazy, Ben keep on killing him with love and kindness. Can Ben help Junior feel loved and change his ways before it’s too late? Find out in… Problem Child. 

How?! Junior spent his childhood shuttled from home to home until ending up in an orphanage where his troublesome ways continued. The nuns have been driven insane and just when it seems like Junior will be all alone forever, in walks Ben Healy and his wife Flo. They are a couple desperate for a child, Ben so he can be the perfect all-American dad, Flo so that they can start getting invited to the exclusive parties, dinners, and trips that other families partake in. Junior seems like a quick and easy fix to all of their problems, right? Wrong. Junior continues his terrible ways as he ruins camping trips, birthday parties, burns down his room, injures his grandpa, etc. etc. etc. It all comes to a head when Junior injures a multitude of children during a baseball game and our boy Ben realizes that maybe, just maybe, Junior is bad news. When they confront the manager of the orphanage they are appalled to find that Junior has been returned over and over from other families. Unlike Flo, though, Ben is more appalled at himself. How could he, all-American dad, be unable to give the love necessary to help Junior? But when he goes out to tell Junior that they won’t be taking him back, Junior doesn’t believe them and drives away in the family car, destroying his grandpa’s business in the process. Suffering a mental breakdown, Ben doesn’t realize that things have gone from bad to far far worse when a serial killer that Junior has been corresponding with shows up at the front door. Thinking he’s Junior’s uncle, Flo woos him as a way to try to take Junior (or maybe just her) away with him. Waking up to find Junior and Flo gone and a ransom note scrawled on the wall Ben snaps out of it just in time to race to the circus (for real) and attempt to pay the ransom and get Junior back. The serial killer attempts to escape, but not so fast! Ben and Junior super team chase down the serial killer and stop him just in time. Now best buds, the father and son super team head off into the sunset together. THE END. 

Why?! Probably the sweetest thing about the film is Ben Healy and just how desperately he wants to be the bestest dad in the world ever. The implication is that his own father is cold and distant (despite selling sporting equipment geared to the father-son experience) and Ben is determined that his own son will never lack for love. This unerring love for his son ultimately wins out and saves Junior. Probably we could drill pretty deep into the root of Junior’s behavioral issues. Despite the implication at the beginning of the film that he is evil from the get go, we get the sense that a lot of his behavior is more about the feeling that he is unlovable.

Who?! Dennis Dugan has a long history of BMT films. Not surprising as he’s one of Adam Sandler’s favorites. This was his feature directing debut and as a result the first of many cameos he made in films he’s directed. I think we’ve done about eight of his films and I believe he made cameos in all of them. Impressive.

What?! Smiley Pies obviously has a very, very prominent product placement (in my memories at least). Patrick points out Pepsi as the actual most prominent product placement, but for me the product that stands the test of time is Penn tennis balls as there is a scene where a car crashes into a giant display case of tennis balls and it’s burned there forever… actually every moment of this film is indelibly burned into my memory.

Where?! Very clearly takes place in Illinois in a town called Cold River, which is obviously made up. Impressive number of signs and posters for the location given that it’s not real. Not in the least bit relevant to the plot, but it is prominent. B+.

When?! Patrick pointed out to me that this could be one of the few Fake Holiday Film Alerts we’ll come across. The baseball scene occurs during Founder’s Day in Cold River, which being a fake place must mean it’s a fake holiday. Which is bizarre in a great way. Really there are a large number of dates thrown around in the film via newspaper, but the most solid seems to be from the poster advertising the Circus which would place the film at the end of June or beginning of July, which tracks with the camping trip, baseball, etc. B+

Problem Child is everything I remember it is. It is just nonstop one liners and gags by a small child. It makes me wonder if I maybe underrate Dennis Dugan as a director given how much I loathe some of his films (looking at you Grown Ups(es)). The fact is that he took a kid that basically never acted before and spun some really entertaining gold. He obviously was helped by a very game John Ritter who is actually amazing in this film. He’s just so goddamn likeable that you basically ignore a pretty problematic concept (but weren’t they all back in the day). I have to acknowledge that the film’s basic plot is dark in a pretty gross way. The opening scene is shocking as we see Junior shuttled from home to home before being unceremoniously dropped at an orphanage. And throughout the film there is a stigmatization of adoption that is unacceptable by today’s standards. But all this doesn’t change that it basically lived up to my memories. It is quite entertaining and the sheer number of memorable quotes is impressive. I think the first Problem Child is actually… not that bad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Smiley Pies!? I haven’t had one of these in FIF-teen years! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I think I could have written the preview from memory, I’ve seen the film so many times. I looked up the kid actor who played Junior and really not very involved in acting after the films themselves. He is a great actor though given the part, but I’ll get to that later. What were my expectations? A blast from the past. I’m not joking when I say I’ve seen the film at least a dozen times. Which is kind of weird, as this simultaneously feels like a kids’ film which has become completely forgotten at this point.

The Good – The actor who plays Junior is really good considering the part was written for Macauley Culkin. He does a decent facsimile of the wiser-than-his-years mischief for a not-very-well-known child actor. The acting top-to-bottom is actually really good. And the surreal nature of the whole film is also just … it makes it really unique. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but as mean-spirited and weird as the film can get, there is an undeniably interesting point-of-view to it all. A comedic Bad Seed, as the screenwriters say, which I would say they nailed. Best Bit: Junior and John Ritter.

The Bad – Now, I say a comedic Bad Seed is interesting, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good. It is a very weird film, and almost definitely not a kids’ film … and yet it operated under the guise of a kids’ film. Which makes it unsurprising that critics thought it was abhorrent and that everyone involved thought it would bomb. The film isn’t really funny in any capacity, and Junior’s behavior at times is, indeed, abhorrent and unpleasant to watch. Fatal Flaw: Pushes things too far.

The BMT – On one hand I would say that they could have easily edited and reigned by Junior’s behavior and created a more tolerable mainstream hit I think. But then, Problem Child wouldn’t be the bizarre boundaries-pushing masterpiece that it is. I would argue though that this first one is actually really good, as long as you buy into the surreal weirdness of the cartoon world the screenwriters create. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, it is always odd to watch a film I watched constantly as a kid in BMT. I was pleasantly surprised with this one and I very much enjoyed watching it again.

Roast-radamus – A solid Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi throughout the film, not least of which prominently displayed during the baseball game (which, despite taking place on Founder’s Day, is not a secret holiday, more like a fake holiday). A really really good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Cold Water, Illinois. This film is really really Illinois which is excellent, but then also there is a giant statue of the founder Carl Coldwater outside of the adoption agency which is awesome. This is somehow closest to Good, don’t argue it just it, sue me I like the film.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Seeing as there are already multiple sequels and a television cartoon there is only one way to go, backwards! The Prequel goes full period piece, it is the late 50s, and Big and Little Ben are amoral travelling salesmen who will do whatever to earn a buck. The story centers around the arrival of the Healy’s in Cold Water. Big Ben places Little Ben in the local orphanage and gets him adopted out to a rich childless family where he begins to terrorize the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Big Ben reenters town pretending to be a local returning from war to find his young wife dead and only son adopted. The plan is for Little Ben to terrorize the couple into un-adopting him, and then Big Ben would exploit the shame and humiliation to blackmail them. In the end Little Ben realizes that they (gasp!) love him, and no matter what he does they will always love him! He runs away to the local circus where a friendly clown tells him that all families are different and he shouldn’t hate his father for their life of crime, that the best he can do is grow up, have a son, and love him as much as he can. Little Ben returns to town where Big Ben promptly turns him over to the rich couple for the reward money they’ve offered for his safe return. They are touched by the young family, unadopt Little Ben, and let Big Ben keep the money. He uses it to start his sports store and they settle down to a normal life. The End. Cold Water Grifters: A Problem Child Story.

You Just Got Schooled – Now what are the chances Problem Child had some weird cartoon series … 100% it turns out! I watched the first episode of Problem Child, the early 90s cartoon series. The episode is called Toys Will Be Toys. This cartoon is, first of all, terrible. But even besides that it has nothing to do with the movie it claims to be an adaptation of. Junior doesn’t seem to be an orphan, his father has the same red hair as him. Junior has a weird mutant possum pet, and a best friend who’s a girl not-named Trixie. His grandfather is the mayor, which very specifically didn’t happen in the films. And his father is a cop. Oddly the writers of the films did make the show, although I think it was drawn by a Spanish company which maybe explains it getting a bit lost in translation. The episode itself is pretty silly, Junior wants a toy bazooka, and scrimps and saves to buy the toy, only for it to turn out to all be elaborate false advertising. The episode ends with Junior getting revenge on the toy company president. D. Actually, maybe the worst adapted cartoon series I’ve seen. The Back to the Future show is way way better.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Problem Child Quiz

Man, the last thing I remember I was dipping and dodging from a car slamming into Big Ben’s Sports store. I sustained a pretty bad concussion though. Do you remember what happened in Problem Child?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) How does Junior end up getting acquainted with the Bow Tie Killer?

2) Why isn’t Little Ben’s father Big Ben handing the company over to Ben and who is he selling to instead?

3) How does the Bow Tie Killer escape prison?

4) What convinces Ben to return Junior to the orphanage … and then what convinces him that that is a terrible idea?

5) How much does the Bow Tie Killer want as ransom for Junior and Flo?

Bonus Question: What ever happened to Flo?

Answers

Problem Child Preview

“That’s a wrap,” Patrick calls in exasperation. Another day, another unscripted fist fight between Chris Klein and Angel. With CK now playing both Rich and Poe in this entry of the film, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of who is even fighting Angel and whether they are dealing with a love triangle or love square. It all won’t matter anyway if this continues as CK is getting perilously close to leaving the film and their production deal was predicated on their star’s return to the series. “Dastardly cyborgs,” Jamie says, pounding the desk in their trailer. They’ve tried every which way to get rid of Angel, but his contract is iron clad. Besides, despite not being able to act a lick his test audience scores are through the roof. “So Angel has to appear in at least 90% of the film, right?” Jamie nods along as Patrick thumbs through Angel’s contract trying to find a loophole in the wording, “and we’re not allowed to recast,” Jamie nods again, wincing at their predicament, “but they don’t say anything about additional casting, right?” Jamie looks confused, but there is a twinkle in Patrick’s eye. The next day a chorus of boos rain down on Angel as he makes out with Leighton Vanderschmidt. He looks uncomfortable as he eyes the latest addition to the cast, Rich and Poe Jrs., the previously undisclosed twin children of Rich and Leighton Vanderschmidt’s character. Soon Angel has agreed to rewrite his part and remove the love triangle. CK is satisfied and so are Jamie and Patrick, but Adam Banks looks wary on his latest visit to set. A fart-gag laden scene is being shot and the production has taken on a distinct PG-rated vibe “Aren’t these children going to be a bit of a… problem?” That’s right, we’re taking on a couple of problem children in Problem Child 1 + 2. The first film was a staple and is probably one of the most quoted films of our childhood. The second film… was not. Let’s see if either of them hold up in any capacity. Let’s go!

Problem Child (1990) – BMeTric: 48.9; Notability: 38

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 2.4%; Notability: top 32.7%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.0% Higher BMeT: Rocky V, Ghost Dad, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Higher Notability: RoboCop 2, Predator 2, Days of Thunder, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Jetsons: The Movie, Air America, Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory, The Rookie, 3 Men and a Little Lady, Marked for Death, Rocky V, Stella, Revenge, Bird on a Wire, Ghost Dad, Another 48 Hrs., Mr. Destiny, The First Power, Desperate Hours; Notes: Impressive stuff, just shy of 50 BMeTric, and a genuine 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you told me this was a cult film and has like a 6.0 on IMDb I wouldn’t have been surprised. And it seems like it might genuinely be on its way there.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Botched comic twist on The Bad Seed has Ritter as an unlucky father who adopts devil-child Oliver. A promising opening leads nowhere as bad performances and crude jokes prevail. Followed by a sequel, a TV movie, and an animated TV series,

(Don’t worry, I’m already planning on partaking in the Problem Child animated series. It didn’t really occur to me that this film is based on horror/dramas of the kid-from-hell. It was always just Problem Child growing up.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxFT8zYZ3dU/

(Absolutely insane concept for a kids film. Basically, a psycho kid wreaking absolute havoc all played for laughs … but I loved it as a kid. Bizarre. I can’t wait to watch it as an adult.)

Directors – Dennis Dugan – (Known For: Happy Gilmore; Love, Weddings & Other Disasters; Brain Donors; Future BMT: You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; Beverly Hills Ninja; National Security; Saving Silverman; Big Daddy; BMT: Jack and Jill; Grown Ups 2; Problem Child; The Benchwarmers; Grown Ups; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Just Go with It; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director in 2012 for Jack and Jill, and Just Go with It; and Nominee for Worst Director in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; and in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; Notes: Frequent collaborator of Adam Sandler. I’ve mentioned it in a note before, but his son is/was a major league baseball player with the Phillies.)

Writers – Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (written by) – (Known For: Man on the Moon; 1408; Ed Wood; Big Eyes; Goosebumps; Dolemite Is My Name; The People vs. Larry Flynt; Future BMT: Problem Child 2; Agent Cody Banks; That Darn Cat; Screwed; BMT: Problem Child; Notes: Won two Emmys for American Crime Story. Alexander started out as a music editor on small horror films, and Karaszewski wrote a biography of the Marx Brothers.)

Actors – Michael Oliver – (Future BMT: Problem Child 2; BMT: Problem Child; Notes: Was on a 2011 episode of Loveline with Gilbert Gottfried which was apparently the first time the two had talked since the filming of the second film.)

John Ritter – (Known For: Sling Blade; Bride of Chucky; Bad Santa; Nowhere; Real Men; Stay Tuned; Noises Off…; They All Laughed; The Other; Tadpole; Nickelodeon; Hero at Large; Panic; Clifford’s Really Big Movie; Americathon; Montana; I Woke Up Early the Day I Died; The Prisoner of Second Avenue; Hacks; Shadow of Doubt; Future BMT: Problem Child 2; Wholly Moses!; Skin Deep; BMT: North; Problem Child; Notes: Won an Emmy for Three’s Company, but was nominated for four series in total (Hooperman, Ally McBeal, and 8 Simple Rules… for Dating my Teenage Daughter were the other three). Tragically died in 2003 due to cardiac arrest from a misdiagnosed heart defect.)

Jack Warden – (Known For: 12 Angry Men; Heaven Can Wait; The Great Muppet Caper; Sunset Blvd.; All the President’s Men; Shampoo; While You Were Sleeping; The Replacements; Death on the Nile; From Here to Eternity; Being There; The Champ; The Bachelor Party; The Verdict; Donovan’s Reef; Mighty Aphrodite; …and justice for all.; Used Cars; Beyond the Poseidon Adventure; Bulworth; Future BMT: Problem Child 2; Guilty as Sin; Dirty Work; A Dog of Flanders; BMT: Ed; Chairman of the Board; Toys; Problem Child; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for Shampoo and Heaven Can Wait. Boxed under the name Johnny Costello in his youth.)

Budget/Gross – $10 million / Domestic: $53,470,891 (Worldwide: $72,270,891)

(That is a lot more money than I would have expected for this film. Like … that is a legit haul, so obviously they were going to make a sequel! I just can’t get over that they got reasonably close to being a $100 million comedy.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/29): Mean-spirited and hopelessly short on comic invention, Problem Child is a particularly unpleasant comedy, one that’s loaded with manic scenery chewing and juvenile pranks.

(I do remember it being mean-spirited, in particular just how insane the beginning is with Junior continually being returned to the orphanage. Reviewer Highlight: The rest of the kid’s tricks are too unimaginative to be much fun — though with jokes this lame you won’t have to worry as much about your children getting any bad ideas. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Sklogin’ Child

(Apparently this poster was a bit controversial in its depiction of Junior putting the cat in a washing machine, which doesn’t happen in the film. Font’s good, spacing and cartoon aspect of it is fun, only problem is the gaudy 90’s color scheme. B.)

Tagline(s) – Attila the Hun. Ivan the Terrible. Al Capone. They were all seven once. (C-)

(This is like a who’s who of the least offensive choices they could have used for the tagline… thank god. Takes far to long to get to the punchline and waters down whatever they were going for.)

Keyword – orphanage

Top 10: Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Deadpool 2 (2018), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Clifford (1994), Orphan (2009), Up (2009)

Future BMT: 50.9 The Boss (2016), 50.1 Friend Request (2016), 44.0 Fred Claus (2007), 42.2 Pan (2015), 39.4 The Princess Diaries 2 (2004), 33.6 Suspect Zero (2004), 32.1 Clifford (1994), 28.9 Original Sin (2001), 28.8 Igor (2008), 26.9 Grimsby (2016);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Silent Hill (2006), The Snowman (2017), Epic Movie (2007), Zoolander 2 (2016), Problem Child (1990), Double Impact (1991), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Solarbabies (1986), Alone in the Dark (2005)

(I’m surprised by how consistent the plot it, you would think once the tropey version of orphanages went out of fashion it would vaguely die out as far as cheap laughs are concerned. My god, Clifford (1994)! Another film I’ve seen an inordinate number of times starring a bad child which comes across as crass and mean-spirited.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jack Warden is No. 2 billed in Problem Child and No. 5 billed in Toys, which also stars LL Cool J (No. 7 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 2 + 5 + 7 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 19. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Throughout the film, Ben reads several self-help books on parenting. Each book features a photo of the author on the back cover. The author photos are John Ritter in various costumes. (Nice, I like the joke)

An ad campaign for this film included “reviews” from a number of famous movie villains: “Four-star fun for the whole gang!” – Al Capone “Two thumbs up!” – Captain Hook “10 out of 10! Junior had me in stitches!” – Frankenstein “This kid gives ME nightmares!” – Freddy Krueger “Junior is a real cut-up!” – Leatherface “I wish he were MY son!” – Darth Vade r”Don’t have a cow! Just see this movie, dude!” –Bart Simpson

During a 2014 interview on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski revealed that the story was inspired by the 1988 LA Times article “An Adopted Boy–and Terror Begins.” The story is about a married couple suing an adoption agency because they were not informed that their adopted son had severe mental health issues with violent tendencies, and had been previously returned to the agency multiple times. While other writers pitched the story as a horror film in the vein of The Bad Seed (1956) or The Omen (1976), Alexander and Karaszewski thought it had potential as a comedy. They envisioned a dark, adult satire of the then-popular trend of films in which cute kids teach cynical adults how to love, as seen in Baby Boom (1987), Parenthood (1989) (directly spoofed by the film’s poster), Look Who’s Talking (1989), Uncle Buck (1989), Mr. Mum (1983), Kindergarten Cop (1990) and 3 Men and a Baby (1987). The studio insisted on turning it into a children’s film, which meant numerous reshoots and rewrites. All involved in the difficult production were disappointed, and anticipated that it would bomb. Alexander cried after the cast and crew screening. The film was a surprise hit, and Universal’s most profitable film of 1990. Alexander and Karaszewski were so embarrassed that they tried to distance themselves from the film in its immediate aftermath, which proved difficult. Studios were initially reluctant to hire them or take them seriously based on their work on such a prominent disreputable film. In later years, they eventually came to work with executives who grew up watching the film on TV airings and were excited to be meeting “the guys who wrote Problem Child.” Looking back, they still feel the film is “a mess,” but take some pride in being involved with one of the “very few [PG-rated] children’s films THAT black and THAT crazy,” adding “and it’s funny.”

According to Dennis Dugan, the test screenings were disastrous, with 70 percent of the audience walking out, verbal complaints from viewers, and a score of only 30. The studio forced two weeks of reshoots, including a retooled ending and the addition of key scenes like the girl’s birthday party.

Dennis Dugan had never directed a feature film before, so he decided to make his pitch to Universal executives a memorable one. He stood on the studio president’s coffee table and passionately proclaimed, “You’re looking at me like I’m f*cking nuts, and this is what we want. We want this kind of chaos.” Three hours later, Dugan learned he had the job.

During production, both John Ritter and Gilbert Gottfried were allowed to ad lib, making Universal complain at Dennis Dugan for shooting too much footage for Gottfried’s scenes

The poster for the movie was a spoof of the poster for Parenthood (1989). Imagine Entertainment produced both films and Dennis Dugan, who directed Problem Child, acted in both films.

Universal originally wanted John Landis to direct this film. But Landis turned it down as he had no interest in making kids movies. They then approached Joe Dante to direct after directing The ‘Burbs (1989) for them. Dante read the script and liked it. But he turned it down as he was about to work on Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990).

The doll that Junior takes the bow-tie from in the orphanage is a “My Buddy” doll that is missing its striped shirt and tennis shoes. When sold in stores, the doll never originally came with a bow-tie.

Dennis Dugan: as the All-American Dad who buys his son a canteen.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Gilbert Gottfried, 1991)

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare Recap

Jamie

Freddy’s back, Jack! And for the final time (not really). This time Freddy had turned Springwood into a wasteland, having killed all the children across generations. Now, in order to escape to kill again, he must lure his child (!) back to the town. Can a new gang of dream warriors subdue Freddy for the final time? Find out in… Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.

How?! When a kid with amnesia stumbles into town, the police quickly collect him and send him to a home for troubled children. The kids there are all battling demons from their past and using all kinds of therapy techniques to try to help. For example one of therapists is an expert in dreams, which I’m sure won’t come in handy. Anyway, one of the therapists, Maggie, notices that the new John Doe has a newspaper clipping from Springwood and decides to take him back there. Incidentally a few other kids stow away in the van and are discovered after arriving in town. Weirdly, Springwood is a ghost town and the teens are met with fear and curiosity. The stowaways are sent home, while Maggie and John investigate. In a nearby school they discover that Freddy had a child! This must be the key to what’s going on and John is convinced that he is that child. Meanwhile the teens can’t seem to escape Springwood, so settling into a recognizable house on Elm Street they try to get through the night. Not likely as one-by-one they are pulled into the dream world by Freddy. One of the teens, Tracy, escapes and gets Maggie and John to come help. John and Tracy enter into the dream world to help the other kids but it’s too late and they are almost killed. As they try to leave Springwood, Freddy corners John and tells him that he’s not the child, rather it’s a girl. As he is killed by Freddy, John awakens and tells this to Maggie. Back home, Maggie finds that she’s adopted and that she is actually Katherine Kreuger and has inadvertently brought Freddy with her to a new town. With the help of the dream therapist, Maggie enters the dream world and is able to get into his head and pull him into the real world. There they have a climactic battle which ends with him stabbed by his own glove and blown up with a pipe bomb, thus finally killing Freddy Kreuger. THE END (or is it? (no, not really)). 

Why?! I guess this is probably the most interesting motivation for Kreuger as he has turned Springwood into an isolated, crazy mess with no more kids to kill. So looking for a way to get to a new town he sends John Doe out for the express purpose of bringing Maggie back to him. With their connection, Freddy knows that he can use Maggie as a vessel to get out of Springwood.

Who?! There’s some weird shit in this one. Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold are credited as Mr. and Mrs. Tom Arnold, which is odd. Then Johnny Depp has a cameo and got credited as Oprah Noodlemantra. Finally, in a flashback we see Freddy kill his abusive adoptive father. Who’s his daddio? The musician Alice Cooper. The hits keep coming in these films.

What?! Oh man. One of the best product placements in a while as one of Freddy’s lamest kills of all time comes when he traps one of the kids in a video game. He’s playing it (poorly I might add) trying to kill the kid when John Doe and Tracy come and snatch the controls away. Not so fast says Freddy… cause he’s got dat sweet Nintendo Power Glove like a real video game Wizard. Unfortunately I don’t think there is an unironic entry in a Power Glove Trilogy, so it’ll have to remain a Power Glove Duology. As for the MacGuffin-ish way of killing Freddy? They go for a classic with bringing him out of the dream world and into the real world to make him mortal.

Where?! This opened with a map and on it appears Springwood, Ohio as the location where the action is taking place. I audibly gasped when it showed up on the screen. As I mentioned in the 5th film’s recap I had firmly settled into Nightmare being the Westcoast entry in the horror franchise canon. All of a sudden it joined Halloween in the midwest set. They claim they had it as Ohio from the jump, having changed parts of the first film’s original script to remove mention of California, but I don’t totally buy it. Still this is a solid B.

When?! This is a funny one where they also put on the screen that the action of the film takes place “ten years in the future” when Freddy has destroyed Springwood. Apparently ten years from the end of the fifth film. This would place it in 1999 and makes parts of the film totally incomprehensible. John Doe thinks he’s Freddy’s kid who was taken from him 33 years before… So you’re almost 40, kid? Really? B.

Boy oh boy, this movie is terrible. Really an ignominious final entry in the main series. You’re much better off just jumping straight to the reboot New Nightmare rather than suffer through the straight-to-video level trash that they ended up making here. God, it’s a real shame given how surprisingly solid and mostly fresh and interesting the first and then third through fifth films are. You can’t blame them for a little stumble on the second, but you can definitely blame them for this one. Not only is the entire film a big step backwards in production, with only a couple visually pleasing scenes, but Freddy Kreuger enters full self-parody as he comes off like a lame old man constantly spouting terrible one-liners and calling everyone a bitch. At one point he’s getting ready to fight and is all like “check this out,” and proceeds to do a super lame-o cartwheel and immediately gets kicked in the face like a dumbo. What a dumb, terrible idiot Freddy has become. And what dumb terrible idiots we are for watching this dumb terrible entry in an otherwise fun horror franchise. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The big 600 babyyyyy! That’s right, 600 films watched for BMT. And what better way than with the only truly dire Nightmare film? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The director of this film has a wild story. She was a mathematician who worked at Johns Hopkins when she met John Waters. She then, through that connection, ended up doing various jobs on all but the fifth Nightmare film. And then she was asked to direct the last one (and ended up using a bunch of people from John Waters’ regular film crew to do it). Apparently, in the writers’ room she was known for coming up with truly outlanding dream kills for Freddy to do. What were my expectations? I knew in my heart that the film must be bad, but I also hoped that at the very least you would get some really cool kills out of it.

The Good – Not much. I would say I can kind of see the allure of some of the kills for some people. Someone involved in production said their favorite kill in the entire franchise is the Q-tip kill with Carlos which is in this film. I can appreciate how long and elaborate the nightmarish torture scene is … but it still seems a bit too silly to me. The idea of Springwood being a ghost town is interesting. The idea of Freddy being able to branch out to the wider world is a little interesting. There are tiny bits of interesting stuff, that’s probably the best thing you can say about it. Best Bit: Some practical kills.

The Bad – This movie is the one genuine trash film of the bunch. It is dog poo in my face. It completes the transition of Freddy into a complete joke, adds an unnecessary (or at least sub-par) lore element of the Dream Worms into the mythos, and adds in a confounding aspect to Freddy himself which shows up in none of the other movies. Even the idea of Springwood being a ghost town, which I guess is kind of cool if you ignore some of the elements of earlier films, is completely wasted by making that a joke too. It goes too far, the movie slips too far into irony, and its only saing grace is that it was intended as a finale so it didn’t leave any handing threads that needed to be resolved by further sequels and retconning. Fatal Flaw: Freddy, and the series, fully becomes a joke.

The BMT – And there it is, the first six films of the Nightmare franchise are kind of their own thing so that is now cemented into the BMT record. There will be a few more to do (New Nightmare doesn’t qualify, but will be done alongside the 2010 remake), but like with Friday the 13th that is another mega-franchise for the books! Did it meet my expectations? Yes, this film is the only in the entire series where it is completely confounding as to how it was made. It just smashes the lore apart with no regard for human life. So yeah, definitely an amusingly bad film in context.

Roast-radamus – Really good Product Placement (What?) for Nintendo in what is bar none the worst kill of the entire franchise. Decent Setting as a Character (Where?)  for Springwood, Ohio, where the entire franchise takes place, although I think they only really make it explicit in this one for the first time. Borderline MacGuffin (Why?) for Freddy’s daughter, a mystery that everyone is desperately trying to solve throughout the film. And speaking of which, Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Freddy’s kid isn’t, in fact, the young man whom Freddy would have had to father after his death, but instead it is the older woman who is juuuuust the right age. This is a quintessential bad slasher sequel, and thus has to be a BMT contender.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I can’t help myself, I have to go with Remake here because I think there is a decently obvious path from the fifth film to what should have been the conclusion to the series. Borrow the Krueger as Dream Master idea from the comic book (see below) and like in this film smash cut to the future, about 17 years, to focus on Alice’s son Jacob. With no Elm Street children left to kill, and no Dream Masters to use, Freddy has been locked away in the dream world. Alice has trained her son in the art of the Dream Master, but due to Hypnocil abuse is now confined to an asylum. While trying to communicate with his mother in the dream world, a slip up by Jacob gives Freddy a chance. He uses his Dream Master ability to commit a string of dream murders with the ultimate plan to use Jacob to get pulled out of the dream world and back into the real world. He will be mortal again, but will instigate a new group of vigilantes to kill him once more, generating a fresh set of Springwood children to haunt and give him power for another generation. Ultimately, Jacob goes into the dream world and pulls Freddy in, Alice kills Freddy during a nightmare severing Freddy’s connection to the dream world, killing him in real life, and condemning him to hell. The end … or is it? It is, much like what happened with the actual sixth film Freddy v Jason and other sequels would occur in the time between the fifth (1990) and sixth (2007 in this case) films.

You Just Got Schooled – There is a ton of extra stuff with Nightmare on Elm Street. There was a NES game, A Nightmare on Elm Street. I didn’t play it, it seems like a straightforward platformer, instead I watched the Games Done Quick co-op speedrun which is quick and pretty entertaining, B+ for the GDQ run, but I would guess a C- for the platformer itself. There was also a series of comics. I read the two Marvel comics released as Freddy Krueger’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. There was supposed to be four, but Marvel got skittish about protests about violence in the media and they cut it off. B+, the second one is quite good especially for a black and white comic book. I wish they had gone with the idea of Freddy Krueger being a Dream Master instead of the dream worms or whatever, but c’est la vie. Finally there was a television show called Freddy’s Nightmares which was direct to syndication. This ended up causing a lot of problems (specifically, due to syndication a show involving a child murderer haunting people’s dreams and killing them would be on at like 3PM in some places), but despite that it got two seasons. Only eight episodes feature Freddy himself out of the 44 that were produced. I watched the pilot and it was awful. So bad, in fact, that I didn’t even end up finishing the second episode I tried to watch (episode 4 featuring a very young Mariska Hargitay). Reminded me very much of The Highlander television show (which was also direct to syndication, and also awful). D. If this was done today it would have definitely been four two-part episodes per season focusing on Freddy versus a single person, but that isn’t how they rolled in 1988.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare Quiz

Oh boy, so last time I said that I hadn’t slept in 10 days. Well, now it has been 11 days and I set a new world record for staying up. Go me, but also my brain is dying and despite just watching it I don’t remember anything that happened in this film. Do you remember what happened in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Who is John Doe, a fact that even he doesn’t know in the beginning of the film?

2) Along for the ride are Tracy, Carlos, and Spenser. Why are they all in the juvenile center?

3) Who is Freddy’s child?

4) Why, is it revealed, can’t Freddy be killed?

5) In the final confrontation how do they, in fact, kill Freddy?

Bonus Questions: So, what happens to Springwood, Ohio?

Answers

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare Preview

Jamie bursts through the door, running headlong into the giant box in the middle of their apartment. The corner connects directly with his testicles, which amuses Rachel and Patrick to no end. When Jamie is done writhing on the ground and cursing the obviously and unendingly useless box, he announces that he has gotten a toy for the big toy giveaway. “Tada,” he says as he reveals a Rich themed blanket and a Poe brand tea set. Apparently after the war toy submarine fiasco the Super Dope Toy company was looking for something a bit more lowkey and the blanket and tea set hit all the right notes. “The perfect combination,” Jamie explains, “Just like Rich & Poe are the perfect combination of bad guy stopping power.” Patrick holds up his hand in exasperation. While it wouldn’t exactly be the toy he would have chosen, it’ll have to do because he also has big news. The FMV VR Rich & Poe experience is done and he thinks it’s pretty great. No need to say more. Jamie quickly sends off the Rich & Poe Blanket & Tea set to WGRG, while Patrick sets the FMV release date for peak chart time. With their nerves on edge and 15 hours to kill before they see if their plan has worked, Jamie and Patrick contemplate what to do until then. “Should we watch Here on Earth?” Patrick suggests, breaking out their well-worn 4K copy with extra bonus features. But Jamie shakes his head. The white-hot tragic love story is a bit too intense for the moment. What they really need is some sleep. Suddenly it hits him like a ton of bricks. Duh, let’s take this blanket and tea set for a test drive and snooze away the time. Hopefully they don’t have any bad dreams. That’s right! We are transitioning out of the video games/song cycle and right into one of our favorites: franchises! We are going to hit up some beautiful sequels, please, and start it off hot with the two Nightmare on Elm entries that qualified for BMT (before the reboots started). Those are A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, which were five and six in the series. I really liked the first one, so I was excited to watch the whole original series. Let’s go!

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) – BMeTric: 66.4; Notability: 42

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 23.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 12.7% Higher BMeT: Cool as Ice; Higher Notability: Hook, Hudson Hawk, Mobsters, Switch, Flight of the Intruder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Rock-A-Doodle, Life Stinks, Out for Justice, Necessary Roughness, The Marrying Man, The Five Heartbeats, Driving Me Crazy, Billy Bathgate, He Said, She Said, Oscar, Teen Agent, King Ralph; Lower RT: Cool as Ice, Mobsters, Problem Child 2, Pure Luck, The Marrying Man, Strictly Business, Drop Dead Fred, Another You, Oscar, Nothing But Trouble, The Hitman, Mannequin: On the Move, Curly Sue, One Good Cop, Suburban Commando, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Ernest Scared Stupid, Driving Me Crazy, Life Stinks; Notes: Phew, at least it managed to get below 5.0. The film is rough, and the impressive BMeTric is well deserved.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Don’t believe the title. This Nightmare on Elm Street entry has Freddy Krueger trying to break out of the town where he’s been slaughtering teens in their dreams. Now the stage is set for the end-all Freddy showdown – a 10-minute 3-D finales that didn’t even look good in theaters. A total yawner. Cameos by Alice Cooper, Raseanne and Tom Arnold, and Johnny Depp, whose film debut was in the first Nightmare. Followed by Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.

(I think you can believe the title Leonard! This is the (sad) culmination of what is, in reality, a really solid slasher franchise with six films. New Nightmare is a meta reboot. Freddy v. Jason is something outside of both of those franchises (and I think would have been considered its own unique franchise is they had got to make a sequel). And then they had the remake. This is actually the conclusion of the first set of films.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGQP6PIXzyc/

(I swear to god the middle of that trailer is just a series of people hitting him and punching him in the face. Terrible trailer. Having seen it, I also think they should have played up that this is set 10 years in the future and that Springwood is a ghost town without any children … but then again that is ultra dumb and I hate it so ….)

Directors – Rachel Talalay – (Known For: A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting; Future BMT: Tank Girl; Ghost in the Machine; BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Notes: Crazy life, she was a mathematician who worked as a programmer at Yale when she met John Waters which got her into movies. She was involved in the first four films in various ways which got her this job. She was the first American to direct a Doctor Who episode. And now she directs a ton of television shows.)

Writers – Wes Craven (characters) – (Known For: A Nightmare on Elm Street; The Hills Have Eyes; The Last House on the Left; Freddy vs. Jason; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare; The People Under the Stairs; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge; The Last House on the Left; The Hills Have Eyes; Deadly Blessing; Paris, je t’aime; A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; Swamp Thing; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Future BMT: Pulse; The Hills Have Eyes II; My Soul to Take; A Nightmare on Elm Street; A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Shocker; BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Notes: His son is a horror film producer, and his daughter was an actress who had a bit part in this film as a nurse.)

Rachel Talalay (story) – (BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Notes: She wrote her first feature since this film last year, although I don’t think it is necessarily going to be released widely anywhere.)

Michael De Luca (screenplay) – (Known For: In the Mouth of Madness; BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Judge Dredd; Notes: Ended up as Dreamworks’ President of Production and MGM’s Motion Picture Group Chairman. He also wrote seven of the Freddy’s Nightmares episodes.)

Actors – Robert Englund – (Known For: A Nightmare on Elm Street; Freddy vs. Jason; A Star Is Born; Hatchet; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare; Galaxy of Terror; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge; A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; Dead and Buried; Strippers vs Werewolves; Stay Hungry; Zombie Strippers!; Death Trap; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon; Big Wednesday; 2001 Maniacs; The Midnight Man; Red; Strangeland; Future BMT: The Mangler; A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Meet the Deedles; Wishmaster; The Phantom of the Opera; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Urban Legend; Notes: I find it pretty interesting that he is top billed in all of these films except the first and third (where  Heather Langenkamp gets a higher billing). Out of all of the slasher franchises that must be a fairly unique thing, to have the slasher be top billed.)

Lisa Zane – (Known For: Bad Influence; Heart of Dixie; Floundering; Femme Fatale; The Girl from Nagasaki; Cruel But Necessary; Future BMT: Gross Anatomy; BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Monkeybone; Notes: That’s right, the sister of BMT mega-star Billy Zane! Was a voice on Biker Mice from Mars, the cartoon.)

Shon Greenblatt – (Known For: The Last Days of Paradise; Luster; Chopper Chicks in Zombietown; Future BMT: Newsies; BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Notes: Son of famous broadway producers, and the father of famous child actor Ariana Greenblatt who we haven’t seen in anything, but will presumably eventually see in Bad Mom’s Christmas.)

Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $34,872,033 (Worldwide: $34,872,033)

(Yeah that is good. Slashers (and horror in general) were in a really bad place in the 90s, so it is a bit of good fortune they didn’t charge forward with trying to make this not the final nightmare. But it is a bit of a surprise that they didn’t start to think through how to continue with it. These franchises always seem like such easy money at the time.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (6/30): Reducing the once-terrifying Dream Reaper into a goofy caricature, this joyless climax will leave audiences hoping Freddy stays dead.

(Yup. It was inevitable though. Outside of three all of the sequels started giving Freddy more and more to do and say and … well, what can a child murderer say that is interesting except goofy puns that undermine the horror? Reviewer Highlight: The joke is on the filmmakers: By taking the finality out of death, they’ve already robbed the horror genre of its giddy sting. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – The Nightmare’s Over: Sklog Street Edition

(Went back to more traditional, which was a harbinger of things to come. Not sure why it’s tilted or why that bus is on there. But color scheme is nice and showing who the real star was at this point: Freddy. Somehow regressed on the font. C+)

Tagline(s) – They saved the best for last. (D)

(Ooooof, that’s an unfortunately inaccurate tagline. I generally do not like meta taglines and this is no different. Bad all around.)

Keyword – slasher

Top 10: Get Out (2017), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Seven (1995), American Psycho (2000), Jennifer’s Body (2009), Scream (1996), The Cabin in the Woods (2011), Urban Legend (1998), Scary Movie (2000), Wrong Turn (2003)

Future BMT: 82.8 Prom Night (2008), 82.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 72.6 Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017), 72.1 Black Christmas (2019), 69.3 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 68.8 Black Christmas (2006), 68.1 Seed of Chucky (2004), 67.0 Halloween II (2009), 64.3 Valentine (2001), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995);

BMT: Urban Legend (1998), House of Wax (2005), Friday the 13th (2009), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Jason X (2001), Truth or Dare (2018), Cobra (1986), The Bye Bye Man (2017), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), The Fog (2005), Deadly Friend (1986), Graveyard Shift (1990)

(Horror is an interesting franchise in that you can see in the last ten years how much it must have migrated to streaming (like Shudder) with the precipitous drop in notability. The big peak is around Scream I think and the newly minted big budget horror genre which swiftly died. I am excited to do the entirely Halloween franchise next. I’ve seen mot of those, but I have a lot more horror experiences to draw on now.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Englund is No. 1 billed in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and No. 10 billed in Urban Legend, which also stars Alicia Witt (No. 1 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 2 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 10 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch The Phantom of the Opera, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 17.

Notes – This is the first film in the franchise that does not include the little jump rope girls singing Freddy’s rhyme.

Peter Jackson’s original screenplay for Freddy’s Dead saw Freddy aging and growing weak within the dream world. The teens of Springwood would have drug-fuelled slumber parties for kicks, and enter the dream world to beat him up. (HAHAHA)

A sixteen-year-old Jacob Johnson, the son that was born to Alice Johnson in the previous installment, A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), was a major character in the original script written for the movie by Michael Almereyda. In this first draft of the film, Alice, now in her thirties, was killed by Freddy. Taryn, Joey, and Kincaid from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) also returned as the “Dream Police”. In the script, Taryn was the “Blade Cop”, Joey was the “Sound Cop”, and Kincaid was the “Power Cop”. Director Rachel Talalay has stated that she greatly disliked the original script, and that the replacement script by Michael De Luca “saved the day”. De Luca also said that he was surprised he wasn’t asked to write the screenplay in the first place, since he had done a similar last-minute re-write on A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989). (WHAT, I … kind of love that? I love the idea of the “Dream Police” would be an interesting idea of the Dream Masters getting recruited into a group to fight Freddy)

When shown theatrically, audience members were given one pair of red cardboard 3-D glasses with movie taglines printed on it. The inside arms had adhesives for attaching to standard glasses. An advertisement for House Party 2 (1991) was printed on the outside of one arm.

They re-used most of the crew from John Waters’ Cry-Baby (1990), including Traci Lords’ husband. (Right, because the director was good friends with John Waters)

The video game system that Freddy Krueger plays is similar to the NES which featured the A Nightmare on Elm Street (1989) video game.

Alice Cooper, who has an uncredited role as Freddy’s father, previously co-wrote and performed the theme song for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986). Both that film and this film are the sixth films in their respective franchises.

When released to home video, the 3-D sequence was shown in standard format, excluding the UK rental version. However, the LaserDisc version had the full 3-D sequence, along with the regular version. Two pairs of 3-D glasses were included with the disc. The glasses were similar to the ones given out in theaters, minus the advertisements, adhesives, and taglines. They were also printed on a thinner cardstock. This was the only way to view the 3-D sequence prior to the DVD release in the U.S.

This is the first “A Nightmare On Elm Street” film not to have the words “Elm Street” in the title.

Part of the title was inspired by the hit song “Freddie’s Dead” by Curtis Mayfield from the almost 20-year old film “Super Fly” (1972).

Robert Englund has stated that his favorite kill in any of the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, is Carlos’ death in this film. (It is my least favorite so …)

John Doe comes to think he may be Freddy’s son. As noted earlier, this film takes place ten years in the future, circa 1999. The “A Nightmare on Elm Street” official website’s time line notes that Freddy Krueger’s death at the hands of the Springwood parents, took place in 1968 (based on the fact that in A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), Freddy’s mother is said to have died soon after Freddy’s trial). This film notes that Freddy’s child was taken away from him in 1966 (see the chalkboard scene at Springwood High School). Therefore, John Doe would have to be in his thirties to be Freddy’s son, which he obviously was not. (This is some A+ movie timeline stuff and I love it)

The producers where planning a spin off film in which Freddy Kreuger’s spirit possesses the body of his daughter Maggie Burroughs (Lisa Zane) and she continue’s her father’s murderous killing spree but it never happened.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Iggy Pop, 1992)

Endless Love (1981) Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. This actually isn’t one of those five films. This is a bonus preview I’ve made because Endless Love (2014) is being inducted. That preview will follow directly. But if you end up watching Endless Love 1981, here’s your one stop shop for preview information. Enjoy!

Endless Love (1981) – BMeTric: 46.5; Notability: 31 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.3%; Notability: top 28.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 8.6% Higher Notability: Halloween II, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Cannonball Run, Looker, All Night Long, The Devil and Max Devlin, The Final Conflict, Death Hunt, Caveman; Lower RT: Final Exam, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Deadly Blessing, Death Hunt, The Devil and Max Devlin, Student Bodies, Caveman; Notes: The BMeTric bit is obviously the most impressive. To understand what it is saying, consider that only films with Rotten Tomatoes scores below 40% are counted in the percentiles (so it is the top XX% for qualifying films). So basically it is saying there are 20ish such films in 1981 and of those this film has the highest BMeTric. That’s pretty amazing. Sub-5.0 IMDb, and very notable for having an Oscar nominated song. Hit it! Endlesssssss Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Is there anything good in the movie? Yes. Brooke Shields is good. She is a great natural beauty, and she demonstrates, in a scene of tenderness and concern for Hewitt and in a scene of rage with her father, that she has a strong, unaffected screen acting manner. But the movie as a whole does not understand the particular strengths of the novel that inspired it, does not convince us it understands adolescent love, does not seem to know its characters very well, and is a narrative and logical mess.

(I 100% agree with Ebert on all counts here. I think the film, with a few years of distance, is slightly better than the two stars he gave it. But I think Shields is the strongest bit of a pretty okay adaptation of a difficult book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33msTt1jAu8/

(Pretty intense stuff. This trailer makes me wonder whether it was recut due to confusion by test audiences. Because it is really explicit that he set the fire, so the scene (which isn’t in the movie) of him admitting he set the fire doesn’t make sense. But, if the film was originally non-linear … then it would be easy for the movie to be shown in such a way where the “you’re just jealous of our love compared to your failing marriage” idea holds a lot of water.)

Directors – Franco Zeffirelli – (Known For: Tea with Mussolini; Romeo and Juliet; Hamlet; Jane Eyre; The Taming of the Shrew; Brother Sun, Sister Moon; Callas Forever; Future BMT: The Champ; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars, one as director for Romeo and Juliet, and the other for La traviata as a set designer. Was a member of the Italian parliament in the 90s for the rightist party Forza Italia.)

Writers – Scott Spencer (based on the novel by) – (Known For: Waking the Dead; Future BMT: Father Hood; BMT: Endless Love; Endless Love; Notes: Apparently adapted someone else’s book into the Charles Bronson film Act of Vengeance.)

Judith Rascoe (screenplay by) – (Known For: The Bang Bang Club; Dog Soldiers; Future BMT: Terror Train; Havana; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Daughter of critic Burton Rascoe, she is a writer who taught fiction at Yale. She was tapped to adapt a series of novels in the late 70s and early 80s.)

Actors – Brooke Shields – (Known For: The Other Guys; Pretty Baby; The Midnight Meat Train; Chalet Girl; Freeway; Hannah Montana: The Movie; The Muppets Take Manhattan; Alice, Sweet Alice; Freaked; King of the Gypsies; Daisy Winters; Future BMT: The Bachelor; Black and White; Cannonball Fever; The Hot Flashes; The Greening of Whitney Brown; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Endless Love; The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for The Blue Lagoon in 1981; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Sahara in 1985; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Speed Zone in 1990; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1982 for Endless Love; and in 1985 for Sahara; Nominee for Worst Actress of the Century in 2000 for Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; and Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 1990 for Cannonball Fever, Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was a model and 15 at the time of filming this film. She stopped acting in 1983 to attend Princeton where she graduated in Romance Languages. She was the star of the television show Suddenly Susan.)

Martin Hewitt – (Future BMT: Two Moon Junction; Yellowbeard; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Hired as part of a nationwide search. Is a home inspector in California now.)

Shirley Knight – (Known For: As Good as It Gets; Our Idiot Brother; Sweet Bird of Youth; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee; Picnic; The Salton Sea; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Rain People; Juggernaut; The Group; Petulia; Redwood Highway; A House on a Hill; Future BMT: Beyond the Poseidon Adventure; Angel Eyes; Diabolique; The Centre of the World; Grandma’s Boy; Little Boy Blue; P.S. Your Cat Is Dead!; BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; Paul Blart: Mall Cop; Color of Night; Endless Love; Stuart Saves His Family; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars in the 60s for Sweet Bird of Youth and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Was a Warner Brothers television contract star in her early career.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $31,184,024 (Worldwide: $32,492,674)

(Obviously hard to tell, but $31 million seems pretty alright for an adaptation of a novel in 1981. I can’t imagine people were thinking in terms of beaucoup bucks on the Endless Love IP at the time. There are also not really any actors in it. It was probably fine.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (5/18)

(I get to make a consensus: Notorious for its poor understanding of the character and melodramatic tones, the film mainly fails to live up to its much more profound source material. Reviewer Highlight: A Cotton-candy rendition of Scott Spencer’s powerful novel, Endless Love is a manipulative tale of a doomed romance which careens repeatedly between the credible and the ridiculous. – Variety Staff, Variety)

Poster – Endless Lurv

(I like it. I like the color, I like how creepy he looks. The literally endless Endless Love is maybe a bit on the nose, but otherwise it is a pretty solid poster for the film. A-.)

Tagline(s) – She is 15. He is 17. The love every parent fears. (B)

(I think it could have done without the first bit. I understand that part of the point is that she is far too young to be dealing with this obsessing young man … but I think the short and sweet “The love every parent fears” gets the point across while clashing with what otherwise might seem like a generic romance to work well.)

Keyword – obsessive love

Top 10: The Great Gatsby (2013), Batman (1989), Fear (1996), There’s Something About Mary (1998), Ghost (1990), The English Patient (1996), Fatal Attraction (1987), Far from the Madding Crowd (2015), Walk the Line (2005), The Reader (2008)

Future BMT: 60.5 Obsessed (2009), 51.0 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 50.9 Mr. Wrong (1996), 37.3 Enough (2002), 36.0 Hush (1998), 33.3 Mad Love (1995), 32.4 The Crush (1993), 25.1 The Phantom of the Opera (1989), 24.0 To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996), 23.0 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996);

BMT: The Boy Next Door (2015), Swimfan (2002), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Roommate (2011), Perfect Stranger (2007)

(They’ve loved obsessive love in Hollywood for years. I think I’m most intrigued by eventually watching Obsessed, although I do believe Jamie has already seen that one.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brooke Shields is No. 1 billed in Endless Love and No. 3 billed in Furry Vengeance, 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 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – During the lovemaking scene, director Franco Zeffirelli squeezed Brooke Shields’ big toe off camera to provoke a reaction that would look like an orgasm. (Gross)

Movie debuts of Tom Cruise, Ian Ziering and Jami Gertz. (I don’t remember Ian Ziering)

Tom Cruise’s very brief appearance in the movie is critical to the movie’s plot. (I guess … )

Brooke Shields’ mother and manager Teri Shields nearly turned down the movie after first reading the script, as she felt the role of Jade Butterfield had no substance. She said “It was just going to be Brooke standing around looking beautiful.”

Martin Hewitt was the subject of a high profile talent search. Despite considerable media attention, his career failed to take off. Both Leonard Whiting and Graham Faulkner experienced similar career slumps after appearing in Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) for Franco Zeffirelli.

Meg Ryan auditioned for the role of Jade Butterfield before Brooke Shields was cast. (That could have been interesting)

The MPAA awarded the initial cut of the movie an X rating. Franco Zeffirelli subsequently made several cuts in the love scenes between Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt to achieve a lower rating. The movie was resubmitted to the MPAA five times before they awarded this an R rating.

The movie was noted to have one of the most spectacular one-man stunt displays when Hugh Butterfield gets run over by a car in New York City. The stuntman does a high end-over-end flip in mid-air. (It is very impressive)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Lionel Richie, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Dyson Lovell, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brooke Shields, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Shirley Knight, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Franco Zeffirelli, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Judith Rascoe, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Martin Hewitt, 1982)

Urban Legend Recap

Jamie

Natalie and her gang of college friends are just a bunch of normal college kids. That is until people they know start getting killed and, weird, they all seem to have something to do with urban legends. Despite her warnings, no one believes her and her friends get picked off one by one. Can she stop the killer before it’s too late? Find out in… Urban Legend.

How?! Natalie and her friends at college are shocked when a classmate is murdered. Little do they know that Natalie has a dark secret connection to that classmate (bum bum bum) and soon finds herself amidst a series of bizarre deaths that seem to mimic the urban legends she’s learning about in her urban legends class (you know, that class you take in college… the one all about urban legends). No one believes her though and she begins to suspect everyone. As she tries to shake off the feeling that she’s going crazy her reporter friend Paul starts to take interest in the story when he finds that all the information about their school’s very own urban legend has been scrubbed from the records. Whiffing a conspiracy, he helps Natalie try to make headway, but is soon kicked off the newspaper for his efforts. Despondent and scared, Natalie goes to a party only to have the murders kick up a notch. She attempts to escape with Paul and her friend Brenda but soon starts to suspect Paul and they run away. This all leads back to the school’s spooky abandoned dorm where it’s revealed that Brenda was behind it all! She was the girlfriend of the guy who Natalie and her friend ran off the road with an urban legend prank (who among us…). For revenge she has killed everyone around Natalie and saved her for last. But just as she is going to do it Paul shows up (and really doesn’t do much) but then the school security guard shows up and saves the day. In the end we see Natalie and Paul rushing to get help, only to have to subdue a still-not-dead Brenda (or do they? Bum bum bum). THE END.

Why?! Eventually the motive for the crimes are made abundantly clear through an exposition scene that I think was supposed to play as satire. Brenda even has a projector there to help her explain her motives to Natalie/The Audience. Natalie isn’t purely an audience surrogate, though, she has that whole backstory about killing someone that explains why she’s so paranoid. It’s actually a wild plot point considering you are shown the flashback of their “prank” where they literally are laughing and laughing and laughing like crazy people as they run a dude off the road. It’s weird. The whole film is bizarre at times.

Who?! I think the most notable thing about the cast of this film was the inclusion of Robert Englund aka Freddy Krueger. It’s more than a cameo considering he’s one of the main suspects throughout the film. Interesting inclusion here since unlike what he was famous for this film never spawned a “Jason” or even a “Ghostface.” Kinda botched the monster/killer really.

What?! For any horror film you have to look to the motif. Jason has his mask and machete. Freddy his knives and striped shirt/fedora combo. Mike Myers has the mask. And Urban Legends has the… weird winter coat that everyone seems to own? It’s super lame and the closest thing they got to a distinctive weapon was an ax. Yawn. 

Where?! New Hampshire! Where were you when we were doing What Goes Up for that one on mapl.de.map? This is delightfully set in the Granite State and I loved it for it. It’s very clear, but doesn’t play a huge role in the plot other than the note that the types of urban legends that are discussed in the film often start with “At a college in the Northeast…” B+ 

When?! We do get an exact date on this one as the date of the big party. It’s April 23rd or thereabouts… oddly clear in the film and yet noted no where on the internet (and while crazy, I won’t be renting the movie again to get the exact date). Trust me, though, it was not really all that important of a date other than the fact that it was exact… oh so very exact. B.

This movie is traaaaaash. The acting is terrible and the writing seems like they fished a dusty old slasher script out of a drawer and rewrote the bare minimum to make it a “super cool meta” Scream knockoff. The best that you can say is that they seemed to be having fun while they made it and it’s way better than the sequel. I really didn’t like this movie, but after watching the second one I was getting a bit nostalgic for all the great times I had loving, learning, and learning to love again with my dear friend Urban Legend. But don’t be tricked! This movie is terrible. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We watched not one, but two Urban Legends. Did I ever tell you about the time I was driving home and then it turned out there was an escaped serial killer in the back seat? True story, he chopped my head clean off. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This one has been kicking around for a while (not least of which because it stars Pacey from Dawson’s Creek), and it is nice to complete another slasher franchise, albeit only two films, in the course of BMT. The only thing I think I ever really knew about it is it’s a knockoff of Scream. And the preview … yeah, it seems like that was the consensus at the time, that this is a knockoff of Scream and therefore bad. Well guess what? As long as I’m spooky scared, I’ll be happy. What were my expectations? A knockoff of Scream. The trailer also looks super late 90s, so I was hoping for a bit of amazing 90s fashion. If it is at all scary I think its a success.

The Good – Uhhhhhhhhhhh. Hm. I think there is a place for the true blue teen slasher film. I like the setting of the college campus, and even recently that ends up as a solid setting for a slasher film (and likely the reason Happy Death Day uses it as a setting as well). I think despite the film becoming a bit of a muddle in production, I really liked the look of the killer with the big winter coat. Something about killers and winter storms (a la Whiteout) works real well for me. Additionally, unlike the sequel they at least drew on some real urban legends, so some of those were good to see on film at least. And finally, I think this is probably the best I’ve seen Tara Reid in a film, she was surprisingly good considering she became somewhat of a punchline soon after. Best Bit: The killer’s design.

The Bad – The film is maybe the least scary slasher I’ve ever seen. And they completely telegraph the killer’s identity to boot. It is like an episode of Psych (or choose some equivalent generic murder mystery show), the main character has a dark secret, she killed a high school boy by accident in an urban legend prack gone wrong. Do you see it? Can you guess who the killer is? That’s right, the high school boy’s girlfriend! And of the cast only one person fits the description and voila, you have your killer 45 minutes into the film. As one would expect, the acting is really bad, and it isn’t well served by the muddled production, plus most of the characters are just garbage humans, making them hard to root for. Fatal Flaw: Predictable and not scary.

The BMT – I think as a twosome the Urban Legend franchise has a lot going for it in BMT history. You have the one-two punch of knocking off both Scream and Scream 2. You have a great concept completely ruined by half-assed production. And you have maybe the least scary two slasher films I’ve seen in a long while. Throw in the sequel being a twin flm and you’re cooking with fire! Did it meet my expectations? For enjoyment? No, the film is not scary and sucks. For a bad film? I guess … it is really bad. Like I-want-to-paint-a-portrait-of-this-film bad. So there is a lot of BMT-ness, just not a lot of “hey watch this movie, it’s hilarious”-ness.

Roast-radamus – Very nice Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi. Just wait until you see this section for the sequel, can anyone say trouble in paradise? Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for the fictional college town of Melbourne, New Hampshire. And a pretty awful Worst Twist (How?) for oooooh nooo my BFF turns out to be a psycho ex-girlfriend of the person I accidentally killed! I think this is closest to Bad in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – It doesn’t make a huge impact on lists. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure, seems like at least some critics would just hate slashers in general. This probably makes so expanded lists for worst 90s slashers. But overall the credit is fully from that Scream knockoff genre that popped up in the late 90s. This series, unlike I Know What You Did Last Summer, is unabashedly a Scream carbon copy, all the way down to a meta narrative playing off of slashers in general. And in the end if you are at all a fan of the Scream franchise this is worth checking out in that context.

I’ll have to leave that here since the Bring a Friend and Twin Analyses will be for the main film watched this week in Urban Legends: Final Cut.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs