Jaws 3-D Preview

Every cycle is new and different in the BMT-verse, but one thing stays the same: the Chain Reaction always puts us in a tough spot. We have to navigate the past, current, and future cycles all at once or else we might paint ourselves into a corner. This cycle was no different and it left us with only one true spot. That’s right! We’re doing Jaws 3-D-Tox! We’re making our way from The Beverly Hillbillies through the lovely Lea Thompson to the first of the two Jaws sequels that qualify for BMT, Jaws 3-D. Apparently at the time the underwater 3-D photography for the film was actually pretty amazing, but it has been lost to film. Despite this it was still nominated for Worst Picture at the 1983 Razzies, so another feather in our BMT cap. As for D-Tox there was really no other choice for straight-to-DVD as this cycle represented one of the few times we could watch one of films Sly Stallone made in the early 2000’s. This was when his career was really waning and he consecutively made Driven, this, Avenging Angelo, Spy Kids 3-D, and Shade before resuscitating his career with the criminally overrated Rocky Balboa. D-Tox has been on our radar for a while because of just how bad its title is, not to mention that it was released in Europe under an even worse name: Eye See You. Unacceptable! Let’s go!

Jaws 3-D (1983) – BMeTric: 84.7

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(See! Last week I wondered about votes just kind of … tailing off. This is more like it. I really do think Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is just slipping into obscurity. The rating is astonishingly low. Like crazy low. I’m kind of shocked. Take a peek below … this is a film Leonard Maltin gave 2 stars. The reviews aren’t overwhelmingly bad … why do people hate this so much. I am intrigued.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Road-company Irwin Allen-type disaster film, unrelated to first two Jaws except by contrivance; this time a shark’s on the loose in Florida’s Sea World. (Does this make it an unofficial remake of Revenge of the Creature?) Might play on TV, but in theaters its only real assets were excellent 3-D effects. Retitled Jaws III for TV and home video.

(Jesus, this review is excellent. Back-to-back hyphen / semi-colon work to open. Two (count’em, two!) older film references (Irwin Allen, the father of the disaster film, and, of all things, Revenge of the Creature). Nice and short, and I’m all about a plot driven by contrivance, so getting me excited.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMlx33ov82c

(A little bit less information than we traditionally see in trailers for BMT films. Probably for the best considering this just shits all over the previous two films …)

Directors – Joe Alves – (BMT: Jaws 3-D; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Jaws 3-D in 1984; Notes: His one-and-done director job. He is mainly an art director and production designer, including for three Spielberg films (Jaws, The Sugarland Express, and Close Encounters).)

Writers – Peter Benchley (suggested by the novel “Jaws”) – (Known For: Jaws; Jaws 2; The Island; Future BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; The Deep; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Notes: Grandson of famed humorist Robert Benchley, he appears in Jaws as the man reporting the shark attacks at Amity on Fourth of July weekend.)

Richard Matheson (screenplay) – (Known For: I Am Legend; Real Steel; The Box; What Dreams May Come; Stir of Echoes; Twilight Zone: The Movie; The Omega Man; Somewhere in Time; The Legend of Hell House; The Last Man on Earth; The Incredible Shrinking Man; Pit and the Pendulum; The Fall of the House of Usher; The Devil Rides Out; The Raven; Tales of Terror; The Comedy of Terrors; Fanatic; Night of the Eagle; Future BMT: Loose Cannons; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; De Sade; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Jaws 3-D in 1984; Notes: Wrote the book I Am Legend, What Dreams May Come, among others. Likely he got involved with Spielberg because he wrote the short story Duel which was Spielberg’s first film.)

Carl Gottlieb (screenplay) – (Known For: Jaws; Jaws 2; The Jerk; Doctor Detroit; Future BMT: Caveman; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Jaws 3-D in 1984; Notes: Wrote the famous book The Jaws Log about the difficult production of the original Jaws. Heavily involved with the Writers’ Guild.)

Guerdon Trueblood (story) – (BMT: Jaws 3-D; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Jaws 3-D in 1984; Notes: Highly successful television writer, he ended up writing several made-for-television creature features including The Savage Bees.)

Michael Kane (additional dialogue) (uncredited) – (Known For: All the Right Moves; Southern Comfort; Future BMT: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Notes: Appears to have retired around 1994, he rocked multiple movies per year from ‘79 to ‘83. Solid early-80s run.)

Actors – Dennis Quaid – (Known For: The Day After Tomorrow; The Parent Trap; Any Given Sunday; Footloose; Traffic; Wyatt Earp; The Rookie; Soul Surfer; Innerspace; DragonHeart; Frequency; The Right Stuff; Stripes; Truth; Breaking Away; Enemy Mine; Far from Heaven; Dreamscape; At Any Price; Playing by Heart; Future BMT: Legion; Cold Creek Manor; Yours, Mine & Ours; Beneath the Darkness; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Horsemen; Something to Talk About; Flight of the Phoenix; The Alamo; Caveman; Undercover Blues; Vantage Point; Switchback; Wilder Napalm; Pandorum; A Dog’s Purpose; All Night Long; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Movie 43; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Playing for Keeps; Notes: The more successful brother of Randy Quaid. He plays in a band called “The Sharks” … which is kind of funny because he claims he doesn’t really remember making this film.)

Bess Armstrong – (Known For: Serial Mom; Pecker; Dream Lover; Nothing in Common; The Four Seasons; Diamond Men; Future BMT: That Darn Cat; Second Sight; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Notes: Onca said about Tom Selleck: “he has some real power now, but he doesn’t use that, or his charm, to exploit women. He genuinely seems to like women. For an actor, that’s rare.”)

Simon MacCorkindale – (Known For: Death on the Nile; The Sword and the Sorcerer; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Wing Commander; Notes: Was on 230 episodes of Casualty. He died in 2010 from cancer.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $45,517,055 (Worldwide: $87,987,055)

(Absolutely smashing it. People do like a creature feature sequel.)

#190 for the 3D genre

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(It is staaaark how many more 3D films came out in the last 10 years compared to in the 80s. People think these films are dying … but they’re going pretty strong it looks like. Right around The Great Wall from this year!)

#27 for the Creature Feature genre

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(We are seeing a resurgence after the boom following Jurassic Park could repeat that success. Things like Jurassic World and Kong: Skull Island seem like the genre is truly back.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (3/28): No consensus yet

(I’ll have to make my own!: A testament to the greed and arrogance that ultimately lead to a sort of studio collapse in the 90s, this represents nothing more than yet another dumb sequel. The reviews are pretty brutal, although all from after the fact. This film got me wondering about sequelitis, but creature features in particular always had a lot of sequels (like Godzilla), so it wasn’t unique to the “modern” studio system. Still, given the joke about Jaws 19 in Back to the Future Part II, the awareness of the problem was there.)

Poster – Sklogs 3-D (B+)

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(Why do I like this poster so much? Like, I like the symmetry, and how it tries to get across the 3-D. I deduct a bit because the big shark looks very silly, but then the foreground with the water skiers is fun. I dig it.)

Tagline(s) – The third dimension is terror. (D-)

(My initial gut reaction was “I dig it”, but then my brain had time to process the nonsense that is actually there. The third dimension is terror. So like, x, y, and terror? It is lucky it doesn’t get an F.)

Keyword(s) – shark; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.9 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 84.7 Jaws 3-D (1983); 84.2 Movie 43 (2013); 81.4 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 77.1 Shark Night 3D (2011); 62.2 My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006); 57.0 Chairman of the Board (1998); 55.5 Dark Tide (2012); 51.8 Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991); 51.2 Sand Sharks (2012);

(We’re leaving a bit of flotsam in our wake with this one, as Jaws: The Revenge will have to be done another time. This is actually an incredible list minus the comedies which “merely have a shark in them”, but Return to the Blue Lagoon? Yes please.)

Notes – According to the book “Roy Scheider: a film biography” (2002) by Diane C. Kachmar, Scheider, who starred in the first two Jaws movies, once said, “Mephistopheles….couldn’t talk me into doing [it]…They knew better than to even ask”. Reportedly, Scheider agreed to make Blue Thunder (1983) in order to ensure that he was definitely and contractually unavailable for this film. Scheider had made Jaws 2 (1978) reluctantly due to a contract issue with Universal Studios whereby he owed the studio two films after withdrawing from The Deer Hunter (1978). To get out of this situation, he opted to make to do Jaws 2 (1978), a picture he didn’t want to work on, in exchange for the studio releasing him from his contract.

The shark was 35 feet long, 10 feet longer than previous films.

David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck, producers of the first two films, originally pitched this as a spoof, based on a suggestion by Matty Simmons and John Hughes. Titled “National Lampoon’s Jaws 3, People 0”, it was about a movie studio trying to make a second sequel to Jaws (1975). It opened with author Peter Benchley being eaten in his pool by a shark, and included a naked Bo Derek and shark-costumed aliens. Joe Dante was attached as director. Steven Spielberg rejected the idea and threatened to walk from his deal with Universal. When Zanuck and Brown learned of the rejection, they quit the studio. (That movie would have been terrible. But it is kind of funny to think of how excited Zanuck and Brown must have been about this idea to quit the studio over it).

In a later interview Dennis Quaid referred to this movie as “I was in Jaws what?”

Lea Thompson’s feature film debut. (Noice, I love Lea Thompson)

The female dolphin called Sandy in the movie is really a male dolphin named Capricorn. He currently lives in Discovery Cove which is owned by SeaWorld Orlando and has interactions with guests like giving them rides and doing tricks for them. Capricorn is 50 years old. (fuck SeaWorld)

In later interviews, writer Richard Matheson claimed that the film was bedeviled with script doctors that ruined the central premise of a white shark swimming upstream and becoming trapped in a lake.

The film made $13,422,500 in its first weekend of release. At the time, that was the highest grossing opening for a 3-D film, it wouldn’t be until 20 years later when Spy Kids 3-D Game Over broke that record ($33,417,739).

The filmmakers initially planned to have very few “pop-out” effects where objects extend beyond the screen in 3D. Studio executives ultimately pressured them to include more, worried that audiences would leave disappointed and spread bad word-of-mouth if the 3D were used mainly for depth. (I cannot wait to notice all of this garbage in 2D)

This is the only film ever directed by Joe Alves. (One and done, one and done, one and done!)

Actresses Lorraine Gary and Fritzi Jane Courtney starred in three of the four “Jaws” films. This movie is the only one that they don’t appear. It is also arguably the only one that Roy Scheider does not appear, given the fact that he appeared in the first two films, and the fourth, Jaws: The Revenge (1987), but in the latter only via the inclusion of a framed photograph, and archive footage used for flashbacks.

This sequel did not use any actors from the first two Jaws movies, Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978).

The movie was part of an early 1980s cycle of 3D movies that also included Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985), Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983), Jaws 3-D (1983), Parasite (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983), Comin’ at Ya! (1981), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983) and El tesoro de las cuatro coronas (1983) [“Treasure of the Four Crowns”].

“Jaws 3-D” and “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” have several things in common. Both are the third films in a popular series that began with very successful films released in the 1970s (“Jaws” (1975) and “Halloween” (1978)), both of which launched the careers of their respective directors (Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter). Both were set in new locales not seen in the first two films (the “Jaws” movies took place in Amity Island, and the “Halloween” movies in Haddonfield, Illinois), and were unsuccessful attempts to deviate from previous sequels, which had been highly derivative of the originals (“Jaws 2” (1978) and “Halloween II” (1981)). And both were made by first-time directors who had been the production designers of the previous films (Joe Alves for “Jaws” and Tommy Lee Wallace for “Halloween”).

The movie was directed by Joe Alves who had been the production designer on Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978) and was also the second unit director for on the latter. Trade paper ‘Variety’ said “Joe Alves was instrumental in the design of the first Jaws shark and was the unsung production hero in both the first two pictures”.

This film was the first shot on Arriflex’s single-camera ArriVision 3D system. However, the system was not actually ready for use until a week into production. During the wait, the Optimax and StereoVision 3D systems were used. All of the footage from the Optimax system was deemed unusable and thrown out (that system was prone to serious misalignment issues), while StereoVision was deemed acceptable enough that it continued to be used for second-unit work through the entire production. ArriVision footage makes up the bulk of the final film, with the earliest-shot and second-unit scenes shot in StereoVision and miniatures and effects shot with a two-camera beam-splitter system similar to later digital 3D setups.

The only Jaws movie which does not feature any scenes filmed at Martha’s Vineyard, known as Amity Island in the series. (BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

Veteran editor Verna Fields, who won an Oscar for editing the first film, recommended Joe Alves as director.

One of a cycle of 1980s and late 1970s movies that got made after the box-office success Jaws (1975). The films include that movie’s three sequels, Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), and Jaws: The Revenge (1987), as well as Orca (1977), Piranha (1978), Tentacles (1977), Killer Fish (1979), Barracuda (1978), Tintorera… Bloody Waters (1977), Blood Beach (1980), Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981), L’ultimo squalo (1981), Up from the Depths (1979), Monster (Humanoids from the Deep) (1980), L’isola degli uomini pesce (1979), Devouring Waves (1984) and Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976). (I want to see these)

The characters of Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid) and Sean Brody (John Putch) are the sons of Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) from Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978).

All the appliances seen in the film’s interior shots were Sears Kenmore-branded. However, this was not intentional. (Awesome secret sponsor)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Rupert Hitzig)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Louis Gossett Jr.)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joe Alves)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Richard Matheson, Carl Gottlieb, Guerdon Trueblood)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star

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Species II Preview

There had been some thought that this week might be time for a BMT Live! Rings came out to absolutely horrifying reviews (see what I did there?) and we had to think quick on whether we should act. The answer: not until we see the reviews for Fifty Shades Darker. It would be irresponsible to let it go by without giving it a chance at BMT Live! glory. It deserves it. So instead we head into SciFi/Fantasy and get to do a set of films that I’ve been eyeing for awhile. That’s right, we’re watching Species and Species II. These films promise three things: nudity, a scene where someone kisses someone else and their tongue bursts through the back of their skull, and… uh… nudity again. So basically I’m super duper duper excited. Let’s go!

Species II (1998) – BMeTric: 67.3

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(Again we see the 2011 inflection and regression to the mean as the votes increase. Unlike its predecessor this one is considered definitively bad. As I said in the Species preview these plots are all starting to look the same to me, so I’m categorizing them. For Species II I’m going to call it: Poorly Rated, but Perplexingly Popular. In this case a sub-5 rating is definitively terrible, but we still see a high number of votes (I think … I think I’m going to automate this now that I think about it).)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – The first man on Mars gets infested with alien DNA, and begins raping women who immediately, and fatally, give birth. Elsewhere, scientists have recreated the half-alien woman from the first film, hoping she’ll be nice this time. Compared to this clunker, the first looks like a collaboration between Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury.

(Well, I’ll set aside the atrocious last line there. This plot sounds bonkers. Like … the first part! This will be at least the third film in which someone gets infected by a disease on Mars. And like Doom and Ghosts of Mars before it may it be a ridiculous nonsense movie.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE-Amil6oQc

(Also seems pretty rad … but also definitely a step down from the last one. That storyline is indeed just as bonkers as Leonard seemed to suggest. So he wasn’t exaggerating there. I having a feeling the erotic horror sci-fi genre might not attract the best and brightest you know? …)

Directors – Peter Medak – (Known For: The Changeling; The Krays; Zorro: The Gay Blade; The Ruling Class; Let Him Have It; BMT: Species II; Romeo Is Bleeding; Notes: Has had a very long career in Hollywood starting in the late 50’s. His best known film has got to be The Ruling Class for which Peter O’Toole received an Oscar nomination for Actor.)

Writers – Dennis Feldman (written by) – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; BMT: Species II; Virus; Species (BMT); The Golden Child (BMT); Notes: Just a character credit on this one. I find it amusing that he also wrote Virus, which Jamie Lee Curtis considers her worst film.)

Chris Brancato (written by) – (Known For: Hoodlum; BMT: Species II; Notes: He is the creator of the Netflix show Narcos… say what?)

Actors – Natasha Henstridge – (Known For: The Whole Nine Yards; Bounce; BMT: Species II; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); The Whole Ten Yards; Maximum Risk; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Species (BMT); Steal; Deception; Dog Park; Notes: Uh… I already had to make a note for the first Species so… she’s Canadian and part Native American. Fun stuff, right?)

Michael Madsen – (Known For: The Hateful Eight; Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Reservoir Dogs; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Sin City; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Die Another Day; WarGames; Wyatt Earp; Thelma & Louise; Donnie Brasco; The Doors; Free Willy; The Natural; Pauly Shore Is Dead; BMT: BloodRayne; Species II; My Boss’s Daughter; Scary Movie 4 (BMT); Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; Hell Ride; House; Species (BMT); Notes: Brother of BMT legend Virginia Madsen.)

Marg Helgenberger – (Known For: Erin Brockovich; Bad Boys; Mr. Brooks; Always; In Good Company; My Fellow Americans; BMT: Species II; Fire Down Below (BMT); Species (BMT); The Cowboy Way; Notes: Won an Emmy for her role in the Vietnam War drama China Beach.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $19,221,939 (N/A)

(Wowzer. I would genuinely believe it if this was the worst original-to-sequel ratio for a major release ever. The original made basically six times more that its sequel and they were released to roughly the same number of cinemas. Astonishing.)

#47 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Ooooof right near Shark Night 3D. I feel like 1998 is a significant year where the studio system completed its transition from the blockbuster 80’s era through slow experimentation with CGI and effects. From 2000-2010 we would enter a true golden age where bad movies flowed like wine. Here though an Erotic SciFi Horror sequel was made and released to 2500 theaters. Think about that.)

#29 for the Sci-Fi Horror genre

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(That peak though. This sadly clocks in right around Apollo 18 which undoubtable cost maybe $40 to make. But it came right at a true peak of the genre. It has been an up and down experience since, but the Species franchise could have stood alongside the second tier of the genre (Underworld and Resident Evil) if not for flaming out and pushing out two direct-to-video sequels instead of waiting on a better opportunity.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (3/33): No consensus yet.

(Another consensus to make: A totally unnecessary sequel which amps up the silliness without adding any brains to the equation. Nearly exploitative in its gratuity. As EW puts it: “By now, if you’ve seen one set of slimy phallic tentacles shooting out of someone’s back during orgasm, you’ve seen ’em all.” Sounds like a plan EW.)

Poster – Mating Skloging Begins (C-)

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(I like the color tone and the font (again), but there is a bit much going on now. What are all the sparkles everywhere? Stars and… a bunch of lines like in a western blot… because DNA or something?)

Tagline(s) – Mating season begins… (C-)

(Meh. It’s short and certainly tells you what this one is all about: some aliens going to the bone zone. Rad. But nothing clever about it.)

Keyword(s) – sex scene; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.8 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 78.6 Sex and the City 2 (2010); 72.7 Jason X (2001); 71.4 Showgirls (1995); 67.3 Species II (1998); 65.3 The Boy Next Door (2015); 63.8 Knock Knock (I) (2015); 62.6 All About Steve (2009); 62.0 Jennifer’s Body (2009); 59.1 Captivity (2007);

(Pretty amazing list. Wish something like Color of Night could sneak in though, those classic 80’s/90’s erotic thrillers deserve a place on the list, some representative.)

Notes – Though showing Eve in a black leather outfit on some of the posters and DVD-Covers, she never actually wears it in the film.

Shortest of all four Species movies. (small blessings …)

EVE stands for Extraterrestrial Vulnerability Experiment. (Egad)

Most of the nude scenes, such as the debutantes having sex with Patrick or the strip-club sequence, were shortened in the final version of the movie. The full scenes can be seen in the DVD extra features. (No wonder someone stole the DVD from the Minnesota public library system)

Natasha Henstridge is on the miller lite cut out in the grocery store when they are hunting her. (nooooooooooo. Never a good idea. I hope the cut out says “Great taste, less filling, out of this world.” Get it? Cause she’s a famous alien.)

Species Preview

There had been some thought that this week might be time for a BMT Live! Rings came out to absolutely horrifying reviews (see what I did there?) and we had to think quick on whether we should act. The answer: not until we see the reviews for Fifty Shades Darker. It would be irresponsible to let it go by without giving it a chance at BMT Live! glory. It deserves it. So instead we head into SciFi/Fantasy and get to do a set of films that I’ve been eyeing for awhile. That’s right, we’re watching Species and Species II. These films promise three things: nudity, a scene where someone kisses someone else and their tongue bursts through the back of their skull, and… uh… nudity again. So basically I’m super duper duper excited. Let’s go!

Species (1995) – BMeTric: 34.9

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(This plot basically shows the 2011 inflection and regression to the mean. The BMeTric is amazingly consistent through time (35 basically). Hey, since these plot are getting a little boring I’m going to start a new series with this. This is to put movies into groups based on what I see. The first group, for Species, is: Below Average and Perplexingly Popular. Basically this movie ultimate doesn’t seem too bad (rating of 5.8), but the sheer number of votes (nearly 60 thousand) gives an impressive BMeTric overall.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – DNA-tampering scientists at a Utah facility ultimately get theirs after creating a murderous creature, complete with tentacles, who’s packages like a blond centerfold. Fast and not without entertainment value, but don’t look at yourself in the mirror too closely if you end up defending it. Direction is somewhat sturdier than the script, which has its share of (we think) unintentional howlers.

(I mean, I’m all about unintentional howlers Leonard, you know me. Films with the horrible villain-scientists are the best though. Like Bats I hope these guys are real megalomaniacal assholes.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbaYnTLuX7U

(Alright, that looks pretty rad. Pretty old school though. Just a short rundown of the movie: Contact, communication, experiment, termination, escape, pursuit, mutation, confrontation, outcome unknown. Species! Yeah …. That sounds about right, and I’m on board!)

Directors – Roger Donaldson – (Known For: The Bank Job; The Recruit; The Bounty; Thirteen Days; No Way Out; The World’s Fastest Indian; Cadillac Man; White Sands; Smash Palace; BMT: Dante’s Peak; Cocktail (BMT); Species; The Getaway; Justice; The November Man; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1989 for Worst Director for Cocktail. His son Chris represented New Zealand in the 100 meter sprint in 1996 and 2000 Olympics. Now that’s a fun fact.)

Writers – Dennis Feldman (written by) – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; BMT: Species II; Virus; Species; The Golden Child (BMT); Notes: Brother of Randy Feldman who wrote Tango & Cash and son of producer Phil Feldman.)

Actors – Natasha Henstridge – (Known For: The Whole Nine Yards; Bounce; BMT: Species II; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); The Whole Ten Yards; Maximum Risk; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Species; Steal; Deception; Dog Park; Notes: According to an interview she gave in Empire she turned down roles in both Independence Day and Men In Black after reading the scripts and thinking, “What is this shit?”)

Michael Madsen – (Known For: The Hateful Eight; Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Reservoir Dogs; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Sin City; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Die Another Day; WarGames; Wyatt Earp; Thelma & Louise; Donnie Brasco; The Doors; Free Willy; The Natural; Pauly Shore Is Dead; BMT: BloodRayne; Species II; My Boss’s Daughter; Scary Movie 4 (BMT); Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; Hell Ride; House; Species; Notes: A published poet (he has released eight books of poetry) and photographer.)

Ben Kingsley – (Known For: The Jungle Book; Schindler’s List; Shutter Island; Hugo; Knight of Cups; Iron Man Three; Ender’s Game; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Lucky Number Slevin; The Walk; The Dictator; Gandhi; Eliza Graves; Tuck Everlasting; Sexy Beast; The Boxtrolls; Life; Sneakers; Oliver Twist; The Triumph of Love; Robot Overlords; Dave; House of Sand and Fog; Searching for Bobby Fischer; Learning to Drive; Bugsy; Transsiberian; BMT: The Love Guru (BMT); BloodRayne; A Sound of Thunder (BMT); Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; Species; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2009 for Worst Supporting Actor for The Love Guru, War, Inc., and The Wackness; and in 2007 for BloodRayne. Nominated for four Oscars, winning one for Gandhi.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $60,074,103 (Worldwide: $113,374,103)

(Of course, otherwise there is no chance this is franchised. Just thinking of the storyline I don’t think they would even think of this these days. It almost comes across as exploitation, and with erotic thrillers being basically a totally defunct genre I don’t really see it. Erotic Sci-Fi Horror … how’d this make $100 million?!)

#17 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Ooooo right on the cusp of a giant surge. Obviously this was fueled by Jurassic Park (not this one, but creature features). Critters 2 and King Kong Lives are recent BMT examples, and recently the genre is back with Jurassic World and Godzilla. The new King Kong should continue that trend if it gets good reviews.)

#10 for the Sci-Fi Horror genre

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(Ahead of its time! And since about 1995 it has been a pretty consistently released genre. It just doesn’t make a ton of money. I mean, Species is the 10th highest grossing film ever! It is at quite the nadir at the moment, but things like Predator and Alien should sustain it for at least a while longer. It isn’t totally VOD yet!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 34% (12/35): No consensus yet.

(Ooooo I love giving consensuses: A smart take on schlocky sci-fi horror which ultimately devolves into soft-core pornography with a clunky premise. My favorite part of a review is from Ebert himself where he describes the alien as a: “[d]isgusting, slimy morph-creatures with rows of evil teeth, whose greatest cultural achievement is jumping out at people from behind things.” I don’t like jump scares either Ebert.)

Poster – Our Sklog is Up (B+)

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(While it is cheesy in a lot of ways, it is also epic. Really raw image with great font, nice balance, and coloring. Looks like a knockoff of the Alien poster. Still good though.)

Tagline(s) – Two decades ago scientists sent a message to space. This… is the reply. (B)

(Too long and detailed (we need to know that it was two decades ago?), but I like the suspense. Got some cleverness in too with the ellipses.)

Keyword(s) – interspecies sex; Top Ten by BMeTric: 67.3 Howard The Duck (1986); 46.7 Caligula (1979); 35.9 Decoys (2004); 35.8 Splice (2009); 34.9 Species (1995); 22.9 Ta paidia tou Diavolou (1976); 20.1 The Dunwich Horror (1970); 18.5 Une vraie jeune fille (1976); 17.2 The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974); 17.0 The Beast Within (1982);

(This is real everyone. This is the real top keyword for this movie on IMDb, yet again proving that IMDb keywords are useless … also false! Howard the Duck never has sex with a human. Liars! This list is a house of lies!)

Notes – During the production, MGM opted not to shoot the “nightmare train” sequence to keep costs down. H.R. Giger was not willing to accept that, however, so he spent $100,000 of his own money to finance the sequence.

For the scene in which Sil is ‘born’ from the cocoon, the train set was built upside down. Natasha Henstridge, totally naked and covered in KY Jelly lubricant, was pushed through the cocoon, and the shot was flipped upside down afterwards, to achieve the effect of her falling out.

Xavier (Ben Kingsley) Fitch says that the alien signal was received by the Arecibo radio telescope exactly nineteen years after an outbound message was transmitted. Since the transmissions traveled at the speed of light, that means that the alien solar system is approximately nine light-years from Earth. There are two stars which are likely candidates, Sirius and Luyten 726-8A. (now these are the fun facts I like to see)

Fitch’s comment that they made Sil female to be more docile is an in-joke that belies his ignorance. In every predatory species known, the female is always more aggressive. (I don’t believe this is true)

Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger were allowed to improvise their sex scene.

SIL is actually S1L, the medical cell in the lab where the DNA was grown.

An early draft of the script had the young Sil calmly killing a friendly cab driver. In an effort to keep the audience’s sympathy for her character (and to make the murder of the porter more shocking) the scene was changed to Sil killing a tramp in self defense after he attempts to attack her. (There was another BMT film like this, where there clearly was just no kills by the “bad” protagonist for almost the entire movie … but I can’t remember what it was, although I do remember it was a terrible idea.)

When Sil watches TV at the motel, she flips through different channels and they all show various things she will do later in the film. Like having sex, changing her hair, showing off her body, etc. (coooooool)

King Kong Lives Preview

This week we really get down in the muck for Horror/Thriller. That’s because we are doing the sequel to the 1976 King Kong remake, King Kong Lives. Never heard of it? You shouldn’t have. It is well known for having some of the most horrendous special effects of the age. It also sounds like a B-movie straight-to-video release and yet still got a wide theatrical release (1000+ theaters). We’re really only doing this because it is a major part of the Razzie book as one of the most enjoyable bad movies of all time. Hard to pass up on those credentials for a 1986 film when we’re doing a cycle restricted to just that year. Guess we’ll get to find out whether it’s truly enjoyable or if this is just another White Comanche (shudder). Let’s go!

King Kong Lives (1986) – BMeTric: 40.7

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(Finally something interesting in these plots! First, what happened in 2006? All of a sudden there is a weird uptick in the votes. And then twice the vote count goes down! My theory? These events are more common with “confused” movie titles. Here there are a multitude of King Kong titles available and they every so often try to make sure there aren’t mistaken votes. Tenuous, but it is weird that the event seems so rare (remember the Bratz effect) and with no real rhyme or reason. Still, seems odd for IMDb to do, and confusing for this movie in particular, there is no way bots are trolling a random movie from a defunct production company. It is absurd.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Dino De Laurentiis sequel gives the ape a mate with everything he loves: She’s tall, statuesque, with great mossy teeth. The Army tried to kill them (naturally), but not before the finale that actually rips off the final scene in Spartacus. Desperate.

(And with one single word Leonard effectively eviscerates this film. Desperate. As we know from Raw Deal De Laurentiis was desperate at the time. This is the second Dino De Laurentiis film in a row, and the studio declared bankruptcy basically right after these colossal failures. This actually makes me a bit more enamored with the 1986 bad movie catalogue. There is an underlying theme of the pre-blockbuster studio system going through a tiny death as executives like De Laurentiis desperately try to sell films that feel more comfortable in the 70s to audiences whose minds are being blown by Return of the Jedi)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0HvmgZfbl8

(I mean … what is this? Seriously? Again, three years after Return of the Jedi! People went from lightsaber battles to a King Kong sequel which looks like it uses effects from the 60s. The entire trailer is complete and utter trash as well. This movie is going to be a distinct non-pleasure to watch I think.)

Directors – John Guillermin – (Known For: King Kong; The Towering Inferno; Death on the Nile; Shaft in Africa; BMT: King Kong Lives; Sheena; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1985 for Worst Director for Sheena. Accomplished Action-Adventure filmmaker who was also well known for being incredibly difficult to work with. I will say that out of everything in King Kong (1976) the direction was probably the best part of the film, the sets were rather incredible to behold. No wonder he basically fell out of favor with the rise of digital effects though.)

Writers – Steven Pressfield (screenplay & story) – (Known For: The Legend of Bagger Vance; Above the Law; BMT: King Kong Lives; Freejack; Notes: Notable author, specifically The Legend of Bagger Vance, and screenwriter. He is particularly notable for his non-fiction and fiction work in military history as his father was in the Navy and he was a Marine for a time. Was homeless as he struggled to get Bagger Vance published early in his career.)

Ronald Shusett (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Alien; Aliens; Prometheus; Total Recall; Alien: Resurrection; Alien³; Above the Law; Dead & Buried; BMT: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; King Kong Lives; Freejack; Total Recall (2015); The Final Terror; Notes: Famous for his work with Dan O’Bannon in Science Fiction he helped write Alien and Total Recall. He moved into producer roles in the 90s and now basically produces B-level horror for a living.)

Edgar Wallace (Known For: King Kong (multiple); Notes: Made the character of King Kong in a script he penned for RKO Studios. Was incredibly prolific, but all of his films are from pre-1940 and King Kong is his only major lasting character.)

Merian C. Cooper (character) – (Known For: King Kong (multiple); Mighty Joe Young (multiple) BMT: King Kong Lives; Notes: Co-inventor of the Cinerama technique he is probably most famous for creating King Kong and Mighty Joe Young. Edgar Wallace penned the script, but Cooper allegedly had a dream imagining a giant gorilla attacking New York. I assume the final product is basically both Wallace and Cooper’s ideas smushed together.)

Actors – Brian Kerwin – (Known For: The Help; 27 Dresses; Murphy’s Romance; Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain; BMT: King Kong Lives; Jack; Getting Away with Murder; Notes: He has an amazingly varied career bouncing from extensive work in theater, to film, to daytime tv (where he won a daytime emmy).)

Linda Hamilton – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; BMT: King Kong Lives; Children of the Corn; Dante’s Peak; Shadow Conspiracy; Black Moon Rising; Terminator Salvation; Notes: Obviously the original Sarah Conners from the Terminator franchise. It is kind of incredible how poorly her career went outside of that franchise. Was notably married to James Cameron for a time, and revealed that she suffers from Bipolar Disorder. She mainly does television now in guest spots.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $4,711,220 (N/A)

(Obviously a complete unmitigated disaster. I assumed as much since this was probably a major contributing factor in De Laurentiis filing for bankruptcy. It also seems ludicrous to me, based on the trailer, that this films would cost $18 million, but whatever.)

#63 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Seen for Critters 2: The Main Course (#66) where we said: The creature feature is a staple of classic horror, but I think it kind of rose to prominence again after Jurassic Park (in case you were wondering what that gigantic peak around ’93 was). Since then it comes and goes in waves, but will probably rise again with Jurassic World killing it at the box office. King Kong may add to it soon as well. King Kong Lives certainly contributed to BMT sooner than I expected.)

#22 for the Remake – Sequel to a Remake genre

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(This was also seen for Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (#8) where we said: My God, those waves! They just get bigger and bigger. Presumably the troughs are where they release the original remake. I think ‘05 to ‘10 might end up going down in history as an anomaly in bad movie history, just prior to the tentpole movies crowding the release schedule and VOD becoming a real option, a true heyday of traditional bad movie watching. Another dying genre it looks like, possibly because these sequels are now more regularly being released by alternative means. Funny that King Kong Lives appears to be one of the first sequel to a remake ever! Groundbreaking.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/9): No consensus yet.

(Time to make a consensus which unfortunately would go a little like this: This movie is boring. Period. Oof, this is looking more dire by the minute. This is literally all Ebert mentions in his review, that the actors look bored and the movie is boring.)

Poster – King Sklog Lives (A)

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(I’m going to give this the benefit of the doubt and say that the old school look is intentional. In which case I really do like the poster. I might even love it. It is energetic, and kind of cool, and the artistic styling is just fun. A very cool idea and surprising to see from a film made in 1986. There are a few other posters (on rotten tomatoes for example) which are straight terrible, but I’m going to go with this one.)

Tagline(s) – The Legendary Kong is Back! (C-)

America’s Biggest Hero is back…and He is not happy. (F)

(Okay, the first guy is standard and just boring, but hard to complain about it. The second … honestly why is King Kong considered America’s Biggest Hero? How is he a hero? In the 1976 film what did he do that was heroic? Nothing. That tagline is ridiculous.)

Keyword(s) – ape; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.1 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 83.6 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 68.1 The Flintstones (1994); 57.6 Congo (1995); 40.7 King Kong Lives (1986); 38.8 Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973); 29.6 King Kong (1976); 24.7 Speed Racer (2008); 22.7 Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970); 21.3 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972);

(Hey, after watching this film and all of the planet of the apes we’ll have watched all of the top “ape” keyword films. Not a terrible list, but also not amazing. I can’t remember why Dragonball would have ape listed. Or Scary Movie 5. Or Flintstones …. This list is weird.)

Notes – Peter Michael Goetz’s cheque for post release royalties came to 3 cents. He has it stapled to the film poster in his house, having never cashed it. (Ha, see these are the more lighthearted notes I like)

Peter Weller was offered a part in this film; but he opted to play the title role in RoboCop (1987) instead. (good choice)

Writer Steven Pressfield mentions “King Kong Lives” as a live-changing, validating failure in his book ‘The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.’ This was his first professional writing job after 17 years of trying. After the movie bombed, he realized he had become a professional. He hadn’t yet had a success, but “had had a real failure.” (very cool, Pressfield seems like he has a cool story)

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John WIlson’s book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. (This guide is garbage and I think that probably none of these films are enjoyable beyond thinking “oh wow King Kong looks like crap in this …. Cool”. Hard to sustain enjoyment of a bad movie based on something like that)

As of 2015, it remains as the last theatrical film directed by John Guillermin. (Wow, that is pretty amazing. It does look old school)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Visual Effects (Carlo Rambaldi)

Critters 2: The Main Course Preview

OK, well time to move onto this week’s film. This is another replacement film of sorts. While we never officially placed Unaccompanied Minors in Kansas, we certainly watched it with that state in mind (why else would we have stooped so low?). But it turned out that there wasn’t just an unacceptable level of Kansas-ness in the film, it didn’t take place in Kansas at all. It just didn’t. So we had to scramble to get a new one. After a painstaking search we landed on Critters 2: The Main Course. While the first one is generally liked by viewers for its humor, the second one wasn’t as accepted. Hard to tell how poorly it was received, but it did make Ebert’s list of his least favorite films of all time. Felt like that was enough to qualify it for BMT. Not gonna update the map this week. Next week maybe. Let’s go!


Critters 2: The Main Course (1988) – 36.3 BMeTric (July 2, 6016)

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(This is honestly kind of a weird trajectory. While you’ll often see a movie’s rating rise substantially with votes this is usually just regression to the mean (it rises because we watch bad movies which are often rated very poorly when they rise come out). But 1.2 points from 4.0 is quite a bit more that you’d expect. Otherwise the only shocking thing is that such a small barely released movie could garner 10,000 votes on IMDb. NOTE: This analysis was written on July 2, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – The big-mouthed, quill-shooting nasties take on an entire town. Nothing special. Followed by two video sequels.

(Wow. Love the short and sweet. I’ll follow the lead. Nothing special with this comment either.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVyfEgnA678

(That’s not really as bad as it could have been I think. Considering that I kinda liked the original this kind of gets me excited to watch this one. Uh oh.)

Director(s) – Mick Garris – (BMT: Riding the Bullet; Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Also a writer (Hocus Pocus, Fly II, etc.) and obviously best known for directing the TV movie smash hit Fuzzbucket.)

Writer(s) – David Twohy (written by) – (Known For: The Fugitive; Pitch Black; Waterworld; Riddick; G.I. Jane; A Perfect Getaway; The Arrival; Below; Warlock. BMT: The Chronicles of Riddick; Impostor; Terminal Velocity; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Best known as the writer and director of the Riddick series of films. Long been rumored for a third AvP film. Fingers crossed.)

Mick Garris (written by) – (Known For: *batteries not included.  BMT: Hocus Pocus; The Fly II; Riding the Bullet; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Kind of a historical figure in Hollywood and in particular in the SciFi genre. Early on directed a series of making of documentaries of horror and SciFi films including a really good one about the film The Thing which I’ve seen. It’s awesome.)

Actors – Scott Grimes – (Known For: Robin Hood; Critters; Crimson Tide. BMT: Winter’s Tale; Mystery Alaska; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Also a singer. Released several albums but his biggest hit came relatively recently with Sunset Blvd in 2005. Never heard of it.)

Also stars Don Keith Opper and Liane Curtis

Budget/Gross: N/A / $3,813,293

(The first film was a wild success ($13 million gross on a microbudget). This one not so much. Not surprisingly the rest of the sequels were not released to theaters. It actually had the second worst box office for a wide release creature feature of all time. The worst? BMT classic A Sound of Thunder (A Sound of Thundahhhhhhh))

#66 for Creature Feature

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(The creature feature is a staple of classic horror, but I think it kind of rose to prominence again after Jurassic Park (in case you were wondering what that gigantic peak around ’93 was). Since then it comes and goes in waves, but will probably rise again with Jurassic World killing it at the box office. King Kong may add to it soon as well. NOTE: Analysis written on July 2, 2016)

#57 for Horror Comedy

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(Personally once of my least favorite sub-genres, because honestly they are rarely either good comedies or good horror films. They make relatively little money it seems, and one would think that they would thrive a bit more on VOD, so I really don’t understand why this genre keeps chugging along (in the past three years none of the theater releases were very impressive). Kind of interesting that Critters 2 kind of came during the 80’s heyday just as the genre was going back into a slumber once again. The 2010’s resurgence is probably 30-year-old directors who grew up on things like Critters 2 making passion projects. NOTE: This analysis was written on July 2, 2016)

Rotten Tomatoes: 33% (3/9), No consensus yet.

(Yeah, so as mentioned at the top there was some question on whether this actually qualified. What put it over the top (besides taking place in Kansas) was Ebert’s hatred of it. He gave it 1 star and said it had “no reason for existence” and all but considered a sign of the end of movies as he knew it. It ended up later on his list of most hated films of all time. So I think that qualifies it.)

Poster – Critters 2: The Main Sklog (C-)

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(We get it. It’s a sequel. Could there be any more two’s on this poster? Sheesh. And what color am I going to use for this state? Hate you Critters 2. Though I kinda dig the critters illustration.)

Tagline(s) – Get ready for seconds… they’re back! (C-)

The most illegal aliens of all are back — and they’re hungrier than ever. (weird)

(I have lately been trying to only use the poster tagline for this section, but I could resist with that second one. Pretty crazy. Not sure it would fly today. Must have been in the zeitgeist at the time given the 1986 immigration reform act. I hate the first one. Not as bad as it could have been since it’s references the Critters insatiable hunger, but still lazy like most sequel taglines are.)

Keyword – egg; Top ten by BMeTric: 85.9 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 68.0 The Flintstones (1994); 62.6 Eragon (2006); 59.3 Meet Dave (2008); 57.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 56.8 Godzilla (I) (1998); 56.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 51.0 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995); 50.3 The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1990); 46.5 Dreamcatcher (2003);

(huh … what a bizarre keyword, and what a amazingly excellent list for such a strange keyword. I saw Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie in theaters. That is all)