Graveyard Shift Recap

Jamie

John Hall is a drifter just a-driftin’ along in Maine when he gets a graveyard shift job cleaning out the subbasement of a dilapidated textile mill. He and the crew of misfits are forced to go deeper and deeper by the eeeevil factory owner until untold horrors surround them. Can they escape from the true horror (hint: it’s themselves) before it’s too late? Find out in… Graveyard Shift.

How?! In a small town in Maine a local textile mill run by a sadistic foreman, Warwick, is desperate to get rid of all the rats that may or may not be killing some of the employees (but shhhh, that’s a bit of a secret). Taking advantage of the upcoming July 4th holiday, Warwick hopes to get a band of the most desperate workers together to work under the table to clean out the subbasement(s) where the infestation is assumed to be worst. Enter John Hall, a drifter who lost his family and *looks wistfully into the distance* now just drifts. He has a bit of a rivalry with Warwick, who decides he is definitely going to be one of the guys sent into rat hell along with Jane, the object of Warwick’s interest who instead more-than-brefriends Hall. Together with a bunch of other local riff-raff and misfits they clean out the whole basement but then ooops! Hall discovers a trapdoor. Warwick is like, uh duh, get down there and soon they are in the nest of a giant rat king/bat king/something king creature that is totally gross. They scramble in total horror all over the place, most of them getting ripped to shreds in short order. Warwick immediately descends into insanity and pounces on John and Jane just when they are about to escape the abomination, leading to the death of Jane. Distraught, John pursues Warwick only to see him eaten no prob by the giant bat creature. John is like “you know what, nevermind” and tries to escape but ends up having to do battle with the bat/rat creature in hand-to-claw combat. Using the power of Diet Pepsi he is able to blast the creature into the mill machinery and kill it. THE END.

Why?! Warwick is obviously eeevil and turns to all kinds of underhanded methods to keep his mill open despite being so horrifically disgusting that it has produced a giant rat/bat king of immense proportions that routinely kills the drifters he has working there. He has no motivation besides that and getting rid of anyone, like John, who he considers even a remote rival for his romantic pursuits. John is just a drifter looking for some honest pay so he can *looks wistfully into the distance* just keep a-driftin’. The rat/bat? Probably just to eat. But who knows, perhaps it harbors some deep desire to be accepted by society above so it can spread its gross translucent wings and soar majestically through the night stopping crime in its tracks.

Who?! There is an extremely Maine cameo in the film in the form of Joe Perham, who plays a Mill Inspector. He is a Maine specific humorist who was popular at the time. I’m starting to suspect this may actually be the most Maine film of all time. 

What?! Only through the power of Diet Pepsi is our hero able to subdue the giant bat rat. Using a slingshot he is able to shoot an empty Diet Pepsi can and hit the big red button that starts the murder machine that munches the creature up. And before you claim that any ol’ can would have done the job, we even see him try a Diet Slice can to no avail and then very pointedly eye the Diet Pepsi as his only savior… cause he knows only a Diet Pepsi can will fly true like a heat seeking missile of refreshment.

Where?! Maine for days. If it was a bigger film and not an exploitation horror then it could even be the definitive Maine film. But alas. Dreamcatcher probably gets that crown. But watch this movie for the Maine accent alone. It is both horrible and yet also actually is a clear attempt at a Maine accent… just like in a cartoonish way. A

When?! Secret holiday film alert! Pretty solid one too as Warwick takes advantage of July 4th weekend to get some of the misfits to take extra pay under the table and clean the hell basement. What else does our boy John Hall have to do… other than, you know… *stares wistfully into the distance, a tear traces a path through the dust on his cheek* just keep a-driftin’. A-. Actually plays a role in the plot. 

Stephen King is notoriously negative about most of the adaptations of his work. Usually the reason is just that they weren’t faithful enough to the source material. He’ll be like ‘by cutting out the giant bug creature at the end you totally ruined the metaphor on writers block’ or something. This is one example where I do totally agree though. I really enjoyed the short story this was based on and instead of attempting to make a psychological horror film where the group descends into insanity as they descend further into hell, they made just another exploitation film. It’s cheap and it’s looking for some cheap thrills. That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable in that way, it just is no more than what it is: a cheap horror. Although it does have one of the absolutely nuttiest accents I’ve ever heard put the screen. Warwick totally mangles an over the top Maine accent and it’s pretty amazing. Ayuh. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Giant bat/rats and eeeeeeeeevil factory owners. ‘Nuff said. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – So I hadn’t really ever heard of the film or the book prior to reading it. It actually compelled me to buy Night Shift, the short story collection it was later included in by Stephen King (it was originally a magazine story). So I well and truly went into the film blind, which was fun. The notable thing in the preview is that this is the only feature by the director. The direction is often singled out in reviews at the worst bit as well. What were my expectations? Looking at the trailer, I was looking forward to some campy 80s/90s creature feature horror, which is always a bit of fun.

The Good – In the end if you have the proper expectations and pretend the film was made five years before it was and for television instead of a theatrical release … it is a load of silly fun. It feels a lot like ‘Salem’s Lot, which was made for television and I think maybe gets a bit of a pass for the slow cheesiness of the affair because it was made a decade prior and for television. Decent creature design as well, although it is just a guy in a bad suit most of the time. Best Bit: Cheesiness.

The Bad – As far as a theatrical film is concerned it is really poor quality. It comes across a bit like the Corman films of the 80s, except somehow this film cost $10 million to produce which is just bizarre. I have to think that filming on location in Maine was a massive mistake given the entire film could have been filmed on a soundstage for pennies on the dollar. And, of course, you can’t not mention Stephen Macht’s bizarre Maine accent. That is what it is supposed to be, a straight Maine accent (for a while I thought he was supposed to be a Scottish person putting on an affected Maine accent), and it is bonkers. It is very very similar to the accents on Murder She Wrote (especially by Sheriff Jake Tupper), and was just a bad decision. Fatal Flaw: Maine accent.

The BMT – I like collecting smaller BMT films like this whenever possible. It seems weird, but I think something like Graveyard Shift is a lot more palatable and understandable from a bad movie perspective than even something like Here on Earth which would probably mostly be perplexing to a general audience. The reasons why this film is bad is understandable: cheap looking effects, exploitation feel, bad accents. Bing bang boom. Always good to knock off a Stephen King adaptation as well. Did it meet my expectations? One hundred percent, I actually kind of liked watching this film because I like creature features. They are not-scary horror films, and as you know, I get spooky scared by normal horror films.

Roast-radamus – I definitely think we have a Planchet (Who?) in the case of Ippelton. Sure, he seems affable in his ability to imitate Warwick (although somehow his Maine accent is better in the impression …), but he also exists only to run away and get dunked on by Warwick. I’m loving the Setting as a Character (Where?) for Maine, complete with terrible Maine accent, and Secret Holiday Film (When?) for Fourth of Juuuuuly, since that is when they decide they have to clear out the factory basement. And I think the film is closest to a Good film, it all depends on just how low you can get your expectations.

StreetCreditReport.com – This week was actually an interesting assessment because we were deciding between this film and The Mangler, both Stephen King short story adaptations. Here’s a few stats for both of them. Both are tops in BMeTric, both are around the top 3% of their respective years. But Graveyard Shift is significantly better as far as Rotten Tomatoes is concerned, being top 5% of its year whereas The Mangler is top 20%. Neither are major films though being one of the lower films are far as notability is concerned. So obviously most of the cred comes from it being a Stephen King adaptation, but Graveyard Shift is a particularly impressive critical failure for 1990. It got #7 in both the worst and the least accurate Stephen King adaptations according to IMDb as well.

You Just Got Schooled – Obviously whenever possible (which for me is not often) I do like to read the books of the films we watch for BMT. Well, this week it was possible since the book is a short story and easily readable given a half hour. Also called Graveyard Shift the short story is markedly different from the film. The premise is the same: a gang of factory workers are enlisted to clear out a factory basement of clutter on a July 4th weekend. In the short story though there is a classic “mysterious connection” between Warwick, the unlikeable factory owner, and the main character Hall. As the gang discovers a trapdoor in the factory basement, Hal is compelled to lead Warwick down into the basement to both of their dooms at the hands of a giant blind legless rat and its minions. A, I very much enjoyed the short story. Usually I find short story collections to mostly be boring, but I think I’ll return to Night Shift because the short format lends itself well to horror in general.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Graveyard Shift Quiz

Oh man, so I was just hired on to exterminate some rats in this old factory when lo and behold a giant rat/bat thing pops out and bops me on the head. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Graveyard Shift?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We meet our hero, John Hall, as he applies for a position at Warwick’s insane Maine cloth (?) factory. Why is this position open and why does he get it?

2) Meanwhile an equally insane exterminator has arrived to take care of the rats in the factory. Why is it so very urgent for Warwick to whip his factory basement into shape?

3) In the end how many people are conscripted to battle the rats in the basement?

4) What is the final death toll for the film?

5) And how does John Hall destroy the giant rat/bat that lives in the sunken cemetery below the factory?

Answers

Graveyard Shift Preview

As the balloon lands softly on the island, Rich and Poe marvel at all the beautiful fancy trees that surround them. Poe pulls out a notebook to note genus and species, but Rich stops him. No time for their botanical endeavors, they got a hike ahead of them. Almost as soon as they start, though, things begin to go sideways. First the sassy ghost gets to make peace with all those she wronged while alive, which is nice. Then Kilgorn gets to bathe in the blood of his enemies, which is less nice. Finally, Poe gets to reunite with his best friend Mr. Big one last time in order to tell him how much he liked The Skulls (both his club and the movie). Once Mr. Big disappears, they look around waiting for Rich’s most wonderful dreams to come true too. “Huh, that’s weird,” Poe says as they continue their trek. Rich turns to agree but finds himself sprawled out on the jungle floor. At his feet is a book half buried in the soft ground. Pulling it free, both Rich and Poe stare in wonder at the shiny hardcover image of their own faces. They wipe some dirt to unveil the title and gasp. “R&P: Rest in Peace: The Death of Rich and Poe.” Suddenly a cold wind blows and a shiver runs up their spines. Even Kilgorn’s blood bath was nicer than this. Rich and Poe look around the jungle in fear. A book they never wrote exists here and it’s hard to understand why. In fact it’s hard to understand anything about this terrible jungle. “We better hunker down for the night,” suggests Poe and recommends sassy ghost and Kilgorn get some rest cause Rich and Poe are gonna take the night shift. That’s right! We are technically (although only technically) transitioning to the first cycle of 2021 which will be (drumroll) films based on books. I love book cycles cause I get to read usually terrible books that they made into even worse movies. We’re starting it off, though, with a classic as we are doing one of the many Stephen King bombs. It’s Graveyard Shift, based on a short story that I actually really loved and currently celebrating 30 years of anonymity. Let’s go!

Graveyard Shift (1990) – BMeTric: 48.8; Notability: 16 

(Oh wow that is a really low IMDb rating. We are on a pretty good streak for that. It was between this and Mangler, and both of them amazingly had really similar stats. This did have a slightly higher Notability. A Notability of 16 is right on the cusp, but I think it isn’t as abnormal for the early 90s.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Bottom-of-the-barrel, cliche-ridden shocker chronicling the goings-on in a mysterious mill, whose workers are disappearing within its rat-infested bowels. Poorly directed, with even worse special effects. Based on a short story by Stephen King. 

(The key to a Leonard BOMB is obviously to watch a bad horror film from the 80s. It is far enough back that he was probably watching all of the films, even the ones he knew he wouldn’t like, and he haaaaates horror films.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6u4z-OqgSM/

(Looks cheap and cheesy … but that can be good. I love watching cheesy horror films, it reminds you of the time when people could take a camera, some no-name actors, and a few bucks and make a film … but this was apparently $10 million dollars, so it isn’t quite like that.)

Directors – Ralph S. Singleton – (BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: Was mostly a production manager weirdly. Won an Emmy as a part of the production of Cagney & Lacey. Was the production manager on the recent BMT film Supernova.)

Writers – Stephen King (short story) – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; Doctor Sleep; It; The Green Mile; The Shining; It: Chapter Two; Stand by Me; Misery; Gerald’s Game; The Mist; Carrie; Christine; Pet Sematary; 1922; Carrie; Pet Sematary; The Running Man; Secret Window; 1408; Hearts in Atlantis; Future BMT: Cell; The Rage: Carrie 2; The Mangler; Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice; In the Tall Grass; Sleepwalkers; The Dark Tower; A Good Marriage; Riding the Bullet; Children of the Corn; Thinner; Firestarter; Creepshow 2; The Night Flier; Needful Things; BMT: Dreamcatcher; Graveyard Shift; The Lawnmower Man; Maximum Overdrive; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Maximum Overdrive in 1987; Notes: The newest adaptation of The Stand is about to come out. I do enjoy Stephen King books, even though he can be a bit verbose at times.)

John Esposito (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Tale of the Mummy; The Theatre Bizarre; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: He also wrote for a bunch of horror shows, like R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour and Creepshow. So definitely a horror guy.)

Actors – David Andrews – (Known For: Fight Club; Apollo 13; World War Z; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Wyatt Earp; Fair Game; The Conspirator; Future BMT: Jessabelle; Cherry 2000; Arthur and Mike; Dear John; Hannibal; The Squeeze; BMT: Stealth; Graveyard Shift; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Apparently has written a few feature films, although none appear to have been producer in any meaningful capacity. One was called Bushido set in WWII.)

Kelly Wolf – (Known For: Less Than Zero; Margaret; Triumph of the Spirit; Infinity; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: Her husband, Scott Burkholder, and their son Max are both quite accomplished actors. Max was one of the stars of the television show Parenthood.)

Stephen Macht – (Known For: The Monster Squad; The Choirboys; The Mountain Men; Outside the Law; Future BMT: Galaxina; Nightwing; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike; Notes: Appeared in 160 episodes of General Hospital and, among others, 6 episodes of Murder She Wrote (as six different characters). Almost got the role of Jean-Luc Picard. Father of Gabriel Macht who starred in Suits and who we’ve seen in Whiteout, Behind Enemy Lines, Bad Company, and Because I Said So.)

Budget/Gross – $10.5 million / Domestic: $11,582,891 (Worldwide: $11,582,891)

(That’s pretty rough. But let this sink in for a second. The film Fantasy Island, set in Fiji and involving serious special effects, cost about two-thirds as much to film as this 1990 adaptation of a Stephen King short story I had never heard of, starring nobody, and presumably set in a single dilapidated warehouse.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (1/8)

(I’ll make a consensus then: Really only worthwhile to horror novices who are just discovering the appeal of gorey horror. Reviewer Highlight: One of the worst of Stephen King movies. Don’t punch in for this mess. – Gerry Shamray, Your Movies)

Poster – Sklogyard Shift

(This looks cheap and so it has a ceiling, but I kinda like the kooky look to it. The font is nice too. It’s just weird enough that I could imagine wanting to hang up the poster semi-ironically. But still a C.)

Tagline(s) – Stephen King took you to the edge with The Shining and Pet Sematary. This time……he pushes you over. (F)

(Nope. I can’t abide by this sham of a tagline. You don’t need me to tell you everything that is wrong with this trash.)

Keyword – based on short story

Top 10: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Arrival (2016), The Thing (1982), Total Recall (1990), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Brokeback Mountain (2005), A Few Good Men (1992), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Future BMT: 57.6 The Mangler (1995), 55.9 Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992), 41.3 Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), 41.3 Children of the Corn (1984), 39.7 The Heartbreak Kid (2007), 34.3 Double Take (2001), 27.4 Next (2007), 25.8 Creepshow 2 (1987), 24.8 Total Recall (2012), 23.4 Impostor (2001);

BMT: Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Paycheck (2003), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Graveyard Shift (1990), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(An interesting “genre” I do wonder if it is kind of fueled by bad horror to an extent. In the 80s and 00s pulp short horror stories (e.g. The Hellbound Heart) seemed like all the rage. Do people still write short stories? Is that why the genre is dying? Or is it just a quirk of this particular keyword?)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 29) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brad Dourif is No. 7 billed in Graveyard Shift and No. 6 billed in Color of Night, which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 1 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 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) => 7 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 29. If we were to watch A Low Down Dirty Shame, and Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 21.

Notes – The name of the mill is “Bachman Mills.” “Bachman” is a pseudonym used by Stephen King, upon whose short story the movie was based.

When John and Jane are in the cafe together, Ippeston sitting in the booth behind them is reading a paperback of “Ben.” “Ben” is a story of a socially dysfunctional boy who befriends a rat and uses other rats to extract revenge upon others.

The movie was filmed in the village of Harmony, Maine at Bartlettyarns Inc., the oldest woolen yarn mill in the United States (est. 1821). The interior shots of the antique mill machinery, and the riverside cemetery, were in Harmony. Other scenes (restaurant interior, and giant wool picking machine) were at locations in Bangor, Maine, at an abandoned waterworks and armory. A few other mill scenes were staged near the Eastland woolen mill in Corinna, Maine, which subsequently became a Super Fund site.

Wisconsky mentions she is from Castle Rock, home to many other Stephen King books and movies.

The patch on Cleveland’s (The Exterminator) shoulder is the emblem of 33 (“Ba Muoi Ba”), a Vietnamese rice-brewed beer that was popular among American GIs who served during the war.

Stephen King heavily disliked the film and named it one of his least favorite adaptations, calling it “a quick exploitation picture”.

Fantasy Island Recap

Jamie

A group of people arrive on Fantasy Island, a magical island where Mr. Roarke makes your dreams come true. But they soon realize that these aren’t dreams, but rather nightmares and they have to escape the island. Can they stop Mr. Roarke and get off the island before it’s too late? Find out in… Fantasy Island.

How?! Gwen, Melanie, Patrick, Brax, and J. D. show up on Fantasy Island having won the opportunity to have their dreams come true courtesy of Mr. Roarke. Brax and J. D. are codependent bros looking to have fun with each other because family is everything. Patrick wants to be a soldier like his dad, who died a hero. Melanie wants to get revenge on her childhood tormentor. Gwen wants to get past her life full of regrets. Everything seems to be going swimmingly, particularly for Gwen, who having accepted a marriage proposal from the love of her life (who she let get away) is living the fantasy of having a beautiful family… but things feel off and she demands that she get over her real regret: the fact that she never saved a man from a fire she accidentally started years before. Meanwhile, Brax and J. D. are also experiencing some unpleasant side effects of having it all when it turns out they are occupying a drug dealer’s abode and some armed baddies show up to take them hostage. Patrick also is realizing that everything isn’t as it seems when he shows up to help his dad survive his fatal mission only to find that they are instead swarming the house that Brax and J. D. are in. Confused yet? Well we still have Melanie to talk about who gets a chance to torture her childhood bully only to have second thoughts and save her from the demonic torturer. Running away they are found by a journalist living in the jungle who reveals that the island is powered by some magic black liquid and they have to get in contact with his plane so they can get off the island. On the way to getting in contact the journalist sacrifices himself so they can escape. Brax and Patrick barely escape the hostage takers/soldiers who turn into unkillable zombies when shot. They run back to the beach where they meet up with Melanie and Gwen, but before they can escape Mr. Roarke destroys the plane. Turns out he must make sacrifices to the island to keep the fantasy of his dead wife alive. Running back into the jungle they head for the black liquid source, while Gwen explains that they were all connected to the fire in her fantasy. That they must in fact be part of someone else’s revenge fantasy for their roles in the guy’s death. When they reach the liquid it’s revealed that Melanie is the one looking for revenge, but before she can kill everyone Mr. Roarke finally has second thoughts about what he’s doing and helps kill Melanie, with Patrick sacrificing himself in the process like his dad. In the end the survivors leave the island, but Brax decides to stay so that the fantasy of J. D. being alive can continue in the real world. He is doomed to live on the island forever as… Tattoo. Bum bum bum. THE END (or is it?… probably). Wow that’s way more confusing than I remember.

Why?! Well the main motivation is Melanie’s. She was tormented as a child and went through years of low self esteem. As a result she couldn’t believe it when Nick wanted to date her and stood him up for a date so that when Gwen started the fire accidentally, Brax and J. D. didn’t think to look for him before fleeing. Patrick was on the scene as a police officer but didn’t go in to help Nick. So Melanie blamed all of them for his death and set up Fantasy Island to get revenge. The other important motivation is Mr. Roarke, who searched for the island in hopes of saving his wife, but found it too late. So now he sacrifices others in order to keep reliving the fantasy of being with her again.

Who?! There is an imposing character named Dr. Torture that shows up here and there in the film. When he showed up on screen my athlete-turned-actor sense was buzzing and indeed he had a long career as a professional rugby player in Australia. He also was the first high profile professional Australian athlete to come out as gay in 1995.

What?! I’m not really sure what the magic black liquid would be considering in the scope of the film. It has some characteristics of a MacGuffin given that it has unknowable magical properties. In fact if there were a prequel based around Mr. Roarke and his search for the island the liquid would be a MacGuffin. So maybe it is a MacGuffin… just one that most of the characters want to destroy rather than possess.

Where?! Fake setting alert! Patrick and I have bandied about the idea of having a whole cycle set in fake countries and locations, but it’s hard to tell how feasible something like that actually is. Particularly for some genres like romance. Anyway, this takes place on the titular Fantasy Island and is a rare example of an A+ fake setting.

When?! There is a good chance you can find when this takes place in some of the scenes with Melanie where things are posted to social media. I didn’t take a close enough look so I can’t be sure on that, but that would be where I would look first. Otherwise it plays little role in the film considering it takes place on a magical island and time is no object. F.

Patrick and I differed a little on our opinion of this one. I didn’t mind the beginning despite the confusion brought on by launching a million characters onto a magical island which in itself is also confusing. But I’m a sucker for some feel good action and even the kinda fratty characters Brax and J. D. have a sweet backstory about them loving each other unconditionally even though their family disowned Brax when he came out. But we both agreed that the ending was crazy bad. It felt like one twist too many and so Melanie’s behaviour during most of the film is totally nonsensical given that she turns out to be the bad guy. Like she’s acting for an audience of zero. It left a bad taste in my mouth. As for our friend this week, Welcome to Sudden Death is more of a remake than a sequel. Shot for shot until the end where predictably Michael Jai White couldn’t enter a professional basketball game impersonating a player for obvious reasons. Also there isn’t sudden death in basketball so that was jettisoned too. It’s a silly movie and really drags for a while, but it’s got some good fight scenes and there is a character Gus that is hilarious in a wait-is-this-guy-gonna-turn-out-to-be-a-ghost kind of way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If there ever was a film that deserved the title of That Sweet IP: The Movie, this is it. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – This is maybe the only film that definitively hit the market as a for sure 2020 BMT film. That obviously didn’t change as the pandemic wiped out any and all summer competitors. So here we are. A second Lucy Hall Blumhouse horror film almost exactly two years after Truth or Dare is rather impressive I think. What were my expectations? I purposefully didn’t look up things about this movie since I knew I would watch it for BMT. I mostly expected it to be a confounding horror film with few (and bad) scares which would only serve to anger horror fans and Fantasy Island fans alike.

The Good – The conceit of the film, on paper, is actually quite good. Basically, the ceiling of this film was Cabin in the Woods. A movie that purports to reason around the slasher tropes in such a way that you have a fourth wall breaking meta commentary on the genre. You could imagine sequels which play off of different examples of the genre (like Nightmare on Elm Street for example) with characters who are aware of the beats of horror films in general. Lucy Hall, Ryan Hansen, Jimmy Yang, and Michael Pena are also all quite good. Basically, the idea of the film and the cast are all well chosen, it just … well we’ll get to that. Best Bit: Conceit.

The Bad – The writing from two different fronts. As Jamie teased, I thought the beginning of the film was a mess. Unlike Cabin in the Woods there was absolutely no indication of what was actually happening for about an hour of the film. Combine that with the bad decision to split up the cast lead to just way too much being thrown around with no discernible explanation for way too long. The ideas finally gel at the beginning of what seemed poised to be a decent third act right before falling apart with one of the worst twists in horror history (and that is saying something!). My argument is that they should have all been brought to Fantasy Island with the original idea of it being a party island, reveal a behind the scenes operation to run a slasher film (basically) against the group, before a final reveal that they were actually, indeed, fulfilling someone’s ultimate fantasy: to be the killer in a horror film. It would end with, as usual, the slasher being killed, and the warning by Mr. Rourke that some fantasies are far more dangerous than one would perhaps expect. Fatal Flaw: Bad horror and bad twist.

The BMT – Every year we collect the various BMT films that come out. Unfortunately, this year has somewhat escalated the concern about bad theatrical films maybe dying in the future. But for now we are fine, we watched Dolittle and now Fantasy Island, and in the end both would have been the creme de la creme of any year regardless. But 2020 is a shot across the BMT Rulebook’s bow, and research is being conducted to guard against a dwindling number of BMT films being released every year. Did it meet my expectations? Ayup. It was indeed a confounding horror film with terrible scares. There was a nugget of something good though. If I’m being honest I would happily watch a sequel and I wouldn’t be that surprised to find that they figured out the formula the second time around.

Roast-radamus – This actually is literally a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Fantasy Island which appears to be a semi-conscious entity that is controlled by a magic stone and a magic pool of black liquid. Ultimately the storyline does devolve into a classic MacGuffin (Why?) or more precisely it is most like the Keystone Army trope in which all of this madness can just be stopped by destroying the aforementioned magic stone right?! Well kind of, and that’s where the Worst Twist (How?) comes into play in that it all turns out that Lucy Hall was putting on a master class of acting the whole time! This was all her fantasy, but one’s fantasy can, it turns out, be destroyed by another person’s fantasy! Checkmate! This is a quality BMT I think, very much a film that leaves you thinking (about how bad it is) for weeks afterwards.

StreetCreditReport.com – Looking through the 2020 films is actually quite interesting. We’ve done a 2020 film with a higher Notability (Dolittle and Bloodshot), but this is genuinely the lowest rated 2020 film we’ve watched, so that is serious. In the context of the year it is in the 99th percentile for BMeTric and Rotten Tomatoes score, it just flags a little in Notability, which is expected with Blumhouse. The real cred comes from its very tenuous connection to the 1970s television show Fantasy Island, but it has managed to be, by every proprietary Bad Movie Media Empire metric, a worthy BMT film.

You Just Got Schooled – Initially, I watched the original Sudden Death as a BMT film, just prior to Jamie pointing out that it actually has too many good reviews to technically qualify. If you haven’t seen this film stop reading this email (blog? Futuristic holographic device in the year 2100, year 64 of the Bad Movie Cultural Empire of the New United States of BMT?) and go and watch it right this instant. It is hilarious. It is so hilarious, in fact, that Jamie and I had a very long debate as to whether the entire film is actually a parody film in disguise. Here’s the argument. The film is explicitly a Die Hard in Blank film, the “blank” being game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. But then the first fight is with the team mascot, and later on in the film Van Damme himself plays goalie for a moment! Those are fake storylines for a Die Hard parody film. Go and watch the final helicopter scene and tell me this isn’t a comedy. Maybe the strongest point is that one of the writers of the film was genuinely a parody film writer at the time, so you can definitely see how they maybe wrote the film as a joke, but then got JCVD on board et voila! They accidentally wrote a real film. Anyways, the film is incredibly fun and you should watch it. A, I wish all cheesy 90s action was this fun.

Bring a Friend Analysis – And then of course we watched the sequel (remake? It feels like a remake) to Sudden Death called Welcome to Sudden Death which came out this year. Oh boy. There isn’t really that much to say, it is a remake of the original film almost beat for beat, but with the addition of Gary Owens as the wisecracking sidekick Gus (or was he a figment of Jesse’s imagination? We may never know), and the quality of a film shot in two days in an empty minor league basketball arena. The film is juuuuust aware enough to nod and wink at the camera during the fight scenes, but massively drops the ball with the bad guy played by Michael Eklund. The issue is that he is so gross and smarmy as a mercenary out for revenge against the billionaire owner of a basketball team that it all becomes no fun. You need the silly hamminess of Powers Booth’s crazy (like a fox!) plan to steal millions via secret service machinations for the entire thing to work. It just doesn’t work with some guy who is pissed that he lost his job because he accidentally killed an entire innocent family in a black ops mission. D, the new brand of self-aware bad movies are rarely fun, and this is no exception despite Michael Jai White being quite good in the Van Damme role, and a hilariousness of Gary Owen’s character.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Fantasy Island Quiz

Oh man, so I was invited to this island which promised to fulfill all my dreams, but then all these bad things popped out, chased me, and I fell down and bopped by head. Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened on Fantasy Island?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We meet our heroes (?) as they arrive on the island. There is brooding Melanie (Lucy Hale), brothers Brax and JD (Jimmy Yang and Ryan Hansen), businesswoman Gwen (Maggie Q), and police officer Patrick (Austin Stowell). Why are they all there?

2) And what are all of their (apparent) fantasies?

3) Gwen and Patrick both ultimately believe they could change events in the past via the magic of the island, what three events in their past do they almost or want to change?

4) Why and how is Mr. Rourke doing all of this?

5) Ultimately what is the actual fantasy the island is trying to fulfill? And how do they stop it?

Answers

Fantasy Island Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – Fancy Tree Island

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

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

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

Keyword – based on tv series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congo Recap

Jamie

Dr. Karen Ross has one aim: get some sweet blue diamonds and save her ex-fiance from the Congo. Dr. Peter Eliot has one aim: get his beloved talking gorilla Amy back to the Congo. These aims run headlong into each other just as a volcano is erupting… in adventure. Can they get in and out of the Congo before it’s too late? Find out in… Congo.

How?! Just when TravisCom gets in contact with their employees deep in the jungles of the Congo (and in possession of extremely valuable and powerful blue diamonds) they are horrified to find that they have been killed by some mysterious gorilla-like beasts. Dr. Karen Ross agrees to go in so that she can find out whether the leader of the group (and her ex-fiance) are still alive. Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Eliot has secured funding from a sketchy dude with a deep, fake-sounding accent to bring his special gorilla Amy back to the Congo. Amy can talk with the help of a sign language machine, but has suffered severe nightmares that Peter thinks is connected to the place she was born. When the sketchy funding falls through, Karen makes up the difference and joins the group, using it as a front to get into the war torn country before the borders close. Using all her connections they are able to bribe their way onto a plane and barely escape the army by parachuting over the border. As they trek across the Congo they encounter all kinds of adventures like with leeches and hippos and many more animal friends. On the way they also encounter a member of the previous TraviCom group who dies instantaneously of fright upon seeing Amy (bum bum bum). When they finally arrive they realize that Amy has led them to the lost city of Zinj, the legendary location of King Solomon’s Mines. Almost immediately though they are attacked by horrifying and aggressive grey gorillas and learn that they are descendents of the trained animal guards of the mine which eventually overthrew their trainers and destroyed the city. As their group is slowly picked off one by one and the volcano near the city becomes more active, it becomes a matter of simply surviving as the gorillas attack their camp. Before they can leave, though, they end up trapped deep in the mines with the gorillas and volcano looming. Enter: laser beams. Using the blue diamonds Karen is able to power a laser and blast those gray gorillas no prob. They manage to barely escape with the lava hot on their heels (I swear this is real). Realizing her employer only cared about money, Karen destroys his satellite with the laser beam and they all hop in a hot air balloon to escape, while waving goodbye to Amy who has joined her gorilla brethren… like for real. THE END. This might be my favorite recap of all time.

Why?! I guess I already told you in the recap. Peter wants to return Amy to the Congo, while Karen wants to see if her ex-fiance is still alive and, secondarily, complete the job of getting the special blue diamonds. Tim Curry also has the added motivation of discovering the Lost City of Zinj, but really he’s just a kooky guy who’s destined to have his face ripped off by a crazed gary gorilla. So who cares.

Who?! Delroy Lindo has a substantial speaking role and goes uncredited. Not sure why (although his accent is crazy so that might give a hint). The more interesting thing is that as I mentioned Crichton sold the rights to the film before writing it and eventually delivered a crazy techno-ape-thriller. By the time they actually got the production figured out he was distanced from the project and didn’t even get a screenplay credit on the film. Just a “based on” credit. 

What?! Solid MacGuffin here in the blue diamonds which hold such amazing powers that if TraviCom can get their hands on even a few it will produce a money-making laser that will save the company. That’s all well and good but when one of Amy’s paintings is on sale online you start to get your hopes up that her nintendo power glove might be out there too *stares wistfully into the distance* alas, no such luck.

Where?! A+ setting alert! Congo all up in there. Can’t imagine this is ever dethroned for the Congo mapl.de.map. That is until Patrick and I make Congo 2: Double Trouble where it turns out that after the volcano erupted there were only two gray gorillas left alive… twins. The evil gorilla is set on revenge and sets off to California to hunt down Peter, while the good twin gorilla attempts to stop him. Eventually they find common ground through their discovery of McDonald’s and the twin gorillas reconcile with Peter and get power gloves of their own… although the movie I just described isn’t really set in Congo… primarily set in a California McDonald’s. Wouldn’t even win the McDonald’s entry for mapl.de.map as Mac and Me has a stranglehold on that spot.

When?! It’s a beautiful thing when a film delivers an easy and precise way to track the time when it’s set. Periodically the explorers check in with TraviCom and the video feed has a handy dandy date right in the corner. So we know that the entire film takes place from October 16-22, 1994. Should have really hammered it home by having the characters jam out to I’ll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men… although probably needed to cut that scene to avoid an NC-17 rating.

Congo is really saved by an absolutely crazy ending where gorillas are mowed down by laser beams while another one speaks using a computer nintendo glove and a volcano erupts around them. Leading up to that point, though, it’s a much more standard adventure tale that is only betrayed a little by some fake looking gorillas and Tim Curry putting on a deep, deep accent. But if you can take out a forty minute chunk of a film and say “check this shit out,” then you’re in a pretty good spot when it comes to BMT. It just makes it a little harder to recommend the film to people. I actually read the book a little while back (when we previously thought we were going to watch it for BMT) and it’s a pretty close adaptation. What it lacks, and why I enjoyed the book quite a bit, was the Crichton-esque mix of deep science/technology and narrative. The book was super long though and by the end I was pretty sure it was unadaptable. Not only would you lose that unique narrative structure, but all you would be left with was all kinds of monster ape and diamonds and volcanoes and stuff. Easier to write than to put to screen with a straight face. What’s interesting is that he sold the film rights before writing the book… so he basically sold a studio a film and then wrote a nutso, unadaptable book for them to adapt. No wonder it took like 15 years for them to make it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Laser beams and talking apes is all I really needed to hear before watching Congo. Let’s go!

P’s View of the Preview – I’ve seen this film before and it is great. There’s a talking gorilla, there is a laser gun, and … wait yeah, not only is that all I remember, that is also all I care about, and that is also all you need to know. This is a film where a gorilla named Amy talks and they cut gorillas apart with a laser gun at the end. Boom. What were my expectations? Seriously? I just told you: talking gorillas and laser beams. Let’s gooooooooooooo!

The Good – Hmmmmm, I’m trying to think through this without falling into the trap of thinking something that is ironically good is actually good, you know? The film is a fun adventure film, and as far as a poor man’s Jurassic Park it does an interesting job at being just that. I loved Laura Linney and Ernie Hudson in their roles, as very specific Crichton archetypes (the suave adventurer and the corporate scientist / CIA agent). And the ultimate payoff in the Lost City of Zinj was just enough to satisfy (although they really closed the book on the franchise huh? No Lost World: Congo 2 was going to happen after the conclusion I would think). Best Bit: Laura Linney and Ernie Hudson.

The Bad – I could have done without the main character (who, no offense to him, came across as Steve Guttenberg but not as good). I understand he was a necessary bit of getting Amy the gorilla into the situation, but you definitely needed a better actor in the role to pull it off. The effects were incredibly subpar. The final scenes are so laughably bad it somehow makes the film better, but, again, that is ironically and shouldn’t be confused with the film actually being good. I love seeing people blast some evil white gorillas apart with a laser beam, but that doesn’t mean it is a good movie. I’ll also just through out that the entire bit about getting into the Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely troublesome if you know anything about the political issues colonization caused that country, all the way down to the poorly names “Hotel Leopold” they have to bribe their way out of. Fatal Flaw: Laughable effects.

The BMT – This is an incredibly hilarious film. It’ll be slow going for a bit, but then the laser beams and evil gorillas will pop up and all of your concern about the film will just melt away. It is one of those films where you’ll be like “you should watch this, it is hilarious” to someone, and they’ll sit down and for the first hour be like “what was this guy going on about again?” And then the laser beams and gorillas will show up and it’ll all make more sense. BMT Hall of Fame level hilariousness? Maybe, maybe no, we’ll see five years from now, but it certainly earns its BMeTric in my opinion. Did it meet my expectations? Given that I had seen the film before how could it not? And in reality, yes, there were indeed gorillas and laser beams, so … there it is.

Roast-radamus – I’m going to give a shout out to our Pseudo-Planchet (Who?) played by Grant Heslov who just really really really wishes he wasn’t in The Democratic Republic of Congo throughout the film. Hugely great A+ Setting as a Character (Where?) for The Democratic Republic of Congo, and a pretty rare Africa setting in general. A legendary (literally) MacGuffin (Why?) concerning the Lost City of Zinj filled with eeeeeevil guardian gorillas. I think this is a great BMT film in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – The cred for Congo was off the hook. With an 50+ BeMetric and 80+ Notability it is one of the largest releases of 1995. Top 3% in BMeTric and Notability among the top 250 of that year, the only film with a higher BMeTric and Notability is Batman Forever. That’s the level of cred we are looking at here. Two things stand out in the connection on IMDb. First is the Sega Saturn game Congo the Movie: The Lost City of Zinj. I should have really watched a playthrough of that for the You Got Schooled section, but such is life. The other is that in the 2018 episode of the show A.P. Bio the kids have a Congo themed school dance complete with Amy the talking gorilla. Now that is cred, still getting dem sweet refs 23 years later!

You Just Got Schooled – Instead of watching a playthrough of a bad Doom clone, I instead went for another bad gorilla bash in Rampage. I had resisted Rampage mostly because I watched Skyscraper on a plane and it was awful, and if that was the expectations of a Dwayne Johnson film then hard pass. Having watched it though, Rampage isn’t necessarily awful. It has a lot of heart and The Rock, as usual, has an incredible amount of charisma which saves the film. The action is mostly Transformers level and your brain shuts off eventually. I suppose the only daring thing about it is that they really don’t mince words: like hundreds of people die during the film. That’s an interesting strategy, especially when one of the heroes (George the giant ape) is one of the animals doing all that killing. Regardless, much better than Skyscraper, and what more could I really ask for? C. Still not a good video game film, sorry.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Congo Quiz

Oh man, so as usual I was on my way to The Democratic Republic of Congo to return my ape friend to the wild, when out popped with white gorilla and bopped me on the head! Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Congo?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What is the company looking for in Congo? Why is the primatologist going? And why is Tim Curry going?

2) When they arrive in Central Africa they are initially detained outside of The Democratic Republic of Congo. Why?

3) Once in the Democratic Republic of Congo why must they hurry to the laser pack signal?

4) During the trek the group meets a tribe. Who are they and what do they want?

5) In the end they do find what they are looking for, but there is something spooky guarding it. What? Also what does the ubiquitous eye symbol mean?

Answers

Congo Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – Goril-lazer Beamz

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

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

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

Keyword – gorilla

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Skulls Recap

Jamie

Luke McNamara just wants to become a lawyer despite his humble origins. With the help of his crew prowess he gets a chance to join the elite and secretive Yale club called The Skulls. Soon, though, his friend is dead and he realizes that maybe the club is not just bad, but dangerous. Can he stop The Skulls (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Skulls.

How?! Luke is a rad dude who can win any crew meet with one oar tied behind his back. But really his main goal is to make it out of the ranks of the New Haven townies and into the ranks of successful lawyers without debt up the wazoo. The key? The Skulls, a Yale club that rumor has it will pay your entire tuition. His friends, roommate Will and love interest Chloe, don’t understand his obsession and are a little shocked when he indeed gets the invitation and accepts. Suddenly they are feeling a little left out as Luke and his new BFF Caleb are palling around and keeping secrets. One night while working late, Luke goes to talk to Will and is distressed to find him dead. Knowing it doesn’t make sense he searches around and finds that Will was working on a news story about The Skulls. Confronting Caleb he admits that Will didn’t commit suicide, but actually died from a fall in the Skull’s building, but insists it was all an accident. Luke doesn’t entirely believe him and so following this lead and with the help of his genius (and somewhat criminal) townie friends, Luke gets his hands on the security tape from the club. Watching them he sees that while Will’s fall was accidental, he was still alive afterwards… that is until the Provost of Yale, acting on the order of Caleb’s high powered father, snaps his neck! Luke tries to get help from upper level club members before going to the police, but is stymied and the tape is switched before he can bring it in. The Skulls get Luke committed, but Chloe helps break him out. On the run they are nearly taken out by the Provost, but a sympathetic police officer kills him and lets them go. Knowing his only chance is some real coolz rulez, Luke confronts Caleb and challenges him to a duel and by the club’s coolz duelz rulez he must accept. During the duel Luke tells Caleb that he knows it was all an accident and that his father actually killed Will and a dismayed Caleb shoots his own father. When he tries to take his own life, Luke stops him. Luke then withdraws from The Skulls because he’s gonna be pretty busy smooching Chloe. THE END.  

Why?! Luke just wants a rad life of lawyering and had already put his lean muscles and endurance for days to work getting into Yale. Now he needs The Skulls to finish the job. Unfortunately their only motivation is power and will stop at nothing to keep it. Particularly that damn Provost of Yale.

Who?! I personally think they should give Caleb’s father a pass on the whole murder misunderstanding because he was in line for a Supreme Court seat and it would be a pity to miss out on that for this section. Still, we do have a Senator and, of course… the Provost of Yale… or at least he was before he was killed following his participation in a murder.

What?! There is a slew of cars shown off in this film because that’s one of the clear perks to being in The Skulls: a super rad car that lets everyone know “I’m in a secret society, but shhhh it’s secret.” The one that’s most involved in the plot is Luke’s 1963 Ford Thunderbird, which he gives to his townie friends in exchange for their help.

Where?! This is a really really good Connecticut film. Set very hard in New Haven, CT (did I mention the Provost of Yale murders someone?) it’s not a great look for Yale. Then again, The Skulls is a perfect 10/10 film so maybe it is a good look despite all the murder cults involved. Obviously not an A+ like A Haunting in Connecticut but it’s an A+ in my heart (but really it’s an A). 

When?! Don’t be tricked! There is a scene in The Skulls where Judge Mandrake is all like “come to TGivs with me and my disappointing son” and you’d be tempted to be all like Secret Holiday Alert. But hold the phone! Leaves on the trees? Light jackets? A race that’s a leadup to the goddamn Ivy Sprints (guess they couldn’t get past the trademark for Eastern Sprints)? It’s clearly Spring so Judge Mandrake is really getting ahead on his TGivs planning. C

I unabashedly loved watching this movie. It is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. The Provost of Yale is running around with a gun trying to kill the school’s star rower. The Provost! They should be making these films 24/7 to air on Netflix because this proves that no matter how ludicrously stupid they get I still cannot get enough of them. Like Swimfan before it they can just churn this stuff out. Where are the Jesse Bradfords and Jashua Jacksons of this generation to take on the newest aquatic sport and start cooking up the thrills? Even when they by accident make an Abduction starring Taylor Lautner they still at least made something dumb and unintentionally hilarious. This is dumb, unintentionally hilarious, and great. I loved it so much I even almost watched The Skulls 2… almost. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Do you ever wish you were in some secret society where people literally die and weird old people buy you prostitutes and stuff? No? Huh, then why was The Skulls written that way? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t need no preview for this! I’ve seen this movie multiple times in my youth, and am obviously rather excited to give it a rewatch years after I could have been in a secret society myself. I could talk about what I remember, which is the opening scene where Charlie from The Mighty Ducks wins a crew race with one less rower than the other teams … yeah, that’s ain’t happening man. What were my expectations? Much like that opening crew race I expected the film to be absurd. Front to back, just absurdity that melts my mind, but in a good way.

The Good – This film is absurd and melts my mind in a good way. It is juuuuuuust dumb enough to be funny, but also it has that conspiracy at the core which you just can’t wait to unravel. It is like The O.C. in movie form, the perfect level of teen melodrama, but as a thriller. This film is far from good. This film is far from even being adequate. But it is also a delight that continues to beg questions weeks after viewing. Like … how do they explain that the provost of Yale got shot in the back by a New Haven police detective on some abandoned stretch of railroad? That combined with multiple Yale alumni getting shot or having dark secrets revealed in the same week in November at least one person would be like “wait a tick … is all this connected?” This though is in fact a good thing, I love it. Best Bit: Pure teen melodramatic lunacy.

The Bad – I would say the acting isn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. I like Joshua Jackson well enough, I grew up with him in The Mighty Ducks and Dawson’s Creek, but he wasn’t great in the end. I think the conspiracy at the core of the film is troublesome. It might seem strange to say it … but killing Hill Harper’s character makes no sense. He was trespassing, the fall was a total accident (complete with video evidence), and he didn’t actually learn anything terrible about the Skulls. That’s the issue with the film: it really makes no sense. Why would the head of the skulls keep the video of this crime around? It seems easy enough for them to destroy it if they wanted. Why does Joshua Jackson even join The Skulls if he wants to do “real” legal work for the common man? The Skulls will make him so indebted to these powerful people he’ll almost definitely have no choice but to become a corporate lawyer in Washington D.C. or something. It is just poorly written … but again, in a great way that I love. Fatal Flaw: The film makes no sense.

The BMT – I love these types of films. Swimfan is the closest, but something like Hackers or even I Still Know What You Did Last Summer are similar in style. Crank up that lunacy, give me some drama, and spin a conspiracy that makes no sense, and I’m in. I have a lot of trouble finding lists of films like this … I might need to start thinking of a discovery method for something where I have two BMT films and I want a third that is similar in style … hmmm. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. I imagined it would just be a cheesy teen thriller, but it is a lot closer to something like Hackers in its absurdity.

Roast-radamus – A very high falutin Product Placement (What?) with each member of The Skulls getting branded on the wrist (dumb) and then getting a Breitling Old Navitimer to cover it up. Probably around $10K these days. A pretty great Setting as a Character (Where?) for New Haven, Connecticut and Yale University specifically. And a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that, indeed, the sneaky U.S. Senator played by William Petersen was pulling the strings all along to become the chairman of The Skulls or whatever. Definitely closest to BMT.

StreetCreditReport.com – As usual finding actual lists is difficult, and I’ve been searching for things to do in this section that veers away from using those. IMDb lists it as number 8 on its top 10 Fraternities and Sororities films, and number 6 on its Secret Society films. Watching the video it is rather interesting that The Skull and Bones society at Yale plays a prominent role in two films. This, and The Good Shepherd. That is because that film is about the establishment of the CIA, which was apparently established within The Skull and Bones around World War II. I think a huge amount of cred comes from it being one of the worst Secret Society films.

You Just Got Schooled – I couldn’t quite decide on the right angle for this one, especially since a lot of secret society films suck. And I certainly didn’t want to waste my time with the straight-to-DVD sequels (I’ll save that for a Bring a Friend in the future). In the end I went with the conspiracy angle and watched Oliver Stone’s JFK. One of the premiere ensemble casts in film history this controversial film was ultimately lauded as an epic political thriller and nominated for Best Picture (among other awards). The three hour runtime stretches one’s patience, especially near the end of act two where you could be forgiven for losing the thread on exactly who is doing what where. Shockingly watchable though all things considered, and if you didn’t know about the controversy (Stone does more than merely suggest Lyndon B. Johnson was responsible for the assassination of JFK) then the movie makes a compelling case for the deep state cover up, especially in the minutes long monologue by Costner that ends the film. Knowing that Stone is credibly accused of stretching the truth beyond recognition unfortunately leaves it in a tier below more true-to-life political thrillers like All the President’s Men. A-. The best thing about the film in the end is the cast, and it definitely gets you interested in reading up on the mystery surrounding the JFK assassination.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs