Slender Man Preview

In the guise of a big fat cat and craving lasagna, Jamie and his dog pal Odin are on their way out of Dracula School in an attempt to find Patrick. The plot to use the Ivory Socket waits for no cat and Jamie’s vampirism can be dealt with later. When they turn a corner they are confronted by Dr. Vampiro, the headmaster of the school! “Not so fast, fat cat! You’re not going anywhere until we know how to use the Ivory Socket.” They look for escape only to have their eyes alight on a Dance Dance Revolution machine in the corner of the student lounge. “Perhaps a dance-off to decide whether we can go or not,” Jamie suggests. “Ha,” Dr. Vampiro scoffs, taking off his coat, “that is super dumb… and not because it makes no sense that I would agree to such a thing, but because I’m a dance machine, don’t worry about it.” There isn’t anything kids and bored parents love more than a couple of animals boogying down and boy howdy do they. Jamie and Odin bip and bop across that machine with some seriously bodacious dance moves. But as Dr. Vampiro begins his seductive vampire dance Jamie realizes that he may not be a match for his supernatural dance powers. Could he lose a dance-off? He knows then and there that he must call upon his friend and ally, The Top Hat Man. “Top Hat Man I summon you and your Top Hat, man,” he states with eyes closed.

Stunned by what he’s just seen Patrick sits in the pile of garbage and contemplates the situation. A talking cat!?!? And what did it mean he didn’t belong there. Sweat beading on their foreheads Sticks and Stones turn around, finally completing the firebombing of the witch’s set, “What’s with that dern look on your face, it’s like you just saw a talking cat (!?!) or something,” Stones says. Patrick opens his mouth … but you know what, the experience wasn’t actually that remarkable, just kind of pointless and dull. “Where am I? Where is Jamie?” he says instead. “You listen to me punk,” Sticks growls, “all we know is what we were told: fetch the kid in the teenage witch set and bring him to the precinct set. You’re here alright, but we don’t know anything about any goddamned Jamie. Let’s move!” Sticks and Stones walk up to a series of doors in the false alleyway and whisper quietly to themselves. This had gone on long enough Patrick thought. What did he do the last time he lost Jamie? Oh yeah, he called on his friend and ally, The Top Hat Man. The Top Hat Man would know what to do. “Top Hat Man I summon you and your Top Hat, man,” he states with eyes closed.

That’s right! This week we’re watching Slender Man. After one of the slowest BMT years in history, we take a break from our Bring a Friend cycle to (finally) head back to the theater for some BMT Live fun. Ever since The Bye Bye Man stole our BMT hearts, we’ve been clamouring for something similarly dumb and not scary and hilarious. So when we saw previews for what looked like a terrible misguided attempt to cash in on what the kids are calling “The Internet,” we hoped and prayed for it to fail miserably with critics… and hoooo boy! It sure did. This film pits the Slenderest of Men against a bevy of teenage girls and I’m hoping that he has a tall slender top hat and like a slender greyhound friend. This better be the slenderest film ever released. Let’s go!

Slender Man (2018) – BMeTric: 51.0

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(Sometime I ignore “current” films in this section because the plot is somewhat boring … not so here! The rating of 2.9 is so absurdly low that I had to make note of it. If it stays that low this will be a 70+ BMeTric film soon enough which is pretty crazy. I think people just really hate the idea of the film, and it doesn’t help that the film is apparently a load of garbage.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  I should have been the exact right viewer for “Slender Man.” And yet my mind wandered to memories of better, similar films, and it was really only in the moments when “Slender Man” went terribly wrong that it grabbed my attention. After all, nothing is scarier than bad filmmaking.

(Noice. Kind of reminds me of The Bye Bye Man maybe? That somehow the redeeming feature of the film was just how laughably bad some moments of the film are. Otherwise films like this are a dime a dozen these days.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySy8mcceTno

(Uh, having watched the film already (spoiler) but … that trailer describes a different movie. Actually, I can exactly see what the storyline was supposed to be. Their one friend gets taken, the three other characters offer themselves in her stead, she returns but isn’t the same, The Most Slender Man is still spookifying them because of the deal they struck … better than the chopped up film you’ll get, be warned.)

Directors – Sylvain White – (Known For: The Losers; Future BMT: Stomp the Yard; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: He did the direct-to-video addition I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer before landing his breakout film Stomp the Yard. Mostly directs television more recently.)

Writers – David Birke (written by) – (Known For: Elle; 13 Sins; Dahmer; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Announced as the screenwriter for an upcoming Picture of Dorian Gray adaptation.)

Victor Surge (based on a character by) – (BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Know Your Meme. Is still answering questions to this day about this thing he created nearly 10 years ago on a whim, which is bonkers.)

Actors – Joey King – (Known For: The Dark Knight Rises; The Conjuring; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Oz the Great and Powerful; White House Down; Going in Style; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Horton Hears a Who!; Wish I Was Here; Ramona and Beezus; Quarantine; Reign Over Me; Future BMT: Wish Upon; Stonewall; The Kissing Booth; Family Weekend; The Sound and the Fury; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Slender Man; Battle Los Angeles; Notes: The Kissing Booth is actually having a moment as it (1) is not considered to be very good by traditional film standards, but (2) is incredibly popular in the pre-teen girl demographic (as stated on the Bill Simmons podcast on several occasions). She’s even dating her Kissing Booth co-star in real life.)

Julia Goldani Telles – (Known For: Most Likely to Murder; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Studies at Columbia, and has a co-starring role in the show The Affair.)

Jaz Sinclair – (Known For: Paper Towns; Future BMT: When the Bough Breaks; Fun Mom Dinner; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: She is going to star in the re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch which is coming out in October.)

Budget/Gross – $10–28 million / Domestic: $23,393,116 (Worldwide: $25,020,757)

(The gross is “so far” and I’m willing to bet the 28 million figure is with advertising, which isn’t usually included in these figures I think. It is going to be a modest success in the end I think, but I doubt we should be waiting for Slenderer Man … More Slender Man?)

#93 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(This is, in a way, still the cutting edge of horror, although I assume that will change soon enough. Basically Blumhouse ushered in the current era with the Paranormal Activity franchise which was the first of the genre to break $100 million in over 5 years (and on a microbudget no less). Silent Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship, The Fog (2005), The Bye Bye Man are either good or hilarious so far, so I’m quite excited to see what Slender Man brings to the table.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (4/48): Slender Man might be thin, but he’s positively robust compared to the flimsy assortment of scares generated by the would-be chiller that bears his name.

(Rough consensus right there. All I want in the world is for Slender Man to be hilarious like The Bye Bye Man. Please be hilarious. Reviewer Highlight – Slender Man feels as used up as any years-old meme, like trying to explain what’s funny about dat boi a decade late. – Andrew Whalen, Newsweek)

Poster – The Top Hat Man (A-)

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(Slender Man watching me through my foggy shower door. How creepy. I do like the simple artistry of it with the unique font and nice balance. A little more blue tint to the overall color, but otherwise this is pretty good to draw me in.)

Tagline(s) – None (F)

(Oooo, the slenderest of all taglines. Real meta, A+ tagline… psych! Unacceptable but not unexpected, Slender Man.)

Keyword(s) – woods; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 86.0 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.9 Troll 2 (1990); 82.6 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 80.4 Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010); 80.0 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 78.4 Jason X (2001); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 77.7 The Starving Games (2013);

(Birdemic is coming up, and I really hope We can do the Halloween franchise at some point. And who knows, maybe we’ll finally add the Twilight franchise to the list of BMT films.)

Notes – The father of the victim whose life was nearly claimed by two girls that worshipped the Slender Man spoke out against the film, citing how they felt disgraced by Hollywood making a film about events that led to tragedy. (I mean … fair)

During the post-production of Slender Man (2018), Sony and Screen Gems were reportedly extremely nervous about releasing the film, due to the ongoing court cases and negative publicity surrounding the Creepypasta legend. This caused the two companies to release the film with very little promotional materials to it, and it did not screen for critics. (I mean … fair)

The Slender Man first appeared on the “Something Awful” forums in a series of photographs edited to depict a tall, humanoid entity unnoticed by other people in the image but almost always surrounded by, or in close proximity to, children. Since then, many have speculated inspiration and origin of Slender Man in popular media, folk tales and ghost stories from hundreds of years ago, the earliest being a reference to Der Großmann in a German folk story written in 1702.

Both Chloe and Tom are shown dying in the trailer, yet neither death appears in the final cut of the movie. (Reshoots I guess. Interesting only because there aren’t very many notes, presumably because the film just came out)

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Ouija Preview

Oh boy. I am pretty excited for this week’s film. It’s not just because Horror/Thriller has turned into my favorite section of the cycle, but also because this film in particular looked so misguided and awful when it was released that it piqued my curiosity. That’s right! We are watching Ouija, the horror film based on the Hasbro spirit board game and one of the many horror films produced by Michael Bay over the years (he’s a noted enthusiast). Seems like an obvious choice to make an adaptation out of. It’s already about spirits and spooky ghosts so as long as it’s not totally unoriginal and terrible you should be fine. Easy, right? Wrong. Let’s go!

Ouija (2014) – BMeTric: 75.7

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(Pretty good. A film in the 4.0’s staying strong and not rising as votes are added is a very very good sign. This is a case of what I will call Arrested Regression. The film should be regressing to the mean (the mean being that of films with around the same number of votes), but it isn’t. This is because it is in actuality as terrible as it initially seemed, so people seemingly are choosing to see the film despite knowing that it is terrible.)

RogerEbert.com – 3 stars –  Though I admit 16-year old me enjoyed the hell out of “Witchboard,” I didn’t think I’d have fun at “Ouija.” But I did, and assisting me were actors who gave their paper thin teenage types a little humor and character, and the film’s look. Shot by veteran camera operator, David Emmerichs, “Ouija” is a glossy hoot, showing more flair than a throwback to the 80’s horror movie should. As a lifelong horror movie viewer, I wasn’t scared by the film, but I dug the many ways it tried to goose me.

(Wowza! Three stars?! The review reads a little oddly, admitting he basically had a soft spot for the nostalgia the film evoked, but it is an interesting take I suppose. Not very many people agree to say the least.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBLmBdn2QF8

(Classic case where the less you show the better. Definitely parts that make me think it’ll be spooky scary. But then all the parts that they actually show the ghost or have someone flossing with their mouth stitched shut is just… not.)

Directors – Stiles White – (BMT: Ouija; Notes: Started in the industry in special effects before launching his career in screenwriting with his writing partner/wife Juliet Snowden.)

Writers – Juliet Snowden (written by) – (Known For: Ouija: Origin of Evil; The Possession; Future BMT: Boogeyman; Knowing; BMT: Ouija; Notes: Married to Stiles White. Also executive producer on the film.)

Stiles White (written by) – (Known For: Ouija: Origin of Evil; The Possession; Future BMT: Boogeyman; Knowing; BMT: Ouija; Notes: Apparently they are both attached to a remake of a German film called Du Hast Es Versprochen. Hoping it works out as well as this one did.)

Actors – Olivia Cooke – (Known For: The Limehouse Golem; Thoroughbreds; Me and Earl and the Dying Girl; The Signal; Katie Says Goodbye; Future BMT: The Quiet Ones; BMT: Ouija; Notes: Notably starring in the upcoming blockbuster release Ready Player One. Also in the new Amazon adaptation of Vanity Fair.)

Ana Coto – (BMT: Ouija; Notes: Really hasn’t done anything much since Ouija. Weirdly was just in a Logan Paul film released exclusively to Shudder called Can’t Take It Back which is coincidentally about putting something on the internet that you can’t take back… must not have been much of an acting stretch for Logan.)

Daren Kagasoff – (BMT: Ouija; Notes: Probably best known as one of the leads of the show The Secret Life of the American Teenager.)

Budget/Gross – $5 million / Domestic: $50,856,010 (Worldwide: $103,590,271)

(Obviously a colossal hit. They all are aren’t they? These small budget horror films. It is quite the phenomenon that they can effectively print money with these types of movies.)

#39 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(Comes is right around The Devil Inside which isn’t a good look. Being a major money-maker for cheap horror means it has been growing in power throughout the 2000s, although it looks like maybe it is reaching its saturation point now. BMT: The Ring Series, The Devil Inside, Silent Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship, The Fog, Bless the Child, The Forest, The Gallows, and  The Bye Bye Man)

#13 for the Toy Adaptation genre

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(They are desperately trying to make this a thing. It looks like it has so far resisted moving beyond a few big budget franchises into faller fair. I feel like this is going to stay in the realm on animated films for the most part though, they’re all adapted from cartoons basically, so Transformers is really the odd-man out, no the other way around. BMT: The Transformer series, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Bratz)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (5/79): Slowly, steadily, although no one seems to be moving it in that direction, the Ouija planchette points to NO.

(I wish someone at RT would tell them that no one wants a joke consensus. Just tell me the actual consensus of the critics, which is kinda the point of your website. This tells me nothing other than you spent too much time trying to think up something clever.)

Poster – Sklog-ja (B-)

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(I can dig this. Bold choice with some interesting font. Decidedly not scary though. Literally just a ouija board… why would I be scared of that?)

Tagline(s) – Keep telling yourself it’s just a game (B)

(I think this is good. Sometimes I have to say it a few times to make sure it isn’t nonsense. But this is short enough and gives a hint of the spooky scary concept. Wish it was a bit more clever.)

Keyword(s) – ghost; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.8 The Fog (2005); 80.2 One Missed Call (2008); 78.9 Feardotcom (2002); 76.9 Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977); 75.7 Ouija (II) (2014); 73.2 Zoolander 2 (2016); 72.8 The Apparition (2012); 70.7 The Gallows (2015); 68.7 The Haunting (1999); 67.5 Pulse (I) (2006);

(We are killing this list. The Fog is by far the best one there. Although The Haunting is a pretty special viewing experience as well.)

Notes – The name can either be pronounced ‘wee-ja’ or ‘wee-gee’. Charles Kennard, founder of the company manufacturing the boards, claimed he learned the name “Ouija” from asking the board what it wanted to be called. (My god)

Far from being ancient, the Ouija Board was patented on May 28, 1890. (Well … yeah, that isn’t a surprise)

Hasbro Studios first horror film. (Probably last? Oh wait, they made (a pretty good) sequel to this film.)

According to costume designer Mary Jane Fort, the cast and crew would often take breaks between shooting and use the Ouija board to jokingly predict the box office opening weekend numbers. (Z-E-R-O D-O-L-L-A-R-S … you know what this is stupid)

The film’s tagline, “Keep telling yourself it’s just a game,” was used for several years as the advertising slogan for the Ouija board game.

Though there are many other horror movies about Ouija boards – some with the same title – this film is not officially a remake of any of them and tells its own story revolving around the titular game. (Well yeah, it is a Hasbro production)

None of the actors portraying teenagers in the film were actually in their teens. The youngest actor was Olivia Cooke who was 21 at the time of filming.

When re-shoots went underway, in the process of drastically changing Doris Zander’s backstory, two new characters were created including her sister and mother. Lin Shaye, who plays Paulina Zander, was not in the original version of the film and was cast for the re-shot footage.

The location where Laine goes to visit Paulina Zander is also known as Eichen House in MTV’s hit TV show, Teen Wolf (2011), where Shelley Hennig, who plays Debbie, stars as Malia Tate/Hale.

Although this is the first film theatrically released starring Shelley Hennig, she filmed this after completing her work on Unfriended (2014) which was previously released as Cybernatural making it her proper film debut (technically). It would be theatrically released about 6 months after the release of this film.

Some cast members are said to have experienced supernatural occurrences since the production of the film Ouija ended. It is said to be influenced by the making of the film.

In the original unaltered version of the film, Doris Zander had a much different look to her. In the original cut she took the appearance of a young girl with half of her face burnt while always carrying a doll. The re-shoots version is a rotting girl with sewn lips. (What? Changing the fundamental look, and thus backstory, of a character like that seems like an odd decision)

Erin Moriarty was cast in the film in an undisclosed role though she does not appear in the finished project. Her scenes were deleted when the film was reshot.

Another theory of where the name of the Ouija Board comes from is that it is the French and German for “Yes”: Oui-ja. The Board has Yes and No answers as well as the alphabet. (No that seems much more plausible)

Film debut of actors Ana Coto, Darren Kagasoff, Bianca A. Santos, and (technically) Shelley Hennig.

Directorial debut of Stiles White.

Although Sarah Morris is supposed to be Laine’s younger sister in the film, in real-life the actress Ana Coto is actually 3 years older than Olivia Cooke, who plays Laine.

The first trailer for the film was released with the theatrical release of The Fault in our Stars (2014) containing alternate footage. A new trailer was released in the summer containing new scenes. In an interview, Olivia Cooke stated that about 50% of the film was reshot due to a negative reaction from test audiences, as a result Universal ordered a week’s worth of re-shoots during the summer 4 months before its theatrical release which drastically altered the original plot. The original cut contained a different assortment of footage including an alternate death scene for Debbie where she instead falls to her death instead of hanging herself (which is why the chandelier is swinging when Pete sees it because she struck it while falling) along with the most advertised scene where Sarah’s eyes roll back and she says “it’s not even real okay? It’s just a game”. Nona was also supposed to have a more prominent role in the film as it implied she becomes possessed in the promotional material. (Wow … this is going to be a mess)

Rings Preview

You would think that we’ve endured enough punishment after pushing our way through the 4th and 5th entries in a film franchise whose entries routinely run far past two hours. You would be wrong. Enter the horror entry for the 2017 Cycle. That’s right! We’re watching the critically reviled third entry of the Rings franchise, simply called Rings. This film not only includes a well reviewed first entry (The Ring) and a BMT qualifying second entry (The Ring Two), but also many other adaptations and version made in different countries (including a Japanese original that the series is closely adapted from). So we got a lot to work with and at the very least two films to watch. We never learn. It’ll be truly a Thanksgiving miracle when I get through these films. Happy TGivs (as the kids call it) and let’s go!

Rings (2017) – BMeTric: 71.8

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(The rating plot is demented. It never ceases to amaze me how stupid people get about things like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb (rich coming from us I suppose since half of the preview is scraping and analyzing data from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Kick-ass VOD bump there though, and an incredible number of votes as usual.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  More wearying than frightening, “Rings” is a total non-starter that may well win the weekend box-office derby (if only because of the weak competition) but which will be blessedly forgotten by most of those who see it after seven days—a month tops.

(Clever closing line. The writer admits he isn’t exactly the biggest fan of the series itself, calling the previous installments “silly”. He also closes with a somewhat strange recommendation of another movie (The Autopsy of Jane Doe which, oddly, stars Brian Cox who was in the original The Ring). This intrigues me though. I’m curious as to what I will think of the series as a whole now. I feel like it hugely depends on what you want in horror films. Are you looking for spooky scares? Or is it enough to get some deaths with an interesting story / mythos surrounding the baddie? Very interested now.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFB4eZSVgBE

(Alright that looks like straight garbage. It looks (1) not scary, (2) like it just butchers the interesting mythology of the franchise, and (3) is poorly made. Kind of sad they decided to go with a totally different storyline (basically). Like, why even make it then?)

Directors – F. Javier Gutiérrez – (BMT: Rings; Notes: He is rumored to be attached to a Conjuring spin-off The Crooked Man. This is his only major release, although he directed a feature called Before the Fall. One and Done? It is at least close. He’ll get another shot though.)

Writers – David Loucka (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: The Dream Team; Future BMT: House at the End of the Street; Eddie; Dream House; BMT: Rings; Notes: Eddie and Rings … two peas in a pod? Nothing much about him besides the weird fact that he went from writing comedies to basically exclusively horror films over his career.)

Jacob Estes (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Mean Creek; The Details; Nearing Grace; BMT: Rings; Notes: Broke onto the scene as the writer-director of Mean Creek, which is quite good. Stars BMT favorite Josh Peck as well.)

Akiva Goldsman (screenplay by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; A Time to Kill; Batman Forever; I, Robot; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; Transformers: The Last Knight; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Rings; The 5th Wave; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: He won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. Incredibly successful as a screenwriter he broke onto the scene in 1991 after selling a script called Indian Summer (nope, not that Indian Summer, this one was never made). He’s directed a few things as well, including a few episodes of the new Star Trek series Discovery.)

Kôji Suzuki (based on the novel “The Ring” by) – (Known For: The Ring; Dark Water; Ring; Dark Water; Sadako vs. Kayako; Future BMT: The Ring 2; Ringu 2; BMT: Rings; Notes: The Ring writer. Ringu 2 looks like we could legit do it for BMT even (0% on Rotten Tomatoes on 13 reviews), but I don’t think we’ll venture into many foreign films any time soon.)

Actors – Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz – (Known For: Revenge; BMT: Rings; Notes: An Italian model turned actress this is, I think, her first big Hollywood film.)

Alex Roe – (BMT: Rings; The 5th Wave; Notes: A British actor. Interestingly The 5th Wave was written by Akiva Goldsman which I’m sure helped him get this role as well.)

Johnny Galecki – (Known For: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; Hancock; Bean; The Opposite of Sex; Prancer; Happy Endings; Bounce; The Master Cleanse; Chrystal; Playing Mona Lisa; Bookies; Future BMT: A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon; In Time; CBGB; BMT: Vanilla Sky; Rings; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Until this very moment I did not realize the star of The Big Bang Theory also had a major role in Roseanne. Like … a huge role. This guy has very interesting career, including a shockingly successful movie career. I just find that a tad bit strange.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $27,793,018 (Worldwide: $83,080,890)

(Disastrous given the reputation and take of the original. I think I’m going to mark that down as a true blue bomb.)

#75 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(Right around another very disappointing sequel to a solid horror film (Sinister 2), the supernatural horror genre has been booming for years now. The Conjuring and Sinister kickstarted the recent influx I think, and it is by far the most lucrative and popular kind of horror these days. Basically ghost stories, it is a bit disappointing that this is the only type of horror that gets play. I would say maybe It would change things a bit … but It is really supernatural horror itself, so if anything it reinforced things even more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (7/99): Rings may offer ardent fans of the franchise a few threadbare thrills, but for everyone else, it may feel like an endless loop of muddled mythology and rehashed plot points.

(sub 10% is very impressive. Muddled mythology is the name of the game considering the reviews for the previous installment. Wait, did people catch over-explain-itis? I do love over-explaining garbage.)

Poster – Sklogs (C)

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(For real? You went from simple and consistent to a mishmash of garbage. The color is still a nice consistent icy blue and the font is somewhat unique, but otherwise blah.)

Tagline(s) – Evil is reborn (C-)

(To generic to make an impression but also too generic to really offend me. Slightly below a C average.)

Keyword(s) – sequel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.5 Batman & Robin (1997); 91.4 Son of the Mask (2005); 90.4 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 89.3 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.0 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 86.3 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 86.1 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003); 86.0 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004); 85.8 The Avengers (1998); 85.6 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987);

(We should really be doing much better with these to be honest. Sequels are such a well of terribleness. I wonder why The Avengers is listed though, that is an adaptation, not a sequel.)

Notes – According to special makeup effects designer on the film, Arjen Tuiten, it took about 6 and a half hours to complete Samara’s makeup and her costume featured a water rig under the dress that allowed the character to constantly drip water.

Before starring as Samara in this film, Bonnie Morgan was also featured in The Ring 2 (2005) as Samara in the well crawling sequence, though she was uncredited.

Strongly rumored to be a prequel to the previous films until F. Javier Gutiérrez himself denied it on Twitter, confirming it would be a sequel taking place in the present.

Originally set for release in November 2015, the film was pushed back several times due to studio delays. It was finally released in February 2017 in most territories, almost two years after initial shooting occurred. (Ooof, not great)

Although Naomi Watts’ character from the first two films, Rachel Keller, is never mentioned by name, her name appears underneath one of the icons on Gabriel’s computer in a brief shot.

Both Naomi Watts, and David Dorfman who played Rachel and Aidan in the first two films respectively, do not return for this sequel. (That is obvious, and also a bad sign)

This is the first film in the series that the makeup effects were not done by Rick Baker, who had the previous two. Rick retired from the industry in early 2015 and left his studio, Cinovation, to his protégée Arjen Tuiten, who had worked with him on Maleficent. While Rick had no involvement with this project, some of his crew, who had worked on the previous two with him, worked on this film with Arjen at his studio now called R-E-N.

Was filmed in Atlanta. (As are all films these days no?)

Young Evelyn, played by Kayli Carter, was previously played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in The Ring 2 (2005), though her scenes were cut aside from a brief appearance.

Producers Laurie MacDonald, Walter Parkes, J.C. Spink, Chris Bender, makeup effects artists Bill Sturgeon and Bart Mixon, and stunt coordinator Keith Campbell are the only people to have worked on all three films in the Ring series.

Bonnie Morgan, who plays Samara, stated that to bring the character to life, it took over 45 special makeup appliances, including the wig and special contact lenses.

In the over one year delay in this film’s theatrical release since October 2015, nearly 20 minutes of footage was altered and deleted which significantly altered some plot elements. Some of these deleted scenes can still be seen in the film’s handful of trailers. Most of this footage was included as deleted scenes on the Blu-ray and DVD save for a few like the ring scar on Julia’s back, which was also a promotional poster for the film. (That bodes absolutely terribly)

Special makeup effects artist Rick Baker filmed cameo for the film as a flea market vendor that haggles with Johnny Galecki’s character at the beginning. Ultimately his dialogue was cut, but he can still be seen briefly in the opening sequence when the camera pans past his character. Baker was the lead effects artist on the first two films.

Both Aimee Teegarden and Zach Roerig previously starred in ‘Friday Night Lights’. (Teegarden is in this?! I figured she was just going to do television at this point, I haven’t seen her in a movie in years? Ever?)

Toward the middle of the film (41:14 mark), Gabriel (Galecki) is seen pouring himself some whiskey. The whiskey he pours is Templeton Rye, a small batch rye made in Templeton, Iowa. (Cool, what are these notes. These are so weird. Do I now need to drink this whiskey because of BMT. Like some demented bad movie liquor cabinet?)

Vincent D’Onofrio plays a character who was blinded by himself years earlier. He also plays villain Wilson Fisk in Daredevil (2015), wherein the title character himself is blind because of a childhood accident. (Cool? I don’t get why that is relevant)

The translation of the Braille mark on Julia’s hand is clearly spoiled in the trailer when Burke states, “The mark on your hand means rebirth.” A line never spoken in the actual film. (Ha)

The plane Samara crashes at the beginning of the film was heading for Seattle. Seattle is where The Ring (2002) took place.

The Ring Two Preview

You would think that we’ve endured enough punishment after pushing our way through the 4th and 5th entries in a film franchise whose entries routinely run far past two hours. You would be wrong. Enter the horror entry for the 2017 Cycle. That’s right! We’re watching the critically reviled third entry of the Rings franchise, simply called Rings. This film not only includes a well reviewed first entry (The Ring) and a BMT qualifying second entry (The Ring Two), but also many other adaptations and version made in different countries (including a Japanese original that the series is closely adapted from). So we got a lot to work with and at the very least two films to watch. We never learn. It’ll be truly a Thanksgiving miracle when I get through these films. Happy TGivs (as the kids call it) and let’s go!

The Ring Two (2005) – BMeTric: 53.6

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(That is actually a lot more votes than I would think, although I always underestimate how popular horror films are (and this is a sequel to an incredibly famous film to boot). The rating suggests it is bad, but, again, horror fans are a little odd in this sense. I think a “popular” horror film does tend to have a lower rating on average. This is something I would like to explore more next year in my analyses, so hopefully I’ll get some data to actually prove the suppositions I’ve held for a while now.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Fleeing Seattle for the small town of Astoria, Oregon, Watts discovers that the coldhearted ghost of a loveless child is still after her and her son, as well as anyone else hanging around. Slow and overlong, but often delivers the spooky goods, and director Nakata – who made the Japanese Ringu – uses misty Pacific Northwest locations well. Entire cast is good, especially young Dorfman, but not everything makes sense. This is not a remake of the Japanese sequel to Ringu.

(Want to hear something crazy? Leonard gave this one better reviews than the original. Which is shocking because having just rewatched the original I thought it was brilliant. I figured maybe since he apparently likes when the “spooky goods” are delivered it would be because The Ring is indeed quite light on scares (or spooky goods of any kind actually). But nope, it apparently is because it is overlong … despite the second being longer than the first. This officially intrigues me. Being a relative novice concerning JHorror this should be a decent example of something that is kind of inbetween two sensibilities I think. I guess we’ll see.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbHRP43ocWQ

(That does seem spookier than the original. This seems almost like a Jaws / Jaws 2 kind of relationship. In the original Ring you see very little of Samara by design. The film plays out as an investigative journalism movie more than anything else (interestingly). But obviously there is no reason to play a sequel that way as well, so you go for the creepier direct ghost story. I can see how they could fall into the over-explaining trap though, because they seem like they are muddling the rather simple mythos.)

Directors – Hideo Nakata – (Known For: Ring; Dark Water; Kaosu; Future BMT: Chatroom; Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Director of the original Ring film (Dark Water is also a adaptation of a book by the same author). I think this is his only attempt at making a film in the US.)

Writers – Ehren Kruger (written by) – (Known For: Ghost in the Shell; The Ring; Arlington Road; Future BMT: Scream 3; Blood and Chocolate; Reindeer Games; The Brothers Grimm; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Impostor; The Skeleton Key; BMT: The Ring 2; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2010; and Nominated for Worst Screenplay in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: Awarded a Nicholl Fellowship after writing Arlington Road. Wrote uncredited on Scream 4.)

Kôji Suzuki (novel) (as Koji Suzuki) – (Known For: The Ring; Dark Water; Ring; Dark Water; Sadako vs. Kayako; Future BMT: Rings; Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Most famous for the Ring trilogy (Ring, Spiral and Loop). Dark Water is a short story collection.)

Hiroshi Takahashi (1998 film Ringu) – (Known For: The Ring; Ring; Future BMT: Ringu 2; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: I cannot find anything about this guy on the internet. Just a small wiki stub referring him to vaguely as “J-Horror”.)

Actors – Naomi Watts – (Known For: The Glass Castle; Mulholland Drive; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); The Ring; While We’re Young; Lo imposible; Funny Games; King Kong; Demolition; Eastern Promises; 21 Grams; J. Edgar; The Bleeder; St. Vincent; Inland Empire; The Painted Veil; The International; Fair Game; Ned Kelly; I Heart Huckabees; Future BMT: Shut In; Le divorce; Tank Girl; Allegiant; Down; Dream House; The Sea of Trees; Insurgent; Adoration; 3 Generations; The Book of Henry; Stay; BMT: Movie 43; The Ring 2; Diana; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2014 for Diana, and Movie 43; and in 2017 for Allegiant, and Shut In; Notes: Most famous for being the honorary president of Welsh Alliance Division I football club Glantraeth F.C. Was fantastic in the new season of Twin Peaks.)

David Dorfman – (Known For: The Ring; Galaxy Quest; Bounce; Panic; 100 Mile Rule; Future BMT: Drillbit Taylor; The Singing Detective; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: The Ring 2; Notes: Graduates from UCLA at the age of 17 and Harvard Law at the age of 21. Impressive stuff.)

Sissy Spacek – (Known For: The Help; Carrie; JFK; Hot Rod; Tuck Everlasting; 3 Women; Badlands; The Straight Story; Blast from the Past; North Country; In the Bedroom; Missing; Coal Miner’s Daughter; The Man with Two Brains; Get Low; Affliction; Nine Lives; A Home at the End of the World; Prime Cut; Crimes of the Heart; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Gray Matters; Deadfall; The Mommy Market; BMT: An American Haunting; The Ring 2; Notes: Won an Oscar for Coal Miner’s Daughter. Her daughter is Shuyler Fisk who you might recognize as the female lead in Orange Country with Jack Black and Colin Hanks.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $76,231,249 (Worldwide: $161,451,538)

(That seems solid for a horror film. They might have expected more considering what The Ring did ($130 million domestic), but it isn’t crazy that Ring 2 still sits pretty high up on these horror related lists on box office mojo.)

#20 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(This genre is a-boomin’ these days fueled by the recent hits in Sinister and The Conjuring (and the offshoots from that). There are a ton of stinker in there too (like Rings!), and I think it is starting to react a bit of a saturation point. I wonder if we’ll see a true collapse though. People must love ghost stories, because this has been a giant horror genre for almost 20 years now and it looks to be as popular as ever.)

#5 for the Horror Remake genre

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(The peak from ‘05 to ‘10 is just too good to pass up, it was the golden age of bad movies for a reason. I imagine it’ll come back, but studios seem pretty satisfied with making “sequels” and soft-reboots more than remakes at this point. I think the fact that they couldn’t get any of the Friday the 13th / Halloween / Nightmare on Elm Street / Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes to catch hold made them put other remakes on hold. I think the new Halloween even has become a sequel at this point. It’ll be back. It always comes back.)

#7 for the Remake – Asian genre

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(There were actually several other plots I could have put here, but, like this, most of them just looked like smaller versions of the horror remake plot from above. This one is interesting because you can see how the Ring itself jumpstarted a very short lived craze. The issue is I think that a lot of the original J Horror films from Japan are … not great. Like One Missed Call. And once they burned through the relatively few good options they were left with garbage. Godzilla is that big peak in ‘15 by the way.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (36/184): Ring Two serves up horror cliches, and not even Hideo Nakata, the director of the movies from which this one is based, can save the movie from a dull screenplay full of absurdities.

(The bad reviews seem to note how perplexing the script is and how many leaps of logic are made. Ebert himself specifically notes that you cannot discern the rules surrounding the things that are supposed to scare you. 20% is pretty terrible though.)

Poster – The Sklog Two (B+)

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(It’s got its style and tells a story. The color scheme is at least consistent and the font is original. This has everything I ask for in a poster, in a simplistic kind of way.)

Tagline(s) – Fear comes full circle. (D+)

(Oh Jeez Louise. That is unfortunate… why did you put that in my brain. Concise but pretty much nonsense and straight-up silly.)

Keyword(s) – videotape; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.9 Feardotcom (2002); 75.7 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012); 65.3 Captivity (2007); 63.3 Body of Evidence (1993); 61.3 Blair Witch (2016); 59.8 Seed (2006); 58.9 The Fly II (1989); 54.7 Down to You (2000); 53.6 The Ring 2 (2005); 51.1 Scary Movie 3 (2003);

(Wow, some great stuff there. I’m stunned Blair Witch II isn’t there, and I have to at some point see The Fly II considering the original is both a great classic sci-fi and an example of practical effects not exactly working out so hot. Goldblum just looks hilarious by the end of the film.)

Notes – During the shooting of a carnival scene, locals mistook the set for an actual carnival and wandered in. They were included as extras in the film.

Even with three artists, Daveigh Chase’s (Samara’s) make-up took over five hours to complete.

According to the production notes, there were bizarre incidents on set of life imitating art. On the seventh day, the production office was discovered to have flooded overnight, the result of a burst water pipe. Water is a strong theme in the film. In response, Director Hideo Nakata requested a Japanese purification ceremony be carried out by a Shinto minister, but the strange incidents continued. While on-location, a swarm of bees descended on the prop truck, prompting the immediate evacuation of the department, before the bees left as quickly as they had arrived. For no apparent reason, a five-gallon water jug burst open in the production office kitchen, once again flooding the same room that had flooded earlier. One morning on the Universal lot, a Set Decorator stepped out of the parking garage to discover an antlered buck charging across the asphalt in her direction. Though deer are a regular occurrence in the hills, the similarity to the deer attack in the film is uncanny. (Indeed, y’all don’t sound like crazy people at all)

Copies of the “Cursed Tape” were dropped in public places as a form of promotion. After about five minutes of footage, the viewer is directed to the movie’s website. (Weird, and I don’t like that at all)

When Rachel takes the pills and puts them on the sandwich for Aidan, she crushes the pills into a powder. The medicine bottle has a label that can be seen with the name Tony Bonaventura, who is the Property Master for the film.

There is a reference to a “Dr. Koji” by the psychiatrist. This is a nod to the original writer of the Ring books, Kôji Suzuki.

When Naomi Watts and her son go to the outdoor Astoria Antique Fair Swap Meet, Watts picks through a bunch of used VHS tapes at a vendor’s stand – and all the movies are DreamWorks titles, such as Old School (2003), and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004). (Gross, all of these notes are dumb and just weird studio crap)

In the scene following the tape burning, when Rachel gets Aiden out of bed, after finding him “soaked and freezing”, after having a nightmare, we can see that the wet part of his bed is ring-shaped.

Feature film debut of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, though she only appears in the unrated version.

Hideo Nakata, was the director of the original film Ring (1998) of which this film’s predecessor is a remake. (Which makes it all the more bizarre this turned out terribly. Although, it is pretty rare for directors from Asian studio hubs like South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong to make a successful jump to Hollywood).

Ryan Merriman, Emily VanCamp, and Kelly Stables all previously appeared in the video short Rings (2005) which served as a prequel to this film.

Contrary to popular belief, this film is not a remake of either Ringu (1998) or Ringu 2 (1999), and follows it’s own unique storyline, as a direct sequel to The Ring (2002).

Hideo Nakata’s directorial debut in America. (I’m not going to count this as a one-and-done, although I don’t think he’s directed an American feature since)

The Bye Bye Man Preview

We finish up our Bring a Friend cycle by transitioning to the final cycle of the year, our traditional year-end Smaddies Baddies year in review cycle. It’s where we get to watch many of the worst films of 2017 that we didn’t get to watch in one of our BMT Live! events. Now that we are BMT horror fans and aspiring aficionados it’s only fitting that we start by pairing one of the worst reviewed horror films of 2017 with one of the worst films of all times. That’s right we’re watching The Bye Bye ManOs: Hands of Fate. The Bye Bye Man has been on our radar ever since it’s pretty ridiculous trailers (and even more ridiculous name) that seemed to air constantly during last football season. In quite the coincidence I was also watching a past Survivor season (yes, I watch past seasons of Survivor for fun in my spare time. So what?) that happened to feature a contestant by the name of Jonathan Penner. Why is it a coincidence? Because Penner also wrote The Bye Bye Man. So it was literally seared into my brain that we must, must, must watch this film in the future. As for Manos: Hands of Fate, while it’s considered one of the worst films of all time it doesn’t fit traditionally into BMT because of its pre-1980 release. Shot in 1966 on a super low budget by a random Texan businessman/amateur theater actor I have no more expectations for this than I would a film like Birdemic. It’s just an amateurish film made by a delusional person that should never have seen the light of day. Will likely be a bore, but that’s what this cycle is all about. Finding out whether these categories are as boring as we assumed when we precluded them. Let’s go!

The Bye Bye Man (2017) – BMeTric: 63.4

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(That VOD bump though! This looks like a classic in the making. It ticked up a bit after the VOD release, but staying steady at 4.4 is very impressive indeed. Looking very promising for staying above 50+ BMeTric for its career.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  Both as a straightforward horror exercise and a look at the perils revolving around off-campus housing in Wisconsin, “The Bye Bye Man” is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.

(Oooooooh yeah. Don’t tantalize me like this RogerEbert.com, my heart can only handle so much. This movie is either going to be hilarious, or an unfortunate mind-bending disaster like The Devil Inside. I’m excited to see which.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDPf9fZl4Bs

(It’s …. The Bye Bye Man. Looks ridiculous. Like funny ridiculous. Like the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, and my mind can only accept one thing: this is a steaming white hot pile of garbage. I’m excited.)

Directors – Stacy Title – (Known For: The Last Supper; Let the Devil Wear Black; Future BMT: Hood of Horror; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Directed her husband Jonathan Penner in this, The Last Supper, and Let the Devil Wear Black. He also wrote The Bye Bye Man.)

Writers – Jonathan Penner (screenplay by) – (Known For: Let the Devil Wear Black; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Multiple time contestant on Survivor. Despite being on three seasons he never made it all that far into any season but was a fan favorite. Also husband of director Stacy Title.)

Robert Damon Schneck (based on “The Bridge to Body Island” by) – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Guy who specializes in writing about urban legends and supernatural phenomena. His books sounds kind of fun for maybe a future read.)

Actors – Douglas Smith – (Known For: Miss Sloane; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Blast from the Past; Antiviral; State’s Evidence; Future BMT: Ouija; Sleepover; Stage Fright; Hangman’s Curse; Terminator Genisys; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Brother of Gregory Smith who we saw in previous BMT films The Seeker: The Dark is Rising and American Outlaws.)

Lucien Laviscount – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: British actor knew to American film, but in so much British TV that I’m guessing Patrick has inadvertently seen him before in something.)

Cressida Bonas – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Tulip Fever; Notes: British actress just on the scene. Already making a BMT splash with this and Tulip Fever that also got terrible reviews this year.)

Budget/Gross – $7.4 million / Domestic: $22,395,806 (Worldwide: $26,667,197)

(Like many horror film this wins largely by being made for next to nothing. This makes me wonder whether we’ll be treated to The Bye Bye Man 2, even if it is straight to DVD. I would watch it. Gotta keep up with the development of the lore of the Bye Bye Man.)

#90 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(The chart is a tiny bit deceiving. It might look like the genre isn’t growing because the money is mostly stagnant, but given that year over year more and more theaters show a supernatural horror film that money does indeed translate to more and more profit. Kicked off by The Blair Witch Project the claim to fame and fortune for the genre is simple: like the slashers of the 80s you can make these on a dime and there is a built-in opening day audience for $10-20 million for anything even remotely coherent. Strike that: anything that promises a jump or two will turn a profit given the business model. It is incredible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (16/69): The Bye Bye Man clumsily mashes together elements from better horror films, adding up to a derivative effort as short on originality as it is on narrative coherency or satisfying scares.

(Lack of narrative coherency? Sign me up. As for lack of scares? I’m indifferent. While I’m not scared by many older horror films, the jump scares that are sprinkled throughout modern horror still make for an uncomfortable watch even when other people say it’s not scary, so I’m skeptical. I bet that Bye Bye Man is popping up all over the place.)

Poster – The Sklog Sklog Man (A-)

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(I actually like a lot about the poster. Nice font, nice coloring, and I like the artistry that makes it look kinda like an old photo. I wish there was a bit less detail on the main monster. Should be even more of a dark silhouette. But that’s just my opinion.)

Tagline(s) – Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. (Ha. Not a tagline.)

The evil behind the most unspeakable acts has a name (D+)

(The first is not a tagline. It’s just an artistic use of text on the poster for effect, but I like how many times imdb wrote it out. So exact. The second is just not a good tagline and should just be thrown out. Just let those “Don’t think it. Don’t say it” sets of text do their job. No need for this extra shit.)

Keyword(s) – supernatural; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.4 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 75.5 Ouija (II) (2014); 72.7 The Apparition (2012); 71.0 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013); 70.6 Cell (I) (2016); 70.5 The Gallows (2015); 70.4 Devil’s Due (2014); 67.6 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 67.2 666: The Prophecy (2011);

(We kind of now need to see Ouija, and perhaps we will for an upcoming cycle (SPOILER ALERT!). Man, there are some shit supernatural films out there, I feel like all of these will be watched, and would probably represent a final completion of the Sklog’s horror film education.)

Notes – Previously rated R by the MPAA for “bloody horror violence, language and some sexuality.”

Filmed in November and December 2015, but not released until January 2017.

Doug Jones, who plays the title character, previously played Slender Man (who has similar abilities) in Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story.

The story on which the film is based, “The Bridge to Body Island,” has a much more complex mythology for the Bye Bye Man: He was an albino born in New Orleans in 1912 who ran away as a child and became a derelict who lived in a train yard. After going blind he began murdering people and cutting out their eyes and tongues, which he sewed together and brought to life using voodoo. The resultant creature became the Bye Bye Man’s literal seeing-eye dog, helping him hunt his prey. Several elements from the story- notably the dog and the motif of trains– were retained for the movie, though their purpose is left more elliptical. (Spooky)

The Bye Bye Man is the 2nd collaboration between Carrie-Anne Moss & Douglas Smith. They played doctor and patient in the film, Treading Water.

Bless the Child Preview

Alright, well this week we made a terrible mistake. Not that we chose a bad film for our Horror/Thriller week (in fact it is the perfectly chosen Bless the Child starring a BMT favorite Kim Basinger), but the book is 550 pages long! Like super, duper long! It took me forever to read. I just finished it this afternoon in fact. Starting to get worried I might not have time to finish the next book on the docket (my life is pretty tough guys). But I can’t worry about that now. I gotta get to Bless the Child. Oddly, this was always in the back of my mind for BMT. Not just because it is one of the worst reviewed films in history, but also there was a time that I thought it might take place in Vermont for some portion of the film… which would have obviously trumped A Change of Seasons for mapl.de.map. Unfortunately, after doing some research I figured that it’s unlikely that Basinger’s character even makes it to Vermont… but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s go!

Bless the Child (2000) – BMeTric: 49.8 (Generated on December 12, 2017)

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(I’m surprised at how high the BMeTric is given only 11 thousand votes. But then again, most films don’t get ten thousand votes I suppose. And a 5.0 rating is awful. Pretty consistent rating through time, which suggests it is just as bad as it was perceived at the time.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Basinger has raised her addict sister’s daughter to the age of six; when she shows signs of spiritual powers, the child is sought by millionaire Sewell, who’s involved in a series of child killings. Smits is the detective on the case. Religious horror thriller veers wildly from the promising to the ludicrous, and is never remotely convincing. Based on the novel by Cathy Cash Spellman.

(Ludicrous is the name of the game here at BMT. Why do you think he’s called LudiChris Klein? Glad we got a pretty poor rating from Leonard. Hard to keep trotting out films and have him let us down by giving them mediocre reviews.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM7wV9KCAwc

(Yeeeeesssssss, yeeeesssssssssss. The power. It feels good. That looks like straight dog poo and I love it. Some creepy practical effects on those demons, but let’s hope they end up being super silly when watching the film.)

Directors – Chuck Russell – (Known For: The Mask; The Scorpion King; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; The Blob; Future BMT: I Am Wrath; Eraser; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Hasn’t made a film in more than a decade, but apparently has one in post right now. It’s called I Am Wrath, stars John Travolta, and I would be severely disappointed if it wasn’t a BMT film… more likely it doesn’t get a theatrical release.)

Writers – Cathy Cash Spellman (novel) – (BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: The writer of the book. I think this book was just buying hook-line-and-sinker into the weird satanist panic of the time. Otherwise I can’t find much about her.)

Thomas Rickman (screenplay) (as Tom Rickman) – (Known For: Coal Miner’s Daughter; Hooper; Everybody’s All-American; The Laughing Policeman; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Won an Oscar for the screenplay for Coal Miner’s Daughter.)

Clifford Green and Ellen Green (screenplay) – (Known For: SpaceCamp; Future BMT: Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend; The Seventh Sign; Three Wishes; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Married writing partners. Clifford is into space apparently (they wrote Space Camp after all), even agreeing to send his DNA into space as part of the Immortality Drive.)

Actors – Kim Basinger – (Known For: 8 Mile; The Nice Guys; Batman; L.A. Confidential; 9½ Weeks; Never Say Never Again; Cellular; The Natural; The Door in the Floor; Wayne’s World 2; Final Analysis; People I Know; Fool for Love; Nadine; Future BMT: Cool World; The Informers; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Ready to Wear; While She Was Out; The Getaway; The Real McCoy; Blind Date; The Sentinel; The Man Who Loved Women; Even Money; Third Person; Charlie St. Cloud; The 11th Hour; The Burning Plain; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Bless the Child; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; Grudge Match; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1995 for The Getaway; and in 2001 for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa; Notes: A BMT hall of famer basically. I secretly love her. We managed to do back-to-back Basinger by accident here. She isn’t in Fifty Shades of Grey, but she’s in the sequel(s).)

Jimmy Smits – (Known For: Rogue One; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith; The Jane Austen Book Club; Running Scared; Who We Are Now; My Family; Mother and Child; Old Gringo; Vital Signs; Future BMT: The Million Dollar Hotel; Switch; The Believers; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: I know him as the main antagonist in Dexter season 3. Which was the terrible season in the first four. After four it falls off a cliff anyways, so whatever.)

Rufus Sewell – (Known For: The Holiday; A Knight’s Tale; Hercules; The Illusionist; Dark City; Hamlet; Paris, je t’aime; Dangerous Beauty; Amazing Grace; Carrington; The Sea; Vinyan; Blinky Bill the Movie; Twenty-One; A Man of No Importance; Future BMT: Extreme Ops; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; The Legend of Zorro; The Tourist; All Things to All Men; I’ll Follow You Down; Downloading Nancy; Tristan + Isolde; Hotel Noir; The Very Thought of You; BMT: Gods of Egypt; Bless the Child; Notes: British, grew up in Twickenham which houses the big Rugby ground in London.)

Budget/Gross – $65 million / Domestic: $29,381,494 (Worldwide: $40,443,010)

(Clearly a bomb. The budget doesn’t even make much sense… where would $65 million go for a film like this?… Dear God! Please say to sadly misguided attempts at CGI in scenes that don’t need them (judging from the rats in the trailer, I would say yes). It is the 66th highest grossing Supernatural Horror right behind BMT film Ghost Ship (with the most ship) and future BMT The Fog.)

#147 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(The slow increase in audiences coming out for R-rated films maybe? You can kind of even see the uptick at the end which saw It just absolutely smashing it this year.)

#73 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(Blair Witch and The Sixth Sense blew the genre out of the water and since then the releases have been pouring in. Hasn’t hurt the per-theater take that much which is probably why they keep on making more and more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/112)Bless the Child squanders its talented cast on a plot that’s more likely to inspire unintentional laughs than shivers.

(One of the worst reviewed films in history, given the number of reviews it garnered. I would say the phrase “talented cast” is being a bit generous from the get go. Unintentional laughs would be certainly welcome.)

Poster – Bless the Sklog (A)

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(I’m going to be perfectly honest, I really dig this poster. Look at it. Nice color contrast, good use of the shape of a cross, Basinger is portrayed prominently but in a clever way, and all the words are placed well in the frame. I like it.)

Tagline(s) – Mankind’s last hope just turned six. (B+)

(The tagline is kinda the definition of a tagline. It’s short and sweet, gives us some insight into the tension in the film, and holds some cleverness in the paradox it presents. “So why isn’t it an A+?” says everyone. It’s just so god damn cliche. I feel like I’ve seen this tagline a million times… still, can’t give it anything less than a B+ cause it is pretty much what we’re looking or here on Jamie’s Taglines and Such)

Keyword(s) – fbi; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.6 I Know Who Killed Me (2007)78.7 Torque (2004); 77.1 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 76.6 Taxi (I) (2004); 75.3 Death Note (2017); 73.6 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003); 72.5 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 71.7 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 68.5 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 66.9 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009);

(Nice. A very cool variety there actually. Oh Big Momma, I am so glad you just smash it in this regard. None of the others (besides a rewatch of Ballistic) are really on our radar at the moment.)

Notes – The line, “The devil’s greatest trick was convincing man that he didn’t exist,” is reminiscent of a similar line in another movie of the same genre, End of Days (1999), in which Father Kotak (Rod Steiger) says: “Satan’s greatest trick was convincing man that he didn’t exist”. It is also similar to The Usual Suspects (1995), where the line is, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing man that he didn’t exist”. In fact, that idea goes back to Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867): “La plus belle des ruses du Diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas!” (English: “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” (I’m always down for a bit of a literature lesson in the notes)

The bridge where the car “accident” takes place, is actually the Blue Water Bridge between Point Edward, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan. It was being “twinned” at the time, so the whole bridge was closed down for repairs, and was available for uninterrupted filming. The scenery shots of New York City were then placed in the background, but people who grew up there, recognize the shores as being Point Edward and Port Huron, respectively, not New York City.

The subway station where the attack on Meg takes place is a “ghost” station on the Toronto subway that is used frequently as a stand in for New York City subways. The city’s film office wanted to leave it set up as a New York City station, but the Toronto Fire Department nixed that idea. The station is below the Bay station on the Bloor line, on the track connecting the Bloor and Yonge lines. At one time, trains went from one line to the other, thus the station, but the practice was discontinued because of switching problems. (There is also a “ghost” station beneath the Queen Street station. It was roughed in 1954 for a planned Queen Street subway which never was built.)

In the original script, a character is deliberately pushed off a subway platform. This had to be changed to an accidental fall before the Toronto Transit Commission would allow filming on its property.

When the candles in the cathedral ignite together, the camera pulls back and Maggie’s shirt can be seen blowing, as if the candles were in fact being blown out, and film was run backwards. (I do like things like this, the technical details of filmmaking)

“Ego fum papa” roughly translates as “I am the Pope”.

According to a March 1, 1999 Variety magazine article, in the script as originally written Cody was Maggie’s autistic granddaughter who was abandoned by her drug-addicted mother. Since Kim Basinger was the mother of a young daughter in real-life, she seemed too young to play a grandmother, so her character was changed to the child’s aunt. (Yup)

Based on the novel of the same name by Cathy Cash Spellman.

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Kim Basinger)