Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sylvester Stallone Wants to Meet You...For $850!!

News is surfacing that Hollywood icon Sylvester Stallone will make a very big appearance at this coming New York Comic Con  in October. Pretty big announcement to be assured. Sly will always be a huge star and will always draw an audience no matter what he does. Until the day he dies, he will always be Rambo...and Rocky...and Judge Dredd...and the guy from the Expendables...and the guy from Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!

Now, you can have the exclusive, once in a lifetime experience of meeting the legend himself in a very intimate setting. Sure it may be 30 seconds, but it's a chance that you'll never get again. There's a catch though. Before you start thinking you can meet Sly by just entering the convention center, stop right there. Yes, you can meet him. But only if you have a good $850 in your pocket.

Yep. $850.

You see, Sly is being brought in by an autograph company called "Celebrity Authentics" who specialize in obtaining the signatures huge Hollywood names that you wouldn't be able to meet or obtain any other way. They're a very reputable company that represents the celebrities you'd never be able to meet at a convention or even dream of. Just to name a few of their clients like Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, Burt Reynolds, and obviously now, Sly. And while they're very reputable and very successful at what they do, asking fans who attend NYCC for $450 for a photo op with Sly and $395 for an autograph from the man is downright ridiculous. And considering things are taking a weird turn in horror conventions with Christopher Lloyd and Carrie Fisher charging $60 for a signature and no photo op, this is a bad sign of things to come.

Gimme yer money!


A lot of people who attend these shows usually save their money for these weekends far in advance. And let's face it, $850 is a lot to pay for anything that's not absolutely necessary and vital in your everyday life. And yes, it is a once in a lifetime chance to meet on of your heroes, but is it really worth it? Sly is at best a marginal actor that got lucky at a time when big, hulky, action stars were what was hip. Now, he's not. He'll always be a huge star, but he's nowhere near worth $850 to meet.

Agents and handlers at conventions are the problem, not really the stars themselves. But then again, the problem is also people paying these exorbitant fees. If you keep paying, stars will keep hiking the prices up to the point no one will be happy, and you'll be lucky if you get a handshake. Where does this trend end? Hmm? How can we stop it? Eventually Ari Lehman will see it appropriate to start charging 50 dollars for him to look in your direction.

The way things are going, conventions are going down a deadly route. I've heard more stories of people passing on the stars they were excited to meet due to the rising prices and just hanging out. But, how can shows continue if people are just paying to hang out in the lobby? Promoters need to be taken to task on this behavior and to be called out. And a lot of promoters get defensive because they know what they're doing is wrong and they're essentially screwing the loyal customers. And then they use the excuse "oh, well, we have no say over what a celebrity charges or if they refuse to take photos". This is downright silly. Promoters are essentially a principal and at the end of the day IT'S THEIR SHOW.

But, let's allow this behavior to continue and we won't have horror conventions anymore. And quite frankly, there are a couple of agents and handlers that understand fans concerns and have decided to keep the prices low and include a free photo. But, for every Terry Kiser charging a relatively low price, there's a Carrie Fisher, who seems to jack her price up every show. Companies like Full Empire Promotions and CandV Promotions are just two examples of fan agents that get big names and keep their business booming by their fair prices.

In the convention world, money talks. But maybe it's time to change things up, otherwise, it'll get worst.  And thanks to Sylvester Stallone and Celebrity Authentics, I can't see this trend ending.

And before anyone asks, I highly doubt he'll be dressed like Judge Dredd...

-Chad

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Celebrating 10 Years of Freddy Vs. Jason!

August 15 2003.

The world of horror changed forever. It was on this very day, a monumental film changed everyone's perception of what could be accomplished in film, no matter the hurdles and the production woes that a movie can experience in it's journey. A movie that essentially went through rewrite through rewrite, director after director, actor after actor, in all respects, this movie shouldn't have seen the light of day. And while I'm sure there are those who feel it shouldn't have seen the light of day, I feel that it's one of the most entertaining, action packed and overall fun horror movies in history. Today I pay tribute to...FREDDY VS. JASON.



This movie may be one of the most anticipated yet debated movies in history. For years, fans had been clamoring for a lethal showdown between the titans of slashers. And boy, since the mid 80s to even the early 2000s, rumors and stories would start swirling through many news sources, websites, and forums. It became such an on-and-off project, it would make Ghostbusters 3 look like the next installment in the Avengers series. And thanks to New Line acquiring the rights to Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th series in the early 90s, the possibilities were absolutely wide open to make this happen. But a problem arose. By the late 90s, both Freddy and Jason had become rather obsolete and the current trends in horror had passed both icons by. Throughout many attempts to revitalize both series with "New Nightmare", "Jason Goes To Hell" and "Jason X" in attempts to freshen up franchises, many thought the chances of the crossover film were doomed to development hell forever. Many thought the only way they'd see both on the screen was the surprise ending in Jason Goes To Hell...watch the video below and find out what I mean...



In late 2002/early 2003, New Line announced what we all had prayed and hoped would happen. After numerous meetings with different writers from different aspects of entertainment and many different directors and producers, Freddy Vs. Jason was entering production for a Summer 2003 target release date. Fans were so overjoyed and rejoicing all throughout the world. Finally, the debates of who is better, stronger and can stack the better body count will be settled forever. I was on several horror boards at the time and can remember multiple countdowns, a no-spoiler rule throughout all forums all while extreme speculation and rumors running faster than Superman after a trip to Taco Bell. Within moments of the first photo from the set, a photo of Robert Englund in full Freddy makeup and regalia holding a Jason mask, interest and excitement went up. The general movie going public was also excited. Many people who remember seeing both movies in their youth had gotten excited for the nostalgic trip that was no doubt going to generate tickets and indeed became one of the biggest movies of that year. When the first trailer finally hit, any skeptics were sold immediately.



For us loyalists this was going be a huge deal. The thought of Freddy beating Jason was a big hope for me. I'm sure others were hoping for Jason to send Freddy to dreamland permanently. Either way, fans were going to walk in excited and walked out pumped up. Director of 1998's Bride of Chucky, Ronny Yu was given the reigns and unenviable task of taking on the storytelling. Many ideas were thrown out in favor of the story we got. The most popular potential storylines usually involved a cult of Freddy-worshipping "Fred-Heads" bringing Freddy and Jason back from the dead. An even more outlandish (and disturbing) story involved Freddy having sex with Jason's mom thus making Freddy the father of ol' Hockey Mask. Thankfully that was thrown out. At the end of the day it was decided to make Jason the hitman of Freddy in the real world while regains power in the dream world. Young actors and actresses including Jason Ritter, Monica Keena and singer Kelly Rowland were cast as the newest of the Elm Street children. And in a controversial move, veteran stuntman Ken Kirzinger was cast as Jason. While many fans rallied against this because the initial thought would be fan-favorite Kane Hodder would be the Jason taking on Freddy, Ken pulled it off rather well considering how beloved Kane was. With a director, a great cast and a script written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, we were ready for opening day!

The new cast!


Sitting down in our seats, I had never been so anxious for the movie to start. And then, after what felt like a decade of trailers, we got to the movie. And then what happened next...well...as I said, is up for debate...

A lot of fans left the theatre a little unsatisfied but a lot of fans left very satisfied. Personally, I was one of the fans left happy with the final product. Many fans didn't like the ending, the lack of Freddy kills, the new young cast and the focus taken off the title characters. A lot of people said there was no real time spent between Freddy and Jason and no real climax to the fight between them. Personally, I couldn't love this movie anymore. I feel the story was, for what could be done, was great. I also feel that considering stories between Freddy and Jason had to be covered and since they were in different places(Jason in the real world and Freddy in dreamworld) it would've taken a lot worse of a turn. With all that was involved, the movie was executed perfectly. And, while some say the fight was a little too short, again, I couldn't disagree more. In fact, when the fight began, everyone in theater started applauding and cheering like they were at a WWE event. And even the director of the film, Ronny Yu, compared the fight scenes to a WWE match so a little cartooniness seemed to be the goal. And come on, people. that's the kinda fight between the two we would've wanted. If it were a downright massacre, it would've been over in twenty seconds and it would've had no heart. Check out the fight scenes below...


With an ending that left fans with a tease for a possible sequel, critics and fans gave mixed reviews. But the impact was huge. Even fans who were unsatisfied, speculated to a sequel. The most popular thought was Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. Another rumored onscreen battle was Freddy vs. Jason vs. Leatherface. All fun ideas and theories, but at the end of the day no sequel was seen. And considering a lot of peoples negative feelings toward the film, it may be for the best. Although, Freddy vs. Jason did open the doors for an Alien vs. Predator film a year later, which had similar mixed results.

Freddy vs. Jason was the last hurrah for the original Elm Street and Friday the 13th series, as years later reboots would happen. And while we've yet to see sequels for the remakes, I feel Freddy vs. Jason was the perfect way to close out the legendary series. The two biggest icons of horror in the 80s finally got their swan song and were able to close their respective history books. History is often written by the victors, but I feel all fans won, even if most say they hated it.

I love Freddy Vs. Jason. I really do. in fact a big point of contention between my friends and I is who truly won: Freddy or Jason(obviously, I think Freddy won. Of course!). But at the end of the day, we got a 93 minute fun ride that we had all been hoping for years would happen but never expected to truly come to fruition.  Freddy vs. Jason may have been received with mixed reactions, but it was a movie that will stand the test of time. Many generations will be able to debate after watching this just as they did watching respective series before. And that's what will keep the legacies of both legendary killers going until the end of time.

So happy 10 years to Freddy vs. Jason. Don't forget to celebrate by getting a viewing in and don't forget to place your bets...




-Chad

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

NECA 8-Bit Jason

NECA's really been pleasing horror fans lately. Last year at SDCC they released that awesome Super freddy from Elm Street 5 and this year we got the beautiful 8-Bit Jason. Add it to the amazing Predator, Aliens, Gremlins and about everything else they've been releasing and NECA may be the best at producing movie related figures today. What McFarlane Toys started in 1998 with Movie Maniacs has been amplified to the max by NECA with their amazing offerings.

Ok, ok, ok, I know. I know what you're thinking. I'm rather late to the whole "I got a NECA NES JASON FIGURE!!! WHAAAAT!" party. But, I've read the reviews. I've heard all the hubub. I've seen the fireworks going off and I can see why. it's a pretty amazing figure. But, if you ask me, the hype comes more from the eye-grabbing NES mock up packaging than anything. Still, it's a nice figure. and I've been waiting to review it since I saw it. So let's dive in!






 






Much like the New World Order in 1997, this packaging is just too sweet. NECA went all out. Replicating not just the box of the NES game, but even certain aspects of the game itself. Perhaps the most clever part was the NECA logo in the style of the old Nintendo Seal of Quality. Bonus points for that. The box art looks so fantastic and is a true eye catcher. With the exception of the SDCC logo, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this and the original NES packaging.

The inner packaging is the true seller. Opening up and finding Jason standing there and waiting for you to enter brings back bad memories of playing the game and, even though you thought you've won, Jason was waiting and you knew you were through for the day. I find the backdrop of the inner carton a perfect setting for Jason to be standing around and waiting to be admired in his awesome box. On the opposite side, the grim reminder of finding Jason in that cabin. "YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD". Gets right to the point. Fan of the movie series or not, we've all played the game and we've all seen that flash before our eyes. No matter the confidence you had walking into this game, eventually your guard came down and that's when Jason showed up. It couldn't have been avoided. He's too powerful and your not ready.  Between him and Mike Tyson at the end of Punch Out!, it's no wonder I was constantly stressed out as a kid. Still, despite bad memories of cursing out this game, the packaging is no doubt a 10/10. No arguments.


My biggest and only complaint would be that the figure has been fastened in his plastic coffin using those annoying twisty ties. As an action figure collector who opens the packaging(unless it was purchased to be autographed or just super cool looking) there's nothing I hate more than figures being tied to the plastic trays. It's just downright annoying and a lot of frustration. I understand WHY they're used but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Suck.






The figure has finally been released out of his plastic tray and boy oh boy, is it a beauty. I've never had any Jason figures before, but I've always wanted one for the horror collection. Now, I know about as much about Jason's continuity as I do quantum physics, but I do know that he's had some cool looking figures. But this may be the coolest. The original, outlandish paintjob to match his appearance in the game stands out in a great way. The blue onesie he wears and the glow in the dark hockey mask, hands and feet are all quite the outstanding gimmick. Even more fun, his ax and machete are glow in the dark as well. I find it funny his crotch piece looks more like a giant floppy diaper, which I'm assuming has more to do with the construction of the figure itself. From what I've gathered, this figure is a repainted Jason figure from an earlier line, which isn't a bad idea. The likeness of the face is pretty gruesome and  it looks pretty accurate. Not something you'd want to wake up and see staring at you in the dark. Thank goodness for the option of closing the packaging.

I wanted to take a photo of him in the dark, but my camera totally blows at doing fancy photography. So instead, here's a photo from Figures.com...



There it is. Jason in the dark. Pretty cool, eh? Much better than the Glow in The Dark Robocop that was offered last year. Now place that in a NES-inspired box, and you've got a license to print money. And it sold very well. In fact, out of all the SDCC Exclusives offered this year, I heard more about this one than any other. And why not? This figure has it all. In fact, I'd wager to assume that there are people like me who don't like Jason but bought it more for the nostalgia and the memories of playing the NES game.

As a whole, this SDCC-Exclusive 8-Bit Jason may be the most creative figure I've seen come along in the action figure world in quite some time. I really think NECA's been scoring big with their movie franchises lately. This figure is just further proof that they are here to stay and they will not be denied. If this figure is any indication, it would be safe to assume they will be scouring and listening to the horror fandom for more ideas. My hat's off to NECA for this great figure.

And just last week, they announced that an 8-Bit Freddy will be produced soon. I can only imagine what will happen...




Yeah, sounds about right. Place your bets...


-Chad