Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review: Silent Night Deadly Night 2

Synopsis: Ricky is being released from a mental hospital. He takes with him the terrifying memory of his brother Billy's death and the memory of Mother Superior who brought about his brother's demise. For Ricky, starting a new life means avenging his brother's death, which sets him on a blind journey of relentless revenge, leading ultimately to Mother Superior. And when he gets to her, not even her faith will be enough to stop Ricky as he follows in the family tradition of Christmas carnage.

Thoughts:  As most people know, I have a pretty personal connection to this movie, that you can read all about here. So when it was announced to get a blu-ray release I was shocked and overjoyed. For those in the know, it was never gonna happen. The original rights holder was always adamant on never releasing it and the only way it was going to happen was if he was going to die. Well, someone must've convinced him that it was a foolish idea, because here we are. After all these years, this movie finally gets a release dedicated to the fans. Because it's the fans who will truly appreciate it the most.

Now, let's get this out of the way: This is a VERY BAD MOVIE. There's no slicing it any other way. It's terrible. I've been saying this for years and stand by it. However, it's a CHARMING VERY BAD MOVIE. There's so much to adore here. The over the top performances by all the actors, the silly gags, the crazy kill scenes and of course...GARBAGE DAY, the scene that spurred a million views on YouTube and reintroduced a forgotten movie to a whole new generation of fans. Even though this movie is only half an original movie, due to the notorious use of the first movie, this is still a movie you should go out of your way to pick up. It's always been a movie that doesn't take itself seriously and has fun with itself. Whereas the first one was straight up brutal and nasty, this movie is more fun.

For a movie that relies so heavily on sourcing the first, it still stands out, despite Lee Harry's lack of direction. Eric Freeman's over the top performance is really what you wanna watch it for. As great as fellow cast members Liz Kaitan (who was believed to have been missing for years as well but appears on the extras) and Ken Weichert the jokey and perverted "Chip", this is Eric's movie. For a role he has been somewhat ashamed of, I'm happy to see him embrace it as of late and this set is a great tribute to his legacy in film history.

Of course, alongside a great transfer of the movie itself, the main feature is just one of the draws. The special features are packed to the gills with holly jolly goodness!

  • NEW 2K Scan Of An Archival Theatrical Print
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Lee Harry, And Actors Eric Freeman And James Newman
  • NEW Slay Bells Ring Again: The Story Of Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 – Featuring Interviews With Co-Writer/Director Lee Harry, Actors Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Darrel Guilbeau, And Kenny McCabe, And Makeup Effects Artist Christopher Biggs
  • NEW Garbage Days Are Here Again – A Look At The Film’s Locations
  • NEW Ricky Today – A short Film Featuring A 2018 Interview With Ricky Caldwell
  • NEW I Don’t Sleep – An Extended Interview With Makeup Effects Artist Christopher Biggs
  • Audio Commentary By Co-Writer/Director Lee Harry, Co-Writer Joseph H. Earle, And Actor James Newman
  • Theatrical Trailer

For those who consider themselves to be the ULTIMATE Garbage Day fans, Scream has a fun offer for you. Similar to their offerings last year with the first movie, an exclusive action figure and poster will be included in your order! Now you can reunite Ricky with his brother Billy and make as many crazy killing sprees as you can! I can't wait to receive this very animated looking Ricky and put him next to all my favorite figures. Although, it'll be weird looking at the shelf and seeing my friend Eric stare back at me.

Perhaps I'm biased, but I love everything about this release and the bells and whistles that come with it. As someone who has been a fan of this crazy, b-movie for a long time, I'm so thrilled to see the perfect release for such a memorable slice of cheese. This gets the highest of recommendations from me. A solid effort by the gang at Shout Factory!

To order your set, head over to Shout Factory's site here!


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Returning Home For A Radical Slice of Nostalgia

A few weeks ago, the wife and I went back home to Maryland for Thanksgiving. It had been way too long since my entire family had spent a holiday together, but sure enough, it was well worth the wait. A day spent in the old house, on the same old furniture I spent so many years every Thanksgiving morning watching the Parade or eating cold leftovers the morning after, catching up and making jokes with great people is all I wanted. And it was the best feeling in the world. I'm sure most of you know that feeling I'm speaking of. The feeling that everything is ok for just a few days and any pressure you've felt during previous holidays to entertain, is completely gone. It's a great feeling and very calming. Thankfully, for Thanksgiving changes in tradition are not really necessary (although very welcome).

Now that said, as much as I would welcome new traditions, there are certain things back home that I pray never change no matter what. Whether it's a restaurant, a lights display that a neighbor sets up or...a Pizza Hut...

A Pizza Hut? Why yes. The spot my mom and I would go to every week for Book-It programs or just a random pizza night, has remained in this exact spot for years. Most likely even before I was born. But while everything else around it (mainly the nearby shopping center has changed, this remains the same. It's a spot I hadn't stepped foot in for close to 20 years and during a stop at a gas station in the same plaza, I was determined that this day would change that. Would it be the same, despite the outside being the same exact colors and same exterior design that I'd fondly remember?


There used to be a giant "shoot out" basketball game here.
The second I opened the rusty, sun faded doors, I was immediately met with that smell that only Pizza Hut produces. You know the smell: marinara sauce, garlic bread, and spices. It's like every heavenly scent you can imagine, but just watered down a tad. The waiting area, seemed to be the same as well.

oh my

The manager, seeing me take photos, immediately raced out and asked me if I'd like to be seated and I had to come up with an excuse of "I'm waiting for a friend" just to buy me some time. It kinda worked and he let me taker a seat at an old, creaky booth while I "wait". I wasn't alone though. A huge family apparently met up for a day after Thanksgiving lunch. It was nice to have something distract the manager while I try to take covert photos. And then it happened. The booth I sat in sent me back to 1990 almost immediately:

In 1990, The Ninja Turtles were massive. Huge. Larger than life. So larger in fact, that they recorded an album. An actual rock album featuring lots of rad tunes about eating pizza and skipping stones. In order to obtain such a legendary record, you had to go to Pizza Hut. Since I was a 7 year old obsessed with these goofy swollen Turtles, I had to have it. And on one fateful trip, I got it. I proceeded to play the living daylights out of it to the point that I most likely drove my mom insane. But this very booth is where it all began.

So as I sat down in this booth, the memories of receiving it came flooding back. And then it hit me as to why. This was the same exact spot I was sitting in when the waitress came over and brought it to me. I'm 100% positive. I had sat in all sorts of spots in this place as I ate my personal pan pizzas and all, but this was the exact when I got my audio dose of Turtle Power. So while I look at a menu, I look over to my right and what do I see?


I can honestly say I have NEVER....EVER seen this functioning. For years, I had heard about the legendary status of this buffet but I was never able to participate. And keep in mind, on this trip I was here during lunch hours. So I guess I'm just never meant to eat unlimited plates of garlic bread and romaine lettuce.But at least it's the same buffet. That Ghostbusters checkered pattern was something burned into my mind everytime I'd look over while I ate some appetizers.

 I was getting antsy and my goal of getting a good photo of the main area was beginning to be a pipe dream. The manager, noticing I probably was there to not eat crappy pizza, hovered around me a lot and just wanted me gone. So I essentially said I was calling my "friend". Fed up with me, he walked into the bathroom, which I assume hasn't been cleaned since that Land Before Time puppet promo in 1988, and I was finally able to take a photo of this time capsule. Ok, I may have been a dick here by not placing an order, but I had to do this. For myself. Which, I guess is the definition of selfishness. Be that as it may, I got the picture I wanted and I dashed out the door before he came back.

My assumption is everyone has one of these around them. I also assume there's about 92 better options for pizza, I still suggest at least you revisit your childhood spot at least once. Maybe pick up some garlic bread, a pan pizza, or just a Pepsi. It's a nice place to visit but I don't think it's a great place to frequent. Oh and before you ask, yes...they still had the hard plastic Pepsi cups. If I had stayed, I would've indulged. Because it's scientific fact that Pepsi tastes even better out of those old red pizza parlor cups.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Critter Box Set Review



They're back and ready to devour your Blu-ray player!

The terrifying and tiny menaces are out in full force with this four-film collection packed with enough Special Features to make any fan's mouth water!

In Critters, the terrified Brown family are trapped in a deadly nightmare and must fight for their lives against a litter of extraterrestrial, bloodthirsty monsters. But it's a losing battle until two intergalactic bounty hunters arrive, determined to blow the creatures off the planet! In Critters 2: The Main Course, some eggs have survived and are popping open, bringing another horde of the little creatures! Brad Brown (Scott Grimes) returns to fight them along with three bounty hunters. Critters 3 stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Josh, a beleaguered Angelino who must lead the fight against the little monsters as they invade an L.A. apartment building. In the final film, Critters 4, a super strain of genetically engineered monsters are designed to take over the universe. This time, Brad Dourif and Angela Bassett must battle the little bloodthirsty hairballs.


I grew up outside of the Critters bubble. I always knew what they were thanks to the posters hanging up in the videos tore of my childhood, I knew they were furry and monstrous but I didn't know the stories and origins of these amazing creatures until I attended a screening just two years ago at my local theater. From that initial screening, I was sold and absolutely in love with this world. I wanted to see every movie I could and learn everything about it. And since revisiting that along with the 3 sequels, I'm fully convinced this could be one of, if not THE, best scifi/horror series ever.

On this set, I learned even more. The commentary, behind the scenes footage, documentaries and stories told by cast and crew made me appreciate the not just the movie but the effort put into creating the Critters Universe. In fact, I do believe it's time for another Critters movie and hopefully the same crew can come back and work their practical f/x magic to give us some of that amazing Crite magic! On top of that, the featuring the iconic character Johnny Steele (aka Terrence Mann) is a song that will be stuck in your head for years! In fact, if this song doesn't appear on your iPod/iPhone playlist after one viewing, then there's something wrong...

As always, Scream Factory's biggest contribution to their releases is their fantastic extras. Alongside the new 2K transfers and multiple commentaries, this set features a LOT of extra goodies that could very well be worth the purchase alone:

Disc One: Critters (1986)
  • NEW 2K Scan From The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer Barry Opper And Star Don Opper
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Critter Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • NEW They Bite!: The Making Of Critters Featuring Interviews With Actors Dee Wallace, Don Opper, Terrence Mann, And Lin Shaye, Producer Barry Opper, Writer Brian Muir, Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo, Make-Up Artist R. Christopher Biggs, Special Prop Supervisor Anthony Doublin, Composer David Newman, Second Unit Director Mark Helfrich, Critter Voice Actor Corey Burton, And Miniature Effects Supervisor Gene Warren Jr.
  • NEW For Brian: A Tribute To Screenwriter Brian Domonic Muir
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery
Disc Two: Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)
  • NEW 2K Scan From The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Mick Garris
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • NEW The Main Course: The Making Of Critters 2 Featuring Interviews With Director Mick Garris, Actors Liane Curtis, Don Opper, Terrence Mann, And Lin Shaye, Producer Barry Opper, Critter Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo, And Make-Up Artist R. Christopher Biggs
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Additional TV Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery
Disc Three: Critters 3 (1991)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer Barry Opper And Star Don Opper
  • NEW You Are What They Eat: The Making Of Critters 3 Featuring Interviews With Producer Barry Opper, Screenwriter David J. Schow, Stars Don Opper And Terrence Mann, Director Of Photography Thomas J. Callaway, And Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • Trailer
  • Still Gallery
Disc Four: Critters 4 (1992)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer/Director Rupert Harvey
  • NEW Space Madness: The Making Of Critters 4 Featuring Interviews With Producer Barry Opper, Screenwriter David J. Schow, Stars Don Opper And Terrence Mann, Director Of Photography Thomas J. Callaway, And Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • Trailer
  • Still Gallery

If you're on the fence of revisiting these movies or just concerned about the high price, I can assure you, without a doubt, you'll get a lot more for your dollar than you expect. Documentaries and commentaries are usually what entice me about sets like this, and you get plenty. The new transfers of the first two movies also make the viewing experience almost better and even give you a grander appreciation for the movies.

If you've never seen these movies before and also worried you won't like them, I can squash those worries right now and tell you that the blend of scifi/comedy/horror/action makes a great viewing experience for all who dive in!