Thursday, April 29, 2021

How The Howling sequel could have been SO much better...

 How The Howling sequel could have been SO much better...


- Horror fans from all over can agree on one thing. 

The Howling II Your Sister Is A Werewolf is a truly awful movie.


Man oh man did they screw the pooch with this one. Honestly a sequel was destined to happen. The film was successful, featured top notch special effects (which it was technically was the first full on camera transformation with very few cuts since it had been released in theaters several months before An American Werewolf In London.) which don't get me wrong. I love that movie for many reasons. But I've always been team Howling. 

Released in 1981 "The year of the werewolf" Joe Dante did for werewolves like he did for Piranhas. His visual style is striking with a script that pulls you in with a gritty new approach to monsters that have been in cinema for decades. The big standout in this movie is the special effects. Originally started by Rick Barker (who would leave this project to go work on American Werewolf, which ended up winning him an Oscar. Rob Bottin took over, and I really have to say yet again, I just so happen to prefer this transformation than  London.) I always found the designs on the wolfs fascinating since instead of being on all fours, they stood towering on two legs. Also the transformation of Eddie Quist (played brilliantly by Robert Picardo) I find downright stronger when compared to London. I actually really liked the bladders, since he showed how his actual physical state was changing, as his skin expanded, muscles stretched, and bone structure grew larger. I love the shot of his eyes turning green and turning backwards. Also The Bright Boy scene with him having returned back to his 'normal' state, but how horribly burned with half of his skull showing. Honestly it's so gross it's downright insane. 


The entire showdown at the end of the residents of The Colony explaining to Doc that it isn't normal for them to try and be conditioned and live among humans isn't normal. Here we see the cast really giving it their all, and The Howling pays tribute to classic monster movies.

With likable characters that you actually care about, led by the gorgeous Dee Wallace Stone, we see her character Karen White give a scarfice after getting bit while escaping The Colony with her friend Chris, tearfully knowing there won't be any saving her, and how she needs to tell the world the truth of this hidden society and make them believe. The next night she witness as she's finally back in front of the camera since her last freeze up following her attack from Eddie. She begins reading about the secret society that is neither human nor man...but something in-between. When Fred the producer tries to put a stop to things, Chris screams for them to leave it, before Karen lifts her bowed head, showing glowing gold eyes telling audiences from all over watching that she'll make them believe. Screaming in pain, there before the nation's eyes she transforms into a pretty adorable werewolf, sniffling, and crying before Chris uses his rifle to put her out of her misery. 

The news switches to a dog food commercial as people who were watching all shrug off what happened as some special effects stunt and don't take it seriously. Here the last shot reveals that Marsha Quist escaped the burning barn, and is the last surviving member of The Colony as she orders a burger rare, smiling and looking straight at the camera into the audience breaking the forth wall. A wink to the aduaince, and leaving the door open for a sequel. 

Well...we got a sequel all right, but not the sequel we expected.

We all figured the sequel would follow Marsha Quist as the new villain, but instead gears were shifted after the actress who played her passed on the project. (Can't say I really blame her) so the story was told that Karen White's brother (a brand new character introduced in part 2.) is trying to track down his sister's killer (they never explain what happened to Chris so either he was sent to prison for shooting Karen, or turned the gun on himself.) Here we follow Karen's brother as he ventures to Transylvania where Stirba (Sybil Danning) a queen werewolf rules. Guys, I can't even...this movie is such a flipping mess. I remember renting it years ago and ended up even getting the VHS at a flea market for collecting purposes more than anything, but this movie man oh man...where do I even begin?

Dee Wallace was another one who was smart enough to stay far away from this project as they took the memory of our beloved character Karen White and dragged it through dog shit. The only thing I really remember from this movie is that Christopher Lee is in it (Joe Dante said that he even apologized to him while on set of Gremlins 2 for appearing in such a terrible sequel to his original film.) and that there's a credit music video montage of clips from the movie, where it shows over and over Sybil Danning ripping her leather dress off over and over and over. If you played a drinking game to this movie and took a shot every time you saw this woman's tits you would truly be white girl wasted. 

All of the sequels really aren't any walk in the park. Part three aka the movie about the werewolf down under is a total mess itself, but is charming in a strange way. Part 4 the original nightmare follows the first novel more closely, and features some amazing effects by Steven Johnson, and that catchy theme song. "Something Evillllll Something dangerousssss." I actually love The Freaks, and even though I haven't seen the others, I own a few of them on tape, and heard they are true pieces of shit. I'm actually pretty stunned this cult classic hasn't been remade. (Please dear lord let that never happen.) 

With great memories of this being one of my late mother's all time favorites, I re-visited it for it's 40th anniversary, and fell in love with this stunning classic all over again. I own it on tape, dvd, blu-ray, and I'm forever on the hunt trying to find it on laserdisc. In fact, this movie, Christine, Waxwork, and Children Of The Corn hold the title for being a movie I own multiple copies of. We're talking 7+. (I'm not joking.) Still, every Friday I'm holding onto hope that Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy will show it at The Last Drive In since it's streaming currently on Shudder. This is one of those classic horror movies I will always recommend to anyone. In fact, just last week by good friends Melissa and Brandon watched it. Brandon had seen it years ago, and this was the first time for Melissa. When we talked about it, she brought up a pretty good point. The best character in the entire movie was barley in it. 

Eddie Quist.

This is her personal opinion was that she was sorta bored with the Karen White going up to The Colony storyline. That she would have rather followed Eddie after his so called "fatal" encounter, while slowly making his way back to The Colony.

She brought up some cool points, but I love the first Howling...but I do agree with one thing. Not enough Eddie. But I wouldn't have changed the script. I would have made that story into the sequel...

In fact...I would make part 2 as a prequel. 

Download the entire album on Band Camp.

I was inspired after discovering the coolest thing.  A very talented composer - The Astral Stereo Project who made a prequel album he wrote and composed entirely himself paying homage to the original Dante werewolf classic. It's a truly beautiful synth filled soundtrack called The Mind Of Eddie Quist. I spoke with the artist behind the album (which has been blasting on repeat constantly lately.) The entire album is for sale on the app/website Band Camp and is highly recommended. This album is what inspired me to think of this article.

I feel the sequel to The Howling should have shown Eddie living in Los Angeles, and becoming Eddie The Mangler. The crazed psychopath serial killer, stalking the streets of the city at night, and discovering Karen White and becoming obsessed with her. Maybe we could learn how Eddie and his siblings came about being turned into werewolf's and how they became involved with living at The Colony. Were they always this disturbed? Who turned them all? What started Eddie on his rampage? How many victims did he kill? Were they just women? How were the police involved, and best of all...how did he become obsessed with Karen White? 

I always found the subplot of him calling her, and her being the only chance in setting a trap in finally stopping him during his rampage in the city fascinating . I loved that Doc was "coaching" her in how to speak to Eddie. The fact that Doc knew who he was the entire time is very clever, and one of my favorite scenes in The Howling is when Chris and Terry arrive with photographs from Eddie's sketches, telling him about how they are doing research on an hour long special called "The Mind Of Eddie Quist." which Doc asks how they found out his last name? They point out he signed his work, where Doc gives little to no emotion, before smirking and going...

"Ah yes, he did."

After viewing this movie and seeing the twist, you have to chuckle. Doc doesn't look happy. His biggest fear is risk of exposure. I would have loved to see Doc interacting with Eddie. Did they speak while he was in the middle of his killings? Did he encourage it for an inn to promote his book/teachings on the news station? Was he horrified and tried to reason with him to stop? What were his thoughts about Eddie's obsession with Karen White? I believe Eddie didn't want to kill Karen originally. I think his original plan was to turn, bite her, and turn her to have a mate. That's why he looks so disgusted before he gives her a "piece" of his mind when he says right before digging the bullet out "I trusted you Karen." I feel watching a prequel about a crazed serial killer stalking the seedy areas of Los Angeles, while the big twist is that this isn't some run of the mill slasher movie, no...our killer is a werewolf. 

There was so much more story I think we could have seen, and maybe even at the end give a tease after the events of the first film with Marsha still alive, or have it end with Eddie sticking his famous calling card (the smiley face sticker) onto the phone inside the phone booth before walking away, head down low, hands in pockets, passing all of the ladies of the night, neon, and darkness.

Ah if only. Who knows, in this dreamworld, I would have Joe Dante direct, Dee Wallace, and Robert Picardo, along with several other original cast members return. I would have the special effects really be as gross and as slobbering as possible, and just crank up the little wolf nods for the audience. 

I think really I just wanted to see more of Robert Picardo who's first leading role was playing Eddie Quist which began a 40 year old friendship as much like Dick Miller, he became a Dante staple. (am I the only one who wishes he played a larger part in The Burbs?) His role of Eddie Quist really stole the show. In fact I even booked my next tattoo to be of him. My favorite scene in the movie is when he appears as a human to Karen with those red eyes. He only has several lines, but you can tell what a great actor he is, really bringing in the creep factor. I love him stepping forward grinning, eyes shinning red telling Karen to look at him. That's the image I want tattooed on me.

Pumped to get this tattooed on me next month!

I love audio commentaries, and one of my favorites is of Joe Dante, the late Chris Stone, Dee Wallace, and Robert Picardo. My favorite part has to be doing the "Bright Boy" scene, where it's so ridiculous over how gross Robert looks, where he explains how he was sitting there in all of that over the top makeup, asking aloud to himself questioning if this was a good career move since his last job was a play on Broadway? A fellow actor told him "Rob...next time...read the script." You seriously need to listen to it, since the cast breaks up laughing, and you can honestly see what a ball they had making this movie. 

Dreamboat.

In another interview Picardo mentions to Joe Dante that back in 1984 he ran into Robert Englund and took an elevator with him who mentioned that he had just made this really cool low budget movie, where he played the Eddie Quist part, and thought of him when he got into character. You can tell Englund really was a fan, seeing that he cast him in a pretty important role in 976 Evil. 

I can only hope once all this COVID bullshit is over I can meet Picardo after getting my tattoo, and have him sign the Mind Of Eddie Quist album cover. He seriously could have been the next Freddy of they kept him alive. Picardo was so good, he could have been playing Eddie for several sequels and still keep it going strong!

Thoughts?



Monday, April 12, 2021

40 years later - The Howling.

40 years later - The Howling.


PLOT -
After a bizarre and near deadly encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem...


LOWDOWN - There are certain films I still remember clearly that my mother introduced me to while growing up. As soon as I established that I was fascinated with horror movies, and could handle watching these films, my mother began renting me the classics to expand my palette. 

One of these films was...

The Howling.

Spoilers ahead!!!

I think we can all remember watching the video store in Scream, and the girl asking Randy "What's the werewolf movie with E.T's mom in it?" A wonderful reference, to at least in my times one of the best modern day werewolf movies ever made. Arriving at the beginning of the 1980's, director Joe Dante (Piranha) already showed he had the stuff to make amusing movies that paid tribute to the classic monster/drive-in movies from the 1950's and 60's. Wanting to dabble in the classic tale of werewolves, Dante decided to put a spin on it.

Someone once said that The Howling to them was the "Se7en" of werewolf movies. Even though there's colorful lighting, eire sets, outdoor scenes full of fog, and beautiful color it seems almost as if it's straight out of a comic book or movie. Still, there's a grittiness beneath it all. The Howling was released the same year as An American Werewolf In London. In fact, makeup artist Rick Baker originally started doing the special effects for this film, before leaving to do AWIL. Rob Bottin, who had perviously worked on Piranha with Dante took over, and they pitched the movie to the studios for having the very first completely on screen transformation done completely with practical effects. This movie actually was released before AWIL and holds the special place for actually being the first in doing this. Before then transformations were done with cut aways, time lapse, or off screen. This time, Dante wanted to be a groundbreaker with his young talented cast and crew, and they truly set the bar for the werewolf boom which was about to hit the 1980's.

I feel a huge reason why this film after 40 years still holds up is due to Dante's direction. I truly believe this was the movie that launched his career, opening doors to him to direct bigger budget films (Gremlins) Here the movie has so many pop culture references (especially for werewolf films.) it's seriously like visual eye candy for the audience, spotting all the little references, and nods to these films throughout the movie. Another thing Dante did brilliantly as he did with Piranha was the perfect balance of humor sprinkled throughout. One second you're laughing, the next you're jumping out of your seat screaming. With the lovely Dee Wallace Stone as newswoman Karen White. I'm a huge Dee Wallace fan, and she's truly one HELL of an underrated scream queen. The Howling I feel even after The Hills Have Eyes was what turned her into a horror icon. She's soft, beautiful, and truly a great actress. You can't help but like her, and feel sweet towards her poor character who seems like truly such a good person, only to suffer extreme trauma after being attacked, unable and frustrated that she can't piece the clues together. Along side with her is the late Christopher Stone (Dee and Chris were actually engaged during this production, and clearly show onscreen amazing chemistry.) They would go on to act beside each other in several other movies, the one I remember best out of all of them was Cujo just a few years later. There's Belinda Balaski (who I remember best as the councilor who sadly gets eaten in Piranha.) as Karen's best friend, and fellow reporter Terry who sadly discovers more than she bargained for after discovering the truth. Dennis Dugan plays Terry's boyfriend, a producer at the same show as Terry and Karen who steps up in the final act, and you can't seem to feel awful for with the look that comes over his face in his very last shot.

You have greats like Patrick Macnee (who I remember best from Waxwork and Waxwork II) as Dr, Waggner, the psychiatrist who has just written a best seller book called The Gift, and runs a resort up North called "The Colony". Kevin McCarthy as the hilarious producer of the news program Karen, Terry, and Chris work at...and last but not least. The great Robert Picardo playing Eddie Quist, the insane serial killer who has fixed his sights on Karen, and puts this whole horrifying tale into motion. 


The rest of the assemble cast (mostly members of The Colony) do an amazing job, bringing humor, as well as unease as the audience suddenly begins to feel as if they are looking through Karen's eyes...knowing something isn't quite "right". 

The show opens with the titles being clawed open to spell out The Howling, before the black/blue glass the title sits on shatters into the audience, clearly stating this isn't any regular movie...

The film follows Karen White (Dee Wallace) a newswoman who has been receiving calls from a man named Eddie, who she believes is actually a serial killer who's murdered dozens downtown in the last few months. Teaming up with the news station, as well as the police she becomes involved in a string operation to be the bait in order to catch this crazed killer who always leaves his calling card at the scene of the crimes (a smiley sticker). Karen is fitted with a wire, and goes to a very seedy part of downtown LA that night with police cruisers on patrol around the area. Sadly due to all the neon, the signal gets scrambled and the news team and police aren't able to exactly pinpoint where Karen is. Karen's husband Bill becomes increasing worried, not knowing if his wife is safe or not. Karen, believing that the police and news team can still hear her, finds one of Eddie's calling cards on a payphone (remember those guys?) and waits for his call. Here he tells her he'll meet her in a downtown porno shop a few blocks away. Entering, the store, Karen wanders to the back where there are private movie booths, where she sees one of Eddie's stickers on the outside, showing her this is the one he wants her to enter. Going inside, and sitting down in the darkness, Eddie appears behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders, not allowing her to turn around as he places a quarter into the machine, and a violent film of a girl getting raped plays before them. Here Eddie claims that his victims never really felt anything since they weren't "real" people. He then tells her he's going to light up her entire body. Stepping back into the shadows, Eddie's voice starts to change to a low growl, before telling Karen to turn around. She does, and is unable to even scream at what horrifying display she's witnessing right before her very own eyes. 

Unknown to her, right outside the police have figured out where Karen is and suddenly hear a scream. One of the young officers open fire killing Eddie, and leaving Karen hysterical and in shock. Afterwards, the entire shop has become a crime scene, and one of the head lieutenants demand to know why they opened fire since Eddie didn't have any weapons on him? His body is bagged up, and as Karen is led outside by her husband she claims she can't seem to remember anything that happened inside the movie booth.

Plagued by terrible nightmares of that night, Karen is unable to even continue working after freezing up completely on the live 6 o'clock news. Here Dr. Waggner, who's had been helping Karen while she was receiving her phone calls from Eddie. Here he believes she's suppressing the actual memory of what happened. Here he recommends that she come up North to visit his resort called The Colony, where she can relax, meet other people dealing with anxiety, and perhaps try to remember what happened. Heading up with her husband, Karen meets some of the quirky residents of The Colony the first night on the beach during a BBQ, including couple Donna and Jerry, dramatic old man Erle, and strange siblings TC and Marsha. The entire time Karen feels TC's eyes on her, and watches in disbelief when Erle after one too many drinks threatens to kill himself by jumping into the giant bonfire crying "It's the only way! I gotta burn!" Dt. Waggner reassures her that everything is totally fine, as Karen befriends Donna who's cabin she'll be staying at is right beside her own. Near the punch bowl the very attractive Marsha hits on Bill.

That night in the cabin Karen is plagued by more nightmares, and is woken by the sound of howling.

Back in Los Angeles, Terry and Chris track down Eddie's apartment where he lived while working as a dishwasher in the city. Inside they find dozens of newspaper clippings from his murders, as well as tons of sketches of people drawn as half human, half wolf. While searching for pieces to use for a big story, they find two sketches of of Karen. One that's regular, the next that appears to be her sketched as a wolf. Feeling uneasy, Terry tells Chris she believes they should call the police. Chris then finds a large sketch of a beautiful bay, but the destination is unknown. They bring the sketches to Dr. Waggner who is helping them as they gear up for an hour special "Inside The Mind Of Eddie Quist." The doctor seems puzzled over how they discovered his last name. Here Terry and Chris point out that he signed all of his artwork. The doctor seems surprised looking down at one of the copies of artwork before smiling and muttering "So he did..."

Just recently downloaded this off Bandcamp. Crazy good.

Back up North Karen is still trying group therapy in order to remember that night, but whenever she tries thinking back on Eddie's face that night in the booth, her mind completely goes blank. That evening while smoking out on her porch with Donna they hear strange animal sounds, which Donna claims is just cattle from a nearby ranch. They take flashlights to explore before finding a mutated cow laying in the woods. Shaken, Karen heads back to her cabin, where she thinks she hears noises in the bushes. She ventures out of her cabin, only to find a tiny piece of her clothing hanging from one of the outside bushes. Hurrying back inside, she doesn't see TC watching her from the bushes. In Los Angeles the next morning Chris and Terry head to the morgue to look at Eddie's body, since they heard a report of him having a tattoo on his shoulder. The morgue attendant claims he didn't remember seeing a tattoo, but what appeared to be a faded animal bite on his shoulder. When they go to the freezer where Eddie's body has been stored they find him missing and the metal door clawed open. 

Bill and some of the men take TC out to hunt for the coyote they believe killed the cattle. The local sheriff reassures Karen that the noises she heard the last few nights must have been one, as well as being responsible for the cattle being killed. Back in the city Terry and Chris go to an occult shop, where they start investigating the possibility that maybe Eddie wasn't human. The shop's owner shows them a case of silver bullets that somebody bought and never picked up, and tells them that most of the stuff about full moon with werewolves aren't true at all. A werewolf can transform whenever they want to, in fact the only way a werewolf can be killed is by fire or silver bullets. That night Chris returns from his hunt after killing a large rabbit. TC insists that he takes the rabbit over to his sister Marsha to cook up for Karen since Bill usually stays away from meat. While there Marsha passionately kisses Bill, who pushes her away and quickly heads back to his cabin. While walking back, a large animal attacks and bites him. Terry and Chris who are in a relationship are woken from laying in bed with an old werewolf movie playing on the TV with news from Karen that Bill was just bitten by a wolf. Terry decides to head up the next day. The doc gives Chris a rabies shot, telling him not to worry. The following morning, Terry comes up with lunch, and apologies to Bill for forgetting that he doesn't eat meat. Bill meanwhile is digging into the food like crazy, and shrugs it off saying if he's hungry enough he'll eat anything. 

That night when Karen tries to get frisky with Bill, he turns her down claiming he's still tired from the shot the doc gave him the night before. Frustrated, Karen knows ever since the attack with Eddie she's been distant, and claims they are completely out of sync. Later, Karen falls asleep and Chris sneaks out and finds Marsha on the beach. They undress, and have sex while transforming into wolfs by the light of the camp fire. The howls from them carry through the woods and Karen is woken to find Chris missing and stays in bed frightened until she falls asleep. Terry, who's staying in the guest room of the cabin records the sounds becoming more and more convinced all isn't what it seems. 

The next day Terry ventures to the beach herself, and plays the recording of the howling, and stares at the copies from Eddie's sketches before it hits her...the sketch of the bay was drawn exactly right here which means only one thing...

Eddie has been to The Colony before.

In a panic, she packs her stuff up and starts hurrying to the woods trying to find a phone. Back at Karen's cabin, she awakes and sees Bill dressing, and sees fresh scratches all over Bill's back. He tries to claim they are from the night before, but Karen knows better and confronts him about having zero backbone around Marsha. He becomes angry with her and slaps her. On the verge of tears, she grabs her things and rushes out of the cabin. Terry meanwhile comes across Marsha's cabin, and goes inside where she sees the famous Eddie calling card sticker on one of the doors. She heads inside, and sees more newspaper clippings, and sketches. This is where Eddie really lived. Suddenly the door breaks open and a huge wolf tries attacking her. Terry fights it off, before crawling underneath the porch with the large wolf trying to get to her. Finding a hatchet, she chops it's arm off, and watches in horror as it transforms into a human arm. Running for her life, she ends up at the doc's office and calls Chris completely hysterical. She tells Chris it's all real, and that the doc knew Eddie all along. He instructs her to look for a file on Eddie. Still on the phone with Chris, she searches through the file cabinet and finds three files with the name Quist.

Marsha, TC, and Eddie.

Just then a large wolf grabs the file from Terry's hand and attacks her. Chris listens helplessly on the other line, before hanging up and calling the sheriff, then taking off for the The Colony, before grabbing the box of silver bullets at the occult store and a rifle. The giant wolf kills Terry by bitting into her neck, and throwing her body onto a table and covering it with a sheet. Shortly after Karen comes in, looking to use to doc's phone to head home without Bill. She discovers Terry's militated body, and tries calling the police only to find the phone not working. Backing up against the table where Terry's body was just laying, a now human Eddie pops up and blocks her from running away. Eddie's eyes are blood red, and he has three bullet wounds in his head. Karen can't believe her eyes and tells him she saw him die. Laughing, Eddie tells her "You wanted to know the real me...well, here I am. I trusted you Karen. Now I'm going to give you a piece of my mind." Here he digs into his forehead and plucks the bullet out before transforming into a wolf before Karen's very own eyes. Right before his transformation is complete, Karen throws a jar of acid into Eddie's face burning him, and making a run for it, only to be stopped by the doc and the other members of The Colony. Here they take her to a barn where the residents have now been feeding off Terry's corpse. The doc pleads with them, but Marsha takes charge telling him she's sick of doing things his way. The others agree, stating feeding off cattle is no way to live. TC shows how angry he is now that his arm has been cut off from Terry. They turn on the doc, before deciding they need to make this look like a car accident since Karen is famous and tons of people know she headed up here. They plan on putting Terry and her into a car and driving it off a cliff. 

Back at the doc's office Chris arrives, and finds Eddie transformed back into his human form, besides the half of his face horribly burned from the acid. Eddie taunts Chris, believing his rifle won't harm him. Instead Chris hits him straight in the throat with a silver bullet dropping him instantly. He runs to the barn, where he rescues Karen and slowly backs out of the barn. Some of the residents don't believe he's using silver bullets until he kills TC and several other wolfs before locking the rest into the barn, pouring gas all around it, and setting fire burning them alive. Taking off in Chris' car, they are stopped by the sheriff on the highway. The sheriff reveals himself to be a wolf, and opens fire on Chris' car, before being killed. Chris and Karen jump into the sheriff's car, struggling to start it as wolves surround the car, The engine roars to life as they speed down the road, and suddenly a wolf pops up from the backseat biting Karen's shoulder. She kills him with Chris' rifle, before looking and seeing Bill's dead body laying in the backseat. As they drive off into the night leaving a few wolfs behind on the road, Karen states that they need to make people believe.

The following night at the news station it's been revealed that a massive fire starting at The Colony has spread down the coast, and Karen is set to report on the story. Karen gets ready, while Chris looks unsure. He tries to say he can't go through with it, but Karen insists that he has to. Once in front of the camera live, Karen starts reading her own story about a secret society that has been living among them for years. When the head producer tries to stop rolling, Chris screams at them to leave it. Karen bows her head, stating she's going to make them believe. Here before everyone at the station's horrified eyes, she transforms into a rather cute looking werewolf. Chris stares at her before taking aim and killing her with one of the last silver bullets.

Serving Dee Wallace puppy werewolf realness...

Back at a bar, several of the men at the bar talk about how Karen being killed was just some special effects  stunt. A man at the end of the bar orders a pepper-steak and a burger for his date. When the cook asks how she wants it? The camera pulls back revealing that Marsha has survived and smiles looking into the camera before saying "Rare." The film ends of the shot of the burger being cooked on the grill.

Total and complete perfection. 

I feel the reason why this film after 40 years still works so well is a mixture of several things. The haunting yet beautiful score by Pino Donaggio (this is my second favorite score of his after Body Double), Joe Dante's fun direction, making this a fun viewing experience from start to finish with enough colorful visuals to keep a lasting impression on you for days after viewing this film. The AMAZING effects by several of the greatest in the business, where honestly Oscar or so Oscar, I have always preferred this transformation from An American Werewolf In London's. In fact, even after 40 years, this is still my ALL time favorite werewolf movie, and the film itself still lands in my top 10 favorite horror movies ever made. The cast of likable characters, that jaw dropping ending, and the fact that no matter how many awful sequels are made, the original still and will remain a classic to this very day. Fingers crossed it's shown this season for The Last Drive In, because I feel anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of discovering this classic needs to right away. It's a fun thrill ride, with great monster effects, wonderful performances, and a final act that will leave you on the edge of your seat. 

I will always love this movie for being one of my mother's favorites. Three cheers to The Howling. There will never be another one like you!

5 stars!





Friday, March 19, 2021

10 roles Brandon Lee could have played part 2!

 10 roles Brandon Lee could have played part 2!

The end of this month marks the 28th anniversary of the tragic passing of Brandon Lee. I was inspired to write a follow up after the tremendous feedback I received after publishing the original article in January. Over sixty replies were sent to me when I asked what other roles people could have totally seen Brandon play had he lived? Some were so good, I'll fully admit I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of. I guess what it really comes down to that after almost thirty years, Brandon's legacy still very much lives on. Since the first article, I even got his character from The Crow tattooed on me. This wasn't to celebrate the tragedy that honestly cost the world a talented young actor, but to celebrate the final character he got to play, a character he was so proud of playing. One that you could tell he put his heart and soul into, and sadly paid the ultimate price with playing. I also was able to watch his very first starring role from 1986. Legacy of Rage directed by Ronny Yu ( Freddy vs Jason and Bride of Chucky) Shot entirely in Cantonese, this movie totally blew me away. Sure it was cheesy at times, but the amount of action/violence packed into the final fifteen minutes was downright insane. Despite the film's flaws. Brandon even back when was showing the talent of being a leading man no matter what the material was. It was a bittersweet moment once I finished his very brief filmography. I firmly believe had he lived, he eventually would have achieved his ultimate goal in no longer being associated as being the son of Bruce Lee (I feel The Crow would have made that possible), but I think he also would have gotten the chance in finally playing more dramatic and romantic leads. After listening to a podcast with his sister and a close family friend, I was stunned to learn he was actually up for the role in Say Anything! They kept agreeing the one thing missing from his brief career was having the chance to play a romantic role. Really makes you sometimes think "What if?"

With trailers for the new Mortal Kombat coming out, I can't help but feel a small tug of sadness. I will forever mourn the fact that he never got to play Johnny Cage in the 90's version.


Then again, there's a ton of roles I feel fans will forever think of, wondering what Brandon would have done with the part?

So here are 10 more roles myself and others feel he could have played...


Korben Dallas - The Fifth Element

- The Fifth Element would have been a perfect mixture of fantasy, comedy, science fiction, romance, and yes action that would had been a true pleasure watching Brandon do. I really feel Korben Dallas was a role he really would have made his own and bring something different than Bruce Willis. Plus his chemistry with Milla Jovovich would have been insane. 

Casey Jones - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

- I'm sure Brandon in 1990 wanted to pull away from movies like this, but seeing that it was for the time one of the most successful independent films made, and aimed towards children would have been pretty cool to see on his list of credits. He seemed like a pretty laid back, playful guy so seeing him party with a bunch of turtles while beating bad guys up with a hockey stick doesn't seem really that crazy. What? Only me?

Lloyd Dobler - Say Anything 

- Listen, I love me some John Cusack (I even dressed up as his character from this movie in high school for Halloween) but man, after learning from his sister that he was actually up for this role...really makes you wonder. First off, the kickboxing storyline would have fit perfectly, also seeing him play a romantic lead would be heartwarming, as well as downright sweet for the plain and simple reason that romantic leads were something Brandon wanted to do up until his death. Plus him holding the boombox blasting "In your eyes" Oh my God...everything!

Eric - The Crow City Of Angels

- Man, what I would have done to see what the original treatment would have looked like had Brandon lived and he was still signed onto his three film deal to continue playing Eric. It would have been awesome to see him with a grown Sarah fighting more bad guys (part 2 is flawed, but visually stunning) In fact, after just recently rewatching, as much as this new guy tired...I couldn't help but feel bummed out. That role was made by Brandon, and it's truly such a heartbreaking fact that he never got to continue on with that character. Even though I know the material is endless with the graphic novels, but each time plans on a remake fall through I can't help but celebrate. It isn't the whole "against remakes" argument, but, a sign of respect for Brandon.

Seth Gecko - From Dusk Till Dawn

- Probably one of my favorite picks that was sent to me. I love the first From Dusk Till Dawn. (perfect writing with the twist that happens midway through) It goes from an over the top violent crime movie, into an action packed horror film.) Brandon would have played the perfect Seth. Plus those tribal tattoos! Probably one of the few times those would actually look good. Also him screaming "Did they look like psychos?! Do psychos explode when sunlight hits them?!"

Seth - City Of Angels 


- Nothing against Mr. Cage, but I think with a little recasting (sorry Meg Ryan, love you but you would have to go as well) this 90's romance would have been perfect for Brandon to play. Him as an angel?! Perfection.

Clarence - True Romance

-My third "romance" on the list. The perfect blend of Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino, along with one of the best casts I've seen in a film for years. True Romance isn't your typical romance movie, and even though Christian did a killer job, I feel Brandon would have really nail the role of Clarence. The Elvis loving romantic. Brandon wasn't your typical leading man, and True Romance wasn't your typical romantic movie. His chemistry with Arquette I feel would have been off the charts. Legit, roles like this are what I feel Brandon would have wanted to seek out since they weren't your typical traditional roles.

Dirk - Boogie Nights 


- A co-worker sent me this idea, and I couldn't stop laughing. Not just for the memorable ending (he he he), but this would have been the perfect role for Brandon to show his comedic talents. Something he was able to show a little bit in Showdown In Little Tokyo. Plus him singing "You got the touch!" Come on now...so iconic.

Tyler - Fight Club 

- I really hate to admit this, but I'm not a huge fan of Fight Club. Yeah, yeah, the twist for the time it was released was pretty shocking. Sadly this triggered so many knockoffs to follow, which really in my eyes was just sloppy/lazy writing. Still, seeing Brandon take over the role made famous by Mr. Brad Pitt I think would have elevated the movie a little bit more. Nothing against Pitt, he's a great actor...but seeing Brandon go head to head with Edward Norton really would have been one for the books!

T-1000 - Terminator II Judgement Day 

-I know, I know...Robert Patrick will forever be the liquid metal man. Still, really take a second to think about it. With his martial arts training, Brandon was limber, and able to use his body from head to toe. I think what would have really nailed it was the intensity in his eyes. Also that massive showdown at the  factory at the end would have been epic. Him getting frozen with the liquid nitrogen! Come on!


Runner ups - Benjamin from The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Danny from Doctor Sleep, Edward from Edward Scissorhands, J.D from Heathers, Paul Avery Zodiac, older Joe from Looper, Joe from Flatliners, and Chigurh from No Country For Old Men.

Oh and how about him playing The Mandalorian?!

- In closing, on March 31st I shall be raising a glass in honor of Mr. Lee. Who knows, someday in the future there might even be a part 3 to this article, which just proves that the list of roles Brandon could have played are limitless. We miss you Brandon! Rest in power!!!








Saturday, February 13, 2021

Strange Love - A list of the strangest romances!!!

Strange Love - A list of the strangest romances!!!


My friend Melissa recently asked me what would be my list for untypical romances to watch for the 14th? Basically "strange love" where it isn't a typical romance, but clearly shows love. Well here's a list that both Melissa and I worked on! Here you'll see a list of films that show strange examples of love that are musts to watch for Valentine's Day!

Buffalo 66

After being released from prison, Billy is set to visit his parents with his wife, whom he does not actually have. This provokes Billy to act out, as he kidnaps a girl and forces her to act as his wife for the visit.

Lars And The Real Girl
A delusional young man strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.

Secretary 
A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.

Kissed
Over the years, a child's romantic ideals about death blossom into necrophilia, the study of embalming and the most profound relationship of her life.

Wild At Heart
Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor.

Dogfight
Before leaving to fight in Vietnam, a group of teenagers play a game where they try to seduce the ugliest girl they can find.

Lunatics A Love Story
A delusional and paranoid poet hallucinates and almost becomes a serial killer, but saves a beautiful girl from street-gang members and becomes a hero.

Christine 
A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.

Come Back To the  5 And Dime Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean
A fan club of die-hard James Dean fans meet on the 20th anniversary of his death and reconnect, opening old wounds and facing new ones. 

Living Doll
Howard, a shy morgue worker, falls in love with a girl who ends up in the morgue, but he doesn't let that stop him.

True Romance
In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it.


Happy Valentines' Day everyone!!!