Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bad Movie Night Recap (Part Two)

 Welcome back to Cap'n Howdy's coverage of Bad Movie Night 2013! If you recall, when we last met I left off with A Gnome Named Gnorm, which came to look like the proverbial skidmark on the underwear of life compared to our next film...


 "But wait," you say, "didn't you just watch Expect No Mercy? Wasn't it the 'E' in The ABCs of Movie Masochism?"
  Why yes, as a matter of fact, I DID just watch Expect No Mercy, and if you'll recall, I was so impressed at how awkwardly amazing the film was that I immediately programmed it into Bad Movie Night's lineup. It was my actual "first selection," even though I told everybody that the next movie we'd be watching was (and we'll get to that shortly).

 Nothing changed about my initial review at all, although I did have the satisfaction of seeing the film with people who didn't know what happens when a dated action movie with no connective tissue dropped right into their brain pans.

 As I hinted at last night, Hard Ticket to Hawaii second string character / sports caster Jimmy John Jackson turned out to be more than just a bit player in an Andy Sidaris skin flick. By 1995 he'd graduated to lead villain in Expect No Mercy, which I didn't know three weeks ago. It turns out that a long mane of hair and a willingness to remove your shirt is all it takes to move up the ranks of B-Movie stardom (just ask Julie Strain) and in the 8 years between flicks, Larson had developed both skills. Oh sure, you say, it must have been his starring role on Tarzan, bu I suspect it was because Jalal Merhi (Talons of the Eagle) saw him and thought, "well, Matthias is busy, so let's get that guy."

 Whatever really happened (but secretly, it was that), Wolf Larson's Warbeck is the glue that keeps Expect No Mercy together. Not to demean Merhi or Billy Blanks, but a movie is only as good as its villain, and this one could deliver his lines. I know, that's setting the bar awfully low, but the "banter" during the following car chase says more than I could ever dream of:

 Attaway to move up in the world, Wolf Larson. I'm not being sarcastic, even if it still sounds like I am. I am totally going to watch Tarzan and L.A. Heat some time very soon.

 Speaking of tenuous connections, I knew (but had forgotten) that Warbeck's number 2 bad guy in Expect No Mercy, Damian, was Anthony De Longis, who was in the next movie we watched. Before graduating to Virtual Arts Academy whip assassin, De Longis put on some heavy metal to play Blade in Masters of the Universe, a movie some people remember as being "that He-Man movie with Dolph Lundgren" but most don't remember at all.

 I was surprised at how many people keeping tabs on Bad Movie Night had never even heard of Masters of the Universe. As previously discussed, I lived through the 1980s and can actually remember when it came out, and also that I did not see it until it came out on home video. I think it was at a birthday party / sleep over and that we also maybe watched A Nightmare on Elm Street.

 Masters of the Universe deservedly has a reputation of "not being very good" and that's probably an understatement, but in no way is this shameless ripoff of Star Wars and Superman as bad as contemporaries like Howard the Duck or The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. You can actually watch Masters of the Universe and not feel embarrassed 90 minutes later. Hell, I can't even make that promise about watching Legend or Willow*.

 So Dolph Lundgren is He-Man, which it turns out is much sillier when someone in a movie says it than when a kid in the back yard does, but at the outset of the movie he is not the "Master of the Universe." Maybe his domain, at least as far as we know, but Skeletor (Frank "I'm in that movie with the robot" Langella) has moved out of Snake Mountain and into Castle Greyskull (it seems more appropriate - am I the only person here who thinks that?) and He-Man and Duncan (John "Major Dad" Cyper) and Teela (Chelsea "Flight Attendant in Commando" Field) run across Gwildor (Billy "Legend" Barty), who has a key that opens sparkly corridors to other worlds. Kind of like in Supergirl, if I remember at all (I don't).


 So they end up trapped in the throne room in a laser fight with Skeletor's stormtroopers and use the key to escape to Earth, which is presumably in the same universe as Eternia or the title would be misleading. (Gwildor implies that Earth is one "eon parsec" from Eternia, so you do the math on how close they are). Here they meed Courtney Cox, who was about to leave her middle-American small town life to dance on stage with Bruce Springsteen in New Jersey until He-Man and company get tangled up with her soon to be ex-boyfriend Kevin Corrigan (played inexplicably by Robert Duncan MacNeill and not Kevin Corrigan). They end up with the "key" that doubles as a bitchin' keyboard with what sounds like the music playing in every Carmike movie theater promo.

 I'm not sure how useful swords would be in a laser-based battlefield, but everybody seems to carry both so what the hell. Who am I to question Cannon Films or the production team of Golan / Globus and Edward R. Pressman? Only just now did I learn that the original shoot finished without an ending to the film and that (I'm guessing) the fight between He-Man and Skeletor (in gold armor) was finished months later. I wonder if that's when they decided to let James "Principle Strickland from Back to the Future" stay in Eternia with a bride we'd literally never met before in the film.

 Masters of the Universe works largely because of its combination of 80s cheese and dumb fantasy trappings, which by themselves don't always work, but when you can boast that you're the template for Beastmaster 2, it's not such a bad thing to be He-Man.

 And then our final movie was Shit Coffin.

 I tried mightily to get the crowd into the unnecessary but inevitable remake of Friday the 13th, which is,  by the way, not the worst Platinum Dunes cash-in on a familiar name (coughANightmareonElmStreetcough), but it was to no avail. They turned on it quickly, and the tone went from jolly to vicious. This is what I get for trying to talk people into watching the movie as Blogorium regular Dr. Atomic wanted (a parody of Friday the 13th films) instead of what it is (a soulless money-grab based on brand recognition). It didn't work, and I don't think anybody really enjoyed Shit Coffin.

 They enjoyed the explanation of why Cranpire renamed it "Shit Coffin" - there isn't one, but when you watch the movie it just seems appropriate - and to some degree the stunt casting of CW stars in major roles. But as a slasher film that repeatedly subverts even the barest minimum of your expectations? Nah, not so much.

 So Shit Coffin is, it turns out, just a Shit Coffin. I'm glad that I didn't show them Shit Coffin 2 (the considerably less watchable Nightmare on Elm Street remake) or take everybody to see the violent but otherwise pointless Evil Dead remake.

 Oh, did I not mention that I watched Evil Dead? Huh. Must have skipped my mind. Well, maybe I can sneak in a review of that before I get back int the alphabetical mayhem. It would be appropriate, considering what "O" is for...

 At any rate, despite a rather underwhelming finish, I had a great time with Bad Movie Night and I hope everybody else did, too. It seemed like spirits were high, and nobody had to drink Hobo Bug Juice this year!

 Now I just have to figure out what I want to do next year.... Hrmmm.... Supergirl...

* "Did the Cap'n just make fun of Willow? Someone decree a Nerd Fatwa** on the Blogorium!"
** Also, I know what fatwa actually means, so if you need to do that by all means be my guest.

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