Archive for the ‘Possessed Children’ Category

The Omen (remake)

Sunday, June 11th, 2006

omen-3.jpgWhy do people re-make movies? Sometimes it is to further explore topics in the original, or to expound on missing elements. Sometimes they re-make them to turn an abstract foreign film into something Americans can understand. Sometimes they just do it because they can. I have a sneaking suspicion that The Omen got re-made because this year boasts the only 6/6/06 until the next millennium, and somebody had to commercially exploit that fact!

Basically, the re-make was pretty much like the original as I remember it. I love Liev Schreiber. Let me just say that he is always awesome in movies, this one included. Julia Stiles was slightly less stilted and wooden than usual, and Mia Farrow was properly creepy as the nanny of Satan, although she totally doesn’t look strong enough to wield a sledgehammer, even with Lucifer’s help. The kid who played Damien has a great sullen, eye-narrowing evil look of mistrust that I’m sure he can use to irritate his parents for the rest of his life. The cast seemed great, so what was wrong with this movie?

Truthfully, I’m not sure. I enjoyed it, but the whole time I had this nagging feeling that it sucked. Maybe I’m naturally distrustful of remakes. Maybe I just thought it was kind of pointless to remake a movie when you don’t add anything to it. Maybe I wanted something less commercial and more heartfelt to usher in what was supposed to be Armageddon on that Tuesday, June 6th. I *wanted* to be scared shitless. Instead, I get the some updated info on the End of Days in the form of a PowerPoint presentation given to the Pope, complete with pictures of 9/11 (raining fire), hurricane Katrina (floods), the Challenger blowing up (star falling from the sky) etc. It wasn’t scary at all– it was just the kind of thing that every kid starts digging up in Jr. high when he starts listening to inordinate amounts of KISS and Black Sabbath.

Alas, this movie will not give me nightmares. Quite the contrary, Liev Schrieber is pretty dreamy in this as the Loving Husband and Dutiful Dad. Do you really think he would stab his own kid in the heart with a rusty metal dagger, even if the kid makes all the gorillas at the zoo freak out? I don’t, but Mr. Schreiber actually makes his sudden change of heart about the whole thing believable. I mean, with pollution, corruption, war, inequality and everything else in the world that sucks, sometimes you just want to believe that it will be a pre-ordained force beyond our control that will wipe out the earth. I wish I could have been convinced as well.Omen.jpg

The Bad Seed

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Nancy Kelly, Patricia McCormack

This is perhaps the grandpappy of all Possessed Kid flicks. Little Rhoda Penmark is a classic sociopath whose only goal in life is to win the kindergarten penmanship award. When the award is given to another child, she embarks upon a spree of killing set to the tune of Au Claire de la Lune. The pigtails fly as Rhoda systematically bumps off anyone who even looks at her funny, while her mother wrings her hands and assumes various expressions of sullen disbelief.

This is one of the movies that kicked off our whole cheese obsession. Anyone unmoved by Patricia McCormack’s performance as the perkily evil Rhoda is completely without emotion, or a healthy sense of irony. And, unlike many cheap horror films of its time, the plot is fast-paced enough to keep your attention.

“Oh, mommy, you’re such a dear sweet mommy.” The amateur dramatics, combined with empty, badly lit studio sets and high-contrast black and white stock make this film very creepy indeed.

Dolly Dearest

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Haaarghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Starring: Denise Crosby, Sam Bottoms, Rip Torn, Chris Demetral, Candace Hutson, Ed Gale

Marilyn and Eliot Read (the radiant Denise Crosby and the unfortunately named Sam Bottoms) are two rich American yuppies who move to Mexico with their two adorable offspring to buy a doll factory. This doll factory is going to be Eliot’s ticket to the big time. Unfortunately, Eliot doesn’t think to actually scope out the factory before he signs the title– uh oh! It looks like the factory is built next to a Satanic Indian Burial Mound. No wonder it was so cheap.

Doctor Karl Resnick (the redundantly named Rip Torn) is an archaeologist studying the indigenous people of the area. This particular tribe of ancient Indians worshipped a “Spirit of Evil,” i.e. Satan himself. Through their devout worshipping, they managed to conceive and deliver a child of pure evil, a baby born with the head of a goat. This particular tomb might be the burial place of this child! Of course, Dr Resnick doesn’t actually believe any of this Satanic stuff; he just wants to investigate for purely scientific reasons. He and his boy-toy Luis set off for archaeological adventure.

Soon after moving in, The Read’s daughter Jessica (Candace “Baby Jane” Hutson) starts acting strangely. Why is she spending so much time with her Dolly? Dolly (voiced over by Ed Gale) is Jessica’s only friend, and they’re inseparable. Conveniently enough, there’s a creepy child-size dollhouse in the backyard, where Dolly and Jessica can go to be alone. What are they doing back there? Listening to Ani DiFranco records and exploring their sexuality? Quietly drawing pictures of goat-headed babies in their coloring books? Jessica’s nanny Camilla knows that something is up– she’s a devout Catholic, and she can feel an evil presence in the house…

Meanwhile, Jessica’s big brother Jimmy (the pharmaceutically named Chris Demetral) won’t leave the ancient burial mound alone– he’s convinced there’s something in there. Dr Resnick doesn’t really want him hanging around, but he can’t get rid of him. And after all, Jimmy is skinny enough to crawl through the ancient passageway and unlock the door of the inner tomb…

Soon, Camilla is found dead in the cellar and strange things start to happen. Marilyn is convinced that something is wrong with the child, but no one will believe her. Who could possibly separate such a sweet child from her beloved Dolly? Finally, in desperation, Marilyn goes to Camilla’s sister the nun for advice. Yes, the nun agrees, Jessica is definitely possessed by the spirit of the Great Lord of Darkness aka Baalzebub. But there’s nothing that she can do about it now. “Listen!” screams Marilyn, “I am not losing my daughter to some goddamn nine-hundred-year-old goat head!”

It turns out that Dolly isn’t the only one possessed by Satan around here– in fact, all the dolls in the factory have turned into murderous, evil creatures bent on destruction and terror! They already did a number on Hector, the night watchman, felling him fatally with a single stab wound to the thigh. Hector collapses in a fit of nipple-pinching agony (this part was really, really weird.) Now Eliot and Dr Resnick go to the factory to see what can be done, but the Dollies are waiting for them with murderous intent. They tie Eliot to a bit of clothesline and try to dump him in the plastic-mixing vat. What can possibly save him now? Will a series of cinematic explosions rid the world of this ancient evil?

OK… maybe I’m not evil enough to fully understand the motives of the Dark One, but if you were Satan, and you’d possessed a doll factory, wouldn’t you wait until the dolls were shipped all over the world before commencing your reign of terror? I mean, what good is one little village in Mexico when there are F.A.O. Schwartz stores all over the world? Just a thought.

All in all, though, this was a fine example of slasher-pic cheese. I love the way that Dolly ends all her sentences with a hoarse growl, e.g. “Oh, goody! We’re going for a ride! Harrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” And Denise Crosby’s portrayal of a plucky mom who thinks her child is possessed by Satan is right on the money. Maybe she should consider doing made-for-TV dramas. I can see it now: “Not Without My Crucifix: The True Story of Baby Jessica.” Somebody call Lifetime Television!

The Rage: Carrie II

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Emily Bergl, Jesse Ryan, Amy Irving

What can I say? I thought the slasher type horror film genre was dead! It’s not, it’s just mutated a little bit. In this film, there was only one gory death scene, and it occurs near the end. It’s worthy of your worst Friday the 13th annoying anxiety dream, though (I won’t say nightmare, because it’s really not that scary). Anyway, this is the story of Carrie’s (you saw that film, right?) half-sister, Rachel (Bergl.) Her mother is in a loony bin, and she’s being raised by a mean foster family who is only in it for the money they get for her upkeep. Rachel is your typical angst-ridden outcast teenager with one exception- she’s telekinetic. That is, she can cause harpoons to fly through glass doors and emasculate boorish high school jocks without even lifting a finger- the stuff most teens just dream about!

Amy Irving returns in this film as Sue Snell, Carrie’s high school peer, all grown up and a guidance counselor now. As Rachel’s counselor, she wants to help her by sending her to a place where she can learn to use her powers for good instead of evil (i.e. trashing her high school prom, which at my high school would have been a public service venture!) She also presents the opportunity to see many flashbacks of the original Carrie movie. She explains it all to Rachel as they visit the ruins of the former Carrie-Ravaged high school. It’s been 23 years since the fateful Carrie I event…you’d think they would have cleaned up the charred mess by now. You’d think.

Meanwhile, Rachel and a high school jock fall in love. It looks like there might be a happy ending after all… but no, this is a “horror” film, so we have to have the Big Chopping Scene in the end where the mean stuck up high school kids spend a great deal of effort to humiliate her, and then everyone dies. Alas, just when we thought perhaps the ending will be happy–maybe the misfortune that plagued Carrie will skip over Rachel! No, that wouldn’t fit the formula. Instead, Rachel wigs out, causing her tattoo of a rose to grow a thorny vine all around her body, in a bizarre cheese-laden symbolic manner. The very end confused me. Is it supposed to be a good thing that Rachel’s ghost is hanging around the former high school jock’s college dorm? Or are we just getting ready for Carrie III: Beyond the Grave?

The Journey of Natty Gann

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Meredith Salenger, John Cusack, Ray Wise, Lainie Kazan, Scatman Cruthers

This movie was actually pretty good. I mean, Natty (Salenger) is a butt-kickin’ young lady who has a way with animals. She is independent, and doesn’t take crap from anyone, yet she’s kind-hearted; loving animals, her dad, and Harry (Cusack) a fellow traveler. However, despite all of this, Disney still works its cheesy heartstring-pulling magic into this film. There are a couple of cute dogs for natty to commune with, and the very Disneyesque quest of a girl trying overcoming adversity to reunite with her father. Ah, family values.

The cheesiness lies simply in the Disney predictability of it all, and the gratuitous use of animals for cuteness value. It starts in during the Depression. Natty Gann is a 13-year old tomboy who lives with her unemployed father in a boarding house in a neighborhood where people live in the sort of noble, romantically grimy poverty that only Disney can portray. Why does Natty dress like a boy? Doe she have issues with her gender identity? We never gain insight into her soul. We only know that she can fight like a boy, swear like a boy (but this being a Disney flick, we only hear the “S” word and the “G-D” phrase a couple of times), and generally be a little feminist without uttering a single slogan or giving a single speech.

Natty’s father leaves her in the care of Connie (Lainie Kazan), the loud-mouthed greedy Stereotypically Disney-mean owner of the boarding house, while he takes a job as a logger in Washington State. Naturally, there’s a locket involved. People are always leaving kids lockets with pictures of their now-dead selves inside, so they’ll have something to gaze at longingly when the plot loses steam. With her new locket and her puppy, Natty ties bed sheets together and escapes from the room where Connie has locked her. She inexplicably ties her puppy up in a barn, hops a boxcar, and embarks upon a journey of self-discovery.

Along the way, Natty befriends Harry, (Cusack,) a fellow boxcar jumper with dreams of finding work in California. She also tames a vicious wolf who has been mistreated at the hands of cruel owners. She also encounters suspicious farmers, a disfigured blacksmith who loves animals, and does time in an Oliver-esque orphanage.

All in all, The acting is really good, Meredith Salenger is rally good, and who can resist John Cusack? And this was the sort of feel-good family picture that I like. Its cheesiness works to its advantage in this case. It was the kind of movie that made me want to start a new vocation. Forget typing and answering phones! I want to hop boxcars for a living!

The Nanny

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Bette Davis, Wendy Craig, Jill Bennett, William Dix

It’s not exactly a Mean Mother Movie, because it’s the Nanny, not the mother who is mean (the mother is just irritating.) But I think that Mean Caregivers are a nice subcategory of the Mean Mother genre. This is the tale of the torment of one caregiver’s psyche manifesting itself in her conscious. But we won’t find that out until later.

“Nanny” (Bette Davis) has devoted her life to caring for Virgie (Craig) and her sister Pen (Bennett). Now they’re all grown up, and have kids and problems of their own. For example, Virgie spends much of her time being on the brink of a nervous breakdown, and Pen has heart trouble that causes her to fan herself and make weird gagging noises before dramatically taking pills that miraculously cure her fits before she even swallows them down. Virgie is married to the archetypal Husband- he’s the strong, silent type who mildly disapproves of everything, believes in harsh discipline, and is away on business a lot.

Virgie and Husband have a 12-year old son named Joey. Joey has been in reform school for two years for allegedly killing his little sister Susy. In school, Joey enjoys such antics as pretending to hang himself in order to startle the matron who looks after him. From the school’s headmaster, we learn that little Joey has “developed an irrational hatred of middle aged women.” Why is this? Does it have anything to do with the fact that Joey is a real brat to Nanny? Or is it more to do with the fact that his lower lip is now permanently stuck out in an act of perpetual defiance?

As the family re-adjusts to having Joey home, Joey gets more and more bratty. He won’t eat, and won’t sleep. He’s convinced that Nanny killed Susy, and is out to get him as well. He doesn’t actually tell anyone that Nanny is a homicidal maniac, he just continues to act out in his distrust by giving everyone attitude. As this poster-family of dysfunction slowly gets more and more at each others’ throats, even the sweet and loving Nanny begins to lose composure. She tries to poison Virgie and frame Joey. She also won’t hand Pen her pills when she’s having a heart problem, causing her to dramatically die, nicely curled up in bed.

So what really happened to Susy? I won’t reveal that anticlimactic tidbit. It turns out that all of Nanny’s bad deeds were a direct result of a powerful guilt that her subconscious is harboring. You see, Nanny has an illegitimate daughter whom she abandoned. The daughter just bled to death from a botched abortion, the attempt to purge Nanny’s illegitimate grandchild. It was the guilt that made her attempt to smother with a pillow, and then drown Joey… I probably would have just tried to smother him because he was a brat, but that’s another story… In any case, this film is full of gratuitous overacting, plot details that make you go “hmmm?” and corny dialogue. If you like tales of psychology gone awry, this is the one for you!

The Nanny

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
I caaaaaaaaaaaaaaahn’t!
Starring: Bette Davis, Wendy Craig, Jill Bennett, William Dix

Hm. As Scooter asked me while watching this film, “so, was Bette Davis ever young?” I think maybe she was… like in the nineteen-twenties. Bette stars as– what? a creepy old lady?! No way!!!

OK, the main players here include:

Nanny, the creepy old lady who moves around robotically and refuses to inflect no matter how upset she gets. Bette’s voice in the movie kind of reminded me of the Texas Instruments TI99/4A, a talking computer that I thought was way cool when I was in third grade.

Joey, a troubled youth. He’s been sent away to live at a school for toffee-nosed little British snotheads somewhere in the country. He gets to yell at things a lot. Joey hates the Nanny, which causes much hand-wringing and looks of staunch British shock from his family.

Susy, a dead baby.

Virgie, (?! Is her middle name Mary?) the mom. She doesn’t know why, but she’s absolutely dreading Joey’s return from boarding school. Every fiber of her being is chock full of dread and misgiving. She simply can’t accompany her husband to the school to pick him up. “I caaaahn’t!” she wails. “I caaahn’t I caaahn’t I caaaaaaaaaaaahn’t!”

and Aunt Pet, (She has a sister named Vic and another named CBM) Virgie’s hypochondriac sister with a heart condition, who lives in perpetual threat of sudden, plot-twisting expiration.

So back to Susy, the dead baby. She drowned in her bathwater some time ago for mysterious reasons. (She had to die– she was too cute!) Everyone thinks that Joey accidentally pushed her into the bath, which is why he has such a chip on his shoulder. But we know better! Why does Joey refuse to eat anything that Nanny prepares for him? Why does he bolt the door whenever he takes a bath? Why does Virgie suddenly become ill on the night that Joey’s dad is called away unexpectedly to business in India? Why are all the members of Joey’s family so hideously unattractive? Only Joey knows the secrets!

But who could suspect poor old lovable Nanny, with her fake English accent, of so heinous a crime? After all, she was also Pet and Virgie’s dear old Nanny before she was Joey’s. And with those rosy cheeks and darling sunken eyes… she’s the very model of innocence!

I won’t give away the surprise ending! I caaaaaahn’t! In fact, I’m still not clear as to whether there was an ending… the film did end, I remember that. This is one that will tax the limits of your imagination!

The Electric Eskimo

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

This is a film that I remember seeing at the tender age of maybe seven or eight which has left an indelible mark upon my psyche. It is the story of a hapless Eskimo boy who, upon being struck by lightning, develops super-electrical powers, for which the government pursues and oppresses him. His is only refuge is a kindly grandmother and two spunky grandkids who help him to escape.

I have never seen this movie on tape or heard another living being mention it, which leads me to believe I either imagined it, or it is so good that they had to lock it up in a vault somewhere. If you know anything about this long-lost treasure, please contact me immediately!

Escape to Witch Mountain

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

“Tony! Do you hear the dogs?” This was an often repeated phrase amongst my peers and I, as we were forced to sit in the gym and watch this film every time it was too wet to play on the playground.

“Escape to Witch Mountain” is about two perfectly blonde children who are orphans. They have interesting psychokinetic powers, such as being able to predict the future by playing the harmonica, and levitating crayons to make them draw a pictures on the wall. They escape from the orphanage and attempt to find their real home. Meanwhile, a bad guy wants to hold them prisoner in his toy-filled mansion to use their psychic powers for evil or something.

Watch Tia and Tony befriend hopeless cases such as mean guys and hermits and narrowly escape an exciting chase scene by making a Winnebago fly.

Freaky Friday

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Jodie Foster, Barbara Harris

It’s hard to make fun of Jodie Foster, even when she’s playing a 35 year old housewife trapped in the body of a thirteen year old. She’s just too good! That having been said, Freaky Friday is another gem of cheesy brilliance from the think tank that gave us The Watcher in the Woods and Escape to Witch Mountain.

Annabel Andrews and her mom, the aptly named Mrs. Andrews (that’s how she’s listed in the credits– I think her name was Ellen) start off as seemingly innocuous members of a typically homogenous white suburban family. After graphically illustrating how tough it is to be a kid, how tough it is to be a mom, etc. Annabel and Mrs. Andrews find themselves wishing they could “be you for a day–” simultaneously. Their wish is granted when the audience starts seeing double and ghost images of the two merge on the screen.

Now “Annabel” (who is really her mom) and “Mrs. Andrews” get to have all sorts of fun impersonating each other. Mrs. Andrews discovers the horrors of jr. high (by becoming a geek who’s no good at field hockey but knows all about the Korean conflict) while Annabel burns dinner, breaks the washing machine, wrecks the car, and botches other housewifely tasks. Annabel (as her mother) also interacts with the movie’s token love interest, Boris, the painfully ectomorphic neighbor boy.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone smoke cigarettes in a Disney flick before. That was sort of thrilling. Disney also dabbles in a little feminist sentiment as Annabel and Mrs. Andrews come to the conclusion that Mr. Andrews is an overbearing chauvinist pig who makes them sing and dance in the interests of his big advertising account. But just when you’re all geared up for divorce, custody arrangements, child support payments, and the silent threat of alcoholism– everybody gets happy again.

Freaky Friday is probably a little too self-consciously wacky to really pick on, but it’s great if you (like me) read the book when you were thirteen. It’s also great fun to watch Disney recycle the same seven or eight tired 70’s pseudo-stars in yet another film. This film also stars the remarkable Sparky Marcus as Annabel’s little brother, Ape Face. The fantastic Sparky Marcus also starred in Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and had a cameo on the Bob Newhart Show. Actually, he’s not really that remarkable, but I think he has a killer name.

The Good Son

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Macauley Culkin, Elijah Wood

Macauley Culkin and Elijah Wood star in this thriller about murder and family values. Macauley kills (or tries to kill) all of his siblings, and Elijah tries to stop him. Now which one was the Good Son? Probably half of the Culkin children make some sort of appearance in this film, watch for them! Particularly the framed photo of the dead son in the bathtub with a rubber duckie that’s on the piano. Hmm, the dead son died in the bathtub, is this a morbid picture to have on your piano, or what?

This film is a must for anyone who’s fantasized about deleting pesky younger siblings, but not acted because such annoying forces as morality and the law got in the way.

It Takes Two

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Kirsty Alley, Steve Guttenburg, Olson Twins

Who could resist a film starring Kirsty Alley, Steve Guttenburg AND the Olson Twins? You know you can’t, so read on.

A poor orphan girl goes to a summer camp across the lawn from where a rich girl lives. But wait! These girls turn out to be “Identical twin strangers!” In a parable of self-discovery, these girls try to pair up the poor twin’s equally poor foster mother with the rich twin’s lonely rich dad. The “twins” switch places, and hilarity ensues.

Sound like the “Parent Trap” yet? The major difference is, since the girls are played by actual twins, we don’t get the fun of seeing Hayley Mills hug stunt doubles and do singing numbers with herself.

Little Darlings

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Kristy McNichol, Tatum O’Neal

A girl from the side of the tracks (Kristy McNichol) meets a pampered rich girl (Tatum O’Neal) at summer camp. Sounds like “The Parent Trap”, right? That’s why I rented this flick. Unfortunately, there were no singing numbers, as this film quickly becomes a race to see which of the two girls will lose her virginity first. Now the film becomes more like the “Kids” of 1981, a semi-gritty look at what teenagers’ lives are really like.

Since the camp is not co-ed, the girls must look elsewhere for the winner of their maidenhood. Kristy McNichol meets Matt Dillon on a school bus stealing excursion. Tatum O’Neal falls for her archery coach. Watch for the, um, ironic surprise ending.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Jodie Foster

This early Jodie Foster flick is the embodiment of all my adolescent dreams.

Jodie’s genius dad dies of natural causes, but decides to wander off and cast himself in the ocean, rather than die at home. He leaves Jodie with a wad of cash and a house in the country that’s paid off for the next three years, allowing her to live alone and teach herself Hebrew in her spare time.

Immediately Jodie’s lush mother reappears after a lifetime of abuse and neglect, and Jodie unwittingly poisons her (as per her father’s written instructions.) Jodie sprinkles her mother with Fruit Fresh and dumps her in the basement.

But the fun’s not over yet, as Jodie’s Cruella DeVille-esque landlady sticks her nose in where it’s not wanted. Soon Jodie has a basement full of corpses and a polio-stricken magician boyfriend. Any movie featuring precocious teens who murder adults scores a 10 in my book. There’s even a performance by the oh-so-slimy Martin Sheen as the landlady’s pedophile son. This is a peach of a film which teaches us the importance of family values.

Pet Sematary

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne, Dale Midkiff

This movie wasn’t actually about a pet sematary, which I found sort of annoying. I pictured zombie cats and goldfish coming back to attack people, but what I got was much worse. No, I never read the book, and no, I never plan to. In fact, I’ve never read any of Stephen King’s books, but I keep thinking maybe I should. I know people from the lowliest trailer dwellers to the snobbiest Ivy League nerds who worship the books of this Cheesemeister, and I was almost tempted to fork over the $8.00 library fine I owe to see what the mystique was.

I didn’t bother. After seeing Pet Sematary, the mystique was lost. Denise Crosby’s hair is pleasantly monotone in this cheese fest of fondue-swimming-pool proportions. It begins as the happy Creed family move to a sleepy little New England house, which for some reason has Spanish moss growing around it. There is a mysterious path leading into the woods, and Jud (Fred Gwynne, aka Herman Munster,) the friendly elderly neighbor, eventually shows them what’s down there- the Pet Sematary. Why is it spelled wrong? Who knows? It doesn’t figure into the plot much anyway. We do find out that the road between Jud’s and the Creeds’ houses is very, very busy. The same big tanker truck whizzes by at all hours of the night. The Pet Sematary is for the roadkill victims of the trucks.

Ellie, the whiny little girl has a cat named Church, (short for Winston Churchill) that she loves. Eventually, poor Church ends up a road pizza on Jud’s lawn. Jud shows Louis, the Dad (Dale Midkiff) an Indian burial ground, beyond the Pet Sematary, which Victor, the Bloody Ghost warned him not to go to. Victor is a road accident victim that Louis tried to save. Being dead, and therefore an expert on all things pertaining to the supernatural, he shows up a lot and warns people of danger. Anyway, Jud and Louis bury Church, and the next day…poof! He’s back! But he isn’t the same little kitty. He’s much meaner.

Gage, the Creeds’ toddler son, gets the same treatment when he, too, is flattened by a truck. Now, Gage was the 171st most popular boy’s name in America in 1998, and it’s all due to this movie. Why anyone would want to name a baby after a reanimated dead kid is beyond me, but anyway… Gage isn’t the same adorable toddler when resurrected. He enjoys the taste of flesh and has a lot of fun with daddy’s scalpel. He runs around brandishing the scalpel with an evil scowl- it’s priceless.

Anyway, Louis thinks Gage went bad because he was dead too long before he was resurrected. Rachel (his wife) has only been dead a few minutes, will she be the same again? What do you think? Will she kick butt all over her dead sister whom she never liked? That figures into the plot. When she was a little girl, Rachel’s sister Zelda (actually played by Andrew Hubatsek?!?) was dying of Bad Special Effects, oops I mean, spinal meningitis. She died while Rachel was left alone with her. But the sad thing was, Rachel wanted her to die. Because of this small subplot, Zelda is going to come back from the dead to get even.

This film is full of bad special effects, cheesy acting and just overall badness. You’ll be really annoyed at the little girl, especially, who has whining down to a science. I actually found myself rooting for the homicidal Gage, who goes after the bland caricatures of his parents. Don’t miss Steve himself in a cameo appearance as a preacher. Nope, Stephen is actually a worse actor than the little girl. At least the little girl has some oomph!

Solarbabies

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Jason Patric, Jami Gertz

How could I resist “spectacular sci-fi action and adventure on blazing skates?!” The Solarbabies are “the far-off future’s spunkiest group of roller-skating rowdies!”

It’s the year 41 (you know, the year 41 in the far-off future) and the Earth is a post-apocalyptic desert starved of water. The few survivors of the human race live a meager existence under the Protectorate, a kind of generically evil world dominating bad guy government thing.

The aforementioned spunky Solarbabies live in a prison camp / orphanage run by the evil Protectorate. When they’re not busily engaged in manual labor or other activities designed to crush their puny wills, they sneak out to the desert to play skateball against their arch enemies, the Scorpions. Skateball is kind of like a dumb version of Lacrosse played on roller skates by bad actors. The Scorpion’s coach is the evil Grock, leader of the E-Police, the Protectorate’s henchmen. He drives a little black dune buggy and wears a blue leather Nazi outfit.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the E-Police show up one night while the Solarbabies are playing skateball, they run into a mine shaft, find a mysterious glowing orb with psychic / magical powers, take it home, have it get stolen, and break out of the orphanage to find it, even though to escape means possible “surgical alteration” at the hands of the E-Police. They didn’t actually show anybody get surgically altered. I was bummed.

They actually sneak out of the orphanage because their Little Kid Mascot, Daniel, (played annoyingly by Lukas Haas) already went out looking for it, and they want to find him. The orb’s name is Bodi, and it has a special relationship to Daniel. It already cured him of deafness (“you’re not even wearing your electric ears!”) and made it rain in his bedroom. Anyway, they all set off across the desert, in search of Daniel, and then Bodi, encountering bad guys and secret tribes and all sorts of stuff along the way.

Eventually they must rescue Bodi from Grock and his Evil British Girlfriend, a mad scientist-type with shocking blue eyeshadow and a pointy white leather jumpsuit. They want to destroy the Orb because it’s going to save mankind, or something. I wasn’t too clear on that point. But you get to see the evil lady’s hands burst into flame, so who cares?!

Watch as the Solarbabies escape bad guys by roller skating over a canyon, or by rolling down a cliff in old tires. Drool as the Solarbabies don their red, white and blue skate outfits (the Scorpion’s outfits are skimpy black leatherette.) Thrill to big 80’s hairdo’s! “Say hello to Sparky” (my favorite quote) as the Solarbabies’ resident tech nerd, Metron, electrifies the staircase the bad guys are standing on! “Let it be squared fair,” as the leader of the Scorpions bickers over skateball rules with the Solarbabies’ leader! Any way, you can’t go wrong!

Young Sherlock Holmes

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Nicholas Rowe, Alan Cox

This movie gave me severe nightmares as an impressionable pre-adolescent. Upon viewing it now, in my jaded mid-20’s, I must say- it still gives me the creeps. I think it must be residual memories, though, because the movie is seriously cheesy in parts!

It’s the tale of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, in their teenage years. They get into a big adventure- someone is killing elderly gentleman on the streets of London. What is the connection? It turns out that a group of English entrepreneurs attempted to build a hotel in Egypt a number of years back. They desecrated a sacred tomb and really ticked off an Egyptian Death-Worshipping cult.

Anyway, the cult re-establishes itself in inner-city London, complete with shaved heads and elaborate rituals involving lots of chanting. Their weapon of choice is a blow gun, through which they fire drugged thorns at unsuspecting targets. The thorns cause their victims to have seriously bad trips, usually leading to killing themselves in weird ways (like one victim stabbed himself to death in the middle of an antique shop he was visiting). Verrry clever! It always looks like suicide, but Sherlock Holmes knows better!

There is also a cute romantic subplot- something you’d never see from the likes of Basil Rathbone. We find out why the Old Sherlock Holmes never married- he’s still pining for his girlfriend who died saving his life in this flick (sniff sniff). All in all, this was a very cute cheesy film. A good one for the budding youngsters who are just realizing the magic of the cheesy silver screen.

Return from Witch Mountain

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Bette Davis, Disney Kids

Tony and Tia are baaa-ack! The film starts as Uncle Benet unleashes the alien duo on an unsuspecting San Francisco, to learn more about the human race. What better way to educate fourteen-year-old kids than to dump them in the middle of a major city, alone! Anyway, it doesn’t take long for Tony to get abducted by Bette Davis, who just happens to be cruising around in her limo, looking for some alien kid with psychokinetic powers to exploit. Bette plays Letha Wedge, a sort of rich, Cruella Deville-wannabe, bent on World Domination! Except that she’s really, really whiney. She has a mad scientist cohort (played by somebody semi-famous whose name I forget) who has developed a mind control thing. They attach it to Tony’s head, and suddenly, they can use his powers of levitation for Evil! He is their slave! (Oh, I’m sorry. I mean his power to “control molecular flow.”)

This is really convenient for the kid who plays Tony, because his dialogue basically ends at this point. Now, all he has to do is stare at things in an intense, psychokinetic way, and let the Vast Power of Disney’s blue screen department control the molecular flow for him.

Meanwhile, Tia gets bored and joins a street gang. A cute street gang, not an icky one. First she wanders down a dark alley and gets mugged by some eight-year-olds, which is guess must be kind of like Dana Plateau or some other child star knocking over the 7-Eleven that you work at. Tia levitates some garbage cans into their punk asses and the kids are so impressed, they take her in as one of their own. Now Tia stresses over how to find Tony, although she totally abandoned him as soon as he got kidnapped. (Guilt, perhaps?) So she stumbles around having periodic psychic “impressions” of his whereabouts, while the street gang take frequent naps and do other “cute” things designed to endear them to parents.

The movie reaches its dramatic climax as Letha takes Tony to the museum to rob like, a billion gold bricks that are on display. Tia catches up with him and the two have a psychokinetic show-down, with wacky mayhem as only Disney can deliver! Plus you get to see Bette Davis jump up and down and look all upset.

Will Tia rescue Tony from the grip of Letha Wedge? I won’t give away the ending, but she does convince a goat to bust through a wooden door. The movie actually ends in an about-to-explode power plant, which makes it a disaster film and a kiddie pic all in one! We had to scour three different video stores just to find this one, so rent it if you can!

The Gnome Mobile

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Walter Brennan, Walter Brennan, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber

“The Gnome Mobile, The Gnome Mobile, rolling along in the Gnome Mobile!” I can just hear the song now. In fact, the song is so catchy it’s going to be rolling along in my head for the next several months. This is a charming tale of oppression, redemption, family values, random singing, environmentalism– basically, it’s all in here! Based on the book by Upton Sinclair, author of the Jungle -everyone’s favorite happy tale about Chicago’s meat packing industry, this film has all the fun without the preachiness of his more famous book.

D.J. (Walter Brennan,) the owner of a large timber conglomerate, must face past wrongs when his granddaughter Elizabeth (Karen Dotrice) makes friends with Jasper the Gnome. D.J.’s company has caused massive devastation to the gnome population in this certain area, leaving just Jasper and his ailing Grandpa (Walter Brennan) left. Alas, Grandpa has lost his will to live because there are no females left for Jasper to reproduce with! The Gnome population is doomed! Luckily, D.J. has a heart of gold, and uses his extensive knowledge of Leprechauns back in the Old Country to find out the problem. He turns his old Rolls Royce into the Gnome Mobile: a transportation vessel for gnomes to seek out new worlds and civilizations! And he, Elizabeth, and her brother Rodney (Matthew Garber in his final performance before his drug overdose in 1977) set out to forego an Important Business Meeting to help the gnomes repopulate.

Unfortunately, Horatio Claxton (Sean McClory,) the sleazy owner of a Freakshow, wants to capture the gnomes for his show. Plus, D.J.’s right-hand-man thinks D.J. has lost it, and tries to have him committed. This provides the opportunity for hilarious car chases. Don’t miss the happy, sexist ending, involving crazed, leaping, scantily clad female gnomes. This film features many cheesy special effects- especially when it comes to the gnomes themselves. Because of union laws, Disney had to actually cast real people rather than gnomes to star in this film. Unfortunately, humans are much larger than gnomes, so special props were needed. Don’t miss the scenes of Elizabeth talking to the gnomes that use a giant nodding blonde head. If you like good old fashioned family fun, and gratuitous use of the blue screen, this is one not to be missed!

Firestarter

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Heather Locklear

This is the saga of Charlie (Barrymore) and her father (Keith) vs. “The Shop.” Several years ago, Andy and his wife Vicki (Locklear) participated in a study in which a government agency known as “The Shop” injected them with a substance known only as “Lot 6.” It turned out that it made them clairvoyant and telekinetic. They had a daughter, and when she gets mad, her hair starts blowing up and she causes things to catch on fire. Pretty cool, right? The Shop decides that these people are dangerous, and succeeds in killing poor Vicki. After that, Charlie and Andy are desperate, broke, and on the run. Andy uses his telekinetic powers to get the change out of pay phones to pay their way. Unfortunaltey, using his telekinesis is really taxing, physically, and is causing brain hemhorrages, which give him nosebleeds.

This film is so brilliantly cheesy you won’t want to miss it! When The Shop finally succeed in capturing Charlie and Andy, they lock them in lovely Mary Poppins type room in an old southern plantation, and try to lull them into a false sense of security, by making them play ColecoVision video games. Plus, there are many evil bad guys to boost the cheese factor even higher. Definitely a must-see for the connoisseur of fine cheese! Another great one from Cheesemeister Stephen King!