I’m Not Into Politics. I’m Into Survival: The Running Man (1987)

It is time for our annual Stephen King film:

I’m not into politics. I’m into survival.

So I promised back in January that I would review this film as it takes place in 2019 and inspired this year’s Dystopian theme. Plus I love this movie.

I know lots of people don’t care for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I love his films. I just can’t enough of the puns and the comebacks and of course action.

So when Rob Cohen purchased the rights to the Richard Bachman novella “The Running Man”, he had no idea that Bachman was actually a pseudonym for Stephen King. I didn’t know it was a Stephen King film either, until a few years back I was trying to pick a Stephen King film and it came up when I googled him.

Huh?

I know I was in shock too, it didn’t seem like the other stuff he made. So without further ado, it’s time to start… RUNNING!

So it is the film starts off in 2018-the economy of the world has collapsed due to a lack of resources and they are all ruled by a totalitarian government that controls everyone through TV.

The people are kept in line with anyone who steps out gets sent to prison, or worse to be on the TV show, The Running Man. “Runners”, the prisoners, have to compete in gladiator-type battles against “Stalkers” who all have a theme character and weapons-kind of like wrestlers.

Does this remind you of anything? Like:

Or maybe:

Yes, it is very similar but lots of Dystopian films/books share similar things. The nice thing is that while all of these are similar-there are enough differences that you aren’t feeling like you are watching/reading something that was regurgitated.

So our story begins with Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a captain of the militarized police force and is sent into Bakersfield to stop a revolt. When he does get there, he finds no dangerous revolutionaries, but just hungry people-women and children.

Dispatcher: Proceed with plan alpha. Eliminate anything moving.

Ben Richards: I said the crowd is unarmed. There are a lot of women and children down there. All they want is food for God’s sake!

Dispatcher: As you were, Richards. Proceed with plan alpha. All rioters must be eliminated.

Ben Richards: The hell with you. I will not fire on helpless people. Abort mission. We return back to base.

But the others open fire and kill all, and who do they blame? Ben of course-naming him “The Butcher of Bakersfield”. This scene always made me think of Fahrenheit 451 when they have to find a scapegoat.

He is dubbed “The Butcher of Bakersfield” and sent to prison where he serves 18 months.

He and few other prisoners work on a plan and manage to break out and get free from the electric collars. Ben heads to L.A. to find his brother. Instead he finds Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso), TV show jingle writer, residing in his brother’s apartment as he has been taken away for “reeducation”.

This is so 1984, they have to “reeducate” the troublemakers-really torture ad brainwash them.

Ben ties Amber up and investigates her apartment, taking money, her flight pass, and booking a flight to Hawaii. He wants Amber to come with as they will be looking for a single man, but she refuses. He won’t take no for an answer and convinces her by picking up the machine he strapped her to and threatening her.

This reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps when Richard Hannay gets framed for murder and team’s up with Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), an unwilling accomplice. She hates him and fights with him, but discovers he is telling the truth and falls in love with him.

They get caught in the airport, and Ben is sent back to prison. There he is offered to be on the show The Running Man by the owner, Damon Killian, instead of rotting in prison. He is amazed by Ben’s survival skills and knows he will be a GIANT HIT.

Unfortunately, Killian doesn’t know what we do-it’s a bad idea to go after Ben. Ben refuses until they threaten to send his compatriots from the prison escape to the show. He agrees, but then finds out that Killian lied and they are all going on the show.

Gosh, I love how cooly he delivers that.

Meanwhile, Amber is like Pamela (from The 39 Steps), and starting to wonder if maybe Ben told her the truth. She goes into the files of ICS (The Running Man station and government) to see what the original recordings were. She discovers Ben is telling the truth but is caught.

So how the game works is that they are in a abandoned area of Los Angeles and have to go through multiple levels and fight different “stalkers”. If they defeat a stalker, they progress to the next level-although many don’t ever do that. Only a few even make it to the very end and win.

The first one Ben has to fight is Sub-Zero:

I love Arnold’s quips and his delivery of them. LOL.

Now that I have sen Logan’s Run, like Ben and Amber are just a more hardcore version of Logan and Jessica.

They move to the next level and are joined by Amber, who has been found and thrown into the ring. One of Ben’s friends, the hacker, knows he can get into the system if he just gets a chance. He gives the uplink code to Amber to memorize.

Then then have to face Buzzsaw:

Ouch!

They then fight Dynamo:

But Richards doesn’t kill him. It is interesting why he chooses to spare his life and not the others? Maybe because he isn’t defending himself, but it would be “murder” in his eyes. Maybe because he realizes they are all stuck in this life, all prisoners running in the hamster wheel of life created by the government?

They then head to the final level, Fireball. There they discover that the winning Runners didn’t win after all. They were killed! Just like in Logan’s Run!

They defeat Fireball and then Ben threatens Killian-I love this:

Killian is at a loss, Ben cannot win. He is inciting people to rebellion. There is only one thing left to do-bring Captain Freedom out of retirement.

Captain Freedom doesn’t want to fight and lose and Killian needs him to win so they decide to lie. They bring in stunt doubles of Ben and Amber to fight and lose-just like on Fahrenheit 451

” They know they can hold their audience only so long. The show’s got to have a snap ending, quick!” –Fahrenheit 451

Meanwhile the resistance has made it to the games and busted Ben and Amber out. Ben’s friends have been killed in the game, but luckily the hacker shared the uplink code with Amber. They come up with a plan to hack the system, reveal the truth, and destroy Killian and the others.

I don’t do requests, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

In the end Killian is killed, the truth is revealed, Ben is a hero, and all ends well.

I really enjoy this film, but I think they could have focused more on deeper themes, but the director they had was let go a week before production and new one brought in. Knowing that, I’m surprised it was good as it was.

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Stephen King, go to Ever Heard of the Tommyknockers?: The Tommyknockers (1993)

For more Arnold Schwarzenegger, go to Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

For more dystopian future films, go to Tonight Has Been the Birth of the Planet of the Apes: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

That Face-I’ve Seen Her Before…: Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1997)

Let Me Call You SweetheartMaryHggonsClark

That face-I’ve seen her before…

Let Me Call You Sweetheart is based on a book of the same name by Mary Higgins Clark. So first let me say that this is a made-for-Tv film. As you know those can go one of two ways, either they are pretty good:

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Or they suck.

This film suck!

This film suck!

This movie is in between. It was pretty good and entertaining, but had a few sluggish and not as well done moments.

So I first came upon this movie by accident. I was working on 2014’s 30 Days of Disney, Songs to Get Over a Heartbreak Series, or Horrorfest III; and while I was working on that I was watching films and TV shows on my phone.

Ren Stevens: What? Honey, you're chased by six mutants, and you just decided to take a shower?

After I would watch one film I would look over the recommended list, and check one of those out too. One such film that I saw was this one. Its mystery was very intriguing that at times I had to stop my other work as I was too distracted.

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Afterwards I found the book in a library book sale and took it home to read.

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Clark’s book is way better than the film as they cut out key characters and even creepier moments, but if you haven’t read the story then the film is good. It only pales when you have the full version. But let’s get on to the review.

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Let Me Call You SweetheartMaryHggonsClark

So the film starts with Kerry McGrath, assistant attorney general, running late to an appointment at the plastic surgeon. Her daughter, Robin, was recently injured in a car crash when she was visiting her father and he forgot to check her seat belt. Kerry has disliked her ex-husband, Bob Kinellen, ever since he decided to trade in his wife and daughter for the the boss’s daughter (a much younger model); and this little accident has helped heal that.

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Robin’s face was badly scratched, but they’ve been seeing a genius doctor, Dr. Charles Smith, who is phenomenal at plastic surgery.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

While waiting for her daughter, as Dr. Smith always makes them wait and then goes over the appointment time, Kerry sees a familiar face.

Hi!

Hi!

But she can’t figure out where she saw this face.

Hmm...

Hmm…

She checks the sign-in list and spots the name Barbara Tompkins. Unfortunately, it doesn’t ring any bells.

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Kerry goes over that evening to spend time with her “adopted parents”, state senator Jonathan Hoover and his wife Grace, that is a couple she befriended in college when she was away from her family. They having no children, adopted her right back.

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Jonathan has used his influence to get Kerry an appointment for judgeship and all she has to do is await until the decision is made.

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The face is still bothering Kerry, and the next time she takes Robin to her doctor she sees her again. But this time the woman is a Pamela Worth.

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What is going on? This is getting stranger and stranger. Why would the doctor give two people the exact same face?

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Later at work she is focused on another case, when one of her coworkers get roses delivered. Then it hits her…

OMG gasp

The Sweetheart case was why the woman looked so familiar. She looks just like Susan Reardon.

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Susan Reardon was a beautiful woman who had men fawning over her everywhere she goes. Everyone loved her and how she looked, well except for one person.

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Ten years ago Susan Reardon was found murdered in her home, a bunch of sweetheart roses scattered about giving the case the name. Her father was a key witness, giving information about the fights Susan had with her husband Skip, and painting him as evil, controlling, and abusive.

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Susan was known to be dating other men, which upset Skip. It was an easy open and shut case.

Done and done.

Done and done.

Kerry can’t get over the fact that Susan’s father created two women to be in her mirror image. She starts wondering if there is more to this case.

Gilmore girls creep

However, most people are not very happy with Kerry’s involvement. The attorney general Frank Green, Kerry’s boss, used that case to lock him in his job and now he is trying to move up to mayor. If it turns out he imprisoned the wrong person he can kiss that good-bye.

This is bad

This is bad

Bob, Kerry’s ex, is currently defending James “Jimmy” Weeks. He is a dangerous man known to deal with mobsters. He doesn’t like Kerry investigating as he had a relationship with Susan. He tells Bob that Kerry needs to stop or else she and Robin might have injuries no doctor can fix.

OMG gasp

As Kerry starts investigating, she finds one person who is happy to see her on his side, Geoff Dorso, Skip Reardon’s lawyer.

Geoff came on the case after the trial as he thought everything was done completely wrong. First there were a lot of inconsistencies in the story. Dr. Smith painted Skip as a horribly violent man but no one else ever saw or could confirm it.

Something is not right!

Something is not right!

Skip said that he left a message on the machine, being his alibi, but when the police checked the house the message was stolen. There was also a frame with Susan’s picture in it and a piece of jewelry; both never recovered.

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Skip also shares the relationship between Susan and her father. He was controlling, and obsessed with her and her beauty.

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Kerry is unsure if she wants to pursue the case as it is sure to kiss her appointment  as a judge good-bye, but then something happens that changes everything. She discovers that Susan didn’t look that beautiful all her life. She was average and not very attractive. It wasn’t until after she left her mom and stepdads for her dad that she “became” this beautiful swan. The fact that her father operated on her is weird, but add that to the fact that he has been stalking his patients that he recreated to look like his dead daughter.

That is not right!

That is not right!

Then Kerry is sent threatening notes and Robin is almost attacked, just managing to get away in time.

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This has really opened a can of worms and cemented for Kerry that Skip isn’t the killer. But if he isn’t, who is?

suspicious Hmm

Now it would be wrong for me to reveal the end if you haven’t read book or seen the film. I figured it out, but even so I thought it was extremely well written and that the final reveal was a true pleasure. You should definitely check this one out for yourself.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to The Mad Killer: Dial 1119 (1950)

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For more films based on books, go to We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

For more mysteries, go to A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)

I’m Going Down the Tubes: Making the Grade (1984)

Most Romantic Moment #5

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Making the Grade (1984)

So this was a movie I came upon when I read a countdown list on best back-to-school films. I saw that it starred Judd Nelson and I was very intrigued, as I love Judd Nelson. I have to say that on a whole I thought this movie was okay. Judd Nelson was awesome and hot as always.

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I mean I love him in The Breakfast Club, but you can’t go wrong with a well-dressed man.

However, I didn’t like his friends as I felt they were just using him to a) defend them, b) make them popular, and c) to pick his brain about how to date and interact with girls. I ABSOLUTELY hated the girl who becomes his girlfriend. She was a rich snob and horrible girl, who was trying to be more accepting of the lower classes, as she is dating a man who has “new money”. Gross. What a jerk.

Anyways, so let me get to the synopsis. Palmer (Dana Olsen), is a lazy, rich boy. He’s been kicked out of over 7 schools, yes 7, and finds himself at his father’s limit. If he doesn’t finish college this year, than no trust fund, no allowance, no anything; he’ll be forced to get a real job.

Eddie is living on the street, and trying to make ends meet. He owes a bookie a ton of money and has no way to pay it back. He flees for his life and runs into Palmer and his problem. Palmer agrees to pay all of Eddie’s expenses and a $10,000 bonus if he pretends to be Palmer and graduates for him.

Now Eddie isn’t exactly the Ralph Lauren type. He actually does great academically, but the “upper crust” social skills are nothing like he’s used to. However, everyone but the prep trio; Bif, Skip, and Bland; enjoys the changes he starts making as he shakes the campus up.

Eddie falls for the daughter of the school founders, Tracey Hoover (Joanna Lee), and begins trying to romance her away from Bif, fascinating her with his breakdancing and “normal everyday” person attitude.

Problems arise when Dice, the bookie, tracks Eddie down and tells him that he’ll have to pay all his winnings to him. Muffy, Palmer’s girlfriend, keeps showing up and causing issues with Tracey. Palmer himself comes back from Europe, and chills on campus, his partying and attitude causing issues for Eddie. Bif tries to destroy Eddie and Tracey’s romance and the headmaster tries to kick Eddie out. To top it off, Eddie finds himself becoming a mega-preppie jerk and losing who he is.

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*************Most Romantic Moment*************

So about halfway through the movie Eddie and Tracey have been dating and are a thing. Muffy comes traipsing by and causes Tracey to become jealous. Muffy thinks Eddie is “Bif” Palmer’s friend and keeps coming to visit Palmer, finding herself hanging out with “Bif”. After Palmer comes back and dumps Muffy, she goes to see “Bif” and ask him for help. Unfortunately, at that same time Tracey has arrived with a silver platter of food (I guess rich people’s version of a picnic? I’m not sure), and sees Eddie and Muffy walking off together. Bif comes up to Tracey and insinuates that Eddie and Muffy have been hanging out a lot and doing more than that. Tracey storms off, determined to never speak to Eddie again.

Eddie of course, has no idea why Tracey won’t talk to him anymore, as he keeps calling her and calling her. He decides to go on the offensive and and delivers tons of flowers, of all different types. But that doesn’t work.

Eddie then goes to plan B.

MakingtheGrade

He sends her a TV with his picture and the words “I’m going down the tubes without you”. Isn’t that adorable!!!! I just find it incredibly cute and original. I mean it’s no holding the boom box over the head by John Cusack, but it is still incredibly amazing. I just love it! It may not be what most people consider romantic, but this has got to be the best “sorry” ever.

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part III, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

For the previous post, go to Short But Sweet: Up (2009)

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For more of the ’80s, go to In Love With the ’80s (Pink Tux to the Prom)

For more on Judd Nelson, go to When Everything is Going Your Way

But the Book, It Will Never Close…: Along Came a Spider (2001)

along came a spider

“They say that when I die, the case will die. They say it will be like a book I close. But the book, it will never close…”

So this is a film that I have been wanting to see for a really long time and finally was able to. It is on Amazon Instant Watch currently, so I would totally suggest checking it out if you have that.

Pay Attention

Check it out

So this film was an amazing thriller. I have to say that I thought I had everything figured out, but in the end I was really thrown by James Patterson.

keanu Whoa

So the film is based on the book of the same name, and is the first of the Alex Cross detective series.

So the film starts off with Alex Cross, played by the amazing Morgan Freeman, trying to take down a serial rapist and killer. His partner, Tracie, is currently undercover and trying to see if Jim Galloway, the guy they’ve been tailing, is their supposed guy. Everything is running smoothly, until Galloway discovers that Tracie is a cop. He then tries to hurt her, causing her to hit him, the car to spin out of control, and go over the Virginia Falls.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Alex is brokenhearted.

right in the feels broken heart

Fast forward a year. Here we have little Megan Rose, a senator’s daughter, who is going to school. It seems to be just an average until…but its not. It is very different as her Charles Lindbergh obsessed computer science teacher, Mr. Soneji, kidnaps her.

Along came a spider

The secret service who watches the kids of political parents discover the kidnapping and go looking for her, calling in the FBI.

Meanwhile, Alex Cross is watching news on TV when he receives a phone call. It is the killer!

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Yes, just like When a Stranger Calls, the killer is interested in a game of cat and mouse. Soneji wants Alex to get involved in the case so that he can have the fame of not only outsmarting the detective but be widely written about in all the papers. He leaves Megan’s shoe in Alex’s mailbox, prompting him to immediately join the case. There he teams up with Jezzie, Megan’s security detail, to try and track this kidnapper down.

Along came a spider

Now I won’t say anymore, because I really do not want to give away the ending, it was so awesome. But I will leave you with reasons why I truly enjoyed this film.

1. Morgan Freeman

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Now you’re all probably think, no duh. (Am I right?) And sure it is a no brainer. Morgan Freeman is an absolutely wonderful actor and really connects to you in this role. You feel his pain when he loses his partner, the reluctance to take on a new one, and the drive he has to find this girl, no matter what the cost. He’s lovable, tough, no-nonsense, and the guy you pretty much wish you had backing you up.

I Will find you

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2. Megan Rose

Along came a spider

Megan is the little girl kidnapped and she’s no push over. This girl is pretty B.A. as she constantly comes up with ways to try and escape to get back to her parents. I love that she is not only super smart, but incredibly persistent stopping at nothing to gain her freedom.

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3. Twist Ending

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Now the ending is great, it was an amazing twist. It was one of those that when you each the end you see all the little hints that were headed your way and it all makes sense, vis a vis Perfect Stranger

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2001AlongCameASpider

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to Who’s Afraid of Cory Wolf?

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For more twist endings, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

For more “cat and mouse” type films, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more films based on a book, go to I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone.

For more on kidnapping, go to That Darn Cat!

You Will Die in Seven Days: The Ring (2002)

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“You will die in seven days…”

So many of you might remember the post I did a year ago on Ringu, the original Japanese film. I had watched Ringu because I had heard that it was far creepier and better version that the American one. However, I found that to be false, with The Ring being the creepier one of the two. This was mostly due to the actors, some story changes, and a better explanation of Samarra. But more than anything else, my own personal connection to the film (I’ll mention that at the end).

So I was home alone one night (my roommates were all out of town for the weekend) and decided that I would spend the night in watching films. I had spotted this at the library and decided that it was perfect film for the occasion. I decided that instead of watching it alone in the living room, I would watch it in my room with the lights off. You know, set the “creepy mood”.

Ren Stevens: What? Honey, you're chased by six mutants, and you just decided to take a shower?

So the story is pretty similar to the Japanese film. You have two girls who are talking about a cabin weekend that one of the girls, Katie, had gone to. Suddenly the topic of a cursed videotape comes up. If you watch this tape you will die in seven days. After her niece dies, the main character, Rachel (Naomi Watts) starts tracking down what caused her death and gets caught up in a supernatural mystery. (For more info check out Ringu or watch the film).

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So what made this film much creepier than the original? Let’s get started.

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1. Lighting/Set Design

I’m not sure where the story takes place but it is always raining and gloomy. Plus the camera crew gave the whole movie this blue tint when filming which also adds to the creepiness/horror film feel to it.

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2. The Kid

In the first film Yoshi wasn’t really in the film that much. He had the nightmares and could hear his cousin “calling” to him, but that was mostly it. He watches the video, which leads his mother to try even harder to discover how to stop it. He then gets dropped off at his grandfather’s house for a bit and we don’t see him until the end of the film.

In the remake this kid is SUPER CREEPY

Gilmore girls creep

He’s kinda like Cole from The Sixth Sense, that is if Cole wasn’t a cutie. I mean this kid is an uber creep as he only talks in monotone, and doesn’t act like a kid at all-more like a 30 year old man. To top it off he even draws strange murderous pictures. Horrifying.

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AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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3) The Video

So The Ring came out four years after Ringu and had much better special effects, not gonna lie about that. And the video was much more creepy in this film. Freaky, emphasis on the FREAK.

ring-2002 TV

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4. Samara/Background Explanation

So in the original film we don’t get a full background on her. We find out that a professor was looking into studies of mental telepathy and other things like that. He found a woman that has this ability and the two end up having a child that for some reason is more powerful, and CRAZY! The main character’s ex-husband also just happens to have this ability. That’s it. That’s all we get.

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How does it pass down? Why does the husband have it? Is that why they got a divorce? Why was the girl so much stronger? Why did she kill all the horses?

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In the remake they give her a weirder background that explains her murderous tendencies. She was almost drowned as a baby, taken away from her family, and then put into social services. She has a history of trying to get attention/be the center of attention. She was adopted by a couple that really wanted kids but she was unlike anything they had ever seen. She started to develop these powers that freaked out her parents as she was getting into their minds.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She goes to a psychiatric hospital and is questioned and treated, causing her to react as a kid would with anger. She kills her doctor and gets sent back home to the horse ranch.

To prevent her from harming anyone, they put her up in the barn away from everyone else with only a TV set. This makes her very angry.

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She gets very jealous and kills all the horses by making them go insane. To her adoptive mother, Anna, those were her children. She loved them and cared for them. She has a complete mental breakdown and gets sent to a sanatarium. After she is released the family goes to the mountains and she kills Samarra by throwing her down a well, and them committing suicide herself.

It may be strange, but explains things a whole lot more than the original. Plus it is very creepy.

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So personal connection.

As I mentioned earlier, I was home alone. I had 5 housemates; 3 were staying the night at their boyfriends house and 2 had gone home to see her parents. My actual roommate had gone home to see her parents and wasn’t coming back until the next day. Instead of chilling in the living room, I took my food into my bedroom, along with the film.

Ren Stevens: What? Honey, you're chased by six mutants, and you just decided to take a shower?

So I was watching the film and had just gotten to the part when Rachel has watched the tape and received the call that in seven days she will die. Just as she has hung up her phone, my phone rings!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I pause the film and reach for the phone, shakily saying hello as its ringing scared the bejeezus out of me.

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It was just my sister. She had an idea for something and wanted to bounce it off me.

Phew!

Phew!

So I go back to watching the film. As I reach the part when Samarra comes out of the TV

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My door starts to open.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So let me explain campus security. The dorms I was living in were like townhouses. They had 4 bedrooms-2 singles & 2 doubles. Every student was given an ID card that held campus money, allowed us to check out books, go into the rec center & dining hall, and most importantly our rooms. We had two doors to the dorms that were set to only accept the cards of the people of the house. Besides running your card through the slot (like a debit card) each member of the house had a unique four-digit number to gain access. A card wasn’t enough, you had to use your code as well. Plus the code had to match the card or else you were out of luck.

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To make that even more impressive, every room was encoded to only accept the occupant’s card. My roommate and I were the only ones who could into my room, unless someone had one of our cards. (The codes were only for the front & back doors.)

So you can see why I was freaked out. Everyone had made plans to be gone, defintely be gone. But yet here was my door opening and someone or something entering.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It being really dark and the fact that the rooms were L-shaped (therefore making it hard to see “who” was exactly coming in through the door) didn’t help that much.

Of course, as I’m sure you all have figured out by now it was just my roommate. It turns out she had changed her mind and decided to come home early.

This experience made the film much more exciting, although anything that happened in the film afterward that last scare was pretty anti-climatic.

So It was a pretty great film and I suggest you check it out.

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And I’m not just trying to pass it off to save myself from being killed. LOL

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to You Think You Know Something, Do You?

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For more on Ringu, go to That Video…Is Not of This World

For more on real life mimicking horror films, go to Krueger Town 

For more evil children, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows

For more on remakes, go to Let Them Fight

For more films that spanned sequels, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?

For more on Supernatural, go to I’m Batman!

What is This Thing?: Phantoms (1998)

Just what is this thing? Chaos, chaos in the flesh.

Phantoms is a 1998 film that is based on the book by Dean Koontz. The story is very creepy, and I was surprised at how well the film was done. I thought it was going to be done in a very stupid, silly way; but it was the essence of creepiness. The only thing I didn’t care for was Liev Schreiber, I felt that he didn’t portray the character very well in the beginning. I wouldn’t have chosen Rose McGowan either, but she did surprisingly well. I loved Ben Affleck as the sexy Sheriff and love interest. I love Ben Affleck though, I mean who doesn’t? They changed the film from the book, as expected, but the changes do not destroy the film, thank goodness. If you’d like to watch the film go here. So the film starts out with Dr. Jennifer Pailey bringing her trouble-making sister Lisa to live with her. They are hoping the change of scenery will help straighten her out as she was involved with gang members in Los Angelas.

I want to go back to LA

When they reach the town, it is empty. Like really empty. There is no one out and about even though they are in a ski town, in the middle of winter with great snow.

Gilmore girls creep

They continue on home. When Jennifer gets there she finds her housekeeper dead. All the life had been sucked out of her and she looks burned.

[Note: Pic from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms not Phantoms

[Note: Pic from The Giant Behemoth not Phantoms]

OMG

The girls are widely freaked and decided to head to the sheriff’s. But there is one problem, their car won’t work.

Oh no!

Oh no!

The girls hurry on to the sheriff’s office where they find a deputy, burned and blackened. He appears to have shot his gun at something, but they don’t find any traces of it, except shells. Dr. Jennifer grabs a gun and the two run off to the bakery, as it is getting dark and they are really freaked out. They head to the baker’s, running quickly as they hear sounds as if someone is following them. When they get there the oven goes off revealing severed heads!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

The girls are completely grossed out and confused when the Sheriff (who ex-FBI) finds them.

Hello Sexy!

Hello Sexy!

With him are his two deputies Steve Shanning (Nicky Katt) and Stuart Wargle (Liev Shreiber) have come to investigate. They decide the best thing to do is go to the sheriff’s department, and just when they do every single horn, siren, whistle, bell, etc. goes off and then suddenly stops. The only lights left on are down on the Candleglow Inn up the street.

What the

They check it out and see that only four guests are registered. The Sheriff and Stu go upstairs, while the girls stay behind with deputy Steve.

While the sheriff is upstairs he goes into a room and starts looking through an opening in a closet. When he does he sees a vision of a young boy with a gun, which disappers. You see when the Sheriff was FBI he accidentally shot a boy, which made him quit and turn to small town life.

Aw! Look at his face. :(

Aw! Look at his face. 😦

Stu goes in the other room and finds a beautiful, dead woman. He sits next to her and puts his hand up her leg…

ew! Gross Yuck

What a perv!

Certified Creepo Ribbon

Then the Sheriff walks in. He lets it go, even though he is severely grossed out as he knows what Stu was doing, but he needs every man he can get as he has no idea what the situation is.

The Sheriff has Stu watch the hall as he continues checking things out. Stu comes on to Lisa who tells him flat out no, she is not digging that.

I don't think so

Dr. Jennifer joins the Sheriff and they discover that a bathroom locked from the inside (that has no other windows or doors) is empty, with something written on the mirror in lipstick. The writing says “Dr. Timothy Flyte–The Ancient Enemy“.

Phantoms Timothy Flyte Ancient Enemy mirror Note

 

The two have no idea who Dr. Flyte is but intend on finding out.  In another empty room they find a bunch of metal objects like jewelry, buttons, watches, gold teeth, a pacemaker, etc.; concluding that this thing, whatever it is strips a person completely of everything, if it chooses.

EW!

EW!

They go back into the lobby to regroup and figure out their next step. But then they suddenly hear a woman crying out “Help me!” and Deputy Steve rushes out to save her. The Sheriff follows him, but when he gets outside all that is left of Steve is his shoes and a gun.

What the

They head back to the Sheriff’s office and put the dead deputy in a body bag. They then call for help–military, Dr. Flyte, anybody, but the line was so bad they don’t know whether or not it went through.

AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!

AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! [Note: from When a Stranger Calls not Phantoms]

Bryce and Stu go through the dept. and pull out all their ammunition getting ready for–whatever the thing is that is trying to attack them. The lights go out and the creature takes on a Alien/The Thing (1982) feel. The next thing you know, Stu is dead.

victim

Too be honest, good riddance. He was a creep and I didn’t like him.

IDon'tTrustHimGreatGatsby

They also put Stu in a body bag and wait out the night.

We then switch to another part of the country- Dr. Flyte. Dr. Flyte (Peter O’Toole) is a tabloid worker in New York City. He used to a professor at Oxford, but they let him go as they felt his writings were “too silly”.

Phantoms Swine Peter O' Toole

 

Two FBI agents ask him to go to the small, winter, town of Snowfield to help solve what the “thing” is.

Back in Snowfield the three survivors are trying to figure out what to do next. Lisa tries to take a nap while the Sheriff tells Dr. Jen about how the monster called up the incident with the young boy. The two are interrupted when Lisa asks the Sherif to walk with her to the bathroom. He checks it and finds it clear. Lisa begins to smoke when she hears a squealing noise coming out of the drain.

Psycho-Shower

She checks out the bathroom stalls (much like Scream) and finds the Deputy Stu there!

im-back

 

Scream-Casey-Becker-drew-barrymore-31896958-2560-1088

In the book the “Phantom thing” was more like the Blob from The Blob (1958); although it could take on the shape of other things, or create small phantom pieces of itself. In the film, however, the “Phantom” embodies the form of Stu, which is understandable from a filmmaker point of view. It doesn’t copying The Blob at all, as I mentioned earlier copying The Thing. Just like The Thing, the “phantom” takes on the appearance of something. This wasn’t a horrible decision as I bet it was easier to film. They also did a lot of blackout or limited lighting when the creature was in its true form, which allowed it to remain creepy as your imagination creates it. The director of It (1990)  should have used the same technique, it would have been a better film.

I didn’t really care for Liev Schreiber, and thought he could have been much creepier. Instead he just comes off as a pervert. This film has actually ruined him for me in all other films. When I watch Kate & LeopoldScream, Scream 2, Scream 3, Lee Daniel’s the Butler, or X-Men Origins: Wolverine; I keep expecting him to do something perverted to all the women.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Anyways, back to the story. So the Sheriff goes into the bathroom and can’t find anything. They go down to check the body bags, but both are empty.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile Dr. Flyte is on route to Snowfield with military General Leland Copperfield, some mobile labs, an armored strike van, etc–all ready to take on whatever the “thing” is. They ask Dr. Flyte about “the Ancient Enemy”. Dr. Flyte explains that there were creatures, he calls “Ancient Enemy” who are amoeboid shapeshifters. This Ancient Enemy rarely feeds, but when it does, the effects are devastating and it was theorized that the Enemy either caused or aided in the extinction of the dinosaurs, the destruction of the Mayan civilizationRoanoke disappearance, the missing army of Nanking, China in 1939, etc. And the town appears to have been built on the home of one of these “Ancient Enemies”.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

The group arrives to Snowfield and the three survivors come to meet the army. The next thing you know, “the thing” has taken out almost the whole team using its shape-shifting qualities and the pipes/sewers. Now these scenes are pretty intense. I was watching them and screaming and my roommates were all, are you ok? I highly recommend watching this film.

General Copperfield is last of the military to be killed; as a pair of oily black tentacles seeps up through the pavement, penetrates his hazmat suit, and smothers him.

[Note: From The Mist]

[Note: From The Mist]

This leaves Dr. Flyte, Sheriff Bryce, Jenny, and Lisa as the remaining survivors..

He’s dead but the “Phantom” uses his body as a mouthpiece and begins speaking to the crowd.

 “My Flesh. Study it. Write the gospel. But do not try to leave. Witnesses to the Miracle.”

Phantoms

The body then falls to the ground and an oily black substance comes out along with a gecko, of which the group is supposed to get a sample of. Dr. Flyte begins to analyze the sample, coming to the conclusion it has lived in the depths of the earth for eons, growing to immense size, and absorbing knowledge from its prey. It can separate off parts of Itself to send as drones, warriors, phantoms, etc.–having them assume the shapes of anything or anyone It has absorbed; even of people or monsters from memories and dreams.With these, It has manipulated Bryce, Jenny, and Lisa into bringing Dr. Flyte here, to be Its prophet, and to write Its gospel. For It has begun to think of Itself as God–or the Devil. Indestructible. All-Powerful. Immortal. Unstoppable.

This is bad. Very bad.

This is bad. Very bad.

Dr. Flyte’s analysis reveals that It is similar to oil and if they are able to make the same kind of bacteria that eats away at oil spills, they may just have a chance at stopping it. They create cultures and prepare for the final battle.

Dr. Flyte goes out and calls to the creature.

Fantomy_Phantoms_1998_1266246010-25163.jpg

He tells It that he needs to see all of it in order to write Its “gospel”. He says that the others are creating a weapon against It, that they don’t believe in It like he does. It appears first as a single person, but then becomes all 400 residents of the town, merging and melding into one swirling mass, which resolves Itself into an immense, hideous, upright millipede.

The Sheriff, Jenny and Lisa run and fire the guns loaded with the bacteria culture  into It. This causes It to scream.  Jenny and Lisa run for shelter into the nearby deputy’s office, to reload their guns but are pursued by a drone of Deputy Stu.

Deputy Wargle: Oh, you've got some guns, ladies, you wouldn't shoot an unarmed man, would you? [both women cock shotguns and point them at him] Deputy Wargle: That's a dumb question.

Deputy Wargle: Oh, you’ve got some guns, ladies, you wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man, would you? [both women cock shotguns and point them at him] That’s a dumb question.

They empty their shotguns into him, knocking him down, and blowing away huge chunks of his legs and arms. Tentacles shoot out of his arm and leg stumps. The girls run away and and he follows, but is killed by Dr. Jen as she shoots him with the last of the culture.

The bigger entity is falling apart and the Sheriff follows the last of It down into the sewer, finding him face to face with the boy that he killed. He hesitates, and while he does so, a tentacle shoots out of the boy’s mouth, and knocks him down. His gun with the culture is stolen by It. It pulls the vials out and starts taunting the Sheriff. In response to It’s mockings the Sheriff pulls out his gun and shoots the vials, causing the bacteria to spread all over.

Hello Sexy!

With one final ear-shattering scream It is gone, and Bryce makes his way back to the others. As a helicopter arrives to rescue them, Dr. Flyte announces to the others that the Entity has won after all: It wanted him to tell the world, and that’s just what he’s going to do. Everything seems to end well, or well enough. Dr. Flyte has his story and will win back his prestige; Sheriff Bryce  is no longer traumatized about killing the boy; Dr. Jen and Sheriff Bryce have found each other; and Lisa and Dr. Jen have bonded. Sounds as perfect an ending you can get for a horror film.

TheEnd_Title_2

Uh, uh uh. Not quite yet!

We switch to a scene in a bar where Dr. Flyte is in TV talking about It and how it may still be out there waiting. One of the guys in the bar turns to his companion and says its a lot of hooey. A strange laugh is heard and at the end of the bar is Deputy Stu Wrangle, showing that It is still alive.

dun-dun-duuuun

So it really was a good film, and I’m telling you the scenes with the creature are super creepy!!! You’ll love them if you love scary movies!

phantoms-

So unlike the other facebook cover pages I have made (and you should have guessed by now that practically every post has one) I made two for this one as the first one wasn’t working out right. Here’s the second one for those of you interested.

1998_phantoms-

Comment below which you think is better!

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to Unleash the Savage Instincts That Lie Hidden Within

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For more monster movies, go to Let Them Fight

For more films based on books, go tA Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more on Rose McGowan, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more on Ben Affleck, go to Pot o’ Gold

I’ll Be Back: The Terminator (1984)

Terminator1984movieposter

I’ll be back!

So The Terminator is one of the best Horror-ScFi films ever! It is also one of the best Sci-fi films ever! It is one of the best ’80s films ever! It is one of the best Arnold Schwarzenegger films ever! It is one of my all-time favorote films!

love it

I think it is incredibly awesome! Did you know the initial draft for the movie was sold to James Cameron’s wife, Gale Anne Hurd for the price of $1 only.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

So the film starts off in May 12, 1984 (We just celebrated it’s 30th anniversary. That’s why I had to review it) with two beings from the year 2029  (we have 15 years left! I’m going to be alive then, woah!!!) Anyways, one is the Terminator T-800 Model 101, the cyborg assassin who is there to hunt down Sarah Connor and take her out before she can get pregnant and give birth to the father of the future resistance and the only threat to computer control. I just love this opening scene as you see how BA and hardcore the Terminator is.

Arnold Schwarzenegger originally wanted to play Kyle Reese. But James Cameron had a different idea and saw Schwarzenegger in the title role of The Terminator. After all as Cameron told Schwarzenegger, “This movie is not about the hero. It’s about The Terminator”. Just like Barney said:

The second person is Kyle Reese, sent by Sarah’s son to protect her. I love this actor as I just think he is so cute! And its funny, because everything I see him in I always think of him as Kyle Reese.

Anyways, so as Reese is tracking him down, the Terminator is looking for Sarah. He starts going through the telephone book and just mowing down every Sarah he runs into.

Arnold Schwarzenegger worked with guns everyday for a month to prepare for the role; the first two weeks of filming he practiced weapons stripping and reassembly blindfolded until the motions were automatic, like a machine. He spent hours at the shooting range, practicing with different weapons without blinking or looking at them when reloading or cocking; he also had to be ambidextrous. He practiced different moves up to 50 times.

keanu Whoa

Meanwhile, Sarah is unknowingly is going on with her normal life. She makes plans to go out to the club, while her friend is going to hang out at home with her boyfriend. When Sarah’s out she sees a news report on the TV about Sarah Conner’s being murdered and calls her friend at home to warn her. Unfortunately, she’s just missed her. She has already been terminated.

Couldn't resist

I know, i know

The Terminator hears her message and tracks her down there. Before he can kill her, Reese makes it in time and knocks the Terminator down.

Back off bot!

Back off bot!

Of course he hasn’t actually killed him, as that is extremely hard to do, but he has managed to buy him and Sarah enough time to take off.

As the two are driving off, Kyle tells Sarah about the future. In the year 2015 (NEXT YEAR!!!), Skynet, a computer defense system, will become self aware and begin a nuclear war against the humans. Sarah’s unborn son, John, is the one who will lead the rebellion against the machines and is the only chance for humankind. With the resistance on the verge of victory, Skynet sent a terminator back. A Terminator is a being with a metal endoskeleton covered  by a layer of living tissue, so that he looks more humanlike and harder to determine as cyborg.

terminator_wallpapers_hd_2014

Sarah is so freaked out that she doesn’t know how to make heads or tails of the whole issue. She doesn’t have very much time, as the Terminator has caught up with them and is chasing them down in a truck. Their two cars crash and the police show up.

The Terminator goes off to heal himself, and it is an uber crazy scene!

They take Reese into custody as they think that he purposely killed a man (the Terminator). They interrogate him, but think that he is crazy as they cannot find any proof that the Terminator exists. While Sarah is making a statement, we have one of the best and most quoted scenes of all time. 🙂

The Terminator: I’ll be back.”–The Terminator (1984)

Terminator

boomerangterminator

 

Sorry about that. I’m back on track now. So While the Terminator marches in and starts killing all sorts of people, Kyle and Sarah escape.

They flee to a cheap motel where Sarah questions Kyle more about why he was picked to go on this dangerous mission as he can never return home. Reese tells her he volunteered. John had a picture of her and Kyle fell in love looking at it and hearing about her. He didn’t care if he couldn’t go back as it was worth it to be with her. Sarah is touched by his words and the two have sex.

Look at that hunky man

Look at that hunky man

The next day Reese takes off to get supplies and leaves Sarah alone in the motel. She calls her mom to let her know she is okay. That would be great…except that her mom is already dead and the woman she is talking to is actually the Terminator mimicking the voice. Than Sarah does the stupidest thing, she gives her “mom” the phone number of the place she is at. Why would you do that when there is a killer on the loose Sarah? Why? You know he already knows who you and is hunting you down.Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

So Kyle comes back and teaches Sarah everything she needs to know about creating her own weapons out of common products. While the two are having this sweet scene, the Terminator has tracked them down. Luckily, the dog belonging to the motel’s owner starts barking, warning Reese.

hear that?

The two get involved in a second car chase in which Kyle throws pipe bombs at the Terminator to try and stop him. Reese is wounded and the momentarily stop the Terminator, burning off all his flesh.

terminator-endo-skeleton

He chases the two into a nearby factory. This part is pretty cool, as Sarah takes control of the situation, giving us a preview to how BA she will be in the sequel.

Reese attacks the Terminator, but realizes he doesn’t have much time left, as he’s wounded too bad. He stuffs a bomb into the Terminator’s stomach, the explosion killing Reese and severely injuroing the Terminator. It continues to try and take Sarah down, who leads it to a hydraulic press and crushes it. The only thing that survives is an arm.

terminator

Sarah is later taken out of the factory by an ambulance as Kyle’s body is taken away and buried.

Months later a pregnant Sarah is traveling through Mexico and is recording audio tapes for John when he’s older. This is where we are introduced to the amazing Terminator paradox. John is 20 years older than his father. Sarah is like 45 years older than her child’s father. Plus John has to care for Kyle Reese and make sure he survives until he can send him back or else he won’t be born. Crazy! Makes your head spin.

keanu Whoa

And if you want the really abbreviated version, go to 30 Second Bunnies

Now even though I absolutely love this movie, I will say that How It Should Have Ended did a pretty good job.

1984_the-terminator

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

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For more on The Terminator, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more on Linda Hamilton, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows

For more cyborgs, go to In Their Proper Place

For more on a resistance group, go to Na-Na-Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)

For more on ’80s films, go to The Anniversary of Its Formation

For more films that spanned sequels, go to Just Follow the Screams

For more on How I Met Your Mother, go to Fashionably Postworthy