Showing posts with label Dennis Hopper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dennis Hopper. Show all posts

Thursday, September 11, 2014

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986)

"Dog will hunt!  Dog will hunt!"

The police never caught the Sawyer clan after the killings in the original film, so now over a decade later we're told the killings have been happening off and on ever since.  Alright, whatever, that seems kinda unbelievable but I'll go with it.  TCM2 opens with with a slaughter being caught on audio tape due to a call-in radio show.  The uncle (Dennis Hopper) of Sally and Franklin Hardesty from TCM uses the tape as a way to locate the Sawyer clan's hideout and unleash some righteous vengeance.

Following up on the greatest horror movie of all time is no easy task.  So, I'm guessing, Tobe Hooper decided to go the way-over-the-top route instead of trying to make a serious film.  Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that well.  Whether that's due to studio interference, MPAA interference, shortcomings of the filmmakers themselves, other factors or maybe all of the above, who knows, but TCM2 definitely could have been better.  Not that it's a bad film, it's still very enjoyable and filled with numerous memorable lines, balls out quirky performances (Bill Moseley and Jim Siedow), gore, solid camerawork, impressive special effects (especially the Grandpa makeup effects) and that radio station scare scene...holy fook!

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 is rough around the edges and the ending scene looks to be altered from the original version I remember on VHS, but it does add some interesting insight into the Sawyer family history.  Required viewing for any horror fan.

"It's a dog-eat-dog world and from where I sit there just ain't enough damn dogs!"

Part 1 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Part 3 -Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III
Remake/sequel - Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
Reboot 1 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Reboot prequel - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
Reboot sequel to original - Texas Chainsaw 3D

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES (1955)

This is one of the best remakes I've ever seen.  The original HIGH SIERRA is a great film, but I think this retelling of the same story might even be better!  Jack Palance plays the Bogart role as a tough gangster with a noble soul who's sprung from prison by his old friend and mob boss (Lon Chaney Jr.) who wants him to pull a heist on a private resort's safety deposit boxes.  Along the way he falls in love with a crippled woman who's just using him for his money.  Added to his problems is the crew of amateurs hired to help him.  One of them even brought a dame!  And to make matters even worse the dame falls for him. 

Being made 14 years later the subject matter is a little more mature and fleshed out than the original and it helps a lot.  Jack Palance and Shelley Winters' performances were so good that I'm surprised that they weren't both nominated for an Academy Awards but then again 1955 was a really good year for the movies....MISTER ROBERTS didn't even win!

Beautiful color photography, faithful retelling of the story, interesting camera angles/movements, cute dog, very strong supporting cast and quick glimpse of a young Dennis Hopper!  Excellent movie that deserves a much wider audience.  Check it out.

Original - High Sierra
Remake 1 -Colorado Territory

Friday, January 18, 2013

THE STORY OF MANKIND (1957)

In 1957 humans invent the "Super H-Bomb" sixty years ahead of time, so now the "High Tribunal of Outer Space" must convene to decide whether humans are worth keeping around or should we just be allowed to blow ourselves up.  Taking the side of the humans in this pathetic court room drama is poor Ronald Colman as The Spirit of Man.  On the other side is dapper Vincent Price (probably the only actor to get out of this disaster unscathed) as The Devil a.k.a. "Mr. Scratch".  Both sides present evidence for their case.  The Spirit of Man spouts off moralistic soliloquies about Joan of Arc, Moses, Shakespeare, early Christians, Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Isaac Newton and reads from the Bible (vomit!) while The Devil makes a much more convincing argument by showing Nero, Hitler, Cleopatra, Khufu, Attila the Hun and talking about stuff like genocide, slavery and the Salem Witch Trials.  Good thing he didn't mention AX 'EM or we'd all be dead right now.  Anyway, as expected, the High Tribunal of Outer Space's final decision is a total cop out complete with a "Is This The End?" flashing across the screen in giant red letters.

As much of a train wreck as all that sounds it's actually more dull than anything else.  The historical events are all short with background sets that look like they were just slapped together with stuff found laying around the studio, there's a bunch of mysterious stock footage (even though I think the burning train came from DODGE CITY) and the actors all look pretty embarrassed.

Worth a watch for the curiosity value, but I'd be much more interested in reading about how this misguided turd ever got green-lighted in the first place?  Also what was the budget and did it make any money at all?  What did audiences and critics back in 1957 think?  I've done some searching but about all I can find is a write-up in the book "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time" where they quote Newsweek as saying "...some of the weirdest casting ever committed".  A 44-year-old Hedy Lamarr as 19-year-old Joan of Arc or Harpo Marx as Sir Isaac Newton...yeah, I agree.
"The Great Clock of Outer Space"