Matt Goes To The Movies 2013

Matt Goes to the Movies Logo

In 2012 I didn’t get to the movie theater as much as I wanted, and while I saw a few films on the big screen like Amazing Spider-Man, Dark Knight Rises, The Expendables 2 and The Avengers, to name a few. I missed many more that I wanted to see, so that’s why in 2013 I decided it was time to see some films, and along side brave friends like Josh Weinberg, Juliet Fromholt, Jeremy Hoyt and Steve Alexander, I made a trip every week to The Rave/Cineamark at the outdoor mall The Greene to watch films and bring you my thoughts and ratings for my # 1 film of the year and more. This year was filled with fairy tale films, super hero films, 80’s action stars and even some great horror flicks, making this a perfect year for me to start doing this style blog, and man I can’t eat anymore movie popcorn! For almost every day I went to the theater, I would buy a medium popcorn that I would add the cheddar cheese powder to and also get my bottle of water, Sprite or a Blue Icee. I would get to the theater as early as possible and get the best seat I could and sit back and watch what Hollywood had to offer me. I have always felt that there is something very magical and fun about seeing a film in the theater, and while watching a movie at home is fun, the theater experience is always better. This blog will be a huge update and I am thinking that my top films of the year will be a returning feature so hope you all enjoy the look back and my opinions of cinema in 2013. So I will have this broken into three stages: one I will rate the Horror films I have seen in the theater, two I will give you a run down, in order of what I think were the worst films of 2013 and lastly I will give you a ranked rundown of super hero films I liked. I am not sure in what order I will do these and don’t be surprised if I throw in some surprises. So sit back relax and let’s go to The Rotten Ink Theater lobby and talk some cinema!

blue icee

This update is also dedicated to some fellow film lovers who have passed away in 2013, one of them I didn’t know personally, while sadly I did know two and wish they were around to share in this blog with me. While 2013 has been a pretty good year for Rotten Ink and in the world of movies, video games and music, it’s been a terrible one when it comes to the fact that two close friends of mine have passed away.  In January my friend, film mentor and independent film maker Andy Copp passed away to the shock to all those who loved him.  Andy was a fun loving person who enjoyed watching films and making films and was always thinking about future film ideas. Andy was a staple at the Brassfield house for holidays and would spend almost every Christmas and Thanksgiving with us. He was my brother Bryan’s best friend, and I use to say he was like our older brother because when the two of them got together there was no stopping them from gabbing about all types of things like hens do. I have many great memories traveling the roads and working conventions with him as he would have me work his table at Cinema Wasteland with him and we would chat the whole ride their about films, girls and life in general. This year Andy was also given an award by FILM DAYTON, who honored him for his work on films and TV. I miss Andy and wish he was here and could have enjoyed some of these films with me. The second friend I lost that year was Max Ervin, a great fun loving guy that I have known for years! Max and I have been co-workers at two stores and have worked on many film and TV projects together. Some of my favorite memories of going to haunted places around town were with Max who loved to do some of the same strange things like this like I do. I looked at Max as a younger brother, and when I got the news of his passing that day I felt like a piece of me died with him.  I will forever look at Max as a dear friend, and I will never forget him. Roger Ebert, famed film critic who was known for his show “At The Movies,” sadly passed away from cancer this year, and while I didn’t agree with all of his reviews, his death is a sad day for all cinemas and film as he was a man who loved his craft. This update is for all of them as well as any film lover who is no longer with us to enjoy the motion pictures.

Andy CoppMax ErvinRoger Ebert

Nothing beats seeing a film on the big screen, and this year it was great being able to get out and enjoy them on the silver screen, the way they were meant to be seen. While I saw many new films at the theater, I also was able to go and see re-released ones as well in IMAX 3D.  I was able to see Top Gun, Jurassic Park and Wizard Of Oz, and let me tell you seeing Oz on IMAX made me feel like a little kid again.  It was amazing to see, while both Top Gun and Jurassic Park were entertaining to see on the big screen with friends. I also got to see a friend’s film I produced on the big screen, as Babysitter Massacre directed by Henrique Couto showed at the Englewood Cinema.  This made me proud to see my friend’s work with an almost sold out crowd. I also got to see at Neon Movies, as part of Film Dayton’s weekend festival, my late friend Andy Copp’s first film The Mutilation Man from a master cut I was able to give them. Englewood also this year let me see films like The Shinning, Blade Runner, Jaws, Back To The Future and Gremlins thanks to Fritz The Nite Owl and Nite Owl Theatre director Mike McGraner! Alsol at Horrorrama at Englewood Cinema, I got to see Hammer’s The Mummy and the Romero Dead Trilogy. Lots of great classic films and local stars and all of them worth watching on the big screen!

Wizard of OZ 3Dbabysitter massacremutilation manJawsDay Of The Dead

So let’s move onto my top three WORST films of 2013, the three I have picked in my opinion were worst of the worst and were a waste of film and digital space…and worse of all a waste of money! So here we go, let’s take out the garbage.

WORST

# 3

a good day to die hard

Bruce Willis sleepwalks through another sequel to his popular action series that all started with Die Hard. John McClane travels to Russia to get his son Jack out of jail and to take a vacation (you will know this as the terrible line Willis blurts out all through the movie), but before he can patch things up with his estranged son, they stumble onto a terrorist plot that forces the two to team up and save the day. The story in this film is weak and is clearly just the recycled, dumbed down script that had McClane team with Jack Bauer of the TV show 24. The dialogue is dumb and laughable, and as I said, Willis seems bored and half asses his performance. In fact two out of the three other people that saw this stinker with me hated it as well, as did others we could overhear leaving the theater. This bland action film brought in $67,349,198.00 at the box office in the US. I should also note I went in wanting this to be good as I liked the other four films in the series. 

# 2

scary movie 5

For some reason Dimension films decided not to make another Halloween film, but they did want to put money into yet another not funny Scary Movie film for the 5th time and this one didn’t even have the “talents” of the Wayne’s Brothers.  This one is just as crappy and unfunny as all the others in this worn out series. The film’s spoofed plot is about actor Charlie Sheen’s kids who go missing and are found in a Cabin in the Woods and are taken in by the Sanders and their smart monkey Caesar as an evil spirit wants the kids back. Because nothing spells spoof fun like the already run down your throat Paranormal Activity rip off films. I watched this terrible unfunny mess of a comedy and found that I did not laugh once as many of the others in the theater laughed like they were seeing comedy gold, yeah I don’t get it. This was a waste of $5.00 and worse, 2hrs of my life. This unfunny mess made $32,015,787.00 at the box office in the US. 

# 1

A Haunted House

A Haunted House was the worst film of 2013, and guess what? Besides being another terrible spoof film, it also starred and was written by Marlon Wayans, one half of the team that gave us those wonderful Scary Movie films….and it spoofs Paranormal Activity.  So this was doomed to suck from the start! This crapfest is about Malcolm and Kisha moving in together and being haunted by a troublemaking ghost/demon, and the pair get all types of odd balls to help them in their quest to rid the house of it. This film sucked so bad that it was the first film I ever considered walking out of before it was over, not once did I laugh, and the crowd I saw it with were hooting.  One guy laughed so loudly at every fart joke…is this what we have become, thinking trash like this is funny…oh well I guess as in all things in life, different strokes for different folks. This pile of smelly trash made $40,041,683.00 at the US Box Office and to my non-surprise, a sequel is set to come out this year.  I won’t be seeing it.

Other bad films I saw in 2013: After Earth, The Worlds End and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

After EarthWorlds EndThe Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Who doesn’t love themselves some good old fashioned 80’s action film stars? Besides Bruce Willis, two of the decade’s most iconic actors had films out this year.  Of course I am talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.  So here is a quick run down of my top 3 80’s Action Star Films for last year.

80s action

# 3

Last Stand

After taking some time away from movies to be the mayor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger flexed his acting muscles once more for his first leading role since coming back to Hollywood. Arnold plays a small town sheriff named Ray Owens who along with his very small force must stop an escaped drug cartel leader and his men who are trying to sneak him over the border to safety. The action is over the top, the jokes about being old are out of control, but over all it’s a pretty good action film to say welcome back to Arnold with. The action stuff Arnold does in the film is not unbelievable for a guy his age, and this helps add to the over all fun feel to this film. I will say that when I saw this in the theater, I was worn out and during some slow parts I did find myself drifting off because of the lack of action. The film brought in only $12,050,299.00 at the box office in the US and that’s sad when looking at what piles of dung like Scary Movie 5 and A Haunted House brought in…shame on you for not seeing Last Stand.

# 2

grudge-match-poster

As every review has mentioned, this Drama/Comedy is like a silly version of a Hollywood Dream Match between the characters of Italian Stallone Rocky Balboa and Jake LaMotta without calling them by those names. Sylvester Stallone plays Henry “Razor” Sharp, a boxer who had a huge feud with Robert De Niro’s character, Billy “The Kid” McDonnen, and with each winning a fight a piece, the third fight is cancelled when Sharp retired from boxing. The two fighters hate each other and when Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart), the son of a notorious boxing promoter gets them back in the ring for a fight that should have happened years and years ago, the drama and bad mistakes of the past come back to the surface. The film, while a little long, was a lot of fun to see in the theater and as the story unfolds, many of the questions you have in the beginning get answered. The comedy works in most spots, and Stallone and De Niro do great jobs as their characters.  While I’m not a fan of his comedy, Kevin Hart does a great job in the film and is not overused. I saw the film with my girlfriend Juliet, and she thought it was alright as well. The film brought in $29,134,648.00 at the US box office. 

# 1

Bullet To The Head

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge Sylvester Stallone fan and have been since I was a kid.  So when I found out he had three new films this year, I was pretty hyped to see them all in the theater, and Bullet To The Head was not a letdown as I really enjoyed it. Sly plays Jimmy Bobo, a Louisiana hitman whose partner is murdered and a hit is placed on his head as well.  He meets a D.C. detective named Taylor who tries to help him figure out who has placed the hit on him and to uncover the dirty cops and bad goings on in the town which all controlled by one man including Keegan, the man paid to kill Bobo. Throw in Bobo’s hot daughter and a fire ax fight, and you have this fun action film. The film also stars Christian Slater, Alfred Gough and Jason Momoa who plays Keegan. The film has a great soundtrack done by Steve Mazzaro, and just like The Last Stand, the action while over the top, is stuff you could see a guy in shape like Stallone do. This film is very underrated and was not given a chance by movie goers this year, even my pal Josh Weinberg like it pretty well. The film brought in a very low $9,489,829.00 in the US Box Office and that’s a letdown. Oh, I also bought this film on DVD when it came out.

Sadly, I missed the Stallone and Schwarzenegger team up film “Escape Plan” because of work, and had to see it when it was released on DVD so that’s why it did not make it on this list.  I wish I would have gotten to see it in theater while eating cheese popcorn and drinking a blue Icee; that would have been a lot of fun. 

Escape Plan

Super hero films based on Marvel and DC comic book characters are big Box Office draws again.  2013 had its share of these type of films, and each did well at the box office.  I love super hero films and will admit I even have a soft spot for the 1990 Captain America film starring Matt Salinger as Cap.  So for this batch of films I am pretty hyped to bring you my ranking as I have four films of super sized action to choose from. So let’s strap on our capes and leap into this one!

SUPER HERO

# 4

iron man 3

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) can’t shake off the effects of the attack on New York as seen in The Avengers film and is loosing sleep and having panic attacks as a result. Worse, this is having a strain on his relationship with Pepper, and he also has gotten the attention of world terrorist The Mandarin. After several attacks by The Mandarin that leave Stark’s house destroyed and his best friend Happy in the hospital, and with the world thinking he is dead and only a prototype army on his back Tony must stop the sinister plot to kill the President and find out who The Mandarin really is. I saw this film twice in the theater, and the first time I had a blast with the action and laughed with the comedy aspects.  Upon watching it the second time, I found it to be riddled with flaws and was more annoyed that most of the film is Tony Stark fighting bad guys and not him as Iron Man. Plus, I have some issue with the treatment of The Mandarin (for those who have not seen it, I will not spoil it) who just so happens to be Iron Man’s top foe. But while flawed and my least favorite in the Iron Man series, it’s still worth the watch and was a great film meant for the theater. This film did an amazing $409,013,944.00 at the US box office alone and was the top grossing film of the year until The Hunger Games: Catching Fire knocked it off the throne. Again, if you check your brain at the door and are looking for a fun action comedy, then Iron Man 3 is a good film to be enjoyed. Oh, I also enjoyed the film’s score, done by Brian Tyler and have played it on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO. 

# 3

man of steel

Superman came back into theaters in 2013 with a re-boot called “Man of Steel,” and while elements of the film were great, it still had some flaws making it not the best Superman film in my eyes. The film shows the destruction and war of Krypton and how his mother and father sent the young Sups to Earth where he is adopted by the Kents and is named Clark. As he grows older, Clark has so many unanswered questions about who he is and why he is so different.  He travels the world and helps those in need and becomes an urban legend. But things get complicated for him when he finds a ship from his birth planet, meets reporter Lois Lane and must face General Zod, a castaway from his own planet. The film takes the darker route like the Nolan Batman films and while it’s nice to see a change, it does lose some of the boy scout spirit of who Superman is. I saw it once in theaters in IMAX 3D and bought the 2-disc DVD and will say it’s a pretty fun film. The film brought in $291,045,518.00 at the USA box office and was the 5th top grossing movie of 2013. 

# 2

the-wolverine-poster

The Wolverine was a great super hero film that I feel was tainted by moviegoers who had a bad taste in their mouths from “X-men Origins: Wolverine.”  While I really liked the first film, this sequel was leaps and bounds better and made me hyped to see more Wolverine films from Fox! The film follows Wolverine as he travels to Japan to visit a dying man that he saved way back during World War II.  The man wants to take Wolverine’s healing gift to save his life and this would allow Wolverine to live and die like a normal person. When he refuses the offer all hell breaks loose as the man’s granddaughter is targeted by the yakuza.  He dies and a sinister plot comes to light. Hugh Jackman does a great job as the razor clawed hero, and the film brought in $132,556,852.00 in the US box office. I bought the movie on DVD when it was released and play some of the score music on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO.  This is one X-Men themed movie I will say is a must see. 

# 1

thor the dark world poster

The Dark Elf Malekith is back after being defeated some ages back by Asgardian warriors, and he wants to take over by using a powerful weapon known as the Aether to destroy Asgard. Unlucky for Jane Foster, as she by accident gets the Aether weapon (it enters your body) and becomes the target of Malekith and his dark elf army. Thor, along with his allies Sif, Volstagg and Fandral, must learn to trust Loki in order to save their home as well as Earth from the doom that awaits them. This superhero film felt like it was mixed with the sci-fi fun of films like Star Wars, and this added even more of an epic feel to it. The action in the film is over the top and watching Thor and Loki team was super cool.  The only down side was that the Kat Dennings character, while pretty to look at, gave way to many one liners and after a while I just wished she would have stopped. Well acted, well directed, well written and to me the best Superhero film of 2013! Thor hammered out $204,674,790.00 at the US box office and did even more at foreign! Thor: The Dark World was the best comic book movie of 2013 and is one that you should see if you have not as of yet.

I would also like to point out that Kick-Ass 2 came out this year and would have been on this list for sure but sadly I missed it in theaters because for some reason The Rave only had it on the screens for 2 weeks! I ended up seeing it on DVD when it was released and must say it was a lot of fun and a great follow up to the original.

Kick Ass 2

Now I am going to focus on three films that I would say were the best of the best that were not in one of these categories.  These films were fun popcorn movies that had me thinking this is what going to the movies is all about. These type of films have you on the edge of your seat and provoke all types of emotions. Some of these films were unfairly judged, while others were hits at the box office. So let’s get to what I am calling “Best” as in best films to see in the theater….that didn’t fit in the already made categories!

Best

# 3

Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger was a big budget film made by Disney that critics and internet bloggers unfairly judged, and many of those who trashed it never even saw it! The film is about John Reid, a lawyer who returns home during the railroad construction in Texas just in time to watch his brother, a ranger, be gunned down.  John is left for dead by the outlaw Butch Cavendish, but with the help of a crazy Indian named Tonto and a white spirit horse named Silver, he becomes The Lone Ranger and must bring the outlaw to justice and stop an all out war between Texans and the Native American Tribes, that is all being put in place over the railroads taking over the tribes’ land. The film is not like the classic Clayton Moore stuff and is done more in a tongue in cheek manor, and while I can see fans of the original Lone Ranger being a little let down by this, I still found the film to be a fun kid friendly action film that was worth seeing twice in the theater. Sadly the film was considered a box office flop even though it brought in $89,302,115.00 in the US. The Lone Ranger has flaws and is by no means a perfect film, but it was one that held a lot of fun action and silly moments making it a perfect popcorn film. If you have not seen it, you should leave your brain at the door, pop some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the high adventure of The Lone Ranger and Tonto.

# 2 

star trek into the darkness

I enjoyed the hell out of Star Trek: Into Darkness and will say that I liked it better than the first film in the re-boot series done by J.J. Abrams, and that’s saying a lot because I really liked that one as well! The film is packed with epic sci-fi action and even has the Klingons! Captain Kirk and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise go on the hunt for a terrorist who has caused many deaths and chaos to the federation.  The hunt is filled with many dangers and many twists and turns, and when Kirk and friends find the truth of who they are hunting and why, all hell breaks loose and it’s a fight to survive. Once more I saw this film twice in the theaters and will say that watching it in IMAX 3D was one heck of an experience, and everyone I saw it with left loving the film and saying how it was once heck of a fun ride. The film is well acted and once more seeing Leonard Nimoy as Spock in a cameo made the inner Trekkie in me nerd out. The film’s score is outstanding as are the special effects.  I would say that for 2013, this was my favorite sci-fi film and has all the elements that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was happing next. The film did an outstanding $228,778,661.00 in the US box office, and a third film is planned in the series. I was a little light on the plot of this film because it’s packed with surprises, and I don’t want to be that blogger who ruins it for you.  So if you have not seen it…you should do so now!

# 1

OZ Great and Powerful

No 2013 film had me feeling more like a kid again than sitting in the theater and watching “Oz The Great And Powerful” on the IMAX Screen in 3D.  While not nearly iconic or loved by me as the original, this prequel was such a fun and magical film that the 33 year old me felt like the 8 year old me watching the original film on TV during the holidays. Carnival magician and conman Oscar Diggs gets sucked into a tornado while in a hot air balloon after a husband finds that he has been putting the movies on his wife and lands in a magical place called OZ! When he gets there,he is believed to be a grand wizard and becomes the idol and savior to the weak who are being tormented by two witch sisters. The film’s characters are lovable, and James Franco, who plays Oscar, does an outstanding job in the role as does Mila Kunis, who plays The Wicked Witch of the West before and after turning wicked. Speaking of Kunis, she is breathtaking beautiful in this film before she turns all green with hatred. The film did well at the US box office, bringing in a gross of $234,911,825.00 and was number 10 for domestic grosses of 2013. While not like the original or even the sequel, Return To Oz, this film was a fun time at the theater and was my favorite film of the year!

I saw many great and fun films this year.  Here is a list of the things I saw: The Great Gatsby, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Pacific Rim, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Oblivion, Elysium, Jack The Giant Killer, The Place Beyond The Pines, The Call, Dead Man Down, Admission, The Heat, 42, Pain & Gain, Gangster Squad, Olympus Has Fallen, Now You See Me, Identity Theft, Fast & Furious 6 and Snitch. All these films were entertaining as well and helped add to a fun year at the movies.

gi joe retaliationthe great gatsbypacific rimHansel and Gretel

So now we are at the part of the films of the year that always makes me hyped to go to the movies, and that’s horror films! And before we get to the horrors of the big screen, I would like to cover a few on the TV screen as I take a look at horror films that went straight to DVD in 2013.  While some had a small theater run, most didn’t, so lets take a look at my top 4 horror flicks that went DVD.

DVD HORRORS

# 4

maniac

I Warned You Not To Go Out Tonight was the great tagline to the 1980 horror film and for some reason in 2012, with a 2013 release, someone thought it would be a great idea to remake it. The film’s plot is about Frank, an owner of an old style mannequin store, who goes around and kills and scalps ladies.  But he falls in love with artist Anna and his world changes as the urge to collect her becomes stronger and stronger. The film lacks the dirty raw feel of the original and is filmed mainly in a first person perspective of Frank.  While it works in some spots, in others I felt it held it back. The film has some gore but was not nearly as gross as the original. Over all the film was worth watching if you were a fan of the original or are looking for a film where Elijah Wood plays a serial killer. During its very limited theater release in the US, Maniac remake brought in a gross of $31,081.00.

# 3

Curse-of-Chucky-2013-movie-poster

I was really hyped to find out a new Childs Play movie was in the works and was even more glad to know that it was not a remake which had been talked about for years now. The downside was the film was to get a very small theater release and go direct to DVD. What we got was the 6th film in the series that had Chucky being sent to a house where he torments a family and targets a young woman confined to a wheel chair. The film took a lot of the comedy aspect out of the series and went back for more of the scary horror as Chucky kills the family off in brutal ways. The film also adds some twists and turns and even has a cameo that will make fans of the original very happy. Plus Brad Dourif returns to voice the killer doll, and that’s a plus. The downside is that it’s very slow moving and it takes awhile for Chucky to swing his knife into action. While not groundbreaking, this film was a fun watch and just helps add to the legend that is Chucky.

# 2

Frankensteins Army

Frankenstein’s Army is one of those surprise films that I picked up on DVD the same time I did Curse of Chucky and World War Z.  I found the film to be a fun take on the found footage boom of the horror world. The film follows Russian Soldiers as they travel around and stumble on the hideout of Dr. Frankenstein who has been using the bodies of dead Nazi’s to make killing machine monsters. The whole film is from the perspective of a soldier’s camera and later that of Frankenstein. The effects are great for a low budget film, and the monster designs are pretty dang sweet.  It reminds me a lot of the underrated film called Slashers.  In Slashers, it’s a reality TV show that pits people against killers who all dress up like B-Movie inspired horror killers. While Frankenstein’s Army has flaws, I really think it’s worth a watch for horror fans.

# 1

Hatchet III

The Hatchet series is great throwbacks to the horror films of the 80’s, and it also has Kane Hodder, who is known for playing Friday The 13th killer Jason Voorhees, as the film’s killer Victor Crowley and the lovely Danielle Haris of Halloween 4-5 fame as our hero Marybeth who in this third film is stuck in the swamps of New Orleans to try and stop the Crowley curse once and for all. Along the way, Crowley makes chop steak out of a medical crew and a S.W.A.T. team. The film is filled with over the top gore and is one hell of a fun and bloody ride.  Plus I never skip a chance to see Danielle Harris.The film had a very tiny theater run but really made its money on DVD. If you like your killers unstoppable and mean as hell, then watch Hatchet III and enjoy. It’s very cool series that’s heavy on the blood, guts and gore and even has a classic small town ghost town feel to it. It’s really a fun film and a great direct to DVD horror series.

But now let’s get to the real meat of this update, my ranking of the horror films I saw in the theater this year! While some have a slight sci-fi edge, they still have that horror feel that helped add the chills and spills at Rave/Cinemark to all us who went to see them.

horror

# 13

Dark Skies

Dark Skies was one of those horror/sci-fi hybrid films that kind of creeped in and out of the theater and made a very small splash. The film follows The Barrett family who are struggling as the father has been out of work for three months and the mother is struggling as a relator. But things get very odd and crazy as their sons seem to be getting visits from shadow like people and even the older son seems to be having fits. By the end, the shadows seem to be aliens who have marked one of the family members, and it’s a struggle to save their loved one! The film has a nice pace and almost feels like a generic X-Files episode that’s just lacking Mulder and Scully. Keri Russell plays the mother, and she does a pretty damn good job; in fact the acting in the film is pretty good and standard for this style of movie. The film did okay at the US box office and brought a gross in of $17,418,667.00, meaning that Dimension Films made a profit. I watched the film with Josh Weinberg, and he had the same feeling on the film as I did, “It was okay.”

#12

last exorcism 2

The Last Exorcism Part II started out as being a good solid sequel, but by the end became a very standard generic feeling one. The film follows Nell Sweetzer, who is found in a house possessed by a demon and is taken and cured of the possession that has haunted her for years.  She is sent to a home for troubled girls, and things seem to be going good as she gets a job and even finds a young man she gets a crush on. But her happiness is cut short as the demon is not done with her, and those she trusts are not what they seem. The film is no longer found footage and plays like a standard possession film complete with an eye rolling ending. The film stars Ashley Bell once more as Nell, and it was nice to see her return to the role and once more do a fantastic job. The film is by no means a blood bath but does have a few chilling moments. The film did okay at the US box office and brought in $15,179,302.00 gross giving CBS Films a small profit. I don’t see a part three in the series’ future even though it’s left wide open for one.  Over all I found the film just okay. 

#11

the lords of salem

Poor The Lords Of Salem, which lasted about a week at the theater and when me, Josh & Lisa Weinberg saw it, maybe a total of 6 other people were in the theater. The film follows radio DJ Heidi Hawthorne, who gets a strange old vinyl in the mail that really holds a hidden message from witches who want to get revenge for a slaughter that happened decades before. They use Heidi as a tool to achive what they need and even her own apartment is not safe from the witchcraft. The film has a lot of heart, and I think Rob Zombie, who directed and wrote it, really believed in the film. While it does have some blood, this film is more of a shocking kind of horror with off the wall scenes that are used to try and shock or offend the viewer. Sheri Moon Zombie plays Heidi, and she does a pretty good job. I will say over the years she has grown as an actress.  Plus of course it would not be a Zombie film if we don’t get some shots of Sheri’s butt. This was by no means a great film, but I enjoyed it in theaters and even bought it on DVD when it was released. The film grossed $1,165,882.00 in the US box office and had a very small limited release.

# 10

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies is a cross between a romantic comedy and a horror film that oddly works pretty well. R is a zombie who kind of wonders what the purpose of being a zombie really is.  In fact he even still collects things from his past when he was alive. Julie is a young woman who is alive who catches R’s eye during a raid to try and get food and medical supplies.  He falls in love with her and it becomes a Romeo and Juliet kind of love story about forbidden love and shows just maybe the living can live alongside the dead. This film is cheesy and silly, yet I found myself enjoying it as I drank down my Blue Icee. It’s nothing to special and not quite a throw away Twilight kind of film, but it’s worth a watch on DVD, Blu-Ray or even…Netflix (if you like that kind of poor quality streaming junk). The film at the US box office brought in $66,380,662.00 making Lionsgate a good little profit. Most of my friends who have seen it and are all diehard horror fans like myself also oddly kind of liked this film!

#9  

the purge

The Purge was one of those films that had me at the first viewing of the trailer, and while it was a good film, it didn’t fully hold up to what the trailer made it out to be in my eyes. The US Government has selected one night a year to allow murder and mayhem to go un-punished, allowing people to blow of steam and kill those who did them wrong or just people at random. James is a home security sales man and in fact is the best in the business.  He heads home along side his family to be locked into their house safe and sound, or so he thinks.  Things get out of hand as his son lets in a man running from some masked killers and his daughter’s boyfriend sneaks in with the idea of winning her father over one way or another. It becomes a fight for their lives as the killers outside want in and get in. The film is filled with lots of twists and turns and surprises and makes for one hell of a good horror thriller. Ethan Hawke plays James and is outstanding as is the rest of the cast.  The film has some blood but is by no means on par with a slasher film. After seeing it in the theater, I left feeling entertained and kind of wanting to see a part two.  Guess what – we will this year as “The Purge: Anarchy” hits theaters. The film grossed $64,473,115.00 giving Universal a great profit and proving that horror is where the money can be made. 

# 8

Insidious Chapter 2

Insidious Chapter 2 is one of those PG-13 horror films that delivers some great chills and thrills and shows that horror sequels can be as good as the original! This film follows the events that happen after the first film and shows that the poor Lambert family are not done with the evil spirit that has latched itself onto them. I don’t wanna give to much away about this film, but I will say that the ghost known as The Black Bride is one creepy S.O.B., and this film does a great job of showing his origins. Over all, if you loved the first film, this second one will chill your bones just as fast. The film did great just like the original at the American box office bringing in a gross of $83,586,447.00.  So if you like ghost thrillers with little to no blood but filled with some creepy moments, this film is for you. And oh yeah when I saw the film, the theater had a good turn out and everyone I could hear after the film had ended seemed to really dig it. 

# 7

Mama

Mama is a movie to me that blurred the lines between horror and fantasy and was done really well! Two young sisters travel with their dad on an icy road to a cabin in the middle of the woods right after he killed their mother and had plans to kill them and himself, but before he can kill his children, an unknown creature comes in and saves them and for years acts as their protector. But when their uncle and his rock star girlfriend find them and adopt them, they learn that what the girls call Mama ain’t going to let them go easily. I really struggled with not having this film higher on my list because after seeing it, I found myself really liking it.  For months and months it was ranked as my top film of the year. Mama is a great creepy looking ghost/spirit that is sure to send shivers down many spines and really is worth the watch. The film did good at the American Box Office bringing in a gross of $71,628,180.00 and making it a success for Universal. 

# 6

world war z

Word War Z the film is very loosely based on the book of the same title written by Max Brooks, son of the amazing comedy director Mel Brooks. The film follows retired UN investigator Gerry Lane and his family who are caught in the middle of a zombie outbreak, and he must work once more for his former employer in order to keep his family safe and to hope to find a cure to end the outbreak. Brad Pitt plays Gerry and is a very likable character who I felt connected to and wanted to see him survive and out smart the zombies. The film is filled with CGI, and while some scenes with the mass amount of zombies look a little cheesy, the film for being PG-13 is pretty scary and is a well made zombie film. This is one of those films that when I first saw the trailer I thought it would be a terrible main stream horror film that wimped out when it came to blood and gore, and while very light on the blood, the story was way more intense than I thought and I left the theater really liking the film. In fact I even got this film on DVD when it came out, and my girlfriend, who judged the film before seeing it like I did, also ended up liking it! The film did great at the American box office bringing in a gross of $202,359,711.00.  If you have not seen it yet, I think you should.  

# 5

Evil Dead

When I first heard they were doing a remake of Evil Dead, I was pissed.  For so many years I wanted to see a part 4, and instead all I heard that was coming was another Hollywood pooped out remake. The one good thing was the none attachment of Michael Bay and his band of hacks at Platinum Dunes.  So this gave me a slight hope that it might be good…and to my shock, it was pretty dang good and took the humor out of the series and turned it back to pure bloody horror! The film follows Mia who travels to a cabin in the woods to detox off drugs but gets more than she bargains for when one of her friends reads from a book found in the cabin’s cellar that unleashes demons that infect, possess and kill them one by one. The film is a blood bath and has some pretty gross gory scenes and is very much like a classic horror film in feeling. This film had very mix reviews by friends and family who watch horror films.  I for one had a blast watching it in theaters and it went above and beyond the low expectations I had set in my mind for it. The film did pretty well in the US box office grossing a total of $54,239,856.00 making it a hit for TriStar. I should also note that the film is produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell (who also has a groovy cameo) showing that the old are okay with the new being around.  The film’s success also has sparked rumors that a sequel to the original series as well as the reboot series are in the works. JOIN US….JOIN US!

# 4

Texas Chainsaw 3D

Texas Chainsaw 3D is a sequel to the original 1974 film and even has the opening taking place right after the original ended. The film centers around Heather Miller who finds out that she has inherited a mansion in Texas.  She also that she has been adopted and that she is really part of Sawyer family! While in the home, she and her friends come face to face with Leatherface, who wants them all dead, but all is not what it seems as Heather learns the truth about her true family. The film is so cheesy and is by no means a great horror film, but I do think its a fun sequel that packs some fun kills and a silly plot. I will say that it was great seeing a version of Leatherface on the big screen in 2013, and while this film’s version is pretty cool, he really isn’t given much to do and really becomes a kind of anti-hero by the films closing. Alexandra Daddario plays Heather Miller, and I must say she is one good looking lady who does a great job on what she is given in the film. To be honest, much like Mama this film was a hard one to place because while most critics and even friends of mine hated this film, I really do have a soft spot for it and even have bought it on DVD when it was released. The film at the America box office grossed $34,341,945.00 at the box office and making it a semi hit for Lionsgate who at this point is rumored to be working on another one. Chainsaw kills, lots of blood, hot women and a horror character icon are the reasons this film is ranked my # 4 horror film of the year.  While not perfect and flawed, it was one fun ride into Texas.

# 3

Youre Next

You’re Next is a film that sat on a shelf for 2 years before the powers that be at Lionsgate released it into theaters, and I must say, I am glad they did. The film revolves around a family in the middle of nowhere who are being attacked by three killers who are all wearing white animal masks and who are all very brutal. It’s up to the family to try to stay alive and fight back, and fight back they do thanks to one of the family member’s girlfriends who will fight to stay alive. The film has lots of twists and turns and even has touches of black humor. The film is pretty violent and brutal and has one scene where someone is killed with a blender! I don’t want to say too much more about the plot because I really think you should see it if you enjoy 80’s Slasher Films mixed in with some over the top moments. I must also say that at HorrorHound 2014, Baron Von Porkchop’s and my table was right across from actress Sharni Vinson, and she was one of the sweetest actress I have ever met next to Danielle Harris and Dennis Duff.  She treated her fans with so much respect and seemed like a very nice person. The film in the US grossed $18,494,006.00 at the box office and really was one hell of a fun film to see in the theaters with a crowd of fellow horror film lovers.

# 2

carrie

I am a horror film fan who likes sequels over reboots and remakes.  I feel that it’s better to tell new stories about a character than just rehashing the same one with new players and special effects. But I will say that I loved the remake to Carrie, and I know many will disagree with me on this one, but I liked it even better than the original! The film follows Carrie White who is an odd girl being raised by her crazed God obsessed mother who is also tormented every day at school by fellow classmates.  Things get worse when she gets her period and her fellow students decide to shoot a cellphone video of them throwing tampons at her and teasing her for not knowing what a period is. And it goes all down hill for all those who tormented her as Carrie is special and holds certain powers now that all come out when she is asked to prom and while there a prank goes wrong and many people die. This film updates really well and with this generation’s obsessions with cellphones and social media, it was perfect time to show how cruel some teens can be toward each other just to get some hits on YouTube. Chloe Moretz plays Carrie, and I must say she is becoming one of my favorite actress as she does great work in this film as well and Kick-Ass 1 & 2 as well as the letdown film Dark Shadows.The film did only all right in the US bringing in a gross of $35,266,619.00 but did better worldwide. When seeing this film, the theater was kind of packed and when the film was over it seemed that the crowd enjoyed it. I know my friend Josh Winberg also liked it, and I think if you’re a fan of the Stephen King book and the original film than, you should give this film a chance; I am glad I did!

# 1

the conjuring

The Conjuring is a PG-13 horror film that is based on a true story about some paranormal investigators who decide that they are going to help a family that is being tormented by an evil spirit, but this case is like none other they tackled before because this spirit is not going down without a fight. This is your classic spooky haunted house flick mixed with possession film that doesn’t rely on blood, guts and gore to scare the audience, but does so more naturally and allows the viewer to almost scare themselves as they are drawn deeper and deeper into the plot. I can say when I saw this film in the theater I took notice of something: while the more bloody films like You’re Next, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Lords of Salem and Evil Dead had the audiences laughing in spots, The Conjuring had people screaming in fear…now think about that –  a PG-13 Horror film was scaring people while the rated R bloodbaths had people laughing.  It’s a shift in the market for sure as it seems Hollywood is getting away from the slasher and more in bed with the spooky ghost/demon films. I picture the frights The Conjuring dealt out to the people in that theater were the same kind of bloodless frights Universal’s Dracula and Frankenstein delivered in 1931 to movie goers, and that’s an amazing thing for a horror buff like myself to witness. The film did great at the US box office bringing in a gross of $137,400,141.00 and making it one of the biggest money makers in the horror genre of the year and making good profits for Warner Brothers/New Line Cinema. If you like spooky mood movies, then The Conjuring is for you. I am glad I saw it in theaters with a room full of people because the atmosphere of the crowd made it even more enjoyable with the screams and gasps filled the air.

Well I know that this update is a little behind, and to many of you great readers might even be a little dated, but I must tell you all I really had a great time writing this one and had a blast going to the theater and having Hollywood entertain me on the silver screen. Thank you all for sitting here in the Rotten Ink Theater Lobby and talking films with me. I hope you enjoyed our chat.  Next update we will be going back to comics as we take a look at an Atlas Comic “icon” of stunts.  Of course I am talking about The Cougar…come on you know The Cougar, right? Well if you don’t, you’ll learn about him next update.  So until then watch a movie, support your local comic shop and Horror Host and read a comic or two and just enjoy life. 

cougar_2

The Wonderful Wizard of Wally

Hey, all and welcome back! This time around we are going to take a look at one of Star Comics’ most popular home grown characters, Wally The Wizard. I first heard about Wally The Wizard via a free give away/very cheap subscription on the back of a box of cereal and sent away and got issue # 1 of Wally, Top Dog and Planet Terry for free/dirt cheap. While I didn’t know the character, I found myself liking his over all good nature. While Wally did pretty well for Star, it was lost in the sea of licensed based comics like Ewoks, Strawberry Shortcake, He-Man and many others making him not one most kids would talk about nor trade on the playground. While his impact not very huge, his books lasted for 12 issues longer than many of the licensed based titles, showing his sales had to be good enough to keep him afloat.

Speaking of afloat, here in and around Dayton we had many small movie theaters that aren’t owned by Showcase, The Rave or Regal, and sadly many of them over the past 15 years have slowly gone away.  I guess the small theaters can’t compete with the IMax and stadium seating. While we still have The Englewood Theater in Englewood, Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs and Neon Movies in Dayton, we have lost the likes of Chakeres The Kettering Theater, Flicker Palace in Huber Heights and most sad of all Page Manor in Fairborn. Let’s first talk about The Flicker Palace in Huber Heights, a small theater in the middle of strip mall that hosted many late night horror films and even was the first home of Horrorama (a charity event I’ve been helping with for the last 14 years or so).  Sadly I never got to step foot in Flicker but only heard the stories from friends like Andy Copp, Dr. Creep and Rick Martin about how cool the place was. I have gone and visited the run down shell that was Flicker over the years and when looking inside the windows you see that it has been gutted and I mean gutted.  From the floor up, it’s just one big empty room with gravel floor, It’s a shame that the owners of the strip mall decided doing this to the theater was a good idea and even more of a shame that no one bought this theater after closing and kept it going. Below is a picture of the theater and a picture of Andy Copp and Dr. Creep in the theater.
FlickerAndy and Dr Creep

Next up is the Kettering Theater, an amazing place to see movies when I was younger.  Sure, the seats were rock hard and you would leave with a backache, and sure, the popcorn tasted like it had been under a heat lamp for 3 months but it was still Kettering’s own little theater house before the jumbo movie house in the outside mall, the Greene, moved in. I remember going and seeing movies like Broken Arrow and Austen Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me at the theater and this is even where my brother meet Dr. Creep and sparked our love for the Dayton horror host before I even was in school. The theater’s exterior was an amazing classic style theater, and the inside was very old and should have been updated but the dirt inside also added to the charm of the theater. After the theater went under, the building sat empty for many years until in early 2013 a church bought it to transform into a new meeting place for their congregation.  So sadly, the epic Kettering Theater and its amazing building will now no longer be used for a movie going experience. Below is a pic of the theater, and the pic of my brother Bryan with Dr. Creep.

Kettering TheaterBryan and Dr Creep

Page Manor was the coolest small theater in the area and had not only two screens but also a very small video arcade and hosted lots of fun stuff from Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight to independent horror films that included one of my old shorts called Hellraiser Warehouse. One of my best memories was seeing Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation when it was finally released for its very small theatrical run and Page Manor was the only theater to pick it up. I was working at Kroger at the time and was a teen who loved horror films.  I became friends with Jason Shivadecker, a guy who was a few years older and who as well loved horror films and also made his own shot on video films. When we heard that Page was showing the new Texas Chainsaw, we were hyped and made sure to get tickets early and plan for this epic night of horror! We got to the theater early as did many fans who were waiting to see Leatherface do what he does best, and that’s when some odd early 20’s something kid was pacing around looking for someone to talk to him.  He targeted us and started to ramble on and on about how he had seen the movie every screening thus far at the Page and how he loved it and how it was the best in the series.  After a few minutes we were able to get away from this super fan and get a seat. We got our seats that were great, and the film started and what we saw was something that would stick with me, not because of the gore and scares but because the film was so silly and dumb that I had a blast watching it. After the film we drove around laughing at the film and then went to a party. Also at that theater I have been to Horrorama’s, late night horror shows put on by Andy Copp and so much more. This was my favorite theater in the area, and when it went under for the second time, a rumor was going around that it was coming back, but sadly this did not come to be and after a fire in the strip mall, it was the owners who decided to demolish the theater. Below is a pic of the great Page Manor as well as a screen grab of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Next Generation.

Page ManorLeatherface Jacks

One last one just because it was a fun place to see movies was Beavercreek Cinema that later became The Bargain Box Office.  It had multiple screens, terrible popcorn and hard seats but it was a fun time. I went to this theater when I was younger and saw films like Ghostbusters 2 and The Goonies their during their first run and saw second run films when it reopened and became the Bargain Box Office. One fun story I have about this place was when it re-opened my girl at the time, Jennifer, liked Kevin Smith movies while I on the other hand don’t like his work.  But being a trooper, I took her to see Clerks 2 and while being tortured with his unfunny dialogue, a miracle happened as a bat began flying all around the screen and in front of the projector and to me this was a sign from Count Dracula or Batman that I should be at home watching them on DVD. The Beavercreek Cinema is closed now and sits rotting in Lofino’s Shopping Center hoping one day to come back and spread the love of films.

Bargain Box Office

Those are just a drop in the hat of cool theaters that closed.  I mean I know I am not the only one who misses the movie theater that was inside the Dayton Mall. But with that let’s get away from movies on the big screen and take a look at a movie on the small screen as we talk about another Independent B Movie flick, this time directed by Matt Hoffman – none other than The Wolf Hunter or The Werewolf Hunter as it reads in the credits. After Werewolf of Ohio 2, we were on cloud nine, and this was our peak.  Many inside the group including myself really liked the idea of The Wolf Hunter character having his own spinoff movie and none spoke louder than Matt Hoffman who played the character for me. With Hoffman really wanting to play the character again, I went down into the cool basement that was Independent B Movie studios and wrote out a draft that took place before the character’s death and showed that he had his own major foe with a werewolf king called Malice. The script I wrote was about a cat and mouse game played between the two that left many dead and a final showdown that was to take place in some deep dark woods.  The film was to have a higher budget than any of the past films and was set to be the bloodiest one ever made. This, however, was not the case as Hoffman liked the script and went in to rework it, and took out lots of the blood and even the cat and mouse game and added more screen time for just the Wolf Hunter character who now was in 97% of the film, unlike the 75% that the original script had. All of Malice’s kills were cut, and he was pushed more into the background as an almost afterthought until the very end. The end battle was also changed and taken out of the woods and onto an old bridge that in my opinion worked even better than the woods! While at first I was a little annoyed that my script had gone through such a wild and extreme re-write, seeing how proud Hoffman was of this project made that go away fast, and I was happy for my friend who found a character he could truly bond with. Hoffman and I, with his script in hand, set out to cast it and we first hired Brandon Womeldorff as lead camera man and I took up being the second unit camera man. My good friend Patrick Neeley played Malice.  Josh Weinberg played Oliver another werewolf. Jason Gilmore played both werewolf Red-Eye and The Holy Bullet Man, and Amy Hoffman played Amber, the love interest of the Wolf Hunter and lastly we cast Geoff Burkman as Amber’s Father. The film’s plot followed The Wolf Hunter, a loner who takes a job rescuing a young woman named Amber from a werewolf named Oliver who when human loved her.  After her rescue, The Wolf Hunter finds that he himself is in love but makes the mistake of leaving her behind and she is killed by Malice, king of all Ohio werewolves. The rest of the film The Wolf Hunter tracks down and battles Malice to the “death” at an old covered bridge. Filming went fast, and the production had very little set backs and even less in-house fighting. One funny moment on the set had Jason Gilmore, who as Red-Eye fell into the waters of Caesar’s Creek, running around naked behind Matt Hoffman as he gave an on set interview and was clueless to the fact a naked man was moving around behind him. After the film wrapped, Brandon Womeldorff, Hoffman and myself headed to Fairmont and we edited it in two days.

Wolf Hunter VHS

After the film was done, a meeting was called for a screening of Hoffman’s first ever directed film, and the house was packed with almost everyone who was a part of Independent B Movie. Hoffman gave a brief introduction to his film, and then play was hit on the VCR and the film known as The Wolf Hunter started playing on the TV. After the meeting, the film was meet with mix reviews as most just picked it apart because Hoffman made it.  I for one think the film is super fun and cheesy and hits the spot when it comes to a late night flick watching. The film was then made on VHS and sold at conventions and did pretty well  Years later it would also get a DVD release that also sold well. The film also got a t-shirt based on one of the hunting scenes! The film has been reviewed on a number of websites and has mostly been meet with poor reviews because of its production value, but many of them point out the fun and silly over all nature of the film and see the camp value of watching it. Poor reviews aside, the film has built up a very small cult status and is still to this day talked about amongst the old group of movie making friends that made up Independent B Movie.

The Wolf HunterShowdownWolf Hunter 1

Wolf Hunter was filled with lots of “scary” werewolves that were said to haunt Ohio and here real quick, I would like to give you a quick rundown of each werewolf and how they came about. First, let’s take a look at Malice, who was played by Patrick Neeley.  The mask was bought at K-Mart during Halloween time by Hoffman who liked the look of the grey furred open mouthed mask. The character Malice was based on a short film script that was given to me many years before when I worked at Kroger as a bagger by a fellow bagger called Bark At The Moon. In the Bark script, Malice was a sorcerer who lived in the woods and was cursed by magic to become a blood thirsty werewolf. In The Wolf Hunter, we changed it so that Malice is and always has been a werewolf and alongside The Wolf Man (Werewolf of Ohio) has spread the curse all over Ohio. Malice is super strong and also super smart and is protective of his area that contains a covered bridge that acts as his home base.

Malice

The second werewolf is Oliver who was played by Josh Weinberg.  The mask was bought at Wal-Mart around Halloween time and was picked because I thought it looked like Oliver Reed’s werewolf in Hammer horror film Curse of the Werewolf. Oliver was purely based on that Hammer film, and his look in the film was as well, wearing a ripped up button up shirt and black pants.  From day one, Josh was the choice to play the part. When human, Oliver was a rich young man who was dating Amber, the daughter of a media store owner, and he was was attacked on his way home after a date and became a werewolf. Even as a werewolf, he held a love for Amber and kidnapped her and rushed into the woods of Oakwood, where he was attacked by The Wolf Hunter and Amber taken away from him. Oliver has brown fur and is strong but not a pure top powered werewolf.  He also is smart and seems to learn from his past mistakes. His home base is the woods around Oakwood, and he is very protective of his area.

Oliver

The last werewolf of the film is Red-Eye, who was played by Jason Gilmore who was going by the name Max Price, and the mask was bought at Wal-Mart and was very cheap and at first almost didn’t make it into the movie. Red-Eye was written into the film to open it up and be a target for The Wolf Hunter to show his hunting power. Red-Eye wore an old green button up shirt and tan pants and was rocking slick backed black hair and his face has brown. Red-Eye is a weak werewolf who is considered a bottom feeder who only feeds on the leftovers of more powerful werewolves. Red-Eye is weak and is very nervous around humans, and he has no home base area and spends his time roaming.

Red EyeThe Wolf Hunter has a legacy that pleases diehard fans and tickles the funny bones of those who see it as a cheesy action horror film. And while the film is no master piece and by most accounts is no budget trash, I for one am proud I had something to do with it and am even more happy to see my friend Matt Hoffman be so proud of a film he has his heart and soul in.

WH vs MaliceWolf Hunter DVDWH vs Malice Bridge

The new WWE Game has been titled “WWE 2K14” and is now being made by 2K Games after THQ sadly went out of business early in the year. This year, the theme went away from the Attitude Era and is now focused on “30 Years of Wrestlemania” where players get to play through some of the biggest matches in the event’s history like Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III and Hogan taking on Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI.  But as with last year some top names have been snubbed from being in the game and here is my top 5 list of wrestlers that 2K and WWE should be ashamed of themselves for not including them in the game.  I will also point out key matches that they were involved in.

WWE2K14 Hulk Hogan20909Hotspot-SingStar-80:Layout 1wwe2k14 ultimate warrior

I would also like to point out that while many wrestlers have been snubbed they did include a lot of great names: from the past like Andre The Giant, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy to name a few.  So good job on those inclusions…but with that let’s get into my snub list. Now for my list I looked at all the past Wrestlemania’s and even watched a few on DVD to get the full dose of matches these grapplers I picked had.  These are all legends of the sport that I truly think were snubbed! So let’s get onto my picks on who should be in WWE 2K14.

rowdy roddy piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper is a legend in the wrestling world who began his pro career in 1973 when he became a member of the roster for the AWA as what is known as a jobber (a wrestler who is thrown to the top stars to lose).  Piper then went on to wrestle in some of the industry’s top promotions like NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) and GCW (Georgia Championship Wrestling), and in these two places Piper made a name for himself as a solid worker and a master of mic skills. But while in GCW, Piper was blackballed from the territory for showing up late to a match and would work for Puerto Rico and Jim Crocket Promotions. In 1984, Piper made his way to WWF and started out as a manager to wrestlers Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff and David “Dr. D” Shultz and later became a full fledged member of the roster.  Piper was a bad guy (heel), and his first two major feuds were with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Bruno Sammartino! But in 1985, his most important rivialy took place as Piper was picking on pop singer Cyndi Lauper and wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano sparking WWF Champions to come to their aid and sparking a fight that would take place on MTV at an event called “The War To Settle The Score.”  This match then lead to the first main event at the first Wrestlemania! The match had Hulk Hogan and actor Mr. T taking on Piper and Paul Orndorff, and history was made. Piper would come and go in the WWF/WWE for many years after this and would have many great matches with the likes of Bret “Hitman” Hart, Bad News Brown, Goldust and Adrian Adonis. From almost from the moment he stepped into the company, Piper was also given his own talk show called “Piper’s Pit” where many iconic moments took place from bashing Jimmy Snuka in the head with a coconut to beating up a jobber wrestler with one arm behind his back! Fans have loved and hated Piper over the years, and he is one of the most iconic wrestlers WWF has even had.  So to me, it makes no sense why he is not in the game and since he had many Wrestlemania moments that outshine Goldberg’s terrible match with Brock Lesner. Here is to hoping 2K and WWE wake up and make him DLC. Piper also is in the WWE HALL OF FAME as of 2005!

Key WM Matches: Piper & Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (Wrestlemania) and Piper vs. Bret Hart (Wrestlemania 8)

Paul Orndorff

Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff

Before Lex Luger, Ravishing Rick Rude and Dolf Ziggler, Orndorff was the original show off, the man who thought his body was better than everyone else’s but without the glam and with more of a kick ass attitude. Before his pro wrestling career Orndorff was a star on the college football fields and even was picked up to play for the NFL! Orndorff began wrestling in 1976 for many small promotions and even a few major ones like NWA, SCW (Southeast Championship Wrestling) and GCW before going to WWF in 1983 where he had Roddy Piper as his manager and fought guys like Tito Santana and Jimmy Snuka. Orndorff took the side of Piper in his feud with Hogan and had feuded with Hogan up until the main event at the first Wrestlemania. Orndorff would turn good and bad throughout the years and even had a match with Don Muraco at Wrestlemania II. He would have huge matches with Hogan after this event that even lead to steel cage matches and more. In 1988 Orndorff took time away to heal some injuries and would go on to wrestle for WCW (World Championship Wrestling), UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation) and Smokey Mountain. He would end his career with WCW after injuries and worked as a trainer and backstage for the company. In 2005 Mr. Wonderful was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. Mr. Wonderful was a hard worker and a great competitor and should be in this game for helping launch Wrestlemania. Without him and Piper, the first event would not be the iconic event we fans view it as.

Key WM Matches: Roddy Piper & Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (Wrestlemania) and Orndorff vs. Don Muraco (Wrestlemania II)

Sid Vicious

Psycho Sid

Sid is a man of many names in the wrestling world from Lord Humongous to Sid Justice to Sid Vicious, but most fans know him as Psycho Sid from his time at the top of the WWF! Sid started his career out in 1987 in such promotions as Memphis, New Japan and World Class, but by 1989 WCW had gotten the powerhouse to join their federation.  The master of the power bomb was in full swing as he became a member of the tag team the Skyscrapers and would later become a member of the legendary Four Horseman with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Barry Windham. Sid left WCW after a true lack of world title push and left for WWF in 1991 where he became a top runner for the world title and had feuds with The Undertaker and Jake Roberts.  After thinking he had been overlooked for a title shot, he targeted Hulk Hogan who he thought was the man standing in his way. After a fight at Wrestlemania, Sid left the company. In 1993 he returned for a short time to WCW and then went to a few other smaller promotions before coming back to the WWF in 1995 to become Shawn Michael’s bodyguard and once more become a top runner for the world title fighting guys like Diesel, Bret Hart and The Undertaker, having many top profile matches and being one of the company’s top stars. Sid would leave again in 1997 and would finish his top company career out in WCW. Sid was a massive man, and I would love to have him feud in WWE 2K14 with the likes of The Big Show, Andre The Giant and Big John Studd! In 2012 Sid even showed back up on WWE TV with two appearances on Monday Night Raw! Here is to hoping that he is future Legends DLC in the game because I for one would love to powerbomb Daniel Bryan into a table!

Key WM Matches: Sid vs. Hulk Hogan (Wrestlemania 8) and Sid vs. The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 13)  

jake roberts the snake.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Once more Jake finds himself not in a WWE game that clearly he should be in! Roberts began his wrestling career in 1974 and was a roster member for such federations as Mid-South Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, GCW and NWA, but it was in 1986 when Jake was called up to the WWF and became the Snake! Jake, like Piper, was given his own talk show called “The Snake Pit” and his first major feuds were with Ricky Steamboat and The Honkey Tonk Man. He would change from a heel to a face many times in his WWF run and would wrestle guys like Andre The Giant, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Ravishing Rick Rude, Earthquake, Rick “The Model” Martel and Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase.  Jake would leave in 1992 and would work for WCW, AAA and Independents before coming back to WWF in 1996 where he was a veteran and was used as a man who had battled demons in his past and was there to talk the word of God to those who would listen. Sadly, Jake was a real life junkie and had burned many bridges and failed many drug tests and this was his first full second chance of becoming a top superstar. During this late 90’s run, Jake also helped spark the “Austin 3:16” catch phrase after a match with Steve Austin at King of The Ring! Jake “The Snake” Roberts has never held a WWF/WWE title and has yet to make it to the Hall of Fame, but he remains one of the company’s top legends that still has fans to this day. Jake should be in this game and here is hoping he will be DLC.

Key WM Matches: Roberts vs. Honkey Tonk Man (Wrestlemania III), Roberts vs. Andre The Giant (Wrestlemania 5), Roberts vs. The Undertaker (Wrestlemania 8)

Note From Matt – Well, I got one right as Jake Roberts will be on the game’s final DLC Pack.

Lex Luger

Lex Luger

While The Total Packahe Lex Luger didn’t make the splash in WWF that Vince and the company were hoping for, he still was a main-eventer who should be in WWE 2K14! Lex Luger began wrestling in 1985 for NWA Florida, and a year later he was working for NWA that later became WCW where he became a main-eventer who would go on to be a member of the Four Horseman and would feud with the likes of Ric Flair, Ron Simmons, Sting and Barry Windham. While there, Luger capture the World Title and become one of the company’s top heels. Luger, however, left them in 1992 and went to work for WWF and its bodybuilding league the WBF.  His first gimmick in the WWF had him playing The Narcissist Lex Luger, a heel who was so egotistical that he would pose and look at himself in mirrors, his major matches being with Mr. Perfect Curt Henning. Luger turned face and became an all American hero type after he slammed Yokozuna on July 4th. Luger would become a top contender for the world title and would feud with such grapplers as Bret Hart, Tatanka, Crush and Ludvig Borga and would later form a tag team with The British Bulldog to be called Allied Powers. Then Luger would shock the world as he showed up on the first episode of WCW Nitro while also being on a taped WWF match the same night. Luger had switched companies and was the first major shot fired at WWF. Luger would wrestle for WCW until 2001 when the company shut down. Luger would then make a few appearances on TNA (Total Nonstop Action) before retiring from the sport due to a spinal stroke. Luger was a power house in whatever federation he was in and should be a member of the 2K14 roster! John Cena would so be put in the torture rack!

Key WM Matches: Luger vs. Yokozuna (Wrestlemania 10)

So there are my top 5 wrestlers that I truly think got snubbed for WWE 2K14 30 Years of Wrestlemania. All the grapplers above were hard working and guys that impacted the event. I am not sure why they were left out but I hope that somehow some way 2K sees this list and gives each of these guys a second look at maybe being DLC. With this let’s get into our main event with Wally The Wizard!

wwe 2k14. logo

Star Comics officially started in 1984 with a three issue movie adaptation of Muppets Take Manhattan, and in 1985 Marvel Comics fully opened up Star as branch that dealt with strictly kids comics.  When Star opened, it had a few cartoon/toy/TV based comics like Muppet Babies, Thundercats, Fraggle Rock, and Care Bears but they also had some original characters like Top Dog, Royal Roy, Planet Terry, Spider-Ham and Wally The Wizard. While most kids flocked to the more well known characters, Wally was one of the originals that I can remember being on the comic rack at United Dairy Farmers next to Spider-Man, Superman and Transformers, and as I said before, I remember getting issue one as a free giveaway and enjoying it. While I do remember reading a few other Wally issues in my youth, I don’t have as much of an attachment to the character like I have for Spider-Ham, another Star original. Wally The Wizard is a kid who has been picked by the great wizard Marlin, the brother of Merlin, to be his apprentice.  While he is good, Wally still has a lot to learn and is in love the the princess of the kingdom. He has two best friends Conrad and Jay who he gets into adventures with, but he also has a demon guardian who is a nice guy named Gorg who watches out for him. The character is pretty simple and would have made a fun film idea if done by Steven Speilberg! The idea of a kids comic character having a demon as a friend was pretty shocking at the time of the whole Satanic Panic that was gripping America so I give the writers props for having the balls to do that. Wally The Wizard is a good mix of kid friendly adventures, fluffy magic and an element of 80’s film fantasy.

Wally The Wizard AdWally StarGorg as Spiderman

With a look back at long gone but not forgotten Dayton Movie Theaters, the rundown of Wally, WWE 2K14 snubs and the epic making of Independent B Movie The Wolf Hunter, I think it’s time now for us to dive into the world of Star Comics and take a look at one of their top home grown characters: Wally The Wizard.  I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 Star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material. So let’s dive into the world of a kid wizard that was way before Harry Potter and take our journey with Wally. And thanks to Lone Star Comics and Bell, Book and Comic for having these issues in stock!

Wally 1

Wally The Wizard # 1  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #1 of 12

“A Plague of Locust” Wally is an apprentice to Marlin, brother of the famous wizard Merlin, and they are in the business of magic.  His best friends are Conrad (squire to the lead knight) and Jay (a chubby fryer), and after an accident Wally frees a demon named Gorg who pledges friendship for life. Wally makes medicine for the King and rushes to deliver it and along the way meets a dragon and helps save its child from a well. Wally makes it to the king and sees his crush, Princess Penelope, but not so faraway, the King’s evil half sister and her minions have made a giant robot Locust and set it free to bring down her brother’s kingdom. The Locust does major damage but is stopped by Wally who calls upon the Dragon he helped earlier who takes the Locust to the sun, and Gorg helps bring Wally safely back to the ground.

This is a great first issue and is a sure way to get people hooked on Wally’s and his friends’ adventures. In this issue, Wally comes off as a normal youth who questions his role with his master wizard and has a crush on a princess who clearly likes someone else.  He also seems to make friends easily as Gorg the Demon and a Dragon both come to his aid in the end. Princess Penelope is a snooty rich girl who turns her nose up to Wally and in some panels treats him as a low life. I hope she gets more likable in later issues, because as of right now I am not a fan. Jay and Conrad don’t have much to do in this issue and are your normal throw away friends who are around to add humor and friendship to the main character. Gorg is pretty badass and is an evil looking demon who talks of the future, but is an all around good creature who values friendship. One thing cool Gorg does in the issue is turns into Spider-Man and tells the kids of the past that the kids of the future love this look.  The artwork in the issue is pretty good and simple and reminds me of the funny papers in the Sunday paper. For being an original, the story is cheesy kids’ stuff that works, and the cover is very appealing with the pink demon Gorg being a nice addition to draw readers in. I only read this issue when I was younger and liked it then and still like it now.  So I really can’t wait to see what the rest of the series is like.  So with no more wait, let’s jump into issue 2!

Wally 2

Wally The Wizard # 2   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #2 of 12

“The Magic-A-Thon!” When Marlin was a young wizard apprentice, he won a tournament called the Magic-A-Thon.  Now Wally his young apprentice wants to fallow in his footsteps and trains super hard to do so. Sleepless Knight is a pig of a man who stuffs his face and thinks of a blind date he is to have, but when his fortune cookie tells him the date will be a bust thanks to a wizard’s apprentice, he goes to rid himself of this pest who just so happens to be Wally! At the town square, Sleepless waits for Wally and attacks chopping his spell notes in half and causing him to fall inside a huge hole. After escaping, Wally makes it to the event spelless and manages to win just by using his brain. Sleepless makes one last attempt to kill Wally at the event and fails making himself look silly and running his chances with his date. In the end Wally is cheered, and his teacher Marlin is very proud of his young student.

This second issue while not as good as the first was still a fun read that kept Wally’s charm up and built more on his friendship with Marlin. In issue two, Wally is more into his magic and even makes a few spells that he learned but then also uses his brain to win the Magic-A-Thon. His appearance also changes and so do his attitude, making Wally seem as if he had grown as a character. The bad guy, Sleepless Knight, is a full fledged knucklehead, and it’s amazing that he wants to kill a kid over a fortune in a cookie. A funny flub in this issue is the fact Jay and Conrad seem to have changed who’s who as the names are given to the wrong character! Characters from issue one also make cameo appearances in this issue like Princess Penelope and the King. The art in this one is way more cartoon like, and this makes the events a little more fun.  The story is goofy and very kid appealing, and while the cover is pretty good, it could have been better. This is a good average issue # 2 and would have had me back in my youth. Let’s see if issue # 3 is any good.

Wally 3

Wally The Wizard # 3  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #3 of 12

“Folkquest” Wally is down due to the fact he has not gotten any letters from his parents for weeks.  They are servants and seem to have forgotten about him. Wally gets the day off helping Marlin and goes to Vikk, a young Viking boy who lives in the kingdom after falling overboard his father’s ship.  The two feel sad together that is until they hear the news that a Viking ship had anchored and raided a near by castle and kidnapped the servants! Wally and Vikk start of a quest to find the ship and see their parents, but the journey is long and dangerous as they must fight off the evil step sister and giant lake monsters. In the end, only one can make it to the ship, and it’s Vikk who finds that it’s not his dad’s ship and trades his necklace (a gift from his dad) of Thor’s hammer to the captain for Wally’s parents’ freedom. In the end Wally’s parents adopt Vikk into their family leaving everyone happy.

This 3rd issues is a good fun kids comic that is filled with goofy adventure and some cheesy lines that would make any reader smile. It’s shown that Wally is far away from his parents to be Marlin’s apprentice and that he and his family are very close, adding yet more layers to Wally and making him less of a generic kid comic hero. He also gets a new friend in this issue named Vikk who is a young lost Viking boy who lives in the kingdom and is waiting for his dad. Vikk is a nice addition to the Wally family and makes me wonder if he will make more appearances in the series. Adventure and a quest also makes up the issue’s plot and is a fun way to get Wally out of the kingdom and into harm’s way as he is captured, eaten and must use his wits to rescue his parents. The art in this one is well done and much like issue 2, adds more detail to the character.  The story is well done as is the cover making this a good issue worth reading for fans of the first. Let’s check out issue # 4 now!

Wally 4

Wally The Wizard # 4   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #4 of 12

“The Wand in the Stone” Marlin tells Wally of a story of a wand that has all the power in the world that is stuck in a stone.  The story goes that a master wizard will come along and remove it and become the strongest in the world! Wally’s mind filled with wonder of the story as he and Marling go into the woods to look at the stars and moon, but Marlin has forgotten his glasses and sends Wally back who gets lost and meets a Troll to takes him to the wand in the stone.  As other wizards watch on, Wally removes the wand and becomes the target of all the wizards around who want the power. After doing battle with a few, he decides to put the wand back and is transported back to Marlin’s side with a tale of excitement. The second story in this issue, “The Barbarians Are Coming,” is about a small man named Bul-Bul who looks like a barbarian and gets all the knights in the kingdom worked up as they think an invasion is in the works, but it takes Wally to befriend him and help him get home safe.

Issue 4 is just average and for some reason has two stories instead of one.  This is a change I do not like! Story one: “The Wand in the Stone” is a take on the sword in the stone and fits perfectly in the story this far of Wally and his life/adventures and has he and Marlin charting stars and the moon together. Then Wally performs a feat that shows one day he will be the most powerful wizard. Throw in Conrad for a cameo, and add a small Troll who lives in a small house in the woods, and you have a good adventure. And it shows more adults wanting to kill the young Wally…man, this kid has equal bad luck to go with the good. Story two is “The Barbarians Are Coming,” and while short, it’s a clear throw away and seems very much off from the storyline we have going this far.  While Gorg is back for a brief moment, it mostly follows Wally as he helps a lost short strange old man.  While goofy and light hearted, I just found it to be weak and the pages it takes up should have been used to expand on the Wand in the Stone story. The art in this issue is done by Ben Brown, and while the first stories art is okay, the second seems like a rushed mess and is not appealing to the eye. The cover, however, is pretty cool and has a nice fantasy look to it. With being 4 issues in, I can say so far that Wally The Wizard is a good kid’s comic and makes me really hyped to read issue 5! So with this let’s move on to more magical adventures of Wally.

Wally 5

Wally The Wizard # 5  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #5 of 12

Wally gets Marlin upset when he trips over a broom and ruins six months worth of work.  Marlin lectures Wally he tells him to always pay attention to things around him. As Wally leaves the lab, he misses as Princess Penelope is being kidnapped and taken to the dark castle of Vastar and his wizard Erasmo who has placed a forcefield around the castle and is keeping the knights from being able to save the Princess. Marlin and Wally figure out that they might be able enter the castle from a hole above it that lets out the smoke from the fires going in the fireplaces. Wally gets the help of his demon friend Gorg who flies him into the hole and into the castle where he is able to free the Princess and spoil the evil one’s attempt for ransom money. The second story is another short one called “Dragon Fire” where Wally outsmarts a dragon as the kingdom’s under its attack!

Once more this takes the approach of having two stories instead of one, and again the second story seems like a waste of pages. Wally and Marlin seem to be at odds at the start of the first story, and this is odd and comes off not as cheery as their friendship has in the past issues. Wally once more uses his skills and mind to figure out how to save the day and once more tries to impress Penelope who comes off as a full fledged brat and is not likable at all in this issue. I do like how Wally clogs the hole and how Gorg once more is his demon self and is a loyal friend to Wally, though I must say I HATE the way Ben Brown draws him.  I feel he rush draws him and makes the character have zero detail. Vastar is a fat evil man who is controlled with greed and power.  His wizard Erasmo looks like a very generic 80’s evil character complete with black goatee! The second story has a dragon who is talked down from attacking by Wally and has the knights once more powerless to stop the challenge that is in front of them and makes you wonder how they stay a free kingdom and not taken over. The art is okay, and while some of Brown’s pages look good, others seem rushed and a mess. I don’t understand why he takes his time on some of it and clearly rushes the next.  His deadlines must have been a nightmare. The cover on this one is also just okay and nothing special. So let’s move on to issue 6 shall we?

Wally 6

Wally The Wizard # 6   ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #6 of 12

“Terror Mountain” A volcano is about to explode as The King and his people look to Marlin and his science for help, but he has nothing and only tells them all to flee the area and let it explode! The king doesn’t like what he hears and nor do his subjects, and they start to question why the pay him.  But worse for Marlin, his brother, the great magician Merlin, is coming, and while the world thinks he’s the best, his brother knows he’s a con man and is nothing more than a showman. When Merlin shows up with his apprentice Alfred, they wow the kingdom and take two full bags of gold and say they will stop the volcano and head for the border with the money and no intention of stopping the doom of Terror Mountain. As Wally and Marlin watch, the mountain explodes and traps Merlin and Alfred in its smokey death grip.  This causes Marlin and Wally to come to their rescue, and after doing so, Wally pulls a trick of his own as he replaces the gold Merlin conned away from the king with rocks, and together he and Marlin return to the Kingdom to give the King his gold back.

This issue is 100% a blast and has Wally being a hero and showing that he was the right choice for Marlin’s apprentice. I also like that is fleshes out Marlin and shows a little of his back story in a flashback of he and his brother growing up. Also Star took a huge chance and took a character that every one loved like Merlin the Magician and has him be a complete fraud that’s nothing more than cheap tricks that fool everyone into thinking he is powerful when really he is just a thief. Doing this was a bold move because it changes the image of a character who fans of King Author really love. I also like how the true meaning of this story is science vs. magic, and they want to prove magic is fake and science is real.  Odd move for a comic that is based around a kid wizard. Alfred, who is Merlin’s apprentice, is a good hearted kid but it’s clear he is learning at a young age to fool people and to con them of their money.  I am hoping that both Merlin and Alfred show back up in this series. This issue is back to one solid story, and this is a good thing as I would say that this issue next to issue # 1 is the best issue in the series thus far! The art is good and is down by Brown again, and time was taken.  The cover is pretty good and eye catching with its use of purple. After this issue I can’t wait to see what the next issue has to offer. Also this marks the half way point and makes me wonder if this series will stay solid or start to fall apart.  Only the future issues will tell!

Wally 7

Wally The Wizard # 7  **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #7 of 12

Wally is trying to make a magic elixir and makes a mistake and makes a mess, causing Marlin once more to be mad at him and tells him to go do something helpful. So Wally along with Conrad takes on the task of hanging flyers of the kingdom’s jousting competition where the winner gets the honor of being the best.  The odds on favorite is Sir Flauntaroy who is the King’s top knight. While in a small village, Wally meets Lucretia The Witch who has a strong dislike for Flauntaroy and gives an amulet to Wally to give to him for good luck, but it’s really a cursed item that causes fear! Wally rushes back to the Kingdom to get the amulet to Flauntaroy as Lucretia sends her nephew Heinous to enter the competition and to kill Flauntaroy who shot her down for a date years before. Wally gets the help of Gorg and makes it to the event as Flauntaroy is about to take on Heinous, and the evil plan backfires as Heinous is the one scared and Flauntaroy wins the event. The second story in this issue is called “Wrong Number” and has Wally and Marlin using a crystal ball to call another wizard friend to help cure a headache.  Things get crazy when Wally uses an old pan to do the same and wires get crossed and this effects Flauntaroy, The King and Penelope who all get caught up in the crazy mayhem. All the while, two crooks try and steal gold and get caught thanks to the mayhem.

Issue seven is back to two stories, and once more both are just okay with each being about the same and neither of them being the true stand out.  If I had to pick one, I would say the first story was better and because it introduces two new bad guys with Lucretia The Witch and Heinous. This issue is not really special, and while entertaining, neither story really adds anything to the world of Wally. In both stories Wally is still the fun loving wizard in training and is as likable as ever. Conrad gets his time to shine again and shows up as a background character in both stories and is shown to have a slight ego, but yet is a good friend to Wally. Marlin walks the line again of being a grumpy old man who is short tempered with Wally and yet still very loyal to his young friend. Princess Penelope is shown once more to be a terrible brat who is unlikable in every way. Lucretia The Witch is an odd faced old crazy lady who thinks that she is hot when she is not! Heinous is a big goof with a mean streak and a small brain, nothing special just a dumb brute. The artwork by Brown is good in both stories, and the cover is pretty eye catching.  I must say though, that doing the two stories in one comic always seems to cheapen both stories overall.  I’m not a fan of the two. So let’s move onto issue eight and see if it can get this average issue out of my mind. 

Wally 8

Wally The Wizard # 8   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #8 of 12

Wally meets a gnome and saves him on accident and as a thank you he is given a magic rope that when a magic word is spoken makes whatever it’s touching disappear. Wally accidentally says the word as Sir Flauntaroy is touching it, and this makes the kingdom’s top knight disappear! Wally and Conrad rush to the mountain where he met the gnome to see if he has a word to make things appear.  While on this quest, they run into a race of ogre type creatures called the Gooniks who are very mean and are the rivals of the gnomes who save the two from being Goonik food by lowering a bridge across a ravine that separates the two enemy races.  But this is bad as The Gooniks start to build a bridge of their own to get across and end the feud once and for all! Wally gets the magic word, and Sir Flauntaroy appears and joins in on the plan to stop them from making it over! At the end Wally figures it out and tricks The Gooniks who fall into the ravine and make homes in the caves below and away from the gnomes.

This issue is pure Wally, and while side characters like Marlin, Conrad, Sir Flauntaroy and even Princess Penelope have appearances, this is a pure Wally adventure, and it’s okay. The issue is one adventure and not two, and this is the style I like. I did find this issue and the story to be filled with some fun kid friendly adventures. I am going to guess that the magic rope will never come back in any future story and nor will the Gnomes or Gooniks, and this is a shame.  A follow up story at some point to tell what has happened with both sides after the feud is over would be nice to see or even hear about. The artwork done by Brown is once more his A game and not rushed, and the cover is eye catching and makes the issue look scary and adventurous. Over all this is an okay issue and doesn’t offer up much to talk about so let’s move on to issue # 9 in the Star Wally The Wizard series. 

Wally 9

Wally The Wizard # 9  ***
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #9 of 12

It’s a dark and rainy night, and Princess Penelope is deathly sick.  The King and Marlin are trying everything they can to make her better and even have banned commoners from entering the castle or going near her. Wally is upset and feels that he is going to lose the love of his life forever as by the hour, she gets more ill. Wally gets the help of Gorg and travels to the past to find out that the Princess ate a poisoned mushroom which gave her the Fungus Hermungus sickness.  Then they travel to the future and find how to cure the sickness and steal a pill to make her well. When they return, it looks grim for the Princess until Wally and Gorg sneak in and give her the pill.  When The King and subjects enter the room Princess Penelope is better, and they credit Marlin for her recovery! At the end Princess Penelope knows Wally and Gorg were her true saviors and rewards them with a blown kiss at a parade.

This is a classic fun and silly kid comic story and is done really well and super entertaining! The plot has Wally and Gorg travel time to find a cure to save the Princess and for some reason this reminded me of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Mr. Peabody.”  The part that puts Wally in modern New York is just a really cool concept and brought the character closer to kids of 1985. In this issue Wally is not only a hero, but also shows a softer more emotional side as he cries thinking about loosing his love. Gorg is as cool as always and is the true reason the Princess gets cured as his time traveling skills and his Gargoyle friend are the keys to getting the pill. Princess Penelope is way more likable in this issue.  Through most of it she is sick, but it’s the end where she shows love and respect for Wally and Gorg that makes her come off more charming. Marlin is not in this issue that much, and when he is he comes off as a worried wizard who wants to help a dying girl. The art in this issue is just okay with Wally and the other humans looking a little off.  This art does have Gorg looking better than his past few issue appearances. The art this time is done by Bob Bolling.  With an eye catching cover and a solid one story, this issue is great and makes me look forward to the next.

Wally 10

Wally The Wizard # 10   **1/2
Released in 1985   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #10 of 12

Wally is having nightmares about Princess Penelope being kidnapped by Vastar and his wizard Erasmo as well as the kingdom being under attack by a giant Goblin Grape! Wally tries to warn Marlin about his nightmares that could be visions of the future and is blown off. Wally is shown some gnats who when used can eat off the clothes of those who have a salt sprinkled on them. So Wally, Jay (remember his Chubby friend) and Alaina the Princess’ young maid all travel to Vastar’s castle and find that in fact they do have a giant grape that will eat everything in its path! Wally and Jay shake the salt on Vastar and Erasmo but are caught and taken to the castle’s cell before they can release the gnats. Alaina leaves to warn the kingdom of the gobbling grape doom that is headed their way, as Gorg and a magic spell rescue Wally and Jay who release the gnats in time.  They eat the clothes off the would be conquerers several times in fact, and even getting the salt on the grape that is eaten away. This make makes the baddies flee, and the kingdom safe once again.

This issue is pretty good, but I’m not so sure as I feel it was lacking something that would have made it better. I will say the story felt more like a back up story than a full issue one like it was. Wally once more saves the kingdom and gets no credit for doing so. Wally has turned into quite the hero over these past ten issues and is a great character for kids of the time to look up to. While in the comic, Jay is not used that much and is given very little to do besides play the role of bit player as goes for Marlin in this issue. Alaina gets to shine and shows that she is a loyal, loving friend to Wally.  She has the world’s largest crush on him that has built up in every appearance she has made so far in the series. I must say Alaina is a likable character and up to this point is barely used, and that’s a shame.  She is more perfect for Wally than the Princess is and here is to hoping he sees that by the next two issues. Vastar and Erasmo return as the issue’s baddies and once more are outsmarted by a kid, making them perfect bad guys for this style of kids fantasy comic. Howard Post did the art in this issue, and it really reminded me of Archie Comics and that’s a cool thing.  The cover on this issue is just so-so and could have been better.  Overall this issue is okay but nothing special.   

Wally 11

Wally The Wizard # 11   ***
Released in 1986   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #11 of 12

The King is having a feast at the castle that has all the royalty from all around gathering to partake in the eating of great food. Sir Evilus and his mother are not happy that they were not invited to the feast and have a plan to attack and take over the Kingdom.  But in the mother’s crystal ball she sees that it is Wally who stands in their way of winning this soon to be war, but her son pays it no attention and prepares for the attack. In the morning Evilus attacks and is getting the upper hand until his men kidnap Wally and by mistake a vanishing spell by Mother only makes half his body disappear.  The young wizard’s apprentice is nothing more than a floating head scares off the army when they think he is a ghost! In the end the spell wears off, and Wally once more saves the Kingdom, but the credit goes to Marlin who poured water on the army below.

This is another light hearted fun and wacky adventure for Wally to be in and marks yet another time he saves the Kingdom and gets zero credit for doing so. Wally is good natured though and never seems to be bothered that he gets no credit and just seems to enjoy the life he was given. Marlin once more is back to full grump mode and is so pushy that magic is fake and science is real, he even skips the feast in order to work on an experiment. Conrad, Jay, Alaina, Princess Penelope and Sir Flauntaroy all make cameos but are given nothing special, besides once more Penelope is a snobby brat. New baddy Sir Evilus is pretty cool as he looks like what you would think of for an evil knight complete with black goatee and evil witch of a mother.  While a cool bad guy, he does not come off as a threat to the Kingdom, but his army does. The plot is fun and gets to add a slight horror element to this kids’ comic as Wally acts as a ghost and superstition comes into play about bad omens and haunted castles. Ben Brown is back on art, and the issue looks nice and is some of his better work in the series thus far.  The cover on the other hand is kind of blah and not as eye catching as it should be. Well we are at the tail end of Star Comics’ Wally The Wizard and have only one issue to go.  So here is hoping that it goes out with a bang and not a whisper.

Wally 12

Wally The Wizard # 12   **1/2
Released in 1986   Cover Price .65   Star Comics   #12 of 12

Wally and Jay are messing around with magic, and a mistake leaves Jay turned into a human frog! Marlin witnesses this and is angered by Wally’s mistake and tells them only a kiss from a Princess can save him from a life of being all green.  They try Princess Penelope and her kiss fails.  They then travel along with Conrad to another kingdom and that princess’ kiss fails too. Jay is upset and flings himself into a swamp and is almost killed by a whirlpool! They rush him back to the kingdom, and a true heartfelt kiss from Princess Penelope brings him back into human form. The second story is called ” The Magic Bulls Eye.” Crazy Ethelred is a wizard who will do magic for cheaper then any other wizard in the land, and when the King falls for his tricks, it’s up to Wally and Conrad to show him it’s all fake and the trickster wannabe wizard instead gets a job in the kingdom as the Court Jester.

Story one is pretty good and is a take off the Frog and the Princess.  Wally once more makes a mistake, and this time his poor chubby friend Jay pays the price. Wally is very much upset over his mistake and travels all over to make it right. Jay as a frog is a crybaby who even at one point appears he is going to commit suicide as he runs into the swamp that’s filled with all types of hazardous creatures. Princess Penelope once more is a brat and only when it looks like Jay will die, is her kiss heartfelt.  She is not a likable character, and one does wish that Wally would wake up and see that Alaina is better for him. The second story is good and is a nice add on to the issue, but also it’s nothing special and is not worth really looking into. The art in this final issue is done by Howie Post with Ben Brown doing the second story, making it cool to see that Brown at least got to do artwork for the final issue in the series. Brown’s artwork is better than Post’s, and thats not a dig at Post as his art is well down and captures the feel of 70’s kid comics. The cover however is kind of bland, and I wish it would have had something a little better. Over all this issue is okay and not the best way to end the legacy of Wally on.

Star Comics made a good solid character in Wally The Wizard, who in his 12 issue run went on many adventures, saved the Kingdom many times, made friends with creatures like demons and gnomes, fell in love, became an apprentice to a wizard, went to the future and so much more. Kids in the 80’s didn’t have many kid comic characters that they could claim as their own and in the decade of sword and sorcery Wally fit in like a glove to become a likable character they could latch onto. While again I didn’t hear kids speak of Wally, his 12 issue run proves that kids were buying, and the fact that I at 34 still remembered him shows that he made an impact for those of us who read him. I must say that this series based on a Star original is really a fun read and a very good series and makes me looking forward to rereading and reviewing Planet Terry, Spider-Ham, Royal Roy, Meet Misty and Top Dog! This also made me really miss Star and wish they would have lasted longer.  Think of the possible IP’s and new characters that could have been! At some point in 2014, I will do one more “Should Have Been in the Star Comics World” and will get a few more friends as well to tell you what they would have loved to seen. But with this I am off to read more comics and maybe play some WWE 2K14 on PS3.  So see you all next update that will showcase a guest reviewer as my girlfriend, Juliet Fromholt will take you down here memory lane as she takes a look at Topps Comics’ Season 1 of The X-Files! So be there if you want to believe….. 

The X-Files logo

Marvel At The Movies Part 1

It’s summer time, so let’s go to the movies! Marvel Comics and movie adaptations went hand and hand in the 1980’s and many Hollywood blockbusters found themselves as comic miniseries, giving fans of both films and of comic books something to collect and re-read at any time, reliving the adventure. So with this update I decided to take a look at three films that got the Marvel treatment: Krull, The Last Starfighter and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension.  I chose these three to start with because I feel all of them have a very rich cult status, not to mention each could have easily been a full series after the movie tie was done.  Lastly I grew up watching all three films! While movie tie in comics are still made today they are fewer and far between as Marvel no longer focuses on them unless they own the character in the film outright. But with this update I will tell you a little about the film and my thoughts on it as well as break down each issue in the Marvel comic adaptations.  So with no further ado let’s get to what I am calling “Marvel At The Movies,” and we are reading this at the imaginary Marvel Theater.

Marvel at the movies

I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material.  I will give these comics a little slack on not keeping 100% to the film because they have only so many pages to contain it all in, but it will be only a little slack. I also want to thank Dark Star Comics and Half Price Books for having these issues in stock.

Krull 1Krull PosterKrull 3

Released in 1983, Krull is about a young prince and his new bride whose offspring will be the ruler of the galaxy and whose world is under attack by a monster called The Beast and his evil warriors known as The Slayers. When The Beast has the princess kidnapped, it’s up to the prince to save his bride and the world alongside a rag tag motley crew of warriors. I grew up watching this film and have always been a fan of fantasy films.  While this is not my favorite, it’s a good solid film with likeable characters and a sinister bad guy. I can remember renting this film on VHS from the public library and before that watching the film on HBO. As you long time readers know, I also was the cyclops Rell for Halloween one year and my brother went as The Beast, showing that the film did have an impact on my life. While I know a board game and an Atari 2600 game were made based on this film, I never played them. The film has gained a cult status and my friend Thomas “Maurice” Smith, founder of Beard Team Ohio, is a big fan. So with that let’s take a look at Marvel’s two issue film adaptation of the film.

Krull issue 1

Krull # 1  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #1 of 2

The world of Krull is under attack as an evil monster known as The Beast and his warriors The Slayers are laying waste to all the kingdoms and turning the whole world into a bloodbath of pain and carnage, traveling around in their spaceship called The Black Fortress. Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa are getting married, and legend says that the two will be the ones to save Krull and that their child will grow up to rule the galaxy.  But the honeymoon is cut short when Slayers attack the castle, kill as many of the men inside they can and kidnap Lyssa who has also captured the loving eye of The Beast. Colwyn awakens to his friends and family dead and his wife missing as Ynyr The Old One comes to his side and speaks of a magical weapon that will be able to kill The Beast once and for all called the Glaive that is hidden in a mountain in running lava! After retrieving it, they start on a quest to find The Black Fortress and pick up characters like Ergo The Magnificent, a goofy magician and Torquil and his ten men all who are convicts that join to get their freedom. They find the blind prophet Emerald Seer and his young apprentice Titch who try and find the location of The Black Fortress but are stopped by the even more powerful magic of The Beast. The group set out for the swamp to get a better grip on the location, all the while a cyclops seems to be following them. Meanwhile Lyssa is trapped in The Beast’s fortress and is being primed to be his mate!

This first issue packs so much action, drama and adventure that it makes you want to turn the page and find out what is in store next for Colwyn, who is a likeable and nobel hero who wants his true love back safe and wants to save his world from the death that awaits it. The comic captures the fantasy of the film, and while the battle scenes are not as epic in the comic, when The Slayers attack it still is just as impactful as it was in the film. The Beast is a mean spirited monster who almost seems to get pure joy out of all the murder and death and gets glee from keeping Lyssa prisoner. Ergo acts as the comic relief in the comic just as he does in the film.  Look at him as a less over the top version of Orko from Masters of the Universe or Snarf of Thundercats as he trips and makes a fool of himself almost at every moment. Torquil and his men seem like second thoughts in this first issue and just seem like they are around for the ride. Ynyr is used like he should be, as the wise old man who wants to set everything right and pretty much is right on to his on screen counterpart. Over all this first issue is a well done movie adaptation with pretty good artwork and an amazing cover that uses the film’s poster. For fans of the film like myself, this is a good read and for those who have not seen the film, this comic could be used as a tool to get them to watch. The only flaw that I see is that the storyline is pretty epic and this makes for lots of dialogue moments to get the story out that could lose some younger readers. Let’s see if the fantasy magic holds up in issue 2. 

Krull issue 2

Krull # 2  ***
Released in 1983   Cover Price .60   Marvel Comics   #2 of 2

Colywn and his group are deep in the swamp as Slayers attack, and the cyclops comes to help.  After the fighting he joins the group on the quest, and they find out his name is Rell. Emerald Seer is killed, and his apperance is taken by a shapeshifter who in turn tries to kill Colywn but is stopped by Rell who found the old man’s body in the swamp water. Now the group is lost without a guide to show them where the Dark Fortress is.  Ynyr sacrifices himself to find the answer when he cross paths with the spider lady and her giant spider! Colywn and his men get the answer they need but lose a dear friend in Ynyr, but they continue to the Black Fortress.  Upon entering Colywn and his true love Lyssa are reunited and must use their love to defeat the evil power and grip of The Beast!

The second issue just like the first is a solid film to comic transfer and adds all the action and drama of the film to inked pages. Colywn is a likeable hero who you find yourself cheering for and in my opinion looks less geeky than he does on film.  He has just the right amount of badass in him to make his against the odds quest more believable. Lyssa in the comic and even somewhat in the film is your very helpless princess who adds the classic fairy tale feel to this epic adventure.  While she does very little to help bring down the evil, she’s who the whole quest is truly about. Ynyr The Old One is a great guide to the hero and is truly the comics’ Obi-Wan Kenobi, even dying like a hero like the Jedi Master before him.  In fact, this whole film has many connections to Star Wars! Rell is a nice side character who adds the brute power to the team much like Chewbacca. Torquil is a convict who still has a good heart and is noble like Han Solo. Ergo The Magnificent is like C3PO and is a goofy sidekick who even takes on a friend with Titch, who in the comic adds nothing to the plot. Even The Slayers are very much like Storm Troopers in their mindless attacks and the way they all look the same. The Beast is a kick ass bad guy who should have gotten more panel time and seems as if he truly could take over a planet with his army and magic, and yes he reminds me of a blend of Darth Vader and The Emperor. The Glaive is a silly weapon that mixes knives with a boomrang, but I do give it credit as it’s at least original and gets the death blow started on The Beast. The end battle should have been a little more over the top and had way more tense moments but even the film in my opinion lacked that. The comics’ art work is solid, but this time around the cover is a little lacking and could have been spiced up a bit. Over all this comic did a great job of bringing the big screen to the panel and does justice to the film by not cutting too much of its charm. Over all I would say this is a good comic film adaptation.

Laststar1laststar2laststar3

In 1984 a film hit theaters called The Last Starfighter about Alex Rogan, a young man with dreams to better himself through school or the military.  He works at a trailer park and spends his days with his girlfriend Maggie, fixing issues at the trailer park and playing an arcade game called The Last Starfighter. But his dreams come true when Centauri, an inventor from the galaxy comes to take him away after he gets the highest score in the game’s history and in his place on Earth an android named Beta who looks like him is left to work his everyday life. Alex is flung into a galactic war that leaves he and his alien co-pilot Grig as the last Starfighters and the only hope for mankind. As a kid I remember loving this film and wishing for toys, comics and video games to be made around it.  I did get the video game that came out on the NES, and I did get the comic thanks to Marvel’s 3 issue movie tie in run. But I never did get the action figures. I can remember watching this film on VHS and on cable while playing with Star Wars and G.I. Joe’s acting out my own intergalactic battles. So let’s see if the comic series can hold up to this fun 80’s sci-fi film.

Last Star Issue 1

The Last Starfighter # 1  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #1 of 3

Alex Rogan is a young man with big dreams who can’t seem to get his life in order and get out of the trailer park his mom runs. He has a job working maintenance for the trailers and even has a loving girlfriend Maggie, but his life just seems so boring.  His only real escape is playing a video game called The Last Starfighter in which he has gotten the highest score possible! Late one night Alex meets Centauri, the man who created the game who takes him away to the planet Rylos to join in a war that threatens all worlds and wants him to become a true to life starfighter. Back on Earth, an android named Beta has taken the appearance and life of Alex so that his loved ones would not worry about him. After listening to a meeting for new recruits, Alex decides he wants to go home even after meeting his reptile like co-pilot Grig, but everything stops when a hologram of the sinister Xur leader of the Ko-Dan Armada appears.

This first issue is a great way to introduce you to Alex and his family and girlfriend as they live their everyday lives in the trailer park. It also makes you really root for Alex as all he really wants to do is better his life with a good college education. While the issue leaves him almost spineless as he wants to leave instead help fight the good fight, you can see a true hero in the making. Even in the comic Centauri comes off like a good guy but also has that sleazy used car salesman charm. Maggie comes off as a loving and supportive girlfriend and is the nice counter piece for Alex to really care about. Other than that these are the only three characters to truly stand out, and I look forward to seeing more of Xur and Grig.  The comic follows the movie pretty well and holds onto the kid friendly sci-fi action and adventure appeal that made it a cult classic to this day. The art work is a little weak and in spots looks unfinished, while the cover is pretty good and eye catching for the time. I can’t wait to read issue two and get more into this adventure.

Last Star issue 2

The Last Starfighter # 2  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #2 of 3

Xur’s message is clear, and it’s that anyone who stands in his way of ruling the world is as good as dead.  Alex hears this warning and wants to go back home.  Disappointed, Centauri starts the journey to take him home. After Alex leaves Xdur and his Commander Kril unleash an attack on the starfighter base that kills them all.  While on Earth Centauri gives Alex a communicator if ever he changes his mind and wants to help fight the good fight. Alex returns home and gets the cold shoulder from Maggie and also finds Beta sleeping in his bed.  The two talk about what’s happened in Alex’s life on Earth while he was away.  When Beta is leaving an alien bounty hunter tries to kill Alex, and Centauri comes to the rescue but takes a shot in the process. Alex sees now that he must take a stand and returns with the wounded Centauri to Rylos where he not only sees his guide and now friend dying from his wound but also sees that the whole star fleet has been killed in an attack.  Grig has survived, and the two get aboard a starship to prepare for battle, and that’s just what they do as enemy fighters approach and Alex finds out that he truly is the last starfighter!

This second issue is filled with sneak attacks, death, assassination attempts and finding one’s inner strength. Alex, while still reluctant to be a hero, steps up when he sees that the whole universe needs him to be a hero and stop Xur and his goons from taking over.  While he still speaks of going home even, he knows he must do the right thing. Beta is a cool character who mimics Alex, and Centauri shows that while he might be a con man, he is a great friend and truly a believer in the cause to stop Xur once and for all.  In this issue it appears that he is dying from a gun shot that was meant for Alex. Grig is more fleshed out in this issue and acts not only as a partner but also as a coach as he boosts Alex’s ego and self worth. Xur is a spoiled brat and comes off not so much as an evil mastermind but more of a child who wants a new toy off the shelf when his mom told him no.  That said, he does have the means to take what he wants as he had his men blow up the starfighter base killing almost all of the world’s hope. I like the idea that hitmen are sent to kill Alex because he was at one starfighter meeting, showing that Xur is cold blooded and wants no one to oppose him. The issue’s art work, much like issue one, seems not done in spots and at times Alex looks laughable with the lack of human expression.The cover is pretty good and makes the issue look action packed.  I say this is a pretty good issue that kept me reading and even remembering the parts of the film so let’s get to issue 3!

Last Star Issue 3

The Last Starfighter # 3  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #3 of 3

Alex and Grig are at war in space while Beta is on a date with Maggie when he is attacked by another alien hit man who shoots the robot, and he now must tell Maggie that he is in fact a robot and that they must stop the alien from reporting back that the real Alex is alive.  They do so by crashing a truck into his spaceship. Meanwhile Alex and Grig are one ship against many, and Xur is overthrown by Commander Kril who now is in control and wants to destroy Alex and control the universe. Alex beats the odds and brings down the attacking army and becomes a hero to the whole galaxy.  He returns to Earth to visit his mom and brother and then takes Maggie to space with him so they can live happily ever after.  Oh yeah, Centauri is alive and proud of his friend!

This final issue is fully about the space battle that shows Alex as the hero we all know he can be. Alex is a great character who as the issues go on gains more and more self esteem and shapes up to be a hero much like Luke Skywalker of Star Wars and Prince Colwyn of Krull. Xur, who thinks he holds the power, is shown to be nothing more then a pawn for the war hungry aliens who put up with him until they felt like they had the upper hand. Xur is the perfect spoiled brat character who you’re happy to see betrayed. Grig is a good side character who acts as the character who helps push Alex to his potential though I wish in the comic they would have given him a little more panel time. Commander Kril for most of the 3 issue series is nothing more than a lapdog for Xur, but when he turns on his one time ruler he is also shown to be a madman. Maggie is a good girlfriend character who is loyal to her boyfriend even when he is acting odd. And last Centauri is a perfect wise old man character that is one part conman and one part nice guy. The comic series does a pretty damn good job at making the film come to ink and the only true downfall to the mini series is the fact that the art is below par and not as solid as most Marvel Comics at that time. While some things were changed slightly from film to comic, it still is a good film adaptation that only has its art as it’s negative marks.

Buckaroo 1Buckaroo posterBackaroo 3

In 1984 moviegoers were treated to a fun over the top Sci-Fi adventure film thanks to 20th Century Fox that told the tale of Buckaroo Banzai, a scientist and rock star who along with his band must try and stop an invasion of inter-dimensional alien beings from another planet lead by Lord John Whorfin who has taken over the body of a fellow scientist Dr. Lizardo. The film was a strange and fun film that I remember watching as a kid and even remember parodying the end credits with my brother. We mostly saw this film thanks to HBO and a beta tape that we recorded it on.  While I liked the film, I was never a super fan like friends of mine are like artist Eric Shonborn. The cast was a big plus for me as I was a fan of Peter Weller who plays Buckaroo, John Lithgow who played Lizardo/Whorfin, Christopher Lloyd who played Bigboote and even Jeff Goldblum who played New Jersey at the time. Sadly the film, while a cult classic today, never had toys or board games based around it, but did have a text based game for Adam Computer/DOS and only had this two issue film adaptation as far as comic books go for the longest time. So let’s see how this over the top film transfers to comic ink, shall we?

Backaroo issue 1

Buckaroo Banzai # 1  **1/2
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #1 of 2

Buckaroo Banzai is performing surgery and rushes to a test site were he takes a super fast car and has it travel through a solid mountain and into the 8th Dimension.  This is a good and bad thing. While the experiment is a success, he also sees the inter-dimension and returns with a goo like substance attached to the car. Dr. Lizardo, who is possessed with the inter-dimensional sprit of Lord John Whorfin, escapes from the asylum when hearing about the test run and wants to open a portal to his world so that his people can take over Earth as we know it. That night Buckaroo Banzai along with his band The Hong Kong Calvalers (Rawhide,Reno,Perfect Tommy, New Jersey and Pinky) are playing at a club, and before they take the stage they find out that the goo is alive.  During the show Buckaroo meets Penny, a woman who captures his eye and his heart.  After she tries to kill herself Banzai befriends the young woman and she goes to the press conference set to speak about the goo and during this event The Black Lectroids, a good race from the 8th Dimension share knowledge about the Red Lectroids and Buckaroo finds that two of the evil are among the press at the event.

This comic has to cram in so much story that it comes off really slow, and while entertaining still lacks the real excitement that one would expect based on the adventures of Buckaroo. Banzai is a man of many talents who is trying to live life to its fullest and is a doctor, scientist, rock star and saver of the masses all rolled into one cool dude. Buckaroo is a prime example of Sci-Fi hero of the 80’s, and by that I mean that he is over done and has that nerd mixed with cool guy attitude.  The Hong Kong Calvalers are given very little to do in this first issue and are mostly used to fill in plot and to be background filler. Lord John Whorfin is bat shit crazy and is a perfect wild eyed bad guy, and the race he rules over The Red Lectroid’s are perfect war hungry, world conquering baddies. Penny kind of gets the short end of the stick as her back story is rushed and not as impactful as it should be. Over all while this is an entertaining comic, the rushed feel of it takes the magic away and makes what could have been a solid movie adaptation into an okay one. The cover is well done and one of the better ones done for this whole review.  The art work is also well done and has that classic early 80’s Marvel look.  So let’s jump into issue 2.

Backaroo issue 2

Buckaroo Banzai # 2  **
Released in 1984   Cover Price .75   Marvel Comics   #2 of 2

Buckaroo and his band chase the Red Lectroid’s out of the press conference, and they become the target of a battle the leaves them finding a Black Lectroid sent to Earth to help in the fight to save Earth. Along the way Penny finds out she had a twin sister that was once Banzai’s girlfriend and is kidnapped and put into a coma, and a member of the band is killed! This all leads up to a showdown with Lord John Whorfin that has them flying spaceships, leaving the Red Lectroids blown up, Banzai saving the world and his new girlfriend Penny with a kiss.

This second issue is where all the action is at, and while again rushed, this issue is an improvement over the first and delivers more of the story not just the action. Buckaroo in this issue is more of what one would say is a hero and goes around kicking butt and saving lives, Banzai is a good comic book ready character. Lord John Whorfin, while again a good crazy bad guy, just does not seem as much of a threat as he should be  He could have gone back to Sci-Fi bad guy school and learned a little from other villains. The Hong Kong Calvalers again are background guys, but do add to the over all feel of the story and are the perfect background soldiers all with their own personalities. Penny is a good love intrest and when they show she had a sister who she never knew who looked just like her, it makes more sense why Banzai fell so fast for her. The cover on this issue is a little lame.  While eye catching, it’s not nearly as cool as issue one’s, and the art is the same good solid work it was before and seeing the comic version of Peter Weller (Buckaroo Banzai) is pretty cool. I would say fans of the film might feel a little cheated by these two issues, but I am sure they would get some enjoyment out of them as well.

So now I would like to take this time to have a fantasy warfare between all the films’ bad guys.  So it will be Krull’s The Beast going up against Last Star Fighter’s Xur and Buckaroo Banzai’s Lord John Whorfin.  They will be doing battle in Yellow Springs Ohio on a Sunday afternoon. So let’s get ready to watch a rumble of 80’s baddies who all want to take over our world!

The BeastVSXURVSWhorfin

It’s a sunny day in Yellow Springs, and the street musicians are in full swing as Tom’s Market and Dark Star Comics are packed with customers as is Dino’s Coffee Shop where would-be ruler Xur sits sipping his Carmel Pumpkin Latte and mumbling to all who will listen about being so close to ruling the Galaxy and almost killing the last starfighter, when he is interrupted by a voice proclaiming that nobody cares about his failures.  This voice belongs to Lord John Whorfin who is gulping down his Frozen Hot Chocolate. Xur takes offense and walks over and slaps Whorfin across his face and challenges him to a duel outside the Whorfin gladly accepts. The two go outside spewing hateful remarks to each other, and as they set the rules for the duel the ground starts to shake and crack as the Black Fortress appears in the middle of town next to Ha Ha Pizza and The Beast comes walking out as everyone looks on with horror the two feuding baddies get upset that this volcano headed monster stole their spotlight and decide that they will start a fight with him and show the people who are the ones they should fear. The Beast makes his way toward Ha Ha Pizza, after choosing to eat there over Sub Way across the street, as Xur and Whorfin quickly stand in front of the door and try to intimidate him.  This don’t work as quickly The Beast grabs the head of Xur and crushes it with his bare hands and makes ground beef of it as Whorfin lands a left hook to The Beast’s jaw that don’t phase the monster who then in turn uppercuts Whorfin so hard he flies through the air and lands in John Bryon Park and the impact snaps his neck like a twig. The people of the town cheer as The Beast is handed his large sausage pizza and walks back to the Black Fortress which disappears to end yet another day in Yellow Springs.

Winner – The Beast

Hands down, this would be an easy win for The Beast who would truly make short work of Xur and Whorfin combined, while the latter would at least put up a better fight. So after reading all three films comic adaptations, it’s time for me to pick the one I think should have gotten a full comic series from Marvel that would have moved past just the film and into its own epic adventure much like they did with Star Wars and Star Trek. While I truly think all three would have made amazing comic series and all three have so much more adventures to be had for the hero, I was really torn between Krull and The Last Starfighter.  After days of thinking about it, I have chosen Krull because like Conan, Red Sonja and Kull, the film opens itself to be made into one hell of a good action series and many more bad guys could be made to try and take over the kingdom.

Comic book spinner rackkrullmovie-screen

So while the clean up crews here at the Marvel Theater clear the floors of dropped popcorn and spilled soda and the last Screening of Buckaroo Banzai is letting out, I am going to stay seated for awhile, soak in all the epic comics I just read and give you readers the low down on what the next update will be all about: getting back on track and taking a look at IDW’s IT! Terror From Beyond Space.  So until then, read a comic, watch a movie/TV or play a video game and stay nerdy.

It-The-Terror-From-Beyond-Space-logo