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. 

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The Saw Is Law Here at Rotten Ink!

For the second Halloween update I had a hard time choosing what comic series to do. I thought to myself, should I pick one of Marvel’s classic horror titles like Tombs of Dracula or Werewolf by Night.  Then I thought, why not do something from Dead Dog Comics or Fangoria Comics, two horror comic companies that disappeared way before they should have and had a lot to offer in the comic world in my opinion.  But finally I decided to stick to a film adaptation of a classic horror film, and I was torn between Psycho and Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.  While Psycho is the better film by far, I chose to go with Leatherface because I felt the need to speak about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre this Halloween season. I first saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre with my brother when I was young as he bought it on VHS from Half Priced Books and hyped it up to me as one of the first slasher films made.  My expectations were high as we watched it and after that first viewing I was not as impressed as he was. I was still very much into the classic black and white horror film stuff, and I just felt while Leatherface was scary he still was just a man. Now being older I see that Leatherface being just a man is way more scary then The Wolf Man who is a unreal creature because people like Leatherface are real and are the true terrors that walk among us. But even in my teens I grew to to respect the film and what it had done for the world of horror films.  Not to mention I truly thought star Marilyn Burns was a super fox! So with that let’s first take a look at the real life killer that inspired Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, and then we will look a little deeper into each Chainsaw film among other things as we travel to the heart of Texas on this October night and stop along the way for some good old BBQ and remember The Saw is Family.  Fair warning, this update will have spoilers.

The Saw is Family

Edward Theodore “Ed” Gein is a killer from Plainfield, Wisconsin who killed two known females and may have killed others including his own brother. Ed, who was attached to his mother, slipped into madness after her death in 1945 and took to digging up bodies from the local cemetery and making not only furniture from the bones and skin but also a suit that was made up of human flesh to make himself into a woman. Ed’s first victim was Mary Hogan, a saloonkeeper that he killed with a shotgun in 1954.  His second victim was hardware store owner Bernice Worden who was also shot in her store.  Both women were dragged back to his farmhouse where they were cut up, skinned and treated like cattle at a slaughterhouse. Ed not only was a grave robber but he also took part in cannibalism as he ate pieces of his victims. Ed was busted for the second murder and was sentenced to life in an asylum where he died in 1984 from respiratory failure at the age of 77. The Gein’s farm house was set on fire, and his truck was sold to a carnival where people paid a quarter to see it after his death. Ed’s tombstone is the target for vandals and thieves as pieces are broken off for keepsakes and graffiti placed on it. As I have stated, Gein was only convicted and only admitted to two murders but there was the possibilities of many more including his brother who was found dead years before on the property during a controlled burn.  The authorities ruled that he died from asphyxiation from the smoke but wounds were found around his skull leaving some to wonder if Ed had attacked and murdered him. Ed also has been the inspiration for many Hollywood bad guys like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Norman Bates from Psycho, Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and Ezra Cobb from Deranged. Not to mention Ed has had a few bio films based on him and has had such actors as Kane Hodder and Steve Railsback step into the role of portraying him. To this day Ed Gein seems to catch the attention of many true crime followers and seems to never be forgotten as his name lives on in film, comics and songs.

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Let’s take a look at the films of Texas Chainsaw Massacre….and these do have spoilers! I will include standard 1-4 star rating as the end of each small write up.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Sally Hardesty, her wheelchair bound brother Franklin, her boyfriend Jerry and friends Kirk and Pam are on a road trip through Texas in 1973 to see if their grandfather’s grave has been disturbed by a rash of grave robbers and to go to their family’s old home that is now in ruins. Along the way, they pick up a crazed hitchhiker who attacks Franklin before being booted from the van. They also meet a gas station owner named W.E who warns them not to go to the old house and warns them his station is out of gas. The group doesn’t listen and heads for the farm where their fun and games turn into a nightmare as a killer known as Leatherface (because he wears human skin as a mask) picks them off one by one. Leatherface uses all his tools of the trade to dispose of the teens like his trusty hammer, chainsaw and meat hooks. Finally Sally is the only one left alive and comes face to face with the true horror of Leatherface and his deranged brothers that include W.E., the hitchhiker and their wheelchair bound blood-drinking Grandpa who was a slaughterhouse worker. Sally is chased, beaten and forced to have a cannibal dinner with the family before she tries to escapes the madness with her life as Leatherface with chainsaw and hitchhiker with straight razor are in hot pursuit. In the end the hitchhiker is smashed by a semi truck, Leatherface takes his own chainsaw to the leg and Sally escapes with her life but not her mind. 4 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II – Stretch is a DJ for a popular rock radio station that captures the deaths of two callers on her request line by the killer known as Leatherface. In town, Lefty Enright, uncle to Sally and Franklin Hardesty and a former ranger, wants to capture and kill those responsible for the murders taking place in Texas. The Sawyer clan now lives in an abandoned amusement park, and the Cook (Drayton) is now in the catering business selling his human BBQ and chili all around town and soon at the big football game. But when Lefty talks Stretch into playing the kill call live on the air, she and her coworker L.G. become the targets of Leatherface and his brother Chop-Top (a vet with a metal plate in his head) who want the tape and want them dead. The attack leaves Stretch’s co-worker at death’s door and Leatherface with a crush on her, which saves her life. The Sawyer clan heads home as Lefty and Stretch follow and get lost in the maze. Stretch is found and forced to eat dinner with the family as Leatherface’s new “girlfriend.” Meanwhile Lefty spends time trying to bring the whole place down. After he finds Stretch and saves her from the hammer what follows is a showdown between a crazed family of killers and a crazed man who lost it all when his family was taken away. The result is chainsaw duels, hammer blows to the head, the return of the blood-drinking Grandpa, the hitchhiker’s corpse as a puppet and the death of many of the Sawyer family. 3 1/2 Stars!

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Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III – Michelle and Ryan are driving cross-country and made the mistake of driving through Texas as another Sawyer body pit has been found. It throws them off the normal highway and to the Last Chance Gas Station run by a pervert named Alfredo Sawyer who gets into a fight with a hitchhiker named Tex after he catches him peeping on Michelle as she uses the restroom. Before Tex is “gunned” down for being a hero, he tells them to take a back road that leads to a run-in with Leatherface and an accident with a survivalist named Benny. With no cars and no hope, the three along with a crazy young woman who has escaped the Sawyer clan become the prey as Leatherface and his brothers Tinker (a hook handed technology lover and tow truck driver), Tex (the hitchhiker) and Alfredo (the gas station owner) hunt them down and kill them for meat. Michelle is alive after the others are killed and taken to the Sawyer farm were she gets to meet Mama Sawyer, Grandpa and Leatherface’s young daughter. But when Benny, who’s not dead, comes to her aid the two must kill or be killed to stay alive. Do they make it out of Texas alive, and if so, what is left of them? 2 1/2 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Next Generation – It’s prom night in 1994 as mousy Jenny, a young woman who is being abused by her mom’s boyfriend, is on her way to the prom with Sean and her friend Heather and Heather’s asshole boyfriend Berry. They get into a wreck in the backwoods of Texas and meet Vilmer Sawyer, a towtruck driver with a mechanical leg brace, Darla an insurance agent with fake boobs, W.E. a shotgun welding history quoting asshole and of course Leatherface. One by one, like before, the friends are killed off as Jenny is the only one left to spend a horrific dinner with the Sawyer clan, but this time it’s different as they spend time playing mind games and cat and mouse chases with her. Weirdly, they refer to all of this as a job given to them by a secret government agency. But strangely a man dressed in black, a clear member of the secret government agency named Rothman, shows up and yells at the family but lets the madness continue. Jenny escapes the house with Vilmer and Leatherface in pursuit as a plane swoops down from nowhere killing Vilmer and stopping Leatherface dead in his tracks. Jenny gets to a limo where Rothman apologies for all she has been through and drops her off at a local hospital where she sees a crazed Sally Hardesty. The two lock eyes as we end with Leatherface swinging his chainsaw as the sun sets. This film was also known as “Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. 2 stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre – In 1973 Erin, her boyfriend and a van full of friends are driving back home from Mexico and make the mistake of taking the backroads of Texas. After picking up a hitchhiker who blows her head off, they are lead to Sheriff Hoyt who makes them stay until this case can be closed. Erin and her friends soon learn that something is not right with the small almost abandoned town as everyone they meet seems a little off. When Erin’s boyfriend goes missing and becomes the first victim to Leatherface’s hammer, Erin and her friends start becoming human cattle to the Hewitt family that includes crazy Sheriff Hoyt, wheelchair bound Monty, little boy Jedediah and old lady Luda May. One by one the friends die. Erin is the last survivor who must escape her hellish nightmare, but before she does she saves a kidnapped baby, kills Sheriff Hoyt and chops off Leatherface’s arm. It ends with Erin driving off as a one-armed Leatherface makes one last attempt on her life. 2 1/2 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning – In 1939 a deformed baby is born in a slaughterhouse and is quickly thrown away in the trash can out back where Luda May Hewitt rescues it and takes it home to raise as her own. Flash to 1969, and the small Texas town is dying as the baby grows up to be Thomas Hewitt, working for the very same slaughterhouse that threw him away just some 30 years before. Brothers Eric and Dean, along with their girlfriends Chrissie and Bailey are on their way to be dropped off to go to Vietnam as Thomas kills his old boss and his Uncle Charlie kills the sheriff to protect his nephew and becomes Sheriff Hoyt. The Hewitt family stays in the town and makes a vow that they will do whatever it takes to keep the family farm, including eating human flesh to never go hungry. Eric and crew get in a wreck as a female biker tries to rob them. This brings Sheriff Hoyt who kills the biker and takes Eric, Dean and Bailey under custody and to the Hewitt farm. Chrissie comes to the rescue with the help of the leader of the biker gang. But one by one they start meeting an end at the hands of Leatherface who ends up cutting Eric’s face off and taking off his leather strap mask to truly live up to what he is to become. Finally, after being caught and watching her loved ones get killed Chrissie escapes or so she thinks. 3 Stars!

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Texas Chainsaw 3D – The Sawyer family is under attack after the events of the first film as the Sheriff wants Leatherface to come out and turn himself in.  Things go south when some good old boys show up and kill the Sawyer family and burn down the farm house. One baby survives the attack and grows up thinking she is the daughter of some of the rednecks who killed her real family. When she gets a notice that her real grandma has died and left her a mansion, she finds out the truth that she was adopted and returns to Texas to acquire her family’s estate. But she and her friends get more than what they bargain for as Leatherface is still alive and lives in the basement and worse the towns redneck get wind of a Sawyer being back in town and are not happy. In the end the young woman must join forces with her chainsaw welding cousin and stop the rednecks that wish them nothing but harm. The film was the first in the series to be shot in 3D and is a direct sequel to the Tobe Hopper original. 2 1/2 Stars!

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The films have over the years built up a huge cult following, and while none of them were huge box office winners, they all are still well made fun horror films that deserve their spot in horror history. If your interested in reading my full reviews of most of the Texas Chainsaw films, then take a look at my old review site Bloodline Video for those and many other film and video game reviews. And speaking of video games we can’t talk Texas Chainsaw Massacre without talking about the 1982 Wizard Video Game based on the film for the Atari 2600 and that turned out to be a major flop but is now highly collectible today. The game has you play as Leatherface and armed with your trusty chainsaw and a select amount of fuel, you must chase after screaming females and hack them to pieces to gain points.  But the whole time you must also dodge obstacles like bulls skulls and wheelchairs because if you get caught up in one you lose fuel and your score will drop.The game when released was considered too adult for the video game market and could only be bought from select stores that chose to stock it and was sold behind counters limiting its sales. The game tested poorly with critics and gamers at the time and over all was trashed for its terrible plot and stiff gameplay. I happen to have an original copy of the game complete with its manuel that I bought from Ebay for $150.00.  While it’s a terrible game, it still holds some charm when you think about the fact it was one of the first horror themed games and the fact that Wizard Video, who was a popular VHS horror film distributor who was owned by Charles Band (Full Moon Entertainment) was the one to put it out. Only time will tell if Leatherface will ever get a full modern game again, but at this point I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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Speaking of the Atari 2600 game based on the film one of the funniest reviews I have ever seen about this game was done for The Angry Video Game Nerd’s two-part Halloween special where he looked at this game as well as Haunted House, Frankenstein’s Monster and Halloween all for the Atari 2600. In the episode The Nerd buys both the Texas Chainsaw and Halloween Game (both who were rare and released by Wizard Home Video) from a garage sale run by a banjo playing hick smart ass. When he gets home, he plays the game and rips it to shreds for being a poor programed and thought out game. After the review he gets a visit from Chop Top and Leatherface who give chase and he is attacked by the Banjo Hick who is also part of the Sawyer Family. They force The Nerd to play the game longer until he escapes and is chased by Leatherface who gets hung up on a bike and allowing The Nerd to get away. This episode is so much fun and his Halloween specials always stand out for being well done and a great way to remember the horror games of the past. If you have not seen this episode, you should check it out on his website Cinemassacre or his Youtube page.

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A cool short film that thus far has never been released and was directed by William Hopper, the son of original director Tobe Hopper, called “All American Massacre” was started in 1998 but not fully finished, It was supposed to be about Chop Top (played by Bill Mosley once again) and picks up after the events of part 2 and has Chop Top in jail spilling his guts to a Tabloid Magazine about the history of his family. The music score was being done by strange guitarist Buckethead, and the film had a lot of buzz after a teaser trailer was released. In 2011 the film tried to get the remaining funding via Kickstarter but the online attempt failed. At a convention a few years back I spoke to Bill Mosley about the film and he expressed that he wished it would come out as well. So here is to hoping that one day fans of Texas Chainsaw Massacre will be able to see this 60 minute sequel gem. I for one would love to see this because I am a fan of the character Chop Top and would love to see how he survived the chainsaw gut check from part 2 and see how he was captured by the police. So spread the word about this film, and let’s see if we can all help get this made.

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The Sawyer family is also very popular when it comes to the merchandise department and have had so many product based around them.  They have had comics, shirts, toys, a video game, models, Halloween masks, soundtracks, jewelry and so much more. So if you’re a fan of this film and or Leatherface, then you should be happy at the amount of collectibles out in the world for you to own. I for one have a cool retro Leatherface T-Shirt, the video game and some of the action figures. My favorite Leatherface item I own is the 3 3/4″ action figure that is in scale with classic Star Wars and G.I. Joe’s.  Now that’s a cool toy. And I also love my CD soundtrack done by an old website called Roger’s Basement that has music and sound clips from the first two films.  Around Halloween time I play some tracks off these on the WYSO show Alpha Rhythms.

Leatherface action figureleatherface bustLeatherface halloween Maskleatherface model kit

One little unknown fact is that back in 2001 while Independent B Movie was still going strong I wrote and was going to direct and star as Leatherface in a fan made film based on this series called “Texas Chainsaw Massacre:Return Of The Saw”! The film was taking place after the events of Texas Chainsaw Massacre the Next Generation and would have followed a beauty queen named Gabriella and her photographer friend Paul as they make the mistake of having a run in with the Sawyers who consisted of Leatherface, The Hitchhiker, Vilmer, W.E., Grandpa and Rose who was based on the young girl from part III. The film also had a bounty hunter on the trail of the Sawyers named The Cobra who was hired to kill them by a family member of a past victim. The film was slated to star all the old fimilar faces of I.B.M like Matt Hoffman, Josh Weinberg, Andrea Seay, Dave Wean, Garrison Kane, Jeff Ricks, Brandon Womeldorff and Patrick Neeley. The script was finished and most the props were bought as we got a Leatherface and Grandpa Halloween Mask, lots of fake blood and body parts and even fake brown slime to use on the fake decomposing bodies. The film was about to go into production but it was pushed to the back burner when original scripts started to come in and films like Who Keeps Feeding Grandpa, Farmer Joe and Razor were made instead. Josh Weinberg was a true sport as he acted as the producer of this unfinished project and for many years after we kept talking about getting it into production, but sadly we were never able to.  The film’s script has fallen into the big blue folder of un-shot scripts along side Dracula film Eternal Sleep, Farmer Joe 2 and Matt Hoffman’s fan made Creature From The Black Lagoon film. Below is a fake teaser poster done by my friend Eric Shonborn just for this blog so take a look and think about the no budget fan film that never was.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Return of the Saw Poster

While on the topic of Texas, I just want to also mention that I don’t watch much TV these days and when I do watch TV shows they are on DVD.  But one show that I do watch is a really silly reality show called “American Hoggers”! I know right now many of you are laughing at me and shaking your heads at how I can watch such a dumb show, so allow me to explain. Last year Juliet and I were having some issue with our apartment, and while it was getting fixed I stayed at my parents’ house or we would rent a hotel room.  While at my parents’ house I would stay up late and have the TV on. A show that I kept catching was called American Hoggers, and the first thing that caught my eye was one of the show’s stars Krystal “The Pistol” Campbell and the second was Lea Penick.  Both are good looking women who were taking down giant hogs in the state of Texas, and this was mesmerizing to me late nights. The show is about The Campbell’s, a father and his kid team that go out and get wild hogs in Texas before they can cause more damage to peoples property or cause physical harm to kids and animals.  The show is so much fun and I enjoy the wild antics of father Jerry and the hotness of Krystal and Lea who also seem like really cool people and both girls are great at what they do and are down right fearless. After the apartment was fixed I still found myself watching the show with my Mom and Dad on Wednesdays. I know it’s a sickness.

krystal pistol campbellamerican hoggers logolea penick

Now before we take a look at Northstar comics four issue loosely based comic adaptation of the film Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, I would like to also take a moment to talk about another planed adaptation from them that never happened, a mini series that was in the works based on the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. By the midway mark of the Leatherface series, the sales of this title were high and issue one was a total sell out and helped the company gain momentum who were only a gore and horror comic company who made many original titles like KlownShock and Splatter and those titles sells were never as solid as they were on the Leatherface series, making them look at The Sawyer Family as a cash cow and a quick way to become a player at the growing comic shops around the United Stares and hang with the big boys of Marvel and DC. The fourth and final issue in the Leatherface mini series revealed that the company was working on a adaptation of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and many new original Chainsaw stories that was in the works.  The adaptation comic was said to have J.J. Birch who worked on the Catwoman comic on board and was going to be the kick off to this new series of books. Fans were hyped and the comic even had advertisements for these comic books.  Years passed and the comics never seen the light of day nor did Northstar ever speak of them again making many forget that they were even in the works and others who did just moved on to other comics. I spent hours looking into why this book was canceled and could never find an answer. I for one would have loved to have read both the film adaptation and the new series and know that I would have bought them when they came out. I am wondering if the book was finished and if so who owns it and is there any chance that it would ever come out! Fangoria Comics would have been a great company to put this out if they didn’t go south way too soon. Below is one of the ads that was published in issue 4 of Leatherface so that we all can look at it and wonder what it could have been.

Northstar Leatherface adNow that we have taken a look at Leatherface in film, video game and merchandise I think it’s time that we dive into the backroads of Texas and adventure into reading this series! When I was younger I only owned issue 4 and always looked at local comic shops like Mavericks and The Bookie Parlor for the other three and was never successful in my quest. Years later thanks to the team up of Lone Star Comics and Amazon, I was able to find the other three and replace the issue four I sold off to pay rent way back when. I just want you all to remember I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on entertainment value, quality of the story, the art and how true it stays to the source martial.  So let’s gas up the chainsaw and have a bloody good time.

Leatherface 1

Leatherface  # 1  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 1 of 4

Leatherface bashes a young woman’s head in and removes the skin around her face to make a new mask from it, as a woman outside watches in horror and flee’s into the woods. Michelle and Ryan are stuck in a traffic jam that’s caused by the discovery of a massive body pit that is housing the remains of 70 to 80 victims. When they can finally hit the road, Michelle hits an armadillo and when Ryan goes to kill it she finds a chrome skull ear ring at the side of the road. The couple stops at the Last Chance Gas Station run by a eye patch wearing goon named Alfredo who speaks like a pervert, and they also meet Tex a hitchhiker cowboy who just wants to get home.  After Tex catches Alfredo peeping on Michelle as she uses the restroom he flips out and gets a shotgun and shoots the cowboy and tries to blast the couple who speed off and turn down an old abandoned road where they are chased by a giant monster truck that throws a decapitated dogs head at the window and causes the couple to wreck and get a flat tire. As the monster truck speeds off, Ryan is trying to fix the flat tire as a noise is heard in the woods, a simple squeak noise that turns into the sound of a chainsaw as Leatherface is upon them!

This issue is a fun way to start off this movie adaptation and uses Leatherface in only two spots: killing the person at the start of the issue and the quick flash of him getting ready to kill our heros. Leatherface in this issue seems very mean spirited and is very much like he is in the film this comic is based on.  His look is also great, and he is sporting long hair and a giant knee brace. Michelle and Ryan are a good couple who are clearly at odds with each other.  In this comic they seem to argue a lot and Ryan is pretty much a pure ass who takes any chance to try and push Michelle’s buttons trying to get her to fight with him. Tex comes off as just a cowboy who is a drifter and is a puzzle as he is the one who gave them the route they took when they were attacked by the monster truck, and Alfredo is a pure sleaze ball who is crazy as Ygor from the Universal film Son of Frankenstein. The comic has a nice amount of gore to go along with the plot of a couple driving a car across Texas who are fighting over a break up that is in the works and make a mistake of stopping at a gas station that is run by the Sawyers. One nice touch is that in the body pit part two of the workers are FX maser Tom Savini and classic b-actor Dick Miller! The art work by Kirk Jarvinen is good stuff and is the style of 90’s horror comics that I like, and the cover is also well done and eye catching. I can see why this first issue sold so well, and I for one wish I would have gotten it off the stand when I was a kid as I am sure both The Bookie Parlor and Mavericks had it stocked. While it’s very close to the film, the changes are well done and make this first issue a good read.  I don’t know about you but I am pretty hyped to see what issue two brings to the table. 

Leatherface 2

Leatherface  # 2  ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 2 of 4

Ryan and Michelle are shocked at the side of the road as Leatherface comes at them with his chainsaw a buzzing.  Ryan thinks fast and kicks Leatherface in the balls and as the killer drops, he and Michelle speed off! Leatherface tries to stop them but breaks his chain on his saw, and they get away. While speeding Michelle crashes into a truck driven by Benny, a weekend warrior who is a survivalist, after she thinks she sees an injured Tex in the road. They couple tell Benny about Tex and the chainsaw madman who tried to kill them, as he thinks they are just talking smack after being shook up from the accident. Benny goes to the road to get his gun just in case and waiting up there is Tinker, a tow truck driver with a hooked hand, who turns out to be yet another crazy member of the Sawyer family.  Benny is able to get his gun and escape being run over just in time, but his escape is short lived as he is now being attacked by Leatherface! Benny fights his hardest but just as it looks bad, the woman who at the start of issue one saves him and has Leatherface chase after her! Meanwhile Michelle and Ryan are trying to shake off injuries when a shotgun carrying Tex comes for them and fights with the couple to keep them captive. While the poor woman who saved Benny’s life is captured by Tink and is cut up by Leatherface.

Issue two is all action and does not pull the punches with the gore, action and blood! This time around Leatherface is given more depth and at one point when he breaks his saw takes to bashing his own head against a tree as punishment! Leatherface is also way more blood thirsty in the issue and takes glee in chopping up the woman in the end, not to mention it’s super cool as they put dialogue in as to what he is thinking. Ryan is still an ass even being in danger, and the character is not likeable at all.  When he gets his face smashed with the butt of the shotgun you don’t feel sorry for him, but you feel sorry for Michelle who is left to fight of Tex alone. Michelle is likable but does make dumb mistakes in the comic just as she did in the film and the top one being getting into the crash with Benny. Tink is an odd duck who it’s clear he is now the brains of the family after the death of Drayton Sawyer aka The Cook from the first two films, and seems to love technology. Tex is shown to be a part of the family and is a sick son of gun who uses his looks to trick people into going along with what he says. The art work is now being done by Guy Burwell who also did the cover, and while his art work is good, it kind of lost some of the charm of issue one.  Plus the cover is not as eye catching. Over all this is a good issue and keeps you entertained with all the action and blood.  I also love the changes from the film like Leatherface slaughtering the girl, being pissed about his saw breaking and even Tex fighting with Michelle and Ryan; all nice touches and truly flushes out the story a little more. Let’s get onto issue three, shall we?

Leatherface 3

Leatherface  # 3   ***
Released in 1991   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics   # 3 of 4

Tink and Leatherface are having a blast playing around with the body parts of the woman they had just killed, even playing baseball with her skull! Tink finds Ryan’s cassette tape walkman and gives it to Leatherface as a gift and has Leatherface do the classic chainsaw dance for his amusement. Meanwhile Michelle has escaped Tex and is wandering the woods and finds that the Sawyer family have traps set everywhere to capture and kill anyone who stumbles onto their place.  As she is wandering, she finds a normal looking house with a Little Girl sitting on the porch and asks her for help. The Little Girl takes Michelle inside and soon enough she finds out she is in the killers’ home as Tex and Little Girl try and capture her yet again. Meanwhile Benny in the woods finds a pond where Alfredo is dumping body parts of victims, and the two have an exchange of words that leaves Alfredo knocked out and thrown into the pond. Michelle meanwhile is captured and meets the family from Mama to a crazed old man who the family has taken in as their own, and she is forced to watch as Leatherface bashes in the head of Ryan who they have brought home to slaughter and eat!

This third issue is more about suspense and builds up a very gloom and doom feeling for Michelle who is truly on her own against a family of crazed rednecks. Michelle is a likable killer.  While she fights back a tad, you really keep wanting her to fight as hard as she can to get away from the Sawyer family. Ryan in the issue is nothing more than a dead man walking as his date with the sledgehammer is near. Benny is trying his best to find the couple and get rid of the Sawyer family but is always a few steps behind. Tex and Little Girl make a good team of trying to capture Michelle, and Little Girl is just as nuts as the rest of the family. Mama is not given to much in the issue but now it’s clear her word is law. Leatherface is still the mean brute he is in the first two issuea and once more seems to get pleasure in bashing in Ryan’s face. The issue is a nice set up for the big blow out you know is coming up in issue four, the final issue in the mini series, and makes you wonder what changes will be made next. Art in comic and cover is done by Guy Burwell again and once more is good work with an improvement on the cover. So with this let’s get into issue four and see how the story ends. 

Leatherface 4

Leatherface # 4  **1/2
Released in 1992   Cover Price $2.75   Northstar Comics  # 4 of 4

Tink is happy with Leatherface and takes him out to the barn to give him a giant chrome chainsaw, but the gift is cut short as Benny has found them and opens fire, killing Tink with a wave of bullets.  As the war outside is going on, Michelle escapes and kills Tex with a butcher knife leaving the cowboy a bloody mess. Benny enters the house and has a standoff with Mama, but she is quickly killed as he bashes her head in with his gun.  Leatherface is now in the action and chops off some of Benny’s fingers and causes him and Michelle to flee into the woods, but while by the pond Alfredo pops back up and attacks Michelle as Leatherface catches up and fights with Benny! Michelle wins her fight and drowns Alfredo in the dirty pond water as Benny is decapitated by Leatherface’s chainsaw and Michelle uses the head to bash Leatherfaces brains in! In the end Michelle is by the side of the road, deathly sick from the pond water that was covered in disease from the dead bodies in it as a sheriff’s car drives by containing Leatherface, the old man and Little Girl as they are just driving on to make home somewhere else in Texas.

This last issue is what I would call Faces of Death of the Sawyer Family as members of the family are shot, stabbed, drowned and bashed! Michelle in this issue has had enough and kills two of the family members and even beats Leatherface down with a human skull! The change in Michelle builds up in all four issues so as she snaps and kills her would be murders, you find yourself cheering for her to get them. Tink is wasted in the issue as for the most part the whole mini series as it’s clear he’s crazy but is also kind of the brains of the brothers. Tink’s death in the film is similar to the comic as in he is shot in both. Alfredo is out of his mind crazy and is a character I love seeing both in the comic and film get his.  His death in the comic is way different from that of the film as in this one he is drowned and in the film he takes a shotgun blast to his face. Tex is the suave brother and it comes across in the comic that while he will kill and do violent acts, he just doesn’t get into it as much as his brothers. His death is way different in the comic as he his stabbed and gutted by Michelle and in the film he is set on fire by Benny during an ax fight. Mama is just around in the comic and seems not as important as she does in the film.  Her death is also way different as in the film she is shot up by Benny and not getting her brain bashed in like the comic. Little Girl is pretty much the same nut job little kid, and her character is well done because it adds the uneasy feel to all the deaths that she sees before her. The Grandpa in the comic is some coot who just babbles and his over all a waste. Leatherface in this comic mini series is a pure blood and gore crazed bad ass who is after one thing and that’s to make his family proud! I truly do like the way he is written in this mini series, and I think adding what he is thinking is a thing of pure genies when it comes to horror comics like this based around an over all mute character. The art work and cover is once more done by Guy Burwell, and while I don’t like his style as well as I liked Kirk Jarvinen’s work in the first issue, I would say that over all the artwork for the whole series is well done and fitting for such a grim story. To round up this review I would say while it kept some of the core things from the film it’s based around, it adds enough change to make this comic series seem like a “Marvel What If” version and gives the reader a new ride on what could have been a bad paint by numbers comic adaptation. As Joe Bob Briggs would say over all “Three Stars. Check It Out.”

leatherface 3 art 1LEATHERFACE!Leatherface 3 art 2

So thanks for traveling the back roads of Texas with me and looking back at Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. I do have a quick story about this film that I will share with you. Growing up I collected horror films on VHS and I had a really good collection going.  This was before the days of online shopping, and I would spend a lot of time looking at places like Second Time Around, Half Price Books, Replay Media, West Coast Video and Blockbuster Video looking for more horror films to add to my collection.  One film I always wanted was “Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,” and the only place I could find it was at the little video store K&L Video that me and my brother would rent from and I can remember harassing him forever about buying it, and the owner Kenny would always give me some super high quote like $50-$80. Years passed and when sadly K&L went out of business I was finally able to buy the VHS, but what should have been a happy day for my collecting ways turned out to be a sad one as I would lose a place that always felt like a second home. But the next update will be our first Halloween update and I will post it on October 31st and we will be taking a look at custom comics based on Hammer horror films that I will be reading at haunted places in and around the Dayton area! So make sure to come back for that spooky good time! Until then watch a horror film, play a horror game and always make sure to read a horror comic, and stay scary!

HAMMER HORROR comic logo