It’s the perfect storm of fandom this year, as Batman is celebrating eighty years in pop culture, while “Batman Beyond” is celebrating its twenty year anniversary. For 2019, Warner finally unleashes their fantastic follow up “Batman Beyond” on Blu-Ray in a stellar Limited Edition box set that is also conveniently in time for Halloween and the impending holiday season. With the Limited Edition featuring an exclusive Batman Beyond Funko Pop, and the inevitably regular set coming down line, Warner will cash in for sure. “Batman Beyond” is still the juggernaut follow up to the classic Bruce Timm “Batman” series that hasn’t aged a bit, despite being conceived during a period where everything had to be futuristic, and darker.
Larry Cohen’s “The Stuff” is one of those “so bad its good” horror comedies that’s managed to creep in to the collective consciousness of movie buffs since its release and for good reason. While much of the movie is so painfully ridiculous, it also kind of comes packed with a still very relevant message about consumerism and our obsession with junk food. You could mock it all you want, but when the credits roll, its message is a lot more sophisticated than bad green screen and horrendous sound design. Cohen’s film is wildly uneven in tone and never really decides if it wants to be sci-fi, horror, comedy, or complete satire.
Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont’s “The Blob” has been one of those eighties horror gems that has been for the most part a difficult title to obtain. Even through the DVD age it was out of print, hard to find, ported on to cheap movie collections and given limited printing on boutique labels. Now Shout! Factory has made the fantastic remake of the 1958 drive in monster movie available for everyone, and it’s been worth the wait. It’s a movie that’s barely shown its age, embracing what made it such a great drive in monster movie, while also injecting it with eighties style.
This might stun you but “Day of the Dead” 2008 is not a terrible movie. In fact on some plane in some mysterious way I didn’t hate it. It may even become a camp classic somewhere down the line. Now before you bag on me, heed the advice I bided by before watching this. Forget it’s called “Day of the Dead,” forget it’s allegedly a remake, and just bow your head and power on through and what you’ll find is a zombie flick that’s so bad it’s… well, it’s quite good. If it had been called “Day of the Living Zombies,” or something else generic, I think the supposed purists would find it much more entertaining.
1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” is and is still widely considered the definitive fantasy masterpiece that has barely aged after so many decades. Even film fans that don’t care much for older films still have a hard time turning down “The Wizard of Oz” and ignoring its indefinable charm, and sense of adventure. Victor Fleming’s “The Wizard Of Oz” remains one of the most influential and engaging masterpieces, one filled with awe, surrealism, and a healthy sense of mystery, even eighty years after its initial release.
The Wheat Brothers have managed to rack up a pretty interesting body of work in the horror genre since the eighties, and with “After Midnight” they deliver what is pretty middling as an anthology. In a period that included “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” shortly after, “After Midnight” doesn’t re-invent the wheel. It’s mostly just an entry of the decade that serves its intended purpose as a horror film that could double as filler for a boring Saturday night.
While I wouldn’t peg the Mick Garris fueled “Nightmare Cinema” a horror masterpiece, I had a good time with the selection of horror stories, and loved how various storytellers in the film managed to go in completely different directions than I originally thought they would. Despite a shifty story frame, like most horror anthologies, “Nightmare Cinema” is a mixed bag of horror treats that will click with most lovers of the format, if only for its ambition and style.
No matter how many Universal monster movies I’ve seen, and no matter how much I’ve grown to love their iterations of Dracula and Frankenstein, The Gill-Man always comes out ahead as my favorite Universal monster of all time. While Dracula and The Bride often get the spotlight and special treatment, the Gill-Man has always been the underdog with the great trilogy of horror films in his own right. He just doesn’t receive the credit he deserves, especially in modern horror where Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman are still being reworked, while he patiently waits in the wings for his turn.