Many years later, director Sam Firstenberg’s “Ninja III” is an out of left field mix of horror, action, and ninjas, all of which were very popular in the eighties. I was never quite sure what happened to “Ninja” one or two, but when I was a kid, “Ninja III” was a bonafide favorite of mine that I’d indulge in every time it was on network television. Thankfully I’m not alone as “Ninja III” has become a cult classic that stands alone, much like “Troll 2.” There’s just something fascinating about a young woman and aerobics enthusiast being possessed by the ghost of a ninja, who begins to seek revenge on his past foes.
Well it’s done and sadly, this is probably the last we’ll ever see of Ashley Williams. Despite fans wanting more from “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” Starz! Verified that the series was officially cancelled after three seasons, and Bruce Campbell confirmed that he’s hanging up his boom stick and chainsaw as Ash forever. It stings to know Ash won’t be back in live action form at least, but you know what?
On the bright side we got three whole seasons of a great series. “Ash vs. Evil Dead” continued the movie series, paved new roads for the series, introduced new deadite fighting heroes we can root for, and never held back on gore, grue, and deadite chopping action and comedy. Thanks to Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell for giving fans a last hurrah for Ash Williams. Hail to the King.
Here are ten of my favorite moments from “Ash vs. Evil Dead.”
“Truth or Dare?” is a movie that feels like it belongs in 2005 where Hollywood was churning out abysmal remakes of mediocre Japanese horror movies. And that’s what it felt like I was sitting through. It feels like somewhere there’s an original Japanese version of “Truth or Dare?” that’s sadly not even very good, either. “Truth or Dare?” comes from Blumhouse which is usually great about releasing bold and unique horror movies. Even when they land with a thud, their cinematic experiments usually have potential to impress. “Truth or Dare?” wants to be this modern tech iteration of “It Follows” and “The Ring.” With a competent director and writer, this could very well have been a haunting story about the damaging effect of secrets, trauma, and how we never quite know the people we love.
The cult classic that spawned from the big craze from “The Exorcist” is finally on blu-ray in its original glory, as it was once butchered for television and altered for a wider audience. “Ruby” is a goofy film, albeit one of the most successful independent horror movies of all time, starring Piper Laurie whose undead husband begins haunting the family through her deaf and mute daughter. Despite some really striking scenes of horror, and some fine hammy performances from Laurie and the like, “Ruby” is pretty much a stinker.
“Ghostbusters” was a superb one and done premise that worked because it had such regular men who were called in to confront some spectacular circumstances, and in the end have to figure out how to live in a reality where they’ve essentially proven the existence of the supernatural. It’s surprising that the follow up is so sub-par and often monotonous as it almost has nothing to do with the original concept. It kind of goes through the motions and doesn’t exactly know how to continue building on these originally complex and flawed individuals. They don’t evolve much at all from when we last saw them, and writer Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd seem to be painted in to a corner by devolving them and building them back up all over again.
“Blood & Iron” is a stellar sequel to the entertaining and raucous “Sword of Storms,” and it’s a yet another faithful adaptation that emphasizes the lore and world of the BPRD. The animated follow ups to the movie, set somewhere between the movies, have been worthy of the time spent with excellent animation, and a compelling narrative, overall. The idea bout the audience watching outcasts defend our Earth and realm is continuously fascinating, and the cast bring their A game.
For folks that appreciated the subversive artistic style that launched Mike Mignola into stardom, “Sword of Storms” practices a lot of the grit and indie flavor, along with much of what made Del Toro’s films so stellar. There’s even voice work from the original films’ stars including Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, and Doug Jones, all of whom are about as fun as ever. Directors Phil Weinstein and Tad Stones’ animated movie is set between the live action installments, channeling creator Mike Mignola with dark and often grim animation, with the back drop of an exciting narrative that never trails from its original source material.
After five years on the shelf constantly being rescheduled and postponed, “Amityville: the Awakening” is here and–makes apparent why it was postponed for so long. At ninety minutes, “The Awakening” feels like there are at least twenty minutes of good exposition missing. What we get is a pretty ineffective and monotonous horror film that feels very much like another run of the mill sequel in the oddly long running “Amityville” series. It has a lot of potential to really break out of the doldrums of being just another cash grab, and could have done some great things with its emphases on family, but every time it reaches out to become something different, it inevitably just pulls back again and seems intent on just making it to the end credits with no real effect.