Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Not to be Confused With, Day 4

... wherein Kane appears in a film helmed by a porn director, a Sonny Chiba classic faces a supernatural wu-shu tale, Roddy MacDowall teams up with a stone statue and a decomposing mother to take down Pennywise the clown, and a Chris Farley/ David Spade vehicle can’t hold water against a zombie film recast with … rabid sheep?! Yes, rabid sheep.

See No Evil (1971/2006)

See No Evil (1971)
Dir: Richard Fleischer
Synopsis: “After being blinded, a young woman, Mia Farrow (Hannah and Her Sisters, Widow's Peak) goes to live in the English countryside with relatives. Out on a date with a boyfriend, she escapes the fate of her relatives who are murdered by a crazed killer. She finally makes the gruesome discovery of their bodies and has to flee on horseback. She is rescued but there are still twists and turns until the murderer is identified.”

See No Evil (2006)
Dir: Gregory Dark
Synopsis: "Seven feet tall. Four hundred pounds. A rusty steel plate screwed into his skull and razor-sharp fingernails that pluck out his victims' eyes. Reclusive psychopath Jacob Goodnight is holed up in the long-abandoned and rotting Blackwell Hotel, alone with his nightmares until eight petty criminals show up for community service duty along with the cop who put a bullet in Jacob's head four years ago. When one of their own is kidnapped by the killer and her fate uncertain, the remaining lawbreakers must fight this indestructible force of nature who has a violent score to settle."

Advantage: See No Evil (2006)

I’d actually fork over money to see a remake of the 1971 film under the umbrella of the 2006 film. That being said, I’ve successfully avoided ever having to see Mia Farrow in any film, and I feel safe that I can keep the streak alive. Plus, director Gregory Dark had a nice run as a porn director, culminating in the adult classic “New Wave Hookers.” What’s Richard Fleischer ever done? “Conan the Destroyer?” “Soylent Green?” Pshaw.

Executioner (1974/1994)

Executioner (1974)
Dir: Teruo Ishii
Synopsis: "When regular police procedure fails, an ex-police captain recruits a group of trained killers to take down a deadly group of drug smugglers. Led by ninja trained Ryuichi Koga (Chiba), they quickly shoot their way through the Japanese underworld, ever closer to their main target."

Executioner (1994)
Dir: Ding Sin Saai
Synopsis: "A royal executioner famed for beheading 998 convicts with a solid gold axe is stalked by the lone survivor of the notorious 'Eight Devilish Mortals,' claiming the life of his wife and beginning a perilous game of cat-and-mouse packed with sword-swinging, high-flying action that will dazzle the most hardened martial arts fan!"

Advantage: DRAW

It ain’t easy comparing one martial arts film to another. On the one hand, you have Sonny Chiba making his second appearance in this study, punching thugs so hard their eyeballs pop out of their skulls. On the other hand, you have a modest wu shu film featuring some heavy supernatural elements and cheesy animation. Both films are good to pop in on a lazy Saturday afternoon; the 1994 film has a bit more story to it & some impressive feats of martial artistry, but Sonny Chiba is goddamn Sonny Chiba. Can’t lose either way.

It (1966/1990)

It (1966)
Dir: David Greene
Synopsis: "In It!, a London museum's eerie Golem statue is awake and ready to do its master's bidding. Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes) portrays a museum assistant - and a mama's boy living with dear ol' mum's corpse! - who wills the monster to destroy his rivals. Can the military's nuclear might stop this madman and his power binge? See It! in full, terrifying action."

It (1990)
Dir: Tommy Lee Wallace
Synopsis: "Based on King's 1986 bestseller, It is a jittery, jolting excursion into personal fear starring Harry Anderson, Annette' O'Toole, John Ritter, and Richard Thomas. A malevolent force in a small New England town takes the shape of a clown (Tim Curry), but he's not clowning around. Instead, he terrifies youngsters and brings some to their untimely doom- until some wily kids fight back. The evil resurfaces 30 years later: meaner, angrier, deadlier. And friends who vividly remember youthful terrors reunite to battle It."

Advantage: It (1966)

Okay, 1990 loses its steam quite a bit when the final battle takes place not against Pennywise the clown, but Pennywise the giant spider. Such a letdown. The 1966 version wins a few points with its preposterous ending: Apparently a nuclear detonation covers less than a ten mile radius. Perhaps the British army hid in a fridge?

Black Sheep (1996/2006)

Black Sheep (1996)
Dir: Penelope Spheeris
Synopsis: “Meet Mike Donnelly (Chris Farley). He's one lovable, hilarious accident waiting to happen. Dedicated to helping his big brother Al (Tim Matheson) win the race for Washington State Governor, he turns every opportunity for votes into an embarrassing disaster.

”Campaign aide and super slacker Steve Dobbs (David Spade) volunteers to baby-sit Mike. Big mistake! When Mike discovers that the incumbent governor is a crook, he dives headfirst into a whole new level of well-intended destruct

Black Sheep (2006)
Dir: Jonathan King
Synopsis: "'Rife with bloody gore and funny gags' (Sam Adams, Los Angeles Times) Black Sheep is a gruesomely twisted horror/comedy about mutant flesh-eating sheep run amok in rural New Zealand. When sheep-aphobic Henry returns to sell his share of the family farm, he finds his brother has been genetically altering animals. The resulting monsters go on a murderous rampage, and it's up to Henry to stop them. With frighteningly grotesque effects courtesy of Peter Jackson's WETA workshop, Black Sheep is a frenzy of severed limbs and manic mutton definitely 'not for the weak of stomach' (Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News)."

Advantage: Black Sheep (2006)

Walk, don’t run, to your local Wal-Mart and snap up a copy of this on DVD, and it should be in the $9 movie racks. The movie is really amusing, sort of an homage to the Romero/ Fulci zombie films, except with sheep. And there are tons of sheep in this movie too. This is a film that stands to be recognized as a genre cult classic, the likes of “Dead Alive,” “Return of the Living Dead,” “Night of the Creeps,” “Evil Dead,” et cetera. The cast brings a sense of urgency to the admittedly absurd-appearing events, and from fade in to fade out you’ll definitely find something to enjoy. As for the 1996 film, not so much; Farley plays the same character he played on every episode of Saturday Night Live where he appeared, and Spade shows signs of why he’s not experiencing the same success as Sandler, Farrell, or even Schneider.

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