Saturday, July 04, 2009

Not to be Confused With, Day 6

... wherein Karloff is king, we serve up something for the hip hop heads (and the Hitchcock heads), maniacs abound, and the two Coreys invade the countdown.

Walking Dead (1936/1995)

Walking Dead (1936)
Dir: Michael Curtiz
Synopsis: “Put simply, this is one of the greatest horror films of all time. Karloff is framed for murder by a crooked DA, played to the hilt by Cortez. After he is sent to the chair, an eccentric scientist brings him back to life in one of the best lab scenes ever filmed, complete with Kenneth Strickfadden electrical effects. Wow! A tremendous music score adds to the electricity-filled atmosphere. The reanimated Karloff then seeks revenge on those who conspired against him. We gotta tell ya, this film gets our absolute pinnacle, highest recommendation. They don’t come much better.” (Courtesy of Sinister Cinema.)

Walking Dead (1995)
Dir: Preston A. Whitmore II
Synopsis: “Using relatively unknown actors, first-time screenwriter-director Preston A. Whitmore II examines the effects of the Vietnam War on four black Marines sent on a doomed prisoner-of-war rescue mission. The four men are what's left of a platoon that's been decimated after landing behind enemy lines. In charge is Sergeant Barkley (Joe Morton), a no-nonsense, Bible-quoting preacher who is leading three privates to find a POW camp in an abandoned temple. Cole Evans (Allen Payne) is an intellectual who is highly political, racially proud, and a devoted family man. Joe Brooks (Vonte Sweet) is a cheerful, na├»ve, and brave young soldier. Hoover Branche (Eddie Griffin) is a dope-smoking, foul-mouthed rebel who hates the war and fights the sergeant constantly. They eventually are joined by a crazy, bloodthirsty white soldier, Pippins (Roger Floyd). Flashbacks reveal why each character joined the Marines. Pippins entered the recruiting office to escape rival gang members who were trying to kill him. Brooks enlisted to impress his girlfriend. Branche signed up after being fired from a meat-packing plant for stealing a ham that he used as admission to a party where he wanted to woo a girl. Evans enlisted because bigoted real estate agents prevented him from buying a decent home for his family in L.A. -- he intended to become a Marine officer so that he can get free housing.” (Courtesy of All Movie.)

Advantage: Walking Dead (1936)

The 1936 film is incredibly awesome; it comes out on DVD in October, and I totally recommend it to anyone. But the 1995 movie is fucking terrible. It came out during a 3-4 year time period when movies were being made in attempts to blackify genre benchmarks – “Tales From the Hood:” the horror anthology; “Posse:” the western – and “Walking Dead” 1995 apparently was supposed to be Preston A. Whitmore’s “Platoon.” But the character development … whoo buddy. “Branche signed up after being fired from a meat-packing plant for stealing a ham that he used as admission to a party,” now stop reading. And that Branche is played by Eddie Griffin ... y’know, I could see Eddie Griffin stealing a ham to get free admission to a block party. "Hey man, remember me? I'm Eddie Griffin, I was in 'Norbit.' Howbout 'The New Guy?' I think I might have been on 'In Living Color' or something? You don't remember me? Well, will you at least take this ham?"

Notorious (1946/2009)

Notorious (1946)
Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
Synopsis: "When troubled beauty Alicia Huberman (Bergman) is recruited by American agent T.R. Devlin (Grant) to infiltrate a German spy ring in postwar Rio, she accepts... but soon finds herself falling in love with Devlin. And when she receives orders to seduce a Nazi kingpin (Rains), Alicia must sacrifice the only happiness she's ever known for a perilous mission that could ultimately cost her and Devlin their lives."

Notorious (2009)
Dir: George Tillman Jr.
Synopsis: "Chronicling the extraordinary life of Christopher 'The Notorious B.I.G.' Wallace, Notorious follows the young rapper from the tough streets of Brooklyn to the heights of superstardom as he juggles the increasing demands of fatherhood, marriage and a music career. Amid chaos and controversy, Biggie's remarkable talent and fierce determination help to solidify his legacy as one of hip-hop's greatest MCs.

Advantage: Notorious (1946)

The 2009 film leaves out the most important part of the life of Biggie Smalls, and that’s the fact that Puff Daddy, capitalizing on the (faked) death of 2Pac, had someone shoot B.I.G. in an effort to make himself a bigger name in hip hop. Think about it: One dead friend, and all the world loves a public griever (except in the case of Kurt Cobain’s murder), and I can’t name one person who doesn’t like “Every Breath You Take,” and you’ve got a recipe for finally coming out from the booth and joining the ranks of superstardom. And before you call me crazy, consider this: When’s the last time Sean Combs thanked Biggie for shit?

Maniac (1934/1980)

Maniac (1934)
Dir: Dwain Esper
Synopsis: "A milestone in exploitation filmmaking, Maniac is also one of the most shocking and fascinating movies made in the thirties, pushing the boundaries of acceptable film production to its limits. Created by the husband and wife team responsible for films such as Marihuana, Weed With Roots In Hell, and How To Undress In Front of Your Husband, Maniac was originally shown at burlesque theatres and roadhouses rather than at regular movie theaters. A burlesque house was an appropriate venue for Maniac as the movie includes shots of topless women-a true shocker for 1934! Based partly on Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat, Maniac also cleverly superimposes clips from a 1922 movie called Haxan to suggest the insanity of characters. The wild plots concerns a mad doctor (Horace B. Carptenter), who blackmails a former vaudeville impersonator (Bill Woods) into helping him obtain the corpses he needs to perform Frankenstein-like experiments. When the doctor is accidentally killed, the impersonator ‘becomes’ the doctor and even attempts to bring him back from the dead. Maniac revels in its gleeful exhibition of 'bad taste'".

Maniac (1980)
Dir: William Lustig
Synopsis: "Frank Zito (a career performance by co-writer/ co-executive producer Joe Spinell of Rocky and The Godfather fame) is a deeply disturbed man, haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. And when these horrific memories begin to scream inside his mind, Frank prowls the seedy streets of New York City to stalk and slaughter innocent young women. Now Frank has begun a relationship with a beautiful photographer (Caroline Munro, of The Spy Who Loved Me), yet his vile compulsions remain. These are the atrocities of a human monster. This is the story of a Maniac."

Advantage: Maniac (1980)

Vintage anti-marijuana propaganda film vs. Frank Zito as a serial killer who, among other things, blows Tom Savini’s head clean off his shoulders? No contest, brother.

Blown Away (1992/1994)

Blown Away (1992)
Dir: Brenton Spencer
Synopsis: "Corey Haim (The Lost Boys), Corey Feldman (Gremlins) and Nicole Eggert (television's Baywatch) star in this erotic thriller about young love gone dangerously wrong. Rich (Corey Haim) works as an activities director at a fashionable resort in order to earn money for college. He meets the blonde and beautiful Megan (Nicole Eggert) and soon discovers she is not your average seventeen-year-old. Despite the warning from his older brother Wes (Corey Feldman), Rich plunges into a dangerous and obsessive affair with Megan. But Megan has more on her mind than love. She has plans for the future that could include murder. Is Rich the man who can help make her dreams come true, or a pawn in her game of deceit?"

Blown Away (1994)
Dir: Stephen Hopkins
Synopsis: "When an explosion jolts Boston, bomb squad expert Jimmy Dove (Jeff Bridges) is thrust into the most harrowing work of his career. Evidence points to a bomber more dangerous and skilled than any he's ever faced - except one. The possibility that the terrorist is his former mentor (Tommy Lee Jones) increases the stakes - and as his friends and family are unsuspectingly drawn into the action, Jimmy is forced to face not only his bitter enemy...but also his haunting past."

Advantage: Blown Away (1994)

Are there any films that the Corey’s didn’t appear in together*? Are those two douches Siamese twins? They should have been in the film “Stuck on You,” not Kinnear and Damon. It’s a crime that, as of this writing, Blown Away 1994 is out of print, because seeing Jeff Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Tommy Lee Jones, and Forest Whitaker(!) trade bad Irish & Boston accents is a hoot. Shit blows up real good, and there’s some fine and dandy Rube Goldberg bomb orchestrating going on here. Tommy Lee Jones is a standout, and his scene where he’s turning the hull of a battleship into a bomb, to the tune of “With or Without You” is golden; the only thing keeping disbelief from being suspended is that, for an Irish dude, he’s just so goddamned Texan.

* Hey, here's the movies that they did appear in together:
The Lost Boys (1987)
License to Drive (1988)
Dream a Little Dream (1989)
Blown Away (1992)
National Lampoon's Last Resort (1994)
Dream a Little Dream 2 (1995)
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003)
Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008)

Of course, Corey Haim was nowhere near "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter," "Goonies," "Gremlins," or "Stand By Me," some of Feldman's best work. Likewise, Feldman was absent from "Silver Bullet" and ... well, pretty much everything else Haim was in was shit. Looking this info up, I did find out that Corey Haim was in a DTV movie called "Demolition University," playing a dude named Lenny who hooks up with a chick named Jenny. Wow, heroin or valium or whatever it was cannot take your life fast enough for him, I bet.

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