Monday, January 31

John Agar Week

Today is the birthday of John Agar, who was born on this day (January 31st) in 1921.


John Agar is, without a doubt, one of my very favorite actors. He had that swinging 50’s action-hero vibe going, and if events had been different he would have been one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Well documented drinking issues and a difficult divorce from America’s sweetheart, Shirley Temple, practically blacklisted John and prevented him from working on “A” list films. Alcoholism was a common problem in those days, and one that many actors and actresses dealt with. In fact, here’s a quote from John on the subject, “Heck, I drank no more than John Wayne or Ward Bond or Spencer Tracy or Alan Ladd or Robert Walker. But it got me into a lot more trouble.”

But despite these issues John always turned in a top notch performance. In many of the low budget films John made in the fifties and sixties he was often the best, if not only, good thing going for that film.

In 1949 John appeared in both “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” and “Sands of Iowa Jima” alongside actor John Wayne. In 1950 John and Shirley were divorced, and suddenly the choice roles seemed to disappear. He found work, however, in a number of westerns and low budget pictures such as The Magic Carpet, The Rocket Man, and The Golden Mistress.

1955 saw a bit of a renaissance for John as Universal Studios cast him in a pair of Science Fiction films that would go on to be classics in the field, “Tarantula,” and “Revenge of the Creature.” After that John became somewhat typecast as a science fiction guy, and appeared in a string of increasingly low budget science fiction films, pretty much bottoming out in 1966 when he starred in two Larry Buchanan films, “Zontar, The Thing from Venus,” and “Curse of the Swamp Creature.”

In 1976 he appeared in the Dino De Laurentiis remake of King Kong, playing the mayor of New York City. In the 1990s he appeared in a number of cameo roles, including “Nightbreed” by Clive Barker and “Body Bages” by John Carpenter.

John passed away April 7th, 2002. He made close to one hundred films in his career, and is beloved in the science fiction community.

I’m declaring this week to be John Agar week here on this blog, and will be posting about him all week long. Here’s to you John - Here's a little music video I put together for the Dead Elvi Song, John Agar Rules...


Thursday, January 27

The Mist vs. The Mist – King vs. Darabont

When you see a movie that’s based on a book do you prefer to read the book first, or see the movie first?

It’s an interesting question, and one I’m not sure I‘ve figured out yet. I thought I preferred reading the book first, but after seeing The Mist last night I’m not so sure.

Let me back up a minute. Last weekend I found myself at our local Bowling Alley/Kids Fun Center for a chunk of Saturday morning. You see, they have this deal where you can pay a reduced rate for a wrist band and kids can play unlimited times on the indoor rides and attractions (laser tag, bumper cars, skating, etc.).  So I took my son and one of his friends. My wife was at work so I had some time to kill there while the boys were off doing their thing. I grabbed a copy of Stephen King’s “Skeleton Crew” I’d picked up at Goodwill the week before for a buck and took it with me, figuring there were much worse ways to spend a Saturday morning than with Stephen King.

I’ve read plenty of Stephen King books in the past, but mostly his novels (sharing a name with one of the main characters in The Stand made reading that one a necessity). Haven’t read much of his short story stuff, which is interesting because in general I’m a much bigger fan of short stories than novels. There’s a real art to the short story. You have less time to build convincing characters and the story is distilled to fewer pages - It isn’t as easy as it seems. Those that can do it well are real craftsmen. Of course The Mist, being a novella, is kind of a hybrid. Its 134 pages long, right in between novel and short story length.

Anyway, I ordered a soda from the snack bar and settled onto one of the benches there with The Skeleton Crew, and plowed into the first story, THE MIST. I kind of had a general idea of the story, but for some reason my mind’s eye conjured Carpenter’s The Fog. This is something different entirely, although they share the element of fog cover. What’s IN the fog bank is way different, however.
Written in 1980, this was Stephen King in his prime. It seems to me King was writing good old fashioned pulp stories back then, channeling the work of writers the likes of Lovecraft , Ashton -Smith, and Kuttner. His stories were full of terror and creativity and had a real spark of energy about them. They were good old fashioned monster stories, tales of things that go bump in the night… and the water… and the fog. I think he’s more concerned with being a WRITER nowadays, and that is too bad. I understand it’s natural to grow as a storyteller and your work has to change to accommodate your own evolving personality and interests. I mean, after all a writer’s material is deep down a reflection of his or her own inner self in some way, right? Otherwise what makes them choose that specific story to write?  And I also get that every artist strives to perfect their craft, to get better technically over time. But for my money the greatest writers in the world wrote for Weird Tales magazine, and I love nothing better than a good old-fashioned E.C. Comics style scare. And that’s what Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew delivers. Matter of fact it’s full of pulp references and one of the characters is even named Ambrose, perhaps a nod to writer Ambrose Bierce?



After reading the Mist I decided it would be fun to watch the movie version and see how they adapted it.

Warning - From here on out there will be spoilers, just in case you haven’t seen the movie or read the book you might wanna do so first. 


The movie was written and directed by Frank Darabont, and made in 2007. Darabont had previously adapted the King books THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE GREEN MILE. Most recently he wrote and directed the TV series The Walking Dead.

The general set-up for The Mist is the same; the day after a huge storm a mysterious fog bank rolls into a small town, trapping a group of townsfolk in a supermarket. The mist is so think it obscures vision beyond a few feet. There are things in the mist – terrible things not of this world. Slithering, tearing, hungry things. David Drayton and his son Billy are the central characters, and they are among the ones trapped in this supermarket. David left his wife (and Billy’s mom) Stephanie at home while they made a quick run to the store for supplies. They brought next door neighbor Brent Norton along with them, as his car was smashed in the storm and he needed a few things as well.

This is where the discrepancies between book and movie begin. There was way less time spent on David and Stephanie’s relationship in the movie – in fact there was next to none at all. I found their relationship an essential ingredient in the book that built a gnawing sense of unease in the back of my mind the entire time I was reading it. Perhaps this is because I’m a married man of 16 years, but the idea of my wife home alone in danger with no way to get back to her makes me crazy. Stephanie is on screen probably no more than five minutes in the movie. This is way too little time for the audience to get to know her or feel any sympathy for her, or to feel the depth of her relationship with David. Without that sense of urgency to get back to her the ordeal at the supermarket loses much of its impact.

ROUND 1
Score : +1 King
Another discrepancy is with next door neighbor Brent. The relationship between the two men in the book is much more contentious. They’d had a property dispute that drug out into a nasty court case, and had barely spoken to one another for years. The fact they mended fences over the common threat of the storm damage adds another interesting element to the story, another element missing from the film. Brent is also played by a black man. I found this an interesting choice of casting, and in fact really like the actor they chose for the role (Andre Braugher). It wasn’t the way I envisioned Brent while reading the story, but Braugher pulls off the role really well – I just wish they’d given him a bit more of the dramatic impact he has in the book… let him be a bit more of an ass.

 ROUND 2
Score : Even

Once at the store the mist rolls in and the movie follows the book pretty closely for this chunk of the film. With the story still fresh on my mind it was easy to see just how much of the dialogue was lifted straight from King. The first creature we get a look at, the slithering tentacles at the loading dock, are amazing. Menacing and frightening they look just like something out of a Lovecraftian nightmare. Darabont even makes the tentacles more menacing by having them open up, like a flower stem, revealing rows of flesh-rending teeth.

 ROUND 3
Score: +1 Darabont


When David and the other men who witnessed those tentacles inform the rest of the folks in the store what just happened there is disbelief. Brent and a group of men decide to leave while the getting is good, to make their way to safety elsewhere. In the book we know they don’t make it. We are witness to their deaths in the mist. In the movie they walk off in the mist and are never heard from again. Did they make it? Were they killed? We don’t know.

 ROUND 4
Score: Even

 David is a pretty crappy parent in this movie. That is another thing I was struck with while watching it. He is constantly pawning his son off on various women in the store while putting himself in danger, potentially leaving Billy an orphan. This is something else that I, as a parent, was bugged with. He did this same thing in the book but at least there we were privy to his thoughts and know he was torn by these actions. The movie doesn’t have time to spend on this so he comes off as a shallow, crappy dad who barely thinks of his own son’s welfare over his own intentions.

 ROUND 5
Score: +1 King

The trip next door to the drugstore reveals another differing element between the two versions – In the movie they spell out for you the cause of the mist, whereas in the book it’s only hinted at. Hollywood has a tendency to dumb things down, and I was bummed that they did this here. A man is wounded and needs painkillers and antibiotics. There is a drugstore next door, so a small group decides to make a quick run there, grab what they need and return as quickly as possible. In the drugstore they run into a soldier on his deathbed who tells them that the mist was all the military’s fault. In the book it is hinted that perhaps the Arrowhead project, run at the nearby military base, was responsible for the catastrophe. That perhaps they somehow opened a portal to another dimension and things entered our world. But that’s only one man’s theory – the truth is left vague, and I like it that way. Maybe that’s how it happened. Or maybe this was just a freaky force of nature, an unnatural or supernatural occurrence of some sort. The characters didn’t know and we were forced to use our imagination. Imagine that.

 Round 6
Score: +1 King

Another major difference is the relationship between David and Amanda. Amanda is a young woman trapped in the store that David becomes a bit friendly with. In fact, in the book version they have a late night rendezvous, getting together in a locked manager’s office while everyone is asleep. It’s an impulse decision for David, and one he feels guilt for the following day. But it is an honest reaction, a decision made out of stress, and danger, and hopelessness. For both of them it is a way to get their minds off and cope with the horrors they’ve seen. In the movie they left this relationship out, and I am actually glad. They didn’t have time to properly build David’s relationship with his own wife; if they introduce this element to the movie it would have made him seem like an even bigger prick, an even worse parent, and a terrible husband. Once again we’re privy to David’s thoughts in the book, and we know that despite his infidelity David still loves his wife first and foremost and it’s a mistake he made under duress. This would not have come across in the movie, so the decision to keep their relationship plutonic is a good one.

 Round 7
SCORE: +1 Darabont

And then there’s Mrs. Carmody. In both versions she is an extremist; a rabble rouser who gets the townspeople worked up and proclaims this as the end of times. The thing that I found different, almost diametrically so, was her motivation. The book portrays her as a witchy woman, a crazy old maid who spreads gossip and rumors and superstitious stories. She’s the exact type of woman who would never set foot in a church, as she’s more likely to believe in spells and potions as the power of prayer. She’s the town nut. In the movie she’s a Jesus freak, a religious zealot who believes judgment day has arrived. In both versions she convinces the townsfolk, little by little, that the only way to appease the things in the mist is with a blood sacrifice. I buy this from the witch, but not the zealot. Darabont really locked in on this character and emphasized her much more than in the book. I’d personally like to have seen less of her and more of David’s wife Stephanie.

Changing Mrs. Carmody into a bible-thumping religious zealot feels like a political statement to me, a thinly disguised slam on the moral majority.  I know nothing about Frank Darabont personally, or his political leanings. But this shift in perspective is too sharp to be un-thought out. This movie was made in 2007, at the end of Bush’s presidency. His popularity was at an all time low, and it seems like Darabont took a chance to make a statement. That is personally a pet peeve of mine. Not that I mind a jab at the religious right – God knows they’ve more than earned it. But keep your politics out of my monster movies, thank you.

 Round 8
Score: +1 King

The special effects in this film are really well done. The mist looks good and the scenes in it play well. The creatures are well designed and the animation good. The aforementioned tentacles, my favorite creature in the book, were awesome and even scarier looking than the King version. And the gore in the movie is amped up – including a scene of a man who went out into the mist with a rope tied around his waist and returned a severed half-corpse.

 Round 9
Score: +1 Darabont

Eventually David and a small group of folks decide to leave the store. They realize they have to escape Mrs. Carmody and her growing band of believers. As bad as things are out there, staying in the store has become unbearable, and possibly unsafe. On the way out there is a confrontation between Carmody’s folks and David’s wherein Mrs. Carmody starts demanding a blood sacrifice and screams to “get the boy!”  Mrs. Carmody is killed in both versions, and the group uses the confusion to make good their escape. Not all make it – things in the mist pick off some along the way. But several do make it, among them David, Amanda and Billy.

 
Round 10
Score: Even

David heads home.  In the book he can’t make it to the house because trees have fallen along the drive, completely blocking his path. He dares not go outside as there are far too many hungry things in the mist.

In the film David is able to drive up to the house and finds his wife dead. She has been cocooned up in a spider web like the victims in the drugstore.  In the book David couldn’t get to Stephanie and doesn’t know if she’s alive or dead, therefore assuming the worst. He has to think of Billy now and be a responsible parent. But doubt would always be lingering in the back of his mind. Was she still alive? Did I make the right choice? Was she waiting for me to save her? The movie spells everything out for you, and that’s a shame.

 Round 11
Score: +1 King

The book ends with David and company holed up in a hotel. They’re planning to try to drive to another town, where hopefully the mist hasn’t spread. The ending is left vague. They’re alive for the moment, and that’s what counts. It’s a bit on a non-ending, which really bothers a lot of folks. I don’t mind the open-endedness, but I have to wonder where King would have gone with this if he had written a conclusion.

In the movie the group leaves the house and shortly thereafter runs out of gas. They are stranded in the mist, surrounded by horrors. They pause to contemplate the gravity of the situation… then David pulls out a gun and murders everyone in the car, his own son included! I don’t know about you, but the last goddamn thing I’d ever do would be hurt my own children, regardless of the situation. I’d try to survive, to wait things out, to make it to some kind of shelter, to do the hokey-pokey…. Something – anything. But murder? My own son? Naw, ain’t happening, and I don’t buy that David would do this either. David then turns the gun on himself but has run out of bullets…

Then, worst of all, comes the ultimate pisser, a craptastic velveta-covered slap in the face – seconds after David’s multiple murder/attempted suicide the military comes marching onto the scene, tanks rolling and flamethrowers and weapons firing, clearing the creatures away... why even the fog begins lifting. If only David had waited a couple more minutes! Nooooooooo!

 Round 12
Score: +1 King


 Ladies and Gentlemen. Your judges have reached a unanimous decision. Your winner, by a score of 6 to 3 and 3 rounds undecided is...


Stephen King novella.

 Not that Darabont got everything wrong. As mentioned before, I do feel changing the relationship between David and Amanda was the right move. The movie had added gore, which was really well done, and very effective. And I really liked the choice of actor for Brent. But that ending was unforgivable.

But this is where I get back to my original question – do you prefer to read the book first, or see the movie? The book is inevitably going to be a better version. It’s the original, the inspiration, the template for which the copy was made. In my mind it’s like a photocopier– the copy will always be inferior to the original, and it’s rare this isn’t true.

But if you see the movie first you have those actor’s faces and mannerisms and speech patterns in the back of your mind the whole time, so it kind of spoils the reading experience.   It’s a no win solution. Each should, honestly, be taken on its own merits and not compared, but that is just human nature. Guess I’ll have to think about this one for a while.

Wednesday, January 26

Scary Monsters #77

Be sure to check out Scary Monsters Magazine #77 at a book store near you. It's an old school monster mag that would make good ole Uncle Forry proud, packed front to back with classic monster articles and photos, including my latest article - this time around I interview Mike Curtis, a.k.a. Count Basil, a TV horror host in Jackson TN in 1974.  You can find Scary Monsters at a bookstore near you like Borders or visit the Scary Monsters website at http://www.scarymonstersmag.com/

Tuesday, January 25

Jack Pierce the Man Behind the Monsters

I wanted to give you Kindle readers a heads-up on a cool book that is now available for download. It's called "Jack Pierce - the Man Behind the Monsters" by Scott Essman. It's now available for Kindle download for just $9.99 at Amazon, and that includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet  Great book on the king of the classic monster makeups!

Friday, January 21

The Latest Creature Feature Open

This is the 2010 opening credits for Dr. Gangrene's Creature Feature. Theme song is by the talented Jeano Roid, of the Creeping Cruds.



Wednesday, January 19

Mondo Cult Magazine Interview

Just thought I'd share this interview with you that was published in Mondo Cult Magazine #2. This was back in 2006 - thanks again to publisher Jesse Lilley, for interviewing me. It was a lot of fun and I'm really proud to been a part of Mondo Cult Magazine. Plus I got to be in a magazine with Brinke Stevens and Traci Lords on the cover! Rock on!!


Click to enlarge

Tuesday, January 18

Sir Cecil Creape T-shirt Updated


Just got an email from Obscurateez about the new Sir Cecil Creape shirts - they have changed the design slightly, adding the good Creape's name and show dates, as well as his catch phrase -
"Did Someone Call?" - I can just hear the old ghoul's voice now!!
Nice additions. Cool shirt! get em' while they're hot!

Available in medium, large, XL, 2XL
Free Shipping
click image to enlarge
Sizes


Here's a couple other places you can learn more about Nashville's most famous ghoul...

  

That's Gotta hurt (it did) and a new ratings system!

Last Monday afternoon I took a bit of a spill on a snowy bank. It was a really hard fall, and happened in a split second. Afterwards everything seemed okay besides some tenderness in my side. Things continued this way for a day or so, and I even went to work Tuesday - however, later that evening things changed for the worse, and to make a long story short I wound up in the ER where x-rays revealed I have a cracked rib. I have plenty of sick leave built up at work, so I was able to take the rest of the week off.

Therefore I found myself propped up on the couch trying to stay comfortable with a lot of time on my hands. Fortunately, there was Netflix to the rescue!!

The following is a list of movies I watched while recuperating... I decided to institute a rating system on reviews for now on, and thought this a good starting place for this system. This system actually dates back to my very first season of horror hosting, 1999. Back then I used a four skull rating system that I later expanded to a five skulls, one being the lowest and five the highest. I actually had little plastic skulls on bases that I would set on the table as I gave the rating. Well, I decided to bring back the skulls, but add a bit of Mad Science flair to them as well. So here is my Mad Science Meter for Movie Reviews...

(NO SKULLS) Abomination

Freak of Nature - (Avoid)


        Medical Mishap (Decent)


       Successful Transplant (Recommended)


        It's Alive (Highly Recommended)


        Monsterpiece (True Classic)



Now very few movies will receive the Monsterpiece rating. They must be one of those rare pieces of cinema history that every viewer must see to call themselves a horror fan. Even fewer will receive the abomination rating. There are VERY FEW movies I deem bad enough to be an unholy abomination - they must have no redeeming qualities to get that rating, and I generally find something to like in almost anything.

So, without further adieu - here are the movies I watched last week...


SESSION 9 - Medical Mishap
                                    
An asbestos removal company begins working in an abandoned insane asylum. It's a major rush job as they promised to get a 3-week project done in only a week. During the course of the job one of the crew members disappears. Another stumbles upon a box of audio tapes of a patient's therapy sessions and begins listening to them. Each session is on its own reel-to-reel tape (not sure how this guy finds the time to goof off listening to these tapes without his boss cracking down on him, but hey, guess he's just good at loafing). These tapes are of a patient with multiple personality disorder, the worst of which is called Simon, buried deep within, a murderous personality which isn't revealed until - wait for it - Session 9! The crew members begin fighting amongst themselves, and in the end Simon makes his presence known again.

The best thing going for this movie is the location they shot it in. I'm pretty sure they shot in a real abandoned asylum. It is a truly creepy place that made for some spooky scenery. Props to the cinematographer and lighting crews, as they made the most of this building. Otherwise there's very little to recommend in this pseudo-horror movie. After watching it I can honestly say I hate this movie. Awkward story structure, cliche' storyline, irritating musical sting repeated throughout, and an overall dumb premise. Avoid this movie.



THE HORSEMAN - Successful Transplant
                                                     

This is the story of a father whose daughter is found dead, victim of a drug overdose. Weeks later the grieving father receives an anonymous package in the mail. Inside is a pornographic videotape showing his daughter, heavily drugged, being sexually assaulted by a group of men. He goes on a rampage, his own personal vendetta to kill everyone involved with her death and this video tape. Along the way he befriends a runaway girl who is slightly younger than his own daughter. In the process of helping he he rediscovers his own humanity he almost lost along the path of mindless vengeance and death. The title is a biblical reference to Revelations and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Interesting revenge story - drama, not horror. Very violent, but not bad.







SUCK - It's Alive!

This movie rocks! It follows a struggling Canadian punk rock band called The Winners on tour in a series of grungy dive bars. They're having little success until their bass player meets up with a vampire named Queeny after a show one evening. Rather than spend the night sleeping in a crowded hearse with the rest of the band she goes home with this mystery man. When she returns the following day there is something just a little bit different about her. She has become irresistible, and the crowds suddenly begin to react enthusiastically to their stage shows. Their popularity grows by leaps and bounds with each show, and one by one the band members each become vampires.

Malcolm McDowell plays vampire hunter Eddie Van Helsing (which of course conjures images of Eddie Van Halen, at least in my mind, anyway) on the trail of these bloodsucking rock n' rollers, who have left a trail of bodies along the way. This film is a horror-comedy with an awesome cast and a true rock-n-roll vibe. Alice Cooper, Malcolm McDowell, Dave Foley, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Alex Lifeson, Moby and others make an appearance in this one. Stylish visuals, good music, fun film - Highly Recommended.



Runaway - Successful Transplant
                           

Gene Simmons (of KISS fame) and Tom Selleck star in this 1984 sci-fi flick. I remember seeing this one in the theater, and wanted to watch it again and see if it's as good as I remembered. Set in the near future where robots are household items, Selleck is a cop on the Runaway Squad, a special division of the police set up to deal with out of control bots. Simmons plays a technological terrorist who has created a number of killer robots and terror devices. Although the robots are a bit dated, the movie is still pretty good. Simmons does a good job as the villain. Recommended.










Night of the Demons (remake) - Successful Transplant
                                                                              
Remake of the 80s classic. In this version the action takes place in a dilapidated Gothic mansion. It's Halloween night, and a huge party is being thrown here. Unfortunately, this house also just so happens to be the spot of a murder/suicide/seance/demon worship from decades earlier. Never a good sign. GREAT soundtrack in this movie with the likes of Wednesday 13, The Ghastly Ones, Psychocharger and more. Great special effects and a good cast make up for a slightly cheesy and predictable storyline. Also has a quick cameo by Linnea Quigley, who of course starred in the original version. Overall recommended as it is entertaining. I HAVE to get this soundtrack - it is an awesome collection of first-class

Halloween punk rock! Movie recommended, soundtrack's a Must Have!






A Dirty Shame (John Waters film) - Medical Mishap
                                                                                          
An uptight, sexually repressed town awakens to all forms of sexual awareness and depravity thanks to an epidemic of concussions and a sexual healer named Ray Ray, played by Johnny Knoxville. This movie is entertaining, goofy, and offensive, pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a Waters film. However, I have a feeling this movie was severely edited for Netflix, as it was pretty mild by Waters standards, Hairspray not withstanding. Certainly the language was edited, but I suspect some footage was removed as well. A decent film, entertaining but recommended only for John Waters fans.











The Mormon Proposition - It's Alive!
                                                                  
Interesting and well-researched documentary about the Mormon Church's underhanded funding of anti-gay legislation, specifically the recently passed Proposition 8 that repealed same sex marriage in California. Also sheds light on the church's overt opposition to homosexuality (while incredibly still embracing Polygamy), as well as their own fiscal misrepresentation and strong arm tactics raising funds for these hate campaigns. Eye opening documentary - kudos to Netflix for including this one.











Plague of the Zombies - It's Alive!
                                                           

I have been meaning to rewatch this one for a while now, and was glad to finally have the opportunity. This is a Hammer Studios film starring Andre Morell, who was Watson to Peter Cushing's Holmes in previous films. In this movie Mor\gfvbell plays a doctor called to a neighboring town to investigate a series of strange occurrences and unexplained deaths. Its a bit slow paced but well acted with creepy elements. The titular zombies in this movie are created through voodoo rather than a plague like modern zombie movies. This is a terrific, lesser known Hammer film with zombies, voodoo rituals, grave robbing and that glorious bright, bright red Hammer blood. Highly Recommended!



Troll - Freak of Nature
           

I've actually seen Troll 2, the infamous "worst" movie, but had never seen the original Troll. My son found a copy at Goodwill, so we popped it in the VCR late one evening. Now I had a pretty good idea what I was in for with Troll, but it incredibly managed to exceed my expectations (which in this case ain't a good thing). Made in 1983, it tells the story of a family that moves into an apartment building full of quirky tenants. It also turns out this apartment building has a dark secret - it is the home of an ancient troll. This troll (which stands a menacing three feet high) possesses the body of the family's daughter, then begins attacking the apartment residents one by one, turning them into Trolls themselves. There is also a 2,000 year old witch (who looks not a day over 60) living upstairs in this building. The family's son, Harry Potter, works together with this witch to defeat the troll and return things back to normal. At one point young Harry asks the with if she can teach him magic. Hmm - a young boy named Harry Potter learning to be a sorcerer? Wonder if this had any influence on those Potter books? Interesting.

Why anyone thought this movie was a good idea to make is beyond me. It makes little sense, has laughable special effects and makeup (even if I'd seen this in 1983 I'd have busted out laughing at the makeup job on the troll, guaranteed), terrible music and worst of all, Sony Bono - absolutely nothing of value to offer. Recommended for fans of bad movies only - otherwise avoid this stinker.



FROZEN - Successful Transplant
                            

FROZEN is the story of three friends who go on a skiing trip together. They convince the ski lift operator to let them take the lift up the hill for one last run, despite the fact a storm is headed their way and the lift is officially closed. Due to a series of mistakes they are forgotten about and the lift is shut down midway on their trip to the top of the mountain. They are stuck, sitting alone in the dark, forty feet in the air with no one around for miles. Worse yet, it is Sunday evening and the resort will be closed for the week. This is a psychological drama rather than a horror movie. Despite the fact the characters are young and obnoxious the story is well done and the acting very good. Interesting story, left me wondering what I'd do in a similar circumstance.

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