“That will be a long wait.
But I am a patient man.
And I have much to do.”
There were three reasons that inspired me to want to be a fiction writer—H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker and Dean R. Koontz. Even though I’ve put my fiction writing on hold for the past 2 years I still hold dear those novels and short stories I first read from those three authors way back in my late teens and early 20s.
To this day I can still remember the first time I discovered Dean Koontz. It was back in 1988 and at my favorite bookstore The Berkshire Bookshop. We had two bookstores in town back then, the other was the Bookend, sadly both have been out of business for decades now, but The Berkshire Bookshop was my favorite, for it was the most spacious.
The complete re-mastered horror anthology series from
“Tales From The Darkside” Executive Producer Richard P. Rubinstein
From modern-fables of fear, to stories that uncover
the trembling terrors of times past, each episode of this
acclaimed series harbors a terrible secret—it’s very own
gruesome monster to haunt your dreams in tales of
mystery, suspense and imagination.
—Monsters: The Complete Series (back cover)
Pretty much every movie I saw during my formative years (this also includes my 20s) I consider “memory movies,” which means they come with a memory, or memories, of when I saw them and how they affected me. I have two video towers, a smaller cabinet and a desk drawer chock full of memory movies. I can also apply this term to certain series I’ve seen like, Space: 1999, Star Trek (Original Series/Next Generatio/Enterprise), The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, etc. The review you are about to read is the tale of one such series that is full of nostalgic moments.
I’m writing this portion of the review on Black Friday 2013 and as of right now there’s no word yet on what extra features, if any, will be included. I’m hoping the commercial I saw in summer ’88 will be added.
Back in January, I reviewed a zombie movie called Knight Of The Dead, and in that review I said I had never seen a zombie flick set in the medieval ages, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to review it. Well, in The Last Days On Mars zombies finally make it into the final frontier, another setting I have never seen them in. It’s about goddamn time, too. These way over exposed movie monsters have run their course in my opinion and it’s about time someone finally looked up and decided to take them off world.
To be precise the “zombies” in this movie are not quite the tried and true versions you get on Earth. Just by origin alone it already sets them apart in that an alien bacteria is the cause. Other tell tale signs of their “alien” uniqueness is the turning of the skin to a weird, black veined look in some and an extreme skeletal, desiccated visage in others. But like their Earth bound counterparts (depending on what movie rules you adhere to) the procedure to becoming one is relatively the same; the human dies and then comes back to “life” sans heartbeat and all those other well-known signs that give away the living, and they instantly have the unwavering urge to attack and then kill/infect others who are not like themselves. There’s even a scene towards the end that implies these “zombies” are in fact eating their victims, so you can add that little tidbit towards these things being just like their Earthling gut munching cousins now.
“Perhaps somehow, it was a final act of faith. I don’t know. I have no thoughts.”
I suppose it’s all relative.
Every generation of movie lovers has their own era of “memory movies” they will always wax nostalgic over and hold dear to them. Today’s kids have slick looking shows, sometimes questionable CGI and the SyFy channel (once known as the SciFi Channel) while we Gen-Xers had the more languid and plot centered horror and science fiction TV movies of the 70s and 80s to affect us in all manner of joy and fear. Not that they were all that way, but I tell you a lot of the time I prefer that style to this eras heavy on effects and show all directive.
As an avid movie watcher and collector, I consider myself lucky to have been alive in the 80s, for that era was not only noteworthy for seeing the rise of the slasher film but also the rise of the action hero movie. Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jeff Speakman, and Bruce Willis all came to fame in this decade, playing hard to kill heroes who were adept in gunplay and stylized fighting. Yet, none were more famous, or bigger (literally), than Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both were muscled beyond belief and capable of killing large amounts of bad guys with their equally muscled guns.
It’s a shame, though, none of them were able to pair up in a film. I’m sure Tango And Cash (1989) would have been even more noteworthy had Schwarzenegger been Stallone’s partner. Well, here we are in 2014 and most of these guys are still doing action movies despite their advancing ages. Some are more successful at it than others and some have completely retired altogether (i.e. Chuck Norris). I was incredibly disappointed when Schwarzenegger decided to go into politics, but then again his movies around that time were lackluster to say the least. On the opposite edge of the spectrum once his governorship was over I was excited and admittedly more than a bit leery when with he decided to get back into the movie business.
Frankenstein Created Woman unexpectedly reminded me of Beyond Re-animator (2003). In that film, the character of Herbert West becomes more interested in the “soul” and how it relates to his experiments of resurrecting dead bodies, the same can be said with Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) in this fourth Frankenstein film. His experimentation on the dead has turned to trying to preserve the soul and thus the corpses personality. Separating one from the other, doing “work” on the corpse and then “re-installing” the soul back into the body is definitely an evolution of sorts from the tried and not-so-perfect resurrection of mindless, stitched together collections of body parts.
I have been into DC’s animated movies every since they debuted in late 2007 with Superman: Doomsday. I had planned to buy it, but read a very bad review and decided not to. It wasn’t until I came across it on Pay-Per-View that I decided to watch it with the idea that if it were any good I’d go out and buy it. My expectations were not high, for I had no clue as to what the makers were planning on doing with it. I naturally assumed it would simply be a movie length cartoon, something up to the same standards a Saturday morning ‘toon would have, just with better animation.
My first notion that this was not going to be the case was when I saw Doomsday kill a deer. Did he just “kill?” Then he attacked a human, and from what the twisted and gnarled hand looked like, it appeared he may have actually killed again. And a person this time.
Killing a deer!? Killing a human!?
I think I got into Dungeons & Dragons back in the sixth grade, hearing about it for the first time in Dynamite magazine, although I didn’t really start playing it until I got into my sophomore year of high school. Because of this, I have a weakness for medieval fantasy movies and there have been a ton of them that reminded me of D&D. They even started making movies based on Dungeons & Dragons; unfortunately, they have all been, for the most part, lackluster.
Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit adaptations are the best when it comes to being D&D inspired. And then there’s Vikingdom. The trailer was good enough for me to want to see it. Like with most of these fantasy flicks, it had me reminiscing about my D&D times. The movie, however, is a different story.
Taking a group of people, shoving them onto a tropical island, setting upon them some kind of “force”, and then watching how they react is just about as popular a subgenre of horror as the group of people trapped in a small location with some kind of monster or crazed human unleashed on them movie. Other memorable tropical island horror movies I can think of include the Blood Island trilogy (Brides Of Blood/The Mad Doctor Of Blood Island/Beast Of Blood) from the late 60s/early 70s, Screamers/Island Of The Fishmen (1979), the more recent After Dusk They Come (2009), and its remake The Lost Tribe (2009).
I used to be a fan of advancing technology, but that was when I was a kid. The older I got, the more disinterested I became in it — nowadays every time I hear of some advancement we’ve made, I cringe with fear. Lately, it’s beginning to feel like society is regressing while our technology is evolving and that, to me, is a bad combination.
This fear of mine has been encapsulated beautifully in movies like The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) and Jurassic Park (1991) where mankind’s creations got the better of them. And Jeff Goldblum’s statement in Jurassic Park, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” when he’s reacting to Richard Attenborough’s explanation of how they cloned the dinosaurs, has always resonated with me when I first heard it.