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The MFF Podcast #224: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – The Producer’s Cut

October 26, 2019

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsStitcherTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Paul Rudd is really good in Halloween 6

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about the producer’s cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. This cut was a thing of legend during the 1990s and 2000s , as people bought bootleg copies at conventions and passed it along to their friends who were hoping for a version that improved upon what was dumped into theaters. In this episode, we discuss laundry, ancient stones and impractical car chases. You will love it!

If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsStitcherTune In,  Podbean,or Spreaker.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

John’s Horror Corner: Final Destination 5 (2011), the most fun and rewatchable of the franchise with outstanding death scenes!

October 24, 2019

MY CALL: Great likable characters and outstanding death scenes. This is easily the most fun and rewatchable of the entire franchise. MORE MOVIES LIKE Final Destination 5: Final Destination (2000), Final Destination 2 (2003) and Final Destination 3 (2006). But maybe skip The Final Destination (2009), easily the worst of the franchise.

Franchise SIDEBAR: Final Destination (2000) ended with three Flight 180 survivors having beaten Death’s design and enjoying a drink in Paris… that is, until they realized they made one mistake as the screen goes black! When Final Destination 2 (2003) opens, we learn that the survivors of Flight 180 all ultimately died mysterious deaths except for one, that all of the victims of FD2 were connected to the survivors of Flight 180, and that they had also evaded Death’s plan (during the events of FD1). FD2 ended with the revelation that Death’s cycle had not ended and that they were still on fate’s “to do” list, only to have Final Destination 3 (2006) completely ignore FD2 and instead serve as a second direct sequel to FD1. Unlike its predecessors, FD3 leaves no survivors on the ill-fated Train 180! The Final Destination (2009) acknowledges the previous plot without specifying any sequels and, like FD3, it kills everyone off again at the end.

Preparing to depart on a company retreat, co-workers Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto; Gotham), Molly (Emma Bell; Hatchet II, The Walking Dead), Peter (Miles Fisher; Wolves at the Door), Candice (Ellen Wroe; Animal Kingdom), Olivia (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood; The Bold and the Beautiful), Isaac (P.J. Byrne; Big Little Lies, Rampage), Nathan (Arlen Escarpeta; Friday the 13th) and Dennis (David Koechner; Krampus, Cheap Thrills, Piranha 3DD) find their bus stuck on the wroooooong suspension bridge.

The opening death scene sequence (i.e., the premonition) was a blast! All pertinent deaths occur on-screen and there is thoughtful nuance to their execution. For example, when the molten asphalt-burned skin of a victim’s fingers sloughs off as he loses his grip and falls; when another falling victim careens off the concrete support of the bridge with an angled blood splatter before ricocheting into the water; or the loosened eye socket from the rebar impalement through the head. The CGI may be a tad dated, but the execution was excellent!

We follow a lot of familiar FD beats—the premonition and how it plays out, suspicion and investigation by law enforcement targeting the premonitionist, the memorial for all lost in the given tragedy… But these beats play out as much as FD homage as they do FD tropes. And agent Block (Courtney B. Vance; The Mummy) is every bit as engaging as were agents Shrek and Weine (FD1).

Only minutes into this movie and I like the characters more than any other FD sequel. PJ Byrne steals the show with comic relief as a quirky unexpected ladies’ man who’s so slimy he’ll steal the spare change from a dead colleague’s desk. Right behind Byrne is David Koechner, who delivers a delightfully despicable company man alpha boss with sharp lines. But the real pleasure is in the death scenes.

The gymnastics death scene (Ellen Wroe) was FANTASTIC! The tack, the water, the damaged electrical cord, the somersaulting gymnast… I was transfixed on everything happening on screen to such degree I was reminded of the surge of excitement I felt watching the death sequences in FD 1-2 all over again. And when Candice finally comes to the end of the scene—WOW! The exposed broken femur and broken back were enough, but that twitch! I love the finger twitch! Best death scene of the franchise? You tell me.

On to the spa death scene where actor PJ Byrne oozes charismatic yet toxic misogyny seasoned with a dash of ignorant racism (that’s delivered with ironic levity). Short of spoiling anything (I’ll let the GIFs do that), Byrne’s banter is far more entertaining than the death scene itself—but this is a credit to Byrne, not discredit to his death. I winced so hard when he fell with all those acupuncture needles in him—bent about or deeply impaling him. And that head trauma was awesome.

The laser eye surgery death scene (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) is a fist clencher, for sure. From the moment Olivia is laying down on the operating table clenching the crap outta’ that Teddy bear, I knew I was in for a good ride. When that laser kicks on, I assure you, you’ll be nervous for poor Olivia.

Much less sinisterly presented than before, Bludworth (Tony Todd; Final Destination 1-3, WishmasterHatchet II) is back to explain some of the nuances of Death’s plan to our survivors. He says something interesting: that he’s seen this before. You’d think he meant FD 1-4, but really he means before that. But as we’ve seen before, Bludworth is also always good for adding a new rule to the game (e.g., how new life could reset death’s plan in FD2). Take a life, and you enjoy their years in life while they serve your years intended for death.

We close with perhaps the most satisfying ending of the entire franchise, followed by a memorial montage of franchise death scenes.  So how has director Steven Quale not risen to further greatness? I found this film outstanding. This is easily the most fun and rewatchable of the entire franchise.

The MFF Halloween Viewing Guide: Movies and Documentaries to Watch Before Halloween

October 23, 2019

With Halloween approaching, here are some horror suggestions to get you ready for the 31st. I made sure to add an eclectic mix of documentaries, zombie romances and movies that feature EXTREME body modification. Hopefully, you enjoy!

You need to watch Green Room. It’s legit.

One Cut of the Dead (Shudder)

The less said about One Cut of the Dead, the better. Just know it’s about zombies, film making and a desperate director. You’ll love it.

Green Room (Netflix)

Green Room is my favorite horror film of this decade. The violence is ugly (the dogs….), the characters are likable and Patrick Stewart plays a great villain.

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (Shudder)

You will learn a lot about the Friday the 13th franchise by watching this massive documentary. It’s a lot of fun and very educational.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (Netflix)

Director/writer Oz Perkins is one of my favorite up-and-coming horror directors, and I really like how The Blackcoat’s Daughter features ugly violence, quiet moments and a gut-punch of an ending.

Tusk (Netflix) and Walrus Yes: The Making of Tusk (Youtube)

Tusk is a weird movie. I still can’t believe that Kevin Smith put everything he had into making a movie about a guy being turned into a walrus. After Tusk, watch the documentary that details its creation.

Day of the Dead – with commentary- (Shout! Factory TV) and The Dead Will Walk (Youtube)

George Romero is the best. That’s why you need to listen to his commentary for Day of the Dead, and watch the documentary about the making of Dawn of the Dead.

Train to Busan (Netflix)

Zombies on a train….need I say more?

The Perfection (Netflix)

The Perfection is a fun horror movie that goes for broke with its gore and plot developments that are simultaneously unpredictable and predictable (trust me). 

Life After Beth (Netflix)

Aubrey Plaza is the best (watch Legion now), and in Life After Beth she plays a zombie trying to have a relationship with Dane DeHaan. It’s weird.

The Shadow of the Vampire (Amazon Prime, Vudu)

What if Max Shrek, the star of Nosferatu, was actually a vampire? You need to watch this movie about the making of Nosferatu.

John’s Horror Corner: Satanic Panic (2019), a low budget horror-comedy that packs a bloody funny punch.

October 22, 2019

MY CALL: It’s no gem of the era. But it tries, it lands well with what it has, and we have a strong cast including some well-known stars! MORE MOVIES LIKE Satanic Panic: For more rich people behaving badly, try Ready or Not (2019) or Society (1989). For more horror comedies, aim for Deathgasm (2015) and Housebound (2014).

On her first day as a pizza delivery girl, Samantha (Hayley Griffith) is stranded out of gas on a luxurious estate after getting stiffed on the tip. Hoping to beg for some gas money, she wanders inside the mansion and finds herself in the middle of a high society Satanists organization in need of a virgin sacrifice to summon the demon Baphomet.

First-time feature director Chelsea Stardust handles her humorous atmosphere well. The Satanists’ meeting feels like a millionaires’ social club led by the delectable Danica Ross (Rebecca Romijn; The Librarians, X-Men 1-3, Godsend) and I love the dry humor. This is comedy first, horror second. But its horror side celebrates blood and guts as best it can with its budget, and it does so tactfully.

As cheap as everything looks, the execution manages to satisfy. I, for one, enjoy any effort to show someone’s (victim AJ Bowen; The Sacrament, You’re Next, Hatchet II) entire digestive system being pulled from their mouth. And who doesn’t like seeing someone’s (victim Jerry O’Connell; Mission to Mars, Piranha 3D) heart baked into a souffle demon? We also have Voodoo doll-like scenarios, some general murder, and insidious orgy-ing. Even with the zealous effort in the gore department, this is not a technically strong film although it manages to be enjoyable if your expectations are properly tempered.

You really ought to know what you’re getting into before watching this. If you aren’t aware of the low budget indie-style film you’re approaching, you may have the wrong kind of expectations and be rubbed the wrong way. For example, the scoring is stiffly rudimentary. And the writing here is nothing excellent—actually kinda’ clunky and hokey, though passable. It’s what you might expect from a comicbook. But the cast’s congenial performance keeps it above water and prevents the writing from becoming a nuisance even to this critical viewer. And again, the greatest possible efforts were made with a small rubber guts budget.

Other members of the cast include: Gypsy (Arden Myrin; MadTV), Judy Ross (Ruby Modine; Happy Death Day 1-2), Kim (Jordan Ladd; Cabin Fever, Grace, Club Dread, Hostel II), Steve Larson (Jeff Daniel Phillips; Lords of Salem, 31, Halloween II), Kristen Larson (Hannah Stocking; Boo 2! A Madea Halloween), Michelle Larson (Whitney Moore; Birdemic I-II, Contracted II), and Gary (Michael Polish; Hellraiser: Bloodline).

I enjoyed this. It’s no gem of the era, nor is it anything anyone should pander “how did this not go to theaters?” But it tries, it lands well with what it has, and we have a strong cast including some well-known stars.

The MFF Podcast #223: Ernest Scared Stupid, Miak and Terrible Trolls

October 21, 2019

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsStitcherTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Trantor is the worst.

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about the cult classic Ernest Scared Stupid (AKA pure nightmare fuel). Released in 1991, Ernest Scared Stupid tells the story of Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) battling a horrible troll. The movie wrecked many lives, and caused children around the world to fear and despise snot-covered trolls. In this episode, we discuss Miak, booger lips and a beautiful tree house. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsStitcherTune In,  Podbean,or Spreaker.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

What Exactly is Authentic Bulgarian Miak, a (Mostly) Logical Explanation

October 21, 2019

What Exactly is Authentic Bulgarian Miak? A (Mostly) Logical ExplanationBy David Cross (check out his fantastic podcast – Award Wieners, in which he talks about Oscar-winning movies and matches them up with food).

Ernest Scared Stupid”, inarguably the best children’s’ Halloween movie in existence (boo, “Hocus Pocus”) introduced the world to authentic Bulgarian miak, one of the most well-known foodstuffs in film history. This is a (mostly) logical explanation of the mysterious substance. 

Is Authentic Bulgarian Miak Real?

Before we can explain what exactly miak is, we have to answer this question. We searched the Internet high and low for clues of its existence. With a heavy heart, we have to inform you that miak is not real. Take solace that your childhood was not ruined by this knowledge, only your adulthood.

Still, just because miak doesn’t exist in real life doesn’t mean we can’t make an educated guess as to what it is in the Ernest-verse. (Yes, with 8 movies there is an Ernest-verse.) 

Watch the famous scene before you read on.

What is Authentic Bulgarian Miak?

This might shock you but according to our (mostly) logical examination of “Ernest Scared Stupid” and Bulgarian culture, miak is a yogurt-like substance. 

Here is our exact definition: 

Miak is a Bulgarian-style flavored yogurt sauce that is commonly eaten in the spring and served with a thin pancake.  

This means that Ernest nearly beat Trantor by dumb luck. Talk about being on-brand. 

To develop our definition, we created a list of assumptions that led us to our answer. 

  • Assumption: Miak is a seasonal product. Specifically, it’s a seasonal product that is difficult to find in autumn. This is implied when Ernest says: “I bet you didn’t think I could find any this time of year.” 
  • Assumption: Miak is enjoyed in the spring. This is the farthest season from autumn. We believe miak is similar to spiced apple cider. Yes, you can have it year-round but it’s primarily associated with autumn.
  • Assumption: Miak contains some type of dehydrated substance, which is implied by the phrase “from concentrate” on the jar. The term “from concentrate” is normally associated with juices. But not exclusively. For example, condensed milk is an example of a concentrated dairy product. 
  • Assumption: Miak is a popular product, indicated by the word “original” on the jar. To us, this says that miak is popular enough that brands are fighting to differentiate themselves from each other. In the Ernest-verse, this might be the equivalent of Coke versus Pepsi. This has nothing to do with our analysis, but it’s worth adding to your head cannon. 
  • Assumption: Miak is probably a portmanteau of the words’ milk and yak. Again, this has nothing to do with explaining what miak actually is. We just thought it was funny.  
  • Assumption: Miak is easily throwable. By this, we mean that miak can be jettisoned from its container. We know this because Ernest was going to toss miak in Trantor’s face. The means miak is not a paste or paste-like. 
  • Assumption: Miak is viscus, probably gel-like. When Ernest drops the jar we don’t see a puff of powder. Neither do we see liquid slosh out.
Yep, it’s a yogurt sauce.
  • Assumption: Miak comes in a variety of flavors. Otherwise, why would the label include the word “plain.” This isn’t that important. 
  • Assumption: The jar is stoneware. We believe this is vital to understanding miak. In researching jars, we learned that this particular stoneware is commonly referred to as a “cheese crock.” For the curious, they are about $10 on eBay. 
Joseph LaScola crushed the design. Check out his page.
  • Assumption: Miak is a dairy product. This is because miak is viscous and the stoneware is meant to store diary. However, miak is not a pure dairy product otherwise it would have a familiar name. This means that it’s mixed with something unique, such as herbs, fruits, or vegetables.
  • Assumption: Miak is sweet. Bulgarians already have a traditional savory yogurt sauce — podluchen sauce. There’s no need for a second savory yogurt sauce.
  • Assumption: Miak is eaten with a main dish, as it’s a sauce. 
  • Assumption: Miak is eaten with Bulgarian pancakes, which are a staple of the country’s cuisine and similar to what Americans think of as crepes. We selected pancakes because we believe they go best with a sweet sauce. Furthermore, there is evidence through the various Ernest commercials (which may or may not be canon) that our denim-clad goofball likes pancakes. This assumption also helps explain where Ernest got the miak; he probably knew a guy who supplied the hard-to-come-by sauce for Ernest’s hardy breakfasts.

When all of these assumptions are taken together, it’s clear that miak is like Ernest—a little weird and a little sweet. 

John’s Horror Corner: Child’s Play 3 (1991), Chucky goes to military school and breaks his Voodoo rules in this serviceable sequel.

October 20, 2019

MY CALL: After the original Child’s Play (1988), these sequels definitely aren’t getting any better. Its victory is in continuing the story of Chucky’s pursuit of Andy without replaying itself, and it still manages a great opening and gruesomely memorable ending just like Child’s Play 2 (1990). MOVIES LIKE Child’s Play 3: The other Chucky movies most worth watching are Child’s Play (1988) and Child’s Play 2 (1990), and then I might skip all the way to Curse of Chucky (2013) and Cult of Chucky (2017)—not that I didn’t enjoy them all to some degree. There is also the excellent remake of Child’s Play (2019). Other quality evil doll films include The Boy (2016), Annabelle: Creation (2017), Dolly Dearest (1991), Dolls (1987) and Puppet Master (1989).

With Child’s Play (1988) and Child’s Play 2 (1990) occurring over a timeline of as little as one week, part 3 leaps eight years into the future where we find now teenage Andy (Justin Whalin; Serial Mom, Dungeons & Dragons) attending military school. And with Andy long in their past, the toy company men aim to resurrect their top selling item: the Good Guy!

Say what you want about these sequels. But even if you hate them, I’d challenge anyone to claim they weren’t impressed by the opening sequences of these films. Our returning writer Don Mancini (Child’s Play and all sequels) clearly loves his creation, and it’s evident in his storytelling. Each of Chucky’s (Brad Dourif; The Hazing, Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2, Curse of Chucky, Cult of Chucky) murderous misadventures are completely different, and each new story begins where the previous ended to gorily illustrate how the soul of Charles Lee Ray transfigures from one charred or melted Good Guy corpse to the next. This time, reverse time lapse of a melting doll depicts Chucky being reformed (a la Hellraiser) to wreak havoc on this sequel.

Voodoo Discontinuity SIDEBAR: In Child’s Play (1988) the rules were clearly established. Chucky needed to transfer his soul to the first person with whom he shared the secret of his identity, and he had to do it soon because he was slowly becoming “more human” and would be trapped in the humanized doll body. In Child’s Play 2 (1990) Chucky actually attempts and fails this ritual, realizing he was already “too human” to transfer. Yet now in part 3, he starts looking for Andy and explains “I gotta’ get out of this [expletive deleted] body!” He actually identifies he has a new body and can now reveal his secret to someone else—but this revelation came after Chucky explained he had to get out of that body. So, I guess we’re just looking the other way on that fallacy and assuming, once again, that Chucky has a chance to escape his Good Guy fate. Rules as presented, he can now just keep “bleeding” into new doll bodies to possess and hit reset on his possession deadline.

Much as was the case with Child’s Play 2 (1990), where this movie suffers most is the death scenes in the body of the film. Yes, the opening and finale sequences are great. But largely the death scenes are either basic and lacking impressive special effects (e.g., the yo-yo garrote strangulation death scene), or the kills are off-screen (e.g., the garbage truck trash compactor death scene). But I’ll give clever credit where it’s due. The heart attack death scene was a pleasant surprise of ironic humor and the barber (Andrew Robinson; Hellraiser, Pumpkinhead II, Trancers 3, The Puppet Masters) had the most memorable death—even if only for the line “presto, you’re dead.” But truth be told, the budget had little allocated to the deaths and everything allocated to Chucky himself (and he looks great even during an otherwise dull death scene), and his opening/closing special effects extravaganzas. Like when he gets eviscerated in that industrial fan.

Probably the lesser of the first three Child’s Play movies, getting less extraordinary with each release. But to rate this on its own merits, without comparison to its predecessors, I’d call it quite entertainingly serviceable. Great opening with a meh middle (slow pacing). Decent again at the end when the mutilated Chucky gore comes into play.

Director Jack Bender (Lost, Under the Dome) brought us a decent sequel. Chucky is a little like Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) or Mick Taylor (Wolf Creek)—just plain mean and twisted and cruel. So if you want a mean popcorn horror flick, this is it! Like part 2, the death scenes are less impactful than part 1. Tact and restraint have been surrendered for Chucky’s one-liners.

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