And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Chronicle (2012)

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Defendor (2009)
"Did I leave the gas on...?"

“Did I leave the gas on…?”

There are a lot of mentally unstable superheros out there. Most realize Batman wouldn’t be half the goddamn Batman he is if he weren’t a little bit (or a lot, depending who’s writing him) crazy. But Bruce Wayne’s only the most famous example, and at least he knows who and what the hell he is (again, depending on the writer). Heroes like Rose/Thorn or Moon Knight, who actually are dealing with multiple personality disorders, have been hanging around since the 70s, never popular enough to attract any real attention.

Looks like Defendor‘s joined their ranks. I only heard about it two weeks ago though the good graces of After Movie Diner host Jon Cross. I guess it fell through the cracks a weak Terminator sequel, weaker Star Trek reboot, and Bayformers 2 left in the floor of 2009. I missed this “sharp suberversion of Nolan’s Batman reboots…” whatever the hell that means. Who said that, anyway…? Now Magazine…? Well, what the fuck do they know? Are they going to namedrop Rose/Thorn? Or Moon Knight? I don’t think so.

Comic book knowledge allows me to go into these DIY superhero movies with the proper air of critical suspicion. Who’s this Peter Stebbings, I thought going into Defendor, playing in our sandbox? What, this is his first time in the director’s chair? Well, at least he wrote the script. What else did he write…a PG-13 Rom Com from 2008? Aww, hell… Continue reading



Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Bad news is, you're the best character in this film because you're not in it long enough for me to get bored with you.

Bad news is, Andy, you’re the best character in the film. Because you don’t have any lines. The less people speak in this movie, the fewer chances they have to piss me off.

The original Dawn of the Dead was twenty-six years old by the time this remake entered the pipeline. Its time had very much come and, in one sense, already gone. Tom Savini’s 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake celebrated its sweet sixteen by the time 28 Days Later broke out of its “low” budget genre ghetto, made it to Sundance, eventually broke out of that ghetto, too, and became a critical darling and smash hit…for whatever reason.

I try to ignore Spring horror films as much as I can because they tend to suck as a rule. (A popular example from the year in which I write – 2011 – would be the Scott Charles Stewart directed Paul Bettany vehicle, Priest.) January and February are studio dumping grounds for sub-standard, shitty movies they know no one will want to see. By March they’ve usually worked through the previous year’s back catalog and begun to ship out films designed specifically for home  markets. Christ’s sake, no one really wants to watch big budget horror movies in March…but March is only seven months away from Halloween. Time enough for a film (like this one, which “only” cost $28 million) to earn its money back in theaters, allowing ancillary sales (like seasonally-appropriate DVDs and TV broadcast rights) to count as pure profit.

Predictably, this movie became the early breakout hit of 2004. Not that anyone at Universal actually predicted that. They were convinced the complete failure of 2003’s House of the Dead meant no one really wanted to see any more zombie movies. (And as long as by “no one” they meant “me” that statement held true.) Anyone with a functional brain could’ve told them House of the Dead failed because of two key words: “Uwe” and “Boll.” Never the less, Universal cut every corner they could, going so far as to turn the cameras over to some jumped up car commercial director named Zack Snyder. Continue reading