Tag Archives: movies

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Films of All Time! Part 2: #40 – 31

The countdown to Number 1 continues!

I made a list of the Top 50 films I love the most – with # 1 being my favorite of all time. Out of a Long List of 250 movies here are the films that made #’s 40 through 31.

Check out part 1:  #50 – 41 by clicking this link

Now, back to the list…..

Jay going “circus seal” on Bob

40. Clerks (1994)

Why? El Mariachi may have ushered in the “Do It Yourself” age of film-making, but Kevin Smith’s Clerks made it clear that it was here to stay. Made for pennies and shot at the video store that Smith was currently working in at the time, it once again proved that if you had the talent (in Smith’s case, it was his flair for dialogue not his cinematography) you could make a movie. Smith would go on to make bigger movies but it’s this one that is his finest work and stands up the best.

Best Scene? Randal’s brilliant rant about Return of the Jedi.

Best Quote?

“My love for you is ticking clock BERSERKER! Would you like to suck my cock BERSERKER!” – Olaf Oleeson

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Films of All Time! Part 2: #40 – 31

Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 1: # 50 – 41

I wasn’t going to arrange my list of these 50 movies in “best to least best” fashion, but then I said fuck it and decided it would be cooler to list my  favorite films in order of the ones that are my favoritist. So after weeks of going over my Long List of 250 movies (which I will post later. and yeah, most of them are American films. What can I say, we make awesome movies)  I have come up with my top 50 films IN ORDER (With #1 being my most favorite film of all time. Natch)!

Ok, let’s go!

50. High Fidelity (2000)

This is what our Idle Time meetings look like – just not as cool.

Why? Because if you didn’t know by now, we here at Idle Time live and breathe by this movie. It perfectly captures nerding out over music and movies and making lists.

Best Scene? The Break Up Scene. We’ve all been there. Some of us more times then we would have liked.

Best Quote?

 “What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” – Rob

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 50 Movies of All Time! Part 1: # 50 – 41

Ghostmann’s “The Dark Knight Rises” Review

Yeah, there are spoilers here so if you haven’t seen the film go away!

Back in the 80’s being a Batman fan meant you collected his comic books and action figures – maybe you watched the Super Friends on Saturday morning and played some NES games, but that was about it. There were no movies about Batman – unless you count the campy 1960’s Adam West bullshit.

I did all of the above in the 80’s  – I even had to make my own Batman t-shirt as there were none to be found in the stores. All that changed in 1989. Tim Burton’s Batman film hit the screens on June 25th 1989, my birthday actually, and Batman was fucking everywhere!

Behold, the Summer of Batman!

I saw the film with my family on our summer vacation to Disneyland. We stood in line for an hour at the smallest theater I think I’ve ever been to. The excitement was palpable – everyone was stoked, including me. I couldn’t believe I was about to watch a huge blockbuster based on my favorite superhero of all time, by one of my favorite directors at the time. Then the movie started. Something was not quite right. Something felt off. It felt…. staged. Shot in back-lots and sound stages. It felt unreal and fake.

Take a look at Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman: The Movie. He took the absolute cheesiness of Superman and made that shit seem real as hell. I believed in that film (this was also due to Christopher Reeve’s performance. Still the greatest single superhero acting job of all time). But here, this Batman film with it’s Prince soundtrack and Nicholson hamming, just left me wishing for something more honest. On the bright side, you could now buy a Batman shirt at K-Mart for 10 bucks.

“Swear to me!”

1989’s Batman was a huge success though, regardless of what one nerdy 17 year old thought about it, and soon the sequels starting rolling in. One after another – Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin – Hollywood kept cashing in on the caped crusader until the well ran dry and the public said enough of this shit. Not only did Batman disappear, but the comic book movie genre did as well.

Bat Nipples marked the end of the comic movie for the 1990’s

Then, at the dawn of the new millennium, came The X-Men. Bryan Singer’s film once again made people take notice of the comic book movie and wiped away the stain of Shumacher’s bat jizz. Singer showed us that if you treat the material with respect you can get the people to come out in hordes to see your film (Just as Donner did all those years ago). X-Men was the start of the Golden Age of Super Hero movies.

As a result of X-Men’s success the Batman franchise was reignited with a talented director and cast. Everyone involved in this re-boot treated the material as if they were filming Citizen Kane. And because of this we got the outstanding Batman Begins – Christopher Nolan’s opening shot of his Bat-Trilogy

(side-note: it was discussed tonight at our weekly Idle Time Meeting if Nolan really envisioned his Batman films as a true trilogy – much like Peter Jackson’s Rings movies – or if he decided after the fact? It was determined that if you “pretend” that the 3 films were all part of the Nolan’s plan from the start they work a lot better).

Never before had a super hero movie felt so goddamn real and important. But that was just the beginning, because the next film he gave us, The Dark Knight took the notion of “real” and “important” and sent it into the stratosphere. The Dark Knight is a masterpiece of comic book cinema. I’ll go on record here and say that this is the best comic movie ever made (sorry MDG, The Avengers is damn good but it’s no Dark Knight). From the start of the movie with the bat symbol in flames coming right at you, to the end with The Joker hanging upside-down laughing, nothing in this film is wasted. Every beat is pitch perfect and played for keeps. And of course Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker? Fuck.

So how could Nolan top That? How could his third film be better and improve on the comic book film genre even more? Well, it can’t and it doesn’t. And honestly, I think Nolan knew that and doesn’t even try to top The Dark Knight. What we get instead in The Dark Knight Rises is the most “Un-Super-Hero Super-Hero” film ever made. That make sense? What I’m saying is that this movie doesn’t feel like a comic book film. It feels like something else. But I’ll get to that in a bit – let’s start at the beginning.

The Dark Knight Rises begins eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. Batman has disappeared, becoming a fugitive and taking the blame for killing Harvey Dent, who has become a champion of Gotham City – dude even got his own “day”. But all that shit was built on a lie that only Commissioner Gordon, his family, the Joker, and Bruce Wayne/Batman know. During a speech on Harvey Dent Day, Gordon almost lets the cat out of the bag, but holds back, knowing that the city needs Harvey Dent to be the hero he never was. This lie needs to be maintained or The Joker wins. Gordon and Wayne can’t let The Joker win so they lie about Harvey, but deep down they know, yeah, the fucking Joker beat our asses.

Speaking of beating asses, its time to meet the villain of the movie, Bane. While not as theatrical and flamboyant as The Joker, Bane more then makes up for it in shear unstoppable force. The dude is one imposing motherfucker. Throw in that creepy mask and he is barely human at all. To make things even more unsettling, his voice, which you expect to sound like a cross between Darth Vader and Godzilla, sounds more like a cross between Count Dracula and Stephen Hawking. It works though.

Bane stages a hijacking at the start of the film that is easily one of the best segments of the film – and I kind of wish I hadn’t of already seen it in a preview before watching Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in IMAX. But regardless it is a pretty amazing piece of stunt work and film making.

We then meet up with a broken down Bruce Wayne. His knees shot from years of abuse, he now uses a cane to get around the mansion. His butler Alfred follows him around giving him a hard time for not getting out of the house and getting laid.  During all of Alfred speeches of wisdom, he starts to cry. It’s like Alfred has the end of E.T in a perpetual loop inside his head that causes him to tear up at the drop of a hat. Poor guy.

Around this time we also meet Selena Kyle – aka Catwoman. Anne Hathaway is decent in the roll here, and I wasn’t too annoyed by her or her character – which I was expecting to be – but her scenes with Bruce Wayne/Batman are some of the best in the film and she holds her own against Bale’s growling and brooding.

It turns out Bane wants to finish what Ra’s Al Ghul started way back in Batman Begins – destroy Gotham City – like Rome and Constantinople before it. Bane is part of the League of Shadows and was trained by Ghul, just as Bruce Wayne was. This is a nice connection with the first film and ties those two movies together beautifully. But what about tying in that awesome second film, The Dark Knight? Well the Harvey Dent connection is evident, but there is no mention of The Joker at all in the TDKR, which is too bad. Not even when Bane releases all the prisoners from Blackgate Prison do we see or hear about the Joker. I guess they keep him locked up somewhere else. You would think that Bane, who knows all about Bruce Wayne and Batman and where he keeps all his wonderful toys, would have recruited The Joker as one of his number one guys or something.

Bane does get Johnathan Crane, The Scarecrow, to be his Judge and dispense sentences to those that break the rules of his new Gotham, but no Joker. Was Nolan scared that no one could replace Heath Ledger? Or was it out of respect for his performance that he didn’t re-cast the role? I’m sure Bane and the Joker would have been BFF’s. Anyway, yeah it’s a bit of a stretch to connect the 2nd film, but like I said if you “pretend”, it all flows seamlessly. Now Nolan’s films join the ranks of the greatest movie trilogies of all time – Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Beverly Hills Cop.

The Dark Knight Rises is one fucking long ass movie and unfortunately you start to feel it at about the 2 hour mark. I can’t help thinking that this film could have benefited  from some serious editing, but I get what Nolan was trying to go for here – the LONG passage of time for Batman to RISE out of that hole in the ground he got tossed into after Bane broke him. And I do mean BROKE. Jesus fucking Christ, the fight scenes between Bane and Batman are bone-crushingly brutal and unrelenting. I also love how Nolan isn’t giving us any overly fancy film making during these fight scenes  – ala Zack Synder and Micheal Bay. There are no slo-mo shots or crazy back flips over shit. Nope. Just punch after punch after punch after punch after punch after punch…..


Bane is a wrecking ball and completely sure of himself as Batman’s better – and he is. Batman never truly beats Bane. In the end it took a fucking cannon from the batcycle to bring him down just has he was about to cave Batman’s skull in. Bruce Wayne is one lucky billionaire bachelor.

Over the last few years since The Dark Knight came out there have been a shit load of comic book movies. Some good, some bad, but one thing they all did was acclimatize us into what a comic book film should be. The AvengersCaptain America, Iron Man, all great and fun movies. We have become adjusted to what to expect from a comic book film now – we are all old pros in the genre now. The Dark Knight Rises is not really a comic book film and I think that is throwing a lot of people off. The masses are heading to the theater to see Batman fly his awesome Bat-Plane and blow shit up and save the day, all the while making witty remarks (ie: Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man). What they got instead is the dismantling of Bruce Wayne’s Batman and the rise of another.

The “other” I’m talking about is Robin. But don’t call him that, he’s a bit embarrassed by that name. He much rather be called John Blake, a young “hotheaded” officer in the GPD, but also a fairly good detective. Dude figured out that Bruce Wayne was Batman, and dug up some shit on Bane to help save the day. Joseph Gordon Levitt nearly steals the show from Bale here, but pulls back just enough at the right times. Bruce likes this kid and starts to give Blake advice like “Get a mask. It helps protect the ones you love from getting hurt by your enemies.” Blake moves up the ranks quickly and groomed by both Batman and Commissioner Gordon to replace them when they are gone. Without knowing it he becomes the heir to the cowl.


So what feels like 10 hours later we finally get to the last act of the film – here things get a little formulaic. We have the ticking time bomb plot mixed in with the “shocking twist” reveal. Both work fine within the context of this epic and Nolan is a talented enough filmmaker to keep us interested and invested (although I groaned when Comish Gordon fumbles the box that he needs to attach to the bomb to disarm it with only seconds left!). If you are a devoted reader of the comics you probably could have seen the “twist” coming too – Tala Al Ghul turns out to the mastermind behind the whole thing and Bane was just her bodyguard. I could have done without this plot twist – things were working just fine with Bane running the show. Oh well, minor issues that might play better with repeated viewings.

Overall I liked The Dark Knight Rises. Loved? Maybe. One day. Christopher Nolan does a nice job wrapping things up and sets up the possibility of a new Batman franchise (with Gordon Levitt) or will Warner Bros leave this trilogy alone and do an Amazing Spider-Man and re-boot the whole deal – new origin, new cast, new everything. Either way rest assured, in a few years we will know the answer.

The Dark Knight Rises – 7 out of 10 ghosty orbs! 

P.S – This film was meant to be seen in IMAX and you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t see it in that format. Almost half the film was shot using IMAX cameras and those scenes are incredible. Do it!

Ghostmann’s Most Anticipated Films of 2012! (what’s left of it anyway)

2012 started off a little lame in the movie department but after The Avengers officially kicked off the 2012 Summer Movie Season with a BANG (and “Smash!”) things are looking up for the rest of the year. Here are some films that I am really looking forward to watching.

MAY 2012

Moonrise Kingdom
Opens: May 25th 2012
Cast: Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton
Director: Wes Anderson

I’ve been a Wes Anderson fan since I rented his first movie Bottle Rocket back in 1996. His masterpiece Rushmore only made me a bigger fan (a film he has yet to top in my opinion). The plot, which is set in the 1960’s about a pair of young lovers (one a boy scout) who flee their New England island town, prompting a local search party led by the Sheriff and the girl’s parents to find them, sounds a bit tame but with Anderson writing the script and the actors he has assembled I’m sure this one will be worth checking out.

JUNE 2012

Opens: June 8th 2012
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
Director: Ridley Scott

I love how Ridley Scott is trying to tell everyone this is not an Alien prequel, when in the trailer it is clear that this story is about the ship that Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo go to investigate and end up finding Space-Jockey’s and Face-Huggers (both of which can be seen in the Prometheus trailer). But I guess Scott just wants this film to stand on its own without the Alien baggage (I am of course speaking of the shit that was Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection). This one looks pretty fucking awesome and could be the reboot of the whole franchise.

JULY 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man
Opens: July 3rd 2012
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary
Director: Marc Webb

I never liked the Sam Raimi Spider-Man’s – okay, Part 2 was pretty good – so I’m looking forward to a new take on our Friendly Neighborhood Wall-Crawller. I loved Andrew Garfield in The Social Network and I think he brings a much-needed youthfulness and accidental “coolness” and to the character (Toby always seems TOO nerdy). I think this one is gonna be a hit. Too bad Marvel doesn’t own the film rights to Spider-Man, how cool would it be to see Spidey join The Avengers for part 2?

The Dark Knight Rises
Opens: July 20th 2012
Cast: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine
Director: Christopher Nolan

I have faith that Christopher Nolan can take the second-rate Batman villain of Bane, the cheesiness of Hathaway’s Catwoman costume, and Christian Bale’s bat-growl and make this closing chapter of his Batman Trilogy a homerun. I’ll be honest though, I’m not sure it can beat The Dark Knight but it’s sure gonna be fun watching this film try to. I’ll be there opening night at the local IMAX theater for this one, along with a bazillion other fanboys.


Red Hook Summer
Opens: August 2012
Cast: Spike Lee, Turron Kofi Alleyne, Samantha Ivers, Limary Agosto, Heather Simms
Director: Spike Lee

What’s this? A sequel to Do the Right Thing? Well okay maybe not, but it does have the return of Mookie, played by Spike Lee himself. This is also Lee’s first non-documentary film since Miracle At St. Anna. The story follows a young kid named Flik who finds himself dumped at a Brooklyn housing project for the Summer with a firebrand preacher of a grandfather whom he’s never met. His only distraction from the boredom is a girl from church. But hey, this is a Spike Lee Joint, so you know things are going to get heated in the projects soon enough and Flik will soon be anything but bored.

Total Recall
Opens: August 3rd 2012
Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy
Director: Len Wiseman

Too bad Philip K. Dick didn’t live long enough to see all his books be turned into awesome movies – Blade Runner, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, and the first Total Recall,  speaking of which is one of Arnold’s best films and a blast to watch. Hopefully this remake will capture the fun that original had, even though the story takes place all on Earth and not on Mars. Oh, and hopefully there is a three-breastessed prostitute in this new film as well.


Opens: September 14th 2012
Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Clea DuVall, John Goodman, Alan Arkin
Director: Ben Affleck

This is the true story of the plan by the CIA to rescue six U.S. diplomats held hostage at their embassy in Iran in 1979 by convincing officials they were members of a camera crew scouting the area for a Hollywood movie. Sometimes truth is stranger then fiction right? I’ve been diggin’ what Ben Affleck has been doing behind the camera lately – The Town was great and Gone Baby Gone is one of the best directorial debuts in a long time. On the other hand, I’m not much of a fan of Affleck’s acting abilities – but I do like the “Serpico” look he is rocking in this movie.

Opens: September 21st 2012
Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Jason Cope, Domhnall Gleeson
Director: Pete Travis

The first Judge Dredd movie back in 1995 sucked much ass. I’ve never been much a Dredd comic reader – but I’ve read enough to know that Stallone’s version was a train-wreck (Stallone bearly wore the helmet in the whole movie and dudes, that helmet IS Judge Dredd!). I have high hopes for this new movie though – Karl Urban, aka Eomer from Lord of the Rings and Bones from Star Trek, is a cool dude. Here’s hoping he keeps that motherfucking helmet on the whole movie.

Urban as Dredd yelling about the fact that there is no Trailer on YouTube!

Opens: September 28th 2012
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro
Director: Oliver Stone

Too bad Oliver Stone went the way of Francis Ford Coppola – once great film directors that for some reason lost all their mojo and started making shit. What was Stone’s last great film? I’m gonna have to go with JFK – a film he made over 20 years ago. Since then he’s given us Any Given Sunday (sucked), Alexander (sucked), World Trade Center (sucked), and Wall Street Part 2 (sucked). Fuck man, stop smoking the ganja Stone and start making good movies again. He’s on the right path with The Savages, a story about kidnapping, ransoms, and pot growing (hey wait! no pot for Mr. Stone!). Plus he’s got a great cast – I’ll watch anything Benicio is in.


The Master
Opens: October 2012
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Rami Malek
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Some people may say Paul Thomas Anderson is too pretentious and full of himself. I say he is one of the finest filmmakers that there’s ever been. The dude made Boogie Nights, one of the top 1o movies of the 1990’s, when he was like 13 years old or some shit. Then he follows that up with Magnolia and manages to get me to cry over a brilliant Tom Cruise performance. TOM FUCKING CRUISE! (Kinda ironic that The Master is about L. Ron Hubard and the church of Scientology and how it might be all bullshit) P.T Anderson works with film the way a artist works with paint. He mixes and matches till the picture comes in to a life all its own. There is no way in hell I’m missing out on seeing The Master when it comes to theaters.

click HERE to watch a 5 minute clip of some dudes talking about the movie and controversy that will no doubt follow in its wake

Not Fade Away

Chase and Gandolfini together again
Opens: October 19th 2012
Cast: James Gandolfini, Brad Garrett, Jack Huston, Christopher McDonald, Molly Price
Director: David Chase

I’ve been watching hella episodes of The Sopranos lately and I gotta say, James Gandolfini will ALWAYS be Tony Soprano. Period. No matter what he does that roll will stay with him for the rest of his life. And really, he should be proud of that. His performance in that series is one of the greatest acting jobs in the history of motherfucking acting. This movie reunites Gandolfini, The Sopranos creator David Chase, and New Jersey on a story not about the Mob but rock and roll in the 60’s. I’m in.

From the set of Not Fade Away


To the Wonder
Opens: winter 2012
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel Weisz, Javier Bardem
Director: Terrence Malick
There was a time when Terrence Malick only made one  movie every ten years. But dude has been on a roll lately and is spitting out another film right after last years spiritually haunting Tree Of Life. Malick probably has the greatest “eye” out of any directors. His films are visual masterpieces, if light on story. I’ve heard he likes to just let the camera roll and hope he catches some wonderful moment that will be preserved forever on film. His film Days of Heaven does indeed capture a beauty that is rarely seen in cinema and something that tons of directors afterwards tried to emulate. Too bad Affleck’s in this one.
Check out this scene from Malick’s film Badlands, in which ol’ Terrence, a dude that never does ANY interviews or appearances EVER, gave himself a walk-on roll.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Opens: December 14th 2012
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans
Director: Peter Jackson

Along with Dark Knight Rises, this is the movie I am looking forward to the most this year. Peter Jackson silenced all the naysayers that said that the J.R.R Tolkein book The Lord of the Rings was unfilmable. It took ten years of his life to film all three movies back to back. The result was one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time. So I’m stoked that Jackson is back to give us the prequel. For awhile he was out and director Guillermo Del Toro was attached to the film. Now I love Del Toro’s films but his style is different then Jackson’s and The Hobbit would have seemed like it was part of another series – and not part of Jackson’s world. But Peter took the film back like Golem taking back that ring and it looks like it’s gonna rock!

World War Z
Opens: December 21st 2012
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Lucy Aharish, Julia Levy-Boeken
Director: Marc Forster

I’m fucking sick of zombies. But that wasn’t the case back in the 80’s when I was a youngster and into gore and special effects (ask my sister about the one time I constructed a fake thumb, stuck a knife through it, dosed it in fake blood, and surprised her with it). Back in the 80’s zombies were few and far between. The only ones were Romero’s films and some even more low-budget Italian ones, oh, and the comedy Return of the Living Dead. So to get your fix of zombies you had to dig deep in the local video store horror section and uncover them and watch them over and over and over. But nowadays the undead can be found at your local Burger King and Wal-Mart’s. Shit, there are zombies on Saturday morning cartoons. Fucking Nickelodeon and Sesame Street. Regardless, I’ll still be checking this Brad Pitt zombie film, as it could very well spell the end of the genre.

Django Unchained
Opens: December 25th 2012
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell
Director: Quentin Tarantino

I respect Tarantino for sticking to his guns and making films HE wants to see. He is a fanboy at heart. But I wish he would make slightly better films. Well, maybe “better” isn’t the right word – more serious films I think. It just seems like he making these “comic booky” “exploitation” films ie: Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds. And this one looks to be a mixture of the two. But hey, the dude can direct the fuck of actors and I think he is one of the best ones around in terms of taking a washed up actor and finding the gold nugget in them. He LOVES actors, and actors are what drive 90% of movies. And he also can write dialog like nobody’s business.

Opens: December 2012
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones
Director: Steven Spielberg

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. Nuff Said.

Ghostmann’s History of Comic Book Movies: Part 1

With The Avengers movie breaking all sorts of records and being cheered as the greatest comic book movie ever made (a sentiment with which I just might agree) I thought I would take some time and go through the history of films based on comics books – both the highs and lows.
Although comic book films have been around for over 70 years I really think they are just now entering their Golden Age. With the advancement of computer effects, the stories of flying men are getting easier to tell and more believable. The Avengers is primed to become the biggest grossing film of all time. This is going to lead to two things: One –  more comic book movies than ever before are going to be made in Hollywood. And Two – a lot of those movies are going to suck balls. But such is the case with any thing that does well – the copy-cats that want to cash in on the phenomenon are never as good, and ultimately doom the whole deal. This happened in the early 90’s after Tim Burton’s Batman blew everyone away – a shit load of shit followed and brought the comic book movie genre to its knees. But I’m getting ahead of myself  – let’s start at the beginning…..
The 1940’s
Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)
Directed byWilliam Witney, John English
StarringTom Tyler
This was the very first superhero movie, based on the character appearing in Whiz Comics (heh, whiz). At this point in time Superheroes had only been around for less then 10 years, starting with the debut of Superman back in 1932. The character of Captain Marvel is of course a copy-cat of Superman but the twist was, Captain Marvel was just a 12-year-old kid that could speak the magic word “SHAZAM!” and would turn into a fully grown man with super powers. Fucking brilliant twist, as pretty much every 12-year-old boy would kill for that power.
The flying effects for this 1941 serial weren’t too bad either. Get yourself some fishing line and a paper mache dummy and there you go, instant Captain Marvel. These shorts played in the theaters before the main feature and would start the ball rolling for Superheroes and the silver screen.
Batman (1943)
Directed by – Lambert Hillyer
Starring – Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft
Another superhero serial that holds the distinction of being the first time the Batman character appears in film. It also holds the distinction of having the most butt-ugly Batman costume to ever be worn by a human being. Holy floppy ears Batman! I will say that some of the stunts they pulled off in this serial were pretty cool – like jumping from car to car and smashing through windows – no computer effects here, just dude in stupid looking costume doing all that shit for reals.
This serial also featured the first Bat-Cave (never seen before in the comics at the time) and also changed Alfred from a short, fat dude (like he was in the comics) to a tall, skinny dude with a thin mustache (and has been that way ever since).
Captain America (1944)
Directed by – Elmer Clifton, John English
Starring – Dick Purcell
The last of the Republic Serials and calling this a Captain America movie is stretching it. I mean, the dudes name isn’t Lt. Steve Rogers, it’s Grant Gardner a fucking lawyer. He doesn’t use a shield but guns. There is no super-solider serum. And no Bucky. What the hell kinda Captain America is this? Wait I know, a shitty one.
Superman (1948)
Directed by – Spencer Gordon Bennet, Thomas Carr
Starring – Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill
Before the TV series would propel Superman into super stardom, this 12 part serial played in the theaters and was the first time the character of Supes was played for real – not animated (although, the flying bits in this serial were done with animation and look pretty bad. Dudes should’ve taken a page from the Captain Marvel series and used the paper matche dummy).
Next in part 2: The 1950’s brings more bullshit. The 1960’s serves up the camp. The 1970’s things start to go right.

Ghostmann’s Horror Movie Guide: The 1950’s

The Blob (1958)

Directed By – Irvin Yeaworth

Starring – Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Olin Howland

****** 6 out of 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: Next time you see a falling star be careful, it could contain a gelatinous alien that eats everything in its path as it grows! Poor old farmer Ted didn’t know, and when he spots a meteorite falling into a nearby field he heads over to check it out. The old farmer is attacked by the alien and it tries to eat off his hand. Two teenagers, Steve Andrews and his girlfriend Jane Martin, run across the farmer and take him to Dr. T. Hallen. After the doctor treats the blister, he thinks it would be a good idea to send two kids to go back to the scene of the attack and investigate this “blob” (uh hey dumb ass, what about calling the police!). Well when Steve and Jane return to the doctors office after checking things out at the field, they find the Blob chowing down on the good doctor. Steve and Jane try to warn the police and the townsfolk but everyone thinks they are crazy. Meanwhile the fucking Blob engulfs half the city and it’s population.

Fun Fact: The actual Blob, a mixture of red dye and silicone, is still kept in the original five-gallon pail in which it was shipped to the production company in 1958 from Union Carbide. It was put on display over the years as a part of the annual Blobfest, held over a three-day period each summer in Phoenixville, PA, which provided a number of the shooting locales for the film. In addition to displaying the Blob and miniatures used in the shooting, the event features a reenactment of the famous scene in which panicked theatergoers rush to exit the town’s still-functioning Colonial Theater, as well as several showings of the film.

Classic Quote: “Doctor, nothing will stop it!” – Kate, the nurse [after throwing acid on the Blob]

Filming Locations: Colonial Theater, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, USA / Downingtown, Pennsylvania, USA (Diner)

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Directed By – Jack Arnold

Starring – Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning

***** 5 out 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: After doing research for this Horror Guide Series, I’ve come to the conclusion – scientific expedition teams searching for fossils or artifacts is probably one of the most hazardous jobs ever! I mean it never fails – there they are just hanging out in a tomb, or in the case of this movie, a Black Lagoon, digging up some old relics when SUDDENLY a crazy-ass monster attacks them and kidnaps the one hot girl that’s in the team! The hot girl is usually the girlfriend or fiancee of the team leader and it’s up him and the rest of the team to rescue the hot researcher and kill the monster. Sounds like a great job.

Fun Fact: Ricou Browning, a professional diver and swimmer, was required to hold his breath for up to 4 minutes at a time for his underwater role as the “Gill Man.” The director’s logic was that the air would have to travel through the monster’s gills and thus not reveal air bubbles from his mouth or nose. Thus, the costume was designed without an air tank. In the subsequent films, this detail was ignored and air can be seen emanating from the top of the creature’s head.

Classic Quote: “We didn’t come here to fight monsters, we’re not equipped for it.”  – David Reed

Filming Locations:  Paradise Cove – 28128 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California, USA (arrival at coast scene) / Park Lake, Backlot, Universal Studios – 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California, USA (Amazonian lagoon)

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Directed By – Terence Fisher

Starring – Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee

****** 6 out of 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: Okay dudes, if you ever run across a Doctor, teacher, boss, construction worker, Starbucks barista, with the last name of FRANKENSTEIN! just keep walking man. Because at some point that person is gonna want to resurrect the dead and dig up bodies – and you know where that leads to? Yeah, not good. Once you start down that road you’ll no doubt find yourself speaking lines like this, “I must find the perfect brain!” It’s a one way trip to loonyville. You’ll start bringing dead puppies back to life – or maybe some goldfish and squirrels. Nothing will be safe from your maniacal ways.

Fun Fact: The original concept for this film was a black-and-white feature with Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster. Universal threatened a lawsuit if Hammer copied any elements from the classic Universal version. Hammer had Jimmy Sangster completely redo the script and had Jack Asher shoot it in Eastmancolour.

Classic Quote:  “I’ve harmed nobody, just robbed a few graves!” – Baron Frankenstein

Filming Locations: Black Park, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK / Oakley Court, Windsor Road, Oakley Green, Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK

The Horror of Dracula (1958)

Directed by – Terence Fisher

Starring – Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough

********* 9 out of 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: Jonathan Harker travels to Castle Dracula to help the Count catalog his vast library – you know, books on how to suck blood and shit like that. But what Count Dracula doesn’t know is that Harker is secretly on a mission to kill him. But dumb ass Harker takes his sweet time getting out the wooden stakes and by then it’s too late because Dracula has already sucked the dudes blood – goodbye Librarian, hello life of the un-dead. And if getting turned into a vampire wasn’t bad enough, Dracula sees a picture of Harker’s fiancee, Lucy Holmwood, and decides he needs to tap that ass. Dracula heads into town in his best cape and starts to visit Lucy at night in her bedroom. Soon Lucy is all used up and Dracula sets his sights on one of Lucy’s friends, Mina. What a pimp! But Dracula’s cock is soon blocked by one Dr. Van Helsing.

Fun Fact: The cape worn by Christopher Lee was discovered in 2007 in a London costume shop during its annual inventory-taking. It had been missing for 30 years, and is believed to be worth around $50,000 (US$). Lee was contacted to verify its authenticity.

Classic Quote:  “Sleep well, Mr. Harker.” – Count Dracula

Filming Locations: Bray Studios, Down Place, Oakley Green, Berkshire, England, UK / Oakley Court, Windsor Road, Oakley Green, Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK

The Fly (1958)

Directed By – Kurt Neumann

Starring – David HedisonPatricia OwensVincent Price

****** 6 out of 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: You ever wish you could just teleport places instead of having to drive there? Or take the train or jet plane? I mean how cool would it be to step into a transporter box and one second you are in California and the nest you are chillin’ in Japan? Fucking awesome! Whats not awesome is that you would have to bring a can of RAID with you every time you step in the transporter and spray the hell out of it – otherwise when you get to Japan you might be barfing up on your sushi roll to slurp it up through a straw.

Fun Fact: Michael Rennie was offered the title role but declined it because his head would be covered thru most of the picture.

Classic Quote: “Help me! Help meeee!” – Andre Delambre

Filming Locations: Stage 9, 20th Century Fox Studios – 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA

House of Wax (1953)

Directed – André de Toth

Starring – Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Charles Bronson

****** 6 out of 10 ghosty orbs

Plot: Professor Henry Jarrod has the talent to make extremely life-like wax sculptures (now there’s a lost art form). His favorite subjects are historical figures such as Marie Antoinette or Joan of Arc, but his business partner Matthew Burke, wants him to start making some more horrific wax sculptures – like a chamber of horrors and shit. When Jarrod refuses to do such sculptures, Burke sets his wax museum on FIRE and collects the insurance. What a fucking dick! Well, everyone believes that Henry Jarrod died in the fire but he unexpectedly reappears some 18 months later when he opens a new exhibit – and guess what motherfuckers, this one DOES have a chamber of horrors. Guess who Henry is inviting for opening day? That’s right – Burke the Jerk.

Fun Fact: Warner Bros.’ first 3-D movie, filmed by director André De Toth – who was blind in one eye and hence could not see the effect.

Classic Quote: “It’s sort of a shock to see your head detached that way. ” – Sue Allen

Filming Locations: Stage 12, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios – 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, USA

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Director – William Castle

Starring – Vincent Price, Carolyn Craig, Elisha Cook

***** 5 out 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: This was like the 1950’s version of the T.V show “Big Brother” – Let’s put five people in a  haunted house with ghosts that kill the shit out of you, and see which one survives!  The winner gets $10,ooo bucks! Sweet. Your hosts for this ghoulish spectacle are Frederick and Annabelle Loren – who really have no intention of paying any of these idiots, but hey, they don’t know that. One of the contestants, Mr. Pritchard, is a ghost expert know-it-all and tells everyone that there are seven ghosts. Not 6. Fucking 7. How does he know this? Just count the ghosty orbs fool…. ghosty orb 1, ghosty orb 2, ghosty orb Tims!  As the guests continue to be frightened and threatened, two have their own very specific reason for being there and not everyone will live through the night. No shit.

Fun Fact: The Ennis Brown House in Los Angeles, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1924, and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was used for the exterior shots of the haunted house during the film’s opening sequence.

Classic Quote: “It’s almost time to lock up the house and then your party will really begin. I wonder how it will end… ” – Frederick Loren

Filming Locations: Ennis-Brown House – 2655 Glendower Avenue, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California, USA

Them! (1954)

Directed By – Gordon Douglas

Starring – James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness

******* 7 out of 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: After several people in the New Mexico desert wind up missing or dead, including an F.B.I. agent and most of his family, police Sgt. Ben Peterson teams up with F.B.I. agent Bob Graham to find out what’s causing the strange occurrences. And do you know who they find out that did it? Mexican Drug Cartels? Serial Killers? Satanic Cults? Nope, giant motherfucking ANTS!  Turns out the ants over at the Atomic Testing site in Los Alamos got exposed to all the radiation from the bomb tests and got all huge. Thanks a lot Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Heisenberg. Well they manage to destroy the nest of ants and save the day, but then they see two ants with wings fly off to go fuck and make more baby giant ants, hell bent on destroying the world!

Fun Fact: The sound that the giant ants from “THEM!” make as they approach their prey is a recorded chorus of bird-voiced treefrogs (Hyla avivoca) of the southeastern United States. Occasionally a grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) can be heard on the soundtrack as well, as these species can often be heard together at the same wetland.

Classic Quote: “We may be witnesses to a Biblical prophecy come true – ‘And there shall be destruction and darkness come upon creation, and the beasts shall reign over the earth.'” – Dr. Harold Medford

Filming Locations: Blaney Ranch – 160th & Q Streets, Palmdale, California, USA (giant ants desert nest)

The Thing from Another World (1951)

Directed By – Howard Hawks

Starring – Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey, Douglas SpencerJames Arness

******** 8 out 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: Members of an American scientific research outpost in Antarctica find themselves battling a parasitic alien organism capable of perfectly imitating its victims. They soon discover that this task will be harder than they thought, as they don’t know which members of the team have already been assimilated and their paranoia threatens to tear them apart. Then then some dudes chest opens up into a mouth and chomps off the doctors arms then they blast the alien with flamethrowers and the aliens head detaches itself and scrambles across the floor….. uhhh.   oh wait, shit wrong movie.

Fun Fact: The scene in which The Thing is doused with kerosene and set ablaze is believed to be the first full body burn accomplished by a stunt man. Veteran stunt man Tom Steele replaced James Arness in the fire scene. Steele wore an asbestos suit with a special fiberglass helmet with an oxygen supply underneath. He used a 100% oxygen supply which was highly combustible. It was pure luck he didn’t burn his lungs whilst breathing in the mixture.

Classic Quote: “Watch the skies, everywhere! Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!” – Ned “Scotty” Scott

Filming Locations: Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Ghostmann Picks a Winner: The Oscars!

It’s my favorite time of year, Movie Award Show Season! And although I think the Academy very rarely gets it right (Titanic wins over L.A Confidential? Forrest Gump beats Pulp Fiction? The ultimate in bullshit.) I still enjoy the spectacle and giltz watching Hollywood pat itself on the back for playing make-believe. Let’s get to it shall we?

First up is…..

Best Picture

Continue reading Ghostmann Picks a Winner: The Oscars!

Ghostmann’s Horror Movie Guide: The 1940’s

The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)

Directed By  – Robert Florey

Starring – Robert Alda, Andrea King, Peter Lorre

***** 5 out 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: A tiny Italian village is being terrorized! The locals believe an unspeakable evil of massive proportions has taken over the estate of a recently deceased pianist. Something so huge and horrible has been occurring at the estate and there have even been some murders! What could this diabolical monster be? The pianist’s severed hand!!!!!!!!……!

Fun Fact: The film was remade in 1981 by director Oliver Stone as The Hand.

Fake Classic Quote: “I got your Chopsticks right here bitch!” – The Severed Hand

Real Classic Quote: Police Inspector Naish: (turning to the camera and addressing the viewer) “Can you imagine anyone believing in a hand that would walk around?

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Horror Movie Guide: The 1940’s

Top 5 Worst Superhero Movies

Of all my incredulous “they’re making that into a movie” moments, one of the most confusing occurred in the lobby of 1000 Van Ness a few months ago when I stared, dumbstruck, at a poster for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Was Marvel trying to give the character a second chance on the big screen, a reboot or reinvention? Was this a Punisher-style replacement of a Dolph Lundgren with a (slightly less awful) Thomas Jane? No, Nic Cage is in this movie. It’s a goddam sequel to one of the worst comic book movies ever made.

This isn’t a terrible problem to have, really. There always have been and there always will be lousy movies. Sturgeon’s Law undergoes constant verification at every cineplex: ninety per cent of everything is crap. So it’s actually somewhat satisfying to know that comic book movies have become so popular over the last decade-plus, that the requisite 90% of bad cinema rolling out of Hollywood on an annual basis contains an ever-increasing amount of capes-n-tights crud. The law of averages simply guarantees more Scott Pilgrims and Dark Knights.

This list focuses exclusively on superhero films. Comic books get unfairly equated with the one genre most prevalent on spinner racks and in specialty stores, but let’s not forget all the other crap flicks that have been inspired by other types of funnybooks. The Spirit was more crime than costume, Dylan Dog more spooky than spandex. Jonah Hex is filed under weird western, Judge Dredd with the silly sci-fi. Cowboys and Aliens is… well, whatever the hell it is, it started out shitty, so any film based on it was bound to be shitty. [Reminds me of a Nick Swardson veterinarian joke: “My cat has diarrhea. What have you been feeding him? Diarrhea.”]

Continue reading Top 5 Worst Superhero Movies

Ghostmann’s Horror Movie Guide: The 1930’s

The Black Cat (1934)

Directed by – Edger G. Ulmer

Starring – Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi

****** 6 out of 10 ghosty orbs!

Plot: Who wants to go on their Honeymoon in Hungary? Well Joan and Peter Allison do and as luck has it they end up sharing their train compartment with Dr. Vitus Verdegast, a bit of a weirdo who is returning to the town he defended before becoming a prisoner of war for fifteen years (life has sorta sucked for old Vitus). Anyway, when the bus they were taking to their hotel crashes in a mountain storm and Joan is hurt, they find a fortress-like home to hole up in. The home, turns out, was built on the site of a bloody battlefield! There at the fucked up house, cat-phobic Verdegast learns his wife’s fate, grieves for his lost daughter, and must play a game of chess for Allison’s life. What a fucking Honeymoon! Continue reading Ghostmann’s Horror Movie Guide: The 1930’s