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My Terminator Sequel Movie Pitch

So Terminator: Dark Fate is a flop at the box office, with some claiming it could mean the end of the franchise. Not really surprising given how awful and disrespectful it is to long time fans of the franchise. Now, I’ve been pretty vocal on the film myself, the short version is that it’s not very good at all, the much longer version can be read right here.

Now it’s all well and good sitting at my laptop yakking on about how bad the latest Terminator picture is… but it’s not very constructive is it? So after a while, I began to think how I personally would’ve pitched an idea for a new Terminator film. So here it is, my pitch for a new film in the long running and failing franchise.

Before I do get into this, I just want to clear something up. Terminator: Dark Fate had six people involved in the writing… six people, I’m only one person. The story would’ve also gone through weeks, months even years of work before filming began and finished, I’ve just come up with this after a couple of hours of thinking and even throwing in some stuff on the fly. The writers of Dark Fate would’ve been highly paid for their effort, I’m doing this for free… and fun. Then finally, Dark Fate was written by professionals working in Hollywood for years, one of them the creator of the franchise, I’m an amateur writer with a blog. Yet despite all of my short comings, lack of experience, money and talent, I’m still confident I can come up with a better Terminator film idea than Dark Fate. Oh and finally, this is a pitch just to get a story idea across not a script, so won’t be fully detailed.

The Terminator Logo

Okay, so the first thing to make clear is that Terminator: Dark Fate was a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day that ignored all the other films in the franchise. For my pitch, I’ll be doing the same… but I’m going a step further by also ignoring T2. Yup, my idea will be a direct sequel to the original 1984 picture, The Terminator. No friendly T-800, no super advanced T-1000, no blowing up Cyberdyne and no stopping judgement day.

So my film picks up with the end of the first film, 1984 where pregnant Sarah stops off at a gas station and pays $4 for a picture of herself (pretty good hustle kid). The ominous and effective “there’s a storm coming” and all that as Sarah and unborn John drive off toward the Mexican sunset as the storm clouds form. A narration begins with Sarah as she explains that Kyle was right, Skynet did become self-aware at 2:14 am and launched nukes at Russia which and kick-started a war on the 29th of August, 1997. The resulting nuclear war claimed three billion human lives and The War Against the Machines began.

The Terminator End

The film then flashes forward to 2010 in the war ravaged future. Not quite as bad as shown in the first film circa 2029, but still a very rundown future. Classic Terminator future battle stuff with (early model) endoskeletons, HKs, etc all our war shenanigans against humans. Cut to a slightly quieter part on the outskirts of the battlefield where a small family, father, mother and their 6 year old son are scavenging for supplies as they struggle to stay alive. As they look for anything they could use, a terminator kills the parents while the child is distracted looking through scrap. The terminator spots the boy and raises it’s M-27 Phased Plasma Pulse Rifle, taking aim at the 6 year old right between the eyes (a quick throwback to the Tech-Noir scene in the first film). Just as it looks like the kid is going to be terminated, a small group of rebels open fire on the machine and manage to destroy it. A 25 year old, battle scarred man steps forward and picks the youngster up (come with me of you want to live reference?) and takes him away from the horrors of the war to a secure settlement full of human life. Overseeing the settlement is an older Sarah Connor and that 25 year old, battle scarred man is her son John. After a little discussion, it’s agreed they they will look after and raise the 6 year old themselves. Sarah asks the newly orphaned and terrified child his name, he replies “Kyle Reese”, Sarah has a tear running down her face.

Flashback to 1995 with a younger Sarah (de-aged CGI Linda Hamilton, it’s all the rage right now) raising her 10 year old son (doesn’t have to be Edward Furlong cos T2 didn’t happen). She is a tough but fair mother as she trains him for his inevitable future as the leader of the resistance. They are hiding out in Mexico and Sarah has made a few ‘contacts’ over the years to gain weapons, etc to help train John. The youngster never resents his upbringing because it’s all he’s ever known. Firing guns at paper targets and learning how to use grenades is normal behaviour for this 10 year old. John asks about his father, who he was, where is he now. Sarah gets a little emotional (“in the few hours we had together, we loved a lifetime’s worth.”) but decides to tell John all about Kyle as she said she would in the recording she made at the end of the first film/start of this one. She tells John how Kyle was sent back in time from 2029 to 1984. Sarah quickly recaps the original film and tells John how his father sacrificed himself to save both Sarah and the unborn John against the killer T-800. We follow Sarah and John for a couple of years as the training continues and Sarah tries to warn people about judgement day but they think she is crazy. Sarah is shown as a very loving mother with the weight of human existence on her shoulders. It’s now late evening of the 28th of August, 1997, just a few hours before Skynet becomes self-aware. Sarah and John head toward an old and disused underground bunker (with a handful of people who believed Sarah) as the nukes begin to fly, judgement day begins. Taking from T2 (that didn’t happen in this film) to show the horror of a nuclear explosion as millions upon millions of people die.

T2 Sarah

Back in 2010 and the human settlement is attacked by a terminator, Sarah sacrifices herself (just as Kyle did for her) so John, Kyle and others can escape. Throw in a vehicle chase sequence cos you know, Terminator. They go on to set up an new human settlement. It’s now 2020 (looking more like the ravaged future shown in the first film) and Kyle is 16 years old (a very de-aged Michael Biehn), a highly trained and skilled soldier too. The settlement has grown over the years and become a haven for humans looking for shelter and to train and fight. The whole place is teeming with life, it’s reputation has grown over the years along with that of John… so much so that the settlement and John has been put on Skynet’s radar, who just observes, scrutinises and learns from the humans from afar… for now. Kyle begins to ask questions about Sarah, he kind of remembers someone from when he was found as a 6 year old but as she died before he grew up, his memory is hazy. John gives Kyle a picture of Sarah… that picture. He tells Kyle how Sarah was a brave and strong leader that helped him become the man he is now, but John leaves out little details, like Kyle going back in time and being his father.

The Terminator Sarah Photo

The settlement mange to get some intel on Skynet and the battle begins to turn in the humans favour, more settlements begin to be created, more soldiers trained all lead by John. There is still a good few years of fighting to go yet but there is a ray of hope that Skynet can be defeated. 2028 and Kyle is now a grown man (still a de-aged Michael Biehn now looking like he did in the first flick) and John’s right hand man, the resistance are winning the war, many, many human lives have been lost, but they are winning. Skynet has replaced it’s “easy to spot” rubber skinned T-600 units with the much more advanced T-800s with living tissue, one of the many things Skynet has learned observing the humans over the last few years. John Connor has been away and putting a plan together to attack Skynet itself, a bit like the Death Star attack in Star Wars only a lot better. The plan takes a while to perfect as the fighting continues. While trying to enjoy some very rare downtime, Kyle returns to one of the human settlements after being on the battlefield. You know Kyle’s nightmare scene in the first film where a terminator attacks and that photo of Sarah burns? Well this is that bit only with a bit more meat on the bones. More humans die, Kyle escapes and meets up with John. This is where John reveals he has perfected his plan to attack Skynet directly and launches his attack a few months later in 2029 after asking for volunteers. Taking a group of soldiers, Kyle included, they attack Skynet and smash the defence grid, Skynet has lost.

Skynet

Skynet has nothing left, but while John was coming up with his plan, Skynet was piecing together one of it’s own. It had secretly built a time machine, unbeknown to John and his intel. and planned on sending back an army of terminators to kill young Sarah Connor, in 1984, killing John before he’s even born. But with the humans gaining the upper hand in the war and Skynet losing so much, it decides to launch it’s plan early and without an army of units. Only one T-800 is available as most have been lost on the battlefield or currently fighting. As John and his soldiers attack, Skynet sends the T-800 back to 1984. John learns of Skynet’s plan and Kyle volunteers to go back to protect Sarah, wanting to meet the legend who sacrificed herself to save humanity.

The Terminator T-800 2.

Everything is bought full circle as the events of The Terminator begin…


 

Okay so that is my Terminator sequel movie pitch. It’s rough, needs a lot of work and to be honest, I threw it together after only a couple of hours. Of course this film will never be made, this was just done for a bit of fun… and to prove to myself that I could come up with a better film than Terminator: Dark Fate and it’s six writers. If I’m allowed to say so myself, I think I did a half decent job.

Just to finish, I’d like to apologise for the lack of any curtain hanging T-800s, not killing off the most important character in the franchise and rendering Kyle’s sacrifice completely redundant. I guess I just don’t know how to create and craft a film like highly paid Hollywood writers do.

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Terminator: Dark Fate… Don’t Come Back

Well it happened, I watched the new Terminator film. I love the original The Terminator. It’s a beautiful blending of sci-fi, horror, action and even a bit of a love story. It’s mega-successful sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a flick I have lot of issues with… outside of Americans not being able to spell the word judgement correctly. The plot holes are ridiculous, it’s writing is inane and it’s basically an insult to the first film… but it’s a pretty decent action romp none the less. Then we get onto the other sequels and they range from average to pretty damn bad at best.

For me, there is only one Terminator film and that’s the first one. Yet I have still sat through all of the other films in the franchise… so may as well endure the sixth and latest film in the franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate. I said after watching the last film, Terminator: Genesis (I’m not spelling it ‘that’ way), that I was done with this franchise, it’s just been downhill since 1984. But Terminator: Dark Fate is currently being called the best sequel since T2, so it has to be good right? Due to the high praise the film has been getting, I just had to check it out.

Right off the bat here, I’m going to warn on massive and gargantuan SPOILERS. I am going to go through the plot and story of the film as well as looking at characters that will give away major plot points, even in the opening. So again, there will be major SPOILERS from this point onward.

The Film

So the flick opens with a nice reminder of one of the better scenes in T2, showing the scene from the film where Sarah Connor is being interviewed and kind of flips out as no one believes her about the future war and the rise of the machines.

Sarah Interview

It then cuts to a future war scene as several terminators emerge from the sea while Sarah delivers a narration about a hopeless future before cutting back to 1998 where Sarah and John are enjoying some sun on a beach in Guatemala. Sarah’s narration continues as she explains that the future of the machines talking over, Skynet and all that never happened because she stopped it. You know, all that blowing up Cyberdyne from T2 and the death of Miles Dyson and all that gubbins. As she sits in a bar looking over John, a T-800 casually walks in and kills John Connor, dead. Couple of shotgun blasts and the future leader of the resistance that will stop Skynet is dead. The main focus of the entire plot of the first two films is dead. It’s not even been four minutes into the film yet (three fifty for those counting) and John Connor is dead… I have more to say about this later but for now, on with the rest of the film.

Sarah laments over the death of John with a tacky line about how she is ‘terminated’ and it then cuts to present day as the arrival of the new protector and main character of the film is shown, Grace, played by… Justin Bieber. Seriously, when I first saw Grace (Mackenzie Davis) in this, I thought the new protector character in the film was played by Justin Bieber, so from now on, it’s Justin Bieber. Anyway, so Justin Bieber has been sent from the future in typical Terminator franchise fashion… naked. But John Connor is dead, so who has she been sent back to protect? There’s a scene where Justin beats the crap out of some Mexican police, cos the film is set in Mexico. Justin steals some clothes and off she goes in search of her target.

Dark Fate Grace

We are then introduced to the new target, Dani Ramos who lives with her family in a crappy little apartment. After some asinine character introductions, we then meet this film’s antagonist and all new terminator, the Rev-9 (basically the T-1000, again), who arrives at Dani’s home seconds after she leaves for work. So Rev-9 sets about looking for Dani, kills and mimics her father and goes after his target. Dani works at a car factory and this is where the first big showdown happens as both the Rev-9 (disguised as Dani’s father) and Justin Bieber turn up to kill and protect Dani respectively.  We get to see what Justin Bieber is made of, she’s human but with ‘enhancements’. You remember The Bionic Woman? Well she’s a bit like that. After a small fight sequence, the main chase of the film begins.

So anyway, Justin, Dani and her brother make a run for it with Rev-9 in pursuit. You know the main car chase scenes from the trailer? Well this is that part. Cars get smashed up as Justin Bieber tells Dani that she is from the future and here to protect her. Rev-9 disables their car and kills Dani’s brother… and this is where Sarah Connor shows up proper, you’ve already seen it in the trailer anyway where she turns up armed to the teeth and shooting an RPG at Rev-9. So Justin and Dani make a run for it by stealing Sarah’s car and leave her to fight off the T-1000, Sorry Rev-9 for herself.

Dark Fate Sarah

As Justin Bieber and Dani are running away, Justin beings to show signs of a struggle and is in a bad way. She has enchanted speed and strength, but at the cost of becoming ‘fatigued’ I guess. Justin is in need of medical attention, so Dani takes her to a local chemist for some drugs. Sarah tracks them down as Justin Bieber passes out. Sarah takes them to a motel to rest up. When Justin regains consciousness, more of the plot (what little there is) is revealed as Sarah learns that Skynet no longer exists and never actually did. It turns out that Justin Bieber is from an alternate future created after the events of T2. Instead of Skynet, there is Legion… basically Skynet. Legion is still a highly advanced AI, it still starts a war between man and machine, there is still a judgement day of sorts, just not one at the hands of Skynet. As I said, Legion is basically Skynet just with a different name. So it turns out that Dani is this film’s 1984 Sarah Connor who will go on to give birth to the future leader the resistance against Legion. So the plot of this film is the plot of The Terminator with a slight name change or two.

Sarah says how after John was killed, she started getting encrypted messages. Justin Bieber decrypts the messages and it just so happens to turn out that the messages are being sent from the very same location of some coordinates that had been tattooed onto Justin’s body just days before she was went back in time… what an incredibly lucky coincidence. So the trio of ladies decide to head to the location the messages have been sent from in Texas. Sneaking over the Mexico-United States border, they finally arrive at the source of the messages, the very same (now aged) T-800 that killed John in the opening. Cutting a very boring story as short as I can, the T-800 agrees to help train Dani to fight Rev-9. I’m just going to skip to the end here…

Dark Fate Heros.png

So Justin Bieber, Sarah, Dani and old T-800 team up and fight the Rev-9 at Hoover Dam. En-route, it is revealed that Dani in the future actually found and raised Justin Bieber when she was younger during the war. It turns out that Dani is not this film’s Sarah at all, she is this film ‘s John Connor. It is Dani who will rise to lead the resistance against Legion… what a pointless twist. After a plane crash and landing at the dam, there’s another fight sequence and both Justin and the T-800 end up sacrificing themselves to save Dani and kill Rev-9. Sarah becomes surrogate mother to the future leader of the resistance (female John). End credits and teases a sequel I hope never happens.

Now the plot is is of the way, I’m just going to take a look at the characters…

Rev-9

So this new evil terminator is basically a cross between the T-800 and T-1000. It has an endoskeleton like the T-800, but instead of the living tissue, it has the liquid metal of the T-1000 and can mimic who and whatever it touches. It can also split itself into two and work independently. It can operate as the endoskeleton as well as making a human form as the liquid metal. To be honest, I kind of liked this idea and you see it used a few times in the film too. But as a character, it’s just all a bit dull. Despite it’s interesting splitting into two thing… it’s just a T-1000 and we’ve already seen it. Gabriel Luna who plays Rev-9 is no Robert Patrick. He’s not scary, not intimidating and never really felt like a threat. I have multiple problems with Terminator 2, but Robert Patrick as the T-1000 was not one of them. This Rev-9 is just boring.

Dani

Ah yes, this film’s Sarah/John Connor. Thinking back to the first film, you get to see Sarah grow as a character. She starts off as this timid waitress who ‘can’t even balance her checkbook’. Yet through the course of the film, we see her grow into the strong woman she becomes at the end and through T2. You don’t get any of that with Dani here, she is one note from start to end. There is no evolution of character, no depth of character. She’s a insipid, annoying girl at the start and she stays just like that right up to the finale.

Justin Bieber

I’m sorry, but I have to keep making these comparisons. Kyle in the first film was a tough and grizzled soldier from the future. He was a bad ass, but he also had a softer side and came across as very vulnerable too. Justin here is a flat line. There is nothing here, no character. And what is the point of making her ‘enhanced’ if she keeps breaking down as in need of drugs? They were (I think) going for a human/machine hybrid in an attempt to show how, despite a deadly war between human and machines, that they can coexist and live in harmony. Instead of this faux and vomit-enduing symbolism, I’d have preferred that they just went with either a human protector or a machine… and a character with some actual character too.

Sarah Connor

Far and away, the best thing about this film is Linda Hamilton back as Sarah Connor. She’s bitter, tough and yet still very likeable… even when she is being a complete bitch. She even has a scene where she breaks down talking to Dani about John… and Linda is sublime in it. Linda’s acting is brilliant. She has the best lines (mostly), the best scenes and more than holds her own during the action scenes too. Utterly brilliant to the point where I kind of wish Sarah was the only main character of the film. Drop the dreadful Dani and the insufferable Justin Bieber, just have the film focus on Sarah and her hatred/distrust of the machines and this could’ve been great. In fact, it would’ve been so much better of they hadn’t killed off John… more on this soon…

T-800

I’ve saved the worst for last. I love the first film and I think that the T-800 is one of cinema’s greatest villains. I really disliked how they made him good for T2… really disliked. Over the years, I held out hope we would see an evil T-800 again in one of the sequels. The closest we got was Arnie’s ‘cameo’ in Terminator: Salvation and his de-ageing bit in Terminator: Genesis (don’t care, I’m not spelling it like a six year old). Sadly, looks like we’ll never see that evil T-800 again. The small glimpse we get in the opening where he kills John is about as close as we will get. I never liked how they made him the good guy in the sequels… but this film? This film just outright takes the piss.

So the T-800 in this, after killing John developed a conscious, he felt ‘guilt’ (I guess) over his actions. He met a woman and got married, became a stepfather to his wife’s son. They live together, have a dog and everything. The T-800 also has a name, Carl. You do remember the T-800 from the first film right? This is how the franchise creator once described the T-800…

“It’s death rendered in steel.”

–  James Cameron

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. But now? Now Carl as he is called is a soft furnishings expert… I’m not joking. The T-800 hangs curtains (drapes for my American readers) for a living. There is a part in the film where Carl advises Dani on the best curtains to hang and how to do it… again, I’m not joking. From smashing through into a police station and massacring people…

Dark Fate T800 T1

To hanging curtains, this is the T-800 now. He’s married, has a kid and a dog… who doesn’t bark, which fans will now is a big no, no! Honestly, this is perhaps the biggest betrayal of the character ever. A huge FU to the fans. But to be honest, us fans should’ve seen this coming, I mean it was foretold in the first film with Kyle Reese’s famous line…

“Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, unless it decides to hang up some curtains.”

– Kyle Reese

Oh no, my mistake. That didn’t happen did it cos it’s fucking stupid. Have you heard what they are doing with Michael Myers in the Halloween reboot sequel? He’s going to work at a veterinary clinic to look after fluffy bunnies and cute puppies. He’s not because the writers of that film are not stupid. Oh and the Halloween reboot is getting a sequel (two even) which this film won’t.

The Plot Holes

This film had six writers covering the story and screenplay (one of them supposedly James Cameron himself)… six and none of them any good. Even the other sequels didn’t have to pay this many people to write something so god awful bad.

Writers

Seriously, six people had a hand in writing this mess? I could’ve done a better job and you wouldn’t have had to pay me six times either. The one is full of plot holes before it ever really begins.

So if a T-800 killed John at the start, then Skynet wins. But because of the events in T2 what with destroying Cyberdyne, Skynet does not exist. Fine… so who sent the T-800 to kill John in the opening then if Skynet does not exist? No Skynet, no T-800 terminators. Sarah says in this film that the future of Skynet taking over didn’t happen…

Why would Skynet send a T-800 back to kill John anyway when it has the much more advanced T-1000?

If this film takes place in an alternate timeline where John and Skynet do not exist, then why would Sarah be involved at all? The first two films were about protecting John. First unborn in The Terminator and then years later when he was ten years old in T2. But if there is no more John, then Sarah has no reason to be involved in this film’s events at all. As much as I loved Sarah in this film (she is easily the best thing)… she is completely redundant too.

Rev-9 arrives in the past during the day and he arrives right outside Dani’s apartment too. Traditionally through the franchise, the terminators arrive at night (Justin Bieber does), so if Rev-9 had arrived at night (as is the tradition) Dani would’ve been asleep in bed and he could have killed her within seconds. So why did Legion send Rev-9 back in time to arrive during the day?

The film points out that Sarah has been hunting and killing other terminators sent back in time over the years (sent by who or what I don’t know, Legion I guess) single-handed. How? These machines are very hard to destroy as shown in all the films, but Sarah has been able to get rid of them on her own? Yeah she’s armed as this film shows, but it also shows her struggling to even make a major dent in Rev-9. Even Justin Bieber says you don’t fight these things, you run away… and she’s enhanced remember. Sarah even admits later in the film the taking out a terminator alone is virtually impossible… but that’s what she has been doing for the last twenty odd years. So an enhanced super soldier can’t stop a terminator, but a 60 year old normal woman can?

The very second Sarah see the T-800 in this, she instantly knows it’s the same one that killed John… how? Sarah knows there are multiple T-800s from her own experiences. The killer one form the first film and the protector from T2. As she has been killing other terminators over the years, there’s a chance she crossed paths with others too. Yet the second she sees the T-800 in this, she just knows it’s the exact same make and model that killed John back in 1998? No questions are asked. For all Sarah knew, it could’ve been another good T-800 sent back to protect.

How has the T-800/Carl in this managed to get married and settle down when the authorities have his face on file from the previous two films? You know, the T-800 image was caught when he stormed the police station and again in T2 at the shopping mall. He’s a wanted ‘man’ being hunted for mass murder, but he can get a marriage license, house, set up a curtain hanging business, etc and not raise any suspicion? Did the police just forget about this mass murderer?

How can his wife not notice she is married to a machine? This is kind of covered in the film when Carl explains their relationship is not physical. So they don’t to the mattress-mambo or anything, but they must at least hug, a goodnight kiss? Something, they must have had some kind of physical contact in the twenty plus years they have been together. Not once has his wife ever hugged her husband, tried to playfully lift him. Not once in over two decades has she noticed her husband doesn’t sleep, use the toilet or ever get ill… never?

Overall

This film is awful. I have problems with T2 as a film, but I’m willing to admit that it’s still an entertaining flick. This is dull, it’s boring. Even the action sequences are nothing more than mediocre. The plot is basically T2 with a pinch of the first film thrown in. The characters are asinine and unlike-able (except for Sarah). People are describing this film as the Star Wars: The Force Awakens of the Terminator franchise. I agree, as it’s just as bad. It’s also being called the best sequel since T2… by idiots. Either that or people paid by the production studio to try and gain some favourable reviews. Again, six people were involved in the writing. How and why does it take six people to say “let’s rehash T2 and a bit of the first film.”?

What was the point of killing off John in the opening if all you are going to do is replace him with another character exactly the same? If the filmmakers really wanted to change things up… then change things up. Same goes for getting rid of Skynet only to replace it with Legion, which is Skynet just with a different name. Legion does the exact same thing Skynet did. It’s utterly pointless. It you are going to change something, then change it.

On the subject of killing John. Apparently that was James Cameron’s idea. Well I’m here to call him out on his hypocrisy, because ole James was one of the most vocal on the killing of Newt and Hicks in Alien 3, in fact he said that idea was dumb. So let me see if I have this right Mr Cameron. Killing off secondary characters like Newt and Hicks, who, in the grand scheme, are not intrigal to the plot was dumb… but killing off a central and important character, the main focus of the entire franchise like John Connor is a good idea? Making Kyle Reese’s reason for existing as a character and his sacrifice to go to the past utterly redundant, that’s a good thing is it Jimmy?

Linda Hamilton has said of the opening to this film that it will shock people. No Linda it won’t. What it will do is piss off millions and millions of fans of the franchise all over the world. You won’t get shock, what you will get is a collective “fuck you!” and continual eye rolling. John Connor is the cornerstone of the entire franchise, kill off John, you have no film(s)… as Dark Fate proves. The death of John means that everything before this film was pointless. Remember Kyle’s sacrifice of volunteering to go back in time to (his words) “meet the legend” that is Sarah Connor. The fact he knew it was a one way trip, the fact Kyle ended up falling in love and creating the saviour of the world? Nothing, it means nothing due to the plot of this flick. All that emotion, all that bravery from Kyle is meaningless now.

Other people are highlighting this film’s anti-male agenda (kill off John – male, replace with Dani – female) or it’s ‘woke culture’ banality. Honestly, that’s not my problem with this picture, my problem is how badly written it is and how dull turned out to be. See, when I watch a film, I just want one thing… to be entertained. Terminator: Dark Fate is anything but entertaining.

The other sequels have been mostly poor, maybe a few highlights, but mostly poor. Yet, they tried to do something different, at least they put some effort in. Terminator: Salvation with it’s idea to tell the story of John and Kyle in the future was a great idea, this is what T2 should’ve been back in 1991. Terminator Genesis (nope) also had a fantastic premise (badly realised and cast I admit) of another T-800 send back when Sarah was a child and preparing her for the events of the first film was fantastic. Even Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which was another lazy rehash of T2 and featured some terrible ‘comedy’ moments, at least that film had that amazing ending. But Dark Fate is bland, boring, tiresome and an insult to Terminator fans on every level.

Said to be the start of a new trilogy of Terminator films. Yeah they said that about both Terminator: Salvation and Genesis (I still refuse to spell it that stupid way) and look what happened there. Here’s an idea, how about just trying to make one good film and then see how it goes from there instead of forcing a trilogy?

Please do not waste you money on this dreck, the less money this film makes, the less likely it is to get a sequel. The Terminator franchise is dead and has been for many, many years now.

I'll Be Back

I hope not.

Update: Thankfully Terminator: Dark Fate is currently bombing at the box office. My faith in the public as been renewed. Hopefully Hollywood might take notice and realise they can’t keep churning out shit and expect people to lap it up.

Creepshow: The Whole Bloody And Macabre Saga Part II

So I’m at the final hurdle of this Creepshow/Halloween special retrospective. It’s been a pretty uneven journey so far. A cracking and iconic first film, followed by a disappointing but still entertaining sequel… the less said about that atrocious third film the better. But at this juncture, I think it’s fair to say that Creepshow has lost it’s way and was dying as a franchise. I was pretty sure that Creepshow 3 would be the nail in the coffin of the anthology storytelling that was Creepshow and it kind of was for a good while too. But before I do get into the new TV show, there is a little Creepshow curio I want to quickly cover.

Creepshow Raw

Creepshow Raw

So this is a bit of an oddity and little known/forgotten about. Creepshow Raw was meant to breathe new life into the ailing franchise. Designed to be a rebirth and broadcast on the interwebs as an online web series. The idea never really took off and only one episode was ever produced, which you can find easily enough with a Google search.

Insomnia

Released in 2009, this little slice of Creepshow told the story of young boy Phillip (Sam Elliot Hafermalz) who suffers from insomnia. His drunken and abusive step father, Barry (Michael Madsen) shows little sympathy toward the youngster’s condition. That night and Barry soon learns just why Philip can’t sleep at night.

Overall

You know what? This was actually not too bad. I mean, it’s not classic Creepshow but a lot better then anything in Creepshow 3. The episode only runs for around eight minutes and was originally shown on the website IGN. This short goes back to roots with the comic book presentation and filters. This is what a Creepshow reboot should’ve been, but nothing ever came of it. With a bit more work and polish, this really could’ve worked. There were a total of ten episodes planned, but only this one was ever made and shown. From what I’ve managed to dig up, the production team behind Creepshow Raw just lost interest and decided not to make any more episodes. It’s a shame because this really was a step in the right direction, a bit rough I admit but it was heading in the right direction, as you can see for yourselves…

 

 

So that was it for anything Creepshow related until just a few weeks ago when the all new Creepshow TV series kicked off. I honestly had no idea it existed until I did a random search on the interwebs for Creepshow. I can’t even remember why I did it at the time, but the search bought up the trailer for the TV series and I found out that the first episode was airing just a few hours later. This really was a shock to me as I thought the franchise was dead. So I watched the trailer and thought it looked pretty decent, certainly the best looking thing with the Creepshow name since the original film thirty seven years ago.

 

So here we are, finally. An almost forty year journey from 1982 to 2019, the entire history of Creepshow ends here, or hopefully begins a new chapter. We’ll have to wait and see just how well this new TV series does.

Now, up to this point, I’ve followed a pattern covering the films and stories. I’ve given you the general gist of the tales and then offered my overall feelings at the end. For the Creepshow TV series, I’m doing it the other way around. I’ll give you my general feelings on the show before looking at the stories. See, the films are pretty old now and (mildly) spoiling them is something I don’t really mind doing due to their age. But this show is brand new, just a few weeks old and a lot of people most probably have not yet seen it. So even though I’m not planning on doing major SPOILERS, I’m still offering a warning and will tell you what I think about the series overall before looking at each tale in case anyone out there wants to go into the show blind. So here are my general thoughts on the show without spoilers…

Overall

This show is great, let’s just get right to it here. Executive prouder and show runner, Greg Nicotero is a name any horror fan should know. He cut his teeth doing horror effects work on flicks like Day of the Dead, Evil Dead II and of course Creepshow 2. A former protégé of horror make-up maestro Tom Savini. Greg went on to have a hugely successful career in movies and TV both in special effects and even directing… and a spot of acting too. Anyway, point is that Greg Nicotero is the real deal, he knows his horror and was a massive fan of the original Creepshow flick. Outside of resurrecting the late, great George A. Romero to head up this show, Greg was the next best thing. The attention to detail in the series is perfect Creepshow. From the comic book presentation to the crazy filters and lighting, this looks and feels like classic Creepshow. The series is also full of great little nods and background details that a true fan can enjoy, for example, you remember that marble ashtray that features in all of the stories in the first film? Well it’s in the TV show too, several times. Honestly, I could write an article just on the references in this series. I had a fear before watching Creepshow (series) that it would be Creepshow 3 bad, it’s not, it’s original Creepshow great. Now, not all the stories are brilliant (more on those later) but most of them are. I don’t think there’s a ‘bad’ story in the whole series, just ones better than others. If you’re a Creepshow fan, then this is a must watch.

An so, with that out of the way, it’s now time to take a look at each episode and every story in the show. So one last warning. I’m not going to give away any of the endings, but I will be looking at each story. So stop reading now if you want to avoid even very mild SPOILERS.

Creepshow

Creepshow TV Show Poster

Showing on the online streaming service Shudder, Creepshow first aired on the 26th of September, 2019. The format is each episode is around forty-odd minutes long with two stories per episode. The run consists of only six episodes, but that does mean a total of ‘twelve terrifying tales of terror’ though the whole series. As previously mentioned, Greg Nicotero is the man man behind the TV show as producer but his effects studio, KNB EFX Group provide the make-up work too. Seeing as this is a TV show and not a movie, each episode and even each story has a different director, Greg being one of them. Also directing stories are David Bruckner, Roxanne Benjamin and even the awesome (and Creepshow original alumni) Tom Savini, among others. The Creep is back, but this is original, silent and rotting corpse Creep, not that annoying pun spouting thing from Creepshow 2. Each story is kind of introduced by The Creep, which, as he doesn’t talk, is done via little snippets of The Creep flicking though Creepshow comic books which he finds in a mysterious crate, the infamous crate from the original film. And so onto the first episode…

Episode 1: Gray Matter

The first story, Gray Matter is based on the Stephen King short of the same name. There have been a spate of missing animals (including some Stephen King references) and people recently in a small, almost dead town. A local general store run by Dixie (Adrienne Barbeau) is almost out of supplies as a bad storm rolls in. A distraught teenager enters the store claiming his father is really sick and needs help. Two patrons of the store, Chief (Tobin Bell) and Doc (Giancarlo Esposito) agree to go and check on the boy’s father while Dixie looks after the youngster in the store. Dixie slowly learns exactly what has happened to the boy’s father and the residents of the town, is it too late for Chief and Doc to be saved?

The House of the Head

The House of the Head is a yarn about a young girl, Evie (Cailey Fleming) and her doll’s house. A small family of dolls live in the house, a father, mother, child and a dog. Evie likes to play with the family and the house everyday. When she returns to play with the doll’s house, Evie finds the doll family have moved around on their own. Not only that, but they also seem to be startled by something, the family and whatever is scaring them only move when the doll house is closed and Evie is not in the room. So Evie closes the doll’s house and leaves them alone, but when she returns later, she finds a toy severed head in one of the rooms and that the family’s numbers are beginning to thin out every time Evie is not watching them.

Creepshow TV Show Episode 1

Overall

The first episode gets off to a great start. Both tales are highly entertaining and everything feels like Creepshow. The stories are very creepy with the right amount of horror and dark humour. Gray Matter certainly feels very Stephen King-ish and fits perfectly with Creepshow for obvious reasons and the return of Adrienne Barbeau to the franchise is a welcome one too. The second tale is my favourite of the episode. The haunted doll house scenario has been done before in films and books over the years, but this one feels kind of fresh. I thought it was going down an obvious path, but it eventually didn’t which was a pleasant surprise. Plus Creepshow fans may want to keep a keen eye out for some of the furniture in the doll house. My only gripe with this one is the cheap jump scare at the very end. The story ends perfectly fine with an ominous resolve that works well… but then it throws in a needless jump scare that just made me roll my eyes.

Episode 2: Bad Wolf Down

The first story is set during World War II. A small group of American soldiers find themselves behind enemy lines. When one of the Yanks kills the only son of a high ranking Nazi officer (Jeffrey Combs), he comes looking for revenge. The soldiers find themselves surrounded by Nazis and trapped inside an old and disused police station. The Nazi officer gives the soldiers the chance to surrender for a quick death or stay inside and die as slowly and painful as he can make it. As the Americans search the police station, they find the badly mutilated bodies of several Nazi soldiers and a woman locked in one of the cells who might just hold the key that could get them out alive… kind of.

The Finger

The Finger is a tale about Clark (DJ Qualls) a down and out kind of guy who finds rubbish on the streets and takes it home to find a use for it. One night, on one of his scavenging walks, he finds a strange, inhuman severed finger and takes it home. The finger begins to grow into an arm and eventually a fully formed horrific creature that Clark names Bob. Bob and Clark form a close bond, so close in fact that the little monster begins to kill anyone that upsets his ‘daddy’.

Creepshow TV Show Episode 2

Overall

So Bad Wolf Down is spin on the classic werewolf story. Have you ever seen the film Dog Soldiers? Well this story is kind of like a lite version of that. Some good effects work and a cheeky, cheap but effective way of showing the werewolf transformations. Seeing horror icon, Jeffrey Combs s always a pleasure. I loved The Finger, a fantastic little tale directed by Greg Nicotero. I really don’t want to say too much about this one as it has a really nice sting in the tail at the end. But it’s full of great little touches like breaking the forth wall and having Clark talking to the viewer as he narrates his own story. This one is perfect Creepshow fodder.

Episode 3: All Hallows Eve

It’s the night of scares and fun, Halloween and a group of teenage friends decide to go trick-or-treating. Every year they follow the exact same route through the neighbourhood and always call in on the exact same houses. Only these friends are getting a little too old for the long and fun custom usually for children and decide that this will be their last trick-or-treat tour. Everyone they call on for treats is genuinely living in fear of the teens, this is no fun game, these teens harbour a dark secret. Trick-or-treating is a very, very serious business with a dark motive.

The Man in the Suitcase

The second yarn follows Justin (Will Kindrachuk) who is at the airport waiting for his luggage to turn up. A black suitcase finally arrives at the carousel, which he believes is his… it’s not. Justin takes the case home and after some food and illegal substances, he opens the suitcase. Inside is a very neatly folded man (Ravi Naidu) and he’s alive. The man in the suitcase tells Justin that people are looking for him as he has a very rewarding secret. As Justin tries to move the man and get him out of the case, his bizarre secret is revealed.

Creepshow TV Show Episode 3.jpg

Overall

All Hallows Eve is a great tale. It’s dark, moody and very atmospheric. It’s not made clear exactly what the intention of the trick-or-treating teenagers is and they come across as very unpleasant and malevolent. But by the time the story comes to an end and all is revealed, the teens obsession and reason for trick-or-treating changes your perception. A very clever tale with a good twist. The second story is pretty decent, but for me, it’s one of the weakest of the show. There’s a bit of a mortality tale told in that distinct macabre Creepshow way. It’s tongue is very firmly planted in it’s cheek and offers some light chuckles over horror. A strange and silly story with an even stranger and sillier resolve.

Episode 4: The Companion

Teenager, Harold (Logan Allen) is picked on and beaten up by his older brother, Billy (Voltaire Council)… pretty sure it’s not THE Billy. Anyway, Harold is chased onto an abandoned farm by his bully brother and pulls out a cane that is embedded in a scarecrow in a field before hiding away in the disused farmhouse. The scarecrow comes to life and Harold soon learns where it came from and why the cane is so important. While bully boy Billy gives up the search of his little brother and goes home, the terrified youngster is hunted down by the scarecrow and becomes trapped inside the farmhouse.

Lydia Layne’s Better Half

When Tom is given a promotion to chief financial officer at work by his boss Lydia (Tricia Helfer), her secret lover, Celia (Danielle Lyn) feels she was more deserving of the job. The lovers have a argument that results is the accidental death of Celia. A distraught Lydia knows that if this death get’s out, no matter how accidental, it would mean the end of her high flying career and life. So she decides to try and cover up the Celia’s demise and get rid of the body. Taking Celia’s bloody corpse into the elevator with the plan to get it out of the building before anyone notices, there is an earthquake that results in a power cut which leaves Lydia and her dead lover trapped. She can’t call for help or her life will be ruined, but she needs to get rid of the body.

Creepshow TV Show Episode 4.jpg

Overall

The Companion is a great little tale. Very creepy, very macabre and feels like it came right out of the original film with a fitting Creepshow ending. The scarecrow itself is a wonderful and scary creature with some great, old school effects work. There’s also a great and subtle nod to the The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill story from the first film and another nod to the opening of the original film too. Cracking story. The second yarn in this episode is also a belter, but in a very different way. For the most part, it’s just two people trapped in a lift, but what is done with such a small and cramped space is really impressive as Lydia tries to work out just how she can get rid of the body before anyone notices. There’s a real sense of suspense and terror along with some pretty good scares. Very much put me in mind of The Hitch-hiker tale from Creepshow 2 as Lydia begins to lose control while a dead body could ruin her life. Overall, this was a fantastic episode, pure Creepshow.

Episode 5: Night of the Paw

After being involved in a car accident a badly injured and wanted criminal, Angela (Hannah Barefoot) finds help at a funeral home run by Whitey (Bruce Davison). Whitey patches up and helps his guest who, at first is none to pleased, but soon learns to appreciate the help. As Whitey makes his visitor feel welcome, she begins to open up about her mysterious past. It seems that maybe fate played a hand in bringing them together as Whitey reveals he owns a magic monkey’s paw that grants three wishes. The paw has been used up and is no use to Whitey anymore… but maybe Angela can find a use for it or Whitey a use for her?

 

Times is Tough in Musky Holler

A small town is overrun by the undead and when it’s none to friendly and corrupt Mayor (Dane Rhodes) makes things even worse, residents of the town take matters into their own hands. Capturing and imprisoning the Mayor along with several of his cohorts, the townsfolk turn the tables on him by giving him a taste of his own medicine. Forcing the Mayor and his entourage into taking part in a sick and twisted ‘sports event’ as revenge.

Creepshow TV Show Episode 5

Overall

I think pretty much every anthology horror franchise has had some form of the magic monkey’s paw story, even The Simpsons have done one in their Halloween specials. You know the story of a paw that can grant wishes and the user misuses them to their eventual horror. Well, Night of the Paw is Creepshow’s version and it’s pretty damn effective and original too. Bruce Davison as Whitey gives a wonderfully creepy and yet charming performance who has more than a few secrets of his own that can rival those of his criminal guest and the story does not go on the direction you may think it will at the end. The second story is a bit disappointing to be honest. Aside from some bloody, gruesome effects work at the end, there’s just not a lot going on here. It’s a bare bones tale with a paper thin revenge motif. I feel the backstory to this story (of which there are snippets shown) would’ve been much more intriguing as to just how and why the town became overrun by the undead and just how the Mayor fucked things up so badly. It just feels like a two minute ending dragged out to twenty minutes. Not a terrible tale, just not a very interesting one… with some great and bloody make up effects in the finale.

Episode 6: Skincrawlers

Dr Herbert Sloan (Chad Michael Collins) discovers a revolutionary weight loss method that doesn’t require dieting or exercise. The method can turn an obese person into a chiseled Olympian God in a matter of minutes. When overweight and donut lover, Henry Quayle (Dana Gould) turns up at Herbert’s impressive weight loss clinic and learns just how the amazing results are achieved using giant leaches that suck out the fat, he backs out of the treatment at the last minute. After crossing paths with a previously obese patient who is now super slim, Henry has a change of heart and not only agrees to the weight loss treatment, but also agrees to have it done live on TV. Meanwhile, a solar eclipse is due to plunge the city into darkness which has an effect on the fat eating leeches and just maybe, things will not work out as they should.

By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain

A mother and her children are living in a small house near a lake. Her abusive and often drunk boyfriend, who sees himself as the man of the house brings nothing but misery to the family. Despite the abuse, the mother stands by her boyfriend after the death of her husband while he was exploring the mysterious lake. One of the children, Rose (Sydney Wease) keeps an old scrapbook, the same scrapbook her father kept before his death, something he used to keep notes about things he discovered at the lake, including the supposed existence of a mythical creature living in the lake. Rose refuses to let her father’s death be in vain and soon learns that the undiscovered monster is real… but it’s dead. But can the creature still be of use?

Creepshow TV Show Episode 6

Overall

The first yarn is pure classic Creepshow. Written by Paul Dini, a name Batman fans should recognise. This one ends in an orgy of blood and gore as the truth behind the weight loss programme is revealed. It bloody brutal and darkly amusing with some amazing OTT and old school effects work. This tale wouldn’t feel out of place in the original film. The second tale is written by Joe Hill/King, son of Stephen and Billy from the first film. It’s also directed by the great Tom Savini. So a reuniting of Creepshow originals. This one is a steadily slow tale with a lot of clichéd tropes, bully-boy stepfather/boyfriend, idiotic mother who puts the abusive boyfriend before her own children, nerdy-type daughter and a very predictable resolve. It has a very obvious Loch Ness Monster influence. Despite it’s paint by numbers approach, this is still an enjoyable story, no real surprises here and you’ll know exactly where the story is heading within two minutes. Plus there is a nice bit of bookending going on as the first episode started with a story written by Stephen King while the last episode ends with one from his son.


And that’s it. Almost forty years of Creepshow covered from the original film to the recent TV show. The franchise as a whole is a very mixed bag. The greatness of the original film still holds up today, it’s slightly weaker and disappointing sequel is entertaining enough. And the third film is a perfect example of how not to make a sequel and how to completely disrespect Creepshow fans.

The Creep 2019.jpg

However, this new TV show shows great potential. Only six episodes and twelve stories, but for me, I feel that’s just the right amount. Seeing as American TV shows tend to go on for far too long and outstay their welcome with seasons running into dozens of episodes, it’s nice to see one that dials things back a bit. Now I’ve seen the whole show, I’m excited for more instead of being bored. I really hope there is a second season next year. Greg Nicotero and everyone involved have done an amazing job putting a smile on this Creepshow fan’s face. If you’re a fan of the original film, then check out the Creepshow TV show, it’s far better then I thought it would be.

Quick update: Great news, Creepshow has been renewed for a second season.

Creepshow Season 2.jpg

Creepshow: The Whole Bloody And Macabre Saga Part I

Now I hadn’t actually planned on doing this article at all. I’ve been busy writing my multiple Halloween articles for this year as well as other writing projects I’m currently busy with too. But a few weeks back, I learned there was a Creepshow TV series and I watched it and… well I’ll get to that later.

Anyway, as I watched the TV show, it occurred to me that I’ve never really covered Creepshow on this blog. It’s has a few passing mentions here and there. But never really looked at the film(s) in detail. As I continued to watch the weekly episodic show, I realised that by the time it ends, it would be Halloween, the final episode airs tonight on the 31st of October (nice timing). Then I thought that maybe I could squeeze in a viewing of all the Creepshow films a long with the TV show and do a big ole’ Creepshow retrospective.

So here it is, my look at Creepshow… all of it. After a quick intro…

Okay, so I love Creepshow… the first film anyway. I’m a sucker for anthology story telling and have written a few short stories myself (find them on Amazon, search S. L. Perrin). For me, Creepshow is the finest of the horror anthology films. The success of the movie meant a sequel was a certainty and the Creepshow franchise was born. While not a huge franchise, Creepshow has a strong and loyal fanbase even now almost four decades since the original film was released back in 1982. Taking inspiration from the old 1950s EC Comics, the films tell multiple horror themed tales of terror with just the right amount of very dark humour. And with that, it’s time to take a look at every single story in the Creepshow franchise from all the movies and right up to the recent TV show as I offer my view on each of them. This is going to be a big one.

A guess a quick SPOILER warning before I start as most of the tales told in the films and TV show normally have some kind of stinger ending, though I’ll avoid going into too much detail for the stories and won’t give away the endings, but I’ll still offer a mild SPOILER warning just in case.

Creepshow

Creepshow Poster

Released in 1982 and bringing together three of the best names in horror cinema of the era. Directed by George A. Romero, written by Stephen King (based on his short stories and he also wrote the screenplay) and with make up effects by Tom Savini, the holy trinity of 70s and 80s horror at the very top of their game. Creepshow features five stories… well six with the wrap around prologue and epilogue. Each story is presented in a comic book style and often use filters, and strange lighting effects to give it a real comic book feel.

Prologue

Billy (Joe King, Stephen’s son) loves comic books, particularly horror ones. When his father (Tom Atkins) discovers Billy reading his latest comic, Creepshow, he comes down hard on his son as he doesn’t want him reading that “crap” as he calls it and throws the comic out in the rubbish. Billy is sent to his room where he wishes his father rots in hell. Just then, the skeletal The Creep from the cover of Billy’s comic comes knocking on his bedroom window…

Father’s Day

The first story of Creepshow tells the tale of a cantankerous old patriarch of a rich family called Nathan (Jon Lormer). The family gather for a dinner to remember their father who died some years previously. His eldest daughter, Bedelia (Viveca Lindfors) is running late and stops off at the cemetery to have a heart to heart with her long deceased and abusive father and a bottle of whiskey. As the story unfolds, it’s revealed that it was Bedelia who killed her own father, Nathan after years of incessant demands and emotional abuse and after he killed Bedelia’s lover in an ‘accident’. It was during Father’s Day and after Nathan kept bullying and bugging Bedelia for a Father’s Day cake when she finally snapped and bludgeoned her own father to death with a marble ashtray (quick bit of trivia, the ashtray appears in all five stories and the wrap around). As Bedelia has it out with her dead father at his grave, finally letting him know how his abuse and death of her lover affected her she spills the bottle of whiskey onto his final resting place. The whiskey (for some reason) brings Nathan back from the dead and he sets out to get that Father’s Day cake he’s been craving for so long.

Creepshow Father's Day

This is a great opener and really sets the tone for what Creepshow is. It’s scary but jet black funny too. Father’s Day is everything a Creepshow story should be and it’s one of the best stories in the entire franchise. Be on the lookout for a then unknown Ed Harris and his ‘dancing’. It also has some very moody and atmospheric cinematography, especially in and around the graveyard.

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill

Jordy (Stephen King) is a redneck, backwoods yokel who sees a meteorite crash down in his backyard. Thinking the discovery will bring him riches… well at least $200 to pay off a bank loan, he tries to pick up the meteorite but it’s too hot to touch. So Jordy decides to throw a bucket of water over the space debris to cool it down… only this just makes it crack and break open. Rendering his get rich quick (well $200) scheme redundant. However, his touching the meteor makes an organic, plant-like substance slowly grow on his fingers where he made contact with the space rock. After a while, the plant-thing spreads and grows on everything Jordy has touched. His house becomes overgrown with the stuff as does his body. It begins to itch and agitate to a point where Jordy thinks the best thing to do is take a bath… but water just makes things even worse…

Creepshow The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill.gif

When I was younger, I hated this story and always felt it was the worst of the (at that point) two films, but over the years it has grown on me (pun very much intended). I’ve grown to really appreciate Stephen King’s goofy acting and think he does a fantastic job. Considering that aside from a couple of very minor characters, he carries the whole story and is a joy to watch. It’s much more comical than the other stories in the film and works well as a bit if comic relief.

Something to Tide You Over

Richard Vickers (Leslie Nielsen) is a man who seems to have everything, money, property (he owns a beach), a nice house and a beautiful wife… oh and he’s also a very sick psychopath. When he learns that his wife has been having an affair with a younger man called Harry (Ted Danson), Richard pays the man a visit and manages to convince his wife’s lover to join him on his beach so they can ‘talk’ about this affair. On the beach, Richard has pre-dug a hole and persuades Harry, with the help of a gun, to get into it telling him he just wants to incapacitate him. With Harry in the hole, Richard begins to fill it up, burying Harry up to his neck. Richard then reveals he had already done the same to his wife earlier in the day further down the beach. He also says that as the tide is coming in, if Harry holds his breath then maybe the sea will loosen the sand he could break free… maybe. Richard sets up CCTV so he can watch his nefarious plan live as Harry slowly drowns and joins his lover, Richard’s wife who he had already drowned the same way earlier that day. The next day and Richard returns to the scene of his crime but no Harry or wifey, the tide must have pulled them out. At least that is what Richard thinks happened.

Creepshow Something to Tide You Over.jpg

I love this story, best in the film for me. Leslie Nielsen is a pure joy to watch as the sick and twisted Richard Vickers. Everyone always remembers Nielsen for his comedic roles, Police Squad/The Naked Gun, Airplane!, etc. But for me, this is the role I’ll always remember him for. It also features some really amazing make-up effects by Tom Savini.

The Crate

When a college janitor discovers a mysterious crate under the stairs from an Arctic expedition, he calls Dexter Stanley (Fritz Weaver), one of the college’s professors to come an investigate. The pair pull the crate out and attempt to open it. Inside is a Yeti-like vicious creature that attacks and kills the janitor. Dexter escapes and flees the scene to tell his friend and colleague Professor Henry Northrup (Hal Holbrook) all about the monster and killing. Henry is married an overbearing wife Billie (Adrienne Barbeau) who ruins all his fun, she is obnoxious, emotionally abusive and always drunk. Henry comes up with a plan to rid himself of his wife, with a little help form the killer creature in the crate.

Creepshow The Crate

This one is pure Creepshow. While not my favourite of the five stories, it does come in at a very, very close second place. It’s bloody, brutal and still darkly funny to boot. Adrienne Barbeau is devilishly enjoyable to watch as the horrible wife and Henry’s fantasies of killing her are both funny and disturbing. Then of course there is the main star of the story… ‘Fluffy’, the creature in the crate. A horrible little bastard but somehow, still leaves you wanting to see more.

They’re Creeping Up on You

The fifth and final story of the film… not including the epilogue. This one is about a rich and ruthless businessman, Upson Pratt (E. G. Marshall) who suffers from mysophobia (an irrational fear of germs). He locks himself away in his hermetically sealed apartment controlled by a computer. His doors use electronic locks and he only really sees the outside world via CCTV, with contact only made via telephone or his intercom service. A severe storm knocks out the power in the city and eventually a blackout hits his tower block. His computer goes haywire and seems to have a problem with bugs… literally. He notices a cockroach, something that strikes fear into Upson, but one little bug is no problem. Soon, the cockroaches multiply and his germ-free, high cost apartment is suddenly overrun by the insects. Upson locks himself away in his seemingly bug free panic room, which perhaps was not the best idea.

Creepshow They're Creeping Up on You

There is no such thing as bad story in Creepshow… but this is the weakest of the lot. It’s a creepy story alright, but it just seems to lack the punch the others had. I didn’t find this one particularly scary or funny in that macabre way that Creepshow does so well. It just feels like a bit of a weak way to end. But E. G. Marshall as Upson Pratt is a joy to watch, the best thing about this tale.

Epilogue

It’s now the morning after poor Billy was sent to his room by his father for reading the Creepshow comic. A coupe of binmen are emptying the bins on the street when they discover the thrown out comic and begin to look through it. They find a few ads in the comic for gag props, x-ray specs, that kind of thing. They learn that a postal order for a voodoo doll has already been cut out and presumably send away for. Back inside the house and Billy’s father complains about suffering neck pain, the pain keeps gets worse and worse…

I liked this wrap around story. It’s not as in-depth as the main five of the film, but it works as a great into and outro, a nice little way to bookend the whole thing. One of the binmen is played by the great Tom Savini, make-up genius, part-time actor that he is. Oh and did you spot the marble ashtray in all of the stories?

Overall

I honestly love this film. Still the best anthology horror film made for me. It’s just the prefect blending of horror and deeply dark comedy that works. The performances are solid throughout and as I said before, there isn’t a ‘bad’ story in the lot. The comic book presentation really works well and pay a wonderful homage to those classic EC Comics the film was inspired by. You can even buy the actual Creepshow comic… well graphic novel. Written by Stephen King and based on the film. A must own for any Creepshow fan.

Creepshow 2

Creepshow 2 Poster

This sequel took a pretty long time to emerge, by movie standards anyway. Released in 1987, five years after the first film and things have changed. Directed by Michael Gornick, no George A. Romero this time, though he did write the screenplay. The tales are still based on Stephen King short stories though. Another change is that (due to budget issues) there are only three stories over the five from the first film. Oh and the presentation is also slightly different. The comic book idea is still kind of there and so is the prologue/epilogue concept, but now each story is inter-cut with an animated interlude telling the story of Billy… I’ll cover those along with the three main tales. Oh and The Creep himself is vastly different too.

Prologue

So Billy (I don’t know if it’s supposed to be the same Billy from the original, as it’s a different actor) is eagerly awaiting the latest copy of the Creepshow comic. A truck pulls up on the street and a strange man throws out a wrapped package. At which point, the film turns to animation as the package opens to reveal the all new Creepshow comic, the cover of which is the ending scene of the first film… complete with Billy (so they are not the same Billy then?). The delivery man reveals himself to be The Creep… but he looks nothing like The Creep from the first film (is it the same Creep, I just don’t know?). Honestly, the whole opening makes no sense. Anyway, Billy starts to read the latest edition of Creepshow

Old Chief Wood’nhead

So the first story tells the tale of an elderly married couple, Ray (George Kennedy) and Martha Spruce (Dorothy Lamour) who own and run a small town general goods store. Ray is too kind to the local folk and often lets them run up tabs they never pay, much to the disgust of his wife. One of their regular customers is Benjamin Whitemoon (Frank Salsedo) is a Native American elder who comes to the store to settle his debts and offers the Spruce’s his tribe’s most scared jewels as a collateral for payment. Ray reluctantly accepts the treasures and Martha is proven very wrong about the locals… if only for a while. Later that night and Benjamin’s estranged nephew, Sam (Holt McCallany) turns up at the store with a couple of friends and takes back the jewels by force. Both Ray and Martha are killed via Sam’s shotgun. The front of the store features a wooden statue of a brave Indian chief who doesn’t take too kindly to the killing of the people who have looked after him for so many years.

Creepshow 2 Old Chief Wood'nhead

This is a nice little opener. George Kennedy is always a joy to watch and gives a great performance as the overtly trusting Ray. This is nothing more than a very basic revenge story but with a twist. It doesn’t quite have that Creepshow magic, but a good yarn none the less.

Interlude 1

Billy is at the post office picking up a package, he sent off for one of those gag props from a previous Creepshow comic. He get’s slightly belittled by the worker who scoffs at Billy for paying good money for a fake gag from a comic before handing him the parcel. Billy tells him that it’s a bulb for a carnivorous Venus flytrap before leaving the post office as The Creep sets up the next yarn.

The Raft

Four teenage students decide to go for an illicit swim at an abandoned lake. In the middle of the lake is a floating wooden raft, which the teens make a beeline for to soak up some sun. As they swim toward the raft, they notice a large black oil slick type thing that is seemingly coming after them. The students soon find themselves trapped on the wooden raft as the killer oil slick thins out their numbers until only one remains.

Creepshow 2 The Raft

Yeah, there’s not much to this tale. It’s basically an 80s slasher film done in a really short space of time. Not a bad story, but for me it’s the weakest of the three. Nothing really stands out here, but nothing is terrible either. It just kind of exists. The make up effects work is top-notch though with some pretty gruesome gore. Plus there’s a bit of a stinger ending that does leave a bit of a smirk on my face.

Interlude 2

So Billy is heading home after picking  up his carnivorous Venus flytrap bulb from the post office. He is ambushed by a group of bullies who steal his parcel and smash it on the ground, one of the bullies then crushes the bulb with his foot. Billy is enraged and kicks the bully in the baby-maker before fleeing. The bullies give chase and that’s when The Creep introduces the final story.

The Hitch-hiker

Trophy wife, Annie Lansing (Lois Chiles) is cheating on her husband with a male escort… who can provide six (count ’em) orgasms. Annie realises that she is running late and needs to get home before her husband. She gets in her car and speeds off homeward, in a race to get back before her wealthy attorney. Annie is tired… from the extra marital sex and the fact it’s late at night and begins to yawn, as she does she drops her lit cigarette and panics. Annie loses control of the car as it swerves and smashes through road makers. She struggles to regain control of the car and hits and kills a hitch-hiker. No one else is on the road, no one saw what happened and so she speeds off into the night. A passing truck driver (Stephen King) stops at the scene of the crime and does see Annie’s car drive off into the night but it’s too dark to make a positive ID. As Annie goes over the incident in her head, practising making excuses for her husband to explain the damage to the car, see spots the very same hitch-hiker she just killed, he’s just not going to give up on a ride.

Creepshow 2 The Hitch-hiker

You know the saying “they saved the best for last”? Well this is true of this tale. The Hitch-hiker is by far the best story in Creepshow 2. It’s dark, horrific and yet still funny in that very dark vein of humour kind of way. The make-up effects on the hitch-hiker as the story progresses are beautifully twisted and bloody, he also has the most quotable line in the entire film. Special mention has to go to Lois Chiles playing Annie as she slowly goes mad as the events unfold. Her little chats to herself as both funny and disturbing. Just as a little bit of trivia to finish. When making the first Creepshow, the final story ran into some production problems and Stephen King suggested they make The Hitch-hiker the final tale for that film instead. But the issues were eventually worked out so and They’re Creeping Up on You did make the final cut of the film. But just imagine how much better Creepshow (which is already amazing) could’ve been if it ended with this tale instead?

Epilogue

And so we reach the end of Billy’s story. He is still being chased by the bullies and Billy leads them into an overgrown area with weeds and bushes. Just as the bullies set about beating the crap out of Billy, several giant Venus flytrap plants appear and eat the bullies. Suggesting that Billy had previously planted them and purposelessly lured the bullies to their deaths. The film then switches from the animated Billy story back to live action as The Creep throws out copies of the Creepshow comic from the back of a truck for all to read as the truck drives off.

Overall

I remember being really disappointed by this when I first saw it. It’s not on the same level as the original and it’s budget drop over the first one is most definitely seen on screen. But I think I’ve mellowed on it over the years. It’s not great, but it’s okay and entertaining. My main gripe (aside from the uneven story telling and presentation) is The Creep played by Tom Savini. He just does not work here. In the original, The Creep is this silent, skeletal but scary figure with a lot of character. In this sequel, he talks, looks nothing like The Creep should and makes crappy unfunny puns and jokes when linking the stories. They tired to add character to him, but ended up just making him annoying. The little Billy animated tale is rather flat too. I just much preferred the look, style and tone of the original. Creepshow 2 is okay, it’s not awful, but…

Creepshow 3

Creepshow 3 Poster.jpg

So here we are.. oh dear. I’ll make my feelings very clear in this sequel at the end of this one, but spoiler warning… I really, really don’t like this film. There was a much longer gap between sequels this time around as Creepshow 3 was released in 2006. That’s a nineteen year long gap since the last film. Everyone of any talent are gone, no more George A. Romero, no more Stephen King and certainly no more Tom Savini. Directed by Ana Clavell and James Dudelson (don’t worry, I’ve never hard of them either), Creepshow 3 gets very little right, but one of the things is does get right is to go back to the original film’s set up. Five stories with an prologue/epilogue wraparound. So here we go…

Prologue

So to be fair, this isn’t so much a prologue, but more of an intro that displays just how bad the film will be. A short and badly done animation shows a hooded child walking the streets of Creepville, the fictional town all the stories take place in. The animation shows little references to the five main stories including a mysterious hot-dog salesman, before we are thrown into the first proper story of the film.

Alice

A rather self-centred and obnoxious teenager, Alice returns home after a day at school. Her family are relaxing in the living room as her father begins playing around with one of those universal TV remote control things. As he presses the buttons, the family go through various changes such as turning Hispanic. Alice is the only one not affected by the remote control and sees her family continually change with each button press. Well she is kind of affected as each time the family change, Alice mutates. She sees and tries to talk to Professor Dayton, the archetypal brains of the town, to understand what is gong on. Alice soon finds herself back home and everything appears to be normal again, she’s no longer mutating and her family are as they were. Then her father presses the off button on the remote control.

Creepshow 3 Alice

I seriously have no idea what this story is actually about. Why is the TV remote changing Alice’s family, why does she mutate, what involvement does Professor Dayton have? Seriously, no idea what is going on here or what the story is trying to say.. if anything at all. It just seems like a bunch of stuff that happens for no reason. There’s some allusion to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the girl is called Alice, there’s a white rabbit. I don’t know, the story is utter nonsensical even for Creepshow. Aside from some almost half decent effects work as Alice mutates, this tale has nothing going for it at all.

The Radio

Security guard, Jerry buys a radio from a homeless man on the street. When Jerry gets the radio back to his place, it begins to talk to him. The radio convinces Jerry to commit crime, including murder. He eventually makes a run for it after the police begin to investigate his crime spree, taking with him a hooker who lives in his apartment complex. The radio then tells Jerry to kill the hooker or she will kill him, advice he refuses to take.

Creepshow 3 The Radio.jpg

This yarn is okay, well okay by Creepshow 3 standards anyway. It has one of those ‘careful what you wish for’ kind of morals running through it as Jerry gets a taste for his criminal activities and lusts for more and more until he loses control of his life. A bland and uninteresting story that is wasted as it had a bit of potential.

Call Girl

Call girl Rachel receives a request from Victor who requests ‘servicing’. But Rachel is no ordinary lady of the night, she’s a murderer. She kills her potential customers and really, really enjoys it too. When she arrives at Victor’s home, she gets to work right away, handcuffing him to this bed and then stabbing him in the chest. She then goes for a shower to clean up, only she begins to hear Victor in her head, is he really dead?

Creepshow 3 Call Girl

This one is dire, not as bad a Alice for it’s ineptitude of telling a story but still bad enough. It gets a little bloody with some half decent effects. It’s a silly and asinine story that doesn’t really offer anything worth shouting about, it’s just about watchable I suppose.

The Professor’s Wife

Professor Dayton receives a visit from two former students, they have come round meet his much younger fiancée. The students are aware that Dayton has been working on a robot for the last twenty years and assume that his new bride to be is that very robot. When Professor Dayton leaves the house, the students decide to take the robot apart to see just how it works.

Creepshow 3 The Professor's Wife

So I think this is the best story in the film, which isn’t saying much really as the others set the bar so low. But this at the very least has a small semblance of a Creepshow tale. Not a great yarn, but somewhat watchable with that mix of cheeky humour and horror that Creepshow is known for.

Haunted Dog

The final story tells of the cruel and careless Dr. Farwell. He ridicules the patients at the clinic where he works and makes them feel worse then when they went to see him. He buys a hot-dog from a street vendor, which he drops on the floor. Not wanting to waste the food, he gives it to a homeless man as an ‘act of kindness’. The homeless guy begins to choke and Dr. Farwell just walks away as he dies in the street. But the dead man returns to haunt the bad doctor.

Creepshow 3 Haunted Dog.jpg

This almost feels like a remake of The Hitch-hiker story from Creepshow 2… almost. There’s even a similar line said in this that is a kind of throwback to that other tale. This is no where near as well written or made as The Hitch-hiker, not at all, but it just has a similar vibe to it. Not a good watch at all, like pretty much all the other stories, so at least it’s consistent.

Epilogue

This one wraps up in a kind of ensemble finale where characters from the five stories all interact as Professor Dayton finally get’s married and the hot-dog vendor is revealed as being The Creep… only a really bad version of him using some awful CGI.

Overall

Creepshow 2 was definitely a step down from the original, but while it disappointed me, it’s still watchable and is entertaining. Creepshow 3 is not so much a step down, but more a case of it’s fallen of the ladder from a great height and slammed into the ground, creating a huge mess. This is awful, no other way to describe it. The stories are bland, the acting is atrocious and the effects work mostly look like something the great Tom Savini would throw out as rejects. If there is one thing about Creepshow 3 that I enjoyed, then it’s probably how all the stories tie together. Characters from one yarn will appear in another as all of them take place in the same small town. References and nods to the other tales can be found peppered though the film that work to link everything together. Quite honestly, that aspect is rather well done. But everything else is fucking terrible. The Professor’s Wife is about the only Creepshow feeling story in the film and even then, only just barely. I kind of think it’s worth watching Creepshow 3 just to see how badly the franchise fell. Honestly, watch the original and then watch this directly after. The drop in quality, the lack of any talent both behind and in front of the camera is painfully apparent. Creepshow 3 is the perfect example of how to ruin a great concept.


Creepshow Comics

Well, this article is getting a little lengthy and there’s still more to cover with the new Creepshow TV series and all of it’s episodes (plus a little bonus too). So I think I’ll split this one into two parts to give both you and me a bit of a break. Plus the fact that as of the time of publishing this, I’ve not yet seen the final episode of the TV show, it airs in just a few hours. So I’ll see you in part II.

 

Was There A Real Killer In The Exorcist?

I love The Exorcist, it’s my favourite horror flick. I’m such a fan that this is the second article on the film in my bumper, multi-article Halloween celebration for this year. The first one covered the very fictional ‘curse’ the film is said to have, but for this article, I want to cover a real life horror within the greatest horror film ever made.

Released in 1973, The Exorcist is a masterclass on how to make the perfect horror film. Directed by William Friedkin and adapted for the screen by William Peter Blatty from his novel of the same name. The film tells the story of 12 year old Regan (Linda Blair) and her actress mother, Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) who are living on location in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. while Chris works on her new film. After using a Ouija board, Regan begins to act strangely. Long story short, it turns out that 12 year old Regan has been possessed by a demon claiming to be the Devil himself. Better call in The Exorcist.

The Exotcist Gif.gif

Anyway there is a scene in the film where Regan is taken to hospital to have various tests as doctors try to work out why she’s been acting so strange (before the revelation that she’s possessed by a demon is made). One of the hospital workers was played by real life radiographer, Paul Bateson who also worked as a medical adviser for the film too. In fact, the particular scene where Regan has an arteriogram (an arterial catheter inserted into her neck) in which Paul appears is often praised by medical professionals for it’s attention to detail and realism. So he did a damn fine job…

The Exotcist Paul Bateson.jpg

Yup, that’s Paul in The Exorcist right there. However, in 1979, six years after the release of the film. Paul Bateson was arrested and convicted of murder.

It was the 14th of September, 1977 when film critic Addison Verrill was found dead in his New York apartment. Addison had been severely beaten and stabbed. There was no evidence of forced entry, which lead the police to believe that Addison knew his killer. An appeal was launched to find the person resposible and that all eventually lead to the arrest of Paul Bateson. After being questioned, Paul confessed to the murder and gave details of the crime that no one else would’ve known about except the investigating police. Paul told how he and Addison met at a gay nightclub, went back to Addison’s apartment, had drinks and cocaine followed by consensual sex. Paul then said that he hit Addison with a skillet incapacitating him before stabbing his victim in the chest. Paul said he then stole money, a credit card and clothing before fleeing the scene. All details that police had not yet made public.

At the time of Paul Bateson’s arrest, trial and conviction, police were investigating a series of other murders in the gay community over the previous two years before the Addison Verrill murder. A total of six bodies were found… or at least what was left of them. The dismembered and decomposed body parts were discovered in plastic bags and dumped in the Hudson River, New York. None of the bodies were officially identified due to the decomposition and dismemberment. No one was ever convicted of the murders either.

The Exotcist Paul Bateson 2.jpg

After his conviction in the late 70s, director of The Exorcist, William Friedkin visited Paul Bateson an interviewed him for a new film he was making. Based on Gerald Walker’s 1970 novel Cruising, a novel about a police officer going undercover in the gay community to find a serial killer. The film was released in 1980 starring Al Pacino and William Friedkin even worked in elements of Paul Bateson’s life and the murder of Addison Verrill into the movie. Anyway, during William’s chat with the incarcerated Paul, he said the police offered him a deal of a reduced sentence if he confessed to the other murders.

It’s not known if Paul actually did commit the other murders or not, but it is strongly believed by many that he did, mainly as the plastic bags used to hold the body parts found in the Hudson River all had tags on them indicating they came from NYU Medical Center… which was where Paul Bateson worked at the time of the killings. But there was never any concrete evidence to officially link him to the murders and no one had ever been convicted of them either.

Paul Bateson was sentenced to twenty five years for the murder of Addison Verrill, of which he served twenty four years and three months before being released in 2003 aged 63. As of writing, it’s not known what happened to Paul. It’s not known where he is or if he’s even still alive, but it had been rumoured he is still alive and living somewhere in upstate New York.

The Netflix true crime show, Mindhunter featured the Paul Bateson story in it’s second season (episode six) earlier this year, where Paul was played by Morgan Kelly.

Paul Bateson Mindhunter.jpg

So yeah, there was a real life killer in the scariest horror film ever made.

Murder of Addison Verrill.jpg

Next up is the finale of my Halloween celebration this year, a two part look at a recently resurrected horror movie franchise that spans almost forty years…

The Exorcist Curse?

As we get closer to the big day, another Halloween article from me. This time, I’m going to be looking at the (in)famous supposed ‘curse’ of The Exorcist. Now just for the record, I’ve done a few film curses articles over the years and I always start them the same way. So I’ll do the same here too…

I personally do not believe in curses. I believe in coincidence, misadventure and accidents. I don’t believe that anything I’m about to write is ‘factual’, that’s to say I don’t think any of the incidents covered here were down to a curse or the Devil, just a series of unfortunate accidents. And with that out of the way, let’s crack on with The Exorcist curse.

Do I need to recap what The Exorcist is about? Okay, just a quick one for context. The film is about Regan (Linda Blair), a 12 year old girl who get’s possessed by a demon claiming the be the Devil. So her mother calls in (the titular) The Exorcist to save her daughter from the ultimate evil. Basically the film is about good vs evil. It doesn’t set out to try and prove that either God or the Devil is real, just to show how good can beat evil. But all that being said, some believe that making a film about the Devil and trying to expose him is a very bad idea and that Beelzebub himself will try to intervene… hence this curse. Famed U.S. televangelist Billy Graham even went so far as to suggest the film was drenched in evil when he said: “There is a power of evil in the film, in the fabric of the film itself.”

The first known incident of The Exorcist came about early in the film’s shoot in 1972. The set used to film most of the scenes set in the home featured in the film caught fire and burned down. A bird had flown into a circuit box used to house the electrics of the set. This caused a small fire that quickly spread through the entire set and destroyed it… all of it except Regan’s room where the exorcism scenes take place. The incident set production back when it only just begun and ended up extending the shoot of the film to just under a year, but with post-production, the film took over 12 months to complete.

The Exotcist Bedroom.jpg

Regan’s mother, Chris is played by Ellen Burstyn in the film. There is a scene where Chris is hit by the possessed Regan and is slung across the room, slamming onto a hard wooden floor. In this scene, Ellen is actually badly hurt and that take is used in the final film too. She landed on her coccyx, the  screams of pain and look on her face during the scene are genuine. It caused a permanent spinal injury that still bothers Ellen to this day.

Two actors in the film, Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros played characters who both die in the film. While the film was in post-production, both Jack and Vasiliki died in real life never to see their work on the big screen. Linda Blair’s grandfather also died while filming and The Exorcist himself Max Von Sydow’s bother also died during Max’s first day of the shoot. There was also a narrow escape with Jason Miller who played Father Damien Karras in the film. Jason’s young son was critically injured and almost died when he was hit by a speeding motorcycle. One of the cameramen working on the film became a father for the first time while the film was being shot, according to actress Ellen Burstyn, the baby died when it was only a few months old. Various statements say that a total of nine people died during the entire production of the film, both directly and indirectly linked to the production.

The Exotcist Cinema.jpg

In the documentary on the film called Fear of God, Jason Miller tells the story of how an elderly priest gave him a silver medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The priest told Jason that if anyone tries to do anything to uncover the Devil, that he will take retribution on those involved. The priest gave Jason the medal as a token of protection. A few days later and that same priest died after giving up his protective medal.

Like her on-screen mother, Linda Blair also suffered a back injury when the rigging broke on a piece of equipment that was holding her in place for one of the exorcism scenes. Also, after the film was released, Linda received numerous death threats from various religious nuts for being in the film as they believed she really was the Devil and she was only 13 years old at the time too. The threats got so severe that the production studio hired bodyguards to escort the teenager for six months until the furore died down.

Mercedes McCambridge, who provided the demonic voice for the film also suffered a terrible tragedy. In November, 1987, her son, John Markle murdered his two daughters, Amy, 13 and Suzanne, 9. He also murdered his wife, Christine, 45 before committing suicide all with the same gun.

The Exotcist Priests

During the film’s 1974 premiere in Rome (a deeply religious place what with it housing Vatican City and all that), a thunderstorm broke out. A torrential downpour of rain and spikes of lighting almost prevented people from attending the screening, including cast and crew. There was also a story that lighting from the storm struck an old church which caused a four hundred year old cross to fall from it’s steeple, close to the cinema where The Exorcist was being shown.

At the same screening, one viewer was so disturbed by what they saw on screen that they fainted. They fell forward and hit their face on the seat in front of him and braking their jaw. The injured person then went on the sue distributors of the film, Warner Brothers for causing the accident.

Finally, Journalist Judy Klemsrud reported in a 1974 article that: “Several people had heart attacks, a guard told me. One woman even had a miscarriage” as this archived article states. Though to be honest, I’ve not managed to find any solid proof of this other than the article.


The Exotcist Demon

So is The Exorcist cursed?
As I said at the beginning of this article (and other cursed film articles I’ve written), I don’t believe in any of it. The film suffered a long production, over a year in fact. So of course given a longer time frame, more incidents will occur. More will happen in the space of a year then say a day or a week for instance. People die, storms cause damage, crazy people send death threats, this kind of thing goes on each and every day. I’m sure that if these exact same incidents had happened in connection to a film that had nothing to do with the Devil, no one would’ve paid them as much attention, they would’ve just been put down to normal incidents, not a curse.

Besides, if the Devil himself really was trying to stop the production of the film… he didn’t do a very good job did he? All that power and evil and that’s the best he could muster? Why not just kill everyone directly involved in the film instead of a very small amount of people who were and an even smaller who were not? Why not destroy the main print of the film before it was duplicated and distributed so it could never be seen? Why are there not more and more incidents from the millions up on millions of people around the globe who have watched the film since it’s original release up to today? I’ve watched the film in it’s various cuts many times over the years (twice this week alone) and I’m okay… so far…

Shit happens and everything that has been connected to The Exorcist is just coincidental.

Now to finish, the original and banned (because it was too scary) trailer for The Exorcist

 

Coming up next, another The Exorcist article, but looking at something very, very real and horrific

Terminator 2: Plot Hole Day

So there’s a new Terminator film released today, here in the UK anyway, my U.S. cousins will have to wait until the 1st of November to see it… and I personally couldn’t be less interested. For me, the franchise was terminated a long time ago. I’ll watch it eventually I’m sure, but I’m in no hurry to get to the cinema to see the return of Arnie, Linda and Edward (who I guess will be killed off in the opening). The prospect of James Cameron back as producer hardly gets me excited, nor does the fact the new flick is a direct sequel to Terminator 2 that ignores the other films. Even the high praise the film is currently getting does not excite me. But a new Terminator film does give me an excuse to write an article.

T2 Thumb

Regular readers may know I enjoy looking at and attempting to cover film plot holes. I’ve done Die Hard as well as the whole Back to the Future trilogy of films. So I thought I’d do the same with T2. Now before I get into this, I need to quickly cover the rules, yes I have rules…

  1. So when looking at plot holes, I can only use the rules established in the universe in which the film(s) exist. I can’t make up my own rules/excuses to explain anything away.
  2. Novels, comic book adaptions and original shooting scripts are also out. Only what is seen on screen can be used for explanations.
  3. Deleted scenes can be a wildcard depending on why they were deleted. If a scene was removed against the director’s wishes due to producer interference (as an example), then I can consider using them. If a scene was removed for something as mundane as ‘time constraints’ then I can’t use them because if a director thinks a scene which explains plot points/character motivation is less important than time, why should I care about it? If a scene was in the original script, but not filmed… see rule 2 above.
  4. Fan theories are definitely a huge no. I’m a fan, I like to come up with my own interpretations of films as much as the next person… but I’m not involved in the making of the film.

Basically, if it’s not in the film(s), it can’t be used.

So those are the rules… and to be honest, they’ve put me in a rather tricky spot. See, when I do these plot hole articles and using my rules. The whole point is to cover the plot holes and explain why they are not plot holes… which I have done in the past. But what happens when the writing of a film is so bad, so full of errors that go against established rules that I just can’t cover them? Well, you get Terminator 2: Plot Hole Day

The TDE Problem

Nothing dead can use the Time Displacement Equipment (TDE). This is a rule explained and shown to be true in the first film, this is why both the T-800 and Kyle are sent back naked and why no future weapons can be sent either. The T-1000 in Terminator 2 is nothing but dead material, it can not use the TDE, it can not be sent to the past. None of the events of Terminator 2 can happen given established in-universe rules.

T2 T-1000 Arrival

Now some people claim that the T-1000 can mimic human flesh and that is why it can use the TDE, except it can’t. We know it can’t mimic human flesh as we are told it can’t mimic anything complex and human flesh is pretty damn complex. Plus when you see the T-1000 get shot in the film, there is no human tissue there (like the T-800) it’s pure liquid metal. So within the opening minutes of this film already contradicts the rules established in the first film. And before people jump in with the comments of a flesh sack, etc… re-read the rules.

Another Arnie?

Why is there another Arnie cyborg in the film? Yes they are mass produced in a factory (as the teaser trailer shows)… but why would Skynet even build more T-800 (the robot) Model 101 (the skin) terminators when the reason provided in the first film for the creation of the new T-800 is due to the fact the previous machine, the T-600 had rubber skin and was, as Kyle explained “easy to spot”? Surely if Skynet is aware its T-600 units are “easy to spot” leading to Skynet creating the more advanced T-800 with living tissue, bad breath, everything. It would not make multiples of that same unit that look identical as it would be “easy to spot”, in fact easier to spot than the T-600 the T-800 was built to replace, making the existence of the T-800 redundant.

Especially when you take into account the machines are used as infiltration units. Kyle’s nightmare/flashback/forward (it’s complex) in the first film shows what these things do, they get into the human bases by passing themselves off as humans and murder everyone in sight. They infiltrate. So their effectiveness is pretty pointless if they all look like Arnie. Even if Skynet sent multiple Arnie T-800s to various parts of the battlefield, even if there was only a 0.01% chance that these Arine looking machines would be spotted, why would Skynet take the chance when it could create different looking T-800s instead?

Put Some Clothes On

Why is the T-1000 naked when being sent through the TDE (which it can’t do anyway)? We know why the T-800 and Kyle had to be sent through naked as nothing dead will go, so they can’t wear clothing. But the T-1000 can mimic clothing as the film shows us. Skynet is aware clothing is important as the first thing the T-800 does in the first film when it gets sent back is acquire clothing, that is also what it does in Terminator 2. So clearly clothing is something programmed into the machines and obviously important. So why is the T-1000 naked?

‘Default appearance’ is often the excuse, but let’s look at my next point…

He’s In The Nip!

The T-1000 is supposed to be an infiltration unit. Designed and programmed to blend in with humans. It can only mimic what it touches. So if being naked is it’s default appearance… would that not stand out when it was trying to infiltrate? Picture the scene, war ravaged world where humans fight for survival against its AI oppressors. People are dying all around and through the smoke walks a completely naked male figure that is designed to blend in. Does not work does it? Why would a naked form even be part of the T-1000s programming anyway when it’s designed and programmed to kill, in case it ever had to infiltrate a porn film?

Skynet has detailed files about humans, so much so that it can recreate nipples… but not clothing? But as already covered, Skynet is obviously aware of clothing and it’s importance because the T-800 is programmed to find some as a priority.

Skynet Lost

Lets just go back to the first film and a spot of exposition for a second. As Kyle said: “Its defence grid was smashed, Skynet had already lost” and “Its just him (T-800) and me, nothing else comes through.”. Nuff said. So why is there a sequel and why are more terminators being sent if we have already been told this can not happen?

The Terminator Kyle

Perhaps the terminators from T2 were sent back before the one in the first film… maybe? But this makes no sense when you think about it… something I’m covering in a couple more points.

Killer Cyborg That Doesn’t Kill?

Why doesn’t the T-800 kill any of the bikers in the opening bar scene? We know it’s still programmed to kill as the scene with the two guys that come to help John shows later in the film…
John: “You we’re gonna kill that guy.”
T-800: “Of course, I’m a terminator.”
See, it’s programmed to kill, but only roughs up the people in the bar? Now remember that bar scene? The T-800 is attacked, it’s very mission is being hindered, it gets stabbed! That very same make and model terminator killed for much less in the first film, remember the clerk in the gun store? He was killed just for telling the terminator it couldn’t load the gun in the shop. But in Terminator 2, the same make and model kills no one despite being stabbed with a knife, attacked with a pool cue and more?

T2 T-800 Arival

So within Terminator 2 itself, if that same machine was willing to kill the guy coming the help John later in the film, why not kill anyone in the bar that were getting into the way of it’s mission? The terminator would have left a trail that could’ve been traced if it killed people in the bar… maybe. But wouldn’t roughing people up in front of dozens of witnesses, stealing clothing, a motorbike and even guns also leave a traceable trail?

Skynet Is Stupid In T2

Skynet is supposed to be this amazing, militaristic thinking piece of highly advanced AI. So why would Skynet send the more advanced T-1000 through over the lesser (by then) T-800? Why not just send multiple T-1000s. And seeing as Skynet can send multiple units through as proven in the sequel(s), which contradicts info given in the first film, why send them to different times in the past instead of just sending ALL of it’s machines to 1984 to kill the then unaware Sarah? Skynet’s very existence is at stake here, so why not throw everything it had at the problem? Just imagine Kyle having to fight off numerous T-800s, T-1000s… hell even the lesser T-600s (can’t cos they have rubber skin so cant use the TDE… like the T-1000?), throw in some HKs too, it could send an army. Kyle and Sarah wouldn’t stand a chance and Skynet would win. Terminator 2 makes no sense!

T-1000 The Cop

Why doesn’t the T-1000 fully mimic the cop in the opening? We know it can fully mimic people as the film itself shows us. But instead of fully mimicking the cop, it just mimics the uniform (more on this issue next). Wouldn’t a person walking around in a police uniform that is numbered while also driving a police car that is also numbered not be a little bit suspicious? What if a fellow cop that knew the original cop recognised the uniform/cop car number and realised the person using them was not the cop they knew?
So instead of the T-1000 just mimicking the cop and passing itself off as him, we now have a missing cop and a strange man wearing his uniform and using his car. The T-1000 is supposed to be an infiltration unit remember.

T2 T-1000 Cop

It does the same thing with the motorcycle cop later in the film too.

Equal Size My Arse!

The T-1000 can only mimic things of equal size is the rule established in the film. The cop uniform is not equal size, so it should’ve mimicked the cop fully and not just the uniform. John’s foster mother is also not equal size, nor is the guard at the hospital as you see the size difference as the T-1000 morphs between them. Speaking of the hospital, it mimics the hospital floor and you can bet your arse that is most definitely not equal size. So it can mimic things not of equal size then despite the film telling us it can’t?

Swear Why?

John asks the T-800 to swear not to kill, but why? The machine has no concept of human rules and I can prove it.

John: “You can’t just go around killing anyone.”
T-800: “Why?”
John: “You just can’t.”
T-800: “Why?”
John: “You just can’t OK?”

See, the T-800 does not understand human rules to the point it doesn’t understand why it can’t kill… so why would asking it swear not to kill mean anything to the machine? John never explains what swearing means or its importance/meaning to humans, it’s learning nothing. All the T-800 does is parrot John by holding up his hand and swearing not to kill, it’s programming remains the same and it is still programmed to kill remember. So given what we have learned through the exposition of the film, there is no reason for the T-800 not to kill from that point onward or even before it (bar scene).

T2 Swear

But just to add to the pointlessness of the ‘swearing’ scene. Just minutes earlier we, the audience and John learn that the T-800 has to follow his orders, so why didn’t John just order the machine not to kill?

John: “I order you not to kill anyone.”
T-800: “Affirmative.”

See, I just wrote T2 better than James Cameron did.

More Orders

On the subject of John’s orders having to be followed by the T-800. Let’s skip to the end of the film and when the T-800 is lowered into the molten steel. What is it that John says again? Ahhhhh yes…

John: “I order you not to go, I order you not to go.”

Well there you have it, the T-800 can’t ‘die’ as John just ordered it not to go. Not once, but twice But wait, what does the T-800 reply with?

T-800: “I’m sorry John, I can’t do that.”

Wait, what? So now it doesn’t have to follow John’s orders, since when can it do that? If it can choose to not follow his orders then why did it break mission parameters by taking John into direct danger earlier in the film risking the mission just because John orders it to? What danger am I taking about? Next point…

The Stupid Plan

Why would the more mature and future resistance leader, John who knows the entire existence of the human race is on his shoulders allow the T-800 to follow his younger, immature self’s orders? What if that immature version of himself orders the T-800 to rescue his mother, who we are told is not a mission priority and therefore breaking mission parameters and take John into direct danger putting huge risk onto the mission? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the T-800 to be programmed to follow the more knowledgeable and prepared Sarah’s orders?

Forgetful T-1000

Another thing about the ending that makes no sense. The T-1000 stabs Sarah in her shoulder and asks her (quite eloquently too) to “call to John”. Why would it do this when we and it knows it can mimic people? Even more so we are told in the film that the T-1000 typically kills whoever it mimics. So why didn’t the T-1000 just kill and mimic Sarah, get close to John and then kill him? Mission complete.

T2 Two Sarahs

“It glitches, that’s why it can’t mimic Sarah” is the usual response. Yes the T-1000 does glitch… in the extended cut, but not so much the theatrical cut and the one most familiar to everyone. But even if we go the glitch route excuse. The T-1000 still manages to mimic Sarah as the film proves later anyway. So the whole “call to John” bit is inane. Just kill and mimic Sarah, you know that thing the T-1000 had been doing since it’s first scene in the film.

Good Scene, Bad Writing

About that extended cut. There is a scene included where the T-800 has it’s chip removed so it can learn. From a filming perspective, its a great scene that features a mirror image with two T-800s, two Sarahs and two Johns. The amazing thing about this scene is the fact no mirror was used nor were any special effects either. Its a great shot done so using a very simple magic trick. Brilliantly filmed… but from a plot and character perspective is makes no sense.

T2 Chip Removal

So the T-800 allows its chip to be removed and therefore is taken offline, meaning it’s no longer capable of doing it’s mission. Why would the T-800 let the happen? What if the T-1000 turned up while it’s chip was removed? Plus it’s chip is removed so a physical switch can be flicked to allow it to learn. So Skynet built a machine with a switch that has to be manipulated physically for it to learn, meaning if Skynet ever sent one of these units out not to learn but then changed it mind later and wanted it to learn. It would have to recall that unit to manually remove the chip and change the switch? But maybe there are two ways to change the switch, one manual and one remotely. Maybe there is, but if the switch can be changed remotely then why would Skynet even bother with a manual switch to begin with? Then if this particular T-800 switch is not set to learn (hence the need to remove the chip)… then how had it been learning anything up to this point in the film. Like swearing not to kill for example? It should still be killing!

Mission Failed

The Terminator actually fails it’s mission in the end. Remember it is programmed to protect John. By the end if the film, the T-1000 is destroyed but John is still in danger and in need of protection. He and Sarah are still being hunted by the police for example.

Edit: Or the opening of Dark Fate
So effectively, the T-800 abandons it’s mission at the end as John was still in danger. Mission failed.


 

Well there you have it. As much as I tried, I just can’t explain these plot holes in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This is not meant as a dig at the film either, I enjoy the flick as much as anyone… but it’s badly written and just seems to ignore established rules not only with the first film but also within itself.

Well, however Terminator: Dark Fate turns out. I hope it’s better written and respects the original film more than T2 did.