Monthly Archives: September 2013

“TMNT” (2007)

TMNT

Is this the same continuity as the live action films? It’s hard to tell. Laurence Fishburne narrates the introduction, giving the backstory of the turtles and doing his best to cram all the necessary exposition into only a few minutes. 3,000 years ago, an immortal king (Patrick Stewart) inadvertently cursed his brother-in-arms to become stone statues and unleashed thirteen monsters from another dimension. Present day, Leonardo resides in Central America, protecting the innocent and thought to be a ghost. April O’Neil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has given up journalism and now acquires ancient artifacts. Leonardo refuses to return to New York City until his spiritual journey sufficiently prepares him to assume the leadership role amongst his brothers.

Donatello works in technical support while Michelangelo entertains children at birthday parties. Raphael, who still has all those anger management issues, operates in secret as a vigilante known as “The Nightwatcher.” April is still romantically involved with Casey Jones (Chris Evans), who splits his time between assisting April and busting heads with Raphael. The immortal king is now called Winters and has April collecting the statues that were once his loyal comrades. Winters also hires Karai, daughter of The Shredder, and the Foot Clan to round up the monsters, who are all converging on New York City.

The plot seemed overly convoluted to me. Leonardo finally returns and Splinter (Mako) does his best to ease the dissention between Leonardo and Raphael, but without much success. Though they are forbidden to fight by Splinter, the turtles still get drawn into the battles between the Foot Clan and the monsters. These monsters were intended to be the basis for many legends like vampires, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and even the Jersey Devil. This was all clarified on the DVD audio commentary. Kevin Smith voices a diner cook who witnesses the Jersey Devil inspired monster running amuck.

As per usual, Michelangelo and Donatello get shortchanged as Leonardo and Raphael bicker constantly. For once, the obligatory Raphael temper tantrum does not result him getting kidnapped. Instead, it is Leonardo who gets taken captive. The rest of the turtles, Splinter, April, and Casey storm Winter’s well protected tower for the climatic rumble with the reanimated stone statues, the monsters, and the Foot Clan. There were just too many antagonists in this movie. After the monsters are banished from our dimension, Winters is finally allowed to die, which he faces with optimism. Before Karai departs, she hints at the return of her father. A setup to a sequel that never actually materialized. Michelangelo is made to look like a fool again, having a sneezing fit after breathing in Winters’ glowing ashes. I guess that was suppose to be funny? The turtles are reunited and Raphael narrates the epilogue, not Laurence Fishburne.

My response to this CGI film was lukewarm. The story was crowded with antagonists, the animation was bleak, and I am personally tired of turtle stories focusing on nothing but Raphael’s anger issues. I felt like I was watching an 87 minute long video game cut scene. The next time the heroes in a half shell will appear on the silver screen, it will be a Michael Bay production, so we die hard turtle fans face the future with trepidation.

“Action Comics #252: The Menace of Metallo!”

DC Comics Superman

Writer: Robert Bernstein
Pencils: Al Plastino

John Corben, reporter for the Eastport News who is similar in appearance to Superman, is basking in the glory of getting away with murder. The perfect crime, eliminating the one man who could expose him as an embezzler. His satisfaction is short lived however as he is gravely injured in an automobile accident. He is discovered and nursed back to health by a Professor Vale.

Vale’s experimental surgery saves the life of Corben and his body is now protected by metallic armor plates, covered with synthetic skin. His new body can be powered on a temporary basis by uranium. There is one other power source which will not need any replenishing, but Vale suffers a stroke before he can disclose what the source is. Corben is unsympathetic towards Vale and looking forward to his new life as the other “Man of Steel.”

Corben is then hired by Perry White and goes to work for the Daily Planet. Corben does not pay the mild-mannered Clark Kent much mind, but does take notice of Lois Lane. He asks her on a lunch date, but she rebuffs his advances. When an atomic submarine suffers an emergency in the Artic Sea, Clark Kent transforms into Superman and saves the day. This book finally takes the time to explain what Superman actually does with Clark Kent’s clothes. They are made of fibers that can be compressed and tucked away in a pouch hidden on his cape. I always wondered where he hid Clark’s stuff. If you can believe a man can fly, you can accept that his clothes shrink. While Superman is busy, Corben raids research laboratories, hospitals, and military installations, stockpiling all the uranium he can find. After this spree, the media dubs him “Metallo.”

Gangsters attempt to whack Lois Lane as retribution for all the exposure she has given them in the Daily Planet. Bullets intended for Lois instead strike Corben, who was still hounding her for a lunch date. Since Corben withstands the onslaught of bullets, Lois is led to the false conclusion that he is Superman. Corben takes advantage of her mistake and finally takes her out for that lunch date. Corben goes one step further and poses as Superman, so he can steal the last of the uranium from Fort Taber. Superman arrives, but cannot apprehend Metallo because another emergency pulls him away. Even if you are faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive, the workload of a superhero can really pile up.

Professor Vale has recovered from his stroke and informs Corben that the other power source is Kryptonite. Corben is overjoyed because he can now vanquish Superman and become immortal all at the same time, so he sets his trap at the Metropolis Exhibit Hall. Metallo, again masquerading as Superman, uses the Kryptonite given to him by Vale as a weapon against Superman, then he escapes with the Kryptonite that was meant for the Superman exhibit. Superman is fading, but musters what strength he has left to melt the Kryptonite with his x-ray vision. By his own admission, this was the first time he ever conquered Kryptonite without anyone else’s assistance. Metallo drops by the apartment of Lois, probably looking to take advantage of her, but luckily she realizes he is a fraud. Just as Superman arrives, Metallo keels over. The Kryptonite which Metallo took from the exhibit hall was not genuine. The police have also linked Corben to the murder he committed prior to his accident, so everything was wrapped up in neat little package.

Metallo may not make a top five of Superman villains, but the Silver Age version of this character does have a heart of Kryptonite and eyes for Lois Lane, so he is a heel who can combat Superman on both a physical and emotional level. Malcolm McDowell voiced Metallo on “Superman: The Animated Series.” Metallo also appeared as a boss in the “Superman Returns” video game.

“The Amazing Spider-Man #9: The Man Called Electro!”

Spider-Man

Written by: Stan Lee
Illustrated by: Steve Ditko
Lettered by: Art Simek

With his Aunt May gravely ill, Peter Parker has no other concerns. Fighting crime will have to take a backseat for the moment. Meanwhile, a brand new villain emerges in the form of Electro, whose true identity is not revealed. As his criminal moniker implies, he is electrically charged, not through a lab accident like so many other Spider-Man heels, but by his own invention. His first misdeed is knocking over an armored car.

Peter must check Aunt May into the hospital since she is dire need of an operation. The nature of her illness is not disclosed, so not to alarm the young readers. Peter attempts to continue with a normal routine, which still includes him getting teased at school by jerks like Flash Thompson.

Peter is still not worried about the criminal element in New York City, he wants to sell pictures to help defray the cost of Aunt May’s operation. Electro robs a bank, which has J. Jonah Jameson as a costumer. Jameson, ever the huckster, has the audacity to print in the Daily Bugle that Spider-Man is Electro without any real evidence. Citizens are torn as whether to condemn or defend Spider-Man. Peter does not get sidetracked by all this bad publicity and actually asks Jameson for loan, but is refused by the cheapskate.

Peter opts to collect on the reward for the capture of Electro. It takes Spider-Man time to track the scoundrel down, but his “spider-sense” eventually leads him to Electro, who is cracking a safe in a deserted apartment. Whether it was over confidence or distraction on a subconscious level due to Aunt May’s worsening condition, Spider-Man seemed off his game and was beaten down and knocked out cold by Electro.

Nowadays, the bad guy can emerge victorious, but it must be unsettling back in 1964 for the comic book’s key demographic, kids, to see their hero left in such a vulnerable state. They must have a had a tough week, waiting to see if and how Spider-Man could recover from this loss.

Electro, portrayed by Jamie Foxx, will be an antagonist in the next Spider-Man film.

“The Long Halloween: Chapter One”

Batman logo

Writer… Jeph Loeb
Artist… Tim Sale
Colorist… Gregory Wright
Letterer… Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Original Story Editor… Archie Goodwin

This story is similar in some regards to the beginning of “The Godfather,” with many of the prominent characters converging on a wedding hosted by a Mafioso. Carmine “The Roman” Falcone would like Bruce Wayne’s vote to join the board of the Gotham City Bank. Needless to say, Bruce Wayne is not interested in conducting any business with a crime lord like Falcone, but the night is not a total loss as Selina Kyle is attending this reception. Bruce was looking to duck out early, but cannot refuse when Selina asks to dance. Meanwhile, Harvey Dent is snooping around in the garage, jotting down license plate numbers. Falcone’s goons surprise Dent and rough him up. Bruce and Selina find Dent down in the garage, a little worse for the wear, but he brushes them off. “I believe in Harvey Dent,” says Bruce. Dent, disillusioned, meets up with Captain James Gordon, who assures him that they are not alone in their struggle against the mob.

Later, Falcone’s study his infiltrated simultaneously by the Batman and Catwoman. As the two tussle, they exchange repartee, their usual sexual tension. Falcone’s goons arrive, Catwoman flees, and Batman pursues. Falcone is so irate that he paraphrases lines from “The Godfather, Part II.” Salvatore “The Boss” Maroni takes pleasure in Falcone being dishonored. Falcone puts a bounty out on both Batman and Catwoman. The implication is that the scars on Falcone’s face were courtesy of Catwoman. Batman is given the slip by Catwoman before he can decipher what she was up to. Batman then convenes with Gordon and Dent, passing off the ledger he confiscated from Falcone’s study. The three men agree that they can bend the rules in their pursuit of Falcone, but never break them. Batman stealthily disappears into the night. “He does that,” Gordon explains to Dent.

Bruce Wayne does not want “The Roman” to have any dealings with the Gotham City Bank, so the Batman pays a visit to Richard Daniel, Falcone’s inside man on the board, and aggressively persuades him to vote against the gangster. Alberto Falcone wishes to support his father, but is urged to stay out of the family business. He is like the Michael Corleone of the family, while his cousin, Johnny Viti, the Sonny Corleone, is not being as helpful as he should. Richard Daniel is eventually whacked out for defying Carmine Falcone. Batman impugns the mob, but does not hold himself accountable for placing the late Mr. Daniel in such a predicament. News of this murder reaches Gordon, whose wife Barbara is clearly fed up with life married to a cop. Gilda Dent, is worried that her husband might be next on the mafia’s hit list, but he assures her that everything will be alright. Johnny Viti is then assassinated in his bathtub and the mystery assailant leaves behind a jack-o-lantern as a calling card.

Catwoman wants to keep the ire of the mob off of her, so she gives Batman some useful tips. On Halloween night, Batman and Harvey Dent break into a waterfront warehouse, where Carmine Falcone has stockpiled millions of dollars in cash which he was unable to launder. Brazenly, our two heroes doused the money with gasoline and set it ablaze. Retribution is immediate as Dent returns home to his wife, who was giving out candy to trick-or-treaters. Moments later, a fiery explosion, which was the cliffhanger of chapter one. What will transpire in the following chapters? Will Catwoman’s agenda finally be revealed? Will Alberto Falcone follow in his father’s footsteps? Will Salvatore Maroni make a power play? Will Harvey Dent emerge from the flames as Harvey Two-Face?

“The Long Halloween” was obviously an inspiration to Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Not only for the inclusion of Carmine Falcone in “Batman Begins,” but for the relationship between Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent, which played out in “The Dark Knight.”

Halloween: Best to Worst

Halloween

“Halloween” (1978)
The night HE came home. The “Citizen Kane” of slasher movies. Yes, it was preceded by both “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Black Christmas,” but John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is the standard by which all slasher flicks are held to. John Carpenter was truly a one man band; writing, directing, and scoring the film. His collaborator, Debra Hill, was also a vital factor in the success of “Halloween.” John Carpenter’s focus was on the relationship between Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and Michael Myers (Nick Castle) while Debra Hill contributed the banter between the teenagers, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Lynda (P.J. Soles), and Annie (Nancy Loomis). For the record, Michael Myers was not intended to be the brother of Laurie Strode in this movie. He, according to John Carpenter, was symbolic of pure evil. A little boy, who without any motivation, murdered his sister with a kitchen knife on October 31st, then escaped from a mental institution fifteen years later to stalk and murder babysitters. Of course, everyone knows that the original mask worn by Michael Myers was a modified Captain Kirk. Awesome. The way that Dr. Loomis describes Michael Myers to Sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers) boosted the character into another stratosphere of terror. The children who are being babysat watch Howard Hawks’ “The Thing from Another World,” which was a later remade by John Carpenter in 1982. Anyone who dreams of making a horror movie really needs to study this film, its chilling score, and collection of first rate scares. Annie is killed with a classic jump scare as Michael Myers was lurking in the backseat of her car, while Lynda gets strangled from behind by Myers, who was dressed as a ghost. She never saw it coming, but the audiences did. Laurie Strode became the archetype for the slasher movie “final girl,” even if she dropped the knife when she exited the closet. I know that Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees have their loyal fan bases, but for my money, Michael Myers is the definitive slasher movie maniac. To those who protest the ability of Michael Myers to drive an automobile when he had been institutionalized since he was six, all I can say is that this inconsistency only added to his mystique.

“Halloween II” (1981)
The nightmare isn’t over… as Michaels Myers follows Laurie Strode to a hospital in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Rick Rosenthal was now in the director’s chair while John Carpenter and Debra Hill remained as producers. This is one of those “Bride of Frankenstein” sequels that picks up right where the first film left off. “Mr. Sandman” performed by The Chordettes was incorporated into the soundtrack. Whenever I hear this song, I think of the “Halloween” movies. Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) acquires a new kitchen knife from a home where an elderly couple watches “Night of the Living Dead.” Dr. Loomis continues the hunt for Myers without Sheriff Brackett because Brackett was devastated by the death of his daughter, Annie. Dr. Loomis witnesses a teenager, who was out trick-or-treating and mistaken for Michael Myers get plowed into by a squad car. People tend to forget that Michael Myers is only 21 years old and could easily be mistaken for a teenager out enjoying the holiday. This film is a lot bloodier than original, which bothers some who felt it was style over substance, but I disagree. In a horror movie sequel, the filmmakers must up the ante with creative death scenes. One nurse gets boiled in a hot tub while another gets a hypothermic needle in the eye. The course of the franchise was forever altered with the reveal that Laurie is actually the sister of Michael Myers, given up for adoption after he was institutionalized. Jamie Lee Curtis, the celebrated scream queen of the late 1970s and early 1980s had already starred in “Prom Night,” where her brother was also revealed to be a killer. John Carpenter claims to have been drunk while penning this reveal, but it was a largely successful plot twist. “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” and “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday” were less triumphant in their attempts to create blood ties between the killer and their victims. Dr. Loomis, defying the orders of a state trooper, arrives at the hospital to save Laurie, who spent much of the movie in bed, and he and Myers are (allegedly) killed in a gas explosion. When I was I kid, I saw “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” first, so I didn’t question the implausibility of both Myers and Loomis surviving this raging inferno. The only other character who survives with Laurie was a paramedic named Jimmy (Lance Guest), but only the censored TV version of the film clarifies that he did in fact survive. Lance Guest then starred in “The Last Starfighter,” which was directed by Nick Castle, the original Michael Myers.

“Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” (1988)
John Carpenter’s “Halloween” had countless imitators, “Friday the 13th” being the most enduring of the initial wave, then director Wes Craven reinvented the slasher genre with “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Ten years after his debut, Michael Myers made a notable return to remind all who the innovator was. Only producer Moustapha Akkad remained from the creators of the original film. John Carpenter and Debra Hill, displeased with the film’s creative direction, sold off all of their rights to the franchise. Michaels Myers (George P. Wilbur) is revealed to have been in a coma for the past decade. While being transferred to another hospital, the news that he has niece stirs the inexplicable rage within him and he escapes. Dr. Sam Loomis, sporting terrible burns suffered in “Halloween II,” knows that Michael will return to his native Haddonfield, Illinois in search of his niece, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). Jamie’s mother, Laurie Strode, had been killed in car accident and she is being raised by a foster family and has a strong bond with her foster sister, Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell). Even though Jamie has never met her uncle, he appears in her nightmares. Jamie is initially reluctant to go trick-or-treating because all of the other kids know that her uncle is “the boogeyman,” but she changes her mind and selects a clown costume, similar to what her uncle had worn when he killed his sister in 1963. Dr. Loomis, now teamed up with Sheriff Meeker (Beau Starr), comes to the aid of Jamie and Rachel, while a local posse of beer swillers is on a manhunt for Michael Myers. Despite of all these measures, little stands in the way of Michael Myers catching up with Jamie and many are killed in the process. A lot of these deaths are overly gory, obviously to answer the challenge of the “Friday the 13th” franchise. The authorities eventually gun down Michael Myers and the implication is that he is finally dead. A happy ending? No. Dr. Loomis and the others are shocked to discover that Jamie has snapped and stabbed her foster mother with a pair of scissors. What a disturbing image to close on. Director Dwight H. Little is no John Carpenter, but he still helmed a quality sequel sans a few over the top deaths.

“Halloween: H20” (1998)
Wes Craven once again made slasher movies cool with 1996’s “Scream” and the genre enjoyed a resurgence, which was a bit less gory than what had preceded in the 1980s. The wave of popularity led to Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the franchise that made her famous. The twentieth anniversary of the original “Halloween” was a reboot of sorts as the events of Halloween’s 4-6 were completely ignored, making this a sequel to the first two installments only. John Carpenter politely turned down an offer to direct and Steve Miner, the man behind two “Friday the 13th” movies, was given the assignment instead. Laurie Strode had faked her death and she now teaches at a posh boarding school located in Northern California. Meanwhile, Michael Myers (Chris Durand) breaks into the home which once belonged to Dr. Sam Loomis and kills his nurse, Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), the only other returning cast member from the first two films. The initial concept was that this would be a copycat killer and not the real Michael Myers, but the filmmakers learned a lesson from “Friday the 13th, Part V: A New Beginning” and wisely stuck with it being the real Michael Myers. Laurie, now calling herself Keri Tate, is quite the burden on her son, John (Josh Hartnett). John resides at his school with his mother, who is also his teacher. She is smothering the poor boy. Ms. Tate’s assistant was played by Janet Leigh, real life mother of Jamie Lee Curtis. Janet Leigh’s character owned the same car she had driven in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” This was the first time that the mother / daughter combo had appeared together since John Carpenter’s “The Fog.” The head of campus security was played by rapper turned actor, LL Cool J, which seems like gimmicky casting, but he was fine for what he had to do. It’s not like they cast rapper who can’t act at all like… let’s say… Busta Rhymes. Foreshadowing. Laurie realizes that this might be the year her brother finally returns because John is now eighteen, the same age that she was in the original. John was suppose to be on a class trip, but he snuck off to enjoy the night with his girlfriend, Molly (Michelle Williams). Michael Myers arrives at the school and kills disposable characters until John and Molly escape. Laurie remains to have a final showdown with her big brother. She stabs him with a kitchen knife and knocks him over a railing and he crashes into a dinning room table, but she knows he that won’t stay down for long and commandeers the ambulance that his body bag was loaded into. She insanely drives off of a hill and Michael Myers gets pinned between the ambulance and a tree trunk. He reaches for his sister’s hand, a rare sentimental moment for him, and she responds by chopping his head off with an axe. Laurie now appears deranged, but she finally vanquished the evil that was her brother… or so she thinks. Some have said that this movie was a return to the spirit of the earlier films, which is true to a degree, but it was also a part of the cashing in on the success of “Scream” trend like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Urban Legend.” These flicks all featured “hot” young talent on the rise. “Halloween: H20” highlighted Josh Harnett, Michelle Williams, and even Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a small part. I enjoyed the blend of new stars with icons like Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh.

“Rob Zombie’s Halloween” (2007)
Rob Zombie has progressed as a filmmaker. I didn’t think too highly of “House of 1,000 Corpses,” but “The Devil’s Rejects” was a vast improvement. Zombie’s remake (or re-imagining) of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is probably his best effort yet. This was the first entry in the franchise following the death of producer Moustapha Akkad. The first act chronicles Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) at age 10, murdering his sister (Hanna R. Hall) and his verbally abusive step-father (William Forsythe). Michael’s mother (Sherri Moon-Zombie) is devastated by her son’s actions and eventually commits suicide. The vulgar interactions between the members of the Myers family indicate to me that Rob Zombie’s unique talents may have been better served on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or “The Hills Have Eyes” remakes. One thing that I will say to Zombie’s credit is that he is a genuine fan of the original film whereas Michael Bay, who has produced remakes of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Friday the 13th,” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” was most likely only motivated by cashing in on the marquee value of these franchises. Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) escapes from the asylum at the age of 25 and the rest of the movie is a more intensely violent retread of the original classic. One major deviation was the characterization of Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), who actually capitalized on the Myers family tragedy with a book. Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) also talks dirty in front of her foster mother (Dee Wallace). Rob Zombie states on the DVD audio commentary that Laurie couldn’t be as much of a prude as she was in 1978, but there are limits. Again, I don’t think that Rob Zombie can depict all of that normal, somewhat dull life in the suburbs, but you need that calm before the storm. A little humdrum before the killings. Because of the imposing stature of Tyler Mane, who spent time as a grappler in World Championship Wrestling, it was less believable that Michael Myers could blend in as a teenager out celebrating Halloween. Sheriff Brackett was played by Brad Dourif, the voice of Chucky in the “Child’s Play” movies, and his daughter was Danielle Harris, a veteran of this series, having portrayed Jamie Lloyd in Halloween’s 4 & 5. Dee Wallace had starred in some iconic horror movies in the 1980s like “The Howling” and “Stephen King’s Cujo.” Ken Foree from “Dawn of Dead” also cameos as a trucker, so Zombie was paying tribute to not just John Carpenter and “Halloween,” but an entire era of the horror genre. This films ends with Laurie, not Dr. Loomis, shooting Michael. Brain matter splatters all over her face just before the end credits roll. A cover of “Mr. Sandman” by Nan Vernon was used, which was a nice touch. The strongest elements of this film revolved around the young Michael Myers and his loving mother. In fact, the entire movie should’ve been a prequel, depicting Michael’s teenage years in the asylum, leading up to his escape in 1978. My opinion only.

“Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers” (1989)
This sequel is a companion piece to “Halloween 4,” the same way that “Halloween II” was to the original. By the way, why did they switch from roman numerals to regular numbers after part three? This fifth installment, directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard, had a made for TV vibe. Something that today would debut on The Chiller Network or FearNet. Michael Myers (Donald L. Shanks) turns out to have survived the last film and was swept away in a river. He was then found by a hermit and his unconscious body was kept in the hermit’s shack until the next Halloween. WHAT!? Why would this hermit keep the body of a stranger on his table for a whole year? Did the hermit have his meals at the table with the body? On second thought, I don’t want to know what deal was with this guy. Meanwhile, Jamie Lloyd is being treated at a children’s clinic and has not spoken since she brutally attacked her foster mother with scissors the year before. Dr. Sam Loomis serves as her personal physician. Rachel Carruthers is still close with Jamie and visits her often despite what transpired between at the end of the last film. Michael and Jamie now share a psychic link and Jamie senses when Michael kills Rachel, also using scissors. Michael’s weapon of choice was usually a knife, so maybe the scissors were an homage to Jamie? With Rachel dead, Michael targets her friends, who were an annoying collection of stock 1980s slasher movie teenage victims. Dr. Loomis sets a trap in the Myers house, using Jamie as bait, which leads to a bit of a continuity gaffe since this house in no way resembles the house used in the first two films. After a pretty scary scene in a laundry shoot, Michael removes his white mask and reveals his face to Jamie. Some people hate this scene, but I thought it was a decent. Michael is then captured by Dr. Loomis in a net. How very Looney Tunes. Dr. Loomis collapses on top of Michael, evidently suffering a heart attack. Michael is incarcerated, but is busted out by the mysterious “Man in Black,” who appeared earlier in the film. This bizarre set up for the next sequel led to many outlandish theories including Michael Myers being launched into outer space be the government. Moustapha Akkad admitted that it was a miscalculation to release “Halloween 5” in theaters at the same time “Halloween 4” was being released on home video. The character of Jamie Lloyd returned for the next sequel, but was not played by Danielle Harris. Danielle Harris was a worthy successor to Jamie Lee Curtis and became as important to the franchise as Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence, returning for the Rob Zombie’s remakes in the role of Annie Brackett.

“Halloween: Resurrection” (2002)
Okay, so that was not Michael Myers who got decapitated in the climax of “Halloween: H20.” He switched places with a paramedic. Laurie Strode, now ridden with guilt over taking an innocent life, is confined to a sanitarium. Michael (Brad Loree) locates her and kills her in the opening sequence. Laurie Strode bites the dust that quickly? Obviously, this was merely a contractually obligated appearance on the part of Jamie Lee Curtis. It was clever how Michael pinned the murder on an inmate, who was a serial killer aficionado. The rest of the movie was about a reality show producer and kung fu enthusiast, Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes), organizing a live internet tour of the Myers house on Halloween night, hosted by college students (Bianca Kajlich, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Katee Sachoff, and Sean Patrick Thomas). So, this was like a cross between a found footage flick and a standard slasher movie. An interesting blend, but the final result was underwhelming to say the least. Tyra Banks played the assistant to Busta Rhymes, in what was a glorified cameo. I recall seeing footage of her in the trailers that was not in the final cut. Overall, this movie was not even remotely scary. Busta Rhymes gave an atrocious performance. If we should’ve learned anything from “Alien Resurrection,” it’s that the “resurrection” subtitle signifies that the franchise is already dead. Michael Myers is electrocuted after Busta’s big one-liner, “Trick-or-treat, mother fucker!!!” The final scene at the morgue drives me crazy. Even though director Rick Rosenthal had already helmed “Halloween II,” he seems to have confused Michael Myers with Jason Voorhees because Michael died and then came back to life. Michael Myers cannot be killed, he either escapes or at the best is put into a coma, resting up for the next sequel. If you don’t count Rob Zombie’s two remakes, then this was the final chapter in the “Halloween” saga. Not exactly the most fitting swansong.

“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (1982)
The night no one comes home. Yes, some do defend this flick, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, by stressing that one can simply overlook the absence of Michael Myers and still appreciate the film based on its own merits. To that I say, even if this was a stand alone movie and not part of a franchise, it was still lacking. All that was cool and memorable was the Silver Shamrock jingle. Dr. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins) sets out to expose a cult, lead by Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), that has smuggled a piece of Stonehenge into the United States, which on Halloween night will emit an energy beam into a TV broadcast and anyone viewing the broadcast while wearing a Silver Shamrock Halloween mask will have their heads decomposed into insects. Oh, and this cult also has androids serving as bodyguards and they turn the protagonist’s love interest (Stacey Nelkin) into an android. WHAT!? How could anyone still think this movie is critiqued unfavorably only because the story does not involve Michael Myers? It was a slapdash effort whether it was part of the “Halloween” franchise or not. Masks, bugs, and robots? Sorry, but this screenplay makes virtually no sense. There could have at least been some continuity with the two previous films. The setting could have remained the fictional Haddonfield, Illinois instead of Northern California. And what if one of the three masks manufactured by Silver Shamrock was the signature Michael Myers mask? Or, have a character who is somehow linked to the previous films? Dr. Challis could have been a protoge of Dr. Loomis? Maybe he works at the hospital from “Halloween II”? Unfortunately, the filmmakers made a point of letting the audience know that this was a separate universe because the original “Halloween” was playing on a TV. This attempt by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, who still served as producers, to turn the “Halloween” franchise into an anthology was quickly abandoned because it was poorly executed.

“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” (1995)
Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) and Jamie Lloyd (J.C. Brandy) have been missing for six years now. The “Halloween” franchise has always been good at incorporating the actual passage of time in between films into the stories. Jamie escapes from her captors with her baby on the same night she gave birth. It is not clarified who the father is, but some speculate that it is Michael Myers. George P. Wilbur had already played the role in “Halloween 4,” but he looked a lot more jacked up in this sequel. Halloween had been banned in Haddonfield since 1989 and the old Myers house was now occupied by the Strodes, relatives of the family who adopted Jamie Lee Curtis after the Myers gave her up. It seems like the filmmakers were stretching to connect this flick with the original. Paul Rudd makes his feature film debut as Tommy Doyle, the adult version of the kid Laurie Strode was babysitting in the original. Why is he suddenly the protagonist? The filmmakers never pulled the trigger on sending Michael Myers into space. That concept was resurrected in another slasher series as Jason Voorhees blasted off in “Jason X.” Dr. Sam Loomis has finally retired, giving up the hunt for Michael Myers, and working on a manuscript. Michael tracks down Jamie and unceremoniously kills her, but he cannot find the baby. Dr. Loomis resumes his search for Michael with the aid of a colleague, Dr. Terence Wynn (Mitchell Ryan). The mystique surrounding Michael Myers is peeled away further as Tommy, who is also caring for Jamie’s baby, uncovers the motivation for his killing sprees, “the curse of thorn.” Dr. Wynn is revealed as the “Man in Black” from “Halloween 5” and responsible for corrupting Michael when he was just a boy and nurturing the evil within him. The climax takes place in Smith’s Grove, the same mental hospital that Michael escaped from back in the original. Michael turns on his puppet masters without reason. This movie finally gives him motivation to kill, then they have him kill without a motive. Why? Dr. Wynn could have become abusive of him or something, then the audiences could have been rooting for Michael. Michael gets beaten with a pipe and appears to bleed green, which is really strange. Dr. Loomis remains behind as the other protagonists flee and the movie ends with the implication that Michael kills Loomis off camera. It happened off camera because the ending was re-shot after Donald Pleasence had passed away. In the original ending, Dr. Wynn charged Dr. Loomis with becoming Michael’s new caretaker. Neither ending is all that great, but this lackluster effort on the part of director Joe Chappelle was at least dedicated to the memory of the late Donald Pleasence.

“Rob Zombie’s H2” (2009)
I wish to be a blogger who never uses the phase, “worse movie ever,” but I am seriously tempted to do so with this abomination. I’ll be straight and to the point. Having Michael Myers murder at the behest of visions of his dead mother’s ghost is a total rip off of the relationship that Norman Bates had with his mother, which had already been bootlegged to a degree by Jason and Mrs. Voorhees. I guess that Rob Zombie was just looking for any excuse to prominently showcase his wife. Also, the climax was a little too reminiscent of “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” by teasing the audience that Michael’s last living relative will take up his mantle. And I’m not really sure how to feel about the “Weird” Al Yankovic cameo. A tad better than Busta Rhymes I guess. I hope that this is not how the “Halloween” franchise ends. Maybe there can be a reboot that isn’t a remake of the original film?

Trick or Treat

American Dad! – 13 Favorites

American Dad! & Old Glory

*In order of airdate, not quality.

“Failure Is Not a Factory-Installed Option” 9/24/06
Stan loses his composure after being bested by a car salesman.

“Apocalypse to Remember” 3/27/07
Stan evacuates The Smith’s because he thinks the world has ended.

“Vacation Goo” 9/30/07
Francine wants The Smiths to bond while on a real vacation.

“Phantom of the Telethon” 11/30/08
Roger vows revenge when Stan steals his idea to raise money.

“Roy Rogers McFreely” 3/8/09
Roger irks Stan by taking over the home owners association.

“In Country…Club!” 9/27/09
Steve develops post traumatic stress disorder after a war reenactment.

“Rapture’s Delight” 12/13/09
Stan and Francine battle the anti-Christ in a post apocalyptic world.

“Return of the Bling” 2/21/10
Roger admits to steroid use while on the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

“Bully for Steve” 4/25/10
Stan becomes wimpy Steve’s bully to help toughen him up.

“Great Space Roaster” 5/16/10
Roger wants to be roasted on his birthday, then overreacts.

“Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls” 11/7/10
Stan’s haunted house gets overshadowed by Buckle’s on Halloween.

“There Will Be Bad Blood” 11/28/10
Stan becomes insanely jealous of his Native American half brother.

“Hurricane!” 10/2/11
The Smiths must band together to survive a bad storm.

The New Dead Trilogy

Zombies!!!

“Land of the Dead” (2005)
“Zombies, man, they creep me out.” George A. Romero brought back the dead in a big way with his most ambitious zombie endeavor. It’s very cool that this film was released by Universal Studios because it links Romero’s zombies with all of the classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein’s Creature, The Wolf Man, and The Mummy. What is ironic about this, is the original “Night of the Living Dead” was one of those landmark horror films, along with Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” that made the classic monsters somewhat passé in the 1960s. “Land of the Dead” was released in the summer of 2005 and had to compete at the box office with summer blockbusters like “Batman Begins” and Stephen Spielberg’s remake of “War of the Worlds,” starring Tom Cruise. Also, unlike previous installments, name actors were in the cast.

The setting is a city based on Romero’s native Pittsburgh. The privileged get to reside in a posh skyscraper, Fiddler’s Green, while all the commoners are stuffed in shanty towns and live off the scraps of the elite. Teams are dispatched to search for essential supplies in neighboring communities, which are deserted except for all the zombies. An armored truck, Dead Reckoning, which was also the working title of the film, is the chariot that protects these scavengers. Riley Denbo (Simon Baker) is leader of the unit. He could be described as humorless and is quite troubled by the sophisticated interactions between zombies he observed. Cholo DeMora (John Leguizamo), his second in command, was more impulsive and egotistical. Both characters have their own agendas. Riley wants to abandon the city and live off the land while Cholo hopes to earn his way into Fiddler’s Green by serving as a lackey to Mr. Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), who is the self anointed monarch of the Green. Both Riley and Cholo are deluding themselves and only delaying the inevitable.

Romero’s prior dead films each featured a strong African-American lead. Duane Jones, Ken Foree, and Terry Alexander. In this film, it was Eugene Clark as Big Daddy, a gas station attendant zombie who has matured enough to be fearful of the humans and show genuine concern for his fellow zombies, picking up where Bub had left off in “Day of the Dead.” Initially, he is the only zombie not to be entranced by the fireworks (or sky-flowers) fired as a distraction while the scavengers do their dirty work. Zombies in this film are referred to a few times as “walkers,” but mostly they were called “stenchers.” Big Daddy rallies his zombie compatriots and leads them on a gory path of destruction towards Fiddler’s Green. Along the way, he even teaches a few how to use weapons.

Riley is not allowed to leave the city, presumably under the orders of Kaufman, and is arrested along with Slack (Asia Argento), the eye-catching daughter of Dario Argento, producer of “Dawn of the Dead.” Meanwhile, Cholo is not permitted into the Green and goes renegade, hijacking Dead Reckoning and holding the Green for ransom. Kaufman does not negotiate with terrorists (a blatant jab at the George W. Bush administration) and strikes a deal with Riley to retrieve the truck and eliminate Cholo. Riley’s plan is to commandeer the truck, but not return to the city. Instead, he will head north with Slack and Charlie (Robert Joy), a marksman and a burn victim, who could easily be mistaken for a zombie at a glance.

Big Daddy and his tribe cross the river and converge on Fiddler’s Green. Obviously, the living dead are not coordinated enough to actually swim, so they sunk to the bottom and walked. Romero says on the DVD audio commentary that he didn’t include a shot of the zombies underwater because “Pirates of the Caribbean” had beat him to the punch with a similar shot. Riley recovers Dead Reckoning, but Cholo refuses to return to the Green until he is bitten by a zombie. Kaufman decides to bail with all of his money just as Big Daddy’s zombie wrecking crew breaches the Green. Cholo returns, in the final stages of becoming a zombie, and confronts Kaufman in a parking lot, where they both get blown to hell by Big Daddy. Riley finally arrives with Dead Reckoning, but many people have already been killed, so it seems like another “Night of the Living Dead” downer ending, but some residents are revealed to have survived and will rebuild what will hopefully be a better living arrangement than what they had endured under Kaufman’s tyranny. Riley allows Big Daddy and the other evolved zombies to depart unscathed. Dead Reckoning rides off into the sunrise, firing the last of the sky-flowers, which are now redundant.

Cameos to keep an eye out for… Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, the star and director of “Shaun of the Dead” as the photo booth zombies. Tom Savini, reprising his role from “Dawn of the Dead,” still armed with his machete, but now as a zombie in one of many rampage scenes. Alan van Sprang, who plays Brubaker, a solider, would make a cameo in “Diary of the Dead,” then play the lead in “Survival of the Dead.” This film would be the last in the original continuity as George Romero rebooted the series with “Diary of the Dead.”

“Diary of the Dead” (2007)
“Are we worth saving? You tell me?” George A. Romero goes back to the beginning of his zombie epidemic, which gets documented by student filmmakers (Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, and Shawn Roberts), who were in the process of shooting a horror movie of their own. Roberts had already played a different, smaller part in “Land of the Dead.” What makes this unique from all other “found footage” films is that these students were able to edit their footage before uploading it to the internet, so there is a narration and a soundtrack, something that was missing from “The Blair Witch Project,” “(REC),” and “Cloverfield.” Those films were meant to be the raw, unedited footage. The title of their documentary is “The Death of Death,” not “Diary of the Dead,” the actual title of the film.

These students are making a mummy movie. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I hold mummies in low regard as the lamest of monsters. They are sure to berate the actor portraying the mummy for running because dead people could not possible move that fast. A dig at Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later,” even though Boyle has always protested that those in his film infected with “rage” were not actually zombies, and Zack Snyder’s remake of “Dawn of the Dead,” which definitely had some ludicrously speedy zombies. I find most of the other film student dialogue to be a bit hokey. They just seem too self aware and poked fun at other horror movie conventions, which was something already done in Wes Craven’s “Scream” eleven years earlier. One similarity to “The Blair Witch Project” is that their director absolutely refuses to put the camera down no matter how much it maddens the entire group.

After the shit hits the fan, they arrive at a hospital that seems to have been deserted too quickly. This is suppose to be “Night of the Living Dead,” the start of the epidemic, but this hospital seems to already be in “Dawn of the Dead” territory, the time after society has already broken down. Greg Nicotero makes a cameo here as a surgeon zombie, then a nurse zombie gets her eyeballs melted by a defibrillator. Cool. Again, the director was chastised for filming the carnage, a commentary on us becoming a society of voyeurs, but this message had already been stressed in earlier found footage flicks. What I found fascinating was their professor (Scott Wentworth) explaining how effortless it was for a person to pull the trigger when in wartime.

Next, they meet a hearing impaired Amish farmer named Samuel (R.D. Reid). This guy was only around for a few minutes, but he might have stolen the show. I was bummed that he was killed so quickly. They then hold up temporarily with militants and watch a zombie get its cranium dissolved by acid. Yet another inventive way to waste a zombie. Boyd Banks cameos as a gunsmith. Banks had played a trucker in Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” remake and the butcher zombie in “Land of the Dead.” Their professor politely refuses a pistol and opts for a bow and arrow. Old school. Alan van Sprang also pops up as a jerk of a National Guardsman who raids their Winnebago of most supplies, leaving the students with only their weapons.

They finally arrive at the mansion which belongs to the parents of the cast member who had played the mummy. These students are nowhere near as savvy as Ben in “Night of the Living Dead” because they make no efforts to secure this residence. The mummy is keeping his family and staff, who are now all zombies, in an indoor swimming pool. He has also been bitten, turns, and a scene from their movie (“Untitled Mummy Project”) within their documentary (“The Death of Death”) within the actual movie (“Diary of the Dead”) was reenacted. Zombies eventually overrun this residence and the few survivors retreat to a panic room. The last video uploaded from the internet for their documentary features two rednecks using zombies for target practice. Just like in “Night of the Living Dead,” the film ends on rednecks who enjoy the zombie apocalypse far too much.

Cameos you can keep an ear out for… Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Craven, Guillermo Del Toro, and Simon Pegg all provided voiceovers as the news castors heard during montages. It’s hard to identify them, but I’m pretty sure I recognized Wes Craven and Simon Pegg. Shawn Roberts went on to appear in the “Resident Evil” films as the traitorous Albert Wesker, a character I went trick-or-treating as in junior high.

“Survival of the Dead” (2009)
“You’re dangerous, kid, but not as dangerous as me.” Alan van Sprang, who had played supporting roles in the two prior George A. Romero living dead films, was upgraded to the lead, sergeant to the troop of AWOL National Guardsmen who appeared briefly in “Diary of the Dead,” holding up the film students. Following “Sarge” are Chuck (Joris Jarsky), Francisco (Stefano DiMatteo), and Tomboy (Athena Karkanis). Tomboy was a lesbian, the first openly gay character in a Romero zombie flick. So, it’s the end of the world and the last hot chick does not like dudes. What a kick in the ass that must be for the gentlemen. Romero states on the DVD introduction that there is more humor in this film than in its predecessors, but it never went so far to be labeled as tongue-in-cheek.

On Plum Island, there are two feuding families, the O’Flynns and the Muldoons, who are the modern Hatfields and McCoys. They bicker about everything, including how to manage the zombie apocalypse. Patrick O’Flynn (Kenneth Welsh), patriarch of his clan, is pragmatic and has no aversion to shooting zombies in the head at the first chance he gets. His rival, Seamus Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick), actually believes that the living dead can be conditioned to feed on something other than human flesh. After all, those ghouls in “Night of the Living Dead” devoured insects. Muldoon wants to train them to be obedient like Dr. Logan successfully did with Bub in “Day of the Dead.” O’Flynn is exiled from Plum Island after Muldoon ceases control. Meanwhile, Sarge and the other AWOL National Guardsmen loot an armored vehicle and allow Boy (Devon Bostick) to join their merry band. They see an advert on the internet for Plum Island, produced by O’Flynn himself, and figure that Plum might be an ideal place to settle down with their newfound fortune.

O’Flynn and the Guardsmen travel to the island via ferry. While swimming to the ferry, Francisco is pawed at by zombies in the water and he actually bites one of them. Man bites zombie. Seems like a really brazen move, but by swallowing zombie blood, he is infected. Once on board the ferry, my favorite moment in the movie, Sarge uses a flare gun to ignite a zombie, then he lights his cigar with its burning carcass before kicking it overboard. I suppose you cannot be infected by smoking zombie cinders? They arrive at the island and Chuck is killed by one of Muldoon’s men. It is also revealed that O’Flynn has twin daughters, Jane and Janet (both played by Kathleen Munroe). Jane has become a zombie, but still rides her faithful horse. Okay, I begrudgingly accept that in Romero’s zombie movies of the new millennium, the dead can maneuver in water, but horseback riding? That’s quite a leap. Francisco confesses to Tomboy that he was infected, so she must reluctantly execute him, then she is take captive by Muldoon’s men.

Janet, O’Flynn’s still living daughter, is so naive and does not condone her father actions because she’s always believed that the vendetta between the families is pointless. Sarge, Boy, O’Flynn and his men, leave to rescue Tomboy and have a final showdown with the Muldoon clan, but they are all taken prisoner. Muldoon is keeping a bunch of zombies in his corral and hopes to get Jane to feed on her horse, proving that the zombies can be tamed. Janet arrives, believing that there is still humanity left in her sister and no harm could come to their horse. Janet is so damn naive that she takes her sister’s hand, only to get bitten. A shootout ensues and all the zombies are freed to become part of the melee. Eventually, Jane does take a bite out of her horse, but before Janet can tell anyone that Muldoon may have been right, she gets shot in the head by her own father.

Both O’Flynn and Muldoon die as result of gunshot wounds suffered in the fight. Other zombies, assumedly taking a cue from Jane, chow down on the horse. It’s actually more heartbreaking to see animals die in films than people. Sarge, Boy, and Tomboy depart Plum Island with the money they acquired earlier while O’Flynn and Muldoon are left to continue their rivalry as zombies. Frankly, neither the O’Flynns nor the Muldoons were a day at the beach. They were too stubborn and set in their ways to make surviving this calamity worthwhile. A theme dating back to “Day of the Dead” and continuing to this day with “The Walking Dead,” which is that the survivors of a catastrophe can be more of a headache than the actual catastrophe, which in this instance were zombies.

If one wants to take the fan fiction route and presume that Alan van Sprang’s character, Sarge, from “Diary of the Dead” and “Survival of the Dead” is Brubaker from “Land of the Dead,” then these three films are a trilogy onto themselves, but most likely, “Land” is a sequel to the original trilogy while “Diary” and “Survival” are the reboot franchise.

***

What does the future hold? Will the dead walk again? Only time will tell. As of 2012, George Romero stated in interviews that he hopes to continue making zombie films, but investors have been hard to come by. I suppose that’s because “Survival” was the least successful entry in the series. Whether the series has been laid to rest or not, George A. Romero can be proud of reinventing the concept behind zombies and crafting what we now consider to be the modern zombie. The “Resident Evil” video games turned movie franchise and the popular comic books turned hit TV show “The Walking Dead” would not exist without this innovative and inspiring filmmaker.

Legends of Wrestling: Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan

Long before he rose to prominence, “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan arrived in the WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation) in 1979. He dubbed himself “The Hulk” after the Marvel Comics character – without permission – and was given the surname “Hogan” by Vincent J. McMahon. Hogan was managed by “Classy” Freddy Blassie and competed in several matches against his greatest foe, “The Eighth Wonder of the World” Andre the Giant. Hogan was unceremoniously released from the promotion in 1981 when he was cast in the film “Rocky III” because Vincent J. McMahon did not want any of his wrestlers to double as actors. Hogan then moved on to Verne Gagne’s AWA (American Wrestling Association) where “Hulkamania” was born thanks in large to his appearance in “Rocky III.” Gagne – not unlike Vincent J. McMahon – was a wrestling traditionalist and reluctant to showcase Hogan as his World Heavyweight Champion. Hogan defeated reigning AWA Champion, Nick Bockwinkel, who was managed by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, on at least two occasions, but the decisions were reversed both times due to the behind the scenes financial disputes between Hogan and Gagne.

History was made when Vincent K. McMahon purchased his father’s promotion, which was now known as the WWF (World Wrestling Federation). Vince Jr. saw the potential which The Hulkster possessed and resigned him in late 1983. It did not take long for Hogan to reach the zenith as he defeated The Iron Sheik for the WWF Championship on January 23, 1984. Over the next several years, the WWF went from a mere regional promotion to a national promotion to a global phenomenon. This expansion was known as “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” and Hulk Hogan was its figurehead.

1985 was especially a landmark year for both Hulk Hogan and the WWF. First, Hogan defended his championship against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at MTV’s War to Settle the Score in a match that ended in a No Contest and setup the main event of WrestleMania. Hogan teamed with “Rocky III” costar Mr. T in a match against Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. Boxing legend Muhammed Ali was the guest enforcer. Both these events were held at Madison Square Garden. Hogan and Mr. T were victorious at WrestleMania, but the rivalry between The Hulkster and The Hot Rod continued. They squared off one more time at The Wrestling Classic and Hogan retained his title by DQ.

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan had also made the jump from the AWA to the WWF and sought to bring an end to Hulkamania. Almost every member of “The Heenan Family” would challenge Hogan for the his title at some point. King Kong Bundy lost to Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania II in Los Angeles, a Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship, but Heenan scored a coup when he convinced Andre the Giant, who had become a friend and mentor to Hulk Hogan in recent years, to join The Heenan Family and turn his back on The Hulkster and his fans. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant for the WWF Championship in the main event of WrestleMania III was the absolute biggest match in pro wrestling history. Over ninety three thousand (alleged) fans set an indoor attendance record in Pontiac, Michigan’s Silverdome to witness this epic clash of titans. Hogan was the underdog for the first time ever, but he pulled off the upset win with the body slam heard around the world and his signature atomic leg-drop. The torched had officially been passed.

Later in 1987, on Saturday Night’s Main Event, Hulk Hogan came to the aid of “Macho Man” Randy Savage at the behest of Savage’s valet, the lovely Miss Elizabeth. This new alliance was dubbed “The Mega Powers.” In 1988, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase offered to buy the WWF Championship from Hulk Hogan, who flatly refused. DiBiase then recruited Andre the Giant to win the title on his behalf, which he did on The Main Event. Andre was not permitted to relinquish the belt to DiBiase and the title was declared vacant. Hogan and Andre squared off again at WrestleMania IV in Trump Plaza, but this rematch is less heralded because it ended in a double DQ. Randy Savage defeated Ted DiBiase that same night for the WWF Championship. The Mega Powers bested the duo of Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant at the inaugural SummerSlam. Jesse “The Body” Ventura was the guest referee in that match.

The Mega Powers eventually exploded as a result of Hulk Hogan’s grandstanding and Randy Savage’s manic paranoia. Hulk won the WWF Championship for a second time by defeating The Macho Man in the main event of WrestleMania V, also held in Trump Plaza. Hogan then spent the latter part of 1989 feuding with Zeus, his co-star from the film, “No Holds Barred.” At the 1990 Royal Rumble, The Hulkster crossed paths with The Ultimate Warrior, reigning WWF Intercontinental Champion. The main event was soon announced for WrestleMania VI in Toronto. Hulk Hogan vs. The Warrior, title for title. The ultimate challenge was unique with two fan favorites battling each other. The Skydome jinx established itself and The Warrior won the title, but Hogan was gracious in defeat. Hulk then filmed “Suburban Commando” while recovering from the injuries he suffered at the hands of Earthquake.

The Hulkster returned and won his second consecutive Royal Rumble in 1991, then he won his unprecedented third WWF Championship at WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles from Sgt. Slaughter, who was an Iraqi sympathizer during the Gulf War. Hogan lost the title to The Undertaker at Survivor Series 1991, then was announced to compete against “Nature Boy” Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII in Indianapolis, but his opponent ended up being Sid Justice instead. The Hulkster won that match via DQ with some help from The Ultimate Warrior, then apparently retired from the WWF. He made his return one year later and competed twice at WrestleMania IX in Las Vegas. First, in the WWF Tag Team Championship match, then he defeated Yokozuna for the WWF Championship in an impromptu match. Hulk Hogan’s new record of five title reigns would last for eight years.

Shockingly, “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan made the jump to Ted Turner’s WCW (World Championship Wrestling) in 1994 and won the WCW Championship from Ric Flair at Bash at the Beach. “Macho Man” Randy Savage also made the jump and he and Hogan reformed their partnership. A Steel Cage Match between Hogan and Big Van Vader at Bash at the Beach 1995 was showcased on an episode of the hit TV series, Baywatch. WCW fans were nowhere near as receptive of Hulkamania as WWF fans were because of The Hulkster’s tired catchphrases and the corny matches he competed in, such as a Monster Truck Battle with The Giant (a/k/a The Big Show) at Halloween Havoc 1995. Hulk decided to shake the wrestling world to its foundation by joining The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) at Bash at Beach 1996 to found the nWo (New World Order). His signature colors changed from red and yellow to black and white. The nWo dominated WCW for the next two years and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, as he was now dubbed, did whatever was necessary to hang onto his title, aligning with Eric Bischoff, the executive producer of the company. The nWo even hosted their own pay-per-view in 1997 called Souled Out. Two major loses suffered by Hollywood Hogan during this time period were to Sting at Starcade 1997 and to Goldberg on Monday Nitro in the summer of 1998.

After a cage match between Hollywood Hogan and Randy Savage at Uncensored 1998, the nWo splintered into two different factions, nWo Hollywood and The Wolfpack. The nWo reunited in early 1999 to knock Goldberg of his pedicel, but the fans had begun to lose interest in this renegade stable. In the summer of that year, Hulkamania walked back into our lives as Hulk Hogan again donned the red and yellow for a six man tag team match on Nitro. This “second coming” was short lived however since WCW fell into financial turmoil in 2000, during the “New Blood” angle where Hogan was relegated to a feud with Billy Kidman of all people, then Hogan was publicly fired by writer Vince Russo at Bash at Beach 2000. WCW was bought out by Vince McMahon in 2001.

The three founding members of the nWo returned to the WWF at No Way Out 2002, but despite of their heels tactics, “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan was rooted for in his loss to The Rock at WrestleMania XVIII in Toronto. Hogan was booted from the nWo after the match, but Hulkamania was still running wild. Hulk won the WWF Championship for a sixth, and thus far final time, from Triple H at Backlash 2002. The name of the title was then changed to the WWE Championship since the company was now World Wrestling Entertainment. Hulk was again defeated by The Undertaker at Judgment Day 2002, then after a brief reign as WWE Tag Team Champions with Edge, The Hulkster was put out of action by Brock Lesnar. Hulk Hogan returned in 2003 and defeated Mr. McMahon in a Street Fight at WrestleMania XIX in Seattle. He has not competed at a WrestleMania since, but did appear at WrestleMania XXI in Los Angeles, the night after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, Class of 2005. The WWE Universe was clamoring for one more match. Hogan answered the call, defeating Shawn Michaels as SummerSlam 2005 in a “Legend vs. Icon” match. Hulk made just a few sporadic appearances in the WWE over the next several years.

Once again, “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan made waves by joining TNA (Total Non-Stop Action) Wrestling in 2010, not as an active wrestler, but as an executive, though he did compete in a tag team match on Impact to help bring attention to this small promotion. At Bound for Glory 2010, Hulk and Eric Bischoff formed a group called “Immortal,” which had Jeff Hardy as its figurehead. They tried to recreate the fervor of the nWo, but lost a great deal of momentum due to Jeff Hardy’s personal “demons.” Hogan stepped back into the ring at Bound for Glory 2011 to square off with “The Icon” Sting. Sting was victorious, but more importantly, helped Hulk see the light and Hulk left Immortal immediately following their match. After that, Hogan was a strict General Manager in TNA, being tormented for most of 2013 by “Aces & Eights,” a rogue gang led by Bully Ray (a/k/a Bubba Ray Dudley).

Hulkamania will undoubtedly live forever and the red and yellow is going to be running wild in the WWE once again as The Hulkster is returning as the host of WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans.

The Dead Trilogy

Zombies!!!

Article has been reposted at…

http://threeguysand.com/2016/03/19/the-living-dead-trilogy/

The Blade Trilogy

Read at threeguysand.com

THE BLADE TRILOGY