Tread Perilously — Arrow: The Huntress Returns

tp1400-1Tread Perilously makes its way to Starling City for a visit with Arrow and the Huntress.

While Oliver Queen is still getting used to dating a police officer, the Huntress returns to kill her mob boss father once and for all. Meanwhile, Thea tries to prop up the most useless man in the DC Universe: Roy Harper. Tommy Merlyn (aka, The Worst) grouses about keeping Ollie’s secret from Laurel (also The Worst). Laurel attempts to get her father listen to her mother’s belief that Sarah is still alive. And back on Lian Yu, Slade and Ollie plan to take out a missile installation.

Erik and Justin immediately get lost in their enthusiasm for DC Comics. Erik welcomes dissenting opinions on his belief that Roy Harper is useless. Justin reveals his Jim Lee/Brian Azzarello sketch. He also revels in his love of Slade Wilson and actor Manu Bennett. Roy’s parkour skills get scrutinized. Justin considers the caliber of actor worthy to portray Amanda Waller. Erik laughs through every scene featuring Tommy and both discuss how far The CW’s DC Universe has come in five years.

Erik also makes a prediction regarding Prometheus’ identity.

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A Now Fear This Roundup

I’m planning to spend most of this week drinking, and frankly, that gets in the way of long, rambling, and expletive-filled reviews.  Fortunately, in the seven years Now Fear This has been alive and well, I’ve written a lot of long, rambling, and expletive-filled reviews.  So this Thanksgiving, if you’re looking for something terrifying to watch that maybe you haven’t heard of, browse through this list of (mostly) horror gems.

angel_heart28 Weeks Later: A lesser film than its predecessor, though it still has plenty to recommend it.

All Cheerleaders Die: A funny and strange take on zombie love.

Angel Heart: A better film than its notorious reputation suggests.

Attack the Block: Aliens attack a London slum, and it’s up to an embryonic street gang to save the day.

The Bay: The ‘80s meets the ‘10s in this disturbing found footage gem.

Bad Milo!: A touching horror comedy featuring a butt monster.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon: A mockumentary on the making of a supernatural serial killer in the tradition of Jason, Freddy, and Michael.

Bone Tomahawk: A great horror-western.

Breakdown: Kurt Russell vs. JT Walsh.  Nuff said.

The Brood: Having kids never seemed so fun and easy in this Cronenberg classic!

bubba_ho-tep_posterBrotherhood of the Wolf: Possibly the finest horror romance period piece kung fu action flick ever made.

Bubba Ho-Tep: Elvis and JFK fight a mummy in a Texas rest home.

Cast a Deadly Spell: Los Angeles, 1948. Everyone uses magic.

Cellular: A fun thriller featuring Captain America and the Transporter.

Centurion: Extremely sexy people battle it out in Iron Age Scotland.

Changeling: A baroque docudrama about the nature of corruption.

The Changeling: A truly creepy and atmospheric ghost story.

Chillerama: Highly offensive and extremely funny horror comedy anthology.

The Company of Wolves: Neil Jordan’s fairy tale phantasmagoria that’s probably his way of dealing with sexual abuse.

Cube: Six people trapped in the world’s strangest prison.

Death MachineDark City: Director’s Cut: A new edit transforms a good film into a great one.

Dawn of the Dead: Zach Snyder’s best film.

Death Machine: What we thought the future would be in the ‘90s.

Deep Rising: A creature feature in the tradition of the best b-movies.

The Descent: A modern classic of survival horror so scary it barely even needs its monsters.

Dick: A comedy about Dick (Nixon).

Dog Soldiers: Werewolves hunt British soldiers through the Scottish highlands.

Doomsday: Neil Marshall plays Mad Libs with every ‘80s movie ever.

Drop Dead Gorgeous: A pitch black comedy finally getting its cult due.

Feast: A postmodern creature feature.

Fido: The story of a utopia or dystopia. Or zomtopia.

Frailty: A creepy Southern Gothic tale about God.

From-the-Dark-2014-movie-posterFreddy vs. Jason: Two horror icons duke it out.

From the Dark: A simple horror story in the dark.

The Ghost and the Darkness: Building a bridge is tough when you’re dealing with two of the worst serial killers in history who also happen to be lions.

The Gift: A creepy Southern Gothic gem from the minds of Sam Raimi and Billy Bob Thornton.

Ginger Snaps: Lycanthrophy serves as a metaphor for puberty for a pair of gothy Irish twins.

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed: A symbol-happy sequel with a stunning twist.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch: The anarchic sequel/parody of the horror blockbuster.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: So much better than it looks.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II: An underrated sequel ramps up the worldbuilding.

High Tension: A French extremism homage to classic horror of the ‘70s

220px-hitchermovieposterThe Hitcher: A stark cat-and-mouse story in the unforgiving desert.

The House of the Devil: An ‘80s homage so loving it’s a wonder I didn’t dream it.

The Innkeepers: A slow and moody film that accurately captures the realities of the workplace.

Ironclad: A group of badasses defend a castle.

Insidious: An eerie gore-free ghost story from the guys behind Saw.

Insidious Chapter 2: An effective sequel to a true horror gem.

Joe Versus the Volcano: A sweet romantic fantasy about the importance of dreaming big.

Josie and the Pussycats: A fun musical comedy.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space: A cable mainstay with great creature FX.

220px-may_28movie_poster29Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau: A great documentary about a terrible film.

May: An indie dramedy gone horribly awry.

The Midnight Meat Train: A solid Clive Barker adaptation.

The Missing: An Apache sorcerer kidnaps a girl to sell her into slavery, Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones to the rescue.

The Mist: Though adapted from a Stephen King novella, this is one of the best Lovecraft movies ever made.

Mute Witness: Hitchcockian yarn about a mute girl targeted for death by Russian snuff film makers.

My Boyfriend’s Back: It’s a one joke picture, but you gotta admit the joke is pretty funny.

Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut: A curiosity becomes a classic.

Outlander: Alien Jesus + Vikings vs. Dragon.

Pontypool: A truly original take on zombies.

220px-pumpkinheadPredators: Basically an episode of Deadliest Warrior with fucking Predators.

Pumpkinhead: A Stan Winston film.

The Purge: Anarchy: A sequel that finally fulfills the squandered promise of the original.

Rare Exports: A truly original Christmas horror film.

Ravenous: You are who you eat.

Raze: A bone-crunching exploitation riff on the male gaze.

The Sacrament: A disturbing fictionalized account of Jonestown.

Series 7: The Contenders: An early satire of reality television.

Session 9: This whole goddamn movie is haunted.

Splice: Why you should never use metaphor with your mutant.

220px-stirofechoesposterStake Land: A survival horror movie with indie cred.

Stir of Echoes: An underrated ghost story.

The Strangers: Lock the doors, bar the windows. Doesn’t matter. They’re already in the house.

Streets of Fire: A rock and roll fable.

The Stuff: Are you eating it, or is it eating you?

Teeth: A young woman makes friends with her mutation. Say cheese!

Them!: ‘50s atomic horror classic about giant ants.

The Thin Blue Line: An Errol Morris classic that doubles as a terrifying horror story.

Trollhunter: The best found footage movie ever made.

the_witch_posterTucker & Dale vs. Evil: Ingenious hicksploitation parody that gives us The Texas Chain Saw Massacre from Leatherface’s point of view.

What We Do in the Shadows: A hilarious mockumentary about vampires.

The Witch: A primary sourced horror tale.

You’re Next: An inversion of the classic home invasion horror thriller.

Enjoy your terror!

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Tread Perilously — Star Trek TNG: Sub Rosa

tp1400-1Tread Perilously boards the Enterprise bound for Space Scotland for an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Sub Rosa.”

On the occasion of her grandmother’s death, Dr. Beverly Crusher visits Space Scotland where the weather modification system is on the blink and Dr. Crusher encounters a strange young man. Her grandmother’s journals also make reference to a young man named Ronin — note the spelling — who brought her great pleasure. Now, he has his sights on Bev, the latest member of Clan Howard that he hopes to seduce.

But what does all of this has to do with the sudden appearance of fog on the bridge of the Enterprise?

Erik and Justin trot out their terrible Scottish accents and consider how difficult it is to place a Gothic romance (or is it horror) into the 24th Century of Star Trek. Erik reveals his ambivalence toward Rogue One: A Star Wars Story while Justin praises it. Erik declares that official Star Trek cannot do eroticism (even if Star Trek fans can) and Justin lodges a complaint against the term “lover.” Both also want Deanna Troi to get a better job.

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A Bad Movie Roundup

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  If you’re anything like me, you love terrible films.  In the bad movie club to which I belong, Yakmala, we’ve watched a lot of truly awful crimes against good taste.  Here are some reviews to keep you nice and warm and maybe pick an enjoyably bad flick to work off that Christmas/New Year hangover.

after_earth_poster1After Earth: Charisma is real. Nepotism is a choice.

After Last Season: *stunned silence*

Alex Cross: Alex Cross is here to promote family values and kick ass. And he’s all out of family.

Ator, the Fighting Eagle:A baby bear was destined to help him marry his sister

The Avengers: Mmm… quite.

Barbarian Queen: Pretty much everyone is going to touch whatever they want

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000: Prepare to go for the exits

Battle of the Year: Maybe one guy is watching, and not for the reasons you’d hope.

The Beaver: He’s the last nail in the coffin of Mel Gibson’s career.

Blood Freak: A Dracula on Thanksgiving!

220px-breakin2Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo: My community center is being torn down to make a shopping mall. I dance for pennies on the street, and spend all of it on day-glo rags and leather gloves. I have no health insurance and have to go to a hospital staffed entirely by strippers. I am the 99%.

Bride of the Monster: Lugosi was paid in morphine. Cheap morphine.

Catwoman: Catch her in a giant cardboard box.

The Cocaine Fiends: The white dust from Walgreens!

Color of Night: One Killer, and No, She Didn’t Gnaw Her Victims to Death With Her Giant Horse Teeth.

The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course: Crappy!

Deathstalker: The Grease of the Pecs… the Creepiness of Everyone…

Delinquent Daughters: YOUTH RUNNING MILD! UNSEEN…UNLIT!

220px-dreamcatcherposterDevil: Bad things happen because The Sixth Sense made a lot of money.

Diamond Ninja Force: His mustache demanded vengeance…

Double Down: The Bourne Incomprehensibility

Dreamcatcher: Evil Slips Through… Your Bunghole

Escape from Galaxy 3: In space, no one can hear you moan.

Exterminator City: We’re kind of hoping you mix this up with Terminator.

Fantastic Four: Beyond darkness… beyond fear… lies more darkness and some tedium.

Fateful Findings: I’ve been hacking into the most secret government and corporate secrets.

Fireproof: Women Are People Too, Just a Lesser Version

fateful-findings-film-coverFlashdance: Take your passion, and 33% of you will make it happen!

From Justin to Kelly: The embarrassing contractual obligations of two American Idols

Glen or Glenda: The ordinary case of a man who changed his CLOTHES!

Gor: Gor! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Gymkata: The skill of gymnastics, the kill of karate, the thrill of lawn care.

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle: …is the hand that punches Rebecca De Mornay in the face

The Human Centipede (First Sequence): 100% medically accurate. In Germany.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: Rise and farm

Jaws: The Revenge: This time it’s nonsensical.

Judge Dredd: The team up only 1995 could give us: Stallone and Schneider!

513n7O1fLDL._SY445_Kindergarten Ninja: I can think of two things wrong with that title.

Man of Steel: In the grim darkness of the present, there is only angst.

“Manos” The Hands of Fate: I’m the Master, and I Approved This Message!

The Man Who Saves the World: The Scarecrow was only half right.

Miami Connection: Tae Kwon! Tae Kwon! Tae Kwon Do!

Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?: Row for your life, Tori Spelling!

Next: Nicolas Cage owes the government millions of dollars. Let’s see what he’ll do now.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge: Someone is coming on Elm Street’s back!

Ninja III: The Domination: He’s a hopelessly lost psychopath, she just happened to be nearby.

972451ninja-iii-the-domination-postersNinja Thunderbolt: We’re not racist, but…

No Holds Barred: No Shirt. No Shoes. No Homo.

North: A family comedy that makes you wonder why you have a family at all.

Omoo-Omoo the Shark God: Terrible Acting! Baffling Camerawork!

Paparazzi: Bo knows homicide

Passion Play: Thank goodness, helpful Indians!

Perfect Stranger: How Long Can You Stay Awake Watching People Chat Online?

Pink Force Commando: Holy. Living. Fuck.

Plan 9 from Outer Space: Who Did What To the Who Now?

Prometheus: Seventeen idiots shot into space. No way this goes bad.

Quigley: Dog backwards is God. So this is high concept stuff.

poster_of_revenge_of_the_red_baron1Revenge of the Red Baron: It’s Never Over

Samurai Cop: He’s here to chew bubblegum and disrespect Japanese culture… and he’s all out of bubblegum.

Sex Madness: Keep that dick holstered, cowboy. There are laws in this town.

The Spirit: What are you, dense? Are you retarded or something? I’m the goddamn Spirit!

Starcrash: A long time ago in a galaxy free of litigation…

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones: A Jedi Shall Not Know Anger. Nor Emotion. Nor Acting Lessons.

Stealth: Fear the Vag

Steel: Man. Basketball. Food. Hammer. Noun.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li: Some fight for real estate. Some fight for pianos.

superman_ivStreet Trash: Um… so… that happened…

Sucker Punch: You Will Be Unprepared (As With Most Rape)

Superman III: Superman vs. dignity!

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Superman’s sick, son. We’re just going to have to take him out behind the barn.

Swimfan: Wanna pretend that never happened?

Tiptoes: Midgets, Midgets Everywhere!

Troll 2: The original boogeyman called in sick, so we dressed some midgets in sacks

Tuff Turf: Meet Morgan Hiller. He just wants his bike back.

Twilight: What’s a little pedophilia between friends?

vampire-raiders-ninja-queenThe Twilight Saga: New Moon: Necrophilia or Bestiality: One Girl’s Sexy Choice

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: Two men must choose: an unattractive girl or hot, hot gay sex.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: Forever is only the beginning

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2: The epic finale that seems to last forever

Vampire Dentist: You Maniacs! You Did It! You [made Vampire Dentist]! AH, DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

The Vampire Raiders: It’s Ninja vs. Vampire for Control of the Home Owners Association!

Warrior of the Lost World: Only one rider can destroy the Omega Force… and this isn’t him.

The Warrior and the Sorceress: An age of fat guys and grunting lizards… of shin-kicks and inconvenience.

Winter’s Tale: This is not a true story. True stories generally make a lick of sense.

Yor, the Hunter from the Future: He’s the man.

There you have it!  A bevy of bad for a (really) long weekend!

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Tread Perilously — Special Review Unit: Faith

tpsrvFor the last Tread Perilously of 2016, we reopen the case files of the Special Review Unit for an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent called “Faith.” A seemingly apt title.

Det. Robert Goren and Det. Alex Eames investigate the murder of a man helping Erica Windermere, a young author hiding from her dope gang parents. She’s written a book, Through The Darkness, about her struggles with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and her early abuse by her drug gang parents. Erica’s editor can only offer her email address as contact information. And when Erica responds to Eames’ email, Goren asks a most important question: “How has your disease affected your menstruation?” From her answer, he comes to believe that she does not exist.

Executive ADA Louis Allred joins the Special Review Unit once again as Justin meets Det. Goren for the first time. He also learns about the new La Croix Sparkling Water rule for white people. The SRU ends up talking about Taylor Swift. Several respirators are purchased. Doctor What appears to refill a drink and the discussion wanders into another look at Gone Girl. Also, Justin declares that Vincent D’Onofrio is a bad actor, Michael Nouri gets a name check, and Erik’s D’Onofrio impression lapses into William Shatner.

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Yakmala: Jaws: The Revenge

jaws_the_revenge

Hi, I’m a shark!

The original Jaws is a better movie than Mother Theresa is a person. That’s either the most or least controversial thing I’ve ever said, depending on who you are, but I’ll stand by it. The sequels, though, range from pointless to a garbage fire in an open sewer filled with skunks who all have exploding bowel syndrome. Let’s talk about the bowel explodiest of all the franchise with Jaws: The Revenge, shall we?

Tagline: This time it’s personal.

More Accurate Tagline: This time it’s nonsensical.

Guilty Party: Whatever dead-eyed mid-level executive who, like a shark, could smell the few droplets of blood clinging to the franchise and decided to wring that shit out over the baby birds’ nest of the American viewing public.

Synopsis: Roy Scheider had enough sense to call it quits after the first two movies, so Chief Brody is dead. His wife, Ellen (Lorraine Gary in her final role) still lives on Amity Island with her son Sean, who has become a cop like his dad. She’s also convinced that, despite the fact that Chief Brody died of a heart attack, the shark got him. With those kinds of critical thinking skills, I’m thinking Ellen’s later life is filled with a lot of reposting Breitbart articles on Facebook.

Sean gets eaten by a shark, because at this pint, there’s a shark mafia with a hit out on the Brody family. The other son, Michael (Lance Guest, a.k.a. The Last Starfighter), now a marine biologist in the Bahamas, returns for the funeral and convinces Ellen to spend Christmas with him and his family. He points out that the water in the Bahamas is too warm for great whites, which ironically marks the one time this series said anything accurate about sharks.

But, you know, this is a Jaws movie, and it would be perverse if the next hour was devoted to, say, counting snails and watching the elderly date. Which is why that’s exactly the plot of the next hour of the movie. Yep, Ellen starts romancing local pilot Hoagie (Michael Caine), who is also a degenerate gambler and is heavily implied to be a cocaine smuggler. Which… seriously, movie? Also, Michael and his partner Jake (Mario van Peebles) count conchs for their graduate work. It’s riveting stuff.

Then, finally, the goddamn shark shows up. Jake is psyched because fuck snails. He wants to study the giant monster shark who shouldn’t even be living there. Michael agrees, but doesn’t want Ellen to find out the shark literally stalked her on vacation. That’d be super awkward if they ran into each other at a social gathering, though, right?

…which is exactly what happens. The shark shows up at a big beach party and eats a lady. Then Michael has to come clean that oh, yeah, there’s totally a monster shark in the water. Uh, Merry Christmas, mom?

Ellen predictably freaks out, steals Jake’s boat, and decides to fight the shark. Somehow. I really don’t know what she has planned here. Michael and Jake pile into Hoagie’s plane to find her, and when they do, Hoagie radios in for a rescue, then crashes the plane in the water.

All three of them manage to make the short swim onto the boat (despite the killer shark in the water), and have to MacGyver together a solution. This involves using strobe lights to make the shark jump out of the water, and then Lorraine spears it through the neck with the bowsprit. Yay! Christmas is saved!

Life-Changing Subtext: Wildlife is at the core of most marital and health problems.

Defining Quote: Michael: “I’ve always wanted to make love to an angry welder.”

Gonna leave that one delightfully free of context.

Standout Performance: The shark is incredible. Somehow managing to look worse than the famously phony shark puppet in the first movie, this thing wobbles through the water on a clearly visible rail, and looks like the kind of great white whose chromosomes are only working about half the time. But that’s not the best part. The best part is this fucking thing can roar like a lion. Underwater.

What’s Wrong: Okay, you know how every Jaws movie ends? The shark gets killed. Despite this, Ellen Brody is somehow convinced that the same shark has been hunting her family. How is this even possible? The writer of the novelization figured this out and attempted to patch the plot hole.

…by making a voodoo priest mad at Michael and cursing him with a shark. Yeah. That’s a thing that happened. Somehow it never made it to the screen. We’re clearly not meant to be happy.

Also, avoiding sharks might be the easiest thing ever. I’m doing it right now and I’m not even trying.

Flash of Competence: A couple times the movie shows scenes from the original, in an effort to capture that magic. Those flashbacks are competent. Everything else, not so much.

Best Scenes: There’s no easy way to put this, so I’ll come right out and say it: Ellen Brody is an X-Man. She has a psychic connection to the shark. Yep, she can sense the monster like it’s her long-lost sister on Endor or something. Maybe that’s why she stole the boat in the final bit. She was looking for a tearful reunion before facing Darth Vader together.

She also has a flashback to when Chief Brody killed the shark (you know, the one she thinks she’s fighting now) in the first movie. Remember how Ellen was there? No, you don’t, because Brody was alone on a sinking ship at the time. So yeah, Ellen Brody is an X-Man.

My favorite thread in the movie might be the fact that whatever the shark bites, or wherever it goes, there’s blood in the water. There’s blood before it attacks anyone. After biting a plank of wood on the side of a boat, there’s blood everywhere like someone sacrificed a fatted calf. The only way this makes sense is if the shark is Bleeding Gums Murphy.

Transcendent Moment: In one cut of the movie, the shark explodes, marking the exact moment Michael Bay sprang into existence like Athena from the head of Zeus.

jawani2

See?

Jaws: The Revenge is a classic of bad cinema for a reason. Just don’t let it ruin the excellent first movie for you.

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Tread Perilously — The Star Wars Holiday Special

tp1400-1Television’s darkest, most misguided program becomes Tread Perilously’s Christmas special as we watch The Star Wars Holiday Special.

While Han and Chewie try to get to Kashyyyk for Life Day, Chewie’s wife Mala tries to make Bantha Rump, his grandfather Itchy beats off to Diahann Carroll and his son Lumpy watches a Star Wars cartoon pilot. Meanwhile, Darth Vader orders every household in the system to be searched for Rebel spies, and Art Carney raids another holiday special with his own brand of merriment. Bea Arthur sings “Goodnight, But Not Goodbye” and Harvey Korman kills comedy forever.

Erik praises Harrison Ford’s dedication to his character — even in this — and Bea Arthur’s performance. Justin uncovers horrors of the 1970s and ponders Itchy’s obsession with human women. He also denies that he is the Kwisatz Haderach. Period commercials are discussed as both discover unions could once afford airtime. The pair also meet Tobor the Robot and discover Whirpool knew about the world to come 38 years ago. Justin wants a stuffed Bantha for Christmas and leans the secret to braising is “Stir, whip, stir whip; whip, whip, stir.”

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