Tag Archives: Hatchet III

BLOG: YTC Episode XXXII: Dial Z for Zach

Follow me on Twitter: @You_Total_Cult.

The YTC podcast can be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/

FINAL.2.2

Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell. Zach Quinto from the recent Star Trek. Zack Ryder, former Bro-ski. Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover. Zack something or other from Zack and Miri Make A Porno. All of these men are but imitators to the one, true Zack/Zach of today’s piece, Zach Galligan!

 

Watch out for the Zack Attack!

Wait, who?!

Does the name ring a slight bell in the back of your head? Well, me too. In fact I sat through all of Hatchet III thinking ‘who is playing that Sheriff?’

 

My curiosity was sated once I saw the the End Credits. Why, it was Zach Galligan, both a familiar face and a familiar name. One noun will probably erase any nagging- itch on some of your minds as to who Zach Galligan is.

Gremins.

So.... you like any Mogwai albums?
So…. you like any Mogwai albums?

Any one who grew up with the demented joy of Joe Dante’s Gremlins (and massively underrated sequel–  will know of Mr. Galligan. He played the frizzy-haired young adult, Billy.

Billy was the lead human in the movie who should have listened to his father’s instructions a little more clearly. After the monumental success of Gremlins, and to a lesser degree it follow up, it seemed as though Mr Galligan had sadlydropped off of the Hollywood radar. Yet he did not drop off of the Cult radar thanks to two little low budget horror films, Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time!

Both films feature Zach playing the role of Mark, a wealthy socialite who feels there is more to life than being a snob. Despite being a Millionaire, Mark attends a local high school for reasons never explained. Maybe they just had a really strong Open Evening one year. He attends school with his girlfriend, the blue collar Sarah. Of course no 1980’s American high school would be complete with a Jock, a tramp and a Wacky best friend, all of whom are peripheral characters to Mark’s lead.

In fact none of these supporting roles are really worth naming, although I will note that his Best Friend is played by Twin Peaks actor Dana ‘Bobby Briggs’ Ashbrook, and the slutty character is named China. Not Chyna the former wrestler or 80’s Action Kung-Fu character China O’Brian, just regular old China. Actress Michelle Johnson is perfectly average as China, but now that entire role seems very disappointing given those two alternative casting options…

At any rate, of course a film named Waxwork would not be complete without waxworks. In this case, killer waxworks. And naturally, any killer Waxwork exhibits just would not have the same presence without a brutish giant, a German midget and David Warner. So it’s a damn good thing that in this film David Warner runs the local Waxwork Museum with a German midget and a brutish giant!

Willy Warner had no Golden Tickets to spare.

Film fans may well recall David Warner from his well known turns as a bad guy in Titanic, Time After Time, Tron or Time Bandits. In fact if it is a film beginning with ‘T’ and David Warner crops up then place your bets on him being pure evil.

In Waxwork, Warner is using pieces of ‘History’s Most Evil 20 Killers!’ (that somehow include a Werewolf and the Maquis De Sade, but ignore Dictators) that Warner has mixed into his Wax figurines. All he needs is 20 victims to be killed, one per exhibit, to bring about more evil. Given his goal is to use evil to cause more evil, I can only imagine that ‘Evil’ is pretty addictive. Like Pringles.

evil pringle

Standing opposed to Warner is a cinematic icon of slightly lesser value; Patrick Macnee of TV’s The Avengers and an Oasis video. Hamming it up a plenty, Macnee plays Sir Wilfred, a wealthy relative of Zach Galligan’s Mark.

David Cameron???
David Cameron???

Sir Wilfred is a part of a sort of supernatural vigilante squad who have been on the lookout for Warner and his evil ways. Now with an end game in sight, they decide to fight once and for all. Incidentally the rest of Macnee’s squad seems to be made up of pensioner aged British folks who brandish pitchforks and torches. Apparently nobody fights evil like the British country-folk!

"I hope that's Shepard's Pie in my knickers"
“I hope that’s Shepard’s Pie in my knickers”

Aside from the somewhat loopy premise and genre casting, Waxwork remains a fairly fun watch. The main reason for this is it clearly made by horror-film fans. The set up of possessed Waxwork models allows for throwbacks to all manner of other films. Once a victim is lured into ‘the display piece’ of the Wax figures, the victims are then transported to another dimension where the exhibits are real.

This allows for the film to feature a Werewolf in a cabin scene starring Jonathan Rhys Davis, who would go on to do a bit better in the Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings series, a gothic Dracula scene set in a castle and even a Night Of The Living Dead scene shot in black and white!

 

Bad Dates.

Throughout Waxwork these cinematic allusions populate the film. Amongst the more obvious are references to a Mummy’s Curse, The Invisible Man, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (mixed with Little Shop of Horrors), The Phantom Of The Opera, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, a Golem and even a little Evil Dead 2. There are undoubtedly many more past films and books paid homage to, but for a low budget flick like Waxwork that is still an impressive number to shoehorn in.

The real ‘horror’ of the film though is its depiction of Sarah. Her scenes set in the Marquis De Sade’s realm are… questionably chauvinistic… or defiantly feminist, depending on how you view them. Sarah’s pleasure at her own kidnapping and torture is either down to badly written female roles or is displaying a greater sexual complexity than is often depicted in films by presenting Sarah as dominantly knowing that she likes to be dominated in painful ways.

Personally, I’m leading more towards the former since unfortunately Sarah really has no character to speak of throughout the film, but she suddenly sure does seem to love a whippin’!

 

Crack that whip!

The film as a whole has a strangely-off pace. Scenes like the vampire sequence seem to drag on quite slowly, whilst the Werewolf attack and the end fight are much quicker experiences. Despite any pacing issues though, the cast give the film a camp sense of glee that keep it watchable. Warner and Macnee come across as lower rent versions of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and the man of the hour Zach Galligan seems to relish going over the top in certain line deliveries.

However, no mention of Waxwork would be fair without a moment dedicated to… WAXWORK II: Lost in Time!

 

These two films actually play surprisingly well together, no doubt owing to some shared cast and the same Writer-Director, Anthony ‘Hellraiser III’ Hickox. Once again Zach Galligan returned to the role of Mark, and once more he seems to enjoy unfurling some manic energy at the ludicrous dialogue.

“I mustache you a question!”

From a plot sense, the twist this time around is that the Waxworks are no more. Instead, Mark and Sarah now travel through time and space as they seek evidence that the supernatural exists. Arguably even the fact the movie is called ‘Waxwork’ is a bit off since the sole Wax figure is a dismembered hand. But then again The Unbearable Lightness of Being did not feature any scales, so I’ll let it go.

What is more interesting about the Waxwork II than the title is that the film makers do not use it as an excuse to revisit famous horror genres as they did previously. Instead, they now use it to parody particular films! The highlights of which include…

– Bruce Campbell’s slapstick in a version of The Haunting!

The man, the chin, the legend!

– Martin Kemp as Dr. Frankenstein!

– The cheapest rip off of Alien known to man!

– A sword fight that crosses dimensions between certain types of well known zombies in a shopping mall all the way to a Godzilla attacked Tokyo!

These are better SFX than in the film

– David Carradine appearing for no real reason!

carradine

– A terrible rap over the end credits just like in The Monster Squad or Maniac Cop 2!

All in all, Waxwork II: Lost In Time is actually a lot zippier than the first film. Oddly, I would not recommend either one over the other, though. They are both of the same tone and made with the same budget that is akin to an average school dinner. Neither Waxwork movie is genuinely funny enough to be an endlessly watchable cult classic, but unfortunately neither is horrific enough to be even remotely scary, either. Yet this is not an attack on the films. Not every low budget horror comedy is going to be outstanding.

It should be stated that both films remain perfectly watchable entertainment. They are both disposable films with ideas high above their budgets, with fun ideas but average scripts . They are also both movies that the production designers give a good shot at pulling off.

In both instance the casting is mixed. Zach plays his part with a twinkle in his eye despite Mark being fairly plain. Most of the leads around Galligan are earnest and dull in equal measure, whilst the highlights are really the mass of cameo-ing legends collectively chewing on more scenery than a hungry hobo.

 

Of course the fun of spotting genre actors enjoying themselves in both of the Waxwork movies seems all the more fitting since it was Zach Galligan’s fun appearance in Hatchet III that led to this entire piece.

Furthermore, like real any Waxwork museums, the ideas of entertainment on display may seem dated, and the novelty of the experience may soon wear off, but there is indeed some good, innocent fun to be had with something lovingly crafted.

Next time , the Gingers fight back!

Thanks for reading,

-MJ

 

 

 

BLOG: YTC EpisodeXXXI: For-F-Sake

FINAL.2.2Well it’s the Summer in England, which means a mix of Sunshine and rain; joy and gloom. Ideal for a Horror Film Festival then, eh?

Last year I volunteered my cameraman ‘skills’ (aka ‘drink coffee, carry equipment and press buttons’ skills- you know it’s all true, camera operators!) to FrightFest. A recap of that can be found here http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/hollyweird/hollyweird-episode-na-what-happens-at-frightfest-stays-at-frightfest/

ff

This year was my second go round on the old FF merry-go-round of death and doom, gore, applause, fans and fandom at the 2013 event. Here were a few of 1/2 of the You Total Cult experiences of FrightFest 2013.

Does this count as a deviant act given where my left hand is?

Does this count as a deviant act given where my left hand is?

First up on the first day was meeting Chucky. Well, Don Mancini, the creator, writer and partial director of the entire Child’s Play franchise and Fiona Douriff were there too since were interviewing them. But Chucky was the main point of interest for myself.

This was an actual puppet with a metal frame, not just a toy replica. Apparently it was not used in the latest film, but it was genuine- and I completely believe that because it weighted a ton. Naughty Chucky needs to lay off the pies.

By the way, Don and Fiona were both lovely and happy to chat away to fans, which is a great energy to start off a festival with.

Later in the evening, the European Premiere of the new- and for the first time uncut- screening of Curse Of Chucky occurred. For this event, masks given out to the crowd which led to a weird ‘Cult Of Chuck’ moment that I was able to observe from my position as a Cameraman.

My name is Legion...
My name is Legion…
... For we are many
… For we are many

Curse Of Chucky brings a haunted house feel to the film series and absolutely gets it closer the spirit of the original film. For the record- it is cannon and does tie into the other movies. And also for the record, it has one of the best Post-Credit sequences I have ever seen.

 

Later in the same evening was the UK Premiere of You’re Next. This was probably my favourite film of the event- it features a seemingly simple home invasion story with a nice twist; one of the intended victims is a serious badass who begins to decimate the invaders. Technically it is not a decimation as there are not 10 invaders, but the Protagonists ingenuity deserves some hyperbole.

The film had a nice creepy feel, but it was the strength of the leading lady that really made the film such a delight. It was just refreshing to see a female lead who is smart, tough and capable and is not allegedly those things whilst relying on wearing tight leather trousers or posing seductively with guns.

The screening also featured these nifty posters being given out. Score!

 

I'm gonna need some more wall space for this bad boy
I’m gonna need some more wall space for this bad boy

 

By the next day, my cohort, and experienced Media Wall interviewer, Jennifer Eiss was given a chance to interview the Variety Icon award winner of the festival, Ben Wheatley.

Not only was this fun for Jen, it also meant that I got to ask Ben what his favourite pub in Brighton is. I know now, but you all never shall… unless you offer to buy me drinks there in which case I will lead the way.

ben jen

Anchor Bay gave out some fun Coloring Books that were filed with a few games and a cut out Michael Myer’s mask. Fun for adults and kids, but kids really shouldn’t be at Frightfest anyway.

anchor bay

Hatchet III was more of the same, but it is in the same tone as the first two entries. So it is a fun way to see the end of a franchise that plays as one large, single movie when put back to back. It also features Gremlins star Zack Galligan in featured lead role, and some fun cameos too, so bonus points all around for that.

One smaller film that I can recommend is In Fear. I knew nothing of the film, and resented having to film the screening event as the title was so poor. In fact it was an extremely well acted drama that wring a surprising amount of tension out of two people lost as they drive their car around eerie countryside. I found the final act a bit dull as it features a third character and the tone shifts a lot,but it was certainly well made. I stand by the title being poo, though.

Picture 009
Some random Cult

Another film that I did not expect to like was Odd Thomas. Although a little bit cloying and trying very hard to be cool, the film is genuinely breezy and unique. It seemed to me like a horror-detective version of Scott Pligrim Vs The World, and may be just as equally destined for cult status

V/H/S 2 was introduced on stage with the line “If you love V/H/S, then you’ll love V/H/S 2!”. That may be factually correct, but I found V/H/S a mixed bag of overall mediocrity. A better descripition may be “If you didn’t mind V/H/S then you’ll not mind V/|H/S 2, either!”

My final film of the festival was Rewind This!, a documentary about the rise of the VHS Format, its part in popular culture and how it still remains loved by a small and passionate few fans. The film had some problems, but it was very heartfelt. I think this was an idea film for myself to exit the Festival on- something that was low key, sparsely attended and made with love. Just like many classic horror film viewings that undoubtedly caused such devotion in horror film fans.

 

rewind_

As the 2013 festival wound down, I can reveal that there is a particular bar frequented by the crew, the guests and the organisers of FrightFest every year.

Although I could not manage the main drink-a-thon after this years event, I ensured to graffiti my name onto the 2013 Poster hanging in the bar the night previously. I’m just to the left of Bobcat Goldthwait in faint biro.

If you can't make it- fake it!
If you can’t make it- fake it!

 

Although there were numeorus incidents I got to chat to directors and actors etc, and there were a couple more movies that I saw at the festival, there were also a lot of highs and lows that will arise with any large event. Instead what I will say is that for horror fans, FrightFest is a great chance to meet icons and see a mix of unknown films and bigger releases.

Oddly enough though, my own highlight may well have been separate to the entire Festival. During a break, I managed to pop to a small 2nd hand music shop in Berwick Street that I frequent whenever I can.

Inside the shop I found a £2 Album from a band I had not heard of, but that makes me smile even now. Ladies and Germs, , allow me to present a CD by whoever the hell Orcquesta El Macabeo are.

Cover

 

Yep. The front has a Goat playing bongos…

macabeo2…and the inside cover has a Bowtie-wearing skull with Macarneenas for crossbones!

Sadly, the music does not live up to the enticement of the featured images, but the very fact this CD exists make me stupidly happy.

 

E-C- F'n-W... Wait up, I mean T-F'n- C!
E-C- F’n-W… Wait up, I mean T-F’n- C!

This Total F’n Cult will now leave you with an interview that I helped to film. It features one scholar and one gent. I will not say who is which, but it was the most fun interview that I was a part of this year.

Incidently, Bobcat was promoting his new movie, Willow Creek. I did not manage to catch the movie, but I hear it was genuinely terrifying for those that did.

So, until next year, uh…maybe, I hope you had a ball at FrightFest if you were there and check it out one year if you like the sound of it.

-MJ