Monster Battles Plant in Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

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The 1980s was a barren time for Godzilla fans. While Japan saw two films released, the American audience had to suffice with only one. Godzilla 1985 was badly re-edited and not well received. So, it comes as no surprise that Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) went straight to video in 1992. Despite an early release on laser disc, the movie has been widely overlooked until it finally hit DVD and Blu-Ray late in 2012. Now, the movie is getting a second chance to impress Godzilla fans.

Godzilla BiollanteGodzilla vs. Biollante is a direct sequel to 1984s The Return of Godzilla. It opens with a montage of battle sequences from the 1984 film, and then shows a cleanup crew going through the wreckage in search of tissue samples from Godzilla. A bio-engineering company has hired US troops to do their dirty work before they are taken out by a lone gunman. We are then introduced to research scientist Genshiro Shiragami (Koji Takahashi), who is working on mutating plant life before his facility in the Middle East is attacked and his daughter Erika is killed. Flash forward five years and Shiragami is still studying the ESP qualities of roses. He is also involved in the study of the Godzilla cells, which makes him a wanted man by the bio-engineering company and the terrorists. He has created anti-nuclear bacteria that plays a key part in Godzilla’s return. The bacteria interact with a rose to create Biollante, a giant plant creature with the DNA of Godzilla and from his daughter Erika.

Meanwhile, after some corporate espionage results in explosives destroying Mount Mihara, Godzilla is awakened and released. Biollante reacts to Godzilla’s roar and psychically calls out to Godzilla. While enroute to Biollante, a new version of the Super X (the aircraft seen destroyed in The Return of Godzilla) engages Godzilla in battle. Like its predecessor, it has little success. Once Godzilla reaches Biollante, the two battle it out with Godzilla eventually destroying it. However, Godzilla is growing weaker and needs nuclear energy to survive.  With Godzilla threatening Osaka, the anti-nuclear bacteria are deployed in an effort to destroy him. After a series of moves resembling a giant chess match, including the return of Biollante (now closer resembling the big guy), Godzilla wins out with Biollante returning to spore form and Godzilla heading out to sea.Godzilla Biollante 2

Yes, Biollante has to be one of the more unique members of the Godzilla rogues gallery. It was actually the winner of a contest by Toho as part of an effort to come up with a new monster to confront Godzilla rather than reusing what we had already seen before. It certainly is different, if not a little odd. Unfortunately, it also plays a part in this film seeming just a little off. It did okay business in Japan but without the American market, it was quickly forgotten. It’s odd in that it was something new and overall entertaining, just not one of the best films in the series. Following on the same dark tones present in The Return of Godzilla, it makes for a nice double feature but go in with some lower expectations.

With the 2012 DVD and Blu-Ray release at incredibly cheap prices, American audiences can finally throw away those old VHS tapes and judge for themselves where Biollante ranks in the best and worst Godzilla adversary categories. Check out the trailer and brace yourselves. The 1990s are around the corner and some old favorites are ready to come back and battle Godzilla anew.

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The Return of Godzilla (1984) Ushers in the 80s on a Serious Note

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Nine years had passed since the last Godzilla movie. What is referred to as the Showa era was over. Disco was also dead. Now was the time for Godzilla to return to the big screen. In 1984, Godzilla was released, although it is better known as The Return of Godzilla to help avoid confusion with the original from 1954. Although we didn’t call it a reboot at the time, that is just what happened. All of the previous movies aside from the original are now wiped from memory. So begins the Heisei era of Godzilla.

Return of GodzillaIt doesn’t take long to realize that this is now a much darker Godzilla universe. We aren’t going to see goofy sub-plots involving comical characters. Godzilla is not going to dance a little jig. This Godzilla is still a destructive force, just as he was in the original. Set 30 years after Gojira (1954), a fishing boat is found by a reporter, Goro Maki (Ken Tanaka), and he discovers all of the crew dead except for Hiroshi Okumura (Shin Takuma). He also discovers a giant sea louse, narrowly escaping death by killing it. After Okumura recovers and looks at pictures, he discovers the creature that attacked the boat was Godzilla. While the initial news is kept quiet, Godzilla returns again, this time destroying a Russian submarine. The Russians blame the United States and tensions are on the rise (very much in tune with what was going on politically at that point in the 1980s). The news of Godzilla’s return is made public to help calm the political issues and it’s only a matter of time before Godzilla begins attacking the Japanese mainland.

While Japanese forces defend Tokyo, a special aircraft called the Super X attacks Godzilla and, ultimately, uses Cadmium shells, which cause Godzilla to fall asleep. However, the Russians inadvertently launch a nuclear missile at the monster, only to have the United States stop it with one of their own. But, the resulting electrical storm revives Godzilla and the destruction resumes. A final confrontation ensues with the Super X being destroyed by Godzilla. A device created by a scientist lures Godzilla to sea, where he eventually falls into volcano Mount Mihara. He appears to be trapped but we all know he’s not dead.Godzilla 3

As previously stated, this is a much darker story than we had been getting in the 60s and 70s. Godzilla is a force of devastation and we witness not only massive damage to Tokyo but countless deaths as well, something absent from Godzilla films for some time. This Godzilla is bigger, stronger and looks more menacing. The sub-plots are taken seriously, involving a professor and Hiroshi’s sister. No surprise that it was a box office success in Japan, earning more than $11 million. In fact, it was the most successful Godzilla entry in the series since Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966). However, the American audience saw a much different movie, mirroring the same thing that happened with the original Gojira.

Godzilla 1985 was released by New World Pictures and featured some major re-edits in an effort to increase the appeal to the US film market. Raymond Burr reprises his role as Dr. Steve Martin from Godzilla, King of the Monsters! Footage of the Pentagon is added while a lot of scenes were cut or rearranged, including a lot of Godzilla’s Tokyo rampage. The United States is also made to seem less aggressive while Russia is shown to have launched the missile rather than being unsuccessful in their attempt to stop the launch. A very different film and, unfortunately, still the only version American audiences have officially seen released.

Godzilla 1985Critics at the time blasted the poor dubbing and bad special effects. However, I thought the special effects were a big step up from what we had seen in previous Godzilla movies. The movie is very dark visually, which actually enhances the battle sequences and really channels the original Gojira. There really is no comparison as the Japanese version far surpasses the Americanized one. Two VHS releases are long out-of-print and neither version has ever been released on DVD here in the US. Do some searching and you’ll be able to find the original Japanese language version. It really is the only way to watch this flick. Meanwhile, check out some trailers and get ready for the most serious Godzilla since the 1950s.

Next time, we visit the only other 1980s Godzilla film, 1989s Godzilla vs. Biollante.

The Conjuring (2013) is the Scariest Movie I’ve Seen This Year

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Every now and then, a movie comes along that can genuinely creep me out. It usually has to do with the atmosphere both on screen as well as in the theater. In recent years, I can immediately think of three movies that had that impression on me. The first Paranormal Activity (2007), just in the way it was handled and not shoved in your face; Insidious (2010), which gave us that classic jump scare in the kitchen and forever burned the already creepy “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” song into our brains; and The Woman in Black (2012), because it offered up a gothic setting that Hollywood tends to avoid these days. Now, I can add The Conjuring to that list of flicks that left me a little unsettled.

The Conjuring 1I’m quick to admit that the atmosphere of the movie theater played a big part: a 10:15 pm showing on a Sunday night with the entire building mostly empty and only 10 people in our particular theater. The Conjuring gives us a tale “based on a true story” from the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Now, I’m a self-professed Ghost Hunters fans. I’ll openly admit I believe in ghosts. But I also know about 99% of events can be explained with rational thought. I think Ghost Hunters was interesting in the beginning but now reeks of the BS prevalent in all of the ghost hunting tales we see on TV. I know that the Warrens have their fans as well as their detractors. With that, I went in with the notion that this was going to be a fun ride and threw out any ideas that what I was witnessing was indeed a true story.

Ed and Lorraine Warren, the main characters of The Conjuring, are now world-renowned demonologists, most famous for their participation in the controversial Amityville Horror case. That very incident was a dividing moment for those who believe in them and those who don’t. Here, the year is 1971, and the Warrens had been investigating the paranormal since 1952. They would ultimately investigate over 10,000 incidents in their career. This tale of the Perron family has been percolating in Hollywood for over 20 years ever since Ed played a recording of his interview with Carolyn Perron to producer Tony DeRosa-Grund, who tried for years to get the movie made. Sadly, a deal wasn’t finalized until 2009, three years after Ed’s death.Conjuring 2

The story centers on the tale of the Warrens and their investigation into the events surrounding the Perron family. Carolyn (Lili Taylor, Hemlock Grove) and Roger (Ron Livingston, Defying Gravity) Perron move their five daughters to an old farmhouse in Harrisville, RI, spending everything they had to start this new chapter in their lives. On the very first day, their dog Sadie refuses to enter the house (bad sign #1). Then, a closet is revealed to be the entry way into a basement staircase. Just why was it boarded up (bad sign #2)? Okay, we’ll cut them some slack. This was 1971, and such things weren’t common knowledge. However, I know enough now that nothing ever good comes out of a boarded-up staircase and everybody should pay attention to the family dog. Little events begin occurring with greater frequency: the death of the family dog, the clocks stopping at 3:07 am, clapping sounds, whispers, birds crashing into the house. When Carolyn is locked in a cellar and what appears to be an old woman attacks one of the daughters, it’s time to bring in the Warrens. We have a good old fashioned demonic possession setting up here and it gets a whole lot crazier before this ride is over.

We see that the Warrens have lectures on their cases and keep a museum in their home for all of the artifacts, including the notorious Annabelle doll. In fact, the case behind that doll is what starts the movie, before we even meet the Peron family. Yes, this doll really does exist and still resides in the real museum inside the Warren home. However, in reality, it is a Raggedy Ann doll, not the terrifying doll we see in the movie. And no, the doll did not figure into the real-life events of the Perron family. However, it helps turn the creep factor to 11 and is sure to give some people nightmares.THE CONJURING

Patrick Wilson (Insidious, Insidious: Chapter 2) and Vera Farmiga (Orphan, Bates Motel) turn in fun performances as Ed and Lorraine Wilson. They come off as genuine and, perhaps, a bit more honest than the real Ed and Lorraine. I’d like to think the Warrens really have seen and battled the demons and ghosts they claim to have met. However, that illusion was ruined when I read they charge $109 to tour the museum. Still, given the chance, yes, I’d probably go. And, the Perron family stands by their story, so there is no real reason to think at least something didn’t happen in 1971.

Considering this is just one out of 10,000 cases, it should surprise no one that a sequel has been ordered. With a budget of $13 million and a current gross of over $220 million, not to mention all of the positive reviews, it was guaranteed. The movie is very entertaining, with a great soundtrack that helps to build the anxiety. With minimal digital effects, it easily is the scariest movie I’ve seen this year. Director James Wan (Saw, Insidious) knows how to terrify an audience. Sure, we’ve seen demonic possession before but this one is fun and very well done. Highly recommended!

While you plan your trip to the theater or wait for the DVD release, check out a feature on the real Warren museum as well as an interview with the real Lorraine Warren.

Elysium (2013) is a Bleak But Fun Ride and One of My Personal Favorites of the Year

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In 2009, Neill Blomkemp had his feature film directorial debut with District 9, offering us a look at Earth after a spaceship of sick extraterrestrials has become part of the South African sky scape. It was a huge box office success, so anticipation levels are high with his second film, Elysium. The end result is indeed impressive.

Elysium 1Blomkemp has assumed full writing responsibilities here and, as in District 9, he presents a fairly dark future. The year is 2154 and the never-ending class warfare has moved to new heights. The rich and powerful have abandoned a polluted and over-populated Earth for the orbiting space station called Elysium. On Elysium, life resembles Earth in its prime. The grass is green, the air is clean and Med-Pods keep everyone safe and disease free. Meanwhile, on Earth, those without the financial resources live in squalor, drudging up a meager existence working for those on Elysium. Our main character is Max, played by Matt Damon (star of the upcoming sci-fi flick The Zero Theorem from director Terry Gilliam). He is an orphan who has established a police record a mile long. He is fighting the system and is clearly holding on in hopes of one day reaching Elysium. His one true love is Frey (Alice Braga), whom he has known since childhood. After a chance reunion, Max clearly begins a quest to recapture the hope he had as a child. However, after a mishap at work leaves him exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and only five days to live, he starts a desperate last ditch effort to make it to Elysium.

An underground movement, headed up by smuggler Spider (Wagner Moura), has been sending people to the well-guarded Elysium in hopes some will get through the defenses and reach a Med-Pod to cure them of their illnesses. Elysium is protected by Jessica Delacourt (marvelously played by Jodie Foster), who has her own sights on the presidency. Delacourt is planning a coup and uses an official to create a reboot program for Elysium that will leave her in control. She wants to rule with a more iron fist, to protect her way of life, and she has no problem ordering the deaths of those on Earth. When Spider has an exoskeleton placed on Max, giving him super strength, a plot is hatched to steal the official’s knowledge. However, Spider and Max are unaware of the plot, turning the situation into something far more deadly.Elysium 2

Sharlto Copley, who played Wikus van der Merwe in District 9, is our main villain here, named Kruger. Also possessing an exoskeleton, Kruger is an out-of-control and psychotic liability for Delacourt. However, he is a necessity in order for her to reach her goals. What she doesn’t plan on is Kruger deciding that he’ll take the power and control Elysium himself, throwing another wrench into an already botched plan. Copley does an amazing job here, turning up the nut job factor to 11. His accent and overall appearance make him stand out amongst others in what could have been the stereotypical bad guy role.

Elysium 4Elysium is a dark and gritty vision of the future but its overall themes are very much in touch with modern-day reality. It parallels the health care crisis and the growing class divisions, which seem to always be present, generation after generation. The action sequences are plentiful, if not a tad confusing at time thanks to a shaky cam. Rapper Eminem was the original choice for the character of Max. Thankfully, his demands to film in Detroit were denied and a far superior Matt Damon assumed the lead role. He channels his inner Jason Bourne and guides us through what is eventually a very fun ride. Jodie Foster livens up the character of Delacourt with an odd accent in what is a rather stereotypical villainous role. However, Foster makes it work and brings an entertainment factor in what could have been a boring presentation.

Visually bleak, the mood is heightened by a score that reminds one of Oblivion (which reminded me of Tron). The movie isn’t the start of a franchise nor does it hold back. For you gore hounds out there, there are some very intense scenes, including one character getting his face blown off. That should appease the masses that have grown weary of PG-13 flicks. But don’t let the violence scare some of you away. I highly recommend Elysium as it’s become my second favorite movie of the year.Elysium 3

Haunted Memories Fill Decaying Joyland Amusement Park

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As I get older, I find that I am more nostalgic for childhood memories. I have visions of late night creature feature viewings with hostess Crematia Mortem. Surfing through eBay I discover almost every toy I had as a child, including the Green Ghost and Which Witch games. And what childhood would be complete without the memory of an amusement park. For me, just 45 minutes south of my childhood home in Newton was Wichita’s Joyland Amusement Park.

JoylandJoyland was a park with a lot of history before I even stepped foot into it for the first time in the early 70s. Joyland opened in June 1949 as a home for a miniature train ride. Herb Ottaway had purchased a 12-gauge miniature train in 1933. This train was built by the Miniature Railway Company in Elgin, Illinois sometime between 1905 and 1910. Upon restoring it, Ottaway put it on the carnival circuit, where it entertained kids throughout Kansas and Colorado. By 1949, the family opened Joyland primarily to give the train a permanent home. However, the train was quickly overshadowed by the now legendary wooden roller coaster.Roller Coaster

The coaster was designed by legend Herbert Paul Schmeck. It was one of 44 he built and only 33 still exist. This edition remains standing today, although it is no longer functional. It surely terrified many, both kids and parents alike. I often remember hearing my parents wonder how safe it was. Sadly, it was even the cause of a grisly death when a groundskeeper was beheaded after he looked up just as the coaster came barreling through.Roller Coaster 2

Another key attraction was the Whacky Shack. Oh, for a monster kid like me, this was my favorite ride. This was a classic dark ride and the last designed by Bill Tracy. If you check out the YouTube video from 2006, you get a feel for what it offered. Sadly, I recognize several sections that weren’t working by this time. Reportedly, these rides were a nightmare for the operators as they were prone to breaking down. However, when fully functional, it scared the heck out of me back in the 70s. Now, it’s probably creepier as it’s been vandalized and key pieces have been taken by locals hoping for a piece of this iconic ride.

Whacky ShackOne of the creepiest aspects of the park was Louie the Clown. He “played” a Wurlitzer organ that could be heard throughout the park. However, the background story surrounding Louie is even creepier. At the end of every season, Louie would be removed and taken to the home of the one of the maintenance men, who reportedly loved clowns. Around 2006, at the time the park was last open, Louie was declared missing. The gentleman was investigated but Louie was never found. Most believe he is in possession of Louie. Considering the organ sat vacant before finally being sold a few years back, it’s safe to say Louie will never see the light of day again. Watch this brief video clip from 1993 and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Pleasant dreams!Louie

The Ottaway family sold the park to Stanley and Margaret Nelson in the late 60s, who ran it until mid-2004. The park was in desperate need of repairs. The roller coaster and Whacky Shack were constantly breaking down. So, the park was quiet until an outfit out of Seattle bought the park in 2006. Grand plans were unveiled to bring the park back to its former glory. However, after reportedly sanctioning underage drinking parties in the park after hours for extra cash, the new owners faced legal action. Financial problems resulting in unpaid vendors shut the park down after only a few months of operation. The roller coaster never did reopen and the park was in even worse condition. The lights would go out before the end of the season and have never been back on since.

PorkyNow, some seven years later, Joyland has become an eyesore. The once vibrant neighborhood suffers from being in an older part of Wichita with a higher crime rate. Rides have been sold for what cash they could muster. Some people have stolen iconic pieces for their own memorabilia while others simply break in and vandalize what’s left. Fires are a yearly occurrence now with the most recent in May 2013 causing some $100,000 in damages. YouTube sensation AdamTheWoo, who travels to abandoned houses and parks, just recently visited Joyland. This video gives the best and saddest view of this once vibrant place. A local group has been raising money in hopes of purchasing the park and restoring it. They need to watch this video and put their efforts towards something that can benefit from their hard work. Joyland is dead and is awaiting someone to finally bury it. Mother Nature is reclaiming the park at an alarming rate. All that’s left is nightmares of Louie, the Whacky Shack ride and….Porky the Paper Eater.

DC Offers Up An Animated Classic in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012/2013)

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BDKR comic coverAt some point in the mid-70s, I made the switch from reading Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck comic books to superheroes. My mom was particularly worried that they were too violent but dad knew it all part of growing up. DC Comics were much easier to find than Marvel where I lived so I immediately became a fan of Superman, Batman and the Justice League of America. At some point in the 80s, I got more wrapped up in going out with friends and temporarily put the comics on the shelf. However, by the late 80s, I was discovering all of the cool things going on that I missed. The Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Man of Steel mini-series, The Killing Joke and a little something called The Dark Knight Returns, written by Frank Miller. Now, we’re finally getting a chance to see that world in all of its HD animated glory.Batman 1

Without a doubt, DC produces some of the very best animated movies out there for superhero fans. Marvel did well for a while but moved away from the direct-to-video releases in favor of TV series and the big screen epics. DC is a little behind the curve with their big screen flicks but they have cornered the animated market. However, even for them, bringing this controversial storyline to task was a big undertaking. Thankfully, rather than condense it down to 75 minutes, they broke it up into two parts, releasing part one in September 2012 and part two in January 2013. An excellent marketing strategy that paid off.

If you’ve never read the original trade paperback, do yourself a favor and read it first. It won’t ruin anything for you as this is one of those rare cases where the film version is just as entertaining as the original print and a very faithful adaptation. Bruce Wayne is now nearing 60 years old. He has retired as Batman following the death of Jason Todd aka Robin. Although this was not part of the original comic storyline, it is an homage to Todd’s death as depicted in the now infamous A Death in the Family storyline where Joker killed Robin. Its addition here works very well. Commissioner Gordon is retiring at the age of 70, despite Gotham City being overrun by a gang called the Mutants. Their leader is bloodthirsty with plans of controlling the city. In part 1, we see that the Joker is essentially catatonic, no longer having a spark of life since Batman has retired. The main villain in part 1 is Two-Face, who is healed physically and, supposedly, mentally by the egotistical Dr. Bartholomew Walper. However, Harvey Dent may look healed but his inner Two-Face returns just as Batman resurfaces. Batman brings Two-Face down as a catatonic Joker begins to show signs of life.Joker 1

Batman’s struggles with age run throughout the two parts, as he battles the mutants and the police. The president (resembling a 80s era Ronald Reagan) enlists the aid of Superman to bring Batman to justice. Apparently, all superheroes stepped down due to public and government pressure. Now, Superman seems to work for the United States and Batman is viewed as a problem. Batman is aided by his butler Alfred (who must have been in his 90s by this point) and a new female Robin. By part two, Joker has returned and a killing spree follows like none before. I won’t spoil the rest but these were cutting edge storylines for 1986. Comics were changing and this story was one that moved comics away from the children’s section and more into the adult public eye.Batman Superman 1

On these two DVDs, DC offers up the usual selection of cartoon extras from Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: Brave and the Bold. On the first disc, we get a good look at Batman creator Bob Kane that’s worth checking out. Peter Weller and Mark Valley do a great job with providing their voices to Batman and Superman. A top-notch story and animation from start to finish. I highly recommend these two entries in the DC animated universe.  They are currently available separately but a new deluxe edition is set for release on Sept. 10. It will combine both parts into one long movie. However, the addition of a 70-minute documentary on Frank Miller and the creation of the original comic make it a logical decision to wait.

Wesley Snipes Has A Lackluster Return in Gallowwalkers (2012)

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Ever since the little invention known as the internet came along, it’s become pretty hard for movie lovers to be surprised. There are a million sites full of spoilers. We know when a movie is being released, the cast, planned sequels and the entire script before production ever begins. However, every now and then, something slips by, just under the radar. It might be a hidden gem or it could be a flick better left buried. And then there are those that could easily fit into either category. Case in point, the latest from Wesley Snipes called Gallowwalkers (2012).

Gallowwalkers 1Wesley Snipes has fallen quite a ways since his days of being a leading man in Hollywood. His last true starring flick was Blade: Trinity in 2004, and even that was a step down from previous entries in that series. By the next year, he was quickly relegated to direct-to-video, that desolate place where old action stars go to die. In 2006, he was indicted on eight counts of tax fraud and was sentenced to three years in prison in 2008. He owed the government $20 million and eventually paid $5 million. Meanwhile, his career came to a halt. He served his prison time from 2010 until his release earlier this year. As of July 19, 2013, his house arrest sentence ended. Now a free man, the question is whether or not he will attempt to regain his status as a leading man in Hollywood or will he return to the direct-to-video offerings. Gallowwalkers might be an indication of things to come.

Gallowwalkers has been in production for nearly eight years now. It was originally titled The Wretched and Chow Yun-Fat held the lead role of Rellik. Bulletproof Monk had an underwhelming box office and there were concerns on whether or not he was the right choice. It was set to begin filming in Mexico in June 2005 but the first of countless delays put it on the back burner. Then, Wesley Snipes was brought in and the lead character’s name was changed to Kaos before eventually becoming Aman. The filming location was changed from Mexico to Namibia, primarily for cost reasons. Unfortunately, production hit a snag once again when Snipes was indicted on the tax fraud charges. In December 2006, just two months into production, Snipes left Namibia and returned to the United States to face the charges. He was eventually released on a $1 million bond and allowed to return to Namibia to finish the film. And then Gallowwalkers fell off the radar.Gallowwalkers 2

Little is known about the production after that point. It’s safe to say filming finished in 2007 but there’s no indication as to why it sat on a shelf for six more years. It is possible producers waited until Snipes was released in hopes to avoid any negative press. However, this movie has had no press at all. Despite being planned for a theatrical release, it quietly found its way onto the DVD shelves on Aug. 6. I first became aware of it when I stumbled across a trailer on another DVD. There was no release date and iMDB gives it a date of 2012. So, was the wait and all the mystery around its production worth it? I’m still on the fence.

Gallowwalkers 3Visually, the movie is stunning. Set entirely in the desert, it immediately gives one images of a spaghetti western. Set in the old west, the story is about a gunman named Aman (Wesley Snipes). His mother was a nun and, because she broke her vow with God and was saved by a mysterious group of women living in the desert, Aman is cursed. Anyone who dies at his hands comes back to life as a zombie-like creature. Kevin Howarth plays the main villain of the piece, Kansa, who leads the cult-like band of victims in pursuit of revenge. We have some lovely women thrown in for good measure, a sub-plot concerning a protégé of Aman, a crazy woman living in the desert raising the bastard child of a woman whom Aman loved and whose death started this chain of events. We have cool imagery of a skinless man (which we needed to see more of) and some good gun fights. But is it all worth it?

Ultimately, Gallowwalkers is a unique film in that it looks much better visually than a SyFy Saturday night special but the script is very sub-par. Heck, I’m not even sure there was anything coherent about it. While watching the movie, I immediately had flashbacks to Jonah Hex (2010), a movie with some cool scenes but horrible editing. This movie deserved a much better script and some tighter editing and it could have been more memorable. As it stands, it’s worth a rental out of curiosity. Your eyes will enjoy it but your brain will undoubtedly lose interest. Not the big return Wesley Snipes was hoping for.