Friday, May 30, 2014

May Monster Madness: A Lot of M's


Well, here I am for yet another year of May Monster Madness! It's taken some time to put this together, what with my efforts to get to my 200th review before this date (explained here), but my large post of 'M' movies is finally up!

It was originally going to be thirteen mini-reviews (13 because oooOOOooOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!), buuut I discovered webcomic Dumbing of Age, and I couldn't stop reading. Seriously, go read Dumbing of Age! Right now! But be warned, you'll want a few days free in your schedule when you do, because if you're anything like me, you'll binge read it!

...Aren't I meant to be talking about horror movies?...


The Manster


Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley) is a foreign correspondent working in Japan. He goes to the secluded house of mad scientist Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura) for a story, and, unbeknownst to him, is injected by Suzuki with a mysterious mad science drug that starts warping Larry's mind, and soon his body...

The Manster is ok. The plot's watchable, but not particularly good. I was staring at my watch the entire time, and I didn't particularly care about any of the characters.

There's blood splatter at the start, and implied nudity. I'm surprised the Hays Code didn't come down upon the film like a sack of bricks! Sure, those are only two tiny moments, but this is the same kind of system that thought murdering the woman with the control link lifeline to MechaGodzilla was more moral than her bravely sacrificing herself.

It's hilarious how many B-movies ended with a moral monologue tacked on at the end, when the Hays Code was so psychotic (for example, no crime in a film could ever go unpunished when the Hays Code was around. The perpetrator HAD to die. No room for a sequel, no room for sympathy or redemption-They're fucking dead!).


The effects are ok. Some are laughable, and some are actually pretty neat, like the eye in the shoulder bit.

The monster's destruction at the early part of the climax is pretty amusing, in that all he's doing is knocking over small lamps, balustrades and angrily pushing doors open. And there's a punch that doesn't connect at all!

The acting's ok, despite the Yellowface with the main Japanese character. Tetsu Nakamura is decent as the main villain, but after the first fifteen-or-so minutes, he pretty much vanishes from the movie, save for a scene here and there.

This is a pretty meh monster movie. Don't bother, and instead opt for something with a little more fun to it.

Oh, and no, the word Manster is never mentioned in the film. I assume it's just the work of some jackass who though Man and Monster were words that could be combined to great effect. They are in fact not.

Monstroid


'Based on a true story' (something the opening credits feel the need to tell us twice), Monstroid is about a small Hispanic town where a big American company has set up shop. Having been accused of pollution by a kinda-racist eco-terrorist, a representative is sent over to survey the supposed damage, and do what he can to fix the problem...

Oh, and apparently a monster is in it. Who'd'a fudgin' figured! I thought I was watching Monstroid: It Came from the Deep, not Vindictive Reporter acts like a Bitch to a Mitchum while Townspeople hate on an Apparent Wiccan!

As you can tell from my rant, Monstroid follows the Rule of Jaws, and it fails! That's not to say this is like Razorback, where most of the film isn't even about the monster, but a lot of this movie is comprised of soapie character interactions.

As for horror tropes, there's one character who almost dies, but it's a fake-out, but then a few minutes later, she gets killed anyway after a scene with her ex, which makes that storyline that dominates a lot of the film's first twenty minutes completely pointless.

Oh, and on the subject of her demise...Horror Movie Rule No. 666: RUN, BITCH, RUN!

Monstroid also gives into the won't kill a dog cliche, but really, when is that a bad thing?

There's also a clumsily done Gilligan Cut. For those who don't know, that's when, for example, a character's saying about how they absolutely won't do this certain thing!...And then the movie/TV show jump-cuts to them doing it.

The acting ranges from decent to meh. RoChriJames? Mitchum is pretty ok, as is John Carradine in a semi-minor role (an actual role though nonetheless, not a Trojan Carradine), and the actress who plays the reporter is annoying at first as the vindictive reporter bitch, but she becomes tolerable as her character becomes more likeable...Well, less dislikeable.. Everyone of note here is pretty wasted.


The plot point of the townspeople thinking an innocent woman is a witch is completely wasted, and the resolution is insanely confusing! All I know with certainty is that it didn't end up being quite as depressing as Don't Torture A Duckling.

The tease at the end annoyed me, as I felt it made the entire movie, especially the climax, pointless.

One stupid moment is when a caucasian local is talking to the reporter about superstition and the supposed witch-"It's ridiculous. But you know how backward these people are"-She says this right in front of a massive crowd of these 'backward people'! Way to go, dumbass!

The creature design is pretty crappy, and the film makes the mistake of showing the shoddy monster prop in broad daylight for the finale! I at least appreciate that though, as it's better than having the final fight in your low quality monster movie be completely shrouded in darkness. The finale is actually pretty damn impressive, minus the 'hiYAAAH!' motorboat matador, and the complete lack of problems Uh Mitchum goes through when swimming near the monster to retrieve a fallen detonator.

Some have the same complaints with Rana: Legend of Shadow Lake as they do with this, but I like that movie, and I can easily recommend it over this dull piece of meh any day of the week.

The Mighty Peking Man


Hunter Johnny is sent into the wilderness of the Himalayas to find the mysterious Peking Man-A cryptid. After multiple hardships, Johnny finally finds the giant ape, as well as a Tarzan woman named Samantha, who he falls in love with and vice versa. Johnny takes both her and the Peking Man to the city, where problems begin pretty quickly, and soon the massive behemoth is loose in China...

With plot points such as a giant gorilla, his fascination with a blonde caucasian woman, and him being taken to the city for business, where he ends up wreaking havoc, eventually climbing the tallest building in the city, The Mighty Peking Man obviously takes inspiration from Godzilla.

This film came highly recommended by fellow blogger Maynard Morrissey, who's a fan of it. As such, I was looking forward to it, but...


...Yeah, I didn't like it.
*ducks rotten fruit*
Ok, I really enjoyed the first half hour, which was a goofy jungle adventure, but the moment Samantha came into the movie, it just stopped to a dead halt, and never recovered in my eyes. And plus, the ending's a real downer!

The acting is hard to gauge, seeing as how this is (poorly) dubbed, but from what it looks, the original actors didn't fare much better.

The effects are ok. The giant ape is obviously a guy in a suit, but it's a pretty decent suit,...mostly. Its feet look like plushy slippers! Minus the obvious green screen shots here and there, the movie does a decent job of scale with its giant ape. The effects for the buildings he destroys, however, are terrible! Hilariously so!

This is a pretty boring movie, and I don't really recommend it, but who knows, maybe you'll like it.

The Mutilator


Young kid Ed is cleaning his father's guns as a birthday present, anc accidentally kills his mother, something that drives his father crazy. Years after, Ed and his high school friends are going to the family beach condo, because he has to do some chores for his dad. However it turns out that his supposedly absent father is hiding in the house, brandishing deadly weapons and harbouring murderous thoughts...

This is a horror movie (slasher to be specific), but there are some scenes where you'll wonder. The music, the dialogue, and the characters are big factors in this. Were it not for the opening prologue, you'd think this was just about a bunch of teen friends on Fall break, ready for some wacky hijinks.

By the way: Horror Movie Rule No. 789 to the power of binary 91: Don't ever, ever split up in a horror movie unless you're at peace with the fact that you're going to get a fishing gaffe stuck up your lady parts, doing what the laser in Goldfinger didn't.

The ending is pretty baffling. The killer literally gets sliced in half, yet he still gets up again, slices off a cop's leg, and laughs maniacally! Jeez, I guess I can cut the mains some slack for not making sure the slasher film killer is really dead, because he seemed pretty fucking out of it to me!


The acting is decent, and the characters likeable. Such is the trap of the slasher film-Either you care about the characters and are bummed out when they die, or you hate them and don't mind them dying horrible deaths, but you have to bear them for the whole movie.

The gore is pretty good, but there's not much of it. We get a hilarious decapitation, a chainsawing, and more...

The score is pretty good, and the main theme is fun, but it gets repetitive a few choruses in. Speaking of, the opening credits aren't until ten minutes into the movie! Jeez!

Overall, The Mutilator is a decent slasher film. Nothing special, but you could do far worse and far more cliched than this.

Manos "The Hands of Fate"


Mike and his family-wife Margaret and daughter Debbie-are driving through the El Paso countryside, looking for Valley Lodge. Unfortunately for them, they get lost, and soon find themselves in the terrifying clutches of The Master, and his bizarre manservant Torgo...

Yeah, I know it's a bit of a cliche to talk about 'worst film ever' Manos "The Hands of Fate", but not everyone has heard of it. Maybe someone will read my blog and find out for the very first time. So, what are my thoughts on this cult 'classic'? I don't think it's that bad...Yes, really.

I've seen some bad movies, believe you me, and Manos "The Hands of Fate" is so not the worst! Not by today's standards, and not by 1967's standards.

While the execution *ahem* leaves something to be desired, the plot to Manos is actually pretty interesting. And visually, for a no-budget first attempt from a non-filmmaker with zero experience and a terrible camera, it's actually pretty good. The voice acting is *pretty* decent for the most part, although the visual acting is bad for a few of the actors. The editing is of course what's really crummy. Understandable, given this was shot with a camera that could only shoot fifteen seconds at a time (and had no sound) though. The only reason I'm not assuming Hal P. Warren got a 60 year old camera to shoot Manos with is because of the recent resurfaced HD print. So I guess it just must have been that bad of a camera.


Onto the more famed aspects of the movie-Torgo!With his giant knees, stuttering repetitive dialogue, and crazy acting by John Reynolds, why wouldn't you feel for poor old Torgo!

Tom Neyman makes for a pretty decent villain as The Master, visually, and actingwise. He was also a pretty decent set decorator.

One moment I actually find to be potentially creepy (that is to say, if this was a better movie) is when Torgo is talking about how The Master is 'Not with us anymore', then goes along to reassure Margaret that she shouldn't be afraid, because 'The Master likes you', and how he's 'Dead, but not in the way you know it. He is with us always...'.

Aside from the completely superfluous couple making out in random shots here and there, the biggest problem with Hands "The Hands of Fate" is the extremely repetitive dialogue, which can get pretty repetitive pretty quickly, because it's extremely repetitive. But this adds tenfold to what makes the movie memorable, rather than crippling it. Hell, if it wasn't for the repetition, how much of a cult presence would this movie even have?!

The score is ok-Akin to 70's porn music. It's pretty repetitive, but not annoyingly so. And I'm not the only one who quite likes the song that plays over the ending credits-Forgetting You. And of course, who could forget the haunting Torgo theme!

In closing, go watch Manos! It's one of the all-time cult movie 'greats'!

Wrap-up

Well, that's another year of May Monster Madness out of me. No, I didn't originally get to review thirteen movies, because of the above reason, and reviewing fatigue (don't worry, only the very slightly temporary kind), but I've still got a sizeable post up, so hey, I'm fine. Hopefully every other participant has cool posts to read, which I shall do right away!...Once the time zones catch up...It has in fact been the 30th of May here for the past 18+ hours... See you all next year!...






Friday, May 23, 2014

200th Review: Krull (1983)


I've been working extra busy over the past two weeks, as not only do I have to watch and write reviews for thirteen films for May Monster Madness on the 31st, but doing so would go over my 200 review point, so I've spent the last several days watching numerous movies, so I could get from 185 to 200 before the 31st of May...Aaand it turned out I could've just left things alone, because 184 plus 13 is NOT over 200! God, I'm an idiot!...But to be fair, at that point, MMM was about 18-19 days away, and that long without a review wouldn't be something I'd want to do, so I guess I would've been caught in this time trap anyway.

So, I wanted my 200th review be for something special, and for it be be its own post, not a random B-movie sandwiched in-between six by six reviews on both sides. And the movie I've picked for the 200th is not Hard Rock Zombies as was originally intended, but 1983 British fantasy film Krull!...

The magical world of Krull has been invaded by an evil alien army know as The Slayers, and Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) and Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) the children of two feuding royal families want to get married, so their kingdoms can unite against the shared threat. Things go badly, however, when the Slayers attack Colwyn's family castle, killing everyone save for Colwyn himself (who's merely wounded), and Lyssa, who they kidnap. The next day, Colwyn wakes up to find himself being tended to by Ynyr, the old one (Freddie Jones) a wise hermit from the mountains, who has come own to teach Colwyn of the Glaive-A Powerful weapon capable of destroying The Slayers and their leader The Beast. Colwyn retrieves the Glaive, amasses a team out of bandits, and heads for the Slayers lair-the Black Fortess-to stop their evil once and for all and to rescue his lost love...


First and foremost, the score to Krull is one of the best in film history! It's sweeping, epic, and orchestral, and truly makes an already great film and makes it amazing! Seeing these vistas and hearing that music is one reason why Krull is one of my favourite movies, and my all-time favourite fantasy. Yes, even over the Deathstalker series! And obviously over the Lord of the Rings films-9 hours is a bit too epic for my tastes!

And while the huge score is a big part of Krull, it never does all the talking like Basil Poledouris' in Conan the Barbarian. That movie's basically a damn opera with a few bits of dialogue here and there. Not that I dislike Conan's score at all-It's great. But there's too much of it, and too little plot.


There are so many movies out there that make you disgusted that they cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make, as the budget in no way comes across on the screen, but with Krull on the other hand, you can see the work done on the film. The sets are extravagant, and a feast for the eyes, while the creature effects are elaborate and interesting. The only bad effect is the pretty obvious green-screen during the Fire-Mare sequence. But the Fire Mares themselves are realised pretty awesomely!

The plot is actually pretty simple, but still thoroughly entertaining, and very well-written. There are numerous great scenes, such as the "Love is fleeting, Power is eternal" part, and the Widow of the Web section.

The protagonists are entertaining for sure. With his American accent not nearly standing out as much as you'd think in a purely British film, Ken Marshall is a very good lead, whereas Freddie Jones is great as mentor Ynyr, and David Battley is good as the likeable and surprisingly not annoying comic relief Ergo the Magnificent. His friendship with Rell the cyclops (played well by Bernard Bresslaw) isn't given a whole lot of screentime, but in many ways, that is rather the point-"We had no time.". And for Rell himself, his arc is very good. All cyclops' know the time of their death, and trying to prevent it will cause them great pain-How this is realised is the epitome of great storytelling!


The most-welcome pre-famous Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane get a pretty decent amount of time here as minor main characters, with Coltrane getting more screentime here than he does in Goldeneye (that being Goldeneye's biggest sin!), which is a great sign. Lysette Anthony is wasted here, as her voice is overdubbed, because the producers felt an American lead would sell more seats than a British one. Damn racists! And poor Lysette Anthony! She doesn't really get much to do in the film other than be a damsel, and interact with The Beast.

The Slayers are pretty memorable villains. I say 'pretty', because there's not really anything to them, which is both good and bad. One one hand, not knowing anything about them adds an air of mystery to them, and makes them intriguing. But on the other hand, we know nothing about them, so why the hell should we give a crap?


And there's The Beast, the lead villain and head of all the Slayers. Unfortunately, while he's very imposing, and the actor turns in a great performance, he's slightly underused, and aside from fighting Colwyn at the end, he does very little aside from taunt Lyssa. He does make the most of his scenes though, thankfully.

The Glaive is a pretty cool iconic weapon, even if use in real life would slice your hand open when you try and catch it. Some people dislike the movie's use of the Glaive, as it's only used in the climax, and 'does nothing'. True, it doesn't kill The Beast, but it does hurt him badly. The Glaive is also used against regular slayers in the Black Fortress to cool effect. Some don't care though, as they feel the Glaive should have been used all throughout the movie. I feel the opposite-Having Colwyn use the Glaive to easily solve every problem the group comes across would feel cheap and unsuspenseful. And such regular use of the Glaive would remove any mystique it has.


The way Colwyn gets the Glaive is pretty anticlimactic. He climbs up a mountain, goes up a steep incline where a few boulders come down, then he goes into the cave containing the weapon. That's it! And the Glaive rests in a pool of lava, which Colwyn just digs his arm straight into to get the weapon! That's a pretty ballsy assumption that he could do that without turning into a red mush!

Speaking of  the Fire Mares come pretty out of nowhere. 'Oh no, the Black Fortress is 1000 leagues away!' 'All hope is not lost, as the Fire Mares can travel that fast!'. I wish they would have established or name-dropped them at an earlier point in the movie.


The other issue with the film is the death toll. EVERYONE dies in this movie, save for a select few! It borders on ridiculous! "Hide your grief, boy", Ynyr says to Colwyn after the castle massacre, and apparently Colwyn takes that to heart, as he's nothing but smiles for the rest of the movie!

And funnily enough, despite the massive death toll, and a neck impalement more brutal than the one in Barbarian Queen, Krull is rated G!

I also have a couple of problems with the finale in the Black Fortress. For one, we barely see much of what Ergo and the boy Titch do when stuck on their own, which is a shame, and the way a character dies in a spike-trap room is pretty stupid (they were pointlessly trying to grab something, Plus, they don't move at all when the spikes are coming for them, despite having ample time to escape)


And that's it. I have no more issues with this film. Krull is a perfect example of fantasy cinema, and I implore all fans of the genre to watch it! There's a void in your heart until you do!...

Stardust (2007)


The film I'll be reviewing tonight is Stardust, a 2007 fantasy based on the book written by Neil Gaiman. A few years ago, that would be great news, but now, Gaiman is on my shit list after penning quite literally the worst episode of Doctor Who ever! And plus, the Stardust book is apparently really depressing, so no, I don't give a crap about Neil Gaiman, whether he wrote The Sandman or not...

Eager to impress his crush Victoria, 18-year old Tristan Thorne (Charlie Cox) ventures across a mysterious wall in his town-which all townspeople are forbidden from crossing-in order to bring back a falling star. On the other side, Tristan finds himself in a strange fantasy world, where he finds the fallen star-Yvaine (Claire Danes), who's none-too-happy about being knocked out of the sky. As it turns out, not only are the murderous heirs of the now-deceased ruler of the kingdom after her for her pendant, so they can become king, but an evil trio of sister witches have depleted the power of the last star they found, and they intend to find Yvaine and cut out her heart, consuming her energy...

Stardust ranks as one of my favourite fantasy films, and for good reason! The plot is very well-written, and a load of fun. The characters are pretty good, with Charlie Cox as Tristan Thorne making for a good lead. It's pretty awesome seeing him evolving from a nervous young stringalong, growing, becoming braver, and an all-round badass! The scene when he goes back from The Wall to Victoria is his best moment to me. As for Yvaine, there's not really anything to her other than she's feisty, and she falls in love wih Tristan. That's not too much of a problem, as Claire Danes does a great job*, and not only is the romance between her and Tristan well-written (if a bit obvious and cliche), but Cox and Danes have great chemistry together!

*For a fun time, watch this right after Homeland, or vice versa...Also, hide the box-cutter, because JEEZ, Danes' character in that show is depressing!

The acting is all very good. Michelle Pfeiffer is great as the evil Lamia, the film's main villain, the actors playing the heirs are all good, and Robert De Niro is great as the transvestite benevolent pirate Captain Shakespeare.

The effects are very good. Some's practical, and some's computers. The CGI is good, and never too obviously CG.

I have only a few problems with Stardust. The first is the plot hole at the climax. I originally thought that Lamia's sudden sorrow and letting Yvaine and Tristan go, only to suddenly backpedal with evil laughter was because she wanted to get Yvaine's hopes up, so she'd be glowing when Lamia slices out her heart. That makes sense, but Lamia then starts acting evil again, which'd completely kill that shine...

...But on second viewing, I realized that's not explicitly said, so it may not be the case. In that case, I'll instead complain that Lamia's attitude is weird, out-of-nowhere, annoying, and trite. And speaking of the climax, it's a Love Defeats All! type ending. Blech! Stardust, it didn't work for A Nightmare on Elm Street-What makes you think its going to work for you?!

And as for the minor comic relief Ferdie, I feel his fate is way too harsh and out-of-tone. It'd likely be in perfect tone with the book though, wherein Yvaine's unicorn helper is gorily killed, and the ending is a complete downer. I've no idea if it's a good book or not, but the general happier nature of the movie make me advise you to only bother with it, and not the source material.

Stardust is a great fantasy film, and I absolutely recommend it! For great effect, watch this as a double-feature with The Princess Bride! They might not share much at all in common, but they'd definitely complement each-other!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Trancers Series (1985, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2002)


Trancers (aka Future Cop) is a sci-fi/action movie series from Full Moon Features director Charles Band. It an extremely entertaining franchise, and it's again, one of my favourites!

I have nothing really to add before I get into things, other than talk about the regular length these  movies were-75 minutes. On one hand, 70-5 minutes is extremely short, and these movies and characters are so fun that having full 90 minute movies would be perfect...But on the other hand, movies of this length aren't seen often outside oF Full Moon, so it's pretty neat to watch a film that's this brisk!

Ok, onto the series proper...


Jack Deth is a cop from the 22nd Century, where a cult-leader named Whistler has amassed an army of zombie-like followers. In the past, Jack has fought these Trancers, and eventually killed Whistler, but sometime later, the retired Jack is informed of Whistler's survival by coworker Mcnulty. Jack is brought to the council (the leaders of the future), who are being attacked, as Whistler has 'gone down the line' to the 20th Century-1985-and is hunting their ancestors. With time travel in this universe being through syringes, and inhabiting the body of your ancestor, Jack is sent into the body of Phil Deth. Armed with gadgets, such as the long minute watch (it slows down time enough for Jack to experience ten seconds while only one passes in the real world), Jack goes back in time, where he acquires the help of Lena, a kinda punk girl. Together, they must find the remaining council ancestors, protect them, and destroy the evil Whistler...

Tim Thomerson does a great job as Jack Deth-humorous, wisecracking, and badass. Helen Hunt does a good job as love interest/sideckick Leena, Art LaFleur doesn't get to do much in this entry, but he's good, as is the hilarious Alyson Croft as the 9-year old ancestor whose body Mcnulty assumes.


Despite its super low budget, Trancers does great work with what it has, with some very good shots! And the Trancer make-up is creepy here. The lack of budget does hurt the film, but not as much as it does the final entry in the series.


The score is very good! The main theme is memorable, and the Lost Angeles piece is great, especially given its placement (a few minutes in, when we see the underwater remains of Old Los Angeles). During the night club scene, a punk rock rendition of Jingle Bells plays, and it's simultaneously terrible and rockin'!

What drags Trancers down a peg are the plot holes. Firstly, why doesn't the council send Jack back further in time than Whistler went?

Second, how do the counil members remeber their comrades erased from history? It'd make sense if they say the council are protected from paradoxes by a special machine, hence why the surviving members can remember things they shouldn't be able to, and I'd buy that in this movie's universe, but no such machine is ever said to exist.


And what about Phil, whose body Jack is in? He's stuck in limbo forever?! What the hell?! And this is never a problem that goes away, as Jack is in Phil's body for the rest of the series, with not one mention of how its original occupant is doing.

Then there's Mcnulty. When he goes down the line, he's in the body of a 9 year old girl, because she's the only ancestor that could be found in LA in this time period...But what about one of her parents? They get namedropped, so they are still alive!

Its other biggest problem is the villain. Whistler is a boring one-note baddie, he's not in the movie all that much, and the actor playing him does a pretty bad to middling job. Disappointing for the series' first big bad. And as for the Trancers themselves, the movie's not really clear on what they are. Thankfully the sequels clear it up, but in doing so end up slightly retconning what they are.


Also, a lot of the last third is set in dark dingy alleyways, which wouldn't be too much of a problem if not for the crummy film stock. New print, my ass, DVD!

Despite its flaws, Future Cop, as Australia stubbornly calls it (which, to be honest, is a better title than just Trancers), is a blast! Well worth the twenty bucks it'll cost to buy the six-movie box-set!

Trancers II


Jack Deth has been enjoying life in the past with Lena, but is called back into duty when Mcnulty comes from the future with bad news- Wardo, the brother of Whistler, has escaped to the past and has started up a Trancer farm. An agent was sent back to stop him in the new TCL chamber-a physical time travel capsule-but her ancestor down the line was an inmate in an asylum. At first, Jack has eyes only for the mission, until he learns that the operative is his supposedly dead wife Alice Stillwell...

And people say The Godfather II is one of the only improved sequels out there. Tsk, tsk, it's not that uncommon!


I'm not sure if the budgets were different, but Trancers II all-round looks better, in part due to it being in high quality, unlike the first movie.  The effects are also an improvement, although the Trancers from now on look more monstrous, rather than in the original, where most of them were pale, clammy, and had darkened skin all around their eyes. This isn't an issue though, as I like their looks regardless.

The plot here is decent, although I wish certain things like the future drug, or the asylum aspect, were played up a bit more. The movie itself is a fun time, with good action, and very well written scenes mainly the goodbye at the end.

The climax leaves some loose ends (Trancers on the loose), which I assume are resolved in-between this and Trancers III, as they're not mentiond there, as if the problem was already resolved ages prior.


There are a few problems with the script, however. One that almost is is the fact that the villain is Whistler's never-before-been-mentioned brother. But the movie knows this, and has a pretty funny scene with Mcnulty at the start as he reacts to all the news that's being heaped on him at once.

Onto the actual problems, Jacks original body is 'calcfied', as he's been in the past too long. This doesn't really make sense, as if that was going to happen, why didn't Mcnulty and co. just call Jack back to the future semi-regularly, and send him back once he did a bit of exercise and living in his original body? Also, it's pretty depressing, as unless Jack had kids before the events of the first film, it means his family line is permanently dead!


The acting is all fine. Tim Thomerson is great as usual, Helen Hunt and Biff Manard likewise, and Megan Ward is good, although her delivery is a bit shaky at times.

Wardo is a decently written villain, and Richard Lynch does a pretty good job. Not one of his best roles, but he's still good. Jeffrey Combs, however, is pretty wasted. He's just a random main henchman, nothing special. Barbara Crampton has an extended cameo, which is pretty decent.


Art LaFluer is only in the film as Mcnulty for a few minutes, and Alyson Croft takes on the role for much of the film, which is great, because I really like her. She's pretty hilarious, and does a fine job. I'm especially glad that the makers of this film got the same actress. It was nearly seven years later, and they could have easily gotten a new actress, but they didn't, which I like. Unfortunately, like another certain actress playing a man in a woman's body in this series, Croft's filmography is extremely small. By the way, what must teen Mcnulty's parents be thinking, what with their 15 year old daughter vanishing for three days!


Full Moon have always been a cheap bunch, hence a lot of the score to both Trancers II and III are recycled from the first movie. I don't mind though, as it is a very good score, and it gives the movies a Trancers feel. It only becomes a minor issue if you're watching the movies all one after the other. Watch 'em over a week, and you should be fine.

To finish, Trancers II is a great time, and a sequel that's superior to the original!

Trancers III


Jack is struggling with life, as his marriage with Lena is on the rocks, and his private detective agency is floundering. Without warning, he's suddenly dragged back to the future by a robot, Shark. The future has been devastated by a Trancer war, and Alice, Raines, and newcomer Harris instruct Jack to go back in time to destroy the Trancers at their source, so the apocalyptic future can be erased.

Sent to 2005, Jack is instructed to find Lena, who's been investigating a shady government organization, with the aid of a runaway, Private R.J. Garrett, who tells Jack of the twisted Colonel Daddy 'Mother', who's been trancing his soldiers in order to turn them into the best, most fearsome soldiers ever....


Trancers III is by far the bleakest entry in the series, but it's never depressing, and the tone works great here!

It's pretty depressing that Jack and Lena end up divorced, but at least Jack's still got Alice...for now. I wish that the film would've at least explained why their marriage was breaking up at the start. Also, Mcnulty has been killed (offscreen), which would suck, but given the end to the movie, I assume that gets reversed. But we never see an alive Mcnulty, I assume because Art Lafleur was unavailable. And finally, I wish things turned out better for R.J.


The plot is very good. Well-written, and very brisk, at just over 70 minutes-And there are no plot holes this time round! Woohoo! Although since Jack destroys the Trancers at their source (that's not really a spoiler, unless you assumed Jack dies a horrible death, and the Trancers win), I can only wonder what it means for the rest of the series. Did Alice never die? Was Whistler never evil? Did Jack ever need to go back time now? etc...

The good sequels all do something different with the Trancers, and this is no exception, as they're smarter, more in-control (but still ferocious), and tougher than ever. Although I can't see the Trancers having any practical applications in military engagement that isn't hand-to-hand, as the 6th movie is the only entry in the series where they can't be killed by just a couple of pistol shots.


The characters are pretty well-rounded, and the acting is all good. Tim Thomerson is great as usual, Helen Hunt and Megan Ward are decent in their extended cameos, as is Stephen Macht and Telma Hopkins. Melanie Smith does a pretty good job in one of her first acting roles (she's since retired and become a yoga instructor, which is a hilarious coincidence, as you'll see later).

Andy Robinson is great as the ultra-sleazy Colonel Daddy Mutha. He's by far the best villain in the series! Little wonder the 6 film box-set credits Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Megan Ward, and Robinson! I like to think that was the reason he was the villain actor they chose for the cover.


The effects are very good! The Trancer make-up is still good and prety creepy, the violence is fine, and Shark the Mandroid looks great, and is badass!

This ties with Trancers II as being the best movie in the series, and its well worth the watch.

Trancers IV and V


Trancers III really tied up the series, and felt like a definitive ending, but a 4th and 5th movie were made anyway. Some believe that these two were unnecessary cash-grabs, and say that III was the last good film in the series-Something I don't agree with that at all! Yeah, it was the last entry in the series to truly have the Trancers feel, but that's no problem, as IV and V are deliberately very different. The two movies, more fantasy themed, are basically a 2-part miniseries, like other Full Moon sequels (Puppet Master IV and V for example).

Jack Deth is back in the future   After a routine assignment taking down an alien invasion, something wrong happens in the TCL chamber on the way back, and its flung into another dimension. Now in Orpheus, a medieval world filled with Trancer nobles who control the populace by force and keep them alive as feeing stock, Jack must find the Tunnel Rats-the resistance movement.


The evil Caliban, a sorcerer and head of all the nobles, seeks out Jack once he learns of his arrival, and faces oposition from his rebellious son Prospero, who rejects his people's sadistic ways. Jack soon gets his help too in finding a way back to Earth...

First things first, Trancers III was about Jack going back in time to destroy Trancers at their source. 'In movie 3 of six?! HA!' you might be saying, but you know what? The Trancers ARE all gone for good after the events of the last film! They're only here because Jack goes to an alternate dimension!

The plot, written by acclaimed comic/Star Trek/other stuff writer Peter David, is a load of fun, and definitely makes for a worthy duology follow-up to the original trilogy.


The Trancers here are very different than in previous films, which, along with the setting, make these two sequels a very original follow-up

While Puppet Master 4 and 5 felt like incomplete halves, Trancers IV and V feel separate. They're the same overarching storyline, but the plots are self-contained, which is much better than having 50 minutes of filler, 20 minutes of action, then a cliffhanger for movie 5.

There's lots of humour in these two films, and it never misses its mark. There are some funny lines courtesy of Jack-"Time is fluid, and I'm the guy who makes sure the glass doesn't get knocked over." and the jawdropping "A real woman's the kind who makes you want to smack her in the chops. Not doing it means you're a real man.", the recap at the start of V by the evil Lucius is very funny, and the watch scene is hilarious. Lets just say that certain things are reversed in this dimension...


The acting is all good, though most recurring actors are gone at this point. Stephen Macht was Harris in the previous movie, so it doesn't feel like all the original cast has been ditched, but Megan Ward and Telma Hopkins are sorely missed, as is Art LaFluer and Alyson Croft. Fantasy stalwart Alan Oppenheimer is decent in his short role, and Terri Ivens' performance starts off pretty bad, but she gets her footing and fares better as the movie go on. Clabe Hartley's performance as Calaban is especially good, and he's the second best villain in the series!

The effects are decent. Most wounds are just smeared fake blood, but quick cuts, and/or heavily slathered on red stuff helps it to not look fake. The Romanian-shot locale is pretty great, and fits the script perfectly. This is the good kind of Romania-filming, not the painfully obvious "Oh, we swear this is America, audience!" situations (Romania being a much cheaper filming alternative).


Probably the only problem I have with these two movies are the music. The traditional Trancers music is absent, which is fine, but what music there is is pretty unmemorable, and downright boring in the case of the theme which plays over the opening credits-It only starts getting decent after two-and-a-half minutes!




By the way, one little thing. I always forget that aliens exist in the Trancers universe. No wonder, as the only mention of them is that Whistler was killed on a dfferent planet, and some stuff in IV. If only the series showed a bit more of non-Trancer threats.

Trancers IV and V are great fun, and they're not ripoffs of Army of Darkness despite the concept. Definitely worth watching!

Trancers VI


Lets finish off the series by talking about this lifeless mess, shall we.

A technician in the future notices that Josephine Forrest-Jack's daughter-is in danger. He has Jack sent down the line into her body to protect her, and uncover a sinister Trancing scheme...

Made in a bad time for Full Moon (productively and creatively), Trancers VI fails to live up to its sometimes subtitle Life After Deth. This is a movie the breathes no new life into the franchise, but instead managed to kill a series that had already been over for eight years. There's no decent script, no Tim Thomerson, and no hope. Abandon it all ye who enter here.

This would be pretty meh on its own, but compared to the other movies, it's really bad. It takes nothing in a new direction, and its continuity is a mess in regards to the other films.


The acting, save for one performance that I'll get to later, ranges from ok, to pretty bad. Tim Thomerson 'appears' in archive footage, which is painfully obvious, especially as both his age and hair colour/style, as well as the angle and lighting fluctuate between the different clips. As for the actor on the other end, it's pretty hard to watch someone interact with footage you know is completely unrelated, especially when you remember the dialogue from watching the other Trancers movies.

The story here is pretty meh. There's nothing special, the concept is a retread of the original, and the plot is pretty dull and boring. The first twenty minutes aren't half-bad, but from then on, things become more and more of a slog.


The other big issue with the movie is that it's cheap. Really cheap! The future consists of a windowless room with a few loose cords, blinking lights, and a bed covered in tin-foil. Things would look better in the present day scenes, but Trancers VI is shot on crummy film, which adds the cheap feel tenfold. Being shot-on-video doesn't necessarily mean bad quality, but if a film is bad, then it's a death knell. While the type of film they use isn't quite on that level, it's still pretty amateur.

The effects are pretty shoddy. The Trancer prosthetics is decent, although it doesn't compare to the make-up in previous entries. Unfortunately, there's also some dreadful CGI! It's not the worst I've ever seen (aside from THE scene, that is), and it's understandable, given the void of a budget, but still unacceptable. What's pretty funny is that in this film's advanced future of 2022, computers look like this...


...No wonder some people who review this film think it's set in 2002!

The choreography sinks the film to depths even lower. It's really bad! It's high school level stuff!

There is, however, one saving grace to this miserable little affair, and that is Zette Sullivan! Don't know who that is? Take a look at her IMDb page and you'll know why I'm not surprised.


Sullivan plays Jack 'Jo' Death, and while her acting isn't perfect, it's still quite good, and she makes the most of her role, doing the best she can to make this dreck watchable. Obviously she doesn't succeed, as nothing could save Trancers VI, but at least there's one bright spark here. Her best moment by far is her one-liners-"Welcome to your future, asshole" after she takes down one of the main villains, and the next one comes a while after Jack had his smokes taken away by a security guard, who chided 'her' about how smoking is the leading cause of death in women under 30. At the end, Jack comes into the villain's base, points his gun at the neck of the guard, who's in the middle of having a smoke-"Did you know that being an asshole is the leading cause of death in both men and women?".

It's truly a shame that Sullivan was never in anything else after this. The rest of her filmography comprises of an eight-minute short film, and a sexploitation film I haven't been able to get ahold of called Sexual Intrigue. At least she was in practically every scene of this 80 minute movie.

From what I've been able to gleam from the net, she's retired from acting I guess, and is currently the owner of Sacred Movement Yoga, in Connecticut.


If it were anyone else in the lead role, I'd tell you to skip Trancers VI like the plague, but as it stands, this deserves a watch solely because of its lead actress. Just make sure to watch it before the other entries in the series when you're having a Trancers marathon!


Wrap up

So there you have it-the Trancers series.This is definitely the best thing Full Moon ever put out, in my opinion! They're almost all great, and absolutely worth your time!