Continuing with my apparent comedy horror theme for this month, I’m reviewing another sequel to a cult classic. This time it’s the film that followed up 1978’s Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. The first film is a ridiculous and terrible horror parody of those 1950s B movies about huge monsters rampaging through a quiet American town. It flipped it on its head and, though a lot of the jokes don’t land or are incredibly desperate, there is a lot of fun to be had. It’s so fucking random and weird that it’s impossible not to enjoy it on some level. From the moment you hear the title song at the start of the film you know you’re in for a ride. Then it’s a roller coaster of bad acting and poor people being paid to roll around with actual tomatoes. It’s perfect. The ultimate “so bad it’s good film”. As for the sequel, it’s something that I’ve only seen bits of many years ago. Sticking in my mind only because it stars a young George Clooney. So, in the spirit of last, I decided it was worth rewatching the orignal and follow it up with the sequel. Of course, I was slightly worried that the whole process would put me off eating tomato soup or pizza for the next few weeks but I’m willing to sacrifice these types of things for this blog I guess.
So, this week may seem like something of a departure for someone who, only a couple of weeks ago, was ranting about how simplistic YA fiction is. And I realise that it is slightly hypocritical of me to then go on to read and review a teen horror novel from the 90s. However, I’ve been obsessing over this book for so long that I needed to reread it. I first read this book hen I was a teenager myself. I loved R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books when I was a kid so, once I started to get a bit more mature with regards to my reading, I started to “borrow” my older sister’s Point Horror books. Most of them were forgettable but this one stayed with me. I don’t know of it’s because it was the first one I read or whether it was just the story itself but I’ve never forgotten it. Well, I didn’t remember the name of it. Which didn’t really matter until last year when I got an urge to find it again. So I went through every beach related title in the set and finally found it. I started reading it night after I’d finished Long Way Down and turned the final page the next day. What a blast from the past.
It’s October, which means that the shops have quickly been filled up with everything Halloween related. It’s been that way since the middle of September in most places so it’s no wonder I’m starting to think that it’s closer than it actually is. It’s no doubt the reason that I was really excited for this week’s TBT film. In order to get into the spirit of the whole thing I decided to marathon the first and second films in the Return of the Living Dead series. I’ve never seen the second one before but the first is such an iconic comedy horror film that I figured it probably had some positives. After all, Return of the Living Dead was the first film to introduce audiences to the idea of zombies looking for tasty tasty “BRAAAAIIINS” instead of just eating the whole human. It was a funny, silly, and utterly camp horror film full of slightly dodgy special effects that has, rightly, become a classic. So, you’d expect there to be a little something to get excited about with a sequel. Although, let’s be honest, horror sequels aren’t exactly the greatest of films. With the exception of the Leprechaun series which only got better with every films, most horror franchises rapidly decline after the first one.
Anyone who has read a few of my book related posts may know that I have a rocky history with YA fiction and I’m not entirely convinced by contemporary poetry. So you’d think that I’d definitely want to steer clear of a piece of YA fiction written entirely in verse. But Long Way Down is the kind of book that I couldn’t ignore for long. Loads of people I respect on Bookstagram loved it and I heard loads of praise for it in general. So, when To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before proved too much for me to handle, I decided it was time to give it a try. After all, it’s not a very long read so I knew I could blast through it in a matter of hours. And I am still trying, though not very hard, to read more poetry this year. It feels like a novel written in verse is the ideal way of doing this as I sometimes find it difficult to get into poetry. It’s not exactly a normal method of reading when you’ve got a collection of poems loosely tied together by a similar theme but that are all separate. As this one contained such a tight and concise narrative, I was excited to see how it would work.
Once again, the film Gods were against me and I didn’t get the chance to watch new releases. So I took the opportunity to watch this Netflix film that’s been on my radar since it came on the site. It’s something I wasn’t exactly sure about but I was interested in its cast. I’m a huge fan of Kristen Bell in general and I have fond memories of Kelsey Grammer from Frasier. Of course, his appearance as Beast in the third X-Men film took some time to get over but I still think he’s a good actor. Plus, his appearances in 30 Rock were more than enough to take my mind of it. “Frajer!!!!” But, as I say every time I review a Netflix original, I have no faith in their ability to make original and exciting films. They tend to make middle- of-the-road stuff that won’t offend anyone but that you won’t be in a rush to rewatch them. We’re still at a point where the only truly great film is Okja . Unless we’re talking about documentaries. Then there’s bloody loads of them. I don’t see how they can make such amazing television but so many boring films. Still, I’m ever hopeful so I watched this film desperate for something different.
Movie titles are a funny old thing aren’t they. Sometimes you hear them and have no interest in watching the film. I know that, if I hadn’t known all about Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver I would have assumed it would have been a shitty family comedy or animation. Meaning I would have dismissed it and lost out on one of the most fun film experiences of last year. On the other hand, some films have the kind of titles that you can’t ignore. Snakes on a Plane is an obvious example and I still can’t believe some stupid executive attempted to change it. Thank god for Samuel L, eh? Of course, there are more than enough times that these unmissable titles are the best thing about a film. It’s something I’ve come across a lot when researching which 1988 films to watch for this series. There are a lot of random but amazing titles out there but the films don’t sound like they’ll measure up. This was something I definitely suspected from today’s pick. A classic B movie with no budget, bad acting, but a lot of aspiration. But I couldn’t deny that I was instantly hooked by the title.
I’ve been behind the Ant-Man series of films since the first rumblings of an adaptation. Yes, he might not be the obvious choice for a standalone movie and he may not be the most impressive of all the potential Marvel heroes. But I like him. And initially having Edgar Wright sign on as the co-writer and director only helped to increase my excitement. Unfortunately, as we now know, that was to be nothing but a fantastic dream. Though we also know that the first Ant-Man film was pretty good all things considered. It wasn’t the film we had expected or even the film he deserved but it was entertaining and charming. Paul Rudd has proved, every time he’s donned his shrinking suit, that he is the perfect choice to play Scott Lang. He was a true high point in Civil War and was sorely missed in Infinity War. So, the question was, what exactly was Scott doing whilst his friends were trying to stop Thanos from snapping half of the Earth’s population to dust? Well, thankfully Ant-Man and the Wasp is here to answer it… with added Michell Pfieffer.
This week I decided to let fate decide which 1988 film I was going to watch. It happened to be shown on TV last Saturday so, for the sake of convenience and laziness, I just watched it then. I can’t say that I was really relishing the idea of having to watch the third film in the Rambo series. It’s hardly a franchise that has ever regained the height it reached with its first film. First Blood is a classic action movie and, though it falls apart when you think about it too much, is carried well thanks to it’s main star. I can’t say that I’m a massive Stallone fan but I defy anyone not to find him a little intriguing. He’s had some great and career defining roles. Yes, I can’t say I’ve been queuing up to see his films from the past decade or so but there’ll always be a place for him in the annals of film history. We know that, deep down, I have the same taste in films as a 12-year old boy, so his films do speak to me on some level. Anything with enough guns and explosions is going to keep me somewhat happy. However, I also need there to be something deeper. Something I’m not sure Stallone has always been capable of.
As children we’re so often told that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s a quaint little adage that I completely agree with when talking about people but not when talking about actual books. As any bookish person will tell you, you can very often tell whether or not you’ll like a book based on the cover art. I buy the majority of my books based on chance encounters in book shops. The typical romantic-comedy meet cute kind of thing. I walk into a bookshop, come face to face with something beautiful, everything gets a bit blurry, strings start playing in the background, I read the synopsis, we’re a perfect match, and we end up going home together. It’s a tale as old as time. And exactly what happened with the last book that I read. It was just your everyday lunchtime book shop browse and I fell in love. With a simple white cover with a black illustration. It was creepy. It was gorgeous. I had to pick it up. As soon as I read the word Frankenstein on the back I was doomed. I’d never read anything by Marcus Sedgwick but, if this cover told me anything, I knew this was going to be for me.
Last week I talked about how shit I thought it was when I just decided to review a Netflix film instead of a cinema release. Cut to 7 days later and I’ve got egg on my face. I had every intention of doing something more exciting but things, as WB Yeats warned us, have fallen apart. I won’t got into to boring details but, suffice it to say, it went so wrong that I found myself with very little choice but to watch the new Netflix film starring Barb from Stranger Things. To be honest, I’ve kind of wanted to see it since it was released because I think Shannon Purser is everything. It excited be more that All the Boys I’ve Loved Before ever did so it wasn’t like I was too upset. Just feeling a bit useless.