Category Archives: Films

Star Trek II: “Inside Regula I” (1982)

One doesn’t normally associate the horror genre with Star Trek in any way, shape or form (though the infamous “Genesis” episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation comes awfully close in my opinion), and yet there is a scene midway through Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that could be straight out of a horror film.

“Aboard Regula One” (beginning to 1:35)

The Enterprise is diverted from a routine training mission by an emergency call from space station Regula One and along the way are ambushed by Khan Noonien Singh, who seeks revenge against Admiral Kirk for stranding him and his followers on Ceti Alpha V fifteen years previously. Barely surviving this attack, the Enterprise limps to the space station, knowing Khan has been there and gone, not sure what they’ll find. Kirk, McCoy and Lieutenant Saavik beam over to see what, if anything, remains on the space station.

From the moment they transport down, the music is like something straight out of a horror film. The space station appears totally abandoned, and the music is dark and ominous. Even though Khan has left, there’s still no way of knowing if he’s left any “surprises” for Kirk and his crew.

Kirk, Saavik and McCoy walk through the empty corridors of the station, and the air is thick with tension. But it isn’t until we go back to a last shot of McCoy that we get the big “horror film” moment. He’s about to cross into a new section when he’s suddenly startled by a rat (because of course there are rats on space stations). And just when he thinks it is safe to keep going….WHAM!! He walks headfirst into the arms of a dead crew member, hanging upside down from a balcony.

It’s a truly horrifying moment, and one that I think is slightly underrated, due to the space battle that happens before and after this segment of the film. But this music is beautiful foretaste of what will come when Horner scores Aliens a few years after this film. I hope you enjoy a look at the scene “Inside Regula One.”

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Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

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When Disney released a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book last year, many seemed to have forgotten that this was the second live-action version of the story that Disney had ever made. The first was released in 1994 and stars Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli, Lena Headey (aka Cersei) as Katherine and Cary Elwes as Boone. I for one, can never wholly forget this film because it has a number of disturbing moments in the second half, one of the most disturbing coming in the Monkey City.

“The Salt Trap” from The Jungle Book (1994) (start at 1:01)

Unlike the animated film, where the Monkey City is just a pile of crumbling ruins, this version is not only loaded with treasure, but is also filled with booby traps of all kinds. Mowgli is forced by Boone and his compatriots to lead them to Monkey City so they can help themselves to the treasure (despite Mowgli’s warnings that the city is dangerous). By the time they get inside the city, most of Boone’s henchmen are dead, but a hunter named Buldeo (who incidentally left Mowgli’s father to die at the beginning of the film) is still alive and he is relentlessly pursuing Mowgli, intent on killing him. But this is complicated because Wilkins (another associate), accidentally shot him in the leg shortly before he was mauled to death by Shere Khan.

Limping all the way, Buldeo seemingly has Mowgli cornered in a sunken pavilion, when a stray shot unexpectedly causes a decoration to burst out of the wall, pouring salt out on the floor. This trips a chain reaction, where more and more decorations burst out, spilling more and more salt, and the reason why becomes clear; as the salt spills out, the roof of the pavilion is slowly lowering, meaning Mowgli and Buldeo are caught in a trap! Mowgli is able to leap out of the pit to safety, but Buldeo is hampered by his wounded leg and must hobble for the stairs, but he is caught in the growing streams of salt. I’m convinced it is salt and not sand because the material causes Buldeo intense pain in his wounded leg (and salt is very bad for open wounds). All this time the ceiling is slowly but surely descending, to Buldeo’s mounting panic as it becomes clear he will NOT be able to get out in time. By the end, he is futilely pressing against the ceiling in an attempt to stop the inevitable…with a final scream the ceiling clamps down on the floor, entombing Buldeo forever in that small pit, where he will quickly suffocate (unless that salt fills up the space first).

This scene terrified me as a child, because I would have nightmares of being trapped in that kind of a situation. To this day I can’t believe this film is ONLY rated PG because, in no particular order, we have: a man drowning in quicksand; a man being mauled to death by a tiger, people being shot, falling to their deaths, etc. But of all the deaths, Buldeo being buried alive in the Salt Trap is by far the most disturbing of all. I’d actually nearly put this scene out of my mind but I’m glad I remembered it so I could share it with all of you.

What do you think of the Salt Trap in this film? Does it disturb you? Can you believe they put this in a movie for kids? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it.

For more Disturbing Disney, see here

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Anticipating Alien: Covenant

So unless something catastrophic happens, I will be going to see Alien: Covenant sometime Saturday evening. And…while I am excited, part of me is wondering if this is a wise decision on my part. I mean sure, I saw Prometheus in a theater setting (put on by my university), but I’ve never actually gone to see any Alien movie in a regular theater (to be fair, I wasn’t even born when the first two came out) and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to react.

There are some big questions I want answered though, the first and foremost being: what happened to Shaw?? The last we saw in the little “mini-movie” set between Prometheus and this film, David had put Shaw into stasis and was piloting the ship to land on the Engineer planet. So….did something happen while she was in stasis or does something happen shortly after landing or what? I just can’t believe that after everything Shaw did to put David back together that the latter would kill her.

Another question: how will this bring us closer to the events of the original Alien?

And probably the most important question to me: does ANYONE make it out of this film alive?? I’m betting we’ll either have the lone survivor or maybe a scenario where everyone dies, because that’s usually what happens in an Alien film.

So until Saturday I will continue to avoid Alien: Covenant spoilers and hopefully I will not be disappointed 🙂

One more note, next week, from Wednesday until the following Monday, I will be away on a conference trip and will not be able to blog (I’ll make a further announcement right before I leave).

Sorry this is so short, this weekend was crazy: but tomorrow I will be back with a truly messed up installment of Disturbing Disney 🙂 Until then!

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‘King Arthur’ looks likely to flop…I’m not surprised

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword premieres in theaters this weekend and already the expensive film ($175 million) looks ready to flop, and frankly I’m not surprised. For me, King Arthur is one of those stories that you have to get EXACTLY right or it will not work. Experimenting too much with the story is what contributed to the downfall of the 2004 King Arthur film, and it looks like the same thing is happening all over again. Well, I don’t think the casting helped either. No disrespect to Charlie Hunnam, but when I look at him, I don’t see King Arthur.

I think the proposed scope of the ‘King Arthur’ franchise is helping to make this a flop as well. In case you didn’t know, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is supposed to be the first of SIX films in a series. Now, it’s one thing to announce ONE sequel before a film comes out, but to flat out say you’re making FIVE sequels even before the first one comes out? Not only is that overly ambitious, but it also means that the first film is going to be much too big in scope, because you’re setting up an entire universe that is going to be expanded on in FIVE new stories.

This is one of the 2017 films that I was certain would flop at the box office, but for the sake of the studio, I hope the film can make at least some of its money back (but I doubt it).

If you do end up going to see this film, please let me know what you think about it. Is it as bad as the first reviews are saying? Or are the critics way off base? In either event, let me know, I’d love to hear about it.

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Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

So yesterday I shared with you the disturbing sequence involving a monstrous bear in the 1981 film The Fox and the Hound. But before we got to that point, there’s actually another equally disturbing moment that gave me chills as a kid.

The Fox and the Hound “Chase/Smoking Them Out” (1981)

After Todd is nearly lured into a steel trap, he makes a run for it along with his newfound mate Vixie. They run to their burrow and hide but are quickly cornered by the hunter and Copper. As there’s no way for the hunter to get a clean shot (and Copper is unable to dig his way in), the hunter gets an idea: he’ll “smoke” them out of their burrow by setting a clump of dried grass on fire and fanning the flames so that they roar INTO the burrow. With one exit blocked by flames, the hunter and Copper stand poised at the main entrance, ready to kill the foxes the moment they come out. Inside Todd and Vixie are cornered by a growing inferno and finding it hard to breathe with all the smoke. This moment scared me half to death because, as a kid, I had a fear of being trapped by fire, so this scene was somewhat traumatic for me.

Even how Todd and Vixie escape this trap is somewhat disturbing. They can’t go out the main way because they’ll be killed instantly. So the only other way out is the back entrance (which is currently surrounded by scorching flames). But since it’s their only option…the two foxes run THROUGH the flames and make it out, to the shock and amazement of the hunter, who resumes the chase that will lead him straight to the crazy huge bear.

The whole scenario is disturbing for me, but at least Todd and Vixie aren’t burned to death, and to be fair, it doesn’t look like they were burned at all (which is totally possible in the world of Disney). So while this is a disturbing moment, it’s not as disturbing as it could have been.

What do YOU think of this disturbing moment in The Fox and the Hound? Let me know what you think in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it 🙂

For more Disturbing Disney, see here

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Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

fox_and_the_hound_ver1

I think I’ve mentioned before that the Disney films made between Sleeping Beauty in 1959 (the end of Disney’s Golden Age) and The Little Mermaid in 1989 (the start of the Disney Renaissance) often get overlooked or underrated because they’re not quite up to the standards of either era (or at least that’s the perception). A classic example of this is 1981’s The Fox and the Hound, a good film that is criminally neglected and yet it has one of the most disturbing sequences I’ve ever seen.

The Fox and the Hound “The Bear” (1981)

In summary: The Fox and the Hound is about…you guessed it…a fox and a hound who become friends (despite being natural enemies). The fox, named Todd, is eventually set loose in a game preserve to keep him safe from a gruff hunter and his hound Copper (formerly Todd’s friend). But the hunter wants to kill Todd for nearly getting his other hunting dog Chief killed and so he trespasses onto the preserve to hunt the fox down, laying a series of steel traps by a secluded watering area. The trap nearly works, but at the last moment Todd senses the danger and runs for it. In the ensuing chase (including another disturbing moment I’ll cover next time), the hunter believes he has Todd cornered in some bushes, but he is so very wrong. Instead of the fox, the hunter has cornered THIS:

Bear_(The_Fox_and_the_Hound)

Even referring to this bear as “a bear” is an understatement; he’s practically a monster in the way he’s presented as this huge snarling mass of muscle and teeth (the demonic red eyes add to the monstrous impression). And then there’s the SIZE of this beast; even though the bear is colored black, in size he’s really more like a grizzly bear (which doesn’t make sense as I believe this story is supposed to be set in Appalachia).

MCDFOAN EC008

The sheer viciousness of the bear’s assault is terrifying, and also not surprising, considering he’s been disturbed by this raucous hunter (and also shot). But the disturbing part comes when the hunter’s foot gets caught in one of his own traps and the bear comes closer and closer for the kill. Even though he’s an antagonist, this hunter is facing a pretty agonizing way to die and he can’t do a thing about it.

And then there’s the fight between Todd, Copper and the bear. This huge bear is just THROWING these two around like nothing, and it’s painful to watch. The entire sequence has me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, especially when the bear has Todd cornered on a fallen tree perched halfway up a huge waterfall (the ominous music tells you this will end badly). This bear is an excellent example of Disturbing Disney (I hope you enjoy the full scene up above).

What do you think of the bear in The Fox and the Hound? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it 🙂

For more Disturbing Disney, see here

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Blade Runner 2049 trailer….it actually looks good!

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Blade Runner 2049: Official Trailer

Aw man…I was really hoping that the more I learned about this still-unnecessary sequel to Blade Runner, the more I would not like it and not HAVE to see it. But I saw the full trailer yesterday and dang it all now I HAVE to see it!!

As far as I can tell, it looks like this film does as much as possible to match the look and feel of the original (down to the driving rain and decrepit skyline). And…I’m hoping the use of Vangelis’ music in the trailer means we’ll hear something very much like it in the actual film.

My biggest thought though is…Jared Leto is in this film? I must have missed an announcement somewhere because I had no idea (unless it was a surprise that they’re just unveiling now). I also recognized Dave Bautista (that’s interesting), and I wonder what type of character he’s playing.

The big question I’d like to ask is: what’s up with the deserted city area that Ryan Gosling’s character goes to to find Deckard? I have this thought that maybe this is the ruins of Los Angeles and the active city seen in the trailer is somewhere else, but I’m not sure. The point is, this film looks a LOT more interesting than I thought it might be. So definitely count me in for Blade Runner 2049.

Final thoughts: What happened to Rachael? If Deckard is really a replicant, why/how is he still alive 30 years later? And…I’m going to call it now, I bet Ryan Gosling’s character is some new kind of replicant/human hybrid.

What do YOU think of the trailer for Blade Runner 2049? Are you surprised by how good it looks? Can it possibly live up to the glory of the original? Will there be three separate versions like with the original film?? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it 🙂

Blade Runner 2049 is scheduled to be released on October 6th, 2017

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