Trancers: City of Lost Angels (1988)

trancers_2Trancers: City of Lost Angels (1988)
AKA Trancers 1.5, Pulsepounders

Starring Tim Thomerson, Art LaFleur, Velvet Rhodes, Alyson Croft, Telma Hopkins, Grace Zabriskie, Helen Hunt

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Very high.

threestar


Like last year’s release of The Evil Clergyman, Trancers: City of Lost Angels (previously known as Trancers 1.5) was originally planned to be one piece of the anthology film Pulsepounders. Its three segments were to provide sequels to Empire International’s biggest films, theoretically also making Pulsepounders a hit. But the film was never finished and was left to waste away in the back of a warehouse… until now! Or until last year, anyway.

In this mini-Trancers film, Jack Deth must face yet another future villain out to get revenge on him. Edlin Shock was put behind bars by Jack eight years ago, but in order to get the plot moving, Jack’s boss McNulty is transferring this dangerous assassin to a new facility. She escapes by somehow blasting a hole in the ceiling and then forces the police scientists to send her down the line to where Jack Deth is in 1980s Los Angeles. Oh no!

Continue reading Trancers: City of Lost Angels (1988) →

Mini-Review: The Blob (1988)

Starring Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn, Candy Clark, Joe Seneca, Del Close, Paul McCrane, Sharon Spelman, Beau Billingslea, Art LaFleur

Directed by Chuck Russell

Expectations: Low. This one never interested me for some reason, but here I am watching it.


Oh wow, I love it when this happens. I’ve watched horror movies for years now and sometimes I get to thinking I’ve seen all the fun ones already. The Blob is not only one of the most fun horror movies I’ve seen in a while, it’s one of the most fun I’ve ever seen. They truly go for broke on this one, with lots of good 80s clichés and absolutely amazing physical FX. I went into this one with pretty low expectations for some reason, but I came out hootin’, hollerin’ and havin’ an absolute blast.

The film starts out very ominously as the credits fade in over quiet, well-composed shots of the barren, small town where The Blob takes place. Eventually we get to the high school football game where apparently everyone in town is rooting on their team. Here we meet our first couple of main characters (a player and a cheerleader), but before this scene can play out completely, director Chuck Russell crosscuts the cheering crowd with the leather jacket wearin’, motorcycle drivin’, bad boy Brian as he tries to jump a washed out bridge on his bike. These opening scenes perfectly set up the town we’ll be inhabiting for the next ninety minutes, as well as foreshadowing a key moment that I wouldn’t dare spoil here. Trust me, it’s awesome in the way that only an 80s movie can be awesome.

In addition to story tropes that only 80s movies can pull off effectively (but that shouldn’t stop modern filmmakers from trying!), The Blob is notable for its kick-fucking-ass special FX by the impressive Tony Gardner. He’s worked within many genres over the course of almost thirty years, and recently was responsible for the realistic prosthetic arm that James Franco cut off in 127 Hours. I’m a huge fan of physical FX and even I am speechless at how great the FX look in The Blob. The kills are nothing short of incredible and ridiculously inventive, ranging from phone booth crushings to a dude that literally gets sucked down a sink drain. It’s a smorgasbord of awesome and this film should be required viewing for anyone looking to make a modern horror film. Horror has lost so much of the fun it once had. Where modern horror focuses almost exclusively on realism and torture porn squirm scares, the 80s had a sense of heightened reality that allowed the films to go above and beyond what realism can offer, resulting in films that are relentlessly fun.

On top of all that goodness, director Chuck Russell actually knows how to shoot and edit a movie! Imagine that! The cinematography is rich and colorful, perfectly complementing the beautifully composed shots and FX. I really can’t believe more people aren’t talking about this one, as it is so well made and so very much fun. If you like 80s horror, you simply must watch The Blob.

Zone Troopers (1985)

Starring Tim Thomerson, Timothy Van Patten, Art LaFleur, Biff Manard, William Paulson

Directed by Danny Bilson

Expectations: Pretty high. This is cheesy ’80s Sci-Fi. I’m gonna like it.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:


Going into Zone Troopers I knew three things. I knew it was set during World War II, that there were crash-landed aliens, and that I was gonna love it. My information was correct and the film did not disappoint. Over the opening credits we are treated to Glenn Miller’s In the Mood, one of the most iconic and well-known swing songs of the era. It seems like an easy and somewhat lazy choice here, but as we’re going for instant time recognition, there’s nothing like In the Mood to sell the ’40s. As the song ends the screen irises out, revealing a full-color science fiction magazine called Fantastic Fiction in the hands of Joey (Timothy Van Patten), a young Army private with wonder in his eyes. Another soldier, Mittens (Art LaFleur), wants to read Joey’s other book, “the one with the blonde dames from space,” but Joey traded it for a pack of Luckies. Yep, this is World War II alright.

Continue reading Zone Troopers (1985) →

Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991)

Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991)
AKA Future Cop II

Starring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Megan Ward, Biff Manard, Martine Beswick, Jeffrey Combs, Alyson Croft, Telma Hopkins, Art LaFleur

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate. It’s a sequel.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


Six years after the original, Charles Band got around to making another Trancers film. He successfully reunites the entire cast of part one, as well as a few new faces. By this point, Empire International had collapsed and his new company, Full Moon Entertainment, had risen from its ashes to bring us more of the Charles Band brand of campy flicks I love. Trancers 2, just like in real life, picks up six years after the events of the original and Jack Deth is still stranded in the past, 1991 to be exact. Using the current year as the setting works really well, because acknowledging the production year allows the film to age a lot better. Instead of picking some arbitrary number for the time, we are treated to 1991, 1991 style. The Raiders are forever the Los Angeles Raiders and passenger vans come in two varieties, the Chevy Astro and the Ford Aerostar. Oh, it’s good to be back.

Continue reading Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991) →

Trancers (1985)

Trancers (1985)
AKA Cop Tronic, Future Cop, Future Cops

Starring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Michael Stefani, Art LaFleur, Telma Hopkins, Richard Herd, Anne Seymour, Biff Manard

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Very high. ’80s Sci-fi is hard to top for me.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Police Trooper Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) hurtles back in time to 1985 to apprehend the dangerous criminal Whistler, who is seeking out the ancestors of the future society’s city council and killing them off. Whistler can turn weak minded people into zombie-like creatures called Trancers with his psychic powers and Jack Deth is the only man crazy enough for the job. Deth is a rough and tumble, no frills badass that throws his badge to the ground in the first five minutes and writes the rules as he sees fit. For instance, right before the injection that will send him back in time, the lab techs show Deth the body of Whistler in their lab. The scientists explain that they recovered the body and brought it in so that when he brings Whistler back to the future, they will already have him in custody. Instantly I thought, “Kill him now! Don’t let his body live!” Great minds think alike as Jack Deth takes me up on my offer, whipping out his pistol and shooting the body, causing it to explode! Oh yeah!

Continue reading Trancers (1985) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,593 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages

My Top 10 Favorite Sam Fuller Movies
Four Riders (1972)
New Police Story (2004)
Something Just Right
Killers on Wheels (1976)
City Hunter (1993)
The New Shaolin Boxers (1976)
My Lucky Stars (1985)