Eraser (1996)

eraser_10Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Vanessa Williams, James Coburn, Robert Pastorelli, James Cromwell, Danny Nucci, Andy Romano, Nick Chinlund, Michael Papajohn, Joe Viterelli, Mark Rolston, Tony Longo, Olek Krupa

Directed by Chuck Russell

Expectations: Moderate, but I’m very excited to revisit.

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I’ll never forget the first time I saw Eraser. I was 14 when the film came out and I was staying with my grandparents. They asked me what movie I wanted to see, so of course I picked the latest Arnold explode-a-rama! (Side note: the next summer we went and saw John Woo’s Face/Off!) I was beside myself afterwards because I felt Arnold had been in something of a slump at the time, and Eraser was a great antidote to that in my eyes. My grandparents weren’t especially thrilled, though, and I specifically remember my ex-Navy pilot grandfather laughing at how ridiculous the entire plane sequence was. I remember this because at the time I didn’t quite understand why it seemed so absurd to him.

As I’ve documented in many of my previous Arnold reviews, I idolized Arnold like no one else on-screen. He was the ultimate movie hero to me in my youth, so when confronted with the CG-aided plane shenanigans in Eraser it never seemed implausible to me; it made perfect sense. He’s Arnold, of course he can open the plane’s door at 10,000 feet and rip a seat off the wall to throw into the engine so he doesn’t get sucked in when he jumps out of the plane to catch the parachute that just flew out the door. Duh.

Continue reading Eraser (1996) →

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.

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