Genre Watch – December 2006 – By Jordan Garren

 The time we all dread is here folks! There’s only twenty-three shopping days left for Christmas (as of my writing this) and we’re already all feeling the pressure of getting the right gift. Well luckily for you, I’m here to help out with this month’s Genre Watch! While my hopes and dreams of a cult movie Christmas seemed fruitless, I’m happy to say that there is a lot to look forward to in December! And I mean a lot! There’s a truckload of awesome DVD titles that are out (or will soon be out) that will make your mouth water, and this month’s theatrical offerings aren’t too shabby either. So with great pleasure, I present to you my hot picks for this month’s Genre Watch. (Eternal Disclaimer: All release dates are tentative and subject to change and I of course have nothing to do with any changed release dates.) Merry Christmas all you b-movie boys and girls!

Now available on DVD:

Christmas Evil (Special Edition) – Thanks to the wonderful folks at Synapse, Christmas Evil gets the best treatment it has ever seen! In this holiday horror film, a young boy named Harry sneaks downstairs on Christmas Eve to get a peek at Santa. But we he sees instead, scars him for life. (Jut a little hint: He saw mommy doing more than kissing Santa Claus.) Harry grows up to be a rather odd fellow and finally hits the breaking point one Christmas Eve where he dresses as Santa, robs the toy factory he works at, delivers presents to children, and slams a hatchet into a drunken moron’s forehead! Then, the film ends on a completely weird note that will leave you scratching your head. Synapse has released the director’s cut of this film in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. I haven’t seen it myself, but I hear that the movie looks gorgeous. The disc is rounded out with these yuletide extras: Audio commentary by director Lewis Jackson, Bonus audio commentary with Lewis Jackson and cult director John Waters, story boards, audition tapes, and original comment cards!

Clerks II – Though this sequel was made a bit late, Kevin Smith fans will not be disappointed! Loveable losers Dante and Randall end up working in a fast food joint after the Quick Stop they work at goes up in flames. The remainder of the film involves Dante falling in love with another woman just before he moves to Florida and gets married, and a ton of "Lord of the Rings" bashing courtesy of Randall. (And don’t forget about the "Interspecies Erotica" that takes place within the movie’s third act!) The DVD comes in either Widescreen or Fullscreen editions and is packed with tons of features including three audio commentaries, production diaries, bloopers, deleted scenes, and more!

Devil Times Five – Leif Garrett stars in this film in which a group of folks find and take in five severely disturbed, sociopathic children. Terror and death ensue! I couldn’t find any major details about this disc and I’ve never heard of the company that released it either. Still, this movie is probably worth getting, though I do hope that Leif Garrett dies horribly in it… why? I don’t quite know… just some primal anti-Leif urge that I have I suppose.

Forbidden Planet – A sci-fi classic that’s getting the royal treatment! Based loosely on Shakespeare’s "The Tempest," Forbidden Planet is the tale of man’s obsession with science, and the evils that lurk in humanity’s subconscious…. plus there’s an Id Monster, spaceships, lasers, and Leslie Nielsen! Both the 2-disc collector’s edition and the Ultimate collector’s edition come with the same features: Lost footage, additional scenes, The Invisible Boy and a Thin Man TV episode that both feature Robby the Robot, plus multiple featurettes about the film and the history of the sci-fi genre. The only major difference is that the Ultimate Collector’s Edition comes with a mini-replica of Robby the Robot, some cool lobby cards, and is nestled within a sturdy metallic case!

Maniac Cop (Special Edition) – This cult classic comes back to DVD thanks to those glorious bastards at Synapse Entertainment! Super cop Matt Cordell is framed by a corrupt justice system and sent to prison where he’s brutally beaten and sliced-up by some angry inmates. Afterward, Matt becomes an undead, spirit of vengeance and goes about New York City, killing civilians and making people absolutely terrified of the city’s police force. This movie is freakin’ awesome and stars Robert Z’Dar as the titular character, Bruce "The Chin" Campbell, and Tom Atkins! Synapse’s DVD sports a wonderful clean and crisp 1.85:1 widescreen transfer with fantastic Dolby 5.1 sound. The disc sports an audio commentary with director William Lustig, producer Larry Cohen, and co-star Bruce Campbell, additional scenes (from Japanese TV broadcast), trailers and TV spots, and a featurette with the "maniac cop" himself, Robert Z’Dar! Woohoo!

See No Evil – WWE’s Kane (a.k.a. Glen Jacobs) stars as a big-ass serial killer with a big-ass hook and chain that kills sinful, lustful teenagers. Yup, this film is not embarrassed to be itself, and as far as I know, wasn’t as well received as Vince McMahon could’ve hoped. But I’m more than certain it will be well-received on DVD! The movie is presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio and uh.. well… I get my info on these discs from Amazon, and once again, there’s nothing here about extras! How frustrating is that?!

Superman Returns – Brandon Routh steps into Chris Reeves’ shoes as the Man of Steel and Kevin Spacey steals the show as Lex Luthor. After a long disappearance, Superman returns to Earth and begins fighting for truth, justice, and the American way once again! The DVD comes in either bare bones Full Screen or Widescreen editions, a two-disc widescreen special edition, or you can get it with all four of the other Superman films in the Ultimate Superman DVD Collection which boasts fourteen DVDs and over twenty hours of extras! And as if you had to ask, yes I did indeed put that massive DVD collection on my Christmas wishlist!

Now Playing in Theaters:

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – Sacha Baron Cohen plays Borat, a Kazakhstani reporter trying to learn more of American culture in order to aid his backwards nation! This movie has offended many, started numerous lawsuits, and raked in roughly one-hundred million dollars in the US alone! I’ve seen it twice and look forward to its future DVD release! See this movie!

Casino Royale – Another Bond flick. Though it’s being touted as a return to form and considered by many to be pretty damn good, I refuse to see it. The Bond films are an international conspiracy started by the British in an attempt to make the longest running franchise in film history! (DAMN YOU IAN FLEMING!) Our only hope? Godzilla! Crank out thirty more G-flicks Toho so that the redcoats don’t get the world record! We’re counting on you!

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – Tim Allen is back and he fights against Jack Frost, played by Martin Short in order to save Christmas from being too commercialized. HA! Too late! Kids seem to like this one, but I think that the "mighty" Santa Clause franchise has come to an end…. I hope! Bah! Humbug!

Saw III – The third entry in this "torture-porn" series of films. It yields another new twist and sets things up nicely for the next installment (coming next October). Haven’t these movie studios ever heard the phrase, "flogging a dead horse?"

Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny – F*cking awesome! Awesome cameos, awesome musical numbers, and just plain fun for fans of rock n’ roll music and/or Tenacious D and/or Jack Black! I’ve seen it once and I may see it at least once more! Oh yeah, the story? Jack Black and Kyle Gass start Tenacious D, and to become great rock legends (and to get some rent money) they go after the pick of destiny which leads to a "rock-off" against Satan at the film’s finale. Tim Robbins’ cameo in the film is freakin’ hilarious and you get to see Meatloaf dressed as a sasquatch!

DVDs to look for in December:

December 5th: "Alien Nation/Enemy Mine" (Double Feature), "Black Christmas" (Special Edition), "Cheezy Exploitation Trailers," "Cheezy Fantasy Trailers," "Cheezy Horror Trailers Volumes 1 & 2," "Cheezy Sci-Fi Trailers Volumes 1 & 2," "Demons Triple Feature" (3-Disc Set), "Dinosaur Valley Girls" (Mammoth Edition), "The Fearless Avenger," "Mad Cowgirl," "Naruto: Uncut Boxed Set 2," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" (2-Disc Collector’s Edition), "Pulse" (Unrated Widescreen Edition), and "The Quick and the Undead."

December 12th: "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" (4-Disc Extended Edition + Gift Set), "Eye for Terror" (5-Disc Set), "James Bond Ultimate Edition: Volumes 3 & 4," "Living Dead" (Unrated), "Masters of Horror: Fair-Haired Child," "Masters of Horror 4-Pack," "Shinobi: The Complete Collection," and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (Unrated Widescreen Edition).

December 19th: "Ichi Blood Pack," "Lady in the Water," "Lizard in a Woman’s Skin," "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," "Nezulla: The Rat Monster," "A Scanner Darkly," "Theater of Horror" (6-DVD Set), "The Wicker Man" (Unrated Widescreen Edition), and "The Wicker Man" (1975 2-Disc Special Edition).

December 26th: "Angst," "The Aztec Mummy Collection" (3-DVD Set), "Dark Remains," "The Descent" (Unrated Edition), "The Hexer," "The Legend of Boggy Creek," "Monarch of the Moon/Destination Mars," "Scratch," and "Sheitan."

Theatrical Films to Look for in December:

December 1st:

– Crappy-looking new horror film about kids getting trapped on the island they’re vacationing on, by bloodthirsty locals! Torture and wallet theft ensues.

Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj – Van Wilder is the only movie to ever gross me out! (Ewww… dog-jizz eclairs!) The sequel doesn’t look like anything special, but Kal Penn is pretty cool in my book so maybe I’ll check this flick out.

December 8th:

– From Celts, to Jews, to Mayans… Mel Gibson really loves his history! While I had my doubts about this flick, the latest trailer made the film look completely bad ass! I just may shell out some cash to see Crazy Mel’s latest feature film!

December 15th:

– Anachronistic clothing and dialogue meld with a medieval world in this latest kiddy fantasy film! The dragon looks like a pussy! A big, blue, fire-breathing pussy! Damn it New Line, pay Pete Jackson so he can get cracking on some good fantasy films with dragons. (i.e. The Hobbit!) Yeah I know I’m being unfair, but the poster looks so fruity! It can only be described as emo-medieval! Am I still going to see this movie? More than likely!

December 22nd:

Night at the Museum
– Now this looks like fun! Ben Stiller is the new night-watchman at the Museum of Natural History. And every night, everything within the museum comes alive and causes poor Ben a lot of grief! "Stop slapping that monkey!"

Rocky Balboa – Stallone resurrects his most famous onscreen character for one more bout. This time Rocky, a widower that’s down on his luck, decides to hop in the ring to beat up the Heavyweight Champion of the World: Mason "The Line" Dixon! My common sense tells me to avoid this flick, but I just can’t help it! Rocky’s back!

December 29th:

Black Christmas
– Ugh! Another horror movie remake. (At least it’s not a remake of a Japanese horror flick, right?) A killer snuffs out sorority girls on Christmas break until one semi-intelligent and good-looking sorority sister saves the day and defeats the madman. But then it’s discovered at the film’s final moment that he isn’t dead and is still on the loose. I’m just guessing, but I’m sure I’m completely correct about this unnecessary, unwanted, and unwarranted holiday horror remake. F*ck you Dimension films!

Children of Men – In a future where women can’t get preggers any more, one of them does! Will she be the savior of humanity?! Who cares. The important question is "where’s the dude that knocked her up?" His super-sperm (not unlike my own) is the real key to saving humanity!

Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo del Toro’s latest film centers on a young girl that creates an escapist fantasy world for herself during General Francisco Franco’s reign in Spain. There’s a lot of positive buzz about this, and I have high hopes myself since I really enjoyed del Toro’s previous efforts (Hellboy and Blade II).

Well that’s it for this edition of Rogue Cinema’s Genre Watch folks! I told you that there’s a lot to look forward to and I think I’ve really delivered the goods. Start making out those wishlists and prepare for the yearly Armageddon that is Christmas! Save up cash then blow it completely on presents! Drink lots of eggnog! Eat your body weight in Christmas cookies! And don’t forget to sing a few Christmas carols when the mood hits! From all of us here at Rogue Cinema, MERRY CHRISTMAS! (And for those of you that don’t celebrate Christmas HAPPY HANUKKAH, JOYOUS KWANZA, and HAPPY FESTIVUS FROM THE REST OF US!) See you next year!