Tremors (1990)

Director: Ron Underwood
Writer: S.S. WilsonBrent Maddock
Cast: Kevin BaconFred WardFinn CarterMichael GrossReba McEntireRobert JayneCharlotte StewartTony GenaroAriana RichardsRichard MarcusVictor Wong
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017

Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) do a little bit of everything around the small town of Perfection, Nevada, in the middle of the desert. They are ready for a change, but that change comes in a very different way from what they expect when they and the entire town come under attack from giant snakes that burrow underground. Suddenly the entire small population of Perfection has to fight for their survival.

I know that Tremors has gained quite a cult-following, but maybe it needs the nostalgia factor to really see why that’s the case. I saw it for the first time at the /slash and I thought it was nice, but I didn’t love it.

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Child’s Play 2 (1990)

Child’s Play 2
Director: John Lafia
Writer: Don Mancini
Sequel to: Child’s Play
Cast: Alex VincentJenny AgutterGerrit GrahamChristine EliseBrad Dourif, Grace ZabriskiePeter HaskellBeth GrantGreg Germann
Seen on: 9.9.2017

After what happened, Andy (Alex Vincent) is separated from his mother – who is put in psychiatric care – and now lives with a foster family mother Joanne (Jenny Agutter), father Phil (Gerrit Graham) and their teenage daughter Kyle (Christine Elise). Things should be settling down, but Chucky (Brad Dourif) doesn’t just give up, and after he finds himself reconstructed by the toy company, he’s dead-set on claiming Andy’s body for his own.

I didn’t love the first Child’s Play, but it worked. But Child’s Play 2 was a case of “less would have been more” and I thought it was a step down from the first one.

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Misery (1990)

Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: William Goldman
Based on: Stephen King‘s novel
Cast: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall

Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a successful author. He became famous writing a series of novels about Misery, but he’s had enough of her. In his latest, soon to be published book, he killed her off and just finished his first none-Misery book, when he gets into a car crash. He is pulled out of the wreck by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), his self-professed number one fan. But it’s only when Annie discovers that Misery dies that the actual degree of Annie’s obsession becomes apparent.

It is obvious why Misery really put Kathy Bates on the acting map. She owned that film and stole every scene she was in. Altogether it’s a really strong film with a tense atmosphere that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

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Die Hard 2 (1990)

Die Hard 2
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Steven E. de Souza, Doug Richardson
Based on: Walter Wager‘s novel 58 Minutes
Sequel to: Die Hard
Cast: Bruce Willis, William Sadler, John Amos, Dennis Franz, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnsonWilliam Atherton, Robert Patrick, Franco Nero

John McClane (Bruce Willis) travelled to DC with his kids to visit his in-laws for Christmas. His wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) is on the plane and on her way to join them, so John is waiting at the airport to pick her up. Also en route to the airport in DC is General Esperanza (Franco Nero), a drug lord being extradited to the US. As Holly’s plane is delayed, John stumbles upon a plan by Colonel Stuart (William Sadler) to free Esperanza and tries to stop them.

Die Hard 2 is not a bad sequel, but I didn’t think it was as good as the first one. And as the first one already left me pretty cold, this one didn’t do much for me either.


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Re-Watch: Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writer: Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Goldman, Jon Povill
Based on: Philip K. Dick’s short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell

Douglas Quail (Arnold Schwarzenegger) would be happily married to Lori (Sharon Stone), if it wasn’t for a recurring dream where he’s on Mars with a mysterious woman. He decides to confront this dream by going to Rekall Inc., a company that provides real-seeming memories of vacations in the most exotic places – like Mars. But the Rekall treatment triggers actual memories and suddenly Doug finds himself in the middle of the revolution on Mars as a spy.

I had completely forgotten how absolutely campy and gory this movie is. That completely makes up for the rather lackluster performances. It’s amazingly fun to watch. Plus, they actually improved the original story.

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Troll 2 (1990)

Troll 2
Director: Claudio Fragasso
Writer: Claudio Fragasso, Rossella Drudi
Cast: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie Young, Robert Ormsby, Deborah Reed, Jason Wright, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman, David McConnell
Part of: /slash Filmfestival Creature Christmas

The Waits family go on holidays by switching houses with a family in the small town of Nilbog. But their son Joshua (Michael Stephenson) is anxious, especially since the ghost of his grandfather (Robert Ormsby) keeps warning him about goblins. So while the father (George Hardy) and mother (Margo Prey) try to get settled and the daughter Holly (Connie Young) is busy with her boyfriend problems, Joshua’s attempts to save the family from the goblins who want to turn them into plants to eat them all grow increasingly frantic. And rightly so.

Troll 2 is legend. Supposedly the worst film in the world, I really had very high expectations of its suckiness. Astonishingly, these expectations were more than surpassed. Every time I thought, “This movie can not get any worse/entertaining”, they somehow managed to up the game. This movie really is a piece of art. Deliciously bad art.

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It (Stephen King)

I’m a big Stephen King fan, and yet have never read his two main works (at least to me they seem to be his main works) – It and The Dark Tower series. Now, I finally reduced this list to The Dark Tower series and finished It.

I liked it, a lot. It’s definitely one of his stronger books. The story itself goes about in the usual Stephen King way, the book does not. I liked the structure of the novel, the way he switches between 1958 and 1985. And of course, his writing style, as usual, is very, very good.

But the biggest and strongest point from the book are his characters. I liked all of the Losers’ Club (L. asked me, which character I liked best. I told her “Ben”, which was immediately followed by an internal outcry of “What about Bev? Bill? Stan? Mike? Richie? Eddie?”).

Unfortunately, his characters were also one of the weakest points. I don’t know why he went with seven kids, because he really focuses and characterises only on 3, maybe 4 of them, leaving the others kind of empty, compared to the density of the others. If that makes any sense.

But what gets me every time I read a King novel, is how well he knows people. I mean, all of the characters are so real, so thoroughly thought through, so logical in their own ways. Even if they are more sketched than anything else.

I think that’s part of why his books are so scary: Because everything else is so real that you can see it, that you feel like you know it, the fantastic elements don’t seem to be so fantastic anymore.

After having read the book, I finally also watched the movie. I was unimpressed.

The special effects sucked, but okay, it’s almost twenty years old (holy shit, it’s already almost twenty years old). So I won’t hold it against them.

What really bothered me, was that they changed things from the book I didn’t think it was necessary to change (why is the cycle 30 years in the movie and about 27 years in the book? Was it really so hard to explain why Stan killed himself, so they had to explain it differently in the movie, making him kind of less Stan-like? etc). On the other hand, they left things from the book in the movie I didn’t think necessary (like the banana-heels episode. It never came up afterwards, in the movie).

What I did like was the way they tried to keep the time-jumping structure from the novel (even though they didn’t go through with it to the end). Although I do think that the way they connected the adults and children sometimes was a bit too much. I got that young Bill and old Bill where the same person (and I think that you’d get it as well if you hadn’t read the book), without them making the same overly theatrical gesture while the pictures blend into each other.

I loved Tim Curry, he was great. I was really surprised [in a good way] to see Seth Green and Jonathan Brandis, I didn’t know they were in there. [Okay, Jonathan Brandis is not really well known, but I had a major crush on him when I saw Neverending Story II. And I just looked his page up on the imdb, and he killed himself five years ago. That’s so horrible…]

Well, I guess I can sum it up with: The book is sooo much better: it’s extraordinary. The film is a run of the mill horror shocker with an eighties feel to it.