Have You Seen the ACTUAL Version of “The Devil’s Gift”?

Spoiler Alert: “The Devil’s Gift” is terrible regardless of the version.

But first, on a semi-related note…

It’s my BIRTHDAY!!!!

I’ll give you all the pertinents:

  1. I’m thirty-five.
  2. I’m aware I don’t look it.
  3. This post is relevant to birthdays.

All of that said…

The Devil’s Gift…Is A Hell Of A Birthday Present!

Let’s face it, we all get that one gift we don’t like. We suck it up and thank the giver for their efforts…then focus our time and undivided attention on something else. I’ve never had that experience (honest!), as rumor has it I’m easy to shop for.

However…

Someone needs to tell the kid in this movie that he should have played with his other birthday gifts. Because this movie would have been over faster!

The Devil’s Gift is a 1984 feature film directed by Kenneth J. Berton, he of the stinker Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders, which is only watchable with riffing and Ernest Borgnine.

For me, that’s probably because my Uncle Sam looked just like him. This is actually Borgnine, not my Uncle Sam.

The Devil’s Gift is infamously known in its heavily-edited, child-friendly form (as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000), and until recently, this was the only version I knew about. I figured, “oh, it’s a short film and it was needed to pad out the runtime of this longer film.” It was version I saw as a sixteen-year-old MSTie in 1999, and several times years later.

Nope.

…and the DVD cover that makes me scream B.S.!

The Devil’s Gift is an actual living, breathing representation of what a truly terrible movie one can make (that doesn’t involve Tommy Wiseau), and how it can absolutely feel disjointed even without heavy editing. Again, not involving Tommy Wiseau.

The original version is darker and more “violent,” but just as cheap, ugly, poorly-plotted and clunky as the version seen on MST3K.

Again, I’m absolutely certain Tommy Wiseau’s name does not appear anywhere in the credits.

Oh, the “Plot…”

Michael Andrews receives a cymbal-banging monkey as a birthday present, purchased by his father David’s girlfriend, Susan. The toy monkey was found among the ruins of a burned-down house, untouched by the damage surrounding it, and brought to an antiques shop, where Susan later decides this monkey is a Great Gift Idea.

And that’s where the fun begins!

*Cymbals Banging*

Each time the monkey bangs his cymbals of his own accord (the first clue this “toy” could not possibly be safe to play with), something happens. And by “something,” I mean death. Houseplants, the family dog, a housefly. And if it isn’t death, it is near-misses involving Michael: a near hit-and-run, attempting smothering, and attempted drowning. The monkey wants this kid dead, and two out of three times, it wants Susan to be the killer. The other time, it wants a car to kill him.

This is a terrible, horrible, ugly, schlock-filled, low-rent film that tries to be horror/thriller, and comes up comedy/Not Thriller. And the ending…let’s just say Merlin doesn’t arrive to retrieve his monkey.

The plot of the film is similar to Stephen King’s short story The Monkey, which is obviously an insult to King’s genius, since this movie is far from the caliber of Stephen King’s genius (it is alleged that the movie is plagiarized from that story). I’ve used “clunky,” “ugly,” “cheap,” and “poorly-plotted” to describe this movie, all of which is accurate. The acting is ugly, the people are ugly, the general look of the film is ugly, and I swear that 1970s couch every grandparent had is prominent in this house. I recall laughing at the riff “Hello, 1970s house” hysterically as a teenager, acting like I totally got why it was so funny.  As an adult, I get the joke…this is a 1970s house. This is 1976 trying to masquerade as 1984.

The runner up for laughs? This scene with riffing…

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If the guys from RiffTrax ever get their hands on it, I will be proudly claim firsties forking over the cost to see it in the theater. I have no shame.

The Devil’s Gift

Behold, the gift you don’t want, in its original form, complete with home video logos and trailers at the end.

For me, the real “gift” is that it is the 1985 Vestron Video print, complete with that screeching logo.

Anyway, celebrate my birthday with me over a movie about a possessed toy, and that toy’s determination to kill. It’s a helluva gift that you might just say the devil had something to do with…

Admit it, you giggled a little.

Anyway, here’s the ugly truth of a film…

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But, if you prefer the equally awkward, heavily edited, family-friendly B-story of a Z-grade film, then by all means, watch the original, if only for Ernest Borgnine.

Come for the laughs, stay for the Borgnine!

Meet “Murphy” the Mirthmobile…And the AMC Pacer!

Before Murphy…and the Mirthmobile…

Picture it, 1976…a small-wide car called…THE PACER!

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The First “Wide Small” Car!

The American Motors Corporation (aka “AMC”) Pacer was touted as the first “wide small” car (and nicknamed “The Flying Fishbowl”). The Pacer was produced from 1975 until 1979. Despite its short life, The Pacer became a pop culture icon in 1992, upon the release of the Saturday Night Live-inspired feature film Wayne’s World.

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Iconic!

The beauty part about fans and geekism is that someone is always ready to re-create an icon, right down to the painstaking little details.

I proudly present…

Murphy The Mirthmobile!

Hello Murphy! This is the exact model of Pacer used in the film – the 1976 model! Murphy has New York license plates (mild disappointment!), but the other details are spot on perfect! As a Wayne’s World fan/geek/meticulous observer, details are mas importante!

And for $20 per person (or $10 per person wearing VIP lanyards), visiting Murphy gets you ample photos, choice seating…

You can also play Wayne and Garth…

Guess whose “blonde” hair worked out for Garth?

And sample the Red Rope Licorice!

Did I Mention The Most Excellent Mirth-morabilia?

I have the soundtrack for both movies…on cassette!

Also, I covered the VCR board game in a previous Retroist article!

Most Excellent Mirthmobile (and Murphy!) Related Content

Wizard World Description – Murphy The Mirthmobile

AMC Pacer Information – Wikipedia Article

This Pawn Stars segment…

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That Darn Stairway Dilemma…

If you must know, James did ask. :-)

(Another) Most Excellent Related Wizard World Chicago 2017 Experience Article

Deeds And Dirtbikes: The Vehicles of “Megaforce”! : Convention photos of screen-used vehicles from the 1982 film Megaforce…and my butt sitting pretty on the dirtbike!

On a silly side note, I saw Murphy driving down River Road in Rosemont, Illinois from my hotel room window. Can’t miss that detail!

Perhaps it was headed for…Aurora?

The Resurrected - Scream Factory

Scream Factory Resurrects 1991’s The Resurrected!

Rejoice, Fright Fans as The Resurrected is finally being given its Blu-Ray release. Thanks of course to our friends from Scream Factory! Just in time when our thoughts began to turn to things Halloween. Furthermore The Resurrected is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward!

The Resurrected boasts some incredible talents. For example in front of the camera you have the likes of Chris Sarandon (Fright Night). As well as John Terry (Hawk the Slayer, Lost). Rounding out the cast are Jane Sibbett (Herman’s Head) and Robert Romanus (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). The film is directed by the late and great Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Return of the Living Dead).

I will admit that back in my youth, while working at the local video store. I knew of The Resurrected. However for some reason I never actually rented the film itself. I think it might actually have had to do with the VHS cover of the time. While I certainly knew of Chris Sarandon thanks to 1985’s Fright Night I wasn’t aware of the Lovecraft connection.
The Resurrected - VHS

The story for The Resurrected concerns a private investigator named John March (Terry). Who takes a case for a distraught Claire Ward (Sibbett) concerning her husband, Charles Dexter Ward (Sarandon). Claire is quite worried about her husband’s actions lately. The scientist’s late night disappearances as well as working with an odd Doctor, they have led her to hire John to find out the truth. Lonnie (Romanus) is John’s right-hand man who aids in uncovering disturbing things about Ward.

There is also that matter regarding the portrait found of Charles’ kinsman, Joseph Curwen.

[Via] ScreamFactoryTV

It would appear that Charles isn’t exactly feeling quite himself anymore. That might have more than a little to do with finding his lost kinsman’s diary. Which as it turns out contains the secrets of achieving immortality. But who is to stay that gift is meant for Ward and the betterment of humanity?
The Resurrected - Chris Sarandon

So what did I think of The Resurrected?

O’Bannon crafted a very well done H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. And trust me, I know there are more than a few bad film adaptations of the author’s work out there. While it may indeed have been an early 90s movie, it feels like it came from the 80s. The horrors slowly pay themselves out, including generous doses of blood and gore. All of the elements wrapped in a quasi-noir movie.
The Resurrected - John Terry

What about the Scream Factory extra features?

You can rest easy. They have most definitely added worthy special features. Although I was shocked they didn’t include in the listed extras, the fact they have a clip from the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. Featuring none other than Bruce Campbell and Quentin Tarantino, presenting the award to Dan O’Bannon for The Resurrected.

  • 2K transfer from the film’s vaulted interpositive film element
  • Claire’s Conundrum – an interview with actress Jane Sibbett
  • The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward – an interview with S.T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft
  • Audio Commentary with producers Mark Borde and Kenneth Raich, screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, actor Robert Romanus and make-up effects artist Todd Masters
  • The Resurrected Man – an interview with Chris Sarandon
  • Abominations & Adaptations – an interview with screenwriter Brent Friedman
  • Grotesque Melodies – an interview with composer Richard Band
  • Lovecraftian Landscapes – an interview with production designer Brent Thomas
  • Human Experiments – an interview with special effects artist Todd Masters
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes from the workprint
  • Home Video Trailer & Japanese Trailer
  • Photo Gallery

The good news is you can head out today and pick up a copy of The Resurrected for yourself. Although if you are worried about the gruesome horrors that might be lurking outside your door. You can hop on over to Scream Factory and place your order online!

The Resurrected - Attack

“Say Ahh!”

Deeds And Dirtbikes: The Vehicles of “Megaforce”!

Megaforce? You mean that laughable movie about a secret army, starring Barry Bostwick and Persis Khambatta? Megaforce, that movie where the dirtbike flips upside down?

Oh yes, Megaforce!

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Highlights of ComiCon

Think of your ComiCon experiences. What do you like the most? Celebrity encounters (love them), and the vendors that create opportunities to spend way too much money (love that too)? Both sound great!

There’s another thing I love about ComiCon…

Vehicles!

And awesome people posing with me!

It’s true – I love a good pose with a movie-used (or even replicated – I’m not picky!) vehicle!

I especially love it when the vehicles are movie-used AND obscure!

You Mean You’ve Never Heard of Megaforce?

Megaforce is a 1982 “action” film starring Barry Bostwick as Commander Ace Hunter. He’s the leader of a secret army composed of international soldiers. And his services are called upon when the peaceful republic of Sardun is attacked by its aggressive neighbor, Gamibia. The film also stars Persis Khambatta, and was directed by Hal Needham.

Ah yes, Hal Needham. That explains some of the absurd stuff in the movie.

Let this Mentos parody explain that absurdity:

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Yep.

If this doesn’t clue you into the absurdity of the film, nothing will.

Ok, three Golden Raspberry nominations explain everything.

The Vehicles of Megaforce

Behold, the reason you’re reading this!

The dirtbike and dune buggy pictures above are – brace thyself – actual movie-used vehicles. Normally with shows like this, one expects replicas built from scratch. But no, these are the real deal.

For $10, I too could be Barry Bostwick on a tricked out dirtbike, capable of flying through the chroma key skies…

I’m missing spandex, a mullet, and a baby blue headband. But I feel awesome!

The proud displayer of these amazing vehicles was happy to show me everything, including the inside of the dune buggy. He also told me an awesome story from that weekend, when he met Barry Bostwick and asked him to come take a look. Apparently, Mr. Bostwick was so excited to see the vehicles, he stayed there for – again, brace thyself – 45 minutes!

I guess he didn’t care that the movie is watchable only with a Rifftrax commentary.

All Coolness Aside…

The vehicles of Megaforce (unfortunately) have the distinction of making the cut of  The Drive’s August 6, 2017 “listicle,” Top 5 Worst Movie Vehicles of the 1980s. In fact…they’re the #1 worst vehicles.

True story.

Tack on the commercial and critical failure that followed its theatrical release, and you have the ultimate cheese that’s prime for RiffTrax viewing.

Take in this sampling (I actually own this movie in its riffed form):

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Unfortunately, searching the RiffTrax site yielded no results, so I can’t say “hey, go out and buy this!”.

So um…now I’m bummed.

But this is still awesome!

 Silver Lining?

Guardians - DVD - Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory Debuts The Russian Film Guardians

I am sure you might remember seeing a few months ago the trailer for Guardians. It kind of made splash I think it is safe to say. What with it not only being Director Sarik Andreasyan’s answer to the X-Men and possibly the Avengers. But it in my opinion decided to go one better. As after all one of the heroes just so happens to be a were-bear. I should make myself more clear on that particular point. Guardians has a were-bear with a mini-gun!

Now Shout! Factory has unleashed Guardians on DVD. It is a Walmart exclusive starting on September 5th but will be made available on Blu-Ray beginning on December 5th. While it does offer both English and Russian audio tracks, I highly recommend you go with the original language with English subtitles when watching it.

JoBlo Movie Trailers

Guardians introduces us to an secret organization that began during the Cold War. With a code name of “Patriot” you can probably guess its sole goal was to protect the homeland from various threats. What types of heroes made up Patriot?

Guardians - Ler
First up we have Ler who quite frankly can call on rocks almost as well as Ludo from 1986’s Labyrinth. I suppose if I am being fair I should say that Ler can go do better. He possesses the ability to manipulate rocks. Flinging them as projectiles or as you can see in the image above, he can also form armor.

Guardians - Xenia
Next up is Xenia, kind of the Guardians answer to the Avengers Black Widow. An acrobatic martial artist who also can transform into a liquid state. Allowing her to become nearly invisible and travel safely underwater without needing to breathe.

Guardians - Khan
Khan is possibly the deadliest of the Guardians. He too is skilled in martial arts but he is proficient in all manner of bladed weapons. Although as you can see in that photo – he prefers to use those crescent blades. Add to that his superhuman speed and you can see why I said he was the most deadliest.

[Via] KinoCheck

Last but not least there is the mighty Ursus, the were-bear. Even before Ursus is given a mini-gun he demonstrates throughout the film his superhuman strength. This member of the Guardians has a bit of The Wolf Man in him. As while he luckily can control his super power he is always afraid of losing control and going full bear.
Guardians - Ursus

The Guardians must return!

Apparently being subject to the Patriot project not only gave you super powers but slowed your aging. As after the Cold War the Guardians go into hiding until the modern day. When a threat from their past returns in the form of a rogue scientist. One who gains super strength and the ability to control technology. The team must reunite and now protect the homeland and furthermore the World from the threat of the evil Kuratov.
Guardians - Kuratov

Now you might be wondering if the films is any good. The answer is its an incredibly fun and over the top superhero thrill-ride. I won’t lie to you of course, you won’t be wanting to think real deeply while watching. Which in this case is totally fine as you’ll be too busy yelling in excitement at watching a were-bear going to town on some bad guys. Still I found myself impressed by the special effects and taken in with the truly non-stop action of the movie that I have no problem recommending you check it out for yourself.

What bonus features does Guardians boast?

Well, friends, the truth is not a whole lot. As this was a Russian film you can’t exactly expect a commentary track, right? Still this is Shout! Factory we are talking about and they supplied a few goodies.

  • New interviews with cast and crew
  • Character Profiles
  • Image Gallery
  • Trailers

You can pick up Guardians on DVD at Walmart tomorrow!