When you think back to 1988’s cult classic Mac and Me, what are the first things that pop into your mind? For myself I would say Coca-Cola and the fact there is absolutely an incredible dance number held in the lobby of a McDonald’s restaurant. Which as you obviously know, I will have to share with you before we get to the meat of this Mac and Me post. Another thing that pops into my mind when thinking of the film is that the original trailer had a rather interesting introduction.
Now if you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing the film before, there is a good reason that Ronald McDonald appeared in the trailer. For one thing he makes an appearance in the film but the producer of Mac and Me, R.J. Louis, happened to have worked with Ronald McDonald House Charities in the past. To say nothing of actually having a hand in the advertising for the restaurant chain. Now there are different sources that naturally have differing opinions on whether McDonald’s actually co-funded the film alongside Coca-Cola – honestly, none of that matters. Because in my opinion what matters is that the Ronald McDonald House Charities received a portion of the money from Mac and Me.
Plus there is that awesome dance sequence that I’ve been talking about…if you want to know what it was like growing up in the 80’s just watch this clip!
I will neither confirm nor deny this is a scan of my copy of Mac and Me on VHS!
Okay, now as you saw from the trailer up top, Eric (Jade Calegory) develops a bond with MAC (Mysterious Alien Creature) as they attempt to find the alien’s lost Family. Which is why the young boy of course puts himself in harm’s way when the local Police began firing on the confused aliens. In the clip below you will see how things played out in the version of the film seen by American audiences.
Now then…just last week, thanks to Peter Kuplowsky’s Twitter Feed we can see how Japanese audiences viewed Mac and Me. To say it’s bugnuts that they filmed this scene at all is an understatement.
After years of doubt, indisputable proof that the kid from MAC and ME gets shot on camera in the Japanese release of the film. Paul Rudd and @ConanOBrien need to see this. pic.twitter.com/Ge4Zzw8Zal
Friends, I am a firm believer that what the world needs more of on a daily basis is The Muppets. In the years that I have had the pleasure of writing on the site, I don’t think I have ever held back my love for what Jim Henson or the Jim Henson Company has done for making the world a brighter place. However that isn’t to say I don’t appreciate a humorously dark mashup of the Muppets with other properties, which is of course why I am enamored by Jason Beck’s Muppet Maniacs. Because quite frankly you can’t help but chuckle when you see Gonzo the Great as Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise…with Camilla the Chicken stepping in as Pamela Voorhees!
Jason Beck has been a game developer for 19 years, most notably as Art Director for Runic Games’ Torchlight and Torchlight II. The Muppet Maniacs looks to have been done about three years ago and on Beck’s ArtStation page he had this to say about his project: “I really enjoy mashing things up…especially things that are considered cute with things that are gruesome. The only parameters I had for this series was 1) Don’t make them do poses/expressions their physical counterparts are incapable of, 2) Don’t spend more than 5-6 hours on each one, and 3) don’t go *over* the line of good taste…just find the line. I might have broken the second restriction on a couple of these.
It was a fun side project.”
That explains how we have this wonderful illustration of Fozzie Bear as Freddy Krueger. Which if you think about it, in regards to how Freddy became a one-liner spouting character in the later Nightmare on Elm Street films, that is a pretty good match up.
For this Muppet Maniacs take on Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, can you truly say that with all of the harm that Honeydew’s assistant has taken over the years he wouldn’t end up like Michael Myers from Halloween?
Next up we have none other than Sam the Eagle as Pinhead from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. I can only assume that Sam’s overzealous nature finally caused him to seek out the infamous puzzle box?
“No tears, please. It’s a waste of good suffering.”
Last but certainly not least is Kermit the Frog, who while we have seen get a little mad sometimes…appears to be taking Norman Bates comment of “We all go a little mad sometimes.” to heart.
The greatest thing about Jason Beck’s Muppet Maniacs is it’s not embracing anything that The Muppets haven’t done before. Case in point when Alice Cooper appeared on The Muppet Show and performed Welcome to My Nightmare!
While I truly do love horror films in general, the truth of the matter is there is a subsection of the genre I hold in higher esteem than others. That is the anthology film or even TV series like Creepshow, The Twilight Zone, Tales From the Darkside or Trick ‘R Treat to name a few. Although like in the case of Ghost Stories which was released in 2017, they owe a great deal to not only the Amicus anthology films such as Tales From the Crypt and Asylum but to 1945’s Dead of Night as well!
Ghost Stories might have originally received it’s release in 2017 but it still hasn’t received a wide release here in the United States. Back in April it was given a VOD release which is how I was able to see it for myself last evening. As I have already stated I truly love horror anthologies so I kept my eyes peeled for a theatrical release…and waited…and waited some more. Quite frankly, I finally just forgot about the film until it popped up just by accident on my iTunes feed. It took me all of about five seconds to hit that rent button as I turned off all the lights and settled in for what I hoped was going to be a chilling good time.
I am happy to say that Ghost Stories did not disappoint me in any way. Right up front I should probably caution that if you are looking for extreme scares or such, you will be disappointed. However if you want a film filled with creepiness and moments of delicious dread that continues to ratchet up to the climax, then I do believe I have the film for you.
Ghost Stories by the way was originally an Olivier award winning play, written by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson – Nyman stars in the film and co-directs it with Dyson. Andy Nyman plays Professor Phillip Goodman, a debunker of the supernatural whose life work on television and in books was inspired by events in his early childhood. When he is contacted by Charles Cameron, a famous retired paranormal investigator and debunker himself, he leaps at the chance to meet someone he has looked up to. Imagine his shock however when Cameron belittles Goodman and his own life’s work, angrily admitting he was wrong that there aren’t supernatural forces at work. He challenges Phillip with three cases he was never able to properly debunk, defying him to explain the cases and stick to his belief there is nothing supernatural to them.
Perhaps what I love most about horror anthologies is the different types of stories it is able to tell. This is obviously demonstrated in Ghost Stories with it’s three cases, starting with Tony Matthews, played by Paul Whitehouse. A night watchman who had a shocking incident at a former mental institution for women – although perhaps his own life is the more terrifying situation?
The second case that Goodman investigates involves a teenager by the name of Simon Rifkind, played by Alex Lawther. A young man whose story has more than a few laughs, as he might have run over a demon…or the Devil itself…in his parent’s borrowed car.
With the third case in Ghost Stories, you have what I felt was the scariest of the trio. Martin Freeman portrays Mike Priddle, a man who has had a very unwelcome encounter with a poltergeist. I say this segment is more frightening as it sports the most jump scares but I would add that it in no way feels cheap – the technique isn’t abused in my opinion.
I will admit that isn’t quite all the story but it will serve for what you need to know to get interested in the film. There isn’t a single actor who doesn’t deliver an exceptional performance but it goes without saying that Andy Nyman carries the entire film on his shoulders. In addition while I mentioned the second case has more laughs than the other segments, Alex Lawther is pretty incredible to watch – bouncing from seriousness to the comedic from one second to the next. After it was over I felt a little sad that such a good film didn’t get picked up and see a broad release in theaters across the States, in particular with how well horror films seem to be doing at the moment.
Now doing a little research it appears that the DVD and Blu-Ray for Ghost Stories has yet to be released. Although having said that it appears that Scream Factory is on the case and it will hit shelves on September 4th. You can pre-order your copy at their Official Site but as of now, there are no special features listed which is odd – you would think they surely would get Nyman and Dyson to record a commentary for it!
In closing, if you like a good chiller then I highly, highly recommend picking up or renting Ghost Stories!
When it comes to the best film and television adaptations for the works of Stephen King, Pet Sematary has to rank in the top five. This is just my opinion of course, but I feel that a lot of that has to do with how well Mary Lambert pulled off the vibe of King’s 1986 book. Speaking of that feeling of menace in the film and book, the same most assuredly applies to this Pet Sematary poster by Dan Mumford.
We have shared the stunning work of Dan Mumford in the past, when some of his artwork was part of Gallery 1988’s tribute to the legacy of Mattel toys in fact. He has supplied poster art for various pop culture properties ranging from The Land Before Time to Rick and Morty. However it should come as no surprise that one of my favorites happens to be for The Monster Squad with Wake Up Old Friend…It Is Our Time.
Now when you think of Pet Sematary what is the first thing that pops into mind? For myself it is of course the cemetery itself…as well as Zelda…the nightmare inducing Zelda. Mary Lambert’s opening of the 1989 film in particular, that slow stroll through the cemetery, the rows of handmade tombstones as we hear children’s voices reciting epitaphs for their lost pets. With those visuals married to Elliot Goldenthal’s moving score – it gives me chills every single time I watch it.
The Pet Sematary poster by Dan Mumford certainly gives us a creepy vibe of said cemetery. As well as having Church the cat at the bottom right of the poster, there is also what must assuredly be poor Gage Creed. The young boy standing vigil before the growth of trees and bramble that attempt to stop those foolish enough to reach the burial spot…where the ground is sour.
Here is where we get into the surprises in this Pet Sematary poster by Dan Mumford. It has to do with that shining moon in the background.
You see, friends, if you shine a blacklight at the poster you will see that ol’ moon is part of Church’s baleful stare!
All poster images courtesy of Dan Mumford.
You can pick up a print of this officially licensed poster over at the Alternative Movie Posters store. There are two different versions of the print available, the Deluxe edition has the UV hidden image of Church staring at you with malice, it also comes with a blacklight to reveal said image. The standard edition while still showing off the beautiful artwork of Dan Mumford does not contain the UV resurrected cat…which depending on how easily you are creeped out might be a good thing?