Justice League (2017)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on November 23, 2017. The rating was 3.5/5 Stars, with a Camp Stamp. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageLook! Up on the screen! It’s big! It’s dumb! It’s loud! It’s Justice League!

And it mostly works. Mostly.

The very first scene of Justice League does some good work walking back the problems—and they are problems, not merely criticisms—of the first few non-Wonder Woman films in this universe. We see Superman as children see him, which is also the way that this franchise keeps trying to retroactively force its audience into reconceptualizing him: as a true-blue (literally, given the lightening of his costume) hero and symbol of hope. He’s kind, sympathetic, and, you know, Superman, as he’s supposed to be. And then, just as his life was, the video is cut short. This leads into a beautiful opening credits montage, a strength of Zack Snyder’s as a director (even those who hate his Watchmen adaptation, which I surprisingly don’t, are all but universally pleased with its Dylan-composed credits sequence).

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Serial Mom (1994)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on October 15, 2017. The rating was 4/5 Stars, with a Camp Stamp. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageMention Serial Mom to a suitably knowledgeable crowd, and you’ll hear a lot of, “Oh yeah, that was his [Waters’s] last…” and then some trailing off. His last great film? His last successful film? Depending upon whom you ask, both are true, or neither. Whatever your thoughts on it, although it’s part of his post-Hairspray mainstream canon, it’s pure John Waters, even if it does sacrifice a great deal of his notable filth (and maybe picks up some cohesion along the way).

Beverly Sutphin (Kathleen Turner) is the perfect wife and mother in a squeaky-clean Cleaver-esque family, as noted in the text itself. Her dentist husband Eugene (Sam Waterston), son Chip (Matthew Lillard), and daughter Misty (Rikki Lake) all dote on her and are doted upon in turn. Everything is a picture of idealized domesticity, except that Beverly is severely mentally ill and holds intense grudges against those she perceives as having slighted her.

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on October 6, 2017. The rating was 4.5/5 Stars, with a Camp Stamp. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

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I approached this sequel with a fair amount of trepidation. The first Kingsman was an anomaly in that it seemed to fly under most people’s radar (it was in its third week when I saw it, on a Thursday afternoon, and there was not another soul in the entire theater) but was successful enough via word of mouth (after all, there is a sequel now) that it became a bit of a cult film almost instantaneously. The press for the film has been overwhelmingly negative, and I had reservations about seeing how far a follow-up to one of my favorite films of 2015 could possibly stray into territory that garnered such negative feelings.

And frankly, I just don’t get it. This movie is awesome.

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Beyond the Gates (2016)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on August 5, 2017. The rating was 4/5 Stars, with a Camp Stamp. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

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Do you remember VHS board games? What if you found one that was haunted; or worse, possessed? What if completing the game was the only way to save your father’s soul?

Gordon (Graham Skipper) and John (Chase Williamson) Hardesty are archetypically, even stereotypically, different brothers. Gordon is a buttoned-down salaryman with a dependable girlfriend (Margot, played by Brea Grant of Heroes), a mortgage, and skeletons in his closet that have driven him far from his home town. John, in contrast, is a scruffy layabout with frequent run-ins with the law. Their troubled father, the proprietor of a VHS rental outlet, has been missing for seven months, and the two come together to close down his store, sell off the merchandise, and part ways, presumably forever. Following some strange dreams and bizarre nighttime occurrences, the two brothers are finally able to enter their father’s office, where they find Beyond the Gates, an 80s-style VHS board game that contains the last tape their father watched.

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Brain Damage (1988)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on April 21, 2017. The rating was 4.5/5 Stars, with a Camp Stamp. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageSix years after the release of Basket Case, Frank Henenlotter unleashed a new “boy and his monster” movie onto the world with Brain Damage, a film with a similar conceit to his first work but with even more disgusting special effects, a slicker production style, a new villainous creature, strong metaphorical subtext, and homoeroticism to spare. Though less well remembered than the cult classic that preceded it, Brain Damage is nonetheless a lot of fun, and may be objectively better than its predecessor.

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Basket Case (1982)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on April 8, 2017 The rating was 4.5/5 Stars, with a Camp Stamp. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageIn the annals of delightfully bad horror films, few can hold a candle to Frank Henenlotter’s 1982 freshman film Basket Case. Following the bloodthirsty trail of revenge left by a monstrous flesh sack and the (formerly conjoined) twin brother from whom he was untimely ripped, the film is weirdly disjointed but utterly charming, minus a tonally bizarre sexual assault that happens in the final moments. Continue reading “Basket Case (1982)”

The Late, Great Planet Mirth VI: A Thief in the Night (1972)

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This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on February 3, 2017. The rating was 3/5 Stars, with a Camp Stamp. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

Welcome to The Late Great Planet Mirth, an ongoing series in which a reformed survivor of PreMillenialist Dispensationalism explores the often silly, occasionally absurd, and sometimes surprisingly compelling tropes, traits, and treasures of films about the Rapture. Get caught up in it with us!

“A man and wife asleep in bed; she hears a noise and turns her head– he’s gone. I wish we’d all been ready.”

This is basically the plot of A Thief in the Night, but first, a little history.

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