The Late, Great Planet Mirth VIII: Image of the Beast (1980)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on March 27, 2018. The rating was 3/5 Stars. 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!

Welcome back, dear readers! When last we left off, Patty (Patty Dunning) was watching her dear friend Wenda lie down beneath the blade of a guillotine at peace with her impending death and reunion with her savior. So after an impressive but very looooong opening credits sequence we pick up . . . in a pre-Rapture supermarket. A very pregnant computer analyst named Kathy (Susan Plumb) and her PMD husband are shopping for produce, much of which has big scary barcodes, and she picks up a book by Beverly Kay about the coming importance of computers. They get to the checkout lane, and their cashier is Patty! Hi, Patty! She asks Kathy if she really wants to buy the book, as one of the stockboys read it and said it was pretty scary. Mr. Kathy’s Husband immediately starts in with his “It is scary!” rapture eschatology, and the two women agree that they just aren’t sure. We then smashcut back to the guillotine, with Jerry (Thom Rachford) and Diane Bradford (Maryann Rachford) forcing her to watch. Sandy (Sandy Stephens)* begs her not to throw her life away as a headless mannequin is removed, and Patty is marched up the steps and given one last chance to take The Mark. Suddenly, an earthquake shakes the ground and all of those assembled flee, save for Patty, who is still strapped into the decapitating machine. She finally makes her decision, crying out that she will take The Mark, but there’s no one around to hear her. Tension builds as the mechanisms holding the blade in place move inch by inch as Patty tries to remove her bonds . . . but not in time. I wish we’d all been ready!

Continue reading “The Late, Great Planet Mirth VIII: Image of the Beast (1980)”

The Late, Great Planet Mirth VII: A Distant Thunder (1978)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on March 16, 2018. The rating was 3/5 Stars. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

Hello, dear ones. Can you believe it’s been over a year since we last checked in with Patty, the apparent protagonist of the Thief in the Night series? We were barely a month into the Trump Administration the last time I had the strength to watch one of these endearingly dated films about the Rapture, and as more and more bad news rolled in, I couldn’t find it in me to investigate further into the science fiction fantasies of the same group of people who put him in office, in spite of what their actual scriptures say about his kind (if you read Luke 16:19–31 and imagine anyone other than Trump as the rich man in this parable, then get out of your church because it’s lukewarm as shit).

Continue reading “The Late, Great Planet Mirth VII: A Distant Thunder (1978)”

ARQ (2016)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on August 19, 2017. The rating was 3/5 Stars. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageI love bottle movies. There’s something that appeals to the wannabe filmmaker in me that is totally enraptured by films that take place almost entirely in one location, from independent horror cheapies that far exceed expectations like Housebound, higher profile haunted house flicks like Burnt Offerings, and high concept claustrophobic pieces that are successful beyond expectations, like Paranormal Activity and Alien. Of course, with that, you also end up with a lot of direct-to-video–and occasionally wide released–garbage fare starring the director’s family, friends, and fellow church-goers (i.e., not actors), and sometimes you end up with something that straddles the line, like Beyond the Gates, which is a movie that’s obviously low-budgeted but uses that to its advantage to make a pretty charming movie.

Continue reading “ARQ (2016)”

Cathy’s Curse (1977)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on February 15, 2017. The rating was 3/5 Stars. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP imageAfter a few decades in which the film fell into the public domain as a recobbled, poorly transferred, discolored, nigh-unwatchable piece of garbage, a restoration and Blu-ray release from Severin Films means a whole new generation can see Cathy’s Curse (aka Cauchemars, literally “nightmares,” the film’s original/French title) in all of its… glory?

Continue reading “Cathy’s Curse (1977)”

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

EPSON MFP image

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.

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

Agents of S.W.A.M.P.F.L.I.X.: Avengers – Age of Ultron (2015)

In the words of Swampflix editor Brandon Ledet: “Superhero Watching: Alternating Marvel Perspectives, Fresh and Longterm, Ignoring X-Men, or S.W.A.M.P.F.L.I.X., is a feature in which Boomer (who reads superhero comics and is well versed in the MCU) & Brandon (who reads alternative comics and has thus far seen less than 25% of the MCU’s output) revisit the films that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the perspective of someone who knows what they’re talking about and someone who doesn’t have the slightest clue.” This article was first published on April 18, 2016.

EPSON MFP imageBoomer: Do you need a history of the Avengers sequel here? The first movie cast such a shadow that it was impossible to escape this film, even if you wanted to (and most people didn’t). Even when it was unclear whether or not director Joss Whedon would return to helm the second film, there were no other potential directors announced before he eventually acquiesced. By the time this movie came out, virtually every blog that is created and consumed by humans had talked about the upcoming film in extreme detail. Next time, when we talk about Ant-Man, there’ll be a lot of production history to discuss, as that film had a long and troubled road from inception to release, but not Age of Ultron. Let’s just get to it, shall we?

Continue reading “Agents of S.W.A.M.P.F.L.I.X.: Avengers – Age of Ultron (2015)”

Agents of S.W.A.M.P.F.L.I.X.: Thor 2 – The Dark World (2013)

In the words of Swampflix editor Brandon Ledet: “Superhero Watching: Alternating Marvel Perspectives, Fresh and Longterm, Ignoring X-Men, or S.W.A.M.P.F.L.I.X., is a feature in which Boomer (who reads superhero comics and is well versed in the MCU) & Brandon (who reads alternative comics and has thus far seen less than 25% of the MCU’s output) revisit the films that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the perspective of someone who knows what they’re talking about and someone who doesn’t have the slightest clue.” This article was first published on February 23, 2016.

EPSON MFP image

Boomer: It seems silly now to think that the ongoing existence of the Thor franchise was not a given. Prior to the first film’s release, Kevin Feige announced that there would be a second Thor following the release of The Avengers, but Kenneth Branagh wasn’t so sure. In fact, his response to the news seems almost pessimistic, as he stated that he felt the audience would have to decide. At the time, there was gossip that this was a response to what must have been seen more and more by the individual directors as executive influence. Although our culture has a tendency to think of studio influence as an inherently negative contributor to a film’s overall quality (probably because its impact is negative in most cases), but there are examples of this kind of oversight working. Two prominent examples in this same genre are Star Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation: in both cases, once the creator had full creative control the content took a nosedive, and the material itself vastly improved when the property was returned to more corporate oversight. Although this would later (famously) be the reason that Edgar Wright would leave the Ant-Man project, Branagh’s stated reasons for leaving Thor 2 were that he was hesitant to get straight back into production so shortly after the first film was completed, given the long lead times that effects-heavy films like the Marvel spectacles have.

Continue reading “Agents of S.W.A.M.P.F.L.I.X.: Thor 2 – The Dark World (2013)”