Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Hickox


Payback (1995)

It’s been a little over two years since Q and I decided it was time to cull the old movie collection. When you have 2,000+ titles and limited space, this type of slaughter is necessary. Last cull was a bit rough, though, so we’re intermingling this one with a good movie or two – just to keep our sanity. Anyway, somewhere along the line, as I’ve probably already explained in some other blog post somewhere, Q got this thing for Anthony Hickox. To be fair, he’s responsible for a few really enjoyable flicks, like Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Full Eclipse, and Warlock: The Armageddon. What these movies have in common is that they’re all horror flicks. Unfortunately Payback, today’s selection for the cull, can’t in any way be considered horror.

paybackOscar (Soul Man‘s C. Thomas Howell) and Mac are the best prison friends. Mac’s a little older, and Oscar watches out for him, especially when the evil prison guard Gully gets on Mac’s case. See, Gully knows that Mac has hidden a fuckton of cash somewhere, and he’s hellbent on finding it – even if it means murder! One day, Gully takes it too far, buries Mac in a pile of trash, and ends up killing him. On Mac’s deathbed, he tells Oscar that boatload of cash is his, if he promises to murder Gully once he makes it out of prison. All he needs to do is swipe that little watercolor painting he keeps in his cell, and the secret riches will be his.

But – oh, no! – Gully’s not as dumb as he looks! He’s already taken the watercolor painting! Looks like Oscar’s going to have to find the cash without the clue, and only hope that Gully won’t get there first. Of course, turns out it’ll be difficult for Gully to use his stolen clue; he’s had an unfortunate accident and now he’s blind! Well that’ll make Oscar’s revenge that much easier to exact. There’s just one thing standing in his way now – Gully’s hot wife in a two-sizes-too-small waitress uniform, Rose. Oscar worms his way into their daily life, an easy thing to do since Gully can’t actually see who he is, and ends up working Gully’s restaurant for room and board.

It takes entirely too long for Oscar and Rose to finally bang, but they do, and money is found, and lost, and there are all these very predictable twists and turns, and since no one in this movie is a good person, they’re basically all gonna get their very own, personal ‘payback.’

I suspect the only reason this film somehow managed to score a 5.8 on IMDb is the dripping-hot sex scene where C. Thomas Howell’s ass gets up close and personal with the hood of a car under a barn. Didn’t you always want to see Soul Man getting busy? Oof. Why? Why? Also, I never realized how disgusting handlebar mustaches are until I saw Howell making out in this movie. Shiver. There are a lot of questionable things about this movie, but his casting in the lead ‘badass’ role tops the list for me. How’m I supposed to believe this little guy’s gonna take down Gully’s monster AND seduce his sorta-hot wife? His character also never really seems bought-in to anything, least of all revenge. Revenge should never be wishy-washy!

Of course, the plot and characters leave a lot to be desired as well. The real bad guys in this movie are as bad as the baddest baddies in an episode of Walker: Texas Ranger. We don’t know why they’re so angry, aggressive and greedy, they just are. They’ll judge a book by its cover and then punch it in the face before you can inhale. This kind of unchecked male aggression is so damn tiresome, and it seems to be everywhere. What’s the deal with that? Payback is just another of those movies about a bunch of shitty people doing shitty things that I don’t care about. When there’s no investment in character or plot development, what incentive is there to watch a film? The five minutes of C. Thomas Howell sex? I mean, I doubt it. There’s not even a lot of boobage in this. It’s got all the elements of one of those sexy crime dramas, but they’re all so half-assed, non-committal and obvious, I’m not sure why anyone even bothered to put this flick together.

So I’m happy to report that our videocassette copy of Payback will be relinquished to the discard pile, making room for something more deserving of my shelf space. Or, let’s be honest, making room for another piece of shit we’ll end up culling in another two years. What can I say, we have a sickness, and we’re not about to seek treatment any time soon.


Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

Skinned Alive!

Skinned Alive!

What I’m about to say might make horror fans the world over gasp in disbelief; any credibility that I haven’t already lost might go up in smoke completely, but I do not care, I must proclaim the truth! Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is most definitely my most favorite Hellraiser film of them all!

I grew up on Hellraiser flicks. Pinhead and sweet old Uncle Frank have been scaring me since I was far too young to be watching such things. I love the first two just as much as the next guy, but Hell On Earth has something I think it’s pretty safe to say the first two don’t have: a sense of humor. For me, that’s the key. I’d much rather be watching something with a little bit of goof in it than something that takes itself too seriously. And, yes, that includes horror – heck, perhaps especially horror requires such goofiness to be truly successful!
Pinhead will use all his people skills to get the heck out of this statue...

Pinhead will use all his people skills to get the heck out of this statue…

Anyway, plot: Kristy Cotton and her unfortunate family are nothing but faded memories, and one would hope the evil found in Pinhead’s box is long dead and buried. But there’s no money in a dead Cenobite! This time it’s the wonderfully sleazy J.P. Monroe, owner of Gasworks, the hottest goth nightclub in town, who unwittingly unleashes the evil upon us.

It all starts when Joey, an aspiring and currently flailing newscaster, witnesses some pretty bizarre shit in the ER: some dude rolls in on a stretcher with blood pooling on the sheets and chains exploding from his face! Joey’s Nancy Drew instinct kicks in, and she’s on the hunt for the truth. Her only clue: the box. She convinces a desperate, scared and broke young

It's that darned box again!

It’s that darned box again!

woman named Terri, an acquaintance of the unfortunate young ER visitor, to help her solve the mystery. You know what comes next: the innocent Joey is dragged into a world of pain and horror!

Yes, it’s gory and it still has all of Pinhead’s ridiculously dramatic soliloquies about pleasure, pain and the human condition. But this time, it makes you giggle, just a little bit, and not in a sneering way; you’re giggling because Anthony Hickox wants you to giggle. And it rules! I must say, I’ve gone through a few “best of Hellraiser” lists on the web and I’m astounded to find Hell on Earth is often very low on the totem pole while some others (pretty bad ones that I’ll be posting about pretty soon) are up high. I guess when one thinks about Clive Barker, one isn’t necessarily looking to bust a gut, and I suppose I can understand that, but really, this movie is totally entertaining. I definitely recommend.

Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992)

Haven’t seen Waxwork? No big deal. The cast is all right – David Warner, Dana Ashbrook, Zach Galligan and some other faces you might recognize. It’s not bad; pretty standard horror flick about a guy whose wax exhibits draw unsuspecting teens into their world FOREVER! But, whatever, none of this matters – you don’t have to see the first to watch the second.

The compass thingie

The compass thingie

Waxwork II: Lost in Time starts right where the original film left off – the female lead, Sarah, is about to stand trial for burning down the waxwork and murdering all her friends. Will a jury believe her story that they’ve been absorbed into wax exhibits, never to return? Well, of course not, not unless they can find some very convincing evidence! Lucky for them, some old dead guy that we probably met in the first movie who I don’t remember gives them a compass of sorts that will send them into different worlds to defeat evil… or…. something. Sarah’s boyfriend Mark (Galligan) is convinced they can use the compass to bring back some piece of evidence from some distant past, they can prove to the jury that Sarah is innocent and she’ll be free.

Oh yeah, Bruce Campbell's in it.

Oh yeah, Bruce Campbell’s in it.

And so begins their travels through time. Each time period isn’t recognizable by some historical event, though – instead they end up in horror movies! Frankenstein, Alien and House on Haunted Hill all represent different time periods where the young folks get stuck, and where poor Zach Galligan has to wear every awful wig imaginable. By the end we’re in some Prince Valiant sort of world where, yes, Galligan is wearing his best banged ‘do.

Worst hair ever Galligan!

Worst hair ever Galligan!

Q is convinced this movie is interesting and worthwhile, but I’m not. It was okay enough, just like the first one (well, okay, maybe it was a little better than the first one) but I didn’t think it was an amazing must-see. No, not by any means! It is totally ridiculous and silly, and I definitely enjoy movies with a good sense of humor about themselves like this one, but would I ever show it to a roomful of people? Probably not. If it was on cable, would I watch it again? Eh, probably.


Prince Valiant (1997)

Katherine Heigl as Princess Ilene

Katherine Heigl as Princess Ilene

If I told you you could find Stephen Moyer, Katherine Heigl, Warwick Davis, Udo Kier and Ron Perlman all in one place, you probably wouldn’t guess it was Anthony Hickox’s 1997 action/fantasy/comedy Prince Valiant. But it is!

So, this is a confused little movie set during the time of King Arthur’s Camelot. The Vikings steal Excalibur, but the English think the Scots did it, so they declare a war. Valiant (pre-True Blood Moyer)

Is that you, Vampire Bill?

Is that you, Vampire Bill?

gets caught up in it when he’s asked to escort Princess Ilene (Heigl) back to her father’s castle.

I’m told Hickox wanted to make a goofy comedy out of this. The producers, on the other hand, wanted a serious action/romance flick, hence the confusion. The result, of course, is a movie that never really succeeds at being anything at all except a bit of a mess. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not enjoyable, though – it’s dumb and stupid enough to sit back, turn your brain off, and go along for the ride.


Warlock: The Armageddon (1993)

Happy Birthday Mr. Warlock!

Happy Birthday Mr. Warlock!

Warlock: The Armageddon has been on the to-watch list for a while now, which might be embarrassing for a few reasons, but whatever. Now that I’ve finally watched it, well, I’m not sure what there is to say about it. I mean, it’s a Warlock movie. Oh well, here goes.

So, there’s an total lunar eclipse. We all know wacky shit happens during eclipses, yeah? So this time Satan’s son is gonna be born. Within the first five minutes we’re treated to a naked, soaking Julian Sands, our Warlock of the hour. He’s on a quest to collect five magic stones. If he gets his hands on them, all evil will be

Warlock at the circus?

Warlock at the circus?

unleashed and you can kiss the Earth goodbye. Only a group of Druids can save the world from ultimate destruction!

It’s not just any Druids that can fight the evil Warlock, though. Oh no, they must be warriors. Unfortunately, the most learned of the Druids we know are not warriors at all, but their kids sure are. They must be trained up before the evil Warlock makes his way across the country to collect the remaining stones held by the Druids.

Apparently, training to become a Druid warrior is a lot like baseball’s spring training. What better way to teach a young boy how to move objects with his mind than by giving him a baseball? Oh, and did I mention, to become a Druid warrior you

Warriors in the blood rain.

Warriors in the blood rain.

have to die first?

This movie is straight-up dumb. But it’s dumb in that delightful way that will entertain you for its entire running time. It’s so goofy, there’s no hope of taking anything here seriously. Some of the special effects are decent, too. And, well, there’s Julian Sands. Certainly not an exceptional film by any means, but if you happened upon this on cable one day, I’d recommend you leave it on. Why not?


Contaminated Man (2000)

contaminatedmanposterNext up on our spring-cleaning cull* chopping block is Contaminated Man, a completely unremarkable dramatic thrillerish thing starring William Hurt and Peter Weller.

The story revolves around David Whitman (Hurt), a hazmat guy who, unfortunately for his wife and daughter, took his work home with him one day. His exposure to a certain pesticide killed both of them, and years later in Budapest he’s confronted with the spread of the illness once again. A chemical corporation was trimming some fat, and unfortunately that means Joseph Müller (Weller) loses his job of 20+ years as a security guard. This is not good news for a man whose wife just left him and took his kid with her. Needless to say, Müller is desperate – his alimony payments were his only guarantee at child visitation.

Müller heads to work to plead for his job back. He gets the brush off, and so follows a bunch of hazmat-suited men into a private room where a whole bunch of crap explodes and he is exposed to the pesticide. He is the only man to escape the carnage, and is now the so-called Contaminated Man. Whitman is on the task of cleaning up the mess and looking for Müller, who is on the way to finding his wife and kid, but a bunch of terrorist experts stand in his way. Can Whitman find Müller and give him the antidote before the terrorist experts blow everything out of proportion?


At first, I thought this movie was made after 9/11. Interestingly, it is not; it comes out just shy of a year beforehand. Either way, this sure looks like a government conspiracy flick: the terrorist team take the story of a regular, desperate guy who just wants to see his family and turn it into a potential terrorist issue. Their overreaction makes the resulting events 10 times worse than they would have been if they’d have just let Whitman do his job. That aspect of the movie is interesting, but other than that this doesn’t really have much going for it. It felt like a made-for-cable movie, and I wondered most of the time how they got Weller and Hurt to star in the damn thing. We will not be keeping this one.

*Q and I have decided it’s time for a great cull; an early spring cleaning. We have a large number of movies we have not yet seen. Are these movies any good? This is the question we are out to answer. If it’s no good, out it goes.


Full Eclipse (1993)

What if I told you it was possible to make Point Break better than it already is? I know, a claim like that is hard to back up, until I mention werewolves. Yeah, that’s right, I said Point Break with werewolves! I didn’t know it when we put it on, but that’s exactly what Full Eclipse delivered.

Mario Van Peebles plays Max Dire, an L.A. cop who desperately wants to get the scum off the streets. It keeps him up at night and it’s ruining his marriage. His partner Jim Sheldon says he’s giving up the force and settling down, finally ready to marry his girlfriend. Well it’s never good when a cop says he’s retiring at the beginning of a movie, is it? Max and Jim head into a hostage situation, and Jim gets hit bad. No one thinks he’ll make it, until a mysterious guy dressed as a cop enters his hospital room and juices him up with something. The next day, Jim is back to work, amped and ready to go, telling Max he’s no longer going to marry. Max is too keen not to see something is off here, but what could it be?

Might it have something to do with Adam Garou and his group of vigilante cops? Of course it does! These aren’t just vigilante cops, though – they’re all junked up on something that turns them into invincible werewolves, and they want Max on their team. He’s low-hanging fruit: he’s smart, he’s good, he’s vulnerable due to his marriage troubles, and he hates criminals. But he’s also very by-the-book, and so it takes several different kinds of convincing before Max is brought into the fray.

Holy crap, this movie is awesome. I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie since maybe the first time I saw the aforementioned Point Break. But there’s one very important difference between the two movies: Full Eclipse knows all the jokes. It knows it’s a joke and it takes us along for the ride. While I loved (perhaps inexplicably) Point Break, it’s undeniable that it takes itself very, very seriously. This movie certainly does not, and that’s what is so much fun about it! It will push all your it’s-tough-being-a-straight-cop buttons, and it’s winking at you while doing it.  This certainly was the perfect antidote to the heady Ganja & Hess. This movie has nothing to say, and sometimes that’s just what you need.


Old Wave