Mad Prof. Mike's Headbanger Movie Reviews

Top 10 of 1994

1994, 1995 by Mike Marano

Hey, guys. This is Mad Prof. Mike with the Headbanger TOP 10 of 1994! Kind of late, I know. But if I were the kind of guy who could get his shit together, would I be appearing in this rag?

NUMBER 10 is the first 45 minutes of THE PUPPET MASTERS, which really felt like a scary Robert A. Heinlein story. The last 45 minutes sucked.

NINE is BRAINSCAN: the only teen Horror movie that teaches kids the important life lesson that they won't get girlfriends if all they do is jerk off watching horror movies all day.

EIGHT is Abel Ferrara's spooky, violent BODY SNATCHERS. Sure, it's been filmed twice before. But this flick was pretty cool in its own right.

SEVEN is Disney's testament to the divine authority of the Patriarchy, THE LION KING!! Remember, Ladies: THE MISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL!!!

SIX is TICKS, the best "giant bugs created by steroids" movie ever! I love giant bug movies.

FIVE is Peter Jackson's demonic muppet movie: MEET THE FEEBLES. You haven't lived until you've seen Jackson's mutant muppet DEER HUNTER parody.

The next four are basically tied for the top position. I ranked them pretty much arbitrarily, 'cause I couldn't make up my mind. Remember what I said about getting my shit together?

Our first best movie of the year is Kenneth Branagh's alchemical blitzkrieg take on FRANKENSTEIN, which is just about the coolest version of Mary Shelly's monster since the glory days of James Whale.

Next is the Bolex Brother's demented fairy tale Puppetoon: THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF TOM THUMB--the closest thing to a fit of celluloid autism I can think of.

Our third best movie of the year is STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, a flick that brought out the most devoted feelings of Trek nerd-dom in me in years.

And our final best movie of the year is Tim Burton's homage to the master of bad cinema: ED WOOD. If Martin Landau doesn't win an Oscar for his role as Bela Lugosi, I will personally firebomb the awards ceremony.

Sure, there were a few other noteworthy releases in '94. But I didn't get around to seeing them. So fuck 'em.

* * *

Now it's time for the Headbanger glimpse into the maw of HELL!!!!

I can't really tell you how, but a friend, let's call him "Jimmy," recently got hold of a stack of educational films that used to be shown in schools. TO LITTLE CHILDREN!!!! I stopped by his house the other night, and he looked kind of pale. I was reminded of all those H.P. Lovecraft stories where some guy is all changed and deranged by dipping into The Necronomicon. I asked him what happened, and he threaded-up the short little movie, SNIFFY ESCAPES POISONING.

I barely escaped with my sanity.

SNIFFY ESCAPES POISONING is a twisted cartoon made in 1967 about a little boy, who along with his dog, Sniffy, learns about the dangers lurking in the family medicine cabinet. The little boy is drawn like a mutant homunculus: a cross between a 60s troll doll, one of those horrible Klien paintings of the kids with BIIIG heads and BIIIIIIIIIIG eyes, and the killer baby from IT'S ALIVE. This gargoyle is our PROTAGONIST, KIDDIES!!

This nameless boy drags Sniffy The Dog into the bathroom, because Sniffy is sick and needs some medicine. The boy o-o-o-o-o-opens the medicine cabinet... and then THE PILLS, the Jolly, Happy CANDY-COLORED PILLS, start singing! and dancing! and telling the boy about how dangerous they are! THE PRETTY, PRETTY SMILING PILLS laugh, and make music and enchantingly tell the little boy that he should stay away from them! They enticingly do all kinds of wonderful things and tell the sweet, sweet, little changeling that pills are bad, that pills are scary, that you need Mom and Dad to take them.

THEY USED TO SHOW THIS TO CHILDREN! Can you imagine a cartoon made today about how dangerous GUNS are that had little happy revolvers and rifles holding hands and dancing like fairies around a May Pole?

SNIFFY ESCAPES POISONING wounded my inner child, my outer adult, and my sub-dermal adolescent in a big way. If you saw this movie as a kid in school, write me care of and tell me about it. Maybe together, we can heal.

* * *

Speaking of the maw of Hell, DAMN IF I DON'T FEEL LIKE CROWING ABOUT THE NEW TALES FROM THE CRYPT MOVIE, "DEMON KNIGHT!" It's the most-est headbanging fun I've had in months!

What's so great about DEMON KNIGHT? What makes this movie tower above anything else that's out? Simple. You get what you pay for. DEMON KNIGHT has cool monsters, lots of special yuckko-effects, a cast of great character actors, and gratuitous nudity.

Sure, DEMON KNIGHT is a rip off of Dario Argento's DEMONS, and ALIENS, and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. And sure, characters go off stupidly by themselves just so they can get eaten. But who cares?

Billy Zane plays a satanic Garth Brooks-type cowboy who has a bunch of demons at his beck and call. He traps some folks in an old mission because he's after a talisman that's guarded by William Sadler, who's at his craggy-faced best here.

As for the supporting victims... err, I mean, cast, how can you not love a flick that has Dick Miller in it, who's made more horror movies than I've drawn breaths? And there's John Shuck, and Charles Fliecher, who does the voice of Roger Rabbit, and more "Oh, hey! I know that guy!" actors than the casting call for a toothpaste ad.

Director Ernest Dickerson, whose first movie was JUICE, totally kicks butt on this flick. Even his last flick, the so-so SURVIVING THE GAME, showed that he's going to make it really big.

On our Headbanger scale of 1-4, TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT three and a half headbangs.


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