Our 1 Year Anniversary and Blog Updates [November 2020]

Hello there, I see you’re come for answers. No worries, because I’m here to serve you some. To start, this month is the Lighttrain’s anniversary! Yes, we’ve been around for a year, and all you fantastic folks are now honorary passengers for joining during the early stages of the blog. My first 3 or 4 reviews aren’t very good, but hey, practice makes perfect! And I can’t wait to continue to practice more for another year, with you guys no less. Believe me, the first era of the Train was merely the foundation; I’ve already got a batch of special posts throughout year two planned out. While there isn’t a weekly post of some sort to celebrate this occasion, I still thought I could pull something out of my hat. And what is it, you ask?…

Well, before we announce that entirely separate topic, let me go over some of the more routine announcements. We just finished an excellent month of Octerror (expect it to return in 2021!) so November is taking it more relaxed when it comes to special posts. On this month’s episode Out of Order, we’ll take a look back at Dr. Seuss’ only live-action creation, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Then on Thanksgiving day, the Train pays tribute to Mystery Science Theater 3000, a series where a human and his two robot companions poke fun at some of the most low-budget and harebrained sci-fi flicks of all time. Read along on this Turkey Day tradition!

Now to the anniversary news. Since I appreciate all of your contributions to the Train so much, you get to nominate the theme for the Train. You read correctly, you guys can vote for this blog’s theme. Simply comment below or on any other post from the blog released before November 3, 2020 for which song you think is most suitable for the honor. Here are the songs up for nomination:

Happy City ~ by Sven Libaek

Last Train to London ~ by Electric Light Orchestra

Last Train to Clarksville ~ by The Monkees

Cast your vote… It is Election Day after all! Volt Vulture is still being written, and it may come out later then hoped. Better late than never though, I suppose. I’ll be auctioning new art pieces on my Instagram very soon; maybe next Wednesday at the earliest. You can find me here: https://www.instagram.com/g.nowak_art/. Wish you guys a good one! See you on Thursday. Later.

Saturday Night MONSTERVISION!! A Tribute to Tnt’s Classic 90s Block | Octerror 2020

Welcome back aboard the Lighttrain and Happy Halloween! I’m your conductor; On this very special night I’ve written a bonus retrospective for the occasion. As frequent passengers will recall, I have a penchant for revisiting – or rewatching – retro commercials on my spare time. They’re such an uniquely engaging time capsule, blasting back to television past. But some of my favorite ads were always for Monstervision, a late night block of movies that aired exclusively on TNT throughout the 1990s. We’ve come a ways, haven’t we? Thirty One days of chilling anticipation for a this beloved holiday. And therefore, to tie up this month long marathon of goodies, let’s get this show on the road and go back… to Monstervision!

Monstervision Promos & Other Goodies

What’s your favorite Godzilla movie? Mine is the original Japanese version from the 30s.
Ray Harryhausen was a special effects genius who is best known for his work on Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans. I have a retrospective on his films planned for April! Stay tuned for that.
Okay, that was called for. “Moonstervision” , who came up with that? Whoever did, I hope he got a raise!
This is no thanks to how stores have already put up Christmas products. Are they trying to diss Halloween? I mean jeez, at least wait until November 1st.
So if you were ever wondering if there was a film called Gog, your welcome.
Which version of The Blob do you prefer? For me, it’s the 1968 version. From Steve McQueen to the corny style, including this intro, it’s just a more fun experience for me.

Man, why can’t more horror movies have bops in their intro? Apologies if this post was a bit of a letdow- no. No, stay back. STAY BACK!!

S-sorry about that, passengers. The creature from the back of the Train came and attacked me. It’s dead now, I think. No need to worry. I’ll simply… throw the corpse from the Train and pray it doesn’t come back for us. *gulp* T-that was Octerror 2020, folks. Thank you for reading tonight, and I wish you the best for what’s to come. Later.


Elsewhere, in the grass. A few feet from a railroad track. There lay a mutilated body, rotting in the bushes. Smudged over in a liquid mud, it moves. It moves ever so slightly. And then, eyes wide! It slowly creeps its hand down it’s torn open chest, taking out each organ one by one. As the creature slips away from life, the intestines start to slink. To crawl. Away into the fern it squirms, thirsty for vengeance…

“The Curse of Frankenstein” Review: A Hammer Horror Staple | Octerror 2020

Boo! Heh, got you, didn’t I? Nice to see you back, friend. Octerror has almost reached its end, and will conclude in two days with a very special Halloween bonus post. How about that! But tonight we’re taking a look back at The Curse of Frankenstein, directed by Terrence Fisher and produced by Hammer studios. The film is the first installment of the Frankenstein series, based off the original Mary Shelly novella of the same name. If it wasn’t for this movie and The Quatermass Experiment, the studio may not have been renowned for the genre it’s remembered best by: horror. With that in mind, let’s get this show on the road and find out if this reimagining lives up to the Universal classics!

As Baron Victor Frankenstein awaits his execution, he recounts his scientific research. He and his tutor Paul Krempe eventually become equals and have a breakthrough by reanimating a deceased puppy. Because of this discovery, Frankenstein has now become fascinated by the idea of constructing a human creature and bringing it to life as well. Paul is incredibly worried about Victor’s fiancee Elizabeth whom has visited them and in a struggle damages the creature’s brain. Due to the brain’s deformity, the alive creation doesn’t behave as the Baron intended, going on a killing spree. As Frankenstein descends further into insanity, so does the eventual demise of his creation.


Now, allow me to get the monster out of the room. No, Curse of Frankenstein doesn’t surpass the Universal version. However, there is still plenty to enjoy on this one. This is Hammer’s first venture into a fully color feature, and I must say that everything looks stunning. From the glowing luminance of Frankenstein’s potions to the Autumn leaves on the premises, the wide watercolor palette is a feast for the eyes. And given this is Frankenstein we’re reviewing, aesthetically pleasing is a superb compliment.

Some of my favorite horror entries of all time are more rooted in atmosphere. In modern Hollywood, a “horror flick” is thin on plot, but the real fat is with jumpscares and piercing jolts in music to startle viewers momentarily. By momentarily, I cannot phrase enough how much the scare is repetitive. It’s sort of like a comedian tickling you with a feather, rather than deliver genuine humour. The same concept applies to horror. Thank goodness that Curse of Frankenstein has its foundation in the right place! It is no where close to spot-on, but the consistent creepiness throughout definitely satisfies my tastes.

The acting is additionally something to praise. Two horror icons, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, preform wonders with their characters. Cushing as the cunning Baron Frankenstein arouses a particular shift from intelligent pupil to eager madman. His utter dedication to his blasphemous hobble of a man is a joy to watch unfold. The creature formed by the Baron, acted out by Lee, has a tone to him that urges viewers to feel sorry for his dilemma. The film’s highlight – one of two, actually – is when the flaming monster falls through a window into a massive tub of acid. This accomplishment is leveraged also by the magnificent score and the impressive, though on occasion vanilla camerawork and cinematography. The former is a vital tool for the atmospheric subgenre, as well.

Terence Fisher’s The Curse of Frankenstein is one of those simply solid films. This compliment to the Frankenstein name I feel deserves more attention in the horror community, even the film culture in general. Although the James Whale installments are arguably better directed, you certainly can appreciate how Hammer strung up an alternate approach to a monster exemplar. That, at the very least, is worth applause.

RATING: 7.5/10 “Recommended to Horror Aficionados”

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HALLOWEEN NIGHT AT 6PM PACIFIC | Saturday Night Monstervision! A Commercial Tribute to TNT’s Block

“Edward Scissorhands” Review: Is it Burton’s Masterpiece? | Octerror 2020

Oh, hello! Hope your Halloween has been terrific, and today we’re continuing our Octerror marathon. Stay tuned in for next week for a retrospective review of the Hammer Horror Quartermass and the Pit (Shockingly, not about murderous tools). Tim Burton, an icon of the gothic fantasy image in the 80s and 90s. He struck gold with his dark comedy Beetlejuice in 1988, and once more with his spin on Batman a year later. What had the director have up his sleeve next? That would be Edward Scissorhands from 1990, which originated from Burton’s own childhood. In fact, Burton himself has said that this film is his personal favorite. So, what about it has struck such a chord with the creator himself? Let’s get this show on the road and see!

In a 60’s color-pastel suburbia, a lonely and dark castle sits on a hill overlooking the cul-de-sac. Castlevania, perhaps? No, for it is the home of Edward, an artificial man with a bundle of scissors instead of hands; This is because his creator had passed away before he could apply the real hands. He is discovered and taken in by a kindly woman named Peg and her family, where Edward is warmly greeted into the neighborhood below. However, things soon start to take a turn for the worse.

One thing I find is something of an underappreciated art in the name of film is a “hang out” movie. This is a picture usually thin on plot, rather handing center stage to dialogue between characters, most often an ensemble. Examples of hang out movies include Dazed and Confused, A Hard Day’s Night (which I’m hoping to review in the future as well) and a bevy of films by Tarantino, such as his latest Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. The reason I mention this term is since, Edward Scissorhands teeters off the ledge of being a hang out movie. Just gripping a tree and dangling from the edge. Does it fall off this crater? It’s kind of up to preference, but it’s fair enough to nominate. And for that, I reward them bonus points.

The main standout of the feature is the namesake protagonist, that’s right, Edward. Played miraculously by Johnny Depp in one of his earliest Burton roles, he emanates a sort of innocence. When he is first introduced to the community and their neon patterned houses, Depp’s wide eyes would fit right alongside the awed expression of a child grazing a candy shop. What astounds me to little end is he does all this with minimal lines, almost saluting the era of silent black-and-white horror. His wonder with our world might even make you marvel, too.

To segway, the acting all around the table is decent. Scavenging for a mammoth dud in the category would be a waste. While this has nothing against the performances per se, the romance arc that blossoms between Edward and Kim feels terribly forced into the narrative, adding the most uninteresting of spice and ending up contrived and not necessary to the plot at all. It’s like being on the outfield and a baseball just darts out of the blue and sucker punches your face. Alright, maybe that wasn’t a definite comparison… the fact of the matter is that it feels jarring. Not to say it didn’t have potential, but the lack of actual emotional connection stirring with the two has its hand to blame for the flop.

Additionally this month I watched Beetlejuice back-to-back with Edward Scissorhands and considered making this a duel review. Of course, that’s not what happened, but this is just a simple encapsulation of what my main thoughts would have been. I definitely took a knack out of the former’s set design and effects and eccentricity. However, I found I enjoyed Edward Scissorhands slightly more throughout as a film. Beetlejuice had a larger range of issues, and overall the opposite feature felt more personal and had more heart and soul poured into it.

Over all, Edward Scissorhands is a heartwarming little film and definitive for any Tim Burton retrospective. Although the love story is as bland as bread in enticing the audience, the tragic fable of a compassionate yet misunderstood loner envelopes me into the fantastical world. It’s worth at least a watch for any younger enthusiasts of the genre.

RATING: 8/10 “Recommended to Anyone”

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OCTOBER 29TH & 31ST | Octerror Ends…

6 of my Favorite Halloween TV Specials [Out of Order] | Octerror 2020

Is that juice you have? Blood!? Oh, “blood”, okay got it. Apologies and welcome back aboard. I’m your conductor tonight, creeping forward with our Octerror marathon. While the many slasher film franchises like Friday the 13th and of course Halloween are there to watch annually, we cannot forget the Halloween television specials that are there to warm our hearts… with a flaming rod! And with dynamic dialogue and scenes, too. Sometimes the best specials can even rank higher above some of the Christmas classics. What are these chilling challengers? Let’s find out as we get this show on the road!

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

“Don’t take it to hard on yourself Linus. I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life too.” Teens in a nutshell .

Well, what else? Released a year after the low-budget though critically beloved A Charlie Brown Christmas, this follow up explores the holiday of Halloween, and features the Peanuts gang in a series of loosely woven vignettes. As you remember, Linus eagerly awaits the arrival of a supernatural “Great Pumpkin” which wastes his entire experience, Snoopy goes on a make-belief journey as his eponymous World War I flying ace, and the rest of the kids celebrate the occasion. I honestly prefer this program to the special it spawned from, that being Charlie Brown Christmas. The score is excellent at capturing the feel of the season, the dialogue is idiosyncratic of childhood wit and charm, and the animation compliments the quaint style nicely. It’s hard to find much to nitpick at, and it holds a lot of nostalgic value.

This might arguably be my absolute favorite of the list, but each special I would recommend too. And though I’m a big fan of the Peanuts comic strip myself, I can understand why people may have issues with the structure or the animation. Because we’re so used to boisterous special effects and large scale action, “hang out” movies are becoming increasingly something of a forgotten art. To sum it up, I adore this half hour of cartoon chitter-chatter. Nothing more to say about it, a traditional Halloween treat.

The Night of the Living Doo (2001)

The Special in it’s Entirety. Quality is alright.

Scooby-Doo is still a massive franchise today, but in the 90s and early 2000s they were welcome all the time on Cartoon Network. So much so that in 2001 it got it’s own original special called Night of the Living Doo. It’s kind of an obscure thing in the Scooby-Doo and Cartoon Network fan base, even though it has some promise. It is reminiscent of the New Scooby-Doo Movies, a series that syndicated the original series with the addition of special guest stars like the Three Stooges and Sonny and Cher. Those were the times, am I right? Here they have Gary Coleman, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy stars in a musical segment, and my personal favorite, David Cross. Cross’ character runs an abandoned castle in the middle of the woods, next door to the cemetery, and guarded by a shark. But it’s also a hotel for the rich and famous! And no wonder it isn’t getting any buisness.

Although the animation has been reused from old Scooby-Doo properties, the writing definitely makes up for the weakness there. It would be right at home with the retro original shows that aired on Adult Swim in it’s first two years like Space Ghost Coast Coast and Sealab 2021, both in humour and animation. I like how the ending and explanation of what happened makes hardly any sense, partly due to Mark Hamill just showing up. If you haven’t seen it before, check it out above and see for yourself.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre (1982-1986)

A Halloween Special hosted by Elvira on MTV.

This is the kind of icon the 80s people often recognize, but don’t really know where it originated from. Cassandra Peterson earned popularity on the show biz scene as the gothic, cleavage bearing, and humorous horror hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Yeah, pretty sick name! She played commonly scummy public domain b-flicks such as The Day of the Triffids, Blacula, and Empire of the Ants. Longtime passengers might know that I have a fascination for these kinds of exotic movies. It’s always a fun time to watch exploitation trailers and laugh at the overblown corny ridiculousness and awful taste. So yes, I was into Elvira’s series concept for this. It sort of reminds me of what would become Monstervision, a late-night block on a Turner channel that had a familiar fashion.

The character has been revived back from the graveyard a handful of times, none of which lasted nearly as long as the original run. Elvira has additionally made appearances elsewhere in other random pieces of media. Movie Macabre is a great little blast to the past and an entertaining viewing for a schlock historian like myself. And hopefully thanks to this post you now are knowledgeable about this vampiric movie-grading mistress.

Don’t hide under your bedsheets, Octerror comes in peace…

We’ll return after these messages.

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Edward Scissorhands Review: A Review of an Uncommonly Gentle Man


Never-ending bag, right… Out of Order now continues.

The Treehouse of Horror Episodes (‘The Simpsons’)

I like that Alfred Hitchcock Presents Reference. Very nice, very nice.

This is kind of, in a sense, your pick. This slot is whatever your favorite “Treehouse of Horror” episode is. As of the time writing this, The Simpsons is still on the air, having churned out 30 of them in total, with the 31st nearing later in October 2020. Woah, that’s a lot of terrifying anthologies to cover! I’d go along and say the first six “Treehouse of Horror”‘s are high-quality content. So go ahead, insert your favorite here! Alright, moving on.

The Cheers & Frasier Halloween Episodes

Okay, if you’re confused about why I’m including two separate shows in this slot… well, why not? I’m fact, Frasier was a spin-off of a recurring character from Cheers. And I love the both of them; they might be some of my favorite sitcoms. So why not add the Halloween specials to the list? If I were to pick one specific episode from each series as the prized contenders it would be “Fairy Tales Do Come True” from Cheers, and “Halloween ” from Frasier. The former takes center stage per usual at the pub, with the patrons dishing up their own costumes for the occasion. The episode is surprisingly heartfelt, given that it’s the Witching Hours. Rather than screeches of fear, Cheers takes a spin on it and adds fantastic character moments and a feel-good vibe of a local bar. While the Frasier episode has some issues, the experience is still on level with an average entry in the series. For Frasier, let’s be real here, an average episode are cleverly-written, a good time waster, and give sitcoms a good name.

In the special, Roz thinks she might be pregnant, so Frasier suggests that they go to Niles’ Halloween party to take her mind off the anxiety. Not much stands out from the regular Frasier fare, except a single dud. Whoever let Camilla Grammar – Kelsey Grammar’s wife – guest star in this minor role should probably rethink the decision. It’s not her lines, rather her terrible performance and delivery of these lines. I mean, I suppose she gets some props; she did scare me in the Halloween episode of a sitcom. Congratulations, Miss Grammar!

Mad Monster Party? (1967)

What do you guys think of the song?

And last but certainly not least, Mad Monster Party? from 1967 and directed by Jules Bass. Okay, what’s with the question mark? It’s not really asking for an answer, and the film is about what it says it is. Feel open to share why you think that punctuation was used. As you could assume from the animation techniques, this is the same studio that landed on the map with their annual Christmas stop-motions, particularly Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. They would be Rankin/Bass. Although Rudolph is played on repeat around the holidays nearly every year, it’s easy to claim that somebody may not enjoy it since the effects no one can really praise for being realistic or smooth. Frankly, it emanates amateur elements of the medium. But on the flip side of the coin, similar to Night of the Living Doo sometimes animation quality isn’t everything to it. Both conserve energy to have a charming and imaginative script instead, which again saves Mad Monster Party. The designs are great, and to support Rankin/Bass and their team, this style definitely works better in a Halloween special than a Christmas one. The Year Without A Santa Claus is an exception!

Thank you bunches for stopping by and reading my thoughts. I wish you the best during the season. Catch you later next week for more Octerror…


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Octerror’s Left the Premises. For Now…

A Look Back at the “Castlevania” Games on the Nintendo | Octerror 2020

Well, how do you do? It’s after hours on the Train; it’s been a pain getting passengers, no thanks to those dog forbid ghouls roaming around and the blood red glow of a full moon. Indeed, Halloween has come again! If you’ve met me in the real world before you will know that I’m not much of a gamer, well… at all really. But that doesn’t mean my relationship with video games is completely nonexistent; case in point, the Castlevania series. It is able to crawl into my conscious fervently because it’s such a brilliant concept for a game like this. So, let’s get this show on the road as we go over why I hold a special appreciation for Castlevania.

The first venture into Castlevania to slay the infamous Dracula was released originally in 1986 by Konami, before being adapted for the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, a year after. You play as Simon Belmont, a member of his family’s buisness of keeping vampires and the supernatural in check. The plot henceforth is arguably quite basic, to roam around the castle’s catacombs and wings hunting Dracula, fighting off many monsters as you go along. Now, before reaching the big boss, there are various other minor bosses you must defeat in order to continue, and some of them are just awesome as the vampire himself! The team take a bit of Greek mythology and implements a Medusa head a la Clash of the Titans, a Frankenstein inspired directly from the iconic James Whale films; the Grim Reaper makes a worthy opponent as well! That was an unique touch I always loved, that even Death himself heeds Dracula’s bidding.

Along my thoughts on this game, I cannot help but agree with the general consensus. The score and graphics are stunning, especially for an early NES addition. It was so fun and, again, creative for its time. Also, the cartridge artwork is marvelous. I mean, what a way to sell the game! But what does bother me to no end is the end credits. Just… here watch for yourselves.

Imagine you worked hard on this groundbreaking game, putting in all the sweat, tears, and strength you could gather. And then, in the credits, your name has been twisted into a spectacularly stupid pun. Oh Konami, you and your terrible sense of humor. I mean, Vran Stoker? Christopher Bee and James Banana and Trans Fisher? These are supposed to be nice little homages to horror icons, such as Belo Lugosi and Terrence Fisher, but c’mon Konami! I wake up in a fright just thinking about it… Eugh, ‘Trans Fisher’.

Don’t go anywhere, we’re watching….

And the phone just remained silent, and nobody ringed up.

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6 of my All-time Favorite Halloween Tv Specials on “Out of Order”!


We know Return to Octerror on the Lighttrain!

Following the success of the original Castlevania, a sequel called Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest came suit a few years later from the same people. Even though the gameplay is miraculously flawed, Simon’s Quest still has a lot of repeatability and retains that Castlevania charm. The visuals and music once again are on par with the first, but as we get in deeper through the tunnels, its true issues take center stage.

Although it left it’s stamp on video game history, major problems litter the experience. Before that though, the premise is similar in that Simon Belmont must yield Dracula’s wrath. Since you’ve slayed Dracula in the original, his five body parts have spread out across different mansions, and you have to collect them all. More Pokemon then Castlevania, really. The main issue is the text, which constantly interrupts the game. From legitimate spelling errors to flat out lies, they serve little to no purpose, besides annoying you that is. I appreciate the newly added role-playing format and elements that Konami integrated, but in those games clues were rather valuable. In Simon’s Quest, they’re just too cryptic for a kid to even figure out.

This can be easily considered a Nintendo Power game, as it is so challenging to decipher. Nintendo Power was a magazine that promoted and provided tips and codes for, you guessed it, NES cartridges. As mentioned, there are a cyclone of additional problems such as the day-and-night cycle, hearts being currency, and the weak bosses. However, those are all things I prefer not to go to in depth into because we still have a whole installment to wrap things up with, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse!

Released in 1989, Dracula’s Curse returned the series back to its roots. It instead focuses on Trevor Belmont, a relative of the one and only Simon Belmont, who is on journey to once more kill the vampire lord. In fact, that makes this entry a prequel! Yes, Castlevania III goes back to the basics of the first adventure, but what fresh ingredients are tossed in here? The first notable deviation is the crossroads every so often where Trevor may choose which path to take. The second is a first for Castlevania; the option to play as a side protagonist, each with a special ability. Accompanying Belmont in his goal to defeat Dracula are Sypha, who has sorceress powers, Grant, a pirate who can climb across walls and the ceiling, and lastly Alucard, Dracula’s son whom can fly about as a bat. Fun fact of tonight; Alucard is surprisingly “Dracula” backwards, and the character first originated from the 1943 film Son of Dracula directed by Robert Siodmak, 3 years before his breakthrough on The Killers.

Text? Gone. Lame Boss Battles? Not a trace. Day-to-Night? Nadda. Many folks, including Castlevania’s sole creator and myself, consider Dracula’s Curse as the masterpiece of the series. It both balances remaining loyal to the classic, as well as mix in excellent new features that elevate the gameplay. If you happen to own a retro NES or plan to, Dracula’s Curse is most certainly one to collect, pop in, and have a fun time. And with that, we conclude the Castlevania trilogy on the NES. Perhaps one day we can return to the series and cover the remaining games. Thank you for taking a ride on the Train and see you next week as we continue our Octerror marathon! Mwahahaha!

Stay stellar…

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

  • Adhdlifeforever
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OCTERROR WILL HAVE ITS REVENGE…

Joe Dante’s “Matinee” Review: As Sleazy as Mant? | Octerror 2020

Hello, how’s things? This is your conductor speaking. Welcome to the Lighttrain’s Octerror 2020 marathon; glad to have you this time around! As of the time of me writing this, movie theaters are drifting away from our reach and we are worried about seeing a film on the big screen. So I watched Matinee, a 1992 coming-of-age comedy starring the one and only John Goodman. I have a bunch to say about this picture so let’s not waste any more time. Let’s get this show on the road!

Gene Loomis is a teenage kid living in Key West, Florida during the Cuban missile crisis. He’s worried about his father who’s with the military, and one of his escapes from reality is the realm of film. Gene idolizes the sleazy showman Lawrence Woolsey, a director known for his outrageous monster b-flicks. Woolsey, despite the emergency at hand, rolls into the small coastal town for the premier of his brand new feature “Mant” . Neurotic theater handlers, adolescent romance, and of course a feature presentation unlike any other abound… what else!

“Half Man, Half Ant… All Terror!” is the tagline coined by Woolsey for his movie; a delightful touch I just say. In true homage fashion, a bunch of the film hinges off references to a myriad of film icons and follies. Like honestly, “presented in Atomo-Vision” brought a wide grin to my face. The character of Lawrence Woolsey is heavily influenced by director William Castle, from the large cheroot down to the immersive experience of his premieres.

Although the film is mildly hard to elaborate on, it’s best to rent it and watch Matinee without any knowledge of it whatsoever. What I can wholeheartedly imply is that fans of Roger Corman-esque kitsch or the monster blowups of the 40s and 50s will have an entertained time. And for me, I definitely was. A lost art I’ve figured is a movie within a movie, which is basically a fictional feature that was concocted specifically for it. So, that was an additional treat to dig up.

Indeed, Matinee is actually a pleasantly light-hearted diversion, something quite humorous as the backdrop is literally bombing possibilities and countrywide hysteria and panic. The movie has a really warm feeling to it with the dialogue and comedy. A gag favorite of mine involved Woolsey’s voluptuous, wry, yet still faithful wife Ruth; At the premier she has the visitors sign a contract denying responsibility to any and all injuries or health problems that could arise. So even though I didn’t laugh out loud too much, there wasn’t an elongated period where I wasn’t amusingly invested. Well, except for the big finale.

Up until that moment I found Matinee pulled off an impeccable balance between being a delightful comedy with some emotional weight as well as a tribute to schlock double bills. Here, an abrupt hatchet gets thrown into the tone, leaning far more into the nutso salute and silliness. Seeing this mostly grounded and down-to-earth film become so unbelievably bonkers may suck many out of the experience, even if the last 5-10 minutes quickly manage to end on a higher note.

Ticks and major tonal shifts aside, Matinee holds up as a great trip down monster memory lane. You can tell that the cast and crew, especially b-movie radical Joe Dante, bring a knowledgeable charm and heart; It’s a strong ingredient towards the movie’s enjoyment. No doubt an underappreciated gem, and one of the most optimistic films I’ve seen in a while.

RATING: 7/10 “Not very Memorable, but a Great Time”

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

  • Adhdlifeforever
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NEXT… ON OCTERROR! | A Look Back on the Castlevania Games for the Nintendo

Octerror 2020 Event and Blog Updates [October 2020]

Welcome back to the Train, friend! Here to kick off the new month is a freshly baked update post for you. Hey, I just thought of something. Now, I love food. While it wouldn’t be my career choice, I do thoroughly enjoy cooking and such. I noticed that I tend to use food and its phrases metaphorically speaking many times on the Train. In light of this, I challenge you guys on a scavenger hunt type thing to hunt down and comment on this update post all the various times I bring up food throughout my reviews. Good luck to those who… actually desire to do so! Man, off to a great start, aren’t we?

Any who, on the topic of announcements! As it is the Halloween season, the entire month is going to be a marathon of spook-filled reviews and whatnot. Of course, one episode of Out of Order where I’ll share a few of my favorite Halloween themed Tv specials, including the classics and even one or two odd picks as well. Thankfully, there’s more Thursdays in October because of the first day being, you guessed it, that one day. We’ll kick things off with a review of Joe Dante’s Matinee this Thursday; don’t miss it!

The Train is additionally nearing 100 grand passengers soon, so keep spreading the word! I have something incredibly special indeed planned for that special post, trust me on that.

Otherwise, I wish you the best on your journey, whatever that may be. Stay stellar, and g’ night!

JUMANJI (1995) Review: A Game Worth Playing? | Lighttrain

Hello, hello! Once again, this is your conductor speaking and tonight we’ll be looking back on Jumanji. Not the recent Dwayne Johnson remake, but the 1995 original starring the late and great Robin Williams. This review, for your information, wasn’t planned. The film I had scheduled I wasn’t able to see yet, so this one is entirely off on a loop. I also suppose this post could be considered the spiritual successor to the Waterworld review earlier this month, as both are cheesy, 90s action flicks that are “just good enough” in my books. Whoops, did I spoil my summary? Oh dear, well, please stick around for a more… in-depth analysis. For those who stayed, thank you bunches and let’s get this show on the road!

A very mysterious — and possibly supernatural — board game titled Jumanji falls into the hands of two young kids, siblings Peter and Judy Shepard. They begin to play this game, simply because of curiosity’s thirst. It’s just a quaint little board game to pass the time with, or is it? They soon release the grizzled Alan Parrish, a man who had been trapped in the jungle world of the game for decades, as well as a bevy of dangerous herds of animals and critters. Will the reluctant bunch finally complete the game and retain the game’s curse?

I definitely like the film’s concept, centering around this supernatural board game. That’s a pretty interesting idea to play around with, so I commend the creativity. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that I wasn’t unsatisfied by the payoff of the directions the plot went, as the fragmented nature of the structure can be a bit jarring. It keeps chopping back and forth between multiple storylines and I simply can’t comprehend every pinpoint precisely. The only possible letdown for some may be that the creatures that the game unleashes are maybe too generic, as if the creators weren’t having enough fun with the idea.

Robin Williams, rest in peace, almost carries the film on his back. If I were to exclude him and interchange actors with, I don’t know, Bruce Willis, a lot of the movie’s charm will dissolve. Thankfully, Williams is such a warm and amusing presence that any plot holes, conveniences, and special effects can be totally washed away. Right? Well, ok, maybe not entirety cleaning off the stain, but still a swell effort. The child actors, similar to the grandkids from Jurassic Park, do the best with what they were given. But indeed, Williams is a national treasure of acting and charisma. Thank you and goodnight everybody!

No, no, or course that isn’t all of it! Couldn’t just curtail the review there. Now, on with the show. The CGI, as understood from being something of a late debut, doesn’t hold up to today’s standards, particularly in the segments involving the monkeys. Sends chills down my spine every time! Perhaps I shouldn’t be ragging on this family feature from the 1990s, Nickelodeon age. For a family movie night with the kiddos, Jumanji will work a-ok, just don’t expect to get much out of the experience.

To be fair, while it may not be my thing, Jumanji holds up as a fast-paced adventure, even if the computer graphics less so. It’s kind of one of those movies that’s a challenge to criticize since it is so fantastical and ludicrous. It’s not meant to be analyzed of deep themes or techniques, it’s just pure entertainment. And if you’re in the mood, grab a Twix, put on a bathrobe, sit back and enjoy.

RATING: 5.5/10

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

  • Adhdlifeforever
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  • Eric Kaster
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  • Lucy
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  • Pierre Joubert Fan
  • Ten Seconds from Now
  • Wupples®
  • Island Traveler
  • Gottfried
  • Max Joy Art
  • Anketsu
  • Tia
  • Msnyder1970
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  • Warren
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  • Bernie
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Thanks for tuning in!

NEXT THURSDAY | Octerror Begins with a Review of Joe Dante’s Matinee!

7 Obscure, Kooky Brand Mascots | [Out of Order]

Hello and welcome aboard the Train! On this special episode of Out of Order, we’ll be looking back at something a little more obscure then normal. On the average post, I go over and review movies and Tv primarily. But today is an unique endeavor where I talk about commercials. Now, I love watching retro commercials, and during the ad breaks on my posts I often show a bumper as a bookend. But how about mascots; yes, those cartoonish representatives that are created to draw appeal and memorability to a brand. But tonight, we’re remembering those strange mascots that we’ve buried in the deepest corners of our minds. So, without any more jabber, let’s get this show on the road!

Cool Spot (7Up©, 1990s)

The tagline at the time was, as shown in the ad, “The Uncola” . What’s next, the “Unsoap” ?

In 1987, this soda company hatched an idea for new mascot: to anthropomorphize the red circle sandwiched in between the ‘7’ and the ‘Up’ in the logo. Slap on some limbs and some shades and you’ve got Cool Spot. While there wasn’t anything wrong about the ad campaign career of this little guy, he still managed to land himself as the main protagonist of a video game series. Yeah, this red circle with shades got a video game. Huh. Today, Cool Spot appears here and there but has been mostly forgotten, from what I can gather. What about you guys; do you remember him? Perhaps, one day, our paths with Cool Spot shall meet again and will be reunited. But for now, Adios, senor shades.

Michelin Man (Michelin Tires©, early 1900s)

Maybe you notice this mascot for the Michelin Tire Company, as even today it’s still an iconic staple of the mascot lineup. Way back in the late 19th century, co-founder Edouard Michelin saw a stack of tires and got the inspiration to create a mascot for his industry from this idea. And then the Michelin man was born, but definitely not as many would know him as of modern times. He was a hulky, cigar-smoking, alcoholic brute with hardly much a facial expression. This was one of the more truly unnerving mascots featured on the list, so much so that poster shown above was the most appealing. If you guys want to dive in further, go right ahead, my dude! Thankfully overtime the figure would hear a more friendly and soft on the eyes.

King Vitamin (Quaker Oats©, 1968-2019)

“Have Breakfast with the King! “

There are many an odd cereal mascot, believe me. But since I wanted some variety, I funneled it down into my favorite of the bunch: King Vitamin! Or is it Vitiman? Yeah, what’s really boggling is that on occasions he’s called King Vitaman, but others simply Vitamin. Oh well. The first commercials for this guy were animated by Jay Ward Productions, the crew who were most notable for doing Rocky and Bullwinkle. That’s pretty neat. In addition, the cereal wasn’t as successful as other morning cereals such as Cap’n Crunch or Lucky Charms because of the word ‘Vitamin’ (Vitaman?) being in the title. Whoops. The line was recently just discontinued, sealing the sad fate that I’ll never get to taste a spoonful of King Vitaman. Vitamin, whatever it is. Rest in peace, your majesty.

Wilkins and Wontkins (Various Brands (notably Wilkins Coffee), 1957-1961)

Now you have to drink both Wilkins and Red Diamond so that this Muppet doesn’t torture you. How despicable of him.

Ah, I return to these commercials yet again. Jim Henson, who would go on to create the immensely popular Muppet characters, started out producing these bite-sized ads for Wilkins Coffee. It starred a Kermit lookalike, Wilkins, and a gruffy one named Wontkins. Wilkins would offer his accomplice a cup of the coffee, and threatens him when he refuses. Henson said, “Till then, advertising agencies believed that the hard sell was the only way to get their message over on television. We took a very different approach. We tried to sell things by making people laugh.” Or threatening to commit murder, perhaps? Let’s just hope that Wilkins isn’t lurking there in the shadows, waiting, watching, plotting his revenge.

We’ll return with more bizarre brand mascots after these messages…

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ANNOUNCEMENT

BEGINNING OCTOBER 1ST, OCTERROR 2020 WILL COMMENCE! A MONTH LONG EVENT WITH 3 CHILLING REVIEWS, 2 SHOCKING RETROSPECTIVES, AND AN OUT OF ORDER EPISODE SO BLOOD-CURDLING, YOU’LL JUMP IN FRIGHT!

OCTERROR 2020, only on the Lighttrain


I’m glad you’re still tuning in, now on with the show!

Spongemonkies (Quiznos Subs©, 2007)

Oh my goodness. For some context, if I may, these “spongemonkies” were a meme all the way back in the 2000s. A meme is usually a image, video, or text that is edited with different humorous variations and spread by internet users. Well, who in their right mind would use an internet meme, let alone the “spongemonkies”, and use them for their marketing. Oh. I see. So, um, apparently Quiznos, a sub sandwich eatery chain, did just that to terrifying results. I’m genuinely confused; how is this a suitable, effective as campaign? I mean, it is effective in being traumatizing beyond belief. One passenger I know of is a fan of Quiznos, so do you remember these ads? For now, it is known by its reputation of not being able to recall if it was an actual commercial or just some sort of fever dream.

Mr. Clean (Procter & Gamble©, 1957)

Even that title sounds a little bit weird…

Case File “Suds” : There are reports of multiple murders across the county, 4 folks, 3 unidentified. The fourth was young girl Noreen Speltman, daughter of Mr. Clifford Speltman. According to sources, Mr. Speltman had goes with a hitman organization down in Philly called simply “Knives” . We suspect that the killer is contract killer Aloysius Vest, a member of Knives. This recording suggests that Vest is in disguise as Mr. Samuel Clean, the spokesman for the Mr. Clean cleaner brand. The crime scenes of the four genocides are all linked together by a strong freshening odor, and no blood whatsoever. We are currently under search for Clean/Vest, and so far we have found his apartment abandoned and limited in any evidence.

The Noid (Dominos Pizza©, 1980s)

“Avoid the Noid! “

Our last mascot for today is the Noid, a mascot for Dominos Pizza. It was a guy in a red rabbit suit who was positively bonkers. And it most loved to destroy pizza, can’t forget about that! It was supposedly the embodiment of all the trouble it takes to have a pizza delivered in under 30 minutes, oddly enough. In 1989 a paranoid man named Kenneth Noid believed that the mascot’s creators were poking fun at him and held up one of the Dominos restaurants, holding two employees hostage. After he was shortly afterword went to a mental institution, the Noid was retired. Some speculate it was because of the incident, but Dominoes continues to deny these claims even today.

Well, that’s all. Did I miss a mascot? What are some of your thoughts? Later!

~ Transmission Disconnected ~

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

  • Adhdlifeforever
  • Todd
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  • Bob
  • Cnowak
  • Matt
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  • Cathy
  • The Ebook Way
  • AllSuperInfo
  • Eric
  • Krissy
  • Saania Sparkle
  • Barb
  • The Godly Chic Diaries
  • MusicPoliticssports
  • Gary
  • Markgtr
  • Shelia
  • Jon
  • Ilene
  • SumitOfficial
  • Sweta
  • Mrs. Bubblebath
  • America on Coffee
  • Apostle Takim Quote
  • Stuart (Perditus)
  • Sweet and Nice Things
  • Lapiel
  • Randomness of my crazy life
  • Mr Blue
  • PatrickWhy
  • Mounzer
  • Phil (Perkins Designs)
  • Anees
  • Cristian
  • Shauna
  • Victoria
  • Mateo
  • Eric Saretsky
  • ldw
  • Dr Fawzy
  • Animation Flix
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  • Educater34
  • Nurgul
  • Divyanshu
  • BuddingB
  • Vic (The Hinoeuma)
  • Delusional Bubble
  • Max (Badfinger)
  • HunterTheo
  • Sam
  • James
  • Under5MininteFilmFestival
  • AllthethingsIcoulddo
  • SecondtimearoundHomestead
  • Tina
  • Lucy
  • Muralikrish
  • Flick Geeky
  • Sitting Pugs
  • Pierre Joubert Fan
  • TenSecondsfromnow
  • Wupples®
  • Island Traveler
  • Gottfried
  • Max Joy Art
  • Anketsu
  • Tia
  • Msnyder1970
  • Hannah
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  • Melanie
  • Unlocking the Hidden Me
  • Bernie
  • PickVitaminHome

Thanks for tuning in!

NEXT | Not Sure… but expect a Review!