How to ruin your own movie: The Victim Edition

Michael Biehn made a movie! He wrote it and directed and starred in it, then cast his wife as the female lead, because hey - he's the one making the movie. That alone makes giving it a look, since it's fairly common for a character actor stalwart to produce a film they're passionate about appearing in, they almost never just go ahead and write/direct them as well. The main character is even named Kyle, because Michael obviously wants us all to know that he knows why we're watching the movie, and he's okay with that.

It's not a bad premise for a movie, either. Biehn plays a loner who lives in a cabin in the woods, assiduously keeping to himself, and attempting some personal improvement with the assistance of self-help tapes. His life is turned upside down when a woman in tattered clothes shows up at his door armed with a horrifying story - her best friend has just been brutally murdered by a corrupt, drug-snorting cop, and now that cop and his partner are out to silence her for good! Hell, Michael Biehn's probably in danger just for hearing the story. If that weren't bad enough, when the cops turn up looking for the woman, they have a very different version of events, in which she's a dangerous criminal on the run from the authorities. Also, apropos of nothing, there's a serial killer on the loose in the area.

As anyone can see, this is a potent formula for drama. Who is on whose side? What dangerous secrets are people hiding away? With everyone's life on the line, who can be trusted? Michael Biehn certainly built himself a potent starring vehicle - except for one fatal flaw.


Race with the Devil's Amazing Moon

So I'm watching Race with the Devil for theAvod, and there's a plot point requires part of the action take place during the apex of a full moon. Then something amazing happens. We get a look up into the sky, and what should appear, but-

The noon-day sun, processed with the least-convincing day-for-night treatment this side of the mod squad. Even accepting that this is supposed to be an unusually bright full moon-

That's still unacceptable. I know that there were any number of reasons that might have kept the production from getting their own footage of the full moon (short schedule, rain, lost footage...), but this was the 1970s, and I refuse to believe that stock footage libraries didn't exist yet. How much could a single shot of the full moon have possibly cost?

This is a movie where trucks explode and fly off of bridges. Come on, people.


The Hundred-Ninetieth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Even Doll Man regularly killed goons? Dear lord, what happened to superheroes?

Oh, right. The government.


The Hundred-Eighty-Ninth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

I don't know if this would work from a scientific standpoint, but damn, is it satisfying to watch Doll Man strangling a tarantula with a length of yarn.


Predator Math!

While posting about AvP's terrible tagline, I realized that I'd never bothered to post anything about one of the movie's most baffling plot points - the drill team.

As the premise is outlined by Lance Henriksen, we learn that the Antarctic temple is 2000ft below the ice. Let's be charitable and assume that's the base of the temple, rather than the top, so the guys don't have to drill an extra hundred feet - it's a big temple, after all. When they arrive at the proposed starting point for their excursion, they discover this-

Someone has already drilled the tunnel for them, using-


Terrible Moments in Taglining: Alien vs Predator

I know this movie is a decade old, but I've got to say, I don't think that tagline's accurate. Let's consider the consequences of either possible victory, shall we?

Option 1 - Predators Win

If the Predators defeat the Aliens, then their 'rite of passage' will be complete, and they will leave, returning in another hundred years or so - next time probably without killing any humans during the ceremony, since there's no reason to believe that humans would coincidentally be in Antarctica again that time.

Also, depending on global warming, Predators will probably swing by every couple of years and kill a few people in a jungle/desert, but they were going to do that no matter what happened in Antarctica.

Option 2 - Aliens Win

Upon killing the Predators, the Aliens would then freeze/starve to death in the Antarctic.

Either way, I can't really see how either one of those results can be described as 'We Lose', assuming the 'we' there refers to humanity.


The Hundred-Eighty-Eighth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

(Click the Image to Bigify)
I give modern comics a lot of crap for being ultra-violent, but this is seriously a Doll Man story with a bleeding head wound on the first page. The forties were strange.


Jack's Kill List

Back when it was originally on the air, I had a simple test for determining whether a season of 24 was fully successful or not - did Jack kill an average of 1 person per episode, for a total of 24 over the course of the season. Unsurprisingly, no season was ever completely successful - it's an action show, but it's not THAT action-y, but a few of them got close.

It seems that the producers of 24 understood that I wasn't the only one engaging with the show that way, so they included an Easter egg in the first episode of season 9, letting the audience have a look a Jack's list of 'Confirmed Kills'-
Which is a lot of fun, but just amazingly inaccurate for two reasons. First, it's kind of hilarious that whoever was putting the list together just went by the character names from the scripts (or possibly IMDB), so we quickly come face to face with the fact that the majority of the people Jack killed either have first or last names, but generally not both. Would it really have been so hard to make up some additional names for those guys so the screen looked a little better?


Jack Est Retourner

So 24 is back! As one might well imagine, I'm fairly excited about this fact, but not so excited that I can't be bothered to offer some good-natured nitpicking of a couple of the show's weird choices. Specifically, I'd like to discuss how strange it is watching two episodes of 24 back-to-back. Despite the show's premise inviting marathon viewing, actually watching two episodes in a row brings the implausibility of the show's timeline into sharp focus.

Take, for example, the end of the first episode, wherein a hacked drone blew up an joint US/UK convoy in Afghanistan.


The Hundred-Eighty-Seventh Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Dear writers/artists from 70 years ago - if you're having Dollman fighting animatronic miniatures, then you're not fully realizing the visual potential of having a tiny superpowered crimefighter. This is the visual equivalent of having him trapped in a tiny prison dollhouse.

What? That happened in the same issue?