Dolph Double Dip

Bubbawheat, over at Flights, Tights and Movie Nights is running a little something called “The Comic Strip Double Dip Blogathon“.  The idea is to get all us writey types to focus our creative energies on one specific topic.  In this case, it’s exploring the performances of actors who have taken on more than one Comic Book inspired movie role.  He put together a big list, making it easy to pick out a topic, and right around the middle of it, staring back at me was the perfect excuse to re-watch two movies I’ve been dying to revisit for years.

DolphLundgren

That’s right…  Dolph Lundgren:  Frank Castle/He-Man.  Dolph plays Frank Castle in 1989’s The Punisher, and he plays He-Man in 1987’s Masters of the Universe.  I’ve got a few thoughts about these movies in general before we delve deep into Dolph dichotomy discussion.

Both of these films are widely viewed as completely awful movies that don’t do any justice to their source material. Oddly, in both cases, I remember thinking that they were, in fact, widely underrated.  On a more personal note, since I’m not a big Rocky fan (I like Rocky III, and acknowledge Rocky is something special), these two roles, for me, are Dolph’s defining roles.  I mean, I can name at least two other non-Expendables titles he’s been in, but these two movies I remember as Dolph Lundgren movies.

So, without further ado… let us determine the answer to the age old question that no one has ever bothered to ask…  “Who does Dolph Lundgren play better, He-man or Frank Castle?”

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Evil Dead (2013)

new-evil_dead-posterThe newest addition to a cult classic franchise released tonight, and the old man and I were there to take it all in.  Evil Dead revisits the 1981 feature length directorial debut of Sam Raimi.  It is the story of five young adults out in a cabin in the middle of nowhere so that one of them can turn over a new leaf, and detox herself from her drug addiction.  As often happens in movies where the word “Dead” is in the title, things don’t go well.  After finding a bunch of dead cats and a book bound in flesh, inked in blood, an unspeakable evil begins to possess the quintet one by one, forcing them to do horrible things to themselves, and each other.

This time around, backed in a producing role by the creative team of the original films, another up and coming director who’s gained some notoriety from his short films, Fede Alvarez, takes the helm.  His movie is original, gory, and fun, enough to stand on its own merit, but it’s also a love letter to the original trilogy, showing the influence of–and paying homage to–the originals throughout.

Would you like to know more?  Continue reading…  spoilers are minimal, but the images are more graphic than I normally post here.

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Army of Darkness (1993)

Army_of_Darkness_poster (1)Army of Darkness is the final instalment of the original Evil Dead Trilogy.  After being tossed through a portal at the end of Evil Dead 2, Ash finds himself in England, in the year 1300.  At first he’s mistaken for an enemy clansman by Lord Arthur, but Ash quickly and hilariously proves himself to be “The Chosen One”.  He begins a quest to find the Necronomicon, “The Book of the Dead”, that started out all this mess in the first place two movies ago.  It goes about as well as can be expected… terribly.  Ash ends up waking an army of undead, an Army of Darkness, if you will… that leaves Medieval England up shit creek without a paddle…

Army of Darkness ends up completely abandoning whatever semblance of horror and seriousness that could still be found in Evil Dead 2, and instead chooses to go completely over the top with foolishness, camp and cheesey B-Movie greatness.  If Evil Dead 2 is tongue-in-cheek, Army of Darkness’ tongue has pierced through.

Somehow, Raimi and company pull it off again, and create one of the most entertaining, funny, exciting, quotable adventure movies ever made.

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Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Evil Dead 2Evil Dead 2 follows a grand tradition of horror movie sequels.  It has more of almost everything.  It has more blood.  It has more gore.  It has more characters.  It has more Evil-Vision™.  It has more laughs.  About the only thing it doesn’t have more of, is fright.  You see, since The Evil Dead found so much success by not being taken seriously, Raimi directs resident ham Bruce Campbell in a slapstick comedy that features tons of laughs, blood and gore.  This new formula works very well.  The movie is wall to wall cheese, but unlike most intentional cheese, Evil Dead 2 is actually funny.

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The Evil Dead (1981)

tEDThe Evil Dead is the story of 5 University kids who visit a cabin in the woods, find a book bound in flesh and a reel-to-reel, and unleash an unspeakable evil on the world.  There are two young couples, Ash (Bruce Campbell) and Linda (Betsy Baker).  Scotty (Hal Delrich) and Shelly (Theresa Tilly), and Ash’s sister Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) comes along as a fifth wheel, because that is required of all Horror Movies.

The characters are archtypical on one hand, but still break the mold a bit.  Scotty is clearly a douche, and Ash is kind of a dork.  None of the women seem to burst out of the gate as whores, virgins or bookworms… but since Cheryl is the fifth wheel, and draws pictures, she’s clearly the bookworm.  She’s also the closest thing to a stick in the mud, so she can claim the Virgin card… until she’s raped by a tree, anyway.

Shortly after listening to the reel-to-reel, the ground starts smoking and possessions start happening, and the world basically turns to shit.  One by one the young college students become possessed by the evil they’ve unleashed, until only Ash remains.  He goes batshit fucking insane, and eventually defeats the demons with the power of Stop-Motion Animation.

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