Scenes I Love: They Live


TheyLiveFight

Another childhood hero has passed on undertake the last great journey. Rowdy Roddy Piper might have played the greatest of heels when he was in WWF (now WWE) as I grew up during the 80’s, but he was also a favorite wrestler and character. He seemed genuine in both attitude and charisma where I thought Hulk Hogan was all bluster and fake.

I’m sure I won’t be the only one to miss the Hot Rod. I pay tribute to the Man and the Legend in my own way by sharing one of the best moments of Roddy Piper’s career. It’s the greatest fight scene ever put on celluloid.

Anyone who says differently gets a boot to the face.

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Film Review: Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults (1994, dir. Devin DeHaven)


Title Screen

Well, I mentioned it when I reviewed Show Off! How To Be Cool At Parties (1986) so here it is. The so-called Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults. It’s a Satanic paranoia film. It’s just surprisingly late. I’ve seen Brad Jones (The Cinema Snob) tear into Deception of a Generation and Lisa already reviewed Rock: It’s Your Decision (1982), but that was the 80’s when even Roger Ebert jumped on that band wagon a bit. This was 1994. I only really remember the drug paranoia. Honestly, they called us into the gym in middle school to tell all the students that the only people who needed cell phones and beepers were drug dealers. No joke. The only exception were kids who needed reminders to come to the office and take their meds. Of course, this was also when people weren’t allowed to even have something like Advil on their person. I wonder if that policy still exists in schools. This assembly took place around 1996. Pretty amazing. I also remember later the Internet child predator paranoia. But Satanist paranoia? I only remember hearing about that stuff later on in VH1 documentaries on things like heavy metal suicide. Nevertheless, this movie was put out in 1994 and it’s a piece of work. I am no expert on Satanism, Christianity, or the people in this movie. I will try and do my best. This is probably going to be the longest review I ever have, and possibly, ever will write.

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The problems begin the instant you start the video. Apparently, this was put out or produced by Gun Video Catalog. I can’t help but be a little uncomfortable that a guide for law enforcement is put out by a company that makes videos about guns. Guns are the things that no good police officer wants to deal with in any way shape or form if they don’t have to. Then something funny comes up.

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A viewer discretion warning for police officers? I’m sorry, but if you have chosen that profession, then you have already decided that those things are going to be a part of your life. Plus the title says “Satanic Cults” in it. What would you expect to see? It’s not like it says My Little LaVey: Satan Is Magic or something kiddie. It comes right out and tells you what to expect.

By the way, I didn't try to get him with his eyes closed, but they mostly are because he's dealing with San Francisco Bay winds.

By the way, I didn’t try to get him with his eyes closed, but they mostly are because he’s dealing with San Francisco Bay winds.

Then up comes Gordon L. Coulter. The “Cop/Pastor” in sweaters who is going to take you through this nonsense under the guise of informing law enforcement. Honestly, it’s more like a recruitment video.

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Up comes Satanic imagery. At least one of which is rather humorous and pictured above. Kind of looks like a cross between a scene from A Clockwork Orange (1971) or something you would have seen in an old cartoon. This is the first of several times where Gordon basically complains about two things he doesn’t seem to like about the United States. One, freedom of religion allows people to practice beliefs that he doesn’t approve of. Second, that it’s a shame cops have to follow proper procedure instead of being able to simply drag in any Satanist off the street. I’m being a little harsh, but those messages certainly come across to the viewer. And given things that are said from then on, I seriously doubt I am reading too much into what he says.

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Next up comes “The Three Levels Of Satanism.” First are Dabblers. These are the Christian equivalent of people who just show up on Sunday, but that’s all. The people the movie Super Christian (1980) was directed at. Which by the way, I liked because it had it’s heart in the right place. Then are the people who have “spiritual involvement”. These are the people who might actually believe and are certainly more than just Christians on Sunday. The third are people who have “criminal involvement.” These are the people that hold up in compounds and bomb abortion clinics. Oh wait, he’s talking about Satanists. Sorry, but I can’t recall hearing about many, if any, Satanists in the news my whole life. Whereas David Koresh’s and abortion clinic bombers seemed to always be in the news. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. There are crazy people who do things in the name of religion all the time. I only bring it up because Gordon uses such broad strokes to condemn every Satanist and make them seem like they are everywhere ready to sacrifice your kids. If so, then Christians are in the same boat.

Great mullet by the way.

Great mullet by the way.

Next we move on to one of the dumbest, most staged, and offensive parts of the film. It begins by saying “Ritual Sites”. Then we are introduced to a “Former Satanic ‘High Priest'” named Eric Pryor. I encourage you to Google this guy. His story is quite interesting. It takes him only a minute or so to take a paranoia film and turn it into something blatantly offensive. Pryor comes right out and says that the people who use the parks are homosexuals and members of the occult. That they interestingly go hand-in-hand. You can imagine what I think of this. Let’s continue.

Notice the Satan Ray?

Notice the Satan Ray?

With that out of the way, Eric magically keeps coming across occult things in a park. An inverted cross. A voodoo VeVe. A rope tied like a noose that supposedly has dried blood on it. Most, if not all, clearly staged. He actually touches the inverted cross and comments that it feels fresh. Maybe because they just finished painting it before the shoot? Also, I looked up Voodoo Veve’s and apparently, they are obliterated during the ritual. That’s why they do them using things like sand. I don’t understand why one would be spray painted on concrete. However, Eric keeps brining up that Satanists love large concrete areas. So do graffiti artists. What park is this by the way? They never tell you. But they sure show this map a lot.

Clearly, an evil park!

Clearly, an evil park!

I’m not stupid, but this confused me for quite a while because there are no markings on this map to show where they “found” these things. It took until almost the end of this section of the video for me to realize that after the map was shown, the next section of the video emerged, starting in a large square, from where it’s supposed to take place. Putting a number or something to identify where this was would have been nice. In fact, at the end of the video when they recap, they do that by placing numbers. It’s needlessly confusing and I kept wondering why they kept showing this map that conveniently glows green like it’s possessed or something. One of the best parts of this is when Eric points and talks about doing a solo in the bushes. Honestly, he uses those words. I know he means that if he were up there to do Satanic things alone, then he would go into the bushes, but after his homophobic statements, I think the worst.

It's that specific bush right over there.

It’s that specific bush right over there.

Next come “The Nine Satanic Statements”. I have never looked into Satanism, but these all read like common sayings with some variation of the word Satan thrown on them. “Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence.” So does capitalism, among many other things. “Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek.” You could argue that God in the Old Testament does too. “Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years.” You mean like good can’t exist without evil? These are some of the least threatening things I have ever heard. But the music tells me I should be quaking in my boots.

Next come some things that are supposed to cast Satanists as obviously evil people who are going to coax the weak minded. “Gratification of Flesh. Gratification of Ego. POWER.” They could be describing politics or evangelism. None of these things are unique and require a whole special video devoted to point out these things in relation to Satanism. That is of course, even taking their word that these things are part of Satanism. I would have thought of course, but coming after the homophobic statement and the obvious staging in the park, I don’t know.

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Next comes “Initiation”. “A spoken denial of the Christian faith, generally accompanied by saying the Lord’s Prayer backwards.” Oh, you mean Kevin Sorbo’s character in God’s Not Dead (2014)? I thought he was just an atheist, but I guess he could also have made a “promise to sacrifice children to Satan, and marking the initiate with the devil’s mark.” How come I’m not hearing about all these children being sacrificed for Satan?

Now comes the list of crimes that could be red flags for Satanism. Ready! Set! Go!

“Vandalism or Trespass
Cruelty To Animals
Kidnapping
Rape
Molestation
Child Abuse
Child Sexual Abuse
Ritual Abuse
Arson
Murder
Drug Trafficking
Sexual Trafficking of Children
Corpse Theft
Cemetary Vandalism
Black Market Sales Of Bones and Skulls
Black Market Baby Selling
Pedophilia
Pornography
Torture
Church Desecration
Human Slavery
Weapons Violations
Suicide
Disposing Of Animal Parts
Illegal Entry Into Mortuaries and Cemetaries
Necrophilia”

My God! Apparently, any crime could indicate Satanism. I guess when you want to convince cops that Satanists are everywhere, then it’s important to list everything. Not that these things couldn’t be done by a Satanist, but I could go through every single one of these and find members of other religions engaged in them too. This is way too broad to be helpful in the slightest. It only breeds paranoia. Next comes one of the two parts that people frequently mention because it’s funny on sight.

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This is where Eric describes “Tools of Satanism”. It looks like QVC or some shopping channel. Can I get that knife on Easy Pay, Eric?

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Next come the “Cult Symbols”. Inverted cross, sure. 666, yeah. Pentagram, to be expected. “Voodoo ViVi”, then why does it say Voodoo in it? Plus, Eric just explained that Voodoo is different than Satanism? Anarchy symbol? You mean like Sex Pistols fans? Swastika? So Hitler was a Satanist? And I guess that includes Buddhists too. To my knowledge, even Germany which is paranoid about that symbol recognizes it as a legitimate religious symbol for some.

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Next! “Glossary Of Satanic Terms”. I love their definition of a cult: “A group of people who follow a leader, who, through his charismatic ways, command allegiance, belief and worship.” They could be describing the Pope for how broad that statement is. How exactly is that Satanic? Then it muddies the water futher: “Infamous leaders include; Hitler, Crowley, Jim Jones and David Koresh.” Hitler was Christian and so was David Koresh. Crowley, maybe, and Jim Jones, sure, but this is just more confusion. Also, Crowley has a first name. That is unless you meant to point a subtle finger at Ozzy Osbourne’s song Mr. Crowley. After the homophobic stuff, these questions pop into your head.

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I also like the definition of host: “Normally using blessed communion wafers, symbolic of the body of Christ, Satanists insert them into the vagina of the altar, or physically stomp thus desecrating Christian beliefs.” The “vagina” of the altar? Really? You couldn’t have just said opening or something like that? It was necessary to tie it back in with your definition of an altar that “can also be a nude physical female being”? Also, if it wasn’t already clear, nearly all of this “education” is posturing Satanists as trying to destroy Christianity and thus some sort of a holy war needs to be raged against them. But just in case you missed that, here’s what pagans are: “Those who practice witchcraft. The worship of nature as well as multiple gods.” In other words, people who hold belief systems that you disagree with. We all know that’s the actual definition of the word. Of course, I already stated that this is really a recruitment video to bring cops into their movement.

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Now it’s on to “Child Ritual And Sexual Abuse”. We get some shots of kids here. Oddly, one of them is a boy playing with a girl’s doll. How did that end up in here? Well, they say some numbers about the subject, but never cite any sources. Then comes out what seems to be a staple of these videos: the survivor. This girl is simply referred to as “T.S.” and is a “Ritual Abuse Survivor”. As she tells her story, drawings show up on the screen. At first, I thought this was hilarious. They look like they were made by kindergarteners. Just like the map, it wasn’t immediately apparent what the point was to them being there. It turns out these are supposed to represent a child’s rendering of the horrible things Satanists do to them. Couldn’t show newspaper clippings about these crimes that are supposedly happening all over the place? If it’s so common, then they should be easy to find, right? But no, it just goes on to have her recite a poem she wrote about her experiences. I love that it says “helter skelter”, “witches chant”, and “babies burn”. This girl could be telling a true story, but I have no way of knowing. Just as the “statistics” at the beginning of this segment, there are no sources cited. This is just stuff you are being told and expected to believe because, well, they’re Satanists.

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Ready for another list? No, well, too bad, because it’s time for “Symptoms Characterizing Satanic Ritual Abuse And Sexual Abuse In Preschool Age Children”:

“Low self-esteem, feeling of being ‘bad’.
Child feels deserving of punishment.
Child is fearful, clingy, regresses to ‘baby’ behavior
Separation anxiety.
Child is angry, aggressive.
Child acts wild, uncontrolled, hyperactive.
Child is accident prone, or deliberately hurts himself.
Child is negativistic, resistant to authority.
Child mistrusts adults.
Child is overcompliant with authority, overlypleasing with adults.
Child has rapid mood changes.
Child is withdrawn, does not play, or plays in a lethargic or unfocused way.
Child exhibits a short attention span.
Child does not learn.
Child’s speech is regressed and babyish.
Child has a delayed speech or speech disorder.
Child’s speech production decreases significantly.
Somatic complaints; stomach aches, nausea vomiting.
Nightmares, sleep disorders.
Child is fearful of being touched. Fears having genital area washed.
Child touches genitals or masturbates excessively.
Child touches or tries to insert finger into rectum.
Child pulls down pants, pulls up dress or takes off clothes inappropriately
Child touches others sexually or asks for sex.
Child is sexually provacative or seductive.
Child complains of vaginal or anal pain, burning when washed or while urinating or defecating.
Semen or blood stains on child’s underwear.
Detailed and ‘age inappropriate’ understanding of sexual behavior.
‘Hints’ about sexual activity.
Complaints than an adult or older child is ‘bothering’ them.
A reference to blood or ‘white stuff’ in genital area.
Statement that someone had removed the child’s clothes.
Statement that an older child or adult exposed themselves to the child.
Statement that child touched an older child’s or adult’s bottom, vagina, rectum, mouth, etc.
Statement that an older child or adult touched or penetrated child’s bottom, vagina, rectum, mouth, etc.
Statement that the child witnessed sex acts.
On exam, relaxed sphincter, anal or rectal lacerations or scarring, child relaxes rather than tenses rectum when touched.
On exam, enlargement of vaginal opening, vaginal laceration or scarring in girls. Sore penis in boys. Blood or trauma in genital area.
On exam, veneral disease.”

Wow! That’s some list of things that could indicate Satanism. I can’t possibly hit all the problems with this. First off, I am not saying that I might not have made a few typos, but a lot of them are in the video. Apparently, they didn’t bother to proofread this thing. I love how they chose preschool age so that the children are old enough to really exhibit things, but as early as possible in order to horrify us as much as possible. I also love how children are victims of “Satanic Ritual Abuse” whether they are “negativistic, resistant to authority” or “overcompliant with authority, overlypleasing with adults.” So if the child doesn’t like authority, as most don’t, then Satanists might be involved. If the child behaves, then Satanists might also be involved. And what exactly counts as “overcompliant”? Agreeing to wash out your mouth with soap? Taking punishment in general? If this is truly going to help cops identify that Satanism might be the mindset behind some form of child abuse, then don’t you think you might want to be a little more specific? Of course not. At this point, I’m convinced there are Satanists hiding in the bushes of my backyard waiting to sacrifice my dog.

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Can you believe this thing keeps going? Next they talk about “Youth Involvement”. This is where we finally get a voice of reason. A Sacramento, CA Probation Officer named Kelly McGhee. Did this guy even know what kind of video he was being interviewed for? He sounds like he might actually have a good head on his shoulders. Well, enough of that! It’s time for the Satanic Calendar.

Trick or Treat or Satanic Cults?

Trick or Treat or Satanic Cults?

I’ll spare you the list, but it’s noteworthy that Halloween is listed here. Apparently, on Halloween “sex with demons is primary.” What? This video for cops believes demons exist? This is probably the time to mention that the people behind this video were involved with a movement known as Spiritual Warfare. Look it up for yourself, but a key part of it is that things like demons and witchcraft are very real and that you must remain vigilant. It’s no wonder this video is the way it is.

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Finally, they bring up some actual cases. My two favorites are “Richard Berkowitz” and Ricky Kasso. Have you ever heard someone refer to David Berkowitz by his middle name? I haven’t. However, when I Google Richard Berkowitz, a prominent gay author and activist of the period pops up. Again, the way the video is, I have to question if this wasn’t intentional. As for Ricky Kasso. This is one of those famous heavy metal cases from the 80’s. The biggest tie to Satanism here seems to be that he was a fan of heavy metal and had an AC/DC shirt. It all has as much basis in fact as David Berkowitz saying a dog told him to kill people. But Gordon is quite careful with his words here. He doesn’t mention that part, but just that Kasso “required his victim to say ‘I love you Satan’ as he stabbed him to death.” That’s all. I guess that makes Dead Kennedys’ Christians since they say “God told me to skin you alive” in their song I Kill Children. The connection is incredibly weak. People will say all sorts of stuff. Especially to blame other things for their actions. Gordon also says all this like he’s John Walsh on America’s Most Wanted.

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But then comes the feature presentation of this section. The case of Clifford St. Joseph. Google that one. It’s a bit of a mess, and from what I have read, is on some shaky police work ground. However, this time Gordon actually has someone else talk about the case. Enter Prentice E. Sanders, Homicide Inspector, San Francisco Police Department. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, then this guy is kind of famous. He was the first African American police chief. However, he was also involved in the “Fajitagate” scandal. I remember that one, not because of the case itself, but the name sticks in your mind. Sanders was later cleared by the courts. It’s interesting in retrospect that this is the guy they talk to considering Clifford St. Joseph has also fought to clear his name. Again, Google it and make up your own mind. After talking about the case, he just goes on to give some good advice like “Educate Yourself” and “Investigate”.

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Then comes possibly the most ridiculous visual thing in the movie. This is the other thing you’ll see posted everywhere. Gordon comes out to a slab with two pillars behind it and pulls back a blanket to reveal a girl in a checkerboard bikini. Really? Couldn’t use a dummy? Instead, it’s necessary to get a young attractive woman, put Satanic symbols on her body, and then point to them over and over. Really?

It ends with Gordon basically saying there are Satanists hiding in every community, small and large, so BEWARE! Then the credits roll. I Googled some of these people. There are only two people I’m gonna mention. First, the producer/director is listed as Devin DeHaven. The only Devin DeHaven I can find is a guy who is heavily involved with making music related material. Even if this isn’t the same guy, I still find it funny that the only Devin DeHaven I find works with hard rock and heavy metal bands. He even worked with Incubus.

The other is “Pastor Dick Bernal”. Again, Google him. He’s very much around to this day. Even on Twitter. In fact, he recently made the news in my neck of the woods. However, in his defense, it’s not so much his homophobia that’s to blame, but the stupid ABC reporter that thought they should ask him if he would perform a gay marriage. It appears that as of late June of this year, he has put all weddings on hold now that same-sex marriage has been made legal in the United States.

From what I can gather, both Gordon L. Coulter and Eric Pryor have passed away. In all honesty, I hope Eric found some peace after the whirlwind that seems to have been his life. I also hope that Gordon moved on with his and tried to forget about this video. But I invite you to do that research if you want. I’m moving on with my life.

RIP ROWDY RODDY PIPER


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TMZ (and others) have reported actor/wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper has passed away from heart failure at age 61. Besides classic film, pro wrestling has long been one of my obsessions. Yeah, I know, it’s phony as a three-dollar bill, but so what? So are some of the Grade B (and lower) movies I look at here on Cracked Rear Viewer and Through the Shattered Lens. I got into the so-called “exhibition sport” at age 12, going with my grandmother (who was a true believer) to see the matches at the old Lincoln Park Ballroom in Dartmouth, MA. Later, my friends and I would travel to Boston Garden to watch Bruno Sammartino and company tear it up, usually followed by a trip to the Combat Zone for some exotic dancers (hey, we were young!) and pizza and Little Stevie’s in Back Bay. Ah, youth!

Roddy Piper was unique in the “sport of kings”…

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4 Shots From 4 Films: Blood and Black Lace, Kill, Baby, Kill, Hatchet For The Honeymoon, Lisa and The Devil


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films.  As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

Welcome to a special Mario Bava-themed edition of 4 Shots From 4 Films.  Today is the maestro’s birthday and therefore, a very important day to everyone who loves Italian cinema.  All four of the shots below sprang from the imagination of Mario Bava.

Blood and Black Lace (1964, dir by Mario Bava)

Blood and Black Lace (1964, dir by Mario Bava)

Kill, Baby, Kill (1966, directed by Mario Bava)

Kill, Baby, Kill (1966, directed by Mario Bava)

Hatchet For The Honeymoon (1970, dir by Mario Bava)

Hatchet For The Honeymoon (1970, dir by Mario Bava)

Lisa and the Devil (1973, dir by Mario Bava)

Lisa and the Devil (1973, dir by Mario Bava)

(Anyone want to guess why I have a special place in my heart for the last film pictured?)

Trailer #2: Black Mass


BlackMass

One of this year’s most-anticipated films (well, at least when it comes to award season) has a new trailer.

Black Mass stars Johnny Depp in the role of the infamous gangster Whitey Bulger who, as the film’s tagline states, became the most notorious gansgter in U.S. history. This is bold claim considering other gangsters in U.S. history such as Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, Vito Genovese and Meyer Lansky to name a few.

What makes this film so interesting is the fact that we finally get to see Depp return to acting real, complex characters instead of just acting like a character these past decade. Plus, have you seen this cast supporting Depp: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Joel Edgerton, Corey Stoll and Jesse Plemons just for starters.

Black Mass is set for a September 18, 2015 release date.

Film Review: Programmed To Kill/The Retaliator (1987, dir. Allan Holzman & Robert Short)


Samira (Sandahl Bergman)

Samira (Sandahl Bergman)

That screenshot look promising? Well, it isn’t. Programmed to kill? More like programmed to bore. This movie is like Atomic Cyborg in that it’s a Terminator inspired movie. However, unlike Atomic Cyborg, this movie is awful.

I would love to say the movie is about Samira who is captured after participating in a terror attack in Greece and turned into a killing machine, but it’s not. Look at this shot below and guess when it happens out of the 90 minute running time.

I bet that number you thought of wasn’t 40 minutes! Take a look at the shot below when she kills someone in the field as a cyborg and take another guess.

This happens at 52 minutes. It takes this movie 52 minutes to capture her, transform her, and send her into the field. The movie is only 90 minutes long with credits! Just wow! What the movie is actually about is this guy who captures her, then tries to track her down to finish her off.

Eric Mathews (Robert Ginty)

Eric Mathews (Robert Ginty)

The majority of the film is with him, his wife, and kid. The rest of the time is the surgery and exposition. I love when they are walking down this underground hall with pipes running it’s length. Why? So they have plenty of time to tell us that their plan to turn her against her own people by transforming her into a cyborg is going to backfire down the road. What a waste of time! I wonder if the VHS release of this had a sticker on the front of it that said “Press Here” so it’s audience would know how to insert it into the VCR. Oh wait, this was for an audience expecting something kind of cool so maybe it says “insert to fucking box” like Explosive Fighter Patton for the Famicom Disk System does.

At least we can hope that the action, when it happens, is good, right? Nope, it sucks. The stuff near the end kind of suffers from the 2014 Godzilla problem of not putting enough light on the action. Not that much is going on anyways, but still. I really love this shot below.

It’s clearly supposed to be all arty and dramatic as he talks about how she is out to get those who wronged her, but oh please. It’s like the movie wanted to be taken seriously. As if it had an important message to deliver it’s audience. Atomic Cyborg covers the same sort of territory so much better and has arm wrestling. The best you get here is when she calls up a guy and screeches so loud into the phone that his ear bleeds, he crashes the car, and dies. I’m sorry, but if I want murder by phone, then I’ll watch Murder By Phone (1982).

There is one bright point though. Eric’s son is played by none other than Paul Walker!

Paul Walker

Paul Walker

That’s a good thing for me because it means I can mention Tammy and the T-Rex again. Otherwise, there is no bright point to this movie. It’s just terrible. Please watch Atomic Cyborg or Lady Terminator instead.

Val’s Movie Roundup #6: Good Witch Edition


Unfortunately, the only movies in this series that were available for streaming were the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th films. I am renting the others and will review them at a later date.

The Good Witch's Family

The Good Witch’s Family (2011) – Here’s what I can gather in general about this series. Catherine Bell plays a witch named Cassandra Nightingale who owns an antique/miscellaneous items store in the town of Middleton. Not a witchcraft store really, although it is called Bell, Book, and Candle. She is married and has two children that don’t appear to be her biological ones. I don’t think they really explain that at this point, but I’m pretty sure they’re her husband’s kids. Maybe in the earlier films. Luckily, it isn’t important. You can jump into this series with any of these four films and not really feel lost. Basically, Cassandra stands around looking pretty in nicely chosen outfits acting like Jadzia Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine while minor and meaningless micro-plots pop up around her, resolve, and the movie ends. Honestly, that’s it. It can be pretty boring. Some of these more than others.

This one revolves around a bridge that is going to be built before the town is annexed by Delaware. The mayor likes it while the mayor’s wife doesn’t. They want Cassie to become mayor. Because “family” is in the title, the movie has a tie in with Cassie’s family. In this case, a recently rediscovered family member turns up and causes some trouble using her own witchcraft. All the witchcraft in this is very subtle and implied, not really explicit. Cassie figures out her motives pretty early, but lets things go until it’s time to wrap things up.

This one, like the others is boring, but average. I really must say that the outfits chosen for Bell are quite nice. They do a good job dressing her. It’s a minor thing, but it was enough that I noticed.

The Good Witch's Charm

The Good Witch’s Charm (2012) – Now this Good Witch movie is a stinker. Cassie is now the mayor. There’s a newborn. And a little crimewave is going on. A very minor crimewave. Cassie is caught on video teleporting. I mentioned before that the magic is implied in this series. We do see her suddenly show up when a character turns around, but we never actually see the trick pulled. This time it’s explicit. The video goes viral and a reporter shows up. It’s probably worth mentioning that there is a lady who owns a shop nearby and she is always around. Also, Cassie’s foster mom shows up in town.

Again, a bunch of minor plots that all resolve without really providing anything but an excuse to check your Twitter feed. This just happens to be a particularly boring one. The stupid video thing is stupid and the resolution will have you irritated. If you do enjoy these movies, then I would hop over this one. Even someone who dubs themselves as a lover of Hallmark movies on IMDb said this was pretty boring.

The Good Witch's Destiny

The Good Witch’s Destiny (2013) – This movie is a notch up from The Good Witch’s Charm, but it’s still not the totally average experience of The Good Witch’s Family. There are again micro-plots, but the “destiny” of the title has to do with something her daughter is investigating. At this point, she is in college. She wants to write a paper on the backstory of a family member whose portrait is hung in their house. They refer to her as the Grey Lady. There was some sort of fire and it happened on or around her birthday. Since Cassie’s birthday is coming up, the daughter is worried.

Of course, there’s never anything to worry about when Cassie is around. Maybe she’s always so laid back and confident, not because she is anything like Jadzia Dax with lifetime’s of knowledge, but since she always reads the scripts. This one is wholly unremarkable, but it will not annoy you like The Good Witch’s Charm. I really don’t expect much from a Hallmark movie. They are usually rather formulaic, but these one’s that are really just TV Shows made up of TV Movie episodes seem to be pretty boring. Not sure why that’s a thing. The other Hallmark movies don’t do that. Oh, well. This one’s okay.

The Good Witch's Wonder

The Good Witch’s Wonder (2014) – The biggest problem with this one is that Cassie cut her hair! Catherine Bell looked so pretty with long hair that had bangs. Otherwise, this is the best of the four. Again, some micro-plots, but it has a decent major plot that can keep your attention. No, not the son getting married. Yeah, there’s a son, and the fact that it took so long for me to mention him tells you how important his existence is.

The major plot is basically ripped from a Lifetime movie. A girl is clearly needing a place to hide out and becomes an employee of Cassie’s. A douchebag shows up under the pretenses of doing some work for that lady with the other shop, but he’s really there to come after her. He wants her to steal something for him, then he’ll leave her alone. You know where this all goes. It’s just nice to have a real plot that the movie focuses on and that it is somewhat interesting. This is the best of the four I watched.

I fully intend to get the first three films and if a commenter on IMDb is right, this series lost it’s magic by The Good Witch’s Family where I came in. So hopefully those movies will be better.