Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Babysitter (2017)

Too lazy to head to the nearest Redbox to look for a new horror movie, I fired up Netflix and began to browse their selection. The Babysitter wasn't listed in the Horror category, but in Comedy. Netflix lists the movie as comedy/dark comedy. While it does have some humor, the gore alone should have puts it in the horror genre.

Just released on 10/13/17, The Babysitter is a story about a 12 year old boy, Cole (Judah Lewis), and his babysitter, Bee (Samara Weaving). Cole is your typical 12 year old kid, just trying to fit in. Bullied at school and in his own neighborhood, Bee comes to his defense. It's not made know how old Bee is, but I'm guessing early 20's? Cole's best friend, Melanie, who lives just down the street teases Cole of what babysitters do after the kid goes to sleep...fooling around. Cole doesn't believe her, but says he really doesn't know what Bee does after he goes to sleep.

When his parents go out of town for an evening, Cole decides to wake up to see just what Bee does. Later that evening he spies from upstairs on Bee and her friends who come over play a game of spin the bottle. Earlier, you see Bee befriend a nerdy looking guy (Samuel) at the local convience store. This guy is at Cole's house with the others. The spin the bottle game turns into truth or dare and Bee is dared by her friend Max to kiss everyone in the room. After she makes her way around the circle she kisses Samuel. During the kiss she pulls out two daggers from behind her back and stabs them into Samuel's head. This is the beginning of the messy parts for all the gorehounds out there.

Needing a sample of Cole's blood as well for the human sacrifice Bee and her cult are preparing, Cole has to hurry back to bed and pretend he's asleep. Bee stays in his room after they have gotten the sample they needed, only to see that Cole's escape plan doesn't quite work out as planned...passing out.

From here on out it's basically cat and mouse. Cole is the mouse and the other cult members are the cat. Chaos (and gore) ensues as Cole is chased all over his house, yard and the near by neighbor's house (Melanie, his friend). I don't want to spoil anymore of the movie than I've already done, go watch it yourself. 

I enjoyed the movie even though it's obviously not aimed at my demographic. You really know nothing about Bee's friends, the cult members...they just show up after he goes to bed. To think they could kill a a guy in Cole's living room is kinda absurded, the clean up that would be involved with the parents coming home the next morning. You do learn that Bee as a young girl wanted everything and she made a deal with the devil. She brings an old book with her that describes how to handle the sacrifice, but again there isn't much back story here at all.

I'm not a fan of the supernatural horror genre that seems to be so popular these days. I grew up on suspense, thriller, slasher type movies so that's why I ended up choosing The Babysitter. I've seen better, but I have to say I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end. Made me think back to the days I had a babysitter...but she didn't look like Bee!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

GI Joe 30th Anniversary: Cobra Techno-Viper

2011's Cobra Techno-Viper really caught my eye. As a part of the 30th Anniversary series, this was a figure that I had originally never made any attention to. There are a ton of specialized Vipers in Cobra's ranks and I never quite knew what the Techno-Vipers role was. Were they armored IT specialists? I never recalled seeing them in combat much in the old animated television show.

Regardless of this, Hasbro produced yet another great looking Cobra figure. I believe this is the 3rd version of this character, but this time the purple worn is a little more muted than the much more vibrant purple used in the A Real American Hero series. I love all of the detailing on the backpack and how it also is used for actual storage for his accessories. His Claw and Hammer accessories are of course removeable. There is also a neon green/yellow pylon included that has tabs on the base that lets you connect multiple pylons. I've seen some great diorama pictures on line where people have used multiple of these. Great figure, highly recommended.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Transformers Galaxy Force: Gasket Police Type

There are times I go a little import crazy and buy more of Takara's version of a series of Transformers than just going down to my local Target or Walmart and buying the Hasbro toy. Galaxy Force, or Cybertron, was one of those series where I imported more than I bought domestically. Looking back I can't recall any specific reason, so I'll just chalk it up to the better paint apps and the inclusion of tech spec trading cards!

In 2008, Toys 'R Us stores in Japan had a promo where if you spent 4,000 yen on select Transformers product, you got this exclusive toy. Limited to 20 (or 25) per store, I knew this guy would be hard for me to acquire. I believe I ended up grabbing mine via a Yahoo! Japan auction.

As far as I can tell, this is the same mold as the regular (red) issue of Gasket (Ransack in the Cybertron series), only done up in a black/white police design. 

The motorcycle's windshield, tires and guns have all been cast in a smokey translucent plastic as opposed to the normal solid black. This gives the toy a really nice overall look. The word 'police' has been added to the windshield. I'm told the Japanese characters on the side also translate to the word police as well.

I've always liked this mold, especially the alt mode. Transforming motorcycles have been hit and miss across the span of Transformers (sorry Wreck-Gar), so to find a cycle that didn't suck is an accomplishment in my book. I love the stretch design of the bike, almost reminds me of a light cycle from the movie TRON. I love the fact that the tires are wide enough that the cycle can stand on it's own without having to use a kickstand for added support.

The gimmick of the toy is unchanged too. Inside the Planet Speedia Force Chip into the rear of the seat and the guns spring backwards. This gives Gasket some offensive firepower behind him when the Cybertrons/Autobots are giving him chase.

While I do think Gasket's cycle mode is the better of his two forms, his robot mode isn't bad. He has wide shoulders, a slim build and his feet look like high heels...I'm really surprised this mold wasn't used as a fembot. Like most modern Transformers, Gasket is well articulated and can pull off some great poses. Too bad the guy behind the camera sucks at getting those dynamic poses!

This mold would be later used as Ransack GTS in the Cybertron series and again as the excellent 2006 Botcon exclusive, Rattrap. There was a time I owned every version of this mold. Yes, I like this mold that much. Today this is the only version I have. I couldn't part with it when I was thinning out my non-G1 TFs. Finding him on the secondary market could prove tough. At the time of this post I could only find one on eBay, sealed for $75. If you want to just experience this mold, track down one of the Hasbro versions.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Transformers G1: Japanese Micromaster Candy Set #03 (1996)

While I've never thought of myself of an all knowing Transformers fan, there isn't much that I haven't seen or don't at least know something about. This piece however I know very little of. Produced by Takara in 1996 (?!) this small set contains one of the Micromaster Rescue Patrol figures and a cardboard puzzle piece that appears to create a "city" once fully assembled.

eBay seller intergalactic_space_bunny, better known as Alex Bickmore currently has one of these sets available for sale. His listing mentioned these original came with some sort of candy. While I have no reason not to believe him, I don't know it that is 100% correct. It would seem to make sense however because I've seen other similar toys packaged in this manner that had a piece of gum or hard candy.

At first I thought these were blind packaged, but that thought was quickly dispelled according to the graphic on the side of the box.

The figure itself is still sealed in it's original bag. From what I can tell it doesn't seem to differ at all from the U.S. version of the toy that I own, so I never bothered to open it. Appropriately the cardboard puzzle piece has a picture of a burning building on it.

I would really like to get more background on this release at some point and find out more information. Being released in the mid 90's only adds to the overall mystery of this piece. I wish I could remember where I purchased mine, but it's been so long I have no idea. As a fan of the Micromasters however, it's a nice little unique conversation piece that I still have in my collection today.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dashbots: Police Car

During the 1980's there were a lot of companies trying to cash in on the popularity if transforming robots. While I'm unable to find much info on the Dashbots series, I do know they were made in the early 80's by a Hong Kong company called Upright Toys.

These seem to heavily borrow designs from Bandai's Machine Robo, whether that is intentional or not is up for debate. There are only a few different varieties of these out there and finding one in good condition can be a challenge. I lucked out in recent months and found this unnamed police car.

Made of die-cast metal, these little cars have some heft to them. Slightly larger than a standard HotWheels car, Dashbots get their name from the friction motor inside the vehicle. Pull it back and let it go and it'll race across the floor.

Usually the paint on these are badly chipped, but this one is beautiful. It's a bright blue and still has a nice shine to it. Even the large sticker on the good of the car is still intact and in good shape. Note the chrome on the light bar and on the read of the car. For a toy from 1985 (?) I have to say the design and craftmanship is in pretty impressive.

The robot mode however may not be anything to write home about. It's got a very basic design. Stand up the car, pull back on the rear portion of the car to form the legs. Pull out the car doors to form the arms. There isn't any articulation in robot mode outside of the arms. You can rotate these a full 360 degrees, but that is it. 

I found these to be very interesting toys and I've love to learn a little more about them. I'd be up to adding another to my collection, however as I mentioned earlier finding one in good condition can be a real challenge. On the secondary market these seem to run $20-$40 a piece, depending on the overall condition.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Jeepers Creepers 3

The long awaited 3rd installment of the Jeepers Creepers series finally made it's way to movie theatres...for one night only on 09/26/17. My older brother informed me of the screening and asked if I'd like to go. It's been ages since I've watched either of the two previous movies, but I'm always down for a good horror movie, especially if it doesn't fall under the supernatural genre.

I remember hearing that this movie was basically in "developmental hell" for several years. I wasn't sure this movie was ever going to be made if I'm being honest. In fact, the the movie's overall story has been changed at least once since the script was originally written.

Jeepers Creepers 3 takes part between the first and second movie, however originally it was to take place 23 years after the second movie. From what I've been able to gather, the movie was originally subtitled Cathedral. Trish Jenner, Darry's sister from the first movie, is now a mother of a teenage son anmed Darry, after her brother she lost 23 years ago. Trish has a reoccuring nightmare where her son suffers the same fate as her brother did, killed by the Creeper. Determined to prevent his from happening, Trish, who is now a rich and powerful woman, sets out on a final quest with Jack Taggart Sr. and Jr. to end the Creeper's reign of terror once and for all.

After watching the movie, I almost wished this story was the one they went with. Jeepers Creepers 3 wasn't bad, but for me it really didn't help advance the story. I still had a lot of questions about who the Creeper is and where he came from.

Now it wasn't all bad. While you can tell the budget was lower than the previous two movies, it was nice getting to see the Creeper out in the daylight as much as he was shown. His armored truck also played a big role in the movie, even more so than in the original. It was cool seeing all of his weapons and other surprises his truck had inside.

The other good part was that the original actor portrayed the Creeper yet again. The make up was very nice looking and some of the special effects were good. It wasn't an overall gory movie as many of the kills were done off camera, "Hitchcock" style. I was fine with that as I don't always have to see the brutal kill for it to have the same effect. In fact, I'd rather not see the kill and rather see the aftermath if the budget retrains the on screen kill from looking authentic.

I'm told Jeepers Creepers 3 will make it's way back to theatres for one night in October, so if you missed your chance in September you may want to head on over to Fathom Event's site and check to see if it'll be playing in your area. In my opinion it's not better than the first movie, but I've also seen far worse movies. I will say that it really makes me want to go back and watch the second movie now.

It's time for more Halloween Horror Movie Reviews!

For several years now I've been reviewing a few horror movies during the month of October...just in time for Halloween. While I won't be doing a movie a day as I've done in the past, my goal is to share my opinion movies I've watched. May be on cable TV, may be from a Red Box rental or a Netflix movie. None the less, I'm ready to go. If you want to get caught up w/ movies I've reviewed in the past, you can check out the archive HERE or via the link on the side bar.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

eBay Store stocked w/ vintage GI Joe vehicle parts

It's been awhile since I've done much with my eBay store outside of adding a few figures here and there. The time it takes to properly take pictures, edit the pictures and research the items to come up with a fair price can really be taxing. Every evening I ask myself what am I going to do with my free time? Coming from someone with more hobbies than free time, it's a hard question to answer!

When I finally sit down to list items though it's hard to stop. Over the weekend I finally listed all of these old A Real American Hero GI Joe vehicle parts. I don't know how long I've been sitting on these. There were in a huge collection of toys I purchased years ago, but strangely enough there weren't any vehicles...just the remnants. I knew it would take me a good bit of time to identify the parts so I just kept dragging my feet. However it wasn't as bad as I thought and I knocked them out over the course of the weekend. 

I used a few websites, some friends and Mark Bellemo's first Joe book to identify the parts. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little tempted to revisit my childhood Joe memories again...but I'm going to resist. As cool as many of the Joe and Cobra vehicles were, I just don't have the room anymore. 

I was surprised to find parts for Tiger Force vehicles (several sold immediately upon listing them) and even several guns for the Joe toy holy grail, the Defiant Space Shuttle Complex. The kid who originally owned these toys obviously had the Defiant and he had a G1 Transformers Fortress Maximus too. Now that was a lucky kid to have owned both of those giant toys back in the day.

There are vehicle parts, accessories, missiles, etc. in the store now. I also listed a few higher end video games I wanted to move as well. If you have any interest what so ever, go and check them out and let me know if you have any questions. I am offering a flat $3 shipping on all action figure parts now...GI Joe, TMNT, Transformers and more.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Transformers G1: Grimlock (Classic Pretender)

Towards the end the the 80's, it seemed as if Hasbro was running out of ideas to keep the Transformers brand afloat. The Pretenders were created, humanoid (or monster) disguises/shells in order to aid themselves in battle...or just to disguise themselves.

In 1989, Hasbro introduced four new Pretenders - the Classic Pretenders, Transformers that had been around previously: Bumblebee, Grimlock, Jazz and Starscream.

While I love the Pretenders and those were some of the first G1 toys I sought out when I started to collect again, I have never cared for the Classic Pretenders. When I finally got around to upgrading my method of displaying my G1 collection, I decided there were a few G1 toys that I just no longer cared to own. Classic Pretender Grimlock was one of those.

I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about this Pretender shell that I don't like...perhaps all of it?! Perhaps its the large fin on top of the helmet? Or the armor of the shell? I just haven't ever cared for his look. 

He comes with two weapons. The large rifle is an Atom-Smashing submachine gun and the inner robot's little tail also doubles as a rocket launcher.

The designers did a good job at trying to keep the elements of the original Dinobot toy, from the head sculpt to the look of the robot chest. He can wield his tail as a weapon just as the Pretender shell can.

Grimlock still retains his original Dinobot Tyrannasaurus Rex form, but now the toy is much smaller and more simplified. The dinosaur arms can rotate a full 360 degrees, as can the back legs.

If you like the Pretender toys then you know what you are getting here, I just don't care for it. Perhaps it's because it's based off of an existing character that I don't like. I didn't care for the Action Master toys either that were based on earlier G1 characters. Needless to say that when I added this guy to my eBay store, he didn't sit there long before someone scooped him up. I'll just stick to the "original" Pretenders.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cops 'n Crooks: Big Boss

Hasbro's short lived action figure line, Cops (or Cops 'n Crooks) seems to be overlooked by a lot of collectors these days. There are only a handful of toys and vehicles in the series and they aren't that expensive on the secondary market. Even certain sealed figures can be had for less than $20.00 if you are patient.

While my memories of this franchise are more of the animated series by DIC than the toys, I do remember when I was younger I won the Ironsides vehicle at an event hosted by the NBA's Charlotte Hornets team. My memory of why I was at this event is foggy at best, but I do remember playing w/ that toy and loving the aspect that it used real rolls of caps to create "gun fire".

Every hero needs their bad guy and his cronies and Cops was no exception. The Crooks in the series were led by Big Boss. I always thought of Big Boss as a mixture of Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget and Boss Hog from the Dukes of Hazard.

Hasbro did a great job with his action figure. Released in 1988, this action figure seemed to have more detail and articulation than I remember other action figures released around it's time. Plus Big Boss had his trademark girth which also helped him stand out from others.

Big Boss was a mobster. I think it's easy to see this with the slicked back black hair and the suit. Even his face screams the mob. Look at the detail sculpted in the face. His brow and his smug smile...absolutely stunning.

Big Boss came packaged with two accessories: his cap firing cane and his pet weasel.

You read that right. A pet weasel. Three points Hasbro for creativity! This is a small, hard plastic figure with no paint applications or any kind of articulation. Think old green army man type of figure.

Big Boss' left hand has been replaced with a steel prosthesis hand. According to his bio card this is considered to be a dangerous weapon. Hasbro used a chromed hand to replecate this and had great results. I'm surprised that the hand is still so shiny after nearly 28 years.

As I mentioned before, this figure is loaded with detail. He has rings sculpted on his right hand, that sadly show wear to the paint. The wrinkles sculpted on his suit gives you the impression that his belly is just a bit much to be held in by his suit. 

Now I have no idea why anyone would want to pose their Big Boss action figure like this, but hopefully this gives you an idea of how well articulated these figures were. The head can rotate some, but the slightly raised collar does hinder this a bit. His arms can rotate a full 360 degrees at the shoulders. He has a bicep swivel and hinged elbow joint. Even the hands can rotate all the way around at the wrist. There is also waist articulation. His legs have a good range of motion, hinge joint for the knees.

When I acquired a lot of these figures I was surprised at the level of detail and articulation. Considering these toys are as old as they are I found these attention to detail pretty impressive. The television show portrayed the Crook characters to be pretty dumb and some of the voice actors that portrayed these characters laid it on a little thick at times (Berzerko). Hasbro thankfully made some very interesting figures based on these characters. I will say one of things that I remember about these toys (and was reminded with Big Boss) is it seems the plastic used hasn't aged well. The plastic seems light and brittle to me. Perhaps I'm just imaging this, but it's not on GI Joe or Transformers level. Dispite this, the Cops 'n Crooks toys are still fun toys and takes the cops and robbers theme to a whole new level.