Arnold the Barbarian is back again this week. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the A-Man, the wildman that put the beef in the beefcake, drops buck-nekkid out of the sky and walks around sticking his
arm through the stomachs of punk rockers. Arnold is The Terminator, and I'm gonna say it right now, we're talking drive-in heaven. A cross between The Road
Warrior and Halloween, with some "Zombie" tossed in to make it
disgusting. Straight to No. 1 on the Joe Bob Briggs Best of '84 list. Arnold is a cyborg (half man and helf Robotronic City) who gets zapped into El Lay from the future whose
mission is to wipe out Linda Hamilton so she can't give birth to the guy
who's gonna kill him in the year 2029. So the A-Man gets him some Hell's
Angels threads from a Hell's Angel and walks into a gun store and tells Dick Miller that he
wants a 12-gauge auto-loader shotgun, a .45 long-slide heavy-duty handgun
with laser sighting, a 9-millimeter pistol, and a Plasma rifle with a
40-watt range-finder and then Dick Miller says "Will there be anything
else?" and the A-Man blows Dick away in slow motion and walks out of the
store like a National Guard Armory with legs.
In Arnold's last Conan movie, you remember he got to say about 15 words. In this one they whittled him down to 10 words, probly because he's learning how to do it all with his bod. The man's pure poetry. The man can steal a Dempster Dumpster truck as easy as most people steal a Honda Civic. So strap some firepower on each arm and what do you got?
You got more twitching dead bodies than any flick since Revenge of the Ninja.
First Arnold sticks his hand through a [closed] car window, steals a station wagon, drives to the suburbs, runs over some kid's playtoys, rings the doorbell, and pumps 6 shotgun blasts into a 35-year-old woman. Then he looks in the phone book and finds out he killed the wrong one. Uh oh. So he goes and does the same thing to another bimbo, but after he does it he checks her I.D. and finds out it was her roommate he wanted. What are we gonna do with you, Arnold?
But now it's too late, because Linda Hamilton
knows the A-Man is breathing heavy. And she's found this other guy who's been zapped from the future--Michael Biehn, to kill Arnold. This guy's nekkid too, because the zap machine won't work if you got clothes on. So he lands nekkid in the alley and has
to run through a K-Mart with cops chasing him before he gets dressed and
steals a shotgun and starts hanging around Linda Hamilton's apartment. This dude's having flashbacks like he's been in Nam, and it's making him pretty durn irritated. Especially when Arnold goes in a disco and the guy at the door says, "Hey, buddy, you didn't pay," and Arnold has to blow away 20 or 30 guys. Michael shows up before he can dynamite the bejabbers out of Linda Hamilton, but 12 shotgun holes through Arnold's body don't seem to bother him.
The A-Man just goes back to his motel room, carves up his arm to fix it, then sticks a
knife directly in his eyeball and pulls out the eye and throws it in the
sink. Then there's a lot of plot about where Arnold came from, and the
nuclear war in the future, and blah blah blah, then a couple GREAT
motor-vehicle chases where they almost catch Arnold, and then Arnold
drives his car THROUGH the police station after saying I'll be back and kills about 20 cops, and
then he shoots up a motel room, and then there's some more chases where
Arnold's on a cycle, until a Mack Truck runs him over and bloodies him up.
Now he's p.o.ed.
From now on out, whenever you think he's dead-- he's not.
Four breasts. Thirty-seven dead bodies. Two beasts. Dempster Dumpster
truck destructor scene. Intestines roll. Forearms roll. Eyes roll. One pet
One El Lay jerkola disco destroyed Four motor vehicle chases, with crash-and-burn. Rat-eating
refugees who set fires in their TV sets. Seven quarts blood. A 77 on the
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for the A-Man; for Linda Hamilton, best screamer of the year; and for James Cameron, who wrote and directed this sucker. Joe Bob says check it out twice.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 7/19/91
Since 1984, cyborg technology has developed a better haircut, as seen here in Terminator 2
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas
James Cameron, the genius who made "The Terminator" and "Terminator 2," figured out the whole secret to the eighties and nineties, the ultimate fantasy for Americans, and it can be summed up like this:
"I have to blow you away now, because I feel strongly that it's in both our best interests."
You see the beauty here? What happens in both movies? A bodybuilder guy drops buck nekkid out of the sky, sent from the future to waste our savior. So we have to KILL the Terminator before HE kills John Connor, the man who will save the world from nuclear destruction in 1997. (In part one he's trying to kill Linda Hamilton, but only because she's about to GIVE BIRTH to John Connor.)
So what kind of story does this set up? A story where, no matter WHAT you do, no matter WHO you step on, and no matter HOW MANY people you kill, you can NEVER BE WRONG. Because if you don't do what you have to do, THE WORLD WILL END. Because there's one person more important than The Terminator, and that's the person TRYING TO KILL The Terminator.
This covers all situations. Divorce? Sorry, babe, gotta save the world. Slow service at Denny's? You're delaying my mission, so I think I'll grab you by the throat, turn you upside down, and grind your skull into a Potato Mexicana Plate. Oh, you need to see my ID? Here--it's in the form of 200 shotgun pellets in your STOMACH. It's the ultimate way to say, "Your existence doesn't fit in with my career goals right now, so please act like you never existed."
The Terminator is like Donald Trump. You don't really LIKE him, but you know EXACTLY what he'll do at all times. He has a goal. He mows down anybody between himself and that goal. And he'll keep repeating that same pattern until something drastic happens, like getting shot through the head with a Cruise missile and dumped into a vat of molten steel. After that, he MIGHT stop.
And with "Terminator 2," Jimbo Cameron figured out how to live out the Terminator Fantasy AND the Anti-Terminator Fantasy. You get to KILL the Terminator and BE the Terminator at the SAME TIME. It's GREAT. Ultra-super-mega-violence in order to create world peace. My kinda flick!
There have only been two sequels in the history of the world that are BETTER than the original. The first one was "The Evil Dead II," which might be the greatest zombie flick ever made. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" is the other one.
The flick starts out with two Terminators dropping out of the sky buck nekkid. One of the Terminators is on a mission to kill a child actor. But this is such a popular American fantasy that the director had to find a child actor who didn't look like, sound like or talk like a child actor. This was a wise decision. Let's say the Terminator had been sent from the future to kill Macaulay Culkin. You see the dilemma here? You start rooting for the Terminator. So he found this kid named Edward Furlong who had never acted before, and--BINGO--thousands of mothers at the Pasadena Children's Theater commit suicide, but WE can enjoy the movie.
This kid has a Johnny Depp hair curl down over his eyes, but otherwise he's normal, and the reason Conan the Barbarian is sent to save him is that, in 1997, there's gonna be a nuclear firestorm that will engulf the world, UNLESS this kid grows up and leads the human resistance against the CIA machines that have taken over and . . . actually, I don't remember this part very well, but the bottom line here is: Evil forces from the future want Edward Furlong to DIE.
So what do they send? They send a NEW kind of Terminator--a guy who normally looks like one of those post-modern sculptures in front of the Exxon Building, only he has a Gumby body structure that allows him to assume the shape of any human being or solid form, and he likes to make his arms into giant stiletto pool cues that punch holes the size of Milwaukee where eye sockets used to be.
Arnold the Barbarian, the OLD Terminator sent to terminate the NEW Terminator, looks like his old self, the National Guard armory with legs that tried to kill Linda Hamilton in the first movie. (For those people that keep asking me the question--"How did Arnold come alive again for this movie?"--the answer is that the Terminator is a MACHINE, and so, in the future, they can build as many of em as they want to. Got it? Arnold is a DIFFERENT Arnold, but he looks the same, because he's a machine. I'm surprised I have to explain this stuff to you guys.) Only this time Arnold is sent to protect the SON of Linda Hamilton.
Obviously, Linda Hamilton is not so sure about this arrangement. Linda's been living with Central-American revolutionaries since 1984, learning how to use pump-action semi-automatic assault rifles, and when she wasn't doing that she was in the loony bin, pumping iron and trying to make the weirdbeard doctors think she was "normal" by denying that she ever saw the Terminator in the first place.
And then, in the plot twist that makes this movie the great sequel that it is, Linda becomes MORE OF A TERMINATOR THAN THE TERMINATOR! Arnold has to control her so she won't go totally nutzoid and single-handedly waste the entire military-industrial complex.
Nineteen thousand explosions, helicopter crashes, and motor vehicle chases later, we get the final showdown of the old American-style Terminator with the new Japanese-style hi-tech Terminator, and I don't wanna give it away, but I'd just like to say that once about every ten years somebody comes up with a completely NEW special effect that you've never seen before. This is the one for the nineties.
Twenty dead bodies. Three motor vehicle chases, with motorcycle-jumping exploding Mack truck exploding copter seven car crashes Multiple biker-gang bashing. Hand-to-hand Terminator combat. Steel girder through the head. Shrink-strangling. Mall shootout. Geek face-licking. Knee-blasting. Pay-phone bashing. Back sewing. Kung Fu. Nuclear Fu. Broomstick Fu. Tear-gas Fu. Liquid Nitrogen Fu. Arnold the Barbarian, for saying "It's in your nature to destroy yourselves" and "I have detailed files" and "Hasta la vista, baby" and "I need a vacation" and "I know now why you cry, but it's something I can never do"; Linda Hamilton, for beefing up for the role, taking hostages at needlepoint, and saying "Anybody not wearing a two-million sun block is gonna have a pretty bad day"; Edward Furlong, for saying "Cool--my own Terminator" and "You just can't go around killing people" and (when he finds a cave full of hundreds of weapons) "One thing about my mom--she always plans ahead"; Joe Morton, as the computer nerd scientist, for saying "It's not every day you find out you're responsible for three million deaths"; Robert Patrick, as the T-1000 Terminator that looks like a post-modern sculpture with tentacles, for jumping through a plate-glass window into a moving helicopter; and James Cameron, the director and co-writer, the only man alive who can say "I spent $94 million on this movie, and every cent of it is up on the screen."
Joe Bob says check it out as many times as you can, along with Predator
VIDEO RELEASE OF THE WEEK
Badge of the Assassin (1985): This is one of the only made-for-TV movies deserving of a video release--James Woods in the true story of a New York assistant D.A., Robert K. Tanenbaum, who spent years criss-crossing the country until he had enough evidence to convict three cop killers who were members of a black revolutionary army. Yaphet Kotto is his cop sidekick. The Bronx-based revolutionaries include Pam Grier and Rae Dawn Chong. The great thing about this movie is that James Woods is the good guy, and he STILL comes across as a serial killer. Four stars.
JOE BOB'S ADVICE TO THE HOPELESS
Republican Alert! The North Drive-In on Old Highway 41 in Terre Haute, Ind., has a "For Sale" sign on it after sitting empty for a year. This is the third one in Terre Haute in a decade. Joel Watson reminds us that, without eternal vigilance, it can happen here. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and his world-famous "We Are the Weird" newsletter, write P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221, or Fax Joe Bob at 214-368-2310.
Dear Joe Bob:
Thank you very much for your feelings re: Dario Argento's "Suspiria." When I first saw this movie ten years ago in a theatre, I couldn't stop raving about it! Unfortunately, being a film fanatic, nobody could take me seriously; all they could say was a distasteful "Oh, that's nice."
I'm sure that the print I saw in the theatre was edited heavily. There was a little lack of continuity here and there during the murder scenes. The one-sheet poster, however, really grabbed me; I remember the tag line was something like "the only thing worse than the last five minutes are the first 85!" (I must investigate my sources to see if I can get a copy of this one-sheet.) And of course, my favorite end credit was when it said "You have been watching SUSPIRIA." (Like, no s---, Sherlock.)
There was a Japanese print of "Suspiria" on laser disc available some years back, but it wasn't in letter-box format. Thus, the ending was extremely difficult to understand visually unless you'd seen the movie in Cinemascope in a movie theatre.
Goblin's theme to "Suspiria" is excellent. I remember it being deafening in the theatre--and that was perfect! (That was actually how it was recorded--loudly at normal level.)
Anyhow, thanks for the overdue recognition on "Suspiria." It is really appreciated.
You're right about the tag line, which is one of the five or ten most famous in history: "The only thing more terrifying than the last five minutes . . . are the first 85!"
They put the notice on the end--"You have been watching SUSPIRIA"--because it was the kind of movie that was shown in downtown "grindhouses" a lot. That's where they show continuous triple features, or even six different features in a row, and guys wander in and out all day long, sometimes sleeping there, sometimes living there, and they're never present for the start of the movie and so sometimes they don't know what they're watching.
Don't it make you nostalgic?
Dear Joe Bob:
I've got this question that's been buggin' me for the longest time. You see, all these here rather large, uh, well-endowed young women keep coming here to NeverNever Land North to dance at the local burlyques or whatever passes for them. I mean SuperVikingWomen!!!, like Nikki Nockers who is 55EE; Melissa Mounds, 57FFF; Jiant Jenni Juggs, 56GG; Henrietta Hooters, 58JJ; and so on. (And on, and on, and on, in some cases).
My question is: Standard bra sizes like you can find in better stores everywhere only go on up to a double D cup and I've got no way of knowing what's bigger, volumetrically speaking, triple F or double G or what? Like, if Lotta Topp is EEE, couldn't she go into an FF, or would that be like bragging or, maybe, hiding her light under a bushel basket?
Please help me out, I just gotta know.
Cross-eyed in Frisco
Strippers of that volume MUST be registered with the USDA, which has strict penalties for advertising a triple-E as a double-F, or a double-F as a single-G. So all those figures are verified by government inspectors, who are badly paid but uncomplaining. Any stripper who tried to put one over on us--or put two over on us--would be exposed . . . er . . . covered up immediately.
Will you ever run for governor of Texas? What would your platform be if yes and why not if no.
Yep. My platform would be, "Let's give ourselves back to Mexico."
They're the only people that like us. Most of the time.
Dear Joe Bob,
Thanks for responding to my letter about "Blood Freak." No, I'm not thinking of "Blood Fiend" with Chris Lee and yes this movie exists. (How many just say no holy roller mutant vampire turkey-monster movies are there, with or without Christopher Lee?) It was reviewed in Psychotronic Video #5 (the one with the "Macumba Love" cover), which is where I first heard of it. Intrigued, I bopped on down to the local Sound Warehouse, where I was able to rent said classic for 99 cents. Worth nearly every penny, the video rental box shows a beautiful, defanged woman with her bazooms falling out the front of her negligee and sports the tag line: "A Dracula on Drugs!!!" It was made in the early seventies and large chunks are "narrated," ala "The Creeping Terror," by a sleazy looking chain-smoker who coughs a lot. The wild-and-crazy drug party consists of middle-aged friends of the producer sitting around "sniffing" Vicks sinus spray and holding filter cigarettes funny. And no, I didn't play the turkey monster (I was probably 12 years old the year this thing was lensed) and I'm not mentioning this thing for the publicity. However, I do write horror novels for a living. Did I send you a copy of my first book, "Sunglasses After Dark"?
Your vigilant reader,
Nancy A. Collins
I'm glad we've cleared up that "Blood Fiend" info for all eternity. And no, I did NOT receive a copy of "Sunglasses After Dark." I assume it's about the immortal Hunter S. Thompson?
Dear Joe Bob,
You can tell Brent Forsyth it wasn't the brownies. "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I Feel So Sad" is the title of the film in question. In one of Rosalind Russell's last cinematic outings, she played a flamboyant jet-setter who simply cannot part with her late husband. Jonathan Winters was never livelier as the dad, the poor dad. Lots of madcap sixties-style cruelty! Lots of extra-camp clothes for Roz. And somehow lots of smart-ass dialogue for Winters. And it's out on video! Hope I could help Brent.
I can't stand know-it-alls. The Drive-In will never die.
[The following letter was at the end of the first movie, from 1984]
Joe Bob's Mailbag
As I wrote to your publicity lady, I'll be there. Looking forward to it. Gonna drink some beers and check out the locals and keep doing it until we get it right. Besides, I've been looking for something like this to kinda enhance my literary reputation, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Seems to me like The Paris Review and The New York Quarterly, which have pretty much ignored me so far, will have to sit up and take notice when they hear about this happy crappy.
Well, you wanted me to list my five favorite drive-in flicks, so here goes: Numero Uno: "Evil Dead." Spam in a cabin. Numero Two-O: Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Ain't nothin' as good as Saw. Numero Three-O: "Zombie." The spaghetti western version of Night Of The Living Dead. Chick with great garbonzas battles killer shark. Dead zombies come up from deeper down and eat the shark. Also a great eyeball-squishing scene. Make sure Wanda's not in the car when this happens or you're gonna have to get new seat-covers.
Numero Four-O: "Night Warning." Two very good garbonzas. Several slashings. And a spectacular head-removal. Also a very good picture to go to the head, buy popcorn, do the horizontal bop, etc.
Numero Five-O: "Blood Feast." This is an oldie and not exactly a goodie, but it is to the drive-in horror picture as we now know it as the Neanderthal Man was to the Cro-Magnon. Shot in four days. Main set is a Florida motel room. The main character, a mad Egyptian named Fuad Ramses who runs a catering service, carves up a lot of girls. Best exchange: DETECTIVE: To your knowledge, did the dead girl have any friends? LANDLADY: No. She only belonged to a book-club. Not bad, huh? See you at the drive-in Best wishes, Big Steve Stephen King Bangor, Maine
Dear Big Steve: You're the king, big guy, but NIGHT WARNING?! Anything you say, Stevie boy. You aren't gonna believe what we got waiting for you. Even after you get it, you aren't gonna believe it.
[Stephen King is not only a friend of Joe Bob Briggs, King wrote the forward to "Joe Bob Goes To The Drive-In" (1987, long out of print), titled: "This Guy Is Really Scary!"]
The three stars of the first two movies reteamed for the last time (Linda says she won't be in any more Terminator movies) for this alternate version of T2. Playing in specially-built theaters at the Universal Studios Tour in California and Florida, live actors are added to the footage on the screen, in which Arnold and the kid escape Robert Patrick (seen only in a cameo) by crashing through the time distortion that Arnold the Terminator arrived in, on a motorcycle - into postApocalyptic Los Angeles, where they're hunted by small flying killer robots. This version seems to be inspired by "Watch Bird", one of Harlan Ellison's favorite classic science fiction stories (in which the Government builds flying robots to identify & zap criminals by sensing their thought patterns, only to have the flying robots turn on Mankind. A radio version of "Watch Bird" was on NPR's Beyond 2000 series in 1999, introed by Harlan).
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
The Machines Will Rise
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken
Directed By Jonathan Mostow
A decade has passed since John Connor (NICK STAHL) helped prevent Judgment Day and save mankind from mass destruction. Now 22, Connor lives "off the grid" - no home, no credit cards, no cell phone and no job. No record of his existence. No way he can be traced by Skynet - the highly developed network of machines that once tried to kill him and wage war on humanity. Until... ...out of the shadows of the future steps the T-X (KRISTANNA LOKEN), Skynet's most sophisticated cyborg killing machine yet. Sent back through time to complete the job left unfinished by her predecessor, the T-1000, this machine is as relentless as her human guise is beautiful. Now Connor's only hope for survival is the Terminator (ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER), his mysterious former assassin. Together, they must triumph over the technologically superior T-X and forestall the looming threat of Judgment Day...or face the apocalypse and the fall of civilization as we know it.
From C-2 Pictures, Intermedia and director Jonathan Mostow comes TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES, the highly anticipated third installment in one of Hollywood's most innovative and celebrated movie series. Melding riveting suspense, trademark humor and explosive action, TERMINATOR 3 pays homage to its predecessors and adds an electrifying new chapter to the series' sophisticated mythology. Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his signature role as the Terminator, heading a cast that includes Nick Stahl ("In the Bedroom," "The Thin Red Line"), Kristanna Loken (Panic) and Claire Danes ("The Mod Squad", William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet). Renowned character creator and original Terminator designer Stan Winston returns to supervise the film's animatronic and make-up effects, and the visual effects will once again be produced by ILM. John Brancato, Michael Ferris and Tedi Sarafian wrote the screenplay based on a story by John Brancato, Michael Ferris and Jonathan Mostow. TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES is a C-2 Pictures/Intermedia production in association with the Munich-based financing entity IMF and Mostow/Lieberman Productions. C-2's Mario Kassar, Andy Vajna and Joel B. Michaels are producing with Hal Lieberman and Colin Wilson. Intermedia Chairman Moritz Borman executive produces along with Guy East and Nigel Sinclair. TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES, released domestically on July 2, 2003
Running Time 108 min.
MPAA Rating: R for strong sci-fi violence and action, and for language and brief nudity.
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Colossus, the Forbin Project (1970)
The Pentagon has turned over missle control to a computer named Colossus, hidden deep in a blast-proof mountain. When the computer starts refusing commands, creator Dr. Forbin is sent for, and discovers that Colossus has ideas of its own and has linked up with its counterpart in Russia. In this audio clip, Colossus explains that Mankind can't be trusted to stay out of trouble. Based on the Colossus trilogy by D.F. Jones
Cast: William Schallert, Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent. Though not a remake, both "Terminator" and John Badham's WarGames were clearly influenced by "Colossus." No relation to the science fiction movie "Colossus Of New York" (1958).
"Colossus, The Forbin Project" is available on video
Of course, the Terminator movies are in no way related to 1963's Outer Limits episode Soldier by Harlan Ellison
"An ultimate future soldier created only to kill (Michael Ansara) finds himself in the 20th century, and protects Lloyd Nolan's family from a similar enemy soldier who also came back through time."