Thursday, August 21, 2014

Total Darkness: The Legion of Losers

Darkness fell. Things happened. Some of them were pretty bad, I guess. Thanks to some bungling Moth-Lady claiming to be the world-renowned dorkette Miss M, the evil sorceress known as Maleficent was able to reclaim a powerful and ancient artifact that granted her god-like abilities. With her augmented powers, she became The Queen of Darkness, and her evil spread and engulfed all worlds. Including the afterlife.

The wicked gathered, growing stronger with every new rogue who joined their ranks. Strong enough to defeat, enslave or vanquish their heroic foes. Strange alliances were struck amongst the villainous collective; former rivals setting aside their differences to crush and conquer, to rule with iron-fists and blackest hearts.

Lord Zedd: --set your sights too low, Killemoff. This is our chance to finally burn this pathetic mud-ball of a planet. Nothing left but cinders and ash! 

Dr. Killemoff: Some of us have to live on this "pathetic mud-ball", and really, I don't think it's awful to wanna carve out my own little slice of it. The bad-guys won, sure, and now I plan on just kicking back and enjoying my time as King of Tromaville. 

Lord Zedd: Your obsession with this... Tromaville is nearsighted, fool. It is trivial in the grand-scheme of things. Don't you understand that the universe is finally ours..?! 

Dr. Killemoff: I hope you realize how ridiculous you sound, man. It's like, yeah, you don't even know how to shut off villain-monologue-mode and enjoy the fact that we're the top dogs these days. 

Apocalypse: Cease your pointless chattering, both of you. None of us shall rule anything until we've stomped out every last scrap of resistance. Once the last foolish "hero" is gone, then and only then, will we become true gods.

Apocalypse: And, my dear General Tragg, what do you have to report? Have our forces finally defeated those accursed G.I.Joes? 

General Tragg: Negative, sir. However, the last several waves were able to reduce their numbers significantly. It's only a matter of time before we breach their defenses and finish them off for good. 

Apocalypse: Excellent. Once we overtake their base, we will add their weapons and resources to our own. And then nothing, not even Maleficent herself, will be able to oppose our Triumvirate of Terror! Only the fittest shall survive! 

General Tragg: Uh, yeah... very good, sir. 

Apocalypse: Now go, my faithful servant, and assemble my forces. By sunset tomorrow, we will claim victory and the worlds will tremble in our presence.

General Tragg: (whispering, as he leaves) ...idiots.

Dr. Killemoff: And remember to have fun, man! You need to take time to really, like, enjoy all the carnage!

Lord Zedd: What are you prattling on about now?

Dr. Killemoff: I'm just saying that there's no point in being heinous and world-dominating if you can't sorta'... savor it, right? I mean, I've seen your stuff, Zedd. All giant monsters and evil bird-men. Battling "teenagers with attitude". That's not really my thing, but I'm not one to judge how others get their kicks.

Lord Zedd: How dare you imply that I enjoyed being humiliated by Zordon's pups! I should reduce you and your precious New Jersey--

Dr. Killemoff: Yeah, yeah, cinder and ash. Christ on a stick, man, save it for the good-guys, yeah?

Apocalypse:  Enough of this. Dr. Killemoff is correct. You must reserve your hatred and your strength for our true foes. We should retire to our separate quarters, and prepare ourselves for tomorrow's bloodshed.

Dr. Killemoff: Survival of the fitness, sure. You know, I never would have pegged you for a Jane Fonda guy.


Magmar: Oh, you fools. It is I, Magmar, the powerful living rock, who shall be the one to claim those weapons first.

Magmar returns to his lair and summons his lieutenants. Eager to share his wicked plan, to take the G.I.Joes' headquarters and its technological advances for their own! Unfortunately for him, he's gathered together the most ridiculous assortment of henchmen, mutants and monsters of all-time. A veritable who's who of Z-grade villains. Separately, none of them have achieved anything worthwhile. Together, well, they're still pretty terrible. I mean, really, one of them is a drooling, sentient tomato. It's so stupid.

They're all so stupid. 

Magmar: Ah, my minions! The time has come for us to claim our place as the world's greatest villains! No longer shall we be mocked, laughed at or ignored. Once we've taken the Joes' arsenal, we shall use it to lay waste to all who oppose us!

Rocksteady: I just wanna murderalize some Toitles.

Magmar: And murderalize you shall, mighty Bebop!

Rocksteady: Uh, boss, I'm Rocksteady. Wait, I am, ain't I..?

Magmar: It matters not, my loyal soldier. Your mission is a simple one, one that even you can comprehend. If you wish to wreak havoc, I am granting you that opportunity. Go forth and destroy our enemies!

Weedkiller: I wanna eat you, man. Delicious looking fella, tomato-man.

Ketchuk: Naw, you don't want to do that. Look, there's a talking cookie standing right there next to us. He's, uh, way more enticing than some gross, rancid tomato. I'm just some gross, rancid tomato-man and I totally just hurt my own feelings. God, I hate my life.

Magmar: Bossk, you shall lead the assault. I trust you, and only you, to ensure this mission's success. I know none who are as ruthless and cunning as you. None who possess your strength. You are my most trusted. My most accomplished. You... are my number one... guy.

Bossk: I live to serve, lord. We shall not fail you.

Chip the Ripper: Oh, shut up already, lizard-lips. Let's just go kill the fuckers.

Somewhere in the deserts of Utah, there exists The Pit III; the command center for G.I.Joe, once a peace-keeping military-unit dedicated to protecting the world from the ruthless, terrorist organization known as COBRA. In recent days, since the darkness fell, the secret location of this heavily-fortified outpost has been compromised. The combined forces of Evil have tried several times to penetrate the base's defenses and claim the technological treasures within. The G.I.Joe team has so far managed to resist these attacks, but not without suffering severe casualties. Only a small, rag-tag team of operatives remain...

Admiral Ackbar: Thanks for joining us, Ice-Viper One.

Ice-Viper One: The circumstances didn't leave me many choices, did they, Squidbert..? I mean, my buddies in Cobra are gone. Wiped out by all the big, bad super-villains we'd supposedly teamed-up with, the goddamn turncoats. The least I could do to honor my friends is to, for once in my life, show a little bit of integrity and saddle up with you guys.

Roadblock: You can rest easy now, Light-Foot. We thank you for your sacrifice, brother. Sic transit gloria.

Ice-Viper One: Hey, man, I'm not sure that means what you think it means. You might wanna go back and relearn your Latin.

Roadblock: Feel free to still your slithering tongue, snake, before I rip it out of your head.

Ice-Viper One: Hell, I know times are tough. Losing all your pals and all. But keep up with the attitude and you're gonna make me regret siding with the so-called angels.

Kitbash: We're in trouble, aren't we?

Admiral Ackbar: If we can't learn to stand together, well, I fear we won't last the night.

Kitbash: Awesome...

Frostbite: This is probably the worst timing ever, boss, but we've got movement outside. It looks to be a small force, but I'm not super-confident with these readings. Honestly, we're lucky that this equipment is working at all.

Admiral Ackbar: Go check it out, soldier.

Frostbite: I... I'm not even sure what I'm looking at, top. There's only a handful of 'em, but these aren't just a bunch of faceless thugs or masked grunts. I think we're in some serious trouble here.

Bossk: No survivors. No mercy.

Chipper the Ripper: Now you're speaking my language, guy.

Leaving the safety of The Pit III, Frostbite rushes to the L.A.W, which is an acronym for something. We can only assume the L stands for laser. Makes sense, right?

Frostbite's aim is true; the Legion of Losers scatters, bombarded by several vicious blasts from the L.A.W. But not all of them are lucky enough to escape unscathed. Despite the praise heaped upon him by Magmar, it seems that Bossk is the first to fall. He will not be the last.

The silent Giant known as Gonzales utilizes his immense strength to pick stuff up. He's probably going to throw it.

Told you.

Oh, man. Frostbite might be dead. Is he dead? Someone better go check.

Ice-Viper One and Kitbash lay down suppressive fire, allowing Windmill to retrieve their fallen comrade. That means that they're buds and stuff.

Roadblock races to the Desert Fox's turret. Only the massive chain-gun is capable of taking out the two strongest villains, Rockbop and Giant Gonzales.

Kitbash: You're going down, you unholy vegetable! 

Ketchuk: Technically, I'm a fruit! A murderous fruit!

So murderous!

Roadblock opens fire!

Whoa, he totally took out Gonzales. Not speedy enough, dude! Unfortunately, Rocksteady is quickly upon him, Roadblock, I mean, and crashes into the Desert Fox. That can't be good for the Ragin' Cajun.

Pinned beneath the vehicle, Roadblock struggles to reach his trusty machine-gun. It's probably named Bertha or Rosita or something. Seems like the sort of thing that Roadblock would do, naming his weapon. What a cliche. He probably deserves what's coming next.

With the exception of Bossk, who's dead anyway, it seems like everyone from the Legion of Losers is getting their moment to shine. Even the psychotic cookie.

I wasn't kidding about the psychotic cookie. He's really there, and he's really going to shoot Roadblock in the head. This is, uh, a little more grim than I had originally intended.

Ice-Viper One: Whoa, hey. I surrender, fellas. Remember that I used to be one of you. There's honor among thieves these days, isn't there? 

Rocksteady: We ain't no thieves, ski-mask. 

Ice-Viper One: Well, shit...

This part is pretty brutal and goes on for a bit. Let's just, uh, skip ahead.

Admiral Ackbar: What are you doing?

Windmill: It's called a Hail-Mary play. You'd get that reference if you weren't a weird, octopus-alien thing from a planet without professional sports.

Windmill: There's only one thing that can save us now. Honestly, though, I'm not sure why we didn't lead off with this--

Admiral Ackbar: You can't mean...

Windmill: Yeah, the Pac-Rat.

So, Windmill activated it and it was awesome.

A missile! It explodes and saves the day. Boom-shaka-laka.

This is the sad ending part. It's sad, because people died and all that's left are Windmill and Frostbite. Who the fuck are those guys, anyway?

So sad.

[...and yes, Weed Killer sorta' just disappeared, didn't he? You can find out where he ran off to over at Derek's amazing one-shot, which you can enjoy here.]

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The League: Top Ten Video

We're back with a vengeance, a triumphant return to The League of Extraordinary Bloggers, after months of radio silence. It must be a pretty interesting topic this week to pull me out of my contributing retirement, right? Well, we've been asked to tackle our Top 10... whatever we want, actually.

Normally, I'm not a fan of ranking things. Hardly a sucker for compiling Top Five Rock Albums or a grocery list of my favorite C-list celebrities. The problem is that I have a difficult time coming up with a definitive Top However Many, what with my constant shifts in mood or tastes. Something could be in my Top Three one day, and quickly be replaced by something else the next. There's just too much stuff that I enjoy to really, truly nail down a definite commitment.

So, uh, here's my Top 10 Videos That I Currently Own [in no particular order], I guess.

1. Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973).

  -- This is the oldest tape in my collection, the very first VHS that I could really call my own. I remember my grandmother actually giving in to my youthful pleading at a local outlet, and picking this up for me. I love the generic box-art, which perfectly embodies the cheapness of this release from Viking Entertainment, which is a company I know very little about. Apparently, aside from low-budget, bootleg monster movies, they also released a lot of Veggie Tales tapes? Eh.

2. Fist of the North Star (1986).

  -- I went through a brief anime phase during the early '90s, back when The Sci-Fi Channel used to air "Saturday Anime", showing films like Akira (1988), Dominion Tank Police (1988) and Demon City Shinjuku (1988). All the stuff that was sure to warp my young mind. These days, well, I'm not as big a fan. Every now and then, though, I like to pay tribute to those early days of bizarre, hyper-violent animated features. This is my absolute favorite of the half-dozen titles I own, mostly because of the adorable "Not For Kids" sticker plastered on the front.

3. Troll 2 (1990).

  --  Is it embarrassing to admit that this film actually terrified me when I was a kid? Probably, but that's okay. It hasn't prevented me from embracing it as the true "cult-classic" that it's become over the last several years. This particular copy once belonged to my friend's aunt, who briefly owned and operated an entire store based around Norfin Troll dolls during the resurgence boom of the '90s.

4. Freaked (1993).

  -- They really don't make films like this anymore. Actually, I'm not sure that there's ever been another film quite like Alex Winter's grotesque and absurd comedy, Freaked. An all-star cast of Z-grade celebrities, featuring the likes of Mr. T and Bobcat Goldthwait, some of most hilarious and inventive practical effects of the era, and a wonderfully dated '90s soundtrack. A staple of my early teens, and a flick I could still watch a million times over. I hadn't seen it in years before stumbling upon this copy at my local thrift shop.

5. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990).

  -- One of, if not, my all-time favorite movie. I had originally taped this off HBO back when it premiered, and have since purchased it on DVD and blu-ray, but I absolutely adore this VHS-copy. This was found at the same shop as Freaked, a fantastic find, and I was doubly excited to discover that this was still sealed. I have no intention of ever opening it.

6. The Punisher (1989).

  -- I've only ever seen bits and pieces of this early comic-adaptation featuring Dolph Lundgren. Something I have regretted for years, hoping to finally settle in and watch it in full. It only seems appropriate to view the film as God intended; on glorious, low-fi magnetic tape. It's been sitting in my "to-watch" pile for way too long now. Maybe it'd be best if I stopped with this stupid list and watched the original cinematic Frank Castle kick some ass instead.

7. Batman (1989).

  --  I feel like I've written about the Bat-mania of '89 and beyond far too often. This movie was everything to me for those couple years, an obsession that's rarely been matched in the two-decades plus since. And because of my nostalgic love for Burton's classic tale of clown and bat at odds, well, I've probably owned nearly a half dozen copies of this on VHS. I went through a bad period of picking up every single one I came across, which was both costly and space-consuming. This guy here is the Highlander of my collection; there could be only one. Or something.

8. Ninja III: The Domination (1984).

  -- An aerobics instructor possessed by the vengeful spirit of a ninja-master. V8 seduction scenes. Haunted arcade games. Golf course massacres. This ridiculous film has all that and so much more. Sure, I already owned Shout Factory's blu-ray release when the opportunity to pick up this "big-box" VHS came along. But I was lucky enough to grab this from Dan Kinem of VHShitfest, one of the brilliant minds behind the VHS-documentary, Adjust Your Tracking. There was no way that I could resist.

9. Suburban Commando (1991).

  --  Goddamn, I used to rent this one all the time as a pre-teen. Combining my love for professional wrestling with an adoration for everything Christopher Lloyd, there was nothing better at the time. Again, embarrassing confession time, but this has been a tape that I've been dying to get my hands on for quite some time now. I found it buried in a bin full of loose and dirty Hasbro WWF action figures this past weekend. The seller was more than happy to give it to me for free with my large purchase of wrestling toys [which you might see a glimpse of sometime in the future].

10. TMNT: The Making of The Coming Out of Their Shells Tour (1990).

  -- Remember when the Ninja Turtles started their own KISS-esque, arena-rock band? If you're like me, you probably wish you didn't. This beat-up and unloved tape found its way into my grubby paws earlier today, thanks to an extremely generous, and totally VHS-filled, package from Brian of Awake Oh Sleeper. Of the several tapes he's sent me, this is the one that I adore most. My own childhood copy is long-gone, so I'm ecstatic to add a "new" one to my collection. I'm not sure I'll attempt a re-watch anytime soon, but it warms my heart to know that if the urge ever strikes me to, I can.


Meanwhile, you can check out the rest of The League's Top Tens...

Speaking of Brian and Awake Oh Sleeper, you can check out his own list of cinematic creatures, ghouls and ghosts here.

Over at Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks, Derek shares his own Top Ten, featuring an absolutely adorable version of Kang the Conqueror and a space-faring cat.

Mason, from D.I Treasures, tells us all about his favorite cereals to munch on while watching reruns of ReBoot and the Wild West C.O.W-Boys of Moo Mesa.

And for all the rest, be sure to check out Cool & Collected.