Jack Frost (1997)

The World’s Most Pissed Off Snow Cone

When I was looking for movies for my Horrorthon this year, I’m not sure why Marcie would suggest I review a comedy movie starring Michael Keaton, but she did.  And if someone suggests something, I have to review it…unless I forget it or something.  So this is Jack Frost, written by … Oh wait … she must’ve meant this other Jack Frost that’s a horror movie.  Well that makes a lot more sense.  So THIS is Jack Frost, written by Jeremy Paige, written and directed by Michael Cooney, and starring Christopher Allport, Scott MacDonald, Stephen Mendel, Rob LaBelle, and Shannon Elizabeth.

A serial killer coincidentally named Jack Frost (MacDonald) is being transported to his execution when his truck collides with a genetic research truck, splashing chemicals on Frost and fusing him with the snow.  Now a snowman, he uses his newfound powers to exact his revenge on the Sheriff that caught him, Sam Tiler (Allport) and everyone in the town.

I find this movie a little complicated to review.  Not in making a judgment on it; it’s garbage.  But it is apparent that this movie wasn’t taking itself very seriously, which makes it difficult to say what was intentionally bad and what was accidentally bad.  Most of the writing seemed like the jokes Arnold Schwarzenegger refused when he was playing Mr. Freeze.  And if you think about the jokes that Batman movie kept, it’ll let you know the quality of terrible cold related puns this movie traded in.  It’s also weird that this movie has the same plot as the comedy Jack Frost.  Both Jack Frosts die in a car crash and become snowmen, then it just comes down to what they do with it.  I have to assume that movie is better written, but I’m only basing that on the fact that they’d probably have to try really hard to write a worse movie than this one.

So the deaths are probably the main draw of a horror movie and this movie…had them…?  I know they were going for a theme here, but most of them were just silly and poorly done.  I understand they had like $15 to work with, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t bother to make sense.  Like would a sled decapitate someone?  I doubt it.  Kill someone with a well-placed blade to the neck, maybe.  And when that happens, why does the police officer trying to clean up the blood shovel a little snow on top of it to barely cover it instead of shoveling up the blood?  And when Jack kills someone by shoving an axe down their throat, where does the other half of the axe go?  The top of the axe is sticking out of his mouth, but the way his head is bent the rest of the handle couldn’t be down his throat.  And why doesn’t an accomplished serial killer know that the sharp end of the axe is much more effective for murder?  And then when Shannon Elizabeth is murdered…what happened?  It was really hard to piece together.  It looked like she was hugging a snowman and bouncing gently off the bathroom walls.  Then she falls down and blood comes out of her mouth.  Wikipedia says the snowman raped her to death, but that was not super clear to me, even with the “Christmas coming” joke.  Why not do the exact same thing but when she bounces off the walls, put some blood from the back of her head on the wall?  Death by head trauma.  Everyone gets it.  Also, what’s with the weird rockabilly music?  Even though it doesn’t fit, I get the Christmas music to fit the theme, but most of the music is just weird.  And later, when they’re trying to melt Jack, I get their idea to fill the room with aerosol and ignite it to blow it up, but do they know that it’s not the bullet that sparks when you shoot a gun?  You don’t want to fire a gun in that environment because of the explosion that propels the piece of metal, not because of the metal itself.  Shooting into the building from across the street would probably not do much.  Of course, the same guy also tries to shoot a snowman, even when he turns to a puddle.  It was strange that shooting a puddle didn’t leave any holes in the ground though.  I guess he could’ve missed, but I would think shooting a puddle would be like shooting water in a barrel, as the saying goes.

I think the most important thing to mention about the cast of this movie is it’s Shannon Elizabeth’s first movie!  And much like the moment she really entered the zeitgeist, she gets naked!  …I don’t think you really see much as she’s mostly hugging a snowman when she’s naked, but it is something worth seeing in this movie, so it’s worth mentioning.  …I guess there are much better movies you could watch to see her naked though…  Also, she’s named Jill and she gets raped by Jack and there’s an obvious setup there for a Jack and Jill joke that they missed.  Maybe they could’ve ditched the rape and had him roll her down a hill?  There’s not much to say about Christopher Allport as the Sheriff.  No one in this movie was particularly good and they probably weren’t really trying to be.  The Sheriff does have a problem that might be very troublesome in his line of work: that he forgets how to use his hands when under stress.  I’ve never seen someone have such trouble grabbing a set of keys before.  It took like 2 minutes!  I hope it’s not that hard to enter his house every day.  The Sheriff’s son was also a complete moron.  It worked out in the end as it turned out to be Jack Frost’s weakness, but he put antifreeze in the snack he made for his dad?  Because he didn’t want him to get cold?  And what the hell was Mom doing like 2 feet from him when he was making that snack that she didn’t notice him loading it up with antifreeze?  I had the most problems with the FBI agent.  First of all, his name was Agent Manners and a movie with this many terrible puns didn’t go for a “mind your manners” type joke?  Why would you even name him Manners if that wasn’t the plan?!  But the biggest thing was when he thought he was about to kill Jack, Stone says, “Those are not your orders!” and he responds, “Somebody remember to put out the cat.”  …what?!  Does that mean something to anyone else?  Because to me, it sounds like the FBI agent had a stroke or something.  As far as what that statement means to me in the context, he may as well have said, “Apple sauce is contagious at the airport.”

I’m not entirely sure if Jack Frost is a bad comedy horror movie or just a really bad horror movie.  Either way, it was a bad movie.  If it was trying to be a horror movie, it wasn’t scary and it was just goofy.  If they were trying to be a comedy movie, they at best reached the corny level.  It was dumb, the kills not particularly well done, the cast didn’t really try too hard, and there was only almost nudity.  I would say there’s not much reason to watch this movie.  The only thing worth seeing in this movie can be seen much better in a much better movie by watching American Pie.  So just do that instead.  Jack Frost gets “Don’t eat yellow snow” out of “Deep fried Jack served at midnight.”

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Fire in the Sky (1993)

They Took Him.

Today’s review was inspired by nothing more than random fancy.  I had nothing else that I felt I wanted to review for the day as I had just taken care of a requested movie yesterday and felt like I would make today a “Me” day.  So I decided to browse around my Netflix instant queue to see what it had to offer, and today’s movie caught my eye.  I’ve never seen today’s movie before, but I’m certainly aware of many of the people acting in it.  I felt like I had heard of the movie before and that it was regarded as a classic, but as I check it now on Rotten Tomatoes, it appears as if fans and critics both agree that it’s nothing special.  Well I watched it anyway.  Will I agree with them?  We’ll find out in my review of Fire in the Sky, based on a book by Travis Walton, written by Tracy Tormé, directed by Robert Lieberman, and starring D.B. Sweeney, Robert Patrick, James Garner, Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg, Henry Thomas, Bradley Gregg, Noble Willingham, Kathleen Wilhoite, Georgia Emelin, and Scott MacDonald.

Five loggers walk into a bar and the bartender says, “Why the long face?”  The answer is that their friend Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney) has gone missing.  Worst joke I’ve ever heard.  Well Lieutenant Frank Watters (James Garner) wants to get to the bottom of it.  He sits down with the five loggers – Mike Rogers (Robert Patrick), Allan Dallis (Craig Sheffer), David Whitlock (Peter Berg), Greg Hayes (Henry Thomas), and Bobby Cogdill (Bradley Gregg) – for questioning.  They tell the officer about how they went into the woods to cut down some trees.  On the way back, they see a strange light coming from behind the tree line that they describe as a “fire in the sky”.  As they drive closer, they find a UFO hovering above the ground.  Walton gets out of the car and goes closer to investigate, despite the protests of the rest of the people in the truck.  Turns out they were right because a beam of light shines on Walton, seemingly killing him.  In a panic, the group leaves, but Mike later goes back and is unable to find Walton.  Needless to say, the cops do not believe their story.  And neither does the rest of the town.  But is it true?  And where’s Travis?  You’ll find out if you watch the movie.

There’s a very good chance that the cover of this movie just made me think it was Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  I still haven’t seen that movie, but I imagine it was better than this one.  That’s not to say this movie was bad, but I also wouldn’t say it was great.  It was just okay.  A fairly typical UFO abduction movie with a couple of interesting things to set it apart a little bit, and it also gets some steam from being based on a “true” story.  I like the setup to the movie because it actually makes us think there’s a possibility that the whole thing is made up.  The five guys walk into the bar with looks that make you think they just accidentally raped and murdered someone, talking about agreeing on their story before the cops show up.  Then the story is told in flashback for a little bit, but you don’t really get a feeling about what actually happened until later in the movie, when Travis shows up again.  The look also holds up fairly nicely.  I like how the ship looked, being a typical saucer design but with a bottom that moved like lava.  The lighting used was a big part of the movie as well.  I liked how the red light looked from behind the tree line, and I liked the white light that engulfed Travis.  I also liked the stained-glass window in the back of the church they showed a few times with the light shining down on Jesus in a strange symbolism.  The scene of Walton inside the spaceship was also really good.  It was the stuff of nightmares, put on screen.

The performances were mostly good in the movie, but not too many in ways that stood out particularly well.  Robert Patrick did a good job having to react to the townspeople that all believed he and his friends murdered Walton.  D.B. Sweeney also did a pretty good job of coming off completely shell shocked after he was returned by the aliens.  Craig Sheffer did a good enough job, but he was also playing an asshole.  He reminded me of Lieutenant Dan, but he had legs.

So there’s not really a whole lot to say about Fire in the Sky.  It’s not great, but it’s not bad either.  It just kind of exists.  It’s a typical UFO abduction movie, set apart a little by not telling the audience for sure if it actually is a UFO abduction or a murder mystery for the bulk of the movie.  The movie looks good, so it’s got that going for it, and the performances are solid.  The movie just isn’t noteworthy in any way.  You can watch it, or you can skip it.  But those are your only two choices.  Fire in the Sky gets “Oh they won’t come back.  I don’t think they like me” out of “I told you chuckleheads that story was never gonna work.”

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