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Drag Me To Terminator
By Bert Ehrmann
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Fort Wayne Reader
There are a few interesting movies opening up this month – one is the fourth film of a 25 year old franchise and the other is also the fourth film of a 28 year old horror movie franchise. Only not quite.
Terminator 4, officially Terminator Salvation, follows the very good Terminator (1984), the great Terminator 2 (1991) and the disappointing (at best) Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). Salvation is set in the not-to distant future after the evil computer network dubbed "Skynet" has triggered a third world war in the hopes of wiping man off the face of the planet. John Connor (Christian Bale) leads the remnants of humanity in an attempt to destroy Skynet before it destroys us.
I probably saw the original Terminator movie as a young pup on pay cable back in the mid-1980s and have been a fan of the franchise ever since. I own/owned Terminator VHS and DVDs, a variety comic books, magazines, toys, collectible statues – or just about everything you could imagine a Terminator geek owning. And even though I really disliked the third Terminator film, I'd still consider myself a fan of the overall franchise. It's hard to beat any movie that stars a six-foot tall killer robot from the future that's practically unstoppable.
Before you see Terminator Salvation, I'd recommend checking o the comic book Terminator: Tempest. The comic was written before any of the Terminator sequels and takes a bit of a different angle on the whole Terminator mythos but adds some depth to the backstory of the resistance fighters combating Skynet in the future.
What's interesting about the other film I'm looking forward to that opens this month, Drag Me To Hell, is that it marks the return of a director to the horror genre who's spent the last decade helming the big budget Spider-Man series, Sam Raimi. Though Raimi may now be at home heading up these big budget movies, he actually got his start writing and directing a slate of low budget horror movies: the Evil Dead trilogy.
Evil Dead (1981) is an important film in that it was released at the start of the 1980s teen slasher genre, was made for around $350,000 and was so incredibly popular on the then new VHS rental market that it's earned a reported $30 million since release. It helps that it's also part of a great set of movies to boot.
In Evil Dead, a group of college kids are spending a weekend at a cabin in the woods when they accidentally release an evil force contained within an ancient book, the Necronomicon, that's bound in human flesh and written in blood. The twist with Evil Dead is that the kids in the cabin aren't being stalked by some masked ghoul. Instead they're being picked off by each other, as this force from the book inhabits each of them turning them into bloodthirsty creatures.
Two sequels would follow; The Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1993) both of which are direct continuations to the first film and one and other. For years, there were rumors of a fourth film to the franchise but with Raimi earning Sony billions of dollars in ticket sales, DVDs, video games, etc., with Spider-Man, most assumed that Raimi was done with horror.
So, I was really surprised when it was announced that Raimi would be returning to his horror roots with Drag Me To Hell. This new film stars Alison Lohman as a bank employee who's gunning for a promotion when she unexpectedly incurs the wrath of an elderly woman being evicted from her home. Lohman is cursed by this woman with spending several days being haunted and tormented by some evil (dead?) force cumulating with her being literally "dragged to hell." The trailer for this one sure looks like a winner and I can't quite remember the last time I've been this excited about seeing a horror movie.
Though Drag Me To Hell might not actually be the fourth film of the Evil Dead franchise, a guy can dream. Can't he? Terminator Salvation is set to be released May 22, Drag Me To Hell May 29. Visit me online at AlphaEcho.com.