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March 13, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-13

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 13, 1996
Some Pinhead directed this'Helraiser'!

By Ted Watts
Daily Fine Arts Editor
"Alan Smithee" is the pseudonym
'director petitions successfully for his
be disassociated with a movie. It's a re
5ign when it's used on a project that
Artistic expectations, as a third sequ
movie is likely to have.
"Smithee"'s watermark of badne
imprinted on this project. Despite an it
the execution of the details of the
story is poor, the acting is worse
than in the "Leprechaun" movies
,and the look of the film is a scant
few steps above a direct-to-video
supernatural film. It's almost like
"Batman Forever" - but with
more charm.
The film begins in 2127, where
a scientist (Bruce Ramsy) has
seized a space station to try to
destroy the demonic Cenobites,
whose exploits have been well
chronicled in the first three
"Hellraiser" movies, as well as othe
ming from Clive Barker's characters
bites have been unwittingly allowed
because of one of the scientist's ance
nately, just as he summons the dem
them, security forces from Earth arriv
from his work.
So far so good. The movie could 1
clone with supernatural beings. But
scientist, named Merchant, has to t
security forces all about the demons
box that can summon them; this way,

n used when a
or her name to
ally, really bad
has fairly low
el for a horror
ss is indelibly
ntriguing story,

chant free to destroy the Cenobites. So we flash back
to the 18th century and the scientist's French
toymaking ancestor (also played by Ramsy), who
makes the box that can summon the demons.
Filmed in the ugly unconvincing way that movies
with small budgets portray any time in "the past," this
is a story of painful origins. But instead of being
intentionally gruesome, it is just nauseatingly bad.
There are some human skinnings, eviscerations and
mutilations, but they are unconvincing and relatively

boring. The general concept
REVIEW of the origin of the puzzle box
is interesting, but it just isn't
Heliraiser: done well at all.
Bloodline Then wejump ahead to 1996
(oooh, love that timeliness
thing) to meet another ances-
Directed by Alan Smithee tor of the scientist (played yet
again by Bruce Ramsy). This
with Doug Bradley one nearly destroys the puzzle
and Bruce Ramsy box with a building he has
At Showcase designed, although this inci-
dent comes about subcon-
sciously (because, as the movie
r stories stem- constantly reminds you, "the blood remembers" even
. These Ceno- when their stupid, stupid minds don't). In this incar-
into our world nation we get some better effects. A guy gets the
stors. Unfortu- traditional "Hellraiser" hooks-at-the-ends-of-chains-
ons to destroy embedded-and-pulled-out-of-his-skin, someone gets
e and take him beheaded, a skinless chattering dog wanders around
giving people a hard time and two idiot security
be an "Aliens" guards get their faces twisted into each other by an
alas, no. The extremely interesting-looking pain machine, the aes-
ell one of the thetically well-ordered and ultimate sadomasochistic
and the puzzle demon, Pinhead (Doug Bradley).
she'll let Mer- You should know the guy- real pale, has a lot of

pins sticking out of his face, likes to cause agony in
people, etc. He is a point of reference for the viewer;
if it weren't for Pinhead and the fact that this movie is
a continuation of his story, no one would ever see this
bit of celluloid on a big screen.
Finally, we flash forward to 2127 again, but Dr.
Merchant tells his listener about the things we have
already seen in the first five minutes of the movie.
Very tedious. Then everyone realizes there are de-
mons running around the ship, and they've already
killed most everyone in blood-spurting ways. An
"Aliens" plot device shows up, and then the movie
This movie could have some provocative elements.
The demons have been portrayed as slaves to a certain
form of order in other works with these characters.
Pinhead also mentions in the movie that hell has become
more ordered over the years, but this is the extent of that
theme in "Bloodline." There just is virtually nothing
underlying the poorly crafted surface.
This isn't a good effects movie either. The film is
more atmospheric than full of dismembered people or
horrific hellish contrivances of torture. And because
of the relatively small number of corpses, the ones
that are there seem tacked on. Plus, the atmosphere
isn't convincing; it feels just like a soundstage.
There is no reason to see this movie if you haven't
seen any of the previous ones (unless your brother
worked on it or something). If you have seen the
previous ones, form a consortium with like people,
send one group member to the movie (someone who
can sit through something stinky) and have them retell
the story to your group using sock puppets in some
sort of Roger Corman's Muppet Dinner Theater. Or
just wait until it's on cable and read a magazine while
you watch it.

Don't mess with Pinhead. Pinhead is having a bad hair day. That makes him sad.

Primary Colors
Random House
If nothing else, "Primary Colors" is
notable for its beginning; not many
books are printed with a disclaimer.
Readers are warned on the first page:
"None of these people are real. None of
this ever happened."
Of course, as soon as readers turn
the page, they will discover that this
is inaccurate. "Primary Colors" in-
triguingly blends truth and fiction for
a satirical look at Clinton's 1992 cam-
paign. While it's not quite a novel,
and not quite nonfiction, it succeeds
as a hybrid of both; the book is so
filled with action and suspense, it's
nearly impossible to turn the pages
fast enough to keep up.
Since the book's publication, both
political figures and journalists have
tried to guess the identity of the anony-
mous author. One thing is apparent:
The writer had excellent insider knowl-
edge. Readers are given a hilarious in-
depth look at personalities and cam-
paign strategies, which could only have
come from a well-placed observer.
The book is narrated by Henry Bur-
ton, a young congressional aide who is
becoming disillusioned with politics.
As the book opens, he is recruited to
work for Jack Stanton, the governor of
a small Southern state, who is running
for president.
Burton is the perfect narrator, a me-
ticulous observer with a somewhat de-
tached perspective. His mixed-race
background and his reservations about
the Stanton campaign keep him at a
slight distance and give him an objec-
tive viewpoint.

Consequently, readers have a clear
look at everything and everyone in the
novel, and this definitely provides a
new perspective on politics. Soon after
Burton joins the campaign, he begins
work for the New Hampshire primary,
and is drawn into a whirlwind of strat-
egy sessions, swarming reporters and
screaming matches. It's a bit like pull-
ing an all-nighter to write a paper -
late nights, junk food, fraying tempers
- only multiplied by several weeks.
Arduous, frenetic, wearying ... and yet,
somehow, it seems fun and exciting
As the campaign progresses,
Burton's opinions begin to change.
He responds to Stanton as many vot-
ers probably did to Clinton: Initially
mesmerized by Stanton's charisma
and political skill, he becomes
troubled by some of the governor's
questionable behavior.
The novel begins with a telling inci-
dent. Burton visits a literacy program
with Stanton, and the governor's speech
there motivates him to join the cam-
paign. A short time later, Burton sees
the director of the program emerging
from Stanton's hotel room. Readers are
left uneasily wondering how true-to-
life this section of this novel is.
"Primary Colors" definitely sheds
much new light on its real-life charac-
ters. Although Stanton is portrayed as
capable and intelligent, he is also seen
driving a pickup around fictional
Mammoth Falls, inhaling pork at bar-
becue restaurants and avoiding the
scandal created by hairdresser Cash-
mere McLeod (better known as
Gennifer Flowers). His wife, Susan,
is not averse to throwing things at him
for inept remarks, and at times man-
ages the campaign better than any of
the officials.

Readers will no doubt change their
minds about the Stantons as often as
Burton does. But there's no doubt that
they, and their colorful group of can-
paign workers, greatly enliven an
ready fascinating story. Although it is
reality-based, and so lacks the depth
and unity of entirely fictional works,
"Primary Colors" is attention-getting
and entertaining from start to finish.
- Elizabeth Lucas
Steven Michael-
Life's Little Relaxation Book
Crown Trade Paperback
Ever been uptight? Ever feel like
you're about to pop from all the stress
and pressure? What can you do about
it? "Go to a 'Learn-to-Massage' class
with a partner." "Eat fondue with a
friend; savor each bite." "Wear old, s*
A million equally stupid phrases and
crockpot thoughts have been strewn
across one of the dullest books in his-
tory. Author Steven Michael-Selzerhas
proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that
no matter how idiotic an idea is, there is
someone somewhere idiotic enough to
fall for it.
He somehow convinced Crown Tra
that a book containing such class
pieces of relaxation advice like "go see
a life-affirming movie,""take a bubble
gum break every once in awhile" and
"makefriendswith acomputer"isworth
eight bucks. Professional help is avail-
What Michael-Selzer does manage
to do in this 176-page joke is find a
use for every computer font imagin-
able. He didn't really care whether or
not someone could relax, he j
wanted to see how many times he
could use Courier and Times inter-
changeably. Sadly, he never uses Zaph
Dingbats; this font would have been
the most appropriate.
Nothing in the book is guaranteed to
relax you more than its own sheer
corniness and dullness. Reading this
book will surely lead you to a most
relaxing comatose state. "Life's Little
Relaxation Book" is truly an unnec
sary waste. But hey, Mr. Selzer, don't
let my legitimate scoffing at your weak
excuse for not having a productive job
get you down. Just go and "visit a plan-
etarium" or "get to bed early on a
winter's night" or "watch a spider spin-
ning its web." After a few hours of that,
I'm sure you'll be A-OK.
- Eugene Bowen

"See guys, the funny thing is: I actually wrote this gosh dam book. Ha ha ha."
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