This week on the B movie docket is Spawn (1997)
Hello good people. And welcome to 50 B Movies: The Sequel. It’s bigger, better, and badder. The original 50 b Movies covered a wide range of B Movies. There was everything from Thankskilling 3 to The Void. Some films were funny. Some were unintentionally funny. And some were mainstream with far-out concepts like zombie tigers. All in all, it was a hell of a list.
Why make a sequel? Because narrowing down a list of 50 B Movies To See Before You Die was arduous. With so many movies to watch, one can never really know if the movie is good. Sure sometimes 5 minutes in, you know it is a real stinker. Other times it might take a half an hour before one realizes they will never get that half hour back to their life. Poof. Gone. But all in all there are many great B Movies that didn’t make the original list.
So welcome back if you are a LRM reader and welcome if it’s your first time here. Be forewarned we will be treading deep into the bush to pull these B Movies. We aren’t rehashing anyone’s previous 50 or 100 or 1000 B Movies list. Nope. So, prepare yourself for 50 B Movies To See Before You Die: The Sequel. Bigger. Better. Badder. Oooh yeah.
WEEK 17 – Spawn (1997)
Covert government assassin Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is killed after being double-crossed by his boss, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen). Upon arriving in Hell, Simmons is offered an opportunity to return to Earth if he’s willing to lead an evil army. He accepts, and is reincarnated as a “Hellspawn” — a twisted, horribly disfigured version of his former self. However, Spawn serves as a force of good, much to the dismay of the Devil’s henchman, a wicked clown (John Alberto Leguizamo).
Bad CGI Galore
Hell has always been described as a horrible place in literature. But in Spawn the filmmakers really outdid themselves with just how bad hell looks. Imagine a Hell where souls are burnt eternally by bad CGI flames. Hell’s army frightens these tortured souls by the very nature of how they appear to be multiple victims of copy-paste. I mean everywhere these screaming souls look for respite there’s just another group of the same hellions they turned away from in horror. And every group looks the same.
What is a Hell full of bad CGI without a leader that is comprised of even worst CGI? Not the Hell depicted in Spawn. Because in this B Movie Hell is ruled by a conflagration of terrible CGI that calls itself Malebogia. He used bad CGI to trick Al Simmons into selling his soul to Hell via flashing heavily pixelated jpegs of his widow in front of his dying eyes. Hell needs more gigabytes.
The B Movie features a stellar headlining cast of talent. Portraying the tortured Spawn is Black Dynamite’s, Michael Jai White. And The Pest’s John Leguizamo as The Clown and Apocalypse Now’s Martin Sheen round out the cast as Jason Wynn. Each ham’s it up deliciously. But Leguizomo does so more than the others, and that elevates this B Movie. Who couldn’t watch Leguizamo dressed like a stout clown being generally obnoxious and making fart jokes?
Michael Jai White is more than serviceable as Al Simmons the tortured soldier that was sacrificed for his country. He delivers an aloofness to the role that should be present given that he’s portraying a sort of reanimated corpse with amnesia. Part of me just wished he dug deeper into the sort of comedy he brought to Black Dynamite.
If you can remember the 90’s then you definitely recall how groundbreaking Todd McFarlane and Image comics were. Not that they still are not relevant. You can clearly see the Spawn resurgence via McFarlane’s recent building out of the Spawn Universe. But let’s wind the clock back to a time when the most well known publishers were Marvel and DC. Here was a new superhero that swore, killed, and held a grudge against both God and Satan.
The Clown Is A Pest
Serving as the thorn in Spawn’s side is brought to life by bonafide funnyman John Leguizamo. Need a crash course in the sort of range Leguizomo can bring to the big screen, go and watch The Pest. Be forewarned as you may rupture something internally watching the duo of Aries Spiers and John Leguizamo.
Yeah, two quintessential 90’s funny men. But I digress. Go watch The Pest. It’s mighty funny. Reminiscing about it now, really makes me wish that the final casting for Spawn’s Al Simmons was not Michael Jai White, and instead Mad TV alum and funnyman Aries Spears. He was the quintessential 90’s funnyman. Why not? It would have been a real gaff to see Spears and Leguizamo bouncing lines off one another.
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Just imagine Key and Peele’s legendary Insult Comic skit carried out by Aries Spears and John Leguizamo. Spears is the burn victim of course. I am completely aware that Spears was not chosen because, why would anyone have considered him as leading man material? But in hindsight, watching Spawn I am confident this film would have been even better with Spears portraying Al Simmons.
Image Comics Spawn is enjoying quite the resurgence and expansion right now. Hell McFarlane is experiencing quite the resurgence now. Remember McFarlane’s 90’s Movie Maniacs? Me too. I loved them. Even better than those are the DC Multiverse Action Figures McFarlane is cranking out at a modest price point. Look what I am trying to say here is that McFarlane’s Spawn remains a force. So why not watch one of the most humorous superhero movies there is featuring him?
Watch it where?
Google watch Spawn and get a subscription to whichever service has it or be hardcore and track down the VHS and watch it on a VHS player.