Kevin Strange’s Netflix Punisher Season 1 Review

How do you take the most hyped-up and exciting new character in the Marvel Netflix super hero universe who has comic book fans and military/gun aficionados going bonkers waiting for a spin-off solo show putting his brand of take-no-prisoners, hyper-violent vigilante justice and totally and completely shit the fucking bed with it?

Start by reducing what was Daredevil season 2’s best, most action packed and talked about character, The Punisher, back down to just a guy named Frank who wears a hoodie and has a hard time making eye contact.

DDS2 so perfectly told Frank Castle’s back-story, all the way up to giving him his iconic white-skull chest costume, that a spin-off show was a no brainer. Everything was right there. All you had to do was write him some compelling villains, some pot-boiler plots, and let Jon Bernthal act his ass off while shooting every last motherfucker in the room.

The episode of DDS2 where Frank goes to jail, meets Kingpin and pounds his way through a couple of dozen inmates is one of the coolest episodes of comic book TV ever.

In fact, Daredevil remains the only consistently GOOD Marvel Netflix show. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage wear their liberal progressive agendas on their sleeve while presenting snoozefest stories of, you guessed it, super heroes wearing hoodies talking really seriously to each other sprinkled, almost begrudgingly with several short minutes of action scenes.

The SJW Marvel crowd so thoroughly took a shit on the WHITE MALE LEAD in Iron Fist, laughably calling for the show to change the character’s ethnicity because reasons, that it’s clear who Marvel Netflix is aiming these shows at.

These three shows are so awful, I didn’t even bother watching their cross-over event season THE DEFENDERS and it doesn’t seem like anybody else did either because there is not one single reference to them in the entire first season of The Punisher.

Which gets us back to where we started. Frank Castle. The Punisher. Double-crossed by the CIAFBIDHS, basically the entire big bad US government, run by WHITE MEN with the sole purpose of lying, cheating, stealing and killing their way into becoming corrupt millionaires.

They killed his family. We saw all this in DDS2 and thankfully, they do not rehash those events. Frank is the Punisher in the first episode. We get an AWESOME montage of him murking every last person involved in the death of his family. Then he burns his Punisher vest and retires to a quiet life of beating the shit out of concrete walls with a sledge hammer day and night for presumably a cash-under-the-table construction gig.

This episode is bizarre because it seems like they shot it as a pilot pitch to a network, even though the character was firmly established as a huge hit with its audience. The entire episode is a stand-alone. There are characters who are never seen or referenced again, as though there was a chance that the network would pass on the show, so they didn’t want to get too deep into the plot right away.

And that shows one of the Netflix binge-show formula’s biggest weaknesses. The pilot of the Punisher is fucking amazing. It’s a slow burn, shot and edited to build the suspense right up until the moment Tom Waits’ “Hell Broke Luce” pounds out of the speakers and Frank starts beating the shit out of dudes with a sledge hammer. Ruthless. Violent. Unforgiving. The Punisher.

And that’s it. The end. A one hour, fully realized story. A one-shot comic book, if you will. In its glory days, network television would produce a couple of dozen stories like these for its TV shows every season. Some a half hour, some an hour. Then episodic TV fell out of fashion sometime shortly before LOST became all the rage and now 99% of shows use the serial format.

Which can be great. But in the case of Netflix shows, since the service is able to analyze its viewers’ habits down to the millisecond, they’ve decided to write specialized serials built around the concept of “binge watching.”

Some clowns sit at home and manage to smash out a 12 hour TV show in 10 hours. I’ll barely be a quarter of the way through a new Netflix show when assholes will start posting spoilers online for the season ender. It’s absurd how quickly people burn through these shows.

And as such, Netflix paces its shows for this obnoxious habit. In essence, what that means is, Frank Castle and “Micro” (maybe the worst name for a sidekick since Robin) can sit in the same set-piece and talk hour after hour after hour in what is ostensibly marketed as an action thriller show.

Don’t get me wrong, there is action, but the pacing between endless dialogue scenes and the little bit of violence and gun fighting sprinkled throughout is so wonky for people like me who tend to watch one episode every few days. If you cram 12 hours of TV into 10 hours, it doesn’t seem like that three to four hours in the middle drags too badly.

You were zoned out scrolling Facebook laughing at memes for those 4 hours anyway. For people like me, that’s almost an entire week of viewing. And it fucking sucks.

Look, I’m already way further into this review than I have any right to be without ever even touching on a single plot point in The Punisher season 1. Suffice to say, this show takes an enormous leap backward with the character, makes every aspect of the US government out to be evil and tyrannical just by virtue of existing, (except for the one non-white Mary Sue FBI agent girl who can out-smart, out-drive, out-fight and out-shoot every male character on the show) and gives every ex-military character either PTSD or a villainy motivation.

But without a doubt the WORST part of Netflix’s The Punisher? The main baddy ends up being a 25 year old war vet with PTSD who becomes a bomb-making domestic terrorist the likes of which the United States hasn’t seen since Timothy Mcveigh.

That’s right, Netflix takes a page right out of the batshit crazy alt-left’s handbook and digs up a 1990s boogieman with which to scare its viewers. THE EVIL WHITE “PATRIOT” IS COMING TO GET YOU!

America is bad OK? And The Punisher TV show is worse.

I DGAF if that storyline was lifted right off the page of a 90s run of Punisher comics and is panel for panel faithful to the source material. It’s insulting in the current year while the Western world is being bombed and terrorized weekly by Muslim psychos. Now ain’t the time nor the place to write a “US soldiers are terrorists” story line.

In the end, as much as I absolutely love this character and the Jon Bernthal casting, I have to give this piece of SJW lefty crap 2 out of 5 Strangeheads for pushing their tired binge-formula and unpopular liberal agenda instead of delivering an apologetically violent, merciless and exciting Punisher TV show.

Kevin Strange’s Weird Movie Recommendation: Gantz: 0

Gantz: 0 is an incredibly well animated CGI Japanese action movie which tells the story of a group of dead teenagers who wake up inside a violent game where they are made to fight grotesque and frightening monsters, or else face death all over again.

According to its Wikipedia page, this weird ass flick was directed by Yasushi Kawamura, produced by Digital Frontier, written by Tsutomu Kuroiwa and based on the manga series Gantz, which was written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku. It was released in Japan by Toho on October 14, 2016.

Now I don’t know what any of that means because I don’t read manga and, aside from a few exceptions (like these ultra violent anime movies) I hate anime. But I do know cool fucking movies when I see them and MAN this is a cool ass flick!

So what’s so cool about Gantz: 0? Well, for starters this flick just throws you right into the madness. It opens with a hot Japanese chick and some flowy haired dude wearing skin tight leather costumes that would give The Matrix a run for its money in terms of ridiculousness. They have these bizarre blue-light weapons and they’re wasting cool ass monsters left and right until the flowy haired dude takes on what I assume is the big bad, dying in the process. The girl mourns his death as they’re both teleported away from the city streets.

Boom, just like that, we’re in. Then we cut to another flowy haired dude (there are a lot of flowy haired dudes in this flick, which is fine because there are enough hot chicks and monsters to balance it out) who gets savagely murdered by a knife wielding maniac at a subway station.

Our new flowy haired dude then wakes up in a room with a giant black ball and several other dudes who all seem to have a WAY better idea of what’s going on than our new dead dude (or us as audience members who don’t watch anime or read manga, for that matter.)

This small team is then transported to another city where they are tasked with eliminating every monster inside some arbitrary perimeter inside an allotted amount of time. They are each equipped with a different badass weapon for the job. Of course our flowy-haired dead guy has no idea how they work. Essentially they’re some kind of sonic weapon that has a slight delay after they’re triggered and then a small cooling-down period giving each shot tension as we don’t know if the shots hit or miss for a second or two after they’re fired.


We get everything from winged demon looking things to goblins, ghouls, zombies, lovecraftian tentacle terrors, bipedal creatures, doglike beasts, insectoid creepy crawlers. You name it. And this CGI is top-knotch as an animation style. These things might look cartoony and goofy in a live-action movie, but since everything in the film is CGI, the monsters just look super fucking badass.

So our dead peeps slaughter these monsters and then run into another team of players. It is then explained that each monster kill is worth points. Anyone who scores 100 points in the game can choose between resurrecting a dead teammate, taking a weapon upgrade or they can leave the game.

And so for the next 90 or so minutes we just follow these motherfuckers as they kill crazier and crazier monsters. At one point they engage with the final boss of the level who appears first as a tiny old man and then in increasingly deadlier and larger forms, over and over again each time they kill it. The whole batshit crazy thing culminates with tons of dead players, monsters, decapitations, eviscerations, mutilations and even a giant mech!

Fundamentally this kind of movie is for weird fat white guys who jack off to anime girls with big dicks, but with all of the insane monsters, mechs and cool weapons flying about, I think horror and sci-fi lovers can also find something to appreciate here.

Last I checked this was available to watch on netflix, so it ain’t gonna cost you anything extra to check it out if you’ve got a subscription.

I give Gantz: 0 a solid 4 out of 5 Strangeheads for super-gory monster action.

Kevin Strange’s Top 6 Horror Movies Starring Kids

Quite a few people responded to my previous cult movie list, which was my top 5 kid-lead 80s movies similar to the new Netflix original series, Stranger Things. That list was made up of kids movies featuring a small gang of kids getting into shenanigans more or less without the involvement of adults. People threw out suggestions for other movies that have kid main characters, but didn’t have the gang or club element of Stranger Things or the movies on my list.

So I decided to compile another list of cool flicks with the similar theme of kid main characters, only this time, I’m listing my favorite horror movies that feature kids as the leads. Part of the uneasiness of these films is the lack of parents around to save the kids from the supernatural and monstrous horrors that they encounter.

As a kid who grew up mostly alone in a big house, I connected to these movies with a razor sharp focus. This was my life. All that was missing for 10 or 12 year old Kevin Strange was for a real monster to come oozing up out of the basement or through the walls. Isolation is a scary thing. Isolation for a child might be one of the scariest things there is.

6. Lady in White (1988)p10728_p_v8_aa

Lady in White quickly devolves into a tale of isolation and horror when the kid who played Elliot in E.T. (not really but god damn do they look alike. Incidentally, this kid, Lukas Hass was in a movie on my previous list, Solarbabies.) witnesses the ghostly reenactment of the death of a little girl after being locked in a classroom closet after school.

For a movie about a little kid, this flick deals with really heavy themes such as racism and child murder, but at its core is a who-done-it picture as Elliot from E.T. follows a bunch of clues about the little girl’s death and after being haunted by her ghost again and again, eventually stumbles upon the killer.

As with all of the movies on this list, Lady in White really toes that line between being made for kids and simply being about kids dealing with adult situations. Regardless, it’s a pretty cool little supernatural thriller.
220px-Thepitposter5. The Pit (1981)

This might just be the weirdest movie on the list and, unfortunately, one I didn’t see until my mid 20s. I would have adored this movie as a kid because I was just about as weird and introverted as the kid in this movie. I had a TON of stuffed animal toys from the 80s. My Pet Monsters, Boglins. And I talked to them just like he talks to his teddy bear in this movie. Only my stuffed animals didn’t suggest I murder people in cold blood to feed the little monsters in my back yard… But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Long story short, 12 year old pervert Jamie Benjamin is left alone with his hot babysitter when his parents go out of town, and he takes every opportunity he can to spy on her, and steal money from her to feed meat to the little monsters that live in the pit behind his house.

Wait, what? Yep. It’s that kind of movie. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on some bizarre, post-70s no-boundaries kid horror that will leave you scratching your head asking, “How the fuck did this get made?”

4. Troll (1986)Troll-1986-movie-John-Carl-Buechle-5-305x500

Best known as the Troll movie that came before the worst movie ever made, Troll 2, Troll is actually a really, really cool little monster movie featuring a little kid named Harry Potter (yes really) fighting a wicked little monster.

Directed by John Carl Buechler, (one of the best FX artists of the 80s and 90s, responsible for some of the coolest monster FX from that era including the Ghoulies monsters and the most iconic Jason from the Friday the 13th series, part 7.) Troll would be a kind of forgettable movie if not for the crazy power the monster has to turn people into mythical creatures such as elves, goblins and nymphs. The transformations are horrific and disturbing.

Like most of these flicks, the parents are of absolutely no use and Harry has to trek out on his own and enlist the help of a witch who conveniently lives in an upstairs apartment and knows all about the curse of the Troll menacing the inhabitants of their domicile. Solid flick. Don’t let the awfulness of its sequel turn you off of it.

d978e77b7429fb9451e679850a4df1863. Little Monsters (1989)

Featuring Fred Savage of Wonder Years fame and the seemingly immortal Howie Mandel, Little Monsters embodies everything from the late 80s/early 90s gross out culture and I fucking love it. Seriously, it’s probably in my top 20 movies of all time.

So Fred Savage’s family moves to a new town (the plot of every Goosebumps book) and because reasons sets a complex trap that would make Rube Goldberg proud. Fred catches himself a monster.

Of course the monster ends up being Howie Mandel, bad-ass 80s rebel and troublemaker. Fred and Monster Howie hit it off and become best friends, leading Howie to show Fred the monster underworld and all its crazy rules and peculiarities.

Blah, blah, blah Fred’s little brother is captured by evil monsters and it’s up to Fred, Howie and a few of Fred’s closest friends to invade the monster world and rescue his little brother before they all turn into monsters. Solid flick. Would bang.

2. The Gate (1987)The_Gate_1987_movie_6

Another one of my favorite movies of all time, The Gate is a genuinely scary ass movie! This was one of my favorite movies to watch as a kid because really NONE of the weird ass monsters that crawl up from every corner of this poor kid’s house are explained. It’s just horrific monster after horrific monster with no punches pulled just because all the characters in the flick are little kids. My kind of movie!

So lightning strikes a tree behind a kid’s house and opens a portal to a hell dimension because that’s just exactly the kind of shit that happens in the 80s. Something about blood, something about an incantation read aloud and we’re off to the races.

This flick is so hauntingly bizarre. The kid is constantly hallucinating these insane monsters. Even his parents show back up at home (he’s left alone for the weekend with his teenage sister in charge) only to turn out to be zombies instead.

The whole thing culminates with a giant demon appearing in front of the little kid and essentially giving him a high five that results in him having a demonic eye placed in the center of his hand. It’s a really, really fucked up movie. Oh, and the little kid is Stephen Dorff.


p9281_p_v8_aa1. Invaders From Mars (1986)

Another one of my all time favorite flicks, Invaders from Mars (directed by Tobe Hooper who directed my number 2 favorite movie of all time Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and written by Dan O’bannon of Alien and Return of the Living Dead fame.) encompasses everything that freaked me out as a kid.

Mean teachers, parents who may or may not be who or what the seem and… giant meatball aliens? Yes!

So there’s a meteor shower and a kid named David is seemingly the only person who realizes that this is actually a Martian invasion. Everyone from his parents to his teachers are turned into aliens or controlled by aliens or something. There are weird spinning things in the backs of their necks. It doesn’t really make any sense, but it doesn’t have to because the FX are cool as fuck and the little kid actor seems genuinely freaked the fuck out by all the weird shit going on in the movie.

The only person who believes the kid is the hot school nurse. Together they convince the army to come blow the alien space ship to high fuck and save the planet. There’s a scene where a teacher eats a dissected frog. Awesome.