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Jonah Hex (Blu-ray / DVD)



Jonah Hex on Blu-ray and DVDReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Aidan Quinn, Will Arnett, Wes Bentley

Directed by Jimmy Hayward

Distributed by Warner Home Video

Let’s make a Western about a facially disfigured bounty hunter motivated entirely by rage-fueled vengeance against the villain that burned his wife and son alive right in front of him and left his face half melted, embue him the otherworldly ability to resurrect corpses for interrogation, a beautiful prostitute love interest, and pit him against a murderous army of racist domestic terrorists plotting to assassinate the President and overthrow the United States government via use of a steampunk super weapon, but make sure to keep it all a tame PG-13 and go out of your way to camp it up here and there Wild Wild West style so that it can still be sold to family audiences. Who could have ever predicted the first ever feature film version of DC Comics’ Jonah Hex would be one of the biggest flops of the summer of 2010?

A pity, a true Jonah Hex movie would have had all the makings of a hardboiled Western with a comic book touch. Somewhere along the way everything got totally mucked up and the finished film rendered a semi-lucid train wreck that plays like a failed Fox Network TV movie pilot from the mid-Nineties that would have starred David Hasselhoff. The future Razzie Award winning Jonah Hex will just have to settle for being a boneheaded cavalcade of bad wigs and fake mustaches that periodically amused me despite boasting a storyline more mangled than its hero’s face. I’m sure the scant 73-minute running time also helped this one go down easier that it should have.

Jonah Hex is a post-Civil War bounty hunter whose hideously scarred face is not really a sore subject with him, not something others constantly point out to him, and does not in any way inhibit his ability to score with the hottest female in the movie. He acquired his hideously scarred face after being branded by evil Confederate General Quentin Turnbull, furious at Hex for killing his son, Jeb, Hex’s former best friend, for reasons we will never understand in the slightest, thus making everyone’s motivations for revenge a moot point.

Jonah Hex on Blu-ray and DVDThe producers must have been of the belief that you cannot make a movie based on a comic book vigilante unless they possess superpowers or an array of nifty gadgets and weapons, and so to hedge their bets they went and gave Jonah Hex both. Since I’ve read maybe two Jonah Hex comics in my entire life for all I know he really was friends with a freed slave serving as “Q” to his James Bond supplying him with crossbows that fire sticks of dynamite and side-mounted Gatling guns for soon-to-be deaf horses. I am fairly certain from the two issues I read that Jonah Hex did not have any superpowers and he certainly wasn’t a Wild West version of The Crow.

An opening animated sequence somewhat explains how the ritual the Crow Indians used to bring Hex to life after being left for dead by General Turnbull bestowed him with the ability to bring the dead back to life with a single touch just long enough for him to ask them redundant questions and inflict extra skin rotting/burning pain on them if they don’t give him the answers he’s looking for. Imagine “Pushing Daisies” starring Jack Bauer and you’ll get the idea. The dead we are told can keep tabs on all the important still living people they once knew; who better to tell you the location of the person you’re seeking out than one of their deceased cronies? To dumb it down further, in the world of Jonah Hex, zombies are the GPS units of the spirit world.

The usage of this power in one particular scene exemplifies what a comedy of errors this movie ended up as. Hex resurrects Turnbull’s dead son Jeb (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), his former best friend, the best friend he killed, which in turn prompted General Turnbull to kill his family and scar his face, the best friend killed by Hex after Jeb tried to kill Hex for reasons never explained in the slightest. A ton of exposition occurs and not a single word of it contains any context those of us watching can understand because we still don’t know what actually went down between the two of them since this part of the plot got lost in the shuffle when the movie underwent massive reshoots. The writers, director, editor, and even the actors were apparently so discombobulated that when this scene was over it somehow hadn’t dawned on any of them that Hex had never bothered to ask Jeb for the location of his villainous dad – the only reason he resurrected the guy in the first place!

General Quentin Turnbull, still sore over the Confederacy losing the Civil War, faked his death in a hotel fire for no discernable reason and now, leading a band of evil ex-Confederates (including Michael Fassbender as an Irishman with a Mike Tyson face tattoo – huh?), have begun attacking US trains and military installations in order to gather the components to complete Eli Whitney’s “Nation Killer” super cannon that fires never explained glowing cannonballs of mass destruction, which they intend to use to blow up Washington D.C. amid President Ulysses S. Grant’s Fourth of July Centennial address.

Lilah is a hooker with a heart of gold constantly bathed in such a golden hue I feared some gold prospector frequenting her bordello might get confused and attempt to literally mine her snatch. She repeatedly makes it clear to her customers that she is no man’s property, except that is when it comes to this hideously scarred bounty hunter whom she is madly in love with for reasons never made clear, in which case she wants nothing more than to run off with him to start a new life together elsewhere as his subservient wench.

Jonah Hex on Blu-ray and DVDMegan Fox’s only contributions to the plot of Jonah Hex are as follows: look fetching in a corset, never hesitate to kiss a man with half a face that looks like a wad of chewing gum you’d peel off the bottom of your shoe, and get taken hostage just long enough during the climax for Hex to lay down his guns so that he doesn’t kill General Turnbull then and there making the 73-minute movie only 55-minutes long.

A shame this wasn’t a better Jonah Hex movie because Josh Brolin showed the potential to be a total badass in the role. John Malkovich, on the other hand, doesn’t even try to mask his complete disdain for the film he’s appearing in. Malkovich goes the extra mile to make General Turnbull the most lifeless screen villain since Ben Kingsley in BloodRayne. Was it even Malkovich emoting on screen or did Steven Seagal find the Being John Malkovich hole and took over his body during the shooting of Jonah Hex?

The only DVD extras included are deleted scenes. Ah, yeah, that’ll help flesh out the nonsense. Because surely these deleted scenes will logically explain why we find ourselves watching Jonah Hex and General Turnbull engaging in fisticuffs to the death within a red clay netherworld dirt pit intercut with their real world fisticuffs to the death taking place within the bowels of an Ironclad battleship. Because surely these deleted scenes will now make it abundantly clearly what those glowing cannonballs are composed of. Because surely these deleted scenes will fully explain why there’s an acid-spitting snakeman competing in MMA tournaments in Restoration era South Carolina. Surely all of Jonah Hex‘s myriad of lingering questions will be answered by these few missing scenes? I doubt a two-and-a-half hour director’s cut could put this Humpty Dumpty movie back together again.

As for the Blu-ray besides looking and sounding better you’ll find an eleven minute featurette that traces the history of the Jonah Hex character from comics to film, and a picture-in-picture mode which allows you to watch various behind-the-scenes bits while watching the movie.

As the dust settles and Jonah Hex is left to fester as just another rotting carcass in the ever growing pile of botched Hollywood comic book motion picture adaptations, where does the blame rest? A Warner Brothers movie exec quoted on Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood knows where things went wrong:

“You don’t take a handsome actor and disfigure him.”

Yeah, that was the main reason why this movie bombed. If only they hadn’t uglied up Josh Brolin Jonah Hex would have been a box office smash. Once again, Hollywood gets a clue and figures out the bigger picture. Lesson learned. Next!

Special Features

  • The Inside Story of Jonah Hex featurette
  • The Weird Western Tales of Jonah Hex picture-in-picture featurette (Blu-ray only)
  • Deleted scenes (Blu-ray only)


    2 out of 5

    Special Features

    2 out of 5

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    Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review



    Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

    Directed by Charles Martin Smith

    I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

    Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

    Now let’s get to it.

    First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

    Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

    I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

    Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

    It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

    And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

    Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

    This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

    And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

    Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

    In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

    That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

    Rockstar lighting for days.

    Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

    Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

    More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

    Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

    Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

    All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

    Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

    • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5


    Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

    User Rating 3.59 (22 votes)
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    AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters



    Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

    Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk

    ** NO SPOILERS **

    It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

    Spoiler free.

    To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

    That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

    Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

    Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

    Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

    Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

    But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

    But let’s backtrack a bit here.

    Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

    And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

    Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

    With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

    Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

    I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

    Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

    Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

    Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

    On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

    That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

    In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

    While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

    Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

    Bring on season 12.

    • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)


    The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

    User Rating 4.13 (23 votes)
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    The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror




    Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

    Directed by Nicholas Woods

    The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

    The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

    The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

    The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

    The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

    The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.


    • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
    • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
    • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
    • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
    • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
    • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
    • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
    • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
    • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
    • The Axiom


    In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

    User Rating 3.95 (20 votes)
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