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Ghost Rider Event!

12.05.2006by: JimmyO

When I arrived at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery , right in the heart of Hollywood ; I found myself walking amongst the graves of those who left us behind. Along the many rows of the dead, I found myself standing next to where Mel Blanc was laid to rest. As were many others here including Peter Lorre and Rudolph Valentino. But I wasn’t here in memory of the dead, nor was I looking to hang with a few walking corpses, Romero style… I was looking for ghosts. In particular, I was looking to get a glimpse of the Ghost Rider!

The night was spectacular; as the sun went down, the cemetery was lit with a red glow. All those attending seemed to be in the mood for a dark night in the cemetery, and event for which I should thank Sony for graciously inviting JoBlo.com to attend, with a number of other journalists. There was food, drinks and of course gravestones all around us. Then things got really exciting when I took Ghost Rider’s “Hell Bike” for a run, and when I say I took it out for a run, I mean that I got to pose on it for a couple of pictures. Still, it was a fantastic experience sitting on this bad ass looking motorcycle from hell.

And once the lights went out, we all got a glimpse of the upcoming Sony release GHOST RIDER starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes; and I gotta say that it looks like it’s going to be one helluva ride (like you didn’t see that coming). If you haven’t read the comics, you don’t know the story of Johnny Blaze and his deal with the devil. He is not looking for riches or fame… no, he is just looking to save his dad from illness. And as most of you know, don’t make a deal with the devil if you can’t pay, and Johnny “pays” when he becomes the devil’s bounty hunter, bringing people back to hell when they get out. This last bit regarding the bounty hunter was not part of the original comic but something added to the movie.

The audience was shown about five scenes from the film. This included the first transformation scene as Johnny Blaze becomes the Ghost Rider. His body begins to burn as the heat rips through him, burning his flesh away. Nic Cage looks like he is feeling the heat, especially early on when you see his legs catch fire. Interestingly enough, they were on fire! Pretty good stuff here and it kept my attention. It kind of had that AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, “This is gonna hurt!” attitude; good stuff.

Next up we get a nice little scene where Johnny Blaze tells Roxanne Simpson about the whole deal with the devil and how he turns into a monster. It opens with him trying to control the fire inside and just after he throws a flame or two, Roxanne comes in demanding answers for his erratic behavior. Something unusual happens in that he actually tells her the truth which never happens in super hero flicks…you think she believes him?

The next few moments really sold me on checking this bad boy out. Ghost Rider runs loose setting the streets on fire and making a police officer checking for speeding cars wish he had taken the night off. A fun little introduction for when the cops really are after Mr. Rider with police cars, helicopters and some pissed off coppers. When he tears it up, riding fast onto the top of a bridge and takes a leap into the water below, the men in blue get a nice surprise when he flies across the water… the “hell bike” rules!

After he loses the cops, one lone officer takes chase, but to no avail. Ghost Rider takes turn… UP, then the hell bike speeds up the side of a high rise. Once on top, one of the bad dudes trying to avoid hell with Blackheart (Wes Bentley) attempts to take care of Ghost Rider before he takes care of them. But after a long hard run from the police, Ghost Rider is ready to rumble. This whole sequence just had me going. Yes, the CGI is there, but I found myself rooting for this demon from hell. The action was cool, and if you think him driving that bike up the building was bad ass, wait until he goes down. This is good shite folks!

And finally we have a few images of Johnny Blaze at a cemetery with the man, Sam Elliott. It was a trip to see this creepy image in the middle of a cemetery with a pitch black sky. We were in a freaking graveyard… watching a movie! And as the two ride off, we are treated to a pretty good attempt at Johnny Cash’s classic “(Ghost Rider’s) In the Sky” with an alt-rock twist.

Yes folks, I’m groovin’ on what I saw. It looks to have a very dark edge with a little camp thrown in for good measure (although I hope to hear the Man in Blacks version somewhere in the film). The Ghost Rider, although a CG character, looks cool enough to make me wanna take a trip to down under; and I don’t mean in Australia, where it was shot.

After getting a sneak peek at the movie and the trailer, we all sat down to talk with the writer and director Mark Steven Johnson and the films two stars, Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. Even though it was cold, there was a celebratory sense in the air. This was the first time an audience had seen as much of the film as we did. And there is no better place than in a graveyard.

GHOST RIDER opens wide on February 16th, 2007. Check out its official website right HERE.

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