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15 Painless Facts About Road House

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Two years after Dirty Dancing and one year before Ghost, Patrick Swayze played a bouncer with a Ph.D in philosophy in 1989’s Road House. The film's producer, Joel Silver, predicted it would become “the best drive-in movie ever made.” But after many cable airings, it has instead become the quintessential “so bad it’s good” cinematic experience. Here are 15 things you might not know about Road House.

1. ANNETTE BENING WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO PLAY DOC.

Kelly Lynch, who played Dr. Elizabeth Clay (a.k.a. "Doc") wasn't the producers' first choice. In an interview with The A.V. Club, Lynch shared that Annette Bening had originally been cast, "but she was fired. Patrick just didn’t feel any chemistry with her or something."

2. NO PARTS OF THE MOVIE WERE ACTUALLY FILMED IN MISSOURI.

Though the film is set in Jasper, Missouri, it was shot in California. The crew was forced to make the Double Deuce look more like a dive bar on the orders of Joel Silver, who thought it looked “too nice.”

3. SWAYZE’S HANDSOMENESS CAUSED PROBLEMS DURING PRODUCTION.

A pickup truck containing a group of middle-aged blonde women attempted to drive right up to the star’s trailer to meet the actor. During the big fight by the river, a raft of Swayze-loving ladies sailed by. A female extra playing a waitress was too busy staring at Swayze to watch where she was going and tripped, spilling all of her drinks on another extra.

4. SWAYZE WASN’T HAPPY ABOUT HIS MULLET.

He referred to his hair in the movie as the “bane of my existence.”

5. HE WAS WORKING WITH A BAD KNEE.

After the five-day long shoot fighting Marshall Teague’s Jimmy, Swayze needed 2.5 ounces of fluid drained from his left knee. He apparently had been suffering through knee problems before, needing a similar procedure during production on Dirty Dancing.

6. RED WAS PLAYED BY A LONG-TIME FRIEND OF ELVIS PRESLEY’S.

Red West, who played Red Webster, the auto parts store owner, went to high school with The King, and was a member of his “Memphis Mafia.” West was a songwriter who acted in some of Elvis’ movies and also worked as a stuntman. Also featured in Road House is The Jeff Healey Band, led by Jeff Healey, who went blind at the age of one and began playing guitar at the age of three; in 2008, he died of cancer at the age of 41. John Doe, founder and bass player of the band X, played the bartender who was bad at skimming.

7. ALL OF THE ACTORS DID THEIR OWN STUNTS.

"You hear all that bullsh** about 'It’s all stunt doubles' and all that sh**. Well, it isn’t," Sam Elliott told The A.V. Club. "All the actors, as far as I know, did their own fighting. I f**king got the sh** kicked out of me for the entire film." They were all trained by Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, a holder of nine black belts in nine different disciplines. Urquidez believed so much in Patrick Swayze's abilities that he suggested to him that he should become a competitive kickboxer.

8. THE DIRECTOR TRIED TO MAKE THE FIGHTS A LITTLE FUNNY.

The movie's humor is somewhat intentional; director Rowdy Herrington said he wanted to make the fights “like a Keystone Cops melee.”

9. WADE CALLING DALTON ‘HIJO’ WAS SAM ELLIOTT’S IDEA.

Hijo is Spanish for “son.” Aww.

10. BILL MURRAY OR ONE OF HIS BROTHERS CALL KELLY LYNCH’S HUSBAND EVERY TIME IT’S ON TELEVISION.

Whenever Bill, Joel, Brian Doyle, and/or John Murray see that Road House is on, they call screenwriter Mitch Glazer to tell him that his wife is having sex with Swayze. In one instance, Bill informed Glazer, who co-wrote Scrooged, long distance from Russia.

11. LYNCH SPENT A MONTH LEARNING HOW TO SEW STITCHES.

Only for her to be given a staple gun on set

. She was upset about the apparent waste of time researching her role in an emergency room for one month.

12. SAM ELLIOTT SAID HE GETS RECOGNIZED MOST FROM ROAD HOUSE.

Though he has nearly 90 credits to his name, in 2007 Elliott told Collider that he's most recognized from Road House. Earlier this year, he admitted to Vulture that he “wasn’t so good” in the film. Joel Silver cast him due to his “baggage.”

13. RED’S AUTO SUPPLY STORE EXPLOSION WOKE UP THE NEIGHBORS.

They thought that MGM studios was burning down. It cost $25,000 to shoot that scene.

14. THE NYPD USES A SCENE FROM THE MOVIE AS PART OF ITS RETRAINING COURSE.

The scene where Dalton lectures the Double Deuce staff about the three simple rules (i.e. "Be nice") is shown to police officers. This started after it was reported that cops were falling asleep during the lectures.

15. THERE WAS A DIRECT-TO-DVD SEQUEL.

2006’s Road House 2: Last Call killed off Dalton, who was finally stopped by a bullet to the head. It starred Johnathon Schaech as Dalton’s son, D.E.A. agent Shane Tanner, who runs his uncle Nate’s bar the Black Pelican while trying to solve his father’s murder. In 2013, it was reported that a remake of Road House was in the works, directed by original Fast and the Furious director Rob Cohen.

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The Strange Hidden Link Between Silent Hill and Kindergarten Cop
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Universal Pictures

by Ryan Lambie

At first glance, Kindergarten Cop and Silent Hill don't seem to have much in common—aside from both being products of the 1990s. At the beginning of the decade came Kindergarten Cop, the hit comedy directed by Ivan Reitman and starring larger-than-life action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the decade’s end came Silent Hill, Konami’s best-selling survival horror game that sent shivers down PlayStation owners’ spines.

As pop culture artifacts go, they’re as different as oil and water. Yet eagle-eyed players may have noticed a strange hidden link between the video game and the goofy family comedy.

In Silent Hill, you control Harry Mason, a father hunting for his daughter Cheryl in the eerily deserted town of the title. Needless to say, the things Mason uncovers are strange and very, very gruesome. Early on in the game, Harry stumbles on a school—Midwich Elementary School, to be precise—which might spark a hint of déjà vu as soon as you approach its stone steps. The building’s double doors and distinctive archway appear to have been taken directly from Kindergarten Cop’s Astoria Elementary School.

Could it be a coincidence?

Well, further clues can be found as you venture inside. As well as encountering creepy gray children and other horrors, you’ll notice that its walls are decorated with numerous posters. Some of those posters—including a particularly distinctive one with a dog on it—also decorated the halls of the school in Kindergarten Cop.

Do a bit more hunting, and you’ll eventually find a medicine cabinet clearly modeled on one glimpsed in the movie. Most creepily of all, you’ll even encounter a yellow school bus that looks remarkably similar to the one in the film (though this one has clearly seen better days).

Silent Hill's references to the movie are subtle—certainly subtle enough for them to pass the majority of players by—but far too numerous to be a coincidence. When word of the link between game and film began to emerge in 2012, some even joked that Konami’s Silent Hill was a sequel to Kindergarten Cop. So what’s really going on?

When Silent Hill was in early development back in 1996, director Keiichiro Toyama set out to make a game that was infused with influences from some of his favorite American films and TV shows. “What I am a fan of is occult stuff and UFO stories and so on; that and I had watched a lot of David Lynch films," he told Polygon in 2013. "So it was really a matter of me taking what was on my shelves and taking the more horror-oriented aspects of what I found.”

A scene from 'Silent Hill'
Divine Tokyoska, Flickr

In an interview with IGN much further back, in 2001, a member of Silent Hill’s staff also stated, “We draw our influences from all over—fiction, movies, manga, new and old.”

So while Kindergarten Cop is perhaps the most outlandish movie reference in Silent Hill, it’s by no means the only one. Cafe5to2, another prominent location in the game, is taken straight from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

Elsewhere, you might spot a newspaper headline which references The Silence Of The Lambs (“Bill Skins Fifth”). Look carefully, and you'll also find nods to such films as The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and 12 Monkeys.

Similarly, the town’s streets are all named after respected sci-fi and horror novelists, with Robert Bloch, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson among the most obvious. Oh, and Midwich, the name of the school? That’s taken from the classic 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, twice adapted for the screen as The Village Of The Damned in 1960 and 1995.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Kindergarten Cop'
Universal Pictures

The reference to Kindergarten Cop could, therefore, have been a sly joke on the part of Silent Hill’s creators—because what could be stranger than modeling something in a horror game on a family-friendly comedy? But there could be an even more innocent explanation: that Kindergarten Cop spends so long inside an ordinary American school simply gave Toyama and his team plenty of material to reference when building their game.

Whatever the reasons, the Kindergarten Cop reference ranks highly among the most strange and unexpected film connections in the history of the video game medium. Incidentally, the original movie's exteriors used a real school, John Jacob Astor Elementary in Astoria, Oregon. According to a 1991 article in People Magazine, the school's 400 fourth grade students were paid $35 per day to appear in Kindergarten Cop as extras.

It’s worth pointing out that the school is far less scary a place than the video game location it unwittingly inspired, and to the best of our knowledge, doesn't have an undercover cop named John Kimble serving as a teacher there, either.

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The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. CUBE (1997)

This low-budget independent film may have helped inspire the current "escape room" attraction fad. Six strangers wake up in a strange room that leads only to other rooms—all of them equipped with increasingly sadistic ways of murdering occupants.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. NEXT (2007)

Nic Cage stars a a magician who can see a few minutes into the future. He's looking to profit with the skill: the FBI and others are looking to exploit it.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (2017)

Marvel's tale of a misfit band of space jockeys was a surprise hit in 2014. The sequel offers more Groot, more Rocket Raccoon, and the addition of Kurt Russell as a human manifestation of an entire sentient planet.

7. STARDUST (2007)

Director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel features Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as supporting players in the tale of a man (a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox) in search of a fallen star to gift to his love.

8. KING KONG (2005)

Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) set his considerable sights on a remake of the 1933 classic, with the title gorilla pestered and exploited by opportunistic humans.

9. DONNIE DARKO (2001)

What will a teenage mope do when a giant rabbit tells him the world is about to end? The answer comes in this critical and cult hit, which drew attention for its moody cinematography and an arresting performance by a then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal.  

10. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

Soon we'll have a movie for every single major or minor incident ever depicted in the Star Wars universe. For now, we'll have to settle for this one-off that explains how the Rebel Alliance got their hands on the plans for the Death Star.

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