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General Discussion => Movie Talk => Topic started by: Compound on September 30, 2019, 07:46:25 PM

Title: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on September 30, 2019, 07:46:25 PM
Well, since SJP hasn't been seen in a while, I'll toss this up:

The goal: 31 days, 31(-ish) movies (the -ish will be explained)

1. Horror is broadly defined; a thriller with a serial killer or stalker is just as viable as a horror comedy or the latest Cronenberg body-horror fest.  However, anything that has a single scary moment, or is 'so bad, it's horrifying' does not count.  I remit, as usually do, that Chairman of the Board is not a candidate, no matter how terrifying it is to sit through.

2. If you miss a day, you can make it up.  However, you cannot 'front-load' by watching three movies and then intentionally taking three days off (though that's more the 'honor system' than anything).

3. The watching begins at midnight, October 1st and ends 11:59 PM, October 31st, on your local time.

4. As this is the Rifftrax forum, riffed films are not only acceptable, but encouraged!

5. Each movie in a franchise is considered a separate entry, so feel free to watch nothing but Jason, Freddy, and Myers if you want.

6.  TV specials count, so Peanuts Halloween is perfectly acceptable. It used to be an "at least an hour" rule, but eh, this is for fun, so what the heck.

For past threads:

And last year's thread (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=34350.msg1000472#msg1000472)
The activity from 2017 (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=33584.0)
2016's Activities (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=32581.msg961877#msg961877)
2015 (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=31273.0)
Or look at the 2014 thread. (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=29570.0)
Or the 2013 thread. (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=27796.0)
Here's the 2012 thread. (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=25947.0)
And here's the 2011 one.  (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=22750.0)
And 2010. (http://forum.rifftrax.com/index.php?topic=19388.0)

Let's see if we can get this thing rolling again.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on September 30, 2019, 09:15:04 PM
And for those looking for a bit of help in this, all through October Shout factory is running a horror double feature starting at 6 PM Central. (Other time zones, look it up. ) One horror film followed by a horror themed episode of MST3k. Available at Shout's website, on Roku, Fire, Twitch, Pluto and several other places that I've never heard of.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on September 30, 2019, 09:42:26 PM
Thank you for starting this a day early for those in a different time zone!

I probably won't manage one a day, but I might make an attempt this year!
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on October 01, 2019, 09:02:31 AM
Thanks for starting it! I was going to come on yesterday to post (yes, it has been awhile since I've been on, but trying to find time again!), but missed. Yep, going to try and do it again this year, though as has been the case lately, just been incredibly busy with a lot going on, but I've already got my first on ready and will be watching today!

EDIT: And I made it! It was incredibly close (I was about five movies behind going into the last week, but I caught up). Will review them all later.

1. Screamers (1981, Kind of)
2. Trick or Treats (1982)
3. Killing Spree (1987)
4. Uninvited (Rifftrax Version) (1988/2017)
5. Grotesque (1988? Seriously?)
6. Final Exam (1981)
7. Killbots (aka Chopping Mall) (1986)
8. Giant from the Unknown (1958)
9. They Came from Beyond Space (1967)
10. I Was a Teenage Zombie (1987)
11. The Dead Hate the Living (2000)
12. ShadowZone
13. GhostKeeper
14. Rifftrax (Mutant)
15. Curtains
16. Dr. Moreau's House of Pain
17. Parasite
18. The Evil
19. Transylvania 6-5000
20. Frightmare
21. Bob's Burgers Season 10 Halloween
22. Rifftrax: Hillbillies in a Haunted House
23. Simpsons 30th Halloween
24. Lord of Illusions
25. Waxwork
26. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
27. Class of Nuke'Em High
28. Woman in Black
29. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest
30. Witch's Day Out
31. Ghostbusters
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on October 01, 2019, 08:25:45 PM

My overall list:

1) Overlord (2018) (Zombies)*
2) Tales of Halloween (2015) (Anthology)*
3) Space Amoeba (1970) (Space Monsters)* 
4) Rifftrax: Ice Cream Man (2018) (Clint Howard)*
5) Return to Horror Hotel (2019) (Anthology)*
6) The Meg (2018) (Shark)*
7) Would You Rather? (2013) (Other people)*
8 ) Game of Assassins (2013) (Hell)*
9) Willard (1971) (Rats)*
10) Spawn of Slithius (1971) (Mud monster)
11) Chopping Mall (1986) (Robots)
12) Boggy Creek 2: And the Legend Continues (1984) (Bigfoot)
13) Demon of Paradise (1987) (LIzardman)*
14) War of the Colossal Beast (1958) (Giants!)
15) Rifftrax: Blood Theater (2019)*
16) The Dead Can Die (2019) (Zombies)
17) Slumber Party Massacre II (1987) (Psycho)*
18) Terror Beneath the Sea (1966) (Sea Men)*
19) Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders (1996) (Rock and Roll Martians)
20) Fido (2006) (Zombies)*
21) Cinematic Titanic: Wasp Woman (2008)*
22) The House that Dripped Blood (1971) (Anthology)
23) MST3k: Devil Fish  (1998)
24) The Undead (1957) (The Devil)
25) Time Walker (1982) (Space Mummies and mold) *
26) MST3k: The Giant Spider Invasion (1998)

Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on October 01, 2019, 10:37:59 PM
And reviews!

Overlord
On D-Day, a group of American paratroopers discover that the Nazis are up to something underneath a sleepy French village...

Okay, I have a few issues here. One, um, guys? The Army wasn't integrated back then. It's kinda a fairly big thing. There were literally about a dozen black paratroops at the time, and they were all stateside. Yeah, yeah. Soldiers are fighting zombies and I'm griping that the army is integrated 4 years early. There are other issues too. The airdrop seems to be happening during the day. (Not what happened. Night drops. The Germans weren't shooting down planes, although they did shoot a number of troops in the sky. )  A French kid has a baseball.  Not quite sure how he got that in wartime France. 2/3 of the Americans are British. Yes, Fitz. You're not fooling anyone. And there's a rap song over the credits. Because of course there is.

Ugh, anyway, after a disastrous drop, a handful of American soldiers sent to destroy a radio tower for reasons discover that the Nazis are trying to create "1,000 year Soldiers to protect the 1,000 year Reich." Yeah, you kinda see where this is heading. It takes a while to set up, and they're pretty light on the actual Nazi super soldiers, but overall it's fairly watchable, unless you were in the room with me wincing at the loose connection to history.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on October 02, 2019, 06:09:49 AM
Screamers (1981, but really 1979 & 1980)

People are terrorized by men turned inside out...or it's a movie about fish people getting treasure from Atlantis.  Yes, definitely the latter.

Well, to be fair, the story behind Screamers is more interesting than the movie (which is fun in its own way).  See, in 1979, the movie Island of the Fishmen was released in Italy.  This 95 minute movie was given over to Roger Corman to distribute in the U.S.  Corman being Corman, he thought the movie was too slow, lacking in gore, and needed some help being successful. So, he cut out about half an hour for pacing, recorded twelve new minutes of footage (including our favorite Space Santa, Cameron Mitchell) as a prologue as well as some different "transitional fishman" footage towards the end, and called it Something Waits in the Dark.

It didn't do well. So, about a year later, Corman retitled the movie Screamers, created a poster about people being turned inside out, and had a protege of his film a trailer with footage that never appears in the film to get people interested.

In other words, Screamers' poster, trailer, and premise are a complete lie about the actual movie, to the point that for the theatrical run, Corman spliced in the fake trailer footage clumsily to all the theatrical prints just so people wouldn't demand their money back.

Sad thing is, the Screamers movie as shown in the trailer (it's on YouTube) probably would have been a lot of fun, but the movie we have is just a cropped down, slightly gorier version of a movie that is fairly watchable.  Sure, the Fishmen are clearly rubber suits, but the movie itself is just fine, as long as you enjoy 70s Italian B-Movies.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Darth Geek on October 02, 2019, 06:33:18 AM
Screamers (1981, but really 1979 & 1980)

People are terrorized by men turned inside out...or it's a movie about fish people getting treasure from Atlantis.  Yes, definitely the latter.

Well, to be fair, the story behind Screamers is more interesting than the movie (which is fun in its own way).  See, in 1979, the movie Island of the Fishmen was released in Italy.  This 95 minute movie was given over to Roger Corman to distribute in the U.S.  Corman being Corman, he thought the movie was too slow, lacking in gore, and needed some help being successful. So, he cut out about half an hour for pacing, recorded twelve new minutes of footage (including our favorite Space Santa, Cameron Mitchell) as a prologue as well as some different "transitional fishman" footage towards the end, and called it Something Waits in the Dark.

It didn't do well. So, about a year later, Corman retitled the movie Screamers, created a poster about people being turned inside out, and had a protege of his film a trailer with footage that never appears in the film to get people interested.

In other words, Screamers' poster, trailer, and premise are a complete lie about the actual movie, to the point that for the theatrical run, Corman spliced in the fake trailer footage clumsily to all the theatrical prints just so people wouldn't demand their money back.

Sad thing is, the Screamers movie as shown in the trailer (it's on YouTube) probably would have been a lot of fun, but the movie we have is just a cropped down, slightly gorier version of a movie that is fairly watchable.  Sure, the Fishmen are clearly rubber suits, but the movie itself is just fine, as long as you enjoy 70s Italian B-Movies.
:P Another example of Corman being bad at his job. If he worked for someone else, he would have been fired a long time ago.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on October 02, 2019, 09:30:58 PM
Tales of Halloween (2015)

Recent horror anthology from Joe Dante.

Number of interesting cameos in this. John Landis, Dante himself, Dana Gould. Anyway, unlike most horror anthologies, this one is lean. Less than 90 minutes long, but about ten different stories in it. Setup. Resolution. Boom. Mixed quality on the stories. Some really work. Some fall flat. A couple just fizzle. Example- there's a segment with Dana Gould as a home owner who puts up a scary display on his lawn every year. This year however, his heavy metal neighbor puts up a more hardcore AND METAL! display with more blood, gore AND METAL! in it. With that setup, you'd expect, I dunno, the metal neighbor to discover that some of Gould's props come from former neighbors and he and his buddies incorporated into the display or something. Or a third party makes an even grander display or deals with them both. What happens in the film? Fist fight followed by both accidentally dying.  Anyway, since each segment is about 7 minutes long, none really overstay their welcome. And some of the segments are pretty good.  So, it's okay. Might be worth the 81 minutes of your time.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on October 02, 2019, 09:42:27 PM
Trick or Treats (1982)

Not to be confused for either the Trick or Treat movie with Ozzy Osborne nor the more recent anthology movie, this is the story of a babysitter stuck at a house with a little bastard kid who torments her constantly, all while his insane father escapes from the loony bin to exact revenge on the family.

The movie is played almost entirely for laughs, though your mileage may vary as the jokes are generally of the "wow, that was so bad it was actually kind of funny" variety.  But, what's more interesting is the people in it.  Steve Railsback appears as the boyfriend of the babysitter (who is playing Othello...that's what I meant about the bad humor), the bad guy is the guy who plays Johnny Cage's mentor at the beginning of the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie (but who looks a lot like Meatloaf here), the main guy from Eating Raoul has a bit part as a bum, and David Carradine shows up for about five minutes.  The main problem with the movie is that it is glacially paced.  It's funny that two characters have an argument about movie editing, because this really needed a little bit of trimming.  Still, it's surprisingly fun, especially considering it was made on a $50,000 budget.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 03, 2019, 11:00:54 PM
I've been trying to post here for a couple of days, but it's been too busy at work to write anything much, so extremely briefly:

1 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) (First viewing) - Man, the special effects have really held up in this film.
2 Night Tide (1961) (First viewing) - Started pretty great. We took a break to get a snack and I looked up the director to find he directed Rifftrax's own, RUDY. The last 20 minutes of the movie is when you can see Curtis Harrington's 'style' shine through, and the movie falls apart completely. A shame, because it was mostly enjoyable.
3 Don't Look Now (1973) - So great, and looks stunning on our new TV :D
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Russoguru on October 04, 2019, 12:41:32 AM
A quiet place was really good. I have been saying this for years and apparently I'm full of shit or something, but I still firmly believe it's possible to make good horror with a PG-13 rating. Scary stories to tell in the dark? PG-13, Happy death day? PG-13. Happy Death day 2U? PG-13. And I just have to tell this story... the first time I saw Alien was on TV where it was heavily edited. I would dare say the emotional impact was just as effective, even without the scenes containing blood and gore.

I have heard a sequel to A Quiet Place is on the horizon and honestly? Considering the ending of that movie? Just call me dubious as to whether its premise will work... if you've seen it you probably see where I am coming from...
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 04, 2019, 10:41:26 PM
4 The Mummy's Tomb (1942) (first viewing) - We've been working through the Universal Monsters Legacy sets, and this is the first one we've watched that we thought was a dud. It's only 61 minutes long, but has 12 minutes of flashback reusing footage from The Mummy's Hand. Even at only 61 minutes we found this one to be quite a slog.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: losingmydignity on October 04, 2019, 11:41:12 PM
I've been trying to post here for a couple of days, but it's been too busy at work to write anything much, so extremely briefly:

1 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) (First viewing) - Man, the special effects have really held up in this film.
2 Night Tide (1961) (First viewing) - Started pretty great. We took a break to get a snack and I looked up the director to find he directed Rifftrax's own, RUDY. The last 20 minutes of the movie is when you can see Curtis Harrington's 'style' shine through, and the movie falls apart completely. A shame, because it was mostly enjoyable.
3 Don't Look Now (1973) - So great, and looks stunning on our new TV :D

I love all three of these movies!

Something does go wrong at the end of Night Tide, doesn't it? Can't remember now what, but I love how lonely and desperate the Dennis Hopper character is. I remember the best scene being a tarot reading scene if I'm not mistaken.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on October 05, 2019, 12:04:00 AM
Ugh. Apparently while I was typing my login timed out so out goes all the text I typed. Short versions-

Space Amoeba
Boring. Not one of Toho's  better films.

Rifftrax Ice Cream Man
I've seen a killer ice cream truck driver film at some point and it wasn't this one, somehow. I even recalled that one having Clint Howard too. Bland horror. Not inventive or creepy enough to be memorable. Kept expecting a twist somewhere but nope.  Biggest horror in the film- ice cream storage conditions. Good riffing though. Also, not quite sure why 50s mobsters were using an SMG that really didn't enter wide use until the mid 50s in the UK let alone the US. Yes, I noticed. It was the same gun that they used for blaster rifles in Star Wars. My eyes were drawn to it.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 05, 2019, 01:24:36 AM
I love all three of these movies!

Something does go wrong at the end of Night Tide, doesn't it? Can't remember now what, but I love how lonely and desperate the Dennis Hopper character is. I remember the best scene being a tarot reading scene if I'm not mistaken.

I did ultimately like it, but I think it could have been great instead of just fun had it stuck the landing. Honestly, if it had have been more straight forward and not tried to have a clever ending (which is failed at spectacularly) it would have been a lot better.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 05, 2019, 05:33:11 AM
1.  Rifftrax: The Mysterious Message - This was a terrible lesson in curse-ive.  THAT'S CLEARLY A T!
2. Rifftrax: The Halloween Party
3. Rifftrax - Alien Contamination AKA Contamination  - Even among alien rip-offs this one is very bad.  A delightfully ridiculous monster who feels like a grislier version of your classic 1950s type beast.  "I don't know what Mars is" is an exceptionally weird comment, even for this movie.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Russoguru on October 05, 2019, 10:39:10 AM
I watched Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U. Both REALLY good movies! The second one IMHO however barely qualifies as horror. But they are nonetheless still really good, really fun movies to watch. It's nice to also be able to recommend movies that for once are PG-13 and can be watched by pretty much anybody regardless of age. I highly recommend them but For the love of god PLEASE do NOT watch Happy Death day 2U before watching Happy Death Day... I'm serious.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Charles Castle on October 05, 2019, 06:32:22 PM
I have a few:

1. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Chapter Eighteen: The Miracles of Sabrina Spellman
2. The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962)
3. Ready or Not (2019)
4. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Chapter Nineteen: The Mandrake
5. Twins of Evil
6. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Chapter Twenty: The Mephisto Waltz
7. Christine
8. Videodrome
9. The Nightingale
10. The X-Files, Season 2, Episode 13: Irresistible
11. Suspiria (2018)
12. Suspiria (1977)
13. The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 5: The Post-Modern Prometheus
14. The Simpsons, Season 8, Episode 1: Treehouse of Horror VII
15. Lord of Illusions
16. Detour
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Charles Castle on October 05, 2019, 06:35:38 PM
Film history hasn't been kind to Riccardo Freda. Arguably the father of Italian horror, his star has been eclipsed by his great contemporary, Mario Bava. It was Freda, not Bava, who directed the first Italian horror movie of the sound era, and only the second horror movie ever made in Italy. Bava, a cinematographer at the time, was Freda's main collaborator, and their first film, I Vampiri, was a failure in 1957. The stage had not yet been set for the revival of the Gothic horror film. They were a year too early, a year before Hammer films in England paved the way with the massive success of their Frankenstein and Dracula revivals. When Bava went back to the well with Black Sunday, it was a huge hit. Its time had come. Freda, who had lobbied hard to get a horror movie off the ground, was left behind. His next horror movie wouldn't appear until 1962, and it wouldn't make it abroad until two years later. That film was The Horrible Dr. Hichcock, starring Barbara Steele. Steele is also associated with Bava, but she only made one film for him. She was Freda's favorite collaborator, however, and it was Freda more than Bava who shaped her into a horror icon. In spite of all this, Freda is largely forgotten while the cult of Bava (justifiably) grows apace.

The plot of The Horrible Doctor Hichcock finds the eponymous doctor saving lives at his day job as a surgeon using a revolutionary new anesthetic formula that slows the heartbeat and vital signs in a way that permits more invasive surgeries. In his private life, the good doctor likes to inject his beautiful young wife, Margaret, with his formula before performing his marital duties, an act to which she agrees. One night, he overdoses her and is unable to revive her. She's buried in the family crypt and the good doctor movies away to purge himself of both the memories of her death and of his peculiar sexual appetites. Twelve years later, he returns home with his new wife, Cynthia, in tow. He finds his old housemaid, Martha, still taking care of the place, but Cynthia glimpses another figure on the grounds. This is Martha's invalid sister, she is told, but even after the sister is allegedly packed of to an asylum, Cynthia still catches glimpses. Her husband is no help. Having returned to the scene of the tragedy, he seems a changed man. He is distant, and dismissive of Cynthia's concerns. Cynthia begins to investigate. Her husband, for his part, if feeling old stirrings. When the possibility that Margaret is still alive asserts itself, Cynthia suddenly finds herself in danger from a man she thought she knew, but who she doesn't know at all...

On the surface, this is a full-dress Gothic, complete with a crumbling old castle, secret passage ways, curtains blowing in the midnight wind, and a fair heroine drifting through the night world candelabra in hand. The elements of the story are cribbed from some of the Gothic's greatest hits. This is an amalgam of Rebecca, Gaslight, Suspicion, and The Tomb of Ligeia. But that's all just trappings. The Horrible Dr. Hichcock, is a film that brings the psychosexual roots of the Gothic into the foreground and in doing so deconstructs the Gothic as an idiom. In this film, those roots are necrophilia. The kink behind the title character isn't buried in subtext. It's right there in full view of the audience. Part of the film's brazen effrontery comes from the way it dispenses with the Gothic's usual elliptical storytelling. This isn't a film that circles around its central horrors only to come at them obliquely. It's crystal clear that Hichcock gets off on a lifeless sex partner, just as it's crystal clear that Margaret has been buried alive. In stripping away the pretense of the Gothic, it turns any notion of romanticism on its head. This is a sick little film. Indeed, this is the kind of film that wrecks careers if it fails. Its closest siblings along these lines are Michael Powell's Peeping Tom and Bava's The Whip and the Body, both of which place their perverse sexualities in the foreground. Both were failures. Powell's career was ruined, and the lustre came off of Bava's career, even if it wasn't torpedoed entirely (Bava likely got by because his films were so cheap). Somehow, Freda's film was a success in spite of its overtly perverse sexual pathology.

Like Peeping Tom and The Whip and the Body, The Horrible Doctor Hichcock frames its perversity in a jewel-like setting. Both of those films make startling use of Technicolor, and so does The Horrible Doctor Hichcock. Its sets are sumptuous; it's a film that makes the Hammer films that are its contemporaries look cheap in comparison. The sets and the lush color makes for a handsome film, but it's one that leaves a queasy, unclean feeling in the viewer. The film also serves as a showcase for Barbara Steele, who made the film during a ten-day break in the filming of Fellini's 8 1/2. She had already played memorable villains in Black Sunday and The Pit and the Pendulum. This film turns her into a Gothic heroine, which suits her. It doesn't hurt the film that Steele had the "it" quality of a movie star and that she blows everyone else off the screen. Certainly, Robert Flemyng's good doctor never seems genuinely sinister except in Cynthia's dream sequence when his face is distorted and horrible. She's also more than a match for Maria Teresa Vianello's blond Margaret, though they never share the screen. Only Harriet Medin, as Martha the housekeeper (this film's version of Rebecca's sinister Mrs. Danvers) measures up. It's rare when the heroine holds the screen against the villains, but this film manages the trick.

I can only speculate as to why The Horrible Dr. Hichcock has languished in obscurity. Certainly, its ickier subject matter is partly responsible. It's a film that no one really wants to touch, and its long absence from home video is both a cause and an effect resulting from this. While I'm not going to call it a masterpiece, it's a film that stands up to a comparison with most of Mario Bava's films and it's better than most Hammer films. It's a good film, and Fredda has always deserved a better legacy than the one he got.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on October 05, 2019, 09:23:51 PM
Sigh. The movie I'm watching has an actress named Candi VandiZandi.  This is not a good sign
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Russoguru on October 05, 2019, 10:01:52 PM
Sigh. The movie I'm watching has an actress named Candi VandiZandi.  This is not a good sign
Virgil Vogel, vestal virgin.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on October 05, 2019, 11:15:28 PM
Return to Horror Hotel (2019)

Horror anthology, all set in a roadside hotel.  Well, way to keep the set budget down, guys.

Anyway, 4  different stories, with what is probably the most tedious stuck in the front.  Not giving plot details to not spoil. First one takes a loooooong time to get going and while a bit creepy doesn't really live up to the buildup.  Second one is decent, if rushed. Third has an interesting setup but is a mess. And while the last one has a nice setup too, the actual resolution is muddled. A lot of stuff happening off screen.  All in all, some nice ideas but the follow through isn't quite there.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 06, 2019, 12:00:55 AM
5 The Fly (1986) - On this watch, I noticed how no-nonsense this film is. A tight 90 - jumps straight into the movie and moves at a good clip. A tremendous film all around.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Charles Castle on October 06, 2019, 05:40:57 PM
Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Ready or Not (2019, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) hit theaters a mere week after the similarly themed Blumhouse/Universal film, The Hunt, was pulled from release after whining from conservatives about "coastal elites" hunting red-state salt of the earth for sport. I am aware that the stated reason for this was sensitivity over recent mass shootings, but given the frequency of mass shootings this is a hilariously thin excuse. Ready or Not punks this in hilarious ways. Mind you, I haven't seen The Hunt, but from the trailer, I get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, there's a certain amount of misinterpretation going on here. The trope of the rich hunting the poor for sport is not new. There are plenty of pulp novels that use this plot and there are rip-offs of The Most Dangerous Game without number. Escape Room, which came out at the beginning of the year exploited this trope as well. Moreover, the dichotomy between hunter and hunted has never been about liberal versus conservative, so much as it has been haves versus have nots. There's a core of Marxist critique of a murderous, decadent aristocracy in this trope that cannot be erased no matter how much you try, and it's amplified by appearing in an era of unrestrained billionaire plutocrats. There's a line in John Woo's Hard Target that makes all of this explicit when Lance Henricksen's hunting guide explains to a client that "It has always been the privilege of the few to hunt the many." Ready or Not is very much coded along these lines. It's lucky in its timing because it fills a void that might otherwise not have existed.

The story picks up at the wedding of Grace and Alex. Alex is the wayward son of the Le Domas family, who made their fortune in gaming. Grace, for her part, has never had much of a family of her own, having been shuttled from foster parents to foster parents as a child, but she looks forward to becoming part of Alex's family. Some of Alex's family are chilly toward her, seeing her as a gold-digger, but others are kinder. Alex's mother takes a shine to Grace, having been the same kind of outsider herself when she married into the family. Things begin to go awry the night of the wedding, though. The Le Domases, having made their money with games, have a tradition: the new addition to their family picks a card from a box gifted to the founder of the family's business, and the family plays whatever game the card suggests. The newcomer must play, too. Grace draws "Hide and Seek," which for the Le Domases, is a more intense game than what most children probably played, because "Hide and Seek" involves them hunting down the person who is "it" and ultimately killing them in a ritual sacrifice. Grace knows none of this when the game starts, but she finds out soon enough. The Le Domas's, fortunately, are fairly inept hunters, and Grace is helped by Alex, who tries to get her out of the mansion. But things don't go to plan for either side. Grace ultimately has to rely on her own wits, though she gets help from unexpected sources.

This is a lean pulp story that's carried along by a surprisingly excellent cast. Grace is played by Samara Weaving, who is an appealing heroine, and the Le Domas are played by the likes of Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Nicky Guadigni, and Melanie Scrofano. Czerny and Scrofano are standouts among the villains, Czerny because he's one of those "that guy" actors who is given a chance to shine as the head patriarchal villain, and Scrofano because her coked-out and hilariously inept Emilie is a stark contrast to her Wynonna Earp character from TV. Both Mark O'Brien and Adam Brody are good as Grace's new husband and his brother, too. But this is a staring role for Weaving and the filmmakers code this with the way the film is lit and costumed. This is a gloomy film, set in a darkened mansion that's all browns and sepias, and all the Le Domas are dressed in dark colors. Grace, with her blond hair and her wedding dress is positively incandescent when set in front of this. It doesn't hurt that Weaving herself is gorgeous and likeable. The audience is on her side from the start and she never loses them.

I don't want to give Ready or Not more weight than it deserves. This is not a horror masterpiece. It has major flaws. While I understand the metaphorical darkness the design of the film is exploring, I think the film is either under-lit or just badly lit. Cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz might have done well to study the great Gordon Willis--"The Prince of Darkness"--for a masterclass in how to accomplish what this film fails to accomplish. From a structural standpoint, this is kit-bashed from a bunch of familiar horror traditions and it holds no real surprises for an audience who has seen a few horror movies. It doesn't try to invent the wheel, and it succeeds in this to a point where its plot mechanisms sometimes seem tedious. But that's genre for you. A viewer who craves something "original," probably shouldn't spend too much time poking around in the horror genre in the first place. Ready or Not does manage to get a few laughs out of its ghastly denouement, though, which is timed not so much to shock as to provide a punch line. There are satisfying horror beats in this, particularly Grace's experience in the goat pit where the Le Domases dump their victims. This doesn't shy away from gore at all, and a gorehound will find a lot to satisfy them here. Certainly, the various "accidents" that take out the help are well conceived gore gags, particularly the girl who gets a crossbow bolt through the mouth, and the disposal of her body. The body count here is satisfyingly high and a viewer in it for the kills will dig it. But this is never really scary or disturbing, which is a flaw in a film that is conceived of as a horror movie.

Ready or Not isn't a masterpiece, but it doesn't really need to be one. In some ways it works better as a satire than as a horror movie, though those two things have never been mutually exclusive. Certainly, the various kinds of depravity assigned to the rich villains provide a gallery of sins. I mentioned that the core of The Most Dangerous Game plot is Marxist, and I think that's doubly true of this film. This is a film where the help is disposable, but in which they are also gaslit into supporting the depredations of their employers even at the cost of their own lives. The kernel of this is that the rich are okay with every kind of atrocity so long as that deal with the devil preserves their privilege. The film is good about showing how this impulse deranges them, too, particularly the two characters--Alex and Daniel--who want no part of it, but who see no escape from it either. The film even says that the rich are "different" out loud. The film is a sly critique of marriage as an institution, too, which as a historical instrument has been used to transmit wealth and preserve fortunes. Marriage for love throws a monkey wrench into this. The film offers a contrast here between Grace, who marries for love, and Charity Le Domas, who married into the family for money, and who is into whatever preserves the advantages her marriage bought for her. Grace may have craved marriage--Alex asks her to marry him even though he knows what that entails because the alternative was her walking away--but she is not so obtuse about it that she doesn't get an education by the end of the film. Her illusions don't last the night.

Ready or Not is ultimately in the tradition of the radical horror movies descended from Night of the Living Dead. It's a film where, contra the prevailing trends in commercial horror movies where preserving the integrity of the nuclear family is the be all and end all, it's the family unit itself that is the source of horror, and where institutions like capitalism and marriage are found to be rotten to the core. It's a film about liberation, too, given where it takes Grace at the end of the film (by the way, her name is one of the film's more obvious symbols). Like the radical horror movies of yore, Ready or Not's solution is to burn it all to the ground. The institutions it finds wanting deserve everything they get in this film, and while many films who reach the same conclusions are among the genre's most disquieting films, this film exults in letting the dragons into Eden to trash the place. Grace's last word on the matter is a bitter chocolate-covered cherry on top.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 06, 2019, 11:57:50 PM
6 Peeping Tom (1960) - Every time I watch a Powell and Pressburger (or in this case, a Powell post-Pressburger) film I wonder if films can look this good, why don't all films look this good?
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 07, 2019, 07:08:17 AM
The Blob

This is a surprisingly boring film.  I have no idea what it is doing on the Criterion Channel.  Like, there are a few oddities in the Criterion Collection, so I guess I shouldn't be so surprised but... I mean, as much as I think Michael Bay films are bad and a weird choice for the collection, there is, strangely, a really auter element to Michael Bay (that said, if we were going that route, I would have put Con Air in the collection rather than Armageddon) but there's nothing that really makes this stand out rather than a really neat monster.  The direction is competant, but that's about it.  The acting is middling (not terrible but not good).  The story is not well told.  And more than that, the film feels like it kept in a lot of stuff that could have been edited out.  Was there a running time issue?

The film is fun when the monster is present but there's very little of him in the movie.  Most of the film is the most clean cut kids being looked on suspiciously because of their age.  It strangely is a film about the generation gap and how we can work together.  That's admirable.  But the film is so toothless, it is hard to believe there's any reason for these people to not trust each other.

The film isn't incompetant like an MST3k movie.  It feels like a higher end version of those.  But it is so surprisingly dull that it is a shame more wasn't done with it.

The Blob theme song is pretty great.

https://www.youtube.com/v/AK5jyVCdXwc


Häxan

Last night I did a double feature and this was the second film.  Criterion has some solid choices so it was a hard decision but I went with this one.  I have heard about it but all I knew was that it was a silent movie with amazing devil imagery.  And it is a great looking movie.

Sort of safe for work but its gonna look weird
https://www.youtube.com/v/9LCaAy_c-68

The film is a "documentary" about witchcraft through the ages (which is also the alternate title) but its really an excuse for visual phantasmagoria with witch and devil imagery.  The film often has a weird sense of humor, which also comes from Satan himself, sometimes being genuinely scary.

(https://thumbs.gfycat.com/FrayedOblongArmedcrab-small.gif)

And sometimes just seems like the Tenacious D version.

(https://media3.giphy.com/media/10lp1qkV6hn24E/source.gif)

Oops, there he goes.

(https://media0.giphy.com/media/1j7c7B1HwB2bm/giphy.gif)

Bye bye, the devil!

The film actually have different Satans throughout the film and they all look pretty impressive.  There's a huge section about the Spanish inquisition where it makes them look like buffonish monsters but also... maybe they were right?  Not about their actions, just that there are witches everywhere.

The filmmaker then theorizes that what people thought was witchcraft was simply "hysteria".  Yeesh.  Nonetheless, its a weird and fun to watch movie and you get to see a procession of witches literally kiss Satan's ass, if that's what you are into.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 07, 2019, 10:47:55 AM
Spirits of the Dead

If you wanted to know what happens when arthouse (sort of) meets Hammer films, Spirits of the Dead is that movie.  Basically it has three European directors (Roger Vadim, Louis Malle and biggest of all Frederico Fellini) each doing their own adaptation of a Edgar Allen Poe story.  No, not any of the really famous ones.  Only the third story is a conventional "horror story" but I think none are particularly interested in that anyway.

First up is Barbarella director once again directing Jane Fonda in an adaptation of Metzengerstein.  Basically a cruel lady libertine falls in love with a man who takes care of horses but he spurns her, well aware of her evil/sexy ways.  In retribution, she has his stable burned down and is horrified to discover that the man died in the fire.  Meanwhile a wild horse appears out of nowhere just as a horse disappears from her tapestry and she falls in love with it.  Its perfectly servicable but its not nearly as fun as Barbarella and is the weakest story.

Next is Louis Malle's William Wilson.  The premise is an evil man wants to make a confession in a church and tells the story of his life.  Even as a kid, he's downright sadistic but he soon meets another kid named William Wilson who looks identical to him.  Though his life, just as he's about to commit an act of evil, the other William Wilson swoops in and punishes him.  The twist of this tale isn't hard to figure out, but it is still the most fun story as it clips along quite quickly.  Like the first movie, it lingers on the sex stuff and in particular the sadism of the title character, which, again, makes me think of the Hammer films.

Last is Frederico Fellini's Toby Dammit and it is the story least concerned with being obstencibly a horror story or a straight adaptation.  The original story was a satire to begin with so why be reverant?  The story concerns a drunken film star who arrives in Rome for a Hellish awards ceremony in exchange for a Ferrari.  A lot of the film feels like a darker version of 8 1/2 with a very unpleasant (intentionally) focus that really does a great job emulating the idea of being dead tired but forced to be awake for something unpleasant and being in these weird mad twilight hours.   The last act recreates the original story (titled "Never Bet Your Head on the Devil") only with a Ferrari.  I wasn't super enamored with it but it is extremely good looking film with a protagonist who looks sweaty and gross (to its credit).  The latter half, where Toby is inhabited by a Rome seemingly inhabited only by manniquins, isn't scary but it is weird and haunting in its own way and it comes to a good climax.

I wouldn't say I love Spirits of the Dead but it is a good movie and is definitely an interesting alternative to conventional "horror" films this season.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 07, 2019, 06:38:41 PM
Which version of The Blob was it? I really enjoyed the 1958 one.

Haxan and Spirits of the Dead are both on my to watch list.

The Criterion Channel has a bunch of Val Lewton movies at the moment, so I am considering burning a free trial trying it to watch those this month, except I'm away for a week in that period, so it seems like a waste...
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 07, 2019, 08:23:11 PM
7 Vampyr (1932) (First Viewing) - I found this a little hard to follow, although I was pretty tired. The visuals were great though, and though it's never scary, it does have a nice atmosphere to it. I will rewatch it for sure.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 08, 2019, 09:13:06 AM
Which version of The Blob was it? I really enjoyed the 1958 one.


Yeah.  It's definitely not without its charm and the monster stuff is fun but I feel like there are a lot of needlessly slow moments where the film is neither telling us anything nor setting a mood.

Speaking of Val Lewton, last night I watched I Walked With a Zombie.

This is a really good film though if your looking for actual scares, you might be disappointed.  If you are in the mood for a moody melancholy drama that feels like Jane Eyre mixed with voodoo culture, you are in luck.  And for a 1940s film, the representation of black people is better than you might expect.  I mean, its still not perfect: all of the black people in the film are mostly side characters and the film is centered around the white people.  But despite some "othering", the film gets a LOT right on how to handle things.  The black actors give really good naturalistic performances (especially compared to the leads' actory transatlantic aspects) and the film gets into, from a remove, the idea that the setting of the film views slavery as a real scar on the cultural psyche from the entire island (and using part of the maidenhead of a slave ship as a weapon is some loaded imagery as well).

Things are kept ambiguous enough as to whether the voodoo stuff is simply the overwhelming power of belief or an actual supernatural force. The last scene is simple but raises questions about if the ritual we see makes the final events happen or if they simply mirror them (the character has plenty of motivation to do what he does without supernatural assistance).  And there are some brief moments of haunting tension as well (I feel that this is an early example of knowing when to keep the scene very quiet to make it more tense.  But it seems less like a horror movie than the kind of Gothic story that spawned horror and is more of a spooky drama.  And if you are looking for that, you are going to get a lot out of this great, low key film.  It might make a good pairing with Eyes Without a Face, actually, in that regard.
https://www.youtube.com/v/W6SWz27OXac

Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 08, 2019, 05:15:18 PM
Speaking of Val Lewton, last night I watched I Walked With a Zombie.

I've been wanting to watch this ever since hearing Scorsese talk about it, but I've never been able to get hold of a good copy. It's one of the main reasons I wanted to trial the Criterion channel.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on October 08, 2019, 11:07:58 PM
Reviews.

I'm not touching The Meg because it made me actively angry. No, I'm not going to elaborate.

Would You Rather?
An eccentric millionaire invites a number of people desiring money to play a game, with rather increasing stakes. As in "Would you rather  eat a bug or put your hand in a used diaper?" Except,  you know, with more fatal ickiness. Starring Jeffrey Combs as the rich guy. decent enough little character piece. Might have used a little bit of fleshing out among the guests. As it stands,  we only really know why 1 of the eight people is there with little bits and pieces of the other 7's stories. As a result, when those cast members die it's "Eh. That's kinda sad, I guess." Not bad, but probably a low priority to watch.

Game of Assassins
A number of seemingly random folks wake up in a place that seems more and more like Hell the further they travel...

A surprisingly watchable indie film about, well, strangers who awaken in Hell and are put through various trials in order to escape. I saw one comment saying "It's a cross between Saw and Da Vinci Code" and that's not far off really.  It quickly becomes apparent that each of the strangers has murdered someone and Hell might be testing them. Plus something about Gideon. Not bad, really. One of the better films so far.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 08, 2019, 11:43:02 PM
8 Death Note (2017) (First viewing) - Trashy, and definitely subpar compared the the manga, but we had fun. Willem Dafoe was fun as Ryuk.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 09, 2019, 11:23:36 AM
I feel like for whatever film's faults might be, that's perfect casting.

(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/deathnote/images/a/a8/Ryuk_DN_Coloured.png/revision/latest?cb=20170621011059)

Why even use makeup?
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 10, 2019, 10:18:59 AM
The Ghost Ship

The bad news: this is actually more of a psychological thriller than a horror film.  But still I'm going to count this since the wikipedia says "Has horror elements" and the word "terror" is on the poster's tagline.  So there is no literal ghost ship.

The good news: This is a very good movie.

The premise: A naive but excited young man begins his life as a sailor.  Upon meeting the Captain, he is struck by the man's gentle and sweet demenor and dedication to his crew.  The two even become close.  But over time he begins to question his philosophy: authority must never be questioned.  As the film goes on, he realizes the captain may in fact be quite mad and is willing to stop at nothing to assert said authority.  Even worse, he finds the crew unwilling to see the truth out of fear or simply not wanting to get involved.  And soon he young sailor fears he might be next.

The film has a few faults.  The big one is that the main character is... kind of dumb.  Not inherently a flaw, as he is supposed to be a bit niave and looking for a father figure but you are waiting for him to finally use his wits and not fall into easy traps but nothin' doing'.  But overall, it is a fun thriller.  Richard Dix is great as the Captain, playing him as gentle in nature with a cauldron of poison boiling underneath.  He also is allowed a lot more depth than I was expecting and he gets a moment to reveal that he might be aware of his growing madness and fearing it but his anti-anti-authoritarian worldview means he feels he can't second guess himself.

Compared to some of the Jacques Tournier movies made for Val Lewton, Rob Markson's direction is a little more generic... except when he takes things full noir and it looks really cool.  The character of Finn is a weird fit for the movie.  Not bad, but I feel his character belongs in a different movie as he occasionally pops in to give voice over in a hissed whisper, then outs for much of the movie.

Overall, Ghost Ship is worth checking out.  But if you are expecting ghosts, not a lot show up.  Not even really metaphorically.  But there is ship!
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 10, 2019, 09:54:14 PM
9 Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man (1943) (First viewing) - Way better than I thought it would be. The first half hour is particularly good. The ending, however is very abrupt and unsatisfying. Still really enjoyed it.

10 Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) - Klaus Kinski's Dracula is so interesting. The film has a great dreamlike quality. Really enjoyed revisiting it.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 12, 2019, 03:45:02 AM
11 Scream (1996) - I don't like slasher movies, but Scream is good

12 Over the Garden Wall (2014) - Rewatched the entire series and it is just perfect. Every design, song, voice... everything. Perfect.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 12, 2019, 09:12:16 AM
9. Rifftrax: Plan 9 From Outer Space - Something to play while I cleaned my apartment.
10. MST3k: The Touch of Satan - Still a favourite. I watched the Gary in Motion "Cinema Edition" on Youtube.  If you weren't aware, he's an editor who takes the original movies at their best quality and then puts the riffing from the original episode over it, which also means you get to see all the original stuff (including nudity in some of the films.  Devil Doll actually has nipples if you want to see them.  I mean, the movie, not the doll itself.  *shudder* that's a scary thought.

11. Bedlam - Another Val Lewton movie that's not as much a horror movie as you might be lead to believe.  The closest thing to that is really in the last act.  Really it's a pulpy melodrama about a woman in 18th Century England who, despite her seemingly cynical demeanor, takes up the cause of helping people in Bedlam and runs afoul the asylum's owner, the evil Mr. Sims.  Boris Karloff plays Mr. Sims and seeing as I'm only really familiar with him in Frankenstein, it's unique to see him play such an erudite yet scummy character.  The film is great (I've yet to be disappointed with a Val Lewton movie yet) as our lead character is unfairly declared insane by Mr. Sims, but then from the inside starts making things better for the residents.

As you might expect, the treatment of mental illness is not particularly sensitive (I mean, we are only know starting to get a grip on how we should portray it in our media) but it is humanistic.  Many of the in mates act almost like animals which is weird since we are supposed to see Sims treatment of them and even our leads well-intentioned but wrongheaded view of them as "beasts" as a negative.  I highly recommend this movie, which is beautiful (there's a great scene of a giant inmate looking up at the stars for the first time in years, almost distracting him from saving our heroine) and has some great dialogue.  It reminds me of the ill-conceived Roger Corman production the Undead (you know, the MST3k one) where the writer clearly wanted to emulate Shakespeare's dialogue but it is all a mess in an already confounding production.  Here, the writer lands it all (and has the villain quote several actual classic writers) and makes the heroes and villains witty and fun to listen to.  The quaker character, who acts as moral authority, is a bit stiff (which is sort of what they were going for... I think?) but other than that the cast does a great job and it gives the villain a nice comeuppance by the films end.  He also gets a speech that feels in the vein of Peter Lorre's big speech in M but it isn't quite as good.  Still, definitely worth checking out.

https://www.youtube.com/v/dy72y2jLVOc
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Charles Castle on October 12, 2019, 05:42:26 PM
5. Twins of Evil

By 1971 Hammer Films were grasping at straws, trying desperately to stay relevant in a changing marketplace. There was a sea change coming in the wake of Rosemary's Baby and Night of the Living Dead. Their competitors for the British horror market were producing the likes of The Wicker Man, Witchfinder General, Raw Meat, Don't Look Now, and Frenzy while Hammer tried to milk the last ounce of blood from their Dracula and Frankenstein franchises. Hammer's usual Gothics seemed quaint in comparison, no matter how much bright red blood they spilled or how many nubile young women they undressed. There's a cautionary tale in this if the makers of the current crop of blockbusters want to take it. In any event, Hammer's biggest success of the era was an adaptation of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla", filmed in 1970 as The Vampire Lovers. That film added a dash of transgression to the Hammer formula, given the overt lesbianism that drives its plot. They tried it again with that film's sequel, Lust for a Vampire (1971), with diminishing returns. With the third film in the Karnstein sequence, 1971's Twins of Evil (directed by John Hough), it was back to business as usual. The lesbianism was mostly gone except for one minor nod in that direction, as was everything else that made The Vampire Lovers work. In spite of that, it's not without interest.

The plot follows twin teenage girls, Maria and Frieda, as they travel from Venice to live with their uncle, Gustav, in Karnstein, a duchy presumably in the Holy Roman Empire (the time period is vague). Their uncle is a stern puritan and the head of a witchfinding brotherhood who are in the business of burning women found to be in league with The Devil. The wilder of the twins, Frieda, chafes under Gustav's rule. The local nobleman, Count Karnstein, is favored by the Emperor, and thus his interest in the occult and devil worship are immune to the attentions of the Brotherhood, and he does as he pleases. What he pleases is to summon up his ancestor, Mircalla Karnstein the vampire, to turn him into a vampire like her. He also has his eye on the twins, and Frieda is drawn to him in turn. He makes Frieda into his vampire consort, telling her that his bite will not kill the truly wicked. Soon enough, Frieda is sucking blood from the breast of one of the count's comely captives. Maria is not blind to her sister's change of unlife. Frieda implores Maria to cover for her nightly excursions to be with the Count. Maria, in turn, is courted by the local schoolmaster, Anton, who has an interest in folklore. Eventually, Frieda is caught by the Brotherhood, presenting Gustav with a troubling choice: does he burn his niece alive. Meanwhile, Count Karnstein and his minion kidnap Maria and exchange her for Frieda in her jail cell. Frieda takes Maria's place, but is unmasked by Anton when she tries to seduce him. Anton fends her off and rides to prevent the Brotherhood from burning the wrong sister. He tells the Brotherhood that Karnstein is the culprit, and that they cannot destroy him with fire. He must be staked through the heart or decapitated. The Brotherhood storms the castle, but Karnstein and Frieda have other ideas.

Twins of Evil is symptomatic of a Hammer formula that had grown oppressive. Like many of the studio's Gothic films, it wants its cake and to eat it. Its narrative is fundamentally anti-woman and anti-sexuality, its emphasis on the rightness of patriarchy exaggerated by the Puritan sect to which Gustav belongs, and it emphasizes the moral rightness of men and the weakness of women. And yet, it is also titillating and lascivious. Like most of Hammer's films, it uses its moralizing tone to cover for its dirty mindedness. This is a starker contrast than usual given the depiction of the Brotherhood of witchfinders, who are literal puritans, and given that they are depicted as a force for righteousness in the world of the film. Hammer's films were always regressive, but this is extreme even for them.

Rather than explore the sexuality of women--particularly lesbian women--it salts the film with a hint as a tease to the audience, when Karnstein offers Frieda a village girl as a victim after he turns her. The thread of the plot in which Frieda worries that she might attack Maria offers the twin taboos of lesbianism and incest. A more daring film might have gone that far, but this one doesn't dare. It's a mark of how fast cinema was changing in the 1960s that, had Twins of Evil debuted during Hammer's heyday in, say, 1959 or so, it would have been groundbreaking. By 1971, however, many other films had already gained a march on it. Indeed, its central plot device of a vampire and virginal heroine being mistaken for each other is one of the key plot points of Black Sunday, while the incest taboo had already been explored in Gothic form in The Whip and the Body (though Twins of Evil's variation is entirely its own). Moreover, Hammer didn't have "Carmilla" to itself. There were other versions in the marketplace, including Roger Vadim's Blood and Roses, Harry Kumel's Daughters of Darkness, Stephanie Rothman's The Velvet Vampire, and Vincent Aranda's The Blood-Spattered Bride. Most of those explored "Carmilla's" political and sexual themes in far more detail. Twins of Evil takes a couple of names from "Carmilla," and virtually nothing else.

And yet, the film is handsome to look at. Like Brian Clemens (who made two films for Hammer in the early 70s), John Hough was a veteran of The Avengers TV show. Though this is hardly his best work, he stages the film better than the material probably deserves. This is Hough's only work for Hammer, and, sure, Hammer's familiar sets are in place (this was in fact filmed on sets built for Vampire Circus) and sure, the film takes place in Hammer's weird corner of Horror Movie Land where the Puritans have a foothold on some Eastern European duchy, but Hough imparts the film with a singular mood that's a hybrid of Hammer's usual on-set reality and something else. There's a line of descent between this film and the Belasco House in Hough's The Legend of Hell House two years later. The film's willingness to let blood in copious amounts may be a cynical attempt to keep up with its contemporaries, but its shamelessness along these lines is charming. It at least senses that the act of a father decapitating his daughter is transgressive, though the actual on-screen act is too cartoonish to really hit home. Regardless, on a purely visual level this is the best-directed film in the Karnstein trilogy, and maybe the best-directed Hammer film of the 1970s.

Hough is lucky in his cast, too. Peter Cushing could have been forgiven for sleepwalking through yet another vampire movie, but he seems engaged in the material. Certainly, the costume helps, and one can't help but notice a hint of Vincent Price's Matthew Hopkins in Cushing's performance, but Cushing is always a pleasure to watch. Here he plays a combination of the moral rightness of Van Helsing and the cold ruthlessness of Baron Frankenstein combined into one. It's a striking portrayal.

The supporting cast reaches beyond Hammer's stock players for actors like Dennis Price and Kathleen Byron. The Collinson twins, Mary and Madeleine, are suitably fetching even though their voices were dubbed to get rid of their Maltese accents. Only Damien Thomas seems of a piece with Hammer's line of vampires. His Count Karnstein is another vampire that might be a dig at the young hedonists of the swinging London of the day. His hairstyle is certainly of that milieu.

If anything, Twins of Evil is a symptom of a larger malaise.  Hammer Films were not long for this world. They would stagger through the early 1970s until finally giving up the ghost in 1976. The boys at Bray were not entirely unaware of the changes around them, and they certainly tried out creative solutions to their immanent extinction. Twins of Evil is demonstrative of how that impulse could turn awry. The Vampire Lovers was something very different in the Hammer portfolio and enjoyed success because of it, but Twins of Evil, two films down the line, was just more of the same.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Charles Castle on October 12, 2019, 05:51:41 PM
7. Christine

Such was Stephen King's popularity in 1983, that work on the film version of his novel, Christine, began while the book was still being edited. 1983 offered a bumper crop of films based on the writer's work, including Cujo, The Dead Zone, and Christine. The later two were directed by two of the masters of late 70s/early 80s horror movies, David Cronenberg and John Carpenter. Carpenter, for his part, was coming off the failure of The Thing, a financial disaster that saw him removed from the director's chair of another King project, Firestarter, and desperate for a hit. (tangent: Universal would eventually have cause to regret this decision. The film version of Firestarter followed Christine into theaters six months later and got withering reviews. It did less business on a higher budget. Worst of all, it incurred the scorn of King himself, who counts it among the worst films made from his work. He calls it the movie equivalent of "cafeteria mashed potatoes." Carpenter, it seems, got lucky) Christine was fast-tracked and appeared in December of 1983, a mere eight months after the novel's publication.

The basic plot of the book and the movie is the same: bullied nerd Arnie Cunningham falls in love with a derelict 1958 Plymouth fury and fixes it up until it's in cherry condition. Christine, for so the car is named, reciprocates Arnie's love, and Arnie begins to change under Christine's influence. He becomes more self-assured. He asks out the pretty new girl at his high school and she accepts. His style begins to change to a 1958 sense of cool even though Arnie lives in the autumn of 1979. His best friend, Dennis, is alarmed by the changes he sees in Arnie but cannot do anything about it as he recovers from a devastating football injury, as is Leigh, the girl Arnie courts. Both of them, along with Arnie's parents, are concerned by his unhealthy obsession with the car. Arnie has enemies, too. The bullies who tormented Arnie blame him for getting them expelled, particularly the psychotic Buddy Repperton. They see Arnie's life changing and they see his cherry new car and vow to "get" him. One night, they sneak into the do-it-yourself garage where Arnie stores Christine and wreck her, going so far as to defecate on her dashboard. Unfortunately for them, Christine was born bad, and there is a malevolent and jealous force animating her. As Arnie watches, she regenerates herself and begins to act as a manifestation of Arnie's id, executing ghastly revenge on Arnie's tormentors. But she doesn't stop there. She's jealous of Leigh, too, and attempts to kill her at a drive-in movie. Worse: Arnie has come under the scrutiny of Detective Junkins, who is investigating the deaths of Buddy and his gang, and then of Arnie's boss, the sleazy owner of the garage where Christine lives. Dennis and Leigh contrive a plan to destroy Christine, even though they understand that it brings them into the path of the car's unending fury.

Christine, the novel, is not one of King's better works. In addition to the burden of convincing the reader of the reality of his haunted car, the story recycles the revenge fantasy from Carrie. Arnie Cunningham is another oppressed nerd, a spiritual sibling to Carrie White. The book is overladen with other ideas about how Christine became what she is, and includes baroque, EC comics-style tableaux of monstrous comeuppance for Arnie's enemies. Christine gathers a collection of ghosts in her back seat who have a conversation with Arnie as he loses his mind. Plus, it sidelines its narrator, Dennis, for most of the book. This last part is less of a problem in a two hour movie than it is in a five hundred page novel. Christine could have been a complete disaster on film, the fate of Maximum Overdrive, another King tale about machinery come to life. But Christine is lucky in its interpreters.

Carpenter and screenwriter Bill Phillips cut away all of the narrative digressions in the book in favor of a lean and vicious narrative that focuses only on the core of the story. As a new origin, the film posits that Christine was just born bad on the assembly line in a droll prelude in which she punishes slights done to her by the workers who made her. This sequence has no significant dialogue, but provides everything you need to know about the film's title character. The screenplay removes the complication of a romance between Dennis and Leigh too, and focuses instead on both of their relationships with Arnie. Moreover, the film manages something that the book struggled to convey: it makes Christine seem alive. This is partly through its deployment of special effects, but also in the way the film uses Christine's headlights as indicators of her mood. Where the book constructs an elaborate back-story, the film doesn't need it all because the reality of the car is right there for the audience to see and seeing is believing. The difference in media has a transformative effect on the books relentless use of song lyrics as a literary approximation of a needle-drop soundtrack. The film uses an actual needle-drop soundtrack and folds it into the flow of the narrative (rather than as epigrams at chapter breaks in the book). It's subtle with this, too. Most of the soundtrack is diegetic. It gives Christine herself a "voice" that comments on the scenes in which she appears, but only with songs that would have been on the radio in 1958. The one song that is associated with Christine that isn't diegetic is George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone," which never plays on her own radio.

The film is surprisingly bloodless for a horror movie from 1983. Carpenter was faced with exactly the opposite problem he faced when he made The Fog three years earlier. That film was initially bloodless, but the success of the slasher movies--particularly Friday the 13th--that followed Halloween convinced Carpenter and his producers that they needed to add more gore to that film. With Christine, he was faced with an analysis of The Thing that suggested that the extreme violence in that film was a contributing factor in its failure. Which isn't to say that the film is not violent. In some ways, going back to the way he suggested violence in Halloween makes the violence in Christine even crueler. This is most evident in the death of Moochie, filmed from above as Christine forces herself into a space that's too narrow for her, but the death of Buddy is even crueler. It's almost offhand as the flaming Christine runs over a burning victim that tumbles briefly in her wake. You can't actually see any of the gore in either scene, but the film is good at conjuring images in the audience's mind. When Jenkins tells Arnie that they had to scrape Moochie off the concrete with a shovel, you don't really need to see it to conjure up the picture in your mind's eye.

For a film with such a ridiculous premise, it's a particularly grim horror movie, but this too is part of its modus operandi. If it cracks a smile even once, if it ever winks at the audience, it will break the spell. So it never does. The absurdity of the idea of a malevolent, sentient car is ridiculous enough without calling attention to it by laughing at the idea. Even its most ridiculous set pieces work because the movie plays them completely straight. The scene where Christine regenerates herself is a committed special effects set piece that conveys a sense of wonder and horror (emphasized by Carpenter's choice to score the scene to the Viscounts's sinister version of "Harlem Nocturne"), while the duel between Christine and the bulldozer that ends the film benefits from the sense of tragedy hanging over the entire thing. Arnie may be enacting his own id through Christine, but he's her victim, too.

The film's biggest handicap is the trio of actors in the lead. Keith Gordon was a genre veteran by 1983, having worked for Brian DePalma on two films, but he's a lot more convincing as Arnie the dweeb than as Arnie the cool villain. This was Alexandra Paul's first major film role, long before she went on to become a Baywatch pin-up, and her inexperience shows; Carpenter wisely diminishes her role in the film compared to the character in the book. John Stockwell is similarly handicapped by a plot that sidelines him in the hospital for a huge chunk of the film's running time.

Whatever the shortcomings of these three, Carpenter more than covers for them with his supporting cast. Roger Ebert once noted that no film starring M. Emmett Walsh or Harry Dean Stanton is completely worthless, and this gives Harry Dean Stanton the juicy role of Junkins so it's more than worth watching. Stanton devours the part. Also chewing the scenery are Roberts Blossom as George LeBay, Christine's scabrous previous owner, and Robert Prosky as the cigar-chomping Darnell, a man who oozes working class resentment and shady capitalist opportunism. Even William Ostrander's bully, Buddy Repperton, works as a distillation of high school bete noir ever filmed. The supporting cast is strong enough to hold the screen against Christine herself, who is one of the more indelible film automobiles of any vintage. I mean, the evil car in The Car (from 1977) has no real distinguishing characteristics other than "big and black," and the cars in The Cars that Ate Paris are all pretty interchangeable. But Christine? She has a personality. If this were not so, then her demise at the end of the film would not be so cathartic. It would be just so much screeching twisted metal, like a demolition derby or something. Nor would the film's last shot hold so much menace. Carpenter takes King's ending and distills it down to a shot so minimalist that one has to marvel at its elegance. And maybe laugh at it, too. It's pretty funny.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 13, 2019, 05:21:19 AM
12. MST3k - Gorgo (Cinema Edition) - The only difference I notices was a few more scenes of people running around like jerks.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 13, 2019, 04:14:51 PM
13 Constantine (2005) - This movie is a terrible adaptation of the comics in that it gets his character completely wrong, but I still really enjoy the movie. And Gabriel and Lucifer are so perfectly cast.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 14, 2019, 06:16:49 AM
13. MST3k The Dead Talk Back (Cinema Edition) - I think there was very little edited out of the MST version save for some boring nothing spots.  But think about that.  That there is a nothing that wasn't included.  In that episode.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on October 14, 2019, 02:31:16 PM
Just going through the reviews and just wanted to say, Val Lewton and his body of production are nothing short of amazing.  Died relatively young, but almost every movie he greenlit is fantastic.

However, most of my viewings have been schlocky 80s stuff but there's fun to be had...(and since I'm behind right now, I'll do it in bits so I don't fill up the page).

3. Killing Spree (1987)
A husband is pushed off the deep edge into creative murder when he finds a diary where his wife writes about sordid sexual encounters with friends, repairmen, and everyone about town, really.
Realnlow budget cheapie. Not shot on video, but the credits were, which doesn't bode well. But despite the piss poor acting and sloppy editing, it's not too bad. Part of that is due to Asbestos Felt (I really, really hope that's his real name and not a stage name) making faces nobody should be able to make, some decent gore effects (a hammer results in something way nastier than expected), and an absolutely off the wall ending...
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Definitely for cult film audiences, though.

4. Rifftrax: Uninvited (1986/2017)
Greydon Clark watches Rick Sloane rub slimy cat puppets on people in Hobgoblins. He responds, "No, THIS how you rub slimy cat puppets on people!" And somehow he convinced George Kennedy to appear.
Greydon Clark's genius remained thoroughly untapped for too long. How was the world to know that Final Justice was only a taste of his inability to make a movie?  Anyway, movie stars a cat with a poison puppet inside it that kills people on a yacht. It goes exactly like you'd expect.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

5. Grotesque (1988)
I am still shocked this was made in the late 80s. It looks like a late 70s/early 80s production.
Linda Blair goes up the mountains to visit her father, a special effects artist from Hollywood.  However, also in the mountains are a gang of punks looking for money and killing.  The punks, however, don't know what they're in for...
Plays out like an extended Tales from the Crypt episode, if anything. And except for an interminable search through the mountains segment, it's really quite clever.  It is undone by the unnecessary second ending (it doesn't come completely out of nowhere, but tonally it doesn't fit, and it's just flat out stupid).  But it's made good by two things especially; the surprise appearance of Robert Z'Dar (I missed his name in the cast list, but I was trying to figure out where I had seen the punk leader before, and then, bam, camera cut and there he is!) and Tab Hunter.  Tab acts like the world's angriest Adam West in this, and it's a thing of beauty. Recommended, but I repeat, the second ending sucks.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 14, 2019, 04:19:13 PM
14 Phantom of the Opera (1943) (First viewing) - A bit of a weird mishmash of tones - Some very goofy comedy and a lot of long opera scenes. It's a weird one, but it's also quite entertaining, and also lovely to look at. Great sets.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 14, 2019, 07:40:20 PM
14. The Body Snatcher

Another Val Lewton movie.  I notice a lot of these are more horror adjacent than actual horror but they are also all really good so I can't really complain.  Actually, this is the weakest of the Lewton movies I've seen thus far.  But its still a good movie.  Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson short story, it is about a grave robber who works for a doctor.  However, it quickly becomes clear that the power dynamic is vastly in the grave robber's favor and that they actually have a shared past.

The other Lewton movies I've seen were directed by Jacques Tournier and Mark Robson so I was surprised to see that the director was neither man but instead Robert Wise, who would go on to great things.  This is merely a good thing.  More than a lot of the Lewton films, this one does feel very Hollywood, both in good and bad ways.  There's some cheesy music that tells you how to feel about a poor girl who can't walk.  That's not so good.  But there's some great sets and good use of music (a singing girl in particular) that can fool you into thinking its more than a B production so its no wonder Wise would become a big deal.

I'll start with the bad: OK, so the movie takes place in Scotland but only half the cast is doing accents.  Fine, whatever.  But the "lead" is saying "laddie" and "Ed-In-Bore-Oh" with a plainly American accent (not even trans-Atlantic) and it becomes immediately apparent that this character both on the page and with assitance from the actor, is a complete "dull thud" of a human being.  The actor is really weak and is constantly surrounded by much more talented people.  The was also the non-evil lead in "The Ghost Ship" from two years earlier, which I discussed.

I remember his character also not being great there, but at the time I felt the problem was purely on the page.  Here, he just sucks and doesn't jibe with the rest of the film at all.  The on-the-page problems are very similar: he comes off as an easily-manipulated rube who is eager to please whatever authority figure gives him a pat on the back and usually forgets to have a conscience in the process but then occassionally acts righteously indignant about shit he's been party to for a while now.  In the Ghost Ship it half-makes sense: he's trying to impress the captain and learn from him and starts to realize he was learning the wrong lessons.  Here he... sucks.  There's little subtext to this character.  I don't even know why they bothered with text.  When the movie is over, it really feels like he walked away from the experience learning jack shit.  And you can make that work but the movie doesn't try.  He is a complete void of screen presence.

The little girl in the movie isn't that good either but she isn't Russell Wade, so I hope she realized sometime in her lifetime.

Now the other actors are fine.  Henry Daniell is good as the doctor who hires the grave robber, Mr. Gray.  Bela Legosi gives a small but decent performance as a foolish assistant who tries to blackmail Mr. Gray.

Robert Wise lets certain shitty actors shit all over the screen with their poop.  One in particular.  Russell Wade.  He cannot fix the problem and the schmaltzy scenes with the little girl are pretty bad.  But there are some great scenes, like one where Mr. Gray's cab follows a singing woman into the shadows and suddenly the singing stops.  He does well with the light and shadow stuff and while were aren't at the man who would make The Haunting yet, it's some good stuff.

But the "soul of the business" in the words of Mr. Gray is Karloff as the title character.  This is my fourth Karloff performance I've seen and yet again he's great.  Here's is absolutely sinister but also rather charming at Mr. Gray.  They literally come out and say it at one point but I prefer them just telling us through his behaviour that this guy loves keeping the doctor he works for under his heel more than anything else.  He's unflappable and the character and the actor dominate every scene they are in.  Karloff is quickly becoming one of my favourite actors.

https://www.youtube.com/v/eG1MvCjJffE
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 16, 2019, 04:34:32 PM
15 Rifftrax Presents - Scared to Death (1980) (First viewing) - A solid nothing of a movie - 50% of it is people walking slowly in the dark. Very good riff though, really enjoyed it. One we will return to for sure.

16 Beyond the Gates (2016) (First viewing) - Spooky Jamunji. I really wanted to like this more, but it was just passable. A few good ideas, but a clunky script and some pretty terrible acting.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 17, 2019, 10:05:22 PM
17 The Invitation (2015) - This is an excellent and very effective indie. Hesitant to say much about it though, as it is best to go in blind (This was a rewatch and it holds up even knowing how it plays out though).
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 18, 2019, 04:25:36 AM
16 Beyond the Gates (2016) (First viewing) - Spooky Jamunji. I really wanted to like this more, but it was just passable. A few good ideas, but a clunky script and some pretty terrible acting.

Yeah, I really didn't like this one.  It tries a few things I appreciated: it clearly wanted to be a character-based horror movie and there's a specificity to it (evil VHS board game).  But it certainly wasn't scary, as mentioned the acting is bad and it really doesn't utilize a lot of the ideas it sets up.  I mean, on the board itself, you can see which rooms people are in.  The feels like it should matter in a suspenseful scene but it never really comes up.

As for me...

15. Coda - A short animated film on the Criterion Channel in which a man who recently died meets death.  They filed it under horror but I wouldn't put it there.  Quite beautiful, though.

16.  MST3k - Terror from the Year 5000 (Cinema Edition) This one must be out of print, as the only copy this guy had has a 90s/2000s era sci-fi watermark on it.  There's also a scene with a mutant cat that I don't actually think was in the episode.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Charles Castle on October 19, 2019, 06:40:32 PM
Although the real world caught up with Videodrome (1983, directed by David Cronenberg) a long time ago, in the late 2000-teens, it seems especially prophetic. What is the work of Russian bots and Cambridge Analytica and Fox News but the exact same "philosophical" signal as the one behind Videodrome? The Videodrome conspiracy is a right wing authoritarian fantasy made flesh as gooey cyberpunk hallucination. The real world version is, perhaps, even scarier and more insidious, one that has already wormed its way into every corner of the world's media. One lone assassin is never going to take it down, though our real-world Videodrome continues to manufacture assassins all its own. Sometimes on a daily basis.

The story follows one Max Renn, the president of a fly-by-night television channel that specializes in porn and exploitation. In order to compete with bigger media, he's scouting around for something rougher and more basic than the arty porn his suppliers are trying to sell him. His pirate technician may have stumbled upon what Max is looking for: an S&M video feed called "Videodrome," allegedly from Malaysia but actually maybe from Pittsburgh, that's nothing but torture and murder in a room made of red clay. Max wants it for his channel. Meanwhile, Max meets kinky talk radio host Nikki Brand on a television talk show about media violence, and Marshall McLuhan-ish video prophet, Brian O'Blivion, who only appears on television on television. Max hits on Nikki and they end up together back at his apartment where they watch the taped sample of Videodrome. Nikki is into it. Eventually, she wants to audition for it. Max has reservations. He's begun to experience hallucinations, and his grip on what's real is beginning to slip. He seeks answers from Brian O'Blivion, who he is told is related to Videodrome, only to find out that he is dead. His daughter, Bianca, continues to run his Cathode Ray Mission so the homeless and dispossessed can continue to plug into the world via television. Max is eventually contacted by Barry Convex of Spectacular Optical, who are behind the Videodrome signal, and want to turn Max into their remote control creature. They "program" him to be an assassin with a bio-mechanical tape inserted into a newly grown slit in his stomach, and send him out to do his bidding. His first target, Bianca O'Blivion, is ready for him, and she has other ideas as to what purpose Max Renn and his new flesh should serve.

Max Renn, as played by James Woods, is a deeply unsympathetic character. His appetite for sadistic entertainments and his pursuit of rougher and rougher content is skeevy enough, but he's the same kind of asshole who in recent years would have been the poster boy for the Me Too movement. He engages in sexual harassment in his own office, he hallucinates striking his girl Friday, he publicly hits on Nikki Brand while they're being interviewed on television. It's purely an accident that the character and the actor who plays him are so closely aligned, given that James Woods in our reality is a complete creep. This is synchronicity at work, something that the filmmakers could not have planned, but it's of a piece. As a right wing crank Woods appears to have succumbed to the Videodrome signal at last.

The visual textures of the film itself are a portrait of a society in collapse. Unlike Cronenberg's other films, where smart people spill their viscera in modernist spaces, this is a film that takes place in back rooms and dingy streets. There's a class consciousness in Cronenberg's depiction of Bianca O'Blivion's threadbare Cathode Ray Mission and the ornate private office from which she runs it. Even Barry Convex's optical trade show seems cheap. But by the time we get to that, we're inside Max Renn's hallucinations and there's no telling what's real. The film slips into alternate realities without announcing itself, and after the midpoint of the movie, it's difficult to point to anything that represents prosaic reality. After he's been "programmed" by Harlan and "reprogrammed" by Bianca, Renn's world has a quality of lucid dreaming. He can direct his reality to a point, such that his "video world" is a lot like the world of the kid in that Twilight Zone episode about the kid who can shape reality. Renn has a video imagination, so the incidents that form the second half of the movie are generic constructs. Renn is a lone wolf hero, or a political assassin a la Travis Bickle, and he moves through tableaux that are drawn from cartoons (Harlan's demise at the hands of a "hand" grenade"), musicals (the tacky Spectacular Optical show), medical shows (the "cancer" bullets Renn's cyborg gun fires into Barry Convex), and porn of course. The cascade of these shifting idioms made the film difficult to follow for its first audiences, and it's still a challenging narrative structure even today. The ending is drawn from television, too, inspired by Christine Chubbuck's on-screen suicide on a Florida local news telecast.

While the overall thrust of Videodrome is dour and positively despairing, this is one of Cronenberg's more playful films. He's always had fun with the names of his characters, and the anagrammatical nature of "Brian O'Blivion" should give you a hint that the movie is a sly satire hiding behind the gooey special effects. "Nikki Brand," too, who enacts her name on her own flesh. Nikki Brand is in many ways the central character in Cronenberg's output, in so far as her identity and her sexuality are encapsulated in her name and in the cuts and burns on her body: Identity is flesh and flesh is identity. The film's sexual nature is key to one of the central concepts of Cronenberg's cinema: what is the function of sex in a world where it is no longer necessary for reproduction and where, like every other element of human life, it has been and is being augmented by technology. We are a civilization of cyborgs, the film intimates, and that extends to our sexuality. The "New Flesh" of this film's famous catch phrase, is polymorphous, where new organs and new orifices suggest new sexual vistas to explore. The New Flesh is transgender, too, as reified by the vaginal slit in Max Renn's abdomen (and the phallus in Rose's armpit in Rabid, and the parthenogenesis in The Brood, and the sexually dimorphic names of the the Mantle Twins in Dead Ringers, and the new organs for rear entry installed in the gamers in eXistenZ, for example). While the director has intimated a sense of adventure inborn in the possibilities of the new flesh in interviews and commentaries, it's significant that the new flesh in Videodrome is mainly used without consent. The Videodrome signal is coercive. The insertion of pulsing organic things into Renn's neo-vagina begins as exploration, but is exploited through rape and domination.

The interactivity of media and video was in its infancy when David Cronenberg made Videodrome. He saw video as a virus, carrying information to viewers in ways that could barely be controlled or foreseen by the creators of video content. He once speculated that he didn't care if the film ever made money, so long as the virus of his ideas was carried to, say, a man in Cuba via a bootleg video. In this respect, Videodrome is the grandparent of viral media of all kinds. The film is perfectly aware of the implications of the fusion of media and the collective massmind. Video, and media more broadly, shapes our perceptions of reality. The battles of the future will be fought in the video arena, the film tells us (the videodrome, as it were), and damned if that wasn't exactly what happened.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 19, 2019, 11:59:26 PM
18 Scream 2 (1997) - Dunno if I just wasn't in the mood, or what, but I was mostly just bored this time round.

19 Rifftrax - Subspecies 4: The Awakening (1998) (First viewing) - Started out pretty well, but have to admit, by the end it was dragging. Not terrible, but not the best Rifftrax. The movie stunk, of course.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 20, 2019, 05:06:12 PM
20 Event Horizon (1997) (First Viewing) - Actually really enjoyed this. Like, it's not amazing or anything, but it's a lot of fun. Sam Neill is great in it. And the effects hold up really well too.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 22, 2019, 09:48:17 AM
17. Cinematic Titanic Brides of Blood (S.O.S. Edition) - This was a first viewing.  It was fine.  That is all.
18. Rifftrax Live - Manos the Hands of Fate
19. Rifftrax - Psycho II
Most of these were just to keep up my daily intake
20. Cronos  I'd never seen this one before but I am a fan of Del Toro and this definitely sets into motion his style: dark fairy tales with horror elements.  Its a great movie that shows a kind of vampire we rarely see: almost exclusively focused on the detrimental aspects.  There's something about the cinematography this time out that actually reminds me, in scenes, of Cronenberg.  The bathroom scene in particular.
21. Sisters  I'd never seen this one before but it is a good one.  More of a Hitchcockian thriller, albeit one with a disturbing death sequence early on.  It does seem to be intended to be a feminist thriller focused on two women: one is one half of a set of twins who seems normal but is in fact under the sway of a creepy doctor and the other a reporter the authorities don't want to listen too.  I hesitate to say how effective it is in with that regard (maybe on a second viewing), but overall it works pretty well.  The best scene is the use of split screen that works very well in this one.  Also, a killer Bernard Hermann score.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 22, 2019, 05:29:33 PM
21 Son of Dracula (1943) (First viewing) - Lon Chaney Jr plays Dracula in this, and he's not great, but the movie is quite smart in that it spends a lot more time with the creepy female lead. Really enjoyed the film, and it is directed by Robert Siodmak who went on to be a big noir director, and you can see the early stages of that here. She's definitely a femme fatale, and it has a nice bit of double crossing and comeuppance. Really enjoyed it.

22 Little Monsters (2019) (First viewing) - Fairly disposable, but fun Australian comedy. Worth a watch.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 25, 2019, 07:22:25 AM
22. Isle of the Dead - One of the weaker Lewton movies but with a strong final act.  Greek soldiers end up on an island in 1912 where a general's wife is buried.  After finding that the graves have been robbed and the bodies missing, the two high ranking soldiers find that there are other people living on the island and invite them to stay.  After staying the night, the people learn that the island is beset by a plague and are quarantined until the wind changes (I'm not sure I get it either, but OK).  Soon, the Greek general, a cold man, falls under the sway of an old woman who is convinced that one of the other women is a supernatural entity who is to blame.  It is an interesting idea: the film begins talking about the positives of faith but in the latter half it is about the idea of superstition as a dangerous force.  Boris Karloff is fine as the Greek general but not nearly as engaging as he is in the Body Snatcher.  The film mostly isn't a horror but it kicks up in a major way in the last act, taking a very classic short story formula ("My number one fear is being buried alive") and turning it into a tense but beautifully moody affair.  Despite my feeling it is one of my least favourite of the Lewton movies, it is worth checking out for the ending.
23.  Return to Glennascaul - A short feature starring Orsen Welles as the narrator and himself.  While filming Othello in Dublin, Welles picks up a man who begins to tell him his own ghost story.  It's a very familiar ghost story and while very well filmed, it isn't very scary.  That said, in the opening narration, it is described as a "Tall Tale" and fits more into that mold.  Its fine but nice cinematography aside, I don't think there's too much to recommend. Like, I won't say "don't watch it" but it feels pretty inessential in the Welles canon.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on October 25, 2019, 04:49:22 PM
23 The Mummy's Ghost (1944) (First viewing) - Was worried about this one after how bad the last Mummy movie was, but this was a lot better. And a great, dark ending.

24 Ginger Snaps (2000) (First viewing) - My wife has owned this on DVD since before we met, but we've never watched it till now. I thought it was very solid and well done.

25 The Omen (1976) - The best. Never bothered with any of the sequels.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Charles Castle on October 25, 2019, 06:26:32 PM
9 The Nightingale

The Nightingale (2018) shares some elements with director Jennifer Kent's debut film, The Babadook. Both films are about motherhood. Both films are about women driven to extremes. Otherwise, the resemblance is slight. Where The Babadook was an intimate, almost private film, The Nightingale is altogether more ambitious. It takes its specific story and projects from it a more global portrait of a world that is sick at heart. It's also a good deal more violent. There were walk-outs at the showing I attended, something I can probably chalk up to an arthouse audience unaccustomed to a rape/revenge film that doesn't pull any of its punches. Even accounting for that, it's a rough film to watch. It's not an exploitation movie, not really, but it has the visceral impact of one.

The story follows Clare, an Irish woman transported to Tasmania for some unspecified crime. In Tasmania, she is on parole, serving a military garrison out in the bush who are busy pushing out the black natives in favor of white settlers. Clare has married fellow convict Aidan, and has a child by him. She is the main entertainment for the troops when she isn't doing domestic work, billed by the commanding officer as "The Nightingale" for her beautiful singing voice. Lieutenant Hawkins is bucking for a promotion, and a visiting senior officer is on hand evaluating his fitness for a command back in civilization (so to speak). In private, Hawkins views Clare as his "property" and refuses to grant her the letter that would free her of her servitude even though she's served her sentence for her crime. Instead, Hawkins uses her for his own gratification, raping her whenever he feels the need. When Hawkins is denied his promotion because his unit is drunk and ill-disciplined, he takes it out on her. When Aidan takes it upon himself to demand her freedom, Hawkins and two of his soldiers storm their home and kill him. Hawkins deigns to "share" Clare with his sergeant, but the screaming of the baby distracts him. The other soldier silences the child by bashing her against the wall of the cabin. The three of them leave Clare for dead, and set out to beat the captain back to headquarters in order to preempt his report so that Hawkins can claim his promotion. Clare, for her part, survives and vows to hunt the men who murdered her family to the ends of the Earth. She commandeers a tracker, Billy, who is one of the last members of his tribe. He has no love for Clare and Clare disdains him, but necessity compels her. Together, they set out after Hawkins.

In addition to its main plot, there are two thematic threads running through The Nightingale. The first is the horror of a colonial power that places one type of person at the apex of its power structure--white Anglo-Saxon men, natch--and disregards the humanity of everyone else. In the film, that locus of power is Hawkins, whose only real check comes from other white men who are higher in the structure of (military) power than he is. In his corner of the world, though, when no one else is looking? There, he's God. He decides who lives and dies, and he sees others--even his own subordinates in white male power--as disposable once they've exhausted their usefulness to him. He kills Clare's husband because he's an annoyance. He has her baby killed because the child cries too loud as he's raping Clare. He feels no remorse for any of this because as convicts and as Irish, Clare and her family aren't human, or even useful animals anymore. The film is blunt in its assessment of colonialism, and perhaps over the top, but for the fact that the historical circumstances in which the story exists were very real. It's worth keeping in mind that the racism endemic to the histories of both Australia and the United States were taught to them by England. The vehemence with which Clare denies that she is English to Billy is the repudiation of a subject people, and carves her away from colonialism in spite of the color of her skin.

The other thematic thread running through the film is found in the relationship between Clare and Billy, which at first mirrors the power structure in which Hawkins exists. Clare is white, Billy is black, therefore she has power over him. This is a kyriarchal relationship in which intersecting oppressions trickle down from their fountainhead. But unlike Hawkins, Clare comes to realize that Billy is just as human as she is, with wants and needs and a pain as deep as hers from the extermination of his people and his family. They are mirrors of each other, and when Clare finally ceases to call Billy "boy," they realize they are more similar than different. The implication found in their relationship is that the only way to overthrow the patriarchal colonialism of Hawkins and the British is for oppressed peoples to put aside their differences and unite in common cause. The film is clear-eyed about this, though, because it places significant barriers to this reconciliation between Clare and Billy, and they are few in numbers and not as well armed as Hawkins and his men.

The surface plot of the film makes obvious that male and female is an axis of conflict, too, given that this is a rape/revenge film, and the rage engendered by that framing is sometimes all consuming for both the characters and for the way the film's violence impacts the viewer. Such is the force of these scenes that further acts of violence by Hawkins seem like rape even when they aren't. And, of course, Hawkins isn't the only rapist the British characters have in tow. Hawkins's sergeant wants a taste of the aboriginal girl they encounter and feels obliged to abduct her and use her as he sees fit, and of course he kills her. The key motivating element of both men's characters is entitlement. The rage that fills him is the rage of mediocre white men who are thwarted from receiving what they view as their just due. They have been told that they are better than everyone because they are white and male and that everything is theirs to take regardless of the wants of the not white or not male peoples of the Earth, and if that's not the core of rape culture and Patriarchy in general then nothing is. In this, the film reveals the strength of having a woman in control of the narrative, because a male filmmaker might not find this locus. Kent, on the other hand, puts almost too fine a point on it. There are other elements of the film that seem female-identified, too, not least of which is the way it casts the incredibly beautiful Sam Claflin as Hawkins. There is a tendency in a lot of rape films made by men to view rapists as somehow ugly or unappealing, but this film makes him a golden boy who doesn't need to rape except as a function of basic existence. He might as well be brushing his teeth or beating off into a napkin for all the meaning it has for him. Perhaps the most monstrous element of a monstrous character is that he's not even all that remarkable. Clare's status as a mother further identifies the film with a female gaze, and some of her difficulties over the course of the film are biological troubles that a male filmmaker might not think about. What does she do with the milk her breasts are still producing, for example? This adds a layer of misery to her journey and adds both specificity and universality to her character.

This is also the work of a director who is at home with horror. This is a haunted film, in which Clare is tormented by ghosts that may or may not be real, but the visions they provide are horror movie set-pieces. This is particularly true when she goes completely mad near the end of the film once Hawkins captures Billy and leaves her alone and unarmed in the bush. A more visceral kind of horror is found in the homestead where Clare and Billy find two dead settlers, a scene that plays a bit like something from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre or Blood Meridian. This scene, and it's rape scenes are indicative of a film that understands the value of blunt force trauma as opposed to insinuation and elision. Indeed, this is not a subtle film at all. Its themes are barely subtextual, and usually play out right in the open. The Nightingale is also one of those films that suggests that there is no catharsis in revenge. Both Clare and Billy get their revenge in the end, but what has their revenge accomplished? They still end up on a beach together as Billy breathes in ragged dying breaths from his wounds and Clare watches as Billy, the last of his kind, rages at a rising sun that never sets on the brutal empire that has made him extinct.

This doesn't coat anything in treacle to make it go down easy. It's a hard film to watch and a harder film to love. It's a necessary watch, though, one that has timed its moment perfectly.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Compound on October 28, 2019, 06:04:57 PM
Backed up. Will review later. Side note- apparently I confused Devil Fish with Touch of Satan, so I was very confused while watching that episode
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 28, 2019, 06:20:22 PM
Backed up. Will review later. Side note- apparently I confused Devil Fish with Touch of Satan, so I was very confused while watching that episode

Both have places where the fish lives.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on October 29, 2019, 06:33:29 AM
25. Jigoku - This is an unusual picture.  And one that I feel requires a lot of unpacking.  Basically, a guy is in a car with a weird, sketchy classmate.  He hits a drunk man in the middle of the road and the two drive off.  Our hero wants to confess to the cops but his creepy friend won't have it.  Turns out the guy they iced was a gang member and his mother and girlfriend want revenge.  Later, his girlfriend dies due to an accident.  Then, our hero also returns to the retirement home that his father runs where his mother is dying while dad is messing around with a mistress.  A lot of operatic melodrama happens that ends eith EVERYONE dying.  That's the half-way point.  Then they all go to Hell and the second half is everyone suffering in Buddhist Hell where our hero learns that his unborn daughter wound up there and he must rescue her.

It's a lot to take in.  The second half is a series of grotesque tortures and a visual extravaganza.  I'm not sure what it is trying to say about sin. Our hero isn't overtly evil like the other characters BUT his inaction allows bad things to happen.  That, I get.  But he also is being punished for "killing" his girlfriend by taking a cab instead of taking her suggestion to walk. So maybe it also has something to say about guilt, even when it is about something that couldn't be predicted.  It ends on a weird, ambiguous note, basically stopping in an unresolved cliffhanger.  I think the fact that I'm still chewing on it means I like it, or at least find it interesting (I definitely don't dislike it).  I'm also unclear on what the deal with the evil friend is.  He seems to have supernatural knowledge of people's sins and in Hell he's being punished for "selling his soul" or something, but I think that's metaphorical?  Anyway, glad I saw this unusual Japanese horror classic.

26. Rifftrax - Tourist Trap  A lot of spaces call this an "underrated gem" and I kind of get it.  It's not a good movie (the villains whole... deal feels like it keeps changing from one twist to another until there's really no consistency), but I actually find it pretty watchable, even without riffs.  But watch with riffs.

27. The Leopard Man - I think I've seen this one before, but forgot it.  Not one of the best Lewton movies on the whole, but the suspense scenes are good and the climax during the funeral procession is eerie.

28.  Cat People - Still good.  Simone Simon is super charismatic, playing her sweet and darker sides very well.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on November 01, 2019, 07:02:11 AM
29. The Seventh Victim - I'll admit, the film didn't have my full attention at the time but this wasn't a particularly enthralling Lewton movie to me.  I might give it another go when I'm less distracted.  Still, it has an unusual premise.  A woman finds her sister is missing and eventually learns that she's mixed up with a society of devil worshippers who want her dead.  But even stranger, the devil worshippers have a policy against murder, so instead, they want to peer pressure her into suicide.  It's a quirky, weird, dark picture.  I might like it one a second go through.

30. Fiend Without a Face - As b-movies from the 1950s go, this is definitely one of the better ones.  It has cool, stop motion monsters (though they don't show up visually until the last act) and is surprisingly bloody for the era.  In an American army base in Canada, a series of mysterious deaths begin, prompting a high ranking official to investigate and discovering a weird threat.  Surprisingly, the monsters aren't aliens or even genetically engineered creatures, but an entity created and given flesh by psychic powers.  It feels a bit like its due for a Cronenberg style intelligent body horror-style remake.  The film itself isn't... intelligence, but it isn't super dumb either.  It's got some good news and the well-intentioned mad scientist's actor is doing good work.  The ending is weird, in that it has a classic "I love you" Hollywood happy ending despite the copious death and gore through the film.  This one is fun.

31. The Final Girls - I wish I liked this one more than I did.  It does a LOT right.  But as a horror comedy (or a comedy about horror) it has too few laughs and I feel it doesn't understand the genre it is parodying beyond the tropes that are already well known through pop culture.  The premise is a group of friends see a cheesy 80's slasher and their's a fire in the theatre.  In an attempt to escape they cut through the screen and end up in the movie itself.  Pretty simple stuff.  But also, one of the actresses is the mother of one of the characters, and she wants to help her survive the film, as her real mother died three years prior.

What does the film do right?  Well, it has funny people in it, particularly Alia Shawkat and Thomas Middleditch.  It knows to give the film a strong emotional core with the lead characters plight wanting to help someone who is not her mom but she sees her mom in their and wants desperately to protect her.  It does swing for the fences in terms of style and mechanics of the laws of the film.  Early on, they see the characters pass them by in a van, repeating the same words and actions every 92 minutes (the film's running time).  At one point, they escape the killer by creating a flashback, only to have the killer be in the flashback, getting hit by a car and knocking over the title cards proclaiming the year.  As either an experiment in film making and an homage/parody to Sam Riami's crazy camera work, there is a series of murders shot with insane zooms and pans (its a bit much but it is also fun).  The film really is swinging for the fences and is clearly trying to create a movie that is a complete package creatively, comedically and emotionally.

Which is a shame for what the film doesn't do right: hold together very well.  I think the film wants to say something about the depths of seemingly shallow character but I don't think it gives us enough time for it to work.  As a comedy, its amusing, but not really very funny.  Its also PG-13 and not all horror comedies need to be rated R but I think considering what this film wants to do, it should have been.  Granted, the film tries to get around it some interesting way, such as one character dying a way without blood but where he is horribly and painfully contorted.  Some wild deaths are hinted at, they are bloodless and cut away from quickly to keep its rating.  But I feel like there should have been some comedic shocks and a lot of over the top blood and guts would have helped.

And, as I said, I feel like it doesn't know what it is trying to emulate.  The film is too colourful when it is trying to emulate a time when film looked a little rougher.  Those films usually looked a bit ugly and cheap and this film doesn't.  The action scene in the end feels more like a parody of a late 90s action scene rather than a mid-80s horror movie.  The film doesn't feel specific enough about what those movies where.  They try to include intentionally over the top acting from the camp councellors, but it doesn't read genuine to me and is too mannered rather than natural unnatural acting.  Having seen a lot of MST3k movies, bad acting and scene chewing comes in a lot of different styles but this feels too broad.

But, overall, the film just didn't make me laugh as much.  Its not a "bad" movie, but it is only OK, which is frustrating when I can see a MUCH better movie around the fringes, especially when it tries to focus on character.  Still, this is much better than The Final Girl (singular) which is just bad.

32. It  Ended my Halloween viewing here.  Hadn't seen it before but I liked it a lot.  I will say, I didn't find it very scary but as a fun popcorn flick, it was a delight.  I'd seen the mini-series a decade ago and my thought then was "Tim Curry aside, this isn't good, but the bare bones of the story is good." and this film feels like the realization of that.  I feel like this film gets how scary it is to be young, to be subject to other people who may not have our best interests at heart.  To have less of a fear filter, making them more vulnerable not only physically but mentally.  Ironically, this also gives them their strength, as the adults seem set in their ways and are literally unable to see the problem while the kids can grow, adapt and use each other to become stronger both as a group and as individuals.

Its been a while since I've seen the mini-series but I like what Bill Skarsgaard is doing.  Tim Curry's Pennywise is a sadist (the way I remember him) but Skaarsgard plays him as truly alien, mimicing humanity in a way that is off.  I don't know if he entirely understands the fear he is using to break people down or bend them to his will.  He's just knows the fear in the broadest sense and how to use it to great effect.

The film also feels very Speilbergian.  Its a horror story but also, despite being rated R, its a kids adventure movie.  (I also sppreciate that this was a film that was 100% greenlit due to Stranger Things existance and even stars Finn Wolfhard AND is set in the 80s despite some superficial elements, feels like a very different animal, not trying to ape it tonally, which would have been easy, even if just to appease film execs).  The story is a horror epic but it feels more intimate.  At the same time, its shot big in a lot of scenes, like the ariel shot when Ben is being chased through the river by bullies.

I hear the sequel is a disappointment, which is a shame, but I still look forward to checking it out sometime.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Edward J Grug III on November 03, 2019, 06:19:41 PM
26 Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967) - The worst.

27 House of Frankenstein (1944) (First viewing) - Fun, but not great. It's weird how the Dracula part is like its own movie at the start and doesn't really run into the other movie. Karloff as the mad scientist is great, but there's barely any actual wolfman, and Frankenstein's monster is unconscious for most of his screen time. Kind of a mess really.

And then our Halloween viewing abruptly ends as we went on holiday interstate to attend a wedding, and the day before we left I checked our booking to see if they had a blu ray player, so see what I should pack, to learn that they didn't even have a TV :P
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: The Lurker on November 03, 2019, 07:21:26 PM
26 Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967) - The worst.

27 House of Frankenstein (1944) (First viewing) - Fun, but not great. It's weird how the Dracula part is like its own movie at the start and doesn't really run into the other movie. Karloff as the mad scientist is great, but there's barely any actual wolfman, and Frankenstein's monster is unconscious for most of his screen time. Kind of a mess really.

And then our Halloween viewing abruptly ends as we went on holiday interstate to attend a wedding, and the day before we left I checked our booking to see if they had a blu ray player, so see what I should pack, to learn that they didn't even have a TV :P
In regards to Hillbillys, thank goodness they cut the concert at the end of the film out of the Rifftrax version.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on November 04, 2019, 09:42:33 AM
Ugh, Hillbillies. I'll get into that one later.

I really wanted to review the ones I did this year, even if the reviews are very, very late...at least, after the fifth.

6. Final Exam (1981)
Students at the end of the school year at a university hear about murders at another campus, only for the murderer to show up there.
On the one hand, it's nice to see a movie that, despite some humor, takes its premise seriously. So many slasher movies are cynical, and that this movie starts with two people making out in a car and it's not done as a joke is just odd to see. On the other, it's a fairly generic movie, with a generic villain (though he does catch an arrow out of the air, which the actor could do in real life, which was cool), and the acting isn't great.  Kudos to the scene in it that is something that no movie today would ever try. Watch it, and you'll know what I mean.  Not bad, but skippable.

7. Killbots/Chopping Mall (1986)
Lightning strikes the CPU of a Mall's new robot security system and causes it to seek out those staying late in the mall.
I can't call this movie Chopping Mall. It is and always will be Killbots since I first saw it on TV.  In that same spirit, it's dumb, but it's a very fun kind of dumb, with cameos and in jokes everywhere (and the guy who played Joey in Nightmare 3 as an uncredited shoplifter during the opening credits). One of Roger Corman's better produced efforts.
 
8. Giant from the Unknown (1958)
An archaeologist searching for an ancient Spanish expedition gets more than bargained for when the evil Vargas rises from the grave to wreak havoc.
Claimed to be a schlocky classic on the description, it's not really all that shocking...it's very typically 1950s, with a lot of explanation, bullets having no effect, and some great scenes of dummies being tossed. Decent fun.

9. They Came from Beyond Space (1967)
Bodiless aliens have a strange scheme that a researcher, immune to their possession ability due to a plate in his head, tries to find out.
This apparently didn't do well on release...a shame, because I had a good time with it.  It has some fight scenes you don't expect from people pushing 50, including a guy body slammed into a table. Main problem is the ending is a little hokey. But hey, 1989 Batman movie Alfred Michael Gough appears in it very briefly, which is nice.

10. I Was a Teenage Zombie (1985)
Some teenagers accidentally kill a pusher who sold them bad weed, but dumping him in a radioactive river turns out to be a bad idea. When his zombified corpse kills one of their own, they bring him back to life to deal with the evil zombie.
This is one of those $5 low budget movies that got made during a time when anyone who could sell a tape to a video store in the hopes of making money.  It is grimy, sleazy looking...and pretty gory and funny.  Definitely a cult film in the style of Killing Spree, but I liked this a lot better.

More to come!
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Johnny Unusual on November 04, 2019, 03:44:26 PM

7. Killbots/Chopping Mall (1986)
I can't call this movie Chopping Mall.

I don't blame you considering there's very little chopping.  It's more like Lazer Mall but that really doesn't work as a pun.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on November 05, 2019, 06:05:23 AM
11. The Dead Hate the Living! (2000)
Cheap low budget filmmakers make a terrible mistake while making their crummy horror movie. Oh, and the actual film is about using a corpse in their cheap movie which opens a portal to the realm of the dead.
I swear I've seen this movie for a previous October, but I can't find evidence that I did. Either way, it sucks. It's poorly acted, poorly filmed, and other than some nice gore effects has little to recommend it.  However, it is not the worst I saw this year...and not even the worst Full Moon Entertainment movie I saw this year.

12. ShadowZone (1989/1990)
A sleep study experiment opens a gateway where a creature can look like anything comes through and terrorizes people trapped in an underground lab.
Maybe I am nicer to this movie after Dead Hate the Living than I should be, but I did actually kind of like it. It's another Full Moon Production, but made when the company still had standards, and the movie actually managed to do what a lot of other movies failed to do...establish suspense and a sense of dread.  The ending is a little off-tone, but other than that, I would watch it again. Also, James Hong is in it, doing a slight German accent for some reason.

13. GhostKeeper (1981)
Young Canadians go snowmobiling and come across an abandoned ski lodge, where something lives in the basement. The plot then ignores this premise when the filmmaker ran out of money.
No, that's actually what happens.  The movie got halfway through, ran out of money, and the director decided to start making stuff up instead of following the rest of the screenplay.  What results is a disjointed mess that is interesting only in how big a train wreck it becomes. It's almost an hour and a half of nothing actually happening to people we don't care about (really, these are some of the scummiest protagonists ever put onscreen).  Not worth the watch.

14. Rifftrax: Mutant (1985/2012)
Palate cleanser.  Much needed.  As bad as this movie is, at least it's entertaining, and the riffs are still great.

15. Curtains (1980/1983)
A controversial director tests out six women for his newest lead, only for someone to start bumping them off one by one.
This is another film plagued by development hell, which began production in 1980 but didn't finish until '83.  While it might be the most "mature" themed film I've seen (it plays kind of like a serial killer version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf), it's dark, it's hard to tell who anyone is, there's almost no character development, and it's very sketchily edited. John Vernon does a great job as the director, though.

More soon!
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on November 05, 2019, 09:57:26 AM
16. Dr. Moreau's House of Pain (2002)
Three 20 somethings living in 1920-something, looking for the guy's missing brother, get led to a house where Dr. Moreau now works and lives with four experiments and a disgruntled assistant.
I laughed a few times during this movie...not because I found anything funny, but because I genuinely felt bad for everyone involved. This movie was made for no one...it isn't scary, it isn't sexy, it isn't interesting. If you listen closely, you can hear everyone's career dying, both in front of and behind the camera. It also doesn't help that the pig guy is overdubbed by what I can only assume is the ghost of the lady who did Rita Repulsive on the Power Rangers.  It is worse than bad...it is a waste of everyone's time, including the film crew.  Worst movie I saw (unriffed) this month.
Still, not as bad as Bad Moon Rising, but that's not saying much. (There, got in my Bad Moon Rising dig!)

17. Parasite (1982)
In post apocalypse 1992, a man searches for a way to destroy a government created parasite before it consumes him and everyone around him...before the agent chasing him stops him from doing it.
Somebody grab Charles Band, show this movie side by side next to Dr. Moreau, and then rub his nose in Dr. Moreau while shouting, "Bad! No! No biscuit!". Parasite is cheesy, but it knows it's budget and uses it wisely. It feels like there is actually an interesting world going on in the background of this that would be worth knowing more about.  Also, interesting to see young Demi Moore in it. Worth catching, but it is schlocky.

18. The Evil (1978)
A doctor tries to open a new facility for drug rehab in a Civil War era building, only to find unpleasantly that the house's builder had trapped something terrible in its depths.
I really liked this one. I can't even explain why, but I really enjoy the intensity of it. It's very clear from the start this is all demonic and not someone's insanity (to the point where even th Amityville House would get out), but once the evil is unleashed, it does not let up.  Even the effects are good in this, even though you can see wires yanking people around.  Definitely feels like character development got left behind in the cutting room and your mileage may vary on the ending (which is surreal and abrupt), but I had a good time watching it.  Recommended.

19. Transylvania 6-5000 (1984)
Two tabloid reporters travel to Transylvania to learn the truth about a purported Frankenstein, and end up having the deal with a mystery and the weirdo locals.
I like this movie more than I should, and it should be better than it is. Written and directed by Mel Brooks collaborator Rudy De Luca ("Speak up, Mucus!") and starring a boatload of people, this should be a laugh riot, but other than a few good lines and every scene with Michael Richards (watch him make Jeff Goldblum laugh during the lunch scene), it's only average at best.  But it's more nostalgia with me than if it's actually good.

20. Frightmare (1981/83)
Film students snatch the body of their recently deceased B-Movie hero, only to find he hasn't let the grave keep his murderous instincts down.
Essentially plotless, Frightmare is very wonderfully atmospheric, but never really has a point other than bumping people off...which is a shame, because it is the kind of movie which really tries to have some deeper meaning but never quite gets there. The death scenes are decent, though, and not only does a young Jeffrey Combs show up (maybe his first?) but also the main gang leader from Parasite.  Not bad, but you can definitely see the effects of Development Hell.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on November 06, 2019, 07:23:30 AM
21. Bob's Burgers - Pig Trouble in Little Tina (Halloween Special 2019)
After making fun of her ugly class dissection pig so she can get invited to a hayride with the "cool" kids, Tina is haunted by the pig in her nightmares.
I enjoyed this, but this may be hands down the grossest this show has ever been...and that includes the episode where Bob has to shove a baby rat in his pants. Thankfully, they don't show Tina rooting around the in the dumpster looking for the dissected pig, but they don't have to, really.

22. Rifftrax: Hillbillies in a Haunted House (1967/2016)
The title doesn't lie.  But it doesn't give the whole story, either, leaving out musky Lon Chaney, a guy jn a gorilla suit, and international spy rings.
I just have to ask: Who is this movie for? Why did anyone think this was a good idea? What was so great about prior Hillbilly movies that this got greenlit? Still and all, Rifftrax aside, it's still a better movie than Dr. Moreau...at least this movie's set occasionally doesn't look like a set, and the acting is better, even if the film's premise makes absolutely no sense.  Man, when 60s comedy is good, it's great, but when it's bad, it's really really bad

23. Simpsons Halloween XXX (2019)
Yep, Episode 666, lining up just in time. Usual schtick, three stories with an opener: Maggie as Damien, Stranger Things knock-off,  Homer dies and re-enters the bodies of those about to die to get a second chance, and Selma falls in love with Kang.  Even after all these years (and yes, I know a lot of this stuff is looking tired and long in the tooth) there are still funny moments (Lenny hanging out with a monster that ate Carl, "There are rats in this container!  How thoughtful!"), but why is it standard now for all of the stories to have weird "anti-endings" that don't wrap up anything?

24. Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions (1995)
After sealing away his former mentor, a real magician and a detective work together to stop his resurrection.
Been awhile since I saw this, and it struck me this time around how utterly useless the Swann character really is. I think it's intentional as Scott Bakula is the real hero, but man, he doesn't do anything except bitch and moan.  I do like the whole detective noir thing, which may be one of the reasons I write my Jack Alan comedies the way I do.

25. Waxwork (1988)
A recently opened Waxwork is actually a trap to lure unsuspecting victims to become permanent parts of the exhibit and bring to life history's worst madmen and monsters.  Hijinks ensue.
I first saw this a few years ago, and I can't remember if I liked it then or not, but I think I was in the right mood this year. Intentionally tongue in cheek, but not cynical, it all descends into silliness, but has a good time doing it.

Last six to come soon!
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: The Lurker on November 06, 2019, 08:43:34 AM

22. Rifftrax: Hillbillies in a Haunted House (1967/2016)
The title doesn't lie.  But it doesn't give the whole story, either, leaving out musky Lon Chaney, a guy jn a gorilla suit, and international spy rings.
I just have to ask: Who is this movie for? Why did anyone think this was a good idea? What was so great about prior Hillbilly movies that this got greenlit? Still and all, Rifftrax aside, it's still a better movie than Dr. Moreau...at least this movie's set occasionally doesn't look like a set, and the acting is better, even if the film's premise makes absolutely no sense.  Man, when 60s comedy is good, it's great, but when it's bad, it's really really bad

Hillbillies feels oddly like a Hanna Barbera thing.  I was half expecting a laugh track at several moments in the movie.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on November 06, 2019, 09:51:55 AM
You do almost expect them to do one of those hallway gags where everyone is chasing through different doors. But speaking of the 60s...
26. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
"I DEMAND RESTITUTION!"
Even 53 years on, this is still wonderful. And my kids enjoyed it, as well.

27. Class of Nuke'Em High (1986)
Miscreants and radiation terrorize a high school...and both are about to collide in a very nasty way.
Just like Full Moon, there is a scuzzy charm to the earlier Troma films that they lost as they moved into the 90s and 2000s.  This one is gory, gross, completely tasteless, and has a wonderful time reveling in its own glory. Why this is so hard to capture in the modern age is beyond me, but if you like Troma, chances are it's because of this or Toxic Avenger, and this I like just a little bit more.

28.  Woman in Black (2012)
A widowed lawyer digs into the paperwork of a dilapidated mansion, to find it has ghostly secrets that continue to terrorize the nearby town.
The most modern movie on my list that isn't a TV special, and it kind of both surprised me and landed square in my expectations.  The acting is good (yes, now that time has separated him from Harry Potter, Radcliffe stands on his own just fine), and the house and cinematography are lovely and well done.  But all looks so pristine...even the mud looks clean and polished and modern movie sanitized.  It's just the way movies look today, and I'm not sure it's always a great thing.  It's not a bad movie, though, but it is a very slow burn.  If you like that sort of thing, you'll enjoy this.

29. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest (2018)
George and the Man in the Yellow Hat spend the season trying to solve the mystery of a scarecrow spirit who kicks  hats off of people's heads, as well as have fun at the local festival.
Another one to watch with the kids.  Not my first choice, but they enjoyed it, though I somehow missed what the actual hat kicking was caused by.  I just know there is a town that openly understands a monkey, and we should learn from their secrets.

30. Witch's Night Out (1978)
Two kids have their Halloween wishes granted by a witch looking for some Halloween fun, which causes more mischief than intended.
This one I skipped for the kids because the animation is very much in the R. Crumb style, which is very avant garde and not something they seemed interested in (but a style you definitely don't see today, which is a shame).  I mostly wanted to see this because a friend of mine had it on videotape which got destroyed, and it was streaming in good quality.  It is a fun, if harmless, special, but notable for the voices of Catherine O'Hara and Gilda Radner.  Cult animation enthusiasts and family viewers, I recommend.

31. Ghostbusters (1984)
Four on their game actors appear in one of the most quotable classics from the 80s.
Just barely squeezed this one in on Halloween night, but there's very little to say that hasn't been said.  If you've seen it, you know it, and even if you haven't you probably know more about it than you think. Highly recommended, on a regular basis.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Darth Geek on November 06, 2019, 10:56:41 AM
You do almost expect them to do one of those hallway gags where everyone is chasing through different doors. But speaking of the 60s...
26. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
"I DEMAND RESTITUTION!"
Even 53 years on, this is still wonderful. And my kids enjoyed it, as well.

Have you seen it with the Cinester Theater riff? It's very funny. The audio isn't the best, though.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: SJP on November 06, 2019, 11:37:04 AM
I have not, but I believe I have it as a result of a previous Darth Geek giveaway, so I will have to take a look.
Title: Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
Post by: Darth Geek on November 06, 2019, 01:05:11 PM
I have not, but I believe I have it as a result of a previous Darth Geek giveaway, so I will have to take a look.
Cool. They also riffed the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

That reminds me, I need to start figuring out what I'm going to do for the upcoming iRiffmas. I don't even remember what I did for last year.