login

Author Topic: October Horror Movie a Day 2014  (Read 6012 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2816
  • Liked: 204
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2014, 08:24:44 PM »
7. Dracula Untold (2014)
Unfortunately, I can't officially review this here due to contractual obligations; I will have my official review up on a different website soon, though.  Say, within the next few days when it can be posted.
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.


Offline Compound

  • Grendel's Mom
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Liked: 995
  • Happy 11th Birthday, Synch Issues!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2014, 09:35:32 PM »
The Returned (2013)*

Quick Synopsis: Scientists find a cure that stops the spread of a zombie virus, allowing victims to live normal lives. But the vaccine is extracted from zombies, and the supply of them is running quite low.

Longer bit:
We start off witnessing a zombie attack. Man turns, attacks wife in front of their little girl. Then we fast forward two decades to a generic modern western city. We watch a doctor attend to various sick people, who we later discover are infected with the zombie virus. It's Kate, the little girl from the beginning.  She's fallen in love with Alex, who's one of the infected who are called “The Returned.” The Returned are able to keep their disease in check by injecting a dose of the serum every 36 hours. But in the background we can hear that supplies are running low.  Kate and Alex attempt to live a normal life. They meet with friends. They go to work. But the serum is almost gone.

As supplies dwindle, things come to a head. Some anti-Returned activists, who think that the infected are a threat, storm the hospital and kill all the patients and steal the hospital hard drives with the patient info on them. The activists then begin to use that info to visit the infected and kill them before they become a threat. Kate and Alex take their supply of the serum, which they've been hoarding, and hide out at their friends' home in the sticks. As they do so, the government begins to round up the Returned to take them to military hospitals until a synthetic version of the drug can be completed.  An assassin tries to kill Alex, but is shot himself. The supplies of the serum run completely dry, and the cops begin to round up the remaining Returned to forcibly take them to camps. Kate finds a few more doses of the serum and goes to collect them, only to find her supplier dead. It turns out that the wife of Alex's friend is also Returned. They steal Alex's serum while he slept and then head to the hills themselves. The government announces that the synthetic serum will be delayed a few days. Alex locks himself in his studio, awaiting the change and Kate returns to the hospital to see if there is anything to be done. The head doctor gives Kate the last remaining supply of the serum and she calls Alex with the good news. And she loudly says “I'VE GOT 50 DOSES OF THE SERUM” while walking through the parking garage towards her car. (slow clap) Of course some one overhears this, and attacks her , grabbing the serum case. She runs him down with her car, destroying all the vials of the serum. Kate drives back to Alex's studio and stays with him while he turns, shooting him in the head afterwards. Then she heads back to the hospital, while fireworks explode in the background. The head doc runs up to her with the happy news that the synthetic serum worked and they're distributing the new serum right now. Then we get a brief time skip and see Kate moving into her new home, with the assassin's gun and a map showing the recent movements of her former “friends.”

Thoughts:
So, how many zombies were onscreen in this film? Four. Mom, dad, the guy who infected Alex in a flashback and a gas station attendant. That one's not really important. So it's more psychological horror than anything. Decently acted. The F/X aren't really an issue. You spend maybe 45 seconds with the zombies in the film. But, it's got a very strong “Made in Canada!” undertone to the film and it makes it very distracting to this non-Canadian. “A gun? I won't allow a gun in this house!” Not two days ago, someone broke into your apartment and tried to shoot your husband/Fiance/boyfriend (Never quite sure which it was) in the head. I think keeping a gun around might be warranted. “The evil anti-Returned people on the TV want to put the Returned into camps!” I'll note that while I don't approve of the whole “Kill the infected before they turn zombie!” thing, they still have a highly infectious disease which you've just run out of a cure for and will become very virulent in about 36 hours. I think isolating them from the general public might be a good idea. At one point the Returned are compared to the obese and diabetics. I'm not a medical professional, but I don't recall either problem being infectious. Although I've been a few places where I have my doubts about obesity. If this film was made 10 years earlier, I'd think they were making some sort of point about AIDS, but given the 2013 date of the film, I kinda doubt that that was the issue being addressed. Or it might not have been a metaphor for any other disease other than zombieism. Who knows?

In any case, I can see where the film makers were going, but there's never enough horror or drama in the film to make it really worthwhile.  It's just there and kinda bland.


Offline Compound

  • Grendel's Mom
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Liked: 995
  • Happy 11th Birthday, Synch Issues!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2014, 09:43:41 PM »
Sigh.

When the first words in a film are "I was born with seven (bit of female anatomy that I should probably not mention due to TOS)" that brings to mind this:




(edited because the movie gave a little bit too much information.)
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 10:06:00 PM by Compound »


Offline Compound

  • Grendel's Mom
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Liked: 995
  • Happy 11th Birthday, Synch Issues!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2014, 12:02:43 AM »
Bad Biology (2008)

Quick Synopsis: A mutant human talks. A lot. And has sex. A lot. And gives birth to mutant babies. A lot. And then she meets a guy who has issues with his barber pole. It's a love story.

Longer Bit:
Yeah, I'm going to spoiler this one.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Notes:
So, should I watch this?



No. It's awful. It's not erotic. It's not scary. It's not thoughtful. It's not exciting nor insightful of the human condition nor entertaining. It makes The Room seem like a Mamet play. It's a horrible waste of 90 minutes.

FYI, this is from the director of “Basket Case” and “Frankenhooker” so if you're a fan of those films, you might be more forgiving of the film. I'd advise you to just watch those instead.


Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2816
  • Liked: 204
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2014, 04:05:52 PM »
Day 8: Halloween (1978)

I probably don't need to review this one.  I reviewed it last year, and quite frankly I don't think I can say more than needs to be said.  It wasn't my plan to watch it...the movie I'm watching for the 9th was the one I originally scheduled time to watch...but I was watching it with a friend who hadn't seen it and we had a good time riffing along with it.  I stand behind my claim that I've seen it enough times that it's no longer scary, but more of a comforting reminder of simpler horror days when stuff wasn't constantly crammed in our faces.  It's a movie that's allowed to breathe, and that's not always a bad thing.
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.


Offline Darth Geek

  • The Efron
  • ****
  • Posts: 28130
  • Liked: 5900
  • I am boring and destined to die alone!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2014, 04:07:33 PM »
I've seen it enough times that it's no longer scary,
So have I. I've seen it once.



Offline Compound

  • Grendel's Mom
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Liked: 995
  • Happy 11th Birthday, Synch Issues!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2014, 08:53:14 PM »
Just finished a Godzilla film.


Dubbed into Hindi.


With no English subtitles.


And sadly it's been one of the most coherent things I've been involved with today.


Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2816
  • Liked: 204
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2014, 10:11:27 PM »
Day 9: Odd Thomas (2013)
I will admit, I am a sucker for Stephen Sommers.  Yes, he can be hit and miss at times (G.I. Joe, anyone?), but he still has a sense of mixing his big blockbusters with a sense of fun that I can't ignore.  But I was unsure about this.  I had never read the Dean Koontz series this is based on, so I can't make a "Book was Better Than the Movie"(TM) argument, but damn if this movie wasn't really surprisingly enjoyable.  I don't know if it was made direct to video or cable (it has no rating), but it's better than some theatrical releases I've seen this year.
Odd Thomas is a young man who can see and communicate with the dead (and other strange creatures), and the only people who understand him are the police chief (Willem Dafoe in a non-villain role) and his girlfriend Stormy.  Odd normally helps the dead solve their problems, but when a really weird fellow he refers to as Fungus Bob comes to town surrounded by demonic creatures Odd calls Bodachs, he gets concerned something really horrible is about to happen.
All in all, I found it a very well done horror comedy.  Good mix of fun and gore.  Not really scary by any means, but it was a quite nice surprise to stumble across.  I really didn't expect it to be good, and was pleasantly surprised.
NOTABLE MOMENTS: The decently good acting and plot, an amusing 'hide the body' scene, and "Who's There?  Patton Oswalt!" out of nowhere.
RIFFABILITY: As a horror comedy, pretty low.

Day 10: V/H/S/2 (2013)
I saw this last year, but I was busy and needed something to watch I'd seen before.  I tried watching Spookies and I couldn't give it the time it deserved, so that'll wait until tomorrow.
NOTABLE MOMENTS: Safe Haven. 'Nuff said.
RIFFABILITY: Hit and miss depending on segments, but certainly possible.
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.


Offline Compound

  • Grendel's Mom
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Liked: 995
  • Happy 11th Birthday, Synch Issues!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2014, 12:13:45 AM »
Don't Go in the House! (1979)

Meet Donny. When Donny was growing up, his mom used to cleanse Donny of his evil by burning him. Years later, Donny sees a man get burned in an industrial accident at the incinerator and does nothing while the man burns. Then when he gets home, he discovers that mom has passed away. At that point the voices in Donny's head tell him that he can now do whatever he wants. And yes, there are literal voices in his head. Donny then goes on a spree of madness. Turning up his music real loud. Jumping on the furniture. Smoking, and in the house! Oh, and he then lines a room with steel, hangs hooks and chains from the ceiling and builds a flamethrower too. Then he starts kidnapping random women and burning them alive.

Eventually, Donny has a room full of burned corpses that he's dressed up and he's having a lovely conversation between the voices in his head, the disapproving voice of his dead mom and the nagging voices of his victims. Oh, and the voice of Bobby, his friend from work who's concerned since he's missing a lot of work and keeps calling him on the phone. Don eventually has a crisis of insanity, heads to church and talks to a priest who helps talk Donny back to reality.

Later, Donny meets up with Bobby to go meet some ladies at the disco. But first he spends five minutes of screen time buying clothes. Yes, feel the terror. The date ends badly though after Donn'y date tries to get him to dance and he reacts by setting her hair on fire. Dude, she wasn't that bad of a dancer. After that, Donny falls right back into the "picking up random chicks and bringing them back home. Oh, and then set them on fire" pattern by picking up a pair of drunk girls and bringing them home. Meanwhile. Bobby contacts the priest and tells him about the bad date and they head over to Donny's place to talk some sense into him. There the sanitation engineer and the reverend (This fall on CBS!) manage to free the girls before Donny lights them up. But Donny then sets the priest on fire. Then Donny imagines his victims coming back to life and start burninating them. Oddly enough, using a flamethrower in a bedroom tends to cause the house to catch on fire, and the charred reanimated corpses of mom and the victims hold Donny in the flames.

Then it's over to another house where little Michael is by punished by his mom for disobeying her. But the voices that were in Donny's head are now telling Mikey that they'll be here to help him. BTW- for any interested parties, the voices in my head tend to give me advice like "You should totally buy some pretzels" and "A nap sounds good right now" rather than "Set them on fire."

Yeah, this film's not really too exciting. Donny oozes "back away slowly and don't make eye contact" throughout the film. The victims are all exactly that. Victims. All in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a very late 70s feeling of "You can all die at any time for no reason!" and quite frankly, its not very fun to watch. It's like watching Jason show up at an insurance office and slaughter the agents there. It's a very uncomfortable thing to watch.

Anyway, should you watch this? Nah. It's not an enjoyable film to watch and its not insightful or scary enough to overcome the whole ickiness factor.


Offline Bob

  • Afraid of the Wind
  • Posts: 21333
  • Liked: 2405
  • Complete waste of time at www.robertpreed.com
    • My Stunning Home Page
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2014, 12:11:17 PM »
Day 9: Odd Thomas (2013)
I will admit, I am a sucker for Stephen Sommers.  Yes, he can be hit and miss at times (G.I. Joe, anyone?), but he still has a sense of mixing his big blockbusters with a sense of fun that I can't ignore.  But I was unsure about this.  I had never read the Dean Koontz series this is based on, so I can't make a "Book was Better Than the Movie"(TM) argument, but damn if this movie wasn't really surprisingly enjoyable.  I don't know if it was made direct to video or cable (it has no rating), but it's better than some theatrical releases I've seen this year.
Odd Thomas is a young man who can see and communicate with the dead (and other strange creatures), and the only people who understand him are the police chief (Willem Dafoe in a non-villain role) and his girlfriend Stormy.  Odd normally helps the dead solve their problems, but when a really weird fellow he refers to as Fungus Bob comes to town surrounded by demonic creatures Odd calls Bodachs, he gets concerned something really horrible is about to happen.
All in all, I found it a very well done horror comedy.  Good mix of fun and gore.  Not really scary by any means, but it was a quite nice surprise to stumble across.  I really didn't expect it to be good, and was pleasantly surprised.
NOTABLE MOMENTS: The decently good acting and plot, an amusing 'hide the body' scene, and "Who's There?  Patton Oswalt!" out of nowhere.
RIFFABILITY: As a horror comedy, pretty low.

Day 10: V/H/S/2 (2013)
I saw this last year, but I was busy and needed something to watch I'd seen before.  I tried watching Spookies and I couldn't give it the time it deserved, so that'll wait until tomorrow.
NOTABLE MOMENTS: Safe Haven. 'Nuff said.
RIFFABILITY: Hit and miss depending on segments, but certainly possible.

I have this dvd at home and will watch soon


Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2816
  • Liked: 204
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #40 on: October 12, 2014, 01:26:02 PM »
Day 11: Spookies (1986)

Unfortunately (or fortunately for most people), Spookies is not available on DVD outside of a Region 2 disc, and even that is a VHS quality fullscreen transfer, from what I understand, or the bootleg market.  But, I stumbled across a copy and watched it for the first time since a half-hearted viewing as a kid in the late 80s, either on Flint 20's "Thriller Double Feature" (thankfully someone saved the promo for it, because the video that's linked to is the best use of Whole Lotta Love Zeppelin ever had) or late night on the USA network.  Let's just say the movie's most memorable moments are just as stupid as I remember them being.
Kreon (he of the pulsating forehead vein) needs victims to resurrect his long dead wife, and it so happens a bunch of people are coming to his old estate to be his next unwitting victims.  The house itself is home to a variety of ghouls and weird spirits, and as the body count mounts, so does the wife come back to life, only for Kreon to discover she's not exactly fond of him.
While I would love to say the movie was "Merlin'd" (in the spirit of Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders), it was really more "Monster A-Go-Go'd," as I recently found out.  A movie was begun in the early 80s called "Twisted Souls," and due to a variety of reasons the movie hadn't been completely finished (apparently filmed, but missing some post-production editing among other things). Cut forward to 1986, when a director was called in to try to make something out of the project.  Ergo, the 'star' of the film, Kreon, and his minions were added in at the last minute to bring the usable footage from "Twisted Souls" into feature length form.  It works way better than "Monster A-Go-Go" did, but nowhere near as fun if they had been allowed to finish the original project.  As it is, the acting really sucks in both forms of the film, but in the original movie it appears to be that way on purpose. though Kreon is a memorable addition to the proceedings.  I will say, watching it again, I realize I was right to assume the movie was going to be just as ridiculous as when I saw it years ago, but seeing the monster designs and what could have been, "Twisted Souls" would definitely be a true cult favorite.  As it stands, it really is an odd mish-mash that never meshes together as it should.  But hey, if Scream Factory picked it up and remastered it, I'd buy it, especially if someone could re-edit what remains of the un-Kreoned "Twisted Souls" into a separate bonus feature.  The ending would make a hell of a lot more sense, for one thing.

NOTABLE MOMENTS: The farting Muck Men (clearly a Spookies addition; I doubt those sounds were the intent of the original filmmakers); the surprisingly good early 80s makeup work; Kreon (that vein of his does leave an impression, for better or worse); the music during the finale and the credits; Spider-Lady and her Mandible of Death.

RIFFABILITY: Oh, yes.
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.


Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2816
  • Liked: 204
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2014, 08:47:13 PM »
Day 12: Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)

Plot: Ian Ziering arrives in New York.  Sharknadoes occur.  He tries to blow them up.

I honestly can't believe I'm going to say this...
This movie is better than the original.  Don't get me wrong, it's still a bunch of CG sharks landing on people, but I actually found a few portions of the film where I was laughing at genuine, intentional humor.  It's actually watchable compared to the first movie.  This one has a much better sense of flow and composition (if such a thing can be applied to a movie called Sharknado 2) than the first, the celebrity cameos are out in force (and yes, even as groan-inducing as most of them are, some actually are kind of funny), and Judd Hirsch shows up to prove there actually can be a character in this series who is fleshed out well enough to care about.  It definitely knows how stupid it is, but unlike a poorly made film with a few goofy moments, it actually tried to be a parody of these kinds of disaster movies, and succeeds on occasion.
Well played, Asylum.  You got on base for once.  You're still batting .023, but you made a movie that was entertaining for the right reasons.

NOTABLE MOMENTS: Tara Reid still trying hard to act and failing (and trying much harder to get out of this film than she should have from the last); editing makes knowing where people are at any given time has much improved; Judd Hirsch; Matt Lauer enjoying the hell out of stabbing a shark; the obvious set-up for Evil Dead hand-related power tool tomfoolery; Sharknado weather reports; the many completely unimportant cameos; the explanation of why there's snow in July (because they filmed in February).

RIFFABILITY: Hard to say.  It's harder than the last one with its obvious attempts at laughs, but it's still not THAT good.

Day 13: The Monster Squad (1987)

Kids do battle with Dracula when he and the other big name Universal monsters show up to take over the world.

I like this movie.  I have to admit it's probably the best of the three Fred Dekker-directed films (after Robocop 3, he couldn't even get arrested in this town), though if I really had to come down and choose between this and Night of the Creeps, it would be a very close call.  I just think his style of humor worked best with a broader audience.  Anyway, highly recommended horror comedy.

NOTABLE MOMENTS: "Wolfman's got nards!"; Dracula doesn't drink, he dynamites; Mummy in the closet; "Time is almost up...it's your last chance for pie."
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 09:32:25 PM by SJP »
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.


Offline Darth Geek

  • The Efron
  • ****
  • Posts: 28130
  • Liked: 5900
  • I am boring and destined to die alone!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2014, 10:12:42 PM »

Day 13: The Monster Squad (1987)

Kids do battle with Dracula when he and the other big name Universal monsters show up to take over the world.

I like this movie.  I have to admit it's probably the best of the three Fred Dekker-directed films (after Robocop 3, he couldn't even get arrested in this town), though if I really had to come down and choose between this and Night of the Creeps, it would be a very close call.  I just think his style of humor worked best with a broader audience.  Anyway, highly recommended horror comedy.

NOTABLE MOMENTS: "Wolfman's got nards!"; Dracula doesn't drink, he dynamites; Mummy in the closet; "Time is almost up...it's your last chance for pie."
I love this movie! One of my alltime favorites from when I was a kid. And it still holds up reasonably well.
Definitely check out the Hor-Riff-ic Productions iRiff if you haven't already.



Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2816
  • Liked: 204
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #43 on: October 15, 2014, 03:24:23 PM »
It certainly does.  And I had forgotten there was a Hor-Riff-ic track.  Speaking of tracks:

Day 14: Alien (1979, 2003 cut)
One I've also seen many times before, but I wanted to get into the mood to play Alien: Isolation so I figured this was as good a warmup as any.  Still atmospheric (even in the 2003 cut), and enjoyable, even knowing what's going to happen.  Earlier I said Halloween doesn't really scare me...this doesn't really either, but there is a much more menacing air in this film.  Maybe it's just because of the sheer grittiness of it and somber atmosphere.

NOTABLE MOMENTS: Never invite a man who was just wearing an alien on his face to eat dinner with you; The Third Junction; Lambert's complete and utter uselessness; Jonesy, Space Cat.

RIFFABILITY: It has been.  I riffed it. (Actually, from a girlfriend request, I ran my One Man Band track while this was on.  I have not heard it since I recorded it, and it was nice to be able to be critical and figure out what worked and what didn't.  For one thing, I have to start cutting back on some of my jokes...some barely get any breathing time.)
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.


Offline Charles Castle

  • Big Montana
  • *****
  • Posts: 879
  • Liked: 529
  • I crap bigger than this movie.
Re: October Horror Movie a Day 2014
« Reply #44 on: October 15, 2014, 11:02:06 PM »
Hi there. I'm writing slowly, but I am actually watching at a pretty decent pace this year. Here is what I have so far:

1. Massacre at Central High (1976, directed by Rene Daalder)

For a throwaway exploitation movie from the mid-1970s, Rene Daalder's Massacre at Central High (1976) sure does stick in the mind in spite of its long absence from home video. Its conspicuous absence on DVD has more to do with the uncomfortable similarity of its theme to the rash of school shootings in the intervening years than it does with the relative quality of the film. Mind you, it's not a masterpiece. It has that flat "look" of a 1970s After School Special and it's saddled with an absolutely abominable score (a fact even the director of the film concedes). The performances from a cast of familiar, but not too familiar, actors are mostly functional at best. Seriously, no one ever hired Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith for her acting chops, and Andrew Stevens was just competent enough to have a further career in the twilight world of Shannon Tweed direct to video erotic thrillers. Robert Carradine is just about the only better-than-competent actor in the film. The lead is Darrel Maury, who had a reasonable career as a TV actor. He's just "off" enough for the role, but he's not good enough to make it sinister, which is a flaw.

The story here is what's interesting. Maury plays David, a new kid at the titular high school. On his first day, he runs afoul of the elite cadre of bullies who rule the school under their iron heel. He takes a dislike to them, and the feeling is mutual, until David hooks up with his friend, Mark, who kinda sorta runs the bullies. David looks the other way and everyone lives and lets live until David stumbles across an incident where the bullies, led by bete noir Bruce, are in the midst of gang-raping a girl. To this, David cannot look away, and the bullies cannot take his silence as a given. They show up to menace David as he's working on his car and accidentally crush his leg under a wheel. For the moment, the film plays out like any other run of the mill exploitation revenge film, with David executing his revenge with grisly efficiency, making each death look like an accident. The one that sticks in my mind is the swimming pool scene, in which a diver takes off from the board in the dark only to have the lights come up and reveal no water below him. Then something weird happens. David's revenge is over far too quickly. The movie still has a way to go. There's method in this, because once the bullies are gone, there's a power vacuum, and the oppressed kids begin to vie for elite status. Each faction, recognizing that David is the power player, tries to enlist his aid, not counting on the fact that David is disgusted by the whole thing. Then the movie earns its title, as David decides to take out the whole stinking lot. He has to destroy the village in order to save it.

Clearly, there's a political parable in this movie. It is not lost on me that the kids who form the initial elite are snotty, affluent white kids, while the oppressed include the political leftists, the disabled, and women. I don't even know if this is a conscious decision on the part of the filmmakers or if it arose naturally from the power structures it is sending up. Not that it matters. There's a weird absence of adult authority in this movie, too, which is suggestive. Is there a broader society, or is this it? And if there's a broader society, why are they looking the other way? Are they enabling the formation of fascist social structures? Why? The conversion of the free-speech hippie character (Carradine) into a fascist is downright prescient, given the political history of America subsequent to this movie's release. When I first saw the film as a teen, I thought the political commentary was pretty awesome. As an adult, it depresses me.

Meanwhile, the film doesn't skimp on the exploitation elements. There's plenty of nudity and gore to appease an audience looking for nudity and gore. It's creative in its killings, too, which is refreshing in a sector of film where the phallic implications of a knife are exploited to the exclusion of most other forms of mayhem. One set of characters, involved in a threesome (yay for polyamory, I guess), is done in by a boulder dropped on their make-out tent. One character is dropped into electric lines by a sabotaged hang-glider. In a scene possibly inspired by The Big Combo, one kid is killed by his own hearing aid. The catalog of mayhem here is impressive, but, of course, it's not what people remember about the movie. In an exploitation movie, that's some kind of achievement.

2. Pumpkinhead (1988, directed by Stan Winston)

Essentially a monster movie, and a dead teenager movie, to boot, Pumpkinhead manages to wander into regionalist folklore traditions for its story. This is a movie that has more in common with the horror stories of Manly Wade Wellman than it does with Jason and his ilk, and that gives the film a kind of life that would elude a more conventional horror movie. Lance Henriksen plays a grieving father who summons a demon to take vengeance on the teenagers who accidentally killed his son, then suffers the consequences of vengeance. This has a moral backbone that most slasher films lack. This is all gravy, though, because, as I say, this is a monster movie. Director/special effects wizard Stan Winston delivers a humdinger of a monster.

3. Cure (1997, directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one the masters of the slow burn horrors of the J-horror explosion, though his films are chillier and more intellectual than most of its contemporaries. Cure is his best horror movie, one that channels the randomness of violence into an unsettling examination of identity and meaning. It's a serial killer movie, true, and in the tradition of such films, it blurs the line between the murderer and the investigator. Murder, to this film, is a kind of ambient malaise, committed with identical methods by disparate people. The backdrop for the film is cold and vaguely dilapidated. The overall effect is of a society in collapse, but it doesn't shout this. It insinuates. It suggests. It's like the probing of the enigmatic drifter into the psyche of the watcher.

4. Martin (1976, directed by George A. Romero)

Before he was entirely ensnared by the zombie films, George Romero produced this sober and disillusioned deconstruction of the vampire film, and through it, the Gothic horror movie in general. It's his bitterest film, which perhaps explains why it has lapsed into obscurity. Martin Cuda, Romero's vampire figure in this film is pathological rather than supernatural, though his superstitious uncle has different ideas. This is a film in which the mundane intrudes on fantasy and proves to be darker and more despairing. Romero cuts between fantasy ideations of vampirism and the actual reality of drinking blood from a pulsing vein in the early going, and the proceeds to examine the anomie and need for human connection that animates its monster. Its ending is brutal and bitterly ironic.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.