Author Topic: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day  (Read 3500 times)

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Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #15 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.
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Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #16 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.


Offline Russoguru

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #17 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.


Offline Charles Castle

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #18 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
« Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 06:33:15 PM by Charles Castle »
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Charles Castle

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #19 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.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Compound

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #20 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


Offline Russoguru

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #21 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
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Offline Compound

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #22 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.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #23 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.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #24 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.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #25 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?
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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #26 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.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/AK5jyVCdXwc" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/AK5jyVCdXwc</a>


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
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/9LCaAy_c-68" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/9LCaAy_c-68</a>

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.



And sometimes just seems like the Tenacious D version.



Oops, there he goes.



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.


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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #27 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.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #28 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...
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Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #29 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.
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