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Author Topic: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day  (Read 955 times)

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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #30 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.
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« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 09:56:27 AM by Johnny Unusual »


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #31 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.
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Offline Compound

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #32 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.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #33 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.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2019, 11:23:36 AM »
I feel like for whatever film's faults might be, that's perfect casting.



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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #35 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!


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #36 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.
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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #37 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.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #38 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.

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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #39 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.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #40 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.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #41 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.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #42 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.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #43 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.


Offline SJP

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #44 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.
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.