Author Topic: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day  (Read 867 times)

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Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2019, 04:19:13 PM »
14 Phantom of the Opera (1943) (First viewing) - A bit of a weird mishmash of tones - Some very goofy comedy and a lot of long opera scenes. It's a weird one, but it's also quite entertaining, and also lovely to look at. Great sets.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2019, 07:40:20 PM »
14. The Body Snatcher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/eG1MvCjJffE" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/eG1MvCjJffE</a>
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 07:44:35 PM by Johnny Unusual »


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2019, 04:34:32 PM »
15 Rifftrax Presents - Scared to Death (1980) (First viewing) - A solid nothing of a movie - 50% of it is people walking slowly in the dark. Very good riff though, really enjoyed it. One we will return to for sure.

16 Beyond the Gates (2016) (First viewing) - Spooky Jamunji. I really wanted to like this more, but it was just passable. A few good ideas, but a clunky script and some pretty terrible acting.
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Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #48 on: October 17, 2019, 10:05:22 PM »
17 The Invitation (2015) - This is an excellent and very effective indie. Hesitant to say much about it though, as it is best to go in blind (This was a rewatch and it holds up even knowing how it plays out though).
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: October 2019 Horror Movie a Day
« Reply #49 on: Today at 04:25:36 AM »
16 Beyond the Gates (2016) (First viewing) - Spooky Jamunji. I really wanted to like this more, but it was just passable. A few good ideas, but a clunky script and some pretty terrible acting.

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

As for me...

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

16.  MST3k - Terror from the Year 5000 (Cinema Edition) This one must be out of print, as the only copy this guy had has a 90s/2000s era sci-fi watermark on it.  There's also a scene with a mutant cat that I don't actually think was in the episode.