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Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17505 on: October 05, 2017, 10:17:24 AM »
The Black Cat (1934)



It's a shame Lugosi and Karloff didn't work together more often.  When you see them together like this it's really quite entertaining.  While I wouldn't rate this as highly as the best of their work I think it's certainly far better than some of the schlock they were in.  The ending is exciting and it's definitely worth checking out for fans of their films.
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison


Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17506 on: October 05, 2017, 10:25:26 AM »
Shivers (1975)



The last of the Cronenburg movies in my queue I've seen parts of it before but never sat through the whole thing. It may not be as strong as some of his later efforts but it's still pretty disturbing. Rapidly spreading slug-like parasites take over human hosts in an apartment complex and all hell breaks loose. Shares similar themes with his next movie Rabid (1977).
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17507 on: October 05, 2017, 10:33:32 AM »
It's flawed, but I feel it gets a lot better in the second half, when shit really starts to hit the fan.


Offline Pastor of Muppets

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17508 on: October 05, 2017, 12:49:37 PM »
The Devil's Gift

An edited version of this was included in Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders.  It was probably further edited down for the MST3K treatment.  I was curious, so I found the uncut version out on Youtube.

As in the MST3K/Merlin's Shop version, a toy monkey kills things.  First some house plants, then a fly , then a fish, then a dog.  It makes some attempts to kill a humans, but is thwarted.  Merlin is nowhere to be found.  Those parts were edited in for the Merlin's Shop version.  The monkey is possessed by a demon, who comes to Earth when an old lady accidentally summons it during a seance.  This scene is what Grandpa Borgnine and the kid are watching when the power goes out in Merlin's Shop.

Cheesy, silly movie with a lot of dumb dream sequences and a scene where the demon monkey tries to scald the father to death by trapping him in the shower, then somehow turning the water into an oily ichor.  I'd love to see a Rifftrax treatment.  Not just because it's a cheesy movie but also because they visited this well in the MST3K days and an uncut treatment would be great.
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Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17509 on: October 06, 2017, 08:28:34 AM »
Cellar Dweller (1988)



Jeffrey Combs plays a comic book artist that uses actual satanic verses to letter his stories and accidentally conjures the furry demon in his drawings.  He manages to defeat the monster by burning his artwork but the fire quickly spreads and he's engulfed in flames.  That's just the first 10 minutes!  Decades later an aspiring cartoonist enrolls in an art academy built on the same grounds to follow in her idols footsteps.  There's a great reverence for the classic EC Comics era of horror as well as other Easter eggs that fans of the genre will appreciate.  Some of the acting isn't great but I thought the story was really interesting.  There's a little gore, a bit of fan service and the practical special effects hold up pretty well.
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison


Online Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17510 on: October 06, 2017, 08:52:48 AM »
Kingsman: The Golden Circle - This was stuuuuupid! And not in any kind of fun stupid, either. What little bits of fun it had in some of the fight scenes felt more like obligatory references to the first one.
  I hated everything to do with the Statesman, because I'm annoyed by their accents and hate the glorification of cowboys. It also didn't help that Jeff Bridges is yet again doing that mumbly southern accent he's done for several movies now that is damn near indecipherable.
  The best part of the original was Colin Firth, and the way they bring him back is dumb even for this movie. Even worse, they do a amnesia subplot with him that would be laughed off the worst soap opera.



Offline wihogfan

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17511 on: October 06, 2017, 09:15:59 AM »
Blade Runner 2049
Mixed feelings about it. Thought the plot was rather thin and just about every scene was longer than it needed to be. But I was never bored by it and it's one of the few nearly 3 hour long movies I can say that about.


Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17512 on: October 07, 2017, 09:43:11 AM »
The Monster Squad (1987)



While aspects of the film feel a bit dated and it certainly has its flaws it's still a really fun homage to the classic Universal Monsters era.  We may not look back at this as a great movie or being particularly scary for that matter it does have a nostalgic appeal and cult following.  The highlight of the film really is the Stan Winston practical special effects which are outstanding and hold up incredibly well.
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17513 on: October 07, 2017, 09:57:49 AM »
The Monster Squad is fun, but also a little frustrating, as I feel it has a lot more potential than it delivers on.  I'd say this is one of those movies that is due for a superior remake, but Stranger Things exists and it's close enough that you say, "Nah, I could wait another decade for them to try."

Anyway, I had a rough day yesterday. Then I remembered I borrowed Evil Dead II from the library. That was a nice pick me up. I love a lot of the movie is a one-man show with Campbell.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17514 on: October 09, 2017, 12:11:15 AM »
Lincoln ( 2012 )
Not really much of a back story on this one. Spielberg became interested in directing a film on Abraham Lincoln in 1999, this after historian Doris Kearns Goodwin mentioned to him that she was writing a book called Team of Rivals about how Lincoln asked all his former political rivals for the Republican presidential nomination to be in his cabnet. While the book would not be completed and published until 2005, Spielberg had signed a deal to adapt the book in 2001. It would take another decade before someone wrote a script Spielberg liked. The story Spielberg chose to direct centered on the months when Lincoln pushed through the 13th Amendment which prohibited slavery. ( Amazingly, even though none of the Southern states were part of congress, many congressmen from the Northern states were against abolishing slavery, and the amendment just barely passed with two votes. This when supposedly the North was fighting a war to end slavery. Had the 13th Amendment not been passed, then the South would not have been required to release their slaves after the Civil War, and legal slavery would have continued well into the 20th Century, perhaps even to this day. ) Almost none of Goodwin's book is used in Spielberg's film, as it deals almost exclusively with Lincoln making back door deals with congressmen both in his party and the rival Democratic party. Because of this, the movie acts as a companion piece to Amistad, which also dealt with the legal wranglings over slavery, instead of a biography of Abraham Lincoln. Nothing of his life is shown prior to January of 1865, and we just get the four months leading up to the vote on the 13th Amendment, after which we get a few brief scenes to conclude Lincolns life. There is a scene where he meets with a delegate from the South over a proposed peace treaty which fails once they learn the 13th Amendment was passed, Lincoln touring the aftermath of a battlefield just prior to the South officially surrendering, and of course the night of Lincoln's assassination. Strangely, Spielberg chooses not to show the actual assassination. Instead, we see Lincoln leave the White House on his way to the theater, then the film cuts to a different theater where his son Tad is watching a different play when someone runs in to announce the President has been shot.

Once again this is another of Spielbergs long films, clocking in at two and a half hour. But once again, you don't feel like it is too long. It is a very good historical film who's only flaw is that it is not really about Lincoln, and should have been titled differently. It even fails to be about the book it was based on. Perhaps if Spielberg widened his scope to show the entire life of Lincoln, from his days as a log splitter, to his rise in politics and famous debates, to his full presidency during the Civil War, then there would be a movie worthy of the title Lincoln. Of course, it would either need to be a television miniseries, a film split up into three or more parts ( as was done with the Hobbit films ), or released as an 8-10 hour film. ( It has been done before on foreign films. Probably would loose money on the theatrical run, but could make a huge profit being sold as a $100 box set on home video. ) The character of Thaddeus Stevens gets almost as much screen time as Lincoln. But aside from being something that will disappoint Lincoln fans, it is another powerful historical film from Spielberg. Maybe nowhere near the level of Schindler's List, but still among his best.


Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen ( 2010 )
Here is an odd combination of Bruceploytation and superhero film. It is a film about a famous Chinese folk hero who, as it turns out, never existed, despite the fact that many people in China believed he was real.

We will start with a Chinese folk hero who really did exist. Huo Yuanjia was a martial arts master and teacher who came into prominence in the early 1900's. This was a period when China was divided into separate colonies via a treaty between Germany, Great Britain, France, Japan and Russia. United States, Italy and Austria-Hungary also got sections of China they could call their colonies. Chinese were treated as second class citizens in their own country and often denied basic civil rights. When the Chinese population attempted to drive out the Europeans and Japanese during the Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901, all of the nations including the United States formed an alliance army and crushed the rebellion. Having failed to drive out their foreign overlords and once again subjugated to laws that made the Chinese second class to Europeans, they were at their lowest point in their history. Then in 1902 a Russian wrestler began boasting that he could beat any Chinese boxer, including martial artists, in a fight. When no one challenged him, he publically announced that the Chinese were the "sick men of Asia", a phrase that noted that China was the weakest nation in that part of the world. It was then that Huo Yuanjia came forward an challenged the wrestler. The wrestler quickly backed out of the fight, later stating that his boasting had been a publicity stunt and he knew he could never beat a master of the martial arts, but he had thought that no Chinese would dare challenge him while under colonial law. In 1910 an Irish boxer named Hercules O'Brien who had heard about Huo Yuanjia scaring off the wrestler, publically challenged Huo to a match. In some accounts, the match never happened because O'Brien kept backing out over the rules. But popular accounts claimed the match did happen, and O'Brien was quickly beaten. Huo Yuanjia became a national hero, proving that, at least when it came to fighting, the Chinese were superior to Europeans. However, his fame did not last long. He had been suffering from jaundice and tuberculosis, and hired a Japanese physician to make the medicine for his ailments. That physician in turn invited Huo to fight at a Japanese martial arts school. Huo and a number of his students went to the Japanese school for the friendly challenge. What was suppose to be a match between one of Huo's students and a Japanese student ended with a brawl between all of Huo's students and the Japanese, resulting in injuries on both sides. A week later Huo grew ill and had to be rushed to the hospital. After lingering for a week, Huo died at the age of 42. Many at his school believed that Huo's Japanese physician poisoned him, but this never went beyond speculation.

60 years later China, or at least Hong Kong, found a new national hero. Bruce Lee, who was the first Chinese actor to be the costar of a major Hollywood television series, The Green Hornet, a spin-off of Batman  which lasted one season in 1966-67. Bruce Lee himself had no idea how much of a hero he had become until he returned  to Hong Kong and was besieged by film offers. Golden Harvest offered him the most money, and he ended up making three films for them, The Big Boss  ( 1971 ),  Fist of Fury ( 1972 ) and Way of the Dragon ( 1972 ). He was working on a fourth film called Game of Death, but abandoned it after only shooting a few fight scenes to do Enter the Dragon for Warner Bros., which would be his last film before his untimely death at the age of 32 from an allergic reaction to pain killers. All of his films broke Hong Kong box office records.  One film in particular, Fist of Fury, told the story of a student of  Huo Yuanjia named Chen Zhen who returns to China shortly after his masters death. After an investigation, he finds proof the Japanese poisoned his master and ends up taking revenge. But since this all took place in a Japanese colony, the film ends with armed Japanese soldiers showing up to execute Chen Zhen, who defiantly jump kicks the line of soldiers before the screen freeze frames and you hear the bullets. There had been both a distrust and hatered towards the Japanese after their occupation during World War II. A hatred that still exited in 1972 which Golden Harvest exploited. Not only did Fist of Fury claim the Japanese were definitely guilty of murdering Huo Yuanjia, but took every opportunity to depict all of them as evil, as they spend most of the movie terrorizing the local Chinese and attempting to force the school of Huo Yuanjia to close. Chinese fans of Bruce Lee began to believe that Fist of Fury was based on true events, and that Chen Zhen existed and did die in front of a Japanese execution squad.

Three so called Fist of Fury sequels  were made. Fist of Fury II ( 1977 ) and Fist of Fury III ( 1979 ) both starred Bruce Lee imitator  Bruce Li as Chen Zhen's brother who shows up to avenge his brother's death. Meanwhile Lo Wei, who directed Fist of Fury, made what he called the official sequel for his new film studio, New Fist of Fury ( 1976 ), which had Nora Miao reprise her role as Chen Zhen's girlfriend. Lo Wei himself reprised his role as a Hong Kong police inspector. It also marked the first starring role for Jackie Chan, who Lo Wei was convinced would be the next Bruce Lee and had just signed to a long term contract. In 1994 a remake was made called Fist of Legend which starred jet Li as Chen Zhen. This time, however, only a few of the Japanese were depicted as evil, while the rest were depicted as honorable and even friendly towards Chen. Some of the Japanese even help Chen fake his own death so that he may escape the authorities who want him executed. There were also a few Chinese television series featuring Huo Yuanjia with Chen Zhen as a student, and at least one 30 episode Fist of Fury television series in 1995 which starred Donnie Yen as Chen Zhen.

Which brings us to this film. It is the first film to depict Chen Zhen after the events in Fist of Fury, and once again stars Donnie Yen. However, it is neither a sequel to the television series, nor a sequel to Bruce lee's film, but supposedly a sequel to Fist of Legend. Of course, it would have to be, since that was the only film to have Chen Zhen live at the end. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen opens during the first world war where Chen Zhen and other Chinese soldiers are pinned down by German snipers. Chen grabs a couple of bayonets and laps into action, cutting down all the German soldiers so his fellow countrymen can escape with their lives. After the war, Chen and his soldier buddies return to Shanghai. But since Chen is a wanted but believed dead fugitive, he takes on the identity of one of his war buddies who was killed in battle, eventually becoming a part owner in a night club called The Casablanca. Of course the Japanese are once again all evil as ever, and this time around are sending spies out to assassinate political enemies and prominent Chinese leaders. This in preporation for what would be the Second Sino-Japanese War. Not wanting to give away that he is Chen Zhen, Chen spots what looks like a leather Kato costume on display in a movie theater, and puts it on. The theater is showing a superhero film called The masked Warrior and apparently, that was the costume from the film. After putting on the costume, Chen becomes The Masked Warrior, running around Shanghai and saving intended victims from assassins. There is a bit of a spoiler or two involving the Japanese villains, so that is as far as I go in explaining the plot.

Having Chen Zhen put on the Masked Warrior costume is a bit ridiculous. It is no coincident it looks exactly like Bruce Lee's Kato costume from The Green Hornet, which was basically a chauffeur uniform with a thick black masquerade mask. This costume was used again for the jet Li movie Black Mask ( 1996 ), and it's sequel  Black Mask II: City of Masks ( 2002 ) starring Andy On. While the Black Mask was not meant to be Kato, the costume was deliberately meant to look like that of Kato's, as it has become one of Bruce Lee's iconic costumes. Which is what the film makers of Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen were going for when they decided Chen Zhen should become a superhero. They wanted him to look like Kato. This is a new weird level of Bruceploytation, combining two different Bruce Lee characters. Aside from that, the idea that Chen Zhen decides to become a superhero is ridiculous. Also, I am sure there were no superhero movies being made by any country in the 1930s, let alone one popular enough to put it's costumes on tour at theaters. Remove all this silliness and you have a decent film with some spectacular and brutal fight scenes. Unfortunately, it ends with a set up for future films where Chen will be the Masked Warrior from now on, stalking the Shanghai rooftops like Batman. 


Chronicle ( 2012 )
So I decided to attempt to own every Hollywood superhero movie ever made. I mean, if something is only available as bootleg or one of those out-of-print or limited releases they are asking way too much money for, then I am not going to bother buying it. Same goes for films released on home video only as full screen. And the recently released films, those I am going to wait until the retail price drops. You wont believe how much Disney and Warner Bros. are gouging comic book fans on the retail price of these films. Almost as bad as how much Paramount gouges for their Star Trek releases. If you wait long enough, those willing to pay extra to get the movies on release have finished buying them, a lot of merchandise remains unsold on shelves, and the price drops to something near normal for a home video release. And some stores start selling at a loss to open shelf space, which often leads to great deals both from Amazon's sellers, and from Amazon themselves. The average price I have paid for most of the movies in my collection is $5, with a lot going for as little as $1, offset by the $15 I pay for the newer releases once their price drops. Also, waiting a bit before buying, you find out there is going to be a deluxe edition with extra bonus material, or even the unrated extended cut which turns out to be much more coherent than the version cut down for theatrical release. So, for a while there I was kept busy buying past releases. With exception to Supergirl which I am still waiting for a release of the uncut version, or a seller dropping the price on the limited deluxe release with the uncut version, I am caught up on all the major superhero films made prior to 2016. This leaves a couple of films based on minor characters, old films based on proto-superhero characters like Zorro and The Green Hornet, a few still not released TV movies and unaired pilots, that Roger Corman Fantastic Four which has still not been released, and a bunch of films that are on Wikipedia's superhero film list. The later I am adding to my collection begrudgingly, because I want a complete collection.

I am not sure why some of the films on Wikipedia's superhero film list count. I guess the bar was lowered when Unbreakable ( 2000 ) became classified as a superhero film, despite Bruce Willis never putting on a costume nor adopting an alter identity, that other movies fell into the category. Chronicle is neither based on a comic book, nor do any of the characters decide to use their powers to become superheroes. But they do obtain powers that allow them to fly and do other superhero type stuff. And one character mentions at the end of the movie that he will use his powers to help people, before flying off. But it is never determined if he uses his powers to put on a costume and become a full superhero, or simply join the Peace Corps. So just like with Unbreakable, Chronicle qualifies as an origin film without a superhero.

Lets start by saying that Chronicle is a good film. That is a welcome surprise since most of the minor films I bought for the superhero genre were unredeemingly bad, or just barely good. But it is one of those found footage films, in the vein of The Blair Witch Project ( 1999 ). The story: a teenage boy points a camera at himself an announces he is going to begin videotaping his life. We see that he has an abusive father and that he is constantly bullied by others. With no friends, his only companion is his cousin, but now in his teens as well, the cousin no longer wants to be follwed around. After being bullied again at a party and outside crying, he is approached by another teenage boy who says his cousin sent him so he can videotape something they found in the woods. All three teenagers enter a cave where they find a mysterious glowing crystal. Something happens and the footage ends. The movie picks up weeks later. The teenage boy now has a new camera and begins documenting the fact that all three teens now have the power to move things with their minds. As they begin developing these powers, they soon learn to fly and to shield themselves from bullets and sharp objects. Of course the movie would not have much of a plot unless one of the teenagers begins to turn evil. But that is as far as I can say about the film without spoiling it. I do have one objection to the found footage premise. As with most found footage films, usually a single camera with a single video is found. With Chronicle the footage is sourced from multiple sources, mostly so the director could shoot the action packed ending from multiple angles rather then rely on a single camera which could not possibly follow all of the action as it spans the city. This means that instead of being shown the complete video found inside a single recorder, the film was edited from footage gathered from multiple sources, many which whoever edited the film could not possibly had access to. For example, all the footage from the first camera would have been destroyed with the cave. The characters even say so when they return to the cave only to discover it has completely collapsed and the camera is still inside. Other footage is sourced from buildings or vehicles which are later seen destroyed from other video sources. In the final shot, the camera is left on the top of an isolated mountain. Also, some of the footage is too convenient. Such as the arrival of the love interest of one of the teens who also videotapes her entire life, allowing for footage sourced from two different locations at the same time.This all ruins the whole point of a found footage film. That it is suppose to be believable that someone found a video document of something fantastic or horrific. This is not the case with Chronicle. Instead of seeing something that seems to be real, the film comes off as a gimmick. The story still works, but they could have done the same story more effectively if shot like a normal film.


Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17515 on: October 10, 2017, 11:59:33 AM »
The Return of Dracula (1958)

Dracula escapes to a small town in California and poses as the artist cousin of a widow and her family.  While an imposing villain  Francis Lederer lacks the charisma of his predecessor Lugosi or the menacing presence of Christopher Lee but is still likable in the role.  Very much a product of its time it uses the cliches effectively for the most part but I think it's still missing the chilling atmosphere that would make it truly scary.  I'm almost surprised they didn't go the more comedic route given the success of similar films and the ridiculousness of the premise.  Still it's an impressive low budget effort that combines aspects of the classic Universal Monster era with 1950s Americana.  The ending is actually quite good and for a moment it briefly switches from black-and-white to color to show one of the earliest depictions of a bloody stake through the heart.
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison


Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17516 on: October 10, 2017, 12:07:27 PM »
House of Dracula (1945)



Interesting monster mashup and excellent casting with Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine and Glenn Strange reprising their roles as the Wolf Man, Dracula and Frankenstein's monster respectively.  At times Carradine gives one of the most sympathetic portrayals of Dracula on screen.  Onslow Stevens  gives a fantastically creepy performance in the later half of the film.  Both Martha O'Driscoll and Poni Adams really helped to carry the movie between monster scenes.  My only complaint is that I feel Glenn Strange was a bit underused.  Other than that I think this is one of the more entertaining Universal Monster sequels.
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison


Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17517 on: October 10, 2017, 12:10:49 PM »
Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966)



The premise is completely ridiculous but this schlocky weird western is definitely campy fun.
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison


Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17518 on: October 10, 2017, 12:17:49 PM »
Jigoku (1960)



One of my top 10 favorite J-horror films the pacing is a little slow during the second act but the build up pays off big time.  Its visual depiction of hell manages to be both beautifully stunning and horrifyingly grotesque as the main character traverses multiple levels of hell in order to comfort the crying soul of his unborn child.  Some of the souls he encounters are despicable while others tragic and most of them characters from the first half of the movie.  In a way it's sort of reminiscent of early films like Haxan and L'Inferno.
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison


Offline Jesse412

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17519 on: October 10, 2017, 12:24:31 PM »
Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan (1959) aka The Ghost of Yotsuya



One of the scariest early ghost stories on film it's easy to see why this is highly influential on the genre.  It's actually pretty satisfying watching the murderous ronin torment by the vengeful spirit of the wife he killed.  There are some really creepy and cool looking visuals throughout plus it ends with an epic samurai duel.
"It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison