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Discussion in 'General' started by maskull, Sep 26, 2015.
You should go on theme, American traveling abroad. Hostel, An American Werewolf in Paris...
Well tonight at midnight is the time! It's weird, but it feels like Christmas Eve when I was a kid. I'm actually excited for October. Pretty good for someone with a very jaded heart. Of course part of that might be because I have Thursday and Friday booked off from work to get a running start on my watches. Time off from work is always pretty damn exciting!
I'm toying with the idea of mixing it up this year and not watching Silver Bullet at midnight tonight. Watch something different. Big decisions, I know!
Shed, where ya moving to?
To the UK for work!
Damn, that's a good idea. Films set in Europe, perhaps.
I'm off tomorrow and Friday but seeing that I'm old and can't stay up late anymore I'm going to cheat and start a little early tonight with one of my favorite cheesetastic films .....
starting with 'I spit on your grave 3', starting early, but by the time it finishes it will be 1st Oct. So I say it counts!
Yeah, I'd say it counts as long as the movie ends at some point on October 1st. I Usually start my first movie at 11-11:30. Body isn't used to staying up late any more.
Killer Workout aka Aerobicide
Kicking off the fun a little early, one of my favorite slices of cheese.
Movie #1: Well I stuck with tradition.
Still has one of the creepiest scenes in all of horror involving Corey Haim out in the woods at night shooting off fireworks. Also has an amazing wolf y dream sequence. A great performance by Gary Busey. One of my all-time movie star crushes Megan Follows. A hilarious scene involving a bear trap. My favourite scene is when the gunsmith is actually making the silver bullet.
10/1 Grizzly (Scorpion Blu Ray)
Watched the newly arrived Grizzly Blu Ray. Great flick. Jaws plot-stealing aside, the film works pretty well and the 2.35 cinematography makes it feel like a more expensive film than it really is. You also forget what a good lead Christopher George can be when he's actually given a compelling part.
Cleaning the slate to make everything that follows "official", here's the last of the early festivities.
The micro reviews are listed by the date I viewed them. Year released and alternate titles are included in parenthesis. The reviews include spoilers, so take warning. Ratings are out of four stars (****).
9/27/15 - Grabbers (2012) **1/2
Every horror fan knows when a strange fire in the sky crash lands nearby, the smart thing to do is immediately pack up all your shit and get the hell out of town. Second thought, taking the time to pack is probably a mistake. The Blob, Creepshow, The Colour out of Space, Slither, Night of the Creeps, The Monolith Monsters, It Came from Outer Space, the list is long but the message is always the same - things are going to change quick and it won't be good. And thanks to production companies like Hammer the smaller dots of the British Isles have long been the targets of monster rampages, as if there was a competition with Toho to see which studio could trash their coastal turf the fastest.
Grabbers follows that tradition, with the colorful residents of a very scenic Irish fishing village playing unwilling hosts to unwelcome visitors. The town's parade of likeable characters - or caricatures - quickly find out a rapidly multiplying species of tentacled beasties is literally out for their blood, but only if it is under the legal limit. So one alcoholic constable vows to go on the wagon in order to direct another straight and narrow constable to join the rest of the town in getting piss drunk to poison the monsters' food source. The film takes its cues from the tongue in cheek creature features of the 80s, in particular Tremors with a dose of Ticks and Gremlins. And, apart from the contrived and hard to swallow blossoming romance of the two leads, the chemistry between the various characters is similarly comedic and engagingly natural.
However the monster action itself isn't quite on par with the likes of Tremors. The effects, while CGI, are well done and not overplayed. But apart from the amusing intentional silliness of the swarm of baby critters it isn't standout either. The monsters themselves are rather generic tentacled beasties, conducting the usual genre preliminaries of predations on the locals followed by the latter’s' deductions and sorties of exploration to find out what’s going on. Similar to Tremors there are instances of the monsters resorting to ploys beyond the stupid rampage playbook, such as dancing a buddy's corpse outside someone's door to entice them to come outside, or a show of contempt for someone recognized as too sauced to snack on. But those scenes are few and the big baddie's eventual comeuppance is clichéd and ordinary. As a creature feature this film is only competent, it is the interplay of the characters where its strength lies. As such I'd rank the film as good, but not great.
9/28/15 - Farm House (2009) **1/2
It’s tough reviewing this film, or listing comparative titles, without giving too much away. Which is unfortunate, because it would require revealing the twists or comparing films to properly discuss how this film succeeds and, sadly, fails.
Suffice it to say this is a film about a grief numb couple abandoning their old lives to start anew, bringing with them a far greater debt than they thought they had paid, and accepting the hospitality of a couple who are more than they seem. On the surface the film is an example of secluded abduction and torture porn, but for such it is rather lightweight fare. When the twist hits, it is heavy handed, which is typical and suitable for films handing out a morality message - but somehow the notes are off key in this karmic symphony, the torment not matching the transgression nor imparting the lesson.
Better actors might have helped - all four primary actors are quite competent in their roles but don't quite add enough to compensate for the real weakness, the script. This isn't Steven Weber's first foray out of his quirky comedy roots into straight faced horror, perhaps figuring he can pull a Tom Hanks and overcome with acting skill his made for comedy looks. The problem is his acting isn't that good (and in my controversy stirring opinion, sometimes Tom Hanks' isn't either). Fortunately in Farm House the role calls for someone demented as well as sadistic, and in the former the quirk adept Weber handles himself well. Kelly Hu is just too tame and too gorgeous to make the twisted partner in torment shoes fit, but she clearly puts effort to keep walking in them and so gets a passing grade. The actors playing the objects of their "affection", the couple on the lamb with secrets to reveal and guilt to purge, portray with workable but not exemplary skill. Their love for and conflict with each other, the burden of their past deeds, is understood but not something you feel. But again it is the script where these faults primarily lie, while stronger actors might have made the difference a better script would have made it not necessary to have them. Overall I still consider this to be a good film, possibly because I'm a sucker for the type. But it wouldn't be the first of its kind I'd recommend.
9/28/15 - House of the Devil (2009) ***
In the 70s horror movies left no doubt that Satan could be found hiding in every garage sale knickknack, his followers in every neighbor's basement, his progeny in every woman's womb. And he, or his minions, especially liked to take up residence in little girls.
Of course those of us who grew up in the era of Nixon and disco, Three Mile Island and mood rings, Saigon and streaking, Kent State and chest hair, Pol Pot and Yoko Ono, Munich and Elvis dying on the crapper, Jonestown and bean bag chairs, Ted Bundy and platform shoes, knew the devil wasn't hiding. That bastard was grinning at us in plain sight from every billboard and television, and we were trampling each other to hand him our wallets and souls.
The subject matter of House of the Devil is pure 70s demonic, but stylistically its way back machine is set to the 80s. Mid-scene camera zoom-ins, pop music soundtrack (I noted originals or covers of The Cars, Thomas Dolby, Greg Kihn Band, The Fixx), freeze frame credits, and slow fade outs - straight out of the starting gate the film sets its era tone, and except for some more modern turns of phrase nails the mark. In fact younger viewers might drop the iPhone they stream this movie on from the culture shock of seeing a teenage girl dropping coins in a pay phone in order to make a phone call.
Starving student Samantha is in dire need of a new crib. Her current digs are perpetually trashed by her roommate and probably smells like a Bangkok brothel, and isn't exactly conducive for academia the few times she's allowed in. To pay for it, she takes impulsive action on a lead for a babysitting gig, and out of economic desperation ignores the creepy signals that follow and accepts. Turns out baby is of the geriatric variety, hidden away upstairs in an aging Victorian mansion. Samantha quickly makes her bouncy self at home, snooping around, raiding the fridge, poking at curiosities, and doing what every teenager - or horror film teenage victim - does when alone in someone else's house. It takes her awhile to figure out things are, of course, not what they seem, that she's the guest of honor at a pentacle party.
For the plus side, House of the Devil is a clever, creepy movie which deftly builds suspense and dispenses shocks. While the vibe is 80s shlock, the polished script is pure modern era. For the negative side, the pacing is snail slow, for either era (the buildup was too drawn out, a tighter script would have been a significant improvement), there are minor plot holes (although several of the ones mentioned in online reviews aren't, if you think things through), and there is a shortage of outright scares. But overall I liked it, and don't recommend the film because it pays homage to period nostalgia, but because it’s just good horror.
9/29/15 - Livid (2011) **1/2
Another cute, down on her luck young woman makes a poor decision in the pursuit of money and soon finds herself in deep shit. In this case, by following two brash punks to a dilapidated mansion on the moor to burgle a hidden treasure from a comatose crone. Or almost comatose, as the crone is a vampire kept on a starvation diet, and she's voracious to supersize her next meal.
Early scenery is picked well to set a mood, from interiors that are always shabby and dusty and neglected, to outsides always dark or overcast. If cheery is to be had, it’s not from the environment, or from the parade of morose locals who young and old act as if they're impatiently passing time until they are finally allowed to die. As the clueless burglars search the eccentric mansion, grotesque and bizarre is added to the dreary recipe, until their callous vandalism is answered by carnage.
The film sidetracks late in the second act to do some family history flashback exposition, a risky and rather jarring tonal shift away from prey scrambling for escape. Doing so ties up loose ends regarding the involvement and return of a caretaker from earlier in the film, but that character is soon discarded. Likewise the sudden earlier appearance of a group of ghoulish slayers is neither explained nor are they seen again. By the third act the film runs off the rails with body switching, tag team matricide, biomechanical automata, and sisterly bonding - progressing towards the climax with quick, repeated, and mostly meaningless use of fade outs. The ending cranks the ship’s telegraph to full strange ahead by trying for something surreal and transcendent, discarding much of what came before.
I'm a sucker for weird, and I don't need my loose ends tied up. But when this film went weird it had me thinking "what the fuck" as often as "wow", and I must admit to wanting better clarity and closure to the main character's fate. Furthermore the tone splicing of three different movie types baffled and delighted me in equal parts, and I'm near certain the writer/director team had no clue which direction they intended to go. Overall I find the film very memorable, again appealing to my penchant for strange, but too much of a jumble to be considered great.
9/30/15 - The Legend of Lizzie Bordon (1975) ***
Cleave from memory the image of Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched. Working for that blight on television to pay the bills would leave most people with an axe to grind. But Elizabeth remained professional, even if she was cut out for better. When offered to take a stab at playing Lizzie Borden, she put her acting chops to the test.
The Legend of Lizzie Bordon is a crime drama, or rather melodrama, focusing on the aftermath, publicity circus, and trial for the infamous double murder of over a century ago. The film style is straight 70s made for television in dialog and composition, with a few anachronisms thrown in to give it period flair, such as title scripting introducing each act. The crime is barely portrayed for most of the film, the most disturbing early scene not being the discovery of the bodies, but a disgustingly auditory family dinner. As the film moves from the home to the prison to the courtroom, Lizzie's own flashbacks show her not so happy home, her questionable actions, and finally the crime’s planning and execution. Or does it, as Lizzie may be psychotic, or drugged - are they memories, or hallucinations?
Initially Lizzie is calm, coldly unemotional, shockingly frank, and seemingly confused and forgetful of her doings when the crime was occurring - the latter an issue in attention as a doctor's administering of opiates casts shadow on the cause. Is Lizzie scheming, drugged, or prone to psychotic black outs? That she is capable of deceit is laid bare as she expertly plays a newspaper reporter to gain public sympathy, and latter privately relishes the attention of publicity, but does it indicate guilt? As the courts struggle to decide the truth, and her sister is torn between sibling loyalty and growing suspicion, Lizzie is a portrait of ladylike reserve, hiding a mind racing with recollections the others will never learn.
This is a riveting, thought invoking movie, revealing more than it probably should in attempting to give an answer to question of "who done it?". But plenty of uncertainty is smartly left of who was the real victim - the deceased, or the killer? And while tame by today's standards, the depiction of the crime is chilling in its calculated execution.
My Goal this year is 31-32 Movies and to Keep the List updated.
09/30/15 - The Blob (1988) - Twilight Time Blu Ray
10/01/15 - Body Bags (1993) - Scream Factory
10/02/15 - Christine (1983) - Sony
10/03/15 - Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) - New Line
10/04/15 - 28 Days Later (2002)
10/05/15 - Wrong Turn (2003)
10/06/15 - The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
10/07/15 - Late Phases (2014)
10/08/15 - Devil (2010)
10/09/15 - Casper < not sure if this qualifies tho.
10/13/15 - Housebound (2014)
10/14/15 - Mosquito (1995)
10/14/15 - Maniac Cop (1988)
10/15/15 - The Burning (1981)
10/16/15 - Crimson Peak (2015)
10/17/15 - Tales from the Darkside (1990)
10/18/15 - Green Inferno (2013)
10/19/15 - Cropsey (2009)
10/20/15 - Lazarus Effect (2015)
10/21/15 - Idle Hands (1999)
10/22/15 - Lost Boys
10/23/15 - Nightmare on Elm St.
10/24/15 - Nightmare on Elm Street part 5
10/27/15 - Vampires
10/27/15 - The Gate
10/27/15 - Halloween
10/27/15 - Halloween II
Total = 27
Movie #2: Indigenous (2014)
American Tourists go somewhere they're not supposed to go and meet up with a hungry monster.
Cool creature design (if a little too Descent-y), it takes place in a jungle, there's some decent gore even if pretty much every kill takes place off screen, and there's a great character that goes in to rescue the tourists, sees what he's up against and says "Screw this, I'm outta here!". Then goes and gets help. Refreshing. Plus, he signals his turns when driving. Even in the jungle. He also pulls over to the side of the road when he wants to check his phone....I like this guy!
Anyway nothing great, it actually feels a little bit padded at 1H19 of actual action, and the people making this don't seem to get the idea of a jump scare and how it works. Also, I don't get how only two people in a group of five have a phone with them. That really stretches believability.
Movie #3: Lost After Dark (2014)
"I don't want to be eaten by a cannonball!"
Some nice kills, a decent killer, good gore, all in a fun 80's throwback cannibal slasher package. Also has Robert Patrick being awesome!
...and it's all almost ruined by the stupid melting film/missing reel joke that was thrown into the middle of the film! It's been done guys. Try to come up with something new! Or just keep making a cool film without the dumb gimmicks.
Very under appreciated character actor. I'm starting to put him in with Michael Ironsides, Jeffrey Combs, Harry Dean Stanton, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Walken, Jonathan Banks, and the like as someone worth watching a film for just to see what they do in it.
1) Cooties: A fun, creative zombie flick that does have its share of problems. The lead characters are a bit on the one dimensional side, but the casting is where this film makes the difference with great performances from Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill and the supporting characters. There is a fair amount of caranage and gore, the jokes are overall very funny and the film just breezes by quickly. The real flaws I saw here were the ending, which was a bit abrupt and left me wanting more, and the fact that the parents never show up even when the films plot drags well into the evening. A great film all around and one of the better horror comedies I’ve seen in some time. (7/10)
2) The Editor: A phenomenal love letter to Giallo Films. Throwback horror films have been a thing for the last decade or so, and this is one of the few films that hit all the right notes. Every little nuance from the terrible dubbing, cheesy practical effects, color pallet and, of course, gratuitous nudity through out. There are even a few great references to various Giallo films which is the icing on the cake. The only thing I would complain about is how the final act gets a bit too muddled, even by Giallo film standards. Highly recommended. (8/10)
the only time of the year i set a bit of time away to watch some old favorites and hopefully find some new ones.
1. Isle Of The Dead (1945)
First time viewing. After spending last October catching up with all the Corman/Price films , i thought this year i would catch up with Val Lewton films i have not seen yet. Enjoyed this as my first film of the month , as usual Boris Karloff is excellent and there is a real sense of building dread as we wait to discover if people are really dying of the plague or if the vorvolaka is picking the people in the cottage off one by one.
2. The Lodger (1944)
First time viewing. one of the best versions of the Jack The Ripper story i have seen on film. Laird Cregar is excellent in a complex role and he plays it both as sympathetic and menacing and is equally convincing in both.
3. The Old Dark House (1932)
I always feel this film is underrated when compared to the other Universal Horror classics of the 30s and 40s and for me this is up there with the best. It has a great atmosphere and setting for this time of the year especially living in Scotland when all i have to do is look out the window and see the same weather conditions as the film on most nights. Very memorable characters , great setting and very funny dialogue.
Yeah, I totally agree. The man can play it straight and be a bad ass and then he can just slightly alter that persona and be really, really funny.
I'm actually a little jealous that you get to watch some Val Lewton films for the first time! Which ones do you have left to watch?