Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'General' started by maskull, Sep 26, 2015.
Murder Party (2007) - DVD (Rewatch)
After stumbling upon an invite to a Halloween "Murder Party" casually blowing down the street, a hapless NYC parking enforcer (Chris Sharp) dons a cardboard knight costume and heads out to the warehouse district where the address leads him. Once he arrives, he is attacked and tied up to a chair by a bunch of costumed art students who are trying to get a bunch of grant money from the mysterious Alexander (Alex Barnett) by killing their hapless victim as art, and as commentary on art. Will our knight break free and survive this Halloween night? Jeremy Saulnier's Murder Party has, for me, become a Halloween tradition. This fun, funny, and even terrifying comedy horror film is both scathing and exhilarating, and for such a low budget film delivers on all fronts. Smart, well written and acted, well paced, and surprisingly violent, Murder Party is one of those films that's great to watch alone or with a group of friends and provides plenty of laughs along with its twists. A bloody good time! Rating: 4/5
Video Violence: Redux Deluxe (2013) - DVD
Video Violence: Redux Deluxe is a 2013 re-edit and re-imagining of both Video Violence and Video Violence 2, creating one film by editing the two films into one continuing story. Gary P. Cohen's original films are classics of the SOV genre, and this new "Director's Cut" definitely cuts some of the fat that's present in both entries, but sacrifices a coherent plot by essentially creating a best-of compilation with some semblance of a narrative, which of course involves the new folks in town, who run The Video Studio, who stumble onto a local snuff video racket. While it's an interesting watch, I much prefer the originals as their own wholes and likely will re-watch them over this one in the future. Rating: 2.5/5
Santo vs. The Killers from Other Worlds (aka Santo vs. The Blob) (1973) **
Santo Vs. The Blob plays out a lot like an Adam West Batman episode but with a Mexican Wrestler as Batman. Santo spends a good deal of time speaking with a Commissioner type character and there is an evil mastermind attempting to extort the government for 10 million dollars. If his demands are not met he will continue to unleash a blob monster on the city. A Blob monster that looks like a large beanbag chair with three guys inside. It’s quite surreal watching a Mexican wrestler sitting at a board room table having a meeting with the heads of government. I couldn’t help but wonder if non-Americans feel the same sense of bewilderment when they stumble upon one of our many superhero shows. Even crazier is the Commissioner’s Santo phone. The whole thing is very cheap, the fights take too long and the finale is a bit anti-climatic but I did enjoy myself. It’s really stupid. Check it out on Youtube if your so inclined.
Elvira's Thriller Video: The House That Bled to Death (1980) **
A couple is renovating a house where a famous murder took place. Ghostly happenings ensue. I don’t usually dig made-for-tv horror but this one is short and just interesting enough. The British accents probably helped. There’s also a decent twist at the end. This is the first “Elvira's Thriller Video” I’ve seen and was disappointed with how little she’s involved. She just has a few minutes at the beginning and end. That will keep from buying all but a choice few of these.
Elvira's Movie Macabre: Tormented (1960) **
The film itself is a tale of a gilted lover haunting a man after he allows her to fall to her death. I found it interesting for awhile and the two female leads are absolutely stunning. But it eventually became very tedious and boring. However, there are some funny bits in the third act (see screenshot). Elvira is a hoot as usual and made the whole thing worth sitting through.
Movies #93, 94, & 95:
Suspiria 1977: There have been so many times when I'm at work and just randomly yell out "WITCH!!". It's this movie's fault. I just can't get the music out of my head after watching it.
Inferno 1980: I love that this movie doesn't make a lot of sense. I enjoy that you're never quite sure who you're following as the main actor. I love the visuals. I love the bright red blood. I just keep getting taken out of the movie by that mostly obnoxious score. It doesn't fit, in a very bad way...except of course for "Mater Tenebrarum". Love that.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (Unrated Producer’s Cut) 1995: I really don't even remember how the theatrical cut version of this movie ended but I don't see how it could be more silly than this one. This Thorn Cult are probably the most ineffectual cult in history and those robes are really goofy looking. Still, the rest of the movie is decent in a bad slasher kind of way and I'm glad to have finally seen this on lovely Blu.
I'm so far behind I'm just going to put out some initial thoughts, but suffice to say my Barbara Steele theme week was smashing and Steele was marvelous through and through.
07 10/05 Castle of Blood ( La Danza macabra ) (1964)
Talking place on All Soul's Eve, with a Poe in the flesh thrown in as bookends for good measure, makes for a more suited viewing experience then I initials planned for. The plot is a classic staple of the oldest type; can you spend the night in a haunted space? It's one of my favorites as it seems to let the storytellers really run with it. There's a nice mix of ghosts here all recounting their own tales of ennui. Although Severin graciously put a new HD transfer on their Blu-ray of Nightmare Castle I decided to watch the more complete Synapse DVD.
08 10/06 The Long Hair of Death ( I Lunghi capelli della morte ) (1964)
The title led me to be somewhat disappointed in the film, as there doesn't seem to be any kind of hair creep factor in this at all (at it does appear to be faithful to the original Italian title). And although there are some very well done scenes with a Shakespearean plot the melodrama seems to bog this down more than help. And as well suited as the finale may be it feels anti-climatic somehow. I didn't watch this on a really beat up print from one of those massive 50 DVD packs, so its blurry VHS quality may have something to with if the underwhelming experience. I feel I'd need to revisit it again at some point with the proper expectations.
09 10/07 Terror-Creatures from the Grave ( 5 tombe per un medium ) (1965)
A nice mystery film that builds up to its Horrific finale. There is a plethora of nice touches here from The Black Death mentioned throughout (even in the little things like the clocks) and all the normal horror trappings with creepy servants, graveyards AND crypt (why not both?) and even the requisite bathing scenes with lesbian undertones. The European sensibilities like the ghost child dropping hints are all things I enjoy most about the films I select for the season. I like to stay within the parameters of the Celtic and druid influences on the movies. This time I did watch the latest HD release from Severin and it was what I would call a true to the elements transfer that maintained the character of the film. Yes there was a lot of film damage and one scene in particular has a deep scratch running through a large chunk of a scene with Steele. But I'd prefer this honest version over a DNR shimmer.
10 10/08 Nightmare Castle ( Amanti d'oltretomba ) (1965)
After picking up the new Severin Blu-ray this was the impetus of my Steele marathon. With Paul Muller's in the mix I kept thinking in the back of my mind that this all was Jesus Franco's; and with the barely associated mad science thrown in for good measure that thought rather stuck. Helga Liné is an added indulgence here as well and a somewhat forgotten scream queen herself.
11 10/09 An Angel for Satan ( Un Angelo per Satana ) (1966)
Runs kinda hot and cold for me; much like Barbara Steele's character come to think of it. It's one of those horror/thriller films that try to work around the supernatural while still embodying its trappings. And that usually leaves either camp unsatisfied. There's a sadistic streak running throughout this film that stands over all the other beats and is a cold cruel film overall. The finale itself though was lacking and although somewhat complemtarely it was ultimately unsatisfactory. If it had committed more to horror it may have pulled it all together more coherently it would undoubtedly be held in higher esteem.
Movie #96 & 97:
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955): There were a couple of moments that really had me laughing but I found most of the humour to not be to my tastes. I did like that there were three mummys at one point and I also really liked the opening dance performance. Really nicely choreographed.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987): So the trick this movie plays on you is to bore the crap out of you for the first hour in order to make you realize how awesome the last 25 minutes are?? Yeah, that's it! Points for the Mississauga mention and one of the guys drinking Molson Export.
Bonus Watch: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow portion of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
12 10/10 Svengoolie Presents, Night Monster (1942)
A new one on me from Sven, and a nice print of it too. Overall I enjoyed it very much but Atwill is hardly in it at all while Lugosi is his most out of character here; not his strong suite but well played.
I was surprised by the finale which didn't cop out like Hollywood normally does with these Old Dark House'ers.
13 10/10 Mystery Science Theater 3000: "The Atomic Brain" (1993/1963)
One of the more bizarre films MST has tackled and the riffing is hysterical. There's a lot going for this movie with the standard setting, grave robbing and mad science but the brain swapping with animals takes the cake. This also has some of my favorite skits, like with the narrator hitting on the Magic Voice.
00 10/10 Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Teacher's Pet" (1997)
The one episode I have seen parts of, and you can't go wrong with Musetta Vander though I initially thought she was Melinda Clarke. Musetta was the most striking Siren in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
This is a fun one with more of a X-Files Monster of the Week feel which I hope they keep up with. It is rather cheesy but I rather like the ingenuity of it and the overt seduction of the innosent is well balanced.
00 10/10 American Dad!: "Hot Water" (2011)
This just happened to come on during dinner, and as a Little Shop of Horrors fan this is easily one of my favorite episodes, so I ran with it. I've never seen the opener with CeeLo Green and is a great bookend for the episode. The total commitment here is a rare treat for a show but also employs all the show characters well like an in-universe episode could.
14 10/10 The Grudge (2004) [98 Minute Extended Edition / Japanese Theatrical Version]
I decided to go full SMG this October and so naturally I went with a Grudge double feature. Rarely do I watch a remake without first watching the original, but I decided to skip the formalities here with this one. So having not see any of this it was a cool change of pace for me. I don't watch horror to be scared but this was rather effective for me as it was structured to be very disorienting. It reminded me of INLAND EMPIRE which built its suspense much in the same way by throwing out all the rules of story structure and toyed more with the audience.
15 10/10 The Grudge 2 (2006) [108 Minute Unrated Director's Cut]
Starts out much in the same way as the first, Amber Tamblyn is given something of a second chance here after her short role in The Ring. Her story arch was a great turn and she played it very well. The finale with her is especially effective with the character's reliving "the event." I thought that would have been a great ending to the first but with Amber's more sympathetic character it was probably much more effective this way.
However all B plots really dragged this film down and diluted what worked so well in the 2004 Grudge. It might be better off going with the theatrical cut in this case. A pattern began to emerge and the random scares just started to grate after while. I especially felt the Dark Room sequence missed some more poetic possibilites for more unimaginative scares.
16 10/11 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)
You can tell with this one that they knew from the start they were targeting more towards kids, and so what's odd but typical in these cases is the adult humor becomes more overt and therefore not as funny.
It mostly becomes Velma's story and Linda Cardellini does a good job with it. I don't think Matthew Lillard was able to reach the same level as he initially did but I would blame the script for that.
The whodunit was rather well done here and kept me guessing right until the end. I thought it boiled down to two people, and was satisfied in the resolution.
The Initiation (1984)
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935): The apex of the Universal monster films for me. There is a strange and alluring artistry to this film that I have never again encountered in a genre effort. Beautiful prologue that sets up the film perfectly, and the dialogue and cinematography is simply stunning throughout. Watch the elegance in Colin Clive's movements as he approaches and attempts to comfort the Bride after she is repulsed by the Monster. Karloff imbues the Monster with an endearing sense of pathos and consequently creates a richly complex villain. A 10/10 for me.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)-My favorite Halloween film after the original.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)-I've always loved this one.
Halloween 5 (1989)-Nowhere near as good as 4 but it's still a dumb but fun time.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)-the theatrical cut. More entertaining than the PC imo with a great MM mask and some brutal bloody kills.
1. Jason Goes to Hell (1993) - Decent installment in the series. Not great, but decent nonetheless.
2. Jason X (2001) - This one is a waste of time. Least favorite of the serious. The uber Jason thing was a bit much.
3. Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood (1996) - Like this movie. Not as good as Demon Knight, but like how Dennis Miller's personality is all over the character he plays.
4. I, Madman (1989) - Better than expected. Sometimes you can kind of let your mind wander off in space, this movie kept me interested in the story.
5. Trick or Treat (1986) - Love this movie, always have. Most of the band Ragman was into, I was into as well. Trip down memory lane looking at the posters he had. Big Fastway fan as well and always loved the soundtrack.
6. Terror in the Haunted House (1958) - Complete with psychorama. I had the sudden urge for raisenettes and popcorn, it was weird. Kidding aside. Found the story interesting and the psychorama kind of annoying. Some of the flash pictures were comical, but after a bit you were wishing it would just stop.
9. The Canal (2014)
Decided to see this based on someone else's post on this site. Unfortunately, I found it kind of repetitive and stuck in neutral for most of the way. They tried to have several different aspects going at once (the old movies, the house's history, the found camera, the crawlspace, the public restroom, and the titular canal. Too bad none of it ever comes together, and you're left wondering what any of it had to do with anything else. I'd say skip this one.
10. Hell Night (1981)
What more can you say about this movie? I just popped a big-ass bowl of popcorn (stovetop of course, none of that microwave shit for me) and enjoyed another viewing. Now where the hell is the Blu?
Gonna try to get in a Halloween night marathon tomorrow, but it'll be tough with game 4 of the World Series (let's go Mets!). There's a lot of cool shit on various pay and OTA channels, knowing me I'll probably just go ADD and flip from one movie to another.
Clearing the slate before the big day. Still deciding what to put on the roster for Halloween, but being a lightweight I'll probably only manage about three flicks. I'll break the run by adding rewatches rather than just first time viewings, as most of the perfect films for the day I've already seen. Only definite so far is Tales From The Hood, the film that proves you can make any movie better by adding Clarence Williams III.
Ratings are out of four stars (****).
10/27/15 - Let Us Prey (2014) ***
An enigmatic stranger causes chaos after being locked up at a backwater police precinct, where everyone is hiding very dark secrets that the stranger seems to know too well.
Dark entities that incite others to commit evil acts, never themselves becoming directly involved, is a tried and true story concept as old as human literature. It’s up there with haunted houses, psychic children, and rampaging pets in Stephen King's favorite bag of tricks. Then there's that whole first tale of conflict involving a snake and a piece of fruit in the Bible bit.
This film is a good entry in that genre, losing a few points for going "survive the maniac’s rampage" at the end rather than staying on the more unnerving "push people until they self destructively snap" path (with Douglas Russell providing the never needed answer to the question of what Rambo II would have looked like if Willem Dafoe had been cast in the lead). Liam Cunningham is (naturally) chilling as the catalyst for carnage, although it would have been refreshing if the character had been the initially hinted Biblical reference rather than the overused and obvious. Pollyanna McIntosh sticks to typecast by going full on Amazonian, but stays considerably cleaner than she did in The Woman. The rest of the cast and the director compliments well a notable but not exceptional script, which again would have been much more chilling if a more subtle approach had been taken in the final act.
10/28/15 - The Harvest (2013) ***
Recently orphaned and relocated to her grandparents’ rural home, a teenage girl discovers an invalid boy living nearby, and defying his parents’ wishes starts up a friendship. Her dogged persistence leads to accidentally learning that ghoulish secrets drive the parent's inhospitality.
The marketing for the film makes a fuss about director John McNaughton being off the radar for many years. While this film is nowhere near as raw and forceful as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, it’s a solidly chilling piece of work with competent misdirection on what flavor of evil is being served.
The simmeringly sinister villain is expertly played, but the role is too one note, the character is clearly evil with the only question being what manner (the strongly hinted motive is a red herring, good thing being that concept has worn thin). Some nuance other than "maybe she's just stressed out" would have been welcome, given that every other character is likeable, particularly the two kids but even including the "evil bitch's" cohort. If every character had been sympathetic, villains and heroes alike, the film could have been even better. Because watching wacked out evil people doing evil things can be scary, but watching good people with a conscience doing evil things is truly horrifying. Even so, a nice welcome back to the genre present from the director.
10/29/15 - The Norliss Tapes (1973) **1/2
Smugly certain in the fraudulent nature of the supernatural, an author gets a rude awakening when he looks into a sculptor who has returned from the grave to complete his art.
The style, execution, and producer/director clearly ear marks what this is - a lost Night Stalker episode, cast with a different set of 70s TV regulars and without the cheeky attitude. All the hallmarks of the prior pilot / future series are there - the first person voice over narrative, overbearing thriller music, uncooperative and publicity ducking cops, camera mugging monsters, cars that won't start at critical times, characters introduced just long enough to get killed, and a "is it really over?" ending. It’s better than the worst the Night Stalker series dished up, but it doesn't stand up to the series best and certainly not the pilot. If you're a fan of that landmark show, and especially if you've sought out similar fare from the era like The World Beyond, this is worth a watch.
10/30/15 - We Are Still Here (2015) **1/2
Barbara Crampton once again makes a poor choice in living arrangements, moving in with a pack of demons looking to dish out Drag Me to Hell fates at wholesale volume.
An entertaining cursed rural house with diabolical locals romp, with the usual treats of gruesome demises and manic possessions and creepy people. And the straight out of something Poe might have wrote basement is practically a cast member itself. The climax runs a bit off the rails, with the locals oddly and stupidly deciding to take matters into their own hands (instead of doing the obvious siege ploy), and the conclusion is downright muddled and ambiguous. Even so it’s worth a watch, and given the solid cast, capable effects, and "it could have been a contender but missed the mark" final act this is definitely a movie fitting the season.
Happy Halloween everyone!
This month went by so fast! ...now I just have to try and figure out which (witch!) movies to watch today.
The Hitchhiker: Face To Face (12/4/1984) 6/10 **
I enjoy the bite sized, twist filled episodes of THE HITCHHIKER series. The story behind FACE TO FACE is shallow but it successfully fills the time with interesting characters and gratuitous T&A. Robert Vaughn is one the best at playing scumbag characters. And it’s was a treat watching him snort blow off Sybil Danning’s tits. That alone was worth the 28 minutes. This one can be found uncut at Dailymotion but I made this one of my first LaserDisc purchases.
The Hitchhiker: Dead Heat (1987) 4/10 **
Despite being a fan of Fred Ward (Tremors), I found this episode to be a little flat. He plays a rural sculptor that is looking to capture a recent murder/suicide for his next piece. He plans on using his abused girlfriend (Denise Galik) and a drifter. It’s got the twist and T&A but still left me feeling meh.
The Hitchhiker: The Curse (1986) 8/10 **
A yuppie businessman (Harry Hamlin) finds out he owns a slum apartment building. He comes face to face with one of the tenants and promises to fix the place. When he learns that fixing the place will cost him his coveted beach house, the choice of doing the right thing becomes difficult. As he becomes distracted and starts to waiver on his promise the consequences become dire. This is one the best HITCHHIKER episodes I've seen so far. The characters are fleshed out and there are some chilling moments. As Hamlin lies a snake tattoo crawls up his body, eventually reaching his neck. What really makes the episode work is that Hamlin doesn’t play a douchebag. He seems like a decent guy that you can sympathize with and root for. The finale is intense.
The Hitchhiker: Out of the Night (1985) 6/10 **
An antsy teen is on the run after a shooting. He ends up in a hotel full of odd characters. The whole thing plays like a fever dream. If not for the interesting cinematography and quick pace I could see losing interest in this one. But I enjoyed it very much. Kirstie Alley is a treat as the mad magician. She is always great when given a role where she can go for it. I got kick out of seeing her do magic as well. The film reveals its twist at just the right time and the finale is tense. Well worth seeing.
I just bought the complete series for $10 new. The main reason I did was because every year someone in this thread posts about this series (and also because of the price!). Looking forward to checking it out. I grew up without cable so I missed out on a lot of cool shows.
Just a heads up, if it's the Canadian "Complete Collection" release, it's not actually the complete series. Here in the US, they released three separate volumes with 10 episodes each (30 total). The "Complete Collection" is just the same 30 episodes from those releases. The show ran for 85 episodes.
Still a solid deal though. I have a brand new copy of Volume 1 that I picked up from the FYE clearance bin for $3.
Oh well, 30 eps is still a lot more than I've ever seen.
Big Lots had them as well for about that price, all three volumes, which was particularly odd as they were made of unobtainium everywhere else at the time. I think I just might still have a spare set.
Damn shame they didn't cough up the entire series, its one of those early made for TV gems (along with Cast a Deadly Spell) that HBO keeps locked in their vaults and I'd let my wallet get raped to obtain. Between cancelling great shows before they're finished and never releasing great shows of old HBO is worse than Disney at keeping good stuff out of the public's hands.