It's a busy start to the month for me, and while I may be able to do a systematic review later in the month, I'm just going to hit some highlights of the last week: 09 10/07 The Show Must Go Online: Macbeth (2020) Macbeth is a bit of an interest of mine and hearing about a live stream of it I decided to catch it. This is a down and dirty version which well embodies the fun of Shakespeare; just some enthusiastic actors doing their thing. What really caught my ear was the narration of stage direction when the curt "Exeunt" used at the ends of scenes is emphasized by the actors dropping their video feed in that instance. It helped give it a dramatic and thrilling pace. There was some nice special effects too by tricking out Zoom to create a ghostly effect which I'm a little curious how they pull off. The introduction, intermission and Q&A after is engaging too. A fun and fitting divergence for October in these socially distant times. This Blu-ray has been a long time coming, as I placed a pre-order for it in June of 2018, but had been eyeing the DVD since it's release more than a decade before. When it came out late last fall past Halloween I still didn't receive it and it took a lot of prodding to finally get it shipped to me in late summer of this year. I've been bad about watching these animated spook shows before but I made sure to sit down Friday afternoon to indulge in this disc after such a long wait. It did not disappoint. 00 10/09 Le spectre rouge ( The Red Spectre ) (1907) Gloriously hand tinted with an eye for the macabre this is a smash opening if I've ever seen one. While it may not add up to much more than a standard magic show it's so fantastically staged it's difficult to do it justice with mere mortal words. So simply put, it's a spellbinding experience. There's a part too with girls in bottles that is reminiscent of Bride of Frankenstein and I wonder if it was something of an inspiration for Whales as it's so singular both here and in BoF where it comes out of nowhere. I'm going to be placing this front and center on my October movie night for friends. 00 10/09 Woos Whoopee (1928) For those who thought cartoons were for kids and not adults I present to you Felix the Cat having a bad trip off some bathtub gin and hallucinates a nightmarish landscape from which he cannot escape. The closest I can come is to the nightmare fueled Heffalumps and Woozles or the surreal Seuss "spook's tour" from Halloween is Grinch Night. I swear I'll never touch another drop! 00 10/09 Sure-Locked Homes (1928) Felix escapes a harsh storm in a haunted house only to end up in shadowy clutches. Kinda fun. Kinda draggy. But some unique animation as it appears there's segments where they moved cut-outs instead of animating which is cool to see. 00 10/09 The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) Not to be confused with the French adaptation from the same year La Chute de la maison Usher (which I found to be rather lackluster in itself). This takes German Expressionism and cranks it to eleven, breaks the knob off, then administers concussive maintenance for the rest of the running time. I love it. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing I always say. Some great use of prisms which are especially effective when stacking staircases giving them an otherworldly crookedness. 00 10/09 The Wizard's Apprentice (1930) I feel a little thick but I didn't realize the infamous Mickey Mouse bit in Fantasia was based on a 1797 poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; who wrote the famous adaption of Faust. This is a fun little take with some simple staging and simple animations. Not much to take away from this except that it opened my eyes a bit on the source of one of my favorite animations. I'll be checking out more of the disc over the next few days but so far it's been a hoot. 12 10/09 Theatre of Blood (1973) Diana Rigg hasn't been in anything more horrific than this yet it's got its gruesome moments but is an especially fun one with Vincent Price getting to play a revenging Shakespearean hamming it up like never before. She didn't do much horror, perhaps understandably, but I can see what attracted her to this role as not only does she, a Shakespearean actress in her real life, gets to take a hand in killing off some critics she gets to cross dress as male which is a rare offering to any actress. Also a lot of great actors in here and there's also a short scene with Diana Dors which is unfortunate as she's an underrated actresses who plays these cheeky roles here and in Beserk with real wit. Much like Phibes we get a systematic killing spree using the more sadistic Shakespearean sources. I had just read Richard the Third and rather enjoyed the death of "Clarence," but the final death from Titus Andronicus is my favorite in this and perhaps more vomit inducing today than it was in 1973! I doubt a producer would allow something to go out like that today even if it's something the MPAA would have a hard time justifing censorship. But the "To Be or Not to Be" speech is a highlight here and more poignant than perhaps even in the play itself. It's really well stage and I appreciate how Price handled it. Not too much. Not too little. Just right. I really need to get this in HD as my DVD is hard-matted 4:3! 13 10/09 The Worst Witch (1986) Reported to be one of the worst movies ever made this has of course been on my watch list for decades now but I never got around to watching it. But with Diana Rigg's passing it's now or never. This is surprisingly close to Harry Potter even considering its setting in an English prep school for magic as even their uniform colors are close to Gryffindor's. I dare say this has a bit of a better character arch for the lead as she's a "muggle" and magic comes with great difficulty to her, unlike Harry, so it's a better source of drama/comedy. The acting is pretty good with Fairuza Balk commanding her considerable screen time and Diana Rigg keeping a good balance of stern mistress and tongue in cheek. If anything really irks its the incompetent witches trying to take over the school to make it evil. Their out of tune "song" is literally the worst I've seen. Worse than Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny: either version. But oh man Tim Curry as The Grand Wizard... I thought that sweet transvestite from Transsexual Transalvania had a wardrobe! A big bellowing cape that puts the technicolor dream coat to shame and some of the most uncoordinated singing dancing of the 80's but somehow Curry goes for it without a shred of self consciousness. I'm guessing he came off flat footed because he's just too use to doing it in high heels!