Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'General' started by maskull, Sep 21, 2020.
I closed out Oct with Halloween III. Glad to see it getting some love from you guys too.
115.) Haunt (2019) (Blu-ray) - I loved this little Halloween slasher from last year, and Ronin's new blu-ray was the perfect excuse to watch it again. While I wasn't thrilled about having to upgrade so soon, as I had just bought the DVD last year, they really went all out. I watched the extras after the movie and it took until around 3:30AM! As for the movie, I think it's pretty great. I love my slasher movies, and this one is creepy, fun, and suspenseful. I found it just as effective this viewing as I did last fall. There were a couple of these movies all released around the same time, like Blood Fest and the theatrical offering Hell Fest, and this is by far the best of the bunch. Easily the one I'm most likely to revisit for many Halloweens to come. Loved it!
116.) Eli Roth's History Of Horror Season 2 Episodes 2 & 3 "Monsters" & "Body Horror" (DVR / AMC) - For the most part, this series picks a selection of movies, and between the commercial breaks will cover one movie at a time. By cover, it's typically a group of talking heads narrating the plot of the movie. Having seen all the movies covered, it doesn't really bring anything to the table. The best segment of both episodes is the final segment, which parallels two films. In the Monsters episode, they draw comparisons between the recent Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and It: Chapter Two, both released around the same time. In Body Horror, it's Freaks and The Elephant Man. I would prefer the series did more of this than the generic plot rehashes that fill a majority of the running time. Interestingly, Roth picked his own film Cabin Fever as one of the entries in Body Horror.
117.) Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) (Blu-ray) - I hadn't seen this in probably close to a decade, when the blu-ray was originally released. Thought it might be fun. This one probably works better when you're a kid, but it's still fairly charming throughout. The opening credits (attached above) are AMAZING. The troll effects are neat, and there's some pretty macabre imagery with the children being turned into little wooden dolls. There's some laughs, great atmosphere, and just a whole lot of silliness. It probably won't work for you if you didn't see it as a kid, but it made me smile.
118.) Creepshow Animated Special "Survivor Type / Twittering From The Circus Of The Dead" (SHUDDER) - I wasn't a huge fan of the first season of Creepshow, but it seemed like a quick watch while I waited for the Secret Screening on SHUDDER TV. Survivor Type features the voice of Kiefer Sutherland as a man stranded on a deserted island, and is forced to start eating himself to survive. This was pretty straight-forward and didn't have much of a pay-off. Joey King does the voice work in Twittering From The Circus Of The Dead, about a social media obsessed girl on a family vacation who stops at a bizarre circus attraction full of zombies. This one is a bit more playful and fun than the previous entry. Neither are anything special, but they filled the time well enough.
119.) Lucky (2020) (SHUDDER) - This was a secret screening of a new SHUDDER original that will be available on the service in 2021. Apparently SHUDDER is giving out rotten apples for Halloween. This one is better suited for the Lifetime network, and I can't imagine why SHUDDER would think anyone would want to watch this on Halloween night. The movie stars Brea Grant as a woman whose house is broken into every night by a man trying to kill her, and every night she has to fight him off. She's constantly calling the police, who don't believe her. As this is happening every night, it soon becomes her new norm, just something she has to tolerate and get used to. You see, this is all an allegory for how women are victims of the patriarchy, and not believed, and how normalized this has become for them. In case you're not getting it, Grant's character is a self-help author, which gives her the perfect excuse to explain it throughout. Honestly, I thought this was poorly done and boring. A waste of a prime Halloween night slot.
120.) Hocus Pocus (1993) (Blu-ray) - This is basically an inferior rip-off of the terrific 1985 TV-movie The Midnight Hour. It's also one of the most beloved Halloween movies of all time. Despite my preference of The Midnight Hour, I do think it's great fun and I can completely understand the appeal. It's a bit more polished and accessible than The Midnight Hour. The cast is great, it looks gorgeous, it's exciting, and it's brimming with Halloween atmosphere. It also turned out to be the perfect watch this Halloween night, as it's set on Halloween with a full moon and daylight savings time. If I'm not mistaken, they originally released this movie in July and it was a box office failure, but garnered its mainstream following through annual TV airings. I love a good underdog story. If there's a flaw with the movie, it's the casting of siblings Garry and Penny Marshall as husband and wife. Icky.
121.) Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask II (DVD) - Wrapping up the series' Halloween episodes is The Haunted Mask II. This is more polished and well-made than the first entry, but the plot is more or less a simple rehash. They recast this episode's lead character Steve, but otherwise pretty much all the cast from the original episode returns. I feel bad for the mom characters in both episodes, because they put all this time into making a nice costume for their ungrateful kids, who either rip them up or sneak out of the house without them. This episode gets its own DVD, but strangely Fox opted to release the sequel on disc but never the first?
1.) Cabin By The Lake (2000)
2.) Pet Sematary (1989)
3.) Mercy Black (2019)
4.) Nancy Drew Episodes 1 & 2 "Pilot" & "The Secret Of The Old Morgue"
5.) Scare Me (2020)
6.) Return To Cabin By The Lake (2001)
7.) Monsterland Episodes 1 & 2 "Port Fourchon, Louisiana" & "Eugene, Oregon"
8.) 12 Hour Shift (2020)
9.) Nancy Drew Episodes 3 & 4 "The Curse Of The Dark Storm" & "The Haunted Ring"
10.) Halloween Party (2019)
11.) Let's Scare Julie (2020)
12.) The Night Brings Charlie (1990)
13.) Death Of Me (2020)
14.) Vampires Vs. The Bronx (2020)
15.) Nancy Drew Episodes 5 & 6 "The Case Of The Wayward Spirit" & "The Mystery Of Blackwood Lodge"
16.) Do Not Reply (2019)
17.) Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill! (2017)
18.) The Clown At Midnight (1998)
19.) Monsterland Episodes 3 & 4 "New Orleans, Louisiana" & "New York, New York"
20.) Nancy Drew Episodes 7 & 8 "The Tale Of The Fallen Sea Queen" & "The Path Of Shadows"
21.) Lovecraft Country Episode 1 "Sundown"
22.) The Dead Ones (2019)
23.) Possession: Until Death Do You Part (1987)
24.) Monsterland Episodes 5 & 6 "Plainfield, Illinois" & "Palacios, Texas"
25.) Hosts (2020)
26.) Phantom Of Death (1988)
27.) The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 16 "A Certain Doom"
28.) The Walking Dead: World Beyond Episode 1 "Brave"
29.) Spontaneous (2020)
30.) Tales From The Hood 3 (2020)
31.) Eerie, Indiana Disc One Episodes 1 - 3
32.) Nancy Drew Episodes 9 & 10 "The Hidden Staircase" & "The Mark Of The Poisoner's Pearl"
33.) The Masque Of The Red Death (1989)
34.) The Locals (2003)
35.) Books Of Blood (2020)
36.) The Wolf Of Snow Hollow (2020)
37.) Hubie Halloween (2020)
38.) Monsterland Episodes 7 & 8 "Iron River, Michigan" & "Newark, New Jersey"
39.) Eli Roth's History Of Horror Season 2 Episode 1 "Houses Of Hell"
40.) The Cleansing Hour (2019)
41.) Alone (2020)
42.) Save Yourselves! (2020)
43.) Nancy Drew Episodes 11 & 12 "The Phantom Of Bonny Scot" & "The Lady Of Larkspur Lane"
44.) Lovecraft Country Episode 2 "Whitey's On The Moon"
45.) Never Hike In The Snow (2020) + Here Comes The Night (2019)
46.) Broil (2020)
47.) Goosebumps: The Blob That Ate Everyone (also: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder & My Hairiest Adventure)
48.) Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! (2020)
49.) Nancy Drew Episodes 13 & 14 "The Whisper Box" & "The Sign Of The Uninvited Guest"
50.) Lovecraft Country Episode 3 "Holy Ghost"
51.) Night Terror (1989)
52.) The Mortuary Collection (2019)
53.) Memorial Valley Massacre (1989)
54.) Goosebumps: Monster Blood (also: How To Kill A Monster & The Girl Who Cried Monster)
55.) Welcome To The Blumhouse: Nocturne (2020)
56.) Love And Monsters (2020)
57.) Amusement (2008)
58.) School Killer (2001)
59.) Goosebumps: Night Of The Living Dummy (includes: Night Of The Living Dummy II & Bride Of The Living Dummy)
60.) Eerie, Indiana Disc 2 Episodes 4 - 7
61.) Titicut Follies (1967)
62.) Nancy Drew Episodes 15 & 16 "The Terror Of Horseshoe Bay" & "The Haunting Of Nancy Drew"
63.) Lovecraft Country Episode 4 "A History Of Violence"
64.) Grave Robbers (aka Ladrones De Tumbas) (1989)
65.) Goosebumps: A Night In Terror Tower (also: Stay Out Of The Basement)
66.) Eerie, Indiana Disc 3 Episodes 8 - 11
67.) Nancy Drew Episodes 17 & 18 "The Girl In The Locket" & "The Clue In The Captain's Painting"
68.) Lovecraft Country Episode 5 "Strange Case"
69.) Spellcaster (1988)
70.) Eerie, Indiana Disc 4 Episodes 12 - 15
71.) Lovecraft Country Episode 6 "Meet Me In Daegu"
72.) Pet Sematary II (1992)
73.) The Devil Within Her (aka Sharon's Baby) (1975)
74.) The Funhouse (1981)
75.) Goosebumps: One Day At Horrorland (also: Welcome To Camp Nightmare)
76.) They Live Inside Us (2020)
77.) Rebecca (2020)
78.) The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
79.) Goosebumps: Night Of The Living Dummy III
80.) Lovecraft Country Episode 7 "I Am."
81.) The Witches (2020)
82.) Unsolved Mysteries: Volume 2 Episodes 1 - 3 "Washington Insider Murder" & "A Death In Oslo" & "Death Row Fugitive"
83.) Bad Hair (2020)
84.) The Dark (1993)
85.) Lovecraft Country Episode 8 "Jig-a-Bobo"
86.) The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episodes 1 - 3 "The Great Good Place" & "The Pupil" & "The Two Faces, Part One"
87.) Satan's Little Helper (2004)
88.) Livid (2011)
89.) Eerie, Indiana Disc 5 Episodes 16 - 19
90.) Primal Rage (1988)
91.) Night Of The Demons (2009)
92.) Goosebumps: Welcome To Dead House
93.) Lovecraft Country Episode 9 "Rewind 1921"
94.) The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episodes 4 - 6 "The Way It Came" & "The Altar Of The Dead" & "The Jolly Corner"
95.) The Barn (2016)
96.) Goosebumps: Attack Of The Jack-O'-Lanterns (also: Vampire Breath & Let's Get Invisible)
97.) The Walking Dead: World Beyond Episodes 2 - 4 "The Blaze Of Gory" & "The Tyger And The Lamb" & "The Wrong End Of A Telescope"
98.) Unsolved Mysteries Volume 2 Episodes 4 - 6 "Tsunami Spirits" & "Lady In The Lake" & "Stolen Kids"
99.) House Of The Witch (2017)
100.) Lightning Bug (2004)
101.) Goosebumps: The Headless Ghost (also: Awesome Ants & Teacher's Pet)
102.) Lovecraft Country Episode 10 "Full Circle"
103.) The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episodes 7 - 9 "The Two Faces, Part Two" & "The Romance Of Certain Old Clothes" & "The Beast In The Jungle"
104.) A Babysitter's Guide To Monster Hunting (2020)
105.) Goosebumps: The Werewolf Of Fever Swamp
106.) Fun Size (2012)
107.) The Craft: Legacy (2020)
108.) Come Play (2020)
109.) Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight (2020)
110.) Spaced Invaders (1990)
111.) Franky And His Pals (1991)
112.) Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask (also: The Cuckoo Clock Of Doom)
113.) Halloween (2018)
114.) I Was A Teenage Zombie (1987)
115.) Haunt (2019)
116.) Eli Roth's History Of Horror Season 2 Episodes 2 & 3 "Monsters" & "Body Horror"
117.) Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
118.) Creepshow Animated Special "Survivor Type / Twittering From The Circus Of The Dead"
119.) Lucky (2020)
120.) Hocus Pocus (1993)
121.) Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask II
Closed out the month with some all-time classics. Needless to say, all these movies I'm referring to are the originals and not the remakes (and how much do I hate that I have to qualify that?)
The Wicker Man (TCM) - I read a retrospective yesterday on this movie (sorry, don't have the link) that asks if Sgt. Howie is the villain. I've always kinda thought he was. He's a right prick to everyone on the island, criticize their choice of religion and demands they follow his (even though they're quite respectful of Christianity despite not following it...Sgt. Howie does not show similar respect). And I've always had a liking to the islanders, from their fun antics in the pub, their openness to nudity and sex, and of course the charismatic Lord Summerisle. But the article brought up something I hadn't considered; Sgt. Howie is correct when he predicts another crop failure despite the events of the finale. And when he tells that to Lord Summerisle, there's a brief moment when Summerisle considers that a very likely possibility. Great acting by Christopher Lee, although that's sort of a redundant statement by nature.
Suspiria (Synapse Blu Ray) - Saw this discussed on Eli Roth's History of Horror earlier in the evening and decided to give it a go. I bought this disc a long time ago, and right when it arrived I had a chance to see the movie with Claudio Simonetti playing the score live. So I obviously went to that and never got around to checking out this Blu. It's absolutely gorgeous, but I noticed some really bad lip sync errors early on. Has it always been like that and I just never noticed before?
Night of the Living Dead (Criterion Blu Ray) - Another disc I bought when it came out but never got around to watching. Great movie, and as I mentioned in my review here nearly 20 years ago, I'll never buy Romero's argument that he wasn't making a statement on racism, with a black lead actor. Yes, I believe him when he says that Duane Jones was merely the best actor at his disposal, but you can't just ignore what was happening at the time. You can't. I guess the best comparison is if you had been working on a script for a movie about a global pandemic for several years now, but finally get a chance to film it today. Sure, you may not have written it with Covid in mind but there's no way it wouldn't influence your filming.
And the finale of Night is still a gut punch that's just as relevant, maybe even more so, 50+ years later. Great job George, if you'd never made another movie (though I'm eternally glad he did), you'd still be remembered for this.
Now with Halloween over I'm going to......well shit, watch more horror films. I mean, why not?
38. The Devil Bat (Jean Yarborough, 1940)
A concise little poverty row shocker starring Bela Lugosi as an irate perfumer who takes his revenge on the men who profited off of his life's work. Using an electrically-enlarged killer bat, he targets those who did him wrong. I was surprised by just how entertaining this film was. Some of these cheapies pad their running time with uninteresting subplots and characters, rather than showing us the horrifying sights their titles suggest. This did no such thing - there are plenty of bat attacks, secret laboratories, spinning newspaper headlines, and campy characters to keep this 68 minutes whizzing by. This was exactly what I was hoping it would be. Lots of fun.
39. Alfred Hitchcock Presents S02E18: The Manacled (Robert Stevens, 1957)
A smooth talking criminal tries to convince a straight arrow cop to set him free while being escorted to San Quentin on a speeding train. I love the simplicity of this show. It's short and sweet, and almost always satisfying. This was a good one, with a solid ending and a great Hitch button during the epilogue.
40. Alfred Hitchcock Presents S02E19: A Bottle of Wine (Herschel Daugherty, 1957)
An aging judge offers his young wife's lover a drink while she's packing her bags upstairs. Another good episode.
41. Friday the 13th Part V - A New Beginning (Danny Steinmann, 1985)
The contrarian in me wants to say Friday V is a great film that got a bad rap because people didn't respond well to fake Jason, much like Halloween III. But this is not Season of the Witch. To me, this really is a step down from the previous entries, and probably the weakest of the Paramount films other than Manhattan. And it has nothing to do with fake Jason. The direction isn't great- so many scenes play out with no context and no atmosphere. Things just happen, in random places, to random people. It's also the first film that doesn't isolate its group of victims in some way. People come and go, and there's no sense of being trapped and alone throughout, which definitely keeps it from building as much tension as it should. Then there are the victims and the kills - all the best ones are complete one-offs...characters like Lola and the paramedic, Vinnie and Pete, Ma and Junior, Demon and his girlfriend...they're some of the most memorable kills in the film, but they're also tangential characters who show up only to be killed. And because there are so many of them, the actual main kids get almost no screen time, especially Tommy. Pam, the final girl, has almost no scenes either prior to the climax. The most well developed character is probably Reggie.
All that aside, it's still a ton of fun. There are a lot of iconic moments - the entire scene with Miguel Nunez is great. Violet doing the robot. The deaths of the lovers by the lake - one with garden shears, the other with the leather strap. Jason vs a tractor - in fact the whole climax is pretty excellent.
42. Friday the 13th Part VI - Jason Lives (Tom McLaughlin (1986)
This is definitely the most polished entry in the Paramount series. It's well written, well directed, it's got likeable characters, and feels like an all around well structured rollercoaster ride. But that also means that all the rough edges have been filed off, meaning less violence, no nudity, and almost no gore. As a kid I really loved this one. Later in life, it seemed neutered to me. And unlike The New Blood, which really was neutered, this one seemed like it hadn't really been trying in the first place. Now I've gone back - I really enjoyed it this time. Not all the gags work (the bloody smiley-face on the tree is pretty dumb), but it is undeniably a lot of fun. And honestly, I think it's great that there's a little variety within the franchise.
That magical day of the year, when the boundaries of this world and the next weaken and unspeakable things cross over. Or at least they do on my TV screen. Ratings are out of ****.
10/31/20 - The Secret of Crickley Hall (2012) ***
A family mourning the disappearance of their son attempts a change of scenery to an old rural English house. A house that used to be an orphanage, with a dark reputation that ended in a mass death tragedy.
An old school supernatural mystery, the kind that mostly stopped being made by the late 70s in favor of motive-less murderous spirit flicks. A three part made for British TV mini-series, the proceedings drag a bit too long and arguably could have been cut to a two-parter. Nevertheless it’s an effective and creepy watch, mostly in what goes on among the living than the dead.
The main strength of the story and portrayals is with the villains. The head master is a despicably evil, sadistic, self-pitying bastard. Among the most nasty rendition of such to ever (dis)grace the screen. Then there is his cruel, cold-hearted, and pervertedly adultering wife. Every bit his equal in evil, lacking the courage for direct action so substituting scheming and devious complicity. But the continuous and systematic abuse could not progress with them alone. So there is also the prejudiced priest who looks the other way as evidence mounts, and the elder boy eager to trade abused for abuser and remaining a contemptible subservient decades later.
The weakest character in the story is the grieving mother. While her situation merits a large degree of understanding, her near shrill and borderline hysterical behavior becomes intolerably abrasive. In her self-absorbed pursuit she runs roughshod over the anguish of her family and others, who in many cases have every bit a tragic situation as hers. And when things become a crisis, she is essentially ineffectual, either rendered incapable of action and needing assistance from others or failing to act on her own. Even at the end, when things have resolved for her, she gives one last snap at someone for taking covert action to protect her dog. It all makes for a very unsympathetic character.
Contrasting is the heroine from the wartime period, who faces ostracism, poverty, and then death to save the terrorized and abused orphans she's barely known. She's everything the mother isn't - courageous, compassionate, stoically persevering, and relatable.
A few familiar actors make the scene, old school and new. David Warner plays the old man pining the past and holding secrets, a welcome sight even if the manic energy of his youth isn't along for the ride. And Maisie Williams, taking a side gig from training to be an assassin on Game of Thrones.
City of the Living Dead (1980) ***
The hanging suicide by a priest opens a gate to hell in the forgotten town of Dunwich. A psychic who dies during a seance and a nosy reporter who rescues her from being buried alive race to find the now undead priest and close the gate before the world is consumed by the damned.
A rewatch this time, of a blu ray upgrade. All three of the "Gates of Hell" films are more stream of imaginatively gory experiences than coherent stories, and on that they all deliver spectacularly. There is the death by face mashed with a handful of worms. The bleeding eyes followed by mouth frothing of blood and then vomiting of innards. The repeated killings by brain oozing scalp crush & rips. The wickedly realistic death by shop drill. The creepy graveyard and dead strewn crypt (some corpses hanging upside down!), inexplicably accompanied by jungle sounds and monkey screeches. And the stunningly cringe inducing storm of maggots.
Don't try to make sense of the proceedings. Guided by the mentioned but never seen Book of Enoch to act before All Saints' Day, the heroes on an end of the world deadline take their sweet time doing anything. Meanwhile, almost at random, the priest will appear, cause some gruesome death in a novel manner, and be gone leaving the townsfolk (mostly just three bar flies) to discuss what the hell is happening. And for a city of the living dead, there aren't all that many dead. The clock ticks down and the priest is dispatched with trivial ease, but is it over? Don't expect the confused ending to answer that. But who cares, this film is one of the most creatively shocking visual experiences you'll ever watch, and will remain a solid Halloween offering for many decades to come.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) ***1/2
An Arrow blu ray upgrade rewatch, no one on this board needs to be sold on this landmark example of how to do a remake right.
The freaky exodus into space opening. The sinister garbage trucks showing up at all hours to pick up and dispose of the desiccated remains of the replaced. Jeff Goldblum playing his usual neurotic asshole role, with co-nut Veronica Cartwright adding shrill to the mix. Leonard Nimoy trying to break unemotional type casting for a character that, in hindsight, should have been totally cold for his entire screen presence. The lovely Brooke Adams in her birthday suit. Donald Sutherland going from skeptic to pursued to grief stricken and finally shrieking.
Three short years later John Carpenter would up the paranoia game with another landmark remake with similar ramifications. But until then this film was the reigning king of paranoia. The complete futility and hopelessness of the heroes' plight, as the takeover conspiracy rapidly goes from suspicion to inescapable trap, is suffocating. It’s clear they are doomed, the whole world is next, and there is nothing to be done about it. It’s all about how long can they hold onto their humanity, how desperate is their scramble to find a thread of salvation, only to be confronted again and again with the totality of the invasion.
Widely regarded - along with The Fly, The Thing, and The Blob - as a 1950s classic remake that exceeded the original, this film arguably had the higher bar to jump. That being of the four original films, Invasion of the Body Snatchers was in my opinion the most expertly executed and chillingly effective. That made the job of stacking up that much tougher for a remake, but this film accomplished it amazingly.
Its notable that the original film's director had a consulting hand (and a cameo shot) in this film. He had wanted his original to end on a nihilist note of doom, but the studio would have none of it. This time around there would be no such saving of humanity, with that iconic point and shriek ending that (story be told) the actors themselves didn't know was coming until the day the scene was shot.
Its cheating a bit to pick a rewatch to make sure the month ends on a solid note, but with a film like this I'll proudly admit to cheating and promise to do it again.
One of the lesser but notable laments in big screen acting is that he didn't get more roles and exposure. His dignified yet forceful portrayal out-Poitiered Sidney Poitier, a shining class act in racially acknowledging but stereotype sidestepping film making that the 70s mostly demolished in favor of cartoonishly “empowered” caricatures.
And the end of that film...it probably even had a few hard core racists choking back shock and grief.
Watched 90 films in October, 45 of them first time viewings. Fun as always, but now there is next year.
Top ten first time
2) Scare Me
4) Dude Bro Party Massacre III
5) The Wolf of Snow Hollow
6) What Have You Done to Solange?
8) The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh
9) The Mortuary Collection
10) Open 24 Hours
While I never come close to the numbers that some of you movie-watching-machines manage, I was still pretty happy with how I made out this October. Ironically, on October 31st I was able to watch....the final 10 minutes of a movie I'd started the night before...and that was it. We were just too busy with (covid-appropriate) Halloween celebrations at our house, that by the time I actually got to put a movie on, it was about 11:30. And to be honest, I fell asleep 20 minutes in, so I can't even count it!
But it's still been a great Halloween season! I've had a great time reading and writing these mini reviews - it's something I look forward to each year. It adds a whole lot to my enjoyment of the season, so thanks a lot to everyone who joined in! Hope you all had a safe and spooky Halloween!
So here it is, my final film watched in October (at around 10:30am, no less):
43. Castle Freak (Stuart Gordon, 1995)
I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally watch this. I mean it's a Stuart Gordon movie starring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, for goodness sake. And I'm happy to say that, while it's not on the same level as Re-Animator and The Beyond, it turned out to be a very enjoyable, sick little movie. The creature design was effective, the castle setting worked really well, and the story was entertainingly nasty. I was surprised at how unpleasant and twisted some of the characters and plot points were. The Jeffrey Combs character in particular is in a very, very dark place in this movie, which I was not expecting at all. The whole movie is uncomplicated and straightforward in that Full Moon sort of way. I hadn't intended for this to be my final film of the month, but it turned out to be a fairly appropriate choice.
On Halloween night I watched:
The Craft (1996)
First Time Viewing (Columbia Tristar DVD)
***1/2 (out of 5)
This has been coming up a lot on podcasts I listen to and on social media throughout October and with the release of the sequel I thought I'd give this first film a shot. After watching it I saw it called the girl's version of The Lost Boys and that's pretty spot on, and night a slight on the film because even though the target demographic is different, it's still a solid film. One thing I found weird is I thought I'd be getting something more feminist and empowering, but when the coven forms Robin Tunney only wants to use their power to put a love spell on an asshole dude who lied about her. Will be checking out the sequel via Redbox in a few months, haven't taken the PVOD plunge on anything beyond Bill & Ted.
Satan's Little Helper (2004)
Rewatch (Screen Media Films DVD)
** (out of 5)
Scarecrow Video Psychotronic Challenge Guideline:
31. I REMEMBER HALLOWEEN: Something from the Halloween franchise or anything with trick or treating in it. You did it! Another successful challenge achieved. Now you can stuff yourself with candy and listen to The Misfits.
Love Jeff Lieberman's other films and this was executive produced by a former owner of Scarecrow Video, so I thought I'd give it another shot to wrap up this year's challenge. Instead I was reminded of the fact that the premise is built around a game that would never exist, is represented by animation that in no way looks like a video game, and appears to be being played on a digital camera. It was also sort of weird that everyone including her brother and mom were oogling Katheryn Winnick in her costume, but then at the same time...yeah.
I ended up with way more movies than I've ever watched during October before, but this is also shaping up to be my biggest movie watching year in general so it makes sense. My favorite first time viewings of the month were:
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
Dust Devil (1992)
Ghost Story (1981)
The Craft (1996)
Here's everything I watched for the Scarecrow Video Psychotronic Challenge, which was once again one of the highlights of the year for me: https://letterboxd.com/october_john/list/the-scarecrow-video-psychotronic-challenge-3/
Looking forward to changing things up in November and...watching all the Freddy and Jason movies cause why the fuck not?!
I had to laugh at this because I love that cheesy 80s opening and ending song of Friday the 13th Part 8.
Neon Demon is on my list. I didn't know Elle Fanning was in it. I'll try to watch it sooner. I never heard of How to Talk to Girls at Parties. Seems like it might be interesting.
29th - October Madness No.54 / SCV Psychotronic Challenge Day 29 - ONE NIGHT IN APE CANYON: Watch a Bigfoot story.
Night of the Demon (1980) Rewatch - Rating: 4/5
Even though a bunch of people have been found brutally murdered in the woods by a mysterious creature a bunch of college kids still go camping in the woods in the hopes of finding proof of Bigfoot, and are one-by-one dispatched by the Sasquatch with a vengeance. Easily one of the most entertaining and relentless killer Bigfoot films, Night of the Demon is a super-sleazy, gory, affair! Where else will you see the Skunk Ape rip a marijuana-smoking motorcyclist's dick off mid-roadside-stream or get a very twisted origin story of the current killer Bigfoot? This one delivers the Grindhouse goods in spades!
30th - October Madness No.55
Dead Ant (2017) - Rating: 2/5
The past-their-prime '80s hair metal glam-rock band Sonic Grave is booked at a knock-off music festival in the desert by their manager (Tom Arnold), so before the gig they decide to take some peyote to help their write their next big hit. But they've been forewarned that while on the peyote trip they are to respect the land and also not harm any single creature - even a fly! So of course they heed the warnings, pissing on and drowning a teeny tiny ant. Now they have until sun-up the next day to survive and do battle with giant killer ants! This modern giant creature feature isn't quite campy enough to make it entertaining, and it's brought down further by it's very bad CGI effects. The jokes aren't all that funny, although there is the occasional one that lands. I do have to admit Jake Busey is quite well cast as the Axel/Vince Neil/Brett Michaels knock-off, but still can't save this one all that much.
30th - October Madness No.56 / SCV Psychotronic Challenge Day 30 - BRING IT ON HOME: Something filmed in Seattle.
The Night Strangler (1973) - Rating: 3.5/5
This was my first Kolchak experience, and I quite enjoyed it. After talking his way out of Las Vegas, Kolchak finds himself reporting in Seattle and is once again on the case of a vampire and no one will believe him. Witty, fun TV movie with some great performances, atmosphere, and a memorable lead character. While it does bog down here and there, and is somewhat repetitious, for a TV movie it's pretty damn good.
31st - October Madness No.57 / SCV Psychotronic Challenge Day 31 - I REMEMBER HALLOWEEN: Something from the Halloween franchise or anything with trick or treating in it.
Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) Rewatch - Rating: 5/5
Ernest Scared Stupid is my annual Halloween tradition, and I've already said plenty on it during the past year's posts. I remember my mom taking me to the theatre for this one and I was absolutely enamored with it. And I still am to this day. A bonafied Halloween classic that all can enjoy!
31st - October Madness No.58 / SCV Psychotronic Challenge Day 31 Part II - I REMEMBER HALLOWEEN: Something from the Halloween franchise or anything with trick or treating in it.
Spaced Invaders (1989) Rewatch - Rating: 4/5
Spaced Invaders was another childhood favourite and it'd been quite a few years since I'd last seen it, and it too holds up incredibly well. A fun sci-fi Halloween-set comedy that tickles the funny bone and again is perfect for the whole family. Lots of fun practical effects in this one too and just oozes that Halloween atmosphere despite focusing on an "alien invasion"!
31st - October Madness No.59
Night of the Living Dead (1968) Rewatch - Rating: 5/5
George Romero's immortal classic and the one that started it all. I actually recently obtained the same VHS copy I originally saw this one when I first rented it back when I was 11 or 12, and it was the first horror movie I watched that enticed me rather than giving me nightmares and scaring me off so was my gateway to horror and I could not thing of a better day than Halloween to revisit that same Interglobal EP mode VHS tape!
31st - October Madness No.60
Hack-O-Lantern (aka Halloween Night) (1987) Rewatch - Rating: 3.5/5
Decided to cram one more movie in to make it an even 60 watches this October Madness, and what better bookend than the so-bad-it's-great Halloween horror Hack-O-Lantern! Fun kills, terrible acting, a ridiculous plot, Halloween atmosphere, just a pinch of sleaze, and an outta-nowhere stand-up routine, Halloween Night was the perfect way to end Halloween night!
Happy (Belated) Halloween everyone!
Cannibal Holocaust BD
Maniac (1980) 4K
The Beyond BD
Suspiria (1977) 4K
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 4K
Night Of The Living Dead (1968) BD
Hope everyone had a great Halloween! As for me, I decided to end the month with a gorefest. Started the day with Cannibal Holocaust and ended with the original classic Night Of The Living Dead. I finally cracked into those new 4K discs from Blue Underground and Synapse. Also, the German steelbook release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I've been holding off watching those until Halloween time. All of them looked great, especially Suspiria. Synapse did and amazing job with that disc. So, total count for October: 84 films and 3 tv episodes.
Enjoyed another great Halloween season following this thread. Thanks everyone for all the great ideas for next year. Did not see as many movies as I would have liked and so most of my list were first time watches. Of those here are my Top 5.
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
House of Long Shadows (1983)
Blood From the Mummy's Tomb (1971)
The Beast Must Die (1974)
Twice Told Tales (1963)
Halloween is over of course, but I got to see this one over the weekend. A for effort, but it comes up short. They were trying to throw in too many angles, too many potential nemeses until we finally find out what the real one is.
It reminds me of Norm MacDonald's stand up routine where he talks about how two completely different sports are combined to try to make a new sport. "A bunch of guys run a 100 yard dash and then....fish". Housebound is haunted house, vengeful ghost, house with a hidden past, weird neighbor, creature in the crawlspace, and a few other sub-genres. And also comedy. It was all too much. Not necessarily a bad film, but it just didn't know what it wanted to be.
Sorry to hear that, although I can understand having that kind of reaction. For me, the way the plot kept changing gave it a sense of unpredictability that I really enjoyed. Glad you had a chance to check it out, though.
Just got my copy and watched this. Creepy and uncomfortable...
Morning Musume? Or Audition? Don't worry, I've felt creepy watching Morning Musume videos too!
I kid. I know you must mean Audition. Great film, and it will be even creepier the next time you see it, now that you know what happens.
I respect your opinion, man, but I gotta say I really dug this one. Like I mentioned back in October, I love movies about cults and I find the idea fascinating. 1BR was not a perfect film, nor a "new classic", but I still enjoyed every minute of this. I could see myself buying this on Blu sometime down the road, and I'd love some behind-the-scenes or audio commentary. You mentioned The Master, and I found that film really disappointing (though I need to re-visit it sometime, since learning more about L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology from Leah Remini's show). 1BR had me glued to the screen and the 90 minutes just flew by. One of the better films I've seen from the last couple of years.