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2018 horror movie challenge -- preparations

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  • #31
    I'm cool with a History side challenge as well. I can add this 13 decades/movies to the list. Does the name: "Chex's History of Horror Challenge" work?
    It's cool by me.

    As for the 2 to 12 minute films, I don't think they should count outside of that particular challenge. But for the challenge itself, to cover all decades since 1890, movies were only made that short for the most part so there's no choice.

    Regarding general running length, I'd say anything around 60 minutes or over is fine. We could always turn to other sources as well:

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as "an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits.
    Masters of Horror seems fine to me as as films as they're essentially that. They're all an hour in length and are independent stories. I say continue to let them count.

    Anyway, that's my two cents.

    As an aside, I think we all usually posted in the official topic to reserve our spot and then edit in our viewings over time. Doesn't look like us regular members can edit posts that are 24 hours or so old.
    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


    • #32
      I say no to the other TV shows; while I love me some Supernatural, minus commercials they're about 41-42 minutes in length.

      I wish I'd have kept my old lists of movies.


      • #33
        Originally posted by Chex View Post
        Doesn't look like us regular members can edit posts that are 24 hours or so old.
        Is anybody else having this problem? This is news to me. Please let me know ASAP.

        Originally posted by Skye View Post
        I wish I'd have kept my old lists of movies.
        Same here. I think I had like, 775 movies lifetime. Roughly half of them were new screenings. It would be cool just to see what we watched.


        • #34
          I looked at a couple of posts I just made and the edit option is available next to the quote option. Looking at the posts I made yesterday, the edit option is gone. It's been this way for a long time, but I never thought it was an issue until realizing the problem it could make for the movie viewing topic. >_<
          People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


          • #35
            I can confirm the edit button is only available immediately after posting.


            • #36
              Working on this issue (editing posts). Hope to have a resolution soon.

              You can always quote yourself and add new movies, but I'd rather fix the problem outright than resort to this tactic if possible.

              I tried to upgrade edits, so will somebody please try to edit their own post and let me know if this did (or did not) work?


              • #37
                It seems to be working, Monkey. I tried editing my post from September 21st in this very thread, I was given the edit option & I wrote in "Edit test." bolded & italicized in the post to test if it would save & it did save the changes.
                "We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all." -- Andrew Clark, The Breakfast Club (1985)


                • #38
                  Yep, you got it fixed Monkey! Good Job!

                  I've been reading Universal Horrors to get in the mood and have watched a couple of horror documentaries. I'm ready to go. I realized that, although I usually hit past the 100 mark easily, that's not going to happen this year. There's just too many days where I'd be lucky to get one movie in and impossible to fit in something like three.
                  People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


                  • #39
                    Cool. I'm happy it worked.

                    Been re-watching Ash Vs. The Evil Dead to get into the spirit.

                    I think this year, I'm going to do something brand new and watch nothing but new horror movies... and then hopefully cap it off with Trick R Treat.


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Monkey View Post
                      Cool. I'm happy it worked.

                      Been re-watching Ash Vs. The Evil Dead to get into the spirit.

                      I think this year, I'm going to do something brand new and watch nothing but new horror movies... and then hopefully cap it off with Trick R Treat.
                      I've been watching Ash Vs. The Evil Dead finally for the first time & loving it. I didn't have Starz during it's first two seasons & DVR'd Season 3 when it aired. Halfway through season 2 at the moment.
                      "We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all." -- Andrew Clark, The Breakfast Club (1985)


                      • #41
                        October 1st

                        Reading the book, “Universal Horrors”, has made me anxious to revisit some titles from the 30s and 40s. I also snuck in a couple of new viewings as well as two shorts to fill out the entries for the “Horror Decades” challenge. I haven’t been able to devote a day entirely to movie watching in several years so this was a lot of fun. It’s probably down to a movie or day from here on out though. Also, I may post some of my comments in the respective threads in the database section of the board. Maybe they can serve a purpose and ignite some conversation.

                        The Devil In a Convent (1899)

                        Directed by George Melies, this early supernatural tale of cinema depicts the Devil appearing in a church for the sole purpose of causing mayhem. There’s a moment where he disguises himself as a man of the cloth in order to pull a prank on the unsuspecting nuns. I can’t help but wonder if this is a commentary on the church and their misdeeds in history. An angel appears in the final moments and smites the creature before it’s too late and all is well. That bothers me in some stories how demons exist yet angels or some other form of good never appears to lend a hand.

                        If anyone has an interest in early cinema, Melies is my pick for where to start. He was a stage magician and it’s obvious on screen as he employs various tricks to make the viewer wonder how the impossible just happened before their very eyes. It’s not so difficult for present-day audiences to realize he’s using jump cuts, but it’s still a fun romp. Don’t expect engaging cinematography as the short films are shot like a stage play and contain one camera setup. That’s par for the course at the time. However, Melies likes to bring the macabre in his short films with the likes of ghosts, headless men, and demons while his colleagues opted more towards standard dramas. The subject matter and his flare for theatrics and special effects sets him apart from the others.

                        The Monster (1903)

                        Not much different than the prior short from a few years ago. Everything is still a one camera setup with no change and jump cuts are used for effects. It should be pointed out that humor is much more blended into the scares to make a hybrid of horror / comedy.

                        Frankenstein (1910)

                        I thought I would visit the first film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein considering this is the 200th anniversary of its publication.

                        There are a few surprises to be found in this compared to even something from a mere 11 years earlier. The special effects are more visceral as the creature is constructed (through playing the film in reverse) and there’s even a twist ending. In addition is a moment that would become a trope in horror movies. After the monster is formed, the doctor collapses on his bed. The creature shambles in from the shadows behind the bed and looms over the unconscious Frankenstein. This type of imagery is constant throughout the silent era (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) and can even be seen in more contemporary works (A Nightmare on Elm Street). The only difference is that the camera isn’t close on the figure standing over the doctor.

                        In fact, the cinematography is still just as stationary as it was in The Devil in a Convent as the camera never moves while filming and remains at medium length in distance. Yet there are obvious additions. Editing to move from one scene to the next and creating a passage of time is now witnessed as is the use of tinting the picture to depict certain moods and time frames. It’s far more engaging yet still a step behind what most would call “cinematic”.

                        1. The Cat and the Canary (1927)

                        Millionaire Cyrus West dies and leaves instructions for his will to be read only after 20 years have passed. The relatives meet on the 20th anniversary at Cyrus’ death at his mansion on a dark and stormy night and discover cousin Annabelle is chosen as the inheritor. However, before she can collect, she must pass a psychological exam. If she fails, then the inheritance passes on to the runner up. Someone in the house is determined to make that happen through any means necessary.

                        Easily one of my favorites of the old dark house genre as it’s crafted by a master of German cinema. Paul Leni’s resume is a must-see for anyone interested in silent horror films what with titles like 1924’s Waxworks and 1928’s The Man Who Laughs with the terrific Conrad Veidt. It’s a shame Leni’s life was cut tragically short in 1929 as I wonder how he would fared in talkies and if his German Expression qualities would remain.

                        The Cat and the Canary has much energy in it. There are overlaps to keep things interesting and the intertitles are used as effects to convey the emotions felt by the characters. That doesn’t mean it’s constantly on the move. The scene with Aunt Susan (the actress looks like Edith Bunker from TV’s All in the Family which gives it an additional level of humor), Cecily, and Paul in the bedroom drags on. Is it funny? Somewhat, but I’d rather have the spooky shenanigans continue instead of a 1920s Animal House-style bit of comedy.

                        Still, it’s a slight detour on a trip full of haunted atmosphere. Although there is a logical explanation for the murder and the beast that is running amuck, there are moments and behaviors which cannot be explained. The housekeeper is incredibly disturbing as she deliberately frightens the others with her drab appearance and chilling demeanor. Is she the first example in a long line of housekeepers that are inherently creepy for the sake of it? Paintings falling and wind-up clocks working after 20 years of sitting still are some of the moments that you’re never quite sure if they’re haunted happenings or coincidences. That’s all part of the charm as you get a sampling of everything from chills, thrills and comedy.

                        2. Murders in the Zoo (1933)

                        Millionaire Eric Gorman (Lionel Atwill, Mystery of the Wax Museum) is a zoologist/hunter who has created his own private menagerie of wild beasts from his safaris. He is also insanely jealous and uses his dangerous pets to dispose any potential romantic rival for his wife (Kathleen Burke, Island of Lost Souls) or anyone that displeases him by framing Dr. Woodford (Randolph Scott, Go West Young Man) as the culprit.

                        When I think of 1930s horror, Universal Studios is what comes to mind first. It’s easy to forget that Paramount was also producing top material such as Murders in the Zoo. More fluid in movements than the silent pictures, this is a perfect example of pre-code horror that has moved on from intertitles and stage acting into filmmaking that employs techniques still utilized today.

                        It’s so strange to see Lionel Atwill as—
                        1. Reserved. He often HAMs it up later in his career once he became stuck performing in horror movies. Here, he’s laid back and uses his ability of built-in sophisticated smugness to guide his performance.

                        2. Without a moustache. It’s not a big deal other than he’s less identifiable. It’s like seeing Tom Atkins without his ‘stache. You know it’s him, but that doesn’t make it stand out any less.

                        The character of Eric Gorman is downright sadistic and is presented as such within the first opening moments in which he sows a man’s mouth shut. His victims aren’t merely shot or killed but meet a more violent and primal death.

                        The biggest surprise of all is how Atwill and Scott handle the snakes in the film. These things are huge and I cannot see any actor performing similar scenes while holding reptiles in a movie today. Snakes in general make me squeamish so for me, this is pure horror to witness someone get strangled and play it without the dark humor you’d find in, say, Anaconda.

                        What makes Zoo stand out among its peers is that, for a time in horror in which monsters and scientific creations are best remembered, the villain here is but a man who cannot control his emotions. Think The Most Dangerous Game and place it in a zoo and there you have it.
                        Last edited by Chex; 10-03-2018, 04:41 AM.
                        People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


                        • #42
                          3. The Mad Ghoul (1943)

                          When Dr. Morris (George Zucco, The Mad Monster and The Mummy’s Tomb) experiments with a poisonous gas first used by the ancient Mayans in their sacrificial rites, he discovers that it produces a “death in life” state in the subject. It also has severe, irreversible side effects of advanced decomposition that can only be temporarily halted by a potent mixture of herbs and fresh human hearts. Grave-robbing, corpse desecration, murder and total madness follow in which Ted (David Bruce, Calling Dr. Death) must follow the orders of Dr. Morris as he’s used as a weapon to secure the love of Isabel (Evelyn Ankers, The Wolf Man) from would-be-suitor Eric (Turhan Bey, The Mummy’s Tomb).

                          This is where the Universal films take on the look of a studio film. Its appearance is like that of The Wolf Man or The Mummy’s Tomb, to name a couple of examples. You could call it “stagier” in comparison to the output of the 1930s, but I’d say it’s more polished if also uniformed.

                          The Mad Ghoul is akin to a 1943 version of an EC comics story that would appear in the 1950s. I have no idea which one exactly, only that it seems familiar. Several men strive for the affection of Isabel, but it’s Dr. Morris who takes things to the extreme by using Ted as an instrument of death to wipe out the competition. The look of ghoulish Ted, the love story that guides the character’s actions, and the morbid setting all remind me EC comics. I want to say some of the cemetery sets were used or later reused in The Wolf Man or one of its sequels.

                          What The Mad Ghoul lacks is the presence of an A-list horror name. There’s a distinct lack of Lugosi, Karloff and Chaney Jr. Instead, it’s filled with competent B-role supporters like George Zucco, Turhan Bey and Evelyn Ankers. That’s ok as they easily carry the picture. Not so much when it comes to David Bruce, but you can tell he’s trying to convey a man afflicted.

                          There’s a hilarious moment when Dr. Morris asks Ted to look in the box and describe what he sees. Ted’s response is “a dead monkey.” He says it complete with deadpan delivery as if it isn’t unusual. One of little moments that stick out is when Morris and Ted go to exhume their first body. The grave has a wreath for the newly deceased resident. First thing Morris does is take it and throw it aside to demonstrate how little he cares for the customs of the dead, evident by abusing an ancient Mayan power to control Ted.

                          As a side comment, 14-year-old me would have made a joke about actress Gail Patrick’s introduction of her holding two milk bottles in front of her breasts and having them aimed at Randolph Scott. I like to think I’ve matured enough to restrain myself. Spoiler: I laughed anyway.

                          Fun programmer that has plenty of exterior atmosphere and allows the supporting players command the screen for a change.

                          4. Man Made Monster (1941)

                          A mad scientist (Lionel Atwill, Murders in the Zoo) transforms a carnival performer named “Dynamo Dan” (Lon Chaney, Jr., The Wolf Man) into a murderous monster that feeds and exudes electricity.

                          This is a standard “good guy gets turned into a monster and destroys the real villain (the creator)” story. It works fine, especially with Chaney as the sympathetic Dan who exhibits a nice, if not simple minded, victim. His questioning of the conditions of the rabbits reminds me of his role in Of Mice and Men and I’m not sure if that was intentional.

                          Atwill returns and he’s gone full buffet mode on the scenery. That’s fine as you need someone over the top as everyone else’s energy is in check. Besides, the audience is supposed to hate Atwill’s character, Dr. Rigas, and the more outlandish he is the better.

                          There isn’t much to say other than the special effects come off as a bit comical due to the expression on Chaney’s face. It’s a familiar story that you know where it’s going, but it doesn’t take too long to get there. The only disappointment is that there isn’t enough terrorizing once “Dynamo Dan” escapes from prison and starts to electrocute people. I suspect it’s to keep the audience with empathizing with him, but he still murdered a few folk so the half-measure does more harm than good.

                          5. Horror Island (1941)

                          What started out as a treasure-making scheme ends up deadly for a group of people stuck in a seemingly haunted castle with a killer only known as “the phantom.”

                          An ensemble cast which includes Dick Foran and Peggy Moran (both from The Mummy’s Hand the year prior) as they search for hidden treasure in an old dark house. It doesn’t quite live up to the expectations set. The mansion is clean with barely any dust let alone cobwebs and the setup for the gang to even get their takes one-third of the running time. The mystery as to the identity of “the phantom” isn’t enticing as you see his face early on and repeatedly. It doesn’t help that he looks like the Dred Pirate Roberts and I’m waiting for him to yell out “as you wiiiiiisssshhhh” while rolling down a hill.

                          Why do I enjoy it? For one, there’s a nice twist near the end regarding the movie’s villain. Secondly, I like the humor between the cast. It never reaches the absurd slapstick of an Abbot and Costello picture, but reigns itself in to nuances that you may or not notice by never playing it up for the camera.

                          Too little horror and more joking than most would want, but I find it’s a fast romp that is over before it wears out its welcome.
                          People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


                          • #43
                            6. Island of Lost Souls (1932)

                            Charles Laughton (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) is Moreau, a mad doctor conducting genetic experiments on a remote island in the South Seas, much to the fear and disgust of the shipwrecked man (Richard Arlen, The Crawling Hand) who finds himself trapped there among the bizarre part animal and part humanoid natives.

                            In a decade consisting of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and many other Karloff and Lugosi pictures, Island of Lost Souls stands beside the best of them. It most assuredly has a spot in my top 5 horror movies of the 1930s. The cast is fantastic even if Bela Lugosi (1931’s Dracula) has such a subdued role, but I can’t imagine hearing the lines “are we not men” uttered by anyone else? Kathleen Burke from Murders in the Zoo also appears in the exotic role of the “panther woman”.

                            It’s Charles Laughton that steals the show. I used to subscribe to the theory that Moreau was a homosexual which is why the “panther woman” ignores his advances and he shows zero interest when Leila Hyams (Freaks) arrives onto the island which has had only one woman on it. Now I believe he’s above sexual desire in the conventional sense and is only able to satisfy himself through power. Watch the sequence when he first asks the natives “what is the law?” As they shower him with praise, he lifts his whip up slowly and smiles with glee at their worshipping. It’s as if he’s getting an erection. You could follow this idea with how the whip is a symbol for his manhood much likes guns and cars are often used, but that’s a discussion that’s lengthy (ha!) and I’ve got other movies to watch.

                            If you’re interested in seeing the classics of the horror genre, interested in 1930s cinema, or even just curious about pre-code films, this Paramount production needs to be seen.

                            7. Zombies of Mora Tau (1957)

                            A group of adventurers seeks to obtain the sunken treasure of a wrecked ship from decades past. Unfortunately for them, the treasure is guarded by ships crew who are zombies and never stop in their mission.

                            My first foray into the decade of the 1950s this October and I couldn’t pick a movie that is further from representing it than this. Most 50s horror is melded together with science fiction involving radiation, giant creatures, or space visitors. This is a throwback to the voodoo zombie stories such as White Zombie and Revolt of the Zombies except it lacks any of the social and cultural underlining’s. The crew of the wrecked ship are zombies because, hey, it’s Africa. That’s about all the reason given.

                            It doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. I like the ingenuity of how to film underwater such as when exploring the sunken ship for the treasure. The actors simply move slowly while their suits spurt out bubbles from a toy like you find in a store. It looks better than it sounds. Then there’s the unintentional humor like when a silver candlestick holder is tossed at a zombie and it bounces off their head with a clunk. The actress is doing her very best not to react, but you can tell it smarts.

                            Not my go to pick for a pre-Romero zombie story, but it’s entertaining in a pulpy way. Plus, it has the gorgeous Allison Hayes (Attack of the 50ft. Woman).

                            8. Mad Love (1935)

                            Famed surgeon Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre, Tales of Terror) adores actress Yvonne Orlac. Alas, she is married to a brilliant pianist (Colin Clive, Frankenstein). But Yvonne turns to Gogol for help when her husband’s hands are maimed in an accident. Gogol operates and gives the husband the hands of a killer before trying to secure Yvonne for himself.

                            Peter Lorre in one of his best roles. I can’t picture anyone else as Dr. Gogol. His voice, demeanor, bald head, crooked tooth and insane laugh fully bring to life the character. The amount of glee he demonstrates when realizing he’s duped the pianist is so over the top yet it fits. Colin Clive works his magic to become sympathetic much like portrayed in Frankenstein and its sequel. The cast and the fast pacing help make this my preferred version of the Orlac story, especially when compared to the silent film The Hands of Orlac. I swear, it takes nearly 20 minutes in it just to get through the section of when Orlac and his hands are injured on the train. This gets right to the point in comparison.
                            People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


                            • #44
                              9. Captive Wild Woman (1943)

                              A mad scientist (John Carradine, House of Dracula) turns an ape into a beautiful, but deadly woman who will do anything for a man she cannot have.

                              There’s a reason why Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Invisible Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon series are well known yet you never hear of the Paula, the Ape Woman films from the same studio. They’re just not that great. They offer almost nothing you haven’t seen before in other films from the same time. Mad scientist experimenting on people and animals? Island of Lost Souls and Murders in the Rue Morgue. Wild animal attacks? Murders in the Zoo. Person into beast transformations? The Wolf Man. At least this time it’s a woman transforming into an ape although it looks sorta like a wolf. It delivers more than The She-Wolf of London does so it has that going for it.

                              To its credit, Captive Wild Woman has John Carradine at his most coldest. He shoves a man into the clutches of a wild gorilla without batting an eye and watching with a smirk on his face at the bloodshed. He’s also an idiot by telling a woman he’s holding captive (Evelyn Ankers, The Wolf Man) that the captive Paula would love to kill him and then looks away from Paula’s cage. You can imagine what transpires next. It’s almost like the production time was over so they settled for whatever fast ending they could muster.

                              I suppose if The Wolf Man left you wanting more, and you just needed to see another human / beast transformation, this scratches the itch. Otherwise, there’s a reason the Paula series languishes in the forgotten realm.

                              10. Secret of the Blue Room (1933)

                              A deadly secret from the past return to haunt a young woman and her loved ones. Irene von Helldorf’s (Gloria Stuart, 1932’s The Old Dark House) 21st birthday celebration is eclipsed when her father (Lionel Atwill, The Ghost of Frankenstein) shares the dark details of his estate’s guest room: 20 years earlier, three people were killed there and their murders remain unsolved. Hoping to prove their own bravery and win Irene’s love, each of the three suitors agree to spend a night in the room.

                              I read about this in the book “Universal Horrors” and had given up on it receiving a pressed disc release. It’s been available long enough, so I finally caved and picked up the MOD DVD produced by Universal.

                              This was a lot of fun. Well, for the most part. The backstory on the room is engrossing and, even after the reveal of who’s committing the latest sets of murder, it’s never invalidated so it leaves the viewer wondering if there’s a logical explanation to it all. Lionel Atwill pops up yet again today and is once more reserved than in, say for example, Man Made Monster. He’s the obvious red herring as the movie tries to make him look as guilty as possible. That means he can’t be the murderer. Gloria Stuart has even less to do as she walks into a room and is either showered with praise or finds herself screaming at some ghastly sight.

                              The movie is trucking along and then suddenly hits the breaks when the inspector (Edward Arnold, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) arrives. The story decides to take a recess as the inspector tries to piece together what facts the viewer has already picked up on. Why do I have to wait for the movie to catch up with itself?

                              After 15 minutes, it starts back up again, yet the damage is done as it never quite reaches the same level of excitement as before. What could have been a “great” pre-code thriller is demoted to “good” status. Still, not bad for a new viewing.

                              11. Supernatural (1933)

                              Roma (Carol Lombard, My Man Godfrey), whose twin brother has recently been murdered, becomes easy pretty for a corrupt medium who arranges a séance to conjure up the lost twin’s supposedly troubled soul. Meanwhile, a murderess (Vivienne Osborne, I Accuse My Parents) accused of strangling her lovers awaits her fate in the electric chair. Before she dies, she agrees to donate her body to a scientist for his unique life-after-death research. Eerily, the doctor’s first experiment on the now-deceased woman occurs as precisely the same time as the séance. In an evil twist of fate, Roma becomes possessed by the murderess’ wicked spirit. In a race against time, the doctor and Roma’s fiancé (Randolph Scott, Murders in the Zoo) struggle to undo the horrible curse.

                              This is another Universal MOD DVD that I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years now and finally pulled the trigger on when ordering Secret of the Blue Room. To my surprise, this a Paramount release! Man, they were killing it with horror movies during the pre-code era. I wonder what else they’ve released that I’ve not seen. Is this the first ghost possession movie in the horror genre? Maybe as far as talkies go, at any rate.

                              In almost as big of a surprise is that the film stars Carole Lombard of all people. She’s a great actress, but not known for her horror resume. This may be her only entry in the genre and damn if she doesn’t put on quite a dual performance as the innocent yet distraught Roma and the vengeful murderess. I’d say her eyebrows alone are half the act.

                              Much like the prior title, what could have been fantastic is marred a bit by pacing. I blame the film for setting my expectations a little high right from the start. The story begins with newspaper clippings of the murderess and stating how she strangled three men during an orgy. I’m expecting something similar once possessed-Roma happens. I get neither orgy nor anyone killed by strangulation. There are attempts (at the strangulation), but none are met with success. In fact, there’s truly only one intended victim and that means half the running time is spent on the setup. You can tell where the story is heading, but no matter how much I wished it, it just wouldn’t get there any quicker.

                              There’s still plenty of atmosphere despite it taking place in the big city (New York, maybe). Also, there is a séance, some creepy shenanigans occurring at a funeral home involving a death mask, and a couple of dead bodies although they’re hardly worth mentioning. I think on a re-watch I’ll come to enjoy it more now that I know what to expect.

                              12. Freaks (1932)

                              True freaks are not the story’s sideshow performers, but “normals” who mock and abuse them. Director Tod Browning (1931’s Dracula) cast real-life sideshow professionals. Hans (Harry Earles, The Wizard of Oz), Phroso the clown (Wallace Ford, The Mummy’s Hand), Venus (Leila Hyams, Island of Lost Souls), Angeleno (Angelo Rossitto, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) and others inflict a terrible revenge on a trapeze artist (Olga Baclanova, The Man Who Laughs) who treats them as subhuman.

                              Exploitation or sincere gesture of respect towards outcasts of society? That’s the question when it comes down to it. I don’t think there’s an exact answer. Browning meant for it to be a showcase of the people he grew up around and to show the world that those misshapen are still human beings with the same emotions as everyone else. However, some of the performers in the film and others in the same field feel like the movie was exploiting who they were for the sake of entertainment and see it as a disservice.

                              “Gooble gobble, gooble gobble, one of us, one of us” takes on a meaning that anybody who has ever felt rejected in society can associate with when you discover you’re not alone. Horror fans are an example as are games and so on. Does that demean where the phrase comes from? Most games and horror fans could fit into society and blend in, but these people could not. It’s their physical differences that made them different. Of course, there’s nothing saying you can’t be an outsider that belongs to several different groups that are looked down or cast out from normal society.

                              That’s part of what makes Freaks stand out from other movies. Franchises like Halloween or Friday the 13th involve discussions pertaining to the mythos of the characters. Freaks brings in just as heavy, possibly more important, discussions based on real people and is still current today.
                              People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."


                              • #45
                                13. 13 Ghosts (1960)

                                A homeless family thinks they’re lucky when they inherit a mansion. Unfortunately, the house comes with ghosts that aim to haunt them. Thanks to special “ghost viewing” glasses, the family solve the mystery as to why the spirits are restless.

                                If I had planned it better, my 13th viewing would have been Thirteen Women, but I don’t own a copy of it and only realized moments earlier to sync up this slot with something that has the number thirteen in it. It’s also the first movie I’ve watched this month to come from the 60s. It’s not a very good representation of the decade. It feels and looks like something from the 50s and the ghost glasses help date it. The 60s were a strange time for film in general. Up until Easy Rider, everything feels stagnant; a holdover from the 50s. Post-Easy Rider and the movies start taking chances in so many ways. Easy to tell where this falls onto the spectrum.

                                While writing the synopsis above, I noticed the movie doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why do all the ghosts vanish just because Dr. Zorba’s death was avenged? Why will they all come back as the maid (Margaret Hamilton, The Wizard of Oz) suggests? Are they trying to terrify the family or are they on their side? The lion ghost seems to want to eat the boy yet another ghost saves him while others merely break some dishes and only on one occasion. I don’t think the script was given too much thought other than inserting enough sequences to utilize Castle’s latest gimmick.

                                All that aside, I found myself enjoying this. Last time I gave it a shot was a decade ago, but I had a fun time with this latest viewing. It may help that I’ve gotten into TV sitcoms from the late 50s – early 60s like Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver. That’s what this feels like—a sitcom family tossed into some (incredibly light) haunted happenings. It’s even got TV’s Martin Milner from Adam-12 and Route 66 to round it out. The casting of Hamilton as a witch is genius and adds so much more to the experience than the gimmick glasses.

                                Still not my favorite William Castle movie, but I could see revisiting this one sooner than it took before.

                                That does it for my October 1st viewing. Whew!
                                People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."