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2018 horror movie challenge -- preparations

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  • #46
    Second day and already struggling. This is right about the time I would turn a flick on but this NL Wild Card game is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. Ugh.

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    • #47
      October 2nd

      14. The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

      Val Guest (The Day the Earth Caught Fire) directs this chilling film about a spaceship returning to earth with a frightening surprise on board. Two of the ship’s three astronauts have mysteriously vanished, while the third is sick with an unidentifiable illness. While the doctors try to help the third man recover, an investigation takes place to figure out just what happened to his comrades. The survivor’s body has been taken over by an alien fungus that needs blood to survive. After the astronaut escapes from the hospital, he transforms into a monster, attacking everyone who gets in his way. It’s up to scientist Bernard Quatermass (Brian Donlevy, The Glass Key) to track down the creature and stop it before it can multiply.

      Now this is classic 50s horror / science fiction! Gooey monsters originating from outer space. I can understand why some don’t care much for Donlevy’s interpretation of the Quatermass character, but I like how he walks into a room and takes charge. He is a bit arrogant at times, but at least there’s a lack of smugness about it. The result is that things get done and fast.

      I never noticed before how the camera never sits still. It’s moving either through dolly shots or handheld shots and even has moments of point-of-view shots. The dialogue is just as fast in which characters talk over one another. It reminds me of Howard Hawks’ style. That doesn’t seem like a big deal but watch films before this and notice how everyone chimes in with dialogue after the other person has finished speaking. Think of actions scene where a protagonist fights a group of people, but one on one. Fighting the entire group makes it dynamic.

      Science fiction / horror films from the 50s are often looked down on. Quatermass is a fantastic example of how engaging the genre could be and is but one of many examples.


      15. The Devil’s Candy (2015)

      Diehard metalhead and struggling artist Jesse (Ethan Embry, Empire Records) moves with his wife (Shiri Appleby, TV’s Roswell) and daughter (Kiara Glasco, TV’s Bitten) to a rural Texas town, unaware that the house they bough at an unbelievable price comes with a grisly history. Their dream home turns into a nightmare as disturbing demonic occurrences culminate the appearance of Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince, Identity), the home’s former resident whose destined to do the devil’s bidding.

      You like metal? Are you ready to rock?! Then it’s time get headbanging….for the first third of the story. Then the metal music subsides, and you’re stuck with a thriller wrapped around the disguise of a devil possession flick. That would be ok if it didn’t take a drive into familiar territory.

      The biggest mystery to me is not why the devil chose Ray. It’s not why it seems to want to send Jesse visions so he can be aware of what will happen and maybe stop them from occurring. It’s all about Ethan Embry and how he looks drastically different in everything I catch him in. The man is a Daniel Day Lewis in not so great movies. Lewis may have an academy award or three, but he wasn’t in Empire Records or National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation. Yeah, I said it. Vegas Vacations was entertaining and is better than European Vacation. I’m not backing down from this.

      Oh, right, The Devil’s Candy. It’s got a nice soundtrack and the artwork looks cool although hilariously like the slipcovers on movie releases that fans complain about. Y’know, the ones with numerous floating heads and is busy. I must mention that the first painting Jesse makes is a total letdown. All that hype and mystery only for it to be a simple inverted cross. Sigh. Hey, at least Black Phillip from The Witch makes a cameo.
      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."

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      • #48
        October 3rd

        16. Drive-In Massacre (1976)

        It’s a hot summer night in Southern California and the local passion pit is packed with patrons. But when a sword-wielding psycho begins carving up customers, it’ll unspool a grubby cavalcade of creepy carnies, peeping perverts and graphic decapitations. Co-written by George “Buck” Flower and John F. Goff (both in 1980’s The Fog).

        Coming straight out of 1976 and, oh man, does this scream seventies. It’s a proto-slasher that’s more of a police procedural (which were huge at the time) with intervals of decapitations. Unlike the detective work of, say, When a Stranger Calls, this is never dull as it intentional and not intentional humor keeps it chugging along. You can tell it’s a proto-slasher as the story has little to do with teens or a body count. There’s zero attempt at suspense, there are long stretches of interrogation, and the kills are over in mere moments. Yet I had a blast watching this.

        Nearly every scene had me chuckle. Long static shots of the drive-in are entertaining just to hear how wild the musician is working the keyboard to create….I don’t know. It’s not suspense. It sounds more like someone just goofing around and it happened to get recorded.
        Then there’s the characters. The cops (co-writer John F. Goff and Bruce Kimball of Malibu Beach and a host of Z grade horror films) are likeable enough fellows. They’re not Jim Rockford, but they get the job done. Anytime Robert Pearson (Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens) is onscreen as the drive-in manager, it’s gold. The fact he despises his job yet puts up with it is relatable to anyone that’s worked retail. The real prize is Norman Sheridan (Bad Georgia Road) as Orville, a pervert that hangs out at the drive-in to watch couples get hot with one another. The man decorates his living room with nudie magazine spreads. If that’s not classy enough, when pressured to explain why peeps in on the couples, he blurts out it’s so he can “beat the meat.” Did I mention classy? Lastly, and not that she gets to do anything until the last few minutes, is Janus Blythe from an assortment of well-known cult films like 1977’s The Hills Have Eyes, Eaten Alive and The Incredible Melting Man. What does she add? Well, she screams a bunch. She’s like the fat lady at an opera. When she sings, you know it’s over. When Blythe screams, the movie is about finished.

        It’s short on any scares or really any use of its location, but I can tell I’ll be checking this out again in the future.


        17. Carrie (1976)

        Terror hits high school and at the center of it is Carrie (Sissy Spacek, The Ring Two), a loner with no confidence, no friends…and no idea about the extent of her powers of telekinesis. But when her psychotic mother (Piper Laurie, TV’s Twin Peaks) and sadistic classmates finally go too far, the once-shy teen becomes an unrestrained, vengeance-seeking powerhouse who, with the help of her “special gift”, causes all hell to break loose in a frenzy of blood and fire. Also stars Amy Irving (The Fury), William Katt (House), Nancy Allen (Dressed to Kill), Betty Buckley (Split), Priscilla Pointer (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors) and John Travolta (The Devil’s Rain).

        I’m not going to bother commenting on how gut-wrenching it is to watch Carrie be made a fool of and to be tormented by her mother and classmates. There’s plenty that could be said about the use of religion, coming into age and the pressures of high school. I’m sure it’s been written about more eloquently than I could put it and I don’t want to write page after page of rambling thoughts.

        Instead, I just want to point out that Carrie has one of the greatest opening scenes in a film. Pino Donaggio’s score is beautifully tranquil in what looks to be a mundane event (the girl’s locke room) and the way it shrills to a startling pitch as Carrie’s world comes under attack when first experiencing womanhood is completely on point. The terror Carrie experiences as she screams for help only to be met with bullying and laughter tells you everything you need to know about all the characters and it sucks me in every time to witness how the story progresses from there. It’s done in other films like Slaughter High, but not to this quality. I instantly feel pity for Carrie while despising the others and I’ve only been introduced to them moments earlier.

        As a side comment, I never realized how clearly Chris can speak while giving a blow job. It’s like a ventriloquist trick or something.
        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."

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        • #49
          18. Pet Sematary (1989)

          After moving to an idyllic home in the countryside, life seems perfect for the Creed family…but not for long. Louis (Dale Midkiff, Nightmare Weekend) and Rachel (Denise Crosby, TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation) and their two young children settle into a house that sits next door to a pet cemetery—built on an ancient Indian burial ground. Their mysterious new neighbor, Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne, TV’s The Munsters), hides the cemetery’s darkest secret until a family tragedy brings the secret to life.

          Stephen King double feature!

          Forget the bad acting (except for Fred Gwynne’s awesome southern northeastern accent) and how confusing it is to figure out why the evil force seems to try and stop Louis from burying Gage (Miko Hughes, New Nightmare) or why Rachel’s parents have a strange painting of a middle-aged woman holding a cane (or is it a whip?) while posing with a dog. Anyone that saw this as a kid remembers certain horrifying scenes that has stuck in your memory since. Gage with his scar on his head from after it was busted open by a truck, Pascow’s brains exposed, Jud being cannibalized and Zelda.

          Disfigured Zelda terrified me as a child even when I knew her scenes were coming up. That voice, the look of her spine, the strange shape of her face (due to make-up I realize) and how she finds glee in taunting Rachel. That’s the stuff I’ll never forget and why I still enjoy this movie despite all its questionable moments (Missy’s suicide), idiotic characters (Louis) and annoying actors (Ellie).


          19. Mama (2013)

          A haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their parents were killed. When the young sisters are found alive in a decrepit cabin, their uncle (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, TV’s Game of Thrones) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game) take them in. As they try to introduce the children to a normal life, Annabel begins to wonder if the traumatized girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home.

          In a sea of PG-13 ghost flicks from this decade, I find Mama to be one of the stronger entries. There’s an emotional weight that carries the story along with great production design everywhere except the main household coupled with strong and stable performances, especially by Chastain. It does rely a bit much on CGI jump scares and I cannot fathom how Annabel and Jeffrey are even a couple as they seem totally mismatched, but these aren’t enough to bring the experience down. It doesn’t remake the subgenre but plays within the confines rather well.


          20. Don’t Knock Twice (2016)

          When troubled teen Chloe (Lucy Boynton, The Blackcoat’s Daughter) defies a local legend’s warning and knocks at the door of a long-abandoned house, she unleashes a horror beyond her darkest nightmares—the vengeance of a relentless child-stealing witch. With nowhere to turn, Chloe heads for the country home of her estranged mother, Jess (Katee Sackhoff, Halloween: Resurrection)—a recovering addict who is desperate to reconnect with her daughter. Now, mother and daughter must once again learn to trust each other if they have any hope of surviving the relentless force shadowing Chloe.

          While Mama is typical yet well-done, Don’t Knock Twice is average at best. Its biggest offense is that it’s dull, stemming from any lack of logic or detail. Why does Chloe automatically seek out information on only one kind of demon? At one point, mother and daughter build a bonfire in the yard to protect themselves by standing almost in the center of it for the entire night…huh? Why does that even work? Why did the demon kidnap a little boy months (or was it years) ago only to devour him after Chloe is kidnapped? The twist at the end helps somewhat, but it’s too little and too late by that point. I hate to say this, but I actually wish it did feature more jump scares, as lame as they are because of the most running time is spent watching the two leads go through the motions with little chemistry between them.

          It's a nice idea, but the script feels like it needed another rewrite or two. Also, who knocks twice? Three times is the standard.


          21. Zombi 3 (1988)

          A group of terrorists release a cloud of putrefying toxic waste, causing the local population to mutate into a mass of ferocious, flesh-chomping zombies. A group of young people led by Kenny (Deran Sarafian, 10 to Midnight) and Patricia (Beatrice Ring, Sicilian Connection) are barricaded (the flimsiest barricade ever constructed) in a hotel and seek refuge at an abandoned military base. Together, they must rely on their most savage instincts to survive the apocalyptic onslaught of blood-crazed ghouls.

          On the zombie spectrum scale, you have George Romero’s original “dead” trilogy filled with social commentary. The opposite side of the scale is known as the nothing-but-cheese end that’s where Zombi 3 can be found. It’s the definition of so-bad-so-good type of movie. Everything about it is inept which makes it wildly entertaining. Characters shout out the dumbest dialogue, zombies become ninjas and bullets to the chest kill zombies, yet a decapitated zombie head can still live and has mastered the art of flying are but a few of the elements contained within.

          It’s not as if the movie makes up its own rules as it goes, but that it has zero understanding of what rules even are. I know director Lucio Fulci was ill during production and shot somewhere from a third to a half of the movie before Bruno Mattei took over, but is there anyway to tell who filmed what? I noticed half of the film has that “shot through gauze” look to it like you find in Carrie and Prom Night while the other half doesn’t. The look of the film doesn’t just change from scene to scene but also from shot to shot so I’m not sure if that helps to determine which director was there for what sequence.

          I picked up the Severin blu-ray since it was on sale and I’m impressed by the transfer (the screencap is from the DVD). There are some compression moments, but it’s still a couple steps up from the DVD shriek show. Plus, unknown to me when I ordered it, it comes with a copy of the soundtrack. Not a bad deal!

          What else can I say about Zombi 3? This is the kind of movie that you talk some friends into watching it by bribing them with beers. Who knows, maybe they’ll thank you afterwards.
          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."

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          • #50
            October 4th

            22. Zombie 4 – After Death (1989)

            A voodoo curse on a remote island opens the gates of hell for the flesh-eating undead to devour the living. Barely escaping the island as a little girl, Jenny (Candace Daly, Liquid Dreams) is drawn back to face the deadly perils of the island for one last time.

            I decided to continue with the sequel that really isn’t a sequel at all. The Severin blu-ray also comes with a copy of the soundtrack, so I can rock out to the greatest rock song to ever appear in a zombie film. The transfer is better as well. Zombi 3 did look rather smooth (probably DNR) while this is grain heavy. Again, huge step up from the DVD.

            I’ll come out and say it—I like Zombie 4 more than Zombi 3 if only a little. It’s more cinematic with the camera and the gore is used as a more visceral treat instead of just people being chowed down on and blood packets erupting. To be fair, Zombi 3 did have that undead fetus kill. Anyway, this has Rod (Nick Nicholson, Silk) the mercenary who’s easily the best character out of the two films. The entire opening segment with the voodoo priest is the highlight, but Rod keeps the rest of it entertaining as well even when playing for the other side. Nah, that wasn’t a Jeff Stryker joke either.

            That same half-gauze and half-not look is back. The director of photography is a different person so maybe it has all to do with Claudio Fragasso? I have no idea. I know it utilizes the same off-camera smoke machines heavily.

            I know the title is actually After Death, but I’ve always known it as Zombie 4 and that’s what I’m sticking with. I always get the urge to watch Zombie Holocaust after this for whatever reason. Must be the combination of zombies and the jungle atmosphere.


            23. Frankenstein (1931)

            Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive, Mad Love) becomes obsessed with creating life. When finally achieving his ambitious goal, he discovers it comes with grave consequences and that there are some lines man is not meant to cross.

            To think there was a time when I had zero interest in Frankenstein or the series. Today, it’s probably my favorite of the Universal horror franchises. Which one do I prefer: this or Bride? I’m not sure. Bride has more heart but, unfortunately, also has Una O’Conner. This is straight up more gothic with its shadowy backdrop, cemeteries and grave digging. The German Expression look to, say, the monster’s cell in the tower is purely twisted and from a nightmare. Plus, you still feel sympathetic towards the monster as it doesn’t understand life or its own power all thanks to Boris Karloff’s (1932’s The Mummy) brilliant performance of part animal and part infant.

            Something that sticks out in this viewing is the body Frankenstein has Fritz (Dwight Frye, 1931’s Dracula) cut down. The man was hanged so why all the shock at discovering the body has a broken neck? True, he could have suffocated, but that’s not usually the point of hanging. Also, why is it Fritz is the reason for the wrong brain. Yes, he grabbed the wrong one, but the jar is clearly marked with a giant label that states “abnormal brain” and is underlined. Surely Frankenstein would have seen it. Oh well. Just something to ponder.


            24. You’re Next (2011)

            When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.

            I remember watching this when it came out and feeling disappointed after the hype and how everyone said the main female was such a breath of fresh air. I dig the movie this time around, but I still can’t give much praise to the lead (Sharni Vinson, Bait). Sure, she gives logical advice, but it isn’t anything that anyone with a half a brain can come up with. It doesn’t help that she’s made to competent while everyone else is a total ditz. C’mon, they don’t know how many attackers there are but immediately think running outside is an A+ plan?

            That aside, there are several aspects that hit home. The establishing shots at the beginning of how isolated the house is are just breathtaking. For the most part, the tension is on point and the murders are grisly. Yeah, the actions of the characters are often ill-advised like leaving the one girl alone upstairs after they discovered that the psychos are in the house.

            I forgot Larry Fessenden (Habit) and Ti West (House of the Devil) are in this. Too bad they don’t share a scene together. Also, Barbara Crampton (From Beyond) has aged beautifully. It’s such a shame that she doesn’t play a bigger role.

            I wasn’t sure how well this would fare on a re-watch, but I’m glad I gave it another chance.
            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."

            Comment


            • #51
              Day 1, October 4

              I watched "Would you rather."

              My thoughts: pretty intense and claustrophobic. It reminded me of Hostel.

              A sadistic millionaire convinces people to harm one another during a dinner party.

              By no means a masterpiece. A scary and frightening contemporary horror flick, though.

              Remotely better than "Cabin fever" and the other horror movies that Netflix is streaming.

              Last edited by Westin; 10-05-2018, 04:21 AM.

              Comment


              • #52
                Watched Alone in the Dark from New Line Cinema in 1982 for the first time last night. I liked it more than I thought I would. The ending was fucking great even if it was a little bit weird, and the reveal of the 4th maniac was great too.

                My biggest complaint was maybe the most nonsensical, pointless jump scares ever. A zombie-like thing that has nothing to do pops up out of nowhere cause a character is strung out on Vicodin and a nervous wreck.

                Comment


                • #53
                  October 5th

                  25. The VVitch (2015)

                  New England, 1630: William and Katherine a lead devout Christian life with their five children, homesteading on the edge of an impossible wilderness. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes, and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy (Split).

                  Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?
                  Such an awesome quote from a fantastic movie. This is a rewatch and I found myself just as engaged as I was on the first viewing. The production design, the sound and music, along with the heavy accents all help to pull me into the story. How can you not feel for Thomasin and even empathize with her final decision? Religion brought her misery and led to the corruption of the family bond so why not accept an offer of acceptance into a new group, albeit evil?

                  In addition to the gripping paranoia exhibited by the family, there are several disturbing images such as the witch and the newborn baby. I had to look up what she was actually using it for and, well, that didn’t make things better. There’s also the moment when the mother believes she’s nursing her child when she’s being picked to death by an avian of Satan. Such good stuff and there isn’t much in a similar vein making it stand out all the more.


                  26. Rings (2017)

                  When a radical college professor (Johnny Galecki, TV’s The Big Bang Theory) finds the mysterious video rumored to kill viewers seven days after watching, he enlists his students in a dangerous experiment to uncover the secrets behind the Samara legend. When the deadly video goes viral, they must figure out a way to break the curse and defeat Samara before her evil is unleashed upon the world.

                  Every time I started to warm up to this movie, something would happen in the story that made me immediately dislike it. It’s like a roller coaster. A really shitty ride that refuses to stay at the same altitude for more than three seconds.

                  First off, the opening scene is terrible. This film is coming 12 years after The Ring Two so a new generation has no idea what the hell some girl coming out of a well is supposed to mean. The entire sequence also lacks any suspense and looks like something filmed in a reshoot as mandated by a studio. What comes after doesn’t do it many favors with college students willingly watching the video for shits and giggles. Oh, my bad—it’s for science! Or at least extra credit. Flip cup isn’t good enough for entertainment, I guess.

                  After the 40 minute mark, the remaining hour turns into a bland remake of The Ring, but with characters devoid of emotion. There’s the gag about reminding the audience of video images now seen in the real world, Samara’s parents and their lack of love for the child, the leading lady being guided by Samara, a final resting place and a surprise twist ending. All of that, while needless and had me running for my copy of the first film, is ok enough. In fact, I’m glad they reused the score from the first film. The problem comes from dumb character moments. There’s a wreck involving a couple of vehicles. Turns out, the police never bothered to check one of them and left a man to die. It’s like they couldn’t be bothered. Our leading male character (whateverhisname, Whothefuckcares) never turns his phone on for an entire day or two until the ending when it turns out he’s had it on yet never noticed the blaring “you have a voice mail” notification. Also, one of the many beginnings of the film (there’s three) involves him going to college…is he a freshman? Dude makes Corey Feldman look young.

                  By the time the ending comes, directly referencing the second book / Japanese film known as Rasen (or Spiral), it’s too little and too late. If anything, it made me want to go read the books to experience how to tackle a similar story but keep it fresh every single time.
                  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."

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    October 6th

                    27. Night of the Blood Beast (1958)

                    A returning astronaut dies upon re-entry to Earth. While his colleagues investigate what went wrong, they soon discover the astronaut’s body is incubating aliens. Written by Gene Corman (Roger Corman’s brother) and stars Michael Emmet (Attack of the Giant Leeches), Angela Greene (The Cosmic Man) and Ed Nelson who can be found on numerous TV shows like Perry Mason, Mannix and The Rockford Files.

                    1950’S AMERICA! When men were men by wearing their pants up to their navel. When women screamed in terror and froze until a man came to rescue her! All that and more can be found in Night of the Blood Beast.

                    I had no idea this was partly a science fiction film. The opening with the spaceship and the returning astronaut had me wondering if I had put in the wrong movie. In any case, it’s fun if typical. A group of scientists barricade themselves inside a remote lab when under attack from space aliens that hitched a ride inside the body of the space man. It loses some of my interest when they venture out into the daylight to check out the surrounding hillside. It does lead to a mystery as to who is killing the group off one by one: the aliens or the space man. While I’m a sucker for those type of survival stories, it is filled with the usual low-budget sci-fi / horror movies of the time. That translates into a bunch of adults sounding serious while standing around for most of the running time to save on money. A hilarious bit is how the men are fast to shoot any of the creatures even when they had no idea mere moments before that they even existed. Some scientists.

                    All in all, it was a nice surprise. The sci-fi talk doesn’t bother me, and I like the shadowy look of the lab that could easily fit in as an abandoned farmhouse or any other residential structure as people try to defend themselves from the unknown.


                    28. The Changeling (1980)

                    A Manhattan composer (George C. Scott, The Exorcist III) is consumed by grief after his wife and daughter are killed in a tragic accident. But when he moves to a secluded Victorian mansion, he will find himself haunted by a paranormal entity that may unleash and even more disturbing secret. Co-stars Trish Van Devere (The Hearse).

                    Absolutely love this film and its slow burn approach. Being from 1980, it has more in common with the more laid-back paranormal films like 1963’s The Haunting or 1944’s The Uninvited than the more modern special effects-heavy tales. You simply feel bad for Scott who comes off as completely charming even after suffering a devasting loss and sympathize with the man. Best of all, it minimizes any of the usual ghost-trappings of him ignoring the strange occurrences and trying to convince others of what’s happening.

                    I wonder how inspired Ring author Koji Suzuki was by this movie. There are too many similarities such as the ghost of a child wanting justice, to be heard by someone, guiding them towards their goal and being trapped in a well. I remember in the novel, journalist Asakawa visits a cabin and checks out the local VHS tapes and rambles off the titles of several horror movies. I’ll have to go back and check to see if The Changeling is one of them.

                    I viewed this via Severin’s new blu-ray release. I’m so glad I can get rid of the old DVD as this looks magnificent. I’d love to check out the bonus features, but those will have to wait for another evening.


                    29. Dementia 13 (2017)

                    A modernized remake of Francis Ford Coppla’s 1963 film of the same name involving a wealthy family still dealing with the death of its youngest daughter several years later. While honoring the daughter’s death, a long con, an axe-wielding serial killer and a vengeful ghost all coalesce in the same night to target the family. Everyone in the family has a secret, nobody wants to face what they did, and for them to survive, the truth needs to come out—sooner than later.

                    For a cash-in on Psycho, the original Dementia 13 is made with low-budget effectiveness due to the skill in its director and writer. The creative team behind this remake are certainly fans of it but failed to enhance the original material in any way. Part of the original’s charm was the implication that, while there was a psycho killer running around, ghostly shenanigans may have been afoot as well to a small degree. The remake decides to incorporate the paranormal while keeping the slasher elements. What you get is a movie that doesn’t deliver on either account. The ghost aspect feels cheap and is nothing that hasn’t been seen hundreds of times before and the slasher aspect takes a backseat as a result. What’s strange is that it starts off by following the original incredibly close yet quickly diverges into something else.

                    It sounds terrible, but I’ve seen worse. Even as a slasher-ghost hybrid, it’s still better than drek like The Forest. I’m not sure if it helps to be familiar with the original or not as that may work as a disadvantage.


                    30. 31 (2016)

                    On Halloween, five carnival employees (Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Meg Foster from The Lords of Salem with Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs from TV’s Welcome Back, Kotter and Kevin Jackson from Rosewood) are kidnapped and held hostage in an isolated compound known as “Murderworld.” They are thrown into a sadistic game called “31” where they must survive 12 hours against a gang of maniacs dressed like clowns. However, the clowns aren’t the only ones they need to worry about.

                    Sigh.

                    I usually enjoy Rob Zombie’s work. I like the look of his movies and how he infuses music to create a particular time and atmosphere. However, his characters have often been criticized as his biggest flaw along with dialogue. Sometimes it works such as the Firefly clan in The Devil’s Rejects. Other times it doesn’t. This is that other time. After his work on Halloween II, it seemed he took to hear to spend more time working on his characters, making them likeable if not tolerable and to not to substitute every other word of dialogue with “fuck”. The Lords of Salem was step in the right direction.

                    31 is not only regressive but feels like a giant middle finger towards his critics as he decides to ramp up all the flaw to eleven. I don’t care about any of the carnival workers would have been fine if they met a grisly end within the first few minutes. At least the running time would have been kept short. To give an idea of what this is like, imagine a trashier version of the family breakfast table talk in 2007’s Halloween.

                    To make matters worse, it turns into one of the movies where everyone becomes stupid in the third act. Why? Because things need to be a certain way and no more thought was put into how to make it happen.

                    The upside is that it’s nice to see numerous genre actors together again. Always nice to see Malcolm McDowell hamming it up with Judy Geeson or to see E.G. Daily do an impression of Harley Quinn.

                    Lastly, I realize how I missed the opportunity to have 31 as the 31st film for the month. It was such a miserable experience, however, that I don’t care.
                    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."

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Chex View Post
                      Lastly, I realize how I missed the opportunity to have 31 as the 31st film for the month. It was such a miserable experience, however, that I don’t care.
                      Knowing you, that's all that needed to be said, Chex. That film must be terrible.

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                      • #56
                        I thought of 31 like it was "The Running Man meets Hostel." I've seen worse, but it's one of those movies where you say, "eh, I've seen that. Don't remember too much."

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                        • #57
                          Unfortunately, this week has so much going on at work and in my personal life that movie watching is going to be scarce. Maybe I can sneak in a few if I'm lucky.

                          Knowing you, that's all that needed to be said, Chex. That film must be terrible.
                          Best way I can describe it as that, if you dislike Zombie's movies, it will do nothing to change your mind.

                          October 7th

                          31. X-Ray (1981)

                          Susan Jeremy (Barbi Benton, Deathstalker) goes to a local hospital for a routine examination. Once inside, she discovers that someone doesn’t want her to check out…unless it’s in a body bag. A psychotic killer keeps her trapped inside the hospital, having fixed her x-rays to make it look like she has a terminal illness. Meanwhile, he brutally murders everyone she comes in contact with.

                          A Cannon slasher picture and it’s like what you would expect: blood, boobs and a thin plot that you don’t care to question because of the first two components. If you think the hospital in Halloween 2 is unrealistic, wait until you see this place. It’s a functioning hospital yet with multiple people being killed in it. It’s actually somewhat eerie because there isn’t a sense of isolation knowing that the floors above and below the murders contain people. Too bad I feel zero sympathy for Susan. She’s a bitch to everyone so it’s hard to root for her.

                          I forgot the little boy that has his heart crushed at the beginning is played by Billy Jacoby. That reminds me, where the hell is my blu-ray of Just One of the Guys? Come on, Sony! Or Mill Creek. I don’t care. They recorded a cast commentary three years ago so release it already.
                          Last edited by Chex; 10-08-2018, 04:35 PM.
                          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."

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Chex View Post
                            [

                            26. Rings (2017)

                            When a radical college professor (Johnny Galecki, TV’s The Big Bang Theory) finds the mysterious video rumored to kill viewers seven days after watching, he enlists his students in a dangerous experiment to uncover the secrets behind the Samara legend. When the deadly video goes viral, they must figure out a way to break the curse and defeat Samara before her evil is unleashed upon the world.

                            Every time I started to warm up to this movie, something would happen in the story that made me immediately dislike it. It’s like a roller coaster. A really shitty ride that refuses to stay at the same altitude for more than three seconds.

                            First off, the opening scene is terrible. This film is coming 12 years after The Ring Two so a new generation has no idea what the hell some girl coming out of a well is supposed to mean. The entire sequence also lacks any suspense and looks like something filmed in a reshoot as mandated by a studio. What comes after doesn’t do it many favors with college students willingly watching the video for shits and giggles. Oh, my bad—it’s for science! Or at least extra credit. Flip cup isn’t good enough for entertainment, I guess.

                            After the 40 minute mark, the remaining hour turns into a bland remake of The Ring, but with characters devoid of emotion. There’s the gag about reminding the audience of video images now seen in the real world, Samara’s parents and their lack of love for the child, the leading lady being guided by Samara, a final resting place and a surprise twist ending. All of that, while needless and had me running for my copy of the first film, is ok enough. In fact, I’m glad they reused the score from the first film. The problem comes from dumb character moments. There’s a wreck involving a couple of vehicles. Turns out, the police never bothered to check one of them and left a man to die. It’s like they couldn’t be bothered. Our leading male character (whateverhisname, Whothefuckcares) never turns his phone on for an entire day or two until the ending when it turns out he’s had it on yet never noticed the blaring “you have a voice mail” notification. Also, one of the many beginnings of the film (there’s three) involves him going to college…is he a freshman? Dude makes Corey Feldman look young.

                            By the time the ending comes, directly referencing the second book / Japanese film known as Rasen (or Spiral), it’s too little and too late. If anything, it made me want to go read the books to experience how to tackle a similar story but keep it fresh every single time.
                            Not great. Passable because it is better than The Ring 2.

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                            • #59
                              I'm doing terribly so far. It's the 8th and I've only managed 1 movie.

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                              • #60
                                October 8th

                                32. Revolt of the Zombies (1936)

                                An international expedition is sent into Cambodia to destroy an ancient formula that turns men into the walking, and obedient, dead.

                                I think this is a rewatch, but I’ve forgotten nearly all of it. Originally intended to be a sequel to White Zombie, this film detaches itself from the Lugosi picture with the exception of constantly using the close-up of his eyes to demonstrate the control Armand Loque (Dean Jagger, Alligator) has over the living. It’s an offbeat story, but that’s what makes it so fascinating.

                                There’s a love triangle that takes up maybe 10 minutes of story and it’s the fastest paced romance you’ll ever see. Two people begin courting, the woman likes the man’s best friend, the couple are engaged but it’s only a ploy by the woman to make the best friend jealous, the couple then split so the woman and best friend can be engaged.

                                The man she was originally engaged with takes it all in stride until he obtains the power to control the minds of others. It’s like Christine in that he’s good natured until he’s corrupted. The way Armand controls his victims is strange. The first victim breathes in some sort of vapor (somehow Armand fails to do so even though he’s closer to it). The other victims just fall prey to his ability to use mental powers. Like he’s turned into Professor X or something. The best part is that, the character who is clearly a villain, succumbs to Armand’s ability. The weakling outmaneuvers the bad guy for a change!

                                There’s also the setting. Zombies are considered as a weapon to use during the war. Yet this is 1936 so WWII hasn’t started. I can only assume they mean WWI, but who knows. Later, it’s decided that the voodoo power could fall into wrong hands, so the allies shouldn’t have its capabilities. It gives an eerie feeling considering what would happen in less than ten years later.


                                33. The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)

                                When Ygor (Bela Lugosi, Mark of the Vampire) brings the Monster (Lon Chaney Jr., The Wolf Man) to Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein (Cedric Hardwicke, The Lodger) for care, Ludwig gets the idea of replacing the Monster's current criminal brain with a normal one. Evelyn Ankers (Weird Woman), Lionel Atwill (House of Dracula) and Ralph Bellamy (Trading Places) also star.

                                The first three films in the franchise receive so much deserved love, but Ghost is often overlooked. Honestly, it’s enjoyable for trying a new approach to keep the series interesting by attempting to replace the Monster’s brain with a normal one. Plus, you’ve Lugosi back in one of his greatest roles as Ygor. Admittedly, another son of the Frankenstein household messes up continuity and Hardwicke fails when it comes to imitating his father as a ghostly apparition. I’m also not fond of Chaney as the monster. Something about his chubby face just doesn’t fit although his movements work well enough. Coming off Karloff, it doesn’t measure up.

                                Then there’s Ygor’s sound coming from Chaney’s face at the end. Is it ridiculous? Yep. Does it make sense? Not really. Does it work? I think so as it’s the moment when the film decides to abandon all logic and just go with it. I think it’s because Lugosi sounds so over the top.


                                34. Blood and Black Lace (1964)

                                A masked, shadowy killer brutally murders the models of a scandalous fashion house in Rome to conceal a deadly secret. Directed by Mario Bava (Black Sunday) and stars Cameron Mitchell (Raw Force).

                                One of the earliest gialli (I can never remember if that’s one “l” or two) and is a great representation of the genre’s starting roots. Sexy and beautiful women being stalked and killed by a masked assailant wearing black gloves and leaving behind a trail of bloody corpses. Think back to where American horror films were at this time—black and white, often low budget, involving science. With Blood, you’ve got gorgeous women, bright colors and blood. Hammer Studios were already tuning into this by the late 50’s with their take on the classic monsters and it’s no surprise than some place else would follow suit.

                                I still get a kick out of the rational the inspectors demonstrate. A woman’s face was badly burned. Their reaction? It must be the work of a “homicidal sex maniac.” That’s the only possible explanation? Not just a maniac, but a sex maniac? Despite no evidence of the women being raped?

                                Whenever I read about Blood, it’s always the colors and killer. Rightly so, but the mystery is engaging. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, there’s a curveball near the end. Before that, everybody is a suspect. One of best moments is when the diary of a victim is discovered, and everyone looks on in shock because they’re afraid their secret will be revealed. The cutting from each person’s face to the diary is fantastic and opens the door as to who has reason enough to partake in a murder spree and why.

                                Lastly, it’s strange to see a younger, slimmer and less drunk Cameron Mitchell.
                                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."

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