Movie A Day!:311-320 – Off the Wagon

Sorry gang, I fell way behind on my updates for the first time this year. I was supposed to be off work this week, but had to go in Monday and Tuesday to cover for a co-worker. Tuesday afternoon, my flu like poops came back. I’ve now had near constant diarrhea for 7 odd days. It’s the worst! Anyway, I’ll be posting a bunch to get caught up since with the flu, I watch even more movies.

311 10-20 Up From The Depths (1979) 1.5/5
I’m fine with a “Jaws” knock-off, provided it’s good. This one was terrible in every way. A weird shark like fish has shown up of the coast of a Hawaiian resort and is attacking people. So it’s Jaws, only a completely garbage version with terrible acting, effects and a weird dubbed soundtrack. The plot can’t decide if it wants to go the Jaws scary route, or the fun Piranha route so it just fails miserably. This is grade z level Corman stuff, and sadly not fun in any way.

312 10-20 Demon of Paradise (1987) 2.5/5
Directed by Cirio H. Santiago so you know what you’re getting into. Fishermen illegally using dynamite awaken a lizard man then proceeds to attack a resort. Not the greatest, but it’s light years better then Under From The Depths that it shares a DVD with. It’s from 1987 but the look of the film leads me to think it sat on a shelf for a while.

313 10-21 Crawlspace (1986) 3/5
Klaus Kinski stars as a nutty doctor son of a nazi war criminal who has taken to being a landlord who has tricked out his apartment building so he can crawl around spying on the women tenants and kill them. It’s pretty bonkers stuff that really doesn’t make any sense. Kinski is good in it though and manages to hold the thing together despite how ridiculous it gets. The scream factory blu-ray has short film about working with Kinski by the films director, “Please, kill Mr. Kinski” that it pretty great stuff too.

You're Next Movie Poster

314 10-21 You’re Next (2011) 3/5
This one is a home invasion movie, and everything about it made it look like a direct rip of “The Strangers.” So it’s nice that they twisted things up a bit. Not a whole lot, but enough that I think this one is the better movie. Anyway, a family is having a big get together in the woods and some killers show up. Not the most original thing in the world, but it’s good enough despite things getting a bit Ewok in the last third.

315 10-21 Dracula’s Daughter (1936) 4/5
The first sequel to the classic film that of course doesn’t star Bela Lugosi. It’s still pretty good film on it’s own right that makes the right choice in setting it’s own pace instead of trying to copy the original. Dracula’s daughter has shown up and is kind of sympathetic in that she doesn’t really want to be a vampire. It’s primarily known for a scene that supposedly has lesbian overtones but I don’t really see it. It’s no Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 by any means. Still, worth checking out.

316 10-22 The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) 2/5
The most amazing thing about this run of the mill programmer is legendary monster maker Jack Pierce did the make-up. When you have the man responsible for creating Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man, and have the only cool effects being invisibility, you failed. Nothing about this is amazing, so nuff said.

317 10-22 The Beast Within (1982) 3/5
I might be rating it higher than it deserves. I figured it was basically “Teen Wolf” done straight based on the cover, and could not have been more wrong. A woman is raped by a weird monster, and 17 years later her son from the rape is having issues with an unknown illness. This one gets pretty nasty and goopy, on top of the rather nasty plot. It manages to mostly work too. Not the greatest film you will watch in the challenge, but a good enough one.

318 10-22 Reptilicus (1961) 2/5
Godzilla was a big hit, so everyone wanted in with their own monster movie. This one is Denmarks submission. A copper miner finds bits of meat buried, the regenerate into a giant, acid goo spitting snake monster thing that rampages over Copenhagen. based on a weird section before the monster mayhem that plays like a travelogue to visit Copenhagen, I’m pretty sure this one was actually produced by the country. The monster is painfully bad in execution, which of course helps make it fun to watch.

319 10-23 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 5/5
Yup, this one is still one of the all time great films. I don’t have much to say since so much has been written. If you haven’t seen it, see it.

320 10-23 Deadly Eyes (1982) 2.5/5
Contaminated grain infects and causes rats to mutate. One of the goofiest Canadian cheapies you’re likely to see is still pretty fun since the giant rats are dachshunds in costume. Scatman Crothers slums it for a couple of scenes and the movie is committed enough to it’s bonkers plot that it works.

Probably back tomorrow to play more catch up! Share it if you enjoy it!

Star Who? 6 – Doomsday Machine Caretaker of Marinus

Right, another Wednesday, another blog about Doctor Who and Star Trek.

Doctor Who 2005 S08E06 – The Caretaker 3/5

Well, readers from last blog will recall my dread for this one. It might of been low expectations or pure dread, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. It was far from great. This one focuses on Clara and her boyfriend, with the Doctor getting mixed up with them due to having to go undercover in the school that they both work in due to an alien threat. It’s genuinely funny, mostly due to Capaldi being a dick as the Doctor. Which is also a little bit of a problem since the line between him being teasing or flat out mean to Clara is getting a little blurry. At least this one didn’t sink into total romance garbage like I feared it might, so I guess I’ll keep watching.

Star Trek S02E06 – The Doomsday Machine 4/5

This one was another great one. The enterprise stumbles upon another federation ship, the USS Constellation, all shot to hell. Upon investigating, they discover only the Captain alive, and the cause is a planet destroying machine that is of course, on line to hit a populated galaxy. So there’s a lot going on, with the first third being a bit of a mystery as they figure things out, and the last two thirds being all action with Kirk and gang dealing both with the mad Captain survivor and trying to figure out how to stop the Doomsday Machine. About the only thing missing from this one is the over-moralizing and social commentary that usually is brewing with Trek, but it’s not really missed since this one doesn’t muck around and just drives forward. Great stuff, and well worth a watch.

Weird brain aliens!

Doctor Who S01E05 – The Keys of Marinus (6 episodes) 2/5

This one features the Doctor and companions arriving on a planet that has an acid lake and a glass beach. Weird eh? Anyway, ends up a bunch of strife is happening, and the Doctor is forced to retrieve the titled keys in order to free a cosmic consciousness that will prevent the baddies from taking over. The keys are hidden throughout the planet so the Doctor and group have to use pre-set “Time Dials” (watches) to travel about, which is kind of cool. As a result, each episode of the arc is a kind of a mini-story, from primitive action to court room drama. Which is neat. The problem with this though is that it’s so episodic that it doesn’t really gel narrative wise. Hell, the Doctor vanishes for two of the episodes, supposedly so Hartnell could go on vacation. So once again you get a story arc that revolves around Ian as much as anyone. Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter. Remember her? She’s still around but barely does anything plot wise to keep things moving other than panic and make a lot of noise. Which is a shame since you would think they would at least try to incorporate her more into the episodes. Anyway, not the worst episode ever, but not a particularly remarkable one either.

And with this one I’m going to end Star Who. I have fun writing them, but I also realize that I’m partaking in a form of blogging that I hate to read myself. The episode recap. I skip by them on every site that posts them, so why am I doing the same thing? Really, my favourite part of Star Who is the blog titles that sound like terrible prog-rock albums.

So if you enjoyed this side blog, thank you and I appreciate it. I’ll keep going with my movie a day blog until the end of the year, and as I finish seasons of Doctor Who and Star Trek, I will post them there.

The End

 

 

Movie A Day!: 300-310 – More Milestones

I hit film 300, and I wanted to cheat so that it was the awesome “Scanners” instead of the not as good “Visiting Hours.” Sadly, I’m too honest. 😦

300 10-17 Visiting Hours (1982) 3/5
This is one of those films that has stuck in my brain as being one of the scariest, greatest horrors ever made. The only reason is due to my parents not letting me watch it after “MY BLOODY VALENTINE” gave me nightmares back in the early 80’s. It’s pretty run of the mill stuff. An outspoken news woman ticks off a psycho misogynist who gets obsessed with killing her. The best part of the film is Michael Ironside as the killer, he genuinely seems like a brutal creep as the psycho, and the film turns the page on the typical slasher film by spending quite a bit of time with him instead of the victims. Otherwise, it’s nothing special, not even William Shatner in a bit part as the TV producer.

301 10-17 Scanners (1981) 4/5
This is one I hadn’t seen since it’s VHS debut in the 80’s, and it’s great that it holds up amazingly well. Telepathic “Scanners” are fighting for control, to possibly rule the world. The better subtext is the military industrialization of people as technology seems light years ahead of it’s time in our current world. Patrick McGoohan in a supporting role is fantastic as always, and it’s got heads exploding for the gore hounds. Pretty near a perfect picture, and David Cronenberg would move on from this one by getting even better.

Scanners II Movie Poster

302 10-18 Scanners II: The New Order (1991) 2/5
Ten years after the first film, a cop is trying to create a Scanner squad so he can take over the city. This one is Canadian in the worst way, and just annoys the shit out of you. All the neat stuff in the original is completely ignored in order to show how hard it is to be a Scanner, and to make heads explode. A garbage sequel. Good thing there’s a third one!

303 10-18 Scanners III: Who Gives a Shit (1991) 1.5/5
Fuck this movie.

304 10-18 Antiviral (2012) 3.5/5
David Cronenberg’s kid Brandon makes his big debut with this one. A near future tale in which people aren’t satisfied with just watching their favourite celebrities, they want to feel like them by being infected by their diseases. It’s a messed up tale, and Brandon does a hell of a job with it. A total weird, creep fest that’s worth checking out.

305 10-18 Rabid (1977) 4/5
Another Cronenberg classic. A woman gets experimental plastic surgery that becomes parasitic, causing her to need to feast on human blood. It’s also contagious, so she is patient zero for a pandemic. Really creepy to rewatch with the current Ebola situation, this one pulls no punches and is just as effective today. Porn star Marilyn Chambers in her non-porn debut does a pretty good job, too.

306 10-18 Driller (1984) 3/5
This one is a porn spoof of Michael Jacksons “Thriller”, and man if only. The first 30 minutes is some of the greatest camp you will see, with 2 big dance numbers to offset some ridiculous sex scenes. It’s as perfect a spoof of a video as you could possible want. Sadly it falls apart after that with most of the middle being weird, camp and dull sex scenes, until the final 20 minutes that see’s the return of the “Pop Star” to finish the film off with more dancing and singing. Actual broadway style singing and dancing to a cliche 80’s beat. So as a campy 80’s memento, it’s pure gold. As a porno, it’s terrible, even by porn standards. But if you like the ridiculous, think the insane 80’s dance number from “Night Train to Terror” but with worse music and more camp, dare I say fey dancing, mixed with terrible porn scenes, there’s a lot to like. I’m surprised this doesn’t have more cult status.

307 10-19 The Victim (2011) 2.5/5
Michael Biehn directed this one. He was going for a “Grindhouse” type vibe, but he failed completely. So what you get is a not very good thriller about crooked cops out in the woods partying who accidentally kill a stripper and try to cover it up. Biehn gets mixed up in it while trying to save the stripper who escaped. It’s just never gets interesting, and isn’t trashy enough to be fun like the “Machete” type films that play as a homage to the seventies.

308 10-19 Chained (2012) 3.5/5
A killer snatches a woman and her 9 year old kid, and ends up keeping the kid alive to be his housekeeper. To say much more than that would ruin it. Incredibly dark film by Jennifer Lynch, it could have fallen apart at anytime but she keeps the idea moving forward in some surprising and complex ways. Vincent D’Onofrio is great and disturbing as the kidnapper.

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309 10-19 The Invisible Ray (1936) 3.5/5

This one features Boris Karloff as a mad scientist, and Bela Lugosi as the good guy scientist. So it’s another rare film where Lugosi is a good guy. Karloff uses a ray to scan a beam from Andromeda that shows where a meteorite struck Africa 200,000 years in the past. They all go off in search, Karloff gets assy, finds the meteorite and is instantly poisoned by it so that he gets a death touch. Karloff gets Lugosi, who is a master of astro-chemistry and is experimenting on “creatures” (black kids, in the gross casual racism of the time), and he manages to find a cure so that Karloff can manage the death touch and not be turned to dust. So while Karloff is busy using radium X from the meteorite to melt mountains, Lugosi is using it to cure all the ails of mankind. It doesn’t end well. This was one of those old films that is so completely horseshit as far as plot goes, that it manages to be quite fun. It’s another Universal Horror that that features a leading love interest dude who is a total garbage leading man that you just wish would be killed. Any film that starts with a placard explaining that all of scientific innovations were once dreams of “mad men” is going to be bonkers in a good way, and this one holds up the theory.

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310 10-19 The Battery (2012) 3.5/5

This one was a nice play on the zombie type film. In fact, as far zombie films go, this one probably is a poor one with it’s lack of gore and all the other things that typically make up a zombie film. Instead it’s more of a character study of two men, baseball teammates but not really friends, dealing with the zombie apocalypse. By not relying on zombie film tropes and instead relying on character, it actually handles this stuff better than THE WALKING DEAD has in it’s four seasons of television. Being a film from a first time director, he can’t quite keep it together the whole time, and as good as the end is, it’s starts to flag a bit. Still well worth a watch though. (I had to look it up.a “Battery” is the team of a pitcher with his catcher in Baseball. So that’s were the title come from. Ugh sports.)

Right, that’s it for today. I might see you all on Wednesday for Star Who? We’ll see! Remember to share with your friends, etc, if you so desire.

Movie A Day! 290-299 – “Love, death. Hate, living”

I got in a bunch more films through out the week, so let’s recap them! Some pleasant surprises, and some stinkers. It’s wouldn’t be a scary movie challenge without the stinkers.

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290 10-13 Motel Hell (1980) 3/5
This cult classic horror comedy could have been a campy mess. They thankfully play it pretty straight, so it ends up working pretty good as both a satire and horror. Farmer Vincent is planting people in his secret garden before turning them into his famous smoked meat. It could have been incredibly dark, but they keep the tone perfect so it’s fun. I’m surprised this one hasn’t gotten the remake treatment.

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291 10-13 The Horror Show (1989) 3/5
This one is about a cop, played by the always excellent Lance Henrikson, who is haunted by a serial killer that killed his partner. When the killer is executed via electric chair, it ends up that he’s not dead, but still able to attack Lances family. I figured this one was a Sean S. Cunningham’s (Friday the 13th) response to Wes Cravens (Nightmare on Elm Street) similarly themed SHOCKER, but they actually came out the same year. I liked Shocker, but I haven’t seen it in ages and I think this one is the better film. Some really great effects by KNB and Jason himself, Kane Hodder does a bunch of stunts. Not a bad blind buy at anyrate, the Scream Factory blu-ray is well done.

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292 10-13 Carrie (2013) 3/5
Right out of the gate, it’s a step down from the De Palma film. This is to be expected. It hits all the plot points, tries to add it’s own thing for the 2013 crowd and mostly succeeds. The reason, and the only reason, as to why this one is worth checking out is Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz. Moore has always been a fantastic actor, and she is perfect as the religious nutzo mum of Carrie. Moretz is just as good in the lead. I don;t know how old she is now, but if she keeps on going the way she is, she is easily going to become a legendary, all time great actor. She’s pretty good as mousy Carrie White, but when the shit goes down, and shit does go down in a great fashion she is fantastic in using body language to emphasize the TK force. IT’s cool as hell, and worth the price of admission.

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293 10-13 Die, Monster, Die! (1965) 2.5/5
I really wanted to like this one more. AIP were obviously channeling Corman’s Poe pictures with this colour extravaganza. It looks amazing, with surreal bright colours actually enhancing the gothic suspense. It’s got Boris Karloff being all Karloff and great, a neat plot with Karloff experimenting with a weird material that is causing mutations. It’s just flat all around and never really gets going. Which is a shame since production value wise, it’s a gorgeous film looking great on the Scream Factory blu-ray.

https://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/41/MPW-20922

294 10-14 The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) 5/5
This one is arguably the greatest of the first wave of Universal Monster movies. I’ve always preferred the first Frankenstein, but that might of changed with this revisit. It really is a perfect movie. There’s genuine humour, genuine scares and every campy moment, and with James Whale you will get some campy moments, there is an incredibly poignant and emotional moment. The monster moves from the newborn terror of the first film to miss-understood youth in this one, and Karloff is absolutely brilliant in the way he acts out humanity and emotion through the make-up. Plus, it made me tear up a bit again. So really, watch the first two Frankenstein films already!

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295 10-14 The Nesting (1981) 2.5/5
This one is about an agoraphobic woman author who rents an isolated house in order to get some writing done. The house is spooky. The problem with this one is that by 1981 the slasher film was king as far as horror goes, so this one feels really dated. It’s also awkward since there’s a bit of business in it that only seems to be there so that it has a slasher type kill. Anyway, enough said of this one. It’s not the worst thing you’ll see, but the pacing problems means it will feel longer than it is.

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296 10-15 Werewolf of London (1935) 4/5
This one isn’t up to the standards of the true classics of Universal Horror, but I’ve always enjoyed it. A scientist looking for a rare flower in Tibet gets attacked by a werewolf. Ends up that the flower is the only potential cure, so he brings all his troubles back to England. The only real problem holding this one back is it’s got an awkward tone where it’s aping the humour and suspense of a James Whale picture, but fails at it. That said, the minimalistic wolfman makeup is pretty great, and Henry Hull does a pretty good job as the title wolf.

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297 10-15 Bad Dreams (1988) 2.5/5
A hippie commune sacrifices itself with fire, and a little girl survives but is in a coma. She wakes up 15 years later and is haunted in her dreams by the old cult leader. So it’s pretty much a rip-off of Nightmare on Elm Street. There’s nothing wrong with it, the story is neat, there’s some okay twists and turns. It’s just not Nightmare on Elm Street and never really gets good or exceptional enough to stand up on it’s own.

Mardi Gras Massacre Movie Poster

298 10-16 Mardi Gras Massacre (1978) 2.5/5
Another notorious film from the dreaded “Video Nasties” list that is more bad than good. At least it’s fun bad. A cultist is killing “evil” hookers during Mardi Gras. It’s laughably bad, he basically goes to strip clubs and asks to see the most evil girl, then takes them back to his place to sacrifice. the sacrifices are corny, but incredibly over the top in a cheap gore way which is why it made the nasties list. The tough cop who falls for a hooker is the icing on the “so bad it’s good” cake. Sleazy grindhouse fare at it’s finest, though really cheap at it’s seams, even for exploitation.

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299 10-16 The Raven (1935) 4/5
Much like THE BLACK CAT, this one stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, and is named after an Edgar Allan Poe story/poem without really having anything to do with the source material. Lugosi plays a prized surgeon obsessed with Poe, to the point that he has recreated many of the torture devices found on Poe’s stories in his home. After falling for a society girl who’s life he has saved, Lugosi manipulates criminal Karloff into doing his bidding after the girls father forbids Lugosi from pursuing her. Writing all this makes me realize just how convoluted this fucking movie is! Jesus! I won’t go on since I don’t want to spoil plot points, I will just say this one was really good and Lugosi is a total bastard in it, which means it’s quite a lot of fun. Special points to Lester Mathews for playing the boyfriend who is easily the biggest pussy and waste of space to be found in a Universal Horror film. He makes the always annoying David Manners look like Clint Eastwood in comparison.

There it is! Another week down. I’ll probably watch another ton of movies over the weekend since I currently have no real plans to speak of. I ask you at this time, dear readers, to please subscribe to the blog, or add it to your readers. After this one I will no longer be pushing it out on social media so if you’re getting cues to read it from Facebook or Twitter, that wont be happening anymore.

the end.

Star Who? 5 – Time Apple Polo

We just had a long weekend so I nearly forgot to post this since I was thinking it was Tuesday instead of Wednesday. A real life time paradox, fitting of this stupid blog! Too bad the new Doctor Who was a bit shit…

Doctor Who 2005 S08E05 – Time Heist 2/5

I love a good heist movie. Even the bad ones I tend to at least like. So why did I find this one a bit crap? The Doctor and a team have to break into the universes most secure bank, and there’s a weird memory wipe bit so you’re discovering the reasons along with the Doctor. There’s lot to love. It just completely falls flat. I’m going to blame production. The design and everything is fine, the plot is a bit dodgy in execution, but what really bugged me was the look. I know it’s a cheap show, that’s not the problem. Well, it’s partly the problem. They attempted to make this episode “cool”, with slow motion bits to a “James Bond” style score. When the score is cheap synth music, the whole thing looks like it is trying too hard to be something it’s not and just falls apart. So many shows these days rely on a score that just undermines the whole thing. See CASTLE as an example. If they scrapped the score and the slo-mo, hip “Oceans 11” style stuff, it could of been great.

 

Star Trek S02 E05 – The Apple 3/5

Kirk and landing party are exploring a planet that appears to be not unlike biblical Eden except the flowers spit poison darts into your chest and the rocks explode like bombs. Just like Eden! They encounter a naive, never aging populace that survives via worship of a God personified by a giant mountain idol. So this is another one of those mystical Star Trek’s that seems to be pro-Christian living and freedom while shitting all over the idea of organized religion. It’s kind of bold stuff when you think it’s 1967 primetime TV, especially with Spock’s concerns that Kirk is the “Apple” of Eden, giving knowledge to the people who will be corrupted by it. It ends up being a pretty good episode, with the “God” putting a big whammy that threatens to destroy the Enterprise. Kirk claims a crew of just under 500 people if I recall correctly, seems small for a ship that size right? 400 of the crew must be janitors. Which reminds me, where’s the Star Trek show dealing with the janitors and people who are on the ship to earn a paycheck? I still think that would be a great Star Trek show! Someone make it happen. In the end, another solid Star Trek episode.

Doctor Who S01E04 – Marco Polo 3/5 (Seven Parts)

This one is a tough one to review since it’s the first “lost’ episode. At some point, the BBC decided it wasn’t worth keeping old shows, so they wiped their tapes. At this point in time, no video elements of this story arc are known to exist. The version I watched is a fan made restoration using still photos and the surviving audio elements. So it’s tricky to give this one a fair shake since it’s basically a two and half hour slide show. That said, plot and story wise, it’s a good one. This would be the first historical episode, and it has an educational feel to it that is a bit awkward. Was Doctor Who designed to be “Carmen Sandiego” style educational show? Anyway, after fixing the faulty switch from the last serial, the Doctor gets Ian and Barbara back to earth, only the early twelve hundreds where Marco Polo see’s being able to use the Doctor’s caravan (TARDIS) as a gift to Kublai Khan so as to get out of some obligation he has. There’s lots of intrigue, the Doctor himself is even more unlikable than before, and it’s pretty clear that the show should be called “The Adventures of Ian” at this point since he seems to be the real drive of these adventures and is constantly explaining and figuring out the plot points. It’s a shame this one is lost since based on the photos, the production design was a step up. In the end, if you can tolerate power point episodes, this one (probably) isn’t the worst you can do if you’re obsessively trying to watch the entire series.

So there we are. The first crap episode of the new Doctor Who. the preview for episode 6 showed the Doctor becoming a janitor at Cara’s school so he can keep an eye on her romantic interest. So the series might be heading strait to the shitter and become completely unwatchable. So next week should be interesting!

Movie A Day! 282-289

Another big weekend of movie watching due to the scary movie challenge. My eye’s are still in my head, and I’m barely functioning. Lots of good movies in this one so let’s have a look!

282 10-10 I Bury The Living (1958) 3.5/5

This one is about a guy who is appointed by a town council to take care of the cemetery. He accidentally uses a black pin signifying dead, instead of a white pin signifying reserved, to mark a grave that had been purchased by newlyweds on the map of burial plots in his office. The next day the couple are found dead. So it’s about a ouija like map in a graveyard. It sounds stupid on paper, but this one was really good, and most of that can be attributed to the rock solid direction that is full of style and gets the film looking downright surreal for the last third. This one was the third film on that disc I mentioned earlier I got for $10, so that means 50% of the films were really good surprises. I’ll try to watch the last one this weekend.

283 10-10 The Black Cat (1934) 4/5
This one features the first time Lugosi and Karloff would be featured in a film, and it’s a good one. Lugosi plays a Doctor who was imprisoned in WW1 for 15 years, returning to the confront his rival Karloff who was responsible for unspeakable war crimes, and the death of Lugosi’s wife. So it has nothing to do with the Poe story the title comes from, but don’t let that throw you. This one is a surprisingly twisted, satanic thriller with great performances by both leads, and a rare chance to see Lugosi play a good guy.

284 10-11 Blood Sucking Freaks (1976) 3/5
Ultimately this one is trying to be a satire of the New York theater. It’s not enough to actually elevate it since it’s basically just non-stop scenes of S&M, nudity, violence and some of the most ridiculous gore you will see. It’s all part of it’s charm. I have a weird history with this one. Old people like me will recall the 80’s VHS scene where fake documentaries like FACES OF DEATH were still being banned. A friend and I found a knockoff version of the FOD series, and on it were these ridiculous scenes of a midget cooking eyeballs and a guy drilling into a head and drinking the brains from a straw. Years later I stumbled on Blood Sucking Freaks and there were those scenes! I think because of that, I like this one way more than most people do. It’s definitely a Grindhouse classic, and Troma’s new blu-ray looks fantastic.

285 10-11 The Toxic Avenger (1984) 4/5
Figured since I watch Blood Sucking Freaks, I might as well watch my other Troma blu-ray. I’m counting this as a first time viewing since this was my first time seeing the whole thing. It’s crazy that I have never seen the Toxic Avenger films. I plan to correct that as they release them in blu-ray. Anyway, I won’t get too deep into this one. It’s basically a horror satire on super-heroes. It’s tasteless and goofy in the Troma tradition, but it works and is a hell of a lot of fun.

286 10-11 Phantom of the Paradise (1974) 4/5
Slowly but surely, I’m seeing all the films featured in that TERROR IN THE AISLES documentary that I’ve loved since seeing it on PBS or something in the 80’s. Another film I’ve been wanting to see for ages and never have until now. It was worth the wait. It’s first and foremost a musical, and a damned good one at that with some fantastic songs and performances. It’s also a great satire of the music business, and maybe not so much a satire but a critical look at the performer/audience relationship. As a bonus, it pays tribute to a whole slew of horror stories and films. Lots of fun and De Palma is in complete command of the whole thing. Recommended.

287 10-11 Dracula Sucks (1978) 3.5/5
This is one I’ve been wanting to watch for years, ever since David J. Skal praised it in his all things Dracula book “Hollywood Gothic” (which is a must read if you’re a Drac fan). First off, while it’s a porn, in the version I saw it’s barely hardcore and more of a gothic horror. It actually works, and Jamie Gillis is a surprisingly good Dracula. Sure, he’s doing the Lugosi voice, but he nails the performance. The rest of the cast are varying degrees of good to awful. for seventies porn fans though, this one might have the greatest cast ever assembled with legends Annette Haven, Serena, Seka, John Holmes and others. Anyway, production value wise, it’s all works, it’s kind of both a follow-up and remake of the original Todd Browning Dracula and the Vinegar Syndrome dvd is pretty great. You get the cut I watched, which as far as anyone can tell was never properly released, that features barely hardcore mixed with some cheap gore and kill scenes to be more horror, and the re-cut that cuts out all the killing, adds in more hardcore porn and tags on a happier ending that got more widely released as “Lust At First Bite” on a second disc. So if you’re a fan of this type of stuff, this is another VS disc well worth getting.

288 10-12 The Snake Woman (1961) 2.5/5
A woman in late eighteen hundreds England is given a medicine featuring cobra venom as a cure to her madness. She has a cold blooded baby, and 20 odd years later, people are going missing on the moors. This one never really gets going and putters along non-offensively until it’s conclusion. This was the last feature on that Timely Media 4 movie disc, so for $10 I got two really good movies; The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake, and I Bury The Living, and two stinkers. So I guess it’s still wasn’t too bad a deal.

289 10-12 Seizure! (1974) 2.5/5
An author with a heart condition is having bad nightmares that become a reality when his creations invade his home over a weekend. this is Oliver Stone’s first movie, so you hope that it’s better than it is and it’s just not. Even Herve Villechaize kicking the shit out of everyone and cult icon Mary Woronov running around in her underwear can help it as this one just plods along, never really succeeding as a thriller or campy fun.

That’s about it for this one. It’s a long weekend as I post this, and I’m burned out. I can;t handle massive family events like thanksgiving dinner was yesterday. They just completely, emotionally exhaust me. Even drinking free booze doesn’t help me handle it, I get full of anxiety and totally shut down. It takes me days to recover from it. Ridiculous, I should have a handle on this stuff at my age.

Until next time.

Movie A Day!: 273-281 – “One Blow! The Deathblow!”

Phew, got in a bunch more movies this week. Being as there is a long weekend in Canada this weekend, I figured I’d update today so as not to get this list to out of hand. All types of scary for all types of people in this one!

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273 10-06 Prom Night (1980) 3.5/5
274 10-06 The Horrors of Hamilton High: The Making of Prom Night (2014) 3/5
Sat down to the recent blu-ray from Synapse films. I don’t think I’ve seen this one since the VHS days, and I remember not thinking much of it. I really enjoyed this revisit. It takes a while to really get going, but it still works just fine. And it’s a Canadian disco classic. I’m wondering if I’m getting more out of these movies now that they are being restored and presented properly? It’s easy to write them off as crap when they look like hell on some murky, cropped VHS compared to seeing them presented properly like they are now. Anyway, I’ve written enough to say it’s not the worst slasher you’ll ever see, and much better than the remake from a few years back. Plus it has Jamie Lee Curtis, the unlikely horror icon, disco dancing so there you go.

I watched the making of and other special features so I’m counting them too. They’re all good.

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275 10-06 The Old Dark House (1932) 4.5/5
During a terrible storm, travelers take shelter in a creepy old house whose inhabitants may be worse that the weather. Karloff returns as a new kind of mute monster with James Whale (Frankenstein) directing and it’s a real joy. It has to be one of the first horror comedies, and Whale is in complete command of the show, balancing genuine suspense with a campy humour that is pretty irresistible. Plus you get Charles Laughton being a scouser instead of the usual posh aristocrat he usually plays. I just wish we could get a proper restoration of this one on home video since the Kino DVD uses a print that is in terrible shape. The film deserves better.

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276 10-07 The Final Terror (1983) 3.5/5
Let’s get it out of the way; this one is flat out a total rip-off of FRIDAY THE 13TH. That said, it’s a good one. Better than most of the actual FRIDAY THE 13th series. Instead of going full gore slasher, it goes the more thriller route and manages to mostly work. It’s a shame most of the original materials for this is lost since parts of the Scream Factory blu-ray look really good, and it the overall look of the film is a step up from what you usually see. On top of that, it’s pretty great seeing future stars Daryl Hannah and Joe Pantoliano in getting their start. Joe in particular steals the show. Not only that, it had the guy who played the mean dad in Twisted Sisters video “We’re Not Gonna Take It” which will forever be burned in my brain from my misspent youth! So I should probably give it four stars just for that, but I wont.

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277 10-08 Final Exam (1981) 3/5
This one I found odd. It’s such a mundane, unimaginative, run of the mill slasher that it actually becomes it’s own thing instead of being terrible like it should be. Aside from the opening, the first half plays more like a teen comedy that was so popular for the era. The killer is completely motiveless and as dull as everything else, which makes him kind of cool? I have no idea why I didn’t find this one boring since nothing in it elevates it. Weird.

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278 10-08 The Mummy (1932) 5/5
Another Universal Horror classic. Some might be put off by it’s slow, deliberate pace but I’ve always loved this one. Karloff is great, and the film is just so weird and perfectly directed that I never tire of it. Karl Freund was a genius, who would end up shooting the original I LOVE LUCY shows!

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279 10-09 Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972) 3/5
Another free download from the Vinegar Syndrome site. This one features cult icon Mary Woronov and B-Movie legend John Carradine. Basic story is a family house that had been used as a mental asylum has been empty for twenty years, and now that the current owner is interested in selling it, murders are taking place. The title on the print from the VS site is “Deathhouse”, so that should give you some idea. It has some pacing problems, but director Theodore Gershuny manages to mostly pull it off. The most striking thing is an incredibly graphic murder scene that sort of came out of nowhere, especially since you kind of expect it to be a bit cheap an inept. Anyway, not the worse thing you’ll see, but Gersuny’s next film “Sugar Cookies” also available from VS, is a much better picture, and Woronov is much better in it.

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280 10-09 Raw Force (1982) 4/5
Like near constant nude girls? Zombies? Kung Fu fights? Zombie Ninjas? Over the top cheap gore? Vic Diaz? This ones for you! A Hitler look alike is trading kidnapped girls to the monks of Warrior Island in exchange for Jade, and a pleasure cruise featuring a bunch of martial artists get mixed up with them. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 because it’s exactly as awesome as it sounds, which means that if the above sounds terrible to you, you probably won’t like this one. In a perfect world, the blu-ray by Vinegar Syndrome would win Best Release of 2014 since films like this don’t usually come with the love and care VS put into it.

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281 10-09 The Invisible Man (1933) 5/5
Another classic and iconic Universal Monsters film that holds up just fine. Claude Rains is fantastic in the lead. The effects still are impressive as hell. James Whale keeps everything moving at a good pace that perfectly balances humour and horror and you get Una O’Connor wailing her head off. I have no idea how many times I have seen this one, and I’m still not tired of it.

In case you can’t tell, I love those old Universal Horror movies! Look how beautiful the poster art is! Why is poster art so shit now? Is it photoshop or laziness? Anyway, watch all the Universal Horror you can.

The End