Movie A Day! 258-265 – The Scary Movie Challenge Begins!

It’s Monday, and boy is it a “Monday” around the old P-Bunker. Work continues to prove that a lot of the humans we have to deal with are just the worst.

Here it is, the first batch of watched films for this years scary movie challenge! The rules are broad, I’m not getting into them here, just know these all count and oddly, don’t look much different than my usual lists. I guess I like sleazy, violent movies! I began with a slasher, because you should always begin horror marathons with a slasher.

258 10-01 Graduation Day (1981) 3/5

Started my scary movie challenge with a first time viewing of this one. You can tell by the title that this is another slasher knockoff of HALLOWEEN, and it’s certainly the ugly stepchild to HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13th. Maybe it was because I hadn’t seen it, but I really enjoyed it. Sure, it’s basically a killer attacking high school kids, but it actually has a bit of a plot to try to give it some mystery as to who the killer is. The gore effects are cheap and pretty crap compared to what Tom Savini was doing in FRIDAY THE 13th, but the overall look and editing of this one is really good and helps elevate it. I watched this via the new blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome, and it’s looking and sounding great. If you’re a fan of the film, this bluray is for you. A word of warning though, once you Gangster Rock, you will never not Gangster Rock.

259 10-02 Guru, the Mad Monk (1970) 2/5
I’m probably being generous with the 2 out of 5 since this is not a good movie. Written and Directed by cult legend Andy Milligan, it stars Neil Flanagan in the lead role of the crazy monk who has a vampire mistress for an old lady and deformed hunchback serving him, trying to keep control of his church posting in 15th century Europe. The best thing I can say is Flanagan is pretty good and keep the film together. I had previously seen him as the mincing transvestite hooker in Milligan’s “Fleshpot on 42nd Street”, and he’s still a bit camp in this. Otherwise, the film is that type of delightfully terrible that is just plain fun to watch. You get 1970’s New York, complete with cardboard garbage and mini scooter in the exteriors subbing in for a European Island, mannequin hands and ping pong balls being severed with a blood that makes a Herschel Gordon Lewis film from the same period look like a Tom Savini film and a plot so bonkers it’s not worth repeating. At 56 minutes or so, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. So if you’re into this kind of psychotronic trash, you can download it for free (among other goodies) from Vinegar Syndrome!

260 10-02 The Jekyll & Hyde Portfolio (1971) 2.5/5
What do you get when you combine the Hyde mythos with seventies astrology, sexploitation and gore? This! It’s an odd mish mash of sexploitation horror that is more ridiculous than it should be. A killer is killing girls in a nursing school, that seems to be turn of the century but it’s hard to tell since it’s another cheap-o horror so they don’t really have the budget to pull it off. It’s light years ahead of that GURU: THE MAD MONK though as far as production design goes. Anyway, it’s pretty much by the numbers, the main draw being the HGL type gore and ample nudity, some of it supplied by cult legend Rene Bond. I’m knocking it a bit for having a bit too much of a preoccupation with dissected frogs (complete with fake blood). Don’t worry though, it’s not CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST type animal cruelty, I just like frogs and critters. 😛 I watched via the limited edition Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray and while the print is in rough shape, I can’t imagine it ever looking better since I don’t think it ever found it’s way on home video before this. It is available in a DVD version, and is backed with another film from the company, A CLOCKWORK BLUE which has nothing to do with Kubrick’s film, and everything to do with being a crappy Russ Meyer’s type comedy knock off without the comedy.

Screamy!

261 10-02 Dracula (1931) 5/5
Not much to say other than I love this movie. Sure, its got some pacing problems. Bela Lugosi makes up for it. You can’t even read his name without your brain doing that Lugosi accent. That’s how amazing he was in this, and the picture holds up even though David Manners is a terrible Harker. Worse than Keanu Reeves. I said it and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, if you haven’t watched this than get on it already!

262 10-03 The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959) 3/5
Ages ago I picked up one of those cheap discs that Shout Factory put out via “Timeless Media” that has four movies on one disc. I fired that sucker up, and this was the first movie. Now, when you pay $10 for four movies, you have low expectations. So when I say this one is pretty great, you might not believe me, but you would be wrong. It was fucking great! Basic plot is a couple of older brothers are trying to figure out why their family is cursed. When the men hit 60 years old, they die of heart attacks and their heads go missing. What the hell right? The curse is corny as hell with shrunken heads, but man, they really go for it and works. Surprisingly graphic for the day, some neat ideas, and a set of fingerprints with skulls in the patterns mean this is a hell of a movie. I still have 3 movies on this disc and it’s already $10 well spent!

263 10-03 Frankenstein (1931) 5/5
Not much to say about this one other than it’s one of my all time favourite movies, Karloff is perfect as the monster, the rest of the cast are perfect in their roles and while it manages to be pretty brutal and intense, it’s also sad. I love this movie and the blu-ray is beautiful.

264 10-03 Necromania: A Tale of Weird Love (1971) 2/5
This is a lost Ed Wood Jr. porn film, and I’m learning quickly that the thought of watching a “lost” Ed Wood Jr. skin flick is more fun that actually watching one. I’m a big fan of Wood’s classics since while they are “bad”, they are delightfully goofy bad that are fun to watch since you can tell he’s trying really hard but just doesn’t have the talent. This one though you can tell he’s not trying. Basic plot is a couple seek guidance for their love making problems by signing up to see a Necromancer. There are some Wood tropes, mainly in the goofy witch plot and setting, but it’s mostly a run of the mill, patience testing skin flick. I watched the “cool” version recently put out by Alpha Blue Archives, and while it looked pretty good, it’s hard to recommend. The disc included the XXX inserts as a “bonus” (along with 3 other shorts that all look terrible), I don’t see the film improving by being the “hot” version. It’s a shame, plot wise it sounds like it could have been good, and I think this is the last film he directed. It’s based on a book he wrote, I can’t imaging that book. I might have to track it down since there is barely any plot in this movie.

265 10-04 Runaway Nightmare (1982) 2.5/5
I wanted to like this one more since I bought it blind via the limited edition blu-ray that Vinegar Syndrome had on offer, but I just didn’t. The plot sounds amazing; two worm farmers in Death Valley see some men bury a box in the desert. They dig it up to find a woman inside, and are quickly kidnapped by a female cult who force the two into helping them steal back some platinum that the mob took from them. Pretty great right? The positive for this one is the look. Considering how cheap it was, it looks great and I’m not just talking about the transfer. Shots are set up in such a way, and with the pacing, it really does have a dreamlike quality. Add in the strangeness, shots of a vampire woman, other oddness, and it should of been great. The problem sadly is everything else. It’s acted in a deadpan style, and the two worm farmers are basically presenting the film like an Abbott & Costello meet The Monsters update, and it completely falls flat. The deadpan just feels inept and awkward, which added to the slow pace, just makes the film crawl for eternity with little to no payoff. There’s not even any boobs since this is the directors cut, they included boob inserts from the VHS release that were added in later as a bonus.

I’m going to be going through a bunch of Universal Horror films. If you’ve never seen FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA, THE WOLFMAN, etc, you really owe it to yourself to get watching them.

That’s it for now, there may be a blog tomorrow before the Doctor Who one on Wednesday, you lucky ducks!

The End

 

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