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

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