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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.