Movie A Day! 031-035: Katnips & Monkeys & Monsters OH MY!

Welcome to what just might be my most commercial selection of viewings ever posted! no grimy sleaze, just good ole’ fashioned franchise picture with the only broken thumb being a silent film from a mainstream director. This is the one post you can show to your mum and have her not be offended!


031 01-24 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) 4/5
I finally got around to watching the sequel. I really liked the first film, but didn’t see how they could really continue it so I wasn’t in any rush to watch this one. Ends up it’s just as good as the first film! It suffers a little bit of feeling like a “Middle Film” in a trilogy of stories in that the plot is in service of setting up further films, but it still works. That said, I have no idea why everyone is so invested in keeping Peeta safe, that guy is the king of all useless schmucks. I had also forgotten that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was in this one, one of his last completed roles. Damn, is he effortless and great. I’m going to miss not getting new Hoffman films. Now I have to wait for the better part of a year to watch the next one. RATS!


032 01-25 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) 4/5
Well, it was a good weekend of sequels for me, since this one was even better than the first! Why Andy Serkis isn’t getting all the awards in the world is beyond me. And fuck Lego while we’re at it, THIS is the best animated film I’ve seen from 2014! (I’ve not seen The Lego Movie, I’m sure it’s fine.) Anyway, it continues the story of Caesar as leader of the apes, taking place ten years later. Who thought that the best film about the current terrorist situation happening in our world would be one full of apes?


033 01-26 House of Frankenstein (1944) 4/5
Okay, this one is a bit of a mess after the last picture, but it’s such a colossal monster wham-bam it’s hard not to love it. Boris Karloff returns to the Frankenstein series as a mad Doctor obsessed with recreating Frankensteins’ experiments. In his efforts, he unleashes every monster there is, with the Mummy being the only exception. He revives Dracula, thaws out the Frankenstein Monster and The Wolfman, hell, even his hunchback assistant falls for a gypsy girl. It’s flat out bonkers, but they manage to tie it all up into a story that makes just enough sense to pull it off.


034 01-27 The Eric Andre Show Season 3 (2014) 4/5
Another stellar season of talk show. While it never hit the remarkably insane heights of the second season, it still got incredibly out there. Especially compared to all the other stuff on TV.


035 01-28 Fulta Fisher’s Boarding House (1922) 3/5
Frank Capra made his directorial debut with this short. It’s based on the Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name, it follows the rough dealings of sailors in a boarding house, but in a fun way. It actually plays like a music video, despite being silent. Which just goes to show how talented Capra was since he managed to make a lyrical, fluid short the first time out.

Ah, such a wholesome posting! I’ll have to finish that Spinilli triple feature for the next one to get some sleaze back into the blog.

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Movie A Day!: 331-339 – Son of the Scary Movies

Yup, I’m still not done with October. The next post will wrap up October, the Scary Movie Challenge and then you will finally get a break. Yeash, what mess stomach flu creates. This one is mostly classic slasher fare.

Friday the 13th Movie Poster

331 10-26 Friday the 13th (1980) 4/5

The first film in the series that was the most successful of the “Halloween” rip-offs. It’s pretty empty headed and barely makes sense even though they try to give it some twisty mystery. It’s still just an excuse to have a bunch of people killed in cool ways, and it succeeds. It’s nice that we finally got the uncut version over here since Tom Savini’s effects hold up just fine. In your face CGI blood!

332 10-26 Halloween II (1981) 4/5
I don’t know what I was thinking watching that TV version. It stinks compared to this one, and I liked this one a lot more than I initially did. It’s pretty run of the mill stuff, but Donald Pleasance saves the picture from being boring since it’s really more focused around Doctor Loomis than the first one that was focused around Laurie Strode. Also, the gore is pumped up a bit, probably to compete with Friday the 13th. Anyway, this could of been a disaster since it seems ballsy to do a sequel that is actually a flatout continuation of the first film, but it works. Is it me, or is Jamie Lee Curtis kind of the unlikely “Scream Queen”? She’s not bad in the first Halloween, but she’s damn right annoying in this one. I get it, her character is drugged and what not, but she’s a useless, simpering mess through the whole thing. I’m not sure she even says more than two actual lines.

333 10-27 The Invisible Man Returns (1940) 3.5/5
This one is basically a rehash of the first film, but they flip stuff around enough to keep it interesting. Dr. Griffin’s brother (played by one of the worst actors yet that I’ve seen in a Universal Horror) uses the invisible serum to help a friend escape jail so he can prove his innocence. Vincent Price does a good job in an early role, and despite the whole thing looking cheaper than it’s budget, the effects are pretty outstanding.

334 10-27 Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) 4/5
The gore’s not as cool as in the first one, but ever all I think this one is a better film. You get Jason’s debut, the girls are cuter and the emphasis is more on sex and violence.

Black Friday Movie Poster

335 10-28 Black Friday (1940) 2.5/5
Karloff goes all mad doctor in this, planting a gangsters brain into his professors friends head in order to find out where the gangster stashed $500,000. Ends up being a Jeckyl & Hyde rip that isn’t very good. Lugosi has a scene stealing bit part miscast as a gangster, but it’s not really worth the price of admission.

336 10-29 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) 3/5
Right, so the Halloween without Michael Myers isn’t the shit show it was labelled as being, but it’s not the misrepresented classic some would have you believe either. It’s simply an okay horror film that has ambitions greater than the result.

337 10-29 Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982) 3/5
I continue to not be a fan of this one. The characters are all annoying, the 3D garbage is garbage and even for a F13 movie it barely makes sense. At least there’s ample nudity and they don’t mess around and get to knocking off people quickly.

338 10-29 Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) 3.5/5
I remember liking this one back in the theaters when it came out, and it actually holds up pretty good. It might be a little slick, but the idea of Myers coming back to kill his niece is such a dumb idea that the movie should be terrible. They pull it off though, and of course, Donald Pleasence coming back as Dr. Loomis is a real treat.

339 10-29 The Mummy’s Hand (1940) 3/5
This is the first sequel to the Universal Horror classic “The Mummy”, and it’s simply okay. It has a new mummy threat, Kharis, who is basically a kill machine to be used by a high priest to kill people looking for his ancient tomb. It’s not bad, my only problem with it is the two leads are 10th rank “Abbott & Costello” routine that annoys the hell out of you. Kharis is pretty cool though, so that’s good enough once things get rolling.

Right, next posting will be a final wrap up for October. So hopefully some of the readers that got sick of it will come back since it should be business as usual for November!

Movie A Day!: 321-330 – Still With The Scary Movies!

It’s November 1st, so time to recap October. Except I’m still weeks behind in posting my movies due to getting the never ending stomach flu. So here’s more from last week.

321 10-23 Night of the Bloody Apes (1962) 3.5/5
I checked another one off the “Video Nasties” list with this one. Typically the nasties are pretty terrible, but this Mexican wonder was a hell of a lot of fun. It’s a total kitchen sink film, with women’s wrestling, mad doctor, monster, nudity, mondo surgery footage mixed with cheap gore and effects all add up to a film that will certainly hold your attention. This one is not for the squeamish, they use actual open heart surgery footage. Also, there’s only one ape-man, so the title doesn’t make any sense either.

322 10-23 The Son of Frankenstein (1939) 4/5
I’ve never loved this one as much as I have the previous two and I think I know why with this new viewing. This one features Basil Rathbone as the titles Son of Frankenstein, returning to the ruins of his fathers lab to take claim of his properties. Boris Karloff returns as the monster, the last time he will play the character in a Universal horror. Bela Lugosi is featured as Ygor, a hunchback with a broken neck from surviving a hanging from the towns people for his part in helping Frankenstein Sr. build the monster. This is where the problem lies with the film. As good as Basil is, and Karloff is, Bela is better. In fact, Lugosi is so good as Ygor that he steals the entire film to the point that when he’s not in a scene, you’re just waiting for him to show up. The movie actually suffers pacing issues from this. So while the movie’s not bad in anyway, it’s simply a case of not being as interesting as Ygor. So watch it for Lugosi, and not Karloff since the monster sadly get’s sold short both in plot, and sequence since they made him mute again. Such a shame since it’s Karloff’s last crack at the monster that the monster wasn’t more of the focal point. I mean, Ygor aside, the one armed Inspector guy is more interesting than Frankenstein and his monster.

323 10-23 The Neanderthal Man (1953) 2/5
This is basically a werewolf movie based around science. Some mad doctor type comes up with a serum that when injected reverts the subject back to his primal form. So cats become sabertooth tiger sand scientist become Neanderthal Men and you will probably be lulled to sleep if you watch this around midnight.

323 10-24 Gremlins (1984) 4/5
I hadn’t seen this one since the VHS days, I remember seeing it in it’s original theatrical run. Anyway, I had forgotten just how delightfully fun this one is! Dante absolutely nails everything there is to nail, and there’s a ton of easter eggs for horror nerds to dig. Not the sweet kiddie picture my brain had relegated it too, that’s for sure. I’m going to watch the sequel tomorrow night.

324 10-24 The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) 3.5/5
I’m probably alone in liking this movie and rating it so high. I remember it mostly from “It Came From Hollywood”, and that image of the woman’s head is pretty much the poster child of a bad movie, so I never bothered with it. Ends up that the film is completely gonzo and a fun bit of sleaze too. A doctor saves his wife’s head after she is killed in a car accident, and the proceeds to prowl strip clubs, whore and photo club models to find replacement body. It’s a mix of Frankenstein meets Michael Findlay via Ed Wood Jr., and more fun than it’s probably given credit for.

325 10-25 Halloween Extended Edition (2000) 4/5
10-25 Halloween Unmasked 2000 (1999) 3/5
Well, it’s time to crack open the mammoth sized complete blu-ray boxset. I decided to start out with the first film as I’ve never seen it before. The extended edition is basically the theatrical with extra scenes shot to pad the television version cut into it. It’s actually really good, and does flesh out the film more. I’m thinking Rob Zombie was inspired by some of this added footage when he remade the film. It’s not better than the original, but it’s not a whole lot worse either. A genuine alternate version that’s worth a look. Halloween Unmasked 2000 is a pretty standard look back, interview type thing that doesn’t get too deep into the making of the film, but has some nice recollections and the warm fuzzies for the original that you would expect. I’m not counting it though since it was under an hour long.

326 10-25 Without Warning (1980) 3/5
Aliens are in the woods, with flying pepperoni tentacle things killing people. It’s patently dumb, and the alien and pepperoni’s are crap but… you get two of the finest character actors in film. Watching Jack Palance and Martin Landau out crazy each other by playing their bonker roles completely straight actually helps make this one pretty good. You forget how stupid and cheap it is and end up enjoying the rise. Plus you get egomaniac David Caruso in an early role playing a cocky douche bag that you know he will end up mastering in real life. I might be projecting.

327 10-25 Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) 3.5/5
This one I seem to think had the reputation of being terrible. I know I didn’t care for it when I saw it the one time in the theaters or the week it came out on VHS. All these years later, it’s not so bad. It’s not an “ahead of it’s time” type thing, but a case of a film being so completely nuts that they sabotage the actual film. It plays like the ultimate tribute to “Looney Tunes”, and a good Tex Avery Loony Tune at that, with a base plot designed to be an excuse of barely contained chaos. It’s also packed once again with lots of easter eggs for genre fans. So yeah, as much fun as the first one, that works as a parody of the first films success and as it’s own bonkers thing.

 

328 10-25 Red Heat (1976) 2/5
Ray Dennis Steckler solidified his place in the cult cannon with his film “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies!!!” LIke his grade-Z Contemporary Ed Wood Jr., the seventies found him dabbling in porn to make ends meet. Which is where we find him with this one. It’s got a weird, documentary like narration but the basic plot is a porn starlet is killing guys while some weirdo on a motorbike is robbing people. This barely sensible plot basically holds together crappy porn loops. It’s weird, but not necessarily good weird.

329 10-26 Halloween II (TV Version) (1981) 3/5
The added scenes are neat, but the real problem with this DVD is it literally is the TV version. So violence and language is cut. If they edited the extra footage into the theatrical, it would probably improve the movie.

330 10-26 Halloween (1978) 4.5/5
You know what, I should of watched this one before the extended edition because I kind of miss those extra scenes! Don’t get me wrong, the extended scenes are kind of redundant since Loomis basically tells the cop guy what happened in them, but they are still nice. Anyway, this one is a classic, it kicked off a wave of slasher films that few could match and I still have a crush on P.J. Soles. Totally.

That’s it for  today, a weirdo Saturday blog no one will read. Oh well, you should have me subscribed so you can read me Monday morning anyway, you fiends!

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.

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