Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 8

Only a couple of days left of the challenge as of this post. I’m also back to work soon, so I think there will be one last Scary Movie Challenge post after this one.

The House of Seven Corpses Poster
384 10/25 The House Of Seven Corpses (1974) 2/5   A film company shoots a series of deaths in the original, haunted location and weird stuff happens. Slow moving and not much happens in this one.

The Lair of the White Worm Poster
385 10/25 The Lair Of The White Worm (1988) 3/5   An excavation on a family estate awakens the white worm of legend. I can see people wanting more from a Ken Russell and Bram Stoker collaboration. It’s all a bit silly, but silly Ken Russell is better than nothing. More stylish and silly-sexy than scary, but still worth putting your eyeballs on.

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386 10/25 Serial Mom (1994) 4/5   The shocking true story of America’s favourite serial mom! I love John Waters and I think this one might be his funniest film. Kathleen Turner and the rest of the cast are all perfect and it plays like a Douglas Sirk film only completely hysterical with everyone acting at a fever pitch.

Ghoulies Poster
387 10/25 Ghoulies (1984) 3.5/5   Probably the worst of the Gremlins knockoffs (I thought so prior to seeing Hobgoblins which is probably a Ghoulies knock off…), I’ve always had a soft spot for this one. A group of kids get mixed up in some demon hoodoo, and poor Jack Nance is along for the ride. The Ghoulies are pretty shit puppets and none of the gags work, but I like it anyway and you can all go chase yourselves.

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388 10/25 Multiple Maniacs (1970) 3.5/5   Divine runs a freak show scam and goes completely off the rails. I think this might be John Water’s first film with sync sound, it’s full of the filth and depravity you come to love in a Water’s picture. Divine and David Lochary are perfect in this, and you get a giant lobster monster.

Ghoulies II Poster
389 10/26 Ghoulies II (1988) 2/5   This time the Ghoulies are at a going broke amusement park. It’s not fun and no one should be surprised at the step down in quality.

The Void Poster
390 10/26 The Void (2016) 4/5   Lovecraftian horror in this one. Really liked it. Lots of style, great effects and a new approach.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe Poster
391 10/26 The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) 4/5   A father and son morgue team has to stay late to autopsy a mysterious body found at a crime scene. This one managed to spook me, which is saying something. Both Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox are perfect and carry the show. The film has great atmosphere and manages to keep making sense despite how strange the mystery is.

The Ghoul Poster
392 10/26 The Ghoul (2016) 2.5/5   An ambitious idea and approach to a noir type film that I think sounds better on the page than in the film. I found it more frustrating than interesting to watch.

The House on the Edge of the Park Poster
393 10/27 House on the Edge of the Park (1980) 3/5   David Hess from the superior Last House On The Left gets his boogie on and terrorizes a house party. Starts off strong but I find that it goes for a bit of a wander. Not to mention the out dated and problematic depictions of assault.

Night of the Comet Poster
394 10/27 Night Of The Comet (1984) 4/5   I don’t know if this is a cult classic but it should be. I’ve loved it since it’s VHS debut. A couple of girls are the lone survivors after a comet has wiped out the earth’s population, aside from turning some into zombies! The leads are great, the film is fun, and movie crush Mary Woronov is one of the baddies so there’s lots to like in this.

Manhunter Poster
395 10/27 Manhunter (1986) (directors cut) 4/5   The first crack at turning Red Dragon into a film is still the best one. Michael Mann adapts the book into an incredibly tight and dense film, the performances from William Patterson and the rest are perfect. You could make the case that Brian Cox is even scarier as Hannibal Lecktor since he seems so normal, yet not. Anyway, it’s tense and a fantastic procedural as well.

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Movie A Day!: Imitation of Jacks

Another mixed bag of a week. Sort of. I decided to watch some un-watched Criterion Collection discs this month, which lead me to watching all my David Lynch titles that are not in boxes in prep for re-watching Twin Peeks before the new series. Despite only two of those Lynch titles where from Criterion. Mix that up with some oldies and a cheeky Vinegar Syndrome title and it’s not a bad week at all.


136 05/07 The Incredibly Strange Film Show: Russ Meyer (1988) 3/5   A very well done biography on Meyer hosted by Jonathan Ross that manages to hit all points of his career included his start as a combat photographer in WWII. It also shows a clip of a possibly 8 hour documentary that Meyer was working on his own life that would of been amazing but was apparently never finished. A real shame. I would love to see a proper feature length doc on this man.


137 05/07 Imitation of Life (1959) 4/5   Lana Turner stars in this soapy melodrama from Douglas Sirk about a struggling, mature actress in New York who befriends a black housekeeper, Alice (played by Juanita Moore, and she is fantastic) and together they find success. Well, sort of, they stay in their roles based on race and that’s really what this movie is about. Alice has a real struggle with her rebellious, white passing daughter that is far more interesting than the trials that Turner has that leave her in a near constant state of helpless hysteria. You can clearly see a through-line from these style of Sirk pictures to John Waters since his characters are always in the same state hysteria. Anyway, this was pretty great since you don’t think of these sort of topics in 50’s films. Also, Sirk really is great at this stuff. He has a workmanlike sense of direction, but it’s pretty perfect.


138 05/07 Blue Velvet (1986) 4/5   After Dune floundered, David Lynch somehow got the chance to make a film closer to his sensibilities first explored in Eraserhead. It was interesting watching this one on the back of Imitation of Life since they have a pretty similar world of 1950’s like innocence, only Lynch’s small midwest town is a perverted nightmare. Jeffrey, played by Kyle MacLachlan, finds and ear in a field and becomes obsessed with solving it’s mysteries that leads him to a world of pain. Dennis Hopper is absolutely brilliant as the force of nature Frank, Isabella Rossellini is fantastic as the damage nightclub singer Dorothy and Laura Dern manages to hold her own as the symbol of everything good, the girl next door. It’s aged very well, and still holds all it’s power to remain one of Lynch’s best films.


139 05/09 Wild At Heart (1990) 4/5   David Lynch does the Wizard of Oz as a bonkers Elvis inspired road movie with Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern starring as Sailor and Lula who spend most of the film either ruminating or fucking. It has no business being as good as it is. Lynch went genuinely weird with this one and it completely works. Willem Dafoe is unforgettable in his small role and it’s fun to see legends Harry Dean Stanton and Diane Ladd go a bit bonkers. Crispen Glover, man, priceless. I’m too much of a Lynch fanboy to call this one my favourite, but it just might be.


140 05/11 Champion (1949) 4/5   Kirk Douglas takes the lead in this boxing noir about a guy and his handicap brother who is on the skids so Kirk gets into the fight game for the money. It starts off pretty standard, but soon Douglas’s mercilous ambition creeps through and the emotional bloodletting eclipses what’s in the ring. I don’t think I have seen Douglas more unlikable in a movie. This one was a real treat, and recommended.


141 05/11 Mulholland Dr. (2001) 3.5/5   David Lynch’s Neo-Noir about an actress caught up in a mystery is considered a classic, but I just can’t get into it. It’s gorgeous, everyone is on point, it’s delightfully “Lynch-ian” and I can’t knock a thing about it. I have just never warmed to it. Maybe I’ll “get it” the next time I watch it.


142 05/12 Funny Face (1957) 4/5   I really enjoyed this one. Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire star in this musical about a frumpy beatnik girl that gets whipped up into the world of high fashion. Hepburn is far too adorable to be frumpy, but she’s surprisingly good in this musical and manages to steal the film with her avant-garde beatnik ballet sequence in a cafe that’s supposed to be played for laughs. Astaire more than holds his own and it’s all looking spectacular under the direction of the legendary Stanley Donen, who also directed one of my all time favourite films, Singing in the Rain. It’s crazy that it’s taken me this long to watch this one.


143 05/12 Her Wicked Ways (1983) 3/5 Jesie St. James stars as a gold digging heiress who has just inherited a billion dollars and Joanna Storm is the daughter trying to get the money back in this adult romp directed by The Lewis Brothers. It’s not the greatest adult film you’ll ever see but it’s just so well done compared to the regular fare in the period that it it ends up being pretty fun. Storm is a real scene-stealer and definitely helps to keep the film moving. The Peekarama DVD from Vinegar Syndrome is a real winner.


144 05/13 One-Eyed Jacks (1961) 4/5   The only film that Marlon Brando directed is this western. I think it’s just me but I think it’s weird that his only directed film is a western. Seems weird, right? Anyway, this is a typical vengeance tale with Brando’s Rio seeking out old partner Karl Malden’s “Dad” Longworth who ditched him during a bank robbery. It’s a gorgeous film and done with the naturalistic acting style Brando was known for and just completely works. There’s a feeling of distance and brooding that is tricky for films to nail, and the support cast featuring Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens and Katy Jurado are all perfect as well. Recommended.

One-Eyed Jacks also ended up being the last film shot in VistaVision so I managed to watch two VistaVision films over the weekend. You just never know what’s going to happen when you blindly watch stuff.  Isn’t the world marvellous?

Hold your loved ones tight.