Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 6

My apologies for a insanely long post. The past three days saw me in the theatre for DEDfest and only home for sleep. So no time to update since I’m old and too fat fingered to do it on my phone.

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347 10/19 Another Son Of Sam (1977) 2/5   This one would be better titled “Nothing To Do With Son of Sam.” Not even the great Johnny Charro can make it interesting.

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348 10/19 Effects (1980) 2/5   George Romero’s film crew make their own film about a group of filmmakers get a little too realistic with the special effects. It’s not as interesting as it sounds with the team seemed more intent on filming drug use than horror/gore.

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349 10/19 Sacrifice! (aka The Man From Deep River) (1971) 3/5 Seeing how director Umberto Lenzi passed away I gave this one another spin. It plays it pretty straight considering the impact it had with slowly kickstarting the Italian Cannibal Genre. A photographer goes deep into the Thai jungle after killing a man in self defence. There’s more nudity than usual for these, but sadly there’s way too much animal cruelty.

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350 10/19 Radius (2017) 3.5/5   High concept suspense in this one about a man who survives an “event” with no memory and a strange malady that cause death at a certain radius. The film plays like a slow burn X-Files, and has a couple of interesting twists to keep you interested.

351 10/19 Latched (2017) 3.5/5   A pretty great short film about a young woman and her toddler that find a strange carcass in the woods. This one doesn’t feel like a demo reel, and instead tells a tight story perfectly.

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352 10/19 Beyond Skyline (2017) 3.5/5   The first “Skyline” was a nothing special alien invasion movie. This one takes that concept and completely remakes it into a completely bananas action film with aliens, giant monsters, kung-fu with some of the cast from The Raid, it’s got everything and keeps the pace going constantly and manages to be a ton of fun.


353 10/20 Blackenstein (1973 Theatrical Version) 2.5/5   This is one that regularly gets slammed for being terrible. And it is “bad”, but I found it fun bad. Everything about it is a bit too cheap but they go for it with aplomb which is better than some of these low budget films.


354 10/20 Psychos In Love (1987) 3/5   I’m not typically a fan of horror comedy of this stripe, but this one managed to mostly charm me. A couple of psychos fall in love. It’s never tries to be more than it is, and has a self awareness that I think saves it.


355 10/20 Orgy Of The Dead (1965) 3/5   This is not a good film. A couple go driving looking for a graveyard and stumble upon an Orgy of the Dead! The orgy being a bunch of tedious striptease acts. What makes it bearable is the Ed Wood Jr. connection, with Criswell as the head of the Orgy and Wood’s goofy dialog. It makes for a charming take on the typical dreadful nudies of the era. The Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray looks so gorgeous it’s unbelievable.

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356 10/20 Transmission (2017) 2/5   Short film supposedly about Brexit but plays more like a take on Incident At Owl Creek. Didn’t do much for me.

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357 10/20 The Lodgers (2017) 3.5/5   Irish gothic horror about two siblings living in an old secluded house. Slow starter but gets creepy and turns into an atmospheric ghost story by the end.

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358 10/20 Game Of Death (2017) 3/5   Jumanji re-imagined as a splatter-fest as millennials discover a cursed board game. This one was a lot of fun that has style and gore to spare. Being a miserable old geezer though means I can’t identify or care about any of the protagonists.

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359 10/20 Bad Black (2016) 3.5/5   Uganda action film that looks like it could be shot on cell phones barely makes any sense but has so much energy you forget about it. It was not only a ton of fun, but a surprise since my screening was at Dedfest and the filmmakers added in custom graphics and narration to appeal to Edmonton and the fest. Makes for an instant crowd pleaser, though I have to admit that early scenes featuring ghetto kids were more disturbing than fun.

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360 10/21 Stealth & Silence: DC Comic Fan Film (2016) 2/5   Short film had tons of style and a cool fight scene but didn’t make much sense. You would have no idea about the DC Comics connection without reading the credits.

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361 10/21 Geek Girls (2017) 3.5/5   A really  well done documentary on all aspects of women in geek culture. What made it interesting is that despite this being made during gamergate and the filmmaker having an opportunity to exploit and sensationalize, she kept the focus on the girls and their response.

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362 10/21 Death On Scenic Drive (2017) 2.5/5   A woman house sitting in a remote acreage gets witch-y. This one had lots of style and some good ideas with atmosphere, but it was a little to precious which gave it some pacing/story problems to be completely successful.

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363 10/21 Lowlife (2017) 3.5/5   A grindhouse crime comedy about a group of separate people who come together over an organ harvesting crime lord. One of them is a Luchadore. This one does a great job with a gimmick to establish all the characters, and by dealing with mostly minorities and people who are perceived with stereotypes manages to really humanize them. It allows the filmmakers to rise above traditional exploitation to address some real world issues. Good stuff

364 10/21 Rite of Passage (2017) 2/5   Short film about a group of nuns reaping vengeance on a priest. It’s not as gripping as it sounds.

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365 10/21 Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) 4/5   A dark fairy tale about kids orphaned from the cartel wars in Mexico trying to survive. To be able to make a horror film about such tragedy and still keep things hopeful makes this one a real gem. It’s going to be rattling around my brain for a while. Very highly recommended.

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366 10/22 Deliver Us (Libera Nos) (2016) 3/5   Documentary following a real Sicilian exorcist. This looked like abuse to me, with religion triggering mental illness more than actual demon possession. The filmmakers wisely depict what is happening without comment, leaving it up to you to decide.

367 10/22 It Began Without Warning: Phase 1 (2017) 2.5/5   Short film about murderous kids that is such a demo reel/proof of concept I’m surprised it was released as a short film.


368 10/22 Night Of The Living Dead (1968) 5/5   Beautifully restored, what’s left to say about the classic that defined an entire genre? Newly noticed from watching it on the big screen, Romero perfectly framed every shot. It’s easy to miss how talented he was despite his budgets.

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369 10/22 Sequence Break (2017) 3/5   This one could best be described as “David Cronenberg’s Tron.” A young arcade game repairman gets a little too intimate with a strange machine that might be a doorway to another dimension. Gooey fun that was admirably more ambitious than its budget.  

370 10/22 Flow (2017) 2.5/5   Short film about a pair of women soldiers, it’s basically one joke played for six minutes that got made due to a kickstarter. Good on them, I guess.

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371 10/22 Tragedy Girls (2017) 4/5   A couple of high school girls who are willing to kill to get followers, this is a pretty near perfect social media satire. The leads are both fantastic with the film having some fun set pieces as will as numerous nods to the horror genre. Recommended.

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372 10/22 Victor Crowley (2017) 4/5   The surprise Hatchet sequel is more than the same, which isn’t a bad thing. Gorey fun that continues to the perfect slasher throwback to the 80’s while still feeling fresh.

 

 

 

 

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Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 4

Last week was the Presidential inauguration and I found it to be such a massive cluster fuck that I totally forgot to post this, the last of my Scary Movie Challenge list.The day that this posts is also the Bell “let’s Talk” day on Twitter, where every tweet using the hashtag  results in a $.05 donation to mental health initiatives. A large part of my mental health coping is watching movies.

I’m not sure if watching this many movies in one month helps your mental heath.

080 10/25 Leviathan (1989) Blu-ray 3/5   If I remember right this one came out the same year as The Abyss and was pretty much completely forgotten. The case claims it’s “Alien underwater!” and it really wants to be that. Sadly it’s just a really well done monster movie. No classic, but worth a watch.

081 10/25 Evilspeak (1981) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This is my favourite of the anti-Satan scare films of the early 80’s. A kid who’s being bullied at military academy finds a Satanic text and starts inputting it into his Apple II, awakening all sorts of evil stuff. Clint Howard is great in the roll of the kid, and the film gets totally nuts. Makes me want to track down Mazes & Monsters, the other great scare film from the era. It was also nice to watch this uncut on Blu-ray. My previous viewing was via a bootleg download that had the scenes cut during the Video Nasties period inserted but sourced from a bad VHS looking copy. Funnily enough, most of the cut footage was the goofy Satanic text on the Apple II as opposed to violence.

082 10/25 Attack of the Puppet People (1958) DVR 2.5/5   If your movie has something to do with people shrinking or growing into giants, odds are that Bert I Gordon is behind it. This one was too goofy to really enjoy. A weirdo doll maker is shrinking people into dolls for companionship. They never really “attack” either, and there’s a drive-in scene that showing Gordon’s The Amazing Colossal Man which is a massively superior film to this one and reminding the audience of that doesn’t help matters.

083 10/26 Cat People (1982) Blu-ray 3/5   It’s not as good as the original, but it’s not the worst thing either. It’s a case of style over substance, and it mostly works. I would rate it higher but it has some pacing issues. Gorgeous soundtrack though.

084 10/26 The Dark Half (1993) Blu-ray 2.5/5   George Romero tackles another Stephen King story and it’s just too much of a good thing. Basic story is a writer decides to “kill off” his more popular pseudonym, only to have the pseidonym manifest and start killing people. It’s not a bad idea, and the book is great. At 2 hours it makes for a plodding movie.

085 10/26 Bereavement (2010) Blu-ray 3/5   I forgot I had watched this one before. Not a bad movie that gets pretty crazy, about a madman that kidnaps a kid. I just found out this is actually a prequel to Malevolence so I guess I should track that one down.

086 10/26 Burnt Offerings (1976) DVR 4/5   This one is supposedly one of Stephen Kings favourite movies and you can certainly see aspects of The Shining in it. A family rents a house for the summer and starts to become affected. This one a really good, mainly due to Oliver Reed being so intense through out. The rest of the cast with Karen Black and Bette Davis were great too, but man Reed is shithouse bonkers in his intensity. Worth it just for Reed’s performance, with the movie being equally interesting.

087 10/27 The Believers (1987) Blu-ray 2.5/5  I had memories of this one being hot stuff and controversial on release but it ends up being a pretty boring thriller. Martin Sheen is a police psychologist who gets mixed up investigating Voodoo crimes in New York. Some neat ideas and fine acting but it never really adds up to much.

088 10/27 Mazes and Monsters (1982) YouTube 2/5   Evilspeak had me craving this one and I should have left it alone. I recall it being great, but it’s just plodding and stupid. Tom Hanks and his friends get way to into Dungeons and Dragons and the result is boring.

089 10/28 Deathrow Gameshow (1987) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Goofy comedy that doesn’t work as a comedy or a horror film where convicts compete for pardons. It’s over the top in 80’s smarm and is more annoying than good.

090 10/28 Nightmare Sisters (1988) Blu-ray 3.5/5   A trio a sorority girls become succubi after playing around with a crystal ball. It’s painfully bad in the acting department, but the trio is played by Scream Queens Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer, and they turn into naked succubi which makes it all worthwhile. It ends up being a lot of fun.

091 10/28 Hobgoblins (1988) Blu-ray 2/5   Not as bad as Troll 2 as far as Gremlins rip-offs go, but it ain’t very good. When you can’t do better than Ghoulies as a horror comedy, you know you’re in trouble.

092 10/28 Pretty Maids All In A Row DVR 2/5   Rock Hudson stars in this thriller about a series of high school girl murders. Except the majority of the film is about a high school boy with boner problems. This one is supposed to be a black comedy but it never really worked and worse, felt like it would never end. Written and produced by Gene Roddenberry. Gene’s better in space.

093 10/28 Murder Weapon (1989) Blu 3/5

094 10/29 Deadly Embrace (1989) Blu 2/5   A pair of erotic thrillers, meaning “Skinimax” type fair in which women with big hair really get off on kissing guys bellies. Both star Linnea Quigley with “Murder Weapon” about a pair of mob daughters getting out of an asylum being the better of the two mainly due to how insanely gory it gets in the latter half. “Deadly Embrace” sounded like more of the same but sadly it’s just a mediocre skin flick about a neglected wife who hires a pool boy. It’s boring.

095 10/29 The Exorcist (1973) (Theatrical Cut) Blu-ray 5/5   First time watching the original version in years and it still holds up as one of the greatest films ever made. It’s genuinely spooky, of course, but what’s equally impressive is the craft behind it. The score, sound design, acting, shots, editing, all in perfect harmony.

096 10/29 The Doctor & The Devils (1985) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This one is a retelling of the story of “Burke and Hare” legendary grave robbers turned murderers who sold bodies to the London Medical College. This one was really well done. It’s shot more like a drama as opposed to a comedic horror film that the story usually gets. Really worth checking out.

097 10/29 The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) blu-ray 2.5/5   This one isn’t actually one of the worst films ever made, as it’s routinely championed to be. It is a mess though. Adding a bunch of unnecessary psychic mumbo-jumbo to the story doesn’t help. It’s full of ambition and big ideas, it just never actually works. I think this is at least my 3rd time seeing it, and I have to admit it didn’t drive me crazy like it did previously. That said, why Martin Scorsese thinks it’s so great is still a mystery.

098 10/30 The Exorcist III (1990) Blu-ray 4/5   This is one that I never found that great but really clicked with it on this viewing. George C. Scott takes the role of Detective from the first film, this time investigating the murders of the “Gemini Killer”. This one ditches the psychic stuff and concentrates more on the nature of evil. It’s also hilarious while being scary.

099 10/30 Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Better than the Renny Harlin re-shoot, but it still doesn’t work. This one follows the story of Father Merrin that is mentioned in the original film, but they change the entire thing for reasons unknown. It’s interesting, but ends up being too muddled to work.

100 10/30 The Puppet Masters (1994) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Another retelling of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This one switches things up a bit by concentrating on a government agency trying to figure out and contain the invasion. Think “The X-Files” only with Donald Sutherland. It works, though it plays more like an action film that a horror.

101 10/30 Darkman (1990) Blu-ray 4/5   Mix-up the best traits of the Universal Monsters and slam them into a pulpy superhero story and you get another winner from Sam Raimi. Raimi nails this stuff with style and humour and the cast featuring Liam Neeson and Francis McDormand manage to pull this one off.

102 10/30 The Conjuring 2 (2016) Digital 3.5/5   I’m a big fan of the first one so I was looking forward to this one. It’s good, and I found it to be pretty spooky. Only problem is they go too big in the second half so it loses a bit of its charm. That said, it’s still a fun journey.

 

103 10/31 The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976) Youtube 2/5   After hearing about this one for years I finally gave it a watch. I have zero nostalgia for Paul or the 70’s, so my interest was only out of the cult/campy aspects. It’s simply bad. Painful skits, painful jokes, Kiss rock and are hilarious and yeah, it all adds up to being weird. It’s still not any good.

104 10/31 The Initiation (1984) Blu-ray 3/5   The latest from Arrow arrived in my mailbox so I gave it a spin. It’s an okay slasher but nothing special despite one of the most convoluted plots I’ve encountered yet. An amnesiac college girl is being stalked by a killer from her past, only it’s way more complicated.

And that is it. I broke 100 films in the 2016 challenge, the “winner” was 149. Oh well, there’s always next year.