Scary Movie Challenge 2017: The End

Here it is! The end of the scary movie challenge. Final total was 113 films with 80 first time viewings. I’m pleased. More first timers this year than any previous year, and more recent titles too. Anyways, this means this blog will start posting once a week again, maybe less since I plan to catch up on special features from the piles of physical media I watched. Here’s the last few films.

The Little Shop of Horrors Poster
396 10/28 The Little Shop Of Horrors (1960) 3/5   Roger Corman’s 2 day wonder has tons of charm but I don’t love it as much as others. Still a fun little film and Jack Nicholson’s bit is worth hanging around for.

The Hills Have Eyes Part II Poster
397 10/28 The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984) 2/5   While I didn’t find it to be the worst film ever as some think it is, it’s far from good. Holding no comparison to the quality of the original, it’s a run of the mill “Teens stuck out in the middle of nowhere” type deal that has zero charm and just plods along.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Poster
398 10/28 A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 4.5/5   Wes Craven’s classic hold up just fine. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it, it always delivers though and manages to be scary.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge Poster
399 10/28 A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) 3.5/5   I actually enjoy this one more now than I did back in the day. Clever switcher-oo with a boy being the one pursued instead of the girl

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors Poster
400 10/28 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) 4/5   It’s not as good as the first one, but it’s my favourite in the series. I love the idea of the kids banding together to fight back. It’s also great catching up with the characters from the first one. It’s as if part 2 never happened.

Saturn 3 Poster
401 10/28 Saturn 3 (1980) 2.5/5   I haven’t seen this one since I was a little boy and watching it now as a big boy, it’s not good. A sci-fi film where you are lead to believe that Farrah Fawcett is in a consensual relationship with million year old Kirk Douglas, it also features the great Harvey Keitel sounding like you have never heard him before since they dubbed his voice. Directed by the great Stanley Donen – Singing in the Rain will always be one of my most favourite movies – and featuring a killer robot, it’s ridiculous how they get everything wrong. You know you’re in trouble when the opening shot references Star Wars and the music is like a Star Wars/2001 A Space odyssey blend.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Poster
402 10/28 A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) 3/5  I actually enjoyed this one more than I remembered liking it. Continues on from the last one, Freddy has sadly turned into a pun-machine. That said, it’s fun if not a bit forgettable.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child Poster
403 10/29 A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) 2/5   Everything I’m willing to give a pass to in the fourth one gets far too annoying in this. The child stuff is corny, none of the characters are likable and not even Freddy can bring the fun.

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Poster
404 10/29 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) 2/5   You couldn’t ask for a worse ending, despite a good cast. It’s more goofy Freddy’s kid stuff and it’s simply a drag.

New Nightmare Poster
405 10/29 Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) 4/5   The series goes meta with this one, finding the actors of the first film having to deal with Freddy in the real world. It works really well, but I find it runs a little long. That said, I’ll take this one over the last couple films any time.

Rabid Poster
406 10/29 Rabid (1977) 4/5   I really got a kick out of this one during this viewing. Cronenberg’s take on a zombie like plague has the body horror he’s known for and is admittedly a little corny in some of it’s stings. Not enough to annoy though, it’s always enjoyable.

Dead Ringers Poster
407 10/29 Dead Ringers (1988) 4/5   A story about identity between two identical twins that swap roles, it’s the kind of thing that most filmmakers would use as a surprise ending. Cronenberg starts the film with the “twist”, and then dwells on the ramifications for the rest. Lacking the graphic shocks of his earlier films, this one manages to be more disturbing. It might be Cronenberg’s best film, which is saying something considering how solid of a director he is.

Green Room Poster
408 10/30 Green Room (2015) 2.5/5   A punk band take a gig at a nazi bar and witness a murder. I just never got into it despite a great cast and a film that does everything right for the most part. I’ll probably revisit it to give it a second chance since I feel like I’m missing something.

Shin Godzilla Poster
409 10/31 Shin Godzilla (2016) 3/5   If you ever wondered how the Japanese parliament would deal with a giant monster attack, this one is for you. The monster stuff is amazing! Using CGI to build the ultimate “rubber suit” style monster to wreak havoc, it’s a stroke of genius and some of the best giant monster stuff you’ll see. Sadly it’s bogged down in never ending political bureaucracy that is so detailed in its minutia it’s ridiculous. Why no one can make a dead solid Godzilla film in this day and age is beyond me. That said, it’s light years better than the 2014 American film.

 

 

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.

Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 7

Another chunk of films. Caught up on my Vinegar Syndrome releases.

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373 10/23 Trip With The Teacher (1975) 3/5   Tame sleaze-fest about bikers terrorizing an all-girl trip in the desert. I still enjoyed it though, and Zalman King was great as the biker leader.

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374 10/23 Demon Wind (1990) 3/5   This one has literally zero to do with farting. A group of friends head out to a farm to check up on a guy’s family and discover some demon stuff. Not the greatest film ever released by Vinegar Syndrome, and it’s takes a while to get going. Once it does though it redeems itself a bit with some decent practical make-up.

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375 10/23 Blood Beat (1983) 3/5   A family reunite for some Christmas hunting and encounter the spirit of a samurai. It plays like a weird knockoff of Evil Dead, only not as successful despite some arty touches.

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376 10/23 The Corpse Grinders (1971) 3/5   The Grindhouse classic holds up not bad though it’s much more tamer than the title would suggest. A cat food company is using human meat and it’s turning the cats into KILLERS! It’s ridiculous, but fun.

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377 10/23 Don’t Torture A Duckling (1972) 3.5/5   Pretty tight giallo from Lucio Fulci about child murders in a small Italian town. This one was less over the top than later Fulci, but you could see some of where the gore was going to go. A tight crime who done it, I have no complaints.

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378 10/23 A Woman’s Torment (1977) 3.5/5   A mentally disturbed young woman starts to lose control and submit to urges while left alone. It’s not the greatest horror film, but it is a pretty ambitious XXX one, all things considering. Roberta Findlay manages to keep things moving and build some characters in this one, and works better than most ambitious hardcore films do.

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379 10/24 Prime Evil (1988) 3.5/5   Ancient satanic priests causing trouble in our time. I think what sets this one apart from the typical ropey horror tropes is Roberta Findlay bringing a woman’s viewpoint to the characters. There’s still tits and whatever, but the characters feel richer than the usual, especially the women who are typically victim bait. It helps to keep this one interesting.

Lurkers Poster
380 10/24 Lurkers (1988) 2.5/5   A woman is haunted by her past in this one. Some edgy stuff, but not enough to set it apart. I found it plodding.

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381 10/24 The Creeping Terror (1964) 1.5/5   Sometimes a bad movie is simply a bad movie. The monster is terrible, but gloriously terrible that makes it a shame that it’s wasted in this completely inept film. There’s just a complete lack of fun or ambition, and the narrated plot (there’s barely any properly spoken dialogue) just plods along painfully.

Too Young to Die Poster
382 10/24 The Suspicious Death Of A Minor (1975) 3/5   This one was billed as a giallo but it’s really more of a straight up crime film. It’s okay, but there was too many bits played for humour that I think too away from the narrative. There are better Sergio Martino films to be found.

The Creep Behind the Camera Poster
383 10/24 The Creep Behind The Camera (2014) 3/5   Bio-pic/documentary on the man behind The Creeping Terror. He was a garbage human being. Interesting film, better than Creeping Terror anyway.

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.

Transmission Poster
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.

 

 

 

 

Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 5

Another 10 in the bag. After a days delay due to God smiting the power int he theatre, Dedfest X finally started last night. So BLUE titles are ones seen in the theatre.


337 10/17 Evil Ed (1995) 2.5/5   A meek film editor gets assigned to cut horror and it has an effect on him. It’s gooey and an excuse to have fun with horror tropes, it just didn’t work for me.


338 10/17 Madhouse (1981) 2.5/5   A teacher for deaf kids gets stalked by her evil twin sister. Or is it in her head? Pretty typical slasher for the era that adds in a killer dog but none of it is particularly interesting.


339 10/17 Re-Animator (1985) 4/5   First time watching the integral cut. Herbert West thinks he’s Baron Von Frankenstein. I prefer the shorter cut as I find the added bits in this kill the pacing a bit. Still worth a watch or three. This one is a classic deserving of all it’s cult fandom. It’s also the right way to have comedy in a horror film. Play the horror straight and the comedy comes from the situation. Makes this one a delight and the Arrow Blu-ray set is suitably gorgeous.


340 10/18 The Slayer (1982) 2.5/5   A woman appears to be cracking up from stress so her husband takes her with some friends on a vacation. Some nice gore can’t help this one, despite being more ambitious than the typical slashers of the era. It plays it pretty straight but I found it draggy.


341 10/18 Children of the Corn (1984) 3.5/5   Small town kids discover religion and the parents don’t like it. This one will never go down as the greatest Stephen King adaptation but it works. It’s been too long since I read the original short story so I can’t comment on how close it is, it simply works as one of the better creepy kids/Village of the Damned type movies.

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342 10/18 The Zodiac Killer (1971) 3.5/5   It’s absolutely bananas that prior to the Fincher film Zodiac, this was the best telling of the Zodiac story. It’s not actually a “good” picture, it’s cheap beyond belief, spends too much time on a red herring and then goes off on flights of fancy. When it does stick to the facts, it’s kind of effective. That expert Paul Avery backed it just shows how scared everyone was at the time, they producers thought it would help catch the actual killer. Viewing it now, it has a goofy charm.

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343 10/18 For A Good Time Call… (2017) 2.5/5   Short film about a douche-bag who secretly films a tryst and suffers the consequences in an extreme way. It’s good for what it is, but I tend to find that horror shorts tend to feel more like demo/audition reels than proper stories.

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344 10/18 Replace (2017) 3.5/5   A young woman deals with bad skin problems in a icky way. An interesting play on beauty expectations, and a great play on body horror. It goes for a bit of a wander in the last act but the stuff leading up to it is great.

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345 10/18 Hell Haunt (2017) 3/5   A short filmed in my hometown of Edmonton about a killer replicating murders at a horror movie premiere? Maybe? I have to admit, I couldn’t follow it. It was damned pretty and well executed which I guess makes it a success. Have I mentioned that I find horror shorts to feel like demo/audition reels?

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346 10/18 Fake Blood (2017) 3/5   Documentary about a pair of amateur filmmakers exploring if exploiting violence on screen can affect people to commit violence in real life. It’s well done in that it doesn’t feel like a fake documentary, but it’s also not as clever as it thinks it is.

 

 

Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 3

10 more movies down in the challenge. Another horrible week of real world news to live through. I feel befuddled.


317 10/10 At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964) 3/5   The Coffin Joe myth starts here! Long whispered about, long desired by me, and I have to admit, it’s a bit of a let down. It’s not bad for what it is, more a case of not knowing what to expect. Coffin Joe the character is more of a prick than a macabre genius. The blasphemy I’m guessing plays better in 1960’s Brazil. That said, it’s fun and surprisingly graphic for the era so I’ll give it a three out of five.

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318 10/12 This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967) 4/5   This one was a huge improvement over the last. Coffin Joe still is looking to sire a son in order to achieve immortality. Joe’s main character trait is still mostly that of being a giant prick to everyone, but the film packs in more style and gimmick – including a genuinely brilliant colour sequence- to really put it over the top.

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319 10/12 Get Out (2017) 4/5   I loved this one, a perfect twist on paranoid thrillers. Others better versed than me can comment on a the racial politics. I’ll just say that if you took race out of the picture, it would still be damned fine. As it is, it’s fantastic.


320 10/13 Embodiment of Evil (2008) 3.5/5   40 years after the last picture, Coffin Joe is back and he is NOT messing around. Marins is back in the role and the director’s seat, and the character is still on his mission to have a son. Marins does not hold back though, amplifying the gore and ugliness like you would not expect. It works though, and I have to admit this ended up being a much stronger trilogy than I expected it to be.


321 10/13 Billy The Kid Versus Dracula (1966) 2.5/5   Exactly as advertised. Dracula is buzzing around the old west and ends up preying on Billy’s fiance. It’s ridiculous, John Carradine is awarded no favours as Dracula. It is “Fun-Bad” though, and we discover that while bullets won’t stop a vampire, a gun chucked to the face will drop one cold.


322 10/14 Waxwork (1988) 3.5/5   First time seeing this one since it came out and I know I enjoyed it a lot more than I did before. In my mind most of this era was garbage, but revisiting them I’m enjoying them a bit. There’s nothing really exceptional or scary, they’re just fun little movies. This one uses a wax museum as an excuse to use the exhibits as sketches of other horror tropes. It does it’s job and that’s all it needs to do.


323 10/14 Waxwork II: Lost In time (1992) 2.5/5   All the goodwill earned in the first film is lost on this one. Instead of playing with horror tropes, they attempt to spoof other films (In particular the Evil Dead series) and it makes for a terrible sequel to a film that was fun but no masterpiece in the first place. You’re in trouble when you cast Bruce Campbell is a small role in your comedic horror film and it brings no laughs.


324 10/14 Creepshow 2 (1987) 2.5/5   I’ve just never warmed to this one. It’s not terrible, it’s more a case of none of the stories being as interesting as those in the first one on top of what appears to be a significant budget cut so it doesn’t look that good either. First and last segments are fine for what they are, with THE RAFT being the weakest.


325 10/14 Kong: Skull Island (2017) 3.5/5   I had a little bit of trepidation going into this one after that last Godzilla movie that never wanted to show the monsters. Thankfully, they don’t mess around with this one and they get to the monster stuff quick. It makes for a fun picture and John C. Reilly is a gift to be treasured.


326 10/14 Dark Dreams (1971) 2.5/5   Young newlyweds get a flat tire and knock on the door of a witches coven in this early hardcore effort. Sadly nothing much happens. It manages to be both ambitious and not very good at the same time.

Scary Movie Challenge 2017 Part 2

I know I said I would post these every ten films and I’m over again. It was a long weekend, so it made sense to include a full day instead of half a day. It’s my blog, I do what I want!


304 10/07 Nightmare Honeymoon (1974) 2/5   A woman is assaulted on her honeymoon and her husband acts like a prick about it. This one looks like a vengeance thriller of the era, but it just plods along never really spooking or entertaining.


305 10/07 Kiss of the Tarantula (1976) 2/5   Another find from TCM Underground that is no great shakes. A young woman uses her beloved spiders to get even with those who would hurt her. Another one that isn’t really bad, just never gets really good despite adding in a little sleaze.


306 10/07 The Bad Seed (1956) 4/5   Really enjoyed this one. You know going in what to expect, so in lieu of surprises it’s more about watching things play out. And things do play out. Patty McCormack plays the most devious little shit ever seen on film, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun watching everyone twist around her. Despite knowing the premise, there are some surprises to be had and the film is surprisingly grim for the era. Worth checking out.


307 10/07 The Intrusion (1975) 3/5   Nasty hardcore feature about a wife assaulted by a home invader posing as a travelling salesman. This genre is sleazy enough without being hardcore so it really gets uncomfortable watching it. Which makes it a success.


308 10/08 Death Watch (1980) 3/5   Harvey Keitel stars as a reporter that has cameras implanted in his eyes so he can follow a woman as she goes through the stages of dying for reality TV in the near future. More Sci-Fi/Drama than the thriller it sounds like, but a pretty solid offering all the same that goes more into character examination than exploitation.


309 10/08 Alice Sweet Alice (1976) 3/5   This is one of those films that always kicked around the cheap bins so I always glossed over it despite the Brooke Shields being the draw. She’s barely in it as far as I can tell, and the whole thing is a pretty basic slasher that doesn’t offer up much.   


310 10/08 I Drink Your Blood (Theatrical Version) (1970) 3.5/5   The drive-in classic about satanic hippies infected by rabies is far better than it should be. I mean, it’s no great shakes, but it absolutely delivers on what it promises which is what makes these exploitation films a success. From limbs being hacked off to dead goats being dragged around, it’s not for everyone but for those of us that can enjoy a dumber, gorier Night Of The Living Dead ripoff, it’s pretty great.


311 10/08 The Swarm (1978) 4/5   First off, there is no such thing as an actually good killer bee movie. That said, this one is probably the best. A all star cast featuring Michael Cain and legends Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, Olivia de Havilland among others, playing it straight and acting their asses off in a film that has billions of killer bees attacking the states, you have to respect it. It’s an Irwin Allen film, so things get absolutely bonkers by the end with the army lighting up everything with flame throwers. To fight killer bees. And it’s not the stupidest killer bee film since it doesn’t feature a scene where the bees plead to the United Nations for world peace. (That film would be the glorious The Bees.)

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312 10/09 I Eat Your Skin (1964) 2/5   This is the one that became notorious thanks to being billed with I Drink Your Blood, and I can just imagine how disappointed audiences where after viewing it. It’s an old school voodoo zombie picture with a scientist creating them as an after effect of his cancer research. Nothing exceptional at all.


313 10/09 Chopping Mall (1986) 3.5/5   In the realm of dopey 80’s horror films, you can do a lot worse than this one about a bunch of horny teens partying after hours in a mall. The new security robots go haywire and start attacking. This one is helped by its short running time, it gets to the goods quick and keep the energy going so you stay interested.


314 10/09 Blood Diner (1987) 4/5   A spiritual successor to Blood Feast, I’m rating this one a lot higher than I probably should. Two brothers grow up to follow their dead uncle’s wishes to resurrect the goddess Sheetar via a grand feast. I don’t typically like horror comedies like this, but they run absolutely wild with the dumb premise, pack it with gore and nudity and I managed to actually laugh out loud more than once at some of the jokes. It all ends up being fantastically entertaining.


315 10/09 The Driller Killer (1979) 4/5   First time watching the “Interpositive” cut, and I’m not expert enough to tell you what is added or missing. At any rate, this continues to be a favourite of mine. Abel Ferrara does not mess around, staring and playing the lead. Packed with grimy New York, from the punk music to the alleys, the whole thing simply works splendidly.


316 10/09 The Devil Rides Out (1968) 4/5   Incredibly strong Hammer offering with Christopher Lee starring as man schooled in the occult trying to save his friend from Satanic forces. Genuinely creepy and authentic feeling, even when things get spectacular. It’s great to see Lee in a hero role, and the whole thing is one of the more effective Hammer Horrors I’ve seen.

 

This bit from Blood Diner still has me laughing:

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The greatest scene of all time.

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Movie A Day: Straight Sugar Pierce

Sick with summer cold this week. Got bad enough that I missed a day of work. Still have it. I feel like this phlegm-y mess is my life now. As a result, lots of movies were watched. I finished up my “True-Life Adventures” jag and started catching up on my Vinegar Syndrome back log. So the sleaze is back, dear readers.


212 07/09 Straight Outta Compton (2015) 3.5/5   The story of NWA is a great story to tell. The performances are great, especially Ice Cube’s kid who plays his dad. I watched the extended director’s cut and it goes on a bit too long frankly, with NWA’s story actually being done before the halfway mark which leaves all the solo stuff which is great for Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, but also means that MC Ren and DJ Yella practically disappear. Still, it’s well done and nails the culture of the era and how stupid the rap business can be. Once again I feel like I would have rather watched a documentary.


213 07/09 Johnny Belinda (1948) 3.5/5   Jane Wyman stars as a deaf/mute girl who is getting help from a town doctor, only there’s a darkness to Cape Breton small time life. Wyman does a great job, and the unsavory subject matter is handled will in this one. It’s best described as a “woman’s picture” from the era, but it plays almost like a film noir.


214 07/10 Detour (1945) 4/5   An essential noir title that I finally got around to watching. A piano player decides to hitchhike from New York to Los Angeles, and gets into the wrong car. It’s a lean number that just completely works and this guy gets hammered maybe the hardest by the wrong set of circumstances and the wrong woman. Essential viewing.


215 07/10 The Hearse (1980) 2.5/5  A woman recovering from a breakdown decides to move into her aunt’s country house and discovers a satanic history and things that go bump in the night. It never really gelled for me and poor Joseph Cotton deserved better movies that this.


216 07/12 Malibu High (1979) 3/5   From the looks of it, this is one of those dopey titty High School comedies that were so popular. It’s not. It’s actually a rather messed up film about a girl who gets dumped and gleefully enters into a prostitution racket. It’s sort of played for laughs, but nothing lands and despite the pacing/cheapness issues it has, it actually works as a low budget neo-noir.


217 07/12 Red Mob (1993) 2.5/5   Russia takes a stab at 80’s style action spectacle and it ends up a total mess. The plot makes zero sense. Something about an ex KGB trying to reconcile with his son and getting mixed up in some other KGB… I have no idea. The action gets bonkers in the second half and the last third is a helicopter chase that seems to last 5 days. It’s more a curiosity than it is “good”, but I have to admit, Sergey Veksler as “Nick” has some serious action chops. To bad he couldn’t transition to western made films.


218 07/12  Journey Into Fear (1942) 3.5/5   The last film Orson Welles delivered to RKO, it’s directed by Norm Foster but Welles’ hand is all over it. Joseph Cotton (who is great in this and carries the film) is an arms dealer in Turkey who gets mixed up in some Nazi intrigue. It’s lean and sharp, but not as good as Welles’ other noir pictures.


219 07/14 Jackie (2016) 3/5   What makes this one interesting is also the problem. The film tells Jackie Kennedy’s story of the days of the assassination. As an assassination nut, it’s interesting and actually something that tends be glossed over. So it’s interesting in that regard, but it also relegates her story to that of “grieving widow” and I’m sure she had a lot more going on than that. It’s a shame since everyone is so good in it.


220 07/14 Sweet Sugar (1972) 4/5   I may be a little biased on this one. Way back in the VHS days dad brought this one home and we watched it late on a Friday night. My intro to the sleazy Women In Prison genre, and at around 12 years old I probably shouldn’t of watched it. It left a mark since it’s so bonkers. Hooker Sugar gets roped into working in a sugarcane plantation run by “Doctor John”, a nut who uses the women for strange experiments. Add in voodoo and this one really is one of the better examples of the genre. It doesn’t hurt that lead Phyllis Davis can carry the film with both her beauty and brawn.


221 07/15 Nurse Sherri (1978) 2.5/5   This one mixes up Satanic possession with the nurse genre and ends up being a real mess despite attempting to be ambitious on no budget. It never works. There’s an alternate cut that puts the sex first over the horror that is supposed to be better, I may check it out at some point.


222 07/15 Mildred Pierce (1945) 4/5   Joan Crawford revitalized her career for the first of many times with this one. She plays a mother that would do anything for her child. It sounds like a melodrama, but it plays like a noir and a dark one at that. Crawford is fantastic, the script is razor sharp and consummate pro director Michael Curtiz nails it. Recommended.

 

Movie A Day!: Witchtrap Champions!

More movies! Past week was an absolute bitch at work with our customer base being even more clueless and challenging than normal. When you have conversations explaining to people that the “Forrest Green” they say they purchased last month was actually called “Meadow Green” and that is why I was quoting them the wrong product, it does your fucking brain in.

So no fake deep thoughts to intro this one. Here’s the shitty movies I watched last week.


077 03/26 Witchtrap (1989) 3/5   At first glance all this film seems to have going for it scream queen supreme Linnea Quigley, as depicted on the poster. It’s actually a not bad haunted house type deal about a group of investigators trying to ghost-bust a house so it can become a bed and breakfast. Quigley has a minor role as a para-investigator that looks after all the tech, which has to be one of the only “smart” roles in her career. She still has to show her tits in a shower scene though, such is the life of a scream queen. Anyway, it’s pretty good but has a major problem. They mucked up the sound when filming so all the dialogue and sound effects are looped in post, and not very well. I’ve seen Italian dubbed films with tighter synch than this, and it makes for distracted viewing since everything sounds separate from the action. Which is a shame since aside from that it’s quite accomplished.

078 03/28 The Book of Joe (1984) 3/5  Student short film by the director of Witchtrap, Kevin Tenney is a little gem of a film about a defence lawyer who has to represent a man claiming to be the returning Jesus Christ. It manages to not be corny or preachy despite having a pro-faith lean. Included on the Blu-ray due to having many of the same actors as Witchtrap, it’s a neat addition.


079 03/30 Big City Blues (1932) 2.5/5   Pre-Code film from Warners finds a hick arriving in New York to set the town on fire and ends up getting burned. Probably most notable today for Humphrey Bogart having a small unbilled part. That’s kind of the problem with this one, lead Eric Linden as the hick is so completely overshadowed by co-star Joan Blondell (who gets top billing, just look at the poster) and everyone else that it’s hard to root for him since he’s such a unlikable, naive milksop. It ends up being serviceable at best.


080 03/31 Black Mass (2015) 2.5/5   Johnny Depp stars in the true story of Whitey Bulger, psychopath crime boss of South Boston. Depp does a pretty good job in this one, compared to the cartoon-like roles he’s been playing recently. That said, it’s not a very good movie in that despite being a true story it hits all the crime beats these pictures usually do without offering anything new and holy shit do actors love to mangle those Boston accents. I left this one thinking a documentary would have been better.


081 03/31 Boiling Desires (1987) 2/5   You have to hand it to porn jobber Carlos Tobalina for hiring four stars and managing to make an entire film out of the one-note plot of a couple of girls in which one hasn’t had sex yet and they’re all excited to have her have sex. It’s not a good movie, but you have to hand it to him.


082 04/01 The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 (2014) 3.5/5   Finally getting around to these. Problem I had is I barely remember the first two films, so most of this one was me going “Oh, right!” as plots came forward in my hazy brain. This one mostly revolves around Katniss mooning about for Pita while becoming a reluctant leader of the revolution. It’s good, though kind of sad since I think this is the last film Philip Seymour Hoffman did before passing he’s just so goddamned good. I think that’s why these pictures work. The love triangle stuff is lost on me since I find both the guys (Pita and whoever the other one is, so forgettable I can’t recall his name) so useless, the rest of the cast is so strong that it allows you to kind of forget about it and makes the rest of the film work.

083 04/02 Love Champions (1985) 2/5   The second Tobalina feature on the disc with boiling Desires, it has an even thinner plot than the first one, more hacked together and ends in another poorly shot orgy. Pretty much worthless as everyone in this picture have been in better movies.

Speaking of adult. I learned this morning on the passing of Radley Metzger. If anyone is wondering why I’m bothering with “shitty old porn”, I would advise them to have a peek at Metzger’s filmography. In the early days when it looked like porno-chic might actually go mainstream, it was largely due to filmmakers like Metzger. Getting his start in euro-softcore, under the pseudonym of Henry Paris  Metzger was one of the filmmakers that seemed on the cusp of making hardcore legit. The Opening of Misty Beethoven is an absolute masterpiece, period, and is highly recommended. Metzger will never get the credit as a filmmaker that he deserves, and he will never be forgotten. I also highly recommend The Rialto Report site or anyone with even a passing interest in adult, or a damn fine story since porn history is full of bonkers stories and the podcasts are great.

And with that, I will leave you for another week.

Movie A Day! Gruesome Night of Spanish Fly

Not much for news this week. Time seemed to drag and go by to quick to accomplish much at the same time. Now it’s daylight savings time Sunday and I already feel jet lagged so I’m keeping things short.


063 03/06 The Gruesome Twosome (1967) 2.5/5   Herschell Gordon Lewis attempts a horror comedy that is baffling in its ineptitude. The first 5-10 minutes is made up with a bit with two Styrofoam wig display head puppets discussing matters to set up the plot. The only reason is to shamelessly pad the run time to 70 minutes since the film fell short in editing. Once the film begins it barely improves. A wacky old woman wig maker who talks to her stuffed wild cat Napoleon has a drooling idiot son that she gets to scalp young college girls for her wigs. The gore is the only reason to watch this, despite being crappy and actually looking worse in spots compared to Lewis’s earlier pictures (The beheading by electric night bit being the exception). This is one of those films that you have to wonder why it exists since it’s not the worst plot in the world but the planning and execution of it is so piss-poor. Take out the comedic wackiness that doesn’t work and play up a Psycho rip with the boy and his mother and you would have something. As is, it’s a bonkers curio more than anything.


064 03/09 A Taste of Blood (1967) 2/5  Another HGL opus, this one see’s him doing an update on Dracula. A smarmy business man gets a mysterious shipment of blood-laced brandy, becomes a vampire and learns that he is an heir to Dracula himself. He’s then tasked with killing of the heirs of Van Helsing and all the other people responsible for killing the original Dracula in the book. It’s not a bad plot, it’s the execution that is horrendous. The usual HGL cheapness shines through, bad set-ups, ine-take acting, things out of focus, but it’s the pacing that really kills this one. Extraneous scenes go on forever, eating up the screen time to a glacial paced two hours. On top of all this, Lewis cut back on the gore so there’s no payoffs. Yet despite all that, it’s not his worst film.


065 03/10 Gilmore Girls Season 6 (2006) 3/5   This season improved over the last in that it felt like they pushed the characters ahead instead of spinning the wheels like the last one. That said, instead of just making Luke unlikable they also made pretty near every other character infuriating in their actions. Which is either brilliant writing in that it fits their patterns as established, or an unfair challenging of the audience’s patience. Main plot is Rory and Lorelai dealing with the end of last season blow out and Luke having a life changing revelation. Which are interesting plot points for sure, but had me tearing out what little hair I have left when watching them make one bad decision after another. Jess comes back for a couple of episodes and ends up being the voice of reason. Who would have thought? After all that, I’m curious to see how they wrap it all up in the next and last season.


066 03/10 The Night of the Spanish Fly (1976) 2/5   This one was the co-feature on the DVD with The Night Bird (reviewed last post) and was certainly the weaker of the two. Go-Go Wieners have been unknowingly laced with a potent spanish fly that causes the hot dog loving women of a metropolis to become overwhelmed with desire! It’s a fun plot to type out but the execution kills it with a jokey annoying voice-over setting up and rambling over uninspired sex scenes with a mostly unknown cast. I found it plodding and uninspired.

With this post I’m halfway though the Herschell Gordon Lewis boxset. I might take a time out and spend the week back in Silent Movie Land with the Mack Sennett set since My plan was to watch one disc (two films) from the HGL and spend the rest of the week watching the silents. I’m not getting in the time to do that, and I feel like I need to give my brain a break from genre films. Especially when the next pack of filth from Vinegar Syndrome is on it’s way. So maybe next post will be a little different?

Don’t hold your breath….