Movie A Day!: Split Anorexia

Another week of non-stop news horror. Apparently everyone involved in the media industries I love are scumbags. I mean, I figured as much, but the level of it is getting ridiculous. Here’s the latest bunch of stuff I watched. Mostly special features from discs watched in October and some documentary things.

Split Second Poster
431 11/14 Split Second (1953) 3/5   Tight noir about a couple of killers holding hostages at a nuclear test site on the eve of a nuclear test. It’s good, but I found it couldn’t hold the tension once it became a one room deal.

Bygone Behemoth Poster
432 11/14 Bygone Behemoth (2010) 3/5   Fun animated short about a past its prime monster that can no longer get Godzilla like movie roles. It plays mundane which helps make it special and the stop motion animation is top notch.

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433 11/15 Louis Theroux Dark States: Heroin Town (2017) 4/5   Theroux starts his new documentary series with this look at how prescription medicine has resulted in 1 in 4 people being addicted to heroin in Huntington West Virginia. It’s bleak stuff, but presented well as always.

434 11/16 Louis Theroux Dark States: Trafficking Sex (2017) 4/5   Theroux looks at prostitution in Houston, talking to both the women and the pimps. Another rough look at life but fascinating to see.

A Fish Called Wanda Poster
435 11/17 A Fish Called Wanda (1988) 3/5   I saw this one back in the theater and recall it being hilarious. It still is, but it’s weird that the Americans are funnier than I recall Cleese and Palin being. It still works, but the whole thing feels a little slow and the soundtrack dates it badly. Not to mention the casual joke plot that reeks of homophobia in this age. It’s hard to be mad at though since Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline are so good.

Rogue One Poster
436 11/18 Rogue One: A Star Wars Tale (2016) 3.5/5   This one tells the unnecessary story of what happened immediately before episode four. I found it superior to The Force Awakens. The plot moves better, cast is great. Only real problem is the digital recreation of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher is monstrously creepy. Let’s keep the digital actors to those who have never existed in real life.

437 11/19 Re-Animator: Resurrectus (2007) 3/5   A fine documentary on the making of the film that covers all the bases.

438 11/19 Louis Theroux Dark States: Murder in Milwaukee (2017) 4/5   Theroux’s latest documentary series ends with a look at gun violence in Milwaukee, a city that has a disproportionate amount of gun violence based on its population. As always, it’s dead solid and this whole series is well worth your time. The brilliance with Theroux is that he is there to learn and understand, as opposed to opine and judge, and you end up getting a better understanding of complicated issues that have no easy answer. Just watch all his damned docs!

439 11/20 Louis Theroux: Talking to Anorexia (2017) 4/5   I’m presuming this one was filmed in the same period as DARK STATES, but aired separate as it’s not about an american issue. It’s a tragic look at what anorexia really is to those who suffer from it, and shows how complicated it really is. All without judgement.

 

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Movie A Day!: 340-346 – Enough With The Scary Movies!

Right, I’m finally wrapping up October! Took long enough huh? Work was extra busy, and I have a full blown cold now so I have been having some early nights. I have also started playing a damned video game which as any gamer knows, kills all the time. Ugh, I’m the WORST! Let’s look at my last couple days of October.

340 10-30 Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) 5/5
The best of the F13 series, and one of my all time favourite horror films. Savini is back to do the effects, the story is cool, the kids getting knocked off are great, you get Crispin Glover doing that crazy dance. It’s simply great.

341 10-30 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) 2.5/5
This one establishes a psychic link between young Jamie and Michael Myers. It’s as dumb as it sounds unfortunately. Thankfully we get more Donald Pleasence to keep things interesting and Daniel Harris as Jamie is pretty great playing the traumatized victim.

342 10-30 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) 3/5
344 10-30 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (The Producer’s Cut) (2013) 3/5
This one was considered one of the worst ones since it introduces the Druid cult stuff into the series, which makes for an awkward fit. In reality, they introduce the celtic stuff in the second one I think, so this one kind of fleshes it out. Anyway, the official version cuts the crazy Druid stuff and doesn’t make much sense. The producer’s cut is all about the Druids and doesn’t make much more sense. Which is a shame since it’s kind of neat that Tommy (played by future cool guy Paul Rudd) from the first film is all grown up and obsessed with protecting Jamie’s baby from Michael Myers.

343 10-30 The Invisible Woman (1940) 3.5/5
This film in the Invisible man series plays up the comedy over the horror, but it actually works really well and makes for a fun film in it’s own right. A sassy gal throws in with a mad doctor to be invisible so she can give her asshole boss the gears. Shemp (from The Three Stooges) has a bit part, and that’s all you need to know about this one.

345 10-31 Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998) 3.5/5
Those last 3 films from Halloween with Laurie Strode’s daughter Jamie? Forget ‘em! Never happened! Jamie Lee Curtis is back and none of that other junk with the druids happened. Sadly, Donald Pleasence passed away by this one, so it’s not a full blown reunion. It’s still one of the better sequels, with Curtis wrapping up the story of Michael Myers once and for all. Sadly, she brings around shithead LL Cool J for the ride. J has no business having the career he has since despite about 100 season of NCIS WHATEVER, he still sucks at acting.

346 10-31 Halloween Resurrection (2002) 2.5/5
I guess they didn’t wrap up the Myer’s story after all. This one was a shitty cash in to try to get in on the found footage craze kicked up by THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. It’s lousy. Many will blame king Shithead Busta Rhymes as a major problem, but I’ll take Busta spin kicking a mofo anytime over dumb ass LL reading garbage romance novel stuff. Whatever it was. This one killed the series, and it deserved a better death. Thankfully Rob Zombie will come along and remake the first film.

There it is, the end of the scary movie challenge! Don’t cry, I’m still going to watch some Universal Horrors and what not. Once again, I finished the challenge with a shitty movie. I really have to plan my watching better. Let’s look at the final tally:

88 Watched, 48 First Timers, 0 Theaters

As big as that number is, 88 total films watched, it’s actually not my record for the challenge. 48 first timers though is a new low I believe. I re-watched a bunch of favourites this time. Next year I’m going to attempt to only watch new films, and finish off the Video Nasties list.

Best films of the month, RAW FORCE and PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. Both of those are new favourites. Worst was SCANNERS III, what a piece of shit.

That’s it film fans, next week I’ll be back with a recap of the first week of November!

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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!: 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.

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