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.

Movie A Day: Death Heat

The week began with literal murder threats on loved ones and ended with the heat making it impossible to sleep in a house designed to have winters not kill you. Here’s hoping you all had more fun than me.

A mixed bag. I’m on a documentary/bio-pic jag with diversions into classic films and porno. So pretty typical, I guess.

187 06/25 The Snake Pit (1948) 3.5/5  Olivia de Havilland stars in this one about a woman sent to a mental hospital with no recollection of how she got there. A doctor helps her piece together her story and it’s a little hokey. The main reason to watch this is de Havilland is absolutely amazing in it.

188 06/26 Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon (2017) 3/5   A good recap of his history of abuse. It’s horrible to listen to the stories, of course, but valuable and not as exploitative as it could have been.

189 06/26 Bettie Page Reveals All (2012) 4/5   A really well done documentary with Page (via voice over interview clips) telling her own story. There will never be a more iconic pin-up model and the doc does a great job of not only telling her story but packing in tons of pictures and footage. That said, the blu-ray disc is an abomination with one of the worst sound designs that I have ever heard. The music (which isn’t great to begins with) is mixed way too hot and often drowns out the people speaking, only to get even louder when they are not. I’m tempted to knock a star off the review but I’m guessing it’s a mix on the blu-ray and not on the film proper if viewed elsewhere. I’m hoping anyways, since it really is terrible.

190 06/27 Michael Jackson: Searching For Neverland (2017) 2/5   A made for TV biopic on the pop star’s final years as told by his bodyguards. It avoids all talk of child molestation and paints the bodyguards as saints. That’s really the problem with this one, it’s hard to root for Jackson to get back on his feet when you know he’s molested children, so fuck him and his money problems, right? Chad C. Coleman from The Wire is the main lead bodyguard and he’s great. Navi is shockingly, creepily good as Jackson, but it’s just not enough to make me care about a child molester.

191 06/28 In A Lonely Place (1950) 3.5/5   Bogart stars as a down on his luck screenwriter who gets wrapped up in a murder he may or may not have committed. Bogart is great in the role, getting to play a not as nice guy as he typically did at this point in his career and Gloria Grahame more than holds her own as the inspired love interest. It’s a good film but I didn’t find myself wrapped up in it.

192 06/29 Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016) 3/5   This one was in the works just prior to both of the stars passing, so it’s a bittersweet affair that I wanted to like more. It shows their eccentric current life, but doesn’t go too deep in what brought them to this point. So if you go in not knowing too much about them, you’re going to be a little lost since they come off kooky. That said, what it does deliver, it delivers well.

193 06/29 I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole (2013) 4/5   Really interesting documentary on dancer, choreographer, pornographer and chef Wakefield Poole. I know him from the porn, he’s arguably the greatest gay adult filmmaker of all time (with his “Bijou” easily one of the greatest adult films of all time.) It was interesting to see how close he was to the front lines of gay rights though, with numerous stories and encounters with Harvey Milk and other political heros. A really well done picture, and Poole seems like the sweetest man in the world despite having a bittersweet history.

194 06/30 The Times Of Harvey Milk (1984) 4/5   Great documentary on the first gay man to hold public office in California. I was familiar with him through Gus Van Sant’s film Milk, but it was great to see the real story. A bittersweet film considering how it all ends, you get a really great sense of who Harvey was and why it was such a tragedy.

195 06/30 Pleasure Maze (1986) 2.5/5   A rather workmanlike effort of an adult film about robot hookers and their testers which is all an excuse for 80’s futuristic costumes and run of the mill sex scenes one would expect of the era. The fantastic cast helps to elevate it, but it’s no classic.

196 07/01 Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014) 4/5
Ends up the story behind the picture is as bonkers as rumoured. I’m not convinced that Stanley would of pulled the film off if he stayed on, but it is fun to think about. Sadly missing is Ron Perlman’s fantastic Brando story which can be found on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF. At any rate, this is one of the better documentaries on filmmaking and worth checking out.

197 07/01 Love & Mercy (2014) 3.5/5  Bio-pic on Beach Boy genius Brian Wilson uses the trick of casting Paul Dano as young 60’s Brian and John Cusack as 1980’s Brian trying to get his life together with the help of Dr. Eugene Landy. It sounds weird, but if you have ever seen a documentary on Brian, it makes sense. This one was well done, it goes pretty deep into both the music and Wilson’s troubles, though I could see a non-fan getting a little lost and wondering what the big deal is.

198 07/01 Lovers Lane (1986) 2.5/5   The second feature on the Peekarama disc from Vinegar Syndrome that featured Pleasure Maze is less inspired and even more workmanlike. Director Duck Dumont knows how to shoot, it’s too bad he doesn’t push himself in these two features. Then again, it could be the sign of competing with  SOV 80’s wall to wall porn. At any rate, the cast helps this one, but not enough to put it ahead of any other of its like.

199 07/02 A Band Called Death (2012) 4/5   Back in the early 70’s three black brothers were inspired to move on from their funk band and start a rock group. They called it DEATH, and they were punk as fuck before there was a proper name for punk. Not the cool New York punk either, but the edgy hardcore sounds that came out in the late 70’s early 80’s. Anyway, they were completely ignored, never got their record out and finally are getting their due. This documentary is really quite fantastic as despite their name, they are such positive people and seeing them finally get some of their due is wonderfully inspiring. It’s as much a family story as it is a music doc and really worth checking out.

200 07/02 Heat (1995) 4/5   Nice revisiting this one, my first time watching the “Director’s Definitive Edition”. One of the best heist crime movies ever made, I have to admit that Pacino is as scenery chewing in this one as he is in SCARFACE. All acting sins are forgiven with the incredible LA shootout sequence that is one of the most perfectly shot action scenes you will see. It all holds up just fine and the cast listing is absolutely bonkers.


Movie a Day! : 94-103 And The End Of April

Yet another blog! I’m sure my ones of readers thought that I had abandoned the project or died due to it’s lateness. Both being perfectly valid reasons based on my history of blogs. Abandoning them, not dying. I’m not some weirdo who’s constantly killing myself for short periods of time like those goofs in “Flatliners”. Anyway, last week really shit the bed on a personal level, I decided to wait until April was over before posting, then work completely blocked my blog due to the title. So I changed the title as a compromise. Don’t let it be thought that I am precious or have any principles with this blog. I CAN BE BOUGHT! BUY ME PLEASE! Next week will probably be a short blog since it will cover May 1st to 4th.

So here’s the last films I watched in April. There are some amazingly good ones here. In that I watched another Zatoichi film and I just love those goddamn Samurai!

094 04-23 Adventures of Zatoichi (1964) 3.5/5

Plot wise, this isn’t much different from the previous films. Zatoichi arrives in a town to celebrate New Years, only to get mixed up with corrupt officials and the Yakuza. That said, I could watch these movies all day. There’s a subplot that elaborates more on Zatoichi’s childhood that is interesting, but the main draw is still Katsu in the leading role who is perfect as the blind swordsman. The subtlety of going from childlike naivete to threatening, scary killer primarily through body language never fails to send chills down my spine.


095 04-26 Game of Thrones Season 3 (2013) 2.5/5

***Why can I not copy and paste an image of a poster for this fucking series and have the link remain unbroken? How does this image stuff work? I’ve had it happen on other images too. But this GOT bullshit is ridiculous. Anyway, enough May 2nd bitching about WordPress/internet/my ignorance.****

Decided to get caught up on Game of Thrones since on social media people are creaming their jeans right off their bodies over whatever is currently happening in the currently airing season 4. I still don’t like this show! Season 3 was supposed to be amazing with a capital “A”, but after season 2, I didn’t quite believe it hence I never watched it until now. Ends up Season 3 is better than season 2, but it’s still a lot of walking and talking with little action. Which is actually an odd complaint since one of my favourite shows is “The Wire” which is very walking/talking over action heavy. I guess it’s a case that when it comes to medieval fantasy, I don’t give a shit about the Kings banking situation (a stirring conversation featured in episode 3). I do like the performances (periodic nudity and gore), so I will keep on watching. Is Dinklage’s accent the worst or the best? It’s not real right? Discuss.

096 04-27 Ginger (1971) 2/5

097 04-27 The Abductors (1972) 3.5/5

098 04-27 Girls Are For Loving (1973) 3/5

So once upon a time Cheri Caffaro married Don Schain and Don loved Cheri so much he decided that he had to make her a big movie star. It was decided that she should be a female “James Bond”, and this trio of films were the result. Where James Bond is the epitome of male fantasy and class (IE: a classy asshole), “Ginger” is decidedly not that. Schain chose to feature his wife in nearly constant situations of nudity with her either being the aggressor or the victim. This is total sleaze-ville.

The first film, “Ginger”, introduces the character, obviously, with the plot being that she’s needed to infiltrate a Jersey Shore gang (of at least 6 people) that is running drugs and prostitutes during the tourist season. So already the series is starting out cheap and sleazy compared to the Bonds. “The Abductors” is a similar plot, except this time it’s a white slavery ring abducting women and forcing them into sex slaves. This one was the grimiest of the bunch, which means it was the most entertaining. The last film, “Girls Are For Loving” was unashamedly shot in the Philippines, which means it kind of looks like a Bond film with an international flavour. The plot is similar, Ginger has to fuck her way through a gang. The head of this gang though is another women, so it’s like Ginger is going against someone similar to herself except bad. So that’s interesting? Ginger also starts off undercover as a lounge singer/stripper, and if Caffaro is actually singing, it’s truly sad because she is not a good singer. Anyway, the third film is still sleazy as hell, but has better production values than the first film so I’m rating it higher.

So why did I watch all these Ginger films? A year or more ago I bought a DVD set that featured Caffaro in the last film she made with her husband, “Too Hot To Handle”, and I couldn’t bring myself to start that DVD set of 3 films (all unrelated) until I watched her in the unconnected Ginger movies. It’s a special movie loving sickness that I have…

099 04-27 Thief (1981) 3.5/5

This one is director Michael Mann’s feature film debut. It stars James Caan as an asshole, ex-con safe-cracker who gets mixed up with the mob while trying to do that last heist so he can retire to the family life he always wanted. It has a nice balance of 70’s character piece while setting the stage for the 80’s stylish gloss that Mann will become known for with “Miami Vice” and what not. So in the end it works, the heist stuff is pretty cool, and it’s got James Belushi in it from before he someone transmogrified into a total dick.

100 04-28 Masterchef Canada Season 1 (2014) 3/5

So this cooking show finally wrapped up. I had sworn off the Masterchef series last year, but then they announced a Canadian version so I had to watch it to see how they did it. I was curious if the judges would be total assholes like the American one, or polite and Canadian. They were mostly assholes, and the sad thing was you could tell they were TRYING to be assholes but were actually good guys, as opposed to being total, true assholes. So that’s it. Some guy won and no one cares.

101 04-29 99 and 44/100% Dead (1975) 2/5

This is the second half of a double feature DVD set I have, paired with “The Nickel Ride” which I watched I think last year but forgot to list. How many lost films have I watched and forgotten to list due to laziness? Anyway, this one I remember hearing about for ages and thought it was maybe a cult classic. It features Richard Harris as a hit-man who is hired out by gangster Edmond O’Brien to help quell a gang war. The problem with the film is that it plays like a dopey, slapstick satire at first, but then tries to get a bit serious and action film-y. So it never really works as a spoof or a satire or an action film, it’s just annoying and bad. So watch “The Nickel Ride” and skip this one.

102 04-29 Too Hot To Handle (1977) 3/5

So having watched all the “Ginger” films, it was time to watch this one. Produced by Roger Corman, this is a pretty typical 70’s cheap action film shot in the Philippines. It might as well be a Ginger movie since Caffaro is essentially playing the same character. Instead of a secret agent, she’s an assassin who’s hired to take out some guys. That’s really all you need to know. It’s not as sleazy as the “Ginger” pictures, but still pretty good since the assassination set-ups are a nice change of pace (though she still fucks her way through most of it). Plus there is a remarkably shit Kung-Fu fight on a boat that is worth the $5 this cost seeing as the set of three films was $15. I’ll review the other two next month.

103 04-30 Louis Theroux’s LA Stories (2014) 4/5

Been a fan of Theroux since discovering him on the old “TV Nation” series. Anyone remember that show? Remember when Michael Moore used to be fun instead of a self righteous asshole? No? It was a long time ago. Anyway, this is Thoureux’s latest series and it was as good as any of his other stuff. It’s 3 episodes, the first one is on stray dogs in LA, the second about end of life care and the last about registered sex offenders. So these ones are more serious than some of Thoureux’s shows. So while they may not be as fun as watching him wrestle or act in a gay porn, they are interesting and well worth your time. Theroux has really mastered his journalism style of appearing kind of idiotic in order to get people to open up.

So there it is, April all done! Let’s look at my numbers.

31 Watched    31 First Timers   0 In Theaters

So for the first time since January, I watched more movies than days in a month. I also broke the 100 film mark, but sadly with a stupid cooking show since I never plan my viewing properly to make it special. I believe this is also the first month since I started keeping track where I had no repeat viewings. Everything watched was a first timer. That said, I’m still down from last year where at this point I had watched 135 movies. So I’m 32 films behind from last year. I need to get bed ridden for a week! Is that wrong to hope to be bed ridden so you have an excuse to do nothing but watch movies?

We shall see what next week brings, so far it’s not much. I realized I should probably do a “Best/Worst of the month type of thing. Maybe I’ll do that next time.

The End