Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Scary Movie Challenge 2016 Part 3

The world continues to be scary, but not as scary as the past. Last October anyway when I ventured deep into the scary movie cannon and really started to binge hard. Join me, wont you?

054 10/20 Microwave Massacre (1983) Blu-ray 3/5   Call it low expectations, but this one is pretty good. Stand up legend Jackie Vernon stars as a man who’s so sick of his wife’s fancy microwave meals that he eats her. It’s played for laughs, but there’s few laughs to be found. It’s cheap, the acting is terrible, the gore is lousier than Herschel Gordon Lewis but it manages to work. This is one I would of skipped in the VHS era but it managed to surprise me.

055 10/20 Slugs (1988) Blu-ray 3/5   Another one from the VHS era I would of skipped, and another case of low expectations. Surprisingly they play this one pretty straight considering the stupid plot of slugs attacking an American small town. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to unseat Jaws or anything, more of a case of it’s not completely shit.

056 10/20 The Bloodstained Butterfly (1971) Blu-ray 3/5   Pretty typical giallo that focuses more on police procedure than the actual murders. The plot is the typical convoluted “Who done it?” thing, this time trying to find the “Park Killer”. That said, it’s good enough to keep you interested.

057 10/20 Vamp (1986) Blu-ray 3/5   A couple of frat boys looking for strippers stumble upon a club full of VAMPIRES! I had forgotten all about this one having not seen it since the VHS debut. It’s not bad. Grace Jones manages to pull off a silent performance, it’s garish in the 80’s look and it’s fun despite being a bit shit.

058 10/21 Dracula Bites The Big Apple (1979) Blu-ray 3/5   Short film from the director of Vamp is basically a mini-version of “Love At First Bite.” It’s fun and at 20 minutes, better than “Love at First Bite.”

059 10/21 Dead-End Drive-In (1988) Blu-ray 3/5   This one is more of a Mad Max style Ozploitation than a proper horror. People love this one but it left me a bit flat. Youths are corralled into a Drive-In Prison camp. If it didn’t have such good action set pieces I would have given it only 2.5/5. UPDATE: The Arrow blu-ray of this one is fantastic with a couple of shorts: The Stuntmen and Hospitals Don’t Burn that are both amazing!

060 10/21 Basket Case 2 (1990) Blu-ray 2/5   Continues right where the last one left off, this one finds the brothers being cared for in a home for freaks. It’s lacking all the charm that the first one had, and the make-up is terrible for the most part. It’s played mostly for laughs, only it’s not funny.

061 10/21 Basket Case 3: The Progeny (1991) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Continues right were part two left off, and finds the gang of freaks on a road trip to visit a Doctor to help with the birth of Belial’s child. It sucked, but it’s better that the second one. Skip these and watch the original cult classic. I give that one a 4 out of 5.

062 10/21 The Vampire (1957) DVD 3/5   A Doctor accidentally takes pills derived from vampire bats and becomes a Dracula. This is a typical cheap 50’s monster film, which means I enjoyed it and am probably rating it higher than I should. It had everything I look for in a cheap 50’s monster film: terrible monster make-up, incredibly stupid scientific explanations and a plot that moves briskly.

063 10/21 Fright Night (1985) Blu-ray 4.5/5   Loved this one in 1985, still love it today. Easily one of the best films of the 80’s. I continue to have no interest in the remake.

064 10/22 In The Mouth of Madness (1995) Blu-ray 2.5/5   Revisited this one and I still find it mostly boring. Carpenter does Lovecraft to a degree, only its more silly than scary and oh so serious.

065 10/22 The Green Inferno (2013) Blu-ray 4/5   Eli Roth does his take on the cannibal picture. This one seemed to get hated on by pretty much everyone but I don’t know why. It’s as good as any other cannibal picture (so your taste may vary…) only without the gross animal cruelty. I thought this one was just fine and one of the better ones.

066 10/22 The Cat and the Canary (1939) DVR 3.5/5   A group of heirs must spend the night in a haunted house in order to see who gets the inheritance of their deceased uncle. Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard star in this horror comedy, and they are perfect in it. The film manages to balance the spooks and the laughs. I might have to check out more Bob Hope films.

067 10/22 Knock Knock (2015) Blu-ray 3.5/5   Eli Roth updates “Little Miss Innocence” (though Chris Warfield gets zero credit since they technically remade “Death Game”). Two girls show up in the rain and torture a dad who has the house to himself while his family is away. I really liked this one. Roth goes subtle (which in Roth terms means no gore) with this one and allow Keanu Reeves to do some character work. It get’s a little over the top plot wise in the third act, but not enough to ruin the film.

068 10/22 The Witch (2015) download 4/5   A pilgrim family is banished from their town and must contend with the woods. I really enjoyed this one. It plays out like a drama with a rather slow burn and skips the typical jump scares and horseshit you typically get in modern horror. It makes for a spooky film that can stick with you.

069 10/23 The Blob (1988) Blu-ray 3.5/5   This remake amps up the gore but otherwise stays pretty true to the original. As updates goes, this one is not only pretty good but might be better than the original.

070 10/23 Hardware (1990) Blu 3.5/5   In a “Mad Max “like apocalyptic future a scavenger brings his girlfriend home a robot head that ends up being a military robot that terrorizes her in her apartment. It is at it’s bone a Terminator knockoff, but it’s done with such style and flair that it mostly holds up as it’s own thing. The problem is the small scale ends up compromising it.

071 10/23 Street Trash (1987) Blu-ray 3/5

072 10/23 Street Trash (short film) Blu-ray 3/5   A liquor store owner starts selling contraband hooch to the homeless that causes them to literally melt. The only thing missing from this one is the “Troma” label in that it’s plot is just an excuse for every gross out gag in the book. Which is fine by me. I just found it a little tedious between the gross outs.

073 10/23 The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) DVR 3/5   Roman Polanski does a Hammer Horror send up that largely left me flat. I didn’t find that the gags held up and it couldn’t seem to find it’s footing between broad spoof comedy and something more subtle.

074 10/23 Possession (1981) DVR 3.5/5   This one starts off more as a drama about a marriage unraveling in one of the most brutally portrayed ways I’ve seen. Then in the second half it gets completely fucked up. To say any more is to ruin it, just trust me, this is absolutely a horror film.

075 10/24 Sugar Hill (1974) Blu-ray 3/5   A woman recruits a voodoo zombie army to get back at the gangsters that murdered her boyfriend. Probably one of the more gonzo blaxploitation epics you’ll find. I didn’t think it held up as well on this second viewing, but that may be due to my first viewing taking place in a bar full of drunken film fans. That said, the plot is irresistible.

076 10/24 Blacula (1972) Blu-ray 4/5   It’s easy to write this one off as simply a “Black Dracula” movie, but it’s actually one of the better contemporary versions of the Dracula myths that helps it to transcend its exploitation bases. It ends up being a ton of fun.

077 10/24 Tentacles (1977) Blu-ray 2/5   I’m fine with a Jaws rip-off, and I can get by with cheap effects. There is no excuse though for horrendous plotting, stunt casting – I’m sure Henry Fonda didn’t spend more than a day on set – extraneous scenes that do nothing and worst off all, setting up a joke with no punchline. I hated this one. I’m only giving it two stars out of respect for Fonda, John Huston and Shelley Winters.

078 10/24 Dark Water (2002) Blu-ray 3/5   This one arrived yesterday fresh from Arrow Video so I thought I would spin it. Everything great about J-Horror is here, stylish atmosphere, creepy sound design and a unique ghost story. It just all leaves me flat.

079 10/25 Scream Blacula Scream (1973) Blu-ray 3.5/5   The sequel sees the good count resurrected by voodoo. It was fine for what it was but I prefer the original.

79 films and still not done! It was an epic challenge for me, so there will be one more post next week provided the internet isn’t abolished.

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!