Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.





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.

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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! : 174-185 “You spend a year for two hours, who give’s a shit?”

So still on staycation. I had a massive BBQ pulled pork sandwich the other day, if anyone was wondering how the getting fit project has been going.

Right, despite my attempts, this is going to be a long one since I have to recap the month. Let’s look at my amazing final week of watching and read some reviews! YES!

174 07-24 Hell’s Kitchen Season 12 (2014) 2/5
I stopped watching this show a few years ago since it got so incredibly ugly and manipulative I couldn’t stomach it. I got sucked into watching the latest season, and it continues to be an absolute horror. The only positive was when a contestant finally had enough and walked out on Ramsey after one of his epic, made for TV meltdowns. Ramsey deserves to have the shit slapped out of him.

175 07-25 Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) 3.5/5
Sam Peckinpah is a polarizing director. People tend to love him or hate him, and this film won’t be any different. Basic plot is Alfredo Garcia has gotten a Mexican Crime Boss’s daughter pregnant, and he has put a price of one million dollars on his head. Warren Oats plays a flunky American who has a lead on Garcia’s whereabouts. Oats has probably never been better, matching the typical Peckinpah macho ideal with an almost painful sensitivity and humanity. Like all of Peckinpah’s films, this one really is about the individual who just can’t seem to exist without the world bothering them. Also like most Peckinpah films, this one has a bit of a misogynistic streak that features a scene as awkward and uncomfortable as the rape to be found in STRAW DOGS. If you stick with the film though, there’s lots of things going on behind the slow motion violence that makes it interesting, and a bit ahead of it’s time.

176 07-25 Young Secretaries (1974) 2/5
This is the second feature on Vinegar Syndromes PEEKARAMA disc, paired with the previously discussed DEEP TANGO. Like that film, it’s a bit of a mess. Basic plot is an ad exec is being pressured to hire a young buck into the firm. It plays like a softcore MAD MEN spoof by way of Herschell Gordon Lewis, only not as inept. The most surprising thing about it is it’s softcore, so it feels extra dated seeing as it came out two years after DEEP THROAT kickstarted the porno chic era. The disc itself, despite a warning at the start that the elements were in exceptionally bad shape, still looks pretty good with no major flaws and most of the issues are with the colour in DEEP TANGO. So as far as PEEKARAMA discs go, this one probably has less re-watch value since they films really are more odd than good, but still not a bad value if you’re into this type of sleaze.

177 07-? Chopped Canada Season 1 (2014) 3/5
I’m sticking this one here since Season 1 is apparently finished, but I had no idea since there was no big wham-bam ending. Anyway, CHOPPED CANADA is the same as CHOPPED in that it features 4 chefs competing in 3 stages where they have to cook with mystery ingredients with a winner being chosen at the end. It’s more polite than regular, American CHOPPED, and for my money, it’s the best of the cooking competition shows since it’s all about skill as opposed to screwing someone over, fake drama and side competition nonsense found in HELL’S KITCHEN and those other shows.

178 07-26 Ace in the Hole (1951) 4.5/5
179 07-27 Portrait of a “60% Perfect Man”: Billy Wilder (1980) 3/5
Billy Wilder followed up his amazing film noir SUNSET BOULEVARD with this satire and critique on the media. Kirk Douglas stars as a down on his luck newsman forced to hit the sticks to find a job and hoping for that one big story that will get him back to New York. He finds it when a man gets trapped in a mine, and is able to exploit it. Staggering both in it’s dark humour and sad truth. Fifty years later and this kind of stuff is happening pretty near every week in our current media climate, which means this film has lost none of it’s edge. Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to see it. PORTRAIT is a documentary on Wilder that was included on the stellar Criterion Collection Blu-ray (along with additional material) and was pretty informative in it’s own right. Highly recommended.

180 07-27 Unholy Rollers (1972) 3/5
This one is a Roger Corman produced roller derby picture. Think WHIP IT, but with a tough as nails angry girl in the lead and you get the picture. This one features nearly constant derby action which helps to keep the film moving, and the performances are pretty good as well. It also features Roberta Collins (DEATH RACE 2000) in a support role, and she’s always great. The one big complaint, and I was tempted to knock half a point off it, is that the music was replaced with some god awful generic rock that is just horrendous. This was due to licensing costs, and as far as I can tell there is no way to get this movie with the original music intact. It’s a shame, but the movie is fun enough that you can overlook it.

181 07-27 Knightriders (1981) 3.5/5
After hitting it big with DAWN OF THE DEAD, George Romero got a three picture deal that gave him more creative freedom than he had ever had. The first film he made was this one, about what is basically a biker gang, except they live by the code of King Arthur and the knights of Camelot, traveling around putting on renaissance fair like bike shows. So you get the biker tropes of wanting freedom and what not mixed with jousting duels. It shouldn’t work, but it does with both Ed Harris putting in a strong, early leading man performance, and make-up effects legend Tom Savini being equally strong in the main supporting role. Keep a sharp eye out for Stephen Kings cameo, he would later collaborate with Romero on the second film of the deal, CREEPSHOW. Anyway, this one was good, and the Shout Factory Blu-Ray looks stupendous with some nice special features.

182 07-28 Vicious Lips (1983) 2/5
I nearly gave this one 3 out of five. It’s a cheap Sci-Fi comedy about an all girl band that gets a once in a lifetime shot as a high profile gig and gets into all types of wacky trouble trying to get there. The performances are way too broad to be campy, and the humour all falls flat. It’s so EIGHTIES in it’s look and feel it gags you with a spoon. That said, the songs are actually really good! It throws you for a loop. If there was more band and less shenanigans, it would actually be a really good movie. Despite being dirt cheap, the production values are pretty good too. In the end though, it just doesn’t work.
This one was the last film in a four part CULT MOVIES VOL 1 set that also featured INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS, DEVIL’S 8, and UNHOLY ROLLERS. Putting two films per DVD means the transfers aren’t the greatest in the world, with BEE’S suffering the worse. That said, for under ten bucks it was a hell of a lot of fun.

Not even the best song!

183 07-28 Zatoichi and the Chess Expert (1965) 3.5/5
More samurai goodness. This one finds Zatoichi mixed up in more yakuza trouble after ripping off some gangs while gambling. It’s fun and epic like all the films manage to be and I’m yet to get tired with this amazing series. It is weird that the poster are so shit considering how good the movies are.

184 07-30 Somewhere in Dreamland – The Max Fleischer Color Classics (2002) 2.5/5
This is a nearly complete collection of the Color Classics series of cartoons, featuring all but one. This was basically Fleischer’s attempt at competing with Disney’s SILLY SYMPHONIES, and they just flat out aren’t as good. There are a handful that are great, and the animation is fine, they just overall don’t work as well. The real problem with this DVD though is the source material. All the films but the one missing are in the public domain, so the only available versions short of paying large fees for access to the negatives are TV prints, which means these all look like hell with faded, scratched and beat images. It’s better than nothing and for an independent release about as good as you can get. With commentaries and what not on the DVD, they really have done all they can, but when the main cartoons look like hell, all the extras in the world won’t help. All that said, one of my all time favourite cartoons is on here!

185 07-31 The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) 4/5

I remember seeing this one when it first came out and being left flat. Being a big fan of the Coen brothers previous films, especially MILLERS CROSSING and BARTON FINK, this one just seemed silly. It still does, but it really works perfectly as a revisiting to the Frank Capra films like MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, with the satire being that of corporate culture that was rearing it’s head. I had also forgotten how amazingly breathtaking Jennifer Jason Leigh is in this one, perfectly nailing the rapid fire dialog. Add in Bruce Campbell is a supporting role and this one is little gem in the Coen brothers filmography.

Phew! Are you all still with me? Here is my tally for July:

32 Watched, 31 First Timers, 0 In Theaters

Finally! I managed to not only watch the equivalent of one movie a day, but I managed to watch new movies per day! Hooray! Here are my numbers from July 2013, for comparison:

47 Films,  40 First Timers, 2 Theater

Dang! Last year I was doing a regular movie night once a week where we would get in at least three movies. Who wants to start up a local movie night in Edmonton? Anyone?!?

I’m currently at 185 films watched, compare to 280 that was this time in 2013. I’m 100 movies off target. No need to wonder if this is a good thing or bad.

My pick for best of the month is a tie between ACE IN THE HOLE and NEBRASKA, with SUGAR COOKIES, the Ernie Kovacs Collection and those ZATOICHI movies being runners up.

That’s enough for now, share, suggest, comment, etc.

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