Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 4

As warned, now that I’m on staycation, there will be more of these posted since I’m doing nothing but movie watching. Lots of good stuff in this one, and some garbage. Business as usual despite the scary theme.


327 10/15 C.H.U.D. (1984) (Integral Cut) 3.5/5   First time watching this version, and having only seen the film once before, I couldn’t tell you if it’s an improvement or not. One of the most mocked titles of the 80’s, it’s actually not a bad film when you sit down with it. Homeless people are going missing, could it be cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers? It’s obviously a low budget monster film, but every cent of that low budget is on the screen and they play it pretty straight as well. I’ve certainly seen worse.


328 10/15 C.H.U.D. II: Bud The C.H.U.D. (1989) 1.5/5   Everything done right in the first film is done wrong in this one. It appears to have a higher budget, but instead of monsters the C.H.U.D.’s are now just lazy make-up zombies played for laughs. It’s closer to a Return of the Living Dead sequel, and none of it works. I typically reserve scores less than 2 stars for films that are inept as far as craft, but this one rubbed me so wrong, I docking it half a star.


329 10/15 Wolf Guy (1975) 3.5/5   Sonny Chiba uses his moon driven werewolf powers to try to solve a mysterious crimes where guys are being torn apart by the spirit of a tiger. Sadly, there is no proper werewolf transformations in this one, but it is a blood soaked sleaze-fest of a cypto-crime film. Plus Chiba gets more than a few spots to show off his karate.

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330 10/15 Ghostbusters (2016) 3.5/5   Finally got around to this one and really enjoyed it. Rather than basically remake (see Star Wars: The Force Awakens) or mock (see the countless comedy reboots of TV shows) the original, they made a new Ghostbusters movie and it was a lot of fun. I liked the casting, I liked the set pieces, a bunch of jokes worked. It’s all you can ask for from movies like this. The Blu-ray weirded me out though, a bunch of CGI goes outside of the frame mattes. It’s weird and distracting more than neat. Stop doing that.  


331 10/15 We Are The Flesh (2016) 4/5   Mexican film that can be best described as “Jodorowsky takes a crack as Salo.” Not a horror film in the traditional sense, there’s a never ending sense of dread and by the end I was thinking the characters had created hell. Gorgeous and explicit, it won’t be for everyone. Images from this will be stuck in my brain for a while, and I’m sure being ignorant of Mexican history and culture means I’m missing out on many of the themes tackled.


332 10/16 Psychomania (1973) 2.5/5   British horror biker film, of all things. A gang leader figures out how to return from the dead and convinces his gang to follow him.  It’s not a bad film per say, and I can see how it has a cult following. I just didn’t find it all that interesting despite the gimmick. I can also see how if could have been problematic upon release since the returning from the dead bit is so simple, anyone could do it. I’m not one to cry about filmmakers being irresponsible, but this one could make a case if someone was stupid enough to try.

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333 10/16 House (1985) 3.5/5   Another one from back in the day that I seem to think was stupid but revisiting it I thoroughly enjoyed. A Vietnam vet horror writer returns to his late aunt’s house and encounters things that go bump in the night. It’s played light, but also pretty straight so the tone works in it’s favour as opposed to against it.  


334 10/16 House II: The Second Story (1987) 2.5/5   The sequel tells a brand new story about a guy who moves back into his ancestral house to discover his great grandfather stole an Aztec crystal skull that allows wishes. Played much more lightly than the first one, it simply doesn’t work. I found it tedious.


335 10/16 Wicked Wicked (1976) 2.5/5   The split screen Duo-Vision is unleashed onto the public, and it’s mostly just annoying. Sparingly, dePalma proved that it can be an effective technique. An entire film is split screen though ends up being annoying. Anyways, it’s a third rate thriller that isn’t heightened by the gimmick.


336 10/16 Brain Damage (1988) 4/5   Frank Henenlotter’s follow up to his cult classic Basket Case holds up fantastically. A young man become host to a psychedelic parasite that thrives on brains. It’s silly, but it works with some great, and considering the budget, ambitious effects.

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Scary Movie Challenge 2017: Part 3

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Scary Movie Challenge 2017 Part 2

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

 

This bit from Blood Diner still has me laughing:

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The greatest scene of all time.

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