Tuesday, October 19, 2021

FRIDAY Watch Party - THE WOLF MAN! (insert howl sound here)




Universal kept putting out horror films after Bride of Frankenstein, and would hit it big again - zeitgeistwise - with The Wolf Man in 1941.  

No, he does not look like a dog or wolf, he absolutely looks like a guy with a glandular problem and in need of a dentist.  But that's not the real terror of the film.  It's a movie about curses and bad luck.  And trying to convince people that Claude Raines could have fathered Lon Chaney Jr.  (Mrs. Wolf Man must have been 7'3").  

Still, it's a fun picture and perfect for the days leading up to Halloween!

 
Day:  Friday 10/22/2021
Time:  8:30 PM Central/ 6:30 PM Pacific
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Cost:  $3 - $4

LINK HERE ON FRIDAY TO WATCH (link up 15 minutes to showtime)

also - announcing SIGNAL WATCH NOIRVEMBER




The Universal Monsters Hallow-Scream Watch Party series is meant to be a casual good-time as we check out the run of horror movies that started with Dracula and have become staples of culture the world over!  Everyone knows what these monsters look and act like, but it's probable most people haven't ever actually seen the movies they're in!  So, come watch!  

Starting just two years after the silent era, these movies quickly became the blockbusters of their day, bringing strange ideas most people hadn't considered, wild visuals, and complicated creatures to the screen.  And, ever since, studios have been looking to recapture this particular lightning in a bottle.

We think you'll enjoy watching along and checking out the creepfest that is Universal Horror!

Noir Watch: The Dark Past (1948)




Watched:  10/18/2021
Format:  TCM Noir Alley
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Rudolph Mate
Ellen Corby - domestic

A mash-up of two kinds of mid-20th century films, this one is quasi-noir, I guess, mostly because it echoes other films which are definitely noir.  But it's one part "trapped in a location with a criminal and his organization" which you'll know from The Petrified Forest to Key Largo, and one part "hey, kids: psychology!" - which pervaded any number of movies in this era, from Nightmare Alley to Miracle on 34th Street to Highwall

But, basically, a very young William Holden plays desperado Al Walker, whose gang just busted him out of prison, killing a couple of guards and a warden en route.  He and his gang (and his girl, played by Adele Jergens) hide out in the home of Lee J Cobb and Lois "Miss Moneypenny, herself" Maxwell, where they're entertaining a few guests.

It becomes a psychological cat and mouse game as Cobb tries to both save his own skin and that of his guests, and maybe cure the insane murderer, so long as he's got a few hours to hang, anyway.  

It's absolutely buckwild how both medicine and therefore psychology were seen in this era as quick miracle cures that could happen overnight.  I guess when the answer is "20 years ago we didn't have penicillin", everything seems possible.  

As a "we're all trapped in here with criminals" movie, you can do much better.  As a "mid-20th Century psychology" movie... it's just under par.  But, Lee J. Cobb makes for a convincing doctor, Adele Jergens is terrific as Holden's girl.  Holden is very good, himself, but he's early here and when you know movies where he's able to do more and with better dialog, this is definitely a less notable role for him.  

I'm fascinated with the gigantic country/ woodland getaway homes of this period.  I've seen dozens of movies with country houses like this, from Christmas in Connecticut to many-a-noir, and the movies always place actors in gigantic, spacious cabin/ houses that read as "set for a play" much more than a dwelling, and always seem bigger than anyone's actual home.

The movie also has Ellen Corby, who played a domestic in a dozen movies I've seen - and does so again here, but she's always around in some capacity as a "regular" person - be it a nurse, whatever.   I need to start an Ellen Corby tracker, because she went uncredited for years and was maybe the hardest working woman in Hollywood for decades. Yet, no one ever talks about her.  But she has 265 IMDB credits.  265!




Monday, October 18, 2021

Vincent Price Watch: The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)




Watched:  10/17/2021
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Roger Corman

It is insane that I've never watched this movie.   With Corman directing, Vincent Price starring and a set-up that would become classic and - as Jamie pointed out - feels positively Bond-ian, it's a fun watch.  

It's a period piece, sometime during the Spanish inquisition (don't ask me when.  They're wearing those frilly collars I think of as 16th Century), and the events are around fallout of the Inquisition.  It's a genuinely screwed up story, maybe more thriller than horror, but there are genuine moments of creepiness and chills here and there, which I frankly wasn't expecting.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

PODCAST: "Dawn of the Dead" (1978) & (2004) - Halloween 2021 - Horror Sequels w/ SimonUK and Ryan


 
Watched:  08/25 & 08/31/2021
Format:  YouTube and Amazon
Viewing:  at least second for both
Decade:  1970's and 2000's
Director:  George Romero and Zack Snyder



SimonUK and Ryan celebrate Halloween by taking a bite out of the sequel to the zombie movie that started it all, and which some consider the most delicious of the genre. We also discuss the 21st Century reanimation of the same idea. Join us for a Halloween horror discussion fit to wake the dead.




Music:
L'alba dei morti viventi - Goblin, Dawn of the Dead/ Zombi Soundtrack
What the World Needs Now (Is Love, Sweet Love) - Burt Bacharach


Halloween 2021 Playlist!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Hallow-Scream Watch: Gothic (1986)




Watched:  10/16/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Decade: 1980's
Director:  Ken Russell

Gothic (1986) is one of those movies I remember always seeing on the shelf at movie rental places.  It was always in, but I never pulled the trigger and watched it.  I'm thinking the copy on the box describing the movie was not great, because - I believe - had it been more accurate, I would have rented the movie.

Based loosely on some real-life events (and then deeply fictionalized), the movie imagines about 24 hours of drug-fueled shenanigans in a mansion in Geneva at the turn of the 18th to the 19th Century as Percy Shelley, Mary Godwin (soon to be Mary Shelley) and Mary's step-sister arrive to have a hang with the notorious libertine, Lord Byron - in self-exile from England.

Halloween Watch Party: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)




Watched:  10/15/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1930's
Director:  James Whale

My friends, I have watched this movie so many times and talked about it so much, I am sure you are sick of it.  But we had a grand old time watching it together for a Watch Party!

So, annual viewing of Bride of Frankenstein, complete!




Friday, October 15, 2021

This Friday 08/15 - Hallow-Scream Watch Party: "The Bride of Frankenstein"



If you've never seen Bride of Frankenstein, it's not really what you think it is.  It's way, way weirder than whatever you had in mind.  

But mostly - It's shockingly modern in its attitudes, mix of humor and horror and pathos.  It ALSO has some #MeToo-level messaging that is so utterly core to the film, that after seeing it, you will be able to spot with absolute certainty someone who co-opted the film's iconography without ever seeing the film itself.  

Come for amazing sets, stunning costumes, high camp, sad monsters and a movie that does it all in about 85 minutes.  Plus, you know, see The Monster drinking booze and smoking a cigar.  

also - announcing SIGNAL WATCH NOIRVEMBER


SCHEDULE

Day:  October 15 - Friday
Time:   8:30 PM Central/ 6:30 Pacific
 

Cost:  $4




The Universal Monsters Hallow-Scream Watch Party series is meant to be a casual good-time as we check out the run of horror movies that started with Dracula and have become staples of culture the world over!  Everyone knows what these monsters look and act like, but it's probable most people haven't ever actually seen the movies they're in!  So, come watch!  

Starting just two years after the silent era, these movies quickly became the blockbusters of their day, bringing strange ideas most people hadn't considered, wild visuals, and complicated creatures to the screen.  And, ever since, studios have been looking to recapture this particular lightning in a bottle.

We think you'll enjoy watching along and checking out the creepfest that is Universal Horror!

SW Watch Party Series - Noirvember




For three Fridays this November (2021), we're going to get together and watch some of the biggest names in what came to be called the Film Noir movement.  Just like other watch parties of late, we'll be gathering via Amazon Watch Party.

Days:  Fridays
Time:  8:30 PM Central/ 6:30 Pacific
Via:  Amazon Watch Party

Movies will be about $3 - 4 to rent.

November 5th
Best Laid Plans Noir:  Double Indemnity

November 12th
Detective Noir:  The Big Sleep

November 19th
We'll put it to a vote!


Join us and catch up on the dark alleys and byways of a movement that cinema still hasn't gotten over.

Superman Stuff: Let's Talk That Jonathan Kent News




If you came here because you're under the impression that the character known as Superman - who goes by Clark Kent in his everyday life as a mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper - is now categorized as bisexual:  he's not.  Hang in here with me.  

Let's start by clarifying - at this time, Clark Kent, Kal-El of Krypton, is still into women as far as the comics have indicated.*  The "Superman" in question is - in current Superman comics - the young-adult son of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, one Jonathan "Jon" Kent.  In the comics, as Clark Kent has had to take care of some business elsewhere, Jon Kent has been promoted from Superboy to Superman.  

It happens. I don't make the rules, I just report them.  But, yes, there are now two Supermans.  Mens.  Whatever.  It's less and more complicated than who is and is not a Green Lantern.

I don't think it's any surprise to folks that know me or follow this site where I stand on certain topics.  

In coming issues of Superman: Son of Kal-El, a maxi series based on current events in Superman comics, it seems our guy Jon is finding love with a male reporter.  Jon Kent's sexuality is not an issue for me as a reader.  He's a character reflecting both science-fantasy ideals but also a character who will be defined by many characteristics as a person which will appear in his serialized adventures hopefully for many years to come.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Halloween Watch: The Blob (1988)




Watched:  10/13/2021
Format:  NBC Peacock
Viewing:  Second (maybe third)
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Chuck Russell

So, for some time, my pals who are horror fiends have been saying to me "have you ever seen the 1980's Blob remake?" and I've said "yes" and they say "did you like it?" and I laugh, and say "it was fine, but I haven't seen it since it first hit VHS."  And then they say "well, you have to rewatch it."

What I failed to ask was "but why?"

Circa 1989, I did watch The Blob remake on VHS.  I recall it was my brother and me during the summer, and we called Kevin Dillon "Rocky the Reckless Driver", laughed a lot about his mullet (which has to be a crazy wig) and, at the time, felt it was an okay movie, but not great.  

Friends, I need some feedback in the comments, because my takeaway from rewatching The Blob (1988) is that it's an okay movie, but not great.

I genuinely don't know if this movie was kidding or not.  It's not funny enough to be a straight up horror satire, but it does do some things I quite liked.  Now knowing more about horror films when I first saw it - I'm still not sure if the filmmakers were being "edgy" or - possibly - subverting audience expectations.  Like, they just bump off all sorts of people who would have been the survivors in other films.  The good-hearted football player, the waitress, the sheriff... a kid!  It's wild.

It also has a certain attempt at Last Starfighter folksiness for our hero, Rocky the Reckless Driver and The Cheerleader (I cannot recall her character's name but the actress is Shawnee Smith who is still very active).  People are very small town and folksy.  As the town's Bad Boy, Rocky the Reckless Driver sure is a problem for the Sheriff.  After all, he has a bad attitude!  Again - I have no idea if the movie is kidding or not about this character.  Or the attitudes of the town.

Anyway, the effects are good for a 1988-era mid-budget sci-fi film, and they don't screw around with much in the way of sideplots.  Instead, using what seem like side-plot set-ups that should go someplace else as a red-herring so you don't think certain people will be consumed by Mr. Blob.  

I also don't get how a Blob that can't tolerate cold was matured in space. But that is not for me to know.  But I do like the pivot and plot twist that this was a government experiment gone wrong versus a rogue asteroid.  I'm not sure it actually impacts anything, but you feel less bad when the containment suited government agents start getting et.

Anyway, you people have been telling me this movie is great.  It's okay!  So, lemme know what you love about it.  

It can't be that good.  It doesn't have a rockin' theme song like the original.