Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

HalloWatch: Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Watched:  10/31/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Frank Oz

It seems unfathomable that I've never done a post on Little Shop of Horrors (1986) but a quick glance my history here, and I haven't.  We did watch it back in 2020 during Halloween season, but I seemed to think we were about to podcast the movie.  We did not.

So, the way I first saw the movie was a tad unlikely.  Some kids at my school figured out there was a pay phone outside, and they called in a bomb threat with about two hours left to go in the day.  So, we stood around in the drizzling rain until the buses came, and then we just went home without our books or homework.  

Over dinner, The Admiral realized I had nothing to do, found the next movie on, and he and I jumped in the car and drove over to Showplace 6 to see Little Shop of Horrors.  I was delighted.  Loved the movie.  Sci-fi/ horror/ comedy/ musical?  Slam dunk home run.

We were a family that attended a lot of musicals and theatrical productions, so the language of a movie musical was no real surprise to me, but I'd never seen anything that also squarely jived with a comedic sensibility of the time in that format, and which featured some of my favorite comedians.

Of course, Rick Moranis as Seymour, but cameos from Bill Murray, Steve Martin, John Candy and more.  And, of course, a giant, singing, talking plant bent on world domination.  The music was reminiscent of what I was listening to on Oldies stations (I missed the gag about our chorus' names until college), and it's kind of banger after banger.  We forget Howard Ashman and Alan Menken did this off Broadway before they were the Disney-famous Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

HalloWatch: Young Frankenstein (1974)

Watched:  10/30/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Mel Brooks

I don't watch this every year, but I sure like it!  

Anyway, one of my personal favorite comedies.  

HalloWatch: Werewolf of London (1935)

Watched:  10/29/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First
Director:  Stuart Walker

Every year, Jamie and I each carve a jack 'o lantern.  Usually we put on a movie something we've seen before, often a comedy or horror-comedy.  But this year I squeezed in one of my Halloween bucket movies for the year, but I can only say I *partially* watched this one, because I was also carving a pumpkin and then cleaning up the aftermath.

this year's effort.  Jamie's Dracula on the left, my ghoul on the right

I had just never gotten around to Werewolf of London (1935), which is a bit of a surprise even to me.  I am a fan of Lon Chaney's take on The Wolfman that would pop up 5 years later, but I never make it through the rest of the werewolf films in the box set.  I'm trying to get a picture of 1930's and 40's horror, one Halloween at a time, and have tried to watch offerings from Universal and RKO.  Also, I exist in the same world as Warren Zevon, so you'd think I'd eventually just be curious to see the damn movie.

The plot is nowhere near as tight as The Wolfman, and the performances not as punctuated.  But that doesn't mean it doesn't have anything to offer.  I liked the make-up, the transformation FX, and the general idea of the story.  

Scientists visit Tibet to find a flower they've heard only blooms in moonlight, and while securing the plant, are attacked by a werewolf.  Returned home, renowned biologist, Wilfred Glendon, begins acting anti-social and ignoring his wife (played by Bride of Frankenstein's Valerie Hobson), who just happens to have her childhood boyfriend show up at the same time.  A doctor Yogami appears and is also looking for the flower, which he says alleviates the symptoms of werewolfery.  

Anyway, mayhem ensues, the doctors both are werewolves, etc...

All in all, it's really not bad, but the lead - unlike most Universal films - doesn't really have a sympathetic motivation in the same way we see Larry Talbot - a victim of chance.  There's a dash more Jekyll and Hyde to the story than in the case of The Wolfman, but not enough to get hung up on thinking it's borrowing too heavily.   

In general, it's an okay movie.  I didn't dislike it, and will watch it again with my full attention.  A highlight was seeing Valerie Hobson in another movie shot at literally the same time as Bride of Frankenstein, but given far more to do.  She's good!  

But, yeah, I need to watch it again next year to say much more.  But I've 100% seen far worse.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

HalloWatch: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Watched:  10/28/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  James Whale

Some of my pals were over Saturday night, and I made them watch Bride of Frankenstein (1935).  It's no secret it's one of my favorite movies (easily top 10, perhaps top 5), and it was a delight to share it with folks who would otherwise likely never see it.  

Anyway, we kind of talked over the movie, so they missed some good lines and good moments, but it's a first viewing, and it was all excited chatter, so they were enjoying it, which is all that matters.  

Matt did wisely point out how the comedy worked within the movie much how Shakespeare inserts fun stuff into even his tragedies - Matt watched a bucket-ton of movies that I mostly do not ever see - and it was all a good talk.

Anyway, glad to get to this year's screening of the movie.

HalloWatch: The Craft (1996)

Watched:  10/27/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Andrew Fleming

One thing I very much recall from the 1990's - perhaps a product of the era or just the age I was at the time (I would have been 21 seeing this movie) - was that there was what was going on, and then there was the LA regurgitation of what was happening.  The LA version was invariably stripped of the spirit of the source, and churned out product for a mass-market and to have a fast-fashion version.*  Often, folks didn't necessarily get the nuance or difference.  It's why mall-store  "Hot Topic" is absolutely hilarious to Gen X'ers of a certain stripe, and earnestly beloved by Millennials of a similar stripe. 

I think there's a whole book to be written on how anything and everything was co-opted and commercialized to the masses, stripped of its origins and meaning, and basically is now considered the Poochie-fication of mass media and product marketing

The Craft (1996) Poochifies the era and it's attempts to capitalize on multiple threads, from the exploding alt-rock scene, and the easy access to, and interest in, occult material - the inevitable result of being raised at the height of the Satanic Panic.  It's also *very* much a 1990's teen movie, replete with sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

HalloWatch: X (2022)

Watched:  10/27/2023
Format:  Paramount+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Ti West

A xerox of a xerox of movies you've seen before, the greatest sin of X, the 2022 horror smash, is that it's fundamentally boring.  

Look, I don't make the movies, I just watch them, and when you're drawing obvious comparisons to your own movie, in the movie, and you choose to draw the audience's attention to Psycho (which I happened to have just watched), you're soft-breaking the cardinal movie rule of not showing a better movie during your own movie.  But, yes, the movie is a slow build for literally the first hour of people making a porn film in a rustic cabin on some farmer's property in the middle of East Texas nowhere, with some light hints that something is up with the elderly owners of the farm/ ranch-land where the filming is taking place.

The problem with this, imho, is that Writer/ Director Ti West is under the impression that by borrowing Psycho's slow build and pivot, which he calls out, he's doing the same thing.  But we're 62 years on, we've all seen a lot of movies, and at this point I was looking at my watch instead of the movie when we don't get our first kill til 58 minutes into a 105 minute film.  I don't know how to tell Ti West - my man, Hitch did this 30 years into perfecting tension in movies.  This ain't that.

HalloWatch: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

Watched:  10/26/2023
Format:  Prime
Viewing:  ha ha ha ha ha
Director:  James Signorelli

Look, I've talked about Elvira, the character, plenty over the years, and I've watched this movie every Halloween for a while.  I even have a tag for Elvira related material.  

Suffice to say, I am a fan of the character, the film, and Ms. Peterson herself.  

I've nothing new to say on this particular viewing, but you should watch the movie before we hit the big, spooky day!

Friday, October 27, 2023

HalloWatch: Psycho (1960)

it never occurred to me before how bonkers this poster really is

Watched:  10/26/2023
Format:  Peacock
Viewing:  3rd or 4th
Director:  Alfred Hitchcock

So, it's not really worth talking too deeply about Psycho (1960) here at Ye Olde Film Watch Journal.  The movie is one of the most written about, discussed and analyzed flicks that one is likely to see.  So I won't get into plot, analysis, etc...  Y'all can chase that around on your own.  

I hadn't personally seen it in probably two decades, so I decided to give it a whirl as part of our Halloween spooktacular cinema series.  

Probably my foremost comment is that the movie actually lives up to the hype.  Some movies do.  Lawrence of Arabia2001The Godfather Part II.  I can go on listing great movies, but just assume I agree with you as you fill in your own blank here.

Maybe those movies show signs of age or that they were made in another time, but there's nothing about them that doesn't pull you in and hold you.  And Psycho - minus the weirdo psychoanalysis at the conclusion - is kind of a perfect film.  Every line has weight or double meaning, every shot provides you with information about the story and characters, and the sound and atmosphere are on point.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

PodCast 257: "The Invisible Man" (1933) - A Halloween 2023 PodCast w/ Jamie and Ryan

Watched:  10/21/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: Unknown/ First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  James Whale

Jamie and Ryan are transparent in their madness about this 1930's cinema classic! It's a ghostly good time as they get wrapped up in a conversation that makes it clear, you can see right through them when it comes to their enjoyment of this film.



Invisible Man Theme - Heinz Roemheld 
The Invisible Man - Queen, The Miracle 

Halloween 2023

All Halloween and Horror Playlist

HalloWatch: Frankenstein (1931)

Watched:  10/24/2023
Format:  Peacock
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  James Whale

Every year during the spooky season I try to give Frankenstein (1931) a watch.  The past several years, I've double-billed Frankenstein with Bride of Frankenstein, usually the night before - or night of - Halloween.  

But this year I wanted to give the movie a bit more time to percolate and watch it as its own thing.  

It's a movie I've seen *a lot* and so I can spot the places where the dolly shot bounces on the tracks, and I can see the literal creasing in the backdrops used in the forest scenes.  I laugh with anticipation at the jokes and know which bits work best as scares.

I make a lot of notes about how Dracula movies don't match the novel, because there's usually some adherence to the book and seeing where and why they diverged is a curiosity.  But by the time you get from the publication of Mary Shelley's novel in 1818 to the play and the movie, this story was well over 100 years old, and folks were going to do their own thing.*  There's barely any of the novel left in this film.  Themes.  Some names.  Some settings.  A wedding.

So I tend to separate them and consider them their own thing, and it's usually in subsequent adaptations that I look for whether they're borrowing from this film or from the novel or doing something entirely new.  

Even if the film is nearing the century mark, it still plays.  The creatures' pathos is as real as the novel, if reduced to a child-like state of confusion rather than a sort of existential crisis of existence.  The performances are of their time but would absolutely put fire in a modern adaptation.  You simply won't beat Colin Clive going mad in the moments of success after the monster is lowered from the tower.  

The look is borrowed from German Expressionism, and between the Gothic horror of Dracula's settings and this film, we get a language for how the best sets and scenes should look in horror that will be endlessly copied, parodied, stolen from and refracted for the next 90 years.  That's not to say this was the final word, but the starting line and the thing to which everything else can draw comparison.

Further, the themes of "who is the real monster?" would echo throughout horror and science fiction, and are often the best part to chew on in a film (and something zombie movies picked up and ran with).  But I think this movie does the best job of bringing a Dr. Frankenstein to life who really thinks he shut the door behind himself and his experiments, only to have it come roaring back.

I'm now curious to read the play upon which the movie is based.  Curiously, next year sees the publication of the script for what I believe to be the first time.  

Some time I will write a much longer bit on this movie, it's sequel and the novel and why I keep coming back to them, but not today, kids!

But for the best Halloween spookiness for the whole family, I humbly submit this classic.

*worth noting, this film will be 100 in just 8 years

Monday, October 23, 2023

HalloWatch: The Vampire Lovers (1970)

quite the photoshop collage here

Watched:  10/23/2023
Format:  FreeVee on Amazon
Viewing:  3rd or 4th
Director:  Roy Ward Baker

In the wake of the opulence and spectacle of watching the 1992 Dracula adaptation, I threw on the 1970 Hammer horror film, The Vampire Lovers, a movie I'm pretty sure I'm on the record as a fanThat impression held up on a re-viewing of the movie.  

During this period, Hammer was sorting out what to do as Lee was increasingly (and famously) less interested in playing Dracula, and so they sought to expand their vampire offerings beyond the Count and his shenanigans.  Thus, they went to the novel that preceded Dracula, and from which Stoker (ahem) borrowed from.  

If you're looking for the book that mixes up vampirism, sex and romance, this is the one, and it often feels like the romantic angles ascribed to Dracula was an interpretation of how this book, and therefore movie, take on a vampire's relationship with their prey.  In this case, rather than an exotic Count from a mysterious kingdom, it's a fellow young woman who is deposited at the doorstep of a family with a young woman of similar age.  Who precedes to die.

Shortly after, the same young woman, calling herself Carmilla, appears at another house (left by a woman of breeding and elegance) with a similarly aged young woman, and we see how the relationship between the two blossom, even as villagers start getting picked off.

If Brides of Dracula is any indication, Hammer had long ago figured out the formula for inserting a clutch of attractive women in their films and teaming them with baffled middle-aged men and Peter Cushing.  

This was one of a handful of starring movie roles for Ingrid Pitt, who is 30+ here if she's a day, playing 19.  Full disclosure, we're Ingrid Pitt stans here at The Signal Watch, and we think she's just super.  Madeline Smith, just at the start of her career, is terrific, and we'd be happy to see more films with Kate O'Mara.  As always, Cushing is a force of nature in the film.

Anyway, with all the "romance" of vampires stuff, Vampire Lovers manages to find the balance between eroticism and the actual devilish nature of the characters.  Part of Carmilla's curse is that she does seem to form a bond with her victims - if not love, then dependence, and she's damned to take their lives, one after another.  

The only other film I can think of that seems to touch on this concept in its way is The Hunger, which blows that concept out, making it a genuine romance.  Until it isn't.  And walks through what the relationship actually is via Sarandon and Deneuve.  

There's still straight up vampire stuff in this film, from Carmilla wandering the woods like an apparition, to garlic being generally unwelcome, to beheadings.  All solid stuff.  

Sunday, October 22, 2023

HalloWatch: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Watched:  10/21/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second, I think
Director:  Francis Ford Coppola

Firstly, this isn't Bram Stoker's actual Dracula.  This is Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).

I very much remember Coppola, with whose work I'd just become acquainted at age 15 or so, announcing he was going to remake the Universal Monster stuff using the source material.  And as a teen, I was jazzed.  Let's kick the dust off, ditch the stuffy 1930's stylings (I'd never seen the movies at this point) and lets make a Dracula for the 90's!  

All I can really remember from that first movie is that it was... a lot.  The reviews were mixed, but everyone was going to see it, and I was in a packed theatre when I watched it myself.  

Honestly, I remember thinking "well... that was a lot.  And I get why the reviews were mixed."  Halloween night of '93, I went to see the original, and was like "oh, wow.  This is rad.  I get why people love this." and, in fact, my interest in horror movie monsters I'd had as a kid was reignited (along with a VHS copy of Phantom of the Opera) to the point where I'm annoying about it to this day!

Over the years, I've not returned to the Coppola movie because (a) I didn't like it all that much to begin with, and (b) there's so many Draculas.  And one gotta catch 'em all.  

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Hallo-Watch: Ghost Ship (2002)

Watched:  10/20/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Steve Beck

So, I remembered this movie being better than I expected when I watched it back in the mid-00's.  Watching it in 2023, it is as bad as I first suspected when the trailers hit.

It has a few highlights - the opening is a banger if you can tolerate some gorey gore.  There's some interesting set design, and the overall concept of a haunted ship (on sea or in space) is a good one.  I like haunted house movies, and what is a cruise liner if not a floating resort?

But the movie is essentially a cliche-fest, borrowing from better films and engaging in the goofiest of 1990's ragtag, blue-collar, post-Abyss team dynamics that just absolutely throttled movies by the 00's from Deep Blue Sea to Name-Your-Film.  We get bits of The Shining, we get bits of just general ghosty-stuff you're like to see in any spook movie new or old, but now with CG!  Which was all producers thought we cared about in 2002 (spoiler: it absolutely was not).  

What's weird about this movie is that it's never scary.  Beyond that, I'm not sure there's really ever any tension.  It's so by-the-numbers that you'd literally have to be a kid who hasn't seen anything to get anything novel out of it.  So then you're left with execution.  And - it's...  again, by-the-numbers in a way that at the time we were told was being done for sale to foreign markets.  Which.... (a) cool for them, but I am also your audience, and (b) I don't know if you've ever seen an Asian film or a European film, but "complicated" is not something they have any trouble wrangling, so why these movies get reduced to people shouting last names at each other and commenting on "tiddies" is beyond me.

The cast on this movie was kind of no-joke at the time.  Gabriel Byrne, an up-and-coming Julianna Marguiles (her magnificent hair reduced here for blue-collar action heroism).  We have a rising Isaiah Washington, Karl Urban and Ron Eldard.  Less well known, Alex Dimitriades, Desmond Harrington and our token ghost-girl, Katie, played by Emily Browning.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention torch singer Francesca Rettondini, who plays a ghostly chanteuse.  While noteworthy for general foxiness, Rettondini would, in 2012, go on to become a television host, and in that capacity would be aboard the Costa Concordia when it ran into rocks, capsizing to become one of the larger scale boat disasters in Europe on this century.  No, Rettondini does not find the irony amusing.  

A few items of note:  Apparently these people all believed they were in a very different movie about people trapped on a ship who slowly go mad thanks to ghosts, but when they showed up, they found out that the script had been re-written to make it what we see on screen.  Which absolutely feels like a second draft generated by a Script-o-Tron 2000 running on Windows 98.  

Also - the movie was directed by a gentleman who had directed just one prior film, and this would be his final bow as a director of features before heading into commercials, which has apparently treated him well.  But it does make you wonder how much the very big name producers (Joel Silver, Zemeckis, etc...) decided to just push this guy around as a young gun-for-hire, which was a standard power move in the 90's.  

Anyway, the movie decides that in the third act it needs to have a plot, and that plot is clunky, dumb and even a little confusing.  We are forced to learn that there was some heist of gold?  A second boat?  Armed bandits?  a quadruple cross?  I don't know and I don't care.  It's dumb and unnecessary.  Ghost stories don't need concrete origin stories.  Especially when they get tossed out in favor of "actually, demon magic" immediately after.  

Horror is hard, y'all.  It really is.  And I know people love this movie, and I gave it a pass for something like 17 years since I last saw it, but.  Nope.  It's just a product of the time in so many ways, and really has nothing new to offer that doesn't happen in the first five minutes.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

PodCast 256: "The Blob" (1988) - Halloween 2023 w/ SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  10/06/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  Third or Fourth
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Charles Russell

SimonUK and Ryan stop thinking in rigid terms and consume a movie, absorbing it before oozing their way to the next. It's a conversation on a remake of a classic - that may be a classic in its own right! Join us for an all-consuming chat on this 80's film that's out of this world.



The Blob (1988) - Michael Hoenig 
The Blob (1958) - The Five Blobs (Bacharach wrote this!)

Halloween 2023

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Hallo-Watch: The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

Watched:  10/17/2023
Format:  Peacock
Viewing:  First
Director:  Joe May

Well, I've seen The Invisible Man a few times and am a fan.  What I had not done is watch any of the sequels.  I thought now was maybe the time to watch another one in the series - especially as it stars a very early career Vincent Price, before he was even associated with horror.

So... this is not considered a great movie by film history.  It's... fine.  Vincent Price is clearly having a good time and is carrying most of the movie here.  

It's an excuse to try out out new Invisible Man techniques, which are mostly pretty effective, some of which is pretty great as they make good on the "what if he's seen in a fog or in the rain?" questions from the first film.  I wasn't sure how well that would work in 1940, and the answer is: surprisingly well.  Bonus:  you also get a silhouette of Vincent Price in what was likely a unitard.  

The plot is about a guy framing Price for murder, and he uses the chemicals from the first movie to get invisible, knowing madness is coming so he has to solve the crime, and he's tasked Jack Griffin's younger brother with finding an antidote while he does so.  

If the first one had any scares as well as camp, this one knows how to keep it interesting, but the fear of what a madman would do is kept to a minimum.  The film takes off - and predicts Price at his best in the coming decades - when he's given room to rant and rave as the drugs kick in, so to speak.  He's just making a meal out of his scenes and everyone else is keeping up.  

Anyway, as a Universal Horror fan, it's probably territory to check out, but won't deliver as well as other sequels.  For Vincent Price fans, it's a good look at early Price as he's also being cast as an erudite cad over in noir films.  

Monday, October 16, 2023

Hallo-Watch: Village of the Damned (1995)

Watched:  10/13/2023
Format:  Criterion, I think
Viewing:  Second
Director:  John Carpenter

So, Friday night I was wrestling with the two vaccines I'd had injected earlier in the day and wanted to watch something I'd already seen so it wouldn't really matter.  Plus, I wanted something Halloween-ish.  A quick scroll landed me on the John Carpenter directed 1995 remake of Village of the Damned.  

Now, here in 2023, I still have not seen the original.  But in the mid-90's, I kind of saw everything, and this starred Christopher Reeve and was directed by Carpenter, so I was curious.

What I remembered from the movie:  
  • Kirstie Alley looking smashing and chain smoking to great effect
  • Christopher Reeve giving it his all despite the fact this is nonsense
  • Mark Hamill as a pastor?
  • Creepy kids who just won't listen
And these things were all accurate.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Hallo-Watch: The Exorcist III (1990)

Watched:  10/15/2023
Format:  Criterion
Viewing:  First
Director:  William Peter Blatty

Way, way back in the 1980's my brother and I went on a spree of renting "movies you should watch" that included Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and The Exorcist.  It was... a lot for my 14-year-old self, and it was quite the impactful set of viewings as we watched the movies in pairs but over just 2 weekends.  

I can't remember which I watched with The Exorcist.  What I do remember is that there was a lightning storm while we watched it, and at some key point in the film I pushed back the curtain in the living room to look at the weather, and lightning hit nearby, making me see my own reflection in the glass, and I about wet myself.

The movie worked.  I won't say The Exorcist is my favorite horror film, I've only seen it twice.  But I get why it's held in such high regard and in no way do I dispute those arguments.  

Following that viewing, I was told "nah, the sequels are bad, and don't watch them", so I did not.  But this last month with the release of Exorcist: The Believer, aficionados popped out of the woodwork to discuss the franchise, and it seemed that folks were in agreement that The Exorcist III, based on the novel Legion by Exorcist novelist and screenwriter William Peter Blatty - and written and directed by same, was a slam dunk.

Again, I'm hard pressed to disagree.

Hallo-Watch: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Watched:  10/12/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  First
Director:  Tobe Hooper

I was in no rush to watch the sequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but JAL informed me that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 takes place during Texas/ OU Weekend, and, well, that's a thing around these parts.  

When I started college in the 1990's, my family did not pay any attention to UT football or tradition, and so I was unaware of what was then called The Red River Shootout, when the University of Texas and Oklahoma University football teams meet half-way in Dallas for their annual, early October game at the Cotton Bowl.  So I was very confused when, half-way through my first semester, campus emptied out as folks went to Dallas or otherwise disappeared during the day on a game day.*

Anyway - none of that is relevant except that the film starts on the Thursday or Friday night prior to the game as two dumb-ass frat guys, headed from Austin to Dallas for a weekend of debauchery, run afoul of Leatherface and family on the road (the scene is filmed in scenic Bastrop, using what is now a pedestrian bridge).   

I feel for Tobe Hooper.  He was never really wired to work within the studio-system, but that he did in order to get this movie made.  A glance at Wikipedia tells me that the studio did the thing of hiring the guy who made Texas Chainsaw Massacre, saw the glossless, raw movie that it was, and said "yes, but what if we didn't do that".  Hooper's response seems to have been "well, but what if we did, though?" and he took the dark comedy elements of the first film and made them wackier.  I mean, at the end of the day, this is a horror comedy, which was something I didn't really grok a month ago.

Moving from a farm house in the sticks to an abandoned roadside attraction made from dilapidated Quonset huts that's somehow subterranean? and a radio station, this one replays some of the greatest hits and amps things up for comedic effect.   We learn that maybe Leatherface is just a lonely heart, and Dennis Hopper is in this movie, but they had to have only had him for about a week.  Man, Hopper would sign up for *anything*.  

The star of the movie is Caroline Williams, playing Vanita "Stretch" Brock, a radio DJ who takes the call from the two frat-dudes as they get chain-sawed.  She gets involved in the investigation, agreeing to play bait as she replays the tape, which draws the family out of hiding.  

As I've commented elsewhere, I have come to appreciate that horror fans will embrace an actor and give them a whole career if that person wins them over in a role, and you will not be surprised to learn that Caroline Williams has been working steadily since this film in and out of horror.

Anyway, the shock was not that of the first film, but it's not a throw-away sequel.  It's a solid follow-up, even if the tone is wildly different.  Who knew you could do that with a movie about a family that has really figured out a solid chili recipe?

*it is a reasonable assumption that Univ. of Texas' main rival is Texas A&M University, but it's arguable that UT thinks of OU as our main rival and Texas A&M as the annoying relation who lives down the road.  Texas Tech *thinks* they're UT's rival, but we don't think about them much at all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

PodCast 255: "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974) - Halloween 2023 w/ JAL and Ryan

Watched:  09/30/2023
Format:  Peacock
Viewing: First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Tobe Hooper

JAL and Ryan get a little off the beaten path in their homestate of Texas, The Friendship State. It's rural roads, roadtrips and tasty BarBQ all the way down as they make new pals and learn the importance of family.



Halloween and Horror - all films playlist

Hallo-Watch: No One Will Save You (2023)

Watched:  10/10/2023
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  First
Director:  Brian Duffield

There's a type of movie that I call a Roller Coaster film.  I don't think this is a common term, I think I made it up, but who knows?  Maybe I stole it from somewhere and forgot.  I use the term to refer to movies that offer a visceral experience on a first viewing, often something you likely can't repeat on a second viewing.

These movies rely on a lot of sheer thrill and pacing more than plotting or character exploration.  They'll insert some tidbits and whatnot as the movie progresses so it's got something of a story, but you're there for the experience, not to learn a little moral homily.  One of my favorites of this type of film was seeing Gravity in 3D.  That was awesome on the big screen with stuff flying everywhere, and I'll never watch it again as I'll never see it in 3D again.  I'd also point to the Crank movies as rocket rides.  There's a lot of examples, and I'm sure you can point to a few.

No One Will Save You (2023) is absolutely a Roller Coaster movie, but I might rewatch it some time.