Wednesday, July 29, 2020
I've suffered through this movie, and now you should too.
It's "Psychomania" - a movie British people love and Americans will find baffling.
The leader of a biker gang in a small, British municipality makes a deal with the devil for power or immortality or both (I can't remember) and returns to life to wreak havoc. And by havoc, I mean - kind of upsetting old ladies and people on ladders.
The final film of famed actor George Sanders, this one plays with life, death, and life again. And frogs. and motorcycles. And very, very bad music.
Day: Friday 07/31/2020
Time: 8:30 Central
Amazon Watch Party (link here)
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Format: Amazon Prime Watch Party
Director: Bryan Forbes
The Stepford Wives (1975) is a movie you will absolutely guess how it works and what it is, and how it will end, and you should absolutely still watch it.
Starring Katharine Ross (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), it's a New York City woman with two young girls and a husband as they move into the suburban town of Stepford, CT. Good schools, big houses and yards, it's a post WWII dream. Immediately we learn that Joanna's (Ross) husband didn't actually consult with her about the move, which she found out was a done deal after she saw the house and agreed to it. But she let that slide.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
Director: Frank Henenlotter
We've been taking suggestions from the peanut gallery for Friday night Tweet-a-Long, and Lauren brought this one.
Horror isn't really my thing, but sometimes the movies hit me just right, and that was the case with Basket Case (1982). A no-budget film that relies on a strong concept, some non-Henson-inspired puppetry and a go at stop-motion that would do Gumby proud, it's just simply way better than it seems like it should be. They go with less-is-more approach to our friend in the basket, and make sure a heaping helping of the horror is the descent our lead is on, acting out of love and Stockholm Syndrome.
Essentially the story follows a young man who hits NYC with *something* in a wicker basket - his conjoined twin from whom he was separated at a young age, with the intention the twin would die. Both have lived, and now seek revenge on the doctors who performed the surgery.
Along the way, the more normal brother begins to get an idea of what it would be to fall in love - which is at odds with his brother for any number of reasons I'll leave it to you to find out.
Anyway - good pick, Lauren!
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
Director: Richard E. Cunha
Oh. Oh my.
Well. So. I dunno, you guys.
I mean, "Oliver" Frankenstein just doesn't sound right. And I don't know why he was turning the pretty young lady he was living with into a monster in the evening with a potion he kept passing off as fruit punch. I was never clear what was going on with the girl's uncle and what he was science-ing upon. But we do run over a kind of catty young lady and she gets turned into a shambling monster.
Anyway. There's a backyard cookout with a band and a very long musical interlude.
Monday, May 11, 2020
Director: Boris Sagal
More Ways To Listen
We're in quarantine, and there's one sci-fi movie that's been on our minds. Join us as we talk about being the last man on Earth! At least the last sane man on Earth. Except for those other people out there living in the 'burbs. Anyway, it'd be nice to just drive cars off the lot without having to haggle.
The Omega Man Theme - Ron Grainer
Format: Tweet-a-long on Amazon Prime
Director: Tonjia Atomic
I don't know. I don't know what I expected.
Somehow a return to "Manos"- The Hands of Fate, the 1966 zero-budget horror indie out of El Paso, TX, which had neither synced sound nor coherent narrative, and arrived in 2018'ish as a shot-on-video-but-not-great-video and featured simply too much dialog - was kinda just right.
Manos Returns (2018) features - and I want to get this out there, because I missed this prior to watching - the original actor who played The Master and the former little girl who played Debbie, now a grown lady-person still playing Debbie! Take that, David Lynch and your 25 years later!
Much like the original, I don't understand the movie or what it is trying to do. At times it seems like it wants to be a parody, and at other times, a straight sequel with some enhancements thanks to the power of video editing. There's genuinely more story to this movie, but with similar outcomes. And more red bras. Lots of red bras.
I dunno. I didn't *not* enjoy seeing the movie, and it is definitely a worthy successor to Manos, whatever that means. But, you know, beware something striving to be a sequel to Manos.
BTW - seeing this also told me there's a mini-market of Manos ancillary media being produced. Debbie is going on to make a TV series, there's a Rise of Torgo movie out there, too. And seemingly other things. Anyway, proceed with due caution.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Director: Ron Underwood
No, I'd never seen Tremors (1990), and it's just one of those gaps that happened for no reason. I always assumed it was exactly what it turned out to be, which is something I am not against and often enjoy if you catch me in the right mood. And, hey, yes, it was exactly that movie. And that's okay!
It fits neatly in with a lot of movies from the era, while also being generally better acted and produced with, frankly, amazing practical effects. Good stuff and an entry-level horror I might show a kid.
I have nothing to add to anything about this movie except that I am joining my voice to the chorus that believes this is the prequel to Dune. Fan theories! Totally a legit way to watch movies!
Thursday, February 6, 2020
Format: DVD (Simon owns this?)
It's a PodCast - Where else can I listen?
Oh my. Well, there's a lot of tarantulas, and that's a problem, see? But don't worry! Shatner is on the case! And while he's in a love triangle with his brother's widow and a sexy scientist, he's gotta help save the Harvest Festival because spiders are here. Drama! Thrills! Romance! Woody Strode! SimonUK! Ryan!
Things I Treasure - Dorsey Burnette
Peaceful Verde Valley - Dorsey Burnette
Green Side of the Mountain - Dorsey Burnette
The SimonUK Cinema Series:
Sunday, December 22, 2019
It's a Signal Watch Stocking Stuffer! SimonUK and Ryan watched the 2010 Finnish sorta-horror import "Rare Exports" (2010), all about Santa maybe not being the fun-loving fellow who drops down chimneys to drop off presents, and maybe more a bit of "hold my beer, Krampus".
Holiday 2019 Playlist
Saturday, November 2, 2019
Watched: F - 10/30/2019, BoF - 10/31/2019
Viewing: Ha ha ha...
Every Halloween I now watch both of these films. They're literally two of my favorite movies - the sort of which I'd include if there was a Signal Watch Five Film Marathon in which to partake.
Next year we're scheduled to talk about them during Halloween, so I want to hold off til then to say much more - and I have plenty of prior posts on these two films.
Here's to James Whale and Gods and Monsters.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Format: Criterion BluRay
50 years on, Night of the Living Dead (1968) continues to do more than "work" as a film. In addition to the anxiety and dread I felt rewatching the movie, almost nothing within Romero's film has aged or lost urgency.* And, of course, while the relevance as a mirror and social experiment is discussion worthy, it also demands discussion as patient zero in a cultural shift in media extending beyond horror.
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Watched: 10/15/2019 and 10/20/2019
Viewing: Second/ First
Decade: 1980's/ 2000's
Things get a little hazy as SimonUK and Ryan take on two spooktacular movies about what happens when the barometer drops, the humidity rises and things go bump in the water vapor. It's our final Halloween movie of 2019! One about ghostly seafaring folks and the other about... I dunno. It's real bad, though.
The Fog Theme - John Carpenter, The Fog OST
The Host of Seraphim - Dead Can Dance, The Serpent's Egg and The Mist soundtrack
Halloween 2019 Playlist
Halloween 2018 Playlist
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: I dunno. 4th? 5th?
So, I love this movie poster. It tells you an incredible amount about the movie without spilling the beans, but it's beautifully designed for balance, terror, and and the uncanny pushing through into reality.
It turns out the poster is by Matthew Peak, who happens to be the son of legendary illustrator Bob Peak - but this was his first movie poster at age 25. Amazing!
It does remind me of other artists who were bursting on the scene at the time, but that's not a criticism. If it falls on a continuum of the Dave McKean/ Bill Sienkiewicz/ Drew Struzan, well... okay then.
Anyway - Jamie alerted me she'd never seen A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), and 'tis the season, so we watched it. But you've seen this movie, and I wrote it up a year or two ago, so. Anyway.
I will say - I really appreciate how tight this movie is. No fat on it at all. And you can see immediately how and why they wanted a sequel to expand on the concept.
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
No, I'd never seen Creepshow (1982), which, I guess, horror fans find to be a straight up problem. So, I went ahead and put it on this last weekend while Jamie flew to California to see The Dug.
I like a horror anthology film! If you're not into what's going on, you just wait til the next segment. And, honestly, a lot of what folks try to build up as tension in horror but dragging things out in (poorer) horror, I just wish they'd get on with it - so short stories are a great way to go.
Turns out I'd seen all of one segment at some point back in the day on cable (the chapter with Ted Danson and Leslie Nielsen), and parts one or more others. But I don't think I knew that was + when I watched it back around 1989.
I got not much to say. It was fun. I liked the part with the crate monster best, I think. But it's a highly quotable movie that I'm not sure gets quoted. ("I want my cake!" should be a horror catch phrase. Is it one? Is it T-shirt slogan worthy?)
Anyhoo... some terrific make-up effects and some good practical and puppet FX, too.
Format: Paramount Theater - Austin
Viewing: ha ha ha... oh, mercy
Last night Simon and I went to see Bruce Campbell host a screening of Army of Darkness (1992) at the Paramount Theater here in Austin, TX.
Like so many of us who have stumbled across Army of Darkness and Evil Dead over the years, the movie left a "kill the dinosaurs" type of impact on 17-year-old Ryan's psyche when he saw this movie in the theater. Maybe a post for another time, but there's a not insubstantial part of my young-adult years where this movie was part of the lingua franca of my people, and it's one I quoted so much, I've forgotten that some of my personal verbal ticks came from this movie.
The movie holds up incredibly well, and Bruce Campbell may actually have the best Q&A skills I've ever seen. He's heard every question 1000x before, and he doesn't actually play along as "the nice guy" celebrity. He kinda let people know "that's a dumb question". And, man, they really were about 80% dumb questions. But he got paid, so what does he care?
Anyway, Bruce is charming as all hell, and it was a fun night out at the picture shows.
Monday, October 21, 2019
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Watched: 10/03/2019 and 10/05/2019
Format: Amazon Streaming (both)
Viewing: Unknown (both)
Decade: 1980's/ 1970's
Marshall and Ryan throw a Halloween (Haunted) House Party with two favorites of the ghosts & real estate genre! We compare notes on a make-believe story that some think bled into reality, and a real story which feels kinda fakey, if we're being honest. But only one has Margot Kidder. Let's talk what makes for a captivating tale of houses with more than plumbing issues, and we ponder the handsomeness of James Brolin.
Amityville Horror Theme - Lalo Shifrin, Amityville Horror OST
Poltergeist Theme - Jerry Goldsmith, Poltergeist OST
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Look, this is one of the most written about movies of the past decade. I'm not really sure I have anything new to add. But I finally saw it, and it was very good. Frankly, it was exactly what I was expecting from seeing the trailers, and I only was marginally off in two guesses I made while watching the film. Still, it's an ambitious film and an uncomfortable film, and I can see why Peele is Hollywood's favorite new director.
Amazon Streaming is including the alternate/ original ending of the film, and, frankly, I think they should have kept that as the final word, but no one is asking me.
Decade: 1980's (so, so 1980's)
I've been meaning to watch this one for a few years as I've not seen much of the work of Monster Squad director Fred Dekker. Dekker both wrote and directed Night of the Creeps (1986), and it does feel like part of the lineage of films by the likes of Landis and Joe Dante - a sort of boutique film by horror movie dorks by horror movie dorks. But it's still broad enough to work even if you don't realize the entire movie is a collection of references frankensteined together to make a narrative.
First - I found this movie to be straight up Rated-R horror movie fun. And I guess, deep down, if a horror film doesn't have anything in particular to say, or isn't going to be a cinematic tour-de-force, give me a good time at the movies. Night of the Creeps absolutely delivers. Aliens. 1950's flashbacks with "the escaped axe murderer" trope on Lovers Lane. Dorky college dudes trying to get into an incredibly d-baggy frat (in my old age, 1980's frat dudes are just absolutely delightful). And references. So many references.
Saturday, October 19, 2019
It's been years since I watched James Whale's Universal Monsters classic The Invisible Man (1933), but it's not because I don't like the film, I just don't always make time for it the way I do Dracula and the Frankenstein films.
James Whale most famously directed Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935) with The Old Dark House (1932) released prior to this entry. I'm unsure if most folks know the impact of Whale on horror, even if they've seen the terrific Gods and Monsters, but he, Tod Browning and a few others were busily defining a genre for decades to come, interleaving their horror work with more traditional films.
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Watched: 09/13/2019, 09/0152019
Format: Amazon Streaming/ DVD
Viewing: Second/ First
Decade: 1970's/ 1990's
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SimonUK and I rise from the grave with two more takes on the Vampire Genre! In the first film, vampires make a killing running a circus while carrying a grudge and harassing a small European town. In the other, Italian mafia stereotypes collide with a French vampire in a 90's-tastic take on The City of Brotherly Love, and we can't figure out which sangria anyone is drinking. It's a Halloween vampire fest!
Vampire Circus Suite - David Whitaker, Vampire Circus OST
Night - Jackie Wilson, A Woman, a Lover, a Friend