Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts

Monday, December 27, 2021

Christmas Day Night Watch: House/ Hausu (1977)


Watched:  12/25/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Nobuhiko Obayashi

K was visiting for Christmas and she's wanted to watch this movie forever, so we did.  Least Christmassy programming possible, but it's a fun movie.



Monday, December 6, 2021

Holiday Horror Watch: Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)




Watched:  12/5/2021
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Jim Cummings

I'm going to have to check out Jim Cummings' other stuff, because he's apparently his own one-man force within the film industry.  I recognize him, but not as a lead - but he wrote, directed and starred in Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020), which is something people really don't do anymore.  That era of auteurism has kind of gone the way of the dodo.

Released under the revived Orion films banner (and, my god, was it good to see that logo spin out in front of a movie again) - it's also nice to see genre indie distributors out there trying for something a bit different, and this film is a reminder of the positive results you can get from a single person with their hands on the wheel of a movie.  Because Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) is arguably about a small-town cop relentlessly chasing down a killer werewolf despite the fact that is absolutely the plot of the film.  And this is where people might mistakenly say "it's good for a horror film" - but we don't say that at this blog.  

I think sometimes why reviewers might make that statement is that they want something more out of their movie than a monster murdering people and eventually being killed in return.  I mean, *fair enough*.  

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Holiday Horror Watch: Black Christmas (1974)




Watched:  12/5/2021
Format:  Peacock!  
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Bob Clark

I kind of start and stop my interest in slasher films with the Halloween films.  But ever since I found out Bob Clark, the guy who directed A Christmas Story, also directed one of the landmark Christmas-Horror films, I've wanted to see Black Christmas (1974).  Add in a pre-superstardom Margot Kidder, and it's a sell!  But the movie had been a little hard to find in the past - until recent shifts in how the streamers work seems to have fixed that.  

Anyway, it's now a whole lotta places, but I watched it on Peacock of all locations.  I know!  But if you watch like 2 minutes of commercials, uncut movie!  (edit:  I hit "publish" on this post, went to my email to read the Criterion Current email, and I guess Black Christmas is on the Criterion Channel now, too and an article about the weirdness of watching people get murdered on film.). 

Black Christmas is dark.  I don't want to beat around the bush on this one.  I am glad I didn't pick it for a watch party, because it's not... fun.  It's mostly just grim.  Surprisingly well made, effective, etc...  but sometimes I watch a movie and I'm kind of glad I don't need to worry about how Jamie was taking it in.* 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Absolute Last Hallow-Scream Watch: The Leopard Man (1943)




Watched:  10/30/2021
Format:  TCM Noir Alley
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Jacques Tourneur


A very short film that manages to pack in what seems the plot and thrills of something much longer, The Leopard Man (1943) just uses a title that makes it sound like a sequel to The Cat People but delivers and entirely different thrill (or maybe not?).  

I *loved* this movie.  Great characters.  Misdirection.  A few scenes with genuine terror.  Beautifully shot and imagined.  This is the Val Lewton/ Jacques Tourneau you hear about in classic film circles.  For me - an unexpected ending that's terrifically framed.  I have no notes!

My understanding is that this is not just based on a Cornell Woolrich novel, but really sticks to the source material, even what's seen in specific characters' POVs.  I need to read some Woolrich.

I also was surprised to hear discussion of genocide of indigenous people by colonizing forces even mentioned, let alone treated as a tragedy. 

SPOILERS

Elvira Halloween Watch: Messiah of Evil (1973)




Watched:  10/31/2021
Format:  Elvira Special on Shudder
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz


A while back, JAL suggested we watch this film together, and I was "ok" and then things occurred and that didn't happen.  But as we were prepping to get together for a film, I noticed that this was the fourth entry in Elvira's 4 film 40th Anniversary celebration on Shudder.  I asked Justin, and he said "oh, yes.  Watch with Elvira."  And so I did.

Elvira seemed quite taken/ amused by the movie.  So that's a good sign in my book.  She broke into the film several times, not least because she was excited Elisha Cook Jr. was in the movie, and so say we all.  Anyway, if you've got Shudder, check out Messiah of Evil (1973) as part of her 4-film cycle.  

This movie very much wants to be a horror film in a certain classic sense of horror - of creeping dread and mystery slowly overtaking our heroes as they succumb to madness, violence of others, etc...  Letters are read from people not in the story who are gone missing.  People wander languidly in a dream-like state.  Our narrator starts off confined to an insane asylum, warning us of doom before telling her tale.  It's that kind of film.

It's not *that* bad.  The pacing is a mess, as are a lot of low-budget horror films from this era that think they're building tension but they're... killing time.  But it has two legit actors pop up as guest stars (Royal Dano being the other), and had two - frankly- really good, creepy murder sequences that feel like an electric jolt in this otherwise plodding movie.  

I don't think this movie is dumb, but it just feels like it's not quite sure what to do about its limitations.  And all of the actors seem like they're on Quaaludes.  So when you add zombie cultists into the mix...  and I have every reason to believe all of this was intentional.  

The pair behind the movie, Huyck and Katz, went on to do work on good movies, including American Graffiti.  And bad movies (Howard the Duck).  It's one of the folks in famous-people film circles who didn't quite become famous themselves.  

Anyway - check it out sometime!  And we can figure out why the main guy refuses to ever be seen without a vest on.





Sunday, October 31, 2021

Halloween Watch Party: Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)




Watched:  10/29/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Jack Arnold

My goal for the Hallow-Scream Watch Parties was to watch some of the classic monster films with folks who hadn't seen them.  And:  mission accomplished.  

I think Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) is a fantastic movie.  I've also seen it, like, 15 times, so I don't mind talking over it, giving it some light ribbing, and generally making it fun for people who might not otherwise watch the film.  

Anyway - I think it was more or less a success this year, so I'll look into it next year, too.  We didn't watch some classics like The Invisible Man, which absolutely demand a viewing.  And maybe Hammer?  I mean, people need to see Cushing and Lee fighting on a table.

But Creatch is a good one to end on.  It's really good, but feels a lot more like modern film.  Or, at least for those of us born 20 years after it came out, we have some perspective on what this was pointing to.  Especially as many of us are more than familiar with B-film.  And, man, it's such a pretty and well-designed film.  

Noir Horror Watch: Cat People (1942)




Watched:  10/31/2021
Format:  TCM Noir Alley
Viewing:  Third?
Decade:  1940's
Director:  Jacques Tourneau

I have watched this movie at least 1.75 times before, and found it odd and boring.  But I think, honestly, I must have picked up my phone or computer or something and quit watching.  Because this time...  holy cats (so to speak), I *finally* got what this movie was all about.

Honestly, I'd read so much about how great this movie was - I'd given it a go - but thought it was overhyped.  And frankly didn't know what people were talking about.  It literally almost felt like I had seen a different cut or something that missed all the good stuff when I'd previously seen this movie - because once you get to the petshop sequence, things really kick into gear here.

Anyway - THAT is the best possible case for a rewatch!  Trust in Eddie Muller if he's going to do a Halloween episode of Noir Alley!

Yes, the movie is the one where a cute woman is picked up by a typically dunder-headed American-male of the 1940's-1950's who considers all women the same, interchangeable wife-bots - where you just pick the aesthetic you like - and finds out:  whoops.  I married either a crazy person or a were-panther.  Either way:  there's a reason you may want to give pre-marital coitus a try before finding out she thinks doing so will lead to her transformation to a monstrosity.  And not in a fun way.

It is true, intentionally or otherwise, our lead is a handsome moron (I think intentionally), and the weight of what's going on is put on the shoulders of his new bride slowly going mad, were-panther or not, as she grapples with being unable to love.  

It's A LOT, and it is the most noiry-noir looking of movies.  That Tourneau is not afraid of a good shadow and what happens in those shadows.  

Anyhoo...  highly recommended.  

Can't believe they got away with this under the production code.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Hallow-Wax Watch: Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)




Watched:  10/30/2021
Format:  I am not sure?  DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Michael Curtiz

So, this movie, Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), is the one that the 1953 Vincent Price film, House of Wax, is based upon.   The plots are somewhat similar, certainly the set pieces and locations.  I think this movie, in turn, is based on a story and stageplay.  

Two fascinating things here, tho:  
1)  I've never watched a whole film in the two strip technicolor process.  It's weird as hell.  Perfect for horror, I think, but I imagine this gives me an idea how some color-blind people see the world, but in a weird inverse.  This is all reds and greens.
2)  It's mid-career work by Michael Curtiz!  Maybe one of the most versatile directors I can name, it's interesting to see him doing 30's horror and doing it so well

This movie differs in many ways from House of Wax, including a very 1930's woman reporter who is really the catalyst for most of the action, and I adored her (played by Glenda Farrell).  The great beauty that the crazed sculptor pursues is no less than Fay Wray, so... understandable, despite your murderous, psychopathic ways, sir.

The movie refuses to take itself too seriously, but does a great job of a grand guignol-type horror but with a fast-talking news woman anchoring the whole thing.  

I'd love to re-watch this one at some point, especially with other folks.  It has some terrific stuff the 1950's one eschewed for a more solid plot, but this one is equally entertaining in its own, incredibly 1930's pulpy fun way.  

Aviation Hallo-Watch: Shadow in the Cloud (2020)

if this scene seems unlikely, I have some big news for you about this film



Watched:  10/29/2021
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Roseanne Liang

This movie is a mess, and I don't really get why it has "generally favorable" reviews on metacritic, other than that it twists itself in a pretzel to be a #metoo movie of the moment, dressed up in WWII and made by people who don't seem to know or care very much about the reality grounding the fantastic elements of their set-up.  

Moretz is a fine actor and it's great to see someone who was a kid actor show they can do this in a grown up role.  She looks the right age to be in the place she's at for 1943 or whatever this is.  But.  I think she needs to talk to her managers and agents.

It's WWII, and for some reason an all-Allies flight crew exists, which... fine.  Aussies, Scotsmen, Americans.  Flying a B-17.  A mysterious woman (Chloë Grace Moretz) with a mysterious package gets on board a flight as its about to taxi, headed out from New Zealand to Somoa.  She says she's operating under orders from the local Major, a real hard ass, and *she's classified*.

Upon take-off, the airmen all begin piling on an entire year's worth of the worst, most tasteless conversation likely to occur, all while Moretz is on the comms.  Oh, and for some reason, the only place they have for her to sit is the underbelly turret of the B-17.  

Friday, October 29, 2021

Zombie Watch: Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)




Watched:  10/29/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Brian Yuzna


I enjoyed this movie just fine, but I don't know how much and at what point the movie was kidding.  Maybe writ-large?  But it also seemed like it was being serious?  It sure wanted to do a doomed lovers plotline that, sure... why not?

But, yeah, it's a movie about the son of the military guy still mucking about with zombies and Trioxide which makes zombies - who is dating out of his league.  An accident occurs and his girlfriend is killed, so he exposes her to zombie-gas because he believes that the heart will go on, I guess.

Aside from zombie piercing fetish stuff, the movie is also an excuse for some Hollywood FX folks to flex, and, boy, do they ever.  Mostly that's bookending the movie, but when it shows up, it's really solid work.  

The name actor in this, as far as this blog is concerned, is Sara Douglas, who plays a very Sarah Douglas military officer.  But Melinda "Mindy" Clarke is... really good in this?  Like, she's asked to do A LOT under less than ideal conditions, and she does it all as the formerly alive girlfriend, Julie.  Anyway - she's still very much working and I guess I've seen her in things, but I did not watch The OC, so I missed out on that adventure.  

But, yeah... the movie feels like it's kidding, or at least not taking it as seriously as Romero takes his zombies, and it's probably a decent tone.  But it's also the 90's, so it's got a weird layer of anti-Hispanic racism which, you know, was incredibly common at the time.  So, maybe not "weird", but...  at least super clunky.

I don't get how zombies work in this, and I don't care.  It's fine.  

One thing I do know:  someone had a very specific kink and managed to work it into a feature film.  And for that, I applaud them.  

And I am all for a movie where the leads die in an incinerator in a loving embrace in the final shot.  Slow clap, movie.


Hammer Watch: The Scars of Dracula (1970)




Watched:  10/28/2021
Format:  YouTubeTV
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Roy Ward Baker

Christopher Lee played Dracula 10 times on film, 7 times for Hammer, this being the 5th outing for Hammer.  This Dracula film is one of 9 movies Christopher Lee starred in during the year 1970, when he was still sort of doing lines as Drac, and not just standing there or growling.  

Anyway, the man was supernaturally prolific.  

HALLOWEEN PODCAST: "The Fly II" (1989) - Halloween 2021 - Horror Sequels w/ SimonUK and Ryan




Watched:  09/12/2021
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  Second or third
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Chris Walas



SimonUK and Ryan see what all the buzz is about as they check out the sequel to the famous Cronenberg remake. This time, it's a wee baby insect man and Daphne Zuniga against the world and spooky corporate interests! Join us as we take a swat at a film that was one I think everyone saw on cable.




Music:
Fly II Main Theme - Christopher Young



Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hallow-Dead Watch: Evil Dead II - Dead by Dawn (1987)




Watched:  10/27/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  ha
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Sam Raimi

One day I want to do a podcast on the Evil Dead movies, so I'll save some comments for that time.  But.  Evil Dead II (1987) never disappoints.  

Also - this was Jamie's Halloween watch selection.  So, you know, I feel I married well.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hallow-Spooky Watch: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

man, Bob Peak's art is never less than amazing



Watched:  10/25/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Jack Clayton


Further back, the Ray Bradbury book upon which the film is based was assigned reading for me in 7th grade.  I cannot imagine such a thing in schools now, but this was the go-go 1980's, and we were even given assignments to come up with a short story about how Mr. Dark would prey upon our insecurities.  I vaguely remember something about being turned into what I realize now is the Incredible Hulk.  

Special thanks to Stuart, who belongs to Disney Insiders and landed me a copy of this club-only release of Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) BluRay.  Lovely presentation.

Anyway, this is such a strange little movie, one that I don't recall getting any promotion at the time of its release, nor had I seen it on the shelf at the video store.  Possibly, because of the Disney label on the tape, it had been shelved with kiddie movies.  Which is an interesting problem, because it's not one the book has.  It just gets shelved with Ray Bradbury books.  But as a film... 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Elvira Special Watch: City of the Dead (1960)




Watched:  10/24/2021
Format:  Shudder Elvira Special
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  John Llewellyn Moxey

I am unfamiliar with this studio, Vulcan Productions, but it's out of Britain.  That said, in theory the movie takes place in Massachusetts, and is a witchy story about a small town where there's still witchy business afoot 400 years later.  

The movie stars a whole bunch of people I didn't know, and I think English people playing Americans, which would explain at least one guy's voice.  But it's got Christopher Lee!  So, super double bonus points.

The movie isn't bad!  It's mostly thriller as young people first try to do some research for a college course, and secondly when others go to look for the first person.  The sets, acting, etc... are all good stuff.  I particularly liked Patricia Jessel as a creepy inn owner.  

Anyway, I mostly watched it as past of Elvira's 4 movie hosting gig on Shudder, and she's terrific!  Good bits in there and what I believe to be a true story of her running into Christopher Lee in a window that I believe would have had to have been pre-Elvira.  Anyway, she has a kicky song at the end I very much enjoyed.


Hallow-Scream Watch Party: The Wolf Man (1941)




Watched:  10/22/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1940's
Director:  George Waggner

Well, I've seen this one a lot, and we talked about it last year on the podcast.  




What I noticed this time was that Maleva, the gypsy woman, has a speech of her own as she bids farewell to first Bela, and then Larry after they've been killed and freed from the curse.  

The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end.
It's funny - I've seen this movie a lot, and I've listened to a bit about it on commentary tracks and read about it online, and I don't recall anyone calling this out.  Maybe they did.  Everyone gets hung up on the usual rhyme,* but folks tend not to focus on Maleva's farewell, bridging worlds for the cursed and absolving them, I suppose.

One wonders exactly how many werewolves she's had to deal with.

Here's last year's podcast.




*A few times in the film, we hear:  

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

PODCAST: "Son of Frankenstein" (1939) and "Son of Dracula" (1943) - Halloween 2021 - Horror Sequels w/ SimonUK and Ryan



Watched:  09/06/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  a whole lot
Decade:  1930's and 1940's
Director:  Rowland V. Lee and Robert Siodmak (I KNOW)



We check in on the boys and see what the kids are up to! One back in the old family villa and the other heading to Louisiana for some jambalaya, we assume. Two franchises rise yet again, stitched together from ideas new and old as we look at the third in the series for each, and sink their teeth into familiar tropes as well as all new stories and characters!




Music:
Son of Dracula Theme - Hans J. Salter Orchestra
Son of Frankenstein Theme - Frank Skinner


Halloween 2021



Friday, October 22, 2021

Japan Horror Halloween Watch: Hausu/ House (1977)




Watched:  10/22/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Nobuhiko Ôbayashi

Uh.

I don't know what I just watched, but it was maybe the best thing ever? 

I mean, truly, I could not look away.  This movie is batshit, and I love batshit.  Like, it starts out batshit and just keeps going, changing and getting better.  I can truly say, I did not know what was going to happen next.  

Anyway, any attempt to describe the movie is a fool's errand, so I will not.  But I will definitely be rotating this into my scary movie faves.


Kiddie-Horror Watch: Return to Oz (1985)

noticing the poster makers realized they needed to not tell everyone their favorites aren't really in the movie



Watched:  10/21/2021
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Walter Murch


I am categorizing this movie as a kid's horror movie, because (a) that's how Jamie, who has seen it, pitched it to me, and (b) this is a horror movie.  Starring and for kids.  I don't know if that's what anyone set out to make, but that's what it is.  Dorothy returns to a post-apocalyptic Oz where everyone is "dead", and she's pursued relentlessly by murderous creatures.  This is AFTER she's almost given experimental shock treatment to make her forget Oz.  There's a headless woman and her cabinetry of de-capitated heads she can wear who is going to enslave Dorothy for future decapitation.  Dorothy's then put into some weirdo Saw type situation and has to outmaneuver the guy playing with her life.  

All of which would be fine - kids can take a lot - except that the movie is joyless and a slog.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Hallow-Scream Watch: Killer Workout/ Aerobicide (1987)




Watched:  10/21/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's (so, so 1980's)
Director:  

A few weeks ago, tweeter Dr. PopCulture BGSU posted a picture or two from a movie of which I'd never before heard discussed, Killer Workout (1987), and I vowed to watch this movie at some point.  Well, our own JimD decided, YES, we would both see this movie, and so a copy showed up in the mail.  

I am genuinely supportive of the genre film preservation going on in weird little corners.  There's basically no reason anyone should work to preserve and distribute Killer Workout.  It's a very low-budget film with no bankable stars, bad cinematography, as wobbly a plot as you're going to find, and zero logic.  Sort of.  But.  Movies like this were an important part of the cinema world for a long time, and they've mostly disappeared as VHS players and tapes have headed to the bin.  It's weird that we may lose a lot of movies because of dedication to a format.

Olive Films is a newer but growing distribution company doing good work out there, bringing a wide range of film types to the market - from respectable classic film to.... Killer Workout.  They seem really cool and I need to spend more time reviewing their catalog.  I would LOVE to know more about their efforts to preserve and distribute films - but I have a lot of questions about their presentation of Killer Workout.  It *seems* like they had an idea to not just get the movie out there, but retain some of the VHS experience.