Showing posts with label monsters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label monsters. Show all posts

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, 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.  

Sunday, October 24, 2021

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



Sunday, October 10, 2021

80's Hallow-Horror Watch: CHUD (1984)




Watched:  10/09/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  

Uh.  

This was not great.  You can read my tweet-thread as the movie unspooled here:  


It's a not-great film that doesn't understand how cheap horror movies are supposed to work, or movies in general, and is weirdly pretentious.  Which, frankly, if you told me yesterday that CHUD (1984) has lots of scenes that feel like they're improvised by a couple of actors who've been taking a lot of classes, and it will all be treated with deadly seriousness: I would not have believed you.  But here we are.

All of that stuff, by the way, is fine:  if any of it lands.  Or the movie is earning it.  Or the writing doesn't get away from the movie.  But at the end of the day, this is a movie about Morlocks eating people, and for some reason we spend 1/3rd of the movie in an unrelated story about John Heard's career and his relationship.  None of which is CHUD-related.  Or particularly good.  

By far the weirdest are the extended scenes between Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry, where both are intent on playing unhinged and angry.  And the scenes just. keep. happening.  Both in length and frequency.

In theory the movie is about NYC having a problem with Carnivorous Humanoid Underground Dwellers, but it's also about a soup kitchen, the plight of the homeless, a career change that's really impacting a marriage that might be on the rocks, and a cop who seems really stressed out because his wife disappeared, but he fails to mention this as a problem until the second half of the film.

Also, the willing belief that nuclear waste was disposed of beneath NYC when it would literally be easier to put it on a boat and float it out 20 miles and dump it.

Maybe the WEIRDEST moment of the movie was when we saw a scene that I now believe James Cameron must have ripped off for Aliens where people with flamethrowers go down into the tunnels with a video camera  while their bosses watch them on monitors.  That's gonna sit with me a while.


Hammer-Ween Watch: The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964)




Watched:  10/09/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Michael Carreras

Hammer Horror!  That eventually gets scary!  If you really wait.

This first Mummy movie from Hammer is awesome, and so I figured even a xerox of a xerox would be fine.  And, it is.  

Mummy is dug up, Egyptians are actually okay with it  - sort of - except for killing the one British guy.  But then a big, dumb American showman (Fred Clark, who was in *everything* for like 20 years) decides that instead of taking it to the British Museum, they should take it on the road.  

Anyway, there's a whole lot of plot, and the leading lady seems like she's written by someone who really had some trouble with their last girlfriend, taking the usual 1960's Hammer misogyny to cool new levels.  The reason the Mummy shows up and the motivation of those bringing him back is all-new.  But we do get some decent Mummy-Terminator action.

For once, the Egyptians are given the benefit of the doubt - they're not the ones setting things in motion - at least not the official Egyptian government.  They're not thrilled Fred Clark is going to tour their dead pharaoh around Wisconsin, but aside from that...  

Anyhoo.  It's fine.  It's not my favorite, but it was a fun Hammer watch.




Saturday, October 9, 2021

Halloween Interaction Watch: Frankenstein (1932)




Watched:  10/08/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1930's
Director:  James Whale

My friend, I am not writing up Frankenstein again.  Here's all the stuff about Frankenstein on this blog.

Here's SimonUK and me talking about the film during last year's Halloween podcast.


Action-Ween Watch: Blade (1998)




Watched:  10/07/2021
Format:  HBOmax, I think
Viewing:  Fourth?  5th?
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stephen Norrington

So.

I saw Blade (1998) the first time in a theater full of people who had apparently had a LOT of sugar.  It was one of the theaters in town at the time where there was a higher than likely chance people would talk at the screen, and that was fine by me for a movie about Wesley Snipes killing 90's sexy vampires.  

Mostly I remember at the end of the opening sequence, the place went crazy.  Like after a killer guitar solo at a concert.  I mean - Traci Lords at a rave as a vampire and then blood sprinklers at the drop, followed by Blade tearing the place up?  Yes sir.  

I was never really able to separate the fun I had watching the film from whether the film was actually "good", but sometimes a movie is "good" because you had a great time watching it.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Halloween Watch Party: Dracula (1931)

 


Watched:  10/01/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing: Unknown!
Decade:  1930's
Director:  Todd Browning

My friends, I have written and spoken more on Dracula than makes sense.  It was super fun talking with people over the movie on Friday night, tho.  Hope everyone had a spooky good time!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Friday Hallow-Scream Watch Party: DRACULA (1931)


This Friday we kick off our Universal Monsters Hallow-Scream Watch Party 

Join us as we watch one of the movies that launched a movement!  It's not the first, or even the best, but it's certainly one that was a MONSTER hit and solidified Dracula as a pop culture figure for a century to come.  

Come find out what movies, plays, cartoons and candy mascots have been ripping off for 90 years!  Behold:  spooky armadillos, rubber bats, boring virgins, terrific cinematography and Dwight Frye just freaking out the squares.

Day:  Friday, October 1
Time:  8:30 Central, 6:30 Pacific
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Cost:  $4.00



8:30 PM Central/ 6:30 Pacific for all shows!

October 1 -   Dracula (1931)
October  8 -  Frankenstein (1932)
October 15 - Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
October 22 - The Wolfman (1941)
October 29 - Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)




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!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sneaky Snake Watch: Anaconda (1998)

This is an infograph of how much you'll care about each character



Watched:  09/10/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second or third
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Some guy

I dunno.  It's a movie about people heading up the Amazon to find a lost tribe who come upon a snake that is huge and doesn't act like a snake at all.  It has JLo and Ice Cube.  So, how bad can it be?

I saw this one opening week in the theater, and what really stuck with me over the years was that Jon Voight is in it, and it made me realize very famous actors can make hilariously bad choices.  And every instinct Voight has in this movie is... so bad it's good.  Paraguayan accent?  Check.  Constant scowl?  Absolutely.  

I am sure there's some conversation that occurred that said "well, Voight's character is the REAL anaconda!  He's the one who sneaks up on you and surprises you with the kill!"  But that's kind of dumb and not right.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Phenomenal Movie Watch: Gremlins 2 - The New Batch (1990)




Watched:  05/31/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Oh, god.  Who knows...
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Joe Dante

Surely I've talked about Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) before.  Or should podcast on it.  

But, yes, I know you all love Gremlins, but this is the better movie by a country mile.  I'm not sure I much more than generally like Gremlins,* but Gremlins 2 is an amazing film on every level.  Not the least of which is a Haviland Morris level (I'm not sure we're supposed to say that out loud, but here you, me and 15-year-old-me are).  

Anyway, Gremlins 2 does not give a @#$%, and you should rewatch it sometime.

*it's fine.  I like watching it every once in a while.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Yog - Monster from Space/ The Space Amoeba (1970)




Watched:  04/19/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Ishirō Honda

This movie is not about an amoeba from space.  

I don't remember anyone calling the thing that does show up "Yog".  

It is about a sort of pile of glowing animated dots from space.  But that's not really an amoeba, is it, movie?

The blob of lights keeps infesting local beach creatures which turns them into rampaging kaiju, which creates a hard time for our friends who want to build a hotel on a remote island.  

Anyway, it's a lot of quality nonsense.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

PODCAST: "Godzilla vs Kong" (2021) - Kaiju Throwdown! Stuart and Ryan talk Monsterverse!

 

Watched:  03/31/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Adam Wingard



Ape V Lizard! Who will win? You, the audience. Stuart and Ryan have a monster of a conversation about the latest installment in the Godzilla and Kong franchises! It's a podcast of epic proportions as we talk about how we got here, what's worked, what hasn't, and head right for the center of the matter. Stop monkeying around and join us as we go nuclear on the most important film you'll see about an axe wielding ape this year!





Music:  

Pensacola, Florida (Godzilla Theme) - Tom Holkenborg, Godzilla vs Kong OST
Godzilla Cartoon Theme, 1970's


Ryan's Random Cinema

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween Watch: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)




Watched:  10/31/2020
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  2nd?  3rd?  4th?  It's been decades
Decade: 1990's
Director:  Kenneth Branagh

We already watched the classic Universal Frankenstein and the Hammer Frankenstein for the podcast, but I always watch Frankenstein and Bride as my final movie or so of Halloween.  So, I swapped in this version, which I hadn't seen in forever.  And I know I hadn't seen it in forever, because Jamie had never seen it.  

My memory was "that sure felt like it thought it was much better than it was".  It was directed by already-respected Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh, borrowed indie cred by casting Helena Bonham Carter (who was the indie-fan's sex symbol of the time), borrowed established cred with Robert DeNiro as the Monster, Tom Hulce of Amadeus fame, Ian Holm, John Cleese and others.  The sets are lavish, the score: sweeping.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

PODCAST: "Van Helsing" (2004) - our Halloween 2020 Finale! w/ SimonUK and Ryan




Watched:  10/18/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  2000's
Director:  Stephen Sommers



Well, what better way to wrap up our review of classic monsters and monster movies than to discuss 2004's mish-mash of Dracula, Frankenstein, werewolves, hats, hair, bodices and swing around on ropes? Universal threw money at the guy who gave them the 1999 Mummy franchise and he promptly went bananas, abusing SFX teams and creating the worst kind of fan-fic. Join us as we make our way through Van Helsing.
 


Music
:
The Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt Kickers

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Hammer Watch: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1968)




Watched:  10/22/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Terence Fisher

I've watched the few Frankenstein movies from Hammer that I've seen completely out of order.  And this is no exception.  I think this is the second to last movie, but, really, do not know.

Completely spinning the opposite direction from Universal, Hammer decided the selling point for their Frankenstein films was not the monster, but the good doctor himself.  Building on the arrogant sonuvabitch from the novel, this version of Frankenstein is NOT humbled by his first creation, but emboldened by his success, and so the subsequent films are him doing what all good scientists would do - keep working on it.  

Friday, October 23, 2020

Hammer Watch: The Vampire Lovers (1970)


 

Watched:  10/21/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Third
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Roy Ward Baker

A few years ago I included The Vampire Lovers (1970) in my list of one of the best movies I'd watched that year, but I don't think I'd actually watched it again since.  Maybe in bits on cable, but this year I've been saving another rewatch for Halloween-season.   The last few Octobers were obnoxiously busy times for me (in no small part because of baseball, but the Cubs were very bad this year).  But, last year I squeezed in a listen to the audiobook of the source material, the novella Carmilla.  (I should mention, the novella predates Dracula by about 15 years).

Thursday, October 22, 2020

PODCAST: "The Mummy" (1932) and "The Mummy" (1959) - Universal and Hammer Horror for Halloween 2020! w/ SimonUK and Ryan

 


Watched:  10/10/2020 and 10/13/2020
Format:  BluRay and Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown (a lot) and Third
Decade:  1930's and 1950's
Director:  Karl Freund and Terence Fisher




We get wrapped up in some positively ancient horror favorites; two takes on the ancient dudes coming back and causing a lot of problems for colonial pillagers of ancient burial sites! First up is the weirdly undiscussed 1932 Universal feature starring Boris Karloff as a former clergyman who would do anything for love, then we talk the 1959 version starring Christopher Lee in a similar role - but this time opposite Peter Cushing. We'll walk a Nile in their shoes as we dig deep and discuss two horror classics!
 

Music: 
The Mummy Opening Titles - Franz Reizenstein, The Mummy OST
King Tut - Steve Martin, 45rpm edition

Saturday, October 17, 2020

PODCAST: "Phantom of the Opera" (1925) and (1962) - Universal and Hammer Studios! - Halloween 2020 w/ SimonUK and Ryan


Watched:  October 4 ('25) October 6 ('62) 2020
Format:  BluRay (Kino Lorber) and Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  1000th and First
Decade:  1920's and 1960's
Director:  Rupert Julian and Terence Fisher



SimonUK and Ryan cannot remain silent on the topic of that wacky phantom what lurks beneath the opera! We take a look at two of the many film appearances where a creepy music teacher stalks and abducts his pupil while making the most of a poor real estate situation and skin condition. We take a look at the 1925 film from Universal as well as the 1962 take from Hammer, and, boy howdy, are these two different films. 
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - JS Bach (unknown performer)
Don Juan Triumphant?   I'm not sure, honestly


Halloween and Horror (everything at The Signal Watch)