Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of 2011

I really wanted to stay away from an end of the year list this year. Every time I do one I want to change it immediately upon completing it. So this year instead of rankings I'll just do what was good and what wasn't in the world of movies for 2011 that I got around to seeing. As is the case when the end of December rolls around each year there are plenty of films I didn't get around to seeing during the calendar year and others which I wish I hadn't bothered with. That is just how it goes. Without further adieu I give you Celluloid Terror's Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo.

First up on the good list is Takashi Miike's 13 ASSASSINS. A wonderfully violent samurai adventure about, you guessed it, 13 assassins who want to bring justice to the tyrannical power of the Shogun family. If you're a fan of Miike's previous works such as Ichi The Killer, Audition and Sukiyaki Western Django you'll enjoy this, which is perhaps my personal favorite of his filmography.

I debated putting SUPER 8 on the list. While I loved everything in the first part of the movie about the kids and using the accident to film their movie I hated the bullshit we were fed during the second half with the parents and their soap opera melodrama. What started out as a great kid adventure film that could have easily been worked into the monster movie part of the plot got shit on for typical government cover up and bland monster movie crap. There are a couple movies that could have made it above this one but the kids were great in this so for that reason it (barely) makes the list.

INSIDIOUS is our first to be branded with Lee Van Cleef's face for being bad. It's funny how creepy this film started and how quickly it fell off a cliff and no one seemed to care to tell anyone else on the production crew just how awful this movie became. It doesn't help that they did some live Q&A thing and didn't take any questions from this blog... tisk tisk. The only thing that saved this from the dreaded "ugly" is that opening 45 minutes or so. Stay Away from this unless you enjoy your movies to change tone totally and get really really bad all at once.

If you kept up with my October Horror Challenge you certainly saw my severe disdain for Kevin Smith's new film (and Smith himself) RED STATE. A bloated mess that fits Kevin Smith's personality these days like a glove. While trying to make a smart, in-tune film Smith makes a pile of garbage.

In what was the best comic book movie of the year and among the best in the history of such films, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS easily makes the list. First Class is a well made, acted and written prequel to the franchise. This easily gets rid of the bad taste that Last Stand and Wolverine Origins left in my mouth.

I SAW THE DEVIL was my favorite movie of 2011. It was damn near perfect in my opinion. It was filmed beautifully, acted wonderfully and had some damn fine direction with excellent camera work. If you're a fan of revenge tales, especially bloody and gruesome revenge tales definitely check this out. Kim Ji-Woon continues to impress as a director.

DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK probably doesn't deserve to be here, but it gets the dubious honor of this spot for the sake of symmetry. While it wasn't a particularly bad movie it wasn't very good either. The whole thing was predictable and had a been-there-done-that feel to it. It did have some thick atmosphere and you could tell that Guillermo Del Toro had his little touches throughout but Katie Holmes not being able to act herself out of a wet paper bag certainly didn't help it out at all.

No surprise that TRANSFORMERS 3 made the list. Michael Bay is a walking pile of turds so what else would he put to film than more turds. Seriously this movie was so fucking jumpy that it had no continuity as to what the fuck was going on. In a room of 5 people watching the movie not one could explain how this shit was happening because Michael Bay is more concerned with BOOM EXPLOSION CLOSE UP FIGHT BOOM YAY! than actually constructing a half decent fucking story. Fuck you Michael Bay, instead of Dark Of The Moon it should have been called Turd Of The World.

This movie was fun. And violent. And bloody. And a little bit silly. And starred Rutger Hauer. Yea, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN made the Good list.

I reviewed TROLL HUNTER back in the summer, if you read that review you probably could have guessed it would end up as one of my favorites of the year. The movie that brought the fairy tales to life convincingly certainly did end up as one of my favorite movies of the year, and it earned this spot.

FRIGHT NIGHT is another movie I reviewed during the summer with totally opposite results. This was really bad, not quite ugly, but really bad. This shouldn't have been a difficult remake to at least make entertaining, but they failed at that. McLovin is no Evil Ed.

It's funny that Magnolia Pictures/Magnet Releasing released four of my favorite films of the year (which you'll find hanging out with Clint Eastwood on this list) and also released one of my 2 or 3 most hated. RUBBER had a cute idea about a tire that uses Telekinesis to kill humans by blowing them up. It was entertaining for about 5 minutes and then you are faced with the complete and utter bullshit that surrounds the killer tire thing that wore out it's welcome almost as fast as your relatives did at Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Children (1980) - Grindhouse Experience

After a long absence from reviewing a new chapter of the Grindhouse Experience set I have returned with 1980's horror film THE CHILDREN. This has nothing to do with the more recent film of the same title. This was a movie with every chance to be a piece of classic 80s horror VHS glory.

After a couple of nuclear power plant workers decide to say fuck it and get a beer instead of working overtime to fix a leak at the plant a giant yellow gas cloud engulfs a school bus with a few kids and the driver aboard. The cloud only effects the kids who come out looking normal aside from black fingernails (Carson Daly syndrome) and generally creepy (as country town kids often do). The kids prey on the townsfolk who aren't very worried about their kids not coming home from school on the whole... apparently a bus driver taking a kids on a picnic or down to the quarry while abandoning the bus in the middle of the road isn't much of a problem to the town of Ravensback. The kids attack with deadly force in the form of... hugs. Yes, hugs. The power of love is enough to burn, melt and just completely mangle their adult victims. Sometimes the hug is accompanied by a similar yellow gas cloud. Eventually the sheriff figures out that there is some weird shit going on and tries to fight back. The problem is all but solved until... GASP!

This movie was a breath of fresh air compared to the memories of much of what I have watched in this set. It started out with great promise and an easy premise. Kids are naturally creepy in certain situations but the budget limitations on makeup really sell this movie short. The black fingernails just isn't convincing and certainly doesn't grab you and pull you in. There is also no explanation why the gas cloud didn't effect any adults either. The makeup looks fine after the kids attack but the whole hug thing isn't funny after the first time you see it. This could have been golden 80s cheese and simply fizzled out into slow, spotty, schlock. It was good enough for me to give it a positive review, because it wasn't bad and it even had a serious VHS tracking moment at the end but it does fall short of anything worth revisiting anytime soon.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Deathstalker (1983)

The 80s had hundreds of movies that ripped off other movies without shame or guilt. DEATHSTALKER is one of those movies. Directed by James Sbardellati under and assumed name this is 80 minutes of the stinkiest cheese you've ever come across. Big hair, crazy characters, sword fights, boobs everywhere, some wild gore and magic to top it all off.

Deathstalker is a mighty warrior sent on a mission by an old witch to find and unite the Three Powers Of Creation - A chalice, an amulet and a sword. 2 of these items are held by the evil king/magician Munkar. Munkar invites the best fighters around to a tournament to decide a successor to his throne - the winner rules! The problem is that Munkar has no intentions on giving up his power and is instead using the tournament to kill off any threat to his throne.

If you have half a brain it isn't hard to figure out where the story is heading. It is the incredible cheesy low budget nature (Producer Roger Corman would have it no other way in the 80s) that are the fun of it all. The naked girls are captured and often served up as nothing more than eye candy for us with all the goods on display. In fact they aren't just eye candy for us, the majority of them in the movie are simply objects for the warriors to toy with. The girls do get their revenge at one point in a rather entertaining scene. The sword fights aren't exactly the most memorable but they are adequate, and usually leave a bloody mess in their wake. Heads fly, guts get spilled and wild shape shifting make it all fun.

DEATHSTALKER is far from high art and isn't even original but serves as a fun time waster to turn your brain off to and just enjoy the glory of the B-movie. Swords, magic, boobs... how bad can it be?


Monday, November 28, 2011

Ken Russell 1927-2011

I'm going to keep this short and sweet because his filmography, career and legacy speak for itself. If you haven't familiarized yourself with any of his work you're cheating yourself of one of cinema's finest.

When a film maker as talented and important as Ken Russell passes it cannot go with mention. Had he never made another movie other than The Devils he would have had an important career that would be worth remembering. The Devils is quite simply a perfect film and is one hell of an experience (no pun intended). I'm disappointed to say that I've barely scratched the surface of his filmography but that doesn't take away the sadness I know the film word is feeling. If the world of movies was filled with more Ken Russells the real world might not be such a terrible place.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

INTRUDER Blu-Ray Review

As the Walnut Lake Supermarket prepares to close for the night a man enters the store and begins to torment and attack cashier Jennifer. After the entire night crew gets involved in the situation and the bumbling cops don't get anything done, the employees of the store can finally start marking down the entire store for clearance as the owners have announced that they'll be selling the store. It is soon after that the bodies start dropping and the blood starts flowing.

By the time INTRUDER was released in 1989 the slasher film that created such a buzz and had divided audiences and critics had become bland and mundane. We had seen it all and we knew the formula. These movies were cheaply made and usually profitable despite whatever flaws each individual film may have. INTRUDER doesn't totally fall victim to it's time. The setting is a rather unique and interesting one for a slasher film, and the blood and gore that made the genre popular is abundant and handled well by KNB EFX Group. Sadly the gratuitous nudity that so brazenly graced the silver screen in the 80s is nowhere to be found here. Director Scott Spiegel (best known for his work on Evil Dead 1 and 2 and other Sam Raimi films) doesn't let the film get overly hokey even with plenty of cliches and one liners placed around the set. The reveal of the killer isn't going to blow your mind with life altering meaning but it serves the purpose of the movie just fine. I have seen this movie a number of times on different formats but this is by far the best time I've had with it. I'd never been much of a fan of the film but my opinion may be shifting.

Synapse Films delivers the 2 disc Blu-Ray & DVD combo of INTRUDER with a brand new 2K digital restoration of the original Director's Cut. To put it simply it has never looked better on home video and likely never will. The print and transfer are clean with a nice natural film look to it. Very minor speckling during the opening credits were the only debris I noticed during the film's 88 minute run time. Flesh tones are recreated beautifully and textures are nice. Black levels are pretty deep and don't block up. Colors of items on the market shelves pop well, and the reds from blood are rich and vibrant while not looking unnatural. The film is presented with DTS 2.0 audio which is clear and free of any interference. A perfectly serviceable audio track for this movie.

Extra features on the Blu-Ray include:
-Slashed Prices: The Making Of INTRUDER (HD) This is a nice retrospective featurette from much of the cast including Bruce Campbell. They discuss everything from the Super 8 version of the movie made a decade before the feature length all the way up to filming and production.
- Audio Commentary with writer/director Scott Spiegel and Producer Lawrence Bender
- Extended "Murder" Sequences from the original workprint
- The Slashing of INTRUDER - A short interview with film maker Vincent Pereira (HD)
- Outtakes from the lost Super 8 short film NIGHT CREW
- Original Audition Footage
- Still Gallery
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Night Crew Trailer

Synapse Films has done an excellent job with the presentation of this movie. From the beautiful transfer to the lineup of special features (not to mention NOT SPOILING THE MOVIE ON THE BACK COVER LIKE THE OLD DVD VERSION!) they've proved again that they understand how to present cult films on the Blu-Ray format. Synapse is even offering a DVD-R of the workprint version of the film limited to 500 hand numbered pieces if you order directly from their website. That is worth jumping on to see a different cut of the film and for how limited it is!

You can feel good about picking up this release

Film - 7.5/10
Video - 8.5/10
Audio - 8/10
Extras - 8/10
Overall - 8/10

Syngenor (1990)

The late 80s and early 90s were a time of trying to figure out what the fuck was going on with horror and Sci-Fi. The slasher run had been crap for a while and even the Alien rip offs were abundant by 1990. Syngenor will get lumped into the Alien ripoff category. The film revolves around a Classified project about a SYNtheszied GENetic ORganism. This Syngenor is a super soldier built to fight the next world war in the desert climates of the Middle East. After some shady doings, one of the prototypes breaks loose and all hell breaks loose. The head of the operation Carter Brown(David Gale of Re-Animator), loses his shit and decides everybody dying would be the best option. The building becomes a war zone with cyborgs and people fighting for survival, and for an end to the project and total destruction to the Syngenors.

Syngenor is directed by George Elanjian Jr. who did this film and a few TV series and documentaries. His lack of storytelling in feature films is evident as the entire run time of over 100 minutes is jumpy. Characters are never fully developed and neither is the story except in a very bare bones way. We find out what can kill the cyborgs early on but it is hardly brought into play in the story until the very end. The movie is best viewed as a shitty B-movie than anything serious. It does work on the level of a bad, over the top B-movie to a certain extent. The story sucks, but some of the characters, especially David Gale of Re-Animator fame is fucking insane in the best possible way. He would die from complications in heart surgery a short time after this film was released but he made a memorable impression here. He certainly made better, but aside from the classic H.P. Lovecraft adaptation I don't know if he made a more memorable role than in Syngenor. The charm of this movie comes in just how shitty is.

This is a so-bad-its-good movie through and through. I found out it is a sequel just before starting it and it made little difference. There is enough setup for this to be a standalone movie and plenty of insanity and ridiculousness to carry anyone that can appreciate such things through to the end. The monster design is actually pretty decent (you'll be able to tell the borrowed look from movies such as Alien and Creature From The Black Lagoon without any trouble) and the effects aren't bad. The movie on a whole is just lacking. It isn't hammy enough to be fun, it isn't suspenseful enough for the horror, it isn't smart enough for the Sci-Fi.

David Gale is really the reason to watch because he is seriously out of his mind in this movie. Other than him it is messy, and underwhelming with entertaining bits sprinkled throughout.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lone Wolf And Cub: Sword Of Vengeance (1972)

While I'm still on my hiatus from horror films after last month's barrage I'm back to you all of you to bring you my first review since and it is for a movie I just watched for the first time.

The Lone Wolf And Cub series was based off a successful Manga series, which I've never read and don't know much about aside from basic plot details which you can easily find so I won't bother you with all of that right now. The first entry in the film series is Sword Of Vengeance. It follows Ogami Itto, a former executioner for the Shogun. He was set up and betrayed leaving his wife dead. Their infant son was left to choose his own fate by Itto, join his mother or follow his father in avenging her death. The boy chose his father. So we have a Samurai who is possibly the best swordsman in Japan seeking vengeance with a baby in tow. There are 6 films in the series, not counting Shogun Assassin which is an edit of the first 2 in the series into one movie, so there is plenty of time to hash out the future of the father and son.

Sword Of Vengeance, to put it simply, is great. The direction is extremely stylish, especially during the fight scenes, which have fantastic choreography. Their is such a tight artistic vision that raises it above most bloody revenge films. Not that it is short on the blood, it flows... and sprays freely. Limbs are hacked off, heads roll... there is no shortage of violence and excellent swordplay. The acting is good across the board and the baby son is adorable. There is also a lot of breast feeding, human and animal. I don't know if I've ever seen it happen as much as it did here. The first time it happens is weird as hell too.

Moving on from the boobs, this movie really is very cool and it has me ready to steamroll through the rest of the series but I must pace myself to avoid burning out on them.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October Horror Challenge Day 31 - The Wrap Up

Now that it is officially November and all we have to look forward to for a while is dinners with family we are obligated to talk to once a year, annoyingly long lines anywhere you go and crappy weather I suppose the October Horror Challenge is over. The last day for me was mostly filled with helping out my little cousins get ready to trick or treat and then handing out candy. The smaller of the 2 boys is 6 years old and Dracula was on TV while we were getting stuff ready and he was mesmerized, seeing what he was for Halloween on screen almost exactly (he was a "classic vampire"). During the commercial breaks they showed ads for Creature From The Black Lagoon and Frankenstein. He immediately wanted to know all about them. Then Hammer's version of The Mummy came on and he was again stunned at what he was seeing. He couldn't get enough. I don't know if a horror head was born yesterday but there is no better time than October 31st for that to happen.

The movies I actually watched were Trick 'R Treat and Halloween. I'm sure you all know plenty about Halloween so I won't say too much about it other than it is my 2nd favorite movie and I love the shit out of it. Trick 'R Treat gets a little more attention every year after sitting on the shelf for far too long because the studio couldn't get it's collective head of it's ass and release it. It is a great anthology film with a few different stories intertwining together about the spirit and tradition of Halloween. Everything about this movie is wonderful and I hope you'll check it out if you haven't. It has become a tradition to watch it on the 30th or 31st.

Halloween - 10/10
Trick 'R Treat - 9.5/10

The Wrap Up:
This challenge was a big mixed bag. Some good, some bad. The movies and life in general. The movies helped me escape the endless drama though, and the nights I got to spend watching with friends were great. This is my third year doing this challenge along with DVDTalk and I'm ready for next year... well not really but I know I will be soon. Thanks to anyone that read the blog over the course of the month especially those that read it daily. And a big thanks to anyone that liked CT on Facebook. Hopefully some cool bigger stuff will be happening as I've been wanting to do for a while, in the near future. Now on to some fun stuff from the challenge...

The Stats:
Entries- 108 (100 feature films, 4 tv (120 minutes compiled), 1 short film (90 minutes compiled), 3 wild cards) (previous best was 107)

First Time Viewings (Feature Films) - 50 of 100 feature films = 50%

Average Rating /10 (Feature Films) - 6.76

Favorite 1st Time Viewings - [REC]2, Sledgehammer, The Deadly Spawn, Swamphead

Worst Movie - Slaughtered Vomit Dolls (you already knew that)

Biggest Surprise - Swamphead (I expected to like it, but not that much)

Biggest Disappointment - Halloween 6 producer's cut

Random Thought To Sum It Up - The whole Vomit Gore genre can go fuck itself and Kevin Smith can join them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Horror Challenge Day 30

Very late start today as I was busy with football and just being in a funk. I eventually got started and watched the Simpson Treehouse of Horror XXII... it was possibly the least funny Halloween special the show has ever produced. Even though the show has been on a steady decline for a while the Halloween special is usually funny. Not this time.

Then came episode 3 of The Walking Dead season 2... this was better than last week's. Sets up a few characters for their turns in the story and there wasn't a ton of melodrama. It still isn't perfect and probably won't ever live up to the books but it is getting interesting again and that is good.

Alucarda was the only actual movie I watched, but it is a goody. If you've never seen it it can be summed up in 4 words - bloody, naked, Satan, 70s. Some demonic possession, orgies (which by chance became a bit of a theme this month), nuns and monks catching fire, a blood filled coffin... all the fun stuff. Oh and lesbianism. Can't forget that. You'll probably like it if you've made it this far.

Today's Rundown
Simpsons Treehouse of Horror 22 - not funny
Walking Dead 2.3 - heading in the right direction
Alucarda - 9/10

October Horror Challenge Day 29

After a late late night and feeling pretty rough all day, the 29th of October wasn't a very productive one. Not just for movies but for complete human activity. I did squeeze in a couple of flicks though.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. I first saw this around the same time I saw part 4 but time hasn't been as kind to this one. I don't know what direction they wanted to go with this one but it really seems like 2 separate movies. The first hour is bad. Really bad. There are questionable decisions made like killing off a main character to simply replace her with a friend and have literally no consequence from the main girl dying. There are 2 Barney Fife cops who ham it up every time they're on screen and there is awful hokey music played when they act like idiots. I don't get this but this incredibly forced comedic relief, which isn't needed in the least, doesn't work and takes you out of the film. After the first hour is done being a shitty attempt at a funny and scary body count film the movie actually gets down to being a Halloween film and focuses on Jamie and Dr. Loomis. The tone totally changes and Michael Myers starts to act a bit more like Michael Myers. The slash becomes a bit more stalk, and the film gets darker. Oh, and Myers looks awful in this movie. How hard is it to give him a mask that doesn't look like it came out of a Halloween store?

Then I finally watched the Producer's Cut of Halloween 6. This is years in the making for me. I've read and been told that it is so much better than the theatrical cut and yadda yadda. Well, it's different. I wouldn't say it's better or worse (though I'll probably come to the conclusion that it was a little better). This movie is a fucking mess though. There is so little continuity in simple things like where people are or how they got there. Not just with Myers either, a character will be outside then the next shot they're in a basement. I don't totally mind the whole Thorn mythos but I realized while watching this for the first time it makes Michael Myers look like a total bitch. They could have handled it better. Also, this movie has more twist reveals than a fucking Saw movie.

Today's Rundow
Both get a 5/10

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Horror Challenge Day 28

First up was a re-watch of a movie, Haxan. However I did watch it with commentary for the first time. The movie is a 1922 silent film about the history of witchcraft through the ages, presented as a "documentary" with acted out scenes. The director heavily researched the events for 2 years prior to making the film. This is a pretty groundbreaking film and it has incredible imagery. Well worth watching, and the commentary track is very informative.

Then came Ghoulies 2. If you don't know about the Ghoulies movies you can probably figure it out just from the title. They are cheesy little monsters running amok. I don't think this movie (or the first) gets nearly as over the top and fun as they should. Part 2 is a slight improvement over the first, but that isn't saying much.

And my day comes to an early end with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Just something to kill the time before tonight's party. I've always enjoyed this sequel for what it is. Nostalgia may play a part in how much I like it but that's fine by me. My biggest complaint is that Michael Myers looks like an idiot in this entry.

Today's Rundown
Haxan - 8.5/10
Ghoulies 2 - 5.5/10
Halloween 4 - 8/10

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October Horror Challenge Day 27

I spent much of the day running different errands and getting and assembling my Halloween costume for a party tomorrow night so my movie watching time was cut short. Thanks to an early start in the wee hours of the morning I got in a respectable 3.

It all started with Schramm which was not only a first time viewing but my first experience with Jorg Buttgereit. The German director made a handful of well regarded and apparently disgusting films in the early 90s. I watched Schramm via "other methods" since the DVDs of his films go for outrageous prices. This was 65 spent with a serial killer and delving into his mind. It was a well made picture, showing the human and monster side of the man with equal beauty and horror. Not an easy viewing and almost 24 hours later I don't know if watching it at 2am helped or hurt my opinion of the picture but I did find it to be good.

Next up was the timeless Its The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This is a classic every child needs to see and grow up with. It is just good Halloween fun and spirit. The Blu needs to come down in price though, $13 for a half hour show? Come on now.

I finished up this day with the newly released Blu Ray of Lucio Fulci's The House By The Cemetery. I've never thought of this as an example of Fulci's best work but I've always found easy entertainment. The Blu looks very nice, and I didn't even find Bob's dub voice to be all that annoying. This is a major improvement because it is honestly one of the worst sounding things to ever exist. I found it a bit better this time around no doubt thanks to not wanting to rip my ears from my head.

Today's Rundown
Schramm - 8/10
Charlie Brown - great childhood memories
The House By The Cemetery - 7/10

October Horror Challenge Day 26

I hate spiders but I do love Black Belly Of The Tarantula. This giallo from director Paolo Cavara will never be considered as shocked as the Mondo films he worked on but it is generally held as one of the better films from the giallo cycle, with good reason. The story moves along at a nice pace, the acting is good even from the 3 different Bond girls in the movie and Ennio Morricone's score is fantastic. After not seeing this movie for a good 3-4 years it came back to me the moment I heard it. While there isn't a ton of blood/gore to speak of the depravity of the murders will surely satisfy the gorehounds.

Next up was Meridian, essentially Full Moon's version of Beauty And The Beast. This wasn't a particularly bad movie aside from the fact that nothing fucking happens for an hour of the 80 some odd minute run time. There's an orgy of sorts in the beginning and a pretty hilarious looking "beast" running around but other than that it is just a whole lot of talking about a curse and "the lady of the castle". And the ending we all knew was coming finishes it out.

I then popped in Death Carries A Cane which I thought was a first time viewing but about 5 minutes realized I had seen it before... and only a few months ago. Oh, the toll this month takes on the brain.

So instead I ended the day with The Black Castle which co-stars Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney jr. Can't complain about that cast. It was a pretty good suspenseful revenge flick with the horrors of any Austrian Baron's castle... alligator pits, dungeons, poison, a deranged butler, a killer leopard from Africa. This was an enjoyable first time viewing.

Today's Rundown
Black Belly Of The Tarantula - 9/10
Meridian - 4/10
The Black Castle - 6/10

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Horror Challenge Day 25

Aliens started out day 25, it had been quite a while since I watched any movie from the series and decided to go with the first sequel. It is a very good follow up to the original and has a good cast. Everything about it is entertaining, but it just isn't as good as the first. James Cameron will never be the director Ridley Scott was when he made Alien and Bladerunner.

Then a Vincent Price double feature to celebrate 100 years of him on the anniversary of his passing. The Masque Of The Red Death was first. Price is very cruel to almost everybody in this movie as Prince Prospero and even has a 2nd role. The scenes in the woods are incredibly shot and are some of my favorite scenes from any Corman/Price collaboration.

Then came The Abominable Dr. Phibes which probably shares the honor of my favorite Price movie with Masque. The set pieces in this are phenomenal as is Price who doesn't even get to open his mouth. The climax/final chase is expertly sequenced.

The Legend Of Sorrow Creek was next and if you ever come across this movie just stay away from it. I won't be to blame for the taste of shit in your mouth when you watch it.

Finally I went to bed with The Exorcist. This was my first time watching it on Blu and it looks good. I still think the movie is overrated. By no means bad but not nearly as good as everyone makes it out to be. There are good performances and nice cinematography but it just doesn't pull it together to the perfect package for me. Still worth watching and re-watching.

Today's Rundown
Aliens - 8/10
The Masque Of The Red Death - 8.5/10
The Abominable Dr. Phibes - 8.5/10
The Legend Of Sorrow Creek - 1.5/10
The Exorcist - 8/10

Monday, October 24, 2011

October Horror Challenge Day 24

Today started with a re-watch of a highly underrated, or at least a not talked about enough movie from David Cronenberg called The Brood. This is pretty typical Cronenberg fare for the time period. Bloody, violent, smart, and involving some sort of nastyness involving the human body. Gross stuff in the best possible way.

Next up was my first viewing of Embodiment of Evil. This marks the return of Coffin Joe for the first time in decades, and director (and Coffin Joe himself) Jose Mojica Marins hasn't lost it. This is as mean spirited as Joe was 40 years ago. All he wants is to conceive his perfect son so he can be immortal... and he'll do all sorts of awful things to make it happen.

Then came the incredibly long winded title of Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2: In Shocking 2-D. Yes that is serious... well sort of. This movie from 1991 is a spoof done over George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. The director erased all of the soundtrack and added in his own dialogue and music. It is as stupid as it sounds and sporadically funny. While I did laugh hard a few times it dragged for me and I could have done without watching this.

Today's Rundown
The Brood - 8.5/10
Embodiment Of Evil - 8/10
NOTDOT - 4/10

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October Horror Challenge Day 23

Mario Bava's Black Sunday aka The Mask Of Satan started things off. This gothic horror is top notch. One of Bava's best films and just a pleasure to watch. Barbara Steele is great as usual and the atmosphere is so thick. If you and Mario Bava haven't met acquaintances let me introduce you to him through this movie.

Then came Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Musicals aren't for everyone and I'm normally not a fan of them but this one is pretty cool. A totally miserable looking London, Johnny Depp doing great with his role and human meat pies. This is a fun watch once a year or so.

I finished the day with the new episode of The Walking Dead. The new season is already being handled sloppily. I still find it entertaining but all of a sudden the zombies can run? And how did a zombie so stealthily separate a member of the group by about 30 yards in literally the blink of an eye? Ugh, I didn't hate it but I really have higher hopes for this season than this episode.

Today's Rundown
Black Sunday - 8.5/10
Sweeney Todd - 7/10

October Horror Challenge Day 22 & SWAMPHEAD

Day 22 of this challenge will be I'll never forget for numerous reasons, mainly bad. There was some potentially life altering things that I'll never forgive happening to myself and my family. I was able to knock out a couple of movies before the day really got started but after that the challenge in continuing with the challenge wasn't even close to the most difficult part. In a definitely twisted yet thankful turn of events tonight was the world premiere of a movie I'd been looking forward to for months.

But first was Child's Play 2 just because. This is my favorite of the series, and after part 3 I don't care much for them outside of the sporadic joke. Chucky is at a proper mix of dangerous and funny here, and Andy is still young enough where the killer doll angle works just fine. The classroom scene is hilarious and there are some funny one liners. Nothing incredible, but a fun slasher to visit as often as the nasty grandparents who give you cool presents... only once in a while.

Then came the Night Of The Living Dead remake which was directed by Tom Savini, the acclaimed fx artist. I've probably said "this is one of the first horror movies I ever saw" about 25 times this month but this movie may very well be the one that started it all. I'm pretty sure it is but around the age of 7 there are a few I know I saw, but none of them have quite the initial impact that this one does. It certainly isn't as good or important as the original but I think it is underrated. It is a good remake with really good performances and story. Tony Todd and Patricia Tallman shine in this. I actually think Tallman's character is a big improvement over the original Barbara. There are enough characters who aren't mentally able to fight and have the instinct to flee (and just be stupid) instead of fight. To be fair, Tallman's Barbara is the only character in either movie to repeatedly suggest that they can simply walk passed them because of how slow they are and that certainly wouldn't be the worst choice they could have made. I really enjoy this one.

Here is where the entry turns into a long gush fest...

Swamphead. A movie with such a title makes you think of what I can only describe as "silly shit". And sometimes that is all we want, shit that is silly. This movie doesn't hold back. It has offensive characters, questionable dialogue, hilarious one liners, nauseating effects and morally reprehensible content. For those of you that didn't click the link today to watch the FREE ONLINE WORLD PREMIERE here is what you missed - An ancient relic is found at the bottom of a lake which was keeping the dead head of Robert Gross aka Swamphead. The most ridiculously thrown together group of seriously socially inept teens come across it on a camping trip and have a really bad time. A killer decaying head, a retard shitting his pants, and dicks being chewed off. What more could you want? How about the one liner "holy choco taco look at that post mortem turd!". Yea, exactly. If you can't picture the scene from the movie you know you blew it now.

In all seriousness, Swamphead is a movie that was obviously made by a group of people that were passionate about it. It has its faults, even for a low budget tongue-in-cheek horror comedy. But what movie of that type doesn't? It is legitimately better than any movie of it's type has any right to be. It was written with total disregard to what may be seen as appropriate and only what the film making team wanted was used. That is how movies should be made. This would be a long standing cult classic if it was made by Troma in the mid 80s. As it stands it is already a cult classic to me, and soon all of you will understand soon. When it is released it will be found right next to the clams... next to the cottage cheese by the fucking clams!

Swamphead is a fucking winner.

Today's Rundown
Child's Play 2 - 7.5/10
NOTLD remake - 8/10
Swamphead - 8.5/10

Friday, October 21, 2011

October Horror Challenge Day 21

Today was a day filled with an awful lot of walking around an "adventure farm" (whatever the hell that means) with my family and my little cousins running me ragged. I am worn out typing this and getting ready to enjoy a couple of movies to start out day 22... but this is about day 21.

The Mist started things off. If you weren't one of the 16 people that saw it in theaters (ooh ohh I was!) than you missed out. I really liked the movie then and found it to be a moving piece of film and a great horror movie. That was the first and only time I watched it in color. Director Frank Darabont wanted to film it in B&W but that just isn't cool with the kids today so the studio wouldn't allow it. Thankfully for us technology prevailed and it was released in black and white on the subsequent DVD and Blu-Ray releases. And it really does add to the film. The first thing you'll notice is that the sometimes messy CGI, due to budget constraints, is cleaned up greatly. This is most notable in the loading dock tentacle scene. But the lack of color adds to the atmosphere so deeply. This is so much more than weird monster creatures from another dimension, it is the horrors of humanity, religion, pride, and so much more. This movie, particularly the ending has divided its audience greatly, see it and form your opinion. I love it.

Next up was the original King Kong, my first time seeing it on Blu-Ray. HD really does wonders for it. Nothing needs to be said about the movie, it's timeless, has spawned several remakes (with mixed results) and had ground breaking special effects. On top of that it is just a fun movie to watch. There is a giant gorilla, dinosaurs, hostile natives, bombs, and more. It is nice to be able to watch it in a clean print that doesn't try to make it look like Iron Man or Transformers.

I closed the day out with George Romero's Night Of The Living Dead. I don't need to say much about this. You already know if you aren't familiar with it you aren't much of a genre fan. This movie is responsible for the zombie movie, tv show, and culture as a whole as we know it.

Today's Rundown
The Mist - 9/10
King Kong - 8.5/10
Night Of The Living Dead - 9/10