Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Well, I have continued to juggle around the movie I want to kick off Midnight. I certainly plan for a "werewolvery" day, and it was for a little while on my mind to do it October 1st. But the more I think about it, the more I'm settling on Phantasm as the opening film. One thing's for sure...this year Paul Naschy will be making the cut with some of his El Hombre Lobo movies. I will actually have a couple of First Time Views, with "Magic Sword" & "Yeti" movies involving Naschy's cursed lycanthropy. I would love to find a copy of Frankenstein's Bloody Terror (or, my title for it, Mark of the Wolfman), but attaining a copy has been quite elusive. I would love to also include Curse of the Devil, Night of the Werewolf, & Werewolf Shadow, but I guess it'll determine time constraints which have been burdening me the past two years. I found Cry of the Werewolf, a little-known Columbia Pictures gothic horror, directed with what seems to be a "Val Lewton" inspired "less is more" approach. Fox's The Undying Monster is another I'd like to include in my "werewolvery" marathon of lycanthrope features. My goal, though, is to make sure to get in the required "newbies", and I have a shitload of them to choose from. So happy times ahead. Just a few hours away...yay!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Well, the blog is going October orange and black for the month in its color scheme as I can't think of any other way to celebrate the month in the style it deserves. The anticipation builds, folks, and only three days away is our annual monthly binge on horror of all kinds. Sure, by the end, exhaustion sets in but kicking it off is always a blast.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Welp, the anticipation is stewing...

There's nothing I quite enjoy than mulling over what my first film will be for Halloween-month (I've grown to feel that Halloween isn't just a day but a month of horror-loving joy). I have about three that are duking it out for the first month. I have a rather obscure Columbia Pictures werewolf movie seemingly inspired by Val Lewton, starring Nina Foch, called Cry of the Werewolf, Murnau's Nosferatu seems just right for Midnight, the witching hour, as October begins as the clock strikes twelve, and an old mainstay, Dracula's Daughter, a film which opened the month for years prior to last year, has crept back into my heart. I decided, after a two-year absence, to rejoin the IMDB horror board for the October challenge (Christianne's banner here), which requires me to watch 16 new movies along with the old favorites (31 is the goal, which I'm confidant to surpass rather easily), and I have a slew of new horrors I can choose from. What is always interesting is how to determine what "makes the cut". I think a lot of my peers are looking specifically for potential gems that surprise us. A few years ago, a vampire flick featuring Alice Cooper and Malcolm McDowell, called Suck, was such an example. Sometimes, an older movie that finds its way into the list surprises horror fans that maybe us vets had been familiar with for some time. Not long ago I watched a nice little 70s cult film called Nightmare in Blood about a real vampire at a horror convention in San Francisco during October which again proved that nothing is as cool as making discoveries during the most awesome month of the year for us true genre fans. I guess part of the process is going through a number of potential "prospects" and weeding out what might be that gem and what will probably be a stinker...however, this isn't always that easy. I would like to FINALLY watch Noroi and maybe Bloodthirsty Freaks this October, both being First Time viewings. I would like to have a variety of foreign titles making the cut this year. Still, I fill my watch-list with a number of the Universal and Hammer flicks as they aren't watched by me all that much during the rest of the year. Selectivity is key, in October, so I will have to include a bunch of new viewings early then allow myself the luxury to Jones on the films that have always been close to my horror heart. Excited and pumped, just the same.

A week or so....

Banner courtesy of Christianne Benedict at Krell Laboratories Blog   

Friday, September 19, 2014

FeardotCom


Well, October is soon, but FeardotCom is not a film that is on the month's multi-horror docket. Still, William Malone is the kind of director who knows his shit and a good homage never hurts when a character in his film is in passing. Dr. Gogol from Mad Love gets a little love from Malone in his extremely dark neo-noir horror film. The fact that it is Udo Kier passing by it, with a book in hand meant to hint at what is plaguing his psyche while fleeing something quite sinister, adds a nice touch.


Malone, still quite inspired, decides to name Udo's character after novelist Polidori, famed for The Vampyre and often mentioned in horror stories due to his link to the genre. FeardotCom is sited as terrible and ugly, but Malone made sure to include winks to horror fans like him.










The film is rather critically reviled (bit of an understatement) and thought of with quite a list of negative comments (choose your substitute in the thesaurus for foul), but just from the very opening, I found FeardotCom quite visually striking. It’s clear that Malone used the budget afforded to him and added a visual flair that did help to diffuse some of the blunt force trauma existing in the dreary plot which has us wallowing in all the unpleasantness. I thought that opening with Kier unable to escape what he was running from. A subway tossing him off and what seems like a ghost approaching him, cop Stephen Dorff is called to investigate his death (the look of fear locked in a fixed state of horror on his Udo’s face), curious as to what the hell was behind Kier’s mysterious fate. Bodies start to appear in NYC much like Kier and so, Dorff has quite a case on his hands.







With Dept of Health investigator Natascha McElhone and partner Jeffrey Combs (stealing scenes as a foul-mouthed wise-cracker, with barbs that often carry acid), Dorff will attempt to solve the cause of the epidemic and find a serial killer he’s been after (played by Stephen Rea). Rea is a creep and Malone has us experience what it is like for him to prey on a victim, through a selection process, recording her movements, and even some flattery.










The plot has some rather odd details. A certain website seems to leave lasting mental “defects” that causes those who view it to become anxious, out-of-control, hallucinatory, and eventually overcome by ear. Blood from their eyes, a look of total fear, and a stroke leave signs behind as to what this site does. When McElhone’s boss is a victim, her personal involvement in solving the reasoning behind the “fear epidemic” gains in relevance.






The subject matter for FeardotCom is certainly black as pitch, and I can only imagine that Rea’s psychopath is more than his share of polarizing as his behavior is so repulsive and psychotic (what a perverse creep and predator, preying on the desire of a certain kind of woman he can torture and harm for a select group of internet audience interested in the diabolical nature of mankind. The bad taste in this movie’s plot and how off-putting its characters often are has left this film with an enduring vocal disgust.

 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Go





 ***

The impact of a drug dealing plan is felt in a number of ways as grocery employees (and those that interact with them) during a night after work encounter unexpected difficulties.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blue Crush

Bosworth looks on as the dangerous waves crash in Blue Crush (2002)


I kind of like surfing movies. Point Break is one of my favorite films of the 90s and The Endless Summer films are a pleasant pleasure of mine. While Blue Crush has a plot that isn’t all that extraordinary, I do recall my wife and I seeing it back in 2002, believe it or not. Michelle Rodriguez has been in a little bit of everything since her breakout in Girlfight. Continuing through the Hollywood wave, riding it rather successfully, genre movie after genre movie, Rodriguez has not let her star fade. In Blue Crush, she’s riding shotgun as Kate Bosworth was getting her feet wet as a lead in movies, early in her career. Basically, girlfriends live to ride the waves in Hawaii, supplementing their income with lousy resort jobs. Bosworth has the great potential of becoming a major surfing star if she can overcome the haunt of a dangerous wave that prevents her from going all the way. Rodriguez questions her freezing, mainly because she knows Bosworth is holding herself back from greatness. Meanwhile, football players are staying at the resort, with the star quarterback (played by Matthew Smith) interested in Bosworth, and vice versa. As these romances go, football player ladies snub their noses at Bosworth while the surfers that frequent the beach she does question her loyalty to the area as Bosworth helps to show Smith surfing lessons. The plot is of the Lifetime Movie Channel variety, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this has been on there numerous times. This was far from my mind, but just so happened to come on late one night on Cinemax, and I was surprisingly drawn to Blue Crush once again. I guess I find the underdog story irresistible considering eye candy are on the menu (“box cover”/movie poster), and Hawaii is featured heavily as the alluring setting. I love the use of the waves in motion and surfers hoping to ride them. Beautiful locale and girls makes for a rather okay diversion, I guess. The “locals versus outsiders” animosity in surfer movies is nothing new so it showing up in Blue Crush didn’t surprise me. Her falling for Ken Doll Matthew Smith didn’t surprise me, either. Bosworth's passion for surfing and competition is called into question by Rodriguez and her peers, as the whole romantic angle with Smith compromises her life and duty to them. But as a movie about the hunger for surfing and the stunning setting, I was won over enough. I did like that Bosworth didn’t win the “Pipeline Masters”, although exorcising her demons by fulfilling the rode wave after her history of fear regarding almost drowning allowed for the Rocky ending, with her attaining sponsorship and future success. Like a backup to Milla in Resident Evil, Rodriguez had to do the second-fiddle support to Bosworth here. At least, she didn’t have to endure that with Jordana Brewster in the Fast and the Furious films.




Monday, September 1, 2014

Anatomy of Hell


*½


Look, I for one consider abuse porn a disgusting, sickening display that revolts me to the point I want to puke. I prefer to see love-making and sex as a beautiful, sensual experience where women are pleasured, not grotesquely mistreated. I don’t know what kind of psycho-sexual bullshit director Catherine Breillat was putting me through with Anatomy of Hell, but it was certainly like sitting through hell just to get through it without wanting to turn the damn movie off. I guess there is a point regarding an object sticking way out of Amira Casar’s ass or Rocco Siffredi “encouraged” to drink a glass of water with a bloody tampon for added flavor. Maybe Rocco licking menstrual fluid of Casar’s from his fingers, or using a vegetable to bury in Casar’s vagina is a message of some sort. I imagine this is some sort of artistic expression about us scumbag men and unfortunate women who have to deal with us. I’m perfectly aware that plenty of men consider women merely sexual objects or conquests. They are notches on a belt who will say what they will to just land woman in the sack, have their way with them, and discard them like trash once boredom sets in. I don’t dispute this. Sexual politics and complex relationships are fertile ground for exploration and artistic expression. Breillat’s film has this sullen, sad sack who “rescues” Casar (should he have? That’s up for debate, I guess), and the film focuses on their time together in the villa that overlooks the rushing waves below a cliff. Amira and Rocco are beautiful people put together, no doubt, and their willingness to lay it bare and do as Breillat desires is commendable. At one point the vagina has lipstick applied all around it before coitus is engaged. Rocco penetrates Amira while she dozes or pretends to not care (I chose the latter). Sex isn’t enjoyed here. It is made ugly and gross. I guess that’s a statement. Some will like this, I think. I felt that there are plenty of people who consider the female condition (PMS, how they are objectified, etc.) this ugly thing that should be in our face and addressed in the most blunt fashion possible. All this said, while I considered this film a miserable experience overall, I believe Amira (before all the sexual blunt force trauma) is a beautiful woman who eschews the security (mostly; I have read that close-ups were performed by someone else) often provided to lead actresses regarding what we see of her and spends a lot of time naked. A total comfort in her skin is evident. She believes in the message Breillat kicks us in the nuts with. Rocco does what is asked of him, too. He’s courageous (or totally subservient to the director and material of the film) in that his character is required to be a victim and accomplice in aberrant, deviant behavior. Yuck.

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The Boogens - Intro

While I must admit that as a monster movie, The Boogens (1981) doesn’t quite measure up (its monsters aren’t particularly menacing ...