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Showing posts from October, 2015
Well, Halloween has once again come and about gone. I decided my Halloween "night movie" would once again be Halloween III: Season of the Witch. I just won't go into details on its many flaws, but the look and sound, the genuine feel of what lies in wait for innocent children thanks to the intimidating Dan O'Herilhy, is solid Halloween entertainment. The Stonehenge (one of the stones being transported and used as a cosmic weapon that can produce bugs and snakes protruding from an insignia attached to the masks), why the killer mask maker wouldn't just kill Challis (Tom Atkins) and be rid of him instead of creating an android out of Ellie (Elkin) to later try and murder him, the time zones that would disrupt the power of the cosmic destroyer when the commercial signal was televised to all the children, and the continuance of commercials showing up on television non-stop; all of these moments that are questionable, do sort of provoke us into debating the weaknesses…
Well, off to sleep I shall after finishing Isle of the Dead (1945), a horror film that seems to have gained momentum since its early release. Karloff as a Greek general, and an American reporter accompanying him to an isle known as a cemetery of the dead. Karloff's wife is buried there, so he hears a lovely voice he plans to follow in order to learn of who had been despoiling graves of the dead on the isle. He meets an assortment of nationalities from various countries, just so happening to be on the isle as a plague sweeps through. A supposed cursed witch is drummed up by a woman who owns property on the isle, allowing an antiquities expert to run the lodging on the isle. Karloff calls for his doctor and they determine that the isle cannot be left as his men (in war) must not be allowed to catch the plague. Soon they start falling prey to plague, death, infighting, and superstition. Catalepsy leads to a burial-alive development unleashing a mad woman to get revenge on Karloff and…
Often mentioned after the likes of Cat People & I Walked with a Zombie, Robert Wise’s The Body Snatcher (1945) is my personal favorite of the Val Lewton series. To me, it has one of the best characters and performances of Karloff’s career. What a snake that will do whatever it takes to stay in the life of a professor of anatomy, assistant to Knox, a surgeon notorious for receiving the bodies from heinous murdering graverobbers, Burke and Haire. At any rate, Henry Daniell is tormented by Cabman Gray (Karloff), unable to dismiss him from his life. Gray supplies him bodies from the local Edinburgh cemetery, but this activity will soon be stopped as graves will soon be guarded and cut off. Karloff’s voice and how he creeps about, devious and wretched, and what motivates him; he’s masterful. Daniell is a different kind of evil. He’s the genius, sure, but how he achieves his success, willing to turn a blind eye to the murder that so obviously happens in order for those fresh bodies to …
It is always the same every October: when do I watch Halloween (1978). I thought about watching this as soon as two weeks ago right around when I started night shift. I thought this would be the perfect "sundown viewing" right before work. One of the reasons I have always liked this is when the film starts with Laurie, it is her on the way to school, in school, after school, and into the night. I like how the sun finds its way into the car of Annie and Laurie while driving to Tommy Doyle and Lindsey's houses to babysit. It is primarily a night movie, but I have always considered it a nice viewing for the afternoon. This year I went back and forth on when to watch the film and decided Midnight as Halloween day begins was a right fit.

This go-around I enjoyed Annie's jokes, and tried as I might not to focus on how green the neighborhoods were as the girls  went on their walkabout, the organic nature of teenagers talking and walking always entertains me.

Interestingly, …
Hammer movies were showing today on TCM, but I slept to 3 in the afternoon, having recorded them on the DVR. I had an interest in seeing a mixture today. Got in The Mummy (1959), which has Lee looking mighty fierce and menacing in his bandages while Cushing's archaeologist's son has to use his smarts in order to find a way not to be strangled by Kharis. This film, while no need was necessary, went to the Universal Studios' Kharis series for inspiration, including the awful one-armed gimmick where the Mummy strangles people without using both arms. I hate this when there is no reason. Just kill them with both hands so that when it happens, it looks more realistic. Lee, however, is superior to Chaney, Jr. in the menace department...he cuts that figure, tall and imposing in his swampy bandages (the coffin carrying him slides off from a boisterous carriage into a swamp outside of London in 1889), directed by an Egyptian who worships the god Karnak (George Pastell) to kill the …
So night shift has me all out of sorts. I'm up at the time many are waking up. American Werewolf in Paris just went off. I believe I watched this on Sundance or Showtime a couple years back. Look I'm a Julie Delpy mark...just adore her. This is just beneath her. Everett Scott is full of appeal and charm, but the film just parades bad CGI werewolves in a setting that deserves better. She showed her tits in it, but that being one of the best moments in the film won't be shown on syfy. She is so lovely that her casting makes sense, being a familiar to France and all...this could have been set anywhere and the results would have been the same. This film even uses the corpse that talks gag from Landis' film and runs it into the ground.
I feel like Macabre (1958) was William Castle getting his feet wet. I never felt like this was prime real estate as much as a plot of land in need of some grooming. Castle's movies always have characters with dastardly plans and appear to be one way but are actually quite another. Macabre is no different. This is my second Castle film of the month, and I have two more I plan to watch this year (Homicidal & The Tingler). I think you could state the case that Mr. Sardonicas is a much better option than Macabre, but the latter came on this morning, so I had the opportunity to record it on my DVR. So, matter of convenience. Yeah.

The film deals with a doctor (not a good man, at all, even though the film tries to put him over as a flawed human being who still loves his daughter and wishes to find her) dealing with a kidnapping of his daughter, supposedly buried somewhere in town...according to this laughing, sinister voice heard across the phone of the doctor's secretary (who s…
Like Dracula, my annual revisit to Hammer Studios' The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) is assured. I never tire of it. Good cast can do wonders with okay material. Cushing in the title role, as I have often mentioned whenever I write about Curse, is so *wrapped up in his work* as the scientist, he crumbles his entire world because of his obsession to create man from only the best body parts he can find. His tutor, Paul Krempe, built a type of brotherly relationship with Baron Victor Frankenstein as they worked on theories and experiments in the area of bringing life to the dead. But Victor just wasn't satisfied with that while Paul saw their work as a collaborative effort in the scientific breakthrough regarding resuscitating the dead, in the realm of surgery especially. The fracture that widens between them, and the friction that envelops them is the film's chief dramatic arc. Add to the equation of a cousin Victor is to marry as arranged (Hazel Court and her voluptuous figu…
October, at its start, always builds to Dracula (1931) and Halloween (1978), it seems. Dracula's Daughter seems to be the opener more often than not, and eventually Dracula. After watching two of Tod Browning's other films today, Freaks & The Devil-Doll (both for MGM), it often leads eventually to one of my all-time favorite horror films. The kids watched with me, this year, and as it often does, leaves me once again quite satisfied. Now I can't watch the film without the Glass and Kronos score applied to it. It gives Van Helsing's resistance of Dracula, their battle at a short distance, a bit of pop. Renfield's bug-eyed interludes when he escapes time and again from his asylum cell. The approach and entrance to Castle Dracula and the introduction to the Count. Individual sequences that never fail to excite me and leave me once again realizing why I love it as much as I do. The decadent ruins of Castle Dracula and Carfax Abbey, that unbearable fog and how it se…
On a separate note, the "human torso" lighting up a cigarette with a match on his own, with just his mouth, was amazing! And the way Browning provides individual scenes depicting the everyday of those in the circus, relationships and conversations, with humor that comments on how they interact with each other is rather refreshing and even endearing. To see them outside the spotlight of how supposed normal folk recognize them--as certain actors at MGM saw them as "exhibits on display"--since Browning grew up with this circus community and looked at them differently (he chose this project and actually paid the price after its notoriety earned him disdain with Hollywood's community), the film dares to express these people as human beings that aren't things. They are different, and maybe their appearance isn't considered worthy of your eyes, but that doesn't mean these people deserve the scorn and ridicule targeted at them. As a timepiece, this film is …

Who are the real Freaks?

I failed to mention the included Nightmare sequence of Laurie replacing her young brother, and Annie (a reminder of what Michael did to both of them) taped to a chair as Forsythe was in Zombie's first Halloween getting a throat slashing. This was quite a moment of madness as Rob admittedly had the girls Scream obscenities into a microphone to possibly use later! The director's cut has a lot of included bits and pieces that do indeed flesh out the film somewhat, but I have to say so much shouting and rage can eventually exhaust most people when there is so little relief.

Price at his most Cold Blooded

I watched this late Saturday night into the early Sunday morning. I have had it for a few weeks actually and just didn't know when the time was just right. I had this small window and the mood was right.

It is perfectly sadistic and its presentation isn't apologetic in how it shows two "witchfinders" (profiteers off of religiously fanatical (and obviously lustful for torture seen live or knowing torture was committed) just use violence in such diabolical ways with the end result already planned in advance. They will not leave those towns without the tortured perishing horribly, whether by drowning, hanging, or burning at the stake. Unpleasant and unsettling, as it should be (accusing, torturing, and killing innocent women (and men in certain instances) isn't pleasant or entertaining (or it shouldn't be). Price, due to his antagonistic relationship with director Reeves, is stone cold in the part of Matthew Hopkins, and the iconic actor distills from the darke…