***Official 7th Annual HTF October Scary Movie Challenge***

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Matt Stone, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Really? I thought it was an excellent "Horror via impending doom & the unknown" film. My favorite kind of horror movie (maybe I'm just sick of Japanese ghost stories). I gave it a 4 outa 5 last year. The ending was a little to Hellraiserish for me. But barbed wire seems to be a common horror-flick staple these days. Definately in my 'Top 10' horror films.
     
  2. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I'm looking forward to rewatching the first two Blind Dead films (as well as the "5th" Blind Dead movie later in the month). I hated parts 3 and 4 of the series but I might revisit them via the BU discs.


    Terror From the Year 5000 (1958) [​IMG][​IMG]

    AIP Sci-Fi has scientists from the present day trading items with someone from the year 5000. Everything's going fine until they send back a deformed woman who goes on a killing spree. The monster here is certainly the best thing with its rather ugly appearance but for some strange reason she doesn't show up until nearly the one hour mark. The film has a nice ending but things start off way too slow for its own good. There's a nice sequence where the film promotes and spoofs I Was a Teenage Frankenstein.

    Zombie '90 Extreme Pestilence (1991) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Ultra gory film from underground German director Andreas Schnaas has two scientists trying to kill a lot of zombies. Schnaas is known for his ultra gory films and this one here is no exception. The gore level is incredibly high and I'd go as far as to say this is one of the goriest films ever made. The ultra low budget doesn't really help matters but it really doesn't hurt things either since the acting, directing and story are all weak. There's a violent, bloody death every 30 seconds so gore hounds should be entertained.

    House of Terror (1959) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Mexican horror film has a group of thieves stealing a mummy (Lon Chaney, Jr.) and handing it over to a weird scientist. The scientist removes the mummy's bandages, which causes it to turn into a werewolf (also played by Chaney). This is the complete, unedited Spanish film but clips of this were used in Jerry Warren's American film Face of the Screaming Werewolf. This version I had to view without subtitles so I'm sure I missed some of the jokes going on inside the museum but even with the lack of subs the film wasn't too bad, although I prefer the American version due to how crazy it is.

    Chaos (2005) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I've been dying to see this film since Roger Ebert reviewed it last year, which caused a huge debate between himself and the filmmakers. What we've got here is yet another rip of The Last House on the Left, which of course was nothing more than a cheap rip of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring. Two girls go to a party where they walk off into the woods to buy drugs only to be raped, tortured and eventually murdered. As with the other film, the killer's eventually end up at one of the victim's house. I'm not a fan of the Craven film so it might seem strange that I'd give this a positive review but this film really shook me up with its message and the incredibly graphic and sexual violence. The film has been promoted as having the strongest violence of any film and I might just agree with that. The death scenes in the film are quite shocking and are so bad that they'll certainly stay in my mind forever. However, I don't think the film is only about violence because it works on a whole lot of emotions, which is something hard for any film to do. The film is very sad, depressing, ugly, mean and brutal. It's a very unpleasant film to watch but I believe that was the whole point. The filmmakers wanted to show ugliness at its very chore and the film captures that like not many have. The ending will probably stir up even more debate and at first I hated the ending but the more I think about it the more I think it supports today's culture. I found the performances to be incredibly good, which is another rare thing for a movie like this. Kevin Gage plays "Chaos" and is very menacing. I'm sure 99% of the people who view this movie (even the most jaded horror fans) are going to be disgusted at what they see. Hell, I was but I think that was the point to the film.

    **As an added side note, I've been reading various horror sites about opinions on the movie and I find it rather sad and funny that a lot are putting this film down for being a rip of the Craven movie. Yet, they don't seem to know that the Craven film was nothing more than a cheap rip of the Bergman movie. I personally feel the Bergman movie is one of the most beautiful films ever made so perhaps some of this controversy will lead viewers to that film as well.



    2006 Horror Challenge

    01. Crime of Dr. Crespi, The (1935) [​IMG][​IMG]
    02. Missing Guest, The (1938) [​IMG][​IMG]
    03. Torture Ship (1939) [​IMG][​IMG]
    04. Hand of Death (1962) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    05. Last Shark, The (1981) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    06. School Killer (2001) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    07. Blackenstein (1973) [​IMG][​IMG]
    08. Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    09. You'll Find Out (1940) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    10. Weird Woman (1944) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    11. Dead Man's Eyes (1944) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    12. Jess Franco's Perversions (2005) [​IMG][​IMG]
    13. Oomo-Oomo, The Shark God (1949) [​IMG][​IMG]
    14. Terror From the Year 5000 (1958) [​IMG][​IMG]
    15. Zombie '90 Extreme Pestilence (1991) [​IMG][​IMG]
    16. House of Terror (1959) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    17. Chaos (2005) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

     
  3. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I've seen that several times as well.
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde: 1920 - After being made to feel ashamed about his goodness, the benevolent Dr. Jeckyll (John Barrymore) concocts a potion to bring out his evil side in the form of Mr. Hyde. Unfortunately, soon after, the pesky Hyde keeps showing up on his own at the most inopportune times and things go tragically wrong, several times. Barrymore is absolutely fabulous, particularly in the Hyde incarnation. A real top notch piece of silent horror. One interesting thing I noticed is that even though Hyde is not the most pleasant sight to behold, nobody gives him a second look.

    Special note: The version in my 50 movie horror pack has a comically unsuitable soundtrack (can't identify it specifically, but it sounds like either Haydn or Handel) which often seems to hit peaks of joy right as the worst things are happening. Obviously, it was just grabbed from a recording with no consideration to how it fit the subject matter.
    4/5
     
  5. Rick Spruill

    Rick Spruill Stunt Coordinator

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    10/5

    Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, Jack Arnold) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    - This is one of the very first movies I remember seeing, it reamins a favorite to this day. I've always considered it to be the very best of the 50s "man in the rubber suit" movies. In my opinion, the iconic creature design is perfect. Music (although admittedly repetative at times), story, and acting are all above average. A wonderful movie.




    2006 Horror Challenge

    1st Time Viewings in bold:

    1. The Mole People (1956, Virgil W. Vogel) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    2. The Devil's Wedding Night (1973, Luigi Batzella) - [​IMG]
    3. The Monolith Monsters (1957, John Sherwood) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    4. The Black Castle (1952, Nathan Juran) - [​IMG][​IMG]
    5. Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976, William Grefe) - BOMB
    6. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, Jack Arnold) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    10/06/06
    I watched The Woods today. I don't think it'll be everyone's cup of tea but I dug it. Any Lucky McKee fan should rent it just to see something new from him. I think McKee has got a few great horror movies in him. This might not be that great one but it's coming. [​IMG]

    I've ditched the star system just because I hate it.
    New titles in bold. My list so far...
    01. Dr. Giggles
    02. Halloween II
    03. A Nightmare On Elm Street
    04. The Funhouse
    05. The Woods
     
  7. Brian Kissinger

    Brian Kissinger Screenwriter

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    Ghost in a Teeny Bikini (2006)
    Fred Olen Ray

    I picked this one out on title alone, hoping for a poor spoof complete with cheesy acting and gratuitous nudity. And that's sorta what I got. It actually is just a soft-core porno. And I have nothing against soft-core porn, when I'm in the mood for such, but it just wasn't what I was expecting. I still managed to chuckle a few times, and present here is the so bad they're almost good jokes, but the movie still left me flat.

    The Shining (1980)
    Stanley Kubrick

    This is just one of those yearly "must watch." I have nothing new to add, but just let me re-emphasize I would like to beat Shelley Duvall with a baseball bat too.

    Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
    John Carl Buechler

    It was on HBO, so I said, "What the Heckydoo." Jason kills a bunch of teenagers, and one of them has awesome, psychic powers. Not much to say, except I dig Jason's look here and this film features the sweet "sleeping-bag" death.

    Audition (1999)
    Takashi Miike

    I think this is one of those films whose reputation almost ruins a first viewing. The perception (be it right or wrong) I had of this film was it was a grueling, disturbing piece that would either leave you cheering or just plain disgusted. Well, that isn't what I took from it. I can see how some may find parts of the climax quite disturbing, but I was always waiting to be disturbed. I'm not sure if that says something about me, the increasing difficulty to "shock" audiences, or perhaps an undeserved reputation. I can say I enjoyed the film, but I can also honestly say I'm still not totally sure just what exactly happened and what didn't. And being a fan of ambiguity, I like that.



    1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) C
    2. Dawn of the Dead (2004) A-
    3. Haute Tension B-
    4. Ghost in a Teeny Bikini
    D
    5. The Shining A-
    6. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood C
    7. Audition B
     
  8. Rick Spruill

    Rick Spruill Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't you just hate that. Fortunately, when I first saw Audition, I knew almost nothing about it. Made for a great experience. I haven't given it a rewatch because I know a second viewing will never compare with the first time through.
     
  9. Andrew Schwarz

    Andrew Schwarz Stunt Coordinator

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    TOTAL THIS YEAR: 31
    TOTAL LAST YEAR: 13
    GOAL THIS YEAR: 40

    Red = First Time Viewing

    October 1:
    1. Identity (2003; James Mangold) B+

    October 2:
    2. The Blair Witch Project (1999; Eduardo Sanchez & Daniel Myrick) B+
    3. Phantasm (1979; Don Coscarelli) B-

    October 4:
    4. Hold That Ghost (1941; Arthur Lubin) A

    October 5:
    5. Idle Hands (1999; Rodman Flender) B+
    6. The Woods (2005; Lucky McKee) C

    October 6:
    7. The Kingdom (1995; Lars von Trier) B+
    8. Cat People (1943; Jacques Tourneur) B

    October 7:
    9. The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad (1949; James Algar, Clyde Geronimi & Jack Kinney) A-

    October 8:
    10. Sleepy Hollow (1999; Tim Burton) A-
    11. Wolf Creek (2005; Greg MacLean) C+

    October 9:
    12. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984; Wes Craven) B+
    13. The Leopard Man (1943; Jacques Tourneur) B-

    October 12:
    14. The Uninvited Guest (2004; Guillem Morales) B-

    October 13:
    15. Friday the 13th (1980; Sean S. Cunningham) C

    October 15:
    16. Hard Candy (2006; David Slade) B-

    October 16:
    17. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988; John Carl Buechler) C

    October 17:
    18. Feast (2005; John Gulager) B

    October 19:
    19. Salvage (2006; Joshua & Jeffrey Crook) C+

    October 24:
    20. Edmond (2006; Stuart Gordon) B+
    21. The Prophecy (1995; Gregory Widen) C
    22. Black Sabbath (1963; Mario Bava) B+

    October 25:
    23. Shaun of the Dead (2004; Edgar Wright) B+

    October 29:
    24. Saw III (2006; Darren Lynn Bousman) D
    25. The Frighteners (Director's Cut) (1996; Peter Jackson) B+
    26. Dark Waters (1994; Mariano Baino) B

    October 30:
    27. Below (2002; David Twohy) A-

    October 31:
    28. May (2003; Lucky McKee) B+
    29. Frankenstein (1931; James Whale) B+
    30. Bride of Frankenstein (1935; James Whale) A-
    31. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966; Alan Rafkin) B+
     
  10. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Re: Audition

    This one didn't bother me either (well, except when she kills the cute lil' beagle puppy - now that was just mean!).
    I guess I can chalk that up to having previously seen movies like Salo and Irreversible. [​IMG]
     
  11. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Rating system: 1-5 (Awful, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent)
    1st time movies listed in bold
    foriegn language films (personal challenge) in red

    06/10 - Since the last three movies I watched are still in turnaround from Netflix today I watched two more from the ol' personal collection.

    In The Mouth Of Madness (1995) - While not adapted from any particular Lovecraft work, this film stands as one of the better Lovecraftian movies. So it's a very good member of it's own genre, but in the general pool of horror its only so-so.
    Rating 3


    The Ring (2002) - A remake of Hideo Nakata's Ring, The Ring (Gore Verbinski) is one of the few movies who's success or fail (as art, not financially) cannot be argued for or against, you either thought
    "Its the scariest movie ever" Rating 5 or
    "Its not scary at all" Rating 1 (a regular Occam's Razor of cinematic taste.)

    *If you hated The Ring, it should technically get a minimum rating of 2, but the artifically inflated (because everyone else said so) anticipation of seeing "the scariest movie ever", when finally experienced as anything less than pants-wetting terror, results in an acute perception of anger that overrides any artistic merit of the film to the point that it can make you physically ill.
    Naturally after any such event, a personal can build-up an immunity to such movie advertising, and it can take several years until you become capable of such levels of anticipation again. Like the period of time between the theatrical releases of The Blair Witch Project and The Ring

    This topic brings up the subject of proper classification. The above mentioned scenario occures every few years, and having a proper eponymous adage will certainly help arguements in the future. I personally suggest we use The Blair Witch Project because I hate it.

    The Blair Witch Project Axiom: Any horror movie that inspires a reference level of fear or terror in a select portion of the populace, but inspires an equal grade of loathing and anger in an equally large portion of the populace leaving no possible room for centrism.
    ie. "The Blair Witch Project will make you shit your pants in fear or punch a fellow theater patron in rage".

    2006 Horror Challenge
    01. Mask of the Demon
    (1960) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    02. Baron Blood (1972) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    03. Event Horizon (1997) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    04. An American Werewolf In London (1981) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    05. Jacob's Ladder (1990) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    06. The Ninth Gate (1999) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    07. Night Of The Blind Terrors (1971) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    08. Attack Of The Dead People Without Eyes (1973) [​IMG][​IMG]
    09. The Damned Ship (1974) [​IMG][​IMG]
    10. In The Mouth Of Madness (1995) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    11. The Ring (2002) [​IMG]/[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  12. Mario Gauci

    Mario Gauci Cinematographer

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    10/01/06: THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M (Fernando Mendez, 1958) ***

    Despite my satisfactory encounter with EL VAMPIRO (1957) a few years back, this is still just my second Mexican horror film of its vintage!

    Given a complex and fascinating plot to work with – which has only the briefest concession to camp and, uncharacteristically for a horror film, is teeming with male protagonists (five, while there are only a couple of females of any importance) – a balance is reached between its intended literariness and the trademarks of the genre: foggy atmosphere, evocative décor and a bombastic yet effective score. The presence of Dr. Aldama’s ghost is quite subtly but effectively established; besides, both Dr. Masali’s expressionistic execution scene and the surreal first encounter between the two young lovers are stylishly realized – while the vicious attack of the manic woman and Elmer’s resurrection emerge, perhaps, as the film’s horror highlights. Furthermore, we get vividly essayed portrayals by the suave Ramon Bertrand as Dr. Masali and Carlos Ancira as Elmer – the latter, a cross between Dwight Frye and Peter Lorre (and helped by some splendid make-up), could well give the classic monsters a run for their money!

    Though Masali and the young doctor (played by Gaston Santos) both vie for the girl’s affection, there is very little rivalry between them let alone plots for revenge – as the film stresses Dr. Masali’s single-mindedness in his search for knowledge regarding the afterlife. The asylum setting – and especially the imagery of outstretched hands through the bars of the cells – recalls BEDLAM (1946), while the hypnotic effect the music box has on the mad gypsy woman brings back memories of Bunuel’s Mexican black comedy THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ (1955); also the scene where Masali/Elmer is discovered strumming on the violin is reminiscent of the Ape Man at the piano in RETURN OF THE APE MAN (1944)! There is one flaw with regards to the plot, however: it’s inconceivable that, even if Masali was discovered locked in with the woman’s corpse, no one suspected Elmer of having killed her for disfiguring him! Other amusing flubs include the scene in which the ‘monster’ – engulfed in flames – pauses to open a door before exiting a room screaming, the fact that the gypsy is able to effortlessly hurl a massive cupboard at the asylum orderlies confronting her, and the shot – accompanied by a histrionic single note on the soundtrack – early on where Dr. Aldama’s coffin is opened prior to burial, almost as if to assure us that it is he…but, other than that, this particular sequence is comparable to the opening moments of James Whale’s FRANKENSTEIN (1931)!

    The DVD transfer is imperfect but not intrusively so, apart from some persistent hum on the soundtrack. The supplements are extensively researched and highly interesting (in particular, the Audio Commentary); the still gallery suggests that it’s possible that some asylum footage has gone missing as it features a hulking, chained-up character who isn’t seen in the actual film! Also, given that THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M wasn’t released in the U.S. by the notorious K. Gordon Murray, the information imparted about him here isn’t really pertinent to this release – though I didn’t mind having it in the least, being all new to me; in fact, the English-dubbed version is, for all intents and purposes, deemed lost – even if Casanegra attempted to make amends by presenting the full-length English translation via a copy of the script (in rather too miniscule a font to be easily legible!) prepared for U.S. consumption.

    As with the same director’s EL VAMPIRO (which is upcoming on R1 as a 2-Disc Set accompanied by its sequel THE VAMPIRE’S COFFIN [1958]), then, this one emerges as a genuine classic of the horror genre and one that should be much better known. This viewing has kicked off my proposed Halloween marathon in a big way; I’m very much looking forward now to the rest of the Mexican titles which are coming up this week – but it has also made me yearn to check out the other films mentioned in the various supplements and which have yet to see the light of day on DVD…


    10/02/06: DAUGHTER OF DR. JEKYLL (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1957) **

    This is a low-grade horror film which has been culted into a reputation beyond its worth because of its director’s involvement. The plot is strikingly similar to that of another notorious potboiler – SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946) – but, at least, here the monster is seen (albeit ineffectively made-up): despite the titular reference, the script pays little to no credit to previous cinematic incarnations of the R.L. Stevenson novella – opting, instead, to indiscriminately incorporate elements of lycanthropy and vampirism which make no sense at all…but which lend the film value as a unique curio and one which, in view of its sheer audacity, it is difficult to hate (indeed, the whole misguided enterprise reminded me of the contemporaneous FRANKENSTEIN 1970 [1958])!

    Despite the ultra-cheap production, the film makes the most of its foggy atmosphere and the hallucination sequences are effective in a naïve sort of way. Casting is below-par but, at least, Arthur Shields (who also appears in a silly book-end in full monster make-up – but, then, as Gloria Talbott’s legal guardian spends the rest of the film trying to convince her that she is the werewolf!!) and John Dierkes (as a particularly vehement believer in the Jekyll ‘legend’ despite being in their employ – or, so it seems, since he’s always hovering about the estate!) enter gleefully into the spirit of the thing.

    I had been toying with the idea of purchasing the All Day DVD of this one ever since it was released; I’m glad I managed to catch up with it eventually without having to purchase the disc – being shown on late-night Italian TV, as part of a Jekyll & Hyde marathon which included snippets from a variety of films based on the venerable tale (I was especially gratified by the inclusion of a couple of scenes from Jean Renoir’s THE TESTAMENT OF DR. CORDELIER [1959], which I’ve been yearning to see forever, and also ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE [1953], which I haven’t watched in ages – I really ought to get down to purchasing either the R1 or R2 DVD releases of the films featuring the comic duo!)…


    09/03/10: THE WITCH’S MIRROR (Chano Urueta, 1960) ***

    This is another Mexican horror classic being given a new lease of life via Casanegra’s superb SE DVD.

    The plot is a mishmash of various well-proven elements (with even a nod to Poe) – a young wife is forced to live in the shadow of her husband’s former bride (largely through the machinations of the latter’s devoted housekeeper) as in REBECCA (1940); when the wife is horribly scarred in a fire, her doctor husband resorts to body snatching for skin graft experiments as in EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1959); the hands he gives her (unbeknownst to him, they belong to the revenge-seeking first wife he poisoned!) take on a life of their own as in MAD LOVE (1935), etc. – but which works reasonably well in the context of its essential “witchcraft vs. mad science” theme (to quote the DVD sleeve notes).

    The first half is a bit slow, but the cheaply-realized yet often poetic visuals – borrowed from Cocteau and Dreyer! – keep one riveted; the latter stages are more frenetic, with several of the characters resorting to histrionics and a fair splattering of gore (leading up to a particularly busy and highly satisfying climax). The acting from all the major players is above-average for this type of film but, best of all perhaps, is Isabela Corona as the outwardly reserved but sinister and powerful witch; the two younger women also make an impression – Dina De Marco as the murdered wife who keeps turning up as a ghost to haunt her husband and her rival; Rosita Arenas as the innocent young bride who becomes the unfortunate victim in both the doctor and the witch’s scheme of things (particularly effective when essaying the pathetic qualities of the bandaged-up, desperate and lonesome woman).

    As was the case with THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M (1958), the gothic/supernatural atmosphere deployed with the barest of resources through camerawork, lighting, sets and props is truly incredible…though the special effects (which get quite a heavy workout here), ultimately, leave a lot to be desired! I’ve purposely refrained from describing individual sequences (as I often tend to do) so as not to deny first-time viewers – as I was myself – the pleasure of discovering its considerable felicities on their own!

    The supplements are similar to those of BLACK PIT: the Audio Commentary (by the same Frank Coleman) is just as interesting, but he seems to be enjoying himself a good deal here as he approaches the film with tongue-in-cheek – while retaining a justified reverence for his subject. One disappointing aspect of these DVD editions, however, is that the English-dubbed version of the films aren’t included as they were released back in the day (for instance, in the Commentary it’s mentioned that the narrated prologue accompanied by sketches in the Mexican original was dropped for the export version – but the DVD includes it, presumably with the ‘new’ lines recently looped in!).


    10/04/06: THE CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE (Benito Alazraki, 1961) **1/2

    I was looking forward to this Mexican horror film – released on DVD not by Casanegra but rather by BCI as a double-bill with NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES (1969), which I should be getting to presently, and where the two films are accompanied by their alternate English-dubbed variants – because of its similarity to Tod Browning’s THE DEVIL-DOLL (1936), but it turned out to be something of a disappointment!

    Even if the villain of the piece is appropriately flamboyant and the fact that the voodoo expert in this case is a woman is, in itself, a novelty with respect to this type of film, it’s all rather uninspired – with even the trademark atmosphere coming off as somewhat flat! However, my biggest gripe with the film concerns the titular creatures: their movements are so awkward and sluggish, and their appearance (obviously midgets wearing a none-too-convincing mask!) so poorly realized that the suspense in their numerous attacks (and the terror they’re supposed to evoke) is greatly diluted!!

    The script, too, is something of a hack job, as we basically get an uninterrupted succession of people being rushed to hospital after an attack by the dolls (made in the image of previous victims – with the funniest-looking being one sporting a large pair of glasses!) where the doctors are apparently dumb-founded as to the source of their ‘ailment’!! Equally ridiculous is the hulking zombie whom the sorcerer uses to do his evil bidding: how he’s never noticed by anyone out on the streets as he’s carrying the dolls (in large packages) is anybody’s guess; incongruous, too, is the fact that the sorcerer has relocated to Mexico from Haiti (going after the infidels who stole the all-important statue of one of the gods of his sect) but, apparently, has contrived to bring along with him a whole set of exotic paraphernalia to decorate his new residence – including an enormous sarcophagus for the zombie to sleep in!

    Still, even if there are several long-winded explanatory scenes, some moments are undeniably effective – for instance, the doll autopsy scene, with the creepy effect of its eyes (after the head has been disembodied) suddenly starting to gleam…even if the scene does include a hilarious shot of a male doctor closely inspecting a pair of tiny boots!; and the climax – as is typical of many of these films, it all ends in a blaze (and where one reluctant doll proceeds to exact revenge on its master!) – is also nicely handled.

    The extras are minimal (only a still gallery – I have little use for the English-dubbed version prepared by K. Gordon Murray, especially since it’s cut by some 13 minutes!) and the print quality is quite poor, when compared to the Casanegra releases…


    10/05/06: THE CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN (Rafael Baledon, 1961) ***

    While not quite in the same league as THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M (1958) or THE WITCH’S MIRROR (1960), this is yet another fine addition to the great – and largely unheralded – series of classic Mexican horror films. This was actually the fourth of at least five vintage films about the titular creature (in the last of these, she was even pitted against another Mexican legend – Santo the wrestler!): it would be great if the others were revived – no pun intended – as well somewhere along the line by Casanegra or whomever.

    Again, the film positively drips with atmosphere and style (belying the miniscule budget on hand) – generally coming off as unmistakably Mexican but also borrowing freely from other horror titles, most notably Mario Bava’s seminal BLACK SUNDAY (1960). As in THE WITCH’S MIRROR – which, incidentally, shared with this film its star Rosita Arenas, producer Abel Salazar (here he essayed the role of the male lead as well) and composer (the ubiquitous Gustavo Cesar Carrion) – weird mirror imagery plays an essential part in the narrative, as does witchcraft, for that matter. The scarred ‘monster’ of that film as well as THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M, then, is incarnated here not by one but three different figures – The Crying Woman herself, decomposed and awaiting re-animation; her disciple Rita Macedo’s hulking and club-footed henchman; and Macedo’s once-distinguished husband, whom she has kept locked up for years and who has consequently regressed to a subhuman, animal-like level. Also on hand is a trio of rather skinny-looking Great Danes, which are unleashed from time to time to attack unsuspecting villagers or intruding police officials.

    Two of its most compelling sequences are those in which Macedo recounts to Arenas and Salazar (individually) the tale of the “Llorona”; the latter has little real purpose, but its depiction of the events is done through brief snippets of scenes (shown in negative) from other Salazar-produced horror films – I immediately noticed the only shot I’m familiar with up to this point, from THE WITCH’S MIRROR, but shots from THE BRAINIAC (1961; which is next in my Halloween horror marathon!) are included as well, as per the Commentary; besides, here we get an unexpected but effective display of sensuality – which is felt again when Arenas (already in the process of replacing the “Llorona”) notices Salazar’s bloodied hand. Among the film’s indelible images are all the scenes in which the eyes of The Crying Woman’s disciples turn completely black – an effect seen in the very first shot and which was later lifted by INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973); Macedo’s bat-like swoop towards the camera and Arenas’ hallucination (which is as expressionistic as they come, with the night sky being crammed with staring accusing eyes) are also worth mentioning and striking, too, is the distinctive make-up design for each of the ‘monsters’.

    The busy climax – in which Salazar and Carlos Lopez Moctezuma (the henchman) engage in a lengthy and energetic fist-fight, and the long-suffering husband Domingo Soler finally gets even with Macedo, as the hacienda collapses around them – is quite splendid. Also notable here is the lighting when the ‘possessed’ Arenas attempts to liberate the “Llorona” by removing a stake from her body (a scene which, unfortunately, is absurdly over-extended so as to allow the huge bell in the impressive bell-tower set at the top of the mansion – as important to this film as it was to Hitchcock’s VERTIGO [1958] – to chime 12 times!). The film features a generous number of effective shock moments and some rather graphic violence for the time: the scene where a girl – played by Macedo’s real-life daughter, billed as Julissa del Llano – is trampled by a carriage; one where the pitiful and half-crazed Soler is brutally whipped by the sadistic Moctezuma, until he retaliates (a scene which is heavily reminiscent of Dwight Frye’s tormenting of Boris Karloff in James Whale’s FRANKENSTEIN [1931]); and especially the dogs’ vicious attack on the two constables (sections of which were reportedly trimmed for export versions).

    Regrettably, the Audio Commentary for this release turned out to be a major disappointment: not only is there a great deal of dead air on this track, with Michael Liuzza (Casanegra’s Vice President, no less!) allowing several of the best scenes to go without comment but, when he does speak, he mainly resorts to biographical details of the various personnel involved!!
     
  13. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Re: AUDITION

    I thought the film was a beautiful love story and that's why the ending is so effective. I don't find the ending "shocking" but I do find it brutal because I thought the love story worked so well. You really want the old man to find happiness and the events at the end just go against everything you hoped for. I watched Miike's IMPRINT tonight with two friends and my girlfriend. They left the screening. [​IMG] I'm going to try and get to ONE MISSED CALL and VISITOR Q sometime before the month is over.


    Mario, I've got all of those Mexican discs sitting here and hope to get to them this month as well. Like you, I haven't seen too many of the Mexican horror films and when I have, they've been the English dubbed versions. BCI also released two Mexican slashers from the 80's but I'm not sure if you picked them up or not.


    I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006) [​IMG][​IMG]

    This here is more of a remake of the first film rather than a sequel. As with the original, four kids play a prank that goes wrong and then a year later a fisherman goes on a killing spree. I was really expecting to hate this film but to my shock it wasn't half bad. There's certainly a lot worse direct to video releases out there. The cast isn't too annoying and the "mystery" aspect of the story holds strong until the end. There's a nice little twist at the end, which sets up more films but I enjoyed this twist and think it could lead to a better film. This here is certainly a lot better than the second film in the series.

    Imprint (2006) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Takashi Miike's entry into the Masters of Horror series about an American man who travels to Japan to find the woman he loves but left there year's earlier. I guess saying any more would ruin things but I was somewhat letdown by the film. The graphic nature of the violence is certainly here and it's pretty repulsive stuff but I wasn't too thrilled with the story, which I found weak. The performances are good for the most part and Miike's direction hits all the right marks. When I heard Showtime banned this film I was thinking at the time this was just some marketing ploy to sell more DVDs but after viewing the film I can certainly see why they wouldn't show it. I can't imagine someone coming home, flipping through the station and coming upon this thing. The movie turned my stomach but that means it was effective.



    2006 Horror Challenge

    01. Crime of Dr. Crespi, The (1935) [​IMG][​IMG]
    02. Missing Guest, The (1938) [​IMG][​IMG]
    03. Torture Ship (1939) [​IMG][​IMG]
    04. Hand of Death (1962) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    05. Last Shark, The (1981) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    06. School Killer (2001) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    07. Blackenstein (1973) [​IMG][​IMG]
    08. Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    09. You'll Find Out (1940) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    10. Weird Woman (1944) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    11. Dead Man's Eyes (1944) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    12. Jess Franco's Perversions (2005) [​IMG][​IMG]
    13. Oomo-Oomo, The Shark God (1949) [​IMG][​IMG]
    14. Terror From the Year 5000 (1958) [​IMG][​IMG]
    15. Zombie '90 Extreme Pestilence (1991) [​IMG][​IMG]
    16. House of Terror (1959) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    17. Chaos (2005) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    18. I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006) [​IMG][​IMG]
    19. Imprint (2006) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

     
  14. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

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    8. Sorum - Slow paced Korean ghost story that's more of a straight drama then anything horror related. Still it had some interesting moments and good use of tension and could've been a strong film, but it never made much good use of that tension and really ended up being rather dull.

    9. Face - Starts out as a pretty typical asian horror film (with some well done scenes) and becomes a mystery/thriller/ghost story. A little slow in the middle section, but some nice cinematography and use of colour make this an above average film.

    10. Hangman's Curse - Plays like a bad TV pilot for a series based around a family sent by the government to solve crimes across the country. Terrible script matched only by terrible acting by everyone involved. Our heroes (complete with witty banter between the brother/sister twins) have to find out why high school students are lapsing into comas and seeing visions of the ghost of a boy who hung himself 10 years previous. I don't know why this was in the horror section - not a single scare even with the hairy spiders, witching room, goth students, pentagrams,...oh nevermind. Lame and lousy.

    11. The Last Horror Movie - A serial killer decides to begin filming his murders. Similar in tone to Funny Games or Man Bites Dog as it implicates the audience in what's happening. Pretty effective as the killer comes across as quite intelligent and charming while some of the murder scenes are sudden and brutal. "If you didn't want to see that, why are you still watching?"


    Running Tally of 2006 Scary Movie Challenge
     
  15. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
    Supporter

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    Only got in 2 tonight [​IMG]. And they were both Andy Warhol horror films, so it wasn't that great of night.


    Flesh For Frankenstein - 3/5 It's not really that great. It plods along and has some really terrible dialog and line readings. It does though hsa some really nifty over the top gore and Udo Kier so I always think it's better then it really is.

    Blood for Dracula - 2/5 Even more plodding then Frankenstein, and Udo wasn't as fun. I doubt I'll be rewatching this anytime soon. Seeing as Paul Morrissy and Andy Warhol seemed more intersted in filming softcore porn with these, I might as we track down the porno "Dracula Sucks" and watch it for the challenge. It can't be any more obnoxious in it's nudity and execution.

    See page one post 3 for my tally, which I think is at 14.
     
  16. Rick Spruill

    Rick Spruill Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Mario,

    I've really enjoyed the three Casa Negra DVDs I've watched (I have Brainiac, but haven't gotten around to it yet). I'm very happy with Casa Negra's output and quality so far. The Curse of the Crying Woman is my favorite of the three, but all have been nice discoveries. They remind me a bit of an Italian gothic horror mixed with a Universal classic from the 30s. And that's especially true with The Black Pit of Dr. M. There were moments when I half expected to see a Spanish speaking Boris Karloff make his appearance. I can't wait to get their El Vampiro.
     
  17. Rick Spruill

    Rick Spruill Stunt Coordinator

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    May 6

    Tarantula (1955, Jack Arnold) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    - I’ve always considered Tarantula to be one of the very best of the “big bug” movies of the 50s. It features the standard above-average Universal “B” production values, good special effects, and a subplot that actually has relevance and interest. The acting is better than many of the 50s horror/sci-fi films with the omnipresent John Agar, the mesmerizing Mara Corday, and the venerable Leo G. Carroll. Thrown together, the result is a lot of fun!


    Deep Red (1975, Dario Argento) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    - With Deep Red, Dario Argento created what may be the best Giallo ever produced. Mario Bava may be credited with developing the rules and structure of the Giallo in Blood and Black Lace, but Argento succeeded in making the sub-genre his own. Everything about the movie is nearly perfect. And Argento does something that quite honestly few Gialli have accomplished – actually create moments of real horror (or at least a few chills). The scenes where David Hemmings is investigating the rundown, rambling villa have some moments that always bring me to edge of my seat. As for the mystery, Deep Red features what I feel is one of Argento's best plots. And the fact that Argento gives you everything you need to solve the mystery will leave you kicking yourself for not seeing all of the significant clues. Argento takes a big chance by giving the solution so early on, it's just that no one seems to pick-up on it during a first viewing. Brilliant!





    2006 Horror Challenge

    1st Time Viewings in bold:

    1. The Mole People (1956, Virgil W. Vogel) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    2. The Devil's Wedding Night (1973, Luigi Batzella) - [​IMG]
    3. The Monolith Monsters (1957, John Sherwood) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    4. The Black Castle (1952, Nathan Juran) - [​IMG][​IMG]
    5. Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976, William Grefe) - BOMB
    6. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, Jack Arnold) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    7. Tarantula (1955, Jack Arnold) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    8. Deep Red (1975, Dario Argento) - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  18. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    After a hectic work/travel schedule this week I can jump in this weekend! I got some information for those in the Chicago area that might be of interest during this challenge:
    On Oct 14th-15th the Music Box Theater (on Southport between Addison and Irving Park Road) is having a horror movie marathon. It's $24 in advance, $29 at the door. The terror begins at noon Sat. Oct 14th. Here's the line-up:
    Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    Bride Of Frankenstein
    It Came From OUter Space (shown in 3-D)
    Masque of the Red Death
    Joe Dante's Homecoming
    Piranha
    Q/A with Joe Dante
    Let's Scare Jessica To Death
    Q/A with John Hancock
    The Thing ('82)
    Night of the Creeps
    Zombie
    Friday the 13th Part 2
    Deep Red
    American Werewolf In London

    More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com
     
  19. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    OK! Here's my first movies (I got some catchin' up to do!)

    1. Godzilla, King of the Monsters: It's been years since I've seen this and it held up OK. The US scenes sometimes are laughable and the narration is often more distracting than helpful. Can't wait to watch "Gojira" to compare the two. Rating: 2.5/5

    2. Incredible Shrinking Man: Very effective thriller with a surprising ending (IMHO). Special effects are above average for the budget and age of the film. Seems like alot of us in the Challenge this year bought this set! Rating: 3.5/5
     
  20. Mario Gauci

    Mario Gauci Cinematographer

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    Quote (originally posted by Michael Elliott):

    "Mario, I've got all of those Mexican discs sitting here and hope to get to them this month as well. Like you, I haven't seen too many of the Mexican horror films and when I have, they've been the English dubbed versions. BCI also released two Mexican slashers from the 80's but I'm not sure if you picked them up or not."


    Mike,


    I knew you'd get around to those Mexican horror discs one of these days[​IMG]! I'm aware of that BCI 80s double-feature DVD but, frankly, I'm not at all interested in picking it up since, give or take a handful of exceptions, I'm not too fond of horror movies made in the last 20 years or so. I'd certainly rent them if they were available over here, though...

    For what it's worth, BCI have also released two lame 70s horror flicks as a double-feature - LAND OF THE MINOTAUR (1976; which I've never watched myself but have been tempted by the R2 SE anyway under its original title of THE DEVIL'S MEN) and TERROR (1978; which I already own as part of the Norman J. Warren R2 4-Discer).

    Furthermore, they are currently working on the Aztec Mummy series of vintage Mexican horror films and that should be quite interesting to watch eventually...



    Quote (originally posted by Rick Spruill):

    "Hey Mario,

    I've really enjoyed the three Casa Negra DVDs I've watched (I have Brainiac, but haven't gotten around to it yet). I'm very happy with Casa Negra's output and quality so far. The Curse of the Crying Woman is my favorite of the three, but all have been nice discoveries. They remind me a bit of an Italian gothic horror mixed with a Universal classic from the 30s. And that's especially true with The Black Pit of Dr. M. There were moments when I half expected to see a Spanish speaking Boris Karloff make his appearance. I can't wait to get their El Vampiro."


    Hi there, Rick.

    Yes, these Casanegra/BCI DVDs were a very welcome change of pace for me and a great start to the Halloween marathon. The ones I've liked best have been THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M (1959) and THE WITCH'S MIRROR (1960)...but, I suppose you can already guess as much from my reviews.

    Earlier today I've watched THE BRAINIAC (1962) and, let me tell you, it's a HOWLER[​IMG]!! I've also gotten through the Spanish version of NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES (1969) and will tomorrow tackle the "extended" U.S. version...

    As for EL VAMPIRO (1957), it's another good one and well worth waiting for in my opinion. Personally, I can't wait for THE VAMPIRE'S COFFIN (1958)...
     

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