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***Official 20th Annual HTF October Scary Movie Challenge 2019***

Discussion in 'Movies' started by John Stell, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. sleroi

    sleroi Second Unit

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    OCT 17

    24) An American Werewolf in London - ****

    Wasnt interested in football tonight so I threw this in. Not sure what I can say that hasnt already been said. Its a classic. I watch it every October.

    25) Schlock - German Blu Ray - ****

    Seemed like a good companion film. Really, really funny. And while not scary, there is some dark humor.

    The missing link is thawed out in 70s California and goes on a murder spree. Then falls in love with a blind girl who thinks hes a dog.

    It is both Landis' and Rick Baker's first film, and their talents are more than apparent despite the shoe string budget.
     
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  2. HawksFord

    HawksFord Agent

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    10) Häxan (1922) - A film that has been on our "to watch" list for a long time, and the Criterion release prompted us to finally see it. It's a fascinating creative vision of witchcraft in the Middle Ages, and the influence on later books and movies is obvious. We also watched "Witchcraft Through the Ages," the 1968 version with narration by William Burroughs (a favorite from my younger years) and a terrific, out-of-period, jazz score. We still need to watch the film with the audio commentary.
     
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  3. John Stell

    John Stell Screenwriter

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    051) 10/17/2019 Murders in the Zoo (1933) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] (out of four)

    Lionel Atwill plays insanely jealous husband who murders those who make plays for his wife, masking his crimes via snakes, tigers, etc. Gruesome chiller with Atwill at his maddest.

    052) 10/17/2019 The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Atwill's back as doctor wanted for murder who's stranded on island with survivors of shipwreck. He convinces the natives he can bring the dead back to life and plans to experiment on his fellow survivors. Cheap, clunky effort with lame comedy relief. But Atwill's look of panic during the climax is priceless and he alone makes this watchable.

    053) 10/18/2019 The Strange Case of Dr. Rx (1942) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Mysterious criminal kills those who are guilty of crimes but found not guilty during trial. Private detective is consulted on the case. Blah mystery with good cast; the whole story is just too ridiculous.

    054) 10/18/2019 The Mad Ghoul (1943) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    George Zucco perfects poison gas that turns one of his students into title creature. Together they must steal hearts of the recent dead to restore student to brief normalcy. Original Universal chiller is fast-paced and highly enjoyable. Next to Lionel Atwill, Zucco was probably the best go-to mad scientist during the 1940s.
     
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  4. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Oh, yes. I was able to pick up Phantasm last year on sale so will be on the look out for good deals on the sequels. I've read that the first sequel does quite a bit more with the deadly spheres (an idea I really liked), so will perhaps make the sequels part of next year's challenge :)
     
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  5. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Lead Actor

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    I love this show too. I bought a second box set for backup just in case my discs ever get scratched. It is wild to me that one 22 minute episode regarding the "Money Pit Mystery" is more intriguing, and thought provoking than many countless hours of that show on the History channel (Curse of Oak Island). Not even in the same league.
     
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  6. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    OCTOBER 17:

    21) Wolfen (1981) 2.5/5 stars
    - A decent enough flick that's definitely a product of its time, I remember being very disappointed in it when it first came out because it deviated so much from Whitley Strieber's excellent novel. The movie leans way too hard on the Native American mysticism angle instead of focusing on the fact that the Wolfen are a very real, divergent species of super-intelligent canid that have evolved alongside humanity, and specialize in hunting us as their primary prey animal. The fact that the film uses actual wolves is another letdown, since one of the cool things about the creatures in the book is how physically different they are from their cousins. Still a letdown after all these years.
     
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  7. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Got one in last night. Feels like a cheat honestly, but Arrow put it out looking like a horror film and there's some Satan shit in it so I'm counting it.

    032 10/17 Apprentice to Murder (1988) 3/5 More of a period drama than a scary movie, this one is about a teenager who befriends and becomes an assistant to a old school preacher (referred to as a “Pow Wow Man”, despite not doing anything remotely indigenous, no idea why) who does healings in a small, country community. Supposedly based on a true incident, there’s some neat stuff and Donald Sutherland is a genius but the most remarkable thing about this is it came out in 1988. It feels and looks early 80’s TV, so hats off to them, I guess. Anyway, not a bad time, but nothing to rush out and collect since Arrow decided to put it out.
     
  8. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island (2019) **

    Sequel to one of the best Scooby movies has the gang retiring from tracking down monsters. They win a vacation and soon they begin think they're back on Zombie Island. The first forty or so minutes of this thing were rather boring with a bland story, lame jokes and just a real slow feel. The finale really picks up though once the Cat People begin their attack and I must say that the ending is among my favorites of the series. The Cat People deserve their own movie.

    Wicked, Wicked (1973) **

    A young troubled man works at a hotel where he stalks women and kills them. This film was shot in "Duo-Vision" which means the viewer must look at two separate images throughout the running time. The gimmick here doesn't work and the story doesn't work so you're left with a rather routine movie being done with a silly gimmick that might work in small stretches but not for an entire film. Even the technology of the split screen doesn't look at that all and there's just not much going on for this film outside an effective mask that the killer wears.

    The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942) ** 1/2

    Mobsters are being found not guilty in trials but they are being murdered after with a note left on the body. This Universal horror film is mainly a comedy with horror and mystery elements. I thought the film was a little better than some would have you believe, although Patrick Knowles wasn't right for the lead. Lionel Atwill plays a rather strange character but it's Shemp Howard and Mantan Moreland who steal the show. Their dice game is the highlight of the film.

    The Car (1977) ***
    The Car: Road to Revenge (2019) **


    I stayed away from THE CAR due to me thinking it would just be a DUEL clone but boy was I wrong. A small desert town comes under attack by a black car that seems to have a soul of its own. James Brolin is the cop who must try and stop it. I really, really enjoyed this thriller, which was basically JAWS with a car. I thought there were some intense scenes and the film was beautiful to look at. I loved the performances as well. I'm really kicking myself for not watching this one sooner.

    THE CAR: ROAD TO REVENGE has a D.A. being murdered and soon after a black car begins going after the criminals who killed him. This here has a lot more in common with THE CROW than the 1977 film. There's really nothing awful about this direct-to-video film but at the same time there's nothing special either. There's plenty of gore and graphic violence but I never really cared about any of the characters or the story.
     
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  9. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    October 18: Q - The Winged Serpent (1982) - 3 out of 5 - First Time Viewing

    New York Police Detectives are investigating strange, ritualistic murders popping up around the city, plus reported sightings of a flying creature, and soon connect the two. Meanwhile, a low-level, opportunistic crook discovers a shocking nest and decides to turn that information into money and indemnity for his crimes while the city suffers.

    I'm not sure that description does the wonderful mix of terrific and terrible of this oddball film justice. On one hand you have a genuinely excellent performance from Michael Moriarty as the simpering ex con, Jimmy Quinn. Amongst the case of Aztec ritualistic killings and flying lizard mayhem, Moriarty delivers a concentrated character study of a man faltering on his way to do right, letting his apparent lifelong meekness lure him into a sense of gloat and ill-placed power. There's an entire movie to have been explored about this mans flaws and poor decisions. But, he's a part of the larger film (written and directed by the larger-than-life Larry Cohen), that stands out for it's low-budget, off-the-cuff style filmmaking, and its occasionally very insightful and witty dialogue. The film stumbles from its lack of clear focus and less than convincing (but still fun) stop-motion special effects for the creature.

    The limited budget hampers the action ideas somewhat, but I was particularly impressed with the reverse King Kong finale on the Empire State Building. It's all a bit silly, really, and some of the actors seem like we're seeing their 50th rather than their best takes in scenes (David Carradine's Detective in particular), but Moriarty and Richard Roundtree (as a fellow detective to Carradine) is fun to watch.

    Not a great film, but I can see spinning this again in a future Halloween challenge, so there's that :)
    Q_Poster.
     
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  10. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    :emoji_jack_o_lantern: Hotel Transylvania 2 (in 3D) :emoji_scream::emoji_scream::emoji_scream:

    The marriage of Dracula's daughter, Mavis, to a human has softened Drac's feelings about humans in general and he has welcomed human guests to his hotel for the first time. The marriage has also produced an offspring, Dennis. No one is sure if he'll be a human or a vampire, as vampiric traits do not manifest until around the child's fifth birthday.

    As Dennis' fifth birthday approaches and he remains human, Mavis must decide whether to remain with her monster family in Transylvania, or move with her family to California where Dennis would have a more "normal" human life. In a panic to keep his family close, Drac tries to "jump start" Dennis' change by taking him on a series of adventures to places from the "good old days" when he was a young vampire, only to find things aren't quite the same as they used to be.

    Another fun film, though perhaps not quite as entertaining as the first. The voice cast turns in good performances (these are the only films where I can stand Adam Sandler (Dracula)) including Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, David Spade, Fran Drescher, and a hoot of a cameo by Mel Brooks as Dracula's father, Vlad, who is even more "old school" than Drac. (3D blu-ray)
     
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  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    10/17
    It really seems like I should be able to include the three hours I spent gazing in horror as a bunch of guys in Denver Bronco uniforms subjected me to what had to be the first football game any of them had played in their lives.

    10/18
    (20)The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
    (21) The Purge: Election Year (2016): I'd seen the first Purge movie a couple times, and it was surprisingly interesting. I've had the next two in the series for over a year, and finally decided to watch them. I'm lumping them together, since they have somewhat of a continuing theme, and no direct connection to the first movie, other than the overall concept. At the moment, I'm a little torn. The series took a strong sociopolitical angle that was only hinted at in the first installment. I can see why a lot of people are severely put off by that, and at times it is a little detracting. At the same time, it's not as one-sided as it might seem, since there are people doing unacceptable things pretty much across the board. Very few of them are able to resist mob mentality on their own.

    The more interesting aspect of the series is a lot more universal. The staggering array of excuses people are willing to give themselves to justify doing things that are unacceptably horrible by any rational standard. This could be mental kerosene for a misanthrope like me. While these movies are mostly metaphorical, I'm not sure they're all that outrageous, when it comes right down to it. In an interesting way, these movies remind me of Never Let Me Go (a movie that fascinates me) in how they all depict horrific social behavior becoming acceptable, largely to the benefit and expense of the same portions of society. These two movies have me thinking. Too bad they didn't employ a little more subtlety.
     
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  12. Message #272 of 488 Oct 19, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I was thinking the same thing while I was watching the game. "I ought to add this horror show to my tally for the challenge."

    Friday the 13th Part 2 :emoji_scream: 1/2

    Mama is dead, but Jason has returned to stalk a bunch of counselors at a new camp adjacent to the now-closed Camp Crystal Lake.

    I'm not a huge fan of the Friday films, but will watch one occasionally (though I do like Part VI: Jason Lives!). Just the usual bunch of dumb, horny teens making bad decisions and doing dumb things that get them killed. (AMC cable)

    Friday the 13th Part III :emoji_scream:

    Another group of dumb college kids arrives at a cabin near Crystal Lake. This film introduces the iconic hockey mask and was part of the 80's 3D revival, so there are lots of shots made for 3D with things being thrust or thrown toward the camera. By the end I was rooting for Jason as the final surviving girl had only one annoying scream in her bag-o-acting-talent and she did it over, and over, and over. (AMC cable)
     
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  13. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    7. Dead Heat (1988)
    A pair of homicide detectives (Treat Williams and a hyper-buffed-up Joe Piscopo) stumble into a wild conspiracy involving some rich dudes re-animating corpses to carry out robberies, all leading to a scheme to achieve eternal life. What starts out as a seemingly low-rent buddy cop pic turns into a gonzo zombie action flick with a crazy plot, several neat surprises and unexpected plot turns, lots of cool, gory practical effects and about as many gunshots as an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. There's one barnstormer of a scene where the cops take on a whole butcher's shop full of reanimated animal carcasses.

    Treat Williams is fine, but Piscopo is just barely tolerable, and seems to have spent more time flexing his biceps for the camera than polishing his one-liners. Luckily we fare better in the supporting cast, headed by ol' Carl Kolchak himself, Darrin McGavin, and a frail but still lively Vincent Price...not to mention a couple of first-class '80s beauties in Lindsay Frost and Clare Kirkconnell. With a little more work on tightening up the script and sharpening the dialogue, this could have been real action-horror classic. It ain't that, but I still enjoyed the heck out of it. It moves fast and is surprisingly audacious in concept and execution, despite what must have been a modest budget.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Demon Queen (1987) ***

    Donald Farmer's first film is a direct-to-video one about a female demon who goes around eating men. This things runs around 46-minutes without the end credits and there's no question that it was made with very little money but it at least delivers violence, blood and nudity. Isn't that what people wanted when renting movies like this back in the day? It kept me entertained throughout its running time so I was happy with it.

    The Naked Monster (2005) **

    This here is a love story to the "B" monster movies of the 1950s. A giant monster (man in a rubber suit) begins stalking a city so Kenneth Tobey and Brinke Stevens must try and save the day. There are more than a dozen stars here who appeared in the monsters movies from the 1950s. That's what makes this film so special because for a lot of them this turned out to be their last movie and it was simply great to see all of them. We also get some newer people like Stevens, Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley who offers up a quick nude scene. The film itself doesn't work because the humor it goes for leads to zero laughs but it was still fun watching this for the cast.

    The Maddening (1996) **


    Loni Anderson took Burt Reynolds to the cleaner in their divorce so Reynolds was forced to make this film, which was his first to go direct-to-video. He and Angie Dickinson play a couple who kidnap a woman and her child and hold them hostage. Danny Huston (son of John) directed this film and it's so poorly made that you have to wonder what was going on. The failed attempts at comedy just stick out like a sore thumb and especially since the film doesn't have the guts to really push the horror/thriller aspects. What's truly bonkers about this film is the performance by Reynolds. I'm really not sure if he's giving a great performance and an awful and over-the-top one. Apparently he was extremely pissed at having to do this film so perhaps that's the anger you're seeing on the screen? Every single scene he just seems really mad but after seeing that divorce settlement can you blame him?

    The Last Horror Film (1982) **

    Joe Spinell plays a loser who follows a horror actress (Caroline Munro) to Cannes where his mind breaks and he begins killing people. This was originally going to be a sequel to MANIAC but William Lustig wanted no part of it so Spinell and company went and did their own thing. There's way too much going on in this film and the director just isn't good enough to pull it off and make it work. The film speaks out against critics of horror films. Spinell's madness goes for some extra gore death scenes. There's attacks on the media. So much is going on here but very little of it actually works. The gore is great. Spinell and Munro offer up interesting performances but there are just too many weak spots.
     
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  15. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Got in two yesterday. I'll only post the review for one due to the sites rules.


    033 10/18 Critters (1986) 4/5 Add this one to the list of ones I know I saw back in the day but had pretty near zero memory of it. All that alien space war stuff? I thought the critters cashed landed and caused chaos. Did I combine my memory of this with INVADERS FROM MARS? Anyway, for a film that probably wouldn’t exist if GREMLINS wasn’t so popular it’s pretty great. It sounds like a knock, but the short run time helps to keep things moving, it’s got an engaged cast and yes, the Critters themselves are kind of cool.
     
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  16. Message #276 of 488 Oct 19, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Phantasm II :emoji_scream::emoji_scream: 1/2

    The ball is back, and it's had an upgrade.

    The movie picks up directly after the first for a prologue segment, then jumps ahead seven years. Mike is finally being released after being institutionalized. Though he pretends the Tall Man and the prior events were all a dream to satisfy his doctors, he still believes in the Tall Man and teams up again with Reggie to track him down.

    With backing by major studio Universal, producers were given a budget reportedly 10X that of the original film and have ramped up the effects. The fever dream plot still remains though with a bit more linear structure. The studio required that the role of Mike be recast (James Le Gros, rather than Michael Baldwin from the first film), but Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm both return. The trademark flying spheres are also here, and if you think the silver spheres are nasty, watch out for the gold one.

    If you have access to the Shout/Scream blu-ray (the same disc is also included in the Phantasm blu-ray box set from Well Go USA), there are some great extras including a new feature with interviews with the cast, and workprint scenes that were removed from the final film including a couple good scenes with Father Meyer (Kenneth Tigar), and some additional gore effects that must have been removed for the MPAA.
     
  17. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    October 19: The Reaping (2007) - 2.5 out of 5

    A former Christian missionary who has a crisis of faith after a tragic trip spends her life debunking (or scientifically explaining) various religious miracle phenomena around the globe, but struggles to explain the events in a small Louisiana town that appears to be suffering from the 10 biblical plagues...and time is running out.

    Hilary Swank stars as the former Christian missionary, Katherine, who, along with her partner, Ben (played by Idris Elba), work hard to explain strange religious events. She's a much better actress than this weak and episodic clunker (Idris is a far better actor than the meatless role he's given here, too). While the idea at the root of this film is solid, the execution by director Stephen Hopkins is entirely predictable and unsurprising. The main selling point, at least according to this film's marketing team, was the visual effects for the bug infestation plague (and, to be fair, it was quite good at the time), but the film becomes preoccupied with the visual effects it brings to bear rather than the characters running around trying to figure things out.

    I do recall liking this film the first time I saw it, and there are a few moments where the film works, but it's all bogged down in too much whiz and not enough substance. The filmmaking approach seems to want to create urgency and spectacle when a simmering fear and slower unravelling of Swank's doubts would have created a far more captivating experience. As it is it's forgettable and disappointing.
     
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  18. HawksFord

    HawksFord Agent

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    11) The Wolf Man (1941) - Back into the Universal essential monster collection we go. "The Wolf Man" was never one of my favorites, but it's certainly an enjoyable monster movie and well worth re-watching every few years. Two more to go in that Universal box set and two more to hit 13 movies.
     
  19. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Phantasm III :emoji_scream::emoji_scream: 1/2

    Boooooyyyy!

    After a brief flashback, the film picks up immediately at the end of Phantasm II, with an accident that puts Mike in a coma for two years. jumping ahead he wakes up, alebit less handsome and less blond (Michael Baldwin returns to the role, replacing James Le Gros from part two). He again meets up with Reggie to begin hunting the Tall Man who has been wiping out town after town to create his dwarf minions. Along the way, they meet up with several oddball characters including a very self-reliant tween, Timmy, and a kick ass survivor, Rocky, who assist Reggie and Mike. Bill Thornbury also returns as Mike's late brother, Jody.

    Another fun entry in the series, IMO. The budget was less than Phantasm II, but advances in technology must help as this film looks and sounds better than the prior film. We learn a little more about the Tall Man's plans and methods, and the spheres again multiply and begin appearing even outside of the Tall Man's mortuary domain.

    Performances are pretty good across the board, with the script still mining some humor from attempts to portray Reggie as a "ladies man," though he's anything but. Angus Scrimm continues to exude a menacing feel as the Tall Man, despite the page boy haircut, and is given more lines than in past films.
     
  20. sleroi

    sleroi Second Unit

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    26) Blacula - TCM - **1/2

    An African prince, Mamawaldi, is bitten by count Dracula in the 1700s after appealing for his help to end the slave trade. He is then ressurected in the 1970s and finds his reincarnated wife while being hunted by a professor/vampire hunter.

    A better than average fun little piece of 70s low budget filmmaking. There are some great minor characters, like the one armed morgue attendant. Some so bad theyre good moments, like the female cabbie who attacks in slow motion. And some great overacting. Also, the minimalist vampire makeup is effective. And the score is a wonderdul mix of urban soul and cheesy horror.

    And William Marshalls performance as the title character is equal parts elegant, classy and super cool.
     

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