***Official 21st Annual HTF October Scary Movie Challenge 2020***

dana martin

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First Time Viewings

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32. X... the Unknown:emoji_star::emoji_star::emoji_star:
33. Lucifer's Women :emoji_star:1/2

X… the Unknown

Everything that was great about sci-fi and hammer films in the early 1950s comes together in this film. Originally intended as a follow up to The Quatermass Experiment. The film took on a life of its own dealing with its different scientific aspects of radiation, in the unknown possibilities of other sentients beings (namely energy living underneath the mantle are the earth's crust). Good thriller with some very tense moments, and one of the best flesh melting scenes ever in a sci-fi film.

The creature itself bears some resemblance to a similar sci-fi classic from the 50s, The Blob, The cast rounded out in great fashion by veteran character actors does an excellent job , and it's thoroughly entertaining.


Lucifer's Women

Straight off the bat, this movie sucked and not in a good way, it’s bad and not in a campy way that would make it fun, It's only saving grace at this point is that there is some nudity in it . How Al Adamson was later able to edit this into anything that was reasonably watchable is beyond me, But using the original Lucifer’s Women and some creative reshoots and editing he was able to cobble together Doctor Dracula, which I am not too sure I want to watch at this moment . It's basically a Svengali story mid 70s low budget independent film; that lacks the charm that lesser poverty row “b” films of the 40s through 60s had.


next...
 

BobO'Link

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EW.com's list of the best horror movies of 2020 (so far):

https://ew.com/movies/2020-best-horror-films/
I wanted to ask: "What horror in 2020? Did some get released?" but knew about "Color..." and "Invisible Man..." so... best synopsis is:

Sputnik:

An astronaut returns to earth with, let us say, some serious medical issues. Watch this slice of Russian sci-fi horror now so you can be ahead of the game in talking about the inferiority of the inevitable U.S. remake.
Bolding by me... made me laugh. :D
 

Malcolm R

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Yeah, the only two on that list that I've seen are Invisible Man and Underwater.
 

BobO'Link

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14. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956) – We watched the original Japanese version of this movie, along with the extras on the recent Criterion release, fairly recently, but we hadn’t seen the American version in many years. While this version lacks some of the impact of the original, the commentary by David Kalat makes a strong argument for taking the reworked American version seriously as well.

:emoji_skull: :emoji_skull: :emoji_skull:
Several years back I sat my oldest grandson down (I think he was 13 or 14 at the time - he's 17 now) and we watched Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956). He kind of liked it. The next day we watched Gojira in the original Japanese. He loved it. So much that he asked for a copy for Christmas that year. He refuses to watch the American edit after seeing the original. I, too, vastly prefer the original but will watch the American version on occasion. As you've said, it's just doesn't have the impact of the original.
 

Michael Elliott

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The American version looks like CITIZEN KANE compared to that Italian one. I doubt that will ever see a legit release. The director of it is on Facebook and I thought about sending him a message but didn't.
 

Michael Elliott

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The Dead Don't Die (1975) ** 1/2

Curtis Harrington directed made-for-TV film has George Hamilton playing the brother of a man executed for a murder. Hamilton investigates and runs into Satanists. For the most part this was well-made but I think Hamilton was pretty bland in the lead role. Ray Milland, Reggie Nalder, Ralph Meeker and Joan Blondell all show up in supporting roles.

Maniac Killer (1987) *

Prostitutes are being cut up while a scientist (Chuck Connors) is doing experiments ona mentally challenged boy. This here was directed by the guy who gave us BURIAL GROUND: NIGHT OF TERROR and STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER so you might go into this slasher expecting gore. Well, there isn't any. Most of the kills are off screen but there's plenty of nudity. Overall this is a really horrible movie from Eurocine that makes very little sense and features some pretty bland performances.

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) ***

The last of Roger Corman's eight Poe adaptations is quite different from the rest as this one here takes place in mostly day light. Price is excellent as you'd expect and the film is well-made but I must admit that it is missing the atmosphere that made the earlier pictures so effective.

Bringing Godzilla Down to Size (2008) ****

This here should have been on the Criterion set. This is an excellent 70-minute documentary that goes through the special effects in the GODZILLA series. We get interviews with the men who created the miniatures, the men inside the Godzilla suit as well as those who made it. I really thought this was a terrific piece that gave you a great idea of what it was like making one of these films and there's some terrific behind-the-scenes photos.

Home for the Holidays (1972) ***

A father invites his four daughters home for Christmas and tells them that his new wife is trying to kill him. An excellent cast highlights this made-for-TV film that should be a lot better known and especially since it pretty much has a formula that would later be used for slashers. One by one people are picked off by a killer until there's a final girl. The mystery of the film isn't that hard to figure out but overall this was a real joy and you've got a terrific cast that includes Sally Field, Eleanor Parker, Julie Harris and Walter Brennan.
 

BobO'Link

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Last night:

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Count Alucard makes his way from Budapest to the swamps of the Deep South after meeting Katherine Caldwell, who's obsessed with occult matters. Who better to guide her through this supernatural world than Count Alucard? Most notable for being the first movie to show a vampire transforming - from a mist to solid. Lon Cheney, Jr. has played The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Dracula, and Kharis (the mummy) in Universal Horror films. Anyway... this is an OK entry into the series. Not great but not bad either.

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A genre classic. I still like this one in spite of not really caring for zombie movies. Lots of twisted turns of events makes it stand out. A horror movie loving friend (the one who loves Rob Zombie's movies - I insisted she watch this in return) thinks it's too slow - maybe the first third but it picks up. The Criterion BR looks better than I'd ever have thought the film could look given its history.

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Another Hammer favorite - Ingrid PItt plays Countess Elisabeth, who is a harsh ruler. She accidentally discovers that washing in the blood of young girls restores her youth and beauty. Her lover, Captain Dobi, abducts likely candidates. She takes a younger lover, which infuriates Dobi, and then discovers that only the blood of a virgin will now work to restore her. Very atmospheric and creepy.

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The 2nd film in the Invisible Man series. Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price in his 4th film) is framed for the murder of his brother and scheduled to hang. In his final hour, his friend Dr. Frank Griffin visits after which Radcliffe mysteriously vanishes. Inspector Sampson, from Scotland Yard, guesses the truth and puts out a police dragnet. Can Geoffrey elude the dragnet and locate the real murderer before the invisibility formula drives him insane?

A nice entry into the series - seems to be the case for all of the first sequels to classic Universal Horror films - Vincent Price does a very good job as the Invisible Man. You have all the requisite special effects shots which are generally well done. Believe it or not, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man is a pseudo remake of The Invisible Man Returns with much of the dialog lifted intact.
 

whacky blacky

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October 22

51. Evil Little Things (2019). FTV. Streamed. 1.5/5. Short stories about dolls that come to life. Just plain bad.
 
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Neil Middlemiss

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October 22: Candyman (1992) – 4 out of 5

While researching urban legends, graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) comes across the legend of the Candyman. According to legend, if you stare at a mirror and say “Candyman” five times, he will appear and kill you. Helen, and her thesis partner Bernadette follow the story to Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing projects and find more than they bargained for.

Candyman arrived in 1992, long past the prime of the slasher horror movie heyday of endless Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Friday the 13th sequels. By most outward appearances, Candyman may have seemed like a movie forged in the same slasher killer mold, but it’s a much more thoughtful, even arty film than that. The tonal difference from those other kinds of popular horror franchises, along with a strong performance from Madsen, and a contemplative foundation of race and class (with the class angle a carryover from Clive Barker’s original story, The Forbidden) sets this film in its own worthy space.

The surface premise of Candyman is silly, but the in-film backstory is intriguing, and while the story and ideas get muddled along the way, the film proves to be effective and engaging. There’s a seriousness to the film, an elevated sense of tone afforded by the excellent score (courtesy of Philip Glass), and the way this film seeks to talk about more than just the killer with a hook hand help it standout. An update is on the way next year from writer/produce Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) and director Nia DaCosta that has all the makings of being something special as well.
 
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Malcolm R

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Loved Candyman when I saw it in theaters in 1992. I think I may have reviewed it for my college newspaper.

The music by Philip Glass was also excellent. In 2014, Glass said, "It has become a classic so I still make money from that score, get checks every year." Pretty good that the score of a horror film remains popular enough 22 years later that the composer still gets checks.

I have the Shout/Scream blu-ray, but have not got around to watching it. Yet another title I'm hoping to get to during this challenge.
 
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dpippel

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OCTOBER 21:

25) The X-Files: S1.E20 - Darkness Falls (1994) (iTunes HD Streaming) 4/5 stars -
I believe this is the first "Monster of the Week" episode, about a group of loggers in the Pacific Northwest who fall prey to an ancient species of parasitic insect released by logging old-growth trees. Pretty effective.
 
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dpippel

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OCTOBER 22:

26) Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman (1943) (Blu-ray Disc) 4/5 stars -
Pretty much a direct sequel to The Wolf Man, I've always enjoyed this film. It carries on the tradition of the great sets, the great lighting, and the great cinematography of the earlier Universal horror films, and the story ties into the larger mythos nicely. Lon Chaney Jr. is better in this than the original film, but having Bela Lugosi play the Frankenstein monster instead of Karloff is a little off-putting. Amazingly, it still manages to work. Totally enjoyable.
 
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Malcolm R

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OCTOBER 21:

25) The X-Files: Season 1 Episode 20 - Darkness Falls (1994) (iTunes HD Streaming) 4/5 stars -
I believe this is the first "Monster of the Week" episode, about a group of loggers in the Pacific Northwest who fall prey to an ancient species of parasitic insect released by logging old-growth trees. Pretty effective.
X-Files had some great stand-alone episodes. One of my all-time creepy favorites is "Die Hand Die Verletzt" (Season 2, Ep 14).
 

Russell G

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Three more to update.

052 10/21 The Strangler (1964) 3.5/5 Made while the Boston Strangler murders were happening, this one follows a man with bad mommy issues who’s taken to strangling himself. I was surprised at how well done this one was. It’s a really good character study that while it certainly borrows a bit from PSYCHO, it stands on it’s own two feet and is basically a 60s version of HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER. Recommended.

053 10/22 Alone in the Dark (1982) 2/5 A new psychiatrist arrives at an institution just in time to get terrorized by the violent inmates when they escape via a power outage. There’s a murderers row of character actors in this like Martin Landau, Donald Pleasance and Jack Palance which makes me wish the whole thing was better. It started off okay but soon slowed down and became a struggle to pay attention to.

054 10/22 One Missed Call 2 (2005) 2.5/5 More weird phone calls are happening again. That’s the plot. This one started off okay, but since the last one didn’t exactly have a great ending there’s not much for this one to expand upon. I mean, it’s a cellphone curse, what more can there be? So while they do a not bad job setting it up, this one just gets completely bogged down in trying to expand this one note idea that it becomes a mess. Maybe the third film will bring it all home?
 

TravisR

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OCTOBER 21:

25) The X-Files: Season 1 Episode 20 - Darkness Falls (1994) (iTunes HD Streaming) 4/5 stars -
I believe this is the first "Monster of the Week" episode, about a group of loggers in the Pacific Northwest who fall prey to an ancient species of parasitic insect released by logging old-growth trees. Pretty effective.
Anyone who is a fan of The Thing should check out the first season XF episode "Ice". They ripped off The Thing (in a good way) back before that movie was reappraised and before anyone other than horror fans remembered it.

And just to be a nitpicker :), the first monster of the week XF episode is Squeeze (the third episode) which is another great one with a liver eating mutant.
 

HawksFord

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15. The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942) – It’s part of the second Universal Horror Collection, but the only explanation for that is the presence of Lionel Atwill. It’s a comedy-mystery which would be terrible were it not for the presence of Mantan Moreland and Shemp Howard. Moreland’s role is the sort of racial typecasting too common in movies, but he thoroughly owns the part. Both horror and plot are virtually non-existent. Watch it instead for the Three Stooges style of comedy between the two real stars.
 

John Stell

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Rating - Out of a possible 4


109) 10/22/2020 The Mummy's Ghost (1944)
1/2

My favorite Kharis film, which features more able-bodied protagonists as opposed to a bunch of elderly folks. A new High Priest (John Carradine) is sent to reunite Kharis with his Princess Ananka. But her spirit now resides in Egyptian college employee (Ramsay Ames). Lon Chaney, Jr. is a suitably threatening mummy, and the movie hums along nicely. Ames makes a strong impression as the doomed object of desire.

110) 10/22/2020 Ghost Catchers (1944)
1/2

Olson and Johnson zaniness has the duo investigating the haunted house that's right next door to their club. O&J are clearly past their prime. But I laughed a few times and was never bored; it's like a (lesser) Warner Brothers cartoon come to life. Lon Chaney, Jr. plays a thug in a gorilla suit.

111) 10/22/2020 Cry of the Werewolf (1944)


The daughter of notorious werewolf isn't happy when researchers start digging into her family's past. So she sets a plot in motion in destroy the offenders. Columbia sure did like cloning other studio's films. This time it's Universal Wolf Man by way of RKO's Val Lewton films. Result is atmospheric but ordinary outing, with the least terrifying werewolf to every appear on screen, at least up to that point.

112) 10/23/2020 The Climax (1944)
1/2

Boris Karloff broods as murderous opera physician who doesn't want The Magic Voice performed. It reminds him of the unreceptive lover he killed. The movie gets a lot of flack because the story has it's share of problems. But it's not that bad. It looks great and the cast is fine. I even like some of the music, much more so than that featured in prior year's The Phantom of the Opera.
 

Michael Elliott

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Fantastic Flesh: The Art of Make-Up EFX (2008) ***

An all-star group of people are interviewed about the gore and special effects in horror films. For the most part this was pretty good, although there's certainly nothing new here. This was basically aimed at the mainstream but there are a lot of great clips from the countless bloody effects from Dick Smith, Tom Savini and various others. It also at least paid tribute to the early guys like Lon Chaney and Jack Pearce.

The Failing of Raymond (1971) **

Jayne Wyman plays a teach who is about to retire when a young man (Dean Stockwell) comes to help her pack up. It turns out she failed this guy on a test ten years earlier and now he plans to kill her. This made-for-TV flick just didn't work for me because I had a hard time believing this teacher wouldn't remember the student. There's no suspense and the the character of the student is so poorly written that it just never works. Dana Andrews has a supporting role as does future MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN star Katy Sagal.

The Strange and Deadly Occurrence (1974) ***


Robert Stack and Vera Miles play a couple who move into their dream home only to soon have strange things happening. I must admit that I really enjoyed this made-for-TV film from John Llewellyn Moxey who also made THE CITY OF THE DEAD and THE NIGHT STALKER. I thought the story itself was quite good and the mystery of what's happening is what sold the picture. There were some effective and creepy scenes and I thought the performances were very good. Plus, it was kind of cool hearing Stack talk about these haunting things because you can't help but think of Unsolved Mysteries. This film certainly deserves to be better known than it is.
 
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