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

Pete Battista

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Title: Van Helsing

Year:
2004
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stephen Sommers (Writer)
Rating: Rated PG-13 : Nonstop Creature Action Violence and Frightening Images, and for Sensuality
Length: 132 Min.
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: English: DTS-X: 3D, English: DTS-HD Master Audio: 7.1, French: DTS: 5.1, Spanish: DTS: 5.1, Japanese: DTS: 5.1
Subtitles: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Greek, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish

Stars:
Hugh Jackman as Van Heising
Kate Beckinsale as Anna Valerious
Richard Roxburgh as Count Vladislaus Dracula
David Wenham as Carl
Shuler Hensley as Frankenstein's Monster
Elena Anaya as Aleera

Plot:
The director of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns brings three of Universal's classic monsters back to life like never before in this action-packed Van Helsing! Legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman, X-Men) must rely on the help of a beautiful and mysterious Anna Valeris (Kate Beckinsale, Underworld) as he engages in an epic battle with the ultimate forces of darkness – Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster! Get ready for non-stop action and mythic adventure in this pulse-pounding thrill ride loaded with spectacular visual effects!

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Feature Trailers
Featurettes
Interviews
Outtakes/Bloopers
Digital Copy

My Thoughts:
This is a film I haven't seen in years. But one I like a lot. I believe it is one of the first films I seen that mixed horror and action. Which is done well here. I also really liked the look of the monsters for the most part. They could have done Frankenstien better though. I liked the cast... they all did a good job. This is my first time seeing it on 4K UHD.... thought it looked and sounded great. I am glad I upgraded.

My Rating:
Out of a Possible 5
:emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2

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U- 4k UHD
B - Blu Ray Viewing
D - DVD Viewing
S - Streaming

Bold/Red = Denotes first ever viewing

Rating - Out of a possible 5 :emoji_skull_crossbones:

Night of the Demon - D - : :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Nightmare Cinema - D -:emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2
Invisible Man - U - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:
Lighthouse - S - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2
Vampires vs The Bronx - S - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2
The Lost Boys - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:
The Amityville Horror - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:

Fantasy Island - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2
Jeepers Creepers 2 - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:
Don't Knock Twice - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: 1/2
The Dead Don't Die - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2
Damned By Dawn - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: 1/2
Christine - U - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Good Boy - S - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: 1/2
Resicent Evil: Damnation - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2
Hocus Pocus - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2
It - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
It: Chapter 2 - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Pet Sematary (1989) - U - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Pet Sematary (2019) - U - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: 1/2
Pet Sematary 2 - D - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: 1/2
Walled In - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Billy the Kid vs. Dracula - S - :emoji_skull_crossbones: 1/2
Tales from the Hood - D - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Tales from the Hood 2 - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:1/2
Midsommar - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Hubie Halloween - S - :emoji_skull_crossbones::emoji_skull_crossbones:
The Thing ('82) - B - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Thirteen Ghosts - D - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
Suspiria - D - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones:
The Toolbox Murders - D - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: 1/2
Van Helsing - U - :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: :emoji_skull_crossbones: 1/2

Total Watched: 33
 

John Stell

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Rating - Out of a possible 4


113) 10/23/2020 La Torre de los Siete Jorobados (1944)


Ghost of murdered professor reaches out from beyond the grave to down-on-his-luck young man asking him to protect his niece. She's in danger of being murdered by criminal group of hunchbacks who live in subterranean city. Deft blend of horror, mystery, romance, light comedy, and whimsy. The underground set is something to behold, especially that staircase. Ending is unfortunately abrupt.

114) 10/24/2020 House of Frankenstein (1944)


Cleverly constructed monster mash of mad scientist Boris Karloff encountering Dracula, the Wolf Man, and the Frankenstein monster. He also has murderous hunchbacked assistant played by J. Carrol Naish, who does his best work in a horror film. Fast paced and entertaining, with various plot threads woven neatly together in rousing finale.

115) 10/24/2020 Ghost Crazy (1944)


Billy Gilbert and Shemp Howard play carnival performers who get involved in ghosts and murder at creepy house. Lots of mugging and hamming by the stars (who use their real names) is tolerable for those who have affection for these would-be comedy teams. Some good gags with the low-rent ghost.

116) 10/24/2020 The Man in Half Moon Street (1944)
1/2

90-plus year old doctor looks 35 because he's discovered secret of eternal life/youth using gland transplants. Unfortunately, he needs a transplant every 10 years and his elderly partner in this experiment has had a stroke. Can they find a doctor willing to help them with their unconventional experiment? Interesting story is given a rather casual approach, muting the horror. Hammer remade this 15 years later as The Man Who Could Cheat Death.
 

whacky blacky

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shawn blackman
October 24

54. Eyes Of The Dead (2015). FTV. Watched on DVD. 2/5. A new pesticide is sprayed on the corn which turns people into zombies. This one is done in first person view so you see through his eyes as both human and as a zombie. At first the concept is cool but then after 20 minutes it just seems to repeat.
 
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Michael Elliott

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Swallow (2019) *** 1/2

A pregnant woman finds herself having the desire to swallow objects. I won't ruin or say anything else about the plot but if you know what "body horror" is then let me introduce you to swallow horror. The performances were great, the story contained some good twists and overall this was just a creepy little film to play with your mind.

Relic (2020) *** 1/2

When her elderly mother goes missing, a woman and her daughter go to the home. Soon the mother/grandmother comes back but she's not quite right. This film is one that I found to be really unsettling and it has a lot of underline metaphors that each viewer could take something else away from. For my money I think the film is about dementia. It contains some great performances, some really spooky parts and overall it really lived up to the hype.

Unhinged (1982) * 1/2


Video Nasty about three friends on their way to a rock show who crash their car and wake up surrounding by a crippled lady and her daughter. The fact that this movie was banned is pretty silly and especially since the violence and blood level is quite low. Perhaps it was more about the nudity. The film is pretty dull throughout and it contains some really awful performances. There is a rather unique atmosphere to it and the twist at the end was good but overall it was a disappointment.

Terror in the Aisles (1984) *** television version

I decided to go with the television version since I had never seen it before but there's no question that the theatrical one is a bit better. It's hard to believe that this got a theatrical release back in the day but there are countless clips to various horror and thriller pictures. Having Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen in the film is a plus, although it's too bad they don't share any scenes together.

Cry of the Banshee (1970) ** 1/2

British horror film about a witch fighter (Vincent Price) who has a curse placed on his family. For the most part this was an entertaining film but the screenplay is a bit all over the place and it seems like the movie never really knows what it wants to be. Price is good in the lead role but he doesn't have as much energy or passion as WITCHFINDER GENERAL.

The House on Straw Hill (1976) ** 1/2

Udo Kier plays a writer struggling with his second novel so he hires a secretary (Linda Hayden) to help but things quickly turn violent. This is a slow-burn picture that actually takes off during the final half hour. I did like the movie and especially its erotic overtones but the film was just pretty straight throughout. It just needed something a bit more. It's well-made and effective but it's just kinda blah.
 

Jeff Flugel

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18. The X-Files
Enjoyed dipping back into this series so much that I couldn't resist watching a few more. Two more which I'd not seen before:

2.24 "Our Town"
Mulder and Scully investigate a missing persons case in a small town built around a chicken processing plant and uncover a cannibal cult lurking behind the seemingly benign facade. Fun episode, enjoyed this one a lot. Some nice dark humor mixed in with the beheadings and autopsies. Especially liked this little exchange:

Scully: I just came up with a sick theory, Mulder.
Mulder: Ooh, I’m listening.

5.9 "Schizogeny"
An apt description of most X-Files episodes: lots of weird shit going down. That's exactly what happens in this episode, which involves cycles of abuse from parents to children, killer trees, split personalities and psychic possession, amidst other themes. Not an outstanding episode by any means, a bit of a murky mess, really, but plenty watchable. Not for the first time, our heroes are a bit slow on the uptake here, and sometimes I found myself shouting at the screen for Mulder and Scully to get a move on before more bodies pile up.

I know the prime time TV landscape was a vastly different place over 20 years ago than it is now, but it still boggles my mind that this middle-tier episode of the show was watched by more than 21 million people. Shows these days would kill for those numbers. Reminds me of just what a huge pop culture phenomenon The X-Files was back then.

19. The Abominable Snowman (1957) ***1/2



A British botanist (Peter Cushing, in fine "principled hero" form), conducting research at a temple high in the Himalayas, against the vehement protestations of his lovely young wife (Maureen Connell), joins a expedition led by an American huckster (Forrest Tucker) to find the elusive Yeti. Intelligent and eerie thriller, one of the better Hammer productions IMO, thanks to a typically fine script by Nigel Kneale, good performances and an excellent blending of snow-bound studio sets and real second unit location footage filmed in the Pyrenees. The story was first written and broadcast as a BBC TV play titled "The Creature" in 1955, starring Cushing and Stanley Baker (in the Forrest Tucker part). I would love to see that version, but the play sadly was not recorded and only a few telesnaps survive. At any rate, the script is by all accounts very faithful to the teleplay and director Val Guest does a very nice job opening up the film version, making good use of the 2.35: 1 framing. The "monsters" are little seen but effectively rendered for the time period.
 
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Malcolm R

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Silver Bullet :emoji_scream: :emoji_scream:

Over the course of a terrifying few months, the small town of Tarker's Mills experiences a string of horrifying murders, corresponding to the emergence of the full moon. Young Marty, a disabled boy with a motorized wheelchair, has actually seen the beast causing the mayhem, a werewolf, and managed to wound the monster with a firework. But no one is willing to believe the wild stories of a young boy. It becomes up to Marty, with his sister and uncle, to try and bring an end to the werewolf's monthly rampage.

Not a bad film, but not one of my favorite werewolf films, largely due to the rather odd and unimaginative creature design. It sort of looks like a cross between a bear and Bigfoot. Reportedly, the rather plain design, more like a tall, thin man in a fur suit than any kind of hulking lupine beast, was at the specific request of Stephen King to FX designer Carlo Rambaldi (who won Oscars for FX on Alien and E.T.). Producer Dino DeLaurentiis reportedly HATED the design and refused to film the creature scenes for months while they filmed the rest of the movie. Finally DeLaurentiis caved and allowed use of the werewolf costume as designed. (AMC cable)
 
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Neil Middlemiss

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October 24: Body Parts (1991) – 2.5 out of 5

After psychologist Bill Chrushank is involved in a terrible car accident, his arm must be amputated. But as luck would have it, he finds himself in the care of a pioneering surgeon who is able to graft a full arm from a deceased patient onto him. It’s a miraculous procedure. But after some harrowing nightmares, and an arm that seems to have a mind of its own, Bill becomes suspicious. Connecting with two other patients who were recipients of body parts from the same donor…who happens to have been a dangerous, murderous criminal. Things only get weirder from there.

Body Parts has a fun premise though it does take a while to really get going. Jeff Fahey, who I have always enjoyed, does well as lead. Brad Dourif also makes an appearance as one of the other body parts recipients. The direction is good if not remarkable and the film seems to want to do more characterization than horror but doesn’t seem to be able to find a good way into that with the script it has.

I was taken by this film the first time I saw it. It made an impression on me, but what I have found in my recent viewings (which is only a couple of times this past 10 or so years) is that I like the idea of watching this movie than I do actually watching the movie. The anticipation has become better than the experience. But it can still be a good little piece of genre filmmaking, in firm embrace of its B-movie premise, I just don’t love it the way I expect to every time I fire it up.
 
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sleroi

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Gavin Kopp
10/24

26. Night of the Demons (1988) - ***

A group of teens hold a party at an abandoned funeral parlor and awaken a demon. Possession and mayhem ensues.

I saw this theatrically and remember really liking it. It starts out cheesy, but fun, and shifts to creepy well. The makeup is cool and there are some good early kills. But once we get down to the last couple of survivors the chase gets a little monotonous and drags on a little long.

But if youve ever watched return of the living dead and were confused about why naked Linnea Quigley had a weird prosthetic over her crotch then you need to watch Night of the Demons.
 

JohnRice

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22) Knock Knock (2015) 3/5 - Writer/Director Eli Roth indulges his adolescent fantasies with this home invasion story of two sexy young women knocking on Keanu Reeves' front door in the middle of a rain storm. This movie kind of goes around in circles, but also kind of weirdly ends up working better than I expected. Roth's twisted humor is a little more on the nose here with occasional payoffs.

I'm awarding an extra 1/2 point for the casting of Ana de Armas, who despite her somewhat dubious role (which she hits out of the park all the same) has been proving that she is likely to become something of a star. Her role of Joi in Blade Runner 2049 was nuanced and touching, and she was the glue which held together an ensemble cast of heavyweights as Marta in Knives Out. The upcoming Bond film, No Time to Die is next for her.


23) Personal Shopper (2016) 4/5 - Kristen Stewart plays Maureen, the personal shopper for an obnoxious celebrity in Paris. Her twin brother recently passed away from a heart irregularity which she also has. Oh yeah, both of them seem to have skills as mediums, and Maureen is remaining in Paris with hopes of contacting her recently departed brother.

I knew this movie was "different" and I've been saving it for a few years until the urge to give it a try struck. And yeah, it's definitely different. I'll need to watch it another time or two in hopes of better grasping its deeper meaning, or meanings. I'm not certain it all makes sense, but it might just be more than I can figure out in one viewing. In any case, I think it's a worthwhile watch if only to reach the last moment.
 
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Russell G

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My latest batch. More randomness. I've been going by gut instinct instead of planned viewing. It's been interesting?

059 10/23 Vampyros Lesbos (1971) 3.5/5 A young woman lawyer gets mixed up with a sexy countess in this Dracula riff. This one is considered one of Jesse Franco’s best, I think. I’m not a Franco expert. This one was obviously shot dirt cheap, but Franco packs it with tons of style so the limitations don’t show too badly and it ends up being a sleazy, trippy treat. As far as Dracula/vampire films go, you can do a lot worse.

060 10/24 Hellraiser: Judgement (2018) 2.5/5 A pair of cops tracking a serial killer run into the Cenobites. Starts off looking like a knock off of the Nine Inch Nails video “Closer” before settling into what it desperately wants to be, a Se7en clone. This one manages to be the rare Hellraiser film that could be called “Pretty good”, in that it’s a billion time better than any of the other sequels I’ve seen but don’t remember anything of, aside from the first two films which are legit good. So while this one certainly isn’t great, the director goes for it and backs this with as much grossness as he can get away with to kind of hide how crap it is.

061 10/24 The Woman (2011) 3.5/5 Revisited Luck McKee’s take on the evil of patriarchy. The world's biggest asshole finds and captures a feral woman in the woods and it just gets uglier than there. I can see people getting turned off by this since McKee hammers the theme with a ten pound hammer and the level of abuses are just vile even if this isn’t super explicit. It makes this one an ugly watch, but I think it’s successful and works as a pitch black satire. If anything, it’s ahead of its time. Aside from that all the actors are great and the film works with no pacing issues.

062 10/24 Caged Virgins (1971) 1.5/5 Apparently this is better known as “Requiem Pour Un Vampire”, isn’t presented by Harry Novak and runs 90 some minutes instead of 64 minutes that my copy is. I found all this out AFTER I watched it. As it stands, my version of this film is garbage. A couple of girls on the lam run into a vampire. There’s torture and tits, but goddamn, it feels like an eternity to watch and is practically a silent film for most of it, and not a particularly good silent film. I’m sure the original version is great compared to this, but I’m in no rush to seek it out.

063 10/24 Scared Stiff (1953) 3/5 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis agree to help a young woman check out her haunted castle on a voodoo island. This one is in the “Jason Takes Manhattan” mode where it takes forever to get to the haunted castle bit and once there, it never really delivers. That said, there are some fun bits, Lizbeth Scott is good as the lady. Jerry Lewis gets to be a bit hard to take but that’s Jerry. Not the best classic horror comedy, Abbott and Costello do this better, but it was a fun diversion.
 
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Malcolm R

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Grizzly :emoji_scream: :emoji_scream: 1/2

In an unnamed national forest park, a rogue grizzly has begun attacking campers and hikers. Thought to be of unusual size and intelligence, and the only grizzly to even be in the area in decades, the bear plays a game of cat-and-mouse with its pursuers while leaving a trail of bloody bodies across the park.

One of the earliest and best riffs on Jaws the filmmakers do a very good job of maintaining tension and giving us the impression of a towering beast by not actually showing the bear until later in the film and using a number of higher angle camera shots and trees with very high claw marks. Aside from an oddly bouncy and buoyant fanfare during the opening credits, which seems like an odd choice to open a horror film, it's quite an entertaining film.

Filmmakers admittedly were trying to cash in on the popularity of Jaws from a couple of years before. By and large it's a pretty decent effort. Most every notable scene and character in Jaws can be matched to an equivalent scene or character in this film. We have the trio consisting of the lead Ranger responsible for investigating and stopping the creature, the naturalist/expert who wants to study the creature and has some specially-designed tranquilizer bullets to use, and a crusty Vietnam veteran with a helicopter who flies the other two around in a search for the bear. Just before the climax, the pilot tells a story of an indian tribe terrorized by man-eating grizzlies (similar to Quint's Indianapolis story), as the camera slowly pans in closer. There's a park supervisor who constantly butts heads with the lead Ranger, and refuses to close the park completely for the safety of the visitors, more interested in the press and politics. A child is mauled, and becomes the turning point for everyone to put aside their individual positions and work together to stop the bear. (Scorpion Releasing Blu-Ray).
 
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John Stell

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Rating - Out of a possible 4


117) 10/24/2020 The Mummy's Curse (1944)


Final Kahris film is par for the curse.. er, course. 35 years after the events of The Mummy's Ghost, Kharis' body is unearthed during construction project, while Ananka wakes up from her mud bath with a bad case of amnesia. Good cast does what it can with familiar, so-so script. Best moment is Ananka's rise from the dead.

118) 10/25/2020 I Love A Mystery (1945)
1/2

First of a trio of films based on radio series of the same name. In this episode detective recounts how client Jefferson Monk lost his head. The reason is tied to the fact Monk resembled ancient leader of Oriental cult, and they want his noggin! Good mystery that unfortunately has two rather flat actors as the sleuths.

119) 10/25/2020 The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
1/2

MGM spared no expense in this witty, classy version of Oscar Wilde's novel. Dorian Gray gets his wish when expresses his desire to remain young while his newly painted portrait grows old instead. He gets his wish, but with unsettling consequences. George Sanders steals the movie as gentleman cad who delivers one zinger after another. Angela Lansbury is memorable in brief but pivotal performance as woman Dorian falls in love with.

120) 10/25/2020 Zombies on Broadway (1945)


Rather blah comedy/horror about two press agents forced to find real zombie since they promised one for opening of thug's new club The Zombie Hut. Bela Lugosi is the mad doctor who might be able to help. Crooner Sir Lancelot from the Val Lewton films shows up in pleasant cameo. Some mild scattershot laughs; Lugosi plays things straight but doesn't seem to be enjoying himself as much as he does in this poverty row films.
 
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whacky blacky

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shawn blackman
October 25

56. Fang (2018). FTV. Streamed. 2.5/5. A werewolf family feeds on the visitors they get from time to time. Lots of low budget blood in this one done campy style.
 
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HawksFord

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central NY
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Maurice
17. The Face at the Window (1939) NEW – We watched this on the recent Kino Lorber blu-ray. It was our first time seeing the movie, and maybe our first time seeing Tod Slaughter. This was completely over-the-top fun. You have the titular face accompanied by the howls of a wolf, Slaughter as a smarmy villain, a mad scientist, murder – the fun never stops.

:emoji_skull: :emoji_skull: :emoji_skull:
 

dana martin

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First Time Viewing

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36. Mr. Sardonicus :emoji_star: :emoji_star: :emoji_star:

This is another one I have memories of a cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland from childhood of course, that has slipped through the cracks. And since this year I've decided I am doing the unwatched collection, it was time to add those to the viewed. William Castle takes the image or idea of the man who laughs and puts his own unique spin on it this is not a kind gentle soul but I hateful and vindictive one. Good makeup and minor shocks from the Shockmaster of course with a slight gimmick of the Punishment Poll at the end make this a fun film to watch.
Can't believe I've gone all these years and haven't seen this one looks like I'm going to have to go through the rest of the set and only pulled the ones that I haven't viewed.
 

BobO'Link

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Howie
Saturday was a quite productive movie day:

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Yet another in the Jekyll/Hyde vein. A professor of prehistoric life (Robert Shayne - "Inspector Henderson" of The Adventures of Superman TV series) creates an extract that regresses a cat into a sabre-tooth tiger. Since that worked he tries it on himself to prove to collegues a Neanderthal is just as intelligent as modern man and becomes a Neanderthal, killing a few folks and generating the requisite search for the killer. Cheaply produced and it shows but it's of the so bad it's good variety - well, at least watchable if you're in the right mood.

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A Vin Diesel vehicle that goes off the tracks with a script that somewhat runs out of gas. It's powered by the visuals, passable CGI effects, and an interesting premise that's mostly wasted on a predictable script that gives little to the actors other than a way to get from one set-piece to another. The best thing I can say about this one is the disc actually has a properly mixed stereo audio track with voices that weren't burried in the sound scape. I wish more productions did that as many multi-channel tracks are horribly mixed. On the other hand, it also has music throughout - another failing of modern movies. Silence is often more effective than cheesy music which attempts to invoke emotion. Something lost on most of today's film makers. Watch one of the Riddick films instead.

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The granddaddy of the Summer Blockbuster. It's also a film I just do not like - never have. I also have trouble calling it a "horror' film. Spielburg is a master at manipulating his audience and this film is proof. It feels like what it is - a somewhat soulless film assembled in a formulaic manner to elicit predictable responses at all the right times. It's well done all the way around but is just not a story type I've ever liked. I'd recently purchased a BR of this (very inexpensively) so watched it as I watch everything I purchase at least once. Oh... the John Williams score is very good - the best part of the film. Frankly, I don't think it'd have been nearly as effective had it been scored by someone else.

I own copies of some films because of them being "classics" and/or examples of a type with a goal of having a "well rounded" library of material. I also have 6 grandkids who I try to introduce to as many movies as possible and don't exclude a "classic" movie just because I may not like it. They also do not get my opinion until they've had a viewing as I don't want to color their opinion. This is one such film.

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Yet another attempt to bring Bram Stoker's novel to the screen. I like it well enough but in watching my new BR I find it's not aged as well as other versions. The quite obvious 80s hair style on Langella, as well as a few costuming choices, is a major hit to the film and dates it somewhat. Everyone but he has a more Victorian style making him look quite out of place. Other than that, it's fairly well done with an excellent cast and ranks in my top 5 Dracula adaptations.

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A trio of Italian horror films, all featuring Barbara Steele.

First up, Nightmare Castle. The Count's wife (Steele) is quite unfaithful. He suspects and returns to catch her with her lover, the gardener (who else?). He tortures and kills both, removing, and storing, their hearts (Why? Who knows? Just go with it) and uses their blood to rejuvinate his aged servant, Solange. But wait! Before dying his wife tells him that *he's* not the heir to the castle, but it's her stepsister (Steele in a blonde wig) who's somewhat mentally unstable. Of course he sends for and marries the stepsister with intentions of driving her mad and taking the properties.

This is a quite good example of Steele's work and Italian horror in general. Atmospheric and spooky with a decent story.

Castle of Blood has a journalist challenges Edgar Allan Poe on his works (which in the film are presented as actual observations, not fiction). He then accepts a challenge to stay overnight in a haunted castle on "All Soul's Eve" to prove Poe is right. The ghosts of people killed in the castle arise and reenact their deaths. One (played by Steele) falls in love with him, tells him the castle's secret, and tries to help him escape.

A really fun little haunted house film with malevolent ghosts. It's easy to see bits borrowed from similar films and bits later films borrowed from this. It shares some sets with Nightmare Castle. The director, Antonio Margheriti, disappointed by the box office on this one remade it in color as Web of the Spider only to say that it was "stupid to remake it" and that "the color cinematography destroyed everything: the atmosphere, the tension." I have a copy but don't remember anything about it - been too long. Guess I need to dig it up...

Terror-Creatures from the Grave was the only first time viewing and the primary reason, outside HD versions of all three being included, I purchased this set. An attorney arrives at a castle to settle the estate of its recently deceased owner. The owner's widow and daughter claim that the late lord could summon the souls of ancient plague victims, and that his spirit roams the castle. Soon, occupants of the castle begin to die in gruesome, violent ways when the dead lord and plague victims return to exact revenge.

Absolutely the lesser of the three films but still a good, atmospheric, Italian Gothic horror piece.

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Another first-time viewing. 1989 saw no fewer than a half dozen "alien from the depths" type movies, including The Abyss from James Cameron. This and Leviathan, one of those other releases, share an almost identical plot: An underwater science team accidentally wakes an unknown organism in extreme depth which hunts them one by one. Sounds like Alien underwater, eh? It kind of is but not completely. It has several of those "Are you kidding me?" moments (you know the ones - where stupidity rules supreme) but overall isn't too bad. I like it just as much as The Abyss - but come to think of it found that one quite formulaic, rather boring, and just not all that good, so... yeah, I like this one better.

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A stupidly funny movie. At the area "quick shop" (run down market on the highway with a gas pump), a couple of "hillbillies" see a group of "college kids" out on a camping vacation in the mountains who stopped for some beer. Of course the kids are somewhat terrified by the back-woods hillbillies and think Deliverance. It seems that Tucker's "vacation home" in the woods happens to be quite close to where the kids are camping. One of the girls gets in trouble when the group is swimming in a pond and Tucker and Dale rescue her only for her friends to think they abducted her and plan terrible things. The friends go off on a "rescue" mission. I've seen it a couple of times and it's still just as funny as the first.

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A family is trapped in a desert town by a cult of senior-citizens who recruit the town's children to worship Satan. OK... doesn't sound bad but it is. It plays more like a much lesser made-for-TV horror movie-of-the-week. It's OK but *just* OK.
 

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