*** Official 9th Annual HTF October Scary Movie Challenge

Discussion in 'Movies' started by TravisR, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

    Feb 1, 2007
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    Scott D. Atwell
    When this Challenge began, I thought to myself how odd it would be to end up being '13th.' A this moment (and with a little bit of alphabetical help), I'm tied for that position. Of course, this could change once the final totals are all in. [​IMG]
  2. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

    Jul 22, 2006
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    Could be anywhere
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    James Perry
    I feel like Number 2. [​IMG]

    Congrads to Michael!
  3. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

    Dec 2, 2001
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    Yipes! I'm late...Travis please update if you could.

    My Final Total: 43
    First time watched: 43

    Yep, everything was a new viewing for me this year. I was planning on squeezing in one re-watch (the original Ju-On: The Grudge), but time ran out. Carving pumpkins takes a lot of time you know...

    36. I Sell The Dead (2008 - Glenn McQuaid) - One last one from the After Dark Festival...The closing night film was a bit of a throwback to those old style Amicus anthologies - a grave robber recounts his adventures on the eve of his execution and they include lots of run-ins with the undead. Not quite as snappy as the older anthologies (they need to tighten up the wrap around story sections), but some of the flashback tales are very entertaining. I hope this gets a wider release.

    37. Bay Of Blood (1971 - Mario Bava) - An early slasher picture from Bava that fits into his style (bright colours and great sets) and takes a bit of a different slant on the killer(s). The acting and dubbing is annoying to a certain extent, but in this case Bava makes you forget it. And let's just say the makers of "Friday The 13th" (and many of the other slashers of the late 70s and early 80s) have a great deal to owe Mr. Bava.

    38. Dementia (1955 - John Parker) - Well here's a spiffy little film...First made in 1953, the original "Dementia" was a 56 minute dialogue-free experience of a woman losing her grip on sanity. It shuffles along in the shadows and her dreams and you can never quite tell what is real and what is perhaps something she has just imagined. Released in 1955 to scant viewership, it was recut with added narration to become "Daughter Of Horror" and released again a few years later. Needless to say, I thought the original version was just fine without any further explanation.

    39. Bloody Reunion (2006 - Dae-Wung Lim) - Korean horror movie that never seems to execute or follow through on its promise or even on individual moments in the film. Perhaps it was an exercise by the filmmakers to purposely set up so many scenes of anticipation and frame them in such a way that you expect something to happen - and then nothing does. As for the plot, former elementary students of a dying teacher gather together to make her feel loved, but maybe things aren't all as rosy as she initially thinks. There's good scenes and even a few toe-curling ones, but along with a pointless "Ha, we fooled you! Nothing was what it seemed!" ending, it just never quite managed to hold interest.

    40. The Old Dark House (1932 - James Whale) - A bickering husband and wife plus their free-spirited friend are trapped in a huge storm that's wiping out the roads, so they take shelter in an old mansion. The house isn't empty though as it's occupied by the Femm family - brother and sister plus their manservant Morgan (played by Boris Karloff). Two other travelers find their way there and as they try to settle in for the night, some of the secrets of the house and the family get revealed. I'd love to see this in a pristine print as Whale obviously composed frames and shadows in just the right way to lend additional mystery or creepiness to certain scenes. A very fun movie.

    41. Gothic (1986 - Ken Russell) - An imaginative take on how Mary Shelley (technically still Godwin at this point) came up with the idea of Frankenstein during a wild visit to Lord Byron's mansion with her lover Peter Shelley and half-sister Claire. During drug fueled parlour games, ghost stories are bandied about and personal demons are brought to the fore. And pretty much everybody freaks out. The flowery prose of the writers makes for some long winded moments, but the entire film has a sense of fun mixed in with some genuinely disturbing moments.

    42. The House On Sorority Row (1983 - Mark Rosman) - In many ways a by the book typical 80s slasher film - 7 graduating friends decide to stay a little longer in their sorority house for a final party, but they have a run in with the creepy house mother and a prank goes horribly wrong. The girls get picked off one by one, the final girl is established early on and the acting is mostly terrible. Logic holes abound as well. But I kinda enjoyed it...I wanted to see where it was headed and it pretty much flew by. It's not very good nor is it really very scary, but it still entertained me for most of its 90 minutes. The ending was lame-o though.

    43. Spider Baby (1968 - Jack Hill) - One of the best films I saw all month. Hell, maybe all year. OK, I'm overstating things a bit, but I had a blast with this odd funny/creepy story of siblings who have a rare condition that makes them mentally regress once they hit the age of 10 even tough their bodies continue to physically develop. This leads to all sorts of issues with "the kids", so the family chauffeur (Lon Chaney Jr.) has to take care of them. When distant relatives visit to assess whether they should take over the house, things get a bit hairy. Lovely Virginia (who acts and talks like she is about 8, but looks like a fully mature 19 year old) likes to play "spider", but she really likes to play the role - ie. cutting up her prey. Made by Jack Hill, it's a "trashy" movie but it surprises you a great deal. First and foremost with the acting - everyone in it is superb - but also with the lighting, plotting and particularly with Virginia's sexiness. Her mental age is that of a grade schooler, but her sensuality is bursting through. You can't help but feel slightly conflicted - especially when she's climbing all over her new "uncle" Peter while he's tied up and she's nibbling at his face talking about his "juices". What a great way to end the challenge.

    Both those last ones are apparently being remade as we speak. I'm not sure what to think...

    2008 Scary Movie Challenge:

    1. 10/01/08 - Dead Of Night
    (1945 - Alberto Calvacanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dreaden, Robert Hamer)
    2. 10/01/08 - Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972 - Robert Fuest)
    3. 10/02/08 - Hair Extensions (2007 - Sion Sono)
    4. 10/02/08 - The House That Dripped Blood (1971 - Peter Duffell)
    5. 10/03/08 - Going To Pieces (2006 - unknown)
    6. 10/03/08 - The Skull (1965 - Freddie Francis)
    7. 10/04/08 - The Brood (1979 - David Cronenberg)
    8. 10/05/08 - Blood And Black Lace (1964 - Mario Bava)
    9. 10/05/08 - From Beyond The Grave (1973 - Kevin Connor)
    10. 10/05/08 - Yokai Monsters: Along With Ghosts (1969 - Yoshiyuki Kuroda, Kumiyoshi Yasuda)
    11. 10/06/08 - The Brides Of Dracula (1960 - Terence Fisher)
    12. 10/07/08 - Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters (1968 - Kumiyoshi Yasuda)
    13. 10/07/08 - Rabid (1977 - David Cronenberg)
    14. 10/09/08 - The Beast Must Die! (1974 - Paul Annett)
    15. 10/10/08 - Torture Garden (1967 - Freddie Francis)
    16. 10/10/08 - They Live (1988 - John Carpenter)
    17. 10/11/08 - Curse Of The Werewolf (1961 - Terence Fisher)
    18. 10/11/08 - Shocker (1989 - Wes Craven)
    19. 10/12/08 - Black Sunday (1960 - Mario Bava)
    20. 10/12/08 - Scream And Scream Again (1970 - Gordon Hessler)
    21. 10/13/08 - Strait-Jacket (1964 - William Castle)
    22. 10/14/08 - Watch Me When I Kill (1977 - Antonio Bido)
    23. 10/14/08 - Happy Birthday To Me (1981 - J. Lee Thompson)
    24. 10/15/08 - Paranoiac (1963 - Freddie Francis)
    25. 10/16/08 - Ten Nights Of Dreams (2006 - 11 different directors)
    26. 10/17/08 - Let The Right One In (2008 - Tomas Alfredson)
    27. 10/18/08 - Repo:The Genetic Opera (2008 - Darren Lynn Bouseman)
    28. 10/19/08 - Kevin Tenney's Brain Dead (2007 - Kevin Tenney)
    29. 10/19/08 - Trailer Park Of Terror (2008 - Steven Goldmann)
    30. 10/20/08 - Red (2008 - Trygve Diesen & Lucky McKee)
    31. 10/20/08 - 4bia (2008 - 4 different directors)
    32. 10/21/08 - Netherbeast Incorporated (2007 - Dean Ronalds)
    33. 10/22/08 - Mutant Chronicles (2008 - Simon Hunter)
    34. 10/23/08 - Tokyo Gore Police (2008 - Yoshihiro Nishimura)
    35. 10/23/08 - Home Movie (2008 - Christopher Denham)
    36. 10/24/08 - I Sell The Dead (2008 - Glenn McQuaid)
    37. 10/25/08 - Bay Of Blood (1971 - Mario Bava)
    38. 10/26/08 - Dementia (1955 - John Parker)
    39. 10/27/08 - Bloody Reunion (2006 - Dae-Wung Lim)
    40. 10/28/08 - The Old Dark House (1932 - James Whale)
    41. 10/29/08 - Gothic (1986 - Ken Russell)
    42. 10/30/08 - The House On Sorority Row (1983 - Mark Rosman)
    43. 10/31/08 - Spider Baby (1968 - Jack Hill)
  4. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

    Nov 15, 2004
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    The basement of the FBI building
    ^ Got it.
  5. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

    Jul 22, 2006
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    Could be anywhere
    Real Name:
    James Perry
    I agree. It's very childlike at times too...but those would be some twisted children.
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Jun 20, 2000
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    Whichever fits.

    Currently, I'm almost never home, and when I am, I mostly sleep. I do have my own office now though. About friggin' time, since I no longer work at home. So, I'll add you to AIM there and try to catch you.
  7. Mario Gauci

    Mario Gauci Cinematographer

    Jan 8, 2005
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    10/28/08: THE LOVE OF ZERO (Robert Florey and William Cameron Menzies, 1927) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The experimental nature of this fairytale-style short (by a couple of notable craftsmen) means that the technique on display swamps what little plot there is – in fact, it was part of a DVD collection of American avant-garde films.

    In any case, we get a dapper-looking artist in love with a girl: she returns his affections, but is promised to someone else; undaunted, he tries to impress another woman but she just laughs in his face…after which he breaks down and is haunted by demons!

    The film is actually intrinsically bizarre: not just in its marvelous CALIGARI-inspired Expressionist look, but the appearance and mannerisms of the lead character (which are no less stylized – particularly the speeded-up dance routine he occasionally engages in). The rest is made up of clever camera tricks which, though having little point in themselves, still manage to delight.

    10/28/08: DREAM OF A RAREBIT FIEND (Edwin S. Porter, 1906) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Famous fantasy short with a moral: a man spends a night stuffing himself with food and drink in a restaurant; stumbling his way home, he sees the buildings ‘dancing’ around him and, on arriving, things only get worse. The bed starts to shake violently as if possessed and even throws itself, with the man still tucked in, through the window (the film’s single funniest bit)! Flying around town a` la Scrooge, he’s sure to have learnt his lesson by the next morning.

    As far as I know, the only other Porter film I’ve watched is THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1903), celebrated for being the first Western; this one, then, contains a number of crude camera tricks in the contemporary style of Frenchman Georges Melies. Incidentally (and Michael Elliott is sure to raise an eyebrow or two at this!), in spite of their undeniable historical value, I can’t bring myself to appreciate such primitive stuff other than as mere curiosities…

    10/29/08: TELEPLAY: THE ITALIAN MACHINE (TV) (David Cronenberg, 1976) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    This isn’t really horror, but it does feature Cronenberg’s trademark fetishistic attitudes towards machines – in this case, a wild-looking motor enthusiast who becomes obsessed with acquiring a rare classic model currently in possession of a rich man. In fact, he fumes at the prospect of it being used as mere decoration in the latter’s house – the film, then, is also a commentary on what constitutes true art (among the rich man’s gallery of possessions is even a stud!).

    Anyway, the motor enthusiast insinuates himself (along with a couple of associates) into the rich man’s house with the excuse that they’re interviewing him for some magazine; however, his uncontrollable excitement – both at the sight of the machine and its owner’s neglect of it – almost gives the game away! Eventually, they turn to the stud – who happens to be a coke addict – for help: he’s to persuade his ‘master’ to give the bike to him, which he will then trade with our protagonist for a supply of drugs!

    Incidentally, the rich man’s attractive young wife – who, unsurprisingly, has her own use for the stud – also turns her attention to their guests…but it soon becomes apparent to her that all they’re interested in is the titular object! The film is marked by a fair amount of humor, which isn’t the most obvious element to be found in a Cronenberg film – as evidenced even by THE LIE CHAIR (1975), another made-for-TV short and which followed this in quick succession…

    10/29/08: PEEP SHOW: THE LIE CHAIR (TV) (David Cronenberg, 1975) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    This is an effectively eerie piece which has the feel of a one-act play: a couple are stranded in the countryside on a rainy night and seek shelter in house nearby. When they knock at the door, they’re welcomed as the guests the elderly owner had been expecting for dinner; the maid asks them to play up to the old woman – but it soon transpires that she’s just as batty and deluded! In fact, the people they’re supposed to be have been dead for some time!

    Other weird goings-on include: when the couple ask the owner to use the phone, she tells them they don’t have one – however, when enquiring about an extra place at table, she tells them it’s for the handyman…but he phoned saying he got caught up in town because of the storm!; also, they hear the voices of children when approaching the maid’s room but, on opening the door, she’s all alone!

    The twist is that, as if by a spell, the couple are slowly turning into the persons they’re pretending to be: a particularly chilling moment occurs when the man wonders where he might find a pair of pyjamas in the room they’ve been assigned and his wife, who obviously had never been there before, casually indicates the exact drawer where they’re kept! The last scene sees all four people having breakfast and gleefully reminiscing about the good old days! Incidentally, the title is a reference to a chair in which the hero’s ‘grandfather’ would sit with him and make-believe to while away the time.
  8. Mario Gauci

    Mario Gauci Cinematographer

    Jan 8, 2005
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    Two belated but, thankfully, final reviews pertaining to this year's Halloween Challenge:

    10/31/08: LOOKING BACK AT “THE HILLS HAVE EYES” (Perry Martin, 2003) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    This 55-minute documentary can be found on Anchor Bay’s 2-Disc Set of Wes Craven’s THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977) and is not bad as these things go – although the participants (excepting the self-deprecating Dee Wallace) seem too pleased with themselves at times. Typically for Craven, he diminishes his involvement in HILLS’ misjudged sequel by not mentioning it at all while his telling of how the notoriety of THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) only left him an opening for yet another horror movie is indicative of the fate that has befallen contemporaries of his like George A. Romero, Dario Argento, John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper practically to this day.

    Although I wasn’t completely won over by the film itself, it was nice to hear the cast and crew reminiscing on its making and its level of success in drive-in theatres although, again, one would have thought the absence of several key cast members in the documentary might have been explained. What is dwelt upon, on the other hand, is the fact that producer Peter Locke was constantly present on the set, making it an aggravating shoot for the still relatively inexperienced Craven who got to have his sweet revenge by casting Locke in the part of Mercury – who gets to make a fool of himself and be thrown to his death off a cliff by the resourceful family dog, Beast!

    Ironically enough, watching the lavish care with which THE HILLS HAVE EYES itself has been treated on disc by Anchor Bay makes one bemoan all the more the pathetic state to which this once-glorious label has fallen nowadays, where it’s virtually being kept alive exclusively via seemingly annual reissues of cult teen flick HEATHERS (1989) and the popular HALLOWEEN and EVIL DEAD franchises…

    10/31/08: THE DIRECTORS: THE FILMS OF WES CRAVEN (Robert J. Emery, 1999) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I recall watching a handful of these programs on an Italian satellite channel in the late 1990s/early 2000s and I may even have caught a glimpse of this particular episode at the time. Essentially, it’s a fluffy and superficial piece that’s more valuable for the inclusion of footage from relatively rare Craven films like DEADLY BLESSING (1981; which is still unavailable on DVD in the U.S. despite the presence of both Sharon Stone and Ernest Borgnine!) and DEADLY FRIEND (1986).

    While the quick dismissal of both THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977; on whose 2-Disc set this episode was included to begin with) is decidedly one point against the documentary, I relished the lengthy segments on A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) and SCREAM (1996) – even though, seeing how they have both given rise to lucrative franchises, this emphasis was to be expected. Although I haven’t revisited the original Freddy Krueger movie since my first viewing of it in the mid-1980s (which had made me clench fingers repeatedly to my face in fright!), I am now intent on pursuing the entire series in an upcoming Halloween horror movie-watching bout.

    The rest of Craven’s minor works are also dealt with: from THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (1988) to THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (1991) – both of which I personally liked – to SHOCKER (1989) which I didn’t but, again, these segments are overshadowed by the attention lavished (relatively speaking) on Craven’s career pet project and one brush with the Academy Awards ceremony (via Meryl Streep’s umpteenth Oscar nomination for MUSIC OF THE HEART [1999]). In the end, it’s sad (and yet also amusing) to note that, in spite of the reassurances of SCREAM star Neve Campbell (whom I had the pleasure to see up close on a London stage acting alongside Cillian Murphy and SPINAL TAP’s Michael McKean), that they weren’t going to go the same route as other never-ending horror franchises, Craven is currently in pre-production talks on SCREAM 4…an event undoubtedly brought on by the recurring lulls in his career and the seemingly unabating popularity of slasher movies (primarily among today’s teenage film audiences).

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