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The Horror Movie Appreciation Thread (1 Viewer)

EricSchulz

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The Picture Of Dorian Gray (1945)

A horror film? Maybe. I had NEVER seen this until today despite being familiar with the story. For those that aren't, Dorian gets a very lifelike portrait painted by his friend and he makes a wish that he would forever be like this. Then the picture starts to change...

The movie is really well done and the Technicolor "inserts" are an interesting twist. The cover by Basil Gogos for FM #60 is amazing, and the original portrait from the film hangs in the Art Institute in Chicago!
 

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Malcolm R

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Miguel "Lil Mayor" Martinez is concerned about all the buildings in the neighborhood being purchased by real estate moguls, Murnau Properties. He's trying to mount a block party to help save the local bodega. Unfortunately, he discovers this is not just gentrification, but a vampire invasion. He teams up with his buddies, Bobby and Luis, to drive out the vampires and defend his Bronx home.

Pretty good horror comedy, though it mostly depends on all the usual vampire tropes so doesn't really break any new ground. They do establish something I'd not seen before, that holy water will bubble/boil in the presence of a vampire. They use this to drive a few scenes, but towards the end a vampire is standing inches from a bottle of holy water and there is no bubbling. So that minor oversight kind of deflates their own rules. A running joke also seems to be the posters announcing the "new" businesses that seem to get more and more ridiculous (e.g. The Butter Store).

But this is mostly a comedy, and a good time was had by all. Not much in the way of blood, but some decent vampire makeup. Available on Netflix though it seems to be originally a Universal production. I'm not sure if this was intended for theaters before the pandemic?
 
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Malcolm R

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I'm not really sure what the actual title is for this film, as it seems to have been called many different things throughout its production and releases (my DVD had the 7 Guardians of the Tomb variation. I'm not sure where the "7" figures into anything). In any case, it's an Australia-China co-production starring a mix of actors from those countries and America, and written/directed by Kimble Rendall ("Bait"). Sort of an Indiana Jones/Mummy adventure film crossed with Arachnophobia. There's not a whole lot of coherency in the plot, but the spider FX are creepy, aided by a pretty active surround sound mix.

Mason (Kelsey Grammer) is the head of a pharmaceutical firm chasing rumors about an ancient elixir that can greatly extend the human life span. When he loses contact with the first team sent to investigate, Mason brings in an expert in venomous animals (Li Bingbing), who also happens to be the sister of one of the men who has disappeared. With the help of a survival/rescue expert (Kellan Lutz), they go searching for the missing men and uncover the secrets of an ancient Chinese emperor who made great discoveries, but also paid a terrible price.

The production values were good, but the story is pretty weak. And they pretty much lost me from the very start of the film when they showed what is supposed to be a radar picture of an approaching sandstorm in the desert, but the picture was actually the distinctive circulating spiral of a hurricane.
 

Tommy R

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The cover of the Code Red blu-ray says this is a "painstakingly restored" version, but it's still kind of rough in spots. The source materials must have been in poor condition, though the film is definitely watchable for a low budget effort from 1980. Biggest issues were some softness in a number of scenes, and a few instances of bloom with some instances of bright/white coloring.
I had this on VHS years ago, and it was probably the worst picture quality I’ve ever seen. The DVD that came out in 2005 was better, but still pretty bad. The Code Red blu ray is an absolute revelation, and I’m so happy we have it.
 

Malcolm R

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Ten years after the vampires have decided to again reveal themselves to humanity (they tried it once before in 1847, "It did not go well"), there remains much distrust between the vampire and human factions. The vampires have synthetic blood to quench their thirst, but humans still don't want to be around them. Consequently, the vampires are all being confined to one area of Bucharest, Sector 5. When both humans and vampires begin to turn up dead in Sector 5, torn to pieces, the government sends in a group of vampire hunters to determine what's going on and discovers certain factions are trying to trigger an all out war between vampires and humans.

Decent effort from what was apparently a SyFy original movie. Another of those films that seem to have a different name from day to day (also known as True Bloodthirst, Night Breakers, or the normally spelled Vampire Nation). The acting and writing was better than I expected, with largely decent special effects considering the low budget. The only name I recognized in the cast is British actor Andrew Lee-Potts (Primeval TV series), and oddly he's doing an American accent here. The film borrows liberally from a number of higher profile sources (True Blood, Daybreakers, and "Dracula" (Potts' character is John Harker)), but it's still a quick and engaging 90-ish minutes.
 

EricSchulz

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Tourist Trap (1979)

A great premise, some genuinely creepy ideas and moments, but the story goes off in too many directions and some of the "acting" is horrendous. This one is BEGGING for a proper remake. A groups of friends get stuck at an old "resort" that succumbed to a new highway driving all the business away. Chuck Connors is the owner of the property, and one building houses a LARGE number of mannequins, some of which are downright creepy. Of course, the kids don't listen to him and wander off...and that's not good. Unfortunately, some storylines about his dead wife, his brother and telepathic powers seems thrown in with no real purpose. There's really no gore to speak of (it seems to be a PG film) but this one would be great in the hands of the right director and cast.

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Malcolm R

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Good to know about Tourist Trap. I've had it on a couple of wish lists for a while for a potential purchase. Sounds like I'd be OK with skipping this one.
 

SixOfTheRichest

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Tourist Trap (1979)

A great premise, some genuinely creepy ideas and moments, but the story goes off in too many directions and some of the "acting" is horrendous. This one is BEGGING for a proper remake. A groups of friends get stuck at an old "resort" that succumbed to a new highway driving all the business away. Chuck Connors is the owner of the property, and one building houses a LARGE number of mannequins, some of which are downright creepy. Of course, the kids don't listen to him and wander off...and that's not good. Unfortunately, some storylines about his dead wife, his brother and telepathic powers seems thrown in with no real purpose. There's really no gore to speak of (it seems to be a PG film) but this one would be great in the hands of the right director and cast.

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Interesting, but tame and pretty lackluster early 80's horror effort. Have seen a couple of times and wasn't impressed on either viewing. It reminds me a little of the creepy slasher/thriller Death Valley - 82' in style, which I prefer, even if that one is rather tame too.

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EricSchulz

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How It Ends
Probably more of a science fiction movie than horror. A couple (she’s in Seattle, he’s in Chicago on business) are on a phone call when something causes interference and drops the call. At the airport, flights start getting delayed, then cancelled...and everyone watching the news on monitors sees it suddenly get cut off. Will picks up Samantha’s unapproving dad and they head to Seattle. It’s not perfect by any means and there are plot holes galore. But it’s a well done film with some pretty good effects shots. If you enjoy catastrophic event movies I’d check it out.
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Malcolm R

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For horror fans, there is a current special on Shudder to add the channel to Amazon Prime for 99 cents a month for the first two months (then $5.99/month if you keep it). I've been considering adding this for a while, so I took the leap. They put out a number of DVD's I find interesting, so this will likely be a cheaper option than blind buying the discs. Offer ends tomorrow (May 2).
 

Malcolm R

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Preliminary work for a new bypass highway through the Irish countryside has disturbed an ancient cairn said to mark the resting place of a vampire of local legend, Abhartach. Soon the legend becomes reality as the rag-tag group of workers tries to stop the newly-released bloodsucker before the whole town is drained.

Interesting take on vampire lore, with some attempts to tie-in with Bram Stoker and his famous novel. Many of the traditional tropes are discovered not to work against this creature. Unfortunately, as is the case with many of these films, the script takes a turn toward the stupid at the end. The big bad also gets very limited screen time in the last few minutes, and that's only in very dark and shadowy scenes. There is no full on reveal of the monster, so it's hard to appreciate what looks like some pretty decent makeup FX as seen in the poster, above.

Also, shot in Ireland, the cast has pretty heavy accents so you may want to consider using subtitles if you decide to view this. I did not turn them on, but felt like I was only understanding about half of what was being said. Now streaming on Shudder.
 

EricSchulz

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Pieces

Oh, where to begin? Normally, I would have dropped this about twenty minutes in. But this falls so deep into the "so bad it's good" category I just HAD to watch the whole thing! It's originally an Italian production, I believe, and even though all the actors speak English, the whole thing is dubbed in English. The movie begins in Boston, 1942. You know what you're in for when the opening scene includes someone unsuccessfully calling the home of the initial murder...on a touch tone phone! The murders are over the top and not anywhere near believable, but the blood flows freely. The dialog is HORRENDOUS and if this isn't already a Mystery Science 3000/Riff Trax outing it should be! It's horribly acted, tremendously bad dialog (the pool scene is so bad it's funny) and Linda Day George probably wants to erase this from her past. And DO NOT turn it off early for the final "unique" jump scare before the credits! I warned you!
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EricSchulz

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Things Heard and Seen (Netflix, 2021)

This hit the Top Ten on Netflix really fast, and generated a lot of conversation both positive and negative (currently 38% on Rotten Tomatoes). Generally, I'd expect the movie to suck with numbers like that, but I loved it. It's part marriage drama, part ghost story. The last third of the movie is really tense and inspires a sense of dread pretty effectively. It's NOT scary in the typical sense, at all. It's about a young couple that leave the big city for a small town upstate where the husband lands an associate professor job. Everyone has secrets and the secrets unravel slowly. Some reviews didn't like the ending, others felt it didn't capture the dread of the original book. But since I was unfamiliar with it, I just went along for the ride.

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Malcolm R

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Started watching Shudder's series of Creepshow a couple nights ago. So far, so good, though there's not a lot of logic or explanation here. Things just happen and you have to just go with it. That probably adds to the scary/creepy factor, as you want to know what's happening but there's no logical explanation, it just is. Two stories per episode:

1. Gray Matter - Timmy's father is changing, becoming more frightening every day as he drinks, and drinks, and drinks. On a beer run for his father during a severe storm, Timmy confides in the local shopkeeper (Adrienne Barbeau) and the town's sheriff and doctor, who go to Timmy's house to check on his father. There they make a horrifying discovery. Based on the Stephen King short story.

2. The House of the Head - Evie loves her new dollhouse. She's named the family living there the Smithsmiths, and loves to play with them. One day she's perplexed to find a tiny ghoulish severed head has appeared inside the house. She soon finds that the head seems to move around when she's not looking and seems to be terrorizing the Smithsmiths. Rather than telling her parents, she tries to handle it herself by adding a policeman and a native american shaman to the house to try and help the family, but can the head be stopped? Written by Josh Malerman ("Birdbox")
 
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Bryan^H

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Halloween (1978)

There is a reason Halloween is in my "top 5" horror movies of all time (#4). Mainly because it does everything so satisfyingly right. Thanks to the great acting, tight, suspenseful story, and a young, brilliant director by the name of John Carpenter, the film comes together in a beautiful, and terrifying masterpiece that is above every other "slasher" film by a mile. In fact even though I love the sub genre of horror films, non of them even come close. And that says a lot.
 

EricSchulz

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The Sci-Fi Boys

A fun little documentary that's mainly about the special effects in genre movies. It's kind of unfocused, but definitely a labor of love. Interviews with the usual suspects: Harryhausen, Tippett, Peter Jackson, Spielberg, etc. but also some with Ray Bradbury, Forrest J. Ackerman and Donald Glut. Fun stuff!

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Malcolm R

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Some more Creepshow tonight. This is turning out to be a fun series, with these two tales not turning out at all like I expected. Hopefully the rest of the series is as entertaining and surprising. The weak point so far in the series is the Creeper host during the bumper segments. A poor imitation of the Crypt Keeper from that other anthology.


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A group of American soldiers find themselves in an impossible situation in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. The Germans have them surrounded shortly after they have killed the only son of the local Nazi commander. They happen upon a horrific scene in a small town police station, but at the same time discover an unlikely solution to their impending doom.

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Clark (DJ Qualls) fancies himself a "finder," someone who rescues lost items and gives them purpose once again. One night on a walk, he discovers an odd, gnarled, clawed dismembered finger and decides to bring it home (naturally). Soon, it begins growing into...something. Unfortunately, the purpose of this lost thing will be Clark's downfall.

These were both pretty fun episodes. The series seems to be making use of largely practical FX, which is rather refreshing.
 
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SixOfTheRichest

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Halloween (1978)

There is a reason Halloween is in my "top 5" horror movies of all time (#4). Mainly because it does everything so satisfyingly right. Thanks to the great acting, tight, suspenseful story, and a young, brilliant director by the name of John Carpenter, the film comes together in a beautiful, and terrifying masterpiece that is above every other "slasher" film by a mile. In fact even though I love the sub genre of horror films, non of them even come close. And that says a lot.
And for a good horror film to work, they have to set the tone and atmosphere right from the start. Its substance has to reflect in its style. That is why I find two films I have listed on here The Funhouse - 81' and The Hunger -83' work wonders for me.

That is perhaps why the other one I listed Death Valley - 82', is perhaps not brought up often, nor is favored as a slasher/horror film, because it doesn't start out scary or set up a creepy prologue. He Knows Your Alone - 80' does and tries to be a Halloween clone with atmosphere, but is ultimately a failure.

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Malcolm R

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An oddly mixed group of allied survivors are adrift in a life raft after surviving a torpedo attack by Nazis in the North Atlantic. Just as supplies and hope are running out, they cross paths with a Nazi ship. Deciding to board the ship and take their chances with the Germans, they find the ship to be spookily deserted aside from a strange young girl. Soon, they discover that there may be things in the world even worse than Nazis.

Above average entry in the "Nazis messing with the supernatural" genre. The bickering among the survivors becomes a bit tiresome early on, and there are a couple of continuity things, but those are mostly minor nitpicks. Overall a pretty impressive film. Written and directed by Justin Dix, who I understand is a well-known FX authority in Australia, and owner of the production company, Wicked of Oz Studios, that produced this film. The special effects are mostly top notch and the production values seem excellent for what was likely a relatively low-budget affair. Definitely worth a watch. On Shudder/Amazon.
 

EricSchulz

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Macabre

Let me start by saying I LOVE William Castle movies! I got the SH#T scared outta me as a kid seeing House on Haunted Hill (with the skeleton effect!) and I'm a sucker for a good gimmick movie (heck, The Tingler holds up even without the "shocks") but this, his first horror movie, is HORRIBLE. It's more a soap opera/murder mystery and fails on those aspects too. This was the $1,000 insurance policy movie, where you'd get that is you had a heart attack, I think. The story is convoluted, the acting is mostly sub-par and there are no real scares at all. A doctor's young daughter disappears and has just hours to live because she's been buried alive! Yet, almost EVERY adult seems to forget that part of the story as no one seems in any hurry to find her! Disappointing. But it still has a great poster!

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