Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

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Monterey Jack
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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#16 Post by Monterey Jack » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:46 pm

Aside from Palance and Landau mugging up a storm ("AL-EEE-AHNNNNNN!!!!!" :lol: ), the movie is the kind of late-70's/early-80's cheapie drive-in crap that is always afforded too much time and effort from Scream Factory (luckily, it's available in 1080p on YouTube)...seriously, THIS is on Blu-Ray, and yet we're still waiting for The Abyss and True Lies. :x

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#17 Post by Monterey Jack » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:14 pm

“You’d never know what you were capable of if you didn’t have to look at yourself in the mirror afterwards.”



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-The Invisible Man (1933): 9/10

-Hollow Man (2000): 7/10

Is there another theoretical sci-fi/fantasy ability that taps into the most disturbing depths of the human psyche more than invisibility? From naughty adolescent fantasies about hanging around in the girls’ locker room to a more frank abuse of said power, the idea of not being seen has been one that has fascinated writers and filmmakers for over a hundred years, beginning with H.G. Wells’ celebrated 1897 novel The Invisible Man. Wells’ book was first adapted to the big screen by Frankenstein director James Whale in 1933, and remains the one truly exceptional movie to deal with the subject of invisibility. With Claude Rains’ memorably mad protagonist and still-remarkable visual effects by John P. Fulton, The Invisible Man remains one of the best of the initial wave of Universal Horror films of the 30’s and 40’s. Many other films have attempted what the 1933 film has in the decades since, to varying degrees of success, but even as the technology to realize the vision of a human form rendered naked to the eye has grown more spectacular, the moral implications of those effects have never been explored to a satisfactory degree. Paul Verhoeven’s bombastic 2000 update Hollow Man remains a prime example. The film’s squirmy, Oscar-nominated F/X are top-of-the-line, and for the first two thirds, Verhoeven and screenwriter Andrew W. Marlowe have remixed the usual Mad Scientist tropes into a potent cocktail of B-Movie thrills that hint at a truly exceptional movie simmering below the surface. But, in a depressingly routine climax, all of the morally despicable acts conducted by Kevin Bacon’s protagonist are stripped away in a generic, high-tech slasher movie finale, and one where Bacon’s baddie doesn’t even NEED to be invisible for long stretches. The movie is nothing less than watchable, and mad prankster Verhoeven, as usual, tickles our inner voyeur with scenes that push father than most filmmakers would consider tasteful (including a sexual assault on Bacon’s comely neighbor – played by Rhona Mitra – that I could have done without), and yet compared to his earlier sci-fi classics like Robocop and Total Recall, Hollow Man comes across as a wasted opportunity.

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Paul MacLean
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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#18 Post by Paul MacLean » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:34 am

Monterey Jack wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:14 pm
“You’d never know what you were capable of if you didn’t have to look at yourself in the mirror afterwards.”

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AndyDursin
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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#19 Post by AndyDursin » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:46 am

LOL that cracks me up every time.

LIke many of Verhoeven's works HOLLOW MAN leaves a real sour taste. That was one viewing and out for me, very claustrophobic and the rape element was icky enough to put me off ever revisiting it.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#20 Post by AndyDursin » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:37 am

Just circling back to Tobe Hooper -- I just picked up THE DARK on Blu-Ray, a 1979 movie which he was fired from after a few days of shooting. In the commentary of this Dick Clark produced B-movie, the producer mentions that Hooper started shooting and fell behind almost immediately. He says Hooper was going to the doctor and leaving the set after working in the morning -- after he'd return, he was doped up.

I think it's pretty clear from listening to this, or hearing Zelda Rubinstein talk about him on Poltergeist, or the Lifeforce documentary Arrow produced -- that Hooper, sadly, had a serious drug issue.

Certainly I think it paints the whole POLTERGEIST controversy in a different light. Perhaps Spielberg didn't take over because he wanted to -- perhaps he HAD to, if Hooper was in a similar state while shooting that picture.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#21 Post by Monterey Jack » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:55 am

Sadly, Hooper was one of those "Master Of Horror!" brand-name directors whose filmography simply wasn't...very...good. :| Take away The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Salem's Lot and Poltergeist (which was likely Spielberg's baby all the way through, with Hooper's name attached just so Spielberg could get this film and E.T. out during the same time period), and the rest of his movies range from mediocre (The Funhouse) to absolutely godawful (Lifeforce, although that's a vastly entertaining turkey with great production values). Just like Wes Craven, even his best movies seemed like happy flukes more than anything else. Of that generation's horror icons, only John Carpenter had a truly good and consistent filmography, at least during his 1976 (Assault On Precinct 13) to '86 (Big Trouble In Little China) prime. George A. Romero was also comfortably above-average during that same 70's/80's period.

Anyways, have another movie night planned with the nephew next weekend, so I was thinking of a Stranger Things twofer of Beetlejuice (to show him how hot crazy mom Winona Ryder was back in the day :)) and Poltergeist (which was a huge influence on the whole concept of the "Upside-Down"). I'll report back here with his thoughts then.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#22 Post by Monterey Jack » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:53 pm

Only two days away from the official start date, so it's time to start cranking it up. :twisted:

-Gerald’s Game (2017): 9/10

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Coming hot on the heels of the phenomenal box office success of It (and the less-than-successful release of the wretched Dark Tower and that lousy, recently-cancelled TV version of The Mist), it’s looking like a Stephen King renaissance has begun, and the latest from screenwriter and director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, the terrific and underrated Ouija: Origin Of Evil) manages to craft a fairly superb movie out of one of King’s more “unadaptable” novels. Carla Gugino plays a middle-aged yet still-stunning woman named Jesse who heads off for a weekend of sexytime with her older husband Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) in hopes of reigniting the spark that has cooled between them over the past several months. It’s not enough just to pop a few Viagra tablets and model a sleek new nightie, though…Gerald breaks out a pair of handcuffs to add a dash of S&M kink to their foreplay. Cuffing her wrists to the bedposts, Gerald generally creeps out Jesse with his borderline-rape fantasies…then has the most ill-timed fatal heart attack ever, leaving his distraught wife screaming for help with little hope of rescue from their remote beach house. You’d think it’d be impossible to make more than a half-hour short out of a scenario so limited in scope, but Flanagan squeezes every bit of tension out of Jesse’s plight, and Gugino delivers a superb one-woman show as both her body and psyche slowly breaks down under the strain, with flashbacks to a traumatizing childhood incident involving her father (Henry Thomas, in a startling turn that might very well ruin E.T. for many viewers) adding extra layers of psychological torment as Jesse fights to keep herself sane and use what few tools she has at handcuffed-hand to extricate herself before the inevitable. Mainly a film of cleverly-staged interior monologues, Gerald’s Game does feature some truly disturbing moments of raw terror, including a moment that ranks with the “hobbling” scene in Misery and the botched electrocution in The Green Mile as one of the most effectively horrific acts of violence in any adaptation of a King novel (I was literally covering my mouth in astounded revulsion, and I have a pretty strong stomach for cinematic gore). Currently streaming on Netflix, Gerald’s Game can honestly be added to the upper-tier of King adaptations on either the big or small screen, and continues to place Flanagan as one of the brightest talents in horror right now.

-Bloody Birthday (1981): 3/10

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Amusingly awkward “evil kids” schlocker about a trio of nefarious kiddies – all born during a total eclipse of the sun circa 1970 – who, a decade later, start offing local teens, parents and teachers because…uhh, reasons? Typically bad early-80’s horror, with poor performances from the three lead Bad Seeds, routine gore and a dearth of suspense. Some nicely gratuitous unclothed boobies, ‘tho.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#23 Post by Monterey Jack » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:19 pm

“I do not say ‘blah-blah-blah’…!”

-Hotel Transylvania (2012): 7.5/10

-Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015): 7/10

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A pair of fun, silly animated features are the perfect all-ages fare for family audiences for Halloween-time viewing. The first film was a genuine pleasure, with a surprising sweetness and depth of character underneath the obligatory lowbrow gags (hey, this is an Adam Sandler production), plus terrific, energetic animation featuring the cast caroming off the edges of the frame like in a vintage Tex Avery cartoon. The sequel isn’t quite as fresh (and spends so little time in the titular hotel it might as well have been called Road Trip Transylvania), yet it still delivers plenty of laughs, plus Mel Brooks – Dead & Loving It – as a fussy, human-hating “Vampa”.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#24 Post by Monterey Jack » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:27 pm

-Evilspeak (1981): 2.5/10

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Awful horror movie about a geeky military school student (Ron Howard’s butt-ugly sibling Clint, amazingly given top billing for probably the only time in his career) who uses a fancy, early-80’s computer to translate the runes within an ancient tome discovered in the school’s basement and get even with the stereotypical bullies giving him a hard time. Alternately dull and grisly (including an excised heart that predates Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom and a pack of marauding pigs who go around messily devouring chosen victims), and boasting a poor-man’s Omen score by Roger Kellaway, Evilspeak should not be seen, heard or spoken about for more than is absolutely necessary.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#25 Post by Monterey Jack » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:13 am

Ah, welcome, Constant Reader! Pull up a chair! Uncle Steve here to welcome you to another Halloween horror marathon! This year we’ve got enough ghouls, ghosts and goblins to choke a horse, so it’s best not to pussyfoot around. First off, a stop at the new antique shop that just opened on Main Street. I’m sure the proprietor, a Mr. Gaunt, will be happy to service all your needs, ayuh….

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-Needful Things (1993): 7/10

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Guilty-pleasure adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a devilish shopkeeper named Leland Gaunt (a twinkly, jovial Max Von Sydow) who sets up a new establishment in Castle Rock, Maine, which contains within all of the “needful” things that the unhappy townsfolk could possibly want. All he asks in return is a pittance of a monetary transaction…and a deed. A trick. Well…more of a little prank. The populace happily accept Mr. Gaunt’s terms, and soon, a rash of increasingly nasty practical “jokes” start engulfing the town, causing the people to turn upon their friends and neighbors, as Mr. Gaunt sit back and drinks in all the bad karma generated and the local sheriff, Alan Pangborn (Ed Harris), tries to determine who the puppetmaster pulling the strings is, and what his ultimate purpose may be. King’s blatant riff on Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked The Way Comes, the film adaptation – directed by Charlton Heston’s son, Fraser C. – is a considerably pared-down version of King’s lengthy tome, with many subplots cut to the bone or omitted entirely (some of which have showed up in a three-hour cut of the movie that has shown on TBS numerous times, and it’s a shame none of that footage was included on the Blu-Ray). A black comedy about greed, lust, and man’s inhumanity to man, Needful Things is hardly “scary”, but it’s darkly amusing, set to a playfully sinister and elegant score by Patrick Doyle and boasting a terrific supporting cast, including Bonnie Bedelia, Amanda Plummer, and one of my favorite “That Guy” 90’s characters actors, the late, great J.T. Walsh.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#26 Post by Monterey Jack » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:24 pm

The sparrows are flying again…

-The Dark Half (1993): 7/10

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More early-90’s Stephen King, one based around his frequent pet subject of the tortures – both figurative and literal – of the American novelist (The Shining, Misery, Secret Window). Timothy Hutton plays Thad Beaumont, a novelist who writes genteel, character-based novels for his own edification but churns out nasty pulp thrillers under the nom de plume George Stark in order to keep food on the table for himself and his wife (Amy Madigan) and twin children. But when a nosey fan discovers that Thad and “George” are one and the same, his threats of blackmail to keep Thad’s dirty secret causes him to beat him to the punch and publicly out and put to rest his pen name for good. But then a rash of murders occur, all revolving around Thad and the small circle off friends and otherwise related to his livelihood. Seems that George isn’t ready to be planted yet, and has manifested himself as a physical being (also played by Hutton, under subtle prosthetics) in order to goad Thad into writing a new novel before George begins to decay into nothingness. Efficiently written for the screen and directed by the late, great George A. Romero, The Dark Half offers up some solid frights, and is fairly engrossing for long stretches, but the climax suffers from the limitations of special effects of the period (which Romero grouses about in the making-of documentary on the spiffy Scram Factory Blu-Ray as “garbage”), with “twinning” shots of the two Timothy Huttons boasting very obvious, squiggly matte lines and the swarm of killer CGI sparrows looking like a steam of primitive, pixelated mush. Shame, as it hobbles an otherwise efficient thriller at just the wrong moment, and leaves the audience wanting more. Still, a solid effort, and it’s a shame that it essentially scared Romero away from filmmaking for nearly a decade.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#27 Post by Monterey Jack » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:24 pm

“Terrible things, Lawrence…you’ve done terrible things.”

-The Wolf Man (1941): 8.5/10

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-The Wolfman (2010): 8.5/10

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Took in a lycanthropic double-feature today with the marvelous 1941 production of The Wolf Man and its 2010 remake. The ’41 version remains potent to this day, with Lon Chaney, Jr. bringing tremendous, wounded gravitas to the role of Larry Talbot, bitten by a wolf on the Welsh moors and doomed to turn into a hairy, slavering monster when the moon is full in the sky above. Drenched in fog-shrouded atmosphere and studded with memorable bit roles, The Wolf Man is still one of the most memorable werewolf movies ever made, and spawned a number of sequels and knock-offs for decades to come. But it took until 2010 for an official remake to finally come to fruition, and director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Captain America: The First Avenger) crafted a canny updating of the material, aided immeasurably by a top-notch production team (production designer Rick Heinrichs, composer Danny Elfman, and makeup legend Rick Baker, copping his last Oscar win before retiring from the latex biz) and a superb cast anchored by a perfectly-cast Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot, Anthony Hopkins as his old man, a particularly lovely Emily Blunt as his late brother’s fiancé, and Hugo Weaving as a police inspector investigating the wave of mutilated corpses left in the wake of a dreaded, mythical beast baying at the moon in the forests of Blackmoor, England. This Wolfman is grossly underrated, a gloomily gorgeous throwback to the classic Universal monster flicks of the 30’s and 40’s (replete with a nifty re-creation of the 40’s Universal logo at the beginning) that’s drenched in atmospheric dread and is bracingly gory without tipping over into being disgusting for its own sake. It all builds to a slam-bang climax in a burning mansion that’s terrific fun for monster-mash fans, and one wishes that this film were the template for the hoped-for “Dark Universe” Universal attempted to get off the ground last summer with the dreadful, cluttered Tom Cruise take on The Mummy.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#28 Post by Monterey Jack » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:04 pm



-The Mummy (1932): 8/10

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-The Mummy (1959): 8/10

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Unwrapped a pair of musty but still effective thrillers today, the classic B&W 1932 Universal version of The Mummy and its color 1959 remake from the Hammer studio in England. The ’32 film -- despite a few dusty and creaky elements as befitting its shambling title character – remains a highly influential entry in the initial Universal Monster cycle, and one that has pretty much been the template for every movie featuring an Egyptian mummy up to this day (even that crappy Tom Cruise vehicle from this past summer). Boris Karloff, with his penetrating gaze and mellifluous voice, makes for a hypnotic “Ardeth Bey”, the reincarnation of the Egyptian priest Imhotep, looking to hook up with his beloved Princess Aknh-es-en-amon (Zita Johann), who – in the manner of pretty much every mummy movie ever made – has also been reincarnated in the form of a modern-day woman named Helen, also played by Johann. Despite only appearing in his iconic crumbling bandages for a scant few minutes of screentime, Karloff’s reincarnated form of Bey is an arresting figure in and of himself, with his papery skin and designer fez. The 1959 Hammer version subs a later generation’s horror icon, Christopher Lee, as high priest Kharis, looking to reconnect with his resurrected sweetie, Princess Ananka (Yvonne Furneaux), in a more overtly frightening and visceral production, shot in lavish color and with a great score by Franz Reizenstein. Less gory than Hammer’s other remakes of classic Universal horror pictures of the period (like Horror Of Dracula and The Curse Of Frankenstein, both also featuring Lee’s Mummy co-star Peter Cushing), The Mummy ’59 nevertheless offers plenty of fun for fans of the genre.

And, for fun, I chased both movies with “Mummy, Daddy”, an episode of Steven Spielberg’s mid-80’s NBC TV anthology series Amazing Stories. An agreeably silly installment about an actor (Tom Harrison) in a low-budget horror movie chased by a redneck mob who believe he’s an actual mummy, it’s typical of Spielberg’s lavishly-produced but uneven series, which brimmed over with imaginative scenarios and lavish budgets often given plodding narrative treatment. Still, for killing 25 minutes, you could do worse on an October night.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#29 Post by Monterey Jack » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:22 pm

-The Evil (1978): 3/10

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A psychiatrist (Richard Crenna, sporting James Brolin’s beard) enlists the help of several of his students and volunteers to renovate a crumbling old house, only to discover a literal pit to hell(?) in the basement that causes all of the doors and windows to snap shut, trapping the group inside with a variety of specters, spooks and pissed-off house pets in this clumsy, artless and fairly dreadful outing, only enlivened with a few choice moments of gore and stray unintentional chuckles.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#30 Post by Monterey Jack » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:24 pm

-My Boyfriend’s Back (1993): 6.5/10

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Cute, sporadically amusing comedy about a high school nerd (Andrew Lowery, suggesting a junior Tim Robbins) with a lifelong crush on a popular, achingly pretty classmate (Traci Lind), who takes a bullet meant for her in a convenience store robbery gone wrong and who rises from the grave following his funeral still intent on taking her to the prom, despite a hankering for human flesh and the fact that pesky body parts keep falling off…

Produced by Friday The 13th “auteur” Sean S. Cunningham and directed by actor Bob Balaban, My Boyfriend’s Back is never laugh-out-loud funny, but coasts by on a breezy, benevolent charm, and boasts numerous appearances by Familiar Faces in some of their earliest film roles, like a pre-Party Of Five and Lost Matthew Fox as Lind’s jock squeeze, “Philip Hoffman” – before he added the “Seymour” – as Fox’s mugging sidekick and – yes – Matthew McConaughey in the unforgettable role of “Guy #2”. This is material that would have been better handled by a stylized genre specialist like Tim Burton or Joe Dante, but it’s pleasant enough lite horror/comedy fare.

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