Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

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Monterey Jack
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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#31 Post by Monterey Jack » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:17 pm

“We belong dead…”

-Frankenstein (1931): 9.5/10

-The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935): 10/10

-Frankenweenie (1984): 9/10

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Two of the most iconic of the classic Universal Monster movies, the original Frankenstein and its even-better sequel are still potent even eighty+ years later. Boris Karloff makes for a tragic, haunting figure, aided immeasurably by Jack Pierce’s remarkable makeup job, and you can’t help but feel for the poor, lumbering sap as he’s constantly belittled, abused and shunned in a world he never asked to be (re)born into. Bride is an even richer concoction, with a streak of sly comedy running through the proceedings, Franz Waxman’s marvelous musical score, and Elsa Lanchester’s unforgettably spooky mate for Karloff’s yearning monster (now given the rudiments of language by a kindly blind man. “Yes…dead…I love…dead…”). Despite only a handful of minutes of screentime, Lanchester makes for one of the most visually striking horror movie creations of all time, and her reaction to meeting her intended groom for the first time elicits one of the best screams I have ever heard in a movie.

Just for kicks (and due to the tidy brevity of both movies), I chased them with frankenweenie, Tim Burton’s early B&W short about a young Victor Frankenstein (Barret Oliver), who loses his dog, Sparky, in a street accident. But a science lesson about the wonders of electricity later, and before you can say “Pet Sematary”, he’s dug up and resurrected his beloved pooch, resulting in astonishment from his nonplussed parents (Daniel Stern, Shelly Duvall) and outrage from the neighbors. An early example of Burton’s comedically skewed vision of suburbia invaded by a quirky outsider (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Dark Shadows), Fankenweenie – later expanded into a stop-motion animated feature – is absolutely delightful, as pitch-perfect an homage to classic monster movies as anything in Young Frankenstein.
Last edited by Monterey Jack on Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Monterey Jack
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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#32 Post by Monterey Jack » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:14 pm

-Coma (1978): 8/10

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Effective suspense chiller about a young doctor named Susan (Genvieve Bujold) who, after her best friend lapses into an irreversible coma following a routine medical procedure, starts an investigation into a rash of similar incidents at Boston Memorial Hospital, and becomes convinced of a conspiracy of vast scope and nefarious purposes, while her chagrined fellow doctor and boyfriend (Michael Douglas, in an early leading-man role) tries to convince her it’s all in her head, a natural part of the grieving process. Directed by novelist Michael Crichton (in one of his most confident and stylish turns behind the camera), who also penned the screenplay based on the book by fellow medical thriller specialist Robin Cook, Coma is a film firmly in the wheelhouse of classic 70’s paranoia thrillers, where everyone seems to have a double purpose and nothing is at it seems. The sterile, antiseptic hospital corridors make for an ideal stage for some ingenious cat & mouse suspense games, and it’s all enhanced greatly by a terrific Jerry Goldsmith score, which evokes the scraping and clanging of medical instruments with its cold, echoing dissonances. Look fast for Familiar Faces like a pre-Magnum P.I. Tom Selleck, a pre-Moonraker Lois Chiles and a young Ed Harris (with hair…!) in some of their earliest film appearances.

-The Belko Experiment (2017): 8/10

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Brisk, gory, and slyly witty exploitation fare about a group of white-collar workers in Botota, Columbia who find themselves trapped inside their office building, and goaded on by a mysterious Voice on the intercom to kill each other off before a set amount of time has expired, or else the explosive charges placed into their necks under the guise of “tracking devices” will be set off, killing off the lot of them in one fell swoop. Written by James Gunn (Slither, the Guardians Of The Galaxy films), Belko is agreeably bonkers, alternately shocking and gruesomely funny, and thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome or gum up the genre works with thinly-realized aspirations to Greater Social Meaning (like those dumb-as-a-brick Purge movies).

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Monterey Jack
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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#33 Post by Monterey Jack » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:59 pm

Anybody got any scary movie viewings planned? :(

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#34 Post by AndyDursin » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:42 am

I never know if I should intrude or just let you do your thing lol. Paul was here for a few days but we didn't watch anything "scary" per session.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#35 Post by Monterey Jack » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:51 am

Hey, it'd just be nice to realize I'm not riffing in a void, here. :wink: Even if you're not watching scary movies yourself, it's always fun to get some discussion going.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#36 Post by AndyDursin » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:54 am

Ok! Some of us are just getting going...still early for October but I am hopeful to jump in more frequently this year .

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#37 Post by Monterey Jack » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:14 pm

-A Cure For Wellness (2017): 8/10

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One of this year’s daffier guilty pleasures was Gore Verbinski’s visually striking horror thriller about a Wall Street go-getter named Lockheart (Dane Dehaan), tasked with retrieving one of his firm’s biggest CEOs when he sends a curious letter from the remote relaxation spa in the Swiss Alps saying he’s not coming back. Arriving at the lavish estate ensconced within the beautiful, snowy peaks, Lockheart finds the resort’s chief resident, Dr, Volmer (Jason Isaacs), seemingly keeping him from his appointed task, and the wealthy patients seem eerily placid, easy-to-please, and seemingly content in staying on for the forseeable future. There’s also Hannah (Mia Goth, so willowy, big-eyed and introverted I’m expecting her to be cast in a Tim Burton movie any time now), Vollmer’s mysterious ward who intimates that no one ever leaves the center’s grounds. Verbinski’s work for Disney over the last decade has always seemed like an odd fit…the first Pirates Of The Caribbean movie was the right mixture of lite 80’s Amblin-level creepiness and swashbuckling fun, but its two sequels were bloated with self-indulgent overkill, and the rotten Lone Ranger was nothing less than catastrophic. Here, though, Verbinski crafts a thriller filled with antiseptic yet sickly mood and atmosphere (and some truly icky, shuddery imagery, including the most traumatic dental procedure since Marathon Man), and while this film is as indulgent as any of earlier work (it’s fully half-an-hour too long), the gleefully bonkers climax of the film makes all of the narrative cul-de-sacs that precede it easy to forgive. It’s a wowie-zowie, shoot-the-moon finale right out of a 1972 AIP cheapie starring Vincent Price, and it alone elevates everything that comes before and exits you from the film with a disbelieving smirk on your face. This will gain a cult following in time.

-Sleepaway Camp (1983): 5/10

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Drecky slasher flick is noteworthy only for a handful of solid makeup effects showpieces and an admittedly memorable final twist, albeit one I’ve had spoiled for me by many “history of horror” documentaries over the years (and which leads to one of the great, cheesy “freeze-frame” ending shots in a movie). Otherwise it’s as badly-acted, poorly-lit and indifferently-edited as any other C-grade teen horror movie of the period.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#38 Post by Monterey Jack » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:59 pm

-ParaNorman (2012): 10/10

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As far as Halloween movies appropriate for the whole family goes, ParaNorman is just about as good as it gets. Another madly-detailed stop-motion opus from the geniuses at Laika Studios (who have – in my mind – even eclipsed Pixar in terms of delivering clever, heartfelt animated fare that all ages can enjoy equally), it concerns one Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a shy, reclusive eleven-year-old gifted with the ability to see and converse with the spirits of those who have passed on. His abilities have made him a pariah in his school circles and a troubling embarrassment to his parents (Jeff Garlin and Leslie Mann) and scoffing sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick), but they come in mighty handy when he’s tasked by his weird uncle (John Goodman) to read an incantation at the local cemetery on the 300th anniversary of the execution of a fabled witch in his sleepy hometown of Blithe Hollow in order to keep the witch’s spirit in check for another year. But then the dead start rising from their graves…

Gorgeously animated, witty, boasting a terrific voice cast, studded with loving details any seasoned horror fan will relish (including a hilarious, dead-on opening parody of cheesy 80’s zombie movies worthy of Grindhouse and specific shots that evoke classics like Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and – in the last third – startlingly emotional, ParaNorman is a Halloween trick that’s a real treat for horror fans looking for lighter fare to share with their kids or just to enjoy on their own.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#39 Post by esteban miranda » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:48 pm

Monterey Jack wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:59 pm
Anybody got any scary movie viewings planned? :(
I like to wait until closer to the end of the month.
My taste in "horror" movies tends towards the "classic" (and not so classic) horrors of the 1930s-1950s.
I expect to watch my new Mummy Blu-rays (Mummy's Hand/...Tomb/...Ghost/...Curse), as they are agreeably short.
It's been 10 years, so maybe the Dr. Phibes movies also...

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#40 Post by Monterey Jack » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:17 pm

A pair of classy 20th Century Fox chillers tonight…

-The Innocents (1961): 10/10

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One of the all-time greatest haunted-house movies, with a superb performance by Debora Kerr as Miss Giddens, the newly-appointed governess of a pair of young children (Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin) living by themselves in a sprawling English manor house at the behest of their hands-off uncle (Michael Redgrave). Initially, all seems well, as she finds herself charmed by the children and beautiful estate. But then Miss Giddens starts seeing haunting visons of a darkly-handsome yet frightening stranger, and a mysterious, silent woman lurking about the grounds. Are these, in fact, ghosts – the spirits of a former valet and his mistress come to possess her two young wards – or are they simply figments of her own overheated imagination? Directed by Jack Clayton and superbly photographed by Freddie Francis in lustrous B&W Cinemascope, The Innocents never tips its hand into definitively answering the true nature of Miss Giddens’ viewpoint on the unfolding drama, and thus the resulting film attains a swoony, psychological terror that leads inexorably to an unforgettable climax.

-The Legend Of Hell House (1973): 8/10

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Crisply creepy tale about a group of like-minded individuals tasked with investigating “The Mt. Everest of haunted houses”, the dankly crumbling Belasco House. There’s Dr. Lionel Barrett (Clive Revill), his wife Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt), a young psychic medium (Innocents moppet Pamela Franklin, all growed up and suggesting a 70’s Winona Ryder) and Benjamin Franklin Fischer (an excellent Roddy MacDowell), the lone survivor of a previous attempt at investigating the mansion’s sordid history that ended in tragedy. Directed by Hammer veteran John Hough and based on the novel by sci-fi and fantasy legend Richard Matheson, The Legend Of Hell House doesn’t quite attain the heights of genre classics like The Innocents or The Haunting, yet it’s nevertheless studded with genuine frights and shot with sinuous elegance by Hough, utilizing contorted, wide-angle shots and disorienting camera moves to suggest the evil spirits suffusing every brick of the Belasco House.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

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

I never drink…wine

-Dracula (1931): 8/10

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-Dracula (1979): 8/10

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Maybe the creakiest of the early Universal Monster movies, the Tod Browning production of Dracula nevertheless still holds a hypnotic sway even close to ninety years later, and it’s largely due to the iconic portrayal of the Count by Bela Lugosi. Sure, his florid, theatrical diction comes across as ripely corny today (and it still used as the go-to interpretation of the character in parodies and kid-oriented vampire fare…witness Adam Sandler’s Drac in the Hotel Transylvania movies), and the film cries out for a proper musical score (the alternate Philip Glass/Cronos Quartet soundtrack available on the Blu-Ray is a nice try, but it really needed a more fleshed-out orchestration), and yet the film still is effective. The lavish 1979 production (from director John Badham) boasts an equally magnetic turn from Frank Langella as Dracula (bringing his popular stint on the stage to the big screen), and features a more romantic/sexy take of the Count’s nighttime predations. It also boasts superb production values from the likes of matte artist Albert Whitlock, frequent James Bond title designer Maurice Binder (supervising the film’s dated yet still striking “love scene” between Drac and Kate Nelligan’s Lucy), and John Williams, providing a passionate, churning musical score.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#42 Post by Monterey Jack » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:56 pm

-Salem’s Lot (1979): 8/10

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The late Tobe Hooper’s career as a horror filmmaker was maddeningly uneven…for every Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there were at least two Lifeforces (to say nothing about the controversy about who “really” directed Poltergeist). But his 1979 TV adaptation of Stephen King’s excellent novel Salem’s Lot is one of his best, and still holds (holy) water almost four decades later. A shivery tale about a plague of vampirism slowly enveloping a small Maine town (Small Maine town? In a Stephen King story? Unheard of!), Salem’s Lot suffers a lot less than other King adaptations have on the small screen, thanks in large part to the source material revolving around creeping dread more than visceral, gory shocks, thus the balls of the story aren’t cut off due to Standards & Practices meddling with the storytelling machinery (I’m reminded of King discussing a scene in the 1994 TV miniseries of The Stand with the S&P people at ABC, and when told that he had to tone town a scene because “This will scare people!”, King replied, “C’mon, guys…this is what we’re here to do!”). It’s nicely-shot for a late-70’s TV production, with elegant camerawork, solid acting and some unforgettably eerie imagery (who can forget Danny Glick hovering outside the window, scratching at the glass and demanding to be let in?).

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#43 Post by Monterey Jack » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:01 pm

-Wish Upon (2017): 3/10

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A down-on-her-luck teenage girl (Joey King) receives a mysterious box festooned with Chinese symbols from her dumpster-diving Dad (Ryan Phillippe), and discovers that it grants her every wish…but exacts a terrible price on those around her in return. Lousy crossbreeding of the Final Destination movies and the classic old chestnut “The Monkey’s Paw” has no style, no scares, and doesn’t even have fun with the type of Rube Goldbergian death scenarios that made the Final Destination movies sporadically entertaining. Typical of this kind of wan, PG-13 horror trash, it immediately evaporates from your consciousness the second the credits start, not even delivering much in the way of memorable bad-movie laughs.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#44 Post by AndyDursin » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:06 pm

I liked her but thought that film absolutely stank. Final Destination leftovers with few takers interested.

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Re: Halloween Horror Marathon 2017

#45 Post by Monterey Jack » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:09 pm

AndyDursin wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:06 pm
I liked her but thought that film absolutely stank. Final Destination leftovers with few takers interested.
Joey King is a very talented young actress, so sad to see her wasted in dreck like this.

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