Showing posts with label October Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label October Challenge. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: 2017, Ready, Set, Not so fast....

It might only be September, but there is a chill in the air here in Chicagoland .  My kids were gaming with their own groups this long weekend and I got stuck doing Term Start duties that most of my instructors were supposed to have done 3 weeks ago.

I did get a chance to look over my list of potential movies for next month's October Horror Movie Challenge.

Like I mentioned last year I am going to go through a bunch of old VHS tapes I have laying around before I toss them.   I have discovered that some of the quality of these tapes though are near-unwatchable.

Artifacts of a bygone age.  Some have a cryptic warning on them, "Be Kind, Please Rewind".
Last year I was hoping that the tapes were in good enough shape and my VCR still worked.  It does, but the tapes are not quite up to it.  So I might be watching some on DVD/Blu-Ray/Streaming then tossing the tape.

My "first-time views" will go down a bit, but my OCD will be happy.
Though there are some here I have not seen in decades.  My youngest son will be joining me for a few of these.  Most will be his first-time views.

One of the movies I want to watch is not on Netflix, Amazon or I have some digging to do.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: 2016 Wrap-up and Looking to 2017

Another October Horror Movie Challenge is done.

Final tally: 35 movies watched, 26 were first time views.  Not bad, that is about my average.

While I did great in the challenge, I failed in making these "game related".  I have a few things I am going to post this week that might make up for it.

The Movie of the Month was, of course, The Witch.  So good I watched it twice.
The surprise hits, for me, were Eyes of Fire (1983) and Haunter (2013).

I also promised to talk about what my favorite horror movies of all time are.  That is much harder since there are so many.  I am going to give it more thought.

If you are curious I have set up a Pinterest Board with all the posters of the movies I have watched over the last 7 years of doing this. 228 pins total.

For next year I am thinking of doing something very different.
First, yes, I want to make as many game stats for the movies I watch as possible.  I have to stay true to my first and most loyal audience.

Also, I have all the these VHS tapes that I copied in the 80s and early 90s, about 16 total.  Each one is 6 or 8 hours long with anywhere from 3 to 5 movies per tape, but usually 4.  Rough estimates I put it at 45 movies, give or take.  What I want to do is go through all of those and review all those movies before tossing out the tape.  I would also check to see if there are Blu-Ray or DVD options for the movies.  Now I am totally expecting these tapes to be in complete crap condition.  Some I know have not seen the light of day in 20 years. But I think it would be fun.  Since they are all movies I have seen before, game stats will come quicker to me.

The bottom row are horror tapes.  If this works I'll tackle the row above which is all MST3k.

That is also the problem.  45 movies, all of them are ones I have seen before,   So no first-time views. I hold out that there might be one or two on there I have never seen. It is possible. I used to work nights, so I'd go to the library, check out some tapes, take them home and cue them up to copy to watch while I was in college.

While this pleases my OCD and my need to declutter I am hoping that the tapes are still in good enough shape.  The other issue is I have only one working VHS player in the house (i think) so I am locked to watching these in one room.  I am very, very spoiled with all my on-demand streaming options.

We will see how it goes.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Witch (Audio Commentary) (2015)

I wanted to end my Horror Challenge with the movie I began with, The Witch.

This time I watched it with the director's audio commentary.  I also watched the special features that went along with the movie and they were all a treat.

There are some things I noticed this second viewing, but mostly I am still pleased with this movie.

Again I am struck with this idea of burgeoning sexuality = horror.  Thomasin is a threat to this family because she is no longer a child.  Think I am stretching?  Compare this to other characters from this challenge; Dren or on the other side of it all Nancy.

Look at Crimson Peak or I Spit On Your Grave. The women are defined more by their sexuality than any male character.

Even outside of a game this is something worth my effort to look into.  I am still, an academic at heart and practice.

The consensus among people in the 2016 challenge is that this is the best horror movie of the year.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 35
New: 26

October Horror Movie Challenge: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street.  This is the movie that changed horror movies forever. It gave us the slasher and it gave us a villain that in many ways it more important that the heroes (though I think I hear Gorjia roaring at me).  But also it made horror a bona-fide box office hit.  Slasher movies in the early 80s were the super hero movies of today.   None were bigger, better and more scary than Freddy Krueger.

I have been wanting to rewatch this one for years.  I had forgotten how good it really was.  Some movies age poorly, especially ones from the early 80s.  But this one is a classic in every sense of the word.  Not just Robert Englund as the iconic Freddy but Heather Langenkamp as Nancy is every sense the iconic "Last Girl".   Lets not forget that this is the movie that introduced us all to Johnny Depp.

I watched this with Connor and he really loved it.  He didn't think it was as scary as "Crimson Peak" but he loved it all the same.

There is a lot to unpack in this movie for a game. But the trouble is it's hard to fully replicate the whole "Last Girl" feel and to get the characters to make "horror movie decisions".

Still. This one is so much fun.  We are going to do more horror movies together next year.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 34
New: 26

October Horror Movie Challenge: Splice (2009)

Splice is a movie I have wanted to see for a few years.  It is a basic mad-scientist makes a monster movie with some twists.

There are some interesting twists in this modern Frankenstein tale. Instead of body parts it's DNA. Instead of a horrible, disfigured monster we get Dren which could be considered cute at first.  Also the issue of burgeoning sexuality.  Side note: Why is it that female sexual awareness scares so many people? It is something so deeply ingrained that we are still seeing horror movies about it today.  Hell, that sounds more like a dissertation than a blog post. Maybe I should do that for my next October Challenge; see where this takes me.

Anyway there is/was room for a sequel ala the new Fly movie, but no idea if it ever happened.

The actors in this were quite good.  That sets this a notch above most horror flicks.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 33
New: 26

October Horror Movie Challenge: Ghost Ship (2002)

I enjoy a good tale of ghost ships. Ever since I had read about the Flying Dutchman and other tales of ships lost at sea I have had a morbid sort of curiosity about them.

So when Ghost Ship from 2002 showed up on my TV and just starting, how could I say no?

It was not a bad tale really. One we have seen time and time again in the movies.  There is a wreck of a ship floating in international waters and a team of salvagers go out to claim it.  One by one they experience strange things, see things and soon the dying starts.

This one had a few interesting little twists. Emily Browning has one of her first ever screen roles as a ghost.  The "cable death" is by far one of the more gruesome ones.

Desmond Harrington's character is obviously Charon or something like him.

This movie, and this story, is ripe for adventure seeds.  In fact one of the reasons I wanted to watch this one was to scrape it for ideas for this White Star adventure involving a lost starship in a 'haunted" area of space.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 32
New: 25

Saturday, October 29, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Crimson Peak (2015)

This is one of the big movies I wanted to see this Challenge.  It had such a cool look and I was looking forward to watching it with my son.

Well I have to say it did not disappoint.  It is less a horror movie as it is a movie with horrific moments.  Much like it's not a ghost story as it is a story with ghosts.  I think that set some people off a bit.

The movie was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro and you can really tell.  Aside from all the Pacific Rim guest stars, there is also a Pan's Labyrinth feel to this.  
The actors are great really especially the three leads.

Connor really enjoyed it, loved the mystery but wanted it to be more scary.

Still. I enjoyed it.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 31
New: 24

October Horror Movie Challenge: Late Night Cable

Been suffering through some migraines this week.  Thankfully a lot of my posts were pre-written and cued up.  Today's post wasn't.
Since I have slept something like 24 hours in the last 48 I was up late last night.  So I decided to cruise the depths of the premium movie channels to see what was on.  Starz and The Movie Channel provided some hits.

First up I Spit on Your Grave (1978) (rewatch).
The older I get I find my tolerance for "torture porn" lessens.  I have seen this movie a number of times and this time I wanted to focus on some the horror I might have missed in the sea of exploitation.  Camille Keaton must have went through a real hell in filming this.
I have now seen the remake and I see there are a host of sequels including one that continues Camille Keaton's Jenifer as an author several decades later.  Morbid curiosity of course calls to me on this, but I doubt I'll go out of my way to watch it.

In a similar vein I also caught Girl House (2015) (FTV).
This is simple slasher flick with a crazy dude obsessed with a cam girl.  Given that this is about an "x-rated" cam show there is surprising very little nudity from our star. That's fine.  The crazy dude, "Loverboy" is more of the focus here. It's an effective mix of both old-school slasher and new-school "the internet is watching" mentality.  Special shout outs go to Camren Bicondova ("Selena Kylie/Cat" on Gotham) as Loverboy's first victim as a child and Wesley MacInnes as the happles voyeur who watches the horror unfold on the cam shows.  He had the best line in the movie, "I am going to so need therapy."  Had to be there for it I think.  The movie needed more Nicole Fox in my opinion.

Watching these back to back I noticed that "I Spit on Your Grave" really set the tone for the modern slasher film.  Not just tone, but how some of the shots were done.

And no. My son did not watch these with me.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 30
New: 23

Friday, October 28, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Oh, what to say about this movie. I figured it was timely with all the clown "attacks" being reported.
Of course, I saw this when it came out, but wanted to watch it again with Connor.  He honestly didn't know what to think. But we were both laughing a lot.

Things I noticed/remembered.

Royal Dano as the farmer.  That was either inspired casting or lazy casting.
Suzanne Snyder as Debbie. She also played a "Debbie" in "Weird Science" and was from nearby Park Ridge Illinois.
Christopher Titus is in this movie too.  Wearing glasses I didn't even recognize them.

Though I swear there was a scene where the Dickies were playing in a concert.

A lot of the lines are really on the nose, no pun intended. It's not a great script. The movie is still a silly one.  The Klowns are scary though, but all clowns are scary.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 28
New: 22

Thursday, October 27, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Lords of Salem (2013)

I like Rob Zombie. I like Sherri Moon Zombie. I love anything to do with witches.
So yeah, I actually rather enjoyed this movie.  There is a lot about this movie that worked as far as I am concerned, though I do recognize the that there were some valid criticisms.

Unlike the Witch, which tried to play the witch stories of America with an even hand, this movie goes full on myth and fairy tale.

Not to be too much of a critic, Sherri Moon Zombie is not the best actress in the world, but she is good in this role.   The movie has a feel to it that reminds me a bit of Kubrick...or more to the point someone (Rob Zombie) trying to do Kubrick by way of Ken Russel.

The basic idea of this movie is a tried and true one; descendants of those wronged are not enacting their revenge/curse or whatever in the present day.

So far this movie has 100% more Rush than any other movie I have seen this challenge.

I am going to say this one was a good one.  Plus it had Meg Foster and Dee Wallace in it as witches, so how can that be bad?

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 27
New: 22

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Horror Rises from the Tomb (1972)

Have not done a Paul Naschy film yet this year.
This one has a warlock and his witch bride coming back from the dead as something similar to a vampire.  It's not bad but less blood, gore and nudity than I expected from a Paul Naschy film to be honest.

Alaric de Marnac is the warlock from this tale and he would later go on to appear in other Naschy movies.  I kinda like the idea, even if this movie was only so-so.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 26
New: 21

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Carmilla (1989) & Styria (2014)

With the somewhat disappointing nature of The Unwanted, I went looking for some more Carmilla based movies.  Finding them wasn't the issue. Finding ones I have not seen was.

First up was Carmilla (1989) with Meg Tilly and Ione Skye.  This moves the tale to post-Civil War Georgia. The story is largely unchanged with Ione Skye and Laura and Meg Tilly as Carmilla.  There were some neat scenes but it was a Showtime Nightmare Classics episode, so there isn't the investment you see in a big movie production. Still though it was fun.  There isn't much chemistry between Skye and Tilly, which struck me as odd to be honest.  Plus you get the feeling in the end that Laura became a vampire after Carmilla was killed.

Styria (2014) or "Angels of Darkness" as it is known in the US, is also a retelling of the classic tale.  This time moved to 1986 and Styria, Slovenia.  This time Laura and Carmilla are played by Eleanor Tomlinson and Julia Pietrucha.  These actresses had more on-screen chemistry and the tale has a bit more terror.  Moving it to Communist-controlled Eastern Europe was an interesting twist and I liked it. Plus it gave them a good excuse to use music from Joy Division and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Unlike the 1989 version or Unwanted, Carmilla is much more of a predator here and more of a classic vampire OR Laura is insane.  Could go either way. Of the three "Carmilla" movies I have seen this challenge so far, this is the best.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 25
New: 20

Monday, October 24, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Blood on Satan's Claw (1970)

A deformed skull sends a small 18th century English town into a Satanic Panic as children begin to murder each other and others.

The movie, has a lot of style, but not a lot of substance.   While it is cut from the same general cloth as The Devil Rides Out and other folk-horror films it's not as good.  It does pick up a bit, but never enough to really get going.

I like folk horror and pagan horror, but one has to ask why the Devil is wasting his time in tiny little English village full of superstitious villagers.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 23
New: 18

Saturday, October 22, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Witchtrap (1989)

Kathleen Bailey and Linnea Quigley are the only actresses here I recognize.

The rest are pretty terrible. In fact the entire movie is really bad.  The premise is interesting enough.  An occultist turns up dead and is supposedly haunting his own home.  The new owner wants the haunting confirmed and taken care of so he can turn it into a "haunted bed and breakfast".

We get a pscyhologist, her medium husband, another medium (Bailey), a videographer (Quigley), and three private detectives. Basically a big crew of people to get killed by the ghost...which is what happens.

Quigley was a staple in late 80s early 90s horror/splatter flicks and she doesn't disappoint here.  Which is the ONLY thing in this movie that isn't a disappointment. Oh there are some marginally interesting ideas that made me think of some things for the Pathfinder Occult adventures book...but that is about it.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 22
New: 17

Friday, October 21, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Devil's Plaything (1973)

The Devil's Plaything, or "Der Fluch der schwarzen Schwestern", is one of those notorious movies I have always heard about but never seen.  I got ahold of a copy, but only the R rated version.  There is one that is 18 mins longer that contains more graphic sex, many of the actresses were Swedish porn actresses, but sadly that won't help the plot of this one.

The plot, such as it is,deals with bringing back to life a dead vampire baroness, her lesbian lover and to kill the descendants of those that killed her.  She has her own cult with high-priestess and acolytes that I guess have to dance around in the nude all the time.

The actors and actresses are speaking English, but it is obvious that this is not their first language.  Add that to a terrible script makes this almost a yawner.

I think it must have the fairly graphic scenes of nudity, sex and implied incest that put this on the notorious list.  I have seen DVD copies at Half-Price Books go for a $100.  Don't waste your money.

If you are really curious the scenes that were cut are here.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 21
New: 16

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Unwanted (2014)

The Unwanted came up in my search for different sorts of vampire movies.  This one is a retelling of Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla".  In this one Carmilla is the daughter of Millarca and it takes place in Georgia and not Austria.

Of course given that I should have guessed the ultimate fates of both Carmilla and Millarca, but no such luck. True it is closer to the original story this way but would it kill us to make something a little different once in a while?

William Katt plays the father in this with much creepiness.
Christen Orr and Hannah Fierman are both rather good as Carmilla and Laura respectively.

I was hoping for much better to be honest.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 20
New: 15

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Full Circle / The Haunting of Julia (1977/1981)

So with a book by Peter Straub and starring Mia Farrow you would think this would have been a hit.  It actually did quite poorly in the UK as "Full Circle" in 1977 and equally poorly in the US as "The Haunting of Julia" in 1981.

I remember this movie and thought I had seen it, but I didn't.  It came up while I was doing a serach about the ghosts of children for the Chill RPG.

Mia Farrow was, well, Mia Farrow in this.  The story is spooky, but could have been a lot more scary.  Though if it were made today there would have been more victims of the child ghost, Oliva.

In an interesting bit of trivia, Samantha Gates who plays Olivia is the same girl that appears on the cover of Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" album.

The daughter of Mia Farrow's character was played by a young Sophie Ward who later went on to be in "Young Sherlock Holmes".

This might a good one to read one day, but the movie is a little slow by today's standards.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 19
New: 14

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Horror Challenge: Vampyres (2015)

It is not often I get to watch a horror movie when they first come out. Let alone on the day they are released.  But this is my day today (tonight).  The remake of the notorious 1974  José Ramón Larraz cult classic Vampyres was released on video today.  To my knowledge, this never was released in the US in the theaters, just in Spain.  The movie was also filmed in Spain, though it is supposed to be set in England.

Marta Flich and Almudena León take on the roles of Fran and Miriam respectively. Now maybe it is just my nostalgia speaking, but I find the original actresses, Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska, more attractive.

The movie starts out in a similar fashion to the original.  Our heroes (Fran and Miriam are the heroes right?)  Our new Harriet is a photographer and not a painter as in the original.

Also at nearly 70 Caroline Munro still looks good and having her in movie gives it an air of authenticity, it is too bad that her talents are wasted here.  She is a better actor than most of this cast.  Though to be 100% fair I am pretty sure that English is not their first language save for Munro.

The movie doesn't really get going in terms of our Vampyres till about 20 minutes in.  The dialog is very similar to the original as well. Sadly though many of the plot problems have also been retained. Not to say it is a scene by scene remake, there are some differences and some improvement.  The shower scene from the first movie has been replaced with a bath-tub and a Bathory-esque shower.

This Fran and Miriam are much crueler than in the original.  In the original film you got the feeling that two innocent women had been killed and cursed to come back as vampires.  These two new ones are just killers.  Plus Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska had more on-screen chemistry than these two actresses.

One could almost, almost, see this as a sequel of sorts to the first.  The fact that history is repeating itself some 40 years later is just one of those things that happen when you have a lot of vampires around.

In the end, I didn't like it as much as the original, but again it is more to do I think with nostalgia for me and maybe giving the edge out to the 1974 version only because I first saw it at a very impressionable age.

On it's own merits the movie is still fun.  Plus when was the last time we had a good female vampire movie?  Feels like forever.  If you are a fan of the original then see this one too.

I could not help but notice that one of the production companies for this film is "The Other Side Films".

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 18
New: 13

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Under the Skin (2013)

Under the Skin is a 2013 art film with sci-fi and horror overtones.  The film is notable for starring Scarlett Johansson. She spends the first few scenes completely nude and most of the movie with little to no lines.

The movie deals with an alien (ScarJo) who seduces men and lures them to her home in Scotland. Here she strips while walking, having them do same where they slowing disappear into the floor.  Later we see what happens to them.  Their organs are sucked out of their skin leaving only their still living skin.

As the movie (slowly) progresses ScarJo (none of the characters have names) begins to act more and more human.

The movie is very arty and there are some very obvious nods to 2001: A Space Oddeysey.  Of course, there is another movie people have been comparing it too; Lifeforce.  Like Lifeforce this movie features an alien woman walking around, mostly nude, and killing men.  Though the aliens of Lifeforce are mostly vampires (based on Colin Wilson's "The Space Vampires") this alien, as far as I can tell is something different.

There are some genuinely scary moments but not as many as I thought there should be.  

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 17
New: 12

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Every year it seems I get to watch a new Daniel Radcliffe horror movie.  This year it was Victor Frankenstein.  It's not a bad flick either.
It's a retelling of the Frankenstein story.  Well, not the book really, but the movies.

It has lots of call outs and Easter-eggs to other Frankenstein movies.
Daniel Radcliffe's makeup at the beginning of this reminded me a lot of the very first Frankenstein movie ever made.
"People will never remember the man, only the monster."
Loved the little Frankenstine-Frankenstein nod.
"It's alive?" "It's alive!"
Flat head. Bolts in the neck.
Victor shouting "You are not alive" instead of the expected "It's alive!" when the monster is walking.

Much better than I thought it would be.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 16
New: 11

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