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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Styria (2014)

I wanted to go back and rewatch this one after spending a lot time with Carmilla.  I remember that this one had been pretty good and I wanted to go back and see if it held up.

I am happy to admit it does.

There must have been some sort of cinematic vibe in the air because rewatching this one now reminded me a lot of The Only Lovers Left Alive.  The soundtrack is still awesome and the chemistry I saw between the two actresses, Eleanor Tomlinson (Lara) and Julia Pietrucha (Carmilla), is still there, even if it is not the same as the newer Carmilla movie.  Not sure if I can grok a blonde Carmilla though.  Stephen Rhea is fantastic as usual playing Lara's father only as he can.  He always looks like he is one bad bender away from falling apart.

As my want, I watched this as if it was a sequel to "Daughters of Darkness" and a prequel to the "Carmilla" web series.  It doesn't...but it would fit the backstory well enough with some edits.

It is a very worthy entry into the collective mytho-storytelling of Carmilla.



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Carmilla Movie (2017)

Carmilla week continues.  The movie is out tonight or tomorrow (depending on where you are) and I wanted to save this system for today.

A change tonight from ancient, dusty videotapes for this challenge.  Instead, I am reviewing a movie that was only released to the public 2 hours ago.

The Carmilla Movie, based on the hit webseries was just released to backers and I just got done watching it.

Naturally, I don't want to say too much because of spoilers, but I will say this.  It lived up to the hype and the anticipation.

The basic gist is Carmilla is being summoned back to Styria to deal with all the deaths she caused.  We get ghosts, haunted houses, vampires and plenty of chills.

Natasha Negovanlis is an absolute treat as Carmilla and Elise Bauman shines as reporter Laura Hollis.  All the cast is great though.   The newcomer, Dominique Provost-Chalkley though puts on a stellar performance as Elle, Carmilla's first true love and the big bad of the story.  Elle is about as far from Waverly Earp as you can get and really made me appreciate her as an actress even more.

The movie is a solid horror flick despite Laura's own "goodbye Hammer Horror, hello Rom Com!"

You don't need to see the series to enjoy this movie, but if you did then there are plenty of rewards for you.

Very pleased.



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Blood Spattered Bride (1972, 1974)

Another loose retelling of Carmilla, this time from Spain. The retelling is a bit loose and set in modern times, well, the 70s anyway.

Our victim this time is Susan.  Carmilla, of course, shows up (buried in the sand no less) and begins in on Susan and her husband.  Eventually, Carmilla, Susan, and some other girl (because fuck it right) are all killed by the husband.

The movie is not bad, but a confusing mess really.  The movie could very easily work as a sequel to the Vampire Lovers or any other Carmilla movie.

Alexandra Bastedo makes for good Carmilla, though a blonde one.  Which is odd of course, but she makes up for it.







Monday, October 23, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Vampire Lovers (1970)

For Carmilla Week I thought I go back to a the very deep well of the Vampire Lovers.  It also is one of my video tapes (along with some other movies this week) so really it works out well.

I did this one all the way back in 2012 and some observations I made then still hold true today.

Carmilla/Mircalla of The Vampire Lovers is a killer.  She is a murderess to be sure but to quote They Might Be Giants she was "the nicest of the damned".

Comparing Ingrid Pitt to Natasha Negovanlis may strike some as blasphemy, but I think it is entirely fair.  After all no one will remember Julia Pietrucha as Carmilla (Syria) or Christen Orr (The Unwanted) but these two will always be remembered.

Each is also perfect for her respective portrayal of the troubled vampire.

The movie is actually fairly close to the book.  Enough that if you read the book and see the movie you will notice more of similarities rather than the differences.

Now here there is no doubt that Carmilla is supposed to be evil.  She casually uses and tosses away Mdme. Perrodot (Kate O'Mara) and she did kill Laura (Pippa Steele) but yet to me there is something underneath all of this.  Carmilla is still a tragic figure.  She was damned, but maybe the least of the damned.  Not as much as in the novella, but it is there.  We see this more and more as the adaptations become more modern. 

Could this movie work as a prequel to the series? Sure.  In the movie just have Carmilla fall in love with Elle at the end and let the events of season 1 unfold.  OR do as I do, enjoy them separately for their own merits.

Connor didn't watch this one with me.  He is burned out on my 70s Hammer films.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Lifeforce (1985)

I am so far behind on these.

Up next on a my Vampire tape is Tobe Hooper's 1985 Lifeorce.  Loosely based on on Colin Wilson's "Space Vampires".  The movie has the aforementioned space vampires but they differ from the book.
One thing that struck me while watching this was the fact that 19-year old French Actress Mathlida May pretty much spends the entire movie walking around completely naked.  I am not sure a horror movie outside of the exploitation types could do this anymore (see the "I Spit on Your Grave" remakes).

The movie is still fun.  In addition to May it features a Pre-Star Trek Patrick Stewart and a pre-X-Files Steve Railsback.

Of course I immediately adopted the Space Vampires (the Lovecraftian "Ubbo-Sathla" in the book) to my AD&D games.
The stats I wrote then became the basis for the Space Vampire I did a few years ago.

Connor did not watch this one with me.  I'll admit I avoided telling him about it.  Weird I know. I was 16 when saw it the theaters and he is 14 now.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Sooner or later someone was going to cast Tilda Swinton as a vampire.
Thankfully it was sooner.

The Only Lovers Left Alive is the tale of two vampire lovers, centuries, maybe even millennia old, that periodically spend time apart.  Tilda Swinton's Eve stays in Tangier while Tom Hiddleston's Adam lives in Detroit. 
The movie is arty and actually full of existential dread; what would you do to keep away the crushing sense of thousands and thousands of endless nights?

The cast is fantastic really. We also get Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, and John Hurt. 
Though the best really are Swinton and Hiddleston who were born to play vampires.  I would want more movies with these characters, but I think we have seen everything we can of them; their curse is to remain the same for all time while the world around them burns.

This one had been one of my early picks for the challenge this year even though it was not on any of my old videotapes (naturally). But one I really wanted to see.

This might one of the best vampire movies I have seen in a very long time. 

Note: Backdating this to the night I watched it. I am woefully behind schedule in posting.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Black Swan (2010)

Is Black Swan a Horror flick?

It certainly has elements of it and IMDB and Wikipedia list it as Psychological Horror.  I mean it is no Silence of the Lambs, but it can get to you.
Plus Darren Aronofsky can do some really creepy shit (see "Requiem for a Dream").

There is no "last girl" here and certainly no one is murdered (except for a hallucination) and we can never really be sure of Nina's (Natalie Portman) ultimate fate (though to stick with Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake theme she certainly died).

Portman gave a fantastic, Oscar worthy,  performance, as to be expected, and Mila Kunis was also really good as Lily.

This movie was a happenstance for this challenge.  I do not have it on tape but it was on one of the movie channels.

A good movie makes you think afterwards.  Though not all movies that make you think are necessarily good.  This is both.  Sometimes Aronofsky can get on my nerves, but this was a good one.





Monday, October 16, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

I have now seen so many of these movies I am forgetting what is going on.  They are all beginning to bleed into the other.   Kate Beckinsale is back as Selene, hunter of both vampires and lycans.

The vampires are nearly wiped out and the lycans want Celene for her blood.
It is all a World of Darkness game gone WAY out of control.  But it is still fun and the special effects are still cool. 

There is a coven of Nordic pacifist Vampires (not sure how that happened) and plenty of actors filling in their off time from Game of Thrones.

I snark, but the film is fun. I gave up on the plot a few movies back.

To be honest, I really should do a marathon of all these films one year and watch them all with the same dedication I do Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings and see if I can't rediscover some of the excitement I once felt for them.

Note: I am way behind on posting these, so I am backdating to the nights I watched them.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Scanners (1981)

Note: This was supposed to auto-post. So I am posting it now.

Another tape.  This time the 80s classic Scanners.  It has the feel of dawn of the 80s down pat and David Cronenberg is at his best here.  While the cast is forgettable, the never, ever dull Micheal Ironside gives a great turn as the evil Scanner Darryl Revok.  The Prisoner's Patrick McGoohan was almost unrecognizable to me.

The story was fun and had some great moments (the head exploding).

Connor loved the psychic story line, he is a sucker for all that.
He did mention, and this is something I have noticed as well, is that as movies get more modern the psychic power level increases.  Compare the Scanners to Dark City or even the Tomorrow People TV show.   He did not care for the end though and I can't blame him.

Both of us were confused about the whole "Scanning a computer" deal.

I loved this poster. Always freaked me out.



Saturday, October 14, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Devil's Wedding Night (1973)

This was supposed to autopost. I am reposting it now.

The Devil's Wedding Night is an Italian horror film that combines Dracula, Satan, Elizabeth Báthory and the Ring of the Nibelungen all in a gothic mess.

Actually, the movie was entertaining. The idea of the Ring of Dracula = Ring of the Nibelungen is bit off, but the concept of Dracula's ring with a bit of his life essence has some merit.  I am sure we saw that in some Hammer film.  It certainly worked for the Master in Doctor Who and Sauron.

Again the poster has events not in the movie, but that is pretty common.

My RPG take-away from this is to give my next master vampire (Dracula, Strahd, Mal Havoc) a phylactery-like ring to bring them back.  My kids already have encountered Strahd so maybe that is a good one to go to.

This movie is also called "Full Moon of the Virgins". These do not appear till then of the movie in an elaborate sacrifice.

Note the trailer below is NSFW. But the worst part is the narration.


Friday, October 13, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Osiris Child (2016)

The Osiris Child is listed as Sci-Fi, but to me, it is more horror.  There are none of the hallmarks of sci-fi outside of the futuristic time, some spaceships and terraforming. It actually has more in common with horror movies.

There is tension, there is the omnipresent threat of death, there are monsters (both human and otherwise) and there is a last girl.  There are also some scary moments.

While the original title was billed as the very ambitious "Science Fiction Vol 1." I am not sure we will see a Vol. 2.

Don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable and the acting was good, I don't believe it is sequel-worthy.

Note: I am back dating to this to the time I watched it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Burn Witch Burn! (1962)

Also known as Night of the Eagle, this is one of the many versions of Fritz Lieber's Conjure Wife and one of my favorite versions of it.

this version cleaves much better to the spirit of the book, but it is also missing significant portions of the book and some of the elements that made to book so good.  In particular, it changes the entire ending.  To be fair, the movie ending fits the movie better, but I do prefer the book ending more.

The whole bit where Tansy looses her soul is also missing.  The movie does not suffer for it, but the story has less punch.

Janet Blair and Peter Wyngarde are very good as the young college professor and his witch wife Tansy.  They look very much like I would expect them to look from the book.

My son Connor did not watch this with me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Initiation of Sarah (1978, 2006)

Ok. This one didn't post either.

The 70s were weird.  Today I might draw a very distinct line between "witches" and "psychics" and even online they are considered different things depending on who you ask. 
The 70s, not so much. 

Case in point, one of my favorite 70s guilty pleasures, The Initiation of Sarah from 1978.
I think for the longest time I associated sororities with witchcraft. 

The story follows two girls, Sarah and Patty Goodwin, raised as sisters as they go college and pledge in different, competing, sororities. 

Patty, the overtly pretty one, is accepted to Alpha Nu Sigma (ΑΝΣ) and Sarah, the other one, accepted to the weird Phi Epsilon Delta (ΦΕΔ).  Patty has to deal with Alpha bitch Morgan Fairchild played in only the way Morgan Fairchild can while Sarah has to deal with likely drunk (in the story and real life) Shelly Winters.

It seems to me that both houses are in truth witch covens and have been at war with each other since, well, who knows how long.

The film is pure ABC Made for Television cheese really and not a lot to redeem it.  But I love it to this day.  So many untapped ideas here.

The movie was remade in 2006 as a, you guessed it, a made for TV movie.

This time Sarah is played by the far more attractive Mika Boorem and her sister Lindsay, played by Summer Glau (who gets on my nerves).  Morgan Fairchild is back and still look great and playing the alpha bitch. This time she is the girls mother, but you will be forgiven if you think she is playing the same character.  Jennifer Tilly replaces Shelly Winters.

There are differences in the plot, mostly to bring it upto date, and others that actually make sense.  Are you a virgin and about to be sacrificed? Yeah, there is a way to fix that. And they do.

Different people die, different people live.  It is cut from the same block of cheese as the original and despite some better acting (not Summer Glau, she is horrible) it doesn't fare as well.  Must be the nostalgia.

In 10 years I want another remake, this time with Morgan Fairchild in the Shelly Winters role.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Alien Covenant (2017)

Another new one.  Plus I am running out of tape material.

Note: Spoilers ahead.

Alien Covenant attempts correct some of the mistakes from Prometheus.  Not sure how well it succeeds. For starters, this is a proper Alien movie, with xenomorphs, spaceships, a crazy android. Everything that made the first one a sci-fi and horror classic.

This one doesn't quite work as well.

It's a good sci-fi flick and has some good moments, but otherwise, it is only ok.

I am not exactly sure why that is.

I talked to my wife and son about this.  They pointed out that the alien was not really the enemy. They were only a tool. The real bad guy was the android, David.

Well, I had hoped for more.




Monday, October 9, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Mummy (2017)

A bit of a change of pace for this Challenge.
This is a first time view. It's a Tom Cruise movie (whom I can't stand). And the movie is not as bad as I was lead to believe.

The idea is an interesting one, but it is the same as many of the Mummy movies since Boris Karlof. Though Sofia Boutella is better to look at it.
There are some neat ideas and personally, I wanted to see more of Russel Crow's Jekyll and Hyde.

Connor enjoyed it but thought they did some stupid things.
I tend to agree.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Dracula 2000 (2000)

Not one of my favorite Draculas to be sure, but it is satisfying that I also got to finish a tape.

It's an interesting tale. Bringing Dracula into the modern age, trouble is that we have seen this story many times and many times it has been better.  The twist here is that "Dracula" is actually Judas.
The movie starts out ok, I like the idea of a quasi-immortal Van Helsing dealing in ancient arms.

Somewhere along the way through the movie falls apart for me.



Saturday, October 7, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Gothic (1986)

Gothic is another one of those films that you either love or hate.  I enjoyed the hell out of it. The story of how Frankenstein and the Vampyre came to be? Ken Russell as the director? Gabriel Byrne as Lord Byron, Julian Sands as Percy Bysshe Shelley, and an absolutely lovely Natasha Richardson as Mary Shelley (in her film debut)?  Music by Thomas Dolby? What's not to love?
Well plenty it seems.  The movie was a commercial bomb, though it did make good money on the home video market.

Connor hated it. Though he did recognize Timothy Spall who played Dr. John William Polidori here and later Peter "Wormtail" Pettigrew.

I watched this a few Challenges back but for the life of me I can't find the write up.  My wife hated it then too. It does feel dated and the music is very much mid-80s synth.  But it is still a lot of fun.





Friday, October 6, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Lair of the White Worm (1988)

On to my vampire tapes now.  I am not going to review all of these since I had done so many of these in past Challenges. But there are few that stand out.

Lair of the White Worm (1988) is one of those movies.  Rather infamous at the time and a lot of the same visuals from director Ken Russell that made Tommy (1975) so good.

The star of this is a deliciously sexy-evil Amanda Donohoe as the snake-vampire thing Lady Sylvia Marsh.  I read that the role had been offered to Tilda Swinton. Could you have imagined that? I think it would have been awesome. Of course watching it now it is a very young looking Peter Capaldi with a thick northern accent as archaeology student Angus Flint.

I know this is based on a Bram Stoker novella, but it's not a very good novella really.  I read it, gods, back in my university days.  Connor wanted to know why worms, dragons, snakes, and vampires were all getting blended together in this.  It's a good question really.





Thursday, October 5, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Dark City (1998)

This must be my Alex Proyas tape.  Dark City was one of those movies that came up a lot on the old Kult RPG list I was on.

Connor thought it was cool, but had a lot of his own theories and questions.

As much as I talk about the Occult Revival 70s, there is also the Paranoid 90s.  Everything is a conspiracy and THEY are always out to get you or keep you from the truth.  You can see this in the X-files and movies like The Matrix and They Live.

Games like Kult (1991), Conspiracy X (1996), Beyond the Supernatural (1987), Chill 2nd Edition (1990), even to a degree Alternity's Dark Matter, all captured different aspects of this feeling.

I was involved in many online debates on what system would do Dark City justice.  I had always put my chips in a Conspiracy X/WitchCraft hybrid.








Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Crow (1994)

No movie captures the "Noir of the Nineties" more than "The Crow".

It has been said that the only difference between a slasher flick and an action flick is if the "Last Girl" is a woman or a big action star.  The Crow does this in reverse.
The "Last Girl" is Brandon Lee's Eric Draven. Who is not a big hulking action star, but a man engulfed in sadness.   The plot, minus the supernatural elements, is not much different than Steven Seagal's "Hard to Kill".  The difference, of course, is that Eric Draven is an undead champion of vengeance.  He is not a zombie though and he still feels, well, everything.

This leaves us the question. Is The Crow a horror movie?
I still say yes.  The horrors visited on Eric and his fiancé Shelly are enough to merit a "Horror" tag.  Eric himself, an undead force of vengeance is akin to Freddy and Jason; he just kills bad guys.

In truth, this movie influenced a lot of what we think of as the Modern Supernatural out now.  This struck the same chords in people (and often the same people) that "Lost Boys" did.  While Lost Boys was very much a product of the late 80s, The Crow is a product of the mid 90s and it's influences reached far and wide.  Watch the scene where Eric confronts Top Dollar and his gang and then watch Heath Ledger's Joker confront the criminal underworld in The Dark Knight.

Ultimately the movie is sad.
Sad not just for the subject matter, but sad for the real-world death of Brandon Lee.



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