Showing posts with label movie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movie. 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 one 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.

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.

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.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

New Movie: The Witching

Al Bruno over at Al Buno III's Internet Tomfoolery just posted this trailer for a new movie that caught my eye.

Check out his post here:

Love that poster.  Not as catching as "The Witch", but still really cool.
The movie came out last week and IMDB currently has it at 3.7 out of 10.  Not a good sign really, but hey I have seen worse.

If nothing else head on over to Al's blog. He has some great stuff!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Witchfinder (2013)

I have been motivated by "The Witch" and ideas for War of the Witch Queens to look for other 16th century tales of witchcraft.  I found this little gem on Amazon Prime.

It is a cool little horror tale of a witch and the witchfinder that finds her and "tries" her.
The acting is, well, not great, but it is not terrible either.  There is a good story here and some nice little scary bits too.  The story is interesting and frankly it's short duration is perfect.

There were a couple of times that I thought some lines or dialogue seemed a little more modern than the setting and there were some other issues, but nothing that detracted from an enjoyable little flick.

I rather enjoyed it to be honest.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 6
New: 5

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: Mystics in Bali (1981)

Mystics in Bali is one of those movies I have known about for years.  I have been wanting to see because it had Leyak black magic and a Penanggalan in it.  One of the very few movies I have been able to find about them.

Let's get this done first.  This movie is not good. The acting is bad, the script is a bit lame and specially effects are bad even by the standards of 1981.

The Leyak, or the black magic witch had an annoying habit of laughing, moaning and talking like Yoda throughout the entire movie.

Now the basic story is interesting enough; a young American woman researching black magic in a land unknown to most Americans and seduced by the magic.  
I won't give away the end save that it was fairly predictable and cliched.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 5
New: 4

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Visit (2015)

This year I am going to watch movies with my 13-year old son Connor as much as possible.  He is showing a love for horror and I watched a few with him last year.

This movie is his pick.

The Visit (2015)
Ok. So. This is an M. Night Shyamalan movie.  While he is the guy that gave us the brilliant "Sixth Sense" his also the same guy that gave us "The Last Air-Bender".   Thankfully he doesn't appear in this movie, though personally, I would have been OK with a non-central or a non-speaking role.

The movie is a "found footage" type movie about a two kids visiting their grandparents for the first time.  There are some silly contrivances to get us to a point where the kids have never met their Grandparents before, but you know what, I am going to let that slide.

Tim:  I was expecting dreck to be honest and it was a cool little thriller with some gore and good surprises.
Connor: It wasn't that scary. I have seen scarier You Tube videos.

Connor called the big "twist" early in this one. He usually does. Though given this is M. Night the reveal was also a little weak.
The two kid actors though were good. Hope to see them both is other things.

2016 Movie tally
Watched: 2
New: 2

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Zatannurday: Doctor Strange

Oh Zatannurday!
I can't quit you.

The fall season is upon us!  That means more DC on TV. Which I am super-excited for.  But what I am REALLY looking forward to is the new Doctor Strange movie.

Really looking forward to this!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Zatannurday: Doctor Strange

The new Doctor Strange trailer came out this week.

Doctor Strange is easily my favorite Marvel character.
I liked the idea of this brilliant man of science and medicine thrown into a world he couldn't understand at first.

Plus all that 60's and 70's occult vibes to the early comics and art by Steven Dirko? Yeah that is right up my alley.

Now we have our first trailer out and I am excited as hell.

Looks like we are sticking pretty close to the classic Dr. Strange origin story here too.
Benedict Cumberbatch is opting for an American accent here, which tracks with Strange's character as being a New Yorker.   Tilda Swinton makes an interesting choice as The Ancient One, but a good choice in my mind. Plus we get Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor (as Mordo no less!) and Rachel McAddams...that is some top shelf acting talent.

This is going to rock.

I hope though they keep the horror and occult themes I loved about this comic.
Say what you like about the failed Peter Hooten movie, it was some scary shit for 1978 TV.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Class Struggles: The Witch Hunter

You have to appreciate the fact that Vin Disel is so geeky that not only was his character named Melkor, he was a Witch hunter from the Arcanum book, but now he has a movie more or less based on his character.

Geek and Sundry has also produced a new Witch Hunter class for D&D 5 that you can get here:

So what exactly is a "With Hunter"?  Well I have been fairly quiet on the whole concept myself.  But before that, let's talk about what has been done first.

I should begin with the Witch Hunter that Vin Disel used and the one that I think of as first anyway, the Witch Hunter from the Arcanum.

All the classes in the Arcanum and the Bard Games "Compleat" books before it were all very thin in nature. Some guidelines, some flavor, but a ton of imagination! The class is described as a dual classed hunter/mystic with "highly trained" combat abilities. They read a lot like Rangers to be honest, save with a focus on hunting down spell casting classes. They get training in two weapons (Weapon Proficiencies) and gain two more over the course of their career. They gain the skills of tracking, reading magic, stealth and spell casting.   As spell casters they can't wear armor.
Advancement by level is detailed later in the book (they are on the high end) and they take spells from the Mysticism list, which are similar to Clerics. (Note: I should have covered these Mystics back when I did mystics for my first Class Struggles).
The witch-hunter gets a maximum of 3 attacks per round when they reach level 13 (remember this is 1st-2nd ed-ish). They also gain a +1 to hit every other level.

There are hunter-like kits for 2nd ed. AD&D, but no witch-hunter really.

3rd Edition and the OGL brought out a number of various witch hunter classes.  Many though not till Pathfinder came out.

Super Genius Games had a bunch of books out for OGL/Pathfinder for Witch Hunters. The Genius Guide to the Witch Hunter and With a Bullet Point 9 Witch Hunter Feats.  With these two there is plenty to run your witch hunter in Pathfinder.  Unlike the Arcanum, this one does not use spells but instead has a number of special powers each level.  Both methods are fine with me really.

Not to be outdone there is the Player Paraphernalia #11 The Witch Hunter from The Knotty-Works.  This class also gets good combat ability and some powers, but it also gets spells to 4th level.  This puts it on par with the Ranger.  It has a couple of new feats, but no new spells.  Though you are getting a lot here for a buck and half.
So between these three books there are even more choices.

On the OSR/Retro Clone side we have only one product I know of, PC3 - The OSR Witch Hunter by Jeremy Reaban.  This book has a number of nice features in addition to the class.  The class does not cast spells, nor does it have a lot of special powers. This is by design and owning to the stated literary source. It does have some skills such as read magic and turn undead.  What I think makes this special is the level advancement tables for "First Edition", "Original Edition", "Basic/Expert" and "Cyclopedic Edition".  Nice feature if you ask me.

What Should A Witch-Hunter Do?
One question not always addressed is what exactly does a witch hunter do? That's for the player. The question to ask the GMs is what do Witch Hunters hunt when there are no witches (as a class) in the game?  The Arcanum version tends to focus on all spell casters. The Pathfinder ones tend to focus on the witch class.

Allow me to toss this one back to you all.  Would you or do you use "Witch Hunters"?  If so, who do they hunt? What do they do once they have one?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October Movie Challenge: Witchhouse (1999)

Ah well. It couldn't last.  Witchhouse from the turn of the century (that sounds odd while still being correct...) is neither interesting nor a lot of fun.  At least with Full Moon Features (the production company) I'll get a little fun.

Ok.  Lilith Le Fay (I am not joking here) invites all her college age  friends over to her ancestor's house one May Day eve (Wallpurgis Night) to have a party.  In truth she is a witch and she wishes to raise her ancestor Elizabeth Le Fay back from the dead.  All her friends are the descendants of the witch hunters who killed Elizabeth.

This could have worked, but honestly the acting was terrible and the plot...well here is an indication of what we are dealing with here.  The castle that Lilith stays in is now located in Dunwich, MA but was brought over brick by brick from Scotland.
Including the dungeon.
So lets throw everything we have ever heard of against the wall and see what sticks.

In a note of true tragedy to the movie one of the stars, Dave Oren Ward who played the stoner Tony, was murdered right after the film was done and in post production.

10 Watched / 8 New

Sunday, October 4, 2015

October Movie Challenge: Carrie (2013)

I have had the new Carrie Blu-Ray since it came out but only watched it last night. I enjoyed it, Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore are pretty much fantastic in everything they do, this was no exception.  Julianne Moore gave a stellar performance as Carrie's mother Margaret White, much better than Piper Laurie was in fact.

Chloë Grace Moretz was fantastic of course, but the trouble I have with her in this movie is she is just too good looking.  Sure Carrie is supposed to be an outcast, but she is no Sissy Spacek.

The story is what we all know at this point; enjoyable yes but not really needed.

4 Watched / 2 New

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Movie: The Witch

Oh.   This looks good.

From the press release:

In this exquisitely-made and terrifying new horror film, the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are innovatively brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family’s frightful unraveling.

Set in New England circa 1630, The Witch follows a farmer who get cast out of his colonial plantation and is forced to move his family to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest rumored to be controlled by witches. Almost immediately, strange and unsettling things begin to happen-the animals turn violent, the crops fail, and one of the children disappears, only to return seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. As suspicion and paranoia mount, everyone begins to point the finger at teenage daughter Thomasin. They accuse her of witchcraft, which she adamantly denies…but as circumstances become more and more treacherous, each family member’s faith, loyalty, and love will be tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.

Writer/director Robert Eggers’ debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival (and won the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition), painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions and pagan folklore famously clashed. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin – in a star-making turn by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy – and supported by mesmerizing camera work and a powerful musical score, THE WITCH is a chilling and groundbreaking new take on the genre.

Yeah. This is going to be fun.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blood, Boobs, and Carnage! Blogfest: The Films of Hammer

Today I am participating in the "Blood, Boobs and Carnage" Blogfest hosted by Heather Gardner and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

A lot of gamers talk about their "Appendix N", a list of fantasy or pulp-era books (sometimes movies and TV shows) that influenced their games.

Not me.
My Appendix N is full of Hammer Films.

My earliest memories are of horror movies.  Specifically Hammer Horror and the old Universal Monsters. I could not have been much older than 4 and my first memories are of Dracula.  I used (and still do) love old Dracula movies.  At one point in time I could claim I had owned every movie that featured Dracula. It should be no big surprise then that my games all had a horror bent to them.

Every October I participate in the Horror Film  Marathon.  I have taken it upon myself to watch (and rewatch in many cases) all Hammer Dracula films.  They all fit today's theme of Blood, Boobs and Carnage.

I have not seen all of the Hammer films and a few I have not seen in maybe 20+ years but they have always had a profound effect on the games I write.   Ghosts of Albion in particular is overflowing with my love for Hammer, as are most of my adventures.   My vampires are not modern mopey emos.  They are blood thirsty killers in the suave exterior of Christopher Lee.

Even in Eldritch Witchery I have tried t tap into that same vibe of Hammer Horror.  Even though most of their moveis were made in the late 50s and 60's, there is something very 70's about them to me.  Maybe that is when I watched most of them (then and the early 80's).

Sex and horror were the bread and butter of Hammer films.   In fact one of the books that sits proudly with my game book collection is Hammer Glamour; a glossy coffee table book of all the women that appeared in the Hammer films.

Here are some of reviews of Hammer Films I have posted here.  IF I had had the time I would posted a body count.

Dracula (1958)
Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966)
Dracula has Risen From His Grave (1968)
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
The Vampire Lovers (1970)
Countess Dracula (1970/1971)
Lust for a Vampire (1971)
Twins of Evil (1971) and on Blu-Ray
Dracula AD 1972 (1972)
Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974)
To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

That was the end of the "Classic" Hammer.
It "rose from the grave" more recently to give us some newer movies.  Less "Blood, Boobs, and Carnage" than before, but still solid horror.

Let Me In (2010)
The Woman in Black (2012) (Daniel Radcliffe blew me away in this!)

Even ones I have seen but not got around to reviewing, like the various Frankenstein movies or the Quatermass ones.

Check out the feature, Hammer for Dummies to learn more.

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Mad Scientist Marathon

I have a mini marathon of movies I have watched in the last few hours.  All dealing with Vampires and Mad Scientists (give or take)

The Vampire Bat (1933)
This one turns some of the vampire tropes into plot fodder and features a mad scientist that needs human blood to keep his new creation alive.  An older flick but fun.  It features the ever impressive Faye Wray and Dwight Frye.  Frye of course played one of the first ever Renfields in 1931's Dracula.  I am struck by how good his range was and his performances reminds me of Andy Serkis.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
This of course features a song about Faye Wray and a mad scientist.  No real vampire, but they do come from Transylvania. I have seen this one hundreds of times of course, but I still enjoy it.  It is though no where near as fun on TV as it is in the theaters.
I have to admit I have always wanted to write a Buffy RPG adventure based on this.  Have players play the original cast.  Great for an adult themed Con game I am sure.  Gotta get worked down to 4 hours.

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)
Man. I have no idea where to start with this one.  Dracula and Frankenstein's monster battle it out.  IF they were both super cute Japanese school girls.  There is so much blood and gore in this movie. but it is comical and beyond over the top. Plus stereotypes of all sorts of Japanese cultural fads.  It's insane.  The big battle on top of Tokyo Tower is the climax of the movie.
The interesting bit is the mad scientist (who is related to Frankenstein) uses vampire blood to animate the corpses.

Might get to more tonight.

Tally so far:  39 Total Watched / 26 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Vampire Happening (1971)

October Movie Challenge: Vampire Happening (1971)

Vampire Happening or Gebissen wird nur nachts came up in my searches for a Countess Bathory like figure.  I saw it and noticed that it was directed by Freddie Francis. The same that gave us Dracula Has Risen from His Grave, Tales that Witness Madness and one of my all time favorites, The Creeping Flesh.
So I was not expecting a lot when I saw that it was a "horror/comedy" but certainly more than I got.

The basic plot is simple. American Actress inherited a castle in Transylvania.  Here she discovers that she is a dead ringer for her Great-Grandmother the former Countess.  Not only was she notoriously lascivious she was also believed to be a vampire (of course).

The Countess does come back and causes a lot of Benny Hill-quality hijinks when she is thought to be the Actress and visa versa.  Meanwhile the entire village has been transformed into vampires by the Countess.

The plot is thin and the acting is for the most part terrible save for Pia Degermark who pulls double duty as American Betty Williams and Vampire Countess Clarimonde.

There was also a surprising amount of nudity and sex in this movie for the time.  It was released in 1971, but feels more late 60s.  Some of the posters refer to it as an "Adult" vampire movie.
I am guess it is because it was made in West Germany at the time.

I can't help but feel there is a better story here somewhere.

Since I am still working through the Vampire Queen module I am thinking that a human descendant of Lady Neeblack running around the dungeon might be fun.


Tally so far:  35 Total Watched / 23 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

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