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

Monday, October 26, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Blair Witch 2 Book of Shadows (2000)

So this one has been on my list for some time now.  I have hesitated because of all the really negative reviews I have read about it.  But I figure I need to get to it sooner or later and today is that day.

Truth be told I loved the original Blair Witch Project. Such a fun film really. This one had some promise; well...at least promise in my mind.  Mix a goth girl and a Wiccan in the Blair Witch mix? That should have been a hit for me.  And there is the seed of a good movie here, but it got lost somewhere.

Many of the actors are not great, but thankfully many of them got better. Jeffrey Donovan for example moved on to much bigger and better things. 

The beginning starts promisingly enough and then the middle drags a bit.  Again, there are all the elements of a good movie here, just not put together well.  Like getting some furniture from Ikea, but not having the instructions. 

I kinda like the mystery, reminds me of the first movie in that respect, but none of the claustrophobia. 

While it didn't live up to its predecessor it was not as bad as I was lead to believe. Oh it was bad, just not awful. 

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-school Content:  So the Blair Witch Project, in any form, is great for a Modern Supernatural game. An ancient witch coming back to haunt people? That is great stuff.

The memory blackout is a good plot point and easy to do in a game, even if it can be a bit cliched. 

Watched: 49
New: 33


Saturday, October 24, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Search Continues, Part 2

Another attempt to find this mysterious movie that haunts my memory.  Last week I did three, this week? Well, I have a whole list of potential candidates but my expectations are pretty low.

I think for this one I am going to come up with my NIGHT SHIFT content while I watch them.  I just got into the first and need something to keep my focus.

Asylum of Satan (1972)

I think I may have seen this one. Not sure. A woman, Lucina Martin (Carla Borelli) is brought to an asylum/hospital and she has no idea or memory why.  And....that's about it really. The asylum is a front so Dr. Spector can sacrifice people to Satan. Crappy acting all around, crappy script.  

I am glad I stuck through it if no other reason that to see the shittiest Satan/Devil I have EVER seen.    There was a part about an hour in which I thought I had found my movie, but thankfully it was not.  I am not sure I was ready for the movie I have been searching for for so long to be this steaming turd. 

I am never getting "Red Light Lady" out of my head.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: Hell no

NIGHT SHIFT Content. Not a lot here that hasn't been done better by so many others.

Something Evil (1972)

This one was also my list but in the "not likely" category.  A couple of things though made decide to watch it.  First, the main actor is none other than Darren McGavin, Kolchak himself. That's a plus. And the Director is Steven Spielberg. THE Steven Spielberg. So I figured, what the hell. 

It also features such 70s fixtures as Johnny Whitaker, Ralph Bellamy, David Knapp,  and Sandy Dennis.  The movie is rather cheap. IT is a made for TV deal after all.  

One nitpick, the six-pointed barn hex sign is called a "pentacle".  It's slow, but the acting is good and everyone gives it their best, so they make the best of a small budget. 

In a decade Spielberg would go on to do Poltergiest. Some of seeds for that movie can be seen here, to be honest. 

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No, but I was pretty sure of that when I started

NIGHT SHIFT Content:  Haunted houses are always fun.  Watching this is like a Proto-Poltergiest in the country.   

Watched: 44
New: 29


Thursday, October 22, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: La Fille de Dracula (1972)

While watching Vampire Ecstacy I recalled there were a lot of similarities to this movie.  I ordered it then and thanks to Prime got it this morning.   

I watched this one back in 2013 but the copy I had was a really terrible VHS to DVD transfer.  

There is no comparison between the two.  After watching the BluRay I might pop in my DVD just to see if there are a lot of differences.   This one is in French with English subtitles. 

One thing I didn't cover with my last watching was the Karlstein/Karnstein issue.  The castle is called Castle Karlstein but given the time when it was filmed, I can't imagine they didn't mean Karnstien as in Carmilla. 

The story fits the Karnsteins better than the Draculas any way.

Britt Nichols plays Luisa Karlstein and Anne Libert plays Karine, Luisa's cousin, and lover.  And of course, Franco appears playing a creepy dude.  I mean if you are going to cast yourself in a role you should get your choice right?  

Throughout the movie women are attacked and drained of blood.

Luisa returns home to her dying mother and learns the family secret. Their ancestor, Count Karlstein, was a vampire and mom has been keeping him in the crypt.  Luisa goes to the crypt wakes up great-granddad.  Next time we see her she has fangs and begins to seduce her cousin Karine.  Though from the looks of it, Karine is a willing convert. 

There are some issues with this movie.  Luisa and Karine in their first scene act like they have just met, but later on, Karine tells Luisa about how she always loved her and they were "best friends" growing up.  They even relate a scene where Luisa plucked the eyes out of a bird and Karine cried in her arms. 

And the movie goes downhill, or rather, nowhere from there.  In fact the Luisa/Karine story seems completely disconnected from the Vampire killing plot.  If you assume that it was Luisa doing it then she was a vampire before she encountered the count (and it was the actress, if not the character). If it is the count doing the killings then what exactly is Luisa doing in the movie? Other than to lay in bed with Karine all day.

I learned while doing some preliminary research on this before tonight that this movie is part of a loose trilogy from Franco.  Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein (1972) features Howard Vernon as Dracula, the same role he is playing in Daughter of Dracula.   It occurs before this movie.  Daughter is followed by The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (1973).  This movie also has  Britt Nichols and Anne Libert, though in different roles than in this one. The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein is also the film debut of frequent Franco star Lina Romay. She would go on to appear in 100 of his movies and they eventually married in 2008, four years before her death. They had been a couple though for 40 years. I forget which DVD commentary it was on, but Franco, in his 80s, still spoke of her very warmly and lovingly.  He would later go on to die a year after.

I think at this point I am a little burned out on Franco. I have another one for the weekend, also with Britt Nichols and Anne Libert, playing sisters this time instead of cousins.  I might save them for another year, but likely not. 

My original, bad VHS to DVD edit, ran 78 mins, the BluRay is 82 mins. The BluRay also has an edited "clean" version.

Watched: 39
New: 26

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
How about this. I have seen a few movies about Dracula's family and a few more about the Karnsteins and their family.  I have done some work on witch families. What about two warring families who patriarch/matriarchs are both ancient and powerful vampires. The descendants can be living, but living under a curse that when they die they become the undead.  The two family leaders have some sort of relation; say like cousins or half-siblings.  A good example would be the historical Dracula and Bathory clans. They shared a relationship by blood and other ties. Or the literary one of Dracula and the Karnsteins; we know that Stoker was a fan of Le Fanu's work and in the Hammer Karnsteins, Dracula is often in the background.

The war between rival families of vampires might sound a little World of Darkness, but it is something that could work well for both an Old-School game and Night Shift. 


Sunday, October 18, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Patty Shepard Night

I have this disc with a bunch of movies on it. The first one The Witches Mountain I started and stopped a couple of times. I noticed the other movie on the disc, The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman, also featured Patty Shepard in it. So let's make it a movie marathon.  I might have asked for too much in one night!

The Witches Mountain (1972)

Ok. I can certainly be excused for falling asleep during this one. I had to rewind it to rewatch it a bit and I still had no idea what was going on.  I looked it up, turns out, nope. The movie just doesn't make any sense.

This movie starts with a scene of a woman, a little girl, a dead cat, a snake, and a gasoline fire. That in of itself makes no sense but it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie.  

In the next scene a photographer, Mario (John Caffari), breaks up with his girlfriend by canceling his vacation and taking the next job his publisher gives him.  Was the girlfriend the same woman in the first scene? I thought so, but now I am not sure.  The photographer goes to the Pyrenees mountains to take pictures.  He takes some of a woman undressing (Delia played by Patty Shepard) and decides to talk to her.  Sure. Why not. It's 1973 Italy. They decide to travel together, stay at an inn (with the creepiest innkeeper played by the ubiquitous Víctor Israel, who had been in a ton of Spanish horror films) and they hear about a witch's coven in the mountains.  

They find the witches of course and they induct Delia into their coven.  Oh, there is a little more than that, but not by much. In the end, Delia runs off a cliff.

The original title was El monte de las brujas. It was advertised in some of the other reviews I read as a "lost classic of Italian horror" or as an "occult thriller", well it had a solid 70s vibe to it, but that is about it. 

The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971)

Also known as "La noche de Walpurgis" or "the night of Walpurgis." 

This one opens with a bit more promise. Two doctors are performing an autopsy on a supposed werewolf and mocking the "stupid superstitions" the whole time.  They remove the silver bullets and the full moon comes out.  The man (none other than Paul Naschy himself) gets up off the table, turns into a werewolf. He kills the doctors and the first woman he sees.

Next, we switch over to Elvira (Gaby Fuchs) and Genevieve (Barbara Capell) driving through the countryside. They are looking for the tomb of Countess Wandessa (Patty Shepard), a Medieval witch, a murderess, and a suspected Vampire.  Instead, they find Waldemar Daninsky (our werewolf Naschy).

We encounter his sister Elizabeth (Yelena Samarina) who seems really weird. Elvira takes an interest in Waldemar after initially not wanting to stay.  But Genevieve wants to leave after being attacked by Elizabeth. 

They do find the tomb, but Elvira doesn't want to open the coffin. Genevieve cuts herself and gets her blood on the corpse of the countess (of course).  Elvira is attacked by a zombie/revenant in the church and this doesn't seem to raise much of an alarm.  Night comes and the Countess rises and starts preying on Genevieve. She is killed and the countess turns her attention to Elvira. 

Waldemar keeps doing his werewolfing, but keeping away from Elvira while he does it. 

Patty Shepard is really channeling Barbara Steele in this as the vampire Duchess.  This was the point.

The movie has it's climactic battle between the werewolf and vampire. With both dying in the end and Elvira walking out into the sunrise with her otherwise useless boyfriend from the second scene. 

This one was a fun romp and really woke me back up from the earlier snooze fest.

Glad I started early, I also found this one.

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)

Also known as Hannah, Queen of the Vampires and La tumba de la isla maldita.  The set up of this movie sounded so much like the setup of the Palace of the Vampire Queen that I HAD to check it out. 

This one has Andrew Prine (Chris) a couple of years after his bit in Simon King of Witches.  So a Witch King vs. a Vampire Queen.  I can do something with that!  

Chris is here on the island to retrieve the body of his father.  In the process, he manages to set Hannah free. The natives begin to tell tales of how this island used to be known as Vampire Island it will be again.  Hannah tries to spread terror, but she is a rather slow-moving vampire to be honest. She has a helper who appears to be some sort of primitive man; I decided he was some sort of half-turned werewolf.  She is also getting help from Peter (Mark Damon), Chris' father's friend and brother to Mary (Patty Shepard).  

Hannah is played by Teresa Gimpera, though she has no lines.  Between Pine, Damon and Shepard there is an impressive list of movies and TV shows.  Soon after this Mark Damon would go on to become one of the biggest producers in Hollywood.  So the cast is no lacking.  

Sadly the story is slow and Hannah the Vampire never really lives up to her reputation.

Watched: 34
New: 24

NIGHT SHIFT Content
I love the idea of a coven of witches meeting on a mountain top. Maybe to combine the first two movies here, cause they are going to blur anyway, the witches meet over the tomb of their founding coven member, a witch who had been suspected of vampirism.  They are threatened, and this how the PCs learn of them, from the outside by a small pack of werewolves.  To add in elements of the third movie I would set it all on a remote island. Maybe in the Aegean sea.



Saturday, October 17, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Search Continues

Last year I talked about this movie I have been trying to find.  This movie is about witches and the occult; satanism in particular.  It was on TV on Halloween night. It had to be between 1977 and 1982, I know a huge time frame. I think it was a made for TV movie. The movie had a girl with psychic powers or witchcraft; they were often synonymous in the late 70s.  There is a scene near the end of the movie of a girl (not sure if it is the same one) lying on an altar.  Either she about to be sacrificed OR this is supposed to give her powers.  All I can remember was there a long progression of cultists going up a circular staircase up in a tower and each one put a drop of blood on the girl's forehead.  That is the clearest thing I remember.

This past summer I reached to various horror groups on Facebook to help me out.  These are the movies they suggested.

Mortuary (1981, 1983)
This movie was released in 1983, but everything about it screams late 70s. The copyright date on the movie itself is 1981.  It stars a young Bill Paxton as the son of a mortician. He is love with Christie (Mary Beth McDonough) but she is in love with Greg (David Wallace). 

There are some murders, and a bit with Christie's mom (Lynda Day George, who is only 17 years older than McDonough) being part of a weird séance to contact Christie's dad (which is why I think it was offered to me).  Other than that it is kind of a slow slasher flick that was done better in films like "Fade to Black".  

But it was new to me so, that is something and it does hit that sweet spot of horror films in terms of timing. 

Most of the actors here are normally TV actors, so there was a pretty good chance this one was going to be it.  Sadly not the case.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No

Crowhaven Farm (1970)
On the surface Crowhaven Farm should have everything I want. Made for TV. Satanism. Salem Witchcraft. The release date is a bit older than I would have thought. It even has John Carradine in it. Though he is woefully underused here. 

The movie does have a nice creepy feel to it and it even starts out with a creepy kid causing a death, so that is always a plus. It is though fairly typical of the 70s made for TV fare.

There is some 70s interpreted witchcraft ideas, which is always fun. Crowhaven is like "Salem-lite" with more Satanic elements.  So yeah, exactly the sort of thing I enjoy.

Maggie and Ben, our childless couple that inherits Crowhaven, also "inherit" a new child, in the form of Jenifer (Cindy Eilbacher, later to star in Beverly Hills Cop), when her aunt Mercy dies.  Jennifer is also the child (teen really) that causes the death of Maggie's uncle.   Jennifer as it turns out knows all the secrets of Crowhaven and wastes no time getting all creepy with Ben and causing more deaths.  Turns out that Mercy and Jennifer were condemned for witchcraft back in 1692 and Meg was the cause. They are all replaying again in the 1970s. 

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No

Satan's Wife (1979)

Also known as "The Ring of Darkness."

Gotta love the Occult 70's.  This bit of cinematic trash fits the time frame and has many scenes of occult rituals that are close to my memory, but I doubt this one was ever on American TV.  Too much occultism and nudity. Plus the star of the movie, Lara Wendel, playing the possessed/demonic daughter Daria spends some time in movie topless and nude and she was 14 at the time.  I have not found details on if the movie was banned or not, the 1970s were different and so was Italy.   This is also not the first such scandalous movie involving Lara Wendel. She had other movies in Germany and Italy from when she was 12 as well.  There is a story here and likely not a happy one.  She retired from acting in 1993 and is 65 now. 

The plot should work, women make a deal with Satan, but later they back out so he goes after their daughters. I was unclear whether or not the children were also supposed to be Satan's kids or not.  But it doesn't. Not even close really.  I have heard that is had to be recut and re-edited because it was too much like The Exorcist. So, I guess that could explain it.   

Plenty of ripping off of Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby.  There is a final fight between Daria (who has to do it full frontal) and her mother Carlotta (played by Anne Heywood) and then the movie just ends.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: One scene was so very close but in the end. No

Watched: 32
New: 21

NIGHT SHIFT Content.
With Crowhaven, first I love the name, great name for a farm where witches once lived but it is also a great little spooky film with some reincarnation.  In my games witches can't be raised from the dead, only reincarnated.  So reincarnation often becomes a theme in my games.  

All three movies have satanic cults in common, so maybe an old school 70s occult style cult is needed again. 



Friday, October 16, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Frankenstein Night

Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

I talked about this movie back in 2015 when I watched War of the Gargantuas. I mentioned then I need to see this movie. Finally got around to it.  

The premise is cool. In 1945 Nazi doctors find the heart of Frankenstein's Monster.  The SS comes and takes the heart and sends it to Japan. They are about ready to study it when the atomic bomb is dropped.

Fast forward 20 years and there are strange things going on. Stranger than the radiation sickness still affecting people.  An odd boy is running through the streets eating dogs and other animals.   The boy seems to be impervious to pain and can heal.  After a bit of back and forth with capturing the child he is discovered not only to be European, but Frankenstein's monster regenerated whole from just the heart.  
Ok, that is cool enough on its own.  Also, the boy is growing bigger all the time.

The movie soon becomes a standard Toho Kaiju movie with giant Frankenstein battling Baragon. Oh yeah, Baragon is in this too, because Japan is just overrun with monsters. This gives us the English title, Frankenstein vs. Baragon.

Lady Frankenstein (1971)

Some more Italian fare tonight.  This one was a total stab in the dark. I wanted another Frankenstein film and this one meets all my other criteria in a movie, especially since I have been on an Italian horror kick this year.  So let's see how it is. It is described as Hammer Films meets Italian Giallo horror.

This is a surprisingly forward-thinking movie for 1971.  Tania Frankenstein wants to be treated as an equal Doctor and Surgeon in her father's eyes.  Sadly though the movie is about as predictable as you think.  The Hammer parts come in with sketchy looking assistants to get the body parts, a monster on the loose, an angry mob,  and lots of death.  The Italian Giallo parts are random nudity and the monster always seeming to catch people having sex.

Tania manages to up her father one by creating a creature that is both strong and intelligent. So both monsters have to fight it out. 

The angry mob comes to burn down the castle (Hammer) while Tania Frankenstein and her monster have sex while it burns (Giallo).  Well. That is not something you see in every Frankenstein movie that is for sure.

Watched: 29
New: 18

NIGHT SHIFT content

Frankenstein's story is a fantastic one and one that we can go back too time and again.  I think if I ever were to use the Frankenstein story in a game it would have to borrow elements from "Young Frankenstein" and the bits on Frankenstein from Supernatural.  The current heir of the family name has found his ancestor's old notes and has begun his own experiments.   Meanwhile the original creature, still "alive" is out there and is drawn to this new Frankenstein to destroy him and his works. 

OR better yet make this Dr. Frankenstein a young woman to honor Frankenstein's original author Mary Shelly.  Yeah. "Lady Frankenstein Conquers the World."


Thursday, October 15, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Night of the Devils (1972) and Vamps (2017)

I swear with all the Italian horror Giallo movies from the 70s I have seen I should be able to speak Italian. 

Night of the Devils (1972)
A man stumbles and faints in the countryside.
Next, see him hooked up to a bunch of machines in a hospital setting. We assume the images we see of torture and murder are all going on in his mind.  The doctor working on him makes the claim that the patient has no memory of his previous days and no ID.

A woman claiming to know him shows up, but this only sends him into a panic. We later see in flashback what happened.  

Nicola (the man) crashes his car while avoiding hitting a woman (Sdenka, from above) but when he looks she is nowhere to be seen.  We see some locals burying a body (later we learn it was the old man's brother). They are acting like the person needed to be killed. Nicola finds the home of the locals along with Sdenka (played by the lovely Agostina Belli) and they reluctantly take him in for the night. The locals are very rustic, Sdenka even mentions she has never seen a television. 

We soon discover that the family is under a witch's curse. They will become undead after they die.  Said witch is later seen running in the dark and digs up the idol from the dead brother's grave. 

The movie is actually fairly good. Tension is built, there is a lot of mystery with this creepy family. The vampire decay is also pretty cool for 1972.  

Like "Black Sabbath" this movie is based on the Tolstoy novella, The Family of the Vourdalak. Doing a little reading led me to my next film.

Vamps (2017)
Also, known as "Ghouls," but more importantly, "Vurdalaki"

The copy I had access too (Amazon Prime) was originally in Russian and then dubbed and subtitled.  It looked slick but I kept feeling that the voice actors were not doing their characters justice really.

This one deals with the Moyori, or a race of half-human/half-vampires and the six clans of vampires. So a little of Dracula meets Vampire the Masquerade or Vampire Dark Ages. 

Like the original, this one has vampires coming back from the dead to haunt their own families and draw them out for feeding.

Our story focuses around Milena (played by Aglaya Shilovskaya) she is target of affection by both our hero Andrey (Konstantin Kryukov who looks like a young Lindsey Buckingham) and our Vampire Lord who needs her Moyori blood to become a day walking vampire. 

The movie's biggest issue though is the pacing. It is just so slow in places. But it is a good looking movie all the same. 

Watched: 27
New: 17

NIGHT SHIFT content
I did the Vourdalak, or rather, Wurdalak a while back as a vampire that is formed under a witch's curse. I made stats for both OSR games and Ghosts of Albion.  So one for NIGHT SHIFT is certainly in order.

Vourdalak
The Vourdalak or Wurdalak is created by a family curse.  Typically one laid down by a powerful witch on an entire line. When a member dies they will return as a vourdalak to feed on members of their own family.  Sometimes a vourdalak will also spontaneously arise when a member of the family disgraces their family name or when a member (typically a daughter) goes against the wishes of a recently deceased member (such as her father or uncle).

Vourdalak, Master
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 2
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 9
Special: 4 attacks (claw, bite, 2 weapon), vampire abilities (Feed on Blood, Immune to Normal Damage, Mind Control, Regenerate, Repulsed by Holy Items, Spawn, Strong and Fast), Vampire Vulnerabilities (Stake Throw the Heart, Holy Water, Cannot Polymorph)
XP VALUE: 1,400

This is usually the one cursed by the witch and the one that will turn all the other family members.

Vourdalak, Spawn
No. Appearing: 1-6
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 5
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), Cannot mind control. Cannot Polymorph. Cannot create new vampires.
XP VALUE: 200 

These are the other family members. Unlike the Vampire Spawn, these creatures are Strong and Fast.

No Vourdalak can polymorph into animals.

 


Saturday, October 3, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Sonata (2018)

This was a fun one.  It reminds me a bit of "The Mephisto Waltz" and a little bit of the "Music of Erich Zahn", only in reverse.

Rose Fisher (Freya Tingley) is a world-class violinist and she learns that her estranged father, and brilliant strange composer,  Richard Marlowe (Rutger Hauer) is dead.
She inherits his home and all his belongings including a very strange violin sonata.  Her agent Simon Abkarian (Charles Vernais) investigates and learns that the sonata was part of a work linking it to a cult of Satan worshipers in France and it appears to have been written just for Rose.

The movie is more of a thriller, but there is the summoning of the antichrist and the ghosts of the children sacrificed by Marlow in the process of composing his masterpiece sonata.

The movie was rather good.  Frey Tingley is great as Rose and I wanted more Rutger Hauer.

The end was a nice little twist so I enjoyed that.

I am a sucker for any story that mixes music with magic.


Watched: 4
New: 4

NIGHT SHIFT Content

Frankly, I would lift this plot wholesale to use as a NIGHT SHIFT adventure. Investigate the scary mansion of a composer that commits suicide. Horrible tapes found in the basement. All sorts of great things here.  Though stopping it would require an active antagonist. 




Friday, October 2, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)

Another "leftover" from a previous challenge.

This might be the most "1976" movie I have seen in a long time.  Lots of drugs, naked hot tubbing, and a busted up Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

The main character, our "Witch", Molly is fairly insane.  She tries to repress the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father while lusting after all these different men.
She also seems to be killing men but not remembering it.
 Molly is not just deranged, she is also very simple like she is still stuck somehow back at being a child.

Molly keeps spiraling deeper into madness and the police are quickly on to her.

In some of her flashbacks, it's hard to tell what was real and what is only her delusional state.  So she either killed a few men or a lot of them.

What I don't get is how in the hell did she get up and kill people with all those drugs and alcohol in her system.

IMDB said this movie had witchcraft in it, but not really.
There is horror here, but not of the conventional sort.

Watched: 3
New: 3

NIGHT SHIFT content

Not every supernatural occurrence is a bad one as I have tried to show in Ordinary World. Some times the supernatural occurrence is not even really supernatural.  In the case of this movie, there is a supposed "witch" but really it is just a mentally disturbed woman that kills men.  A ruse like this only works once to be honest so use it sparingly.  Too much and you turn your "Supernatural Horror" into "Scooby-Doo."





Saturday, October 26, 2019

October Movie Challenge: Voice from the Stone (2017)

I will admit, I like Emilia Clarke. I think she is a good actress and I like to see her in more roles other than the Mother of Dragons.  This movie was a late afternoon pick.  A slow-burn thriller at my wife's request (she is not a horror fan normally).

This one was not so bad.  Clarke plays Verena, a pediatric nurse that specializes in helping families.  She is summoned to Tuscany to help a mute child after the death of his mother.
The child Jakob listens to a crack in the wall where it is assumed he hears the voice of his mother.  Verena works with him to get him to talk.
As the movie goes on we begin to question Verena's perspective on things.

The movie reminds me a bit of "The Others".  The creepy atmosphere and the not knowing what is happening actually. Well...actually part of it was pretty easy to figure out.  The "twist" at the end leaves a little open to interpretations.

Still though, a nice little creepy movie.



Watched: 28
New: 21



Thursday, October 24, 2019

October Movie Challenge: The Witch Files (2018)

What do you get when you cross "The Blair Witch Project", "The Breakfast Club", with "The Craft"? Well, the producers were hoping you would answer "The Witch Files."  Sadly that is still not the correct answer.

That is not to say the Witch Files doesn't have it's moments.  It does and there is some fun to be had here, I just can't quite figure out what it is missing or what else it needs to do.

The five girls, Julia, Claire, MJ, Brooke, and Greta, fit all the needed stereotypes for a teen movie so that is covered.   The town has a spooky history, check and there is some neat displays of magic.

I really wanted to like this movie more.  Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, it just wasn't great.









Watched: 27
New: 20




Saturday, October 19, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Dead Don't Die (2019)

I caught my first 2019 movie tonight.  The Dead Don't Die. It was a lot of fun.  I have been a Bill Murry fan since I first saw him on SNL and Adam Driver is a completely underrated actor (and also funny as hell).

The truth though, I'd sit through anything to watch Tilda Swinton.  To watch her with a thick Scottish accent and wielding a katana while cutting through zombies?  Yeah, that is worth the price of the rental alone.

There are a ton of people in this movie too. Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, RZA (working for WUps!), Carol Kane, Selena Gomez, Rosie Perez, Tom Waits, and Iggy Pop!  I mean really. This is crazy.

The movie is hilarious, with lots of callbacks to other zombie and B-Horror movies.
The ending left a little to be desired to be honest, but I don't expect a lot from zombie flicks.





Watched: 24
New: 17




Tuesday, October 15, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Total "attack of opportunity" tonight.  Bram Stoker's Dracula was on BBCAmerica and I honestly could not say no.

I have seen this movie a few dozen times I am sure.  It is still a great cinematic marvel.  Gary Oldman chews up scenery like no one.  Wynona Ryder and Sadie Frost are so young in this.   Keanu Reeves is not even Keanu Reeves yet in this.  Anthony Hopkins, of course, is great.

The story stills cleaves closer to the Stoker novel than any other outing and it is still a very fun flick.
SAdly the BBCAmerica version is still bit edited and chopped up.

Looking back on it now you can see how much movies after it borrow from it much in the same way it borrowed from Nosferatu.   Pretty much every vampire TV show and movie since.




Watched: 20
New: 14



Saturday, October 5, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Prophecy (1979)

Wait...are they implying that Armand Assante is a Native American???  That and more horrors are found in Prophecy!

Ok this movie kinda freaked me out when I first saw it at the 67 Drive-In (named for Illinois Route 67).  It really has not aged well.  I saw a while back on TV (maybe 20 years ago) and even then it looked dated.  But today?  Yeesh.

Funny thing though the central theme, a big American company invading land belonging to Native American and poisoning their water supply is pretty much "Ripped from the Headlines" today.
Plus the idea of a giant mutated grizzly is a fun one.
The execution...not so much.

But my real beef with this movie (besides the aforementioned Armand Assante as a Native American) is that the movie is called "Prophecy" but what prophecy?  Sure there is the legend of the Katahdin (named for the largest mountain in the area I assume), but that is not a prophecy really.

Of course Armand Assante and Robert Foxworth and both better actors than this movie would have you believe.  Thankfully both went on to big and better gigs.

The poster for this movie was also much better than the movie itself.  I also remember the trailer promising me more than the movie would or could deliver.

It was left open for a sequel, but none ever happened as far as I know.




Watched: 5
New: 3




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.
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