Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Last Night in Soho (2021)

Last Night in Soho (2021)
 Still down with Covid. So, I only have about one movie left in me. Tonight's topic is "All Hallow's Eve" and there were a bunch of movies I wanted to watch. But in the end I landed on another one I had wanted to see for a bit. Thankfully it also takes place on Halloween.

Last Night in Soho

Matt Smith, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Thomasin McKenzie as the stars? Dianna Rigg and Terrance Stamp as special guest stars? Yeah, you can see why I wanted to see it.

Thomasin McKenzie plays Eloise "Ellie" Turner. A nice girl who wants to be a fashion designer. She lives with her grandmother, loves music and fashion from the 1960s, oh, and she sees the ghost of her dead mother ever so often.  Ellie gets accepted to the London College of Fashion in London and it is obvious that this little Cornish girl is not as sophisticated as her peers.  Uncomfortable with all the partying and her roommate bringing home guys she seeks out an apartment for rent from old Ms. Collins (Dianna Rigg).  

Soon Ellie starts having visions. Very, very detailed visions of the life of a girl her age in the 1960s, Sandie played by the always amazing Anya Taylor-Joy. Ellie meets Jack, played with fantastic creepiness by Matt Smith, who wants to help her achieve her dreams of singing on stage. 

Ellie wakes up and begins having trouble determining what is real and what isn't. She also starts seeing an older man (Terrance Stamp) everywhere who seems to know a lot about her. 

Soon Ellie's visions are getting more and more violent. Jack is not Sandie's manager but her pimp. Each vision is getting worse to the point where she she sees Sandie and Jack fighting in the same room she is now staying in. Ellie is convinced that Jack killed Sandie and goes looking in the archives for her. But she all she finds are more and more ghosts of her former Johns.  She tries to tell the police, but they think she is crazy.

She confronts the old man, who seems to have known Sandie and Ellie thinks is Jack. But after he is hit by a car we learn he had been a Vice Cop back in the 1960s. Ellie soon realizes that she had seen him, through Sandie's eyes.

Deciding she has had enough Ellie wants out of the apartment, she goes back and asks her friend John (Michael Ajao, as maybe one of the few decent people here) to wait for her while she gets her things.  Ms Collins is waiting for her and offers her a cup of tea. We learn that Ms Collins is in fact Sandie. She was killed, she was the one doing the killings and she hid all the bodies in the floorboards of her home.  The ghosts have been coming to Ellie to ask for help.

In the end we see Ellie has completed her designs and has a fashion show where her grandmother and John come. Sandie is doing better, but she is still seeing the ghost of her mother and now of Sandie as well.

Among other things this was a great little thriller and mystery.  It was Diana Rigg's last role.

The soundtrack is quite amazing.  A great spooky ghost story.


October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 35
First Time Views: 23

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Monday, October 30, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Destroy All Monsters (1968) & Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

 Tonight's movie choice is Remake Better than the Original. Well, I am sick and so is everyone else here I thought a comfort movie was in order. For that, my oldest and I hit the Godzilla channel on Pluto and caught Destroy All Monsters (1968) and followed it up with the "remake" Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) on DVD.  The remake is better than the original.

Destroy All Monsters (1968)Godzilla Final Wars (2004)

I have seen both movies dozens of times.  Interestingly enough both movies take place right around the same time. 1999 for DAM and 2004 for GFW.

Both movies cover similar ground. All the monsters are located in the same place and mostly under control until a group of aliens (Kilaaks and Xiliens) control all the monsters and get them to attack all the cities in the world. 

Only one monster can stop them and that is Godzillia. In DAM all monsters are under the control of the aliens but break free. King Ghidorah is then used to fight the remaining monsters.

In GFW all the monsters are under control of the Xiliens, including the "American" Godzilla from the horrible 1998 Godzilla movie which is a lot of fun and always makes my son and I laugh.

Of course Godzilla: Final Wars is just so over the top. American Don Frye as Captain Douglas Gordon is just pure cheese. "There's two things you don't know about the Earth kid." he says to the Xilien leader "There's me. And there's Godzillia."  Yeah, He put himself in the same breath as a radio active monster.

Speaking of which, the Xilien Leader, played by Kazuki Kitamura just chews up every scene he is in with such glee. You don't even need to speak Japanese or read the subtitles to know what he is all about. 

Both movies end mostly the same way. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Godzilla's son is even in both.

Are they horror? Well...the franchise began that way, but by the time we hit these movies they are more sci-fi professional wrestling with special effects, and I am ok with that.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 34
First Time Views: 22

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Sunday, October 29, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder (2015)

Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder (2015)
 I always do some sort of documentary every October Challenge. This year, I picked one that has been on my list for bit.  This one is not only covers my documentary criteria but also today's theme of Man is the Worst Monster.

Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder (2015)

Part 1 covers the start of the Witch craze (1600) in the British Isles with King James VI and Bailiff David Seaton. 

The torture of Gillis Duncan, Seaton's maid, which set off the witch hunting in Scottland was bad enough but it was a domino effect that killed 100s of innocents. This includes Agnes Sampson who is often considered to be the "witch" that convinced King James VI of Scotland (Later King James I of England) that witches were a threat.

There is some good coverage of the Malleus Maleficarum, but mostly it focuses on the more "local" Demonologie by King James.

Presented by Suzannah Lipscomb a professor emerita of history.  Reading over her CV I am pretty impressed to be honest. 

This one also spends some time on the Pendle Hill witches, a particularly dark time of the English witch trials.  

Part 2 large focuses on Mathew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General. We are now in the reign of King Charles I and the British Civil War. The conditions were right to bring about the likes of Hopkins. There is a level of cruelty here that I can scarcely believe. Scratch that. I can believe it. I have been reading this stuff for years. Humans suck.

A direct line is drawn between King James to Hopkins to as far away as the Salem Witch Trails.

By my count this accounts for few hundred murdered. 

Far worse horrors than any horror movie I watched so far.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 32
First Time Views: 22

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Saturday, October 28, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Fear Street (2021)

Fear Street Part One: 1994
Man. Covid-19 sucks. I lack the brain power to properly review these, but I am going to try.

Fear Street is a trilogy of movies released to much hype on Netflix back in 2021. All three are set in the twin towns of Sunnyvale and Shadyside, and the curse of Sarah Fier the local witch, back in 1666. 

The three movies take place in three different times: 1994, 1978, and 1966.  All focus on serial killers attacking and killing Shadysiders every few years, giving it the nickname the Murder Capital of USA. While Shadysiders go crazy and kill each every few years, Sunnyvale has remained crime-free since it's inception.

Fear Street Part One: 1994

We get some background on the Sunnyvale/Shadyside history in the opener and go right into the first murder/killing.  Sadly it is Heather Watkins, played by Maya Hawke. I was looking forward to seeing more of her in this. We shift focus to Shadysider Denna (Kiana Madeira), who is in the midst of a break-up with "Sam." We don't know who Sam is yet, but Deena has some strong feelings, and her friends don't want to run interference for her anymore. There is a memorial for Heather, a Shadysider, and when learn (largely from Deena's brother Josh (Benjamin "Lil' P-Nut" Flores Jr.) that it is only Shadysiders that get killed.  The Shadysiders are there (high school mascot The Witches) and only the Sunnyvale (high school mascot The Devils), but a fight breaks out.  We also learn that Sam is short for Samantha. Sam has stayed in the closet (a much bigger deal in 1994) and moved to Sunnyvale.

While driving back in their bus the Shadysiders are harassed by some Sunnyvalers, with Peter, Sam's new boyfriend, driving. Deena decides to throw out the ice from their cooler, but a spontaneous bloody nose (that she and Sam both get) causes her to drop the cooler and Peter wrecks his car. Sam gets hurt and falls out and bleeds into Sarah's hidden grave.

Now Sarah's curse is in full force and former, previously dead, killers begin to hunt down Denna and her friends, but in truth just Sam. 

While trying to fight the monsters after them they discover more about Sarah Fier and how there was one survivor who saw the witch, C. Berman, from the Camp Nightwing Massacre, in 1978. However, they discover she survived because she had technically died and the killings stopped.  So all they have to do is kill Sam, stop the witch, and bring her back.  They manage to do that and the sheriff, Nick Goode, decides to put the blame on Deena's friends Simon and Kate, since they were known drug dealers. It is obvious Nick knows a lot more than he lets on. 

Later Deena and Sam, reconciled, are back at Deena's but Sam is possessed by Sarah Fier. They subdue her when they get a phone call from C. Berman. 

Fear Street Part Two: 1978
Fear Street Part Two: 1978

This one starts where Part One left off. We now meet C. Christine Berman. She was the only survivor of the Camp Nightwing killing in 1978. 

In 1978, Christine, then called "Ziggy" (and played by Sadie Sink) is a Shadysider fighting with her sister Cindy (played by Emily Rudd) and has a mild crush on Sunnyvaller Nick Goode. That is until Cindy's boyfriend, Tommy, starts killing everyone. 

At first, the camp nurse tries to kill Tommy saying that one way or another he will die. Ziggy finds a book the nurse had kept detailing locations of where Sarah Fier had been buried with notes on what these places are in 1978. Also notes from when her own daughter had been the Shadyside killer years ago.

Using the nurse's map, Cindy discovers an ancient ritual area they believe to have belonged to Sarah Fier, and she even discovers Sarah's hand. They come up with the plan to reunite Sarah's hand with her body and hope that stops the supernatural killings. Ziggy and Cindy, racing against all the killers run to the hanging tree where Sarah was hung and then buried (but we know she isn't there) they bury the hand and then...nothing. They are both killed by the killers who then disappear. Nick Goode runs up and manages to save Ziggy and bring her back. 

Back in 1994, with this new news, Deena and Josh go to the mall (where the hanging tree is) dig up the hand, and rush it out to where the car cashed in the first movie. Deena touches the body of Sarah Fier and suddenly is transported to 1666.

Fear Street Part Three: 1666
Fear Street Part Three: 1666

Back in 1666 and Sarah Fier is living in the town of Union. We are seeing her as if she were Deena, but her reflection is still Sarah's. The townsfolk of Union (the township before it split into Sunnyvale and Shadyside) are a mix of actors from the previous two movies.  Sarah and the other girls in town know of "the old widow" and think she is a witch. They investigate her home hoping to find some herbs for their late-night party. Here Sarah discovers a book of black magic. The witch catches them, and sends them running.

At the party that night we learn that Sarah is also in love with Hannah Miller, the pastor's daughter. While at the party they sneak off to make-out. If this was a social problem in 1994, in 1666 it was enough to get them accused of evil practices...which is exactly what happens here.

The next day Pastor Miller locks all the children in the church, when Solomon Goode breaks in he discovers that Miller has killed all of the children, plucked out all their eyes including his own and left them in a pile on the floor. The townspeople discover it and think that Sarah and Hannah have placed a curse on them as "witches."

They capture Hannah and plan to hang her in the morning. Sarah decides if they are going to hang her as a witch she might as well be a witch, so she goes out to the widow's hoping to get her book on black magic only to find her murdered and the book gone.  She discovers that Solomon Goode has it and had used it to summon devils to do his bidding. 

Sarah, now captured by Solomon, is accused of witchcraft. She will be hung. She promises Solomon that she will haunt him and his offspring until her innocence is proven. She exonerates Hannah so she won't hang, but is hung herself.  After she is dead, her friends come and dig her up and rebury her elsewhere in secret. 

Fear Street Part One: 1994, Part 2

The last part of this movie takes us back to 1994. Deena, now back to herself, knows everything. It was never Sarah Fier that had cursed the twin towns of Sunnyvale and Shadyside but the Goode family's deal with the Devils to be prosperous with the sacrifice of Shadysiders. They learn that they need to kill Sherif Goode.  Break the line and break the curse. The trouble is Goode has figured out they know.

They lure Goode and the resurrected killers out to the mall with more of Sam's blood. 

Not spoil more than I have; Deena gets to the Satanic altar and is caught by Sherrif Goode. They fight, and Goode falls into the pile of collected (and still living) organs. He begins to hallucinate about all the killers. While distracted, Deena kills him. With the Sherrif dead, the curse is broken. Sam is freed and suddenly crime begins happening in Suunyvale.

Sam comes out to her mother, and Josh finally meets the girl he had talking to online and everyone lives happily ever after.  That is until someone steals the satanic tome.

So this trilogy has pretty much everything this month's Challenge is looking for. First Time Watch, Summer Camp, Slasher, New Movie, We Are Weirdos, Teen Angst, Horror Comedy, Best Soundtrack (seriously 1994 and 1978 were both great), and Man is the Real Monster. So yeah. 

Plus they were all really good flicks, a lot of fun and each one captured their time periods and their genre's perfectly. 

The actors were all great, and I kinda hope we get to see Fear Street, Part 4 and more (there are like 100 of the Fear Street books by R. L. Stein).

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 31
First Time Views: 21

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Wrath of Becky (2023)

Tonight is Slasher movies. I used to enjoy these more as a kid than I do now. Dumb people in horror movies making dumb mistakes. BUT I did find one to fit the bill and I had been looking forward to seeing it anyway.  Yup tonight is Wrath of Becky.

Wrath of Becky (2023)

Look. If you hurt or take someone's dog, make sure their name isn't John Wick or Becky. Because they will fuck you up.

Becky (Lulu Wilson, who was SO good in this) is back. She has bounced around foster homes and has been in and out of the system for three years now.  When not running away or hitchhiking, she is in the woods training. Running, exercising, throwing knives, and sometimes falling into her own pit traps. She is living with Elena Cahn (Denise Burse), who treats her with respect, doesn't ask her about her past, and does laugh when Becky falls into her pit traps.

While working as a waitress, Becky overhears a bunch of misogynistic incel types going on about women. Becky, who has progressively more violent fantasies, spills a hot coffee on one of them.

The trouble is they follow her home and attack her. Becky is about to fight them when she gets her dog, Diego, to attack. But one of them knocks Diego out. Elena shows up with a shotgun, but lead douchebag Anthony kills her instead. They knock out Becky and take her dog. 

When Becky wakes up, Elena is dead, and Diego is gone. She buries Elena and goes hunting for the douchebags. She had heard them talking about how they were meeting up with the leader of the "Noble Men" (think Proud Boys here) and she has a name, Darryl. After a false start she finds them and overhears Darryl talking about a flash drive with all members of the Noble Men on it.  They are planning to start an insurrection and kill a local Congresswoman.  

She rings the bell and leaves a phone. Darryl, learning what happened, sends Anothny out to deal with her.  Becky manages to subdue him and shove a grenade into his mouth. When Darryl opens the door it blows Anothny's head off.  She shoots another with a crossbow and in frustration, Darryl shoots and kills one of the guys that took her dog while the other escapes.

There is some back-and-forth with Darryl and Becky exchanging quips and violence. Eventually we learn that the first Darryl she found was this Darryl's mother AND the founder of the Noble Men.

Becky manages to kill son Darryl in a series of bear traps, and Darryl mother by throwing a knife and embedding it in her brain.  She is brutal.

As an epilog we see Becky in an office. Long story short she is going to be the youngest recruit of the CIA because she single-handedly brought down the largest growing domestic terrorist organization in the country.

This was a very satisfying sequel to Becky. If they do another one then might I suggest "Beck: The Search for Diego."

Lulu Wilson is great. She pulls of the sweet teen when she needs to, angry sullen teen, and bat-shit crazy blood-lust monster.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 28
First Time Views: 18

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Monday, October 23, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Lost Boys (1987)

I talked about this one a bit back when I reviewed Near Dark.  I have to admit that this is the movie I first thought of when I saw that Best Soundtrack was a category.

Lost Boys (1987)

Ok. So I did do this one back in 2014. A lot, if not all, of what I said then still hold true. The movie holds well. Yeah there is some fast and loose play with the rules of vampirism here, but honestly it is still a great film.

Let's talk about that soundtrack.

There are so many great hits here. Many are covers, but for some reason it works fine. 

We have Roger Daltrey of the Who singing Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," and for the longest time, I preferred this version. I was on a big Who kick then.

INXS practically made this one of their unofficial albums and I think added to their success of Kick, also out in 1987. Their song  "Good Times" was a cover of a 1960s song. 

The big covers were Echo and the Bunnymen's cover of The Door's "People are Strange," which gave the Doors some newfound fans in my generation (yes, we knew about them before). And the big one, Tim Capello's cover of The Call's "I Still Beleive."  Tim Capello is still out there touring, too, and I guess he is like one of the chillest guys ever. 

The original songs include the "title song" "Lost in the Shadows (The Lost Boys)" by Lou Gramm, and the real title song, "Cry Little Sister (Theme from The Lost Boys)" by Gerard McMann.  

I have a lot of really fond memories of this album that coincide with my freshman year in college.  It is the soundtrack I'd put to write vampire material. Kinda wish I still had some of that stuff. It might not have been (it wasn't, I am sure), but for nostalgia value.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 27
First Time Views: 17

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Sunday, October 22, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Viking Wolf (2022)

Viking Wolf (2022)
 It's werewolf night! It's always a fun time and tonight's flick was a joint choice with my wife. She loves Viking shows and movies from Norway and Sweden, and we both like werewolves.

Viking Wolf (2022)

Originally called "Vikingulven." This one starts out great with a Viking raid on a monastery in Normandy in 1050 AD. The Vikings kill all the priests, and they rescue a wolf pup.

Fast forward to today, where we meet Thale, a 17 year-old girl who just moved to Nybo, Norway with her mom from Sweden. Thale (Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne) is a moody teen; no shock. She doesn't like this town, she doesn't like her mom (the new deputy Liv played by Liv Mjönes), and she really doesn't like her stepdad.

She sneaks out to a party and witnesses two other students get attacked by something. A girl is killed and the boy she is with is mauled. 

Liv, with the help of a local animal expert, identifies the claw and bite marks as a wolf, a really large wolf.  The wolf attacks continue, and while Liv is focused on the killer she completely misses the fact that her oldest daughter is changing. 

They manage to kill the first wolf after it kills many people. Everyone thinks it is over until Thale begins to wolf out. 

 The movie is a touch slow and a bit predictable. I won't spoil the ending, but it was fun. More importantly, it gave me some fun ideas. 

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 26
First Time Views: 17

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Saturday, October 21, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Becky (2020)

Becky (2020)
 Tonight is not a Summer Camp movie. I actually have one planned for that, but I need to watch them in a particular order.  So tonight is one my wife picked. It takes place in a lake house so that is close, I guess. This one is more survival horror with Becky as a classic Final Girl.

Becky (2020)

Becky (Lulu Wilson, Kestra from Season 1 of Picard) is a 13-year old girl whose mother just died from cancer and she is not dealing with it well.  Her father, Jeff (Joel McHale), plans a weekend at their lake house, but also invites his new girlfriend, Kayla (Amanda Brugel), and her son, Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe).  

Near the same place, four neo-Nazi escaped prisoners (the leader played by Kevin James) kill their guards and make their way to the lake house. They attack Ty, Kayla, and Jeff. They are looking for a key with a Valknot on it. 

They find out that Becky is still out in the woods and they torture Jeff to get Beck to give them the key. When Jeff tries to run, they kill him.  Becky then stabs Dominick (James) in the eye with it. 

The others go looking for Becky. She runs to her fort and the dude chasing her follows until he sees her dog and freaks out. He tries to make a deal with her for the key, but she recognizes him as the one who killed her other dog. She tosses a coin out to make it sound like she threw the key. He goes to get and she slides down a zip line and stabs him with a broken ruler. 

Becky then proceeds to draw the others out and she kills them as well.

My wife called it Home Alone meets I Spit on Your Grave. Thankfully without having to torture Becky to get there. 

Actually kind of a fun, if violent flick. 

There is a sequel, Wrath of Becky, that looks rather fun too. 

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 25
First Time Views: 16

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Friday, October 20, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Near Dark (1987)

Near Dark (1987)
Tonight is Monstrous Bloodsuckers. They might not be too monstrous, but opted to rewatch 1987's Near Dark.  Now 1987 was a great year for Vampire movies. We first got Lost Boys (which could be a contender for Best Soundtrack) and Near Dark. Lost Boys outshined Near Dark in the press and box office, but horror fans knew what a treat it was.

Near Dark (1987)

Again. This is one of those movies I assume anyone reading this blog has seen.  A group of vampires is terrorizing a town with the B-Team from Aliens (Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein) with new recruit Mae (Jenny Wright). Mae turns Caleb (a very young-looking Adrian Pasdar) and convinces her vampire family not to kill him. Their leader Jesse (Henriksen) agrees to give him a week.

Things seem ok until they expect Caleb to kill, which he won't. Mae feeds him from her own wrists, which isn't helping either of them. Caleb escapes and get back home where his father performs a blood transfusion on him which cures him (I admit, I never liked this part at all). 

The vampire family goes searching for them with Homer, an ancient vampire in a child's body, runs into Caleb's sister Sarah.  A fight ensues between Caleb and vampires with them getting picked off one by one. Their death scenes due to burning and sunlight are still just as gruesome today.

At the end of the movie they give Mae the transfusion and it cures her.

Ok so the transfusion thing still bugs me. A lot. This whole thing was one of the main reasons why I made curing a vampire so difficult in my games. Hell, I only in 2017 relented to allow it to be done via a ritual. In fact, it was a vampire character I made at the very tail end of 1987 that I would later revive as a human in 2017.

Both Lost Boys and Near Dark played with the vampire legend. At the time it was revolutionary feeling, but now it is what is expected. These movies set that ground.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 24
First Time Views: 15

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Thursday, October 19, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Ritual (2017)

The Ritual (2017)
 Tonight is Folk Horror. I LOVE Folk Horror. The moodier, the better. 

I have been on a Scandinavian Folk Horror kick for a bit here with movies like Draug (2018)Midsommar (2019)Pathfinder (2007) (though not really horror), and of course, Häxan (1922).  

This one covers a type of film I refer to as "The Walk." This type of movie usually has the protagonists going from point A to B with all the horrors in between. 

In this one, our group of four American adventurers are trekking across Sweden and run into scary stuff.

This one is fun but honestly a little bit predictable. Lots of scary dark, creepy locals, cults that didn't die out like they were supposed to, crazy visions. All the great things about Folk Horror.

Lots of great references to Norse mythology. Though I watched this the same night as the Marvel Loki series and it was quite the contrast. I guess I could have added in the last handful of Ragnarok episodes for a full Norse mythology night.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 23
First Time Views: 15

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: We Have a Ghost (2023)

We Have a Ghost (2023)
 Today's theme is Clown. Gods, I fucking hate clowns. I really do.

So today I am going really broad with this one and going with "Clowing around" and the movie is "We Have a Ghost" from 2023. It stars David Harbour (from Stranger Things) as "Ernest," a ghost that has been haunting a house in Chicago for 50 years.  The Presleys move in and son Kevin (Jahi Winston) is less than thrilled.  That is until he films Ernest on his cell phone.  The video is discovered by his brother Fulton (Niles Fitch) and father Frank (Anthony Mackie). They upload it to YouTube and go viral.

Now Ernest is the most popular ghost in the world. But since he can't talk it is up to Kevin to find out who he really is.

Also wanting answers is former CIA agent turned horror writer Dr. Leslie Monroe, played by the always fantastic Tig Notaro. I want to praise this cast here. Tig is always great, so my expectations of her are high, and she meets them here. Though she is not as sarcastic here as she is in real life or as when she is playing Denise "Jett" Reno on Star Trek: Discovery. Anthony Mackie is great. I have seen him do action (Marvel) and sci-fi (Altered Carbon), to see him do comedy is really fun. But the stand out is David Harbour as the ghost Ernest/Randy. He has the most physical humor and NO lines. He has to express everything with just his face and he does a great job of it. It is practically mime to be honest. Thus my Clown connection.

The movie itself is not great. BUT it is fun and a good little ghost story.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 22
First Time Views: 14

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Green Knight (2021)

The Green Knight (2021)
 Tonight's theme is "Underrated." I went back and thought through some of the underrated horror movies I knew of. The trouble is many of the movies that the mainstream considers "underrated" are already embraced by Horror fans.  For example, "Near Dark" always gets on these sorts of lists, but horror fan have sung the praises of that movie for so long, and so loudly I feel it really isn't an underrated movie. It gets the praise it deserves, at least from my point of view. Note to self, I have not watched "Near Dark" since a forever ago. Need to fix that.

But there is one movie, while not 100% horror, has plenty of horror elements. 2021's The Green Knight.

This is a rewatch for me. I wanted to go back and look for more horror elements, and they were there. 

The story is largely the one of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight."  We have seen this on film before as Gawain and the Green Knight (1973) and the better, more memorable one Sword of the Valiant (1984), starring Miles O'Keeffe as Gawain and Sean Connery as The Green Knight.  Watching 1984 movie alongside the 2021 one the horror elements are far more pronounced.  An aside. The character of Gawain was played by Liam Neeson in the 1981 Joun Boorman epic Excalibur.  The character has had some great portrayals.  Dev Patel is a worthy contender to the list of actors as well.

The movie has ghosts, unkillable knights, magic, murders, and an underlying current of Pagan horror that can't be ignored. I enjoyed the movie so much the first time I saw it I bought the RPG for it before I was done.

The movie was produced/leased by A24 who gave us "Ex Machina" (2015), "The Witch" (2016), "Midsommar", "The Lighthouse" (2019), "X" and "Pearl" (2022). So there is a pedigree here as well.

This is an old tale, so no really need to go into detail. The Green Knight challenges the Knights of the Round table. They are two cowardly to try him. Gawain steps up and beheads him. The Knight puts back on his head and says in one year it will be Gawain's turn.

Some added features include Gawain's mother being a witch. Erin Kellyman (from Willow) is here as Winifred who is a ghost in this tale. 

The movie ends differently than others of this tale with the Green Knight claiming Gawain's head afterall.

It was a fun flick.

The RPG is not bad. Some interesting ideas, but not one I see myself playing much.

The Green Knight

The Green Knight

The Green Knight

The Green Knight

The Green Knight

The Green Knight

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 21
First Time Views: 13

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Meg 2 (2023)

Meg 2
Forgot to post this one last night. This is my entry for "Something Fishy."

A while back, in 2019, I watched The Meg. It was fun and I do enjoy a giant monster movie. Plus I enjoy a good Jason Statham. I get the feeling he doesn't take himself all that seriously and knows his movies are really just big cartoons. The Meg 2 is no different.

It is five years later and Jonas Taylor (Statham) is back fighting eco-crimes and working with some of the folks from the last movie including a captured Meg.

They are all working on a research station, Mana One, researching the Trench. On a routine dive, they observe more Megs but more importantly, they find an undersea base. A very high-tech one in fact. Long story short they discover their institute's tech is being used to fund an illegal mining operation worth billions in rare Earth metals. 

Jonas and his team are picked off one by one by the sea monsters while trying to get to the base, it is a horror movie after all.

They manage to discover who sabotaged the subs back at Mana One and discover who is behind it all. With the base compromised they head to the closest land they can reach, Fun Island, a tourist resort. The Megs, some of the swimming reptiles, and a giant octopus have followed them. There is a lot of carnage of vacationers and the mercenaries sent to stop Taylor and his survivors. 

There is a completely ridiculous sequence where Statham is battling three megs on a jet ski with some homemade explosives. I'll never complain about Jaws 2 again. 

The movie is silly and over-the-top action and some horror and completely fun. 

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 20
First Time Views: 13

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Sunday, October 15, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: We Are the Night (2010) & Bit (2019)

We Are the Night (2010)
Tonight's movie choices cover both "We Are the Weirdos Mister" and "Pretty Blood Suckers."

Both are vampire movies featuring a group of women vampires in worlds where male vampires are not welcome. 

Both movies had a solid "Lost Boys" meets "The Craft" vibe.

We Are the Night (2010) 

A German flick originally titled "Wir sind die Nacht" focuses on street thief Lena (played by Karoline Herfurth) who pickpockets a Russian pimp being watched by the police, in particular Tom, played by Sense8's Max Riemelt. Lena stumbles onto a rave and is spotted by vampire Louise (who we saw in the opening, killing an entire plane of people) and her vampire friends Charlotte and Nora.  Lena is bitten by Louise and spends the next day transforming into a vampire herself.

Lena seeks them out, angry about what they have done to her, and they drag her to the Russian pimps where he hunger takes over and she kills and feeds on the pimps.  Awash with power Lena begins to enjoy her vampire existence. Shopping, driving fast cars, walking on walls, and learning the rules of being a vampire. The big ones are sunlight can kill them and never turn a man. All the male vampires were killed years ago because of all the trouble they caused. 

Still investigating the pimps, and now their murders, is cop Tom. He met Lena before, and knows she is connected somehow. 

The cops connect the murders of the pimp to the women, not knowing they are vampires.  They go in to arrest them and are of course they are wiped out. Tom sees Lena and keeps following her. Nora is killed. They get to a safe house but Louise locks them in so she can die in the sun. Lena and Charlotte fight it out over Tom. Lena manages to kill Charlotte, but not before she shoots Tom.  The movie ends and we suspect that Lena turned him.

Not a bad flick really. Lots of scenes of Lena and her new vampire family enjoying their new powers and lots of feeding on people. What you want in a vampire movie really. 

Bit (2019)
Bit (2019)

This one is newer and follows a similar formula. This time we have Laurel played by Supergirl actress Nicole Maines. A girl from Oregon visiting her brother in LA. Her first night in town she gets invited to an after-hours party and is bit by vampire Izzy (Zolee Griggs) a member of Duke's (Diana Hopper) vampire group (Roya and Frog). Again we learn that they are never supposed to turn men into vampires. They spend their time killing various rapists, internet shitlords, and other assholes. 

We do learn there is at least still one male vampire, Vlad Castaneda, known as the Master. We get a flashback of Duke back when she was turned in the 1970s by Vlad. Side note, I love the 70s and 80s sequences. Honestly, by the end of the first half you are rooting for the vampires here.

Laurel feeds on a guy trying to kill Duke's coven, but doesn't feed again. 

This comes to a head when upset her friend from home Andy tries to kill himself, she feeds on her brother. Heading back to Duke she tries to get them to help her which they wont.  So she releases the first bride who then revives the Master. We learn that Duke had been using the Master's power to subtly influence the other girls. The Master then rips out Duke's heart. Laurel comes back and sets the Master on fire and the other girls (Izzy, Rora, and Frog) chip in. They kill the Master and put Duke into the hole. 

I am glad to see Nicole Maines in something other than Supergirl. She is a good actress and I am looking forward to seeing her in more. 

Both movies were fun and it leads me to think there might be more in this genre.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 19
First Time Views: 12

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Saturday, October 14, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: Porno (2019)

Porno (2019)
 I am going to combine tonight's and tomorrow night's categories into one since the movies I have planned can work for either or both. So tonight I am going for one of the wild card categories "Best Gratuitous Nudity."  But I also wanted to pick something with a plot. 

Porno (2019)

It's 1992 and Abe, Chaz, Ricky, Todd, and Jeff work in a movie theatre. Their boss, Mr. Pike, is over the top Christian and prays with his staff every night. It's Friday and they get to watch whatever movie they want. Well...between A League of Their Own and Encino Man. While cleaning up a crazy homeless man breaks in and crashes through a previously hidden door. The staff follows him and find another theatre, abandoned in the 1970s that showed adult films. Here they find a film canister and decide to watch it. 

The movie they find is some sort of "art house" porno with a beautiful dark-haired woman who walks around the art film completely naked.  The movie shuts off and then the strangness starts. The kids begin to see the woman everywhere in the theater.  They find all sorts of occult paraphernalia.  They find a picture of the old man, he used to own this theatre.

They discover that Mr. Pike has a camera set up to film women in the bathroom. We learn that Ricky was sent to a "Pray Away the Gay" camp. Abe is a perv, and Jeff is an addict. The demon, a succubus, kills Mr. Pike, causes Jeff's nuts to explode, and then opens a portal and drags Todd with her.

Todd, Abe, and Jeff end up in another dimension, leaving Chaz and Riky behind. 

Chaz and Ricky figure out how to stop the demon. They lure the demon out with Ricky doing a striptease, and trap it back in the movie.

So for gratuitous nudity. The demon spends the entire movie nude. There are a lot of dicks on the screen and we see a couple having sex (twice). Ricky has sex with the demon in both male and female form. So yeah, I think it counts.  

Some other nice touches, the only people that ever swear are the demons. Everyone's perversion is exposed (oddly except for Chaz's, not sure if her "listening to the Cure" is really enough) and used to good effect here.

It reminds me of a lot of different succubi movies I have seen here before. It was fun and way over-the-top gore.  

Katelyn Pearce was our demon and is listed as "Lilith." She has no lines in the movie at all, but still has a commanding presence in the movie. 

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 17
First Time Views: 10

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Friday, October 13, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: El Conde (2023)

El Conde
 Tonight's movie theme is "Inspired by True Events."  Typically this means a haunting or a local cryptid. But tonight I opted for something a little different.  

El Conde (2023)

So. Here is the premise of this one. Vampire Augusto Pinochet (yes. THAT Pinochet) is old and tired of living. So he has stopped feeding and has invited his five adult children to his hideout to pass on what is left of his wealth and die.

The trouble is no one trusts anyone else. His butler is having an affair with Pinochet's wife. She wants to become a vampire but Pinochet won't bite her. His children are greedy and are convinced their father is feeding again. 

One of his daughters has secretly hired a Nun to perform an exorcism on Pinochet. This nun, Carmen (played by Paula Luchsinger) is also a mathematical genius and comes to the estate under the guise of finding the lost money and properties of Augusto Pinochet. Trouble is Pinochet is falling in love with Carmen. So Pinochet begins to feed again.

All the while we hear the narration of the story from an English woman who seems to have some background with Pinochet. We learn near the end she is Margaret Thatcher and she is Pinochet's mother.

Carmen tries to exorcise Pinochet but fails. Instead, she falls prey to him and is turned. Which she seems to enjoy. The Butler turns his wife and Magaret Thatcher shows up to tell us what her part is in all of this.

The butler kills Carmen. Pinochet kills the butler and his wife. They eat the hearts of the three vampires and they become young again. Pinochet's children leave the island with what ever they can salvage from the home, not knowing that the real treasure was in his collection of rare books.

Not 100% sure what to make of this one. Strange flick, but it kept me engaged.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 16
First Time Views: 9

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Thursday, October 12, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: BloodRayne (2005, 2007)

I have been playing a lot of Baldur's Gate 3 with my oldest recently and it has been an absolute blast. We are having the best time. He asked me one night what was the last video game I had enjoyed as much as this. A few came to mind, but I had to say the first BloodRayne PC Game I played in the early 2000s. He asked if I still had it and I told him not my originals (no idea what happened to them) but I did have the "updated" versions that came with the the two Uwe Boll movies. That got us talking about the movies and Uwe Boll...and here we are. I checked at found it odd that I had not watched them for my October Horror Movie Marathon before. Well. I had, but never here, save for the third movie

So. Let me correct that.  I am pulling the wild card and taking "Video Game Movie" today.

BloodRayne 1 & 2
Yes. I own both of these.

BloodRayne (2005)
BloodRayne (2005)

This one stars Kristanna Loken as the titular dhampir Rayne. Ok. Let's get to this right now. This is an Uwe Boll movie. Don't expect much. BUT along the way I discovered the secret of Uwe Boll. They guy is not Spielberg, or Scorsese, or even Corman. He is though a guy that likes to have a movie with a lot of over-the-top violence to level of cartoon and maybe tell a fun story. Once you get that, settle in with some corn and enjoy.

Ok Kristanna Loken has the right look to be honest so I can buy into her as Rayne. The story is similar enough to the video game with some interesting details. First Rayne is not yet the bad ass she is in the game. Secondly instead of this taking place in modern-day America and Europe, it is in Easter Europe of the 18th Century. Ok. Honestly, I am cool with that.  Ben Kingsley plays the master Vampire Kagan in only what can be described as "I got bills to pay too."  Michael Madsen is here playing Michael Madsen. Michelle Rodriguez is also here because I think her and Loken were a thing at the time. But none of that matters because we also get some great cameos. Bill Zane is here at his Billy Zaniest. I am guessing his request was "can I play an arrogant count?" Udo Kier is here, because...well why not, I mean if you need a creepy priest member of a secret cabal dedicated to stopping vampires and Mads Mikkelsen is busy. And Meat Loaf (credited as "Meat Loaf Aday") here as a vampire count. I am guessing his request was "I want to be a pompous vampire lord. Oh. and I want 6 or 7 naked women in bed with me."

Surprisingly, even given the game, there is not a lot of gratuitous nudity (save for the above-mentioned scene) here. Lots and lots of gratuitous violence and lots of fake blood everywhere. Hell. The last 10 minutes is just a slow-mo super cut of grisly deaths from the movie. 

The story is simple. Rayne is a dhampir. Her vampire father Kagan wants to rule the world. He wants the relics of Beliar (here a super vampire, in the game a demon) to become unstoppable. The Brimstone society is hunting them both. 

Don't go looking for a bigger plot than that. 

BloodRayne 2: Deliverance (2007)
BloodRayne 2: Deliverance (2007)

Up next is BloodRayne II. Also from Boll. But this time our heroine is played by former model-turned-actress Natassia Malthe.  Now set in the 19th century and headed out to the American West. Rayne must stop the most dangerous vampire on the American frontier. Billy the Kid. Played by Zack Ward.  Because let's be honest here. When the casting director gets request for Vampire Billy the Kid the list likely begins or ends with Zack Ward. Since Michael Madsen's character died in the last one we go to the next name on the list and bring in Michael Paré. I'll be honest here. They sold me on it. Yeah. 

Would I have bought this DVD if it didn't have the PC game included? Probably not, but I am glad I did because like the 1st and 3rd movies it was just a lot of over the top blood and gore and silly fun.

But also like the other two in the "BloodRayne Trilogy" (that's right. That's what I am calling it!) there is a kernel of a good idea here.

Vampires wanting to take over Eastern Europe with the power of a near-mythical relic? Great!

Vampires wanting to take over the American frontier with an army of vampires? Yeeh hah!

Vampires wanting make a race of immortal vampire Nazis? Sure!

I mean the execution leaves some to be desired, but that is fine really. 

Natassia Malthe is not as good as Kristanna Loken (now there is a sentence you don't get to type a lot) but no one here is winning awards for acting and honestly, Rayne is a video game character.

Like I have said before. This is a slider, don't pretend it is steak.

As far as I can tell. The "Unrated" bits are largely due to blood and violence.


Since my kid and I talked about these I figure I might as well have some fun. So here is my Rayne for Baldur's Gate 3.

Rayne for Baldur's Gate 3

Right now a dual-wielding Ranger. Yes. Those are katanas. If you are going to cheese, go extra cheesy. I even know a place in the game where I can get her eye replaced with a magical one, just like the first video game (and first movie). I'll do some more with her, give her some levels in Rogue (Assassin) and maybe some undead fighting buffs. Perfect for when I take on the vampires in Act 3!

There are solid connections here. Laura Bailey was the voice for Rayne in the video game and now is better known for her Critical Role participation (Vex, Jester).  And Michelle Rodriguez was in the first movie and the D&D movie, playing more or less the same character.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 15
First Time Views: 8

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Haunted Mansion (2023, 2003)

 One of my all-time favorite Disney attractions has to be The Haunted Mansion. I have been to it many times at both Disney World and Disneyland. Even to the point of riding on it by myself when others would not.  So when tonight's subject "For the Kiddos" came up I knew I had to watch the new one.

The plot of both movies is roughly the same. Haunted house. 999 ghosts. Edward Gracey, Madame Leota. The plot or even the story is not as important to me as seeing how much of the attraction I can recognize in the moves.

Haunted Mansion 2023Haunted Mansion 2003

Haunted Mansion (2023)

This is the newest one and has a great cast. Rosario Dawson, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Dan Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, hell, even Jared Leto.  LaKeith Stanfield plays an astrophysicist whose new lens can also take pictures of ghosts. He is laughed out of his job and then his wife is killed in an accident. So he has ghost issues already. Rosario Dawson plays Gabbie who moves into the Gracey Manor to set up a bed and breakfast. She and her son play out the old Eddie Murphy joke about horror movies. As expected, the movie can't end there because if you know from the ride, the ghosts will follow you home.

So again, the plot doesn't matter here. Everyone puts on a great show. Owen Wilson and Danny DeVito are playing versions of the characters they always play, but who cares, they are great at it. Jamie Lee Curtis is in as Madame Leota. Even Jared Leto works here as the big bad evil ghost. Though hidden under so much CGI it's hard to tell what he is. 

My wife and I kept pointing out scenes we recognized. It was fun.

Can you watch it if you have never been on the ride? Sure, it is still a fun popcorn movie. 

Is it scary? Not really. But you could strip out the comedy and have a scary movie here.

The Haunted Mansion (2003)

So 2003 was a watershed year for Disney. Pirates of the Caribbean was killing it at the box office and their next Attraction to the Big Screen was next, the fan-favorite Haunted Mansion.

Well...let's just say it didn't do as well. Oh. It made back it's money, but it was weak and critics hated it.

The movie is not great, BUT it is far better than I remembered. Again, you don't watch this one for the plot, you watch it to see how much of the attraction you can spot.

In some ways it does better than the 2023 movie and in some, it is worse. But neither are bad movies.

I think time has been kinder to this movie.

Watching these two I get the same feeling I did when watching Bob Hope's "The Ghost Breakers" followed by the Martin & Lewis "Scared Stiff."  Maybe I should do those for tomorrow night. I will admit I was disappointed there was no cameo by Eddie Murphy as a ghost in the end. 

October Horror Movie Challenge 2023
Viewed: 13
First Time Views: 6

31 Days of Halloween Movie Challenge