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

Monday, October 19, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)

After watching the "Werewolf Vs. the Vampire Woman" I remembered an old flick from the 70s called "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)."  The werewolf reminded a bit of this flick so I thought I'd dig it up. I had not seen it in years.  

The movie feels like a "Hardy Boys" episode to be honest. Maybe it is how it is filmed.  The acting is not great.  At least Kerwin Mathews ("Robert") is good, but the kid Richie, played by Scott Sealey, isn't.  He has not been in anything else.  George Gaynes makes a cameo as a psychiatrist but is still a decade away from his role in Police Academy.

The movie is a bit slow really.  The only interesting thing about it is some of the werewolf bits (the extended forefinger was very memorable) and the hippie commune.  Now I had memories of these groups. They are obviously Christian of some sort, but they also have some odd things about them, belief in reincarnation and five-pointed stars (not exactly a pentagram, though that is what they call it) on their cross.  I distinctly recall them being more pagan than they are here.  It was the 70s and all sorts of freaky weird shit happened then.  Bob Homel, looking like a hippie John Goodman, delivers a memorable performance as Brother Christopher is what was going to be one of his last roles.   Actually, Brother Christopher is my favorite character. 

The werewolf transformations are pretty good for 1973, we are still a decade away from the genre-defining "American Werewolf in London."

Oh, and since it was the 70s cars explode the second they go off the road.

So the father is bit by a werewolf and now is one.  The only one that knows is the kid. 

What follows is fairly typical werewolf mayhem.

This one makes the connection between werewolf and Satanism more explicit. The scene where the hippies create a circle and Robert can't enter is an interesting one. I am not sure if it is interesting because it keeps the werewolf out or because of the combination of Christian and New Age beliefs.  

The movie is not exactly as I remember it, but it was better than I had hoped for.

Watched: 35
New: 24

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
Werewolves are easy enough, it's the group of Christian Pagans that has me the most intrigued.  I'd likely give Druids the same chance to turn lycanthropes like Clerics do undead.  Though I would make them a little more effective than Brother Christopher was.

Maybe include a sect of Theosophists that are Christopagan
So it's nearly 50 years later, Brother Christopher has passed, but he trained an elite force of Christo-pagan-hippies that travel the remote areas of the West Coast to the Rockies protecting the unwary from monsters like werewolves and sasquatches.  They seem like a group of burnouts, but really they are an effective group.  

Richie though has passed the curse on...

Friday, October 9, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Manitou (1978)

Watching Bigfoot this morning made me think of this oldie and how much it freaked me out as a kid.

This movie typifies the later 70s, post Exorcist, mood of American Horror.  Lots of psychic phenomena, some satanism, and if you can work in Native American or Eastern mysticism all the better.

Tony Curtis is great as a fake psychic and tarot card reader that gets pulled into the drama around a tumor growing on his ex-girlfriend's, Susan Strasberg's, back.  X-rays show the tumor to look like a rapidly growing fetus.

Karen (Strasberg) goes to see Harry (Curtis) the day before her surgery (and they drink a lot of wine before hand).  Harry does a tarot card reading for her and they all come up the same (the tower, the moon, the devil, and death).

That night Karen mutters something in her sleep in a language that Harry doesn't understand (he thinks it is Swahili).

Karen goes into surgery but the doctors are prevented from cutting into the tumor.   At the same time, Harry's psychic ability becomes real.  They take part in a séance and learn about the Manitou. They go and see Dr. Snow (Burgess Meredith in a surprise role) and learn more.

The contact a Native American Shaman played by the always amazing Michael Ansara (Kang of Star Trek and Kane of Buck Rogers) and learn that this tumor is really the ancient Shaman Misquamacus.
At one point Misquamacus tells John Singing Rock (Ansara) not to help them.  I was half-hoping he would stand up and tell them "you are on your white people."

Misquamacus is born (I seem to recall it being scarier in 78) but is held in place at first by John's circle. 

The "demons" summoned by Misquamacus are quite cool.  They have a sort of Lovecraft/August Derleth quality to them. They are even called "the great old ones."  In the end, the evil spirits are destroyed by computers, manifesting as laser blasts from a naked Karen.   Lest we forget this was the 70s.

This really is a cut above my normal fare in terms of acting ability even if the story is a little silly. 

Watched: 11
New: 9

A couple of thoughts here. 

First, there is a wealth of material in Native American folklore that I just have not explored and honestly, I am just not even remotely familiar or even qualified to write about them despite all the stories I have read or watched over the years. 

I'd love to get more of this sort of thing for my Valhalla, AK game.  While the Bigfoot stuff from earlier today went on the silly side, this would be more of the horror side of things. 



Wednesday, September 30, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Getting Ready

I am getting ready for my annual October Horror Movie Challenge!


This year lacks a real theme save for "movies I have had laying around forever and I need to watch them or sell back the DVDs" and "movies I have been meaning to watch forever".

I am going to lean heavily on my preferred time of the late-60s to mid-70s.  And I have more than a few Italian horror films.


I have about 110 movies here.  Some I have already seen so won't do those. There are also more than a few overlaps.  I'll try to hit more than one per day, but often that is not really doable.  I'll also hit more over the weekends.

I am going to also try to include as much NIGHT SHIFT content as I can.

Let's see where I end up at the end of the next month!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Happy Birthday Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson!

Busy work today so I didn't plan on posting, but I saw that today is Cassandra Peterson, aka Elvira's birthday today and I just had a mark the day!

Cassandra Peterson was born on September 17, 1951 and had a variety of jobs including go-go dancer, a model for men's magazines, Vegas showgirl, Tom Waits album cover model, and more.  But it is her baudy "Valley Girl Vampire" inspired character Elvira that most people know her for.

I had this poster in my dorm 1987.

She rose to stardom when she was hired to take over "Fright Night" on KHJ-TV in Los Angeles. The show was renamed "Movie Macabre with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark" and she became so popular that she soon was getting national attention.  She even got her own movie, "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" which at best can be described as a Scooby-Doo plot.   

To return the favor she was featured in 2019's "Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island" and in 2020's "Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!"



Elvira also has an RPG connection, however small.  Pacesetter released "Evenings of Terror, featuring Elvira" back in 1985 and it was one of the last (if not the last) Pacesetter produced products for Chill.



Elvira played the roll of hostess to nine mini adventures that had various horror movie influences. As a product it was actually quite fun. 

While Elvira is a great character, Cassandra Peterson is a great person.  I have been following her and Elvira since the early 80s.  I guess it is not really a shock that my iconic witch Larina has red hair and blue eyes.





And because I can,
Get your little Elvira here



Links

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Zatannurday: New DC Movies & TV

DC FanDome was last weekend and there is more to come, but here is what was released for the future of DC on your screens.




Let's start on the big screen and with the one I am looking forward to the most. Wonder Woman 84!


It has Maxwell Lord, Cheetah (Barbara Ann Minerva version), and...Steve Trevor? No idea how they are going to do that, but I am betting it was Maxwell Lord's doing.  In any case, the movie looks great and I bet soundtrack is going to be awesome. 

For the next one, let me say I am cautiously optimistic. 


Look, I am a Batman fan as much as the next DC fan, but there are other characters out there and we have had several Batman movies. 

Speaking of other characters, there is one that not a lot of people know about so it will be interesting to see how it works out on screen.  A sequel/prequel to the successful Shazam movie we are introduced to Shazam's main enemy, Black Adam.



On the smaller screen, we are going to get the "Snyder Cut" of "Justice League".  I am also looking forward to this one as well. 


If you recall a few ago Warner/DC released the "Richard Donner" cut of "Superman II." 
Personally, I prefer the Donner cut over the Lester/Theatrical original.  Given what I know of what was going on on the set of Justice League I am also hopeful that this one will be good too.  Though I am now hearing it will be four hours long!

You are going to need HBO Max for it, but that is fine if you already have HBO.

We are also hearing more about one of the refected Justice League Dark ideas.  This one was from Joseph Kahn.  I am not sure how far along this one ever got, but there was some cool concept art.


Dan Stevens was cast as John Constantine.  But the best is a punk-looking Zatanna played by Natalie Dormer.  I miss the fishnets, but this is cool too.

There is another FanDome coming up in a couple of weeks. I bet they will cover more of the TV shows then.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Weekend Gaming: Wormholes and Chicken

Liam and Connor's 5e game is going on this weekend.  They are going deeper into Curse of Strahd, but as typical the party made a left turn when they should have just kept going straight.

While looking for a passageway across a mountain range they came across a "cave", turns out it was a wormhole, or rather the passageway for a small purple worm.

A special treat, we are using my old Ral Partha Ravenloft minis.

On the dinner front.  Tonight we made chicken stroganoff,  potatoes, and homemade focaccia bread.




In the meantime, I got some Blu-Rays in the mail for my October Horror Movie Marathon.


50 movies so far, ready to go!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Marvel Movie Maddness

It is pretty well documented that I am a hardcore DC guy.
But there are few Marvel comice I really enjoy, and all of them are getting new movies!  Where to start?



Ok, let's go with what might be some of the best castings ever, Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius in Morbius.



This comes from the comic Morbius the Living Vampire about a scientist who tries to cure himself with vampire blood.  Some changes will be made to this for the movie to be sure, but it looks fantastic. The cameo by Michael Keaton is also a shocker and what role is Matt Smith playing?  (Loxias Crown according to the Wikipedia).

My second favorite casting (and this is so weird to say since up till Morbius this one was my favorite) in Marvel movie gives us Anna Taylor-Joy as freaking Magick in the New Mutants.



"I killed 18 men. One. by. one." Oh Magick, you keep doing you.

I mean really, ATJ as Magick the only thing that would keep me from geeking out over the casting of Maisie Williams as Wolfsbane.  I read a lot of New Mutants back in college and was the last X-men/Marvel comic I kept up with.  Plus it has a solid horror vibe.

Those are the ones we have trailers for.

We are also getting Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness.  That is like, three of my favorite things in the title alone.  Now the rumor is Scarlet Witch will be in the movie too. I like the movie Wanda much more than the comic one so this is great.

AND the hits keep coming with the Blade reboot with the amazing Mahershala Ali as the day-walking half-vampire Blade.

It's going to be great really.  And this is not even looking into the DC movies coming up.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

5 x 5: End of the Year Top Fives. Movies

Continuing my Top 5 for the year's end.  Here are my all-time Top 5 Movies.


Lord of the Rings



Raiders of the Lost Ark



Star Wars



Star Trek: Wrath of Khan



Army of Darkness


Thursday, October 31, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Suspiria (1977, 2018)

Been wanting to get to both of these for a while and tonight was the night.  I actually kinda wanted to do them last, but I was also hoping to get a few more in.  Been busy I guess.

I saw the original (1977) Suspiria many years ago.  I honestly think it was when my oldest son was born and I remember watching one night while holding him to get him to sleep.  I rewatched it and there was a lot I had forgotten.

The remake of Suspiria in 2018 has been mixed. Some loved it, others hated it and wanted to know why we needed a remake.  I thought it was visually stunning and I will watch Tilda Swinton in anything.  If she is playing a vampire or a witch?  Sign me the hell up.  I just wanted to know why this one was a full hour longer than the original.

The basic story deals with Susie/Suzy a naive American girl joining a dance studio in Germany; a divided Berlin of 1977 in the 2018 version.   Of course, the studio is a front for a coven of witches and Susie is the newest recruit.

Both films are visually stunning, with the original Suspiria edging out over the new one.

There is a mythology here that I feel I need to read more about.  The movies are derived from "Suspiria de Profundis" by Thomas De Quincey.   I am going to have to do some research on this.

In any case, both movies are great horror movies, each with their own moments, and I am ending the 2019 October Horror Movie Challenge on a very high note.

I think I am going to put the 4k restoration of the 1977 version on my Christmas list.


Final Tally
Watched: 33
New: 25



Wednesday, October 23, 2019

October Movie Challenge: The Love Witch (2016)

One could be easily excused for thinking this is a movie from the late 60's or early 70's.  In fact when I saw come up in my suggested movies that is in fact what I thought.  Looking at the film stills only reinforced that idea.  But the movie is from 2016.  It was shot on 35 mm film and used effects to mimic the Technicolor film of the time.  The sets, the costumes, and even the sensibilities are all from late 60s/early 70s.   It is a real vision from writer, producer and director Anna Biller.

The movie is "comedy horror" but dark comedy/horror is a better description. It deals with a witch named Elaine (played by the wonderful Samantha Robinson) who leaves San Francisco looking for love.  Trouble is her love spells usually leave her suitors dead.

Love Witch is fun little tale of feminist tropes and some interesting witch trivia. My only gripe was that the movie was a little too long.  At 120 minutes it should have really been 80 to 90 minutes.

This is one of those movies with a message to unpack and it was fun. Scary? Not so much, but I supposed a lot of people died all the same.


Watched: 26
New: 19




Tuesday, October 22, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Blood Craft (2019)

Well.  This one should of have been better, but I also should have known better really.

So the premise is good.  Two girls use witchcraft they learned from their mother to bring back the soul of their dead father who had raped and abused them so they could torture him.
Of course, things don't go as planned.

The father was a preacher and set up more of a stereotype of every bad behavior you can think of.  The girls Grace and Serena are likable enough and the actresses play the damaged types well. In fact I felt that they got better as the movie went on.

They summon the spirit and the girls learn some really horrible shit.

There is a nice twist at the end that I really should have seen coming.  But in the end, it was not really enough to redeem this movie.

Oh, and don't expect to see a lot of Dominque Swain in this.

Ah well. It could have been fun.



Watched: 25
New: 18




Thursday, October 17, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Mark of the Witch (1970)

Enough TV movies for now.  Reading Anita put me in the mood for some movies about witches.  And I never say no to that!

Up first is Mark of the Witch from 1970, but it looks more like the 1960s really.  We don't quite have that 70s vibe here yet. 

This move covers similar ground to Black Sunday; a vengeful witch killed by witch hunters comes back 100s of years later to exact revenge.  Only this time the witch possesses a young college coed.  She proceeds to kill off other college kids for...I am not quite sure why. Maybe because she is EVIL?

Anyway, there are a few nods to actual witch practices and at least they got the hanging, and not burning, right.  The special effects are cheesy and the acting is only slightly better.  But it was a fun little romp.   Anitra Walsh is not bad playing Jill and possessed by the Witch Jill.

Still, there are better films out there. 





Watched: 22
New: 16



Thursday, October 10, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Saga of the Draculas (1973)

This is quite a bizarre movie but I enjoyed it.  I remember watching it on VHS back when I was in college and it became part of my own Dracula mythology for my AD&D 2nd Ed games.  I guess this was back in the very early 90s.

I never saw any reference to it in the various books on Dracula-related movies and it seemed to have been largely forgotten.   I did see a DVD of it at a Half-Price Books a few years ago for $350.00.
I went back to check on it and someone actually had bought it.  I recently found it again on Amazon Prime Video and knew I had to watch it again.

The movie itself is odd, but not bad.  It is dated feeling and the pace is slow.  But the tale holds up nearly 50 years later.

Berta de Tepes the now pregnant granddaughter of the current Count Dracula (not his famous ancestor) has returned home to her family's ancestral castle with her new husband.  Here she expects to meet with her Grandfather and her cousins only discover graves of all her family and the household staff.  She is a little surprised when they all ask her to dinner later that night.

Dracula's new wife seduces Berta's new husband Hans (with Dracula's approval) and then his two nieces take a turn with Hans as well.   Berta suspects something but is soon rendered helpless by her imagination and pregnancy.

We get some random murders, vampires gotta eat.  And then there is Dracula's inbred heir, Valerio, a one-eyed monster boy that likes to eat gypsy girls.

The story, interestingly enough, is close to the first few chapters of Dracula with Berta in the Harker role.

Berta eventually gives birth, but the baby appears to be still-born.  Berta then goes through the castle killing everyone.  She gets back into her bed and dies herself.  The baby, now alive, feeds on the blood of his mother.

The voice-over at the end implies that the spirit of the old Dracula entered into the new baby to live again.

The movie held up rather well, to be honest.  While it was never a cinematic masterpiece it was a good a Dracula flick.   Narciso Ibáñez Menta will not be remember as one of the great Draculas, which is kind of a shame because he put in a good performance here.

Cristina Suriani, who played Dracula's granddaughter Irinia looks a lot like Abigail Cowen who plays Dorcas on Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.




Watched: 10
New: 5



Tuesday, October 8, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Meg (2018)

This is another one that I have been wanting to watch for some time.  Mostly because I really like Megladons after seeing the jaws of one in a museum as a kid.  Also because I like Jason Statham's movies.

This movie is as much humor as horror and a fair amount of action-adventure.

Essentially this is a monster movie.  The most obvious comparison is to Jaws and to Alien, but there is a bit more hop in this one; you actually think that Statham's character has a chance here.

Oddly enough I am also reminded of an old Aquaman cartoon about an ocean under the ocean, so there is a lot of things going on in this movie that I liked.

Statham's comes off as being cocky, but not a jerk, and even people he has a rivalry with he respects.  There are also some good performances from Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson (of course) and Ruby Rose.

I wish the shark had been a bit scarier though.  Still, a fun flick and the sequel should also be fun.

Watched: 8
New: 5



Sunday, October 6, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Thirst (1979)

Leonard Maltin liked this movie.  So let's see how it is.

The premise is an interesting one.  A woman from the late 70s is discovered to be the only living heir to the Elizabeth Bathory.  They kidnap her and take her to a human farm where "cattle" are drained of blood to feed over 70,000 modern vampires.

Out would be Bathory though is having none of it and is resiting her conditioning.

Now there are a lot of neat ideas here.
I like the idea of Elizabeth Bathory's heir. I like the secret society of "vampires" (they are not real vampires, but do have red eyes).
I even like the cattle farm idea, 20 years before Buffy would explore the same idea in "Doppelgangland".

Sadly it was combined rather poorly.  Not the plot so much, though it is slow, it is the execution of that plot.

Plus the acting, for the most part, is pretty bad.

I had higher hopes, but I suppose if it had been better I would have seen it already.

Watched: 6
New: 4



Saturday, September 7, 2019

Zatannurday: Emilia Clarke to play Zatanna?

Is the Mother of Dragons set to play the Mistress of Magic?

That could be the rumor coming from We Got This Covered.



Right now this is only a rumor, but I put the odds at 50/50.

In any case I am going to be happy.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Lord of the Rings fan films

Was doing a little research today and discovered these Lord of the Rings fan films.

I have not watched them all yet, but the production values are really good and they look good as well.  Yeah, they are fan films so the acting isn't Oscar level, but what they lack in skill they make up for in enthusiasm.

The first is Born in Hope a story of Aragorn's parents and The Necromancer/Sauron's search for the Ring.



The other is The Hunt for Gollum. It deals with Aragorn's hunt for Gollum and Gandalf's search for more information on the Ring.



These are based on Tolkien's works but are more akin to the movies than the books, but there is a lot of love in both of them.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Must Be the Season of the Witch: Movies and TV

Now, this is working WITH me!

A new movie and new TV series created just for my entertainment. Though I am sure you all can watch too.

First up, Angelina Jolie is back as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.





And over on Disney's FreeForm, who is currently KILLING IT with Marvel's Cloak & Dagger, we are getting a Witches-as-Warriors in a modern-day supernatural show, Motherland: Fort Salem.


I mean seriously, has someone been peeking at my birthday wish list?
Can't wait for these!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Queen Elsa, the Winter Witch

I just recently watched "Frozen" (I know, I am late to the game) and I admit it lived up to the hype.  I am very familiar with the Hans Christian Andersen tale "The Snow Queen" in which Frozen is based, but it became a very different story when it hit the big screen.
In any case, Elsa, much like her literary counterpart the Snow Queen, can be depicted as a Winter Witch.

Another good reason to consider her a witch is her voice is done by Idina Menzel, who is also known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked.  That's a serious witch-pedigree in my book.

So here is Elsa, the Winter Witch Queen for my newest book, The Winter Witch.

Elsa, Queen of Arendelle
Human Female, Lawful
20th level witch
Winter Witch Tradition

Abilities
Strength 12
Intelligence 15
Wisdom 13
Dexterity 16
Constitution 15
Charisma 18

Hit Points: 54
AC:  5 (dress is made of ice granting a +3 to AC, +1 due to dex)
Saving Throws: 4
+1 to cold-based attacks, +2 to charm spells

Occult Powers
Familiar: Snow Golem "Olaf".
Lesser: Cool Demeanor. +2 to cold-based saves, +1 to mind-affecting spell saves.
Minor: Pass Without Trace
Major: Hyperborean Apotheosis

Spells
1st level (6): Chill, Chill Touch, Freezing Hands, Hold Portal, Ice Dagger, Obscuring Cloud
2nd level (6): Flurry of Snowballs, Fogbank, Frigid Slowness, Gust of Wind, Ice Armor, Winter's Grasp
3rd level (6): Aura of Frost, Chilling Mist, Ice Spears, Sleet Storm, Soul of Frost, Weather the Storm
4th level (5): Conjuration of Ice Elementals, Elemental Armor, Ice Storm, Mirror Talk, Wall of Ice
5th level (5): Breathe Frost, Cone of Cold, The Howling, Ice Bridge, Summon Weather
6th level (4): Blanket of Healing, Control Weather, Freezing Sphere, Frigid Chrysalis
7th level (3): Freezing Cloud, Ice Body, Ice Castles
8th level (3): Antipathy/Sympathy, Encase in Ice, Glacial Slide

For a "kid's movie" Elsa can do some serious freaking damage if she wanted too.

Speaking of damage, if you have not seen it here is Else in a Rap battle against Snow White.



My money is on the Queen.

Even real Norwegians love her.

Friday, October 5, 2018

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

There was a time in the late 70s and early 80s when Disney was going through a slump. It roughly corresponds to the time when Walt and Roy Disney died and before the coming of Micheal Eisner.  This gave us some very different kinds of movies from the House of Mouse.  The Witch Mountain series on the onset and the Black Hole near the end typify of what I think of when I say Dark Disney.
We also got the thriller with multiple choice endings, The Watcher in the Woods.

Now I'll be honest, at age 10 this movie gave me a scare, but I was fascinated with it too.  It' doesn't quite hold up to today, but it was still a ton of fun to watch again.

I have to say Bette Davis left a mark on my psyche so deep that I think every old witch I have done is a bit of a reflection of her Mrs. Aylwood. Or maybe that and her role in Disney's earlier Return to Witch Mountain (1978).  Both films were directed by John Hough, so that might explain the similar vibe.

The Watcher in the Woods is also part of a string of movies, books, and other media popular at the time (and before) that took the point of view of "it's not supernatural, it's alien!" but never to the extent that Lovecraft took it.

Still, it is interesting to view this movie through the lenses of Lovecraftian cosmic horror.  Especially if you stick to the original ending of the movie the alien creature at the end (The Watcher) could very easily be a Mi-Go.



The ending is still a little too happy to be real Lovecraft.

I watched the less interesting Official version.

But it was still a blast to go back to this!


Watched: 3
New: 2



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