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

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



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Black Swan (2010)

Is Black Swan a Horror flick?

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

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

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

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

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





Sunday, October 15, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Scanners (1981)

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

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

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

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

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

I loved this poster. Always freaked me out.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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

Ok. This one didn't post either.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Gothic (1986)

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

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

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





Friday, October 6, 2017

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

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

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

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

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





Thursday, October 5, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Dark City (1998)

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

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

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

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

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








Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Shinning (1980)

This might not be the best Stephen King book made into a film, but it is certainly a great one.  This is a Stanely Kubrick masterpiece of insanity, murder, and supernatural happenings that few movies can compare too.

This is Kubrick at his best, Nicholson at his most manic, and Stephen King at his most...well, Stephen King.

Connor loved this one. He had known about the movie and many of the scenes for a long time, I mean how could you not?  So the movie lived up to the hype in his mind.

Rewatching this now, many years later, I am struck by how much I really enjoyed Kubrick's direction here.  His vision may not have been the same as King's, but it is a good vision, even a great one.

This isn't just one of my favorite horror movies it is one of my favorite movies of all time.  It's not perfect of course, but it is great.









Watched: 3

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Car (1977)

Ah. This little piece of cinematic trash made to it TV sometime in the late 70s. I am sure I recorded it back in the 80s at one point, and then transferred to another tape in the 90s.  I WISH I had kept the commercials in this, but I edited them out to make more room on the tape.   That's a lot of work to spend on this movie.

Rewatching this now, 40 years later, I am again taken with the 70s obsession with the Devil.  Plus I will never get that horn out of my mind.
The movie is lack luster really.  Killer car.  People find some really dumb ways to put themselves in the path of this thing.

I remember thinking at the time it was cool concept, but poorly executed.

Connor, predictably, was bored. So was I to be honest.

My memory of this movie is much better than the movie itself.  The final scene where the car is blown up and "the devil" is released was also much cooler in my memory than on this tape.
I remember my brothers and sisters watching this and then laughing many years later when a still of the explosion was later used in a supermarket gossip rag as the "face of the devil" in a storm.

Maybe it is time to remake this one.  Maybe now with a killer drone.







Watched: 2
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