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

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Sword & Sorcery & Cinema: The Beastmaster (1982)

The Beastmaster (1982)

Another one that made it's presence felt in many D&D games at the time.  In fact, I can think of about 4 or 5 different beastmaster classes off the top of my head now.

It has been forever since I have seen this one, so lets see what we have here. 

We have a young Rip Torn as our bad guy Maax ("May Axe").  Some scantily clad witches tell that King Zad's unborn son will kill him. One of the witches is none other than the future Mrs. Wayne Gretzky, Janet Jones. 

The witches transfer the unborn baby to a cow. Here they attempt to sacrifice him but are stopped by Ben Hammer. He takes the baby to raise as his own. 

Soon young Dar shows a strong affinity to animals. And sooner again we have older Dar in the form of mulletted 80s stalwart Marc Singer.  But he gets no time to enjoy it when his village is attacked by Rip Torn's men.  Maax sees Dar's brand from the witches but before he can get him Dar's dog drags him to the wilderness.  Dar returns to his village (seeing out of the eyes of an eagle) only to find everyone dead.  Even his dog died trying to save him.  

We get an 80s training montage of Dar training and learning how to talk to animals, including some ferrets.  Mind you we are now a half-hour into the movie and Singer's most significant dialog has been with the ferrets. 

I can say it is much slower than I remember, but not as cheesy.  Oh, it is still cheesy, but not as bad as I remember.  I think I was getting it confused with some Roger Corman flicks.  Credit to the movie, they use a lot of real animals and Marc Singer seems really comfortable with them.  Today they would just use CGI.

The Beastmaster may have supernatural powers but that doesn't mean he isn't above using them to steal (the now sadly late) Tanya Robert's clothes or scare her a bit with his lion. 

There are some cool winged "bird-men" or something, but Dar doesn't fight them.

Dar finds a city "Aruk" with a ziggurat (a model, but not a bad one) and the road is lined with dead people long before the same was seen in Meereen in Game of Thrones.  Rip Torn is here sacrificing children but Dar saves one with his eagle.  An effective scene, it would have been better if the eagle had saved the child and tore out Rip Torn's eyes or something, but we still have an hour to go.  Plus Dar returns the child, so I guess the eagle was busy.  Pretty solid good vs evil lines are being drawn here. 

John Amos shows up as Seth.  He appears to be some sort of Monk.  This is one of the roles he took after Good Times.  I always like John Amos, he should have been a much bigger star than he was.  

The undead guards are kind of cool too. Even little Kodo got to be a hero in the end. 

This was much better and more fun than I recall, to be honest.  Nice to have this kind of surprise really

Gaming Content

Lots really.

Ring of Scrying. This ring has an eye set into it like a gem.  Any spellcaster that can scry (Magic-users, witches) can see through this ring using a scrying medium such a pool, mirror, or crystal ball.  Witches will give these to servants and cowans so they can literally keep an eye on them. Damage to the ring though will damage the witch viewing through it.

Beastmaster classes. I covered these a while back in a Class Struggles.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Sword & Sorcery & Cinema: Dragonslayer (1981)

Dragonslayer (1981)
Since April is Monster Month here I thought it might be fun to check some monster-themed Sword & Sorcery & Cinema movies.  Up first is a classic and premiered at the height of the 80s fantasy craze. Here is 1981's Dragonslayer from both Paramount and Disney.

We are introduced to one of the most famous dragons outside of Westeros or Erebor, Vermithrax Pejorative.  Though he is mentioned among the dragons in Game of Throne's first season.  

The movie is a little slow, but on par with what was normal at the time.  Peter MacNicol is fine as the apprentice turned dragonslayer Galen, but I can't help but think if someone else would have been better in the role.  Caitlin Clarke was great as the girl pretending to be a boy Valerian.  She returned to theatre work after this and this was her only major role.  She sadly passed of ovarian cancer in 2004.

Sadly the movie under-performed in the box office and some of the reviews were not great, but the movie was fun then and to be honest the effects have held up well enough.  It has achieved "cult movie" status and that is not a bad thing.  It certainly is a great one to have on a Dragon-themed movie night.

The effects are good and the director gets away with a lot of "showing less is more."  We only see bits and pieces of the dragon until the very end when it is most effective. Sure some of the stop motion looks very stop motion-y, but Vermithrax still looks like he could go toe to toe with Smaug or Drogon.  I really can't help but think that this dragon wasn't at least some of the inspiration for the DragonRaid game

The musical queues in this are pure Disney so they are also very effective. 

Gaming Content

Now THAT is a Dragonlance! The Sicarius Dracorum really shows that a spear, or a lance, is the best weapon for fighting a dragon.  The forging scene where Galen heats the metal with magic is really one of the best.  If you are not forging your magic weapons like this then you are missing out!

Caitlin's dragon scale shield, while less theatric, is just as magical. 

I am sure there are those that will nitpick that the "dragon" only has two legs and not four, but I can't get worked up over that. He is still a fantastic dragon.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Sword & Sorcery & Cinema: The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984)

The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984)
Time for a rather notorious Sword & Sorcery & Cinema choice.  Another Roger Corman flick and it stars David Carradine as Kain, a holy warrior.  Not to be confused with Kwai Chang Caine, a monk.  But you know, it works here so let's go with it. 

The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984)

Well. We have two suns, so that is a cool thing.  I wonder what else we are getting double of? 

Caine, er rather, Kain comes to a village with one well and two warlords protecting it.  Each keeps the other from controlling it.   Kain kills the guards.  Not 10 mins in and we have both gratuitous violence and nudity.  Right on time Corman.

The movie is a retelling of Yojimbo or A Fistful of Dollars or Red Harvest.  This doesn't make it less enjoyable mind you, the story is pretty classic.  Kain plays the two warlords, Zeg (Luke Askew) and Bal Caz (Guillermo Marín) off of each other well.  

María Socas plays Naja the Sorceress (not the one on the poster) and spends most of her time topless.  Yeah, we are not dealing with a top-tier studio here.   Anthony De Longis is also in this as Zeg's captain Kief.  He was a familiar face in a lot of 80s movies. 

The two fools, Blather and Gabble, make fairly decent enough goblins.  Burgo, the Slaver, appears to be some sort of lizard man.  There is even a little bullywug looking creature that Bal Caz has.

Kain goes back and forth between the camps killing as he likes and is getting paid by everyone.  He is the most self-actualized mercenary adventurer on film. 

I'd like to know what the writer was thinking with the dancer at 55 mins in.  No, the dancer, Cecilia Narova does not look like the poster girl either.  She is a brunette.  I'd also like to know about the stinger that came out of her...navel, was that it?  I'd love to blame Corman for this one, but I don't think I can.

If you have seen any movie, ever, you know how this ends really. 

Maybe all these Sword & Sorcery movies all take place on the same world. 

Gaming Content

Sacred Sword of Ura

This looks like a sword of sharpness or a vorpal blade.  The blade is much lighter than one would expect from steel.  Only the Sorceress of Ura knows the secret of how it was forged. It is a +3 sword and can cut through an anvil, but not leather armor apparently. 

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Tim Knight of Hero Press and Pun Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim along with myself are getting together at the Facebook Group I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters to discuss these movies.  Follow along with the hashtag #IdRatherBeWatchingMonsters.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Sword & Sorcery & Cinema: Hawk the Slayer (1980)

Hawk the Slayer
Ok. Confession time, and this might get me kicked out of "I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters."

I have never seen "Hawk the Slayer." 

Not even once. That is until today.

Hawk the Slayer

Well, it has Jack Palance chewing up scenes like he always does. A funky post-disco soundtrack that is so 1980 it makes me want to find a pair of roller skates.   But it also features the recently late William Morgan Sheppard as Ranulf. Patricia "Magenta" Quinn as a sorceress.  And Christopher Benjamin (Jago from Doctor Who). So certainly an interesting cast.  

The "Adventuring Party" is made up of Hawk  (a fighter or ranger), Ranulf an old fighter, Gort (a giant), Crow (an elf), Baldin (a dwarf), even a sorceress. I have to admit they are kind of fun.

With some of the music and scenes, there is a solid spaghetti western feel to this. 

Jack Palance must have had the time of his life with this.  Overacting. Running around like a Ren Faire Darth Vader.  The dynamic between Hawk, Voltan, and Eliane is not entirely unlike that of  Sergei, Strahd, and Tatyana. 

The movie is fun, if predictable. But not exactly a classic really.  Sorry, Tim

Though I can see why everyone wanted a sequel, but I think it works best as D&D inspiration.  The characters would make fun NPCs for anyone familiar with the movie.

Gaming Content

Elfin Mind Stone and Mind Sword - this sword has the ability to detect the thoughts and actions of anyone the wielder is fighting against. This translates to a +4 to hit and a +3 to AC and even allows the wielder to fight in conditions that would otherwise blind them.  It can cast light once per day.  The wielder of the mind sword can summon the sword to hand at will.

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Tim Knight of Hero Press and Pun Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim along with myself are getting together at the Facebook Group I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters to discuss these movies.  Follow along with the hashtag #IdRatherBeWatchingMonsters that is if I can get my co-admins to agree this is the best hashtag for this!


Saturday, March 6, 2021

Sword & Sorcery & Cinema: Barbarian Queen (1985)

Barbarian Queen (1985)
Roger Corman.  

What can I say about Roger Corman?  Well, to be honest, I am a huge fan. Sure his movies are schlock and represent some worst D-level movies and it is obvious that most of his casting choices were based not on the actress's ability to act but rather their willingness to take off their clothes.  But all that aside Corman is praised for his ability to keep a tight production schedule, find people that are willing to work with him again and again, and keep a film under budget and on time.

There are also many, many modern directors that have worked with him and praised his work. Directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, John Sayles, and James Cameron. Ron Howard has been praised Corman's work on many occasions.  He has over 400 producer credits and 56 director credits. 

Corman is only the EP here, but there are plenty of similarities between this movie and Viking Woman from 1957.  

Barbarian Queen (1985)

Barbarian Queen is a fairly typical fantasy fare.  A barbarian queen, Amethea (played by the late Lana Clarkson who was killed by Phil Spector) is due to be married to Argan (Frank Zagarino) when her village is attacked by raiders. People are killed and others taken as slaves.  Amethea and her friends Estrild (Katt Shea, who is likely the best actress in the bunch), Tiniara (Susana Traverso), and former victim Taramis (Dawn Dunlap) seek to free their people including Amethea's fiance.  They meet up with Dariac (Andrea Scriven in her only role), a young girl who lives with the local rebels who enlists the barbarian's aid. 

The first part is an excuse for some gory fights and a bunch of topless barbarian women running around or getting captured.  I'll the movie credit, it does like to show the barbarian women as being strong and powerful.  

Our big bad guy is Arrakur (Arman Chapman), he captures our heroines and threatens them with torture and death. 

Argan manages to get his fellow gladiator-slaves to join him.  The movie gets to the big fight and then just ends. Must have run out of money.

The movie is not terrible, it is just also not good. It could be the spiritual godmother to Xena: The Warrior Princess.  Though that Boris Vallejo movie poster is actually the best part of the movie.

Katt Shea is fun to watch really. She looks like she is having the best time of her life acting in this. 

Gaming Content

There is a torture chamber that would be good dungeon dressing. I like the idea of this being a "Queen needing to rescue the Prince" for once.

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Tim Knight of Hero Press and Pun Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim along with myself are getting together at the Facebook Group I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters to discuss these movies.  Follow along with the hashtag #IdRatherBeWatchingMonsters that is if I can get my co-admins to agree this is the best hashtag for this!


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Sword & Sorcery & Cinema: The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire (1981)

The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire (1981)
Working on something here that might become a regular feature.  I love movies. One of my first semi-professional gigs was writing movie reviews.  So really this is just me getting back to my roots.  My reviews, such as they are, will be like my October Horror Movie reviews, though I am likely to provide a little more detail since I doubt that any of these movies need to be protected by spoilers.  Also, I want to talk about any potential game material from the movies.

So let's start this with a movie from deep in the recesses of my mind and see if it lives up.  A special nod to Tim Knight over at Hero Press for reminding me of this cinematic gem. 

The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire (1981)

I remember this one from first aired on TV back in 1981.  I remember the next day at school all the D&D guys (we had multiple groups going on back then) were talking about a "heartbow" for their characters. 

The movie starts with a long voice-over about the 12 warring clans and a world "that was or will be."  Anyway our story focuses on Toran of Malveel (Lane Caudell) the son of King Brakus (George Kennedy) is out hunting with his archery master Mak (George Innes) who wields "Elbe" the Heartbow, when he encounters Estra (Belinda Bauer) a sorceress (or seer, or witch) who is promised to kill Toran for what his grandfather did.

This one features Star Trek DS9's Marc Alaimo (Sandros), who, along with Victor Campos (Slant) might be the only decent actors in the bunch. Not only that but the script is fairly non-sensical. Game of Thrones it is not.

Anyway, Toran manages to get himself exiled. This turns out to be a good thing since Sandros betrays the king to Gar, the Draikian (Kabir Bedi), the leader of the Snake-men. But not before Toran can be blamed for his father's death.  Toran leaves his father to find the wizard Lazar-Sa, the only one that can help him become king.

Toran and Mak head out to find the wizard.  Of course, Mak isn't going to make it so the Heartbow is given to Toran.  The scene is different than I remember it, but not too different. 

Toran eventually encounters Slant (Victor Campos), a thief and opportunist.  Anyway, we hear from Lazar-Sa and he directs them to the first of three tests.   

The movie never really picks up at any point and ends with Gar getting a glove that is the evil equal of the Heartbow.  None of that I recalled. 

The ending isn't really an ending and sets up a series.  Lazar-Sa isn't found (there were three tests right?) and...well that is it really. 

Gaming Content

Well. The obvious is the Heartbow, but I'll get to that soon.  It is nice to see snakemen here, orcs are so over used.  Snakemen are fun and are always good for bad guys.  Plenty of  stats for them but I think that Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea does the best with them.  The snakepeople remind me a bit of the Duran Duran video Union of the Snake

Elbe The Heartbow - In D&D 4 or 5 this would be a masterwork bow that you would need to "Attune" too in order to use.  In other D&D it just means you have a limited number of such powerful items you can use (the limit is three in D&D 5).  Elbe can convert any arrow to a magical bolt of energy. 

In truth, go see Tim Knight's post, he details all the magic items in this failed TV pilotmovie better than I am here. 

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Tim Knight of Hero Press and Pun Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim along with myself are getting together at the Facebook Group I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters to discuss these movies.  Follow along with the hashtag #IdRatherBeWatchingMonsters that is if I can get my co-admins to agree this is the best hashtag for this!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Season of the Witch (All)

ITS HALLOWEEN!  It's a Saturday. We get an extra hour after midnight and the moon is full.  

Again, today I am going to end with some movies around the same theme; or more accurately movies with the same title.

Oh no, must be the season of the witch!

Season of the Witch (1972 or 1973)

Ok, this is a repeat from 2012, but the topic and time period was just too perfect to ignore. While this month has largely been about European Horror prior to The Exorcist, this one from Horror Master George Romero could not be ignored.  

Besides, bored housewife turns to witchcraft? Yeah, that is great stuff, to be honest.  There is still a lot of fun in this movie. A nice slice of Occult Americana. Neat little bits on Rosemary's Baby, Voodoo, ritual tools, and Tarot Cards. Even an honest to Goddess coven and ritual initiation.  If anything this movie is better with another watch. The movie even has enough sense to know when to take itself seriously and when to not.  

The new special edition Blu-Ray art makes Joan look a little scarier than she is but hey, that is fine really. 

A wonderful example of the Swinging 70s and horror prior to The Exorcist. 

New View: No
Witches: Yes
Features the Donovan Song: Yes

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Now I remember seeing this one in the theaters. I loved the poster and thought it was really cool.  But for the life of me when rewatching it I could remember any of it.  This movie is best watched as disconnected from the rest of the Halloween/Michael Meyers franchise.  It fits in with the original vision of the franchise as separate, unrelated movies in an anthology.  Much like "Creepshow" and "American Horror Story."

The story is. Well it's dreadful, to be honest. It wasn't well liked then and it has not aged well either.  I do like the idea of the masks being haunted/possessed/curse or whatever it was they were.  Though seriously, trying to get a chip from the megaliths at Stonehenge? Yeah, not likely.  Though I would totally use a bunch of cursed masks in a game.

I think I remember why I don't recall this one as well. It's kinda dull and I might have spaced out a lot while it was on.  

New View: I am going to say No, even though I can't remember much of it.
Witches: None, but it does have Dick Warlock in it. So that is something.
Features the Donovan Song: No


Season of the Witch (2009, 2014)

Did Halloween III leave such a bad taste in everyone's mouth that this title had to wait nearly 30 years to be reused? I guess. 

My first "first time view" today and one of my last (!) new movies of the season.  Make no mistake, this one is not good. It is a little indie film from England. The actors are mostly unknowns.  Mary Blackwell travels back to her hometown of Maiden Hollow to clear out her recently deceased father's house. There is a priest who becomes obsessed with Alice (Beth Kingston) who looks like his dead wife.

Or that's what I think. There are times when the music soundtrack overwhelms the voice track. Calling this a "slow burn" is charitable. Calling it boring might be closer. 

Which is too bad, because I had hoped for some English folk horror.  The "village justice" scene at the end is the closest we ever get to that.  Actually, I felt the whole scene was overdone to be honest. 

The movie was finished in 2009 but not released till 2014.

The tag line is "Don't look behind" which makes no sense. Given how times the question is asked the tag line should be "Did You Have Breakfast?"

New View: Yes
Witches: Not really
Features the Donovan Song: No

Season of the Witch (2011)

This one is pure horror-action cheese.  I saw it when it came out but I am a little surprised in never made it into my Horror Movie Challenge till now. 

So this one has a lot of good going for it on paper. Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman star as Teutonic Knights.  There is a girl, Anna, played by Claire Foy in her first movie role, being accused of witchcraft and they need to take her to a monastery. 

It goes about as you would suspect. Knights take the witch in a cage. She protests she isn't a witch. Crazy shit happens on the way.

It's a fun romp and Cage never fails to amuse and Ron Perlman is always fun.  The demon effects are also really good. After spend so much time in the 1970's horror it is nice to see a really scary looking monster.

In some ways this movie could be considered part of a series along with Vin Diesel's "The Last Witchhunter." There is a similar vibe to them both.

New View: No
Witches: Yes
Features the Donovan Song: Sort of. It's on the soundtrack, but it is a symphonic instrumental. 

Judgment: If your "Season of the Witch" movie does not feature the song by Donovan, then your movie is going to suck.


I started early while waiting for Trick or Treaters.  I might be able to get in one more tonight!  The new Craft movie is out now!

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-school Content:  The "Season of the Witch" is a potent concept for me. 

I used it for the name of my Willow & Tara series (essentially "Buffy, Season 8") and it is coming around again in relation to my War of the Witch Queens

Watched: 59
New: 40


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