Sunday, October 19, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Embrace of the Vampire (1995, 2013)

October Movie Challenge: Embrace of the Vampire (1995, 2013)

1995 Film
Like so many others I tuned in to watch Alyssa Milano's turn as a good girl gone bad (in the movies and real life) for this 1995 movie.  A couple of things struck me nearly 20 years later.
Alyssa Milano ended up to become a much better actress.  I make no apologies for my love of Charmed. But while she was not great in this, she got a lot better.
Martin Kemp is not a great actor. In fact in this he comes off more like a poor man's Nick Cage in "Kiss of the Vampire" only not as crazy.
In some cases, vampires can shoot electricity out of their hands.
The story is thin, at best.  But that is not why anyone watches this.

2013 Film
Given all of this, my expectations for the "remake" were very low. I have to admit I was very surprised.
For starters the story is different.  The characters are the same, more or less.

In both cases Charlotte is a pure, virginal character that is sought after by a vampire.  In the first movie she was the "reincarnation" of the vampire's love (gah) in the new movie she is the descendant of the vampire who killed and turned the vampire in the tale.  She is described as a Dhampir, so she has the original vampire's blood in her veins.  If the vampire in the movie and drain her he becomes human again.

The 2013 movie keeps you guessing, sort of, on who the vampire is and you are uncertain whether or not the things Charlotte is seeing/doing are real or not.

In the end I actually enjoyed this new movie much more than the original.
Yes. All the reasons you wanted to watch the 1995 movie, minus Alyssa Milano, are still here.  In fact I have heard this movie described as "Black Swan with Vampires and Fencing".  That is not too far off.

Tally so far:  26 Total Watched / 18 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Vampire 1960s

The 60s were an interesting time for horror, and not one I get into a lot.  The 60s was almost always about science delving into forbidden areas.  Where the 50s gave us giant monsters and arguably the dawn of Sci-Fi cinema and the 70s a ton of occult-influenced movies, it is easy to see the 60s a coming together of these ideas.  Science tries to explain, defeat, or ever create the monsters of old.

Atom Age Vampire (1960)
Ah the 60s and all things scary had to be about atomic energy.
Actually there are no vampires in this one. Just a crazy doctor and his "atomic" cure for skin disfigurement.  I guess the vampire bit comes from the plot that he has to kill young women to keep his patient and now love interest alive...or at least looking normal.
Pretty dull. I actually paused to watch an episode of "Adventure Time" ("Simon and Marcy") in the middle of it.  Marcelline is a much better vampire anyway.

The Bloody Vampire (1962)
"Whip those horses for Satan's sake!"  
There are some interesting bits here.  The mandagora root growing underneath a hanging victim and the horse and coach moving completely silent.  In this one the descendants of Count Cagliostro are sorcery using vampire hunters.  Actually for the time this is movie is quite good and considered to be one of the best Mexican horror movies made.  Very creepy and gothic.  The characters are actually quite engaging. Much, much better than I expected it to be.
I'd love to try a game of a family of vampire hunters and vampires dealing deadly attacks to each other over the century.
There is a great review here and I mostly concur with it.

Nightmare Castle (1965)
Another Italian gothic horror with sci-fi leanings.  This one though also features the queen of 60s horror Barbara Steele playing sisters.  Much more open brutality than you see in later movies.  Steele's character is beaten, tied up, tortured with acid and even electrocuted.   Not sure if this is really a vampire movie or not.  Sure the maid needs fresh blood and there are some ghosts.
Despite the lack of vampire in the traditional sense this made for a good flick.

Tally so far:  24 Total Watched / 17 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Zatannurday: Even More Cosplay

And even MORE Cosplay!

Abracadabra by ravikaa on deviantART

What do you want to tell me? by revien-fiennes on deviantART

Zatanna Zatara 01 by HiBanHikari on deviantART

Zatanna injustice by Ali-chaan on deviantART

Zatanna injustice by Ali-chaan on deviantART

The magician by S-Lancaster on deviantART

Shout and magic by S-Lancaster on deviantART

Zatanna - Sorceress Extraordinaire by ShatteredStitch on deviantART

Zatanna Cosplay 2 by cgonza15 on deviantART

Couture Zatanna 01 by Lola-Gainsborough on deviantART

Couture Zatanna 02 by Lola-Gainsborough on deviantART

Hat Trick by Lola-Gainsborough on deviantART

Friday, October 17, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Zoltan Hound of Dracula (1978)

Zoltan Hound of Dracula also known as Dracula's Dog was always an interesting one to me.
I liked the idea of Dracula having a vampiric dog.

Well maybe not the Dracula, but certainly one of them.

Some Russians (or maybe Romanians) discover a tomb belonging to the Draculas.  One of the tombs has Zoltan buried in it and he attacks and drains a guard when his stake is removed.  Zoltan also goes to the crypt of his half-vampire former master.
Discovering a living descendant of Dracula, named Drake of course, the pair head to America.

I liked that old half-vampire own could communicate telepathically with Zoltan, but honestly it only made sense.  It's not like the dog had any lines of his own.

The Drake family goes camping with their dogs. Zoltan follows. Wackieness ensues.

The half vampire guy, Vedit, constantly scolds Zoltan about nearly attacking the children, telling him that he only wants the blood of Dracula. But wouldn't the children also have his blood?

There are some neat ideas in this movie, but not really put together well.  Zoltan does show a lot of vampire qualities; glowing eyes, strength and speed.  So I rather liked that.

Tally so far:  21 Total Watched / 14 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Kick Start Your weekend!

End of Quarter, new one start on Monday.  Busy as hell today.

Here is a Kickstarter you should check out.

Of Dreams and Magic

I think they have something cool here and worth checking out.

October Movie Challenge: Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

Also known as "Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride" this is one I was supposed to watch in 2010 when I did mini-Dracula thon.  My disk was a piece of junk and the movie never worked.  No big deal really, I had seen it back in the 70s or 80s. But I always wanted to re-watch it.  I loved the scenes of Satanic Black Mass combined with vampire mythos.

Plus I really liked (then and now) the idea that the descendants of Van Helsing keep popping up to fight Dracula.   This time we are treated to "Lorrimer Van Helsing" and his granddaughter Jessica.  Ah the mental gymnastics I went through to figure out modern Hammer canon and Marvel Comics Dracula Canon; Jessica Van Helsing vs. Rachel Van Helsing. Rachel was either Jessica's daughter or her niece.  But that is just my crazy head-canon.

Additionally there was the high tech/medical science aspect of this.  It is takes a lot of influences from James Bond (which also had Christopher Lee as a bad guy). This movie is also so in tune with the 70s occult revival it is hard to know nearly 40 years later which influenced which.

There really is a lot I love about this movie.  Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing and Van Helsing, really it is the best team up in the history of the genre.

The bit about the "Undead Sabbat" is a little silly, but the bubonic plague is a nice way to up the ante a bit.

I used this movie as a basis for my introduction of Dracula to Mutants & Masterminds.

Tally so far:  20 Total Watched / 13 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Witch Crafting ... Celebrating Halloween AND Christmas. RPG Care Packages

I am participating in Magaly Guerrero’s Pagan Culture Crafting Blooming Howls today and the challenge is to come up with something witch fiction related that you have been meaning to finish.

Really, I didn't just want to upload yet another witch character stat block (though I am sure I still will later today).  I wanted to do something special and something different.

Well this year I am finally completing something I have wanted to do for a while.
I am putting together care packages of OSR and Witch fun for our troops serving overseas.

A bit back I posted my thoughts here:
I have tried to do this in past and didn't get my act together in time so I just sent money to my local VFW and American Legions.

Here is what I have so far:

Copies of Basic Fantasy as the core rules.  I think it one of the better interpretations of the OSR rules and a nice sweet spot between Basic and Advanced D&D.  Plus it is also the one that is most compatible with my own Witch book.   I know there are a lot of great rule sets; OSRIC, S&W, LL...but enough people have also asked to participate or do something similar I figured those rules would be represented.

I am also including copies of The Witch by yours truly.  This is a Witches in Fiction crafting blog challenge so this is what makes it "Witch".

At the moment I still need to get some bags to put both books in and get some dice.  I want to include some character sheets, a pre-gen witch character (because I can). I will include a letter thanking them for their service and some links to my blog and some others, likely +Erik Tenkar's since that is a good place to start anyway.

I would also like to include an adventure and maybe a dice bag.  Make it a complete package.

If this goes well I might do a couple of sets of Spellcraft & Swordplay plus Eldritch Witchery.  The nice thing with this is the dice sets will be cheaper and the bags can be smaller.

I am also open to more ideas.

The Blooming Sponsors

- Alchemy & Ashes
- Diandra Linnemann
- Eliora
- Gothic Miniatures
- Judy's Photos
- Rue and Hyssop
- Sarah H. Original Art & Gifts
- Touch of the Goddess
- Ye Olde Crones Gazette
- and Magaly Guerrero’s Pagan Culture

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