Showing posts with label October Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label October Challenge. Show all posts

Saturday, October 16, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Werewolf Night

I love horror movies.  My wife doesn't.  BUT she does enjoy a good werewolf movie.  Over the month we have tried a few with varying degrees of success. I thought I'd switch it up tonight with a few werewolf movies.

The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)

This one was out first one and I liked how it looked and started.  I was written, directed, and starred Jim Cummings. Normally I avoid movies where one guy wears all the hats, the notable exception is Spike Lee.  But this one did not feel like an ego trip (looking at you M. Night Shyamalan).  It also featured Riki Lindholm, which is always a plus in my book.

So this sleepy little town in Utah, which barely sees any sort of crime, is suddenly beset upon by a bunch of grisly murders that are soon blamed on a werewolf.    Only the Sheriff (Cummings) doesn't believe.  We see many of the victims get torn apart from the point of view of the werewolf and even see bits of the creature.

The movie is a bit slow, but the cast is likable.  In particular, Robert Forster plays the older Sheriff Hadley and Cummings father in this.  It would be his last role before he died.  In fact we would later comment that some of the other sheriffs we see later on, seemed to be modeled on the whole Robert Forster vibe. 

In the end it is not a werewolf, but a serial killer dressed up in a wolf pelt with homemade claws.

Lycan (2017)
Lycan (2017)

This is one of those horror movies where the director and writer know that horror fans are watching, so they set up some deliberate tropes to knock them down.  In this one six highschool or college (never really clear) are given the assignment to re-write some local history.  

It was set in 1986, which I can only assume they wanted to avoid things like the Internet or cell phones to tell their story.  A cell phone would have come in handy and a quick internet search would have likely saved some lives.  But I digress. 

The six students, three boys, three girls, very convenient, head out to the woods to get more details on the legend of Emily Burt, the Talbot County werewolf.  In the process they manage to get themselves lost and killed in no time. 

In some trope defying moves, there is no sex and no nudity from our main cast members. There is also no werewolf or ghost werewolf.  The killer is again (or before) just someone with a weird wolf claw-thing.  The killer though is Isabella, one of the girls on the camping trip.  Turns out she is crazy and so is her caretaker.  Isabella is the daughter of Emily Burt.

Everyone dies, EXCEPT for the jock.  So a change there. 

Into the Dark: Blood Moon (2021)
Into the Dark: Blood Moon (2021)

Finally! A real werewolf.  It also answers the question "is lycanthropy sexually transmitted?"  No, but it can be inherited. 

We did not realize this was part of an anthology but it does work as a stand-alone movie.   

Esme and Luna move to a new town where Esme pays for everything in cash and keeps Luna close to home. Especially on the full moon.  Luna is a 10-year-old werewolf.  We get the idea from flashbacks that Luna's father and Esem were together for a bit, even to the point where they got married.  But something happened to Luna's dad and the impression is he got out and Esme had to kill him.

Esme moves from town to town and avoids any personal contact when she can.  It doesn't help that local sheriff, NOT played by Robert Forster though he tries, takes a quick dislike to Esme.  

Through some events Sam the local bartender takes a liking to Esme and shows up at her place one day.  He comes into the house and smells the meat she leaves out for Luca when he is a werewolf.  Sam freaks out, she freaks out and accidentally knocks him down the stairs and kills him.  She locks Luna in his cage and goes to get rid of Sam's truck.  Not soon after the sheriff shows up looking for Sam, finds his dead body in a cage with Luna and the full moon is rising.  

Well, you can figure the rest out from here. 

Not a bad flick, but really didn't scratch that werewolf itch we have. Still, better than rapey aliens and rapey fishmen.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 30
First Time Views: 17

Friday, October 15, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Horror Planet aka Inseminoid (1981)

Horrorplanet aka Inseminoid (1981)
Man, I am in some kind of rut.  Ok in my defense this movie has been on my list for years, but even I thought it was too cheesy to consider.   Also there are not a lot of choices when your search terms are "Horror," "Sci-fi," "Alien," and "Archeologist." 

So if you read my post earlier today you know I have an idea, or the start of one, for my alien reoccurring Big Bad.  

So this film is taking place on an alien planet.  Writing is discovered on the walls while the research operations are going on this frozen planet.  There appear to be a lot of couples here, convenient really.  One of the researchers is hurt in an explosion and his buddy starts to go crazy.

I am not sure what the future is like, but according to this movie, they must be outlawed by then. 

While out (even though the commander ordered everyone to stay on the base) Sandy and Mitch get out of communication range.  Mitch is killed by some sort of monster and ripped apart.  Sandy is captured and taken to some room where she is stripped naked and impregnated (via a long clear tube full of green slime) by some weird-looking alien creature. 

Sandy starts acting strange.  Not in the "I am traumatized" way, but in the "I have an alien baby growing inside me and I need to kill and eat people now" way.   Sandy is played by Judy Geeson, who has had a really great career over the last 7 decades. This movie wasn't even the start of her career, she had already been working for 20 years at this point.  

Each plan to stop Sandy ends up getting more people killed, often from complete stupidity.  By the end I was rooting for Sandy since pretty much everyone was the cause of their own deaths.

I am not sure what was the biggest scientific screw-up.  When Mark was able to go outside and see Sandy when everyone else died outside.  Or that Sandy was able to get her pants off to give birth and back on again without ever taking off her shoes.

There are some minimally interesting ideas here, but not enough to sit through an hour and a half of this.  At least I have some ideas of things not to do. In the end, it is just a fairly weak Alien rip-off with a side helping of misogyny.   

Directed by Norman J. Warren who also gave us Satan's Slave and another potential one for tonight, Prey.  Let me say right now I am not really that impressed. 

I need to make some better choices in my movies.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 27
First Time Views: 14

Thursday, October 14, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Humanoids From the Deep (1980)

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
This would have done well with all my Dagon / Deep Ones movies last week. It certainly fits in with the whole humans becoming sea monsters theme.  I am a little surprised I had never seen it to be honest. It's a fairly notorious Corman flick, know more for him adding more gore and nudity after director Barbara Peeters was done with it.

Humanoids From the Deep (1980)

A small fishing village is dealing with the scarcity of fish and the prospect of a new canning factory moving into town.  While fishing a couple of fishermen catch what appears to be some sort of monster.  His sun falls into the ocean and something kills him.  The boat then explodes. Yes there is a reason, but this is Corman we are talking about. 

Later something is going through the village killing and mutilating all the dogs.  Oh, and there is not so casual and fairly overt racism to the village's Native American character.  Also, why is Dr. Susan Drake referred to as a "great little scientist" especially since actress Ann Turkel stands at 6'0" easily towering over everyone here?  We are a third of the way through the movie and we have had more racism and sexism than we have had of monsters.  Or when Doug McClure's Jim Hill is asking for men to help him and Ann Turkel volunteers? "No, I don't need you." Well, it was the 1980s, but even this one seems a little more than the usual stuff.  

Speaking of explosions. Why does one Molotov cocktail blow up an entire cabin?  Oh and cars. When they hit the sea. 

We learn that Dr. Drake has known about these creatures for a bit.  They are caused by the growth hormones that Canco (did they spend all day coming up with that name?) has been injecting into salmon.  These salmon then infected other fish till they "evolved" to humanoids.  They are driven to kill the men and mate with the women.  Totally makes sense.

There is the local Salmon fest going on that night and as expected the sea monsters attack, killing and raping their way through town.  The gore scenes are fun, some special effects people must have had a blast doing this one.  Kudos to Sally, Miss Salmon, for the wherewithal to bash a rapey fishman in the head with a rock.

In the end the monsters are dead (we think) and Peggy who had been raped before gives birth, well..., a monster cuts its way out of her.

So it dawned on me that there is a whole sub-genre of Fishmen movies that I have never really explored. I mean I have had no reason, but I kinda wish I had before running Isle of Dread to the Shrine of Kuo-Toa. Maybe I should check more of them out. I mean I have not seen any so far that I am like "yeah, that's my new jam" but maybe someone, somewhere did one right.

I could not find the 1996 remake anywhere to watch.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 26
First Time Views: 13

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Mars Night

Mars
What is it about Mars that both fascinates us and horrifies us at the same time?  Even long before H.G. Welles and "War of the Worlds" Mars has had a hold on our collective consciousness.  

Doctor Who has visited horror on Mars many times, most recently with "The Waters of Mars" (2009) and "Empress of Mars" (2017).  Notably, one of the few times we see the Doctor truly afraid is when he learns he is facing the Martian Grand Marshal Skaldak in "Cold War" (2013).  

Even the optimistic Star Trek is not immune, with one of the greatest terrorist acts committed against the Federation happening on Mars' Utopia Planitia

Mars has gotten to us. 

So it is not a big surprise that there are still today sci-fi horror movies featuring Mars.

Angry Red Planet (1959)
The Angry Red Planet (1959)

One would assume I would start with War of the Worlds. At least the classic or maybe even one of the remakes.  But I want movies ON Mars and for better or worse, this is a classic. I have seen it before, but it is a good one to start the night and it is on every streaming service I have.  This one takes place sometime after the first moon landing. No date is given but you can assume it is the 1970s as seen through the eyes of the 1950s (Time Delta, 11 or so years).

Again, while I typically avoid movies from the 1950s, there are exceptions.  A couple of things make this one stand out.  The giant wolf-bat-spider creature being one and the "CineMagic" effect used when they were on the surface of Mars was another. The CineMagic could look cheap by our standards of today, but I actually thought it had some charm to it. 

The acting isn't bad, though it suffers from all the casual sexism of the time, though to it's credit it has Naura Hayden as biologist Dr. Iris "Irish" Ryan. She isn't so much there as eye-candy (plot wise) and has a role.  It is also noted that only Americans seem to bring guns into space. It does avoid the trope of one of the scientists being secretly evil or wanting to establish his own empire on Mars. 

The film is a bit silly for our times, but there were what appeared to be some good (for the time) scares.  The CineMagic effect really covers up a lot of special effects shortcomings. 

I am sure I have seen this one before, but there are a lot of parts I don't remember.  I am only giving myself ½ a credit for this one.

Star Crystal (1986)
Star Crystal (1986)

I actually started this one first. Stopped it because it was just not  good and came back to it tonight. While there is 30 years between this one and Angry Red Planet, it sure has improved much in attitudes.  This one takes place in the year 2030 to 2033 (Time Delta 44 to 41 years).

Let's be entirely upfront about this.  This one is bad.  I spaced (heh) out a lot writing other things.  Here is the gist.  Two dufuses bring back some rocks from Mars expecting some of them will give them a good payday.  One of the rocks cracks open and something slimy comes out.  Fast forward to NASA on Earth in the later 2030s where everyone is smoking like it's...well 1986. The first crew is dead so they send another crew after them.  

After some not-scares and other nonsense we learn the alien, named Gar, used the computer to learn about humanity including reading a Bible, and has decided to depart in peace.  What the actual fuck? Anyway, that's the movie.  There is more like the shitty effects, the toy Millennium Falcon used for close-up shots of the starbase and the misspellings on the computer screen.  An aside, here in the real 2021 I am using more computer power than they displayed in their fake 2033 just write these words. I also have the benefit of a spell check.

Anyway, I am embarrassed I watched this movie. 

By the way, this site Explore Mars wants us on Mars in the 2030s. I don't think they saw this movie.

Ghosts of Mars (2001)
John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars (2001)

2001 should have been a bigger year for sci-fi movies.  Just saying. This one takes place in 2176. The Time Delta on this is 175 years now.  As we move further and further away from the Apollo missions our optimism about colonizing nearby space is waning.  Or maybe we just have a better understanding of how bad the void of space really is. 

I also admit this is the one I was looking forward to.  I mean John Carpenter right?

Well...

The pluses. The film stars Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, Clea DuVall, Robert Carradine, and Joanna Cassidy. All of whom have delivered good performances in the past.  The key with any movie with Ice Cube and Jason Statham in it is you never take their characters seriously. Jason Statham has more or less likened all his characters to cartoon characters.  

The soundtrack is great, if for no reason other than the inclusion of Stevie Vai whom I have been a fan of since his days with Frank Zappa

Some interesting bits.  Mars' government appears to be a Matronage or rule by women.  The Mars here reminds me of Total Recall or Doom before the Demons arrive.

The story revolves around a group of police officers attempting to do a prisoner transfer of James 'Desolation' Williams, played by Ice Cube.  They get to the boomtown to find him but instead, they find everyone dead and Williams still locked up.  They find a couple of people still alive but possessed.

Turns out the ghosts of dead Martians are possessing people thinking the humans had killed all the Martians.  They decide to blow up the nuclear reactor thinking they can nuke all the spirits.  Sure. Why not.  

The ghosts just repossess other humans and attack the city.

The Martian possessed humans reminded me a lot of the Futurekind from the Doctor Who episode Utopia.  In fact, the scenes of Mars at night also remind me of the planet Malcassairo at the end of the Universe. 


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 25
First Time Views: 12

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Saturn 3 (1980)

Saturn 3 (1980)
This is one of those movies I have wanted to go back and see to see if it was as bad as I remembered. Was it? Oh yeah.

Saturn 3 (1980)

Kirk Douglas seems underutilized here.  Farah Fawcett is, well..., I have a better opinion of her now than I did then, but she is still not very good here. She seems to be here only as eye candy and to scream.  I can't even tell you what it is her character was supposed to be doing here.

Harvey Keitel has called this movie the "nadir of his career" and he certainly seems like he is only going through the motions here. He has even been redubbed for this.  I didn't even remember he was in this, to be honest.

The plot is super simple.  Harvey Keitel brings an experimental robot to an outpost near Saturn (Saturn 3) and he passes on his crazy to the robot. 

The outpost is researching new food alternatives for Earth and is run by Douglas and Fawcett who are also a couple. Yeah, he was twice her age in this.  

They have trouble with Keitel from the start and then trouble with the robot, and then everyone is fighting everyone else.  Despite being newer than 1979's Alien, the sets look more like a 1970s sci-fi movie. 

 I remember seeing this one on TV a while back, I thought it had some other scenes.  Checking good old Wikipedia there were other scenes when it aired on NBC. 

The movie is, or could have been, an Alien rip-off, but there are not enough people on the station and thus not a high enough body count.  It could be remade today an would be much better.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 22
First Time Views: 9.5

Monday, October 11, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Fourth Kind (2009)

The Fourth Kind (2009)
Going to start my week of Sci-Fi horror with one my wife picked.

The Fourth Kind (2009)

This one seemed like it had a lot going for it. First, we get the notion that this is all based on a true story and actual events.  There is some "found footage" of the "actual people involved" and then we also get Milla Jovovich, who I adore, and Elias Koteas who is always great. 

The movie has some genuine scares involved too.  Even the found footage is good.  The footage of course are also just actors and none of this ever happened.  BUT it does turn out that this area of Alaska does actually have a history of missing persons.

While I went into this one with the idea of mining it for ideas for a BlackStar game (I always wanted to an Alien Abduction plot where humans and aliens are on more equal footing) instead I was given ideas for my NIGHT SHIFT Valhalla, Alaska game.   Valhalla though runs closer to "Resident Alien" than this one's mix of "Close Encounters," "Fire in the Sky," and "Blair Witch."  

The ending left us feeling a little empty. No resolution, but some good jump scares and weird special effects.  

Still, Milla Jovovich is still great. This was one of director's Olatunde Osunsanmi first movies.  He would go on to direct and produce episodes of New Trek and the series "Falling Skies."   So sci-fi is certainly in his wheel-house.

Maybe I should do an Alien Abduction night.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 21
First Time Views: 9.5

Sunday, October 10, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Thing (1982, 2011, 1951)

The Thing
There are two movies in my mind that set the bar for Sci-Fi Horror.  The first is Alien (1979) and the second is 1982's The Thing.  Both use science fiction as a back-drop to tell a very claustrophobic monster story.  Both had fantastic directors.  Both also took us to a place of "not Star Wars, not ET."  

It is also the perfect juxtaposition of horror and SciFi from a Lovecraftian perspective.  While the origin of The Thing is drawn from the sci-fi/horror short story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell Jr., the fingerprints of Lovecraft, and in particular "At The Mountains of Madness", are all over this. 

It also makes it a perfect tale for a BlackStar adventure. Maybe I'll tweak my "At the Planet of Madness" adventure a little more.

Tonight I watched John Carpenter's The Thing from 1982 for the first time in, well, I don't know how many years.  Since High School to be sure.  And then I decided to watch the 2011 remake of it.

The Thing 1982
The Thing (1982)

It has been so long since I have seen this I had forgotten about the space-ship at the beginning. For the time the special effects were amazing and frankly, I think they hold up well today.  Though the blood looks more like raspberry jelly.  My son works in a bakery now, I see a lot of raspberry jelly on clothes these days.

I remember watching this one back in 83 or 84 and I remembered I had come up with a very convoluted theory that this creature was a crashed Zygon from Doctor Who.  Fits with them crashing and being found under Loch Ness.  We would get almost this exact same story for Doctor Who in 2013 with Cold War, only at the North Pole not the south. 

The version I watched on Amazon Prime was in HD and it looked fantastic. It looked like it could have been filmed in 2020 to be honest.  It is making me look forward to seeing the Remake/Prequel made in 2011. 

The Thing 2011
The Thing (2011)

This one is a prequel/remake of the 1982 movie.  Even the starting title sequence is similar.  This time we deal with the Norwegians from the first movie.  Interesting way to start the movie, to be honest.  It has Mary Elizabeth Winstead in it and I am a fan, so I like that. It also has Kristofer Hivju, better known to us today as Tormund Giantsbane from Game of Thrones.  He is just as fantastic in this. 

I wish I had paid more attention when the 82 version was on to the Norwegian base, named "Thule",  to see if they were the same.  In truth, it more reminds me of the American one. The spaceship looks the same, but a lot larger.  I also am enjoying that some of the reasons for "dumb decisions" in the first movie get some sort of explanation here.  We even see where some of the damage comes from and an explanation of some of the remains.

The trouble with this movie is there is no new ground for it to cover; it is almost the exact same movie.  Though in this one, bits of the creature can break off and attack others. 

Like the 1982 we have two survivors and it is unknown whether or not they survive. 

The Thing from Another World 1951
The Thing from Another World (1951)

This is the original movie and the one that John Carpenter set to emulate.  Even the opening credits are similar. And WOW is it old.  Typically I steer clear of the 50s except on very rare occasions. 

The opening credits again look like the the 1982 version, or more to the point they all look like this one.

In this one the action is set at the North Pole, but largely the same story. Well...typical for the 1950s there has to be a romance angle. The movie also takes forever to get anywhere.

We get a better description of the creature. It is plant-like, but it still looks like a humanoid of some sort.

There is much less death in this one, no surprise, and the monster is not a shapeshifter at all. 

This one has a lot of survivors and then let the whole world know what happened.   It's funny. For a time full of Red Scare paranoia there is very little of any sort of paranoia in this movie, at least compared to the 1982 and 2011 versions.  

--

It is easy to see the elements that all three movies have in common. Given that it gets remade about every 30 years we can expect to see a new Thing in 2041.

I still would love to work this into a BlackStar game somehow.  Either the discovery on Earth of this craft and pilot that leads to an investigation to its native world, or a getting to the native world and discovering a ship full of human specimens from over 100,000 years ago.  Though 100,000 years ago the Earth would have been populated by hominids like Homo ErectusHomo Floresiensis (the Hobbits), and Homo Sapien Neanderthalensis


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 19
First Time Views: 8.5

Saturday, October 9, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Army of Darkness (1992)

Army of Darkness (1992)

Tonight is a Horror Movie Challenge AND a Swords & Sorcery & Cinema Night.   Since it is also my H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest there is really only one movie that can fit the bill for all three themes. Is it Horror?  It's close enough.

Army of Darkness (1992) is just one of those movies I can keep coming back to and mine for more gold. 

Of course, I did Army of Darkness for this once before WAY back in the early days of this blog.

I have also done Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2.  Not to mention all the coverage I have given the RPG with stats for KISS, Xena and Gabrielle, and even a Keep on the Borderlands conversion.

I would put it in my list of "Top Ten Gamer Movies." 

I suppose I should figure out what the other nine are.  Off the top of my head?  Highlander, Star Wars, Monty Python's Holy Grail, The Princess Bride, Heavy Metal, Excalibur, and some more.

Sounds like a future post really.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 16
First Time Views: 6.5

--

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.


October Horror Movie Challenge: Island of the Fishmen/Screamers (1979/1980) & Dagon (2001)

Screamers (1980)
I wanted to get in some Innsmouth action this October, but I wanted to get them in tonight.  Up first is Island of the Fishmen from 1979, but the version I found was Sreamers, the re-edit from 1980.

Screamers (1980)

While this one is sold as a "Lovecraftian" movie, the only thing it has going for it Lovecraft-wise is that the Fishmen of the title were once humans.  The movie is part "Dagon" with Innsmouth now closer to the Bermuda Triangle, and little bits of Atlantis, and The Island of Dr. Moreau and some bits of voodoo thrown in for good measure.  The movie does have Barbara Bach in it, so that is a nice plus. 

I can't help but get a strong Isle of Dread vibe from this. The creatures in this, the fishmen, look a lot like the Kuo-toa and Locathah from D&D. Even though neither of those creatures appears in the adventure. 

The plot works well for a Victorian-era game.

Dagon (2001)
Dagon (2001)

I watched this one back in 2010 but I was in a pretty bad mood.  I remember it now while rewatching it.  This is the problem I am running into, most of the movies out there I have already seen.  Though watching it again I recalled/noticed a few things.  The Innsmouth/Imboca people really have the Deep Ones look down. It is actually quite better than I remembered.  Also, Ezra Godden as our protagonist Paul looks a LOT like Jeffery Combs circa ReAnimator. Sounds like him too in many places.  Not a huge surprise since one of the producers is Brian Yuzna. If this had been made in the 80s or 90s then Combs would have been in it.  Likely this is because he was doing Star Trek Enterprise at the time. 

The movie is better than I remember.  Not great mind you, but still better. I am not sure I remembered Paul wearing a "Miskatonic" sweatshirt, but it is a nice touch. 

One thing is certain. If I ever run Isle of Dread again it is going to be more Dagon and less King Kong. 


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 15
First Time Views: 6.5

Friday, October 8, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Color Out of Space (2010, 2019)

The Color Out of Space (2010)
Two different attempts at the same story.  One I have seen already and one that is new to me. 

The Color Out of Space (2010)

This one is a German film set in 1975. Part of the movie is in German. I was lamenting recently that I don't get to speak German enough, but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  

The movie is in Black & White, which is a neat touch I admit. It is a bit slow but very moody.  The b/w cinematography is used to great effect when the titular "color" reveals itself. 

The story is moved from the eerie woods of America's North East to the equally eerie woods of Germany's Black Forest. 

I have to admit, nothing is lost in the retelling in German. While the special effects are not great, they are used to great, well, effect. The CGI purple "color" against the black and white film could have been cheesy, but they make it work here.  Plus this is one time where CGI feeling out of place is perfectly fine, even expected.  

While it doesn't follow the letter of the story, it follows its spirit I feel.  It could have used a bit more editing though, some parts dig drag on longer than needed.  But really quite fun.


The Color Out of Space (2019)

The Color Out of Space (2019)

This is the Nick Cage one from a couple years ago and I watched last year. In fact almost last year to the day. 

I don't have much more to add, save I wanted to rewatch it for this Lovecraft film-fest and see how it compares to the 2010 version. 

While this one is far more polished and more explicit in it's horror I do feel maybe, maybe something is missing that the 2010 version was able to capture.  Of course I think the 2010 version gets closer to Lovecraft's style of storytelling of "show less, imagine more."

Though I stick to my original opinion of Nick Cage in this.






2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 13
First Time Views: 5.5

Thursday, October 7, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Unnamable (1988)

The Unnamable (1988)
I started watching 1988's The Unnamable tonight thinking for sure I had seen it.  Started it, couldn't remember it, then realized I had seen it.

The Unnamable (1988)

So there must be an unwritten rule that all modern adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft must take place in or around Miskatonic University and/or Arkham. After all, it makes good sense and if I were a filmmaker it is what I would do as well.  Of course, it doesn't mean you always have to do it.

Case in point there is almost more about M.U. here than there is about the titular monster/character here.  We get glimpses into the undergraduate life, the student body (and bodies), even people majoring in things other than medicine and the dark arts.  But all of this is just fluff for the main story.  Again a common problem, how to make a full-length movie out of a short story.

This one features Lovecraft's reoccurring protagonist Randolph Carter (this time played by Mark Kinsey Stephenson).

It is typical late 80s fare. Lots of gore. Lots of implied sexual antics.  

In this second viewing (or third, who knows) I can help but think Randolph Carter here is kind of a jerk. By the time he comes around to helping anyone half the cast is dead. Yeah, it's a horror flick people are going to die, but his laissez-faire attitude borders on sociopathic negligence rather than a cool distance.

I wanted to also watch The Unnamable II but I can't find it anywhere.  This is also a problem I am having with other Lovecraft-based flicks.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 11
First Time Views: 4.5

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Thing on the Doorstep (2014)

The Thing on the Doorstep (2014)
Ok. I can already tell that a Lovecraft film-fest is going to be rough.  Lovecraft's writings rarely translate well to the screen, this one is no exception.

The Thing on the Doorstep (2014)

This one looks like it was a student film, except everyone looks too old to be a student. 

The story sort of follows the Lovecraft short story, updated to modern times.

The cast is all unknowns. For most of them, this is their only film credit.  

The filming has an odd sepia tone to it that I thought was more than a little annoying. It certainly gave it a solid straight-to-video vibe about it. 

Again this video commits the worst sin a horror movie can; it was boring. I made it halfway through and ended up fast-forwarding to the end.  I am sure I missed nothing.   But given that I can only give myself half a point.  


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 10
First Time Views: 4.5

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: From Beyond (1986) & Banshee Chapter (2013)

From Beyond (1986) might have been the very first Lovecraft-based movie I ever saw.  I remember having the poster of it hanging in my room until I went off to college and then my brother had it in his room.  I was pleased to also find a new movie based on the same Lovecraft short story and this film.

From Beyond (1986)
From Beyond (1986)

I have been re-watching Star Trek: Enterprise, so I have been getting a fairly constant dose of Jeffrey Combs, but he looks so damn young here.  Incidentally, the doors in the psych ward make the same noise as the doors on classic Trek. 

This movie reunites Combs with Barbara Crampton, director Stuart Gordon, and producer Brian Yuzna.  Gordon wanted a core set of actors he could work with to do a bunch of Lovecraft's stories.  It's didn't quite turn out that way, which is too bad really.  Crampton and Combs have great on-screen chemistry; especially considering they have no scenes where they are "romantically" linked.  This is also the best of the batch of the Lovecraft movies.  Having Barbara Crampton as Dr. Katherine McMichaels, a strong woman as a Lovecraft protagonist is fantastic.   Combs does a great job as Tillinghast and you never once think of him as West from Re-Animator.  Ted Sorel was also fantastic as the mad Dr. Edward Pretorius. 

The movie holds up really well. The only things that seem "dated" in it are the hairstyles and technology.   Even many of the special effects are still great. 

I think I would have rather had a sequel to this one more so than Re-Animator.

Banshee Chapter (2013)
Banshee Chapter (2013)

I sort of got the sequel in Banshee Chapter.  This one combines the Lovecraft tale with the CIA's MK-ULTRA program. It features Katia Winter (who I adored in Sleepy Hollow), Ted Levine (from Silence of the Lambs and more recently The Alienist), and Michael McMillian (formerly of True Blood).

This features some "found footage" material, used to great effect in Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity and I think it works well here too.    In this movie, the dimensional shifting abilities are from a chemical created by the CIA, and some short-wave radio broadcasts over Number Stations.  I will tell you this, if you don't like jump scares, avoid this movie.  

The mixing of Lovecraft's base story, secret CIA programs, weapons-grade hallucinogens, and creepy urban legends makes for an attractive mix.

Katia Winter plays Anne Roland, a journalist searching for her missing friend James Hirsch (McMillian) who filmed himself taking some of MK-ULTRA's super-LSD (DMT-19) and has now disappeared.   She investigates the mystery and stumbles upon a recording of her friend picked up by a short-wave radio hobbyist who also happened to have worked for the NSA.

Ted Levin brilliantly plays Thomas Blackburn, a Hunter S. Thompson-like character.   This is getting better all the time.

Anne views some CIA footage on the effects of the drugs. She watches one of the patients/test subjects get attacked by some creature in the dark.  She also learns that DMT-19 is extracted directly from dead human pineal glands. 

Anne finally gets in contact with Blackburn and they do some DMT-19 created by Blackburn's friend Callie (Jenny Gabrielle).  Callie, who took some DMT-19 earlier, begins to show the same behavior that James did on the tape.  They see creatures that they normally could not see.  Much like how the Resonator does in From Beyond.  At one point we see Callie, all white-skinned and black eyes, vomiting up a ton of blood. It's a lot of fun.  

Monique Candelaria also appears as "Patient 14," one of the CIA test subjects.  She would later make another contribution to Lovecraft media in "Lovecraft Country."

Maybe it is my ears, but I found it helpful to have the Closed Captions turned on.

We learn after some scares and a run in with Callie that Blackburn never gave Anne the drug. Though she can hear and see the creatures.  We also find out the drug can be transmitted via touch and Blackburn was a subject of the CIA experiments when he was a teen.

Pretty good flick, but it sort of fell apart at the end.  I read the director ran out of time for filming and you can kind of tell.  But still, it was fun.  They even name drop Lovecraft in it.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 9
First Time Views: 4

Monday, October 4, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Re-Animator (1985, 1991, 2003)

Re-Animator (1985)
I can't do a Lovecraft film fest and NOT do the Re-Animator series.  Yeah, it is so loosely based on Lovecraft's Herbert West, but it left a long shadow, for good or ill, on all future Lovecraft film adaptions.

Re-Animator (1985)

The first thing I notice about this is how freaking young Jeffery Combs is.  Secondly how much gratuitous nudity there is in this.  Third, re-animated humans are SUPER STRONG!

The scene where they reanimated Rufus the cat has stuck with me for years. Pretty much everyone in this is a little forgettable, save for Jeffery Combs as Herbert West and David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill.  Yes, Barbara Crampton is in it as Meg doing what she does best, screaming and getting naked. 

The version I just watched on the Midnight Pulp did not have the infamous "head giving head" scene, nor did it have the scene where West is injecting some of the reagent into himself like heroin. That might be in the sequel.  Which is for later tonight.  Though this one ends fairly definitively with West, Hill and Meg all dying in the end.  Yeah...I know the title of the movie here.

I have seen this movie, I don't know now, maybe three dozen times.  Never fails to amuse and entertain.  Though it has been a few years since I last saw it and I am surprised which parts seemed to new to me.

I might need to get one of the newer Blu-Ray releases of it.  Though that could just be my tired brain talking.

Bride of Reanimator
Bride of Re-Animator (1991)

Taking place after what is being called the Miskatonic Medical School Massacre, Herbert West and Dan Cain are still working on perfecting the re-animation process.   

This movie, along with the first, completes the Lovecraft short story, more or less. 

This one is also less campy than the first, which is interesting since the camp was one of the main features of the first one.  Although West seems a little more unhinged in this movie.  Almost out of character really. 

There is also far less gratuitous nudity and blood in this one. Of it's there, just not the same as the thirst movie.  I am getting the feeling the director and writers were trying to make a more serious horror movie.  The scenes where the "Bride" is reanimated are very reminiscent of the Bride of Frankenstein with Else Lancaster. The lightning and the rain in the scene helps that feeling. 

David Gale is back as Dr. Carl Hill, a fantastic bad guy to have really.  This also marks one of his last roles before dying due to complications from open-heart surgery.  Hill as a bat-winged flying head is really one of the joys of the film.  

The ending though is pretty campy and crazy.

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)
Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Oh, I am going to be dragging in the morning.  I knew of this movie but did not recall it until I went looking for Bride of Re-Animator on my streaming services.  I found it and figured, let's make a night of it! Plus I need a new watch for this challenge.

This one is different from the other two even if it is supposed to be a direct sequel.  We begin with the last night of the last movie. Young Howard Philips (hehe) is camping out in a tent with a friend when they hear someone go into their house.  They investigate only to find his older sister, but they are quickly attacked by a zombie that kills his sister Emily.  Wandering out of his house he sees the police take Herbert West into custody. West drops one of his re-agents and Howard picks it up.

It's13 years after those events and Herbert West is in prison experimenting on rats. Dr. Howard Philips has joined the prison hospital as the new doctor.  

The movie was made in Spain and sadly has a less than polished feel about it.  I was not surprised to hear it was direct to SciFi production, though I guess it was in some theatres overseas.  The presentation is SD, not HD.

They try for a "Silence of the Lambs" feel to the prison, Arkham State Prison.

Elsa Pataky, aka Liam Hemsworth's wife, appears as Laura Olney a journalist who starts an affair with Dr. Philips.

Philips and West set up a lab space in secret to continue their experiments.  Meanwhile, Laura keeps investigating West's background. The use of the original music for the research/investigation scenes is a nice touch.

West has discovered that the reagent is only half the solution, there is also this "Nano-Plasmic Energy" that jump starts all the cells.  They try it on a pet rat and it comes back to life and 100% fine...well almost.

Laura goes to interview the prisoner that West revived, but is discovered by the Warden. Who promptly gets his ear ripped off. Laura refuses the advances of the Warden and he kills her too.  They bring Laura back to life and use the Warden's NPE to make her normal, but it has some weird side-effects, like making her homicidal.   West also brings back the Warden, but he manages to escape and steal the reagent.  He starts killing prisoners and guards to bring them back to experience death over and over.

A prison riot breaks out and prisoners and the reanimated are all locked in together. 

SWAT teams rush in to stop the rioters. We also learn what happens when a living person injects the pure reagent.  Spoiler, it's messy.

This one ends with Herbert West walking out of the prison into the night.

It wasn't great, but it was fun.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 7
First Time Views: 3

Sunday, October 3, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Dunwich Horror (1970, 2008)

The Dunwich Horror (1970)
The Dunwich Horror is one of Lovecraft's most enduring tales.  We get the demented and evil Whately family.  It is the story that gives us the most information on the Old One and Outer God Yog-Sothoth.   There have been a number of movies based on it, but tonight I want to focus on two, both starring Dean Stockwell.

Double the Dunwich Horror and double Dean Stockwell!

The Dunwich Horror (1970)

So from the start, this movie is not 100% sure if it wants to be Lovecraftian horror of more typical 70s occult-themed horror.  

I do love how the Necronomicon is given to a coed to return to the library like it was a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Dean Stockwell is Wilbur in this one.  He is really young and does a good job acting, BUT he is not a good Wilbur.  That is due to the script really, not the acting. I guess they needed someone to charm Sandra Dee, and a deformed 10-year-old would not do the trick.   Ed Begley (in one of his last roles) is our Dr. Armitage and he brings the right amount of pomposity to the role. 

The biggest crime here is that the movie is so slow. The Whateley home in this movie is far nicer than it ever was in the Lovecraft tale.  

The effects are not great, but fun.  The image of Wilbur's brother is kind of cool. 

There is a lot of conflating of the Old Ones with some sort of satanic aspect, which is fairly irritating, to be honest.  But is it more irritating than Wilbur getting a "love interest?" Hard to say.  

Among other things, this movie is notable for a very, very rare, blink and you will miss it, Sandra Dee topless scene. This was also near the end of her very prolific career. She would only appear in a few more TV episodes. 

The movie ends with Dee's character, Nancy Wagner, pregnant with Wilbur's baby.  I guess he would be in his 50s now.  Sounds like a sequel to me!  The Bride of Dunwich!

The Dunwich Horror (2008)
The Dunwich Horror (2008)

This one has also been called "Witches: The Darkest Horror" and "Witches: The Dunwich Horror." This time the story moves to Louisana. 

Dean Stockwell this time plays Dr. Henry Armitage.  The movie is really not good, to be honest, but it is kind of fun.  It watches like a Call of Cthulhu adventure; exotic locales, strange artifacts, old evil tomes, guest-starring Jeffery Combs (as Wilbur no less).  Even John Dee, Olas Wormius, and the Knights Templar get name-dropped here.  Olas even shows up in a swamp for some reason.

Moving the location to the far south is an interesting one. I am sure in Lovecraft's time New England had its share of strange locales, but now on a larger scale the same "other place" is served by the backwoods southern parts of the country.  Or I might be giving the filmmakers too much credit.  I also can't tell if the effect of Wilbur being "slightly out of this dimension/time" is interesting or irritating. 

While it is not Lovecraft's Dunwich Horror and it is not very good, it kept me watching to the end.

So where are we at now?  I think it is time for another Dunwich Horror movie, this time make it closer to the Lovecraft tale and get Dean Stockwell to play old man Whateley! 


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 4
First Time Views: 2

Saturday, October 2, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Nightmare Gallery (2018)

The Nightmare Gallery (2018)
This one was on my list last year but I didn't get to it.  It stars Amber Benson, so that was a huge plus, but the reviews of it were pretty terrible.   

Well, one neat thing, the movie let me know at the start that there was a post-credits scene. 

The Nightmare Gallery (2018)

We start off with a grad student, Sanjay, who gets access to a book about Hermes Trismegistus. He excitedly calls his professor, Samantha Rand (Amber Benson).  She tells him she is on his way.  She shows up and he is not there.

Three years later, Sanjay is still missing and Prof. Rand is celebrating her anniversary with her wife, Dawn.   She gets a weird package in the mail from Sanjay with a note "Follow Me."  She stays up trying to figure it out but instead falls asleep at the table. 

One of her other students, Chloe Bishop, offers to help since her sister had also gone missing a few years ago.

They discover an image that might be a link, but call it a night. Rand falls asleep and has another nightmare of playing a dice game (the dice in the box from Sanjay) with Dawn, Sanjay, and Chole's sister (who she has never met).  She wakes up, coughing blood. 

She visits the psychiatrist and learns that his patient is drawing more of the symbols.  She feels she is about at a breakthrough but she keeps slipping in and out of nightmares, and her nightmares are slipping in and out of her reality.   She spends her time going between dream and reality.

And...maybe too much back and forth.  We learn that Sanjay and Colton (patient) knew each other and knew what was going on.  I have to give Amber credit here, she plays a downward spiral into madness well. 

Eventually, she finds her way to an extra-dimensional museum. Here she finds Sanjay who thinks he has been here for 10 years, not 3.  Sanjay has discovered the means to summon Thoth himself (half of Hermes Trismegistus).   Sam stops the ritual, but not before Thoth grabs her.

We next see Sam in the mental institution.  She is visited by Chloe but she only keeps repeating the same thing about knowledge. 

In the post-credits scene, we learn that Chloe was working with Colton, and he is not as crazy as he seems.  Maybe they are hoping to make a sequel.

Well. There are some neat ideas here for sure. Amber was great, but the movie was only so-so.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 2
First Time Views: 2



Friday, October 1, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Tragic Ceremony (1972)

Tragic Ceremony (1972)
Time for another October Horror Movie Challenge.   My goal this year is as in previous years, to watch 31 horror movies with at least 20 new ones. This year I am going to try a Lovecraft film fest, know full well it is (or I am) likely doomed to failure on it.  Lovecraft does not translate well onto the big (or small) screens.

But before that gets started I have (as in previous years) some "leftovers" of movies I wanted to see but did not get around to watching.  Tonight is the first.

Tragic Ceremony (1972)

Last year I spent a lot of time watching European, especially Italian, horror films released before 1973.  I wanted to get a good feel for what was going on in horror before The Exorcist changed everything.  

Tragic Ceremony is a Spanish/Italian flick starring American actress Camille Keaton years before her defining role in "I Spit on Your Grave" in 1978.

Four "hippies" spend some time goofing off in the country when their car runs out of gas.  They end up staying at the manor of Lord and Lady Alexander (Luciana Paluzzi).   Lady Alexander takes a particular interest in Jane (Keaton) of course.  The other three dudes witness a black mass where Lord and Lady Alexander attempt to sacrifice Jane. They stop it and everyone goes insane and they all kill each other. 

Jane and her dudes drive away (thought their dune buggy was out of gas?) and they head back to Bill's (one of the guys) home.  Soon everyone starts getting killed and no one knows who is doing it.

Eventually, only Jane is left alive, she had been killing them all.  She is committed to an asylum but is visited by Lady Alexander (who survived the massacre).  Jane walks out of the asylum and into a waiting car where she is transformed into Lady Alexander.  Jane's body remains in the asylum where the doctor matter of factly tells us she had been dead this whole time and possessed by LAdy Alexander.

There was a moment there where I thought I had found my "mystery movie" from the 70s. But it turned out not to be it.

I watched this one with my kids, but yeah it is not good. Though I will comment that Camille Keaton's Italian seem to me to be pretty good.  I thought it was pretty good in last year's Il Sesso Della Strega (1973) as well. 


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 1
First Time Views: 1

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Seasons Change...

But I am still here doing what I do! 

Today is the Autumnal Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere and the Vernal Equinox for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere. 

For me, this brings the march to darkness and of course my favorite time of year.  The spooky season of Halloween.

And do I have a lot in store for you all this year!  Starting off with a couple of hosting I am doing all October.

October Horror Movie Challenge

I have been doing the October Horror Movie Challenge n for years now.  I just got a new DVD in the mail today of one I have been searching for forever so I thought today would be a good day to announce that this year I am hosting my own Horror Movie Challenge.  

I am not doing anything wildly different than in previous years, and I am largely following the rules as set out by Krell Laboratories.

You have 31 days, October 1st to October 31st, to watch 31 Horror movies. At least 20 of these need to be first-time views.  

Currently, I am working on my list of movies.  I wanted to do a Lovecraft film fest.  But I am finding that there are quite a few Lovecraft-themed movies I just don't have access to.  So I am going to expand my list a bit.

I have even created a new banner image to use.

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

If you want to copy this to your own posts then here is the HTML code!

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://bit.ly/OctHorrorMovie" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img alt="2021 October Horror Movie Challenge" border="0" data-original-height="687" data-original-width="563" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HChDOvCcaE0/YUuGbeVKj1I/AAAAAAABe-c/HzukajBzTkAZRMqNPfdI8vTJ0DxBjHsuACLcBGAsYHQ/w328-h400/October%2BHorror%2BMovie%2BChallenge%2B2021.jpg" title="2021 October Horror Movie Challenge" width="328" /></a></div>

Just copy and paste that into the HTML editing window of whatever you are using to post.

But that is not all that is happening here. 

RPG Blog Carnival
RPG Blog Carnival

This October I am also hosting my first ever RPG Blog Carnival.  This October will be all about Horror in RPGs.  So kinda what I like to do anyway, but now you can join me.   I will have an official post going up on October 1st for you to see all the details and link your blogs/vlogs/social media posts back.

You can check out the details at Of Dice and Dragons the home of the RPG Blog Carnival.

I plan to talk a lot about horror and how you can use it in your games.  I am also going to spend quite a bit of time with other horror games and how they can be mined for ideas.

Once again October is going to be a very busy time here.  Hope you all join me!