Brainee's 2016 DVDTalk Horror Movie Challenge List
First Time Views
= first time viewing
September 30th (after dusk)
1. ☼ American Horror Story: Roanoke
(2016): "Episode 2", "Episode 3"
2. ☼ Extraordinary Tales
(2013): Here's a good one for anyone looking for a short Netflix horror movie. I can see how the animation style wouldn't be for everyone, but it changes with each segment so it shouldn't be a big deal. Poe's stories are familiar, though it was nice to see them faithfully adapted (which most Poe movies, no matter how good, often don't do). And where else can you get Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi in the same movie!
2.5. ☼ The Strain
3. ☼ Beasts
4. ☼ Emelie
(2015): A bit disappointing given the 93% positive rating on rottentomatoes. The set-up was pretty good ... reminded me of the building tension in The Visit
(but with a babysitter instead of grandparents). But it really unraveled for me in the last third. It was as if the director had no clue how to stage thriller/suspense scenes.
5. ☼ Goddess of Love
(2015): Nothing terribly new here ... a Fatal Attraction
/Play Misty for Me
kind of story (but all from the crazy woman's POV). But well-made and acted.
6. ☼ Mortuary
(1983): Pretty decent 80's horror/slasher. The killer's identity is telegraphed rather plainly, but these movies aren't so much about the mystery. Pretty interesting cast, with the "final girl" played by a regular from "The Waltons", Christopher and Lynda Day George. And a very early role from Bill Paxton, whose performance is either hilariously awful or hilariously awesome (probably a bit of both).
7. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 1-4. Yep, finally busting open that giant Barnabas coffin collectors set and trying to watch this from the beginning. I had only seen some of the Sci-Fi aired episodes in the mid-90's before, starting around the time Barnabas was introduced. It was a hassle trying to record everything on the VCR, and I only managed a few weeks of watching. Though I liked the series fine ... it was just an inconvenient viewing method. Though the pace is extremely leisurely, it's very easy to just settle into the flow of the show.
8. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 5-8.
9. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 9-12.
10. Exorcist II: The Heretic
(1977): I haven't seen this in so long and I've been saving it for months on my DVR (recorded from TCM) just for the challenge. I thought it's probably one of those that's nowhere near as bad as its reputation (when compared to the classic The Exorcist
). Nope ... this movie sucks. When it's not boring, it's just laughably bad. With all the talent in front of and behind the camera, it's hard to believe they couldn't at least manage a decent film.
11. ☼ Species II
(1998): Breaking in my Blu Ray prize from the Sci-Fi challenge
Not a bad movie ... the original cast is back, production value is pretty decent (I have a feeling it sinks badly in the next 2 sequels), director Peter Medak is serviceable. Sure it's silly, and the comic-relief black guy is a trend from the 90's I don't miss. But it moves quickly and delivers on the boobs and blood.
12. ☼ The Lorelei's Grasp
(1974): Fun mash-up of fantasy and horror from the guy who brought us the Blind Dead series. You have to love a movie that gets to gratuitous nudity within 10 seconds, and features a girl's college where apparently the only class that anyone takes is bikini sunbathing.
13. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 13-16.
14. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 17-20.
14.5. ☼ The Strain
(2016): "The Battle of Central Park"
15. ☼ Beasts
(1976): "Buddyboy". This has got to be the only dolphin horror ghost story ever made
[Though as silly as it sounds, it was quite serious and good. You knew you're getting something interesting with Nigel Kneale as the writer]
16. ☼ Ava's Possessions
(2015): I enjoyed it. While not perfect, I give major points for showing me something new in a horror movie (in this case, a demonic possession recovery support group). This approach made a lot more sense than all the silly stuff they did for Regan in Exorcist II
17. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 21-24.
18. ☼ Species III
(2004): Sunny Mabrey is hot. That's about the only positive thing I have to say about this pretty pointless movie. Production values are pretty decent for a direct-to-video movie. I'm guessing the last movie in the series sinks all the way to Sci-Fi Channel Original levels. I'm afraid, but I fear I'll have to tackle it eventually
19. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 25-28.
20. ☼ American Horror Story: Roanoke
(2016): "Episode 4"; ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 29-30.
21. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 31-34.
22. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 35-38.
23. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 39-42.
24. ☼ Beasts
(1976): "The Dummy", "Special Offer"
25. ☼ Species: The Awakening
(2007): I thought this was a step up from the third movie. Not a great movie, but watchable. Having a competent male lead like Ben Cross helps, and the location shooting in Mexico gave it a different atmosphere than the others in the series.
26. ☼ He Never Died
(2015): I really enjoyed this. Henry Rollins did a great job with this funny deadpan performance, and I liked the touches of having this chaos of background noise (reflecting thoughts from an immortal lifetime). I didn't quite get one thing about Henry Rollins' character:
27. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 43-46.
28. ☼ Beasts
(1976): "What Big Eyes", "During Barty's Party"
29. ☼ The Penalty
(1920): Is this Lon Chaney's first horror movie? Well, it's listed as horror at imdb ... in truth, it's a straight-up crime thriller. Pretty good, but the industrial score seemed out-of-place.
30. ☼ Bone Tomahawk
(2015): There's a lot to like in this ... good cast, looks great, the look and sound of the "troglodytes" was really creepy, and the idea of combining a western with cannibal-tribe horror is a good one. My main criticism is that at over 130 minutes, this is way too long for the amount of story told.
31. ☼ Deathgasm
(2015): Evil Dead and Dead-Alive influences are heavy in this one. This isn't as good as those movies, but it's still fun. And to make the main characters in this movie happy ... THE TITLE SHOULD BE DEATHGASM BECAUSE LOWER-CASE IS FOR PUSSIES
32. ☼ The Unknown
(1927): Lon Chaney goes from having no legs to no arms ... the guy never did things the easy way, did he? The ultra-short running time (50 minutes) is due to long-lost missing reels. That's a shame because this is really good and Chaney gives a great performance (plus a very early leading role for Joan Crawford). The missing reels sound exciting (with a couple of additional murders) though fortunately they don't impact the continuity of the story.
33. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 47-50.
34. ☼ The Zodiac Killer
(1971): This movie begins with the title screen saying this movie wasn't made to win awards. Well ... no shit!
The murders are unnerving in their casualness that Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
had. But so much of the rest of this movie is some combination of completely inept, silly, and boring.
35. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 51-54.
35.5 ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 55-56.
36. ☼ Against the Crowd
(1975): "Murrain". DVD extra on the Beasts
set. Not animal-related horror like that series, but features the twisty creepy style of Nigel Kneale.
37. ☼ The Hallow
(2015): A pleasant surprise, which I fortunately went into knowing very little about. I thought it would be another slow-burn haunting story, but instead got a creature feature (with a little body horror and science fiction)
Once things got going, this was really fast paced.
37.5. ☼ The Strain
38. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 57-58.
39. ☼ She-Wolf of London
(1946): Pretty good movie that doesn't take the expected approach (of just redoing The Wolf Man
with a woman). Though I've seen way too many movies to not miss the "twist" coming from a mile away:
40. ☼ The Golem
(1936): Sounds like I probably watched the wrong golem movie (seeing this instead of the silent movie, which I've never seen either). This was ok ... but it was about 70 minutes medieval drama and 10 minutes of golem action (who had a rather silly look IMO).
41. ☼ The Mark of the Wolfman
(1968): Paul Naschy's first werewolf movie, which is inexplicably called Frankenstein's Bloody Terror
for the US release (despite having nothing to do with Frankenstein). Not as well-made as the Hammer and classic Universal horror movies this is inspired by, but still fun for horror fans with a few effective moments. There's a lot packed in here: the origin of Waldemar Daninsky, dueling werewolves, a Satanist vampire couple (whose interest in Daninsky is never quite explained), and a vampire vs werewolf battle (which was a bit lopsided since all this vampire could apparently do was hypnotize women, hiss, and pose with his cape).
41.5 ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 59-60.
42. ☼ iZombie
43. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 61-64.
44. ☼ The Face of Fu Manchu
(1965): And so begins my mini Fu Manchu marathon. Solid movie, and the "demonstration" of Fu Manchu's power was pretty chilling.
45. ☼ The Brides of Fu Manchu
(1966): A bit trashier than the previous movie, but fun ... with Fu Manchu surrounding himself with chained up beauties in a cool secret lair (which you just know is getting blown to hell in the end). But Fu only has himself to blame, since he made the Pink Panther's Cato his top henchman (actor Burt Kwouk was in Peter Sellers' Fu Manchu parody too).
46. ☼ The Vengeance of Fu Manchu
(1967): Either I'm getting Fu Manchu'd out or this is a pretty dull movie ... since it was a struggle to keep my attention. Probably a combination of the two. Poorly executed story of Fu Manchu trying to build up a world-wide criminal syndicate ... but we only see him meet with one guy in a cowboy hat.
46.5 ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 65-66.
47. ☼ iZombie
(2015): "Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?"
48. Nothing But the Night
(1972): I know I saw this before, but my mind was a blank for any details. It ended up having a truly interesting story with a chilling and shocking finale. But it took a while to get there, with the first half of the movie going off on less interesting tangents (including a romantic side story that never goes anywhere and an obnoxious "red herring" suspect character).
49. ☼ American Horror Story: Roanoke
(2016): "Episode 5"; ☼ iZombie
(2015): "The Exterminator"
50. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 67-70.
51. ☼ The Mad Genius
(1931): Listed as a horror movie on imdb, but it's really nothing of a sort (it's a pretty straight-forward melodrama/romance). Not that it's a bad movie ... it's pretty good. John Barrymore is compelling as the title villain. Director Michael Curtiz infuses the movie with style (as he did with his other 30's horror movies like Mystery of the Wax Museum
, Doctor X
, and The Walking Dead
). This is a great example of pre-code Hollywood, with a great deal of frankness about sex and drugs. And I felt like an idiot not even noticing Boris Karloff's cameo (pre-Frankenstein) since he was talking in a Eastern European accent and his face was grimy.
52. ☼ The Neon Demon
(2016): Having liked a number of earlier NWR movies (the Pusher
, Valhalla Rising
), I was quite looking forward to seeing how he would tackle a horror movie. Overall, disappointing. Sure, it looks nice and at times manages a trance-like atmosphere. There was just no substance to it. I felt hit over the head with the "symbolism" ... and NWR isn't really saying anything daring or novel. I found the way everyone spoke really annoying. Kind of like the sloths from Zootopia
. There would be a line, then a pause ... another line, and another pause. When they were doing this for the first scene I thought there was no way this movie could subject the viewers to that for the entire running time. They sure did
53. ☼ Tag
(2015): I have yet to see a Sion Sono movie that didn't intrigue me to some degree. And that certainly continues here. Right now, he's probably my favorite "cult" director. And you never really know what you'll get with his movies ... comedy, murder/thriller, ghost horror, musical, action, art-house drama, sci-fi. In a way, this hearkens back to his international breakout Suicide Club
(especially with an opening sequence that needs to be seen to be believed). And then it gets strange, shifting realities that left me not knowing where we were going next. And where it ultimately went in the end is something that I'm sure I'll remember (and is still rattling around in my brain). My big quibble is that all the CGI gore looks terribly fake (and isn't that usually the case).
54. ☼ Eye in the Labyrinth
(1972): A wonderful little find: a giallo that I never heard of (and has less than 250 votes on imdb) turned out to be really good. A jazzy score and a sea-side setting gave this a different feel than most in the genre. Not high on body count (though there are a couple of gory scenes), but delivers on the sleaze. And most importantly, it has a really good mystery story. I'm always pleasantly surprised when a movie's "twist" takes me by surprise. In this case:
55. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 71-74.
56. ☼ The Cat and the Canary
(1939): 30's and 40's comedy/horror can be a tough sell for me ... usually because the wise-cracking comics who audiences of the time must've loved typically annoy the hell out of me. Fortunately Bob Hope is an exception. His self-deprecating sense of humor makes him not seem like the asshole most of those others comics seem to me. And this is a well-made and smart movie, knowing when to go for laughs and when to play it straight as a horror/thriller.
57. ☼ When Animals Dream
(2014): Leisurely paced, but I enjoyed this take on the old werewolf story:
I think it's best to consider this mostly an arthouse drama with horror overtones rather than an outright horror movie (and to be honest, I didn't think the horror scenes were particularly well-shot).
58. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 75-78.
59. ☼ They Look Like People
(2015): A good low budget indie drama about two friends, with one of them suffering from schizophrenia. Not a horror movie, though it teases going there a couple of times. Still, I thought the relationship between the two male leads really gave this movie an emotional center.
60. ☼ Darling
(2015): Not really anything new here ... another take on Polanski's Repulsion
. But it was nicely filmed, and the lead (Lauren Ashley Carter) is kind of captivating with her huge eyes.
61. ☼ Baskin
(2015): Twisted and gory imagery that unfortunately didn't really add to much in the end. Didn't help that I've seen the
twist too many times. Kudos to whoever dug up the guy who played "The Father" ... creepy-as-hell, and apparently that's just how he looks (no make-up was used for the movie)
62. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 79-82.
63. ☼ iZombie
(2015): "Live and Let Clive", "Flight of the Living Dead"
64. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 83-86.
65. ☼ Hush
(2016): Mike Flanagan makes another winner. Not whole lot to this, but it's a taut white-knuckle ride.
66. ☼ What We Become
(2015): A pretty familiar zombie story, reminding me a great deal of the first season of Fear the Walking Dead
(particularly the parts where there's the suburban quarantine). This is better than that, for no other reason than the story plays out in 80 minutes and the characters aren't quite so annoying (but once again we're subjected to the character cliche that probably annoys me more than any other ... the moody asshole teen boy
67. ☼ The Strain
(2016): "White Light"; ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 87-88.
68. The X From Outer Space
(1967): Perhaps if the monster wasn't so silly looking (imagine a giant chicken with a tail and a saucer head, who moves around like spastic toddler) this would've been scary ... nah, that wouldn't have help
Kind of interesting how the first half was a standard groovy space adventure with no giant monsters at all. And we never did find out about the deal with the aliens, did we? Where's the sequel?!?
69. ☼ A Page of Madness
(1926): Striking visuals ... surreal and experimental in a way totally unlike American silent horror movies (even way beyond German Expressionism classics). But ... I didn't have a clue what was going on. At first it was captivating, but after an hour I was ready for this to be over. Though to be fair, it seems there was still quite a bit footage that remains lost from this one.
70. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 89-92.
71. ☼ iZombie
(2015): "Virtual Reality Bites", "Maternity Liv"
72. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 93-96.
73. ☼ iZombie
(2015): "Dead Air"; ☼ American Horror Story: Roanoke
(2016): "Episode 6"
74. ☼ Gog
(1954): A bit talky and not very "horror". But it's cool to see these old 3D movies (I bought the Blu Ray this month). Having not seen this before, the culprit for all the murders didn't turn out like I suspected:
(1931): Is it sacrilegious to not particularly like this movie? Pretty low on my list of favorite Dracula adaptations: following Nosferatu
(both versions), Horror of Dracula
, Coppola's Dracula
, Frank Langella's Dracula
, BBC's 70's Count Dracula
... probably some more versions if I gave it some thought. Lugosi's iconic performance and Dwight Frye's scenery chewing make it watchable. Everyone else is a bore. Too many interesting things take place off-screen. The stage play origins are very evident much of the production feels like the filmmakers don't have much of a handle on shooting talkies (or movies in general ... which is odd considering Tod Browning and Karl Freund were behind the camera).
76. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 97-100.
77. ☼ iZombie
(2015): "Patriot Brains", "Mr. Berserk"
78. ☼ Flytrap
(2015): It was on Amazon Prime for streaming and seems to have gotten some good reviews, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Oh well ... you can't win 'em all
Maybe this would've been a solid short, but there was just too little meat and too little resolution to make it worth feature length.
79. ☼ The Ones Below
(2015): It took a while going through the predictable motions getting to the endgame (I wish I went in blind, because review synopses pretty much lay out the first two-thirds). But by the end, I thought this was a well-made urban chiller. Word to the wise ... if The Governor moves next door to you, you better pack up and move before things have a chance to escalate.
80. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 101-104.
81. The Devils
(1971): Wild, grotesque, perverse ... this is my pick for Ken Russell's best movie. 45 years later, this is one of those that absolutely couldn't be made by a major studio today.
82. ☼ Dead End Drive-In
(1986): Not sure why imdb listed this as a horror ... it's no more a horror movie than any of the Mad Max movies (which this clearly draws inspiration from). The really strong 80's style is fun. Pretty much every 80's style you can think of is present in spades (soundtrack, music videos, hair, clothes, dialog, neon colors). There's actually a really solid and original idea behind that the filmmakers barely scratch the surface of:
83. ☼ Pod
(2015): Mickey Keating is a young horror director who shows a lot of potential. But I think his more recent Darling
realizes it better. There just isn't enough meat or originality to this story to make it stand out in any way. And if you're going to have a movie with mostly just three characters talking in enclosed environments, it's a mistake to have two of those characters mostly shout hysterically.
84. House on Haunted Hill
(1959): From my Vincent Price Collection II Blu Ray set, this is one of most "fun" horror movies.
85. ☼ The Mind's Eye
(2015): The Mind's Eye
, I watched Scanners
. I own Scanners
is one of my favorite horror movies. The Mind's Eye
, you're no Scanners
86. ☼ The Night Child
(1975): And here is a counterpoint to The Mind's Eye
... a demonstration that a movie can be influenced/inspired by another (in this case, The Exorcist
), but do different things to make a fresh movie. The build-up is slow, but it does a good job making us care about the characters and showing off the beautiful Italian landscape. Style-wise, you can see the similarities to the director's best-known movie What Have You Done to Solange?
87. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 105-108.
(1965): Where do they dig up some of the English-speaking supporting roles for these movies? Just go into an American base and ask who wants to be in a monster movie? I don't remember the MST3K episode for this, but they had to be giving the movie crap for having the American general look and sound just like Curly Howard (Three Stooges)
Gamera's kind of an asshole in this, wantonly smashing stuff and killing people. All that killing and the person he saves is the creepy annoying turtle-obsessed kid. Yeah ... Gamera is definitely an asshole
89. ☼ Sleepaway Camp II
(1988): Probably a good idea for this movie to go a completely different direction than the first movie. High body count, much more blood and nudity ... and not really any attempt to be remotely scary. What kind of summer camp has all the girls looking like they're in their 20's? Certainly not any of the camps I went to
90. ☼ iZombie
(2015): "Astroburger"; ☼ The Walking Dead
(2016): "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be"
91. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 111-114. I didn't skip episodes 109 and 110. The days where those episodes would've aired, the show was preempted for the Thanksgiving holidays. So they just skipped over the numbers, keeping the convention that episode numbers ending in 1 or 6 always are Mondays and episode numbers ending in 5 or 0 always are Fridays. [a convention the show does throughout the run, explaining what appear to be "missing" episodes]
92. ☼ The Strain
(2016): "Do or Die"; ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 115-116.
93. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 117-120.
94. ☼ iZombie
(2015): "Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat"; ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 121-122.
95. ☼ iZombie
(2015): "Blaine's World"; ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 123-124.
96. ☼ The Silenced
(2015): Not the ghost girl story I was expecting, instead went into sci-fi thriller territory. Interesting backdrop of Korea in the 1930's under occupation by Imperialist Japan.
97. ☼ The Dead Room
(2015): Very familiar story with ghost hunters investigating a haunted house. But pretty well made, brisk running time, and it had a surprise up its sleeve by the end ... made it worth watching for me.
98. ☼ They're Watching
(2016): The tone of this veers wildly (comedy to creepy horror to outright camp) and it doesn't all connect together very well. Though the batshit crazy last 10 minutes makes it memorable at the least. It didn't help that we (the viewers) are stuck with some incredibly annoying characters.
99. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 125-128. Matthew scared to death by ghosts just before he chops up Vicky Winters into bits with an axe! And the mysterious Laura Collins returns to Collinwood and creeps out Maggie with a story about the Phoenix!
100. ☼ Pharaoh's Curse
(1957): Decent little soul-possessing blood-sucking mummy movie.
101. ☼ The Woman Who Wouldn't Die
(1965): Well-made but all too familiar (with a "twist" that can be seen coming from a mile away).
102. The Haunting
(1963): Pretty astonishing that director Robert Wise sandwiched this all-time classic haunted house movie in between West Side Story
and The Sound of Music
103. ☼ American Horror Story: Roanoke
(2016): "Episode 7"; ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 129-130.
104. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1966): Episodes 132-135.
105. ☼ The Walking Dead
(2016): "The Well"; ☼ The Strain
(2016): "The Fall"
106. ☼ Dark Shadows
(1967): Episodes 136-139.