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Old 09-30-08, 05:43 PM   #105
Dick Laurent
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Lost Highway
Posts: 1,055
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"Dick Laurent is dead" ...and is now participating in...

The 4th Annual October Horror Movie Challenge!

GOAL = 100 (maybe next year)
Total Watched = 74

All films USA unless noted otherwise
Shorts 1 Min or less counted as 1 Min
* = First Time Viewing
WC# = Wild Card's 1-6


October: 1
1. The Screaming Skull (DVD - 1958 - 68 Min - B&W) *
"...Therefore, its producers feel they must assure free burial services to anyone who dies of fright while seeing... The Screaming Skull!"
Great little horror piece, one of those dollar store finds (I have a lot of those I'm determined to watch). I was pleasantly surprised by the creepy SFX. I love the theatre public service announcement that opened the film...classic!

October: 2
2. King Kong (TV/TCM - 1933 - 104 Min - B&W)
"...I got him!"
Obviously a classic, but I don't remember it being quite so graphic. I was a bit unsettled by the creepy, strange-smiling, stop-motion beast... and I may have been turned on by Kong undressing Ann... I sure hope not.
3. 2001 Maniacs (HDTV/FEARnet On Demand- 2005 - 87 Min – Color) *
"An eye for an eye."
Obviously NOT a classic…this movie was rather pathetic. Well, VERY pathetic. Sometimes bad horror just doesn’t work out.
25 Oct UPDATE: Well, after running the gambit of good and bad horror movies during this challenge, I decided this film isn’t so bad after all. I’ll take good blood and guts effects over a flat-out terrible film…anytime.

October: 3
4. Sleepaway Camp (DVD - 1983 - 88 Min – Color) *
"...she’s a…"
I’m an 80’s horror movie junkie, but this series somehow has always slipped by me. I’m glad I’m giving it the attention it deserves, because this is awesome! The special effects shot with the arrow is one of the best I’ve ever seen. And the ending…possibly one of the best ever for a slasher film.
5. Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (DVD - 1988 - 80 Min – Color) *
"Listen, you don’t have AIDS or anything do you?"
The series continues… with a lot more slashin’, a lot more flesh, and a rockin’ 80’s soundtrack. Some people think this is too comic, but I think it enforces the standard for the slasher-camp (no pun intended) formula. Lots of fun!
6. Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (DVD - 1989 - 80 Min – Color) *
"When I was young, my town’s water supply didn’t have any fluoride."
This one’s really an extension of part II. It’s just a year later in story time, as well as real time. There’s still a lot of slashin’, a lot of flesh, and another rockin’ 80’s soundtrack. Michael J. Pollard played a great role, and was as creepy and uncomfortable to watch as ever. Classic.
7. Blood for Dracula (DTV/FLIX - 1974 - 106 Min – Color) *
"For the rest of your life you’ll be with ugly people. You might as well get used to it."
Oh, my. This is just terrible. So much time is wasted explaining needless plot detail to death, with nothing happening. What does happen is not very interesting or effective. The best part is the vintage car driving around with Dracula’s coffin and wheelchair tied down on top. The licking the blood off the floor scene was disturbing (you know why if you’ve seen this), and I also could have done without all the vomiting. Blah...
8. Revolt of the Zombies (DVD - 1936 - 65 Min – B&W) *
"Buna, we’re learning to be ruthless."
This is a prime example of a film not living up to, or being as cool as, its title. Though the zombies don’t really revolt (or at least they're not zombies when they do), the plot isn’t too bad. This is really just a 1930’s B-movie. The jump cuts are annoying and hard to follow, and there’s not much to hold the interest of a zombie-genre fan. But the story is decent and the script is full of corny lines. Thankfully, it wasn’t much longer than an hour.
## Ghost Whisperer – 4.01 – Firestarter (HDTV – 2008 - 44 Min – Color) *
My wife and I love this show, and since it has horror elements I’m listing it and counting its time, but not counting it for numbers. This gets episode is the season 4 opener, and is rather uneventful. We say goodbye to Professor Rick Payne, and say hello to some goof-ball that gets to “hear” ghosts instead of see them. Eh, nothing really exciting. They’ve really been struggling to pair Melinda up with someone on this show, and I wish they would just give it a rest. JLH is a strong enough actress that she doesn’t need a side-kick. We’ll just have to see where this season takes us.
9. Event Horizon (DVD - 1997 - 95 Min – Color)
"Have you ever seen fire in zero gravity? It’s beautiful."
Well, after two bombs in a row, I decided to switch things up and watch something I KNOW is good. I first saw this film as a projectionist/manager for Regal Cinemas. I did my usual splicing the film reels together the night before release, and then previewed it for a quality check (as was required during that time). Boy, was watching this in an empty theatre in the middle of the night a BIG mistake. Not only was this quite unsettling, but it also made me kind of sick (which this film is known for doing to viewers), and all of that was magnified in the great abyss of my theatre. I love the film, and hadn’t seen it since that pre-first release day. But I remembered every bit of it, like I only saw it a day ago. Not many films have an effect like that on me. This film is a good example of why I love movies. …And just one more thing: Large Hadron Collider - Event Horizon.

October: 4
10. Idle Hands (DVD - 1999 - 92 Min – Color)
"You blew off heaven, to kick it with me."
This movie has always been a guilty pleasure for me, but a guilty pleasure that is validated by the film being truly freakin’ cool! Everything I need in a horror film is here, plus The Offspring cover The Ramones! I’ve had a lot of people watch this, and they all love it. I highly recommend it. And of course, Jessica Alba is always fun to watch. Love that angel costume...
11. When a Stranger Calls (DVD - 2006 - 87 Min – Color) *
"Ben: You gonna be okay out here alone? Jill: Depends what they have TiVo-ed."
I think this film gets treated unfairly. I approached this as more of a resurgence of the idea of the original, not a flat out remake. On its own, this film stands strong as a good thriller. Not great, but I had a lot of fun watching it. Of course it helps that Camilla Belle is gorgeous, and the house is nice to look at as well. It’s a keeper for me, but I know why some people won’t like it. And those people should just move on and find something else to watch.
12. The Incredible Shrinking Man (DVD - 1957 - 81 Min – B&W) *
"People don’t get shorter, Mr. Carey. They just don’t get shorter."
Cool 50’s horror flick. I’ve only seen bits and pieces in the past, but it’s the most effective to watch it all the way through. Effects shots are great, and there’s a good sense of terror that is prevalent through most the second half. This isn’t one of those everything works out in the end, kind of movies, but the final scene does wrap it up quite nicely. Very poetic.
13. The Glass House (DVD - 2001 - 106 Min – Color) *
"This too shall pass."
This is a great companion to When a Stranger Calls. A good horror/psycho-thriller, with some of the same elements: Cute teen girl; awesome house; someone in the house trying to kill the cute teen girl. I think this is a mix of The Shining and American Beauty. We have a family hiding terrible secrets and youngsters being exploited for their innocence. Then we have the father figure that slowly loses his mind as the film progresses, until he succumbs to being a flat out killer—justified in his own sense. One of the greatest horrors I can imagine is trying to get away from someone that wants to hurt you, and also who lives in the same house as you. Throw in the frustration of no-one believing you due to your age, and the no control factor, and you have quite the nightmare. This movie is often compared to Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, I guess just because of the teen peril aspect. I think the film is effective, but it is slow moving, so be prepared to fight heavy eyelids.
14. MOH - Jenifer (DVD - 2005 - 58 Min – Color) *
"Jen…if…er..."
Wow. I love Argento, but this one was hard to get through. Every time I thought, “They won’t show that…” they did. I was kind of surprised, even with it being Argento. I can always count on him to affect me, but usually his kill ripened images are beautiful to behold. He makes the macabre of horror/giallo a truly artistic endeavor. This, however, was a little less on the art, and more on the repulsion (for me, at least). I enjoyed the film, but don’t think I’ll ever watch it again. I also don’t think I’ll ever have a cat again…or for that matter, a horribly disfigured, beast-like lover…
## MOH – Jenifer, Working with a Master: Dario Argento (DVD, Special Feature - 2005 - 16 Min – Color) *
This was a pretty informative look at Argento at work. It seems he really believes he is making something beautiful, even when his subject matter is entirely revolting. I find it interesting that his actors and crew really know how lucky they are to work alongside such a legendary master-craftsman. I’m glad they don’t take that for granted. I know that I never would.

October: 5
15. The Monolith Monsters (DVD - 1957 - 77 Min – B&W) *
"Coffee is nothing but flavored…water."
Don’t leave the Bunsen Burner on with nobody there to watch it! Sorry, I just had to say that. Anyway, this challenge is really giving me a good chance to catch up on classic horror, and I’m discovering a lot of little gems, like this one. Unlike most of the other 50’s era horror I’ve watched, this film does an excellent job at pacing throughout. The intensity and peril develops a little bit at a time, never letting the fantastic element over-shadow the characters. The film also does an incredible job of presenting a fear in an environment that can be related to. I believe the reserved manic paranoia proves effective. The screams and horror are only used when needed, and never over-acted. The score does its job appropriately as well. Of course the SFX are impressive, though not anything groundbreaking. But groundbreaking SFX are not needed for this story (except for the fact that the monsters ARE groundbreaking!). I will point out that that the scale of the disaster further on into the movie is quite successful. And John Sherwood should have directed more than just three films (not counting second unit/asst.). He’s a great talent. Note to self: Don’t watch two “Jenifer” character movies back to back. The name is starting to worry me.
16. Monster on the Campus (DVD - 1958 - 77 Min – B&W) *
"You be careful. Sampson’s in no position to protect you."
Jack Arnold is definitely a director on the in-your-face perilous side of the 50’s horror movie spectrum, but it suits his directing style. One thing that really stands out to me in this film is the meticulous use of shadows; the dark—light back-and-forth works well. I was also surprised by the gruesomeness of the film (not much there, but what is there is great). Kind of an early slasher pre-curser. This plays on the beast-man transformation concept, but does it somewhat originally, or at least interestingly. I also found that the street-walking at night scene reminded me a lot of Blue Velvet. Nice surprise, there. Cool horror, lot's of science, fun to watch. Oh, and bravo for the worst mask I've ever seen!
17. The ‘Burbs (DVD - 1989 - 101 Min – Color)
"Nobody knocks off an old man in my neighborhood and gets away with it."
This movie cracks me up and creeps me out every time. It’s one of those movies that anytime you come across it while watching TV, you just have to stop and finish it out. But today I treated it right and watched it in its entirety on DVD. I still enjoy it just as much as any time before. I love the suburbs myself, and this movie is one I get real comfortable in—despite the weird cannibal cult that lives next door to Tom Hanks. That reminds me, I gotta get a bathrobe like his; looks super comfortable, and never in style. Anyway, the cast here is great. Not only are the actors great, but the characters themselves are a lot of fun to spend an hour and a half with. And this is one of the few Carrie Fisher, post-Leia rolls I don’t mind her in. My only complaint is that the DVD looks like crap, even being widescreen enhanced. This movie deserves way better treatment than this. Now I’m, “gonna go do something productive. I’m gonna go watch television.” – Ray Peterson
18. Morgane et ses nymphes, AKA Girl Slaves of Morgana le Fey (DVD - 1971 - 86 Min – Color – France)
"Quand je vous attrape je boirai vos déchirures - When I catch you I shall drink your tears!"
What is it with movies reminding me of David Lynch lately? Here’s the second one. Remember the One Armed Man, The Man From Another Place, and Bob from Twin Peaks? Put them all in a blender and you’ll find him in this movie as Gurth. Freaky, huh? It’s hard to enjoy all that writhing female flesh with this revolting dwarf running around. The Gurth character works, though. This movie is not for all, but for the likes of my wife and me, who have a special place in our hearts for exploitation and European sleaze cinema, this film is fantastic. The film is beautiful to look at, with sweeping landscapes, a rocky castle, and just as many ugly people as pretty. I believe that Rollin is the master of filming castles, and Borowczyk is great with the forest. Bruno Gantillon combines both aptly here, directing this Queen of Witches tale. The film is pretty slow moving, but if you take it all in (maybe a couple viewings worth) you’ll see it is a real solid story. This viewing for me was the first time I noticed Françoise being an Alice in Wonderland type of character, with the blue dress and white stockings, embarking on a magical journey. If you like Euro-cult cinema, this should suit you just fine.

October: 6
19. The Devil’s Men AKA Land of the Minotaur (DVD - 1976 - 88 Min – Color) *
"I believe the devil has taken possession of this village."
Well, I think that John Carpenter saw this film, starring Donald Pleasence, and then decided to film Halloween so that Pleasence could reprise this “ridding the world of evil” role. I may be off on my film dates there, not really a Carpenter historian, but you get the picture. Anyway, I kind of liked this film. It’s not really good, and the religious aspects are laughable (almost intolerable if you are a Christian). If you’ve ever seen a film spoofing devil worship and sacrificial ceremonies, well, that’s this film, minus the spoofing. Nothing really of note, but I did like it. It helps that Peter Cushing is in here with Pleasence, which in itself is worth watching. There’s a cute little girl that steals the award for best acting, though she does nothing more than stare heartlessly and stab people, and she also.......................
Spoiler:
Sweeps the front porch!
...so I don’t know what that tells you about the quality of the movie. You decide for yourself. Oh! And Brian Eno does the music.
20. Terrified (DVD - 1963 - 85 Min – B&W) *
"I’m your oldest friend…terror!"
Did Eli Roth direct this in a previous life? This is some good torture fluff. Not gratuitous torture, mind you, but the kind where you can see the fear in the victim’s eyes as the situation takes a turn for the worse. This isn’t too bad of a flick. I was entertained the entire time, and the Ken character (played by Rod Lauren) comes across a lot like James Dean. As far as a killer/terror film goes, this one serves it up quite nicely. And the scene where the killer’s identity was revealed played out well. I didn’t see it coming.

October: 7
21. Bloodlust! (DVD - 1961 - 68 Min – B&W) *
"Of all the girls in the world, I had to get mixed up with the daughter of a Judo expert."
Wow, this movie is great. I’m glad I never saw the MST3K version, because this film deserves full attention (without all that snickering). How did they show this stuff in 1961? There are some grizzly good death scenes in here. I actually found the kills rather shocking. Maybe I just wasn’t expecting the level of detail in the SFX. This had to have stirred up some parental radar for the day. I also enjoyed the set designs; the cavernous dungeon looked great. If you haven’t seen this, it’s definitely worth a look.
22. Cannibal! The Musical (Cinema - 1996 - 95 Min – Color) *
"Why the hell would I be jealous? I’m gonna die tomorrow."
I watched this as part of Alamo Draft House Cinema’s Troma Night, Tuesday events. I’m glad it was free, because as with most Troma films, I’d prefer not to pay for this quality of entertainment. Supposedly this film was acquired and distributed by Troma after it was made. Not really interested in the history of the film. Feel free to research it yourself, of course. As far as the actual movie goes, it’s okay, but I’m not a big Trey Parker fan to begin with (yes - the South Park Trey Parker made this). For being a musical/horror/comedy/historical film, it wasn’t so bad. I wouldn’t say I’m any better off for seeing it, but it was fun. The tone of the film of course is stupid, and it takes a while to get to the killing/eating parts, but it pays off when the blood arrives. Has a good start, too. It also helps if you know the Alfred Packer story to begin with. For me, I’m just not really one for middle-school humor, even when cannibalism is involved.
23. The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (Internet/YouTube - 1895 - 1 Min – B&W) * WC #1
". . ."
This is Pulp Fiction for 1890. I’m sure everyone was talking about this when it was first shown. I think this was very cool to watch. I’ve heard of it before, but I never really looked for it. Thanks to a dedicated team of fellow horror movie watchers, I finally was persuaded to make time to watch it. This is generally thought to be the first horror film, and I’m certain it was very effective when it was shown. Just the idea that a photographer would have the sense to replace a body in frame to create the “special” effect is in itself mind-blowing. It is really cool that during this time, individuals would have the creative drive to experiment so radically. But it is that creative force that has helped to bring us to where we are in film today.
24. Chaudron infernal, Le AKA The Infernal Golden Pot (Internet/YouTube - 1903 - 1 Min – Color, Hand-tinted - France) * WC #2
". . ."
I am taken back by how entertaining this was to watch. Not just from the aspect of it being an early short film, but the story line itself was very engaging. I wouldn’t think much could happen in such a short amount of time, but it really does. And the vibrant, hand-tinted colors were a real joy to see. I really wish I could have seen the audience reaction to this. I’m sure they were blown away.
25. Frankenstein (Internet/Archive - 1910 - 16 Min, 12 Min Footage – B&W, Tinted) * WC #3
". . ."
Here we go again with the David Lynch influence on my viewing…the frontwards filming, backwards playing SFX of the Monster coming alive was superb, and of course reminded me of Lynch’s front/backward scenes. But a great little piece this is. I thought I’d seen as many different versions of Frankenstein possible, but leave it to the 1910’s to show me something new and fresh. The film is great, and I really like the multi-tinted frames. I think it is very effective the way the different tints matched the mood and attitude of what is being shown. The scene where the Monster sees himself for the first time in the mirror, I thought, “Wow, they did a good job not showing the camera.” Then I thought, “Wow, they did a good job not showing the camera, AND this was made in 1910!” I believe this Dr. Frankenstein was the most successful in his creations. This monster can move the best, and shows the most emotions. Good job on using the visible frame to dress the set so well.

October: 8
26. The Devil’s Hand (DVD - 1962 - 71 Min – B&W) *
"We don’t question Frank. We just obey."
For my list I’ve been getting real comfortable and enjoying horror movies from decades past, mostly trying to make up for my slasher-youth, where I hated anything that wasn’t Freddy or Jason (and later, Michael). But I don’t regret growing up with such a narrow view of the genre. From about age 10 to 15, my childhood friend and I would watch the Freddy/Jason films, and then play all day as our favorite characters. We would even create elaborate scenarios for us to take turns being victim/killer (I suppose we had a twisted and overactive imagination). Those are fond memories for me, but that time kept me limited in my fright exposure. Our parents would tell us that the movies of their generation were much scarier because they didn’t show so much; more was left to the imagination. We didn’t buy any of that, and I refused to watch classic (or boring) horror, all the way up until I met my wife. She’s a huge classic horror fan, and she helped me appreciate what I was missing. Fast forward 13 years of great marriage, and here I am, catching up on even more retro-horror, thanks to this challenge. Even though I’ve discovered a lot of gems, this movie isn’t one of them. The idea of realistic voodoo dolls is good, but the effect and execution is quite poor. I liked the hair of the lead actor, and that was about it. Even the corny dialogue wasn’t campy enough to laugh at. Oh well, at least you got a short history lesson on my life with horror!

October: 9
27. Ghosts on the Loose (DVD - 1943 - 65 Min – B&W)
"Seeing things? Man, I heard him growl!"
This movie is quite unique for all of the elements that it contains. We have a misfit bunch of singers, a haunted/trick house, crooks, Nazi printing press, and a black guy that helps catch the Nazis (and a white guy that gets a weird spot sickness). And on top of all that, there’s Bela Lugosi. This moves a little slow, and is more funny than scary, but it works and has some great moments.
28. MOH - Pelts (DVD - 2006 - 58 Min – Color) *
"I don’t want anyone wearing this coat but me."
A great addition to the Masters of Horror series, and much more enjoyable (for me at least) than Jenifer. This film had the visual style of Argento that I enjoy seeing. The story is fresh, and the killings are new and very effective. Definitely not for the squeamish, the camera here dwells on horrid scenes, even if it’s too much to look at. As far as looking goes, the “skinning” scene was a lot to take in. I found myself turning away a couple times.
## MOH – Pelts, Fleshing it Out: The Making of Pelts (DVD, Special Feature - 2006 - 13 Min – Color) *
I always enjoy seeing directors at work, and when they are as legendary and strange as Argento, it’s a real treat. Still some pretty gross stuff contained in here, though.

October: 10
29. Final Destination 3 (DVD - 2006 - 93 Min – Color) *
"So let me get this straight; I'm gonna OD on nail polish, and Ian is gonna be embarrassed to death?"
This is my first Final Destination movie. The only reason I watched this now is because it stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the female lead. I really enjoyed her performance in Death Proof, and since she was pushed out of that story too soon, I decided to give this one a try to see how she’d fair. Well, not only did she fair just fine, but she was a joy to watch. I found myself really drawn into the film, and the elaborate deaths, though slightly ridiculous, were quite entertaining. And the DTS 6.1 Discrete soundtrack was the best I’ve heard yet for a horror film. I will have to make it a point to check out the first two. This also features Alexz Johnson who is from the Canadian show, Instant Star.
30. The Hitcher (HD DVD - 2007 - 84 Min – Color) *
"She really knows her processed foods."
Whoa, this movie was quite the “ride”…ha… There’s nothing really new here, or all that interesting. But I was entertained. The movie is beautifully shot, with very scenic locals and colors that really pop on the screen. It’s nice that this is as violent as it is, because this could easily have been a PG-13 teen thriller, but instead the filmmakers made good use of the R rating, and really ramped-up the gore. I especially liked the scene in the shed where the spider hangs prominently in the middle of an extended dialogue.
31. Teeth (DVD - 2007 - 94 Min – Color)
"What is wrong with me?"
I had to fit this movie in for the challenge. I absolutely love it! I think if John Waters and Tim Burton had a wacked-out love child together…that would be this movie. There’s not that much more I can really say about it. What can you say about a chick with teeth in her vagina? The film is very well executed, and definitely cringe-inducing (yeah, what you think could happen with a tooth-filled vagina, does). The scene with the gynecologist is one of the most unsettling, yet hilarious moments I’ve ever witnessed. Jess Weixler is gorgeous playing the lead. She really makes the character and does a perfect job conveying the fear of, well, the “downstairs” problem. Definitely not for everyone.
32. Shaun of the Dead (HD DVD - 2004 - 99 Min – Color - UK)
"Don't forget to kill Philip!"
What a rush of comedy and gore this movie is! Of course any project with Edgar Wright attached is going to involve a lot of over-blown sound FX and fast-cutting, minute actions, of which was perfected in that one UK show…

October: 11
33. The Hearse (DVD - 1980 - 95 Min – Color) *
"I know that you’re the one that’s been driving that hearse!"
So ghosts can blow up? This film lost me. It was bad, maybe bad in a good way, I suppose. But really it’s just a bore and the standard rules for ghosts/haunting are ignored. That irritates me. The trailer is awesome, though.
34. Quarantine (Cinema - 2008 - 89 Min – Color) *
"Tape everything, you hear me? Tape everything!"
This movie was fun. It had everything I was looking for on a Saturday afternoon at the theatre. There’s lots of thrills, gruesome kills, and a cute (though annoying) girl to watch the whole time. Great ending. I haven’t seen the original yet, but I look forward to watching it soon.
35. I am Legend (HD DVD - 2007 - 101 Min – Color)
"Fred, if you're real, you better tell me right now!"
I’ve seen this movie three times now, and I absolutely love it. Each time I watch it, I pick up on little details that I missed in previous viewings. I know this film has strong opinions both for and against it, but I enjoy the heck out of it, and will continue to watch for many more viewings in the future (and that other version doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned…).

October: 12
36. The Velvet Vampire (DVD - 1971 - 80 Min – Color) *
"Yeah."
Wow, really impressed with this one. I enjoy discovering lesser known horror/cult films, and it seems that the lesser known, low budget vampire films are usually the better treat. This movie was filmed on 16mm, and directed by a woman named Stephanie Rothman. I don’t know how common it was for women to direct horror films in the 1970’s, but this one is aptly done. The visuals are great. The small cast of actors fit the confines of the story just fine. And the story itself was pretty good. The desert dream sequences with the bed were very well done. The movie is definitely out of the norm as far as vampire films go. This is a nice, altogether gem of filmmaking.

October: 13
37. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (DVD - 1992 - 86 Min – Color)
"You must never forget the cardinal rule, Buffy; one vampire is a lot easier to kill than ten."
“You broke up with my machine?” This one was hard to pick a quote from. It’s filled with memorable lines through-out the film, and the script is pure Whedon. It’s too bad that the movie itself doesn’t match the ambition of the idea (or those words). Maybe this led Whedon to try even harder to perfect the show. He had a good 86 minutes to make up for. Over-all this is fun to watch, just don’t expect the quality of the show. There’s also a great soundtrack. As far as Buffy-verse goes, the movie may be the start-up, but it’s the low point. Too bad the cartoon never came to fruition.

October: 14
38. Chin gei bin AKA Vampire Effect (DVD - 2003 - 102 Min – Color – Hong Kong) *
"你睡在一副棺材?- You sleep in a coffin?"
It seems vampire films can really run the spectrum of good and bad execution. This one set a new standard for bad. Not only is it a terrible vampire film, but it’s a terrible vampire film from Hong Kong, and it’s filmed like a bad MTV video. And I don’t know if there was budget problems, or what. Parts of dialogue are left out completely, and there are some blood-squirting scenes where the water was never digitally enhanced, or whatever trick they used for blood effects. It’s obvious that some of the water squirting is supposed to be blood. I would have given up on this if the girl’s weren’t so darn cute. Too bad cute doesn’t equal cool, or even talented. Oh, and Jackie Chan has a guest part, but it’s nothing worth noting, or even watching.

October: 15
39. Amante del vampiro, L' AKA The Vampire and the Ballerina (8mm - 1960 - 10 Min, CUT from 85 Min feature – B&W – Italy/USA Short) * WC #4
". . ."
I want to fit in as many formats as possible for the challenge, so I pulled out the projector and screen and an 8mm short. This particular release from UA takes the full-length, 85 minute Italian feature and chops it down to a 10 minute silent piece. I’ve heard that the 8mm is actually better than the original release, which can’t be good if a 75 minute edit makes a film better. Not having seen the original, I thoroughly enjoyed this (maybe due to the flashing bulb and loud sprockets dancing… Ahh, real film). The scenery is fun and the make-up FX for the ending death sequence was good and creepy. It did get a little slow by the end, so good thing I didn’t have 75 more minutes to watch.

October: 16
40. Voodoun Blues (DVD - 2004 - 6 Min – B&W) WC #5
". . ."
Here we have a short film written and directed by the infamous Misty Mundae. It comes off a little like a film school project, but that’s okay, because this is very well done and probably the most effective short I’ve ever seen. I’m glad Misty was able to harness some of the power of Seduction Cinema and create something her mom should be much more proud of…

October: 17
41. Black Christmas (HD DVD - 2006 - 94 Min – Color) *
"I'm really not okay with any of this. I mean, buying a Christmas present for a serial killer?"
Why is this movie reviewed so badly? I think it’s a lot of fun, and really gets across the creepiness of the original. That’s just it, maybe this film is too original. I’m a big fan of the 1974 film, and its place in horror history, but I had no problem with the direction this film took. It’s definitely not a by-the-numbers remake, but I don’t think the original story would have held up to just another re-hashing. My only qualm is that my new favorite horror queen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, didn’t get more on-screen time.
42. Dance of the Dead (DVD - 2008 - 95 Min – Color) *
"But I don’t know how to shoot a machete…"
Best zombie-high-school-prom film I’ve ever seen. Really.

October: 18
43. The Madmen of Mandoras (HD DVD - 1963 - 74 Min – Color) *
"It’s called PAM."
Hmmm, I think this is the most stylized bad movie I’ve ever seen. It is a good fit for the drive-in, sci-fi thriller/horror market, but not really much to the story. The central idea is to show the head or “brain” of Hitler kept alive and supposedly ruling the world. Apart from the ridiculous production, the fact that the script sometimes refers to Hitler as “Mr. H” is a bit unnerving, as is the rest of the dialogue and, well, all the acting in general. The horror elements are obviously centered around Hitler’s brain being kept alive, and the fact that his petulance for violence is kept alive as well. It could have been a really cool film, but that didn’t really work out. Years later this film was re-edited for TV broadcast, and with an extra 20 or so minutes added in, it became, They Saved Hitler’s Brain! Catchy title, but I don’t think the new name and footage could have helped very much. I did find it truly disturbing to watch the Nazi’s carry Hitler’s head around in a transparent cylinder; some truly horrifying, yet hilarious shots.

October: 19
44. Frogs (DVD - 1972 - 91 Min – Color) *
"The frogs are driving me crazy, too. "
Here we have a dreadfully stagnant film that I think only serves the purpose of being a commentary on nature conservation. There’s so much that could have been done with this; turns out that a lot of nothing was done instead. I don’t know why this ended up so bad and boring. The directing is competent, the scenery and photography is excellent, and the cast are likeable, even talented. But the story and script are just plain terrible, proving that even with a lot of talent, a lot of crap can be filmed. Oh well, at least there’s good footage of some weird looking frogs. And don’t let the cool poster art fool you…a more appropriate title for this would be, “a lot of people die by being clumsy, and frogs are nearby when it happens.”

October: 20
45. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (DVD - 1977 - 80 Min – Color)
"I hope there’s not a maniac around."
How can you not help but love a film with this crazy title? I came about this by chance while surfing the internet one day, and boy did I turn out for the better. This film was shot on 16mm, and apparently never got a proper release. According to the director introduction, the film was lost to time, but had a small cult following for the lucky few that had seen it. I’d love to tell you that this is some astounding visionary tale that was misunderstood due to its crazy avant-garde style, but it’s not. It is what it is: A bed that eats people. But despite the lame story, terrible script, and cardboard acting, the execution is actually impressive, and a lot of fun. Considering the relatively zero budget, some of the special effects worked immensely well. This is art-house horror with a sense of humor. I’m glad this little film was found and given the chance to shine on DVD.

October: 21
46. Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms (DVD - 2006 - 73 Min – Animated) *
"Where are your heads?"
Well, as cartoons go, this one creeped me out pretty well. I love Hellboy and the surrounding story, but the imagery here was genuinely unsettling, maybe more due to the idea of what was actually happening. There’s the spider scene, the water out of the head, the killer artifacts, the skeleton clown…all very strange yet entertaining horror fair. This is a worthy addition to the Hellboy universe. It’s nice to see what can be done with the freedom of animation.

October: 22
47. King of the Zombies (DVD - 1941 - 67 Min – B&W) *
"[zombies are] Dead folks was too lazy to lay down."
This is a fun film to watch. The story works well, and the acting is entertaining. There is a black-comedy that underlines the story, and the slapstick script is pretty funny at times. The music is also pretty impressive. Not the best zombie film, but it presents a different take, and does so rather well for its time.
48. Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron (DVD - 2007 - 75 Min – Animated) *
"Somethin’s in the torture chamber…"
I love me some Hellboy, and this animated venture really outdoes itself. Cool story and animation, and the connection between this tale and the films really enhances the Hellboy video mythos. This was surprisingly graphic at times, but what you see is a great visual feast. And yeah, the line, “Ah, crap” really never gets old for me.
49. Dracula (DVD - 1931 - 75 Min – B&W – Phillip Glass Score)
"What music they make."
What a difference music can make. I’ve seen this film many times, but this is my first time with the Glass soundtrack. Though I cannot say it makes the film any better, it does add a dimension to the film that wasn’t there (or necessary) before. Over all the music is more distracting than anything else. Terrific score, but really not needed. But it does work quite well in the first lone confrontation between Dracula and Van Helsing. As far as the film itself goes, it’s Bela Lugosi in his most famous roll. Not much more I can add. He does have beautiful wives, though.

October: 23
50. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (DVD - 2003 - 73 Min – B&W, Color – Canada)
". . ."
This is the most disturbing horror film I’ve ever seen. I’m a huge ballet fan (go figure, right?) and I thought that nothing could be better than to have my love for dance and for horror combined. But the first time I saw this, I was disappointed that the film is more art and horror, and less ballet, so I quickly fell asleep. This time I watched with a more open mind, and boy was I blown away. The visual style here is terrific, and some of the images are just absolutely horrifying. In fact, this is the first time during the challenge that scenes from a film have haunted me even days after watching (I write this on 25 October). I can’t really express in detail how this film has affected me, but the best way I could describe it is that if David Lynch ever made a Dracula film, this would be it.
51. Dracula’s Daughter (DVD - 1936 - 71 Min – B&W) *
"You’ll do very well indeed."
Marguerite Churchill and Nan Grey are two extraordinarily beautiful women that make this film well worth seeking out. Other than these two ladies, there’s not much else here to see. I had high hopes for this sequel to Dracula, but it didn’t really deliver much. It’s a good idea, and the continuity from the last film worked well, but that’s about it. Too bad. Nan Grey, though…
52. Son of Dracula (DVD - 1943 - 80 Min – B&W) *
"The vampire can assume very many different forms at will."
This Dracula more than makes up for Dracula’s Daughter. The film is put together very well, and I was into the story the entire time. I was also impressed with the effects and scenery of this film. The spookiness translated very well from the screen. However, I was still pretty bored in certain parts, but the music pulled me back in at the right spots. No Nan Grey, though.

October: 24
53. Freddy Vs. Jason (DVD - 2003 - 97 Min – Color)
"I should've known you wouldn't have been able to stop killing!"
Coolest, most fun horror film I’ve seen yet for the challenge. I’ve been saving this one for the right time, and I figured (on a whim) that it would be a good break between Dracula films. Great break indeed. And I must say, as a life-long fan of Freddy and Jason, this film did it right, and succeeded on all levels. Still not sure about Kane Hodder being left out, but the Jason that is here performed admirably. Round two?
54. The Prey (VHS - 1984 - 80 Min – Color) *
"Worst fire I ever saw, and I know, ‘cause I fought it."
Worst horror movie I ever saw, and I know, ‘cause I watched it.
55. House of Dracula (DVD - 1945 - 67 Min – B&W) *
"Strange business if you ask me."
Maybe not the most popular, but I found this a very entertaining offering from Universal. The notion that monsters are self aware and may carry feelings of remorse is not that new of an idea, but this film goes one step further and let’s those monsters seek a cure for their ailments. I’ll admit that it is a little too neat how the various favorite creatures happen to show up at the Doctor’s castle about the same time. But that also is nothing new for horror movies. The acting is about what you’d expect, but the sets and backdrops are very detailed and beautiful to look at. Overall the film is a surprisingly decent quality considering its primary existence is to continue the milking of Universal’s classic horror. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
56. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Blu-ray Disc - 1992 - 128 Min – Color)
"What sweet music they make."
This is the be-all, end-all of Dracula movies. I’m not a big Coppola fan (I love his daughter’s work), but he really outdid himself with this one. Sure, Reeves is unquestionably the most irritating part of this, but even his performance fits the Harker character in some weird way. Of course, Gary Oldman sets a new standard for Dracula acting, and I believe his incarnation is the best to date. Winona Ryder is beautiful and entrancing as Mina; and Tom Waits really adds a perfect peculiarity to Renfield. I love everything about this film, the sets are wonderful, the costumes are the most amazing I’ve ever seen, and the score is pure genius. This is the first time I’ve seen it on Blu-ray Disc, and I was amazed at the quality. I’ve watched this film on VHS, DVD, and HD-TV, and this is the first time the film affected me as much as it did in the theatre. Words cannot describe what I feel for this film. Absolutely incredible.
## Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Costumes are the Sets (Blu-ray Disc, Special Feature - 1992 - 14 Min – Color) *
This film really outdoes itself with costumes. It’s really what makes the film, and is obviously why the costumes are considered “the sets.” But why no talk about Mina’s red dress???? That’s the greatest thing in this movie, but it’s not mentioned here. Oh, well.

October: 25
57. Invaders from Mars (LaserDisc - 1986 - 100 Min – Color)
"We don’t carry loose change into combat, Sir."
You know how annoying Anakin is in SW Ep 1? Try multiplying that by two, and you get the annoying kid that stars in this film. This is a somewhat cool horror/sci-fi film, but geared more towards the young-ens. There’s some rather stupid looking aliens (even the film calls them potato-like), but the execution of fear/trouble is steady throughout. The ending, though, it’s almost like the writers and director (Tobe Hooper) ran out of ideas, and just bailed. If you have kids, it’s fun to watch with them, but no little ones will bring out this film’s imperfections.
58. Frankenstein (DVD - 1931 - 71 Min – B&W)
"Now I know what it feels like to be God!"
This is one of the most visually interesting movies I’ve ever seen. We’ve all probably seen this many times, and each time I watch it, I’m still pleasantly surprised at what a visual feast it is. And the scene with the little girl meeting the Monster is always sad to watch. Subtle and disturbing.
59. Bride of Frankenstein (DVD - 1935 - 75 Min – B&W) *
"Alone: bad. Friend: good!"
Valerie Hobson is a beautiful woman, and this is a respectable sequel. I think the Frankenstein franchise faired much better than Dracula, or perhaps its creators took more time and care with their subject matter.
60. MOH – Valerie on the Stairs (Internet/STC - 2006 - 60 Min – Color) *
"I would wash you with my tongue."
Clive Barker story + Tony Todd = scary stuff! I get a kick out of stories where writers get wrapped up in their own work. This one was an interesting take on it, though the ending seemed like a cop-out. Tony Todd always creeps me out.
61. Hostel (Blu-ray Disc - 2005 - 94 Min – Color)
"I don’t want a drink, all right? I wanna see some art. "
These films coming to Blu-ray Disc are the reason I bought a BD player. Well worth it. I think that Eli Roth is the most annoying man in the film industry, but he makes great movies. I just wished he’s stay behind the camera.
62. Hostel: Part II (Blu-ray Disc - 2007 - 93 Min – Color)
"Would you like a smint?"
Hate it or love it, I LOVE it.
63. The Eye (Blu-ray Disc - 2008 - 98 Min – Color) *
"See death?"
Another one of those “ramakes”… again my philosophy is to judge the work on its own, and not consider its predissecor. With that in mind, I enjoyed this film immensely. Not the greatest acting/script/directing, but it’s entertaining. It’s the first HD film I’ve watched in 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio, and WOW, this baby blew me away on the aural senses! A lot of fun to experience. And there’s also Jessica Alba…

October: 26
64. The Midnight Hour (VHS - 1985 - 94 Min – Color) *
"Lookout it’s the midnight hour, baby! Owwoooo!"
How cool is this movie? What a treat on all points. Cool, cheesy young adult class mates (Reading Rainbow, anyone?); a chick dressed as David Bowie; Wolfman Jack narrating an awesome, rockin’ soundtrack; and to top it all off, a song and dance number! This will find replay at my house every Halloween.
65. MOH – We all Scream for Ice Cream (Internet/STC - 2007 - 57 Min – Color) *
"All right boys and girls, who’s ready for ch-Cheery Tyme?"
I wasn’t sure about this MOH episode when I started it, and afterward, I’m still not too sure. It had a good story/idea, the SFX were good, and the scares were creepy. But there’s just something about little kids eating ice-cream versions of their parents that just really got to me, and not in a good way. Still does. And what was with the clown’s nose? Did I miss something there? I liked it when the dude turned to ice-cream in the hot tub. That was pretty cool.
66. Prom Night (Blu-ray Disc - 2008 - 88 Min – Color) *
"…Hyphen… "
I watched this because my 12 year old son has been wanting to see more horror-related movies, but he’s still too sensitive for the heavy stuff. This is a great bridge from straight-up kid-fair, to something a little more intense. Yeah, if I wasn’t watching it with him I probably would have vomited, but the story did get its goal across, and it wasn’t done all that bad. Don’t come to this and think you’re just getting a remake, though. There’s really no resemblance to the JLC version of the same name. But this is a good option if you’re looking for horror-light. Really light. We’re talking Michelob Ultra, here.

October: 27
## Ghost Whisperer – 4.02 – Big Chills (HDTV/CBS – 2008 - 44 Min – Color) *
This was a pretty creepy episode in parts, and had a good message about guilt and righting wrongs. A little bit of tension in the Melinda house, but things are looking up…

October: 28
## Ghost Whisperer – 4.04 – Save Our Souls (HDTV/CBS – 2008 - 44 Min – Color) *
What a pleasure of an episode this is. I had to skip past number three when I saw that this took place on a cruise ship. One of my favorite episodes of Columbo takes place on a ship. There’s just something about the limited area of a vessel that really makes for an interesting story. Only so far one can go, ghost or not. A lot of fun. I do hope that one day I get haunted by an assertive, sensual spirit.

October: 29
67. MOH – Pick Me Up (Internet/STC - 2006 - 58 Min – Color) *
"This eliminates fear."
This almost eliminated my interest in MOH all together. ‘Tis okay, though. Every show has its rough patches. At least this had Fairuza Balk.

October: 30
## The Office – 5.05 – Employee Transfer (HDTV/NBC – 2008 - 24 Min – Color) *
Despite only three or so minutes of Halloween, I have to mention this just because of Pam’s Charlie Chaplain costume. Wow.
68. Vampiros Lesbos (DVD - 1971 - 89 Min – Color – West Germany, Spain)
"Mein Freund ist die Königin der Nacht. My friend is the Queen of the Night."
Franco really outdid himself with this one. The imagery, the scenery, the actors, the crazy jazz, it is all done exceptionally well. This film is also one of his more tamed endeavors. It may be lacking a bit in Franco craziness, but it makes up for it with a beautiful cast and a well executed picture as a whole. It’s really a shame that Soledad Miranda died so young in a car crash. What a gorgeous woman.

October: 31
69. Pulse (HD DVD - 2006 - 90 Min – Color) *
"[Typed] Do you want to see a ghost?"
Turns out a pretty girl can’t make every bad horror film worth watching. Why, Kristen Bell, why?
70. The Body Snatcher (TV/TCM - 1945 - 77 Min – B&W) *
"It was a brown horse, Mommy. "
What a cool, creepy film this is. The pacing is excellent, and the acting is on point. It's quite the horrifying story, with brilliant acting and production that makes this well worth watching.
## Ghost Hunters – Halloween Special (TV/SciFi - 2008 - 30 Min – Color)
I always got to check in with the “live” special, though this time I got bored after half an hour. Then I realized I was wasting time against the challenge, and I continued onward. It’s cool to look forward to this being on every year, but it’s a shame that we don’t get horror movies on Halloween. C’mon, SciFi!
71. Die, Monster, Die! (TV/TCM - 1965 - 80 Min – Color – UK/USA) *
"It looks like a zoo in Hell!"
This is the best adaptation of a Lovecraft story that I’ve seen yet. This film really captures the mystery and horror/fantasy feel that I get when I read Lovecraft myself. I think that’s the best compliment that a filmed book or story can get, the achievement of transposing the feel and intent of a piece of literary work, not just concerned with regurgitating the lines and scenery verbatim, but aptly translating Lovecraft to screen. The feel was right, and I had a great time here.
72. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (TV/TCM - 1966 - 25 Min – Animated) WC #6
"You can look all around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy."
What we have here is a staple of Halloween watching. I believe this is mandatory viewing for anyone breathing during the month of October. And that’s pretty much all there is to it.
## King of the Hill – 2.04 – Hilloween (TV/FOX - 1997 - 25 Min – Animated)
"Halloween is a satanic holiday! It was invented by the Dru-ish!"
King of the Hill meets Halloween. Good stuff. One of my favorite episodes next to the voting one (which aired just the next week).
73. The Shuttered Room (TV/TCM - 1967 - 99 Min – Color – UK) *
"I don’t want to go back there. That’s all there is to it."
After such a great rendition of a Lovecraft story, this one was a huge letdown. It seemed to be all over the place. The panic and confusion of the story was well portrayed, but the effect didn’t really pay off. I will say that this has the coolest, scariest door I’ve ever seen. What great imagery that was drowned in poor execution.
74. Halloween (DVD - 1978 - 92 Min – Color)
"It’s hard growing up with a cynical father."
What can I really say about this awesome film? I thought I had ruined it when I watched this last with Rifftrax, but I was pleased to know that it is just as good as it should be in its pure form. Sure, there are all kinds of things wrong with this, a lot of missteps, but over all this is an excellent work of horror art. The one thing that always impresses me here is the pace. It never lets up, and the superb, simplistic score always hits just right. “The Shape” is an awesome boogeyman.


STATS:

DVD = 45
HD DVD = 6
Blu-ray Disc = 5
VHS = 2
LaserDisc = 1
8mm Film = 1
Cinema/Movie Theatre = 2
TV/HDTV/DTV = 13
Internet = 6

Total Approx Min Watched = 6,032
Total Approx Hrs Watched = 100.5
Total Words in this post = 9,480


No checklist this year.....
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Last edited by Dick Laurent; 11-06-08 at 08:47 PM.
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