Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
First Choice when I would have been 7 or 8, and I've always wanted to revisit it--which is why I shelled out fourteen bucks for a bootleg copy at this summer's Fan Expo convention in Toronto. In retrospect, I probably would have been happier with the fourteen bucks, but sometimes you just have to confront your fears, no matter the cost. Scream Factory's new collector's edition Blu-ray makes particularly effective use of the 5.1 Surround mix, especially during the funhouse ride sequences. It's easy to imagine The Funhouse being a cool, creepy night at the drive-in back in 1980, one that likely put many a fright fan off going to the carnival for good.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
Scream Factory, complete with a shiny new transfer an and eye-catching illustrated cover (the also-memorable original box art is featured on a reversible sleeve). It's no Halloween, but Terror Train is a cut (slightly) above most of its peers.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
him again, from The Beast Within) buying a German Shepherd and performing a ceremony to have it impregnated offscreen (doggy style, presumably) by Old Scratch. Later, Richard Crenna and Yvette Mimieux appear as a suburban couple whose ten-year old daughter (Kim Richards) is heartbroken when her beloved pooch is run over by a mysterious black station wagon. On her birthday, no less! Soon after, Armstrong shows up posing as a kindly ol’ vegetable salesman who just so happens to have a litter of adorable Shepherd pups in his truck, and he just can’t wait to give them away. At the urging of her older brother (Ike Eisenmann, a dead ringer for a young Davy Jones), the girl adopts the pup and names him Lucky. The next door neighbour’s Great Dane and the family’s lovable Latino housekeeper stereotype are the first to suspect the cute widdle puppy’s sinister nature, and they both meet unpleasant ends. Director Curtis Harrington tries his level best to make the puppy look sinister, aided by spooky music and glowing eyes, but it’s no good—the little guy’s just as cute as a button.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Scream Factory!). Crank this one up to eleven.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
11 scariest movies ever made, alongside indisputable classics like The Exorcist and the original version of The Haunting. For my part, I can't say that I found it very scary--it could be that Scorsese was responding to the lead performance by his sometime collaborator Barbara Hershey, who he worked with on Boxcar Bertha and The Last Temptation Of Christ. Hershey's fearless, strong-willed performance is the best thing about this supposedly true story, which sees a working single mother of three repeatedly assaulted and raped by a ghostly assailant. A sympathetic psychiatrist (played by a decidedly Pacinoesque Ron Silver) is convinced that the attacks are all in the woman's mind--a result of an abusive childhood and a troubled adult sexual history--but that doesn't stop a team of paranormal researchers from hatching a plan to try and physically trap the beast. The attacks are shockingly graphic, aided by a pounding musical score and startling special effects by Stan Winston (high-pressure air jets were used to make it appear that Hershey's skin is being groped by invisible hands). There's also some cool uses of split-focus photography, where characters and objects in both the foreground and background are simultaneously in focus (Brian DePalma used this technique plenty in Blow Out). But the triumphant, over-the-top climax, culminating in a powerhouse scene where Hershey faces the demon down with steely determination, is undercut by a final scroll which reveals that the attacks continued for years afterward. The Entity is a defiantly perverse bit of early Eighties studio horror, but a somewhat maddening one due to the unresolved nature of its antagonist.
Monday, October 1, 2012
For a third year in a row, I'm planning to spend the weeks leading up to Halloween watching 31 horror movies and blogging about the experience (you can check out my previous two October horror marathons here and here. I got off to a head start bright and early this morning, and you can find my report below. As with before, at least half of the movies will be ones I haven't seen before. I've been working up a tentative list of films since the summer, and stockpiling movies of every conceivable genre, nationality,and level of quality, so there are definitely good times ahead. Without further ado, let's wade right in with the two I watched this morning... Buster Poindexter!), as a hit man tasked with the unusual job of whacking an infernal feline. The final installment stars James Remar (Ajax from The Warriors!) as an artist who falls in love with a mystery woman (Rae Dawn Chong) after a run-in with a murderous gargoyle. This is a pretty slick production all around, a solid example of early Nineties big studio horror, and the cast is full of familiar faces like Christian Slater, Julianne Moore, William Hickey, and Mark Margolis (best known these days as Hector Salamanca on Breaking Bad). The creature and gore effects by KNB EFX Group (The Walking Dead, plus countless other film and TV projects) are top shelf. But the script by Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas screenwriter Michael McDowell) is neither funny or scary enough to be truly memorable. Stick with the original Creepshow instead to see it done right. Prophecy and Day Of The Animals, so a movie about rampaging swarms of poisonous ants featuring Robert Foxworth (star of Prophecy) and Lynda Day George (star of Day Of The Animals) was a no-brainer for me. But this slow-moving eco-thriller ("The Picnic Is Ruined!", screams the film's tagline) is pretty tough going for even the most dedicated fan of Seventies cheese. Construction at a resort hotel unleashes an army of insecticide-mutated killer ants who aren't particular about who they chow down on, whether it's the kitchen staff, the resort guests, or a sleazy developer and his arm candy (a pre-Three's Company Suzanne Somers). Throw in a dinky-sounding synth score and a slumming star of Old Hollywood (Myrna Loy as the resort's owner), and the formula for run-of-the-mill Disco-era horror/disaster movie is complete. The bloodless ant attacks, low body count, and uninspired direction by small screen veteran Robert Scheerer reveal that Ants was originally a made-for-TV movie almost immediately. Dramatic tension is represented by awkward reaction shots and slow zooms into expressionless faces. The supposed swarms of ants often look like the special effects department simply smeared raisins all over the resort walls. The only remotely funny/surprising scene occurs when, after a triumphant rescue, a helicopter's rotor blades blow the killer ants all over a crowd of onlookers. Unintentional hilarity notwithstanding, and even at a reasonable running time of just over 90 minutes, sitting through Ants is no picnic.