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STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



My movie watching has ticked down late so I'm probably over reaching, but I've had my heart set on 2 challenge ideas for this and I can't resist Fran's challenges so I'm gonna try...

🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻

Slightly amended to fit Fran's draconian, fascist, horrific, completely reasonable and understandable "no mini series" rule because it turns out if you build a list of Stephen King stuff that includes quite a few miniseries. The idea is to do 13 Stephen King films I haven't seen and one film from each of my conveniently exactly 13 fallen Bracketology teams. I'm probably gonna lose some more teams as I go so I might throw bonus films in there. And there's a bunch of King minis I want to watch so I might throw the in and just not count them here. And Fran's challengers. Or I might burn out entirely after Bracketology and spend all my time watching baseball and NBA playoffs. Dunno. Its in the air.


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STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



The Devil Doll is a really fun weird rear end "evil tiny people" movie that felt to me like an off brand Bride of Frankenstein spinoff.

In a good way.

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 01:22 on May 1, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Yeah, that's what made me think of it. The premises sound a bit familiar.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




1. Riding the Bullet (2004)
Directed by Mick Garris, Written by Mick Garris based on Riding the Bullet by Stephen King
Watched on hoopla, available on TubiTV, Plex, IMDBtv, Pluto, Roku, and Vudu.


King Spring: 1/13

Can’t start a King Spring without Mick Garris. For better or worse.

The epilogue of this film is told through narration by the main character and I think the real problem of this film is that the rest of the movie isn’t as well. I’ve never read the King novella this is based on but it seems clear the entire story is this one character’s journey through his own complicated emotion. Presumably told through narration that kind of story can be revealing and deep and engaging. In this movie there’s guy who doesn’t talk a lot but occasionally hallucinates another version of himself yelling at him. This seems to obviously be a replacement for a literary first person narrative but its a very poor replacement. It makes the entire narrative of the film confusing and borderline incoherent and I know almost nothing about the main character besides that he has some complicated feelings about his mom and he’s… depressed? Bored? I dunno. It was all really confusing and poorly explored.

Its weird enough that at times it bordered on funny but I dunno. Ultimately its just clear there's a deeper, more emotional character story in there and Garris just made the wrong choices in how to bring it out. All that gonzo comedy reads very much like King though and I'm actually really curious to read this to test my theory and see if his narration does a better job and this is just a poor adaption, or just a rough short story that had to be stretched out too much.




2. Cat’s Eye (1985)
Directed by Lewis Teague, Written by Stephen King, "Quitters, Inc." and "The Ledge" by Stephen King
Watched on hoopla.



King Spring 2/13

I am such a sucker for King's little self reference stuff so opening this movie up with our titular cat running from Cujo already started this thing off on the right page for me.

And really, it never stopped delighting me from there. The first story is just nuts and so sinisterly gleeful in its growing crazy that I didn't even mind James Woods' racist rear end in there, especially since the torture joke's on him. I was a little worried that starting off with such a crazy segment would lead to a fall off but then the second segment is just a great little classic Tales from the Crypt like tale of human evil turning back on em. But then the film still had to take it home and with two strong pieces so few anthologies every pull off the sweep and finishing on the worst piece could just dampen the whole experienc...

CAT VS TROLL! CAT VS TROLL! CAT VS TROLL!

Holy poo poo that was nuts! And awesome! And fun! And great! And not only did the anthology pull off a clean sweep of all good segments but I really dug the wrap around element of it it. Starting us with the cat in danger and then moving through him just ending up as witness to these crazy stories only for him to eventually become the hero of the entire tale. Its not as clever as a lot of modern anthologies try and be with this thing but its very effectively simple in a way you don't even really see coming. I mean, unless you look at the poster. But I was having so much fun that I forgot all about that.

AND it had a theme song! Theme songs are an automatic half star. Those are the rules. And I already loved this thing and was prepared to give it 4 stars. So guess this crazy, wacky, weird gem of an anthology I somehow missed my entire life is getting the near perfect score. Fitting for the anthology that pulled off the whole thing.


🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring - 1/13
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985);

Return of the Fallen - 1/13

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




- (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020)
Written and directed by Oz Rodriguez, co-written by Blaise Hemingway.
Watched on Netflix and Deb’s Bracketology Stream.


I love this film. First time I watched it was right after it was released and general opinions were pretty cold on it. I chalked it up to me just deeply connecting with the South Bronx setting and diverse cast of ethnicities that made me feel so homesick and true to the area. but I had this chance to share it with a bunch of people and to my excitement they all loved it even though most of them didn't know the setting the way I do. And I still really loved it.

The "homesick" thing is interesting because in a lot of ways this film on paper feels like part of a trend we shall call <b>Stranger Things</b>. A fad of "kid on bike" kind of stories that tap into the nostalgia of 80s films and that childlike sense of adventure and fear of the world, but the kid kind of fear that doesn't paralyze you or make you afraid to take chances like it does us adults. But while a lot of that stuff is basically recreating something we've seen before with those 80s kids and that Carpenter synth soundtrack this film is its own voice and energy entirely. Dominican, Puerto Rican, Haitian, Cuban, Black. Its a great blend of cultures and languages and voices that you never see in horror and is totally true to the city I love.

But what's also pretty unique is its urban setting. Its not kids riding their bikes around a cul de sac or going to the mall. Its not people driving through the Texas summer or on a camping trip. Its kids in the urban jungle dealing with their own set of obstacles and anxieties and threats. In college I made my first suburban friends and on occasion they'd talk about these dumb ghost stories from their hometowns or do something idiotic like visit an abandoned asylum. All classic kid scare stuff but stuff I didn't do as a kid. But all the other urban kids agreed, we had our own dark alleys, seedy overpasses, dark underground lots, and people you didn't mess with. We had no room for Women in White and Bloody Mary. So this is really a great and unique tap into that set of fears and anxieties that a community underserved by horror shares. And the film does a great job telling the classic gothic horror story in that urban setting.

Its not a classic or anything. Its plot and pacing and monster stuff could be nitpicked for sure. But its characters and energy elevate the film into something unique and special... at least to me. Also Method and Mero. I have a feeling this is gonna become one of my go to light October watches, the kind of Halloween favorite I can pop on any time and just have fun with.




- (4). The Thing (1982)
Directed by John Carpenter, Screenplay by Bill Lancaster, Based on “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr.
Watched on DVD and Deb’s Bracketology Stream.


I don't really know what I could say about this that everyone else hasn't already said. Its a classic and a masterpiece. One of my favorite films for sure. A near perfect construction of tension, build, action, characters, and affects. A wonderfully aged tribute to practical effects that in many parts looks better than anything made today with all the available technology.

A big strength are the characters but they work in a way unlike how we usually think. They don't overpower the piece and become iconic or anything, they're just the perfect collection of regular dumb guys in this hosed up impossible situation. There's guys just shell shocked and barely even holding it together. There's the doc freaking out but totally actually right about it. And of course there's Mac and Childs, who honestly are maybe a little TOO quick to adjust to things and start pointing guns at people. Seriously, good for the rest of the world that they might have stopped the alien apocalypse and all but... you do not want to be trapped in a dangerous situation with these guys. Mac's drunk, likes playing with dirty underwear, and can't even take losing computer chess without breaking something that probably had some kind of more important purpose. Don't you think? I mean its 1982. He didn't just get a computer for chess. I don't even think they had computer solitaire yet.

Everyone always focuses on the effects and with good reason but Carpenter's strength is really in tension building. Watching it this time I was struck that I didn't really remember how much setup there is to the film. When poo poo starts hitting the fan it REALLY hits the fan and you kind of forget all that earlier stuff. But all of that stuff is good and engaging and it all builds everything up into a fever pitch. Its Carpenter's bread and butter really and the film wouldn't be the same if was just all in on the crazy. Carpenter was a master of building his world and characters and making the entire situation increasingly worse and more dangerous. And he may not do it better any time than here.

I also love how utterly indecisive it is. Not just with the fates of Childs and Mac but in the path of who was infected and when. There's so many fates not really known or questions unanswered but none of them really matter. Its a perfect example of how that stuff doesn't have to be the driving part of a story and when its not it doesn't really matter that its not resolved. The sheer paranoid madness of it all was the point and somewhere John Carpenter's probably watching a Youtube video of some nerd trying to piece it together and laughing. I love John Carpenter.

Ok, I'm overtired and rambling. Its The Thing. Its a classic. Its a masterpiece. Its great. I love it. I've seen it countless times. I'll see it countless more.


🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 2/13
Return of the Fallen: 0/13
Fran Challenges: ??/??

Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011)
Directed by Jaume Balagueró, Written by Alberto Marini
Watched on hoopla, available on Shudder, AMC+, Tubi, and Vudu.


Return of the Fallen 1/13
Team: Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza; Eliminated in Seeding Round


Give me a second to catch my breath.

This is a slow, methodical, slow, deliberate, slow burn. Its not loaded with gore or violence or jump scares or anything of that type. Its final girl has no idea at all she's in a horror film and never feels any tension or fear. Its such a strange, different kind of film in many small ways. Really a very intriguing premise. A cat and mouse game where the mouse never really knows they're playing and the cat seems more put out to be doing it. Like some twisted Tom and Jerry or something. Except Tom's really, really hosed up.

It takes a lot of confidence to tell a story focused on a character like Cesar. To make the predator the protagonist of the film and the victim the antagonist. Cesar is sad and pathetic and entirely put upon the entire film, but he's also deeply, deeply evil. That's not hidden. There's trick or twist here. You get the basic picture very early into the film. But the entire movie plays with that, revealing how hosed up Cesar is and how evil his actions have been piece by piece and always breaking that up by showing him just struggle. Almost daring you to feel bad a little bit for this guy. You shouldn't. You don't. But because of the way Balagueró constructs the story of his struggles and failures and danger you almost instinctively want to. Like some kind of elaborate experiment in the power of the storytelling structure and our learned patterns with it.

Everything is built like the characters are in reverse. Clara is blissful nearly the entire film, completely unaware of how much she's torturing Cesar. Its borderline darkly hilarious. And one of the tensest scenes of the film is Cesar evading her. But at the same time the film isn't trying to get you to sympathize with him. Cesar is unquestionably monstrous and he's in no way likable or fun. Even when he's being affable its not only known to us that its fake but everyone around him seems like they can kind of sense that he's trying a little too hard. Its really well acted by Luis Tosar in that regard. He's able to move between his different modes fluidly in a performance almost similar to Anthony Perkins' legendary one in Psycho. That twisted character that hides his real face under a mask that seems friendly and isn't entirely fake... but isn't real either. Like some kind of unnerving uncanny valley approximation of what he thinks we want to see.

Its slow and takes work so it won't be for everyone. And there's never some big turn in that regard. But man, if you like a dark character study and methodical cat and mouse game this is very unique, very well done, and very satisfying. In a twisted sense.




- (6). Dark Shadows (2012)
Directed by Tim Burton, written by Seth Grahame-Smith & John August, Based on Dark Shadows by Dan Curtis
Watched on HBO Max, available on DirecTV.


Return of the Fallen 2/13
Team: Team Skellington; Eliminated in Seeding Round


Dark Shadows feels like a movie without a point, or a project without a movie. "Remake Dark Shadows." Ok... and? We've got a great cast, we've got a visual style, we've got something somewhat reminiscent of the original, or what I remember of it (there's 1225 episodes of the show, its just a LOT of stuff). But there's not much meat or what feels like a finished product here. It just feels like a bunch of pieces set up... and then meandering about for awhile... and then a big finish. It also doesn't really seem to quite know if it wants to camp parody or a melodramatic soap opera. It leans more towards the camp but I don't know if that's a deliberate choice or just because its not really sure what else to do because there's not really a plot. Like Eva Green's in here being just naturally amazing and theoretically there's a love triangle with that other lady but she's kind of just around and doesn't really seem to do anything. Like the pieces are set up... there's a montage... some gags and vague plot thingies... then... uh... she gets kidnapped and jumps off a cliff. Which is weird.

Also... like... didn't Barnabus just murder Helena Bonham Carter for manipulating him so she could become a vampire? But Victoria just manipulated him so she could become a vampire. And that's a good thing now? I think Barnabus is kind of a hypocrite. Also, you know, a mass murderer. Which is kind of glossed over. Like... Eva Green's not wrong when she calls that out. I mean she's a bad guy too but Barnabus just made another vampire. That's gonna be twice as many dead people going forward.

And what was with Eva Green's accent? She just felt kind of weirdly wasted. Chloë Grace Moretz too. Again, good pieces, no real idea what to do with them until the finale. And the finale's just kind of a generic CGI fight.

Also I'm not really one of the people who is sick of Johnny Depp doing his Johnny Depp thing but here I really wasn't feeling it. And it basically largely consists of him being mildly bemused by strange things from the future. Like there's not really jokes about them. He just kind of discovers stuff and goes mildly reacts. And that's most of what he does when he's not murdering lots of innocent people and kind of having sex with every woman he meets he isn't related to.

I dunno. I wanted to like it. But well... I didn't.


🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 2/13
Return of the Fallen: 2/13
Fran Challenges: ??/??

Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973)
Directed by Robin Hardy, Screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, inspired by David Pinner's 1967 novel Ritual.
Watched on Amazon Prime, available on Shudder and AMC+.


Now if someone had told me that the premise of Wicker Man is some guy finding himself trapped in a strange horny musical that leaves him flustered and frustrated I might have gotten to this sooner. I had no idea I'd relate so much.

Seriously, I've meant to get to this for years now but it always seems to fall through the cracks or get cut. But its May Day (Observed) so no better time than today. And really this did well to live up to the hype. Despite having seen the remake and having the basic knowledge of the plot and twist just by the film's reputation it still was a really good and engaging watch. Watching our uptight protagonist fluster his way through his own personal nightmare is something else. He's not really a great guy because he's a Bible thumping judgmental jerk a lot of the time, but he's not a bad guy because like he's trying to find a missing/murdered girl and a whole town is loving with him. And he knows they're loving with him but they just don't give a poo poo so there's not a drat thing he can do about it. Its very darkly funny and the whole weird musical pagan world he's stumbled into falls just on this side of too absurd to believe.

I definitely wouldn't have made it past that siren song myself.

Its legacy is well known but also well deserved, because this is if not the best of the pagan/folk horror sub genre its certainly one of the easiest watches I've seen and most seemingly rewatchable and enjoyable. Just a fun ride the whole way that I was really sold on once the protag just started stuttering his helpless objections to what was happening to Christopher Lee. And such a fun performance from Lee so different from some of the other more stoic performances he's known for. But really, everything was fun. The large cast of villagers, the poor fool cop, the taste of him being a jerk that kept what was happening from ever getting too heavy, the music, the gonzo set and costume designs. Really well delivered cult classic that I took a long time to get to but probably won't to rewatch.




5 (8). Varan (1958)
Directed by Ishirō Honda. Screenplay by Shinichi Sekizawa, Story by Takeshi "Ken" Kouronuma
Watched on Internet Archive and Deb’s Bracketology Stream.


No, its not Godzilla. Varan is totally different. He flies. I mean, not right now. He's not flying right now because he's tired from all the flying he was doing off screen. But you should have seen him before you got here. He was flying all over the place.

I mean, it is what it is. A cheap and lazy Godzilla knockoff made for tv to cash in. There's barely any plot, not a single character I can name or that had a plotline or anything, and Varan doesn't really do anything. Like he sometimes eats someone who crosses his path but mostly he's just somewhere isolated and then the military firebombs him.

If anyone made this but Honda I'd say they missed the point of Godzilla entirely. I mean the military are completely the aggressor who basically chase Varan out of his natural habitat, have big meetings talking about all their cool weapons to throw at him, and then chalk up killing him as a "victory for man." Its so drat striking a difference from point of Godzilla that it borders on satire. But if it is its done so finely that there's no traces of it. The film seems to be taking itself seriously. Its not trying very hard, but it seems to mean it.

I mean, if you really like kaiju action and wanna see dollar store knockoff Godzilla get all pew pewed by toy tanks there's a lot of that here. But that's all that's here. There is nothing else. At all. And as far as generic monster action its not even good stuff. Varan mostly just stands around and gets shot. And one time he spends like 5 minutes trying to get out of the pool and off his knees. It was humanizing. Everyone gets old.




6 (9). The Roost (2005)
Written and directed by Ti West.
Watched on Youtube and Deb’s Bracketology Stream.


Ok, so... its not great. Its clearly very cheap, "amateurish". But that's I think the important thing to consider, at least for me. This is Ti West's beginning, at 25 years old, made on the cheap with a lot of people in the same position scraping and clawing to make it in the industry and make something they can be proud of. I was there. About the same time, about the same place, scraping and clawing to try and do the same thing. I failed. The dream is dead for me. They succeeded. They made a film. Then went on to make more and better ones. Ti West made some great films and has built a career doing what I'd love to be doing. I could be jealous or bitter but I just appreciate it and kind of lived vicariously through them while watching this. Remembering where I was at that time trying to do the same stuff.

There's some decent stuff in here. Some good shots and used of lighting and shadows to make up for the low budget. There's some bad stuff. Stuff like the random images shown at times. An idea. They don't all work. But I think I can see the traces of Ti West's skill here. He tries to give his characters some backstory and depth, he tries to set the mood and build tension. Its not a home run. Its probably not even a single. But I think he made solid contact. I can see the learning curve in here and it kind of makes me want to go and watch his later films again and see the growth and progress and keep living my dream vicariously.

The stand out is clearly the Tom Noonan horror host wraparound and I wish it had leaned a little mroe into that. I mean maybe that would have wore it out but its tough not to want to see the best part of it more. But its fun and i think speaks to the core of the idea here. West trying to make a B creature feature with that old horror host framing and just lean in on the fact that he can't make some millions of dollar movie. It doesn't all hit but I found it charming.

Also that end theme song is awesome. I was gonna give it 2 1/2 stars as a film that missed the mark, but original kick rear end theme songs get half a star. That's the rule.




🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 2/13
Return of the Fallen: 2/13
Fran Challenges: ??/??

Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Gripweed posted:



Dracula Dead And Loving It

While an unashamed spoof of the original Dracula, up to creating exact replicas of sets, Dracula Dead And Loving It also takes inspiration from the later Hammer Draculas. Specifically in the depiction of women. All the female characters in DDALI are absurdly beautiful and glamorous. I mean, goddamn.

Amy Yasbeck, oh my.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
Written and directed by John Erick Dowdle.
Watched on Amazon Prime, available on Pluto, Epix, TubiTV, and DirecTV.


Return of the Fallen 3/13
Raiders of the Tomb; Eliminated in Seeding Round


To be honest I found this incredibly boring. I was worried going in since I dislike true crime stuff and hate torture stuff and many talk about how bad it is, and a premise of "snuff films" certainly sounds bad. And certainly some scenes get very uncomfortable and unpleasant but largely I just wasn't engaged at all. There's no characters or real story to invest in so while the actions of violence seen and described are disturbing, they all feel very staged and false. I don't watch true crime shows so maybe this is a very accurate faux one, but the construction of it just left me very distanced. Its all so constructed that the random pieces of "real" footage just feel like part of the show. And the characters in it feel very one dimensional and fake, especially when they're like admiring the guy. But even the ones who aren't don't even really hang around. Like maybe telling the story through a handful of commentators/investigators could have helped but it feels like there's 20 or 30 of them through the film.

There's just so much "things I can't even say" and "things you couldn't imagine". This film feels like its trying so hard to be shocking. And yeah, some of the "snuff film" scenes are rough. But its all done without a real hooking story. Even the key Cheryl plotline just didn't engage me because Cheryl's never a real character. She's just the plot device being used to loosely construct a story around this faux true crime doc. And again, I'm not a viewer of those so maybe its a good faux one. But there's even moments where the movie feels like its setting up something about motives or secrets or anything deeper and they just go unexplored.

I dunno. I was prepared to hate this and be offended, but instead I'm just sorry I wasted my time.




8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960)
Directed by Edward Dein, Screenplay by David Duncan, Story by Ben Pivar and Francis Rosenwald.
Watched with Svengoolie, available on FlixFling.


I mean, at least the "natives" weren't in blackface.

There's a lot of interesting ideas in here but I'm not sure any of them come together right. "Leech Woman" is a crummy title because it conjures up ideas of B creature features and creepy crawlies but there's no leeches anywhere. Really she's just a vampire... except she sucks the pineal gland, because every horror experiment starts there. Having to stalk men to live, especially when every man she encounters is such a scumbag. The moment when she turns on her husband is hilarious and well deserved. But it also comes like halfway into the movie and that's kind of the problem. This film meanders way too much on other stuff, especially the "African adventure", and kind of glosses past the more interesting vampire stuff and really burying that moment that could have kind of steered the film in a very darkly hilarious direction. But instead it kind of steers serious. Sorta.

I mean the last act is actually kind of absurd in how every victim basically everything they need to do to become as unsympathetic as possible. Our Leech Woman isn't quite a hero or victim, but she's not exactly a full on monster either. I think it probably would have been fun if she had. Coleen Gray really gives it her all in a role that borders on the silly sometimes. But she sells it and keeps this thing together, which is probably why I wanted to see her get a meatier role as either a vampire predator or an antihero vigilante. But she kind of just wings it short term until she runs out of time.

Shift that journey into the first act and shorten it, better time her turning on her husband, and have a little more fun with the premise and I would have really enjoyed this. But it wasn't terrible. It definitely had some ideas and good parts. Just didn't really take the time to put them together right.




9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991)
Directed by Tom McLoughlin, written by Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal, based on a short story by Stephen King
Watched on TubiTV, available on Pluto TV.


King Spring 3/13

Look, bullying is wrong and bad but if the town's biggest bully is named Chip then somewhere the natural order of things got messed up.

This is a solidly middle of the road King adaption. Like most King works there's a solid foundation of creepy sinister evil lurking in the peaceful town of regular old people. Also like most King adaptions its stretched out a bit much and runs through the motions in a little. That part is helped by a solid performance by Tim Matheson as a dude deeply traumatized and a walking advertisement for trying out therapy while two familiar horror faces in Brooke Adams and Robert Rusler help add support. And his roving pack of hyena-esque zombie greaser bullies make for solid antagonists.

At its core Sometimes They Come Back is clearly an allegory for trauma and the idea that if you don't deal with stuff its just gonna come back on you and possibly the people you love. The adaption isn't subtle with that having Matheson have a random "history repeats itself" conversation, a history of breakdowns and possible violence, and a therapist who is apparently good enough to see the warning signs and ask if he wants to talk. And Matheson does a solid job with it. But I don't think the movie really dug in enough on that. Exploring the consequences of what happened, how he and his family did and didn't deal with it, and what his past breakdowns were probably would have been a more engaging time than some of the just wandering about town and slow reveal of the obvious threat. Maybe even playing with the idea of whether or not this was really happening or just trauma and delusion. But its played pretty straight and that does drag a bit as there's no real surprises here. We always know where we're heading and we definitely took a bit of a scenic route.

The original King story also goes a very different route with its conclusion that the tv adaption gives the old tv cleanup. I understand that and don't hate it but boy would the original ending have made for something more interesting and ballsy. c'est la vie.

Still, this is kind of exactly the thing I wanted at 1 AM when I couldn't sleep. That kind of familiar and easy mediocre King stuff that just is sort of like a comfy sweatshirt or something to me. I wouldn't tell anyone to go out of their way and watch this, but I've seen a lot worse for after midnight can't sleep showings and this B horror stuff will always hold a place for me in that slot.




🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 3/13
Return of the Fallen: 3/13
Fran Challenges: ??/??

Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962)
Directed by Jerry A. Baerwitz and kinda Ishirō Honda, written by Sid Harris and sorta Shinichi Sekizawa and Ken Kuronuma,
Watched on TubiTV.


Wow, that was racist.

Not in the way you usually think with like blackface or stereotypes but in that really condescending and "white man knows best" way. Our protagonist is an arrogant, self important rear end in a top hat who talks down to everyone including his Japanese wife who he speaks to like a child calling her "little one" and "good girl." And he's in charge of everything. And he's always right. And everything proves his wisdom and brilliance. And even when he's wrong its someone else's fault. And for some reason he's in charge of the Japanese military.

Seriously, there's this whole sequence of events where he plots with the military to get more soldiers so they can force the villagers out of their homes at gunpoint so they can experiment on their water supply. But then his wife begs him not to so he heroically orders them to stay and for the soldiers to just keep them from using the water but go get them food and supplies to compensate. But then the monster shows up (he's got like 4 names and I've lost track) and destroys the village and kills everyone and rear end in a top hat's wife weeps and screams "ITS ALL MY FAULT!" That was so frustrating and offensive and maddening. And of course her husband comforts his "little girl" because she didn't know any better. She was just a poor, foolish, uncultured lady. ARGH.

Like if I could ignore all that I guess this film feels tighter and a little better constructed than the original Japanese film. That has no characters of note and really lazy plot construction. This does in fact have characters and plot. It all moves in a simple enough way. But oh my god I hated the character the entire world revolves around and his holier than though paternalistic white man savior bullshit.

Man, gently caress this movie.




11 (14). 1922 (2017)
Written and directed by Zak Hilditch, based on Stephen King's 2010 novella.
Watched on Netflix.


King Spring 4/13

I liked that, I didn't love it. King adopts a real Poe-like feel here and the choice to go narration with the adaption helps hold onto that King writing style that some other adaptions struggle with. But like many King pieces it goes on too long. But lets do the good stuff first. It has some very good, bleak setting and mood, some very gruesome gore, and a very effective and methodical tale of guilt and consequences that is familiar enough to classic Poe classics that its impossible to not recognize the inspiration, but is original enough in its Americana setting and characters to feel like its own thing. And its carried by a strong performance from its star.

I couldn't tell if Thomas Jane's accent was great or terrible, but it was so thick I needed to turn on close captioned. And really he puts on a pretty remarkable performance of acting and physicality for the role. I didn't see Thomas Jane at all, I saw this hard man. A man his loved ones calls "stern" and who smiles to company. But who you can tell everyone knows not to upset. Something sinister underneath. And anger. And a lot of that is in his physical appearance and costuming and makeup as well. Hair thinned and grayed. Skin beet red and dirty like it has permanent stains from a lifetime of outdoor work. Kind of emaciated skin pulled tight over the wiry muscles of a man who you can tell is strong and could hurt someone way more dangerously than some muscled up gym guy. The sort of guy someone who has been in a fight knows he doesn't want to be in a fight with. Before he does anything or plots anything Jane plays a man that scares me.

But again, the problem is the movie goes probably 20-30 minutes too long. Jane's Wilf goes from terrifying to terrified as his greed and anger turns to guilt and he's tortured by misfortune, misery, bad omens, and threats that walk that unspecified line of psychological or supernatural. And that's all good but it gets stretched out a lot. Its not that there's necessarily anything that feels added to bloat it, but somethings definitely should have been cut or tightened up to speed along the process.

I liked it, I really did. But it has that King flaw that keeps me from loving it or really recommending it to non King fans. Its highs really threatened to tip it over the scales, but then it would drag and slip back down in a back and forth for 100 minutes. 80 would have been better.

It did however have the most amazing birds and bees talk ever from Mom of the Year.

”I seen you with Shannon Cotterie. Pretty face and a nice little figure. If you're not getting a touch of that you're a fool. Just be careful. Fourteen's not too young to marry out here in the middle. Here's to Shannon Cotterie and her future bubbies, and if my son don't know the color of her nipples, he's a slowpoke. Just make sure when you're laying down with her in the corn or behind the barn that you're a no poke. Explore all you like and, you know, rub it with your Johnny Mac until he feels good and spits up. But you stay out of the home place... lest you get locked in like your mummer and daddy.”

Call your mom’s this Mother’s Day.




12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018)
Written and directed by Colin Minihan.
Watched on Netflix.


Return of the Fallen 4/13
The Vicious Brothers aka Digital Interference; Eliminated in Seeding Round


I liked it. I say that all weird like that because it is a bit of a shaky film that I've seen others express kind of bucked them. I do mostly get that. Its kind of convoluted and the plot is filled with twists and turns that definitely fall this side of logical. Personally, I'm not someone who is bothered by movie characters acting irrationally and i think viewers who tend to complain about that seem to forget that we humans are idiots and constantly make irrational, emotional, and dumb decisions. Still, this film have a fair bit of characters making choices in service of keeping the game going and the bronco did bust a bit. But ultimately I held on and really bought into the tension and somewhat wild story.

I think a lot of that is to Hannah Anderson and Brittany Allen who have to carry the film and the weight of the screwy plot. Allen starred in another Minihan film It Stains the Sands Red and while I liked that and thought she did a good job I also thought it was a movie that really demanded a lot of her role to carry the whole film and she didn't get all the way there. Here she's sharing the load and I think both ladies do a good job with it. Its a pair of characters that aren't spelled out for us. We're not given all the answers or details of their past or characteristics. There's enough to foreshadow further events in this film but no big exposition dumps of their background or character bios. But they both do a good job selling their characters and the hosed up situation they find themselves in.

Colin Minihan/The Vicious Brothers are interesting. I'm a fan of everything I've seen of them, but none of it really feels like the same kind of thing. Even Grave Encounters is just a whole other thing from Grave Encounters that instead of repeating what worked really, really goes hard for something else. And I think that's probably the defining trait for all their films I've seen. They all go big and try very interesting ideas. I don't think they're all home runs but they're all very interesting and I think enjoyable. And while this is a flawed film it definitely falls comfortably into the "interesting and enjoyable" category for me.




🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 4/13
Return of the Fallen: 4/13
Fran Challenges: ??/??

Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018);

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 08:05 on May 7, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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I think the original does a great job playing with the killer doll idea and being a pretty straight and surprising tense and scary horror. But I also think 2 is a lot of fun as like the platonic ideal Chucky slasher film.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988)
Written and directed by Andrzej Żuławski, adapted from a 1903 novel by his granduncle Jerzy Żuławski.
Watched on Deb’s Bracketology Stream.


I dunno. I didn't get it.

I mean I get large chunks of it, many parts, the vague idea. There's some great shots, some great costuming and makeup. I think its clear Żuławski did what he set out to do with it, and his granduncle's story, besides the scenes he was unable to film. The folks I watched it with certainly loved it and were transfixed. I was not. I don't think that's because of any real flaws. Some commented that they couldn't really fully follow the plot, but I just don't think the plot was fully followable. Part of that was the missing scenes and the inadequate choice of reading summaries for them over random footage. That was disorientating. But to some extent I just think the plot was very loose and its basic premise of magical, nonsensical evolutionary and societal (and in some cases technological) time jumps was just far too broad to really hold together for as long as this film demanded it to. There's no making sense of parts of the story's development because the development just doesn't make sense. But I don't think that was rally a concern of the film. The artistry of it was elsewhere and judging from the general responses of the people I watched it with it largely worked with its intended crowd.

Unfortunately I wasn't one of them. Arthouse isn't really my thing and loose storytelling has a limit for me. For a good while I was going with it and appreciating what it had to offer on some level, but its a nearly 3 hour film with three pronounced acts that move very wildly through non existent scenes. And as it went on my appreciation gradually faded, my grasp of what was happening gradually loosened, and I just kind of checked out. It was just too much and I spent the last 45 minutes or so of the film just kind of annoyed that it wasn't over yet. Again, not sure it speaks to true flaws of what the film intended (at least avoidable ones), but more to tastes and the extent to which someone can stretch themselves.

So I kinda hated it. But I don't think it was "bad". Obviously in some way I think it was good and in other ways others loved it. So it feels like it falls firmly into my 2 star "not my thing but I get why you like it" category.




14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998)
Directed by Dario Argento, Screenplay by Argento, Gérard Brach, and Giorgina Caspari (English adaptation), Based on Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux
Watched on Deb’s Bracketology Stream.


Was that a bad film? Unquestionably. Did I have a great time watching it? Absolutely.

I get what everyone thinks are the problems with this film. Dario Argento is known for making gorgeous, gorey, violent, sexy horror films and this is a weird, trashy, ugly film that looks cheap and stars his daughter in the most unerotic scenes imaginable. Which when you really think about it, as messed up as it is that he made the choice to sexualize his daughter at least its kind of a relief he's so drat bad at it. Besides that this is also Phantom of the Opera. An elegant, operatic, theatrical, musical classic that has been done again and again with grandiose and flourish. So you see "Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera" and you draw some pretty fair expectation. And this film fails ALL of those.

But that's not really its problem.

There's this thing you see a lot with hated films where people say "no one gets it, its satire." And sometimes that might be true, and sometimes it might not be, and sometimes it is satire but if no one got it then you probably hosed up. I even see that in a few reviews about this film. But this isn't a satire, its a parody. To me I can clearly see what Argento is shooting for here and that's "Mel Brooks." Argento is trying so hard to be Brooks here that a couple of times he straight up steals gags like the mole one. To me its clear that Argento's trying to do something he's never really done and make a parody to fit the times. The problem is he isn't funny.

I mean some of the jokes are very funny. At quite a few times I was cracking up at the sheer absurdity of what was happening. And you can't tell me that wasn't intentional. So much here is so obviously over the top and absurd that it only makes sense if you view this movie as a comedy. If you think this is a straight telling than half of the film makes no sense. There's a scene with a bunch of people trapped on a rat trap. That's clearly a joke.

But jokes aren't just setups and punchlines. They're tone and timing. We all know people who think they're funny and they're not. It can be painful. And Argento isn't funny. Some of his cast is. Some of the scenes and effects are. Many of situations are. But the whole doesn't work because its off. Its playing things just a touch too straight and creating a weird tonal disconnect. Argento's still Argento and a lot of his film is still in his voice. And when an unfunny person tells a joke very dryly, sometimes stuff gets lost in translation. Sometimes it doesn't even sound like a joke.

Still, despite its many, many flaws I really had a great time. A lot of that is definitely down to watching it with a group. We were able to laugh at the bad stuff and entertain ourselves before the next big legitimate laugh came. And there were a lot of them. Argento did do a good job adapting his gore and effects game to the comedy by just going so far over the top and aiming for the absurd. But the film also makes no sense. Characters kind of come and go randomly and their motivations and feelings change on a dime. It felt like Argento took the basic Phantom story, wrote up a bunch of changes and gags, and then just kept the outline intact without actually resolving anything. So the end of Phantom calls for Raoul to go save his love Christine. So that happens. Even though Raoul's been played off as a joke all film and Christine has shown no interest in him and tons of interest in the Phantom. And then the Phantom has to romantically sacrifice himself so... now she loves him again? And he wants Raoul to save her. From who? What's going on? Argento doesn't seem overly concerned that none of this makes sense because he's there for the silly rat jokes. Which are funny! But the rest is weird.

And that's basically it. Funny, but weird. Intentional, but off. Argento tried something and while he didn't miss completely, he did ultimately miss. Still, I had a great time. Maybe I wouldn't have in a different setting but I did this time.



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 4/13
Return of the Fallen: 4/13

Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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I honestly find all the Tremors sequels kind of harmless fun. Not worth going out of your way for, but perfectly fine matinee favor. And they actually kind of hold continuity and tell some character stories, which is kind of nice. The most recent one actually kind of was surprisingly above their average.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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Lurdiak posted:

Hey y'all, I won't be participating in this challenge because I've got some personal stuff going on this month, but I hope it's not presumptuous of me to offer you the January Horror Essentials movie lists as a potential resource to help you choose what to watch.

From the 2019 thread

From the 2021 thread

All of these come with the highest recommendation if you've never seen them, as they are certified, bonafide, genuine horror essentials.



Good looking out. I never did get to Kwaidan or Eyes Without A Face and I should top them off. Maybe Maniac too. Not my think but I'm in a better place for that kind of movie right now than I was back in January.

Hope things work out for you.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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Butt first, let's
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15 (18). Nina Forever (2015)
Written and directed by brothers Ben and Chris Blaine.
Watched on Amazon Prime, available on Shudder, AMC+, Crackle, Fubo, Plex, Roku, Tubi, and Vudu.


A very interesting film. A premise that feels at the same time very dark, very sentimental, very funny, and very deep. But also kind of confusing. The film kind of swerves you on what the point of the metaphor is. It does so effectively but in a way that left me not quite sure what I was to take away from it. And its kind of hard to talk more without spoilers.

The presumed idea that Nina is about Rob's grief and inability to move on is the easy thing. Its obviously there and barely even subtext since Nina and her parents all but state the mission statement repeatedly. And that's definitely Rob's story. He's stuck in place when we meet him and clearly in a bad place having tried to kill himself and looking to hurt himself. Holly helps him reunite with Nina, say goodbye, confront what he's doing, and heal. But Nina isn't done and moves on to Holly. And its an interesting little shift that feels like its Holly kind of taking on Rob's obsession but is then revealed to be something much deeper. The end twist that Nina's been haunting Holly the entire time, not Rob, is very well executed. The kind of twist that makes total sense and makes you feel a little silly if you didn't get it. But truthfully I didn't fully get it. Because the film focuses so much on the swerve of Rob's grief it feels like it neglects Holly's dark obsessions or fascinations that drew her to Rob in the first place and Nina to her.

Calling it a "swerve" probably isn't entirely fair. The film is really doing both things, but it does feel like in fully realizing one it left me kind of wanting for more of the other. I ended the film without any real sense of completion or satisfaction but instead wanting to know more. Maybe that's a good thing but it leaves me feeling off and unsure what I think of things.

But I did enjoy everything up to that end point... even including the end point. Its a well acted piece from all 3 leads, especially Fiona O'Shaughnessy and Abigail Hardingham. Its very interesting ideas very well executed. Its darkly funny in a very dry way that can be hard to nail. Its a little sexy in a really dark and weird way. It really pulled off everything I think it wanted to do and is an impressive debut for the brothers. I'd love to see what else they have in them but its a little concerning they haven't done anything in the 6 years since. But I hope to see more because this is a very interesting film that left me wanting more.




16 (19). Area 51 (2015)
Written and directed by Oren Peli, co-written by Christopher Denham
Available on Paramount+.


Return of the Fallen 5/13
Team “Mortgages are Hell”; Eliminated in Seeding Round


That was... ok. That might be generous but it never really lost my interest so I can't be too harsh on it. But Area 51 has a lot of fundamental problems. Structurally its very poorly balanced. Way too much of the film is spent in setup that doesn't have a lot of setup. Its like being stuck in a bad video game where you're constantly old to go to NPC X to get Macguffin A. They'll all be needed later to open some door or disable some device or something but its this long chain just collecting things that aren't that interesting from people that aren't that interesting in scenes that aren't that interesting. You can trim it down a lot into a perfectly fine first act setup but it drags and ends up taking up like the entire first half of the film.

Things pick up a bit when they get to Area 51 finally and it starts to build some tension through the basic act of running around with a camera and yelling. But there's still not a lot of meat. We get that laundry list of collected items being run through and then we get a lot of quick glimpses of alieny stuff. But we only really get glimpses and tastes. Despite the characters making some of the poorest possible decisions they could to advance us deeper and deeper into the unexplained alien world we still never really get real looks at anything or meaty scenes. Just running, quick moments, and then a finale that's just kind of weird. And not so much in an interesting way but more in a "no need to write a real ending" way.

I dunno. There's the rough core of an interesting movie in here but its very rough. Its not that surprising to me to find out it took 6 years to get this out after lots of rewrites and tinkering. Clearly this doesn't really work and it would seem the filmmakers felt the same way and spent a lot of trying to get there. They didn't. I don't think its a terrible watch but its a pretty empty one. It mainly made me want to watch a similar but better film.



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 4/13
Return of the Fallen: 5/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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check the feeds.




17 (20). Carrie (2002)
Directed by David Carson, written by Bryan Fuller, based on the 1974 novel by Stephen King.
Watched on DVD.


King Spring 5/13

You may tell yourself that there's no need to remake Carrie... and this film will not change your mind.

I'm 99% sure I've never seen this before but a lot of it felt VERY familiar. I'm kind of chalking that up less to me having seen it and forgotten and more that it feels like it takes very directly from the book and DePalma adaption. Its been awhile since I've visited either but I've read/watched them many times and a lot of the lines and scenes felt very true and familiar like the gym teacher reading the girls the riot act. Other stuff like the entire tone and behavior of characters felt like a change. And then there's the "rain of stones." Not every detail of a King book should be adapted, something DePalma wisely recognized but which this version just leans hard into with all the glee of someone who has no idea what tv budget 2002 cgi meteors are gonna look like 20 years later.

Tonally this feels all wrong. Angela Bettis does well as Carrie but she's given way less to do than she should and the film never really manages to build up any fear or tension. A lot of that is in the toned down TV nature of a lot of it. Carrie's mom is mean but she's really not shown as dangerous or abusive as she should be. She's presented drat near like just an overly concerned mom. But its kind of across the board. Carrie talks back and goes on the internet. Most of the kids at school actually start to be nice to Carrie after the moment they went too far in the shower. The nature of the situation is just all shifted tonally and less intense or dangerous, and that results in a weird consequence where the ones pulling the prom prank come off as full blown psychopaths and the cgi horror mass murder bloodbath finale that comes feels like it belonged to a different film. And definitely not the pilot for a sympathetic tv show character.

A lot of those tonal changes probably come down to that TV pilot factor. Its a generally tamer fair that feels like its made for a CW audience. But like... you can't tell Carrie without her murdering a whole poo poo load of people at the end in a fit of anger at their cruelty. But this kind of tries. Its there, it just doesn't belong there because all the other stuff is missing. And Fuller even tries to write Carrie as innocent and ignorant of the whole thing in a misguided attempt to keep the victim of the story from becoming the monster through all the terrible stuff done to her. Even though that's kind of the entire point of Carrie.

There's some small charms here. Rena Sofer as the gym teacher is pulled straight out of the original and is all tonally wrong but genuinely amusing. Emilie de Ravin and Katharine Isabelle show up as the mean girls which is fun and Kandyse McClure is Sue. I guess this was shot in Vancouver. And Billy is so over the top psychotic that I would have wanted him to stick around as the villain in a tv show. Also the CGI is SO bad and SO plentiful in the finale that it just wraps back around to amusing.

But this is exactly what you expect a failed tv pilot from 2002 remaking a classic horror film to be. I had hopes that Bryan Fuller writing it might give it a chance and you can definitely hear his voice at times, but that really just works further against this since Carrie being kind of quirky really just makes where we have to end up weirder and the lack of any real tension or scares more pronounced. You can almost see little hints of stuff like Dead Like Me or Hannibal in here, but they're very small hints. And really, its the wrong man for the job. This whole thing just feels like a misguided error in judgment.




Franchescanado posted:

1. Short Cuts
Watch 60+ minutes worth of horror short films and review them.

Fran Challenges 1/13


18 (21). The Stylist (2016)
Written and directed by Jill Gevargizian, co-written by Eric Havens
Watched on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CMO2nOoOi0

This popped on my radar back in October when I watched Contracted and really enjoyed Najarra Townsend's performance and wanted to see more of her. I once again enjoyed her performance, although the piece really isn't long enough to get into her character nearly as much as I would have liked. There's something interesting there about the pressure of appearance standards on women and the sadness of the character pushing her to this place but we don't know near enough about her to understand her motivations or story.

The piece has real good style though, and I do like Townsend and the premise. There's a 2020 feature length version of this that popped up since October from the same director starring Townsend and I'm definitely interested in it. That one's on my watchlist now for sure. This piece itself doesn't really have enough meat for me to recommend going out of the way for but its a fine teaser for something else out there.


Stucco (2019)
Written and directed by Janina Gavankar and Russo Schelling
Watched on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cExhFUuRUNE

When you've been locked in your place so long you start dreaming of making out with the wall.

That was sure something. Well done tension and mood builder that plays on inner anxieties into outer horrors. Agoraphobia, a fear of what may be behind the walls, what might be on the other side of it, what you might do when you're sleeping or loopy on cough syrup. I dunno, really. It doesn't feel entirely focused on one thing in particular, but all the stuff we do see is engaging and entertaining. Good style, well done effects. And probably simple enough that it doesn't need much more digging in or time. I definitely have questions but thy might all be answered simply enough in the final shot. Like that really weird fever dream you had that messed with you but also kind of helped you work through some stuff.


He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)
Written and directed by Ben Aston, co-written by Maria Hummer
Watched on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERP_jb6c9fQ

Huh. That one didn't fully click with me but its kind of an interesting way to look at the human tendency to change yourself to fit a relationship or satisfy others or fit into norms or expectations. That even when it seems like the right thing and gets the immediate response you might it might lead to other, new issues or growing resentment. Interesting, and good, effective makeup and costuming for the affect. Just didn't fully get there for me. But short enough that it never wore out.


Zygote (2017)
Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, co-written by Terri Tatchell and Thomas Sweterlitsch
Watched on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKWB-MVJ4sQ

It occurs to me that watching four shorts in a row is basically just a DIY anthology. To that end this was kind of the perfect choice to close it out as its just all in on the intense, go go go action finale without all that pesky movie that comes before it. And its a fun finale for a movie I randomly turned on in the last act... but then flipped away 15 minutes before it was over. I kinda wish I saw the rest of the movie. Maybe TNT will air it again this weekend. But Dakota Fanning was fun as an action star and the monster was pretty cool and horrific. Its all weirdly big budget and well done for a short of this nature. I guess someone just really wanted to create a cool hands monster without any of the pesky movie stuff? Honestly, I'm ok with that. That's what these anthologies are for... or er, shorts. Whatever.

But it was fun. I might check out the guy's other shorts. And I wonder if Fanning is any action or horror or sci fi flicks I haven't seen... Oh what's this... Twilight... oh... no...


🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 5/13
Return of the Fallen: 5/13
Fran Challenges: 1/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017);

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 20:10 on May 10, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Directed by Tod Browning, Written by Guy Endore and Bernard Schubert
Watched on Deb’s Bracketology Stream, available on the Internet Archive.


Not a great film, but really a very fun little watch, especially if you can get your mind into the space of 1935. You go back and watch the horrors from that time and its kind of hard to process how scared people were by them and how different the sensibilities were. Similarly Mark of the Vampire utilizes a very dry humor mixed with those classic Universal "scares" to put together what I'm sure was a Scary Movie level parody by 1935 standards. Using Bela aping his classic Dracula performance and all the same basic outlines of the story from Browning's own Dracula film, he turns them on their ear and shows he can laugh at himself and not take something that was just a global landmark hit 4 years ago too seriously.

I think there's two big contexts I really love this in. The first is looking at it from the Browning/Dracula perspective. If you go back and watch Dracula there's a lot of great elements of it but its also clearly kind of clunky and learning on the job. That's a big part of the reason many hold up the spanish version that filmed at nights after as superior, because they were able to study when Browning did and improve upon it. Well there's a similar deal with James Whale's classic Frankenstein. A classic in many ways, but also clearly clunky as directors learned a changing medium. But what's so impressive about Whale is that four years later he comes back with Bride of Frankenstein that is not only leaps and bounds more of a polished technical film, but also has a ton of humor and clever self awareness to it. I think this is the same kind of thing I see with Dracula and Mark of the Vampire. Four years separated, 1931 to 1935 for both directors, and Browning has another vampire movie with Bela that looks much better, is much smoother and slicker, but is also having a great big laugh at its own expense. A maturity and improvement that really impresses me.

The other part I love is Bela playing Dracula. And I don't care what they call him or what they say, he's playing Dracula. And I had no idea there was a third Bela Dracula film out there but its kind of perfect. It creates the perfect half comedy/half horror bridge in a trilogy beginning with Dracula and ending with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. And that's a trilogy I'm definitely gonna do sometime probably in October, especially since all told its under 3 1/2 hours. Not bad for a full trilogy. Or as we measure these things now, 3/4ths a Snyder Cut.

All of this is contextual and certainly it can be argued that if you need all of that then it won't hit for viewers who don't have or appreciate that stuff. And that's fair. But I do. I also like dry humor. I also love Bela's Dracula. And I love the Vampirella type archetype which seems to originate here. I really did love this little movie. Also, I loved the kitty.





20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)
Written and directed by Issa López
Watched on Deb’s Bracketology Stream, available on Shudder, AMC+, DirecTV, and Pantaya.


Gorgeous. Tragic. Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Magical. Gritty. All these things and more. Tigers Are Not Afraid blew me away and had the tension and pressure building in my chest for the entire run time until the drat finally broke at the end and I cried for half an hour. Out of sadness, but also just out of relief and release. The film is so tense and powerful that there was no time to truly react and grieve during it just as the children have no chance to grieve or be children. They take their moments, play when they can, cling to magic and faery tales, show glimpses of the children they should be able to be. But those moments are fleeting and short lived as danger lurks. The stuffed tiger held for comfort is also a fierce protector. The castle of safety and play is also a trap when the predators find them. The childlike wishes to be saved from these horrible things can only be answered with pain and suffering.

You can obviously see the influence of Guillermo del Toro in this film. Its not just the use of supernatural elements and modern faery tales that GdT is known for but also the children in danger in the middle of a warzone that pops up in so many of del Toro's films. In the opening act Tigers Are Not Afraid is definitely very reminiscent of GdT's classic The Devil's Backbone but as it goes on I believe López finds her own voice and the film becomes its own in its own world with its own dark magic. There is no shame in being influenced by other artists. Everyone is. We constantly call films "Hitchcockian" or stories "Lovecraftian". Just because del Toro is still out there making things doesn't mean he hasn't clearly influenced a generation of artists like Andrés Muschietti and André Øvredal, And sometimes that can feel too much like aping or trying to be something you're not. But I think Lopéz completely finds her own voice here and by the second half of the film I was no longer thinking of del Toro.

There's so much I want to say about this film and I just don't think I've fully processed it yet. Its a film I unquestionably wish to watch again soon. Its one I'd recommend to anyone, regardless of their genre favorites or apprehension to subtitles. Its a wonderful film that absolutely moved me and I really can't pick any flaws out of it. Some said the metaphor was heavy, but I don't think it was metaphor. It was fable and allegory. Its a faery tale. A dark one, but most are. Stories of children and predators are the backbone of faery tales, as are the magical elements that sometimes haunt them and sometimes help them. Some found those elements a burden on the film but they absolutely worked for me and kept the piece from ever falling too deep into the despair of its events. To me it was the perfect balance and is honestly one of the best films I've seen in a long time I think the best one I've seen in this Bracketology Tournament.

I loved this.


🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 5/13
Return of the Fallen: 5/13
Fran Challenges: 1/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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An October or two back... or maybe last April when I was binging franchises... I tried to find that and the other little open copyright adaptions of NotLD but it was just a nightmare to try and make sense of all of it and I kept just clicking on copies of the original. Of course that was Before Letterboxd for me. So maybe I'd be able to pull it off this October.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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Yeah, I'm not sure I've ever seen a film that is less what I expected it to be from the poster and title than that.

But its definitely a very interesting and thoughtful examination of abuse.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971)
Directed by Luciano Ercoli, Written by Manuel Velasco, Dino Verde, Ernesto Gastaldi, & Mahnahén Velasco.
Watched on Amazon Prime, available on Arrow and TubiTV.


Was that a blackface dance? Seriously?

I don't like giallo, so why watch giallo? Well partly its just because its hard to filter through Italian horrors to find non giallo films. But also this movie fell on my radar after watching All the Colors of Giallo a couple of months ago although to be honest I have no idea why now. I don't know if this film was singled out as prominent or a trailblazing giallo or if Luciano Ercoli just made an impression on me. Honestly I think I might have just watchlisted the top film of any director featured I had never seen. Kind of "clean off the play before I close the door" thing. After all I like Bava and Argento so I don't hate all giallo. So maybe there's someone I love I just haven't tried out yet.

For the first half this felt less like a horror or crime film than some kind of soft porn or something. What was that french girl's name? Emmanuelle? Its just our main lady jumping from creepy stalker guy to creepy stalker guy ostensibly trying to figure out which one is her ACTUAL stalker but mostly just doing sexy things and not caring. Like there's a five minute scene of her eating sexily. Then a scene of her sexily painting her toe nails while eating. I think someone might be into food stuff. At least that's what the film was for the first half and then it takes a turn and I didn't even know what it was.

I mean, I think I know what drew me here. That giallo doc really emphasized the whodunit origins of giallo and a couple of directors/writers criticized that the genre kind of cheated with that, so I was kind of curious what those guys did. This clearly is much heavier on the Agatha Christie like twists and turns of the mystery but its kind of just a convoluted mess. The film blows itself up like 3 or 4 times to throw another curve and leave everyone clueless and if that's what you like oh boy does this film have a lot of of it from beginning to end. But it just kind of drove me insane and literally gave me a headache. And then toss in all the blackface and violent sexual assault and creepy perv predator stuff and then a late dash of transphobia? Just all combined for a really miserable experience for me. But for giallo fans it might be worth the ride.




22 (24). Maniac (1980)
Directed by William Lustig, written by C. A. Rosenberg and Joe Spinell
Watched on Amazon Prime, also available on AMC Plus, DIRECTV, Night Flight Plus, Shudder, Tubi TV, and VUDU Free


Fran Challenges 2/13

Franchescanado posted:

2. Sometimes They Come Back
Watch a film that has had a remake. Either watch the original, or watch the remake. Whichever you watch, it must be new to you. No rewatches.

I'm not really sure what to make of this. I've been just kind of sitting on it for the better part of an hour and reading things and I still don't really know. I hate slashers, I hate exploitation, and I haven't enjoyed Lustig's films so I've largely avoided this one. But its so often brought up as an "essential" that I kind of couldn't shake it and decided to finally give it a watch. And honestly, I can understand why its singled out. It didn't feel as exploitative or vulgar as many other of its ilk do. Yes, just gruesome and dark and horrible but at its core its really a character study. So while this character does terrible things and we see and experience them, the film doesn't linger on them or revel in them the way many films do. Sometimes when watching a horror film I can't help but feel like the director is enjoying himself too much, but that thought never crosses my mind when watching Maniac. Its clear Lustig and Spinelli don't like this man or what he's doing, they're just interested.

I don't know if I was interested though. Spinelli definitely elevates the role and gives it everything he's got acting wise, but I don't know if it works writing wise. Frank Grillo's shifts from charming guy to raving lunatic felt too big and unnatural to me. Now I'm no expert on the subject so maybe its a very accurate portrayal and Spinelli and Lustig did their research. But it feels more cartoonishly evil than I think the film really needed. Like compare it to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer which is roughly the same idea but handles Henry in a much more natural and believable way. Henry chilled me and is a film I'm not sure I'll ever willingly rewatch. I'm in no rush to rewatch Maniac but Frank Grillo didn't have the same affect on me. He feels a little too close to the slasher monster to have that real impact Henry had.

But again, Spinelli works hard to get there. And Lustig keeps his focus on the character and doesn't get distracted leering at women or getting excited by abuse. The most gratuitous scene is probably the early one of Tom Savini getting his head blown off. Something I'm sure Tom had a ball making happen to himself. But it kind of feels like an outlier in this film. Or at least a shocking event intended to establish a mood and a level that isn't constantly revisited because its already done its job.

I don't think I really enjoyed this film, but I can't say I hated it either. Its certainly got interesting elements and performances and I can understand why it has the reputation it has. I think its more thoughtful and ambitious than the average slasher or exploitation film. Spinelli puts in a memorable performance. And the ending is pretty different and satisfying, again choosing not to revel in the genre excesses but instead really lean into the character's state. I don't know where to rate this or how I really feel about it, but if nothing else I definitely think this was an interesting watch from a unique film.

I'm never getting this song out of my head.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brmYXsi7Qzs


🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 5/13
Return of the Fallen: 5/13
Fran Challenges: 2/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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The Berzerker posted:


Zygote (Neill Blomkamp, 2017) - 22 mins
Found this on a 'best short horror' list, and it was a great way to end this challenge. We're dropped into what feels like the start of the last act of a full-length feature, with Dakota Fanning and Ricky from the Crank movies being chased by... something. I think they said something about quartz, I'm not 100% sure, but I can tell you that it is a big gross monster that wails and is just a big mish mash of body parts absorbed by the people it has already killed. It's very The Thing, very Dead Space, and very fun. The creature looks great and both of our heroes have solid arcs considering the runtime. Now I want to look into other stuff that 'Oats Studios' has put out, because this was a bop. Available on [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKWB-MVJ4sQ]YouTube[/url

Zygote really does effectively capture that feeling of when you randomly tune into a movie 2/3rds of the way through and then miss the last 15 minutes but that 20 minutes you did see were pretty cool and you'd like to see the whole movie.

Its weird someone made that but it was fun.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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The best way I can describe Night of the Comet is that it feels like it very heavily inspired Joss Whedon to create Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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The sequels are... ok. They're both pretty different so you don't really get that diminishing returns thing, but neither really made a strong impression or feel near as close to the original. They're just kind of cheap, ok werewolf films.

Tatiana Maslany is in the second one, which is kinda cool.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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I’m adding a 4th challenge because I’m sick in the head and my DVR is almost full with 18 episodes of Svengoolie. So I’m gonna try and burn off 13 of them this month. This is all kind of getting out of control and I mean that on every level.


- (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)
Directed by Robert Florey, Screenplay by Curt Siodmak and Harold Goldman, Based on 1919 short story in The New Decameron by William Fryer Harvey
Watched on Svengoolie


A pretty fun if largely unremarkable film. At 88 minutes its pretty short by today's standards but a bit long for the time and I think that shows a bit. There's probably a bit too much talking time and maybe one or two many unimportant characters. Although maybe not. Its basically a supernatural whodunit and you do need those sketchy family members and associates to round out the cast. Really its just that two performances really steal the show and that's the charming scoundrel played by Roger Alda (who holy poo poo was Alan Alda's dad!) and the delightfully deranged Peter Lorre. The story's perfectly ok but also nothing super memorable or amazing, but its really carried by Lorre just losing his poo poo and Alda playing that classic role of the guy who you like even though you know he's probably playing you somehow. But drat it, you like him.

I don't know that I have a lot to say. Like I said, its kind of thin on content or depth of story or anything and it really is just all about Lorre being Lorre. But he's great and I'm realizing I really haven't seen him in much and mostly known him just through cultural osmosis from stuff like Looney Tunes. So that's a whole bunch of movies to check out. Alda's also a guy I definitely want to see more from even if part of that is just because of the family connection. The film is a fun little watch but I wouldn't say something you have to go out of your way for. Good for a Lorre performance certainly and I haven't seen enough of him to see where it ranks in those, but the rest is kind of run of the mill and not super tight. But still a good time.




- (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Directed by Jack Arnold, Screenplay by Harry Essex and Arthur Ross, Story by Maurice Zimm
Watched on Svengoolie


Gosh Julie Adams is pretty...

I'm no stranger to this film. Even though I only saw it the first time a few years ago I've seen it 3 or 4 times now. I considered skipping past the Svengoolie recording but then I saw a couple of stills and gifs and remembered how drat good and gorgeous this film is. Its such a modern film in many ways constructed and shot very much like a modern summer blockbuster. The underwater scenes are just wonderful and give the film a very big feel and create an interesting pacing affect where even when not a lot is happening it doesn't feel like its dragging because you're visiting this entirely other world. And the scene of the Creature swimming in synch with Julie Adams is really something else and the lasting images and moments of this film for way more reasons than Adam's gorgeous legs and bathing suit. Its just a really amazing looking scene.

Including the way the Creature looks in the water. I think the rubber suited monster holds up pretty well on land, but in water he really works with the way his fins flow and the great work of the diver managing the suit and scenes without even breathing so that the Creature had no air bubbles (after all he has gills). I watch this on a tv sitting next to a fish tank and its something else to look at the Creature and look at my fish and see the similarities. Really stellar costuming work and an under-appreciated performance from the diver Ricou Browning who played the creature under water.

Story wise its a bit thin but really its just a kind of classic adventure tale. Scientists explore an area, find something dangerous, try to get away, and end up having to fight for their lives. The ideas get more complicated in the sequels as people star ripping the Creature out of his habitat and torturing the guy. But here its pretty straight forward. He's not some malicious villain, he's a wild animal and probably apex predator reacting to new predators in his home. But the scientists are mostly ethical and manage to stay ethical and the Creature's a little rapey so it keeps the balance where it needs to be and is a fun and gorgeous ride that stays under 90 minutes.

I very comfortable put this on the top tier of Universals with James Whale's The Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. I think all three have a very modern feel that just seems leagues ahead of the rest of the films of that time and feel timeless. I'm a little less sure where I put Creature amongst those three. It might be 3rd but I think its all the same tier of revolutionary filmwork and great movie. And all three have proven amazingly rewatchable in the few years since I've seen them and I'm sure that won't change.



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 5/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 5/13👻Fran Challenges: 2/13🐺Svengoolie Episodes: 2/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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check the feeds.




23 (27). Summer Camp (2015)
Written and directed by Alberto Marini, co-written by Danielle Schleif
Watched on Plex, available on Tubi and Vudu.


Fran Challenges 3/13

Franchescanado posted:

3. Camp BLOOD
Watch a horror movie that takes place at a summer camp.

Ha! Found a summer camp horror that isn't a slasher! Suck it, challenge!

I don't like slashers and I do like Joceline Donahue (The House of the Devil) so as much as I figured this was probably gonna suck I figured it was a better choice for my tastes than the other obvious options. I hate slashers and like zombies. Boy do my tastes differ from many here. It payed off here though although hilariously this almost felt a bit like a hybrid of zombie and slasher in some ways. Essentially they change up the typical zombie dynamic by putting a clock on infection. The "zombie" infection lasts only 20 minutes after which you turn back human essentially creating a kind of hot potato slasher game of who's infected and who's not. Our crew are sometimes fighting for their lives and sometimes the monsters themselves and the ball shifts back and forth throughout the film keeping things interesting.

I was a bit distracted and tired and I'm not sure I gave it the attention it really deserved. I really was expecting something much more generic but this was very unique and involved enough to warrant full attention. I thought the performances were all pretty solid and the tone had a real kind of nastiness to it that kept the film with an edge but without feeling overly mean or reveling in it, I'd say. Like the film knows this poo poo's hosed up but it still does it without laughing it off.

I liked it and I think I might have loved it if I had been more engaged. I regret the choice to watch it so late and out of it and I definitely feel like giving it another watch down the line. If you hate zombie stuff this probably won't change your mind but if you just are tired of the same zombie stuff this one's definitely pretty different and well executed.




24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941)
Directed by George Waggner, Screenplay by Joseph West, Story by H.J. Essex, Len Golos, and Sid Schwartz
Watched on Svengoolie, available on Dailymotion.


Svengoolie Episodes: 3/13

Like pretty much every Lon Chaney Jr movie I've seen this film's strength is Chaney's incredibly affable loveable loser charm. I honest found myself a little distracted in the scenes he wasn't in and lost a little track of who everyone was and what they were doing, so I had to rewind. But when Chaney was there I was all aboard. And he gets a lot of time here, although not always verbally, to express the misery he's stuck in here. I kinda just wanna see Lon be happy in a movie.

The story itself is fine, perfectly serviceable if uninspired B movie fare. The effects are... charming. They're really less about the cheesy glowing effect adn more about how weathered Chaney got through the film. It combined with Chaney's acting was very effective for me. And really, the sad puppy ending just elevated the entire thing for me and brought the morose story home.



Its a pretty standard B 40s thing, but its apparently the role that landed Chaney Larry Talbot and he brings all the same sad humanity to the role. And its only 60 minutes. And there's a puppy.




🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 5/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 5/13👻Fran Challenges: 3/13🐺Svengoolie Episodes: 3/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941);

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 04:25 on May 14, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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Good news. There's a fourth.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

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Butt first, let's
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25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958)
Directed by Bert I. Gordon, Written by László Görög and George Worthing Yates
Watched on Svengoolie, available on Youtube


Svengoolie Episodes: 4/13

That was awesome!

Very tonally odd for the first half. Special effects were pretty sketchy and the spider seemed to change size from shot to shot.
Its kind of tonally bizarre film. Like its going for the whole 50s picturesque Ozzie and Harriet thing but it holds onto that even when a giant spider starts eating people. So we get these bizarre scenes where like the young girl who's father was eaten by a spider is grief stricken and blaming herself and her mom seems entirely unaffected and tells her to do her homework. Also a teen rock band just throws an impromptu party next to a giant spider corpse that probably smells bad. Also for some reason they have a composer.



But gradually it became clear that film really just had a very dry wit to it and once the spider gets loose, magically triples in size (i mean, he was just in the high school gym and now he's bigger than the school), and starts wrecking havoc poo poo gets awesome!




The weirdest/coolest thing about this movie? The kids discover a giant spider and dead bodies. No one believes them because... I mean, giant spider. Of course it sounds crazy. But they still call the cops and say they should check it out and look for the missing person. The cops think its crazy. Kids and pranks. A reasonable assumption. But they still go out to check. Scientist man tells him that guns won't really be effective against a spider so they should call an exterminator and get some DDT. Cops do it. Everyone draws the logical horror conclusion that this insane thing can't be true, but they all still do all the prudent thing and follow up. Even the mocking cops. And they stay competent the whole film! What the hell am I watching?! This is way too far to suspend my disbelief!

Its a B horror monster movie from the 50s and comes with everything you expect, but it moves very briskly and has a great little dark humor to it that might take a little while for you to get the rhythm of but once it starts clicking it really starts clicking. It might run out of steam a little towards the end but it all moves quickly enough and has enough silly humor that it never wears out its welcome. In the end I'd absolutely, emphatically, demonstratively recommend this very fun 50s B monster romp.




26 (30). Vampyr (1932)
Written and directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, co-written by Christen Jul, Based on the 1872 story In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu
Watched on HBOMax.


Fran Challenges 4/13

Franchescanado posted:

4. Movie of the Month
Watch a horror movie that has been featured as a CineD Movie of the Month. Try to watch one that's new to you, but if you've seen them all, pick one that you've seen the least.

I been quasi interested in this, quasi avoiding it? No real big reasons either way. Its one of the standout notable films of the era I haven’t seen yet so I was interested, but I also haven’t been that into the german films of the era and heard it described as very dreamy and abstract and that’s not my thing. but like its short and I don’t hate that stuff so I don’t really know why I kept bumping it off lists. Anyone finally watched it and was really pretty pleased. The story is a tad thin but its all pretty straight forward and clear and the short run time doesn’t give it enough time to drag or anything. The appeal is obviously the incredible visual storytelling and mood of the film. Dreyer’s unique use of shadows... and not shadows in like dark spaces but rather actual silhouettes and shapes... is something I'm not sure I've ever seen done quite as effectively or creepily. Which is crazy considering this film is like 90 years old and everyone steals everything in film. I've seen it played in gags but even that is mostly like in cartoons. And there’s just a lot of great little things like that which are all over the film but never really over used. Traditional good shadow and light use, striking visuals, a really cool skeleton hand thingie. Truthfully I’m not even sure I always knew where the creepy visuals were coming from and definitely some of it was of that dreamlike nature, but none of it ever really got too weird to lose me and really I was just cool and vibing with its mood.

Part of the film’s uniqueness but effectiveness is that its a sound film but it still uses the structure of the silent films with dialogue cards and book pages adding exposition. That apparently came down to them just trying to make the film easily accessible in different languages but I think it creates a really effective grimm fairy tale and storybook aspect to the tale. Basically a story about a curious stranger who gets swept up into this dark fantasy world that really does come across well in the structure of the film and I think makes it really not just stand out as a film worth seeing but also age really wonderfully where is period drawbacks are really strengths of the movie’s tone and structure.

I wouldn’t say I loved it, but it was a very enjoyable and easy watch and the sort of thing perfect for a spooky mood setter. Strong recommendation if you don’t mind reading, and even if you really don’t want to read anything you could probably just get through the film anyway since its all the basic vampire story we all know well.


🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 5/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 5/13👻Fran Challenges: 3/13🐺Svengoolie: 4/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941); 25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958); 26 (30). Vampyr (1932);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




27 (31). The Black Scorpion (1957)
Directed by Edward Ludwig, Written by Robert Blees and David Duncan
Watched on Svengoolie


Svengoolie Episodes: 5/13

I've really been digging these Svengoolie B monster films and was kind of amped up for this when I saw the nightmarish monster design and that the stop motion animation was done by the same guys who did King Kong and [url=https://boxd.it/13Y0>Mighty Joe Young[/url] but I dunno. It kind of underwhelmed me. I guess there's probably a limit for hokey 50s monster action but this just felt a little disjointed. The first act drags on a bit too long as none of the characters are all that interesting (besides the fact that I'm now in love with Mara Corday) and you're just kind of waiting to get to the monsters and none of this stuff really changes anything. Then there's some fun monster stuff but like right away you can see shots repeating. They apparently ran out of money and it shows because you definitely get a lot of the same scene played in reverse, or just one really awesome monster closeup played like 50 times. In the second half some other monster show up to get in fights and its random but spices things up, but apparently they were unused animations from Kong. I'm glad they were here but it speaks to this film really stretching itself out as much as possible.

This stretching out feels especially true when the film's characters finish their big, adventuring, conclusion and then there's a time jump and another 15 or 20 minutes. Suddenly we kinda get a whole new kaiju film with a ton of radio voiceover exposition, the characters standing around discussing how little impact they have on the plot, and one scorpion kills the rest of them off camera to speed up proceedings. And then the military shoots it. The end. Feels like a lot for a little.

I'm being harsh. The finale was actually pretty solid. the film had just kind of wore me out already. Obviously they didn't have as much as they wanted here and its not great that the best scene is actually a deleted scene from King Kong. But if this was 15 minutes shorter it probably would have been ok. Then again its only 88 minutes so once you start going down that road you risk cutting it below a feature film. But I just don't think there was enough meat on this, even though it did has some fun monster moments.




28 (32). The Wild Boys (2017)
Written and directed by Bertrand Mandico.
Watched on Kanopy.


Definitely don’t give a bunch of kids to some surly old hermit fish captain to do whatever he wants. That should go without saying.

This is the kind of film I probably wouldn’t have made it past 15 minutes if I didn’t have this tournament/movie club or a bunch of friends driving me to watch. In that other time and place I just quickly identify that this isn’t something I’m gonna like, bail, watch something more to my tastes, and only remember this as that film I tried but couldn’t get into and have no strong opinion about. But here I am making myself watch something that pretty early on I correctly guessed I wasn’t ever gonna get into. And the result is a pretty bad viewing experience that isn’t entirely the movie’s fault. They couldn’t have predicted me being a dumbass watching something I don’t want to and checking the time apparently every five minutes that felt like twenty to me.

Its certainly not “bad”. I kind of love the basic setup of the thing like some kind of queer Treasure Island or Lord of the Flies or Island of Dr. Moreau or… I dunno… something. Sounds interesting. And its a pretty gorgeous film, especially in the shots of the sea. The island setup is also pretty amazing even if all the sexual stuff just kind of struck me as whatever and not all that interesting. I dunno if there’s some deeper message or symbolism here and I’m certainly interested to read what other people took from it and what I may have missed. But a lot of the stuff just felt like it was there to be there and not my thing at all. There’s also some great sound work here, from The Dance of the Sugar Plum Faery playing as they arrive at land to the overall moody track. And the individual performances are strong. Probably too strong since i became convinced the actresses were actually underage at one point and had to look it up to be sure I wasn’t watching something real bad. But I’m also not sure any of them really got enough chance to build characters or do work with their skill. And if feel like you’ve probably gotta do a lot of character work if you open the story establishing the characters as all gang rapist murderers and don’t want me to just want them all to drown at sea.

But I guess I’m just kind of unimpressed by Mandico. This films really feels like less than the sum of its parts to me. Now certainly he had a hand in all the stuff I liked along with the actors and cinematographer and editor and art director and composer and everyone else involved in making a film what it is. But Mandico is the writer of a story that never hooked me and left me clueless as to what I was meant to take from it, and a final construction of film that for whatever reason really dragged for me and never made me give a poo poo about anyone or anything. I mean the film directly states its statement in the final 15 minutes but it didn’t feel especially in line or earned from the film I watched. I certainly understand why all this psycho sexual arthouse experimental stuff will appeal to many others. I’m not at all surprised that I’m a dissenting voice in the matter and I don’t really have any reason or expectation to change anyone’s mind or get them on my page. Ultimately its just very, very, very not my thing.

I don’t get it.




29 (33). City of the Living Dead (1980)
Written and directed by Lucio Fulci, co-written by Dardano Sacchetti.
Watched on Amazon Prime, available on AMC Plus, Kanopy, Night Flight Plus, Shudder, Tubi and VUDU Free.


So I’m starting to get the impassion that Fulci didn’t really think that hard about his plots or characters or settings or anything besides the cool effects he was gonna do, huh?

People told me this was basically The Beyond but with more a narrative, so I got kind of excited. Because the Beyond is a solidly creepy film even if it doesn’t make a ton of sense, but I basically am a narrative guy. So this sounded right up my alley. But now having seen both I think I prefer it when Fulci keeps things loose. There’s a plot here for sure but its not a very good one. Its like divided in half and not terribly deep on either side. And Fulci keeps interrupting it for random gore, and that’s fine because obviously that’s his thing and the main draw here. But where the Beyond just kind of leans in on it keeps it simple for that stuff this is like trying to tell this divided, intersecting plot of characters and its just not very good at it and seems distracted. Since this came before the Beyond I’d say Fulci learned the right lesson. Forget the plot, keep it simple, hell magic gives you room for taking liberties. People came for the zombies and gore.

And the zombies and gore are good, but that’s never really been my thing and its not enough of it to really hold the film together for me. Well that’s not fair. It does hold together, barely. And really every time I thought I was lost it turned out I wasn’t, that was just someone random dying. But my attention was definitely too divided trying to keep track of the plot and characters and the random gore interjections were just kind of checkpoints for me to reassess if anything was happening yet.

I get it, I do. The gore is good. Some people love gore. And as I said, you get a lot of storytelling liberty with hell magic. But Fulci doesn’t do it for me, and he’s trying to do something here he’s just not good at. Also he set his film in New England the day before All Saints Day but there’s no Halloween and that kid is wearing a Yankees jacket. What the gently caress? Kill that kid. No 10 year old in Massachusetts is a Yankee fan unless he’s demon.



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 5/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 5/13👻Fran Challenges: 3/13🐺Svengoolie: 5/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941); 25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958); 26 (30). Vampyr (1932); 27 (31). The Black Scorpion (1957); 28 (32). The Wild Boys (2017); 29 (33). City of the Living Dead (1980);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




30 (34). We Are What We Are (2010)
Written and directed by Jorge Michel Grau
Watched on Hulu, available on Direct TV and AMC+.


Fran Challenges 5/13

Franchescanado posted:

5. Cinco
Watch a Mexican horror film. Must be new-to-you.

Slow and moody, this film explores some somewhat familiar territory in a somewhat familiar way, but not combined. Billed as “a stand alone sequel” to Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos on its face that’s mostly about one small character from the 1993 movie making a return to recreate a funny but small scene of GdT’s film in what mostly seems like a homage to the Mexican legend. But it seems a little deeper than that since while the horror of this film isn’t the same kind as in Cronos it does deal with it in a similar way. Cronos is a vampire tale told in a very human way. No fangs and bats and sexy monsters, just people doing monstrous things but for human reasons. Similarly this film explores the horror theme of cannibals in a very human way as a family of normal people. They’re doing monstrous things and they are monsters in the human sense, but they aren’t monsters in that horror sense. They don’t have claws or fangs. They don’t wear masks made of their victims’ flesh or swing around chainsaws or laugh maniacally at their victims. There’s a very matter of fact necessity and almost blue collar drive to do what they do. They are who they are. And yet by the time the film comes to close their home resembles any house of horrors you’d find in a Tobe Hooper or Rob Zombie film of the nature. The similarities begin and end there, but they do end there.

Its obviously a deliberate choice to not really give us what we might anticipate from the setup. We never learn what “the ritual” is. Supernatural, religious, superstitious, demonic. We’re given real no indication or closure on that obvious question. But that’s not the story being told. We’re just taken on a journey with this family as they struggle and stumble through this horrific night and their own interpersonal issues. It was almost a roundabout journey but a very organic and natural one. There’s a lot of questions I have left and a lot of things I might have wanted to see but I can’t really put any of that on this film. Grau told the story he wanted to tell, and did so well. If I have one small nitpick its that I thought Paulina Gaitán’s Sabina was the most compelling presence and I definitely wanted to see more of her young, raw, but also possibly manipulative and coldly devoted to this way of life she was presumably raised into it.

Its also a great looking film, especially for a small budget. I enjoyed the character explorations. The demanding borderline frightening mother. The “daddy’s girl” daughter who comes off as both the youngest and coldest. The wild angry younger brother. And the put upon older brother who clearly has more going on than we see. From the very beginning its clear he feels uncomfortable and restrained in his family. I think its interesting that his story takes him into a gay bar where he’s “forced” to play along for his task. There’s really nothing clearly said about it but I found it notable that his adventure plays very similarly to a lot of closeted stories of that kind. It might not have been that. It might have simply been him doing his family duty in the best way he could come up with. But he chose that way and there’s comments made by his family from his brother insulting him and questioning his sexuality and manhood to his unexplored conflict with his mother and the “why did you make me like this?”/“You were born this way” exchange. Its just another element of these characters and their story that the film only gives us a very small peak of things and leaves us wanting more.

So yeah, I liked it. Its given me a lot to think about. A lot of questions. Its very small, very slow, very deliberate in what it doesn’t shoe or tell, definitely not for everyone. But it sucked me in because it focused on building its characters and their world and in that way I think made them feel real and full, leaving me wondering about everything else in their story.




31 (35). Mercy (2014)
Directed by Peter Cornwell, Written by Matt Greenberg, Based on the 1984 short story "Gramma" by Stephen King

King Spring 6/13

What do you get when you combine a random King short story, a character vehicle for that kid from The Walking Dead, and DTV CGI quality production? Something that’s fine. Just fine.

Chandler Riggs is ok enough but he really wasn’t up to the task for the lead in a feature film. A brisk 79 minutes I went thinking “alright, a King adaption that doesn’t extend itself too far” but it might have been a little too long. There’s a lot of fun little ideas and angles here. I love the basic story here and while the film’s got that cheap CGI and production I actually thought it mostly did ok covering it up and doing what it could. I really loved the wolf and the book was a decent little thing. But this really should have been a very tight little 60 minute or so story and it spent a little too much time just dragging out some stuff we had already basically figured out. I mean I like the elements. The priest who witnessed the growing evil. The older brother doing the smart thing and evil not being happy. Gramma being pretty ruthless even with family. There’s actually not a lot I would have cut. But it feels like it all could have been a little tighter.

Actually, what was Dylan McDermott doing here? He really didn’t need to be in here. Although… I laughed.

Honestly, I hate to put it on him but it might be Riggs. But I don’t think the film did him any favors. A better actor might have carried it better. A better director might have added more zip or style to a pretty drab production. There’s a very good story in here and a perfectly mediocre film. But it definitely was lacking something. The finale relies pretty heavily on the bad CGI and falls flat. And the movie wusses out on King's ending and isn't better for it. Ultimately it just fell a bit flat.



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 6/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 5/13👻Fran Challenges: 5/13🐺Svengoolie: 5/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941); 25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958); 26 (30). Vampyr (1932); 27 (31). The Black Scorpion (1957); 28 (32). The Wild Boys (2017); 29 (33). City of the Living Dead (1980); 30 (34). We Are What We Are (2010); 31 (35). Mercy (2014);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




32 (36). Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest (2020)
Written and directed by Svyatoslav Podgaevsky, co-written by Natalya Dubovaya & Ivan Kapitonov
Watched on Hoopla.


Return of the Fallen 6/13
Team: In Russia Doodle Spook You; Eliminated in Play-in Round by Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Mother Joan of the Angels

“What’s wrong with him?”
“Oh you know. Puberty.”
“That’s been lasting awhile.”


This is bad. I watched it with a really bad english dub since that was the only thing available to me and it didn’t help. It really was a bad dub. I suspect the children were dubbed by adults? But also the dialogue is real bad. No one sounds normal. Is that the dub/translation or the original script? I have no idea. But that’s not the film’s only problem. Stylistically the film is kind of fine but it feels like its deliberately trying to copy the James Wan style. I don’t fundamentally have a problem with that and it does kind of loosely get there, but it feels very forced and fake. There’s some decent looking creepy images and effects in the usually jump scare spots but no jumps. Its just not effective. Everyone feels too pretty, everything feels too polished, everything feels artificial. The bad dubbing and stifled dialogue is a big part of that but its just part of the whole.

I’m also not really sure what the story was. Baba Yaga steals children. Also she's got bird magic stuff but its all invisible? And she really likes yarn? And maybe cables? I don't know. But she also wants to come back to live in the special kid? And she can’t steal him because he’s special? But she can’t steal his friends either for some reason? I guess maybe because they went to her witch shack? Maybe they developed Baba Yaga antibodies or something? It doesn’t feel that far off from making sense. Like I can definitely piece together answers that might make sense. But I’m forcing it and its more of this feeling the film is giving me. Like I gotta try too hard because they didn’t try enough? Or they tried too hard to be something they weren’t? Or… I don’t know. The whole thing feels off.

Also Baba Yaga’s shack doesn’t have chicken legs. So what’s even the point?




33 (37). Cell (2016)
Directed by Tod Williams, Screenplay by Stephen King & Adam Alleca, Based on the 2006 novel by Stephen King
Watched on IMDBtv, available on Plex, Roku, and Vudu.


King Spring 7/13

The Cell took 25 days to shoot and 10 years to produce and I think that says a lot. Cusack and Jackson are very clearly sleepwalking through this, almost like this was an obligation written into the fine print of 1408 or something and they just had to get it over with. I’ve never read the novel and its not like in 2004 “technology turns you into zombies” and “addicted to the phone/internet” was revolutionary, but it at least might have been a bit fresher. That was 4 years before The Walking Dead debuted and a year before the iPhone debuted. So ok, I can see why this started down the path of becoming a movie But 10 years later after being tossed around for years by Hollywood’s classiest people like Eli Roth and the Weinsteins this thing is pretty stale and past its exportation date and it feels like everyone involved knew that. I mean, just the idea that you have to be talking on your phone feels out of date. Were people still answering voice calls in 2016?

The story’s also… Look, I don’t want to make it sound like i wanted this to be longer but there’s a lot of Stephen King adaptions of short stories that get stretched out too much for a film. This is kinda the opposite. It feels like they’re in such a rush to move to each chapter point that there’s room for characterization or story or depth or any king. They write it in, but they move through it as quickly as everything else. There’s this scene that happens like 2 days after the zombie apocalypse starts where they just mass murder hundreds if not thousands of them by setting them on fire. And like its crazy horrific and monstrous and the character acknowledge that… barely. They bring it up and express their concern, and then it just happens. We gotta get to the next scene. Its like you know how in the Walking Dead they meet a bunch of new characters and get some new problems at the start of the season and then it takes all season to resolve itself? Well in this film its all over by the next scene. Everything’s gotta keep moving and that means nothing really matters. Nothing has time or room to matter.

But again… I’m not asking for more time. I’m just saying.

Its bad. I’m not sure its the worst King adaption or most boring film or any of that other stuff people say in reviews. Its like very middle of the road for zombie post apocalypse films. Its sparse and rushes in so many ways and everyone’s just trying to get this done, but its at least made competently. Whether that’s a good thing or not I won’t say. People who enjoy really terrible trash won’t get that here. People sick of zombie stuff are definitely coming to the wrong stale and uninspired place. I really don’t have much good at all to say except that the talent here is strong enough that even at half speed they’re getting the job done. Its a bad film that I’m glad is over, but I’ve definitely had more difficult watches.




🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 7/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 6/13👻Fran Challenges: 5/13🐺Svengoolie: 5/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941); 25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958); 26 (30). Vampyr (1932); 27 (31). The Black Scorpion (1957); 28 (32). The Wild Boys (2017); 29 (33). City of the Living Dead (1980); 30 (34). We Are What We Are (2010); 31 (35). Mercy (2014); 32 (36). Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest (2020); 33 (37). Cell (2016);

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




34 (38). Sightseers (2012)
Directed by Ben Wheatley, Written by Alice Lowe and Steve Oram.

Well, I laughed a couple of times. I don't know, I don't really have much to say about this. I can enjoy dry comedy, I can enjoy dark comedy. I didn't hate it or get bothered or anything. But it just didn't really do a lot for me. I'm completely unfamiliar with all the players that made the film so didn't really know what to expect or have anything to compare it to. I dunno. I got some work done. Film never pulled me out of it. Never really turned me away either. I dunno.

Don't date serial killers.




35 (39). Trucks (1997)
Directed by Chris Thomson, Written by Brian Taggert, Based on the short story by Stephen King
Watched on IMDBtv.


King Spring 8/13

All I can say is wow. Its like Tremors meets The Mist… but with trucks!

A 90’s Canadian television remake of the only film Stephen King directed Maximum Overdrive. So my expectations were pretty low but that was actually kinda awesome! I haven’t seen Maximum Overdrive. I’m saving it for last and I gave a lot of thought as to whether I should watch this before or after and I decided to start with the likely worse one and save the bigger one. But man, I may have done it backwards. You’d be forgiven to dismiss this at first glance. Its got all the basic setup and feel of a what you expect with a low budget 90s tv King adaption. And the premise sounds very silly. But the action kicks off really quickly at about 15 minutes in and things get real fun. The film manages to play everything completely straight and actually sell the threat of the trucks. But at the same time its got a very clear sense of humor and is having a real good time. I mean, we’re talking about Tonka Truck murders and Undead Slasher Trucks. Its kind of genius and it keeps catching you off guard because there’s this very real threat with these fairly decent characters and then boom. Something very funny on the side.

And like… the trucks are clever. Like I said, I found the premise a little silly going in and thought it was gonna get real silly. And it is kinda silly. I mean the premise is what it is. But it sells it. I guess in hindsight the threat of a big rig barreling down on you isn’t that hard of a sell, and the setting is kind of perfect for like lots of open flat space so anyone trying to make a run for it is gonna have to deal with trucks that have the time to do one of those 7 point turns and pick up some steam. But the trucks are also actually pretty smart and set traps and improvise and stuff. Like they came up with some really creative murder plans real quick.

And that ending. Wow. Just wow.

BIG recommend. Its definitely a little cheesy and it is a cheap tv movie from the 90s. I might be a little sleep deprived. But this is fun. Big fun! And it somehow walks that line Tremors did of having serious horror and fun comedy, and also has a very similar structure and nastiness of King’s Mist. Big, big fan although I’d hardly call it a great film. A very fun one though.




36 (40). Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009)
Written and directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska.

Return of the Fallen 7/13
Team “More 👏 Women 👏 Directors”; Eliminated in 1st Round by Claire Denis’ Trouble Every Day

This film is not without some charms and moments but its 90 minute runtime feels much, much longer. I’m very light on amateur films like this. As someone who once was trying to make films like this with similar resources and knowledge I understand how difficult it is and what a monumental feat it is to make even a bad film of this nature. The amount of work and learning on the job from something like this is pure passion and probably impossible to understand if you haven’t tried something similar. Still I think the problem here is less the amateur aspects and more just the effort to turn this into a feature. Honestly, I didn’t mind the amateurish stuff. The Soskas do an ok job acting and most everyone delivers their lines. Its rough but its got a light team effort feel to it. And the low budget is actually pretty effectively worked with using camera angles and cuts that actually show a lot of amateur skill from the Twisted Twins. But there’s just not enough story here and when asked to spend so much time just kind of meandering about with the characters those amateur aspects start to take affect.

Again, I actually thought the Soskas did ok. And really most of the cast. They’re solidly likable and get their characters across even though said characters are named with one word joke names like Geek, Junkie, and The oval office. But the middle of the film really does seem to run out of stuff to do and has like that part of the film where everyone splits up and reflects on what they all mean to each other and come back together. Big picture I think it showed a lot that the Soska’s had the story structure and pacing in mind, but the characters and actors just aren’t compelling enough to carry it. I ended up having to pause and take a break with it when I realized there was still 40 minutes left. Although in fairness I just got my second shot so maybe it wasn’t all the movie giving me a headache.

But it really did have its big moments. And big shocks. Its funny, normally this exploitative stuff, especially towards women, really bugs me. But in this case its the directors themselves being objectified and stuff. So like… ok? Their call? And if they wanna use it to make themselves seem sexy and badass I guess that’s ok with me? Certainly doesn’t have the same vibe of a lot of the sleazier exploitation stuff I’ve seen that seems to have a more lecherous eye or misogynistic tone of voice. And all the sex and violence flops sometimes but also sometimes gets pretty effective shocking moments.

I wouldn’t really recommend this to people unless you’re a connoisseur of amateur films, first efforts, and exploitative trash. Even there its not really a standout in any of those categories and it definitely pushed my limits for sticking with it (for film reasons, not content). But there’s always been a certain style, tone, and touch to the Soska Sisters that has intrigued me and I keep waiting for them to put it together into a great film. This isn’t it by any means but I can see that thing even back then at the start.



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 8/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 7/13👻Fran Challenges: 5/13🐺Svengoolie: 5/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941); 25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958); 26 (30). Vampyr (1932); 27 (31). The Black Scorpion (1957); 28 (32). The Wild Boys (2017); 29 (33). City of the Living Dead (1980); 30 (34). We Are What We Are (2010); 31 (35). Mercy (2014); 32 (36). Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest (2020); 33 (37). Cell (2016); 34 (38). Sightseers (2012); 35 (39). Trucks (1997); 36 (40). Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009);

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 00:35 on May 18, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
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Loomis lives on sheer force of will and spite to stop Michael

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




37 (41). BloodRayne (2005)
Directed by Uwe Boll, Written by Guinevere Turner, Based on BloodRayne
Watched on Amazon Prime, available on Tubi.


Fran Challenges 6/13

Franchescanado posted:

6. Playing With Power
Watch a horror film that has had a tie-in video game.

Did you know a dhampir is a half vampire? Like a kid of a vampire and a human. You know like Blade. I swear this film felt like it told you that like 10 times in the first act. Just dhampir this and dhampir that. Just one little “daywalker” intro could have sufficed but Rayne is kind of a weirdly passive character early one. Actually that’s not fair. She’s eating people and fighting random monsters. I guess its more than this FEELS like a video game movie and all the dialogue has all the natural flow of a video game’s exposition cut scenes. And the story is less interested in being a story as it is in just setting up the next level for Rayne to do more action stuff. And those action scenes are terrible. Like I’m not blaming Kristanna Loken for not being good at fighting with some weird rear end swords from a video game, but nothing’s doing her or this film any favors to hide it. Half the time people feel like they’re moving in slow motion. Half the time the scenes are cut in a way that make the scenes impossible to follow. Boll loves throwing in these flashbacks and visions in short doses that are so short that you can barely even make them out as anything. Like an hour in there’s this sequence of events that happen so quickly and in so many awkward cuts and short little scenes that I had to rewind to figure out what the gently caress happened. Like there’s either an entire act squeezed into 5 minutes or just one two scenes weirdly diced up into twenty. And there’s this sequence where Michelle Rodriguez jumps in the water and tells her friends to watch out and then seconds later Rayne jumps in at the same exact spot just feet behind her and those guys are gone and we never see them again.

And then there’s the awkwardly long sex scene between two characters with zero chemistry and no real courting but exists just to get the lead actresses boobs revealed.

And boy this cast. Michael Madsen and Michelle Rodriguez aren’t out there winning Oscars in other roles but they can do better than this and they clearly just know what they’re in right now and how much effort its worth. But then you’ve got an actual award winning thespian in the mix in Ben Kingsley and he seems almost pained as he tries to squeeze some respectability and nobility out of this job his agent probably got fired for booking for him. The best thing about the film is Billy Zane showing up with the exact amount of camp and self awareness this movie deserves and the worst thing is that he basically never shows up again! Billy Zane, maybe the smartest actor? At least the smartest on on this Eastern Europeon tax deduction set.

Just a really bad movie. Not fun enough to get past its trashiness. Not well made enough to really sincerely appreciate anything from it. The sort of film that drags good actors down to bad performances. A story that plods along awkwardly and has no impact at all. This Uwe Boll guy might be a bad director.


edit: Oh, I totally forgot. I went and got the old as gently caress game for this for the hell of it and the fun of trying out the game and the movie at the same time. I don't regret it because I definitely enjoyed the game more than the movie. Its super dated and I didn't get very deep in before my fever days wrecked me and I couldn't really focus on anything for awhile, but hey at least I played the video game before I saw the adaption of the video game. So at least I had some idea why Lokann had to struggle with those weird blades. I just wish I had the capabilities to record myself gaming so you could all enjoy the sight of me flailing about helplessly and dying by splashing in water too much.








38 (42). Big Driver (2014)
Directed by Mikael Salomon, Screenplay by Richard Christian Matheson, Based on 2010 novella by Stephen King
Watched on Youtube, available on Lifetime Movie Club


King Spring 9/13

”I’ve just sent myself to hell.”
“Point taken. But why not make sure the other guy gets there first?”


I had luck with the last obscure rear end King tv movie about driving stuff… I sure as hell wasn’t expecting a rape/revenge film I’d have to turn away from. But I guess it is a LIfetime movie.

Its not that uncommon for King to write about a writer as a form of introspection and I guess “pay me” self therapy. But I’m not sure how that works on a topic like this. The idea that Maria Bello’s character is a writer because she’s always got “voices in her head” playing out scenarios and offering up ideas and the writing keeps her sane sounds like a King thing. That the writer would try and use the skills and knowledge she’s picked up over the years writing stories of that nature sounds a bit like him as well. But the idea of this “voices in the head” thing also telling her that her fame will make a scandal of this and some will inevitably blame her or doubt her feels like maybe a stretch its not great for him to take. Don’t get me wrong, its obviously true. Women have to unfairly hide what’s happened to them because of the unfair and misogynistic treatment of them unquestionably as made very public and openly known years later with the MeToo movement. So King’s right there. And giving her the same kind of writer “super powers” he’d give a male writer is good. I dunno. I guess the idea of King writing a stand in for himself who is also a raped woman just has a disconnect with me. Obviously this isn’t as personal a story to King as something like The Shining or The Dark Half but it still feels like King with his heart in the right place of addressing this sad fact of our society’s treatment of women.

That is probably what sets this apart from other rape/revenge films. The bulk of the film is not spent on either the rape nor the revenge but rather Bello’s internal struggle with the “voices” about what happened, how it happened, and what she should do about it. To that end its an interesting directorial choice how to handle those voices. That often feels like a struggle of King adaptions. Since so much of his writing is often in first person narratives how do you convey that on film without the character just talking to themselves all film or a narration the whole time? Here she does basically talk to herself the whole time but the writer gimmick sets that up for stand ins like her having discussion with her navigating device on long rides or her favorite book character played by Olympia Dukakis sitting down with her like a catty grandma. So Bello works through the hows, whats, and whys with them which I do think keeps the whole thing moving well. Some seem to think it adds a lighthearted whimsical element to things that seems inappropriate but while there’s definitely some joke moments it didn’t really strike me that way at all. Its a rape victim working through her trauma, anger, and even misguided guilt for not seeing it coming and more justified guilt for the revenge she’s seeking, so it is all plenty dark and fitting with the content. Although King certainly does tend to have a sense of humor that can walk the line and some of the exchanges with her voices do have some moments. Although I don’t know if they belong to King or the adaption.

Interestingly the director Mikael Salomon is pretty accomplished in his own right. Not at all what I expected from the director of a Lifetime movie. Doing cinematography for a large array of films like and receiving Oscar nominations for it with <a href=https://boxd.it/26mK>The Abyss</a> and <a href=https://boxd.it/265Y>Backdraft</a> and has directed for Band of Brothers. He’s also no stranger to King adaptions as he directed the <a href=https://boxd.it/19SC>2004 Salem’s Lot miniseries</a> and King’s little seen <a href=https://boxd.it/HJC>2006 anthology miniseries Nightmares & Dreamscapes</a>. I dunno if doing King adaptions is a badge of honor exactly but it does tend to come in clusters with folks like Frank Darabont. Mike Flanagan, and Mick Garris so does seem like a sign of someone “getting” King. Which again, can sometimes be a good thing but also some of the best King adaptions do tend to come from the guys who show little regard for faithfulness or King’s “voice.”

But I’d say this is a decent one all considered. I like Bello, I like Dukakis (I guess this could count for the Dead and Buried challenge if I wasn’t trying to avoid double dipping), and Saloman obviously has talent. Plus solidly meaty supporting roles from Joan Jett and Ann Dowd. Its still a TV movie, and a Lifetime movie at that so its definitely not as polished, expensive, or maybe as violent or gory as the topic might often demand. Still, it made squeamish me uncomfortable enough to turn away from a genuinely long and brutal rape scene and the revenge part gets pretty brutal for tv. I mean, castration by gunpoint is pretty hardcore for my standards. But I’m not hardcore and don’t like rape/revenge films generally. The fact that I did kind of enjoy this is maybe a reinforcement of people who feel it lacks the punch of the sub genre or adds too much “whimsy”, but I guess that’s probably what made it work for me where most rape/revenge films turn me away. To me it dealt with the topic in a heavy and meaningful way without going as exploitative as the genre usually goes because of its forced limitations or King’s writing sensibilities.

I was surprised as hell when I realized this was a Stephen King rape/revenge film because that felt very un Stephen King. But its actually more a Stephen King story about rape/revenge than a rape/revenge story written by Stephen King. And maybe I like Stephen King more than I hate rape/revenge?



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 9/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 6/13👻Fran Challenges: 5/13🐺Svengoolie: 5/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941); 25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958); 26 (30). Vampyr (1932); 27 (31). The Black Scorpion (1957); 28 (32). The Wild Boys (2017); 29 (33). City of the Living Dead (1980); 30 (34). We Are What We Are (2010); 31 (35). Mercy (2014); 32 (36). Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest (2020); 33 (37). Cell (2016); 34 (38). Sightseers (2012); 35 (39). Trucks (1997); 36 (40). Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009); 37 (41). BloodRayne (2005); 38 (42). Big Driver (2014);

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 14:44 on May 20, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



The Others is great, and underappreciated. I should rewatch it.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




39 (43). The Body Snatcher (1945)
Directed by Robert Wise, Screenplay by Philip MacDonald and Val Lewton, Based on 1884 short story by Robert Louis Stevenson
Watched on he Internet Archive, available on Shudder and AMC+.


Return of the Fallen 8/13
Team… I don’t know… Cat People?; Eliminated in 1st Round by Lesley Manning’s Ghostwatch

”People are always so concerned about dogs.”

I. Loved. This. Film. And why the gently caress shouldn’t I? This is a Robert Wise film produced by Val Lewton of a Robert Louis Stevenson story based on the real life infamous murders of Burke, Hare, and Knox, starring Boris Karloff. That’s an insane pedigree. Bela Lugosi even shows up for one last drink with his old friend. Oh, but Karloff’s Gray is the worst kind of friend you could ever have. Devilishly charming but deeply sinister. This is the first film Karloff did after leaving Universal and finding the state of the Frankenstein franchise “ridiculous” and credits Lewton for “restored his soul” and “rescued him from the living dead.” And you can see how inspired and invigorated Karloff is in his performance. Its the absolute best role I’ve ever seen him and the evil glee and spite he brings to Gray makes him feel almost supernatural. As human and simply grounded as everything in this film is there’s something about Karloff’s performance that almost makes you believe that Gray might in fact be the Devil and he may actually torment Toddy until his dying days.

Henry Daniell is pretty excellent too as Dr. MacFarlane, the brilliant surgeon and teacher who you’re never quite clear whether he’s a basically decent man with a gold scientists’ bedside manner or just another mad scientist with more social skills and self delusion. As great as Karloff is its his tormenting of “Toddy” that really carries the film. This noble, brilliant, man of standing and respect. A man who has the respect of all his peers and students and performs miracles and helps the lame walk. But he is repeatedly brought down to nothing by this lowly man Gray. And Gray knows the power he has over MacFarlane. The secrets of their shared past with the infamous Dr. Knox and his pair of serial killing “resurrection men” Burke and Hare. The secrets of the legacy of those infamous black stains and how the two of them have quietly continued them for years. And the power they each feel they can wield over the other based on their opposite positions.

”Tell! Shout it from it rooftops! But remember this! They hanged Burke, they mobbed Hare, but Dr. Knox is living as a gentleman in London!”
“Aye. Something in what you say, Toddy.”


People fairly point out that the 3rd lead of the likable young doctor is the odd man out here but I don’t think he’s superfluous. He’s the moral conscience of this story. The ideal that MacFarlane uses to justify what he does. The pure good doctor that Gray delights in corrupting. He is kind of a walking plot tool but he’s an important one. He also gives us reason to really spend time with MacFarlane’s wife and explore her shared love and respect for her husband and horror and disdain for his damned path. She’s angry at her husband when he chooses to take on the young doctor as an apprentice because she knows it means introducing him to Gray and corrupting a good man into this ghoulish fraternity.

And the film is such a wonderful moody piece. There’s this one absolutely amazing shot where a blind homeless woman sings down the street followed closely behind by Gray’s white horse drawn carriage and as both disappear over the horizon into the shadows we suddenly hear her singing abruptly stop. Its draw out, tense, gorgeous, and chilling and all at once establishes who Gray is. He doesn’t hate the woman. She’s not an enemy. No one asked him to kill her. He just sees money in and she was convenient. Its nothing more at all to him.

I feel like I could keep talking and maybe I should, but suffice it to say I LOVED this film and will definitely be revisiting it again soon.





40 (44). Run (2020)
Written and directed by Aneesh Chaganty, co-written by Sev Ohanian.
Watched on Hulu


Fran Challenges 7/13

Franchescanado posted:

7. Mother's Day
Watch a film that takes place on Mother's Day. OR Watch a film that emphasizes motherhood, themes of being a mother, or features a killer mom.

Times I yelled "Oh poo poo!" at the tv loud enough to worry I woke someone up: 6

I was workshopping a bunch of jokes comparing the film to Rear Window or Misery or Psycho or some other film but nothing really worked. I suppose evoking so many films could be taken as a knock at the film’s originality but there’s gotta be something said for evoking so many classic films known for their tension and individual performances. Especially since none of them really feel right so even though this film reminds me of a bunch of great films and performances it still feels very original in its own story and characters. Everyone takes from places but creating something new out of that is a lot harder than it looks. Aneesh Chaganty does a tremendous job there building his own deeply tense and shocking journey and Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen put in great and memorable performances. I’m a bit familiar with Paulson and assume she’s really cemented that “dangerous Karen” role in all those seasons of American Horror Story since I ditched it but I’m entirely unfamiliar with the other too but highly impressed. Especially in Allen. She puts on a really great performance that focuses on her nearly 100% of the film and demands a lot of physical and silent acting to sell the tension and complex emotions at play. Very interested to she want she does next.

I do feel like I could maybe nitpick a few plot things if really wanted to but I don’t really want to. To me that kind of nitpicking usually comes down to how you feel about the film. If it satisfied you then you’re happy with what you got and can overlook a few things and if you’re unhappy then you start poking holes and looking for places to get worked up. I’m VERY satisfied with what I got so I’m good. Besides most of the stuff could be hand waved away by very easy answers like the actions of a dangerously deranged psycho or the deep fundamental flaws of a broken health care system. Because some doctor probably should followed up on this over the last 18 years.

The whole film is a great and tense buildup but that second half is just an exciting, heart in your throat lineup of shock after shock. And that ending floored me. I was all set to talk about how compelling I found the characterization of it in the end. That despite every reason in the world for Chloe to hate and fear her “mother” she’s still the woman who was her everything for the first 18 years of her life and clearly needs her. And Chloe’s clear conflict in being able to fully abandon or hate her is a testament to her character as a foil to her psychotic mom. But then the movie just pulled the rug out from under me again and again and I didn’t know what to think. But it all really worked for me and I had a real good time.



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 9/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 8/13👻Fran Challenges: 7/13🐺Svengoolie: 5/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941); 25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958); 26 (30). Vampyr (1932); 27 (31). The Black Scorpion (1957); 28 (32). The Wild Boys (2017); 29 (33). City of the Living Dead (1980); 30 (34). We Are What We Are (2010); 31 (35). Mercy (2014); 32 (36). Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest (2020); 33 (37). Cell (2016); 34 (38). Sightseers (2012); 35 (39). Trucks (1997); 36 (40). Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009); 37 (41). BloodRayne (2005); 38 (42). Big Driver (2014); 39 (43). The Body Snatcher (1945); 40 (44). Run (2020);

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 06:42 on May 21, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Opening with "how little can I say?" and ending with three paragraphs.

Makes me feel like I've had a bad influence on you.

Gonna make me cry.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



I consider my rants a public service that way.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.




41 (45). Paganini Horror (1989)
Written and directed by Luigi Cozzi, co-written by Daria Nicolodi, Story by Raimondo Del Bazo
Watched on Tubi.


Fran Challenges 8/13

Franchescanado posted:

8. Dead & Buried
Watch a film featuring a cast member who has passed away since October. It can be an actor, composer, director, producer, etc. Must be new-to-you.

Come, experience the horror of the 80s pop music creative process and extended discussions of public domain law and wood instrument documentaries and ancient wood moss that threaten them.

I considered my options for this challenge, realized Daria was the only deserving focus, and then quickly realized that a film co-written by her about Paganini’s ghost was a must watch for better or worse. But it turns out this is less of a film penned by Daria and more of a massive production nightmare that drove the original writer completely out of the business in disgust and then desperately turned to Daria to try and salvage something out of the film. And well… we don’t work miracles. I wouldn’t call this a confusing film or even evoke that style/excuse of “dream logic” that seems to apply to so much Italian horror. I follow the story. Its just not a very deep or focused one. I joked about the discussions about public domain law and wood instrument mold documentaries but that’s just because there was a bizarrely focused information dump to both of those scenes that is otherwise really lacking in the film. Not that the film should be all exposition dump conversations but there’s just not a lot of clear narrative direction or purpose going on. Paganini sold his soul or something. They used the same thingie so now something evil is picking them off. That’s it. And the characters are all pretty nonexistent so its not like you can really invest in them. I was mostly pulling for the lady in the really stellar hot pink wrestling outfit. 80s music video fashion is a trip.

The real crime of this film is that in the final scene it actually presents a really interesting scenario that had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film! I’m not even gonna spoil it because its not even really part of this film. But all of sudden after spending the entire film as a nondescript victim Daria Nicolodi shows up in this sexy red cocktail dress and Donald Pleasance shows up and reveals he’s the devil and this is his little hell house where he forces Daria to torment evil souls as her eternal punishment. And yeah, that’s a pretty great premise for a horror film but none of that stuff mattered at all to the rest of the film. You never hinted at it. None of the victims were revealed to be any kind of special sinners. Ghost Paganini did the killing and he kind of was just schlubbing about. That just wasn’t the film I watched. But production notes say that they salvaged this script for a planned tv series so yeah, now you got me sad that we never got a cool rear end horror anthology series about Devil Donald Pleasance and his evil thrall Daria Nicolodi torturing people in weird rear end ways. Thanks a lot.

I mean, it wasn’t really terrible for what it is. Someone’s head pops like a pimple. Its kind of the exact level of dumb, trashy, 80s Italian horror I was expecting although probably not as gory as connoisseurs of those films would prefer. And its only 82 minutes so as pointless as it often is it never gets a chance to wear out its welcome or anything. But it could have been more fun and that ending just made me kind of bummed they didn’t figure that out in time.




42 (46). Army of the Dead (2021)
Written and directed by Zack Snyder, co-written by Shay Hatten and Joby Harold
Watched on Netflix


That was fine. Totally fine.

Less a zombie film or horror film, I think. I mean it is a zombie film but I think it really didn’t do much with that that wasn’t just a well worn trope, a dumb easter egg gag, or an interesting idea that isn’t explored at all. That’s fine but a bit underwhelming since a few of those ideas genuinely interested me. Ultimately its obviously much more of a soldiers of fortune, action adventure in a lot of ways. It gave me some John Carpenter sci-fi vibes reminding me at parts of films like Escape from New York or Ghosts of Mars. Although those films are dark and this film is bright. Almost excessively so. I didn’t really mind the soft focus thing Snyder seemed tone playing with but it kind of started to give me a headache over time. But that could just be me and recovering from a nasty fever. I saw a lot of conversation about that visual choice and obviously Snyder tries visual things like that. But I didn’t really mind it. It definitely gave it a distinct look from those other Carpenter like films it reminded me of and helped it feel evocative of them without feeling derivative.

The cast is all solid and really they have to carry much of the film. There’s been a lot of talk about Dave Batista and I get it but feel like pushing back on it. Its not that I don’t agree that Batista does a good job. He does. I just don’t think he did anything special. I feel like we’re still in that place where we’re grading Batista on the curve of this being a side project for him. But I feel like the best compliment I can give him is that I think he’s fully and wholly a competent and professional actor who holds his own with the rest of the cast without any qualifiers like “good for a wrestler”. Batista was solid to good. Everyone was solid to good. I have no complaints anywhere in the cast and everyone had good chemistry and lots of fun and easy interplay. And Snyder got incredibly lucky in having to replace Chris D’Elia with Tig Notaro. She’s not only one of the more fun parts of the cast but she’s one of the more likable ones. I can see D’Elia playing this role easily, but its a very different character with his style. A much more smug, douchey one. And that would have made the final character beat play much differently, especially given what a scumbag he is in real life. But things work out sometimes and Notaro was great.

My big complaint is really the length of the film. And I know that’s a common complain for Snyder and I know his fans don’t care and think its pedantic. I won’t try and explain why it might matter for a million reasons that don’t apply here. The film didn’t feel overly long to me in one sitting and I never felt like it dragged or plodded. But the problem was less the length so much as the distance between events. There’s so much space and stuff between key character and story beats that it undermines them. And that doesn’t mean the other stuff is bad, but it doesn’t matter as much and hurts the big picture. Its why directors often talk about scenes that hurt them to cut and say that there wasn’t wrong with it but that it simply didn’t fit. There’s characters I like who die in scenes that I like that happen so early in the film and so disconnected to anything else in the film that I just ended up forgetting about them by the end. And that not only adds time to the film, but it dilutes the bigger stories and characters whose emotional arcs are given more focus in the film’s last act. I didn’t feel that stuff the way I should, because there’s just too much in here. None of its bad. But a fair amount of it is superfluous. I could cut like 3 or 4 characters’ stories and probably shave 20-30 minutes off this film and I think nothing major would be lost and the rest might get enhanced. THAT’s why I think length of film and editing matters. But I’m a former editor.

And I won’t detail every edit I’d make in the alien cyborg time loop in which Zack Snyder somehow enlists my skills. But there’s one big thing that bugged me and that’s the entire subplot of Batista’s daughter trying to rescue her mother friend. Its not that I think it was bad. I really enjoyed Ellen Purnell’s performance and thing the film is better for her being in it, I think the father/daughter story is the emotional heart of the story and other things should be cut to focus on it, and I liked having a character who was there for unselfish reasons. A genuine good guy in a group of soldiers of fortune and villains. The problem is none of it REALLY matters. Her friend’s character is only established as much as she needs to be. She’s there to get Kate on the team. And once she’s on the team she has to go try and rescue her which forces Batista away from the heist. And then its kind of dropped. Its all there to move the plot along where it needs to be for father and daughter. There’s a criticism people make a lot when characters make poor decisions to advance the plot. That doesn’t bug me usually because make people make bad decisions all the time. But what bugs me is when you can see the writer’s fingerprints too overtly as they move pieces around the board. An edit can feel too forced, a message or subtext can feel too heavy handed. In this case it felt like the film worked backwards. They needed father and daughter together and then characters were created and side plots written overtly to facilitate that and not because those characters or plots mattered. That bugged me. It feels sloppy.

And cards on the table, I think Snyder is a sloppy filmmaker. I think he’s got plenty of skills . I think he’s a great visual director and this film looks good (although I felt the CGI effects worked poorly with some of Snyder's focus and sensibility). I think he’s a great action guy and the action in this film is good. I think he builds very good casts and he put together a large ensemble that worked extremely well. All these things carry this film and make it work and you can trace them all back to Snyder and elements of his other films. But I think he’s sloppy narratively and puts too much stuff in. I get it. You never wanna cut cool stuff. Every idea you have is something to you. But its cluttered and messy and less effective than it can be. That’s gonna work for some because some people just dig it and well get more from the tiny little silly things you tossed in that create gifs and memes and get people speculating wildly on crazy alien cyborg time loop zombie society stuff. But I’m a narrative and character guy and I prefer tighter package and can see one here that I would have enjoyed more.

But its Snyder’s film and he did it his way and I thought that was fine. Perfectly fine. Just nothing special.



🌻🎈Spook-A-Doodle Half-Way-To-Halloween ’21: Return of the Fallen & King Spring🎈🌻
King Spring: 9/13🎈Return of the Fallen: 8/13👻Fran Challenges: 8/13🐺Svengoolie: 5/13
Watched - New (Total)
1. Riding the Bullet (2004); 2. Cat’s Eye (1985); - (3). Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020); - (4). The Thing (1982); 3 (5). Sleep Tight (2011); - (6). Dark Shadows (2012); 4 (7). The Wicker Man (1973); 5 (8). Varan (1958); 6 (9). The Roost (2005); 7 (10). The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007); 8 (11). The Leech Woman (1960); 9 (12). Sometimes They Come Back (1991); 10 (13). Varan the Unbelievable (1962); 11 (14). 1922 (2017); 12 (15). What Keeps You Alive (2018); 13 (16). On the Silver Globe (1988); 14 (17). The Phantom of the Opera (1998); 15 (18). Nina Forever (2015); 16 (19). Area 51 (2015); 17 (20). Carrie (2002); 18 (21). The Stylist (2016)/Stucco (2019)/He Took His Skin Off for Me (2014)/Zygote (2017); 19 (22). Mark of the Vampire (1935); 20 (23). Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017); 21 (23). Death Walks on High Heels (1971); 22 (24). Maniac (1980); - (25). The Beast with Five Fingers (1946); - (26). Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954); 23 (27). Summer Camp (2015); 24 (28). Man Made Monster (1941); 25 (29). Earth vs. the Spider (1958); 26 (30). Vampyr (1932); 27 (31). The Black Scorpion (1957); 28 (32). The Wild Boys (2017); 29 (33). City of the Living Dead (1980); 30 (34). We Are What We Are (2010); 31 (35). Mercy (2014); 32 (36). Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest (2020); 33 (37). Cell (2016); 34 (38). Sightseers (2012); 35 (39). Trucks (1997); 36 (40). Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009); 37 (41). BloodRayne (2005); 38 (42). Big Driver (2014); 39 (43). The Body Snatcher (1945); 40 (44). Run (2020); 41 (45). Paganini Horror (1989); 42 (46). Army of the Dead (2021)

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 07:01 on May 22, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



I love you, Deb.

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STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



The Berzerker posted:


34. I Saw the Devil (Kim Jee-woon, 2010)
Thank you for confirming my long held suspicions that I should not watch this film.

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