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Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
Someone you know is Bi
Someone you know is Trans
Someone you know is French
Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

This thread... It knows we're here.





The Three Mandatory Rules
Watch a movie appropriate to the challenge*
Write a review
Don't be a dick.

THE CHALLENGE BEGINS TODAY, APRIL 30TH, @ 12PM EST

THE CHALLENGE ENDS ON THE 1ST OF JUNE, @ 12PM EST
You will have to have logged your final movie at this point. Final remarks and totals can be posted after 12PM, but new movies to add to your total will not be counted.


Personal Goals & Challenges

The most common goal among participants is 13 movies, but there is no mandatory amount of films. You can participate with as much or as little enthusiasm as you want. You can watch as many movies as possible (We've had people literally watch hundreds! It was nuts.) However, people that meet the 13 film goal are eligible for rewards.

You can create any personal goals for yourself. Many use the challenge to catch up on movies that have been released through-out the year. Some use it to finally watch that classic horror movie. You can use the challenge to watch all the films of a horror director, or an entire horror series you've missed. You can concentrate on specific sub-genres like Creature Features or Giallos or Hammer-produced films. You can watch films that are only new to you, or only rewatches. The possibilities are endless!

The only requirement is to watch a horror movie and then write about it. You can write a review, a list of thoughts you had while watching it, an analysis, essay or interpretation. You can post GIFs and screen grabs. The whole intention of this thread is to share what we've watched and our thoughts and experiences. Have an anecdote about the story? Tell it! Wanna share a personal history you've had with the genre? Share it!

Watching movies is the easy part. It's finding something to say about them that gets difficult. That's why it's a challenge!

You can always ask for a wildcard or recommendation.



What Movies Can I Watch?
movies, for the sake of this challenge, are considered anything longer than 60 minutes
Horror Movies
Thrillers
Horror Comedies (Tucker & Dale vs. Evil)
Horror Musicals (Rocky Horror, Phantom of the Paradise)
Movies Set During or Around Halloween (Hocus Pocus, The Guest)
Documentaries
- about Halloween (The American Scream)
- about the supernatural
- about the horror genre (Horror Noire)
- about horror movies (Never Sleep Again)
-about a subject that is justifiably horror-related (The Act of Seeing with Oneís Own Eyes, Cropsey)
Family Friendly movies that meet the above requirements (Alvin & The Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein)

Any film featured as a contender in the Spook-A-Doodle Movie Club & Bracketology Tournament '21 thread is eligible, regardless of it's genre. If it made it into the tournament, there was enough deliberation for it's inclusion there for it to be justified here.

(If you have questions about whether or not a movie counts, feel free to ask me.)

What DOESN'T Count
TV Shows (This is CineD, not TVIV)
mini-series
:ghost: Masters of Horror episodes
:ghost: MST3k episodes (you must watch the actual, unedited movie)

These is a big grey area of what's considered "fair", and it gets exhausting trying to pick and choose what is justifiable. I love Stephen King's The Storm of the Century, and Twin Peaks The Return, but the mini-series format is wildly inconsistent in length. It's a little unfair for someone to watch a 45 minute episode of Masters of Horror and it counts the same as Never Sleep Again, which is a four hour investment. It also creates the grey area of "Is ____ show a mini-series? Technically season one is self-contained." Let's just avoid it altogether. Please just watch something else. Keep in mind, this is a FILM forum, and this is a MOVIE challenge.

There will be the inevitable naysayer who posts "I don't care what the rules say, I'm going to count Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor." Just play nice and watch a movie instead. I probably won't call you out, but it will be ignored when it comes to tallying results for surprises. I've also been known to give out avatars and red texts for failure to comply. Consider this a warning. (It's all in good fun!)


:iiam: There will be secret challenges announced for those that want to be pushed outside of their comfort zones. These are called "Fran Challenges", because I am a egomaniac. Think of them as a scavenger hunt for the horror aficionado.


If you are working from a Letterboxd list, feel free to share it.

CineD has a Discord, and there is a horror-specific thread. Right now it is currently called "The Horror Director Tournament" based off Horror Director Tournament Thread (which I highly recommend reading). It will get a name change when the tournament is over to "October Challenge". Feel free to talk about this challenge thread in that channel before the name change.
The Horror Thread has its own Discord where group watches of horror movies are regularly scheduled

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Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
Someone you know is Bi
Someone you know is Trans
Someone you know is French
Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

https://twitter.com/HalloweenCounts/status/1388148200499032071?s=20


Fran Challenges


Fran Challenges are going to be different this May.

Instead of the standard "few prompts a week" system, you're getting them all up-front. The first week was for everyone to watch whatever they wanted. Now you have three weeks left to work through these:


1. Short Cuts



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


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.


3. Camp BLOOD



Watch a horror movie that takes place at a summer camp.


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.


5. Cinco



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


6. Playing With Power



Watch a horror film that has had a tie-in video game. OR Watch a horror film adaptation of a video game. (Note: While it's not mandatory, it would be really fun to provide pictures or footage from the video game.)


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.


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.


9. Scream, Queen!



Watch a horror movie directed by an LGBQT+ filmmaker. OR Watch a horror movie that has been embraced by the LGBQT+ community. OR Watch a horror movie with themes and/or subjects that directly relate to the LGBQT+ community. OR Watch Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street documentary if you haven't seen it yet


10. Behind the Mask



Watch a documentary about a horror director. OR Watch a documentary about a horror film. OR Watch a film inspired by non-fiction accounts of a film or filmmaker. (For this challenge, you can step out of the strict horror/thriller guidelines, since this leans into bio-pics like Ed Wood.) OR Watch a film about a group of people making a horror film.


11. Myths & Legends



Watch a horror film heavily featuring mythical creatures (killer mermaids, killer minotaur, killer unicorn, etc.) OR Watch a horror film heavily featuring real cryptids. (Not one invented for the film.) OR Watch a film that heavily features real urban legends.


12. Cavalcade of Creepiness



Watch an anthology film that's new to you.


13. Horrible Holidays



Watch a horror film that heavily features any holiday. (The holiday does not need to be throughout the movie; a major holiday scene counts, as long as it's prominent. ie Easter in Critters 2.)


Another twist to these challenges. FILMS CAN RETROACTIVELY COUNT. This is only for the May Challenge; don't expect such leniency come October.


Spatulater bro! posted:

What length is considered to be a short film for the purposes of Fran Challenge #1?

You must include all of the short films in a single post labeled with Fran Challenge "Short Cuts". For easy reference, the short films can't be spread across multiple posts until the requirement is met.

Each short film must be written about just like a full-length film.

Include a link to the short film, or a link to the short film's Letterboxd or imdb page.

If you have written about short films in this thread already, they can't be included in this post.

"What short films qualify?"
If it tonally would qualify for the challenge, it's probably okay.

Student Films,
professional short films,
YouTube films
Halloween short films,
scary/horror short films
Thriller shorts that err on the side of horror
Horror comedy
Live action
Animated

Just make sure it's actually a short film and not, say, a Halloween special, like the Paul Lynde Halloween Special.

Music videos are a weird in-between. I'm fine with something like The Monster gently caress, because while it's more of a skit, it's got enough going on in it, and it's short enough, that I would say it counts. Thriller technically counts; it even has a Letterboxd entry as a short film. However, use these sparingly. Don't just do a write-up about 70 minutes of music videos with slightly spooky imagery. I'd rather you watch and write about a 21 year old's first attempt at a horror movie about a killer doll than a write-up about Haddaway's What Is Love music video.

"Are there short films that don't qualify?"
Really long short films defeats the point. Don't watch Host or a Masters of Horror episode and then a 5 minute long short film to push you over the 60+ minute requirement. I'd rather you watch ten 6 minute long films than one 55 minute and one 6 minute short.

However, something like Halloween Is Grinch Night, at 26 minutes long, is okay.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 21:08 on May 10, 2021

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
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Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

bitterandtwisted posted:

I'll commit to a minimum of 13 including Fran Challenges

Right off the bat I have a question about whether a movie "counts": Gods and Monsters, the James Whale biopic.
Is that horror-relevant enough? I've been curious to watch it for a while

I'm gonna go ahead and say yes. The May Challenge is a little more casual, so I think a film about a horror director's life after directing is good enough, especially for someone as important to the genre as Whale was.

If you watch it and feel like it's not appropriate for the challenge, I'll leave that decision up to you.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
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Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

1. Fright Night
1985
dir. Tom Holland
rewatch | Eureka blu-ray

You can point out the flaws in Fright Night all you want, but I don't care, it's my favorite vampire film.



As far as I know, this is the first example of "teen discovers classic monster in their neighborhood" that I can point to, and I think this is still the best one?

There are some flaws, of course.

Charlie's a bit of a lame duck compared to the rest of the cast. I think his milquetoast personality is more of a positive than a negative, because he allows both Jerry, main vampire played deliciously by Chris Sarandon, and vampire killer Peter Vincent, one of my favorite Roddy McDowell performances, to flourish in their larger-than-life roles. Charlie is the audience surrogate and keeps things grounded, and with Evil Ed's over-the-top "there's no ceiling to this performance", having another strong personality would feel too much. (Secretly the whole movie is glued together by Billy, the vampire's living assistant, played by Jonathan Stark, who is in-your-face with his performance, but never feels like too much. I find his work in this movie mesmerizing.)



The ending may feel a bit dragged out, but I kind of prefer how difficult it is to kill Jerry. This script has one of the best push/pull reactions between the heroes and the villain, with a mix of Peter Vincent's fear, Charlie's bold-headed foolishness, Jerry's over-confidence. Charlie and Peter make a move against Jerry, but Jerry is prepared for it. Jerry then loses the upper hand because he chooses theatrics over getting the job done. The characters make mistakes, and over-come each other. It's a fun battle until the credits roll!

I do not know what Billy Cole is. He seems to be human, but then he melts into green goo, in a scene straight out of Evil Dead.

I don't think Evil Ed is annoying. I've heard that his relationship to Charlie is a little vague, since Charlie calls him Evil through-out the film, and Ed hates it, as it is a term he's been bullied with. I see them as people who have gone to school together for a long time and were closer at a time, but now aren't best friends anymore, and Charlie insensitively calls Ed "Evil" to put him down. I ultimately find Ed to be the most pitiable character, and there's room for a Fright Night 2 with Evil Ed's revenge as the center of focus instead of the new vampire story we get.



I now hesitate to call Fright Night a horror comedy in the past few years because of CineD posters who say it isn't funny enough to be a comedy. There are sight-gags, but there aren't many jokes or humorous sections, no one-liners or quips or set-ups/pay-offs. And yet, I watched this film with a friend, who had never seen it, and she laughed through-out at all the right moments. The characters are so funny in this in such a naturalistic way. It's easy to point to how funny Billy is, because he's such a jerk to Charlie, and Peter Vincent's absent-minded cowardly ways manage to be human in the funniest ways. Thanks to fresh eyes, without any context or warning, I know that the movie is still funny to new audiences even in 2021. It's a horror comedy.

This film is the epitome of comfort cinema to me. The tone, the cinematography (which is phenomenal on the Eureka blu-ray release, which is region free and full of extras; I'd consider it an essential film for an 80's horror fan ), the music, the sets, and the AMAZING special effects just fill me with inexplicable joy. The worst thing about this movie is I can only show it to people, and have no way of sharing how happy it makes me.

5 out of 5


Total: 1
Films Watched: Fright Night
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 19:01 on May 3, 2021

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
Someone you know is Bi
Someone you know is Trans
Someone you know is French
Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

2. The Brood
1979
dir. David Cronenberg
rewatch | Criterion Channel



The Brood was a very alienating experience for me on the first watch. It's a dense exploration of trauma, grief, the failings of parental figures, the relationship between the brain and body, the intimacy of therapy, the crumbling of a relationship, the horrors of insanity, among a myriad of other themes. Most of these ideas are conveyed through dialogue, which is thankfully the film's greatest strength, because of amazing performances from Samantha Eggar, Oliver Reed, Robert A. Silverman, and Gary McKeehan. The actors in this film are tapping into an intensity that is haunting and disturbing. While the major through-line for the film are a series of murders carried out by mutant human-derivative dwarves, the true horror is watching the heart-wrenching revelations that Dr. Hal Raglan rips from his patients--especially Nola (Eggar) and Mike Trellan (McKeehan). On the first watch, I was able to cling to the performances, and on rewatch it is still the best parts of the film. It's a masterclass of how to film dialogue, and even in writing this I'd love to find any information on how Cronenberg--an ideas director, a visual and special-effects driven story-teller--managed to get such fantastic, vulnerable performances from everyone but the lead.





The main theme, from which the rest branch off, is the idea that the mind--the brain--in charge of our bodily functions, could change us biologically, physically. Our anger could manifest in sores, our depression into wounds, our constant fear into tumorous growths, etc. One conclusion this is taken is that a woman obsessed with motherhood--blaming her mother for her psychological scars, craving an intimacy with an alienated daughter, being a maternal partner to her lover, fearing a new woman to replace her as the matriarch--could asexually manifest her rage into actual living off-spring. The second conclusion is a fear of a therapy or therapist that could exacerbate this phenomenon of mental energy manifesting into biological results; how the intimacy of a process to improve mental health could be weaponized by a therapist. In this instance, it is a school of thought called Psychoplasmics, but the relationship shown can translate to more than therapy, like religion (Dianetics came to mind multiple times, as did Catholic confessionals). The vulnerability of intimate sharing, especially for mental illness, can be terrifying, and Cronenberg manages it in his horror film, and impregnates the idea with boundless possibilities of terror.

There is also a parental fear throughout the film, as mentioned. Nola's therapy is centered on the abuse she suffered from her mother. We are never given concrete evidence that these are factual accounts, but the damage to Nola is real enough. She blames her mother. She blames her father for not protecting her. Nola's mother blames her daughter for blaming her, while she constantly sips from a glass of bourbon that is never less than half-full. Frank's main spoken worry is that Nola will physically or psychologically damage their daughter Candice, but there is an unspoken fear that Candice has already inherited problems from her mother. Every reasonable parent worries that they are just like their own parents, and are afraid that they are imprinting problems on the next generation.

Cronenberg's Toronto is beautiful in this film. It's a cold, bleak landscape, full of snow.


4 out of 5


Total: 2
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
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Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

Spatulater bro! posted:

The only VS titles I own are Christmas Evil and Body Melt, and I'm impressed with both. Any suggestions for the safest blind buys? I do like the looks of Cthulhu Mansion.

e: feel free to take this conversation to the physical media thread.

Def By Temptation, Spookies, and obviously Tammy and the T-Rex

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

No. 1 Juicy Boi posted:

7) The Howling (1981)


I was surprisingly disappointed by The Howling. Despite a few fun plot ideas and makeup effects, I just developed NO connection anything in this movie and found my mind wandering during parts when I should have been absolutely invested. It was well-shot, certainly, but I don't feel any reason to revisit it down the road.



Total: 7
1. Crawl (2019) / 2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) / 3. Vampyr (1932) / 4. I Walked With A Zombie (1943) / 5. Kwaidan (1964) / 6. Vampyres (1975) / 7. The Howling (1981)


I really really want to like The Howling, but I never do.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

bitterandtwisted posted:

5: Street Trash (1987)

A shop owner finds a case of old booze and sells it to the local homeless who melt.

Production values are much better than I expected and the melting effects are really good and gross as they should be. It's pretty funny.
I'm not sure what, if any, social commentary it's trying to make. Aside from the two brothers, the homeless are presented very unsympathetically (gang rapists). The first kill has a homeless guy melt away into a toilet, which ok visual commentary on how society sees the homeless maybe, but it's also played for laughs, as is the suffering of the homeless in general (eg the penis scene)
OTOH mainstream society as represented by the business owners and cop are also unsympathetic and callous.
It's a fun movie, but there's a meanness to it
The director was only like 21 when he made this which is remarkable

Competed: 5
Four Flies on Grey Velevet; Gods and Monsters; Alice, Sweet Alice, Witchfinder General; Street Trash

You reminded me that I still don't own Street Trash, so I bought Street Trash Special Meltdown Edition on blu-ray because of your review. One of my schlocky favorites.

Had no idea the director was 21 when they made this, which really explains the mean-spirited "gently caress it, offend everybody" tone the movie builds.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
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Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

3. The Black Cat
1934
dir. Edgar G. Ulmer
#83 on They Shoot Zombies (2020) list.




I don't have too much to say, cuz I didn't get much insight from this one. It happened and I watched it. I prefer the more elaborate Italian adaptations of this story, like Fulci's Black Cat or Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key. The cast in this is great--namely Legosi and Karloff out-acting each other. The cinematography is wonderful, with that classic 1930's black and white look with the high contrasts, especially with the use of shadows. The set design gets pretty fun, too.

Ultimately I've seen too many adaptations of The Black Cat to care much about this one, but I don't have anything negative to say about it, other than it didn't move me.





3 out of 5


Total: 3
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
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Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

Arsenic & Old Lace absolutely counts. I watched it recently, and loved it.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
Someone you know is Bi
Someone you know is Trans
Someone you know is French
Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

Spatulater bro! posted:

When might we expect to see the Fran Challenges?

Fran Challenges are going to be different this May.

Instead of the standard "few prompts a week" system, you're getting them all up-front. The first week was for everyone to watch whatever they wanted. Now you have three weeks left to work through these:


1. Short Cuts



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


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.


3. Camp BLOOD



Watch a horror movie that takes place at a summer camp.


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.


5. Cinco



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


6. Playing With Power



Watch a horror film that has had a tie-in video game. OR Watch a horror film adaptation of a video game. (Note: While it's not mandatory, it would be really fun to provide pictures or footage from the video game.)


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.


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.


9. Scream, Queen!



Watch a horror movie directed by an LGBQT+ filmmaker. OR Watch a horror movie that has been embraced by the LGBQT+ community. OR Watch a horror movie with themes and/or subjects that directly relate to the LGBQT+ community. OR Watch Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street documentary if you haven't seen it yet


10. Behind the Mask



Watch a documentary about a horror director. OR Watch a documentary about a horror film. OR Watch a film inspired by non-fiction accounts of a film or filmmaker. (For this challenge, you can step out of the strict horror/thriller guidelines, since this leans into bio-pics like Ed Wood.) OR Watch a film about a group of people making a horror film.


11. Myths & Legends



Watch a horror film heavily featuring mythical creatures (killer mermaids, killer minotaur, killer unicorn, etc.) OR Watch a horror film heavily featuring real cryptids. (Not one invented for the film.) OR Watch a film that heavily features real urban legends.


12. Cavalcade of Creepiness



Watch an anthology film that's new to you.


13. Horrible Holidays



Watch a horror film that heavily features any holiday. (The holiday does not need to be throughout the movie; a major holiday scene counts, as long as it's prominent. ie Easter in Critters 2.)


Another twist to these challenges. FILMS CAN RETROACTIVELY COUNT. This is only for the May Challenge; don't expect such leniency come October.

This list is going to the 2nd post in the first page for convenience.


Spatulater bro! posted:

What length is considered to be a short film for the purposes of Fran Challenge #1?

You must include all of the short films in a single post labeled with Fran Challenge "Short Cuts". For easy reference, the short films can't be spread across multiple posts until the requirement is met.

Each short film must be written about just like a full-length film.

Include a link to the short film, or a link to the short film's Letterboxd or imdb page.

If you have written about short films in this thread already, they can't be included in this post.

"What short films qualify?"
If it tonally would qualify for the challenge, it's probably okay.

Student Films,
professional short films,
YouTube films
Halloween short films,
scary/horror short films
Thriller shorts that err on the side of horror
Horror comedy
Live action
Animated

Just make sure it's actually a short film and not, say, a Halloween special, like the Paul Lynde Halloween Special.

Music videos are a weird in-between. I'm fine with something like The Monster gently caress, because while it's more of a skit, it's got enough going on in it, and it's short enough, that I would say it counts. Thriller technically counts; it even has a Letterboxd entry as a short film. However, use these sparingly. Don't just do a write-up about 70 minutes of music videos with slightly spooky imagery. I'd rather you watch and write about a 21 year old's first attempt at a horror movie about a killer doll than a write-up about Haddaway's What Is Love music video.

"Are there short films that don't qualify?"
Really long short films defeats the point. Don't watch Host or a Masters of Horror episode and then a 5 minute long short film to push you over the 60+ minute requirement. I'd rather you watch ten 6 minute long films than one 55 minute and one 6 minute short.

However, something like Halloween Is Grinch Night, at 26 minutes long, is okay.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 21:07 on May 10, 2021

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
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Grimey Drawer

Gripweed posted:

gently caress I just did Us last night. What a waste.

If you're being a purist who doesn't want to count films retroactively, that's totally fine, but I made a point for this month's challenge to let people use films retroactively for challenges.


Basebf555 posted:

I like how #11 is "Watch a movie about a mythical creature(YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THE LURE FOR THIS ONE GUYS, MERMAIDS COUNT! WATCH THE LURE!)"

Hwee Hwee Hwee.



Also, a killer mermaid is maybe the easiest way to complete this challenge, but I do hope some creative goons hunt out a lesser-known film with a mythological creature or cryptid.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

bitterandtwisted posted:

For 6 does it need to be a tie in for a specific movie or just set in that world eg Alien Isolation/Friday 13th the game?

Set in the world is fine. Some games came out after the 2nd or 3rd movie, and incorporated elements from all three in their game design, for instance. Also there are quite a few games that came out in the 80's or 90's for horror movies that no one thinks about cuz they weren't good.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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Grimey Drawer

I got my 2nd Covid-19 Moderna shot at the start of the weekend. Wasn't too bad, but I did have to take the day off for the side-effects, and that really threw my whole weekend schedule off. I watched plenty of movies, but haven't had a chance to write too much.


4. Varan
1958
dir. Ishiro Honda
Bracketology Thread



A pretty lackluster kaiju film from the kaiju auteur himself. The more Honda films I watch, the less I understand his career. I asked for some information on Honda and Varan, because I don't understand how a person that makes good kaiju films makes a bad one. Thankfully, Burkion came to the rescue with some information!

Burkion posted:

First, this is not a defense of Varan.

If anything I wouldn't have included Varan at all, regardless what version. But it counts, so it gets included.

Your time scale is a bit off Fran- Varan was 1958, not 8 years later. That might seem even more insane- only 4 years after Gojira, 2 years after Rodan, what in the world happened? This even predates Mothra and many of his great films from the 60s, and is concurrent with some of his other 50s greats! And its not just the direction- the effects are worse, the picture quality is kind of really bad, and the picture is in black and white despite Rodan being, again, two years prior.

If something smells, you'd be right. That stench is a convoluted mess of bullshit and fuckery.

So let's paint the picture. 1956, Godzilla King of the Monsters is an international sensation. Godzilla becomes a house hold name. Fantastic, great cool yeah okay let's go. You know what else is becoming a household phenomenon? TV! So an American TV network goes, yo! This monster movie stuff is great! Let's go talk with Toho and get one made specifically for TV that we'll co-finance and air everywhere!

So they go over to Toho and Toho goes, yeah I guess sure. Yo, Honda, take a month and go film this. Tsuburaya, get your B Team together, grease up the actors let's go. Here's some poo poo equipment that we're not using anymore because who gives a poo poo, this isn't going to be seen on a big picture. Oh what's that Tsuburaya, you absolutely hate the conditions you're having to work under because everything is going to look cheap and fake as hell and you don't have time to make it look right, nor the budget? Well you see, it's going to be on TV, so no one cares get it done. Sorry Honda, you get black and white cameras with no sound equipment that might be worse than what you shot Gojira with. It's going to be on TV and they're all black and white so who cares.


Oh what's that, the TV studio went bust and that entire deal is now busted?

Well. poo poo. Movie's already too far in production to stop. Can't do anything about it being black and white, but we'll pan and scan the footage and just make it wide screen I'm sure that won't make the lovely footage look worse.

Oh did I mention the month time frame to make the movie?

I made that joke in discord, then I checked because I realized that sounded right to me for some reason. I was wrong, it wasn't a month


Unless you count February. 28 days is all this movie was given.

When they realized they were stuck with this turd going to theaters, they tried to shoot a few more scenes to give it, you know, a story, but you've seen the results. Tsuburaya's annoyance with the whole venture is well known, but even Ishiro Honda, one of the most loyal directors around, was extremely unhappy with everything and with Toho for doing this. The entire movie was a giant stumble backwards since Toho had already moved into proper wide screen AND color film, and the result is as evident as anything.


And then in the 1960s some Americans grabbed the film and made it racist as all hell.

Just really brought out the shining racism and White Savior Knows Best bullshit.

Couldn't have happened to a better movie

There are some things I liked about the film. I found the initial premise interesting: scientists doing research trips on local fauna disrespect indigenous people and ignore their warnings about a creature they worship, only to get eaten by said creature. I like the idea of scientists starting a kaiju war because they overstepped their boundaries in the name of science.

I think the first reveal of Varan looks pretty good, when it emerges from the water. Everything after is a bit sloppy.

Ultimately, a pretty ugly, boring kaiju film.


2 out of 5


Total: 4
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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5. The Roost
2005
dir. Ti West
Bracketology Thread



A rough movie by a young filmmaker. The movie is an attempt by Ti West to test the bounds of horror and to experiment with the genre, format, and story-telling. It doesn't exactly work, but I appreciate what it's doing. The Tom Noonan host segments are pitch perfect, and it makes me appreciate Noonan's indie cred more than ever.

There were one or two jump-scare subterfuges that actually worked for me, too.

Bland cast, though.


2 out of 5


Total: 5
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan | The Roost
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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6. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter
1984
dir. Joseph Zito

A little context:



This is my most watched movie on Letterboxd.

I have to share something that I noticed recently with the Shout Factory blu-ray box set for the Friday series.

The post of The Final Chapter:



Pretty iconic image. Is it just me, or is something weird about the blood?

If my eyes are serving me well, this isn't an image of a hockey mask in a puddle of blood on a black surface. It looks like the hockey mask is on a red table, with red blood on it to match, with black goo (like a silicone) on top of it. The light seems to reflect more on the edges of the black instead of the edges of the red, and the black is what looks bulbous, like a liquid, and not the red. The flecks of red on the black for the splatter looks like they were added in post. I could be wrong, but I can't help but see it.


For this watch, I listened to the fan commentary on the Shout blu-ray, featuring filmmakers Adam Green and Joe Lynch. I don't really care much for their films, but they love Friday Part 4 and it's a fun commentary. They provide insights unique to horror directors watching a horror film, and they point out a lot of creative directorial decisions Zito brought to the franchise that I hadn't considered before.

I am a little sad that so much of the gore for this film, done by the great Tom Savini at the peak of his powers, was edited out.

This is a classic slasher and the commentary was nice.

4 out of 5


Total: 6
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan | The Roost | Friday the 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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Retro Futurist posted:

For the Mexican movie do English GDT movies count? Been meaning to check Crimson Peak off my list.

Eh, no. It's a USA production company, filmed in Ontario, without a single Mexican actor or crew member.

Cronos is kind of the easiest one to point to for something that counts. The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth, while the former was heavily produced through Mexican producers, were both filmed in Spain and largely based in Spain's film industry, and also deal with Spain's history. Cronos was financed, produced, filmed in and is about Mexico.

edit: To give a bit more room and context on what I think could qualify:

Santa Sangre was co-funded by an Italian production company and a Mexican production company. The director is Mexican, it was filmed in Mexico. Even though the dialogue was performed in English, it's still heavily produced by, written by, and starring Mexicans in Mexico.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 19:23 on May 10, 2021

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Feb 23, 2013

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This isn't mandatory, but for everyone posting their short films, if you watched them online, could you include a link to them?

(I'm going to steal the ones that are well-reviewed and put them in the Short Films thread.)

Spatulater bro! posted:

What length is considered to be a short film for the purposes of Fran Challenge #1?

Same rules as the challenge in October:



You must include all of the short films in a single post labeled with Fran Challenge "Short Cuts". For easy reference, the short films can't be spread across multiple posts until the requirement is met.

Each short film must be written about just like a full-length film.

Include a link to the short film, or a link to the short film's Letterboxd or imdb page.

If you have written about short films in this thread already, they can't be included in this post.

"What short films qualify?"
If it tonally would qualify for the challenge, it's probably okay.

Student Films,
professional short films,
YouTube films
Halloween short films,
scary/horror short films
Thriller shorts that err on the side of horror
Horror comedy
Live action
Animated

Just make sure it's actually a short film and not, say, a Halloween special, like the Paul Lynde Halloween Special.

Music videos are a weird in-between. I'm fine with something like The Monster gently caress, because while it's more of a skit, it's got enough going on in it, and it's short enough, that I would say it counts. Thriller technically counts; it even has a Letterboxd entry as a short film. However, use these sparingly. Don't just do a write-up about 70 minutes of music videos with slightly spooky imagery. I'd rather you watch and write about a 21 year old's first attempt at a horror movie about a killer doll than a write-up about Haddaway's What Is Love music video.

"Are there short films that don't qualify?"
Really long short films defeats the point. Don't watch Host or a Masters of Horror episode and then a 5 minute long short film to push you over the 60+ minute requirement. I'd rather you watch ten 6 minute long films than one 55 minute and one 6 minute short.

However, something like Halloween Is Grinch Night, at 26 minutes long, is okay.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 20:01 on May 10, 2021

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Feb 23, 2013

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Spatulater bro! posted:

Would these two qualify:
https://letterboxd.com/film/the-signalman/
https://letterboxd.com/film/whistle-and-ill-come-to-you/

I'm SO close to successfully shoehorning the Fran Challenges into the TSZDT list.

Yes, go for it.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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Spatulater bro! posted:

Is a movie based on a video game considered a tie-in? (looks like it might finally be time to see Resident Evil)

Yes, that definitely fits. I edited the prompt to allow horror movie adaptations of video games.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 21:07 on May 10, 2021

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Feb 23, 2013

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Retro Futurist posted:

I'm not big on documentaries so this part here appeals to me, but I can't seem to phrase it in a way Google understands and all the ones I can think of (Diary of the Dead, One Cut) I've already seen. Any recommendations?

I know you said you don't like documentaries, but you should maybe try American Movie?

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Feb 23, 2013

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twernt posted:

Iíll second this. American Movie is really good.

American Movie has also been a CineD Movie of the Month. If no one's seen it before, they could use it for that Challenge instead.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 00:11 on May 11, 2021

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Feb 23, 2013

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TheBizzness posted:

Do Psycho 2 or 3 count for the Motherhood challenge?

Psycho 2 especially considering who is doing the killing and why?

I didn't ignore this question, by the way. I've never seen Psycho 2 or 3, so I have no idea how much of Norman's mother looms in them. I asked in the discord and didn't get any answers. So, as of now, it's inconclusive! Sorry.

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Feb 23, 2013

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7. They Live
1988
dir. John Carpenter
Shout Factory 4k UHD

This was a watch-along with the With Gourley And Rust podcast, and also my first time with the new 4k remaster by Shout Factory. I didn't have time to dig into the special features, but the movie looks and sounds fantastic.



While it's not one of Carpenter's most dynamic looking films, there are some excellent, creative moments, especially with the chaos of the 3rd act.

It is also a bit funny how up-front the film is about what it's saying. There is no subtext, it's all text. The rich are the ruling class and we are pawns of consumption. I think this approach is why the film has managed it's longevity; the message doesn't get lost under the story-telling.

It is hard not imagining the same film with Kurt Russell, but as it's been pointed out by others, Russell's not gonna be in a sci-fi romp where American capitalism is the bad guy.

4 out of 5


Total: 7
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan | The Roost | Friday the 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter | They Live
rewatch | new to me

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Feb 23, 2013

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8. The Burning
1981
dir. Tony Maylam
Shout Factory blu-ray



This is a Weinstein film, written and produced by the brothers, and a huge beginning to their careers in film-making. As is their wont, they were frustrating to work with for the director and editor, and they kicked the director out of the final edit and re-shot a new ending. On the Shout blu-ray--which I will say is essential for fans of this film or slashers in general--the only extra that features the director is a commentary, which I have not listened to yet. I mention these things because if in 2021 you do not want to partake in a Weinstein film, I understand and want to provide that warning. I haven't heard any horror stories from behind-the-scenes on this, and this is one of my favorite slashers, so I give this a thumbs up as an experience, but the Weinstein influence is unavoidable.

I think this is peak slasher pacing, alongside Halloween, Friday the 13th, ANoES, Child's Play, and proto-slashers like Alice Sweet Alice. Knowing what to expect, I timed the film. There is one kill about 7 minutes into the film--a rather sad, tasteless murder of a sex worker--and then there isn't another kill until 45 minutes into a 90 minute film. The entire first half of the film is character development, which is crucial to why The Burning is excellent, and is so lacking in the slasher genre, especially as the format was exploited and cheapened years later.

The first half of the film are teens being teens. There's a baseball game. There's an afternoon of swimming. A canoe trip is coming up. There's a campfire tale where urban legends are shared. There's several scenes of girls talking to each other, sharing cigarettes, discussing the boys. There's several scenes of the boys looking at nude magazines and making fun of each other. The summer camp in this film breathes. On this watch--with the clear 2k restoration on blu-ray--I was delighted by how many extras there are in this film. For the swimming scene, there is a platform where a group of eight girls tan, while a group of four guys stand at the dock preparing for a swim and an attempt to flirt with the girls; behind them as this action plays out is at least 20 extras in the background--all teens or young adults--also swimming and playing on the beach. The Burning's summer camp is so pleasant to visit and revisit, because it is the most accurate Summer Camp Slasher I've seen, off the top of my head. (Even something like Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives, which is the only film to have an active summer camp, doesn't feel as lively. Friday the 13th Part 2 is a blast because it has such a large cast of counselors, but since it's set before the summer season begins, it doesn't have that life to it.)

A major discussion point with The Burning is how up-front it is with showing toxic masculinity. I do not know or care about the intention of the writers; what I can point at is what the film shows me, and what I see is an interesting, somewhat complicated portrait of how lovely teenage males can be, and does so without sympathy.

Glazer is a bully, and it can be inferred his tough-guy act is a deflection of being slow, insecure, and unfulfilling in his sexual interests. He spends most of the film pining for Sally, who plays hard-to-get with side-glances at her friends, and promising her sexual satisfaction; but when they actually gently caress, he's frustrated when he prematurely ejaculates and experiences Sally's disdain. Sally's now away from her friends, and answers Glazer's frustrating with sincerity, opening up about her crush to him. If we're playing moral police with the film, Glazer doesn't deserve Sally but does deserve getting pinned to the tree by the hedge trimmers. However, I don't really see the two as related. Glazer is a bully. Sally likes him, knowing he's a bully. They both die, and it doesn't have anything to do with their actions.

Then there's Eddy, who is an even bigger piece of poo poo than Glazer. Eddy likes Karen, but he only shows it through intimidation and sexual harassment. What I find fascinating about this relationship in the film is that there are several scenes where Karen discusses this relationship. "I like Eddy, but he scares me." "Sometimes I like him and want to be with him, but then he gets into these moods and I don't know what to do." Her friends tell her to end it or be straight forward about her boundaries. I really like the performance behind Karen; you can see her trying to think the best of her friends, Eddy, pushing herself outside of her comfort zone for better/worse, but still channeling that fear. When Eddy and Karen skinny dip and Eddy forces himself on Karen, she leaves him only to realize her clothes have been stolen. While there's nudity in this section--we see all of Karen--I was also surprised how the camera doesn't linger too much on her nudity; instead it feels naturalistic, with the nudity emphasizing the character's vulnerability--towards Eddy, and then towards the environment. She is killed, of course, and Eddy survives. If we're playing morality police with the film, this seems horrific and unjust. However, this leads to scenes where Eddy is accused of hurting Karen himself, and the sad truth of his abusive nature is held against him. I find these moments far more interesting and complex than if Eddy had gotten killed--which does happen in the film's most notorious scene--and if Karen survived. Cropsey is like the shark in Jaws; he does not care who or what these teens are doing. He is amoral, in that he wants to kill ALL the teens, and the motivation for him as a killer works more than most "pure evil" slasher villains. Karen dying and Eddy living emphasizes that.

This also counts for one of the most effective deaths, because it's sad: Woodstock, the skinny goofy prankster, gets mutilated later while on a mission to help his friends get rescued. The tropes of slasher films--nameless kids getting killed for breaking "rules"--does not apply to The Burning, partially because it was written after Halloween but before Friday the 13th, and partially because there is so much about the characters in the script.

There seems to also be a discourse that Alfred is an audience surrogate, or someone worth rooting for, but he's objectively a peeping tom despite being reprimanded for it on multiple occasions. I don't think the film necessarily sympathizes with Alfred, or thinks his actions are okay; the women of the film rightfully call him a piece of poo poo for it. However, specifically the character Todd offers Alfred a second chance, and doesn't think he should be fully punished for these actions, since he's a misguided youth having a hard time fitting in. This feels a little too Boy's Club, but it makes sense by the end (or on a rewatch), knowing that Todd is one of the teens in the opening scene where it shows him directly responsible for Cropsey's torturous burning, and directly affecting the rest of the story. I've watched the film in group settings with my friends, with a majority of them being women, and it's always been the conclusion that the film does not approve of Alfred's perverted shenanigans, but that's what makes him an interesting character.

The supplemental features on the Shout blu-ray shine the light on two major players for this film: Tom Savini gets multiple showcases of his work on the film, and they provide a lot of footage of him and his collaborative nature. If you're a Savini fan, the special features are essential, as are his personal stories on the film. Another surprising showcase was an interview with the film's editor, Jack Sholder. I recognized him immediately as the director of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. His interview is pretty funny. You can hear him side-step bad-mouthing the Weinsteins (this blu-ray was released in 2013, before the #MeToo movement). He talks about being a literature buff and his unusual journey into a career in film--starting as an editor for commercials, then editing The Burning as his first feature, which taught him how horror films worked, which lead to him re-writing scripts he had and getting them produced. Indeed, the editing for The Burning is creative, especially with how it works with Savini's effects, and Sholder is open about Savini collaborating on the editing process for the best use of the effects, and playing in-between with the director and Weinsteins, which he said became out-right hostile.



As a horror film: 4 out of 5
As a slasher: 5 out of 5


Total: 8
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan | The Roost | Friday the 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter | They Live | The Burning
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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9. The Phantom of the Opera
1998
dir. Dario Argento

I was ready to give this a fair shake, having not seen the original Lon Chaney classic, not really caring much for most musical adaptations of Phantom, and having never read the novel. The bracketology thread was polarized by this; some enjoying the dark comedy, some not connecting with it at all.



I appreciate the over-the-top gore, which is messier than most Argento films (Evil Dead-esque buckets of blood just being pumped out of wounds).I was intrigued by the restraint with the camera; this lacks the energy of Opera, and the floating perspective of Tenebrae, and the vibrant glowing colors piercing through darkness of Suspiria.

Asia Argento is very pretty, but it's hard to ignore that she's in a see-through dress for most of the film. I don't want to accuse Dario of leering at his daughter, but the film provides me copious opportunities to leer at her, and her performance, like much of her off-screen persona (that I am aware of), is highly sexualized. What a choice!

Ultimately, it wasn't a bad movie, or a very good one. It was a middling experience for me, and I kept feeling my attention wane. Bumping this up to a 3 because I would be okay with rewatching this, but I don't have much to say beyond my initial reactions. I did not feel the humor like others did, but I did like the ambitiousness with some of the effects and ideas. I feel like I would prefer a Phantom of the Opera film by Argento that was filmed in 1988, but Opera is basically a Phantom of the Opera mixed with giallo, so this also feels a bit redundant.


3 out of 5


Total: 9
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan | The Roost | Friday the 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter | They Live | The Burning | Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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10. Sleepaway Camp
1983
dir. Robert Hiltzik
Shout Factory blu-ray



I watch Sleepaway Camp at least twice a year. It's probably my most rewatched blu-ray. If it gets a 4k UHD release, I'm buying it. It has defied a standard rating system, transcended star scales, redefined what makes a movie "good" or "bad". This movie is full of goofs, gently caress-ups, strange dialogue, bizarre performances, glances at the camera, bad taste, misguided choices, and pacing issues. And yet the mood it provides is fantastic. The cast works well. The setting at the summer camp gives the film a sincerity that makes it a personal favorite. The gore effects are also fantastic.

I found out my significant other had never seen Sleepaway Camp, so we watched it immediately. She had no idea about the twists, or the "baldies" line, or Aunt Martha, or anything. The perfect excuse to rewatch the film. It was fun, it was hilarious, and we had a great time.

And now, according to Letterboxd, Sleepaway Camp is my most-watched movie once again.

4 out of 5


Total: 10
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan | The Roost | Friday the 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter | They Live | The Burning | Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera | Sleepaway Camp
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

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Halloween 4 is good. It's not Halloween good, but it's better than Part 2. It continues the whole Michael Myers family thing, but it's really just the motivation behind Michael returning.

Danielle Harris is charming as the main character, and Pleasance goes full crazy with Loomis.

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Feb 23, 2013

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One thing that's a bit confusing on the first watch of The Lure, which I think is a really interesting layer (especially with the band), is that the attraction the mermaid sisters imbue on the people around them is incredibly addicting, to the point that the characters have a whole song where they suffer withdrawal laced with guilt. It's one of the weirder songs, cuz it comes out of nowhere, but it's one of my favorite parts, because it's a newer characterization of the magical realism of a world where mermaids exists.

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Feb 23, 2013

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Shaman Tank Spec posted:

Wait... but he also exploded the gently caress up?

He got better.


gey muckle mowser posted:

Iíd rewatch Halloween 6 before 4 or 5 any day

like none of them are very good in my mind, but 6 is just so bonkers that I canít help but kinda like it. 4 is ok but mostly a retread of 1/2 and 5 is just boring to me

I'd watch 1, 3 and 4 before most of the other sequels. I keep meaning to rewatch 2018, since I've seen it the one time in theaters, to see if I still like it a lot.

I really like Rob Zombie's Halloween 2, but I find myself more interested in revisiting Lords of Salem more than his other movies nowadays.

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Feb 23, 2013

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Spatulater bro! posted:

When I first watched part 4 I literally started the movie over to make sure I didn't miss a detail about how Loomis survived being burned alive. Nope. Turns out he's just a trooper.

This is very very funny to me.

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Feb 23, 2013

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Shaman Tank Spec posted:

I can't decide if "elderly man is trapped in a gas explosion that levels half a wing of a hospital, and is then a raging inferno for ages afterwards, survives with minor facial scarring" is amazingly stupid or just stupid.

E: honestly could be a Garth Marenghiís Darkplace joke.

The Halloween series is notorious for killing off Michael in definitive ways, and then bringing him back with ridiculous twists and retcons.

The one that comes to mind, besides the inexplicable return in Part 4, is Part 5's beginning where he is nursed back to health by a well-meaning stranger. I think he even floats down a river??

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Feb 23, 2013

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Class3KillStorm posted:

He falls into a mine shaft - I guess - that got exploded in Part 4, which dumps him out into a nearby river that doesn't appear to be connected by geography to the previous location. Then he gets nursed back to health by a random hobo living in a river shack nearby for a year, until Michael gets up the following Halloween, for no discernible reason other than his psychic connection to the holiday, and kills the poor guy. Which seems really ungrateful, when you think about it.

At least the pet parrot was fine.

It's such a silly Rube Goldberg type story device to get him from Point A to Point B and it does absolutely nothing for the story. It's not good, but it's fun.

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Feb 23, 2013

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graventy posted:

11. Serial Mom

This is the first movie Iíve seen directed by John Waters, and by all accounts itís barely dipping your toe into the river of filth. Come on in, the waterís fine! Serial Mom is a great campy satire of a film, with an excellent cast.

Iíll have to check out the rest of his work that isnít Seed of Chucky!

The closest in tone to Serial Mom is Polyester, a soap-operatic melodrama about a housewife named Francine Fishpaw dealing with her family falling apart.

If you wanna dive into the filth, I'd recommend Female Trouble and Desperate Living. If you're still on board, Pink Flamingos.

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Feb 23, 2013

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Basebf555 posted:

It really is a very strange career. He bursts onto the scene in 1982 with Gandhi, and all the sudden he's a household name and an Oscar winner. But then somehow an entire decade goes by and he really doesn't do anything of note until Schindler's List, where he basically regains all of that cache he lost because Schindler's List was a huge movie. Then somehow just two years later he's in Species.

And I love Species, but like, who is making these career decisions? Who is the agent who is telling Kingsley in 1994 only a year after winning a BAFTA for Schindler's List, that it's a good idea to be in a movie like Species?

I'm pretty sure, just by the amount of names in the cast, that everyone involved thought that it was going to be the Alien of the 90's.

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Feb 23, 2013

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STAC Goat posted:

The Devil's Backbone is an absolute masterpiece but if you didn't like Cronos you might not like that. Its all about children in danger in a tense situation so probably too intense.

The Devil's Backbone isn't a Mexican film.

It takes place in Spain, about a very important moment in Spain's history (Spanish Civil War). It was produced by a Spaniard (Augustin Almodovar, Pedro Almodovar's brother). It was film in Madrid. All of the actors are from Spain. Literally the only Mexican involved is Del Toro, I believe.

It was originally written about the Mexican Revolution, but Del Toro did a whole re-write once it was funded by Spain. The distribution company is even in Spain.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
Someone you know is Bi
Someone you know is Trans
Someone you know is French
Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

11. Edge of the Axe
1988
dir. Josť Ramůn Larraz

This had been recommended to me several times recently, and other Larraz films had been critically acclaimed by Debbie.



I predicted the twist pretty early on, but I don't hold that against the film. It sticks close to a standard slasher formula, which was already becoming rote in '88. The kills here, are surprisingly visceral, while still simple. Actors are bludgeoned with an axe and become soaked in blood. The camera is unflinching in showing this, and it really works for this film.

The characters don't have much charm for me. I'd start to like them, then they'd do a weird turn where it'd distance me again. A biker who's into computers is such a strange mix, and the film heavily leans into computer-geekery.

Overall, I liked it, but didn't love it. I'd revisit it again, though, and would grab a blu-ray copy for a good price. It's pretty competent.

3 out of 5

I've realized a commonality with successful slashers that unsuccessful slashers lack during this challenge. Good slashers, the ones we remember--like Friday the 13th, Halloween, ANoES, Child's Play, The Burning, Sleepaway Camp--do not have a "slasher structure". Almost all of them, whether they are aiming for being a "slasher or not" (usually not), do not aim to "be" a slasher. For instance, a lukewarm slasher like April Fool's Day, which maintains a decent amount of charm because of the premise and twist, aims to be a slasher. There is an obvious aspect in the writing where someone said "X amount of kills for Y amount of minutes/pages". Also, you can tell when there was a lot of brainstorming for a mask, and the killer's weapon. Which is all fine, there should be thought put into that stuff, but when you look at the GOATs of the genre, these questions aren't visible to the audience, because the actual film has a natural feel to it.

Child's Play came out the same year as Edge of the Axe, and Child's Play is a classic, Chucky is a house-hold name who is still getting (multiple timeline) entries into his canon, and I don't remember the name of the killer in Edge of the Axe.

Edge of the Axe, begins with a woman getting murdered in a car wash with an axe. (Pretty good scene, but Fulci did it a little better in '82 with New York Ripper, with a woman getting killed on a ferry.) Child's Play begins with a shoot-out between Chris Sarandon and Brad Dourif, where Dourif gets shot. (Let's ignore the star power that Child's Play casting has behind it, and let's assume that the same scene would be successful with lesser/no-name actors, if it were shot-for-shot.) I believe Edge of the Axe waits 10 minutes before another murder takes place, Child's Play takes 23 minutes before Chucky kills friend of the family Maggie. Ultimately Child's Play has 6 on-screen deaths, two of which are for Chucky, both as human and as doll, over the course of 86 minutes. Edge of the Axe has 10 in 90 minutes.

Good slashers can have higher body counts, but the memorable ones kinda don't, with exception for the Friday the 13th series, which works within a structure it created itself, and so has a double whammy of contradiction by following it's own series formula, which coincides with the greater Slasher Formula being discussed.

Of course there are so many aspects of slashers that must coincide for it to withstand the test of time--cinematography, special effects, casting--but all of the GOATs aren't really trying to be slashers. Friday the 13th is a murder mystery, Halloween is a thriller based on urban legends and the idea of "pure evil" invading the safety of small-town suburbia, Nightmare on Elm Street is about teenagers suffering the repercussions of absent and misguided parents, Child's Play is about the latest trends of pop culture and capitalism destroying childhood innocence, Sleepaway Camp is a middle-finger to bullying and a love-letter to the insecurities of adolescence and summer camp, The Burning is also a love-letter to summer camps while also exploring the urban legend of Cropsey in a fictionalized setting, Slumber Party Massacre is about toxic masculinity and a shift in power dynamics between genders in horror films, The Prowler's killer is a ghost of WW2 destroying a new generation, Maniac is interested in understanding a killer in a slasher setting, etc. There is no adherence to a structure, just an understanding that violent deaths will occur in the story, and will be emphasized.

This is also why more proto-slashers like Alice Sweet Alice, The Eyes of Laura Mars, Black Christmas, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Peeping Tom, and others are still finding audiences to this day. They weren't called Slashers, and weren't interested in pursuing a defined structure.

When I find interesting post-1980 slashers, I start to wonder why it worked when others fail. More people should know about Terror Train, it should be on the list alongside other well-known slashers. It's got a setup like other slashers, but the structure is pretty unique for the genre. The killer changes costumes throughout, because they steal the costumes the party-goers wear. There are regular murders, but they don't feel trite or like they were trying to hit beats prescribed by the genre. It has John Alcott cinematography and was made around the same time as The Shining. It has Jamie Lee Curtis. It still feels fresh and fun. I can extend a lot of compliments to New Year's Evil, which I now try to watch every year. Half of it's run-time is spent at a kickin' rad New Wave party, and the other half of the run-time is spent with an unmasked killer who talks and interacts with and tricks his victims. He is characterized in a way that you sorta root for the guy to pull off his murderous plans, and suspense is doubled because we are worried for his victims but also worried he might get caught. It's great! Then there's also Christmas Evil, which is so much a character study about a disturbed person clinging to the innocence of the Christmas spirit.

There is a je ne sais quoi with good-but-not-great slashers. I can't explain why the Leprechaun franchise has as many entries as it does, other than Warwick Davis's charm transcends the films and their idiocy connects with people. Maybe the same can be said about the Puppet Master series, where the idea of killer puppets and their designs work better than the actual films. The gore of The Mutilator does make it more entertaining to revisit than The House on Sorority Row, even though the latter has more interesting camera work and the former is confusing (it's objectively Fall Break but everyone's going swimming all the time?). The Funhouse is over-the-top and elaborate and feels feverish, but more people rewatch My Bloody Valentine despite it being more mediocre in every way besides the grounded blue collar mining town setting, and neither will ever live up to Texas Chainsaw Massacre in esteem.

I don't have a succinct conclusion for these thoughts. These are just contemplations I've been having lately, with watching more slashers lately.


Total: 11
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan | The Roost | Friday the 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter | They Live | The Burning | Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera | Sleepaway Camp | Edge of the Axe
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
Someone you know is Bi
Someone you know is Trans
Someone you know is French
Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

12. The Wild Boys
aka Les GarÁons Sauvages
2017
dir. Bertrand Mandico
Horror Bracketology Contender

After I watched this movie, I tried to explain it to my partner. From their reaction, I did a terrible job explaining the magic of this evocative, enigmatic surreal experience.



Take the droogs from A Clockwork Orange and transport them to a secluded island where Neverland's The Lost Boys descend into Lord of the Flies cut-throat betrayal, while the local fauna magically blends the gender line. A large part of the film is a sea-faring adventure, as our villainous characters are transported by a craggy captain on his ship, so it's also a pirate film.

The inciting incident with this film is a Shakespearean performance that descends in a sexual assault, where the victim, our main characters' acting coach, is killed. This is not portrayed by a traditional rape scene, like I Spit On Your Grave. Instead, it is more psychedelic, like something out of a film by Ken Rusell, or Walerian Borowczyk, or even music video-ish films like Alan Parker's film of Pink Floyd's The Wall (the Comfortably Numb sequence especially comes to mind). The film parallels this sexual assault with another sexual assault, shown previous to the teacher's sexual assault, in stark dark monochrome, the victim one of the rapists we will get to know (though that isn't conveyed clearly until later), the victim's body revealed to have a single woman's breast as well as a penis. Both of these ideas are disturbing, but the tone for both is like a dream. This is, for the most part, the most disturbing the film will get, but the dream-like tone will be throughout.

That's the greatest thing for me to emphasize for this film. It never once disturbed me. The tone is too fantastic and the ideas too magical and surreal, where the violence and cruelty feel allegorical rather than literal. (Still not something I will flippantly show friends, but this isn't Irreversible or A Clockwork Orange or Straw Dogs.) This is a fairy tale for adults.



It is easier to talk about the production than the actual ideas of the film. All of the main actors, our titular Wild Boys, are played by women. (The choice for the Boys to be obsessed with Shakespeare is another fun role-reversal, as it's well-known that the roles of women in Shakespeare's plays were portrayed by feminized male actors.) There are many prosthetic penises that are violently masturbated, which eventually fall off from pubic patches and leave bloody stumps. Vulgar to say, and probably not appealing to someone wanting a more casual movie-going experience; however, I should also emphasize, despite the constant sexual imagery, from literal tattooed penises and breasts and asses and vaginas to phallic plants that ejaculate thick viscous nectar and bushes that are shaped like legs that conceal yonic openings which can be hosed, the film is never pornographic. None of this is titillating, but it does heavily explore sexuality (especially unhealthy, predatory sexuality).

The cinematography, helmed by Pascale Granel, (notably a fan/student of Borowcyzk) uses Super 8mm, 16mm and 32mm film, most of which is monochrome, some of which is color stock. The film stock is expired and creates beautiful distortions in color and composition, which especially emphasizes the magical realism of Island La Rťunion. I don't know how she manages the colors or the balance between lights and darks, but I would now watch any film where she is the DP.

Also of note is Laure Saint-Marc, the film's editor, who has collaborated with Granel and Mandico on multiple projects. This trio's work together creates a singular and mesmerizing cinematic voice.

If there were any complaint to have about this film, it is a minor one: it's not a horror film. Not really. Some of the ideas are horrific, but more than anything it is a fantasy film and an adventure film. It feels more like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel come to life. It also reminds me of Pedro Almodovar's films, although with the benefit of being released in 2017, so it's themes of gender-fluidity feel more culturally relevant than how the same ideas feel dated from Almodovar's films. (Yes, I will still defend Almodovar's filmography, The Skin I Live In a notwithstanding blight on an otherwise fascinating, thought-provoking genre/gender-bending filmography.) You can also see the influence of Luis BuŮuel, Harmony Korine, Alejandro Jodorowsky, the previously mentioned Ken Russell and Walerian Borowyzck, Andrzej Żuławski, even some Fellini, Argento, Pasolini, Cronenberg, and possibly some Michel Gondry. And, again, this is somehow a pirate film. While there's no swashbuckling, most of the film takes place on a ship at sea, with the imprisoned crew planning a mutiny. However, since it's a Bracketology film, I'm fine with including it here, among my own challenge list.

The central idea, if there is one for me to grab onto, is the misguided belief that there is a difference between genders, that there are defined lines with what makes a woman and what makes a man. Our Wild Boys are sent to an island that will magically turn them into Wild Girls. The Captain and his later-revealed collaborator, Dr. Sťverin(e), believe that effeminizing the brutal men of the world will make the world less brutal. The irony is that the Wild Ones commit more murders (justifiable or not) once they have been turned into women. Indeed, their genitals have changed, but their violent rambunctiousness has not. They are more energized towards violence and anarchy than ever before, they just feel more beautiful in their transformation. Our "most sympathetic" character, Tanguy, gets stuck in the middle of their transformation, having a single breast, a penis, possibly a partly formed vagina. Tanguy is conflicted in this. There is an insinuation that the fauna or magic of the island makes the transformation seductive, but there is room to wonder if Tanguy is compelled to complete their transformation because they want to, or because all of their friends have become women and they are afraid of being left behind.

I also don't know what to make of TREVOR, a chaotic deity that fuels much of the cruelty the Wild Ones commit. It is a dazzling, colorful bejeweled skull-head, and it is never fully conveyed if it is a real outside force or a construct of the characters.

Ultimately, this is a fantastic transgressive creative accomplishment. It left me with more questions than answers, which I appreciate. It pushed the boundaries of cinema almost effortlessly.

5 out of 5


Total: 12
Films Watched: Fright Night | The Brood | The Black Cat | Varan | The Roost | Friday the 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter | They Live | The Burning | Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera | Sleepaway Camp | Edge of the Axe | The Wild Boys
rewatch | new to me

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
Someone you know is Bi
Someone you know is Trans
Someone you know is French
Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

https://twitter.com/FANGORIA/status/1397009128174784515?s=20

RIP Aunt Martha

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Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

Someone you know is Gay
Someone you know is Bi
Someone you know is Trans
Someone you know is French
Maybe even someone you love

Grimey Drawer

I technically watched 20 movies this month, but only wrote about 12 of them in this thread. (I did a few more write-ups in the Bracketology thread, and didn't post them in this thread.)

May is actually the more difficult challenge month for me. Just so much going on in my personal life. The world is opening up, so I even got to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 in theaters, on 35mm print. (Never seen it on the big screen before, let alone on actual film. It ruled.) Feels nice to be fully vaccinated and get back into the theater.

I didn't get to write about it, but a big highlight was Arrow's 4k UHD of Tremors, which is full of great extras. The movie looks great, especially all the Nevada mountains, and all the new interviews and information provided on the 4k was awesome.

Some of the worst movies I watched? Wes Craven's Swamp Thing, which seems to know it's lovely and compensates with humor, but still doesn't pull itself together. Also Ti West's The Roost and Argento's Phantom of the Opera. I did rewatch Eureka's blu-ray of Troll 2, and it's a great presentation of one of my favorite bad movies. The Utah locations really pop, and the terrible make-up and goblin effects is emphasized in a fun way.

Overall, I had fun watching the movies, and wish I had more time for write-ups. It's been an interesting month, both in CineD and SA and in my personal life.

I'll make another post later for the Challenge's conclusion.

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