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Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018



In May I shall watch 13 horror movies I've never seen before. Specifically, these 13 horror movies I've never seen before

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Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





Pumpkinhead

Finally, a movie where you know what time of day it is! I'm so tired of watching movies and not knowing if it's day or night. That is not a problem in Punkinhead. When it's day the sun blasts down on the earth, obliterating shadows and pouring through windows in solid yellow rectangular prisms of light. When it's dusk, oh boy you better believe it's the duskiest dusk you ever fuckin saw. And when it's night, everything is lit by the pure white spotlight of the moon reflecting off the fog.

The titular Pumpkinhead is the main draw, and it's pretty great. Best Pumpkinhead I know of, that's for drat sure. And it manages an impressive variety of kills for a monster whose only move is lifting people up

Lance Henriksen is here, and the movie gives him the bulk of the emotional stuff which he shoulders quite well. Also Buck Flowers, always a delight. And there are some other actors appearing on screen as well.

One odd thing about the movie, thematically, is that there's no forgiveness. I kinda thought that would be part of Lance Henriksen stopping the Pumpkinhead he unleashed, he would forgive the teens. And he even got the one that did it, even if he himself didn't know it was that teen specifically that killed his boy. He just realizes that spree murder is wrong after experiencing the first murder through the psychic link. Which does leave the movie a little empty feeling. I'm not saying it needed a moral or anything. But there's no real character arc or transformation or anything. All you get is the Pumpkinhead. Which, in fairness, isn't small potatoes. That's a quality Pumpkinhead.

So check out Pumpkinhead if you want to see a Pumpkinhead. Or if you want to see Lance Henriksen give birth, that's in the movie too.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





Deep Blue Three

OK, first off I should say that I was on my phone for a good chunk of this. But I don't think that effected my viewing experience that much.

This was alright. There's a surprising amount of nice underwater footage. They really went all out having people swimming around in some shallow reef, and the movie is nice to look at because of it. The abandoned fishing village is great setting for a shark movie and they use it effectively without resorting to cliché "We need to signal a boat!" or whatever stuff.

There's good action too, a couple good human-on-human fights and one stunt explosion that looks fantastic. There's a bit of dodgy CGI but there are also real physical shark puppets, and those look great. Honestly this does not look like the second straight-to-DVD sequel in a franchise, it looks good.

I enjoyed the villains monologue about how the intelligence drug they're trying to make out of shark brains will only be given to the children of the rich so that after global warming ruins the planet whatever is left will be ruled over by super-intelligent billionaires. It's nice to have a realistic villain.

There's also the single best shark-related death I've ever seen in a movie.

So yeah, Deep Blue Sea 3 is a reasonably entertaining shark movie that's very pleasant to look at. If you want a shark movie, I'd recommend Deep Blue Sea 3.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018



The American version of Varan is a much better watch than the original. It's equally as bad, but it's bad in much more interesting ways.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





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.

I think Leslie Nielsen was a bit of a miscast. Nielsen is famous for his deadpan delivery but the script doesn't really work to that strength in Dracula. On the other hand, Steven Webber has a fairly strong claim to being the best Harker. It's not a particularly big or taxing role typically, but Webber really infuses a lot of character and charm in it.

DDALI isn't exceptionally funny. There are definitely some good jokes and I had my share of laughs. But it doesn't have that really sharp quality of Mel Brooks at his best.

Overall I'd say it's a decently fun time. Especially if you like the old Dracula, the care taken in recreating it is pretty impressive. But I wouldn't tell anybody to put it on the top of their list or anything.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





Breach

OK I understand why this movie was not released on bluray. It is very much from the "glue some styrofoam to the wall and spraypaint it grey" school of spaceship interior design. At best, there are some parts filmed in closeup to try to distract you from the background which is just a wall with a tube stapled on to it. Beyond that, the set dressing is also questionable. More paper towels than you expect to see on a futuristic spaceship. Like, there's a lot of paper towels in this movie.

Bruce Willis was a little surprising here. When you watch a recent Bruce Willis movie you expect a piece of wood that looks like it wants to die. But in Breach, Willis actually moves around and expresses emotion through his face and tone of voice. There are multiple line reads that seem like choices he made. He actually acts. Not in every scene, but still. I don't want to overstate things, this isn't John McClane reborn. I do not believe that Breach marks the start of the Willisance. But he clearly gave more of a poo poo about Breach than he did about The Expendables or Surrogates.

A weird thing is that the monster isn't an alien. It was smuggled on board by somebody. And it's not like some kinda wild animal or something, it has intent. It messes with the ship to achieve not it's own goals, but the goals of the person who smuggled it on board. Which raises questions about the setting, where terrorists can get their hands on programmable zombie viruses. That's the only example of any kind of neat technology in the movie, all the other sci-fi stuff is just spaceship and cryopod.

The ending could have been neat. They arrive on the planet only to find out that the monster is there too. Humanity is doomed, there is no escape. And then the woman's water breaks. Handled well that could have been a really great extremely dark joke. But Breach tries to treat it as like, an exciting action moment? It makes no sense tonally, and even ends on an action line, like its setting up a sequel or something. Baffling. And unsatisying as an ending.

Over all I can't really recommend Breach. It's not as bad as I expected but it's still pretty bad. If you want a sci-fi horror action movie to have on in the background while you scroll Twitter, Breach is fine for that. But don't pay money for it.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018



bitterandtwisted posted:

Breach pissed me off. I love a low budget sci-fi horror, but it was so lazy and uninteresting. It looked like the sets of Red Dwarf with the lights turned way down and obnoxious colour grading.

yeah lazy really is the best word for it. On the DVD box they have these guns that look like they're just made of pipes, and I thought they were gonna have to make some weapons out of whatever they had on hand to fight the monsters. Which could be fun. But then it turns out that they just have some flamethrowers ready to go on the spaceship.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018



Us



After the classic mad scientist horror of Get Out, Jordan Peele gets political with Us.

Us is one of those movies that's gotta settle for a bit. At first, in the flashback when the mom said "I just want my daughter back!" I was like OK clearly Lupita Nyong'o is gonna be an Us, she was switched with an Us and that's gonna be the thing. But then the Uses show up and are weird and I couldn't really get a handle on the Us worldbuilding and I was like, not sure about this, this seems oddly magical in a way that doesn't jibe with the real physical tunnels from the opening crawl, where are they going with this? But then the escalation happened and I was like OK this is pretty great, I really like when horror movies reveal that a localized spookiness is actually a global apocalypse, I am on board even if I'm still not sure about the Uses lore. Then it explained the Uses and I'm like, OK I am fully satisfied with that explanation, I am 100% on board with this movie at every level. But then comes the final twist, and I'm not sure about that. I don't know if that enhances the movie or hurts it.

But that aside, it's still a good spooky time with some fun gore, great performance from Nyong'o, and good politics.

It does slightly waste Tim Heidecker. I don't think they zoomed in on him even once.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018



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.

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

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





The Wolf of Wolf Hollow

This was pretty great.

Jim Cummings delivers a great performance as a horrible cop who loses the extremely tenuous amount of control he had as he fails to solve a series a grisly murders. The character is a genuinely bad person who is still stuck in an unfair and lovely situation

Another thing I liked is that all the victims get a little personalization. It's not just a series of disposable people murdered for the sake of gore, they are all characters. And that's balanced by the way the deaths are edited, cut in with the investigation and the fallout so the sting of the murder is sort of dispersed into a general spiraling out of control. Which helps keep the black comedy tone.

I really liked The Wolf of Snow Hollow, but I can easily see other people not liking it. The main character is genuinely lovely and some people are going to ounce off the movie because of that. And since it's all written and directed by the guy who plays the starring role, it's a movie where one single personality really shines through and if you don't like that personality I can see it being not a fun watch.

So with that caveat, strong recommendation for The Wolf of Snow Hollow.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





A Record of Sweet Murder

I was looking forward to this one. I'm a big Koji Shiraishi fan, Noroi and Cult are both fantastic and Occult is one of my favorite movies. When I found out there was a Koji Shiraishi movie available on Region 1 bluray I immediately bought it without reading a a word of the synopsis. I was so hyped up for it I started getting worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations.

I am happy to report that A Record of Sweet Murder does not disappoint.

It's a found footage one-take bottle movie. There's one camera running for 80 minutes with some people in an apartment, one of who believes he is being commanded by god to kill. At first it's mainly just about the people trying to talk the guy out of killing, and the guy trying to convince them that he really is being commanded by god. But as it goes on unexpected character dynamics emerge, and the movie becomes more about the fact that these people are trapped together with knives.

The violence is well choreographed and realistic, the small set and one-take camerawork make every stab feel intense. There is no superpowered villain or plot-mandated lucky hero, everybody is just scrabbling to not get stabbed.

A word of warning, there is a rape scene. It is not tasteful and it does feel very uncomfortable. But not at all in the way you would expect. I can't really explain it without just explaining the back half of the movie, but I do feel an obligation to do a content warning for a movie I'm recommending that has a rape scene in it, but I do want to stress that it does not hit like a regular rape scene in most horror movies.

So with that caveated caveat I do strongly recommend A Record of Sweet Murder. Like every other Koji Shiraishi movie I've seen, you aren't gonna have seen anything quite like it.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





Candyman

That is one Clive Barker rear end movie

There's some stuff going on here. When it opened up with a lecture about Urban Legends I was like, well this is gonna be terrible, but then it went in an unexpected direction with it. It goes into racial stuff, and it turns out that the urban legend is like an echo of a real crime that was actually committed, the legend is a form of social memory. I'm not sure if it all hangs together. Candyman is still a gory slasher with a spooky ghost demon guy. The themes of race and history are interwoven into that. I think you can appreciate the movie as a good horror movie that has interesting themes, but I wouldn't want to go too far into saying what the movie is "about", and from my untrained eye it's treatment of those themes stumbles into problematic areas too.

So overall I'd say Candyman is a good watch, gory kills, good acting especially the guy who plays Candyman, interesting stuff to think about, maybe problematic.

Also a very important movie if you want to play Six Degrees of Ted Raimi

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018



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

Godzilla Mothra and King Ghidorah Giant Monsters All Out Attack!

What a picture! Top tier monster action!

There's a bit of dodgy 90s CGI, but the miniature work is fantastic, and the suits are some of the best I've ever seen. They actually use closeups of the suit texture as the background in the credits, that's how good the suits look even close up. If you like seeing rooms get hosed up, All Out Monsters' Giant Attack clearly had a room on gimbals and delighted in using it show rooms shaken to bits by the tread of giant monsters before being crushed underfoot.

The human stuff is good too! The human characters are all reasonably well developed, have relationships that are interesting to watch without dominating the movie, and there are genuinely funny moments. Eiji Tsuburaya showed us the way decades ago, and this movie remembered; the human protagonist of a giant monster movie should be a plucky lady reporter!

There's even a bit of a slasher vibe here too. The first people to get killed by monsters are groups of rowdy teens. And the movie takes delight in the occasional creative death by giant monster.

If you are a fan of giant monster movies, Giant Monsters All Out Attack is a must-see. And if you're a normal person who just has a vague interest in watching a giant monster movie, Giant Monsters All Out Attack should be on the top of your list! You won't be disappointed!

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





This movie put me off it right off the bat. There's the spooky treehouse and the creepy doll houses and the little girl who looks like a haunted doll and is generally awkward and weird but also makes creepy things out of trash and makes weird sounds for no reason, and the moms family has all the mental illnesses to the max, and the movie takes place in one of those cheerless Protestant New England mansions, and the whole time this super overbearing spooky soundtrack is going "Spooky woooooommmmmm" on top of everything. I know that horror movies usually try to create a spooky atmosphere, but Hereditary tries to create the spooky atmosphere of Saturn. When it go to the telephone pole scene I basically wrote the movie off. gently caress off movie, I said.

But it does kinda dial back a bit and just lets the situation and the characters breathe and gives the actors lot of good stuff to do, and it kinda started winning me back. Then came the séance scene, which was fantastic, and the revelation that this whole movie is basically just a Paranormal Activity movie but with very fancy camera work instead of found footage and I was fully on board all the way through. Genuinely one of the biggest swings in opinion I've had while watching a movie.

The one thing that did bug me all the way to end though was the miniatures. If it had just been a hobby, fine. But it's established early on that this is the mom's job. Her miniatures are exhibited in galleries. And those miniatures had absolutely nothing noteworthy about them at all. I mean my god, the one that's a little roadside scene? Where its perfectly flat and the proportions are all off and it goes road->strip of gravel->undifferentiated mass of grass? Terrible. I genuinely wasn't sure if it was bad prop work or if it was supposed to be revealing something about the character, that she was a bad artist propped up by her family's obvious wealth. I guess it was just bad props.

If you can get through the overbearing first half hour and ignore the bad miniature work, Hereditary is an excellently acted fun shlocky spooky good time. I recommend it.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader

My second surprise Ted Raimi movie of the challenge! And he's actually in more than on scene, Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader has more Ted Raimi than Candyman did.

Setting Ted Raimi aside, it's not very good. It's not all bad. There is a section in the middle where she's like ten feet tall and everyone is cool with it because she's hot, and that's fun. And I thought the main actress did a good job of selling her character as bullyable in the beginning. Most of the humor doesn't land, but it's rarely so bad as to be anti-comedy.

The main problem is that it doesn't do much with the central premise. She never rampages through town. There are no miniature sets, it's all green screen. They could have sold me on this entire movie if the final fight had had any effort put into it. I didn't want much. Two giant cheerleaders fighting in a city, one of them gets pushed into a building, they throw cars at each other, maybe there is some contrived reason for there to be giant pillows there that they hit each other with. Any of that would have been great. Instead the final fight is a lackluster catfight in a green screen stadium. The fact that they're giant didn't even matter! What a waste.

Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader is never offensively bad, but it's a criminal underuse of a great premise. It's more entertaining than Breach, but I can't recommend it.

I hope some more ambitious filmmakers do a sequel.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





Joe Dante's hole

"it's nothing... we got this hole, it's no big deal"

The Hole is a pretty good kid's horror movie. The interactions between the brothers are well done and realistic, it's got plenty of spooky moments that aren't too scary, and good lighting and camera work make the movie not feel as low budget as it clearly was.

The ending is great(spoiler alert: they go in the hole). After the mundane suburban setting it's a good change of pace to descend into a spooky fairytale world

If you want a fun horror movie to show to little kids on a slow day, I recommend The Hole.

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

It would be more accurately titles Mechagodzilla vs Godzilla, because this is definitely Mechagodzilla's show. The pilot is the main character, and that creates a unique dynamic that I haven't seen before in a Godzilla movie. The lead character is an equal match for Godzilla. If you're one of those "the human parts in Godzilla are always boring!" people, you can't really make the criticism here. The story is about this lady getting her confidence back and piloting the giant robot to fight Godzilla. Godzilla is just the antagonist.

But even if you do just want fights, you won't be disappointed. There are three fights in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. The first two are quite good but a bit short. The third one is everything you want from a Mechagodzilla movie. Giant lizard fights giant robot lizard. It goes on for a long time, the fight takes place in this gorgeous and huge miniature set, they both pull out different tricks, it's fantastic. And for the first time too! this was the fourth Godzilla movie to feature Mechagodzilla, but it's the first one where the final fight is just Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla! No 2 on 1, no tag team battles, just two giant lizards giving it all the got. It kicks so much rear end.

Goddamn I wish this has become it's own franchise. I want to see this Mechagodzilla defend Japan against more monsters! Give me a Kiryu trilogy, Toho!

I recommend Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. Good story, good lead, and the best Mechagodzilla action I've ever seen.



That's 12 movies down! I only need one more movie to complete the Challenge. But what movie will it be...

Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





Parasite

NGL, early on I was wondering why you guys counted this as a horror movie. Then the housekeeper showed up. The last half hour of this movie had me more tense than any movie I can remember

What's really brilliant is that it has the structure of a comedy. You've got all these characters getting into a different social situation through deception. And once its all set up and it seems like it's under control, boom, an element of chaos threatens to throw it all out of control.

Basically, Parasite is a horror movie structured like an episode of Frasier



And with that, my May October Half October Challenge is complete! I have watched 13 new-to-me horror movies. And there's some days left, will I sneak in a cheeky #14? Probably not.

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Gripweed
Nov 8, 2018





I pledged to watch those 13 horror movies in May and by god, I did.

-FAVORITES-

Record of a Sweet Murder
Koji Shiraishi does it again with another fantastic, unique found footage horror movie. I loved it from start to finish but there was a big stretch where I was downright enthralled wondering "where the gently caress is this going? Who are these people???"

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
It's just a good mecha movie. The girl pilot is really good, and it gives you everything you want from a Godzilla and Mechagodzilla movie. No tag team, no three way battles, just giant lizard vs giant lizard robot, and plenty of it too.

Wolf of Snow Hollow
An excellent movie about a lovely dude who is not qualified for his position of authority just absolutely coming apart at the seams. Great performances, it moves along at a good clip, and it's a werewolf movie that doesn't follow the stock The Wolfman formula.

I heartily recommend all three to everyone.

-WORST-

Breach
While Bruce Willis turns in a much more animated performance than is typical of his later roles, that's not enough to save a fundamentally boring movie.

-BEST SURPRISE-

Two unexpected Ted Raimi cameos!

-BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT-

Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader
Not a single scene of a giant cheerleader wrecking a city. What a waste!

-SPECIAL MENTION-

Deep Blue Sea 3
Best shark-related death I've ever seen.

All the other movies I watched but didn't mention in this wrap-up were OK to good.

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