Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Halloween Movie Marathon 2009

Halloween Movie Marathon - 2009!Is it just me, or does the world seem to be spinning around on its axis a hell of alot faster these days? I can't believe it's October again, my favorite month, and it's once again time for me to dive into an ocean of horror and sci-fi seasonal goodies. You know the drill by now, we're gonna' try and view 31 flicks in 31 days to celebrate the big, build up to Halloween.

As you can see by the picture here, I kinda' take it seriously! So, we stay with the same annual game plan, I'll feast my orbs on all manner of horror and sci-fi films from my own personal library, from classics to modern, horrific to horrible, and I'll follow them up with a quick review and a ratings scale for scares, fun and effects. My scale is from o 1 to 5, with 5 being the top. So fasten up your safety belts, Seekers, here we go into the wild, weird and wonderful Halloween Horror Movie Marathon!!

1.) Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - 2008 - Oct. 1Okay, so this films not really in the wheelhouse of horror anymore than Raiders of the Lost Ark, but I had to finish out the trilogy which started promisingly with The Mummy and quickly degenerated into this dismissible final installment. Where in the first one the writers and director clearly introduced horror elements and menacing situations, this latest outing is mainly a coaster ride of allegedly thrilling feats of daring do! Not. Brendan Fraser clearly just collecting a paycheck here as one of the only two returning original cast members. The others, no doubt, saw this debacle coming and beat it out of town! Jet Li is listed in the credits but I swear he's only really in the film for about 2 minutes. The rest of the time he is rendered as a CGI stone encrusted Mummy.Now, it's not a horrible movie to be sure, but it sure as heck ain't a good movie either, and it certainly is not a horror movie. So, I've entered the season on a soft note, cinematically speaking, and I promise to stay more in line as we progress. Scares: 1, Effects: 3, Fun: 2

2.) The Hideous Sun Demon - 1956 - Oct. 2

Written, directed, produced and starring Robert C. Clarke, this 1956 sci-fi chestnut ain't gonna' give Clint Eastwood any reason to worry. Basically an "anti-Wolfman" epic you can clearly see how Clarke was largely influenced (read that "liberally stole from") by the 1940's Universal classic. In Clarke's version our protagonist, after being exposed to, what else? Radiation in some freak lab accident, which apparently the movie's budget didn't allow for filming, becomes a reptilian creature when exposed to the Sun's rays. Try as he may to evoke sympathy from the viewer, ala most if not all of the classic Universal monsters, Clarke basically is not the actor he needs to be to pull it off. Not to mention the movie's kind of ridiculous anyway. However, it is a lot of fun to watch these mid 50's "atomic" warning movies. The make up for the Sun Demon is a stitch, again budget constraints only allow for the top half of our monster, so whenever he appears he's wearing trousers, a belt, and matching shoes!! Scares: 0, Effects: 1, Fun: 3

3.) Joy Ride - 2001 - Oct. 3
Now here's a fairly decent picture, 2001's Joy Ride stars Steve Zahn, Paul Walker and Leelee Sobieski as three cross country travelers terrorized by a menacing and anonymous trucker. It's sort of a nod to Spielberg's made for TV movie "Duel" which came out in the 70's. Plot? Yep, here goes: Zahn plays Walker's nere do well brother who, during a cross country drive, goads him into playing a mean prank on a lonely trucker over the CB radio. It's actually kind of fascinating that a movie made in 2001 would have CB radios as a plot device, it so 70's. Anyway, the prank goes bad when the trucker, lured to a motel on the promise of sex, ends up killing one of the guests. Soon he catches on to our two pranksters and proceeds to terrorize them throughout the remainder of the film. Sobieski joins in about 1/2 way into the movie, for what reason I'm not sure. Anyway, good scares in this one, nice mounting suspense, and of course, a wide open for a sequel ending. Scares: 3, Effects: 3, Fun: 3

4.) The Giant Claw - 1957 - Oct. 4
I recently purchased the Sam Katzman's Icons of Horror Collection and this is one of the 4 classic films in that set. Made in 1957, this tale about a giant, goofy ass looking buzzard stars none other than Jeff Morrow, stalwart of the 50's sci-fi scene, as our hero. This movie never really explains where, why, or how this giant buzzard happens to be here, but by God they sure do explain everything else!! Typical of these 50's movies, shortage of good writers left the dialogue weak so they make up for it with science text book recitations! Really, it's like your sitting in a damn lecture for several minutes of the movie. Entertaining AND educational, hmmmmm? Still, this flick was one of my favorites back in the day when I used to watch "The World Beyond" a Summer Sci-Fi show that featured all these gems of the day. Scares: 0, Effects: 1, Fun: 2

5.) The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll - 1960 - Oct. 5
Now here's one I haven't seen before, and frankly, I don't think I'm any worse for having missed it. Right out of the famous Hammer Production vault, this film is one of 4 on the new Hammer Films Icons of Horror Collection. The problem with trying to get your mits on these Hammer films is that apparently there are about a dozen "rights" lawsuits flyin' around keeping anyone from releasing the definitive chronological collection of these awesome films. Okay, back to tonight's gem. It's Hammer so right away you know the production standards are high, the color is startling Technicolor, and the story and dialogue are a notch or three above most other genre films of this era. And, true to a handful of Hammer movies, they play a unique trick on the timeworn story of the ill fated Dr. Jekyll. In this version, Jekyll is the long suffering scientist married to a philandering wife, who is philandering with his best friend (brilliantly played by Christopher Lee). However, in this telling, once the potion to separate the good and evil identities is ingested, Jekyll transforms into a handsome, well spoken, gentleman about town. Although, true to Hyde, he is evil to the bone and totally without conscience. It's a neat little twist in an otherwise familiar tale. The only thing that gets borderline annoying in this movie is the sound track, it's absolutely cartoonish in places, especially during the "gay Paree dancing girls sequences. Overall, a strong and enjoyable outing from Hammer. Scares: 1, Effects: 2, Fun: 2

6.) American Scary - 2006 - Oct. 6
Fabulous, interesting, nostalgic, funny and doggonit, pretty darn informative too! This wonderful film is a documentary about the wonderful world, history and legacy of the late night horror hosts that we have come to know, fear, and love. It's a real hoot to watch and relive some of the moments with Vampira, Svenghouli, Count Gore DeVol ( my personal host!), Zacherly, and a multitude of others, known, unknown, and mostly unheralded. Unfortunately though, I thought the movie was short on actual "scenes" from the horror hosts. There are dozens of interviews, lots of talking, and certainly loads of opining. For those of us who are into it, that's fine, but to the casual viewer this documentary is a bit talky and would have benefited from the archival antics of the wonderful hosts that it features. Also sadly lacking, and interview with Elvira, who most believe single handily legitimized the late night horror host and brought the genre to mainstream America. Still, well worth the watch. Scares: n/a, Effects: 2, Fun: 4

7.) Monster on the Campus - 1958 - Oct. 7
You'd never know it to watch this clumsy film that it was the work of Jack Arnold! Yes, the same Jack Arnold that gave us Creature from the Black Lagoon and It Came from Outer Space. This outing is a definite misstep for ol' Jack. The story? Arnold Franz stars as a poindexter science professor at a small upstate college. He's diggin' around for some prehistoric evidence to support his theories on evolution, and gets this really ugly, big, Paleozoic fish sent to him from Madagascar. No........I'm not kidding. Well, turns out this big ugly fish has been (of course!) irradiated for shipping to retard the deterioration process and blah, blah, blah. Look, he gets cut on the tooth of the thing and the infected blood make the professor go through "reverse evolution" and he becomes a Cro-Magnon man. Naturally his prehistoric urges necessitate the murders of a few folks on campus but he can't bring himself to kill his gal pal, Neanderthal or not! Completely absurd make up on the monster, it actually looks like the rubber masks they used to sell in the back of Famous Monsters Magazine. Again this films budget gives us another "terror in trousers", like the Sun Demon, our campus Monster manages to keep on his stay pressed pants throughout each transformation. Speaking of which, there is a pretty dandy old school, ala Universal Wolfman, transformation scene near the end of the film. Clearly the budget was shot on this scene. Scares: 0, Effects: 1, Fun: 2

8.) Frailty - 2002 - Oct. 8
Subtle, well crafted, superbly acted, and interestingly written, Frailty is a gem that I hadn't planned on watching this year. My daughter agreed to sit with me and she doesn't care much for anything black and white, so she chose this fine horror film from my collection. A brilliant story about a Father, played by Bill Paxton, and his two sons whose cozy blue collar suburban world is turned upside down with Dad gets a "vision" from God. He is instructed to slay demons, demons that apparently are all around us waiting to be "revealed". Clearly much of the current plot line from the CW show "Supernatural" was derived from this film. As the story progresses the older son rebels against the Father, assuming that he has slipped a gear and is out of his head. He tries to free himself and his younger brother from the horror of kidnap and murder that their Father has brought into their life. Any more detail would enter into spoiler territory, suffice to say that Frailty is a smart and paced horror movie, if not in the traditional sense. Scares: 3, Effects: 3, Fun: 3

9.) Curse of the Mummy's Tomb - 1964 - Oct. 9
By the mid 60's Hammer Studios had already harvested most of the worthwhile Universal characters and spun them in a unique, and more horrifying way. No one will argue that Horror of Dracula with Christopher Lee is certainly a more in your face horror movie than Bela Lugosi's Dracula, although both are excellent in their own right. But as sequels go, Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, albeit respectable, is not adding or subtracting to the Mummy story. As with most Hammer films it is well shot, beautifully staged, well acted and has good characters with tight believable dialogue. The Mummy itself is cool, scary in its own lumbering, silent way, and enters the film at about the point you'd expect: near the end! Oh well, as I said, this Hammer Mummy film is not up to par with the earlier Chris Lee Mummy film, but it's a fine distraction for an early October watch. Scares: 1, Effects: 3, Fun: 2

10.) Angry Red Planet - 1959 - Oct. 10
Look, all I know is that when they started showing the trailers for this in the early 60's, me and all my buddies KNEW we had to go see that movie with the "crab/rat/bat/spider/thing" in it! Well, alot of years have worked their way in between then and now, and the "me" thinks this movie sucks................big! It's not bad enough that it's slow, badly acted, horribly scripted, no, that wouldn't be enough for writer/director Ib Melchior, he had to go and shoot what would have been the only cool scenes in the movie in "Cinemagic". Hey, Cal, just what is Cinemagic? Well, glad you asked there, Sparky. Cinemagic is basically taking a bad orange gel and putting it over the lens of the camera, than adjusting the contrast so hot that it makes the entire picture look sort of like an orange negative. And this was supposed to HELP this movie?? It's got plenty of unintended yucks throughout for example, our astronauts all wear patten leather loafers with their space suits, the "modernistic" equipment looks like cast offs from a Mr. Wizard episode, the leading man, Gerald Mohr looks like the spittin' image of Morton Downey, Jr., and there's enough misogynistic dialogue to keep N.O.W. busy for months. See it if you have to, but I hope you don't have to! Scares: 0, Effects: 1, Fun: 2

11.) Invisible Invaders - 1959 - Oct. 11
Invaders? Possibly. Invisible? Definitely if you're talking about plot, acting, sets, editing, dialogue, and casting. With the exception of sci-fi stalwart John Agar (clearly at the beginning of his career here), the remaining cast is disposable. Now, and this is the big revelation for me, there is no way that George Romero didn't see this film. The premise of course is that "invisible" aliens from "the moon" somehow find their way to earth and inhabit the bodies of the newly dead! Sound familiar?? Well it should, even those exact words are used in Romero's classic NOLD film. Even the make up and stilted lumbering of the "undead" smacks of the Romero's film. I haven't read any bios or behind the scenes, but I'd be off my center if I didn't at least mention the similarities. The film also briefly features John Carradine as the first or the possessed undead and his character, in what surely must have been an inside joke, is named Professor Noyman. Wasn't that the name of Karloff's character in House of Frankenstein?? I think so. But at the end of the day the film clocked in at 1 hour 7 minutes so it was enjoyably short. The undead actually looked pretty cool, and John Agar rocks so I can't beat it up any worse than I already have. Scares: 0, Effects: 1, Fun: 2

12.) Journey to the 7th Planet - 1962 - Oct. 12
John Agar is in this movie. It is most likely made by the interns who worked on "Santa Claus vs the Martians", but the writing is worse. Short plot? In a future world (2001!) the Earth is governed by the United Nations, there are no "atomic" weapons, and all nations, especially the Netherlands, work hand in hand to explore space. Sounds to me like Obama's favorite film so far. Not to belabor the issue, this movie keeps you guessing, on the edge of your seat really, because it so deftly conveys the message that at any moment.............NOTHING could happen. Get this. A United Nations Space Team is dispatched to explore Uranus.........insert joke here..........when they get there they find that it is controlled by a huge brain that can make them manifest any thought that they think. Yeah, I know, sounds crazy right? Look, I'm not going to waste any more time on this pure suckfest but I'll leave you with this: If you watch this movie, you WILL lose brain cells. Scares: -5, Effects: -1, Fun: 0

For the next several movies I'll be on my annual trek to visit my son in New York City. As many of you know, every October we spend a weekend together watching all manner of horror films until our eyes bleed.............for the most part.

13.) The Stepfather - 1982 - Oct. 17 (1st movie of the day)
This film sort of snuck in and snuck out on most horror buffs until recently with the big budget remake being released this week. If the remake is, as most remakes are, as completely retched as Hollywood can make than it will serve you well to check out the source material here. Just released on DVD, 1982's Stepfather stars Terry O'Quinn (Millennium, Alias, Lost, Etc.) superbly playing the role of a schizo sociopath in search of the perfect family and the American Dream. His problem? Can't seem to avoid eventual disappointment with the family unit and feels compelled to, uh, kill them all. Loosely based on the story of John Litz, and in my case, Bradford Bishop, the story is compelling and O'Quinn's acting is the vehicle that brings the movie out of obscurity and into cult status. True, this film was lost in the onslaught and explosion of the 80's slasher films (Halloweens, Friday the 13ths, Nightmares on Elm, etc.) but it cultivates its own creeping suspense and terror in the singular personage of O'Quinns performance. Scares:3, Effects: 2, Fun: 3

14.) [Rec] - 2007 - Oct.17 (2nd movie of the day)
Now here's a goodie! This is the original Spanish version of the movie that later would become "Quarantine", here in the good ol' U.S.A. I've never seen the latter but I can tell you the the source material is darn good horror. Filmed in the now accepted "reality video" format, the movie chronicles a young female reporter doing an what appears on the surface to be a puff piece about the local fire department and those who work for it. During her expose, she follows the fireman on an emergency call to a local apartment building where there is a report of a woman in trouble within her apartment. Within minutes after arriving at the apartment building she, the rescue crew, and everyone within the apartment soon realize that they have been sealed in due to an unknown and unexplained outbreak. From this point, the horror picks up velocity and draws us into a full blown zombie extravaganza!! I know, I know, you're thinkin' "Oh, crap Cal, not another zombie movie!" But hold on there, Seeker, this film manages to break a bit of new ground mainly due to the unique perspective of the hand held camera. So, whether or not you've seen what I imagine to be the dumbed down American version, I highly recommend this foray into fright. Scares: 4, Effects: 3, Fun: 3

15.) Halloween - 2007 - Oct. 17 (3rd movie of the day)
I am deathly afraid that these cumbersome, needless, meandering, overblown, poorly written, directed and acted remakes will be the death of the horror genre. When I first heard of this travesty my visceral gut reaction was immediate: "What kind of an asshole would ruin this perfect Halloween classic?". The answer? Rob Zombie. Now, I know some of you out there think this fella is God's gift to horror and you're allowed your opinion. But for me, I suffered through his stinkfest "House of 1000 Corpses" and vowed never to watch any sequel it spawned. I have remained true to that promise. I wish I would have had the foresight to put the same seal of disapproval on ANY product that Zombie writes, directs or produces. His characters are the worst, the dialogue is complete gutter speak, he creates a world where, really, you want EVERYONE dead because they are all so despicable!! The worst part of this film is the back story of Michael Myers. Zombie strains to find a "reason" for Myer's sociopathic, murderous tendencies and fails.........miserably. The beauty of the character in Carpenter's (brilliant by comparison) original is NOT KNOWING why he does what he does. It's so much scarier that way. My advice? Steer wide and clear of this trash heap and pray that Michael Bay doesn't ruin Freddy Krueger next year in his needless remake of the Nightmare on Elm Street. Scares: 0, Effects: 2, Fun: -5

16.) Horror of Dracula - 1958 - Oct. 17 (4th movie of the day)
Now the only reason this fine film made it into this years watch list is that I was able to see it in the theatre on the big screen, as God intended!!! Really, as many times as I've, you've, we've seen these classic pic's, there's really nothing like seeing them in a real movie theatre the way they were presented originally. You know the drift here, Chris Lee takes on and subsequently OWNS the role of Dracula forever. Yes, Bela good, but Lee brings the awesome evil and menace that would define the character for decades to come. Much like Neil Adams reinventing Batman as the dark avenger of the night, Hammer Studios introduces us to the Dracula that we always wanted. Truly a classic and simply magnificent on the big screen. Scares: 3, Effects: 3, Fun: 5

17.) Curse of the Werewolf - 1961 - Oct. 17 (5th film of the day!!!!!)
This was the 2nd feature of a Hammer double shot we saw on the big screen with the previous film. Again, just too awesome to see these films with an audience, on a giant screen, with the smell of popcorn in the air. This particular movie surely wins the award for longest back story ever!!! Literally, we sat through 1 hour of the movie just getting the weird origin of the monster we had come to see. And the damn film is only 1 hour and 20 minutes long! Much like the Hulk TV series of the 70's, we finally get a look at one of the best representations of the Wolfman ever brought to the screen. Trust me kids, its well worth the wait, Hammer's Werewolf is totally animal and totally cool! True to the Hammer code we get the acrylic red paint blood in gobs and our hero/villain is convincing in his pained "why is this happening to me" role. Any way you slice it, this film is a classic. Scares: 3, Effects: 3, Fun: 5

18.) Dracula A.D. 1972 - 1972 (duh!) - Oct. 18
Ya' like Dracula? Ya' like Mod lookin' Hippies? Ya' like the swingin' English scene? Ya' like movies with more Dracula in the title than in the actual movie???? Than you'll love this clearly throw away Hammer film. It couldn't be more obvious that the series had run it's course at this point and was dangerously bordering on self parody. Again we find Christopher Lee as the Count, and he's awesome looking as usual, but sadly and awkwardly underused in this movie. It looks like they had to pay him by the minute and they were trying hard to cut corners. As you might expect Peter Cushing returns as yet another descendant of Van Helsing (did this family LOVE to procreate, or what?!?) and turns in a top notch performance. Say what you will about the caliber of film, budget, or whatever, I've yet to see either Lee or Cushing turn in a less than admirable acting job on any of these films. By this time they both MUST have known that these films were soon to fade into oblivion but they sure don't show it in the acting. Not the best, but certainly worth watching. Scares: 2, Effects: 2, Fun: 3

19.) Inside - 2007 - Oct. 18. (2nd film of the day)
Okay. Let's see. Where do we start with this one...........a couple of years back I watched and reviewed "Audition" and as you may remember, was a bit freaked out about it. "Inside" BLOWS THAT FREAK OUT AWAY!!! Why, you may now ask, is this particular lil' French film more freaky than most? I guess it's due to the subject matter, the stark and graphic depiction of the violence, the depravity of the antagonist, and the depressing and brutal ending of the film. Word of warning: DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE UNLESS YOU ARE IN THE MOOD FOR EXTREME BRUTALITY, VIOLENCE, AND GORE. Really, this kind of shit is not my cup of tea, but once one travels into the quest for horror, one never knows what kind of film they may encounter. Truly this is the case here. Now, on the one hand it is an incredibly absorbing film. I gotta' say, I was totally into the plight of the heroine (uh, sort of) and was really invested in the demise (or so I hoped) of the creepy antagonist. Here's the story in a nutshell: the movie starts with a car accident in which a pregnant woman and her husband are involved. The husband is dead and we cut to the wife in the hospital where she is awaiting release and is approached by a creepy ass nurse who proceed to engage her a conversation about babies born dead! Now we cut to the pregnant gal at home and from here the film takes off and relentlessly pursues horrifying us at every turn. Can't give out too much else or else we're into spoiler territory. In some ways an engaging, interesting, and original film, it is also a repulsive, depraved, and horrific story. Watch at you own risk. I'm not kidding. Scares: 4, Effects: 5, Fun: -5!

20.) Zombieland - 2009 - Oct. 18 (3rd film of the day)
Hot off the presses Zombieland aspires to be "Shaun of the Dead" American style. NOT!! Missing the wit, the pathos, the character development, and story arc of Shaun, Zombieland comes across as a lame distant cousin. Funny for the first 30 minutes, the film quickly degenerates into a fairly text book regurgitation of most, if not all, of the now overworked and over used Zombie cliches. The basic pretext is that we are in a world that has been taken over by the living dead and those that are still human are wandering about the Zombie world looking and longing for the world that used to be. The writers could have done more to play up this theme but, well, they suck. There is a sequence in the middle of the movie that is a curve ball of sorts, but if I tell you about it it'll spoil the surprise. I'm not gonna' hate on this film, but I really wouldn't recommend it as a must see. Scares: 2, Effects: 4, Fun: 3

21.) Paranormal Activity - 2009 - Oct. 18 (4th film of the day)
Scariest movie of all time!!! Buy heart attack insurance before entering the theatre!!! Grab onto your boyfriend or girlfriend for dear life!!!! Uh, maybe it's just me, but this film must rank among the most brilliantly hyped, marketed and over stated movies of all time. Needless to say, I was unimpressed. Not only was I not scared, EVER, I was damn near bored most of the time. The audience that I watched it with in NYC must have concurred because at the end credit roll there was an audible groan of disbelief throughout the theatre. Now, it's not like the film didn't have it's semi-original premise: young couple in a townhouse in a non-disclosed area are semi convinced that they are being "haunted" by some spirit or spirits. The movie is shot in the now familiar "home video" style replete with shaky cuts, unnecessary fades and pans, and the usual routine that goes with this type of camera style. Think "Blair Witch" without the total originality.
The movie seeks to build momentum through a series of slowly building bedroom camera scenes where the the "activities" of the "demon/ghost/whatever" ever so slowly escalate. Again, I'm not gonna' hate on this film, but it was totally, and I believe, intentionally, over hyped by the studio that bought the film for a song. Allegedly made for $11,000.00, Paramount purchased the film for $300,000.00 and it has proceeded to make $2,000,000.00 in general release. Okay, that's the way Hollywood works but my advice is to wait for this one to come out on DVD and watch it at home. Scares: 2, Effects: 1, Fun: 2

22.) A Nightmare on Elm Street - 1984 - Oct. 19 (1st film of the day)
I'm not gonna' be able to add much here as most if not all of you know that this Wes Craven film simply set the standard for introducing a new, original, and interesting horror icon to the starving for something horror set. Freddy Krueger is the king of new age monsters and delivers in this first film in a way that is distinctly different and preferable to all the sequels that follow. Frightening, threatening, menacing and intent on terror, this Freddy has all the attributes and mystery that are lacking in the subsequent 7 sequels. Not until Freddy VS Jason do we see Freddy as Craven intended him to be. So, you know you love it, watch it every year and enjoy the pure originality of Wes Craven's ode to horror history. Scares: 3, Effects: 3, Fun: 5

23.) Phantasm 2 - 1987 - Oct. 19 (2nd film of the day)
The original Phantasm was a landmark horror film, setting a new bar in surrealism, originality, and atmosphere. Unfortunately much of that is lost in the less than adequate sequel. Coscarelli, who piloted the first stunning feature, seems aimless here not knowing where, when or why the story should continue. Adding to the unsatisfactory feel of this sequel is the conspicuous absence of the original lead actor. Reggie returns, but without the original Michael the experience feels and plays out like an also ran obligatory rehash of the first film. Widely anticipated as a DVD release, I am at a loss to figure out why. Sure, it's got the Tall Man, the Ball, and the inexplicable midgets from another dimension, but still this film falls flat on all fronts. Scares: 1, Effects: 2, Fun: 2

24.) Dracula - 1931 - Oct. 19 (3rd film of the day)
Yeah, I know, I watched this last year, and the year before, and probably for 10 years before that but this time I got to see it on the big screen in a REAL movie theatre. Just like the previous Hammer films that I was blessed to re-experience in a theatre setting, so to is this viewing of Bela Lugosi's Dracula. The refined performance of Lugosi is truly stunning in the theatre setting and even given the sophistication of today's audiences he manages to draw you in to the character like it was the first time you ever saw him. Awesome is the only word I can use here. Lugosi is great, the movie is timeless, Universal rocks, and I feel fortunate to have had the chance to experience the movie the way people did 78 years ago!! Scares: 2, Effects: 2, Fun: 5

25.) The Mummy - 1932 - Oct. 19 (4th film of the day)
Okay, all that shit I said in the last movie, well pretty much that applies here. This was the 2nd film of a double feature of a film fest in Brooklyn that me and my son went to. It's great, really. But for the sake of taking up enough space to fit the picture in my text let's go over the positive points of this timeless classic. Number 1? Karloff. Period. He is so perfect in this role, so subtly menacing in his performance that it literally builds throughout the film until you are fully involved by the final scene. Now, as a monster showcase, it's lacking. Let's face it, the Mummy that most of my generation know from the Aurora Model version is only in the film for the first 10 minutes. Beyond that, there is no Mummy, just Karloff as Ardeth Bey, the creepy reincarnation of the Mummy Imhothep. Scares: 2, Effects: 2, Fun: 4

26.) Trick R Treat - 2009 - Oct. 19 (5th film of the day!!! AGAIN!!!)
Original in composition, exquisitely filmed, and convincingly acted, this film stands as a semi tribute to the night of Halloween. It is, in format, an anthology film, deftly weaving the comings and goings of several characters within the confines of the night of Halloween. Several years in the "coming out soon" category this movie finally gets its release straight to DVD and thankfully so. It's clear to see how the studio brass had no idea how to market this gem. It deftly avoids any pigeonholing into any of the known horror categories. Suffice to say that viewing this film will bring back loads of Halloween memories from nearly every viewer. Clever, subtle, scary, and interesting , I think you will fine Trick R Treat to be one of those rare genre films that gets better with each viewing. Scares: 3, Effects: 3, Fun: 5

27.) The Gorgon - 1964 - Oct. 25

Ya' know kids, we're gettin' really near the big day and I'm crammin' in movies like the Democrats are crammin' in earmarks into the bullshit Health Care Reform bill. But travel on we must and so we have this Hammer film loosely based on the legend, or mythology, of Medusa. Our story revolves around some nebulous English province that is haunted (inexplicably) by the ghost of Medusa's sister Magiera. Yeah, I know, I've never heard of her either. Magiera evidently possesses a nubile young assistant to a local Doctor played effectively by Peter Cushing. Well it quickly becomes apparent that...................oooooops, spoiler. So I've got to shut my mouth and let you experience this fairly competent movie on your own. Scares: 3, Effects: 2, Fun: 2

28.) Scream of Fear - 1961 - Oct. 26
Look, I'm runnin' out of time, tomorrow (on the real calendar) is Halloween and I'm way behind on my reviews. However, on a good note, I've actually surpassed my goal of 31 in 31. So from this point on the critiques will be sparse and we'll just list the films that I've tackled. This movie could be considered Hammer does Hitchock, as it reveals itself to be a tautly written and well acted melodrama starring Susan Strasburg as a wheel chair bound heiress who is tormented by ghosts of her dead (?) father. See it, love it, and tell me it isn't Hitchcock redux!
The remainder of the marathon looks like this:
29.) Resident Evil
30.) The Werewolf - 1956
31.) How to Make A Monster - 1958
32.) Halloween - John Carpenter's classic ode to this glorious day.
There you have it kids, another year in the books and lookin' forward to settin' up my awesome yard display tomorrow. Have a great and scary Halloween and we'll look forward to next years marathon where I intend to dwell deeply into more of the REAL horror side of cinema.
Happy Halloween!!!!!


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