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 Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2018 
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Wooley wrote:
It's fun.
I always got a good jump outta this:

Image


My friend was watching that while on the phone with me years ago, and my ears are still ringing from the scream she let out when that scene happened. :up:

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Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:35 am
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Thief wrote:
A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film famous for its twist/ending
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with either a RT score above 95% or from the IMDb Top 250
A horror film from the 1950s



House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Fun and entertaining, although not particularly scary. The best thing is the atmosphere and the performances of Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart as the bitter couple hosting the creepy party. The supposed lead hunk is a blank slate and the lead girl, although better, is not written particularly well. I won't deny the fact that I was expecting something a bit more creepy and scary, but I don't regret watching it.

Grade: B


Thought it was a tad bit better, but I think you captured most of the strengths and weaknesses pretty well.


Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:36 am
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.


Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:46 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

Thought it was a tad bit better, but I think you captured most of the strengths and weaknesses pretty well.

I also liked it better, I think it's great fun. Actually qualifies for Halloween-night viewing for me, although not like every year.


Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:00 pm
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Wooley wrote:
It's fun.
I always got a good jump outta this:

Image


Yeah, I'll admit that one got to me :D

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Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:24 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:

My friend was watching that while on the phone with me years ago, and my ears are still ringing from the scream she let out when that scene happened. :up:

Hee hee. :D


Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:30 pm
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A horror science-fiction film; A film from the 1940s: The Corpse Vanishes

A bizarre crime spree captures the public's attention as beautiful young brides are dropping dead at their own weddings, and then having their corpses stolen from the ambulances or funeral vans sent to collect them. A scientist (Bela Lugosi) is behind the thefts, keeping the women in a catatonic state and stealing their bodies so that he can extract a fluid from their heads in order to keep his wife young and beautiful. A reporter named Patricia makes her way to the doctor's home after connecting him to the flowers found at the scene of the kidnapped brides.

I was surprised at first to see an IMDb rating of 4.3 for this one. The first few minutes were morbid and funny--after a young bride drops dead, two reporters basically dance in delight "Oh boy, another one!". Then a woman demands protection for her daughter who is getting married, only to have the protection refuses. About twenty times the daughter says "What could happen?", and things go downhill for her very quickly.

But the film has a pretty dull middle section. There are long stretches of very little action. A scene in which Patricia wanders around the doctor's home at night--discovering the bodies of the missing brides--is relatively atmospheric, but almost everything else is pretty flat. Things pick up at the end when Patricia and a showgirl stage a fake wedding to lure out the killers, but it's a shame to realize that such a short film still manages to drag in its middle act. Also, (spoilers for the end, but whatever), I was annoyed that the
happy ending was that Patricia quits her job to be . . . the wife of the dull doctor? Boo.


Still, Lugosi is good as the doctor, and it was fun to see Angelo Rossitto, who I recognized from Freaks ("A loving cup! A loving cup!"). When the film embraces its humor, it's quite funny.

The film is so short that I think it's worth checking out, despite a dull second act.


Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:47 am
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See a Horror B-Movie

Director's Cut (2018)

Herbert Blount (Penn Jillette) is one of the top crowdfunders for a direct to DVD thriller called Knocked Out where two cops (one played by Harry Hamlin) gets help from a FBI agent (Missi Pyle) to solve the case of someone copying off of various serial killers in most cases using their DNA. Of course you have to also have a hard nosed commanding officer (Lin Shaye). Oh, and it's directed by Adam Rifkin (who also directed this one as well).

But Herbert becomes obsessed with Missi, starting by stalking her and then ultimately kidnapping her for what he considers the Director's Cut.

Let's see: we get a director wanting to make a film so he illegally uses a major star with various footage so he can create his masterpiece. Sounds like Bowfinger, right? Well, it also sounds a bit like this.

Outside of one scene I'd rather not watch again involving Teller in a police interview room, there's nothing really objectionable about this. Herbert explains a lot of what happens as he's able to obtain footage of Knocked Out via computer, use green screen to insert himself and Missi into the film, and explains all the terms along the way.

There's also nothing really horrific outside of the serial killer in Knocked Out either. Missi is treated kind of well (outside of the whole can't go outside of the house/studio thing) and there's no real sense of danger. It feels more like a goofy fantasy than anything.

Considering Rifkin also did Detroit Rock City, I could have guessed that it would have been something better in concept than in execution. I think this could have used a few rewrites and some time in the editing room.

PS: Don't be scared by the 93 minute running time. Outside of a brief post-credits scene, this barely breaks the 80 minute mark.

NEXT: Going old school with a horror/thriller


Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:36 am
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A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with less than five major characters



Scarecrows (1988)

You know, for an obscure, low budget horror film with no known talent involved, this was pretty decent. The film follows a group of mercenaries forced to land in an eerie corn field after a $3 million heist. Soon after, they start being hunted by a trio of murdering scarecrows. The acting ranged from bad to uneven and the dialogue was far from stellar, but the film more than makes up for it with a simple, straightforward approach and a taut, tight direction. Far from great, but a pleasant surprise that had a couple of good scares, and some neat gore.

Grade: B

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Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:23 am
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Looking for thoughts and consensus on some films per decade, in terms of quality and whether or not you consider them mystery/horror...

2000s:
Martyrs (2008)
Antichrist (2009)
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
The Devil's Rejects (2005)

1990s:
Funny Games (1997, or 2007?)
Candyman (1992) (weird that I've never seen this)
Man Bites Dog (1992)

1960s:
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Haunting (1963)
Onibaba (1964)

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:02 am
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Thief wrote:
Looking for thoughts and consensus on some films per decade, in terms of quality and whether or not you consider them mystery/horror...

2000s:
Martyrs (2008)
Antichrist (2009)
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
The Devil's Rejects (2005)

1990s:
Funny Games (1997, or 2007?)
Candyman (1992) (weird that I've never seen this)
Man Bites Dog (1992)

1960s:
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Haunting (1963)
Onibaba (1964)


I haven't seen Last Man on Earth, but as for the rest of them, they all range from good to great. I think they all could slip under the horror umbrella, but a few are pushing it. Man Bites Dog is essentially black comedy, and Funny Games is maybe more of a very disturbing thriller.


Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:18 am
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Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts:

Martyrs (2008) - I guess this is well made, but I'm perfectly fine never watching it again, and I'm not sure whatever point it makes is worth sitting through 40 minutes of beatings.
The Devil's Rejects (2005) - Fan of this one. I found it kind of annoying on by first watch but I've since gelled to Zombie's brand of grindhouse riffery and it's definitely my favourite from his movies that I've seen.

Funny Games (1997, or 2007?) - If you're just gonna watch one, go with the '97 version, but I'd suggest watching both back to back to savour the small differences.
Candyman (1992) (weird that I've never seen this) - Watched this a few weeks ago and wish I had more to say about it, but it's quite good.
Man Bites Dog (1992) - This is great, but like Crumb said, more of a black comedy than horror.

The Haunting (1963) - One I gotta rewatch. Obviously very well made, but I found the lead actress kind of annoying.
Onibaba (1964) - I fell asleep halfway through this (not a judgment on the movie, I was pretty tired) so I probably owe this a (re)watch as well.

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:29 am
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Thief wrote:
Looking for thoughts and consensus on some films per decade, in terms of quality and whether or not you consider them mystery/horror...

2000s:
Martyrs (2008)
Antichrist (2009)
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
The Devil's Rejects (2005)


Definitely horror, definitely good.

1990s:
Funny Games (1997, or 2007?)
Candyman (1992) (weird that I've never seen this)
Man Bites Dog (1992)

Yeah, you need to see it.

1960s:
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Haunting (1963)
Onibaba (1964)

Yeah, now that's an actual Classic you have to see.


Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:03 pm
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Rock wrote:
Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts:

The Haunting (1963) - One I gotta rewatch. Obviously very well made, but I found the lead actress kind of annoying.

Keep in mind, when you rewatch it, that she's supposed to be kind of mentally ill or at least... "touched" as they used to say down heah in the South.


Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:06 pm
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Thief wrote:
Looking for thoughts and consensus on some films per decade, in terms of quality and whether or not you consider them mystery/horror...

2000s:
Martyrs (2008)
Antichrist (2009)
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
The Devil's Rejects (2005)

1990s:
Funny Games (1997, or 2007?)
Candyman (1992) (weird that I've never seen this)
Man Bites Dog (1992)

1960s:
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Haunting (1963)
Onibaba (1964)



Onibaba is great. Wasn't expecting much from it but I was pleasantly surprised.

Also recommend The Last Man on Earth -unlike Will Smith in I Am Legend, Vincent Price actually has charisma and is mesmerizing to watch.

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:07 pm
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Thanks for all the thoughts. I also realized that I'm way behind on the Universal monster films. So far, I've onl seen Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, and one of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde films. Since I already have Dracula in mind for this week, I think it would be a good opportunity to check out The Wolf Man and The Creature from the Black Lagoon as well, as long as they fit any of my categories. Now that I remember, I also saw one of the classic Mummy films (the one with Peter Cushing?)

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:21 pm
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Thief wrote:
Looking for thoughts and consensus on some films per decade, in terms of quality and whether or not you consider them mystery/horror...

2000s:
Martyrs (2008)
Antichrist (2009)
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
The Devil's Rejects (2005)

1990s:
Funny Games (1997, or 2007?)
Candyman (1992) (weird that I've never seen this)
Man Bites Dog (1992)

1960s:
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Haunting (1963)
Onibaba (1964)


I think that Tale of Two Sisters is a must-see, and one of the best horror films of the decade. I really like Antichrist. Trick R Treat is probably one of the only horror anthologies I like--it's also really fun and a great one for group viewing.

Candyman is another film that I really like. The way that it uses its very specific Chicago setting is pretty amazing, and I think it's also notable for having a deeper, more diverse cast of female characters than you tend to see in most horror films. I also think that it manages a really strong third act, which is where lesser horror films really tend to faceplant. Funny Games is more like a dark riff on violent film. I admired it, but it's not a film that's fun to watch.

Both The Haunting and Onibaba are really good.


Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:50 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

I think that Tale of Two Sisters is a must-see, and one of the best horror films of the decade.

Hellz yeah.

Candyman is another film that I really like.

Gotta see Candyman, and you're right about the third act, it's one of the less common traits in horror that the third act is the strongest and makes the film deliver.


Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:18 pm
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Thief wrote:
Looking for thoughts and consensus on some films per decade, in terms of quality and whether or not you consider them mystery/horror..


2000s:
Martyrs (2008)---Although not for all tastes (there's one scene that I admittedly covered my eyes), I think this managed to overcome the torture porn parts to actually be about something.
Trick 'r Treat (2007)---Maybe the best horror anthology film since Creepshow? Yeah, it qualifies as both good quality and as horror.
The Devil's Rejects (2005)---Although I did dig the bravura finale, it made me realize that despite the various homages to grindhouse horrors that Rob Zombie doesn't know horror.

1990s:
Candyman (1992) (weird that I've never seen this)---Will co-sign with a lot of what Takoma says about the urban setting and the diversification of the cast. Tony Todd is captivating even if you have to see the sequel to find out what made his character this way. Also, there's a shot that made me aware of gratuitous nudity in films (although to be fair, it felt more clinical than leering)

1960s:
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)---Yeah, I'd argue that it's horror. More about the cruelties that people inflict on others through decades of resentment than anything truly scary, but it does count.


Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:08 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Martyrs (2008)---Although not for all tastes (there's one scene that I admittedly covered my eyes), I think this managed to overcome the torture porn parts to actually be about something.



Difficult to get through, but I must admit I would love to know
what she whispered at the end that made that bitch commit suicide.

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Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:20 am
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Thanks to everybody for all the great feedback. It actually gives me a better idea of which ones to look for.

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Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:47 am
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A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film based on a book
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with a character's name as the title
A horror film from the 1930s



Dracula (1931)

A discussion about the merits and overall quality of this film started about a week ago on the "Recently Seen" thread. I already had plans to watch the film during this week, but the conversation led me to keep my expectations in check. Not sure if it was because of that or just solely on the film's strengths, but I thought it was pretty good. There is a lot of atmosphere and eccentric creepiness here, anchored by Lugosi's performance. But I also found the setting and the direction to be very effective. Some of the complaints I read on that thread were about the lack of technical skills, but I really dug the camera movement and the overall framing of the shots. If I were to complain, I would say that the Harker character who, to some extent, is pushed as the "hero" perhaps? acts mostly like a bumbling moron. I was more intrigued about the tension and conflict between Dracula and Van Helsing, which really seemed more interesting and even. The ending felt a bit anti-climatic and lacking, but overall, a pleasant outing, particularly during this month.

Grade: A-

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Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:56 am
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God Damn Right.


Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:51 am
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Death Proof wrote:


Difficult to get through, but I must admit I would love to know
what she whispered at the end that made that bitch commit suicide.


Wait, you saw Martyrs?

Image


Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:21 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

Wait, you saw Martyrs?

Image


Needed it to finish a list on Icheckmovies.

I wasn't happy about it, I didn't enjoy it, but the ending was not what I expected. In a good way, I guess.

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Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:57 am
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Thief wrote:
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Candyman (1992) (weird that I've never seen this)
Man Bites Dog (1992)
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
The Haunting (1963)
Onibaba (1964)

I think that these are all essential. Candyman might be the best mainstream horror film of the 90s (sorry Scream). The last three would make for a great triple-bill, each distinctly wiley in their way.

I'm not much of a fan of Funny Games. I get it. It wants to show me how much it sucks. Thanks.

Antichrist is similarly obstinate, but at least it has some arresting B&W visuals and a genuinely upsetting veneer (unlike, say, polo shirts). I've seen it three times and I still don't really know how much I like it. A lot of it is ludicrous, a lot is malicious, there may be some unintentional grace notes scattered throughout. It's not quite as obvious or intentionally stillborn as Dogville though.


Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:37 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Candyman might be the best mainstream horror films of the 90s (sorry Scream).


Unless I am forgetting something, I would probably agree. Not that my 90's horror hatred should vouch for much, but Candyman is very, very good.


Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:42 am
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Thief wrote:
A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film based on a book
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with a character's name as the title
A horror film from the 1930s



Dracula (1931)

A discussion about the merits and overall quality of this film started about a week ago on the "Recently Seen" thread. I already had plans to watch the film during this week, but the conversation led me to keep my expectations in check. Not sure if it was because of that or just solely on the film's strengths, but I thought it was pretty good. There is a lot of atmosphere and eccentric creepiness here, anchored by Lugosi's performance. But I also found the setting and the direction to be very effective. Some of the complaints I read on that thread were about the lack of technical skills, but I really dug the camera movement and the overall framing of the shots. If I were to complain, I would say that the Harker character who, to some extent, is pushed as the "hero" perhaps? acts mostly like a bumbling moron. I was more intrigued about the tension and conflict between Dracula and Van Helsing, which really seemed more interesting and even. The ending felt a bit anti-climatic and lacking, but overall, a pleasant outing, particularly during this month.

Grade: A-

YES!!!
I think you got it exactly.
Harker is a bumbling moron, and you don't expect the male hero to be written this way, which makes his futile efforts to do anything useful kind of funny, and especially the scene on the porch where he is trying to "help" Mina and be the hero and she is just clearly much more aware what's going on than he is, really effective. That's actually one of my favorite things about the movie, it is not exactly what one is expecting and it's in some ways subtly subversive.
Another thing is the game between Dracula and Van Helsing and how eccentric and yet kind of arrogant Van Helsing is played so that you could think he is actually kind of an old fool who is going to be outmatched, but then maybe not so much, eh?
I also really, really love Dwight Frye's Renfield, which is often cited as one of the real pleasures of the movie.
You've already touched on the technical aspects.
Finally, of course, there is Lugosi's performance, which is so iconic that actors (including Lugosi himself) would be aping it for half a century at least. He simply defined what a film vampire was and WHO Dracula was. As great an actor as Gary Oldman is, he was not able to make anyone forget Lugosi in Coppola's messy adaptation of similar material.
(I say similar because people must remember that the '31 Dracula was as much an adaptation of the Broadway play as the Bram Stoker novel, perhaps why Coppola felt the need to make that distinction in his title.)
All in all, it really pleases me that you had this reaction on your first viewing. I needed a second to warm to it as my expectations were just so high and until you come at the movie fairly you can't really appreciate its many subtle pleasures, and they are there.

Edit: It was not my intention to drop Ebert in here as I've done twice recently for other movies, I realize his opinion is not the final word on anything, but I went back and read his extensive (for an Ebert write-up) 1999 analysis of the film, and I think it is worth considering for all the depth it goes into.
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-dracula-1931


Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:48 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
Candyman might be the best mainstream horror film of the 90s (sorry Scream).


Ya know, I wanna say you're fucking nuts, not specifically about Scream but including Scream, that Candyman could be the bets mainstream horror of the 90s, because when I first saw it I did not really dig it at all (I was a horror-fan but like 19 or something), so how could it be the best?
But the last time I saw it I was absolutely stunned by how good it is, so much so, that I had like a brain-cramp or something where I just didn't really know what to do with it. So it's been sitting in this sort of limbo place in my mind where I know it was good, but I can't quite process it.
Anyway, this is a long and roundabout way of me saying that I think I might actually agree with you, to my own absolute surprise, but I probably need to see it once more to confirm since I was left so off-balance last time.


Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:56 pm
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Well, it seems like Candyman is a shoe-in then.

Jinnistan wrote:
Candyman might be the best mainstream horror film of the 90s (sorry Scream).


You know, looking at a list of 90's horror films, the only ones that pop out for me are Scream and The Blair Witch Project, so you might be onto something here. I look forward to seeing it.

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Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:32 pm
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Wooley wrote:
YES!!!
I think you got it exactly.
Harker is a bumbling moron, and you don't expect the male hero to be written this way, which makes his futile efforts to do anything useful kind of funny, and especially the scene on the porch where he is trying to "help" Mina and be the hero and she is just clearly much more aware what's going on than he is, really effective. That's actually one of my favorite things about the movie, it is not exactly what one is expecting and it's in some ways subtly subversive.
Another thing is the game between Dracula and Van Helsing and how eccentric and yet kind of arrogant Van Helsing is played so that you could think he is actually kind of an old fool who is going to be outmatched, but then maybe not so much, eh?
I also really, really love Dwight Frye's Renfield, which is often cited as one of the real pleasures of the movie.
You've already touched on the technical aspects.
Finally, of course, there is Lugosi's performance, which is so iconic that actors (including Lugosi himself) would be aping it for half a century at least. He simply defined what a film vampire was and WHO Dracula was. As great an actor as Gary Oldman is, he was not able to make anyone forget Lugosi in Coppola's messy adaptation of similar material.
(I say similar because people must remember that the '31 Dracula was as much an adaptation of the Broadway play as the Bram Stoker novel, perhaps why Coppola felt the need to make that distinction in his title.)
All in all, it really pleases me that you had this reaction on your first viewing. I needed a second to warm to it as my expectations were just so high and until you come at the movie fairly you can't really appreciate its many subtle pleasures, and they are there.

Edit: It was not my intention to drop Ebert in here as I've done twice recently for other movies, I realize his opinion is not the final word on anything, but I went back and read his extensive (for an Ebert write-up) 1999 analysis of the film, and I think it is worth considering for all the depth it goes into.
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-dracula-1931


Argh, I was thinking about mentioning Frye's Renfield, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle. Anyway, I agree. I really liked the performance and what the character brought.

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Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:34 pm
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A horror film in a foreign language: The Yotsuya Kaidan (1949)

This is the first of two films that follow the same story. I will definitely be checking out part two at some point.

Now, to be honest, I've been trying and failing to get into this one for like three days. For the first hour it is actually more of a drama. But once the horror kicks in during the third act, holy moly!

The film follows a man named Iemon, a ronin with no social standing. He's married to Oiwa, a woman who used to work in a teahouse (wink wink, I guess . . .). Iemon starts an illicit flirting relationship with a young woman from a wealthy family. Iemon has a friend, Naosuke, who is a total scumbag. Naosuke spends much of the film trying to convince Iemon to divorce Oiwa so that he can marry the rich girl (a relationship that will also surely benefit Naosuke).

At the same time, there's another key character, Kohei. Kohei was in jail with Naosuke and knows that Naosuke manufactured a failed jailbreak. By coincidence, back when Kohei was free, he was in love with Oiwa. Kohei tracks down Oiwa and tries to begin an affair with her. Naosuke uses his knowledge of this to try to create leverage to convince Iemon to leave Oiwa.

Phew--yeah. So, very much melodrama.

Once I stopped being antsy about waiting for the horror, I really started to appreciate this film. Before the real horror lands, there's a more "real" horror in the way that Oiwa is treated by Iemon as he decides that he wants more of a life of luxury. There's a horrible moment (almost funny, but not quite), when Iemon is out boozing it up after flirting with the wealthy girl. A servant comes running up to tell Iemon that Oiwa has just suffered a miscarriage after falling off of a stool. "Why would she do something stupid like that?!" he yells, as if Oiwa has intentionally risked her own life.

I think that one of the best, and most horrifying, elements of the film is the way that Iemon's abuse of Oiwa escalates. At first, it's verbal abuse. Later, he pushes her down to the floor. His outbursts alternate with bouts of regret in which he treats her kindly because of his guilt. But then the next time he loses his temper, it's worse and worse. By the time he's accidentally pushed her face into a tub of boiling water, there's just this horrible knowledge that he's going to kill her and it's just a matter of when.

Iemon is loathsome in his cruelty toward Oiwa (whose only fault is her dedication and dependence on Iemon), but the real villain is Naosuke, who works relentlessly and ruthlessly to remove Oiwa from Iemon's life. For example, he tells Kohei when Oiwa will be home alone, resulting in him bursting into her house and going after her very aggressively (it's not clear if he intends to assault her or not, but you can tell what Oiwa believes from her panic). At the same time, Naosuke plants seeds of suspicion in Iemon's head, and urges him to go check on Oiwa.

Ultimately I felt like this was a film that did a pretty great job of slowly morphing from a drama to a horror film. I get the impression that the second film will be more in the horror vein, and I'm excited to check it out.


Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:15 am
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A horror cult classic film: The Wasp Woman (1959)

The aging (and by aging, we mean 40 years old) head of a cosmetics company, Jan Starlin, hires a rogue scientist, Zinthrop, who has been researching the use of wasp royal jelly to restore youth. After several compelling displays of Zinthrop de-aging rats and cats with injections, Starlin agrees to become a human subject for Zinthrop's experiments. Impatient to see results, Starlin begins secretly giving herself larger and larger injections with deadly consequences.

I've read a lot about this film, mainly the notorious way that the monster fails to live up to the pretty awesome poster art. The monster makeup is a blobby mess, and it looks like Starlin is wearing oven mitts on her hands.

The most joy that I got out of the film was hate-watching the character of Lane, an executive with the company who is incredibly punchable. At one point, Lane wants to make the point that Starlin's face not being on the products is harming sales. But instead of just saying that (you know, like I just did), he makes a big deal of going to the front of the board meeting, taking the pointer from Starlin, and talking to her like she's a five year old. Then the other men on the board give him a round of applause. Everything Lane says and does is totally condescending, especially when speaking to Starlin (his boss!) or Mary (his girlfriend). I was fingers crossed the whole time that the wasp woman would eat his face off.

The real issue with the film is that it's simply not that scary. It takes way too long for Starlin to become a monster, and up to that point most of the screen time is taken up with Lane and Mary talking about how Zinthrop is probably scamming Starlin. Mary's probably the best character in the film (aside from Zinthrop who is enjoyably zany), but there's just no character development.

I'm glad I watched it. It had some enjoyable moments, and it was mercifully short.

SIDENOTE: I was not familiar with the horrifying backstory of actress Susan Cabot. I mean, dang. Just horribly tragic and sad.


Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:12 am
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Watch a horror film in a Foreign Language (French)
Watch a horror film based on a Book
Watch a horror film famous for its twist/ending
Watch a horror film with either a RT score above 95% or in the IMDb top 250 (it was both)


Les Diaboliques (1955)

The wife and mistress of a cruel headmaster decide to off him in an apartment in the mistress's home town of Niort by having him drink wine with a sedative and having him drown in a bathtub. But their plans to pull off the perfect murder hits multiple snags that neither one expected.

The characters of the kind, but frail Christina (from Venezuela) and the harder hearted Nicole prove to provide both contrast and serve as a barometer to how messed up things are. When Nicole starts to freak out, you know they're both in hot water. Also, they manage to be consistent with their characters up until the end. Their unexpected friendship serves as the backbone to the happenings in this film.

Michel is a terrible person who hits Christina, treats Nicole and his schoolkids like crap, and even waters down the wine for his assistants. It's made pretty clear why someone would want to off him. I was delighted by the presence of Alfred's character. Outside of a trenchcoat and that catchphrase, he reminds me of a French Columbo.

I will honor the wishes of the filmmakers at the end of the film and not spoil things. But this was an excellent pick and I'm glad that I got to see this on Amazon Prime (be sure to unlock the subtitles unless you know your French).


Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:20 am
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Les Diaboliques is pretty great.


Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:26 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
A horror film in a foreign language: The Yotsuya Kaidan (1949)

This is the 3rd or 4th one you've unearthed this month that I haven't heard of. Me likey.

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Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:47 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
This is the 3rd or 4th one you've unearthed this month that I haven't heard of. Me likey.


The last ten minutes or so of it are pretty horrifying, and I'm surprised at how few people have apparently seen it. It's only got like 100 votes on IMDb. It has several memorable sequences and some really nice uses of light (like a short shot of a woman lighting a lantern, or a scene where a boat floats by with several lanterns on its side).


Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:54 am
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A horror exploitation or B-movie: The Killer Shrews (1959)

Let's start by saying that, yes, the killer shrews in this movies are played alternately by unconvincing puppets or by dogs draped in drab brown carpet.

I feel like this is another film that I've always heard of as being notoriously bad, but I thought that it was actually kind of okay. I think that the premise is pretty horrifying and I found myself actually pretty sympathetic to the killer creatures.

A ship captain and his obviously doomed shipmate arrive on an island where several scientists are conducting experiments. A woman on the island convinces the captain to stay the night and before long she reveals to him that there is a large population of mutant, killer shrews ravaging the island. The shrews must eat three times their own body weight each day to survive, and with the island's food nearly gone, the shrews have turned violent and cannibalistic. Between an approaching hurricane and an angry drunk named Jerry, there's plenty to keep the heroic captain busy waiting for morning.

Maybe it's just because I'm a big softie, but I found the plight of the shrews very compelling. They are experimented on and mutated--their size and metabolism driving them to a point where they just physically cannot sustain themselves. They are violent because they are starving to death. The movie mentions this several times, and I actually appreciate that there is an explicit warning there about overpopulation. Of all the attacks in the film, the scene where the shrews break into a barn and kill the penned up horses was the only one I found truly disturbing, but it was upsetting.

This was definitely not a good film, but it was lot better than its reputation led me to believe.


Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:10 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
A horror cult classic film: The Wasp Woman (1959)

The aging (and by aging, we mean 40 years old) head of a cosmetics company, Jan Starlin, hires a rogue scientist, Zinthrop, who has been researching the use of wasp royal jelly to restore youth. After several compelling displays of Zinthrop de-aging rats and cats with injections, Starlin agrees to become a human subject for Zinthrop's experiments. Impatient to see results, Starlin begins secretly giving herself larger and larger injections with deadly consequences.

I've read a lot about this film, mainly the notorious way that the monster fails to live up to the pretty awesome poster art. The monster makeup is a blobby mess, and it looks like Starlin is wearing oven mitts on her hands.

The most joy that I got out of the film was hate-watching the character of Lane, an executive with the company who is incredibly punchable. At one point, Lane wants to make the point that Starlin's face not being on the products is harming sales. But instead of just saying that (you know, like I just did), he makes a big deal of going to the front of the board meeting, taking the pointer from Starlin, and talking to her like she's a five year old. Then the other men on the board give him a round of applause. Everything Lane says and does is totally condescending, especially when speaking to Starlin (his boss!) or Mary (his girlfriend). I was fingers crossed the whole time that the wasp woman would eat his face off.

The real issue with the film is that it's simply not that scary. It takes way too long for Starlin to become a monster, and up to that point most of the screen time is taken up with Lane and Mary talking about how Zinthrop is probably scamming Starlin. Mary's probably the best character in the film (aside from Zinthrop who is enjoyably zany), but there's just no character development.

I'm glad I watched it. It had some enjoyable moments, and it was mercifully short.

SIDENOTE: I was not familiar with the horrifying backstory of actress Susan Cabot. I mean, dang. Just horribly tragic and sad.

Another movie I saw with less than zero expectations and therefore enjoyed.


Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:27 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
A horror exploitation or B-movie: The Killer Shrews (1959)

Let's start by saying that, yes, the killer shrews in this movies are played alternately by unconvincing puppets or by dogs draped in drab brown carpet.

I feel like this is another film that I've always heard of as being notoriously bad, but I thought that it was actually kind of okay. I think that the premise is pretty horrifying and I found myself actually pretty sympathetic to the killer creatures.

A ship captain and his obviously doomed shipmate arrive on an island where several scientists are conducting experiments. A woman on the island convinces the captain to stay the night and before long she reveals to him that there is a large population of mutant, killer shrews ravaging the island. The shrews must eat three times their own body weight each day to survive, and with the island's food nearly gone, the shrews have turned violent and cannibalistic. Between an approaching hurricane and an angry drunk named Jerry, there's plenty to keep the heroic captain busy waiting for morning.

Maybe it's just because I'm a big softie, but I found the plight of the shrews very compelling. They are experimented on and mutated--their size and metabolism driving them to a point where they just physically cannot sustain themselves. They are violent because they are starving to death. The movie mentions this several times, and I actually appreciate that there is an explicit warning there about overpopulation. Of all the attacks in the film, the scene where the shrews break into a barn and kill the penned up horses was the only one I found truly disturbing, but it was upsetting.

This was definitely not a good film, but it was lot better than its reputation led me to believe.

And with Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane!


Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:27 am
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A horror comedy film: Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

I must confess that I think I started this movie a few years ago, fell asleep, and never came back to it.

I'm sure most in here have seen this one. It's a silly little film that knows it's a silly little film. Many of the comedy bits are funny or charming in their strangeness (like Dick Miller's random flower-eating customer).

I don't really have much to say about it, except that I really enjoyed it and everyone on screen seemed to be enjoying themselves.


Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:21 am
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Thief wrote:
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with less than five major characters



Scarecrows (1988)

You know, for an obscure, low budget horror film with no known talent involved, this was pretty decent. The film follows a group of mercenaries forced to land in an eerie corn field after a $3 million heist. Soon after, they start being hunted by a trio of murdering scarecrows. The acting ranged from bad to uneven and the dialogue was far from stellar, but the film more than makes up for it with a simple, straightforward approach and a taut, tight direction. Far from great, but a pleasant that had a couple of good scores, and some neat gore.

Grade: B

I already had this on my watchlist when you posted this, finally got around to it tonight. I admittedly have a scarecrow fetish which has led me down some dreadful roads (see: Scarecrow Slayer), but this one wasn't bad and the scarecrow designs were right up my alley.

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Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:28 am
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See a horror classic you haven't seen

Hellraiser (1987)

A couple moves from New York to an old home somewhere in upstate New York to work on their marriage. Larry (Andrew Robinson) and Julia (Claire Higgins) has what can be described as a frosty marriage, spoiled by her affair with Frank (Sean Chapman), Larry's brother. So considering it's Frank's home they're moving to, things are going to be awkward. More so when Larry's daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) decides to move into her own apartment (she and Julia don't get along either).

After dealing with infestations of roaches, maggots, and rats, they move in. But when Larry cuts his hand while moving their bed in, Julia gets a surprise. Apparently Frank has escaped from his burial place and if Julia can just follow his plan, he'll be back to himself in no time and they can just run away. But their plan hits a few snags along the way.

Surprisingly, this has been on best horrors of all time lists. The Tomatometer is Fresh, Metacritic is mixed to positive, and the IMDb rating is pretty good.

There are things to like about this. I did enjoy the basic idea of finding pleasure in pain that the film explores. I did like how

The cenobites aren't really the villains here, it's Frank and Julia. Also, the idea that this is all being done for love, no matter how twisted, is clever enough to make it more than your typical slasher that this has too often been linked to.


Also, I did like the creature designs. There were some interesting visuals to be seen as well.

BUT

Whatever worked in Clive Barker's novella, doesn't translate here. Although it was a good idea to come up with decent actors for this thing, I can't believe nobody thought it was odd that we had so many British accents in upstate New York. I think Barker the director let down Barker the writer. There's little in the way of actual frights here; it's more disturbing than scary. And some of the special effects in the last third are borderline laughable.

Maybe if I saw this in 1987 or 1988, I might have dug it more. Now, it's kind of a disappointment.


Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:03 am
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I already told you in the Horrorcram thread that I think that the second film is better, but here are a few other thoughts about Hellraiser.

I think that the creature designs are quite good and I like the effect of Frank "pulling himself back together", and especially that strangled, baby-like sound he makes.

As repulsive as Julia is, it's interesting to note that she's trapped in a relationship that isn't satisfying to her. Now, most people would just, you know, get a divorce and go find someone more in to her kinks. But there's a degree to which what happens comes about because she's never had a chance to explore those desires. (Also: Julia is the main villain in the sequel, and she's pretty great in it).

I think that one of the reasons it makes it on to so many best of lists has to do partly with the way that it both concedes the power of sexual atttraction/drive and also looks at what is behind sexual desire--namely power dynamics, control, trust, and raw chemistry. It's something that elevates it above many other "killer couple" type films, because the film has such a strong understanding of what pulls Frank and Julia together, and why they are willing to do the horrible things they do.


Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:33 am
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A horror film with less than five major characters: The Third Eye (1966)

The Third Eye is a brazen knock off of Psycho (down to overbearing mothers, black turtlenecks, and taxidermied birds of prey) and you all need to see it ASAP.

The film follows a man named Mino (Franco Nero) who is engaged to a woman named Laura. Laura is despised by both Mino's mother (who wants to keep him with her forever) and the household maid, Marta (who lusts after Mino and the wealth/status he represents). Both the mother and the maid plot an accidental demise for Laura, but Laura's death is only the beginning of some very depraved goings on.

Literally, imagine that someone took Psycho and decided to amp the body count, the sex, the misuse of undead bodies, the number of taxidermied birds, and the unpredictability up to eleven, and you have The Third Eye. Unlike most knock-offs, this film isn't a pale imitation of the original, but rather a garish, dramatic exaggeration that is so sincere and committed that it becomes enjoyable in an entirely different way.

Mino, who is kind of messed up even before things go south, and Marta make for a great pair of villains--two people who are deranged in different ways and sometimes work together and sometimes work in opposition. They represent different variations on insanity and cruelty, and it's truly not possible to guess where the plot will go and whose will may end up dominating.

I watched this one on Amazon Prime, and the print I watched was kind of weird. At one point, the audio switched over into German dubbing for like three lines of dialogue. In the last act there were about five minutes of a really crummy transfer (most of the print was really nice and crisp).

I can't recommend this one enough. It's maybe the best outcome I've ever seen of a film just totally ripping off a classic movie and becoming its own, entertaining beast. In one scene the maid, who has been sent to "help" Laura take a bath, says "Let me wash your back" and then just straight up starts washing her breasts. In another, the mother watches Mino and Laura's bedroom through a peephole hidden behind a painting (sound familiar?). It's hard to talk about the plot itself, because there are huge plot twists or deaths about every fifteen minutes. Do yourself a favor and check it out.


Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:25 am
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A horror film based on a book
A horror film with a character's name as the title
A horror film from the 1990s



Candyman (1992)

Well, I guess I have a lot of you to thank for this. This was really good. Lot of good, jump scares early on, but it really established a solid story with some interesting turns. Most of the cast was solid, but Tony Todd was effectively chilling as the title character. I echo all of you who said that the third act actually made the film. Still don't understand why this got past me back in 1992.

Grade: B+, or maybe a low A-? Time will tell.

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Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:23 am
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Thief wrote:
A horror film based on a book
A horror film with a character's name as the title
A horror film from the 1990s



Candyman (1992)

Well, I guess I have a lot of you to thank for this. This was really good. Lot of good, jump scares early on, but it really established a solid story with some interesting turns. Most of the cast was solid, but Tony Todd was effectively chilling as the title character. I echo all of you who said that the third act actually made the film. Still don't understand why this got past me back in 1992.

Grade: B+, or maybe a low A-? Time will tell.


My only real criticism of Candyman is maybe that it does only half of what it should in exploring the racial element of the setting and the story it is evoking. In the end it turns into a
white woman savior
story, and I have mixed feelings about that. The myth (and the setting of it) belong to the impoverished people of Cabrini Green. But Virginia Madsen is just so good in the lead role that I can sort of forgive that.


Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:41 am
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