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 Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2018 
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Thief wrote:

Yes, it is. It's really cool how the director takes a somewhat simple setting and premise and makes something really interesting out of it.

Anybody knows if any of the sequels are worth my time?

Cube 2 is pretty bad, so I don't recommend that one. It was much more lacking; both in terms of the traps and the color palette, Simon's arc was basically a copy of Quentin's, and its plot was slightly bogged down by exposition. Cube Zero was average. I'm not sure I was a fan of how they chose to expand on the origin surrounding the cube. Also, the cheesy, one-liner spouting villain was annoying. However, I still found it to be a pretty effective experience as it captured the claustrophobia of the original film with more clever traps. So, yeah, I guess I'd recommend it.

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Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:14 am
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Thief wrote:

Yes, it is. It's really cool how the director takes a somewhat simple setting and premise and makes something really interesting out of it.

Anybody knows if any of the sequels are worth my time?


Kind of have a different reaction for the sequels than did Popcorn.

I think 2 is worth seeing because of a strong female character as the lead and it has a solid take on the original story. The last 20-30 minutes are weak, but I'd say it is watchable.

The third Cube had a decent start, mainly because it tries to avoid to be another "Place a bunch of characters in a deadly maze" story. The last 20-30 minutes though washes out the fun and makes it one you can skip.


Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:19 am
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Cube 2: Hypercube is laughably bad.

I only like the first one medium, though I haven't seen it for a while. My main memory is that my super math-nerd self was annoyed that they spent a while trying to figure out if an even number was prime or not.


Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:18 am
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A horror film with a season in the title: Season of the Witch (1972)

(See what I did there?!)

This is the last "official" film of my monthly challenge--my decade-of-choice extra.

This is one I've been meaning to check out for a while, as it's been compared to Martin which is also a Romero film and one of my favorite horrors ever. Very similar to Martin, this film explores a character's emotional crisis with the surrounding context of the supernatural.

Season of the Witch follows a middle-aged woman named Joan. Joan is having a crisis. She's married to a blowhard of a husband. Her daughter is grown (though not grown enough not to throw a prissy little tantrum). She lives in a daze of mundane parties. She has nightmarish visions in which her torment is represented with images like a baby in the woods or her husband leading her around by a leash. While she's in therapy, it's discovering a woman who lives as a witch that gives Joan a sense of purpose and control over her life. How much of what is happening comes from the craft and how much of it is just in Joan's head is left for the viewer to decide.

I really, really liked this film. It's hard to discuss the elements that I liked best about it without getting into major spoiler territory, but I thought that it did a great job of telling a very human story with some really interesting imagery. Ultimately I felt like the film was a tragedy, but I've read a few other more optimistic takes on it. The character of Joan is a solid one, and you can really sense that this isn't a woman who needs a belief system so much as she needs respect and control over her life. As the film progresses, Joan has dreams about a masked man attacking her in her home. Significantly, when she tries to escape she discovers that she is trapped IN the house-by a leather belt or by chains holding the door closed.

The film is also host to a cast of incredibly, believably hateable men--from Joan's husband who is verbally and physically abusive, to the daughter's smarmy boyfriend. There's even a scene later in the film when two police officers speak derisively about Joan (and women in general). I didn't think that the movie was anti-men so much as it showed the very casual way that women (especially those who give up careers to be mothers, or who are mainly seen as accessories to their husbands) can feel alternately belittled and invisible. Even Joan's daughter makes a remark about being surprised at Joan's figure, because you wouldn't think of a mother as looking attractive.

The only thing I did not like was the constant use of the word "balling" to refer to sex. Barf. "It's just balling! You're just getting balled!" a character literally says at one point. Ugh. No. "Your own daughter, getting balled." No. Why?!

This one minor irritation aside, this was a great little film and I'm glad people (and especially Jinnistan) pushed me toward it.


Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:17 am
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Cube 2 is pretty bad, so I don't recommend that one. It was much more lacking; both in terms of the traps and the color palette, Simon's arc was basically a copy of Quentin's, and its plot was slightly bogged down by exposition. Cube Zero was average. I'm not sure I was a fan of how they chose to expand on the origin surrounding the cube. Also, the cheesy, one-liner spouting villain was annoying. However, I still found it to be a pretty effective experience as it captured the claustrophobia of the original film with more clever traps. So, yeah, I guess I'd recommend it.


Apex Predator wrote:
Kind of have a different reaction for the sequels than did Popcorn.

I think 2 is worth seeing because of a strong female character as the lead and it has a solid take on the original story. The last 20-30 minutes are weak, but I'd say it is watchable.

The third Cube had a decent start, mainly because it tries to avoid to be another "Place a bunch of characters in a deadly maze" story. The last 20-30 minutes though washes out the fun and makes it one you can skip.


Takoma1 wrote:
Cube 2: Hypercube is laughably bad.

I only like the first one medium, though I haven't seen it for a while. My main memory is that my super math-nerd self was annoyed that they spent a while trying to figure out if an even number was prime or not.


Meh, looks like the bottom line is I shouldn't get out of my way for any of them.

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Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:43 am
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Thief wrote:





Meh, looks like the bottom line is I shouldn't get out of my way for any of them.


I think that they're kind of Hellraiserish, which is to say that if you like the basic premise and don't mind seriously diminishing returns, why not? The films aren't offensive (that I remember), and there are probably one or two good kills or sequences in each one. So don't go out of your way, but if one pops up free on Netflix or Amazon and you aren't feeling that picky . . .


Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:24 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
Cube 2: Hypercube is laughably bad.

I only like the first one medium, though I haven't seen it for a while. My main memory is that my super math-nerd self was annoyed that they spent a while trying to figure out if an even number was prime or not.

Hee hee.
I was listening to local radio today, and keep in mind that while I live in New Orleans, New Orleans is technically located in South Louisiana. Generally only second-worst to Mississippi in things like infant-mortality, teen-pregnancy, obesity, smoking-related illness, etc. Which is to say, all things associated with very low education levels. And I was listening to the radio, I was astonished at times at how low the education level of some of the callers was, even though I live in this state. I mean, people just struggling to put their thoughts into words that could convey them at all, clearly misunderstanding the host, who was trying to dumb it down without being disrespectful, out of just a massive knowledge/education gap, and really having almost no understanding of the topic being discussed at all, even though they had been listening to the show. And it occurred to me how much of America is at a level of education within a not particularly wide range above and below that. And how really more than half the callers were probably below the level of the least-educated person one sees in most movies. This was just this afternoon I as considering how movies misrepresent "the common man" by so much, because in most movies, "the common man" may be portrayed as less intelligent than the elite, but much more intelligent or educated that "the common man" is in real life. I mean, you take Chris Hemsworth's Thor in the Marvel movies for example (and I'm choosing him because he's the muscle-band, smash-something-first jock of the most popular movie-franchise in America, and that character is probably 20 IQ points above the average. So take someone who is 20 points below Thor and put them in the Cube. Make it a roomful of them, the average American. They'd all be dead in 3 minutes. Tryin' to remember what Prime means. It's sad, but it is the state of things. Although, having half-come from country-folk myself, I'm not sure how sad they are about it.


Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:12 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:
A horror film with a season in the title: Season of the Witch (1972)

(See what I did there?!)

This is the last "official" film of my monthly challenge--my decade-of-choice extra.

This is one I've been meaning to check out for a while, as it's been compared to Martin which is also a Romero film and one of my favorite horrors ever. Very similar to Martin, this film explores a character's emotional crisis with the surrounding context of the supernatural.

Season of the Witch follows a middle-aged woman named Joan. Joan is having a crisis. She's married to a blowhard of a husband. Her daughter is grown (though not grown enough not to throw a prissy little tantrum). She lives in a daze of mundane parties. She has nightmarish visions in which her torment is represented with images like a baby in the woods or her husband leading her around by a leash. While she's in therapy, it's discovering a woman who lives as a witch that gives Joan a sense of purpose and control over her life. How much of what is happening comes from the craft and how much of it is just in Joan's head is left for the viewer to decide.

I really, really liked this film. It's hard to discuss the elements that I liked best about it without getting into major spoiler territory, but I thought that it did a great job of telling a very human story with some really interesting imagery. Ultimately I felt like the film was a tragedy, but I've read a few other more optimistic takes on it. The character of Joan is a solid one, and you can really sense that this isn't a woman who needs a belief system so much as she needs respect and control over her life. As the film progresses, Joan has dreams about a masked man attacking her in her home. Significantly, when she tries to escape she discovers that she is trapped IN the house-by a leather belt or by chains holding the door closed.

The film is also host to a cast of incredibly, believably hateable men--from Joan's husband who is verbally and physically abusive, to the daughter's smarmy boyfriend. There's even a scene later in the film when two police officers speak derisively about Joan (and women in general). I didn't think that the movie was anti-men so much as it showed the very casual way that women (especially those who give up careers to be mothers, or who are mainly seen as accessories to their husbands) can feel alternately belittled and invisible. Even Joan's daughter makes a remark about being surprised at Joan's figure, because you wouldn't think of a mother as looking attractive.

The only thing I did not like was the constant use of the word "balling" to refer to sex. Barf. "It's just balling! You're just getting balled!" a character literally says at one point. Ugh. No. "Your own daughter, getting balled." No. Why?!

This one minor irritation aside, this was a great little film and I'm glad people (and especially Jinnistan) pushed me toward it.


What I had said but apparently erased is that I had been tracking this movie but saw the iTunes trailer, which was just a random scene, and while it hinted at actual craft, it gave no sense of a story, so I've never pulled the trigger. I shall now much more seriously consider this.
Edit: I dug it out, some kind of mistake- I've almost watched this a buncha times but the "trailer" they had for it on iTunes was just a random clip from a scene of the movie and, while it actually looked like it showed some craft on the budget, it really didn't hint at a good story. I'll try to squeeze this one in, if not this month then next time around.


Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:18 pm
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A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film based on a book
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 1960s



The Haunting (1963)

Well, this was genuinely creepy, unsettling, and really, really good. The film follows a group of people that decide to stay on a notorious haunted house for a paranormal investigation led by Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson). Going by the premise alone, I was expecting something more superficial, but I was surprised to find something more psychological and, like I said, unsettling. Although the four leads are pretty good, the weight of the film falls on Julie Harris, who excellently portrays the psychological decay of her character. Aside from that, kudos to Robert Wise's direction and the whole crew (from cinematography and lighting, to sound design and overall production values), which manages to create a real eerie atmosphere. Hands down one of the best horror/mystery thrillers I've seen.

Grade: A

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Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:20 pm
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Wooley wrote:
So take someone who is 20 points below Thor and put them in the Cube. Make it a roomful of them, the average American. They'd all be dead in 3 minutes. Tryin' to remember what Prime means. It's sad, but it is the state of things. Although, having half-come from country-folk myself, I'm not sure how sad they are about it.


But they have like a math genius savant with them, don't they? (Admittedly I have not seen this film since 1998).

A prime number has no divisors aside from 1 and itself. Or, the way I explain it to my students, there's no way to put a prime number of people into equal sized groups. They're either all on their own, or everyone is one big group.

Obviously even numbers are not prime because they are divisible by 2.

And I'd highly recommend Season of the Witch. Apparently Romero described the film as being feminist, and this is the rare time that I don't take any issue with that label.


Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:35 pm
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Thief wrote:
A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film based on a book
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 1960s



The Haunting (1963)

Well, this was genuinely creepy, unsettling, and really, really good. The film follows a group of people that decide to stay on a notorious haunted house for a paranormal investigation led by Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson). Going by the premise alone, I was expecting something more superficial, but I was surprised to find something more psychological and, like I said, unsettling. Although the four leads are pretty good, the weight of the film falls on Julie Harris, who excellently portrays the psychological decay of her character. Aside from that, kudos to Robert Wise's direction and the whole crew (from cinematography and lighting, to sound design and overall production values), which manages to create a real eerie atmosphere. Hands down one of the best horror/mystery thrillers I've seen.

Grade: A

You should read the book. To be clear, I'm not diminishing the movie, I think it's great, but the book is like the movie with more of everything that makes the movie special.


Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:01 pm
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Perhaps more suitable for any of the horror threads, but what the heck :D


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Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:50 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 with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 1960s



The Haunting (1963)

Well, this was genuinely creepy, unsettling, and really, really good. The film follows a group of people that decide to stay on a notorious haunted house for a paranormal investigation led by Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson). Going by the premise alone, I was expecting something more superficial, but I was surprised to find something more psychological and, like I said, unsettling. Although the four leads are pretty good, the weight of the film falls on Julie Harris, who excellently portrays the psychological decay of her character. Aside from that, kudos to Robert Wise's direction and the whole crew (from cinematography and lighting, to sound design and overall production values), which manages to create a real eerie atmosphere. Hands down one of the best horror/mystery thrillers I've seen.

Grade: A

Used to watch this with my mom all the time when we wanted something "scary". When I rediscovered it as an adult I was pleased to find how rich the story and dialogue was, beyond just the spooky parts. Didn't read the book until a few years ago, and was amazed at how perfectly the movie matched the tone of the book.

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Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:34 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Used to watch this with my mom all the time when we wanted something "scary". When I rediscovered it as an adult I was pleased to find how rich the story and dialogue was, beyond just the spooky parts. Didn't read the book until a few years ago, and was amazed at how perfectly the movie matched the tone of the book.


Many of you giving props to the book. I'll have to check it out.

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Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:36 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Used to watch this with my mom all the time when we wanted something "scary". When I rediscovered it as an adult I was pleased to find how rich the story and dialogue was, beyond just the spooky parts. Didn't read the book until a few years ago, and was amazed at how perfectly the movie matched the tone of the book.


And The Haunting of Hill House isn't even remotely Shirley Jackson's at her best. Both The Sundial and We've Always Lived in the Castle, are as seminal as you get for gothic horror, regardless of how much more oxygen The Haunting sucks out of the room.


Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:42 am
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A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film about an animal
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film from the 1940s



The Wolf Man (1941)

Another horror classic I can check off my list. The Wolf Man follows a fairly simple premise and presents it in a fairly simple manner. With a runtime of barely above an hour, the film is pretty straightforward and moves at a solid pace. The whole setting, from direction and lighting to sound and set design is pretty good, and most of the performances are solid. That said, I've read some reviews praising Lon Chaney's performance but, although I didn't have big issues with him, I also didn't find myself overly impressed with him. As far as performances go, I liked Claude Rains and Maria Ouspenskaya (the gypsy) the most. Anyway, a pretty solid and enjoyable film.

Grade: B

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Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:48 am
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Thief wrote:
A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film about an animal
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film from the 1940s



The Wolf Man (1941)

Another horror classic I can check off my list. The Wolf Man follows a fairly simple premise and presents it in a fairly simple manner. With a runtime of barely above an hour, the film is pretty straightforward and moves at a solid pace. The whole setting, from direction and lighting to sound and set design is pretty good, and most of the performances are solid. That said, I've read some reviews praising Lon Chaney's performance but, although I didn't have big issues with him, I also didn't find myself overly impressed with him. As far as performances go, I liked Claude Rains and Maria Ouspenskaya (the gypsy) the most. Anyway, a pretty solid and enjoyable film.

Grade: B


With the sole exclusion of Spider Baby, Lon Chaney Jr. fucking sucks.

Probably the main reason I don't care for The Wolfman.


Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:51 am
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Thief wrote:
I've read some reviews praising Lon Chaney's performance but, although I didn't have big issues with him, I also didn't find myself overly impressed with him.

This is the correct reaction.

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Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:16 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:

And The Haunting of Hill House isn't even remotely Shirley Jackson's at her best. Both The Sundial and We've Always Lived in the Castle, are as seminal as you get for gothic horror, regardless of how much more oxygen The Haunting sucks out of the room.

You talking about the books?
If so, I read We Have Always Lived In The Castle, and it was great, but I think Hill House was better.


Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:36 pm
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Thief wrote:

The Wolf Man (1941)

As far as performances go, I liked Claude Rains and Maria Ouspenskaya (the gypsy) the most.

This is the correct reaction.


Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:39 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:
With the sole exclusion of Spider Baby, Lon Chaney Jr. fucking sucks.

I bet you that one stiff shot of his flop sweat would get you so fucked up, you'd need some ibogaine to take the edge off.


Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:42 pm
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Somebody on Twitter mentioned High Noon as a good role for him, but I've never seen that one.

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Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:01 pm
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Thief wrote:
Somebody on Twitter mentioned High Noon as a good role for him, but I've never seen that one.

Acting skills aside, he's very bland and very American, neither of which lend themselves to the weird atmosphere of those Universal films, especially when you surround him with such outsized personalities as Lugosi, Karloff or Lorre, three of the most distinctive voices in film. He gets by as Larry Talbot, but to really get a sense of what I'm talking about check out Son of Dracula, where his non-Lugosi-ness really comes into sharp focus. Or better yet, check out a clip because you probably won't be able to sit through the entire thing. It was lucky for him that he got to play The Monster and The Mummy so often, which are completely non-speaking roles.
But yeah, in a Western he's probably fine. I've seen High Noon but don't really remember his performance.

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Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:38 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
Acting skills aside, he's very bland and very American, neither of which lend themselves to the weird atmosphere of those Universal films, especially when you surround him with such outsized personalities as Lugosi, Karloff or Lorre, three of the most distinctive voices in film. He gets by as Larry Talbot, but to really get a sense of what I'm talking about check out Son of Dracula, where his non-Lugosi-ness really comes into sharp focus. Or better yet, check out a clip because you probably won't be able to sit through the entire thing. It was lucky for him that he got to play The Monster and The Mummy so often, which are completely non-speaking roles.
But yeah, in a Western he's probably fine. I've seen High Noon but don't really remember his performance.

I gotta say I really, really liked Benicio Del Toro in the role, it's a shame that movie got away from itself.


Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:55 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
But yeah, in a Western he's probably fine.

Speaking of which, Lee Van Cleef would have made a terrific Dracula.

At least we have L.Q. Jones and Strother Martin in Brotherhood of Satan and Jack Elam in Creature From Black Lake, but a lot of these western guys would have made tremendous monsters. Klaus Kinski knows what I'm talking about.


Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:14 am
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Also, whenever someone mentions The Wolfman, it is my duty to refer them to Werewolf of London. It can't be helped, it's my job. I consider it a better film, I think Henry Hull is a better actor, and I think the werewolf makeup is both more wolf-like and just scarier. (Jack Pierce designed the makeup for both films.) Thus concludes my mandatory WoL plug.

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Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:39 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Also, whenever someone mentions The Wolfman, it is my duty to refer them to Werewolf of London. It can't be helped, it's my job. I consider it a better film, I think Henry Hull is a better actor, and I think the werewolf makeup is both more wolf-like and just scarier. (Jack Pierce designed the makeup for both films.) Thus concludes my mandatory WoL plug.

Preachin' to the choir on all three counts. I said it ten years ago and I echo your sentiment now, Werewolf Of London is the better Werewolf movie, it just doesn't have Claude Rains and a gypsy.


Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:56 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Also, whenever someone mentions The Wolfman, it is my duty to refer them to Werewolf of London. It can't be helped, it's my job. I consider it a better film, I think Henry Hull is a better actor, and I think the werewolf makeup is both more wolf-like and just scarier. (Jack Pierce designed the makeup for both films.) Thus concludes my mandatory WoL plug.

Despite my aversion to Long Sweaty Jr, I simply can't go this far on this. I've also long championed Werewolf of London, because it was usually overlooked from the first-gen Universal films, but I'm not particularly more impressed with Henry Hull than LCJ, I don't think the film is more, or even as, atmospheric as the '41 version, and I definitely prefer the latter's FX, being after all the classic Wolf Man FX, to London (no offense to Tom Waits).


Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:46 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
Despite my aversion to Long Sweaty Jr, I simply can't go this far on this. I've also long championed Werewolf of London, because it was usually overlooked from the first-gen Universal films, but I'm not particularly more impressed with Henry Hull than LCJ, I don't think the film is more, or even as, atmospheric as the '41 version, and I definitely prefer the latter's FX, being after all the classic Wolf Man FX, to London (no offense to Tom Waits).

You're correct regarding the atmosphere, WoL belongs more to the Jekyll & Hyde/Jack the Ripper "foggy London" school, where Wolfman is more in line with the other Universals. (I always chuckle at the idea that a werewolf bothers to put on a cape and newsboy hat before going on the prowl). This also accounts for WoL's lack of gypsies.
And I'm pretty sure this is the only Henry Hull movie I've ever seen, but I'll just disagree with you on that one. I think he's pretty good here, or at the very least has more personality than Lil' Lon. I especially like when he's annoyed by the society gatherings he has to attend.
As for the effects, I love that shot in WoL where he transforms while walking, so I don't think it's any less accomplished than Wolfman.

Image

I watch 'em both all the time, so if I prefer WoL it's only a matter of degrees.

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Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:13 pm
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Another attempt to get back on a regular review-writing mode...

A horror comedy film
A horror film made for under $5,000,000 made after 1990
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 2010s



Crush the Skull (2015)

Quote:
"This is our last job. As planned."
"Are you sure?"
"I am... 100,000 billion percent sure."


Doubt, uncertainty, and hesitation play a huge part in our daily lives. Every day we ask and wonder about countless things, from the mundane to the critical; should I eat this or that? should I go to this place? should I stay home? should I take this job? quit this job? should I date this girl? dump this girl? should I help this girl? should I let this guy help me? or could he be a murderer? Those are only some of the doubts and questions that float around the characters' heads in this neat indie horror comedy from director/co-writer Viet Nguyen. Ironically, there seemed to be little doubt or hesitation on Nguyen's side, who said on an interview that the original short that inspired the feature "was literally this idea we had at the spur of the moment and then three weeks later we were shooting with our friends ... it all happened within a matter of a few months."

Crush the Skull follows burglar partners/couple Ollie (Chris Dinh, who also co-wrote) and Blair (Katie Savoy) as they wonder whether to do one last job or not before hanging their spurs. However, a financial predicament forces them to reluctantly pair up with Blair's brother (Chris Riedell) and his dimwit friend (Tim Chiou) to rob a secluded house. What they don't know is that the house might be the lair of a serial killer.

The film comes as a sort of spin-off of Nguyen and Dinh's first two shorts, which featured Dinh and his girlfriend trapped in some predicament where they are forced to question their actions, whether it's to trust a stranger that might or might not help them on the road, or trust a sheriff that might or might not be who he says he is. It seems that, after the shorts won a few awards, they didn't hesitate at the idea of making up a feature film. The end result is a quirky and effective horror comedy.

Although the premise of four young people being trapped inside the lair of a serial killer might sound grim, and it is, Nguyen's approach is to mix the horror and thrill of the situation with a good dose of humor. Both the direction and the script manage to reach that perfect balance where there is horror and gore, but it doesn't reach the levels of "torture porn", and the comedy doesn't feel forced or "slapsticky". Dinh and Savoy are pretty effective and believable as the leads, and the story plays off that idea of doubt and hesitation as the characters have to constantly wonder what to do next, whether it is to take that job despite the uncertainty of it, or to help a young woman despite what some appearances might lead them to think.

Being an independent film, it is a bit rough on the edges. Directing might be a bit amateurish in parts, but is still competent, plus the story is straightforward and solid, and at 80 minutes, the film doesn't overstay its welcome. What I admire the most is that you can really feel the commitment of the filmmakers to their product. Unlike our characters, it is as if they didn't have any doubts about what they were doing, and neither should you if you decide to watch it.

Grade: B+

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Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:37 am
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For those curious, you should check out both Crush the Skull shorts. Each is 10 minutes long...




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Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:39 am
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I also appreciate that Crush the Skull represents diversity both behind and in front of the camera.


Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:42 am
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A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with a color in the title
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 1950s



Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

A group of scientists find themselves trapped in a Brazilian river while being terrorized by an amphibian creature. Atmospheric and overall well done monster film. I'm glad that the film doesn't try to explain too much nor stray too far from its premise. The characters are fairly well built, and the events unfold in a believable way. The effects were pretty good and the pace was solid. I really enjoyed it.

Grade: B+, but I might be willing to go a bit higher

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Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:47 am
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Thief wrote:
A classic horror film you've never seen
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with a color in the title
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 1950s



Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

A group of scientists find themselves trapped in a Brazilian river while being terrorized by an amphibian creature. Atmospheric and overall well done monster film. I'm glad that the film doesn't try to explain too much nor stray too far from its premise. The characters are fairly well built, and the events unfold in a believable way. The effects were pretty good and the pace was solid. I really enjoyed it.

Grade: B+, but I might be willing to go a bit higher

Agreed, I really like this movie. A horror favorite, to be honest. I actually enjoy the sequel too. Never saw the third one.


Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:23 am
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Ha! I'd never seen the Crush the Skull shorts. Very good. "You just shot a sheriff!"


Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:05 pm
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I saw this a couple of days ago and realized I never posted anything about it...

A horror film made for under $5,000,000 made after 1990
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film in a foreign language
A horror film from the 2000s



Martyrs (2008)

The film follows Lucie, who's trying to cope with the aftermath of being kidnapped and tortured when she was a child, with the help of her best friend Anna. Based on everything I had read about this film, I can say I was a bit wary about watching it. However, although my mind was thinking more along the lines of visual and physical gore (entrails, bones breaking, dismemberment, etc.), the truth of the film is more psychological. That's not to say there isn't visual and physical torture, but I found the biggest toll to be on what's inferred and what stays on the mind.

Technically, the film is well made, the performances are pretty good, and the direction is effective. As for the overall impact of it, I'll echo the words of wiser people who called this "an experience" and "actually about something" more than just "torture porn" (thanks, Apex). I don't know if I'll ever watch it again, but I don't regret watching it. Plus, the overall experience (not necessarily the violence) has stuck with me days after watching it.

Grade: B+

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Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:05 am
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Yeah, agree with those sentiments, Thief. It was pretty good, but I don't think I can ever watch it again.

One of the things that ran me off from a group that saw movies from YouTube/Google was their insistence that this be seen often. Well, that and their sickening interest in fat-shaming videos.


Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:16 am
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Thief wrote:
I saw this a couple of days ago and realized I never posted anything about it...

A horror film made for under $5,000,000 made after 1990
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film in a foreign language
A horror film from the 2000s



Martyrs (2008)

The film follows Lucie, who's trying to cope with the aftermath of being kidnapped and tortured when she was a child, with the help of her best friend Anna. Based on everything I had read about this film, I can say I was a bit wary about watching it. However, although my mind was thinking more along the lines of visual and physical gore (entrails, bones breaking, dismemberment, etc.), the truth of the film is more psychological. That's not to say there isn't visual and physical torture, but I found the biggest toll to be on what's inferred and what stays on the mind.

Technically, the film is well made, the performances are pretty good, and the direction is effective. As for the overall impact of it, I'll echo the words of wiser people who called this "an experience" and "actually about something" more than just "torture porn" (thanks, Apex). I don't know if I'll ever watch it again, but I don't regret watching it. Plus, the overall experience (not necessarily the violence) has stuck with me days after watching it.

Grade: B+



What do you think
she told them at the end?

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Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:18 am
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Death Proof wrote:


What do you think
she told them at the end?

Freemasons run the country.

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Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:24 am
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Death Proof wrote:

What do you think
she told them at the end?


Much like Bill Murray's whisper to ScarJo at the end of Lost in Translation, I don't think it's necessary to know. Still, if I were to venture a guess, I would say that it was something that shook Mademoiselle's belief in an afterlife. When Anna "transcends", we see the famous tunnel with the light at the end, but then we see nothing. So I guess it was the fact that there was nothing at the end, or maybe what she actually saw wasn't what she was expecting.

More often than not, religions/cults/etc. - and humanity in general - have their preconceived notions of what is at the other side, but when something comes and shake those notions with something that we don't expect, we just can't deal with it. Even if there's *something*, if it's not what we had set ourselves up for, or what we have believed for so long, or worked years for, there is bound to be frustration, disappointment, and ultimately despair.

To sum it up, I have no idea what she said, but that's what I get from that moment. All the work, all the sacrifices were either in vain, or not for what we thought.

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Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:59 am
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Rock wrote:
Freemasons run the country.



Image

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Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:45 pm
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Thief wrote:

Much like Bill Murray's whisper to ScarJo at the end of Lost in Translation, I don't think it's necessary to know. Still, if I were to venture a guess, I would say that it was something that shook Mademoiselle's belief in an afterlife. When Anna "transcends", we see the famous tunnel with the light at the end, but then we see nothing. So I guess it was the fact that there was nothing at the end, or maybe what she actually saw wasn't what she was expecting.

More often than not, religions/cults/etc. - and humanity in general - have their preconceived notions of what is at the other side, but when something comes and shake those notions with something that we don't expect, we just can't deal with it. Even if there's *something*, if it's not what we had set ourselves up for, or what we have believed for so long, or worked years for, there is bound to be frustration, disappointment, and ultimately despair.

To sum it up, I have no idea what she said, but that's what I get from that moment. All the work, all the sacrifices were either in vain, or not for what we thought.



Image

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Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:46 pm
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Then again, the possibility exists that she lied to the old woman at the end about the afterlife in order to get back at her for what she did to her.
I will agree that it's open for interpretation.


Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:45 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Then again, the possibility exists that she lied to the old woman at the end about the afterlife in order to get back at her for what she did to her.
I will agree that it's open for interpretation.


Yeah, like I said, we don't *need* to know that, but it's interesting to speculate.

I would say that...
...I don't think Anna was in the best state to con/lie/troll with the old lady.

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Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:06 am
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A horror film based on a book
A horror film featuring a non-human lead character
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with a character's name as the title
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 1910s



Frankenstein (1910)

Fairly interesting take on the story of Frankenstein. At 14 minutes of running time, there's not much that can be done, but it's still interesting to see the visual tricks pulled by director J. Searle Dawley and his crew. As Takoma mentioned on her review, the scene where we see the creature "assembling" itself is pretty neat, moreover when you consider the time and age. The plot, as is expected from this early shorts feels very abbreviated and simplified, and the performances very theatrical and "play-like". Still, I really liked the hints the script gave about the monster being more of a manifestation of Frankenstein's own "inner evil". Worth a watch.

Grade: B-


On a very similar note, I also saw whatever 3 minutes I could find of The Golem (1915). Not much to take from what's left, except that the visuals and make-up looked really, really solid.

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Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:14 am
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Final lap during the last two days...

A horror cult classic film
A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film from the 1970s



The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

The film follows a family that ends up stranded in the middle of the Nevada desert, while being terrorized by a family of cannibals. I feel like I could've, or should've, seen this one when I was a kid/teen, considering how exposed I was to horror films of the era. But if I did, I didn't remember much about it. I did see AND like the 2006 remake, but after seeing the original, I can say I was surprised at how loyal to it the remake was. Moreover, I was impressed by how effective it was. Coming on the heels of The Last House on the Left, which I saw earlier this month, it feels as if Craven had grown leaps and bounds from one to the other. The build-up of dread surrounding this family is genuine and the craft behind the camera is way more polished. The performances are a bit spotty, with the young son and the son-in-law being quite good, while the young daughter was more uneven. There are two conflicts between the family of savages that are brushed over and not that effective (the leader's issues with his father, and the young girl that wants to run away), but overall, I enjoyed this.

Grade: B+

-------------

A horror film famous for its twist/ending
A horror film made for under $5,000,000 made after 1990
A horror film with a child protagonist
A horror film with a number in its title
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 2000s



A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Korean film that follows two sisters returning home with their father after one of them was institutionalized following a family tragedy. As they try to adapt to regular life again, they have to deal with the presence of their new stepmother, as well as an apparent presence within the house. I thought this was really good and affecting, but I have to say that I owe it a rewatch. Not the film's fault, but I dozed off a few times, and I think the back and forth might've killed some of the momentum the film had. Still, I found the direction very, very good and the performances were great. The way director Kim Jee-woon builds the atmosphere is impeccable. This is one I'll probably rewatch soon.

Grade: A-

-------------

A horror film under 90 minutes long
A horror film with less than five major characters
A horror film from the 1900s



The House of Ghosts (1908)

I wanted to close with an early one, and with a 6 minute runtime, this short was a perfect choice. The film follows a trio of travelers that stop and stay at a small house in the woods, where they have to deal with ghosts and other spooky manifestations. As is usual with these early shorts, there is not much of a plot. The real treat is the visual tricks and this one has plenty. The tilting of the house, the moving cutlery, the ghastly image on the wall, all of those worked really well. Enjoyable, interesting, and breezy.

Grade: B

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:05 am
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Aaaand October's gone! This is the final tally...

A horror exploitation or B-movie: The Last House on the Left (1972)
A classic horror film you've never seen: The Haunting (1963)
A horror comedy film: Crush the Skull
A horror cult classic film: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
A documentary about horror or horror films: Häxan
A horror film about an animal: The Wolf Man
A horror film based on a book: Dracula (1931)
A horror film considered a box-office bomb or one of the worst ever made:
A horror film directed by a woman:
A horror film famous for its twist/ending: House on Haunted Hill (1959)
A horror film featuring a non-human lead character: Frankenstein (1910)
A horror film made for under $5,000,000 made after 1990: A Ghost Story
A horror film starring someone you dislike:
A horror film under 90 minutes long: The Ghoul (1933)
A horror film with a character's name as the title: Candyman
A horror film with a child protagonist: A Tale of Two Sisters
A horror film with a color in the title: Creature from the Black Lagoon
A horror film with a number in its title (not a sequel number): Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
A horror film with either a RT score above 95% or from the IMDb Top 250: Crush the Skull
A horror film with a season in the title:
A horror film with less than five major characters: Scarecrows
A horror film in a foreign language: Martyrs (2008)
A horror science-fiction film: Cube
A horror sequel: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
An animated horror film:

While also fitting each film into one of the following decade slots:

A horror film from the 1900s: The House of Ghosts
A horror film from the 1910s: Frankenstein (1910)
A horror film from the 1920s: Häxan
A horror film from the 1930s: The Ghoul (1933), Dracula (1931)
A horror film from the 1940s: The Wolf Man
A horror film from the 1950s: House on Haunted Hill (1959), Creature from the Black Lagoon
A horror film from the 1960s: The Haunting (1963)
A horror film from the 1970s: The Last House on the Left (1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
A horror film from the 1980s: Scarecrows, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
A horror film from the 1990s: Candyman, Cube
A horror film from the 2000s: Martyrs (2008), A Tale of Two Sisters
A horror film from the 2010s: Crush the Skull, A Ghost Story
A horror film from the current year:

Very satisfied with the end result. 17 full feature films, plus 5 short films, for a total of 22. That's pretty good, especially after a rather weak September. The other thing that satisfies me is that I managed to tackle a lot of classics that I've had on my lists for a while (Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Haunting, House on Haunted Hill, etc.)

As for my favorite of the month, A Ghost Story is probably the one that got more to me, but The Haunting is probably a close second.

Least favorite? Easily The Last House on the Left.

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:50 am
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A Tale of Two Sisters is soooooo good.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:31 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
A Tale of Two Sisters is soooooo good.


I feel bad for not being on my full senses while watching it, but the truth of the matter is that it has become the custom for me to doze off every time I watch a film at night. Getting old is a bitch.

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Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:34 am
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Thief wrote:

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Korean film that follows two sisters returning home with their father after one of them was institutionalized following a family tragedy. As they try to adapt to regular life again, they have to deal with the presence of their new stepmother, as well as an apparent presence within the house. I thought this was really good and affecting, but I have to say that I owe it a rewatch. Not the film's fault, but I dozed off a few times, and I think the back and forth might've killed some of the momentum the film had. Still, I found the direction very, very good and the performances were great. The way director Kim Jee-woon builds the atmosphere is impeccable. This is one I'll probably rewatch soon.

Grade: A-

Yeah, this is one of the better horror movies I've seen in the last 10 years or so.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:37 am
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