Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

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Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:45 am

And here we are, finally, at my favorite time of year for movies, one I enjoy so much, I had to extend it another month.
While September is too early for horror and the October Country, it's not too early to get in the mood. It's not too early the dark, the pulse-pounding, the macabre, the bizarre, the violent, the cult, the wicked, the weird, and anything else that strikes ones' fancy as the shadows begin to grow long. This is the time I usually like to ramp-up with thrillers, giallos, and slashers, but also with cult-films, dark comedies, and really anything with an edge.
There's no telling what shocking things we might see!
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It might be fantastical.
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Or bizarre.
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Or vicious.
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Or eccentric.
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Or maybe just gorgeous to look at.
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But one thing's for sure: all of YOU are invited!
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So please, feel free to join me here, from now until October. Content starts tomorrow.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Stu » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:19 am

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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:09 pm

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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:10 pm

I've got Shock Treatment on deck and was gonna ask how you felt about that one. Question answered!
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:56 pm

:heart:
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:44 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:10 pm
I've got Shock Treatment on deck and was gonna ask how you felt about that one. Question answered!
Honestly, it's not very good, but it has to be seen, just part of the the universe. The music is much less inspired but still has enough moments and weirdness and a few good songs. The title track is the highlight with songs like "Bitchin' In The Kitchen", "Lullaby", "Look What I Did To My Id", and "Duel Duet" working out ok. Really the movie lacks the personalities and the hooks of the first film but if you have a curio cabinet of weird movies, you could put it in there.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:13 pm

Oh my god, how many times did I watch Dreamscape when I was a kid?
So, so many times.

Dreamscape is the story of new research into dreams, specifically using psychics to project themselves into the dreams of other people to help them with sleep disorders and recurrent nightmares, and how that can go awfully wrong in the wrong hands. Dennis Quaid plays Alex, a gifted psychic and telekinetic who quit research years ago to use his talents on gambling and womanizing. He is brought back into the fold and ultimately buys into the project after his first experience in someone else's dream (in which he nearly dies). Meanwhile, in a parallel story, the President Of The United States is having vivid nightmares about nuclear holocaust (remember this is 1984) and his complicity in such a possibility. The opening sequence involves his wife running from a nuclear explosion, reaching out to him, screaming his name...
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...from which he abruptly wakes screaming himself. Is it safe to have a President who wakes every night screaming and can't get any sleep?
And here is where the two stories tie together, obviously, intertwined by a man named Bob Blair (played by no less than Christopher Plummer), who is the head of "covert security" for the U.S., the man behind the government funding of the Dreamscape project, and the President's best friend. He believes that the Dreamscape project might help the President... or at least help dissuade him of notions of nuclear disarmament, to which his dreams have led him.
All of which still seem fairly ok, until we meet Tommy Ray, one of the other psychics who is clearly disturbed and probably dangerous. What is his role in all of this, one wonders.
So what we have here is a sci-fi movie and a political thriller. Of course we must have a romance as well, and enter Kate Capshaw, fresh off of Indy 2, to fill the exact same role, the woman who falls for the roguish charm of our lead, who was always good at roguish charm. Technically, she's a doctor but she's not given much to do but call out vital signs and half-heartedly stave off Quaid's advances. Too bad. The cast is rounded out by George Wendt in a convenient role, but is anchored, as we keep seeing, but Max Von Sydow, keeping this whole thing afloat.

So, the truth is that the movie is a really cool story, with mostly weak dialogue and pretty hammy and obnoxious either directing or cinematography or both in the real world.
But you don't watch a movie like this for the real world, you watch it for the dreams and the movie does a very very nice job there with a sort of visual dream-vocabulary established right up front...
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...which really works nicely and only gets more interesting as the film goes. There's a hilarious one with a man who's afraid his wife is cheating on him and the nightmares of the child "Buddy" are really cool and a big reason I loved the film. And it is the nightmare world that the film resides in and it is really surprising how far this film that's very conventional on the surface goes with the nightmare imagery with people engulfed in nuclear flame, people ripping their own faces off to reveal monsters underneath, post-apocalyptic Washington DC, fallout zombies, and in a bizarre, but totally in keeping with the movie, bonus...
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...Hellhounds!!! (Man I loved this movie when I was young.)

But of course, anyone who's every seen this movie will tell you, you can come for the sci-fi concept, the political-intrigue, the romance (if you like), or even for post-apocalyptic nightmares... but you stay for The Snakeman!
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So, how good is Dreamscape? It's really hard to say. A really cool story is weighed down by really poor dialogue, but that is held up by really good actors like Plummer and von Sydow delivering it with such earnestness and craft that you get fooled into thinking it's not that bad; and some of the camera work will literally make you laugh. On the other hand, the story is a really cool concept, this film should probably be remade now, and the nightmares are totally, totally worth coming for. And there's a cute little denouement moment to leave a fresh taste in your mouth on the way out. So I say watch it, it's fun.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:53 am

September 3rd and we've already got Hellhounds. I like where this is going.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Death Proof » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:48 am

I LOVE Dreamscape. One of my favorite horror movies.

David Patrick Kelly is awesome as the disturbed psychic. "I saw Enter the Dragon six times."

Dennis Quaid is great as the lead and I loved George Wendt as the Stephen King homage.

The effects are pretty good for an 80's b-movie. I remember watching it on HBO when I was a kid and literally jumping off the floor when
the snakeman burst through the window.
9/10
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:20 am

Death Proof wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:48 am
I LOVE Dreamscape. One of my favorite horror movies.

David Patrick Kelly is awesome as the disturbed psychic. "I saw Enter the Dragon six times."

Dennis Quaid is great as the lead and I loved George Wendt as the Stephen King homage.

The effects are pretty good for an 80's b-movie. I remember watching it on HBO when I was a kid and literally jumping off the floor when
the snakeman burst through the window.
9/10
Ya know, it's funny, I never actually thought of it as a horror movie. You may notice I did not use the word horror in my write-up (at least I don't think I did), but I can see how it could be seen that way. It's funny that there's no small amount of A Nightmare On Elm Street (in one moment, so painfully obvious, although I didn't mind) in this movie, yet the poster is clearly there to invoke Spielberg and Indiana Jones.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:33 am

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Paul Schrader's American Gigolo is, along with a small handful of other films at the turn of the decade that included the startling Looking For Mr. Goodbar (in which Gere had his excellent cinematic debut), one of those films that shocked suburban America and sent people (like my mother) rushing to their telephones to gossip that so-and-so had actually gone to see that movie.

To begin with the story, Richard Gere plays Julian Kaye, a young male prostitute, handsome and highly successful, and above all driven. He is a complete professional, understanding his job and how to do it right, and most of all, his own value. He understands that he has the looks but it is how he handles his job that makes him successful, which jobs he chooses, how he approaches different clients, his understanding of how to satisfy women, and how he presents himself. He stays fit, dresses well, is knowledgeable about art and antiques, studies foreign languages, and understands where to be. He has cultivated a high-end regular clientele that keeps him in Armani and refuses to work for anyone else except on a case-by-case basis. He is a thoroughly modern man and a pro's pro.
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He is the portrait of a man in complete control of his life until he finds that he's not. After meeting a beautiful woman in a restaurant he turns her down after not feeling right about it but accepts another job he clearly has reservations about he in order to be owed a favor by a colleague, and for the money. Within a few days, he is being pursued by a police detective (in another great turn by Hector Elizondo) as well as by the mysterious woman, and his life will never be the same.

There is much to like about American Gigolo as Paul Schrader does a wonderful job with his neo-noir vibe, something that would be a hot ticket around this time (see Chinatown, Body Heat, Blood Simple, and later Tequila Sunrise). Schrader's film is highly stylized in both the old traditions and in the modern way, informed by both 40s classics and modern giallo, shadows from the blinds and colorful neon lighting.
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Schrader's work is supported by a very assured performance from Gere in what I think of as the role he was born to play (there is just something about him, and it's really the thing that many people dislike about him, that make him perfect for this film), and the perfect, and at the time, suburb-shaking performance by a luminous Lauren Hutton in a role we don't quite know what to make of until (and maybe even after) the end, but that turned suburban housewives like my mother on their asses.
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If there is a main flaw, it is likely that Paul Schrader seemed to have made exactly the film he wanted, based on French New Wave, lacking the accessibility and the clear narrative movement and resolution that many audiences would have liked. It is also not really clear, walking away from it, if the film is successful at all, but that doesn't mean it is not worth seeing. It has many moments and plenty of atmosphere to ooze from its pores and perhaps most importantly, it goes to places that films in 1980 just hadn't taken mainstream audiences to, particularly in its casual approach to frank sexuality, from married, middle-aged country-club women employing a male prostitute, to an easy acknowledgement of homosexuality, to violent sexual encounters, and most importantly the very frank, matter-of-fact way this whole world is approached by the film, as if nothing's shocking and this movie is really just about a murder and a man mixed up in it.

It's funny how tame it must seem now, but in 1980, such a complete flip of gender and sex was nothing short of a scandal in much of the country. There had been how many films about or involving female prostitutes? Hundreds? Hell, a light romantic-musical about a female prostitute won Best Picture 21 years earlier. But a male prostitute?! Mais, non!
And why not? Obviously, because a male prostitute means that women enjoy sex and sexuality too, maybe even as much as men, certainly enough to pay for it, and are willing to go outside of their marriages to get a kind of satisfaction that movies had never admitted women might even want. An absolutely scandalous notion, even by 1980, this film with its graphic sexuality and full-frontal male nudity, for the first time in Hollywood history (yes, apparently Richard Gere's is the first dick ever visualized in a Hollywood movie), left moviegoers around the country shaken.
Whether that was Schrader's intent or not has been the subject of much debate but one thing that is not debatable, obvious from the images here, Schrader made a good-looking little curio that launched Richard Gere to stardom.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Slentert » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:56 am

I watched that one last weekend! An interesting film for sure, but not exactly my favorite Schrader.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:49 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:33 am
one of those films that shocked suburban America and sent people (like my mother) rushing to their telephones to gossip that so-and-so had actually gone to see that movie.
I still haven't seen this, but your memory of the buzz around it is identical to mine. My mom saw it with her sister (dad wasn't invited) and it was a BIG DEAL. They joked about wearing disguises to the theater, and referred to it as "AG" so that they wouldn't be caught saying the title. I was 9 so I had no idea what the movie was about, I just knew that they were clearly doing something very naughty.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Death Proof » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:02 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:20 am
Ya know, it's funny, I never actually thought of it as a horror movie. You may notice I did not use the word horror in my write-up (at least I don't think I did), but I can see how it could be seen that way. It's funny that there's no small amount of A Nightmare On Elm Street (in one moment, so painfully obvious, although I didn't mind) in this movie, yet the poster is clearly there to invoke Spielberg and Indiana Jones.
I actually hesitated when typing that, because I agree... it's not really true horror. Sci fi with horror elements, maybe?
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:46 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:49 pm
I still haven't seen this, but your memory of the buzz around it is identical to mine. My mom saw it with her sister (dad wasn't invited) and it was a BIG DEAL. They joked about wearing disguises to the theater, and referred to it as "AG" so that they wouldn't be caught saying the title. I was 9 so I had no idea what the movie was about, I just knew that they were clearly doing something very naughty.
Exactly.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:48 pm

Death Proof wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:02 pm
I actually hesitated when typing that, because I agree... it's not really true horror. Sci fi with horror elements, maybe?
Yeah, it's just that the nightmares that actually involve "horror elements" are only a small part of the film. You have nightmares about just nuclear holocaust, you have a nightmare about just falling off a skyscraper, you have a nightmare about your wife cheating on you, and then you have the two nightmares, and just those two, that have horror elements. Outside of that, it's all sci-fi and political-thriller.
Not that we need to parse and label, but since we're talking about it, I'm just giving you my thoughts.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:50 pm

Next up, something weird and kind of ghastly from a later-famous director paired with a schlock-meister producer.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:37 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:33 am
An absolutely scandalous notion, even by 1980, this film with its graphic sexuality and full-frontal male nudity, for the first time in Hollywood history (yes, apparently Richard Gere's is the first dick ever visualized in a Hollywood movie), left moviegoers around the country shaken.
Schrader himself was shaken, some twenty years later, when told that he wouldn't be allowed to show male nudity in his Auto-Focus. Apparently he was under the impression that this was all behind us.

I also appreciate that Nina van Pallandt played his pimp, another dynamic sexual reversal.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Death Proof » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:53 am

Wooley wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:50 pm
Next up, something weird and kind of ghastly from a later-famous director paired with a schlock-meister producer.

1 Night in China?
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Rock » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:09 am

Yeah, I'm a big fan of American Gigolo. More than the French New Wave, I think Robert Bresson (who's probably New Wave adjacent rather than a real member) might be the key influence. Fun fact: this movie pretty much made Armani a name in the US. As far as (implicitly) fashion-centric movies go, this one is definitely up there.

I take it you've seen Hardcore? That seems like a good candidate for this thread (although George C. Scott hangs no dong in that movie). Schrader's first four movies are a hell of a run for someone who's not known primarily as a director.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:46 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:37 pm
I also appreciate that Nina van Pallandt played his pimp, another dynamic sexual reversal.
Yes, great point. There's a lot to talk about in this movie.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:46 am

Rock wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:09 am
Yeah, I'm a big fan of American Gigolo. More than the French New Wave, I think Robert Bresson (who's probably New Wave adjacent rather than a real member) might be the key influence. Fun fact: this movie pretty much made Armani a name in the US. As far as (implicitly) fashion-centric movies go, this one is definitely up there.

I take it you've seen Hardcore? That seems like a good candidate for this thread (although George C. Scott hangs no dong in that movie). Schrader's first four movies are a hell of a run for someone who's not known primarily as a director.
I have seen it, though it's been a while.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:04 am

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Well. What a perfectly ghastly little movie. The vibe is something like this (and how funny that I only now notice the giveaway in the title-card shot):
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What happens when Roger Corman gives his Sound Editor, Francis Ford Coppola, $22,000 to make a movie? Well, he writes a treatment overnight and secures the money, writes the full script with another crew-member in 3 days, sells the distribution rights in France behind Corman's back to up his budget by another $20,000, and makes this nasty little thing. And I say "nasty" because this is a lot more violent than I was expecting, just a lot more... well, honestly, this movie, which was supposed to be a Psycho rip-off, almost comes across at times more like the grandaddy of Friday The 13th or daddy to Bay Of Blood.
The story of a disturbed family on the anniversary of the drowning death of its youngest member 7 years earlier, the film is 1/3 Psycho, 1/3 F13, and 1/3 whodunnit (although there are really only two credible candidates for the killer, the film really makes you wonder which all the way to the reveal, and even throws in a late red-herring to throw you off the scent). And, like I say, a helluva lot more violent than I saw coming for 1963...
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I mean, that is actually total Texas Chainsaw Massacre shit right there, just a decade earlier. That's a woman hanging from a meathook. I was shocked. I didn't know Coppola had it in him (particularly after his milquetoast Dracula). Of course, it's hard to say whether he did or he didn't, since Corman was involved and got someone else to do some shoots after it was already in the can to add a beheading (which I also didn't see coming, holy shit) and some run-time. But man, this movie has a drowning, axe-murders, wives dumping their husbands' dead bodies, psychosis, some weird shit with dolls, and a woman on a fucking meathook. In black and white. Ghastly. I'm a fan.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Death Proof » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:36 pm

Jesus. I don't think I've seen that one and I don't want to see it now.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:58 pm

I had to look up the D-13 Test mentioned on the poster, and this is the best I can find---

https://www.zomboscloset.com/.a/6a00d83 ... 5aa970b-pi

Hard to read some of it, but funny nonetheless. "Question #10: Death by drowning in a pond is best described by the word 'exciting': Yes or No"
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:11 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:58 pm
I had to look up the D-13 Test mentioned on the poster, and this is the best I can find---

https://www.zomboscloset.com/.a/6a00d83 ... 5aa970b-pi

Hard to read some of it, but funny nonetheless. "Question #10: Death by drowning in a pond is best described by the word 'exciting': Yes or No"
Ha!
Yeah, apparently the story is that Corman was actually furious about the film when he screened it as it was too short at like an hour and ten minutes or whatever and really only had one murder. Coppola had promised Corman that it was going to make people sick it was so intense. So Corman had another dude go and shoot a protracted scene with a minor character (including that character's demise) and added a William Castle-like opening bit about the D13 Test to make sure it would be safe for you to see the picture, with some notion that it might overwhelm some but possibly even bring out the hidden Psycho in others.
To Corman's credit, the scene in the actual film that was added, in my opinion, pushes the film over the top. It's long and seems pointless for a bit and then what happens adds an interesting dimension to the plot and also doubles the body-count with the most graphic scene in the movie. (Yes, for all my talk up there, the film is kinda light on kills, but if you watch it, you'll get what I mean about F13 and Bay Of Blood).
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:55 pm

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Ugh.
What a shame. I hate it when I hear a bunch of buzz about a film and I drag my carcass to an actual theater with actual other people in it (eek!) and it turns out to actually suck.
Which this movie does.
If you want the plot, here it is:
A non-rich woman marries an elite-rich man and learns that, as part of the family tradition, because The Rich are different (the Patriarch of the family actually says this out loud!), she must play a game with the family, specifically at Midnight, to be accepted as "one of us". The game turns out to be Hide and Seek and of course it turns out that she hides and the whole family seeks to murder her. Thrills and hilarity ensue.
But do they? Do they really? Resoundingly, they do not.
This is a film that really thinks it's good, really thinks it's clever and witty and really just thinks it's made of win and this smugness just oozes from the pores of failure after failure throughout. It is a bad script. Genuinely bad. It rushes, it winks, it laughs at its own cleverness (even when no one in the audience is laughing), it almost seems to gloat like it's just so proud of itself, but there is one thing it fails to do and that is deliver.
There is little suspense in the film because the trick that all the villains are actually idiots who couldn't tie their own shoes (because The Rich are so inept, get it?!) is turned so early in the movie that the audience just assumes that any idiot could survive these fools. Which, of course, completely undermines the film's insistence that the heroine is really something. And the joke of their ineptness is played up to such a degree, badly I might add, I guess because the filmmakers think it's funny(?) that honestly, it would seem that if she just stayed hidden in the dumbwaiter they never would have found her and they all would have accidentally shot each other by dawn, anyway.
Unfortunately, that's not what happens, because that would have been a better movie. Instead, she flees, which is fine, I guess that's what you do, because the movie desperately wants you to root for their plucky heroine (who isn't Rich!) and for her to be like the horror-comedy icon (which she's not). All of that fails because, again, the script. To be a plucky heroine, horror-icon Final Girl or whatever, you actually have to be up against people who understand how to flush a toilet, not silly caricatures, and you have to be somewhat successful at defeating them. Instead, she actually gets captured by these morons like 3 or 4 times. I mean, she is the WORST at Hide and Seek, as she's actually found six times in the film. And almost every time she is, she's either captured showing she ain't that plucky, or she's actually rescued by someone else (further reducing her Pluck-cred), or escapes by script-luck or someone else's total incompetence (which I couldn't tell if that was intended to be funny or was just another failure of a bad script). I mean, she's rescued at least thrice if not four times in the film, how can you be the plucky heroine, horror-icon when you need this much rescuing? She only saves herself like 2 or 3 of the god knows how many times she gets caught by someone, and one of those is against a child (who is also horrible because The Rich!).
Which brings me to the ham-fisted theme of the film, "Rich bad/Poor good". Which would be fine, except that that's about the level of finesse or sophistication it's handled with. It's really like someone who has to wear a helmet all the time just chanting "Rich people bad" over and over again. Like there's this whole bit about how the help are just disposable (that lands with a whisper) and then there's this continuous thing where the family is so incompetent that they constantly have to rely on their butler(?) to capture the injured person in a wedding dress on their own property, but that's supposed to be great because he's this eccentric character that audiences will love... except he's not. He's only eccentric when the filmmakers want to try to make the scene more interesting, which always fails maybe because it's conceptually poor but also because the actor just doesn't have it in him. And his eccentricity ends up being he reason he's defeated (again, the plucky heroine just can't do it without the bad guys tripping over themselves).
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Ugh. I'm having trouble even... the movie is just... None of the characters work, they're all supposed to be clever or cute in some way, but they all miss the mark with only the Bride and the brother Daniel actually playing. Each of the family are supposed to have these specific characteristics that make them interesting but it just misses again and again, most especially with the kooky aunt (groan, she was so bad) and then with Andie MacDowell as the matriarch, who ends up being like symbolic of the whole film. MacDowell could never act her way out of a wet paper bag and has dragged down many a film, but here she's like the trophy stunt-cast the filmmakers are so proud of like they're gonna get this iconic matriarch of the ultra-privileged murder-family out of her and she, like nearly every other actor in the film not named Samara, lands on her face again and again, killing scene after scene instead of killing the Bride.

Wow. I'm shocked that I wasted that much time talking about this film. It is a big disappointment I guess because there was buzz, but now that I've seen it, without that buzz, this is just another bad movie and I shouldn't waste time worrying about it. And yet, it is so self-congratulatory that it irks me. It's obvious progenitor, You're Next, was also a film with buzz that failed to deliver, but that is actually a much better film than this one, because it wasn't constantly grinning at itself with misplaced pride. Eh. I can't even be bothered to type a conclusion to this. Don't waste your money or time on this.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:07 pm

I spoiled myself on Ready or Not and it looked like it'd be fun on a Friday night. Maybe when it comes to DVD sometime next year?

Kind of surprised this was such a miss for you. But then again, you never know...

Saw Dementia 13 a few years back. I guess I wasn't as enthralled, although to Coppola's credit, he is willing to go there.

Haven't seen American Gigolo. Barely remember the Snake man from Dreamscape and I don't know if I've ever seen that one all the way through or not.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:39 pm

My favorite part of Dementia 13 is when the one brother is describing his creepy dream (about the man coming in the window). A great example of how a character just monologing can be frightening.

Wooley wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:55 pm

Ugh.
What a shame. I hate it when I hear a bunch of buzz about a film and I drag my carcass to an actual theater with actual other people in it (eek!) and it turns out to actually suck.
Obviously I completely disagree. And specifically:
There is little suspense in the film because the trick that all the villains are actually idiots who couldn't tie their own shoes (because The Rich are so inept, get it?!) is turned so early in the movie that the audience just assumes that any idiot could survive these fools. Which, of course, completely undermines the film's insistence that the heroine is really something. And the joke of their ineptness is played up to such a degree, badly I might add, I guess because the filmmakers think it's funny(?) that honestly, it would seem that if she just stayed hidden in the dumbwaiter they never would have found her and they all would have accidentally shot each other by dawn, anyway.
I thought that one of the best elements of the film was its portrayal of a family that is essentially self-destructing. Their family culture has lead to indulgence (drugs/alcohol) and complete lack of loyalty (the spouses), and we are seeing the dregs of what happens when people think that they are immune to failure, but only because their wealth and power has shielded them for so long.

My favorite thing about the film, on reflection, was that the protagonist
doesn't really kill anyone. They destroy themselves and I thought that was a nice departure from the typical storyline where the outsider comes in and puts them all down.
She only saves herself like 2 or 3 of the god knows how many times she gets caught by someone
She's trying to survive against a large group of people in a house/property that she's never been to and that they all know by heart. It makes sense that she wouldn't fare well, and it also makes sense that she's not going to survive without some help. I thought that the film did a good job of explaining why the different characters would help her the way that they did.

None of the characters work, they're all supposed to be clever or cute in some way, but they all miss the mark with only the Bride and the brother Daniel actually playing.
I'm sorry, but the coke-head sister was hilarious (and having encountered a non-coked-up rich girl like this one time who whined and fussed in exactly the same way, I felt the portrayal was eerily accurate). If you didn't vibe with the aunt giving severe stank-face *during the wedding itself*, I don't know what to tell you.

And in the final act I think that the film delivers from several characters (the husband, the brother, the brother's wife) on the moral dilemma of what you would be willing to do to survive. The brother's wife says that she would rather be dead than go back to the life she lived before, and you can see that she means it. It's not just a condemnation of the rich--it's also a condemnation of the destructive allure of the "good life".

To me, this is where the film actually earns some thematic heft after being mostly silly and superficial with it up to this point. Because the fact is that
the curse is real. So while it starts out as something more basic about how the rich are willing to (literally!) bleed the poor dry in order to survive and thrive, by the end it's clear that there's also the matter of whether you can justify killing someone else to save yourself and your children.
I would quite easily watch this film over You're Next. It just doesn't take itself as seriously and it delivers the improbable context up front rather than in the final act.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:42 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:07 pm
I spoiled myself on Ready or Not and it looked like it'd be fun on a Friday night. Maybe when it comes to DVD sometime next year?

Kind of surprised this was such a miss for you. But then again, you never know...

Saw Dementia 13 a few years back. I guess I wasn't as enthralled, although to Coppola's credit, he is willing to go there.

Haven't seen American Gigolo. Barely remember the Snake man from Dreamscape and I don't know if I've ever seen that one all the way through or not.
Well, the filmmakers clearly think you should be having all the fun watching their movie. I did not. I was actually kind of angry because, since I was with friends, I was kind of a captive audience. I probably would have walked out if they'd not been there. Instead, I used it as an exercise in angry-viewing, which is when you try to dissect why a film is such a failure for you, while doing what you can to pick out what they did well, in real time.
It's funny because I went in in a very good mood and super-positive attitude, this movie actually had to overcome that to make me dislike it so much, but it did so with ease and it didn't take it very long.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:34 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:39 pm
My favorite part of Dementia 13 is when the one brother is describing his creepy dream (about the man coming in the window). A great example of how a character just monologing can be frightening.




Obviously I completely disagree. And specifically:



I thought that one of the best elements of the film was its portrayal of a family that is essentially self-destructing. Their family culture has lead to indulgence (drugs/alcohol) and complete lack of loyalty (the spouses), and we are seeing the dregs of what happens when people think that they are immune to failure, but only because their wealth and power has shielded them for so long.

I thought that was a fine idea, if one that they just gave away so fast it was a bit wasted, but I thought the execution was just... I mean, it was so poor. It's clear they were supposed to be ineffectual but unfortunately the dialogue and acting couldn't deliver on the possible amusing angle of that premise.

My favorite thing about the film, on reflection, was that the protagonist
doesn't really kill anyone. They destroy themselves and I thought that was a nice departure from the typical storyline where the outsider comes in and puts them all down.
That is actually not correct. The Bride actually murders the grooms mother, fully murders her, as the mother is knocked unconscious by the box, but The Bride then consciously, after pausing, bashes her face into a pulp, killing her.
She's trying to survive against a large group of people in a house/property that she's never been to and that they all know by heart. It makes sense that she wouldn't fare well, and it also makes sense that she's not going to survive without some help. I thought that the film did a good job of explaining why the different characters would help her the way that they did.

I'm saying that there are very few examples of her actually getting out of anything herself. There are a couple of moments but generally she doesn't fare very well at all. And she does require straight-up saving several times over,
including at the climax of the film.
That's not the character's fault, it's the writers'.

I'm sorry, but the coke-head sister was hilarious (and having encountered a non-coked-up rich girl like this one time who whined and fussed in exactly the same way, I felt the portrayal was eerily accurate). If you didn't vibe with the aunt giving severe stank-face *during the wedding itself*, I don't know what to tell you.

The coke-head sister started out as a good gag but was so overdone, she was certainly one of the better of the characters, but that's not saying much. The father was weak, the mother was weak (probably mostly MacDowell's fault), I thought the aunt's scowl-gag was funny for the first couple minutes but she just missed her own mark so badly, maybe again due to the actor not being up to the role but she missed. I thought she ended up being the worst character in the movie and being a big reason it sinks.

And in the final act I think that the film delivers from several characters (the husband, the brother, the brother's wife) on the moral dilemma of what you would be willing to do to survive. The brother's wife says that she would rather be dead than go back to the life she lived before, and you can see that she means it. It's not just a condemnation of the rich--it's also a condemnation of the destructive allure of the "good life".

The husband's arc was obvious from the very beginning of the film, I thought, it was executed ok, not my biggest gripe with the film. The brother didn't seem to be able to make up his mind, all the way up to the end. The brother's wife was the best character in the film, in my opinion, and the only one I really bought into.

To me, this is where the film actually earns some thematic heft after being mostly silly and superficial with it up to this point. Because the fact is that
the curse is real. So while it starts out as something more basic about how the rich are willing to (literally!) bleed the poor dry in order to survive and thrive, by the end it's clear that there's also the matter of whether you can justify killing someone else to save yourself and your children.
I imagine if there was any thematic heft in this movie, this would be the place it was earned, but really, when the whole film is a farce, it's hard to suddenly consider if the superficial game of tag with a theme they've played for 90 minutes suddenly has weight.

I would quite easily watch this film over You're Next. It just doesn't take itself as seriously and it delivers the improbable context up front rather than in the final act.

I did not think You're Next succeeded as a film and would not have watched it again, but I actually found myself wishing I was watching it instead of Ready Or Not, while I was in the theater last night. Now I want to go watch You're Next again just to get the taste of Ready Or Not out of my mouth.
Really, I have not had a reaction this negative to a film in a long time. I felt like Roger Ebert when he dislikes a movie so much he is incapable of even giving it credit for anything it did well (something he was guilty of on many occasions). This film made me angry. Not because it was bad, but because it was bad and clearly thought it was so good and kept insisting that I agree with it.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:15 pm

Wooley wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:34 pm
Really, I have not had a reaction this negative to a film in a long time. I felt like Roger Ebert when he dislikes a movie so much he is incapable of even giving it credit for anything it did well (something he was guilty of on many occasions). This film made me angry. Not because it was bad, but because it was bad and clearly thought it was so good and kept insisting that I agree with it.
I found it to be (intentionally) over the top and I thought that despite being so over the top it managed to stay somewhat grounded through the main character (and the character of the brother) so that it also managed some decent genuinely emotional moments at the end.

And I didn't mind the main character being saved so often. She does plenty of things on her own (like
climbing out of the pit in the barn)
, and it felt more realistic that she would fail in her attempts more often than she would succeed. I felt that many of her errors were very understandable and didn't diminish my feelings toward her. If anything, they felt pretty relatable (especially that moment where she gets to the end of the hall and realizes
she can't remember which way to turn
). I appreciated that this wasn't another film where some random woman/protagonist manages to miraculously transform into Rambo in the course of a few hours.

Honestly, I felt like the character of the brother was a pretty perfect critique of people who are in positions of power and how they relate to the people who they directly/indirectly victimize. He doesn't want to hurt her, specifically. And yet at the same time he does not want to sacrifice his own power to help her. He actually embodies the biggest problem with power imbalance in our society, in my opinion. Yes, there are those people who are evil and sociopathic. But I think there's an even greater group of people who don't hate people who are oppressed (and may even care about them on some level) but do not want to give up their own power/status/wealth to actually do something about it. By not directly killing/maiming her, he doesn't have to take on the guilt of victimizing her, and yet he is willing to let others do it and to benefit from her being harmed. I thought that Adam Brody was pretty great in that role and that by coming back to him frequently (both in his interactions with Grace and in his interactions with the family), the film kept an emotional core in all the craziness.

But for the most part I felt like the film was dumb fun and for the most part the "Evil rich" element was just there to give it a little more structure. All my horror movie gal-pals have loved it just as much as I did and it was a great summer theater experience.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:59 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:15 pm
I appreciated that this wasn't another film where some random woman/protagonist manages to miraculously transform into Rambo in the course of a few hours.

Honestly, I felt like the character of the brother was a pretty perfect critique of people who are in positions of power and how they relate to the people who they directly/indirectly victimize. He doesn't want to hurt her, specifically. And yet at the same time he does not want to sacrifice his own power to help her. He actually embodies the biggest problem with power imbalance in our society, in my opinion. Yes, there are those people who are evil and sociopathic. But I think there's an even greater group of people who don't hate people who are oppressed (and may even care about them on some level) but do not want to give up their own power/status/wealth to actually do something about it. By not directly killing/maiming her, he doesn't have to take on the guilt of victimizing her, and yet he is willing to let others do it and to benefit from her being harmed.

But for the most part I felt like the film was dumb fun...
You make some interesting points above. I will concede that perhaps my opinion of the movie was damaged by my expectation that, given the point they made of her having a challenging upbringing, she would prove much scrappier than the family and they would not expect her to better them given how thick the film laid on their belief in their own superiority in the beginning, and she'd really give them what for. Which she did not. She merely survives, very much through a combination of personal strength, help, the incompetence of her oppressors, and blind, stinking luck.

Still, I must admit, while you found it dumb fun, I still found it just dumb. And again, I just thought it was bad dialogue, bad acting, and the sense I couldn't shake that the filmmakers were overly proud of themselves.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:14 am

Top Ten 60s American Indie Horror:

1. Night of the Living Dead
2. Carnival of Souls
3. Spider Baby
4. Dementia 13
5. Little Shop of Horrors
6. The Sadist
7. Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies
8. Mondo Keyhole
9. Night Tide
10. The World's Greatest Sinner*

(*oh, not a horror film? I'll let the snakes and flames speak for themselves...)
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:16 am

Image
Wow.
What a tremendous pleasure this was.
A dream, a fantasy, an allegory, a tale of awakening...
Image
Image
Certainly a visual feast and a nearly unique viewing experience. I've heard buzz of this film around the forums for years, maybe a decade and read a bit about it in at least one of my books of film, but fortunately for me, everyone was so vague I really had no idea what I was coming into. It's a bit as if Jean Rollin had something to say.
Image
Image
While I am actually genuinely sorry that it took me so long to finally see this film, I feel very, very rewarded that I did. I maybe wish I had known that it functions very much as a horror film as well, this would have fit nicely in October, but I think it whets the whistle for it very well.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:47 pm

Dang, we need to get Bill the Burger back. I think he'd have things to say about this one.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 pm

Wooley wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:59 am
given the point they made of her having a challenging upbringing, she would prove much scrappier than the family and they would not expect her to better them given how thick the film laid on their belief in their own superiority in the beginning, and she'd really give them what for. Which she did not. She merely survives, very much through a combination of personal strength, help, the incompetence of her oppressors, and blind, stinking luck.
I think that her just having to run and try to get lucky is much more "real" in terms of how a person would survive in such a situation. I mean, it's nice to think that poor people with scrappy upbringings have a leg up on those soft rich people. But be real for a minute: rich people have whole systems in place (think about the
car service/On-Star guy who stops the car
) and resources (think the weapons and cameras) and society (think the
people in the car who just drive by her without stopping
) giving them an advantage.

Poor person beats rich creeps makes for an appealing story, but I think that corrosion and self-destruction are a more real concept. "Merely surviving" is what I see many of my disadvantaged students doing day-to-day. Their challenging personal lives do not make them stronger people for the most part.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:32 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:07 pm
I think that her just having to run and try to get lucky is much more "real" in terms of how a person would survive in such a situation. I mean, it's nice to think that poor people with scrappy upbringings have a leg up on those soft rich people. But be real for a minute: rich people have whole systems in place (think about the
car service/On-Star guy who stops the car
) and resources (think the weapons and cameras) and society (think the
people in the car who just drive by her without stopping
) giving them an advantage.

Poor person beats rich creeps makes for an appealing story, but I think that corrosion and self-destruction are a more real concept. "Merely surviving" is what I see many of my disadvantaged students doing day-to-day. Their challenging personal lives do not make them stronger people for the most part.
I hear you, I just don't agree that the script plays very well under scrutiny (and I was scrutinizing because I kept getting so irritated and rolling my eyes), and I really didn't think the performances were good at all. Except the ones we've already discussed.
It is what it is. I have no problem that you enjoyed the movie. I didn't.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:34 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:47 pm
Dang, we need to get Bill the Burger back. I think he'd have things to say about this one.
Did he not like it? I remember him but not at all how he felt about this film. I remember a lot of people liking it.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:48 am

Wooley wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:34 am
Did he not like it? I remember him but not at all how he felt about this film. I remember a lot of people liking it.
He liked.

I think it was him that got me to finally hunt it down.

I got him on my Facebooks, so I could hypothetically reach out to him, that is if I ever actually talked to people on Facebook.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:49 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:14 am
Top Ten 60s American Indie Horror:

1. Night of the Living Dead
2. Carnival of Souls
3. Spider Baby
4. Dementia 13
5. Little Shop of Horrors
6. The Sadist
7. Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies
8. Mondo Keyhole
9. Night Tide
10. The World's Greatest Sinner*

(*oh, not a horror film? I'll let the snakes and flames speak for themselves...)
So...I should watch Incredibly Strange Creatures?
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:57 am

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is pretty great. I think that, at least personally speaking, it's the best film that uses a horror lens to convey that puberty/sex can be horrifying and appealing and confusing and fascinating and bloody and hilarious all at once.

There are points where some unfortunate male gaze elements intrude on what feels like a pretty empathetic story (ie why we see a teenage girl--literally a 14 year old--nude/topless along with several other nude or semi-nude women while the male characters never quite figure out how to take their pants off).

I also think it pretty brilliantly captures the confusion of realizing that the adults in your life are part of this sex thing, and trying to reconcile that with the fear of the unknown.

Above all it's just dang pretty to look at.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:18 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:49 am
So...I should watch Incredibly Strange Creatures?
Sure, it's a lot of fun. Very kitschy and vaguely psychedelic.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:19 am

Wooley wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:34 am
I remember a lot of people liking it.
You're welcome.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:28 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:19 am
You're welcome.
It was basically u, Takoma and Bill who were the trifecta pimping it fairly regularly on rt. I think bill just got to me first.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:38 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:14 am
Top Ten 60s American Indie Horror:

1. Night of the Living Dead
2. Carnival of Souls
3. Spider Baby
4. Dementia 13
5. Little Shop of Horrors
6. The Sadist
7. Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies
8. Mondo Keyhole
9. Night Tide
10. The World's Greatest Sinner*

(*oh, not a horror film? I'll let the snakes and flames speak for themselves...)
Wow, No.4!
I didn't realize people appreciated it that much, I'd have watched it a lot sooner.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:49 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:19 am
You're welcome.
Thanks!
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:42 am

Wooley wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:49 am
Thanks!
I'm joshing mostly. But I think I was maybe the only one to put this film on my top horror list when we did that a few years ago.

Valerie and me have a special relationship. I saw a couple of stills of it (mostly of The Weasel) in a film textbook and spent damn near three years trying to track down a copy. I finally got an underground VHS in 1999. There's something about the hunt that makes the game so much sweeter. And I've been very happy to see the film slowly emerge its cult status over about the last 15 years or so since it's been more widely available on DVD, eventually attaining Criterion status a few years ago. It's one of many previously unavailable titles (like El Topo, Belladonna of Sadness, The Last Movie) that has been redeemed beyond their sheer reputations.

Though, I admit, there is a charm in keeping the film a secret. I couldn't do it unfortunately. I told everybody.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:39 pm

One more point on Valerie before we move on to the next film:
Image
Yup, here it is again.
I find it hard to believe that the makers of Lemora: A Child's Tale Of The Supernatural did not see Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders first.
Also, I gotta find a way to watch Lemora again, I haven't been able to find it anywhere.
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Re: Pre-Horrorthon 2: Wooley's Edge Of October

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:30 am

Image
aka,
Image
Ahhh, Bava. Always a pleasure to watch his work, just an aesthetic I enjoy as much as anything in film.
Image
Image
This one is another story of "the black-gloved killer" so famous and essential to the genre.
Image
In this case, the killer is murdering models from an Italian fashion-house. The motive is obscured as the mystery unfolds, the first murder perhaps just revenge or silencing someone or even a lover... but as the bodies begin to pile up, the killer seems to grow more desperate. Of course, since the killer is directed by Bava, his stalkings and murders will still look amazing.
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This movie caught me a little off guard as I was not really prepared for what happened. I was unaccustomed to seeing a killer that starts out cool and calculated and perfect but seems to grow anxious and desperate as the movie progresses. I correctly guessed the killer fairly early in the film (more or less) but then kinda moved on into just watching it and it kinda bothered me the way the killer acted, but then when the reveal came and it was who I thought, everything made sense and as I thought back on the whole film last night and this morning, I realized this was one of the sharpest narratives I've seen in Italian Giallo or Horror films. So often these films seem like they only have a bare-bones narrative to hang great-looking scenes on (the first time I ever saw one, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, I didn't know what the fuck was going on), but this one makes perfect sense from start to finish and while I didn't love it right when it was over, I've come to like it more and more the more I think about it.
I think I put this after Kill, Baby, Kill, Black Sunday, and Black Sabbath, but a fine and beautiful addition that actually delivers on the story.
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