Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

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Wooley
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:39 pm

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Wow.
Did that suck.

I've heard that this was on ok slasher. But it was not. It is a poor film all over the place, from script to direction to performances, it's a real slog requiring actual willpower to make it to the inevitable reveal-scene at the end.
Virginia is sort of the sensitive one out of a group of rich prep-school kids and there's apparently some history/trauma involving her mother or something around that that will eventually sort of matter to the plot, which makes little sense anyway. The kids, played by actors almost uniformly in their early to mid 30s, start getting murdered by a mysterious, black-gloved killer that they seem to know and trust. All of them are complete one-dimensional assholes anyway and it's impossible to care about any of them, especially as most of them behave really inconsistently thoughout making it hard to even have a sense of what they are supposed to be like. One "character" in particular, Rudi, was as baffling to me as any I've seen in a movie. Is he the testosterone fueled jerk who wants to fight? Or is he the her-athlete? The romantic lead? The weirdo with a penchant for old horror movies and a truly sick sense of humor? Well, over the course of a little over an hour, he is all of these. Because the script is garbage and no one here cares except maybe Melissa Sue Anderson who is trying to establish a film career but lacks the talent to do so. One wonders after watching this how she got work in the first place. And of course, you have Glenn Ford, the legendary Glenn Ford, slumming it here for some reason (money problems?) in a role that also makes more or less no sense as Virginia's experimental psychiatrist.
Anyway, kills occur, because Friday the 13th made money, and it ostensibly builds to a climactic scene with a reveal, as these things must. Of course, the reveal is utterly unearned, like as much so as any thriller you'll ever see, and is also completely and utterly implausible, even for this genre, so if you slogged it out this long just for this moment - which I had - you're going to be pretty disappointed that you spent an hour and forty-five minutes of a reasonably viable Saturday on this.
It is worth mentioning that the director was actually a well-known Hollywood veteran who had actually been nominated for many awards including Best Director because the film seems so amateurish so often. It's like he doesn't know what to do with the camera in this genre so he does like everything with it. Fucking thing never stops moving. Drove me crazy. I wanted to punch him in the nuts.
You can really see the influence the Italian "Giallo" genre had on American "Slashers" during this time, there are so many movies with anonymous killers with some reveal at the end, but unfortunately no one involved with this film had any idea what to do with that influence.
Anyway, this film is poor, at best and is for completionists only.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:05 pm

I find myself in the rare position of defending a slasher film. Can 2020 get any weirder? :)

I'll be honest I watched it a couple of years ago and don't even remember what I'm talking about here, but this is what I had to say back in 2018.
Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:34 am
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (1981)
After watching this one, I've come to identify one of my problems with the slashers I've been watching, which is that very few of them "feel" like horror movies to me. Besides every human's desire to not be stabbed, there's been precious few scares or disturbing elements in the ones I've seen. Halloween is one that manages to get under my skin, of course. But while HBTM is no classic, this one did manage to feel like a horror movie. The final birthday party was macabre in a way that Mutilator, for example, isn't. The climax is based on a completely absurd premise that I won't spoil, and it's a device I've seen in other films and it's always dumb, but in a movie where people are murdered via shish kebab, I'm not gonna sweat something like that.
And because this is from the director of Cape Fear, the overall sense of quality film-making was a welcome departure from all the terrible acting and visible mic booms I've been subjected to this month. Thanks to Takoma for suggesting this one.
So I'd have to actually re-watch it in order to defend anything I said there, but sounds like I didn't hate it. But I also didn't hate The Prowler, so we're obviously on different wavelengths when it comes to Slashers.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:06 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:05 pm
I find myself in the rare position of defending a slasher film. Can 2020 get any weirder? :)

I'll be honest I watched it a couple of years ago and don't even remember what I'm talking about here, but this is what I had to say back in 2018.



So I'd have to actually re-watch it in order to defend anything I said there, but sounds like I didn't hate it. But I also didn't hate The Prowler, so we're obviously on different wavelengths when it comes to Slashers.
That's an interesting take. I was actually going to expound a bit on my comment about Giallo influence on this one, because to me, it is a pure, if shitty attempt at Giallo and I was gonna say, not a Horror movie at all and therefore totally fair and fitting for my September rules.
And also that thought the movie I thought the filmmaking seemed so amateurish and silly and when I saw who the director was and did some homework on him all I could think of was, "Well, he was just obviously totally out of his element trying to make an American giallo so he just threw everything he could think of at the screen".
Oh well, we have much in common in movies but clearly not this.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:27 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:06 pm
That's an interesting take. I was actually going to expound a bit on my comment about Giallo influence on this one, because to me, it is a pure, if shitty attempt at Giallo and I was gonna say, not a Horror movie at all and therefore totally fair and fitting for my September rules.
And also that thought the movie I thought the filmmaking seemed so amateurish and silly and when I saw who the director was and did some homework on him all I could think of was, "Well, he was just obviously totally out of his element trying to make an American giallo so he just threw everything he could think of at the screen".
Oh well, we have much in common in movies but clearly not this.
I did some reading to refresh my memory and
how many times have I seen the "it was really so-and-so wearing a mask" reveal? And why do screenwriters think that realistic latex masks that can fool loved ones for weeks is a thing that normal people can go out and get? How did this become a cliche? Then again, maybe I'm just watching the wrong movies. :)
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:00 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:27 pm
I did some reading to refresh my memory and
how many times have I seen the "it was really so-and-so wearing a mask" reveal? And why do screenwriters think that realistic latex masks that can fool loved ones for weeks is a thing that normal people can go out and get? How did this become a cliche? Then again, maybe I'm just watching the wrong movies. :)
Nah, the whole reveal in this one is just terrible. It's that, as you've said, with
the whole latex mask that fools her actual father, her doctor, and all her close friends for at least a week, but then it's also who the killer actually is, you're like, wait, did this person have a conflict at any point in the movie? Is this person's entire bullshit explanation for why they are the killer, is any of that actually grounded in the movie anywhere at any time really or do they just do an almost completely out of left field exposition dump reveal, "Aha! I am the killer and here's reasons that barely tie into the movie at all!"
It was a fail on a movie that, while it had some suspense at times, also had all the flaws. People being almost killed but not actually running away from the killer when they get free. People acting completely opposite to what their character was like in the last scene and what it will be like in the next one. Pointless plot beats. Bad acting. Bizarre camera-work. Actors who are literally double the age of the characters they are playing. It just blows.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:19 am

Happy Birthday to Me is one fun flick specifically because of its giallo influences and that climax is one of the most gleefully wackadoo endings in all of slasherdom.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:44 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:19 am
Happy Birthday to Me is one fun flick specifically because of its giallo influences and that climax is one of the most gleefully wackadoo endings in all of slasherdom.
If you say so. Woof.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:38 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:44 pm
If you say so. Woof.
Embrace the silliness, Wools.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:43 pm

Worrying about the plot logistics seems out of place in a film as dopey as Happy Birthday to Me. I've always been more bothered by how dull and lifeless it is.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:47 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:43 pm
Worrying about the plot logistics seems out of place in a film as dopey as Happy Birthday to Me. I've always been more bothered by how dull and lifeless it is.
Dull and lifeless are the opposite of the climax. One could argue that it’s a slog getting there (I think it’s fine on an 80s slasher scale as the kills are spread pretty evenly throughout) but the climax is a blast and it’s very much a film that ends with an exclamation point.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:50 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:47 pm
Dull and lifeless are the opposite of the climax. One could argue that it’s a slog getting there (I think it’s fine on an 80s slasher scale as the kills are spread pretty evenly throughout) but the climax is a blast and it’s very much a film that ends with an exclamation point.
It's not a movie I think is awful or anything, just one that I'm surprised to find has its cadre of fans. It's a mid tier slasher with a big ending. But not big enough to rinse out all the middling stuff that comes before.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:54 pm

Doesn't help that I had desperately wanted to see it ever since I was about six and went and saw History of the World at the drive in. Happy birthday was playing on the screen behind us and I watched the end of it through the back window of the car. From that vantage point it seemed great. When I finally found a copy to watch properly though, it hardly lived up to that vague and soundless viewing from all those years before
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:56 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:47 pm
Dull and lifeless are the opposite of the climax. One could argue that it’s a slog getting there (I think it’s fine on an 80s slasher scale as the kills are spread pretty evenly throughout) but the climax is a blast and it’s very much a film that ends with an exclamation point.
I'm curious what was a blast about it? It was just nonsense.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:12 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:56 pm
I'm curious what was a blast about it? It was just nonsense.
City of the Living Dead is utter nonsense but would be considered a blast by anyone worth considering. But Fulci applied style and a unique perspective to elevate his nonsense. Birthday treats is nonsense soberly. And boringly. A grave misdeed for nonsense like this
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:12 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:56 pm
I'm curious what was a blast about it? It was just nonsense.
It being nonsense is precisely what’s a blast about it. I’ve never seen a giallo or a mystery slasher (ala Prom Night of Terror Train) end with such transcendent, Scooby Doo On Crack, gusto. It tips the film into satirical/parodic territory which enhances the film overall.

I also remember being struck by the strong use of color, especially in the finale.

When you and Crummy watched this, what kinda transfer were you watching? I was rather impressed with the Blu Ray release but can imagine the much more available VHS pan/scan may impact the experience negatively.

It’s definitely a 2nd tier slasher but I think that’s still a sign of quality within the genre, especially when you get to your Slaughterhouse and Mad Man.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:15 pm

I had it on an old VHS so the transfer would have been dreadful

I think I liked Mad Man which I probably watched around the same time. But memories of that are almost non existent

Pretty sure Slaughterhouse sucked
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:37 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:12 pm
City of the Living Dead is utter nonsense but would be considered a blast by anyone worth considering. But Fulci applied style and a unique perspective to elevate his nonsense. Birthday treats is nonsense soberly. And boringly. A grave misdeed for nonsense like this
But CotLD is bizarre, surreal fever-dream shit the whole way, it doesn't act like it's a realistic narrative for an hour and 35 minutes and then suddenly become nonsense, and it still makes more sense. You stab the priest in the nuts with a 4-foot crucifix to close the Gate Of Hell. Makes perfect sense.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:38 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:12 pm
It being nonsense is precisely what’s a blast about it. I’ve never seen a giallo or a mystery slasher (ala Prom Night of Terror Train) end with such transcendent, Scooby Doo On Crack, gusto. It tips the film into satirical/parodic territory which enhances the film overall.

I also remember being struck by the strong use of color, especially in the finale.

When you and Crummy watched this, what kinda transfer were you watching? I was rather impressed with the Blu Ray release but can imagine the much more available VHS pan/scan may impact the experience negatively.

It’s definitely a 2nd tier slasher but I think that’s still a sign of quality within the genre, especially when you get to your Slaughterhouse and Mad Man.
I didn't feel any of that. Watched the HD transfer.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:58 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:38 pm
I didn't feel any of that. Watched the HD transfer.
It’s all good. I didn’t feel Final Terror even slightly. It happens!
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:52 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:58 pm
It’s all good. I didn’t feel Final Terror even slightly. It happens!
:up:
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:15 am

I enjoyed Hell Comes to Frogtown because I embraced its silliness. Then again, I liked Surf Nazis Must Die so my opinion might be more of a wipeout.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:59 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:15 am
I enjoyed Hell Comes to Frogtown because I embraced its silliness. Then again, I liked Surf Nazis Must Die so my opinion might be more of a wipeout.
Nah. It’s among the best Mad Max rip-offs. Rowdy Roddy Piper was the man!
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:44 pm

You see, I did watch movies sometimes on Up All Night (Frogtown was a staple there).
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:04 pm

My apologies for the lack of content, I started dating somebody new and then I went on vacation. New stuff a'comin' presently.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:09 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:44 pm
You see, I did watch movies sometimes on Up All Night (Frogtown was a staple there).
God I used to love Up All Night, basically never missed it, except apparently when Hell Comes To Frogtown was on. I had it so bad for Rhonda Shear I can barely even talk about it. Rhonda for President.

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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:18 pm

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Here's one that's been on my back-burner for so many years and I'm glad I got around to it finally. It's a fucking grim little movie. And while it's maybe not as successful as it might have been and certainly wasn't at the box-office, I have to admit I'm holding it to a pretty high standard for 70s Australian Cinema and that maybe it's exactly as good as it should have been.

The movie is the story of a seemingly well-to-do couple in maybe their early 30s who are both just wrapped up in their myopic view of life and the world and despite their privilege, or perhaps because of it, their world is nearly crumbling around them. In this context, they decide to take a trip to camp at a secluded beach (or rather Peter does, dragging Marcia, who would rather stay at a fancy hotel). The tension between them is thick from the get-go and will continue to ramp up as the story progresses. Because, as they go, their disregard, particularly Peter's, for the world around them seems to upset Mother Nature and ensures that they're in for a ...
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Starting with a Blair Witch-like situation involving an arrow carved in a tree pointing down the only road yet always ending up back at the same spot, they are forced to stay the night in the car. Yet they find in the morning that the beach was somehow just another minute down the road... Meanwhile, as they flick cigarettes, spray insecticide, chop a tree and fire gunshots for no reason, a subtle sense of menace seems to build around them, represented by nothing more than leering wide-shots of nature acting perhaps slightly more aggressively than it should.
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And this is how the film manages to build and maintain tension for most of its run-time, with these long, uncomfortable wide-shots of nature getting pissed off to unsettling music, punctuated by the occasional animal attack with synth stab, or a haunting, mourning howl somewhere in the distance... but not as far off as one would like. Otherwise, most of what happens in the film is the unravelling of the tenuous relationship between the two main characters, a husband and wife who have been through something, some relationship crisis, perhaps some illness, something unsettling that likely was the result of nothing more than who they are as people. But as neither of them is a particularly good, or in Peter's case...
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... even decent person (honestly you just can't wait for this fucker to die), and they are put under more and more strain by the circumstances they perhaps bring on themselves (?), they are unlikely to come to any agreeable resolution... even if Nature allows them to survive the... Long Weekend. (Cue music stabs)

The movie, then, is obviously pretty slow. One might like to say "deliberately paced", and that would be fine since I was never really bored, but really it is an exercise in how long you can build dread without anything actually happening and still maintain the interest of the audience.
And in the end, I'm gonna have to say that I ended up liking the movie a pretty good bit because it actually succeeded for me. Every time I thought they needed to get on with it, the film would feed me just enough new tension, perhaps in the form of a small animal attack, perhaps in the reveal of some new ugly detail of their relationship, perhaps in some disturbing discovery made along the beach, to keep me signed on. It did not hurt that the cinematography is pretty good (if you like long wide-shots, which is my favorite thing in cinematography) and the acting is very convincing (star John Hargreaves was recognized with a Best Actor award from the International Critics' Jury). I mean, you really fucking hate Peter by maybe halfway, at most 2/3 through the movie, but without him stretching credibility in the least. And while you may not what Marcia to meet any cruel fate from Nature, you can see that she is no Mother Theresa, either. Perhaps best of all, the story is kept vague for most of the run-time, working in favor of all the suspenseful elements of both the relationship deterioration and the mounting dread of their fates.
Writer, De Roche, says he specifically wanted to avoid any specific creature even acting as the main antagonist to sidestep any Jaws comparisons and the script was originally written with Peter being given a last chance to survive by Nature, which he ignorantly declines, sealing his fate, but they found it too hard to film.
So really, a very interesting movie, perhaps too slow or too low-budget for some, but I think I've convinced myself during the writing of this review that it is ultimately a winner for me.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:49 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:04 pm
My apologies for the lack of content, I started dating somebody new and then I went on vacation. New stuff a'comin' presently.
Hey, congrats, Wools!

Also, looking forward to some more write-ups in here. I always like reading them.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:15 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:49 pm
Hey, congrats, Wools!

Also, looking forward to some more write-ups in here. I always like reading them.
Thanks! I expect October to be more heavy-laden. I'm actually going out of town again this weekend and I have another date this week so I'll be lucky if I get to 10 movies for the whole month that I had planned to be a good 20-25 movies. Almost feel silly for having made a thread out of it.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Gort » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:04 pm

Wooley wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:47 am
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I came across this kinda by accident, but I’m always game for an older black and white film that has found a way to hang around, so I gave it a spin.
And I really, really liked this movie.
Not necessarily something you need to rush out and see but certainly something I can’t imagine any appreciator of old thrillers would be disappointed in.
Joining in really late, but I read this far and wanted to say that I love it when this happens! Never heard of a certain film, it shows up on streaming or in a search list somewhere and I decide to give it a whirl, and it doesn't disappoint me at all! I haven't seen this one, but I'll take it as a rec.

As for the discussion on shark movies, which I undoubtedly haven't read all of at this point, I bought a 3D shark movie entitled Bait within the last 18 months. Now there's one to watch only if you're bored out of your gourd. It might put you to sleep. It possibly won't make you feel any emotion other than wishing it was over, or that the remote you'd need to get to to turn it off is too far away.

Now I'll go see if anyone else has already admitted to seeing that one.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Gort » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:12 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:39 pm
Image
Wow.
Did that suck.

I've heard that this was on ok slasher. But it was not. It is a poor film all over the place, from script to direction to performances, it's a real slog requiring actual willpower to make it to the inevitable reveal-scene at the end....
Anyway, this film is poor, at best and is for completionists only.
Agreed. Or if you're suckered in by a lauding blurb and order the Blu-ray with no other information. So it's in my collection, but the one watch was more than enough.

I don't recall being shocked or surprised by anything in the movie.
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I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:50 am

Gort wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:12 pm
Agreed. Or if you're suckered in by a lauding blurb and order the Blu-ray with no other information. So it's in my collection, but the one watch was more than enough.

I don't recall being shocked or surprised by anything in the movie.
Your agreement has set me to thinking about the moving-standard that we all have that allows us to enjoy different types of movies.
I think this is particularly true of "genre" films, for whatever reason, meaning that whatever it is that allows me to fully enjoy Cherry 2000, Battle Beyond The Stars, or The Sword And The Sorcerer, is indubitably the same thing that allows some people to enjoy Happy Birthday To Me.
But I think that sometimes we actually move that standard too low and I think that is the case with people who like Happy Birthday To Me, The Prowler, and Prom Night. Because those movies fail to clear even a very low bar. I mean, April Fool's Day, for example, legitimately works if you're willing to lower your bar on certain things, I mean it works well. You can lower your bar the right amount to make Flash Gordon and Buckaroo Banzai minor cult-classics or make Lifeforce worth watching for something other than Mathilda May's boobs.
But we have to draw the line somewhere. We just have to.
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Re: Wooley's September Pre-Horrorthon 3

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:51 am

Wooley wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:50 am
the moving-standard that we all have that allows us to enjoy different types of movies.
My brother's taste in movies occasionally intersects mine, but he does not share my interest in the underbelly of cinema, so as a result he seems to think I just spend my days watching garbage. (He likes Kubrick. Isn't he interesting?? :) ) So it's always a source of amusement for him when he hears me ranting about a film I hated. "THAT'S the movie you hate? That's where you draw the line?" I have to admit it makes me laugh too.
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