Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Trick r' Treat

I am genuinely surprised I've never talked about this movie.

Trick r' Treat is a necessity to watch every Halloween season. I have never seen a Halloween themed movie of this magnitude before, the closest thing to come to it was Halloween 3 and even then it was more background than front and center. It's an anthology movie, with 4 seperate stories tied together not only with background cameos of the other characters but with a character named Sam who is pretty much the mascot of Halloween, the same way Santa and the Easter Bunny are for their holidays and he is awesome. So the stories range from, kids going to the scene of a terrible crime to pay respects, a principal with a dark secret, a group of girls looking for fresh dates, and a grumpy Scrooge like character who learns to appreciate Halloween the hard way. The film's true power is in it's visuals, there is so much Halloween scenery to an almost gratuitous degree, from costumes, to pumpkins, to decorations and candy, it really gets you in the mood for Halloween day! And not a lot of people know about this movie, it had a modest budget and an adequate release, but it's a staple of the season just as much as Charlie Brown and more famous horror movies, so it's important to spread the word and hopefully get this film to be a Halloween classic. I've been so busy this month, I plan for October more than any other month both in terms of reviews and personal life so it's almost to the point where I won't know what to do with myself come November 1st. This month has really been my life and it's ending tomorrow. It's sad but I'm excited nevertheless. I highly urge you to check this movie out either today or on Halloween night after you've went to some parties, gotten some candy, and need a perfect send off to the most wonderful time of the year. I'll be out tomorrow before the sun rises and won't be back until after the sun has fallen and then some, so I want to wish you the happiest of Halloweens and I will see you guys soon.

Monday, October 29, 2018

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It's high time I did this.

For the longest time I never watched Peanuts. I would occasionaly read the comic strips but I never actually watched it until very recently in my life, and I can fully say it was a mistake. The Great Pumpkin upon first viewing a year or two ago made it an absolute necessity to watch it every October near Halloween. It's a first rate, gold standard example of Halloween TV specials! But what's it all about? Well Linus is determined to sit in a pumpkin patch on Halloween night and await the arrival of the Halloween equivalent of Santa Claus, though I doubt it's Krampus. And that's pretty much it, it's very akin to the Christmas special, it focuses more on the customs and the holiday itself more than a story. If you ever wondered what all you need to do to celebrate Halloween, this short tells you all. It has everything, carving a pumpkin, jumping in a pile of leaves, making costumes, going trick or treating, attending a Halloween party and a few things you can do there, visiting a pumpkin patch, and spending time with friends or maybe just by yourself. I'm pretty certain I've said this before but Halloween is the best and most nostalgic holiday of all, and why that is is because you can do whatever you want with it. You celebrate it how you want, whether you go out for tricks or treats, stay home to watch some scary or not so scary movies, got to a Halloween party with friends, or just go for a quiet autumn walk by yourself. There's no real solid tradition that applies to everyone. You don't have to go to a family get together, you don't need to exchange gifts, or eat until you are sleepy. You celebrate the holiday by doing what you wish, you can do anything you want and it works brilliantly. Like Linus who wants to sit in a pumpkin patch to await a figure that he believes is real. Halloween spirit is in the heart, wherever I go it is with me. And there is so much more to love with this special, the music is outstanding to the point where I don't fully consider it Halloween time if I don't hear The Great Pumpkin Waltz, it is a perfect song for the season and it doesn't stop there. The animation is simple but atmospheric and captures that exquisite fall feeling with warm colors and moody skies. There's a fun side trip with Snoopy which is always fun, the humor is present perhaps even more so than the Christmas special, it's a wonderful time for all. Sometimes we can get swept up in the horrific and scary elements, but it's important to do the simple things that even kids can enjoy, and above all just enjoy the holiday. The Great Pumpkin is a tradition to me, and I feel so bad about not watching it when I was younger, so I hope I'm making up for it by expressing my love of the special and the best holiday in the world.

And we got one more before the end, join me tomorrow for Trick r' Treat.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Exorcist

Well it didn't scare my socks off but I'll be damned if I said it wasn't really, really good.

How does one talk about the reputation and impact of The Exorcist? Everyone has heard of this movie, it's one of the most critically acclaimed and highest grossing films of all time. It sent audiences screaming out of the theater in 1973, and still has had that effect ever since. I think the power of the film and the fear it emanates, all falls down to a question of belief. Do you believe in the devil? Well, I think by the end of the movie you'll find out the answer. Me personally, I was slightly disturbed at parts so clearly that question has a no from me. I honestly don't even know why there are other exorcist or devil posessing films, because this one is clearly the best. I do highly suggest you watch the movie again, if you haven't seen it in some time, I got several facts wrong about the story and it really does more than just, an innocent girl gets posessed by the devil and an exorcism occurs. The story follows a mother and her child, one thing I really must commend and why it works so well is that it takes quite some time for the possesion to happen. Some would complain the movie is too slow, but you spend a lot of time with these characters and you grow fond of them, particularly Regan which thus makes the horror parts that more scary. The story mainly is split between Regan and her slipping more and more, and Damien Karris who is battling his own demons and must overcome them. Good dichotomy of story! What surprised me the most is that when shit goes down, and Regan is full on demon, the actual scary scenes with the psychiatrist, the crucifix, everything but the fish tank smashing around the room, are few and paced inbetween. So it's not one horrifying hit after another, it gives plenty of time for the audience to be in suspense and wonder what in God's holy name could possibly happen after the last scene. So pacing is slow, but it builds steadily to an outstanding climax! I watched that exorcism scene over and over, it was and is incredible. Have to admit though I thought the ending was totally different, end of exorcism, crash through the window, Tubular Bells plays out over long shot of the stairs, roll credits. I was wrong. Ended differently, but it didn't matter. Very, very good movie, a true staple of the genre, I'm so happy to have watched this movie.

So now we come down, and mellow out (a bit) and we go straight to classic, gold standard material of the season. It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Sweet Jesus....

Damn, that was a good movie! I mean holy hell in a handbasket, it was creepy, genuinely horrifying, visually striking, a must see before Halloween! In Dario Argento's most popular film and to many considered his finest work, a young woman has just travelled to a dancing school in Germany but as time passes and several strange occurences and a growing sense of unease and alarm fill her, she discovers a dark history about the school and must escape with her life. An effectively creepy story only expanded upon by it's look and sound. This was actually the last movie ever to be produced in Technicolor and what a way to go out, every color is bold and deep, and practically glows in the darkness of the school, it firmly proves you can build a nightmarish and chilling atmosphere without being in black and white. It's unlike any film ever made. I've never seen a film even half as distinct and unwordly as Suspiria. But it doesn't stop there! The music is creepy beyond words, further enforcing the dreamlike quality, and done by the band Goblin who really did a spectacular job with the score. In fact, now that I think about it only this movie and Blade Runner have entire scores done by bands and not composers, or at least right off the top of my head. For a hour and forty minute film, it has a slow pace but when it needs to go it friggin' goes. Though the actual scares are few, honestly the film does a great job at creeping you the hell out almost all the way through, you don't notice. Though I must admit this is a rare instance where a horror movie actually horrified me, I mean jaw dropping fear and slight paranoia hit me. And you know what? I was already against the remake, because I heard of the reputation of this film and saw several scenes so I really had no idea why they wanted to do it again. Now I am feverently dismissive of the new movie, I mean I have to hear some ecstatic word of mouth if I am ever to watch it. So I do suggest you watch it now, you can find it on Midnight Pulp for free and the reason I say that is, unless you have Tubi TV or are willing to pay for a physical copy you can't find it anywhere. YouTube, Amazon, on television or any on demand service, you will not find it. Those are your options, so I watched it over at Midnight Pulp and it worked great. But next time, we are not screwing around, we're going right for the jugular and reviewing what many regard as the scariest movie ever, The Exorcist.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Lost Boys

Thankfully not a rerun of Fright Night.

Though I haven't really heard of the impact and cult following this movie created, I understand why it is loved. Welcome the Emmerson family to the town of Santa Carla, a nice place to live, and idyllic for it's beaches, boardwalk, and youth culture. But the town harbors a dark secret, most prominently found in a biker gang who has a penchant for nightly escapades and feeding off of fresh blood. This is The Lost Boys. A fine film to be sure, with a great setting, good characters, comedy, and some good atmosphere as a cherry on top. Lord have mercy this is some 80s goodness that I had no idea I needed. This movie put me in a great mood, it's just fun, it never takes itself too seriously and even when it gets intense you're never scared out of your wits. I think what helps that is the Frog brothers played by Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander are great, always using this tough guy voice and the acting does nothing but make me have a blast. Kiefer Sutherland is a great villain lead, as I'm sure many people can imagine. The two Coreys have good chemistry and was the first of a few films they did together. Joel Schumacher did good work here for sure, making a new modern classic for vampire lovers. I recommend this for a movie night with friends, or if you just want some light scary movie material. Good movie, happy I saw it at last, can really appreciate the fanbase it has, and no doubt will see it again in the future. A solid 3 star movie! But now we shift gears for a time into the hardcore stuff, starting with the most colorful horror movie in history Suspiria.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Halloween (2018)

Now there's only one question: Did this film succeed as the new Halloween II?

I have ever so slight gripes about this movie, personally for my first Halloween film in theaters, it was really good. Not an outstanding film, but a very good if not great movie. It pretty much did what I thought it was gonna do, show some events prior to Michael escaping, set up some very likable and good characters, drop the hammer, let the bodies hit the floor, cap off the series, and throw in some easter eggs for the fans. And it did all that great. I only have two issues with the movie but one was impossible not to change, they half retconned the ending of Halloween so instead of Loomis not finding his body they add in some side cop who they claimed stopped Loomis from finishing off Michael and taking him into custody. Fine, that had to have been done because Halloween 2 ended things pretty definitively, so did this movie do a better job at ending it than Halloween 2? Kind...of? I guess it depends on your point of view of the ending. I still sense there may be something more after this. So story and characters are done well, some people could have gripes with more trivial matters, like for me we actually hear Michael breathe ragged and make sounds when he is injured and I just didn't like that. Little things like that, but the pros outway the cons. It's great seeing Jamie Lee Curtis back, she has outstanding chemistry with Andi Matichak who plays her grandaughter, and she legitimately puts up a fight. I think fans will appreciate and enjoy the movie, I know I did. Several nods to mainly the first and second movie, it wasn't distracting because it happens more at the beginning and as the plot wheels gain momentum you're invested in the story. And it does have moments of comedy but I laugh sometimes when I'm nervous, and there is a lot of suspense in this movie. Though, and I somehow forgot to bring this up in the last movie, but if I took a shot for every false scare or jumpscare I would have had to been dragged out of that theater. Like seriously, it gets old quick in both movies but when shit happens you feel that fear. I have absolutely no doubt I will see it again on Halloween night to cap off the year's festivities. Go see it if you haven't already, you only need to contend with one, maybe two movies before it and one of them is a shining example of greatness in the horror genre, so you got nothing to lose. Thankfully ending on a high note after that patchy middle of the week, so I'm a happy camper, and I will see you next week for some more classic and loved horror movies.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Halloween: 20 Years Later

This is how you conclude a series!

This was how it all originally ended, 1998, the return of Jamie Lee Curtis to the series, and the full intent on making this the final Halloween. Originally, the movie was supposed to be called Halloween: The Revenge Of Laurie Strode and I say that is an apt title. 20 years after Michael Myers terrorized Haddonfield and stalked Laurie Strode, she faked her death, moved to California, changed her name, and is in charge of a private high school where her son goes but all is not well and Laurie must face the demon of her past and put an end to him forever. This is a really, really damn good movie. And even though Michael does not go on the hunt until about the hour mark in this less than hour and a half movie, surprisingly I don't really mind. Believe it or not, I really like our main characters in this movie besides Laurie! Usually I detest horror movie character tropes but I genuinely like these kids and it didn't take me long to figure out why, because they are teenagers. They're not geeks, jocks, sluts, and final girls, they act like real people and made me laugh and smile when they were on screen. So I really have to commend the writers, great job guys! Hell, even the casting of LL Cool J works very well, he's not an integral or even slightly prominent role in the movie like that other rapper in the Halloween franchise, and he's still a very likeable and real guy. So characters are awesome, which makes the deaths more sad though they're not half bad for the series. Story is really good and capped off the series perfectly, leading to one hell of a climax! Laurie beats the life out of Michael and it is beautiful. I cannot wait to see the new Halloween movie tomorrow! And I love that Mr. Sandman music that plays in the beginning, a true great horror sequel. And the only bad thing I could ever say about this movie is you see Michael's eyes too often, that's nitpicking at best people! So watch the first 4 Halloween movies, this one, and join me tomorrow for a well welcomed return.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Halloween 6

We're doing the theatrical cut. There's no way in all the circles of hell I'm watching two versions of this garbage.

I got so fed up with this movie not only did I have to take several breaks before I finished it, but I was browsing through the Criterion Collection because I needed something good to watch after the fact. I can say without the slightest hyperbole, the filmmakers do not know Halloween. At all. This film is the reason we got Halloween: 20 Years Later and it dropped the continuity. And the first and most evident fact to my claim is that Michael Myers, The Shape who is purely and simply evil, that stalks and kills countless people, has come from a terrifying singular unstoppable force of nature to a pawn in a cult that originates all the way back in the time of the Druids. That's all the information on the cult that you get, I don't even think you know the name of the cult, they dedicate themselves to choosing....sweet Jesus this movie is ass, just bear with me here. So they explain the cult chooses a member of a family to kill off their entire bloodline to prevent famine and plague, or at least that's what I gathered. Not only is this a complete and utter BETRAYAL of the Halloween story, but it doesn't even make sense in terms of the story. What do I mean by this? Well, Jamie Lloyd is all grown up now and thankfully not played by Danielle Harris, and I say you dodged a bullet with this movie hon, and she just gave birth to a baby boy in this weird ass cult and Michael is hot on their trail to kill both of them. Jamie bites the dust, and Tommy Doyle from the first movie finds the baby and brings the whole Strode family into the crosshairs of Michael. So they're trying to keep the baby safe but who's the dad? Enter the cult rant: WARNING RANT AHEAD, VACATE THE PREMISES. This f***ing cult fails spectacularly in every way possible, not only is it set up abysmally beyond reason like I said we don't even know the name of the cult but whatever, but the motives and the way they try to achieve their goals defies all logic and reason. So we noted the cult is formed on a druid sacrifice of an entire bloodline right? Well, they suck at fulfilling that oath. Hard. Michael needs to wipe out his family right? Well let's see, killed his sister, failed to kill his other sister and she died of I guess an accident, took over 15 years to get his niece, and there's this little problem that MICHAEL IMPREGNATED HIS NIECE!! WHAT??! WHAT IS THAT GOING TO ACCOMPLISH, ARE YOU SHITTING ME UP THE ASS??? Ohh my head......so yeah, Michael Myers is a uncle daddy now. Did you know there's a magic drink that can help you forget this movie? It's called bleach. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, great job cult leaders you suck so bad at killing people you gave birth to another target. Oh but we're just getting started folks on how much this movie is a blight upon the planet. Now let me be clear, I have no issue with a cult which started in ancient times, it ties well with Season Of The Witch and the origins of Halloween. Just don't add Michael Myers to the mix. Leave that to another movie outside this series. Or hell, if Halloween followed in the direction set by Season Of The Witch this would be awesome! A return of the mystical, sacrificial origins of Halloween, maybe with Connal Cochran back somehow in a new body with a new plan! God, that would be an amazing return after 2 anthology movies! But it's not all down to the cult why this movie sucks the root, it is a shoddily made movie almost akin to a trashy, 90s, trying to hard to be edgy, music video long before Rob Zombie got his hands on this series, with oblique angles, nauseating use of strobe lights, idiotic and out of place edits, almost as if the movie is trying to compensate for lack of story with visuals seen from an amateur filmmaker who really wanted to make this series edgy and a bit grunge. Just how did this series fall so far? Who dropped the ball and let it roll down the hill into the lake? The actor's suck, especially with the guy who plays Tommy, I know they try to pass off he's been not all mentally there after the events of the first movie but I got news for you, it didn't work. I mean like, Razzie award winning, did. Not. Work. Donald Pleasance is the only man who's trying, and it saddens me this movie was his last movie. The film is in memory of him, and what a great tribute. This may be worse than Expendables 3. No, scratch that. It is. At least Expendables 3 still felt like The Expendables, and yes it did have a direct to DVD direction to it but at least it kinda made sense. This movie? Dare even say it's the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. Manos, The Room, Birdemic, Sharknado, Baby Geniuses ain't got nothing on this movie. There are exactly 2 good things in this movie, Donald Pleasance and the death of Mr. Strode cause he was a massive cock. I am livid right now and I have no idea how to calm down, other than stab several people to death with a Lamson 9" kitchen knife, but that shit is expensive so here I am. I'm done. Halloween: 20 Years Later tomorrow, or Halloween H20 for you people out there. It's 20 Years Later, what wiseass thought that was a good idea? Whatever, f*** it I'm done, goodnight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Halloween 5

I think it's at this point you can stop watching Halloween for awhile.

Not to say Halloween 5 is terrible, that honor belongs to the next movie we're talking about, but this movie is a step down from a really damn good sequel. Okay, what do we need to know? It's been a full year since Michael returned to Haddonfield, Jamie has formed some odd psychic connection with her uncle after the end of Halloween 4, Loomis is still on his crusade and even more unhinged than usual, and we get a bunch of sucky side characters that were created only to die. I will stand up for one character though Tina, played by Wendy Kaplan, I actually really like her in this movie. And I don't think I've heard one good thing about this character, that she's over the top, doesn't fit the style of the movie, blah blah blah, and to that I rebuke on the case of one small scene. Jamie has lost her voice and doesn't start speaking until the halfway point, she sees Tina and starts to talk and genuinely does not want her to go out and to stay with her to the point of having a breakdown, but Tina leaves and speaks with Dr. Loomis and for one brief moment she holds back tears. She acts silly to hide the fact she is on the verge of tears, that one fleeting moment can be read into very deeply. So leave Tina alone, she is a welcome addition to the Halloween family. And Danielle does a great job, most people brush off her performance as just this sobbing, incoherent, and annoying girl but honestly you would be freaking the hell out in her situation! You would be living in constant fear and worry! Piss off, that is real. But I think easily the best performance is from our good friend Mr. Pleasance. I've heard tons of people say his performance feels tired, but that's how Dr. Loomis would be after hunting this guy for the better part of a decade, you get the sense he is taking his obsession to the next level. It's pretty intense. But there's one scene, I'm not gonna say it for I want to people to be surprised who haven't seen the movie yet, but for those who have you know the scene at the end with Dr. Loomis. My jaw still drops to the floor everytime I see it, cause I just can't believe he did that. It's incredible and even a little disturbing. Just wow guys, great job there. So the film has redeeming qualities, it's not that bad but by no means does it top the previous film, and I am quite happy I saw it again after quite a few years. I remember when these two movies came on all the time on AMC in October, hell I think I saw Halloween 4 and 5 before even the first one when I was around 9 or 10. But now we are approaching the Halloween movie I never saw nor ever wanted to see. Tomorrow we look at The Curse Of Michael Myers. I'm going to die.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Halloween 4

Though I do stand on my basis that Halloween 1, 2, and 3 is the beginning, middle, and end of the series for me, Halloween 4 is still a really good movie!

10 long years after that bloody night of Halloween 1978, Michael Myers awakens from a coma and travels back to Haddonfield to kill his niece Jamie Lloyd while the town tries to stop him. I love that this is a sequel that ups the stakes and how the story plays, Michael isn't going after a 19 year old girl he's after a little girl who's 9 years old, the whole town of Haddonfield knows who Michael is and tries to stop him despite losing almost the entire police force, it's story elements like that which build an enormous sense of dread and that is apparent from the opening credits. Those opening credits are incredible. I daresay it could even be better than the original Halloween credits, that atmospheric droning, and title cards that literally glow in the dark and yet surprisingly nicely decorated farm, even if you don't want to see the movie you have to see these credits. I surprisingly have never felt dread in a Halloween movie until this one, the filmmakers knew what they wanted, how to do it, and how to make it effective. Casting for example is excellent, though Donald Pleasance gets top billing the true star of this show is little Danielle Harris, and I have to say if I was a legit movie critic back in the day this movie and even more so Halloween 5 would make me proclaim Danielle Harris as the Princess Of Horror. We all know Vincent Price is the Prince Of Horror, but we never really got prominent female leads in multiple examples of the genre until around the 1980s. Everyone knows the term Scream Queen, but Danielle rises above that, she is the Princess Of Horror in my mind, her love and dedication to the genre has garnered her thousands of fans and I'm proud to be one of them. I have to say I watched documentaries on all the Halloween films recently, and I highly recommend you watch some on YouTube, it enhances the quality of these movies particularly Halloween 4. You get a real sense of love, dedication,and even family with this cast of people and these crew members, which hightened my enjoyment of the film even more. Halloween 4 is a return to form and done very well, and despite my love of the idea of a Halloween anthology series from 3 onwards, I like this movie a lot. Good atmosphere, incredible sense of dread around Michael, wonderful actors doing great work, made with love towards the series, and the high point of this week, for now. Next up Halloween 5!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Phantom Of The Opera (1989)

I'm actually happy this was the last Phantom movie I did for this week. Not only is it fully deserving of the horror genre but honestly, the Charles Dance and 2004 version don't qualify as horror so we ended on an incredible high note.

This might be my absolute favorite Robert Englund role ever, blasphemous though it may be to others. It's a pretty out there version of the story starting off in 1980s Manhattan where we meet Christine who discovers a manuscript titled Don Juan Triumphant who uses it for an audition. Unfortunately she gets whacked in the head with a sandbag and then it becomes a very, very different movie. She time warps to England in the 1880s. It's not a dream, she legit time warps. Hwhat?? My previous statement about how each version keeps the story interesting and different has reached new heights of truth. Then it kinda follows the story set in the book, young singer coached by a mysterious figure, love triangle ensues, masquerade ball, a graveyard scene not once recreated since the 1925 movie, etc. but there are either completely idiotic or completely brilliant story changes. The character of Erik has been completely built from the ground up, here he's an aspiring composer who makes a Faust deal with the devil that causes his disfigurement leading to him actually having to skin people alive and stitch their flesh onto his face. Whoa. Oh, and he's immortal which they actually had a reason for, believe it or not. This was actually supposed to be the first part of a two picture deal, they made The Phantom immortal so they had a film that could focus on the 1880s and then a film that would pick up in the modern day of then 1989 or perhaps 1990. And I for one greatly want to see that second movie, they were working on the script and Robert Englund was very excited to do the next part. And I can't blame him, this is a fun character! It's such a shame he got typecasted as Freddy because he genuinely has great presence and charm, able to be suave and bloodthirsty without making it stupid. They did great with Robert's version making The Phantom more creepy and disturbing, with some great lines throughout. So story is out there but great, but it doesn't stop there! The cinematography is gorgeous, the music by Misha Segal is beautiful particularly with Don Juan Triumphant, the gore effects are grisly and get under your skin (full pun intended), Jill Schoelen is a gorgeous and lovely Christine, there's so much to love in this movie! It's easily top 3 in my Phantom films and it put me in such a good mood after finishing it. An excellent, excellent way to end the week.

Well this was coming since my first yearly trip down Halloweentown, join me in Haddonfield next week.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Phantom Of The Opera (1962)

It seems we always get a Phantom movie every 20 years, which is good news for me.

I think Hammer Studios did a fine job with this movie, most of the people who know of Hammer horror films think of this as a lesser film but it's quite good. The story starts off very well with lots of suspense as a new opera is making it's debut and subsequently being sabotaged, where we meet our main characters Harry and Christine as they try to piece together the mysterious disruptions at the opera. The Phantom is made into a more sympathetic character who was once a professor who sold his entire life's work to a real swine of a man named Ambrose D'Arcy, and I actually quite like the fact that the reasons as to why The Phantom attacks this man is kept a mystery till near the end. Herbert Lom makes for a great Phantom, he has the presence, the voice, a genuinely creepy design, and a genuine feel of insanity. Some people complain that in this version The Phantom doesn't love Christine but honestly I don't mind, until he hears her voice he doesn't want his symphony done so the man wants musical perfection and not love, which is no bad thing. You would think with so many iterations of this story it would pretty much be the same story everytime, but every version has a unique twist to it so it never feels boring. This movie may not be as well known as the Hammer Dracula or Frankenstein series, but it deserves some attention and love. It has a creepy, grim, almost gothic look, the actors are all awesome, this version actually has a genuine lovely romance between Harry and Christine which is rare cause either the romance is sickening or just kinda whatever, great costume design, and Lord Ambrose D'Arcy is the only Michael Gough role I know where he plays a villain and it is glorious. Maybe not a must see movie, but worth the time if you are interested. And tomorrow we cap off the week with a rather unexpected actor to play The Phantom, and no it's not friggin' Gerald Butler.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Phantom Of The Opera (1943)

Now for the first Phantom movie in color.

This adaptation takes a few liberties with the source material, but I attribute it to the time when the movie was made, World War 2 was raging so classic monsters weren't exactly scary anymore leading the filmmakers to focus more on a colorful spectacle to entertain audiences. Compared to the Chaney version, this film doesn't have much horror in it but it's still a fine film and even won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography which is evident from the very first shot, it really gives a grand scale and shows off the still lavish original set from the 1925 film. The story concers a poor violinist Claudin, who has spent years helping a young singer Christine to finally be a great singer before his face is scarred by acid and he takes to haunting the Paris Opera House. Somewhat similar to the original novel, but as I said takes some liberties. Hell in the original script Claudin was supposed to be Christine's father, but they cut it because of the romance subplot which was a wise decision to say the least, but it's like they never refilmed previous scenes so Claudin acts very paternal around Christine but for seemingly unknown reasons. And on top of that we get two Raoul's in this version leading to quite a few attempts at comedy that fail miserably, so I can honestly live without that. But beyond that small problem the cast is quite good, Claude Raines is a fine Phantom and for a man of small frame his voice is what gives him power (Just like in the book!), and Susanna Foster is ridiculously pretty and an excellent singer. Speaking of which, there's at least 3 or 4 musical numbers though only one is actually worth a damn in my opinion, Lullaby Of The Bells which is beyond beautiful. So if musicals aren't your taste, I don't blame you if you fast forward through them. But beyond that, it's a good film and should be seen at least once. I have to say Claude Raines Phantom look is quite possibly my favorite of them all, not so much in disfigurement but costume, it looks so cool. You know what's odd? Waaaay back in either my first or second year of reviews, probably my first I went out and bought all the essential Universal Monster movies. So Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and Creature From The Black Lagoon, all on seperate DVD's and this version was the Phantom movie of that collection. Now me personally I would have put the Lon Chaney version but I think it's still public domain. Like Universal owns the rights, kind of? And this is the one that comes packaged in every box set or nearly all of them. There's nothing wrong with that, but this is not the Phantom movie that pops in my head when I think of this character. In fact, the only other Monster movie that I can think of where you don't think of the original is The Mummy. Because there's been what, like 5 different Mummies? Imhotep, Kharis, the Hammer Mummy, the 90s Mummy, and now Sofia Boutella. Most people usually think of either the 90s or the original Mummy, but I'm getting off track here. Do recommend it for at least one viewing, and later this week it's Hammer time!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Phantom Of The Opera (1925)

That final scene though is great regardless.

I've always been intrigued by the story of The Phantom Of The Opera, a story over a 100 years old written by a mystery novelist Gaston Leroux which has been adapted quite possibly more than any other famous monster during the golden age of horror. But in my humble opinion and to many others as well the 1925 version starring The Man Of A Thousand Faces, Lon Chaney is not only the closest to the book but the superior film above all other versions. The story takes place at the Paris Opera house where a young singer named Christine Daae is being wooed by a mysterious man better known as the Opera Ghost, and is soon fought over by the villainous Phantom and the heroic Raoul de Chagny. I think I can say Phantom is the first true American horror film, where others like Nosferatu came from Germany though I could be wrong for Chaney made several films in the horror genre around this time including The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Regardless this is a classic movie and the restored version which I caught on TCM was outstanding complete with an original score by Carl Davis and the version I suggest you watch. I strongly urge despite Phantom being a public domain film and could be viewed free on YouTube, do not watch it on those terms. The picture quality is horrendous and the music is stock and boring, the restored version made me greatly appreciate the film so much more and the score is definitive in my opinion. The sets are outstanding, a dead ringer for the Paris Opera House to be sure, and the production quality was very high for the time. And for the longest time the set for which this film was made stood standing decades after the film wrapped up shooting. It has such a rich history and is one of the most well documented of any silent picture in history. And for good reason, the story is timeless to be certain. The acting though no words can be heard are excellent, a real tribute to the restoration, so much acting is done through the eyes and body language, and of course the best part and actor of the film is Lon Chaney. Born to deaf and mute parents, Chaney was created for the silent era without a doubt, being able to say so much with a simple movement of his hand and really did the character of Erik justice in his potrayal of a genius but insane musical composer who fell in love with a woman. But all the credit cannot go to Chaney alone, Mary Philbin in my opinion is the only Christine and she is gorgeous and brings much to the character who was kind of a blank slate in the book. And the actor who plays the Persian, is underrated in my opinion giving a mysterious and interesting potrayal of an already interesting and puzzling character. Needless to say I adore this movie and the story it tells, it does bring me back to the discovery of this movie, my repeated rentals and viewings of it from the video store, appreciating and yet being scared of Chaney's outstanding self made makeup. And my love and further expansion of other versions of Phantom Of The Opera came to ahead in my teenage years. All sprung from this classic of American and horror cinema that deserves to be seen by current generations. In fact I give this movie a solid 6/5 stars, and look forward to the next iteration of Phantom tomorrow where we look at Claude Raines potrayal in the color musical made in 1943.

Also a major recommendation for the Phantom Reviewer who you can find on Youtube for more Phantomy goodness!

Friday, October 5, 2018


I think I knew what they were going for.

I think the most positive word I heard about this movie, though limited that was, is that it's so bad it's good. Now I must say my hopes for this movie wasn't that high, I expected a fun romp with Venom and I got a fun romp with Venom. Kinda was hoping for more horror vibe, but the movie keeps a good upbeat pace and is relatively fun despite there being not one, not two, but three straight up Return Of The Living Dead head chomps! I didn't actually know if this movie was rated R or not, it's PG-13 but I say they should make an R version. I mean shit, if that asshat Deadpool can get a PG-13 cut for his second movie (a rant that has it's day coming believe me) then I don't see why Venom can't have some blood and gore in it. Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock quite good, and I found the whole split personality thing done like, really good in this movie which leads me to Venom himself. I highly stress I have not read any Venom comics, if you've been with me long enough you've probably come to the conclusion that Marvel just isn't my thing, but I really love Venom. I love his look, I've heard of his stories and they sound great, his voice is perfect in this movie, they got the Symbiote down correctly, the effects are done well and show creativeness, and I was really hyped to see Venom in Spiderman 3. Like....that's the reason I bought my ticket, though the Sam Raimi Spiderman movies are okay in my opinion. And I just gotta say, I will watch this Venom movie seven times compared to even one sitting of f***ing Topher Grace. So even if all else fails and you walk out of that theater disappointed, just remember that it wasn't Topher Grace and they actually did something with the character. I won't diverge into plot, if you've seen the trailer you essentially know the movie, there's just a lot more comedy in it than you would think. Hopefully they get that R rating when it hits video, cause I would love to see what they do. Recommend it for a slow weekend or if you're a hardcore Marvel fan. Next week though, I get to show my love for a certain underrated human monster.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Return Of The Living Dead

What a trip man!

I gotta say I don't know what the hell took me so long to finally see this movie. I've heard about it for the better part of 8+ years, so I'm happy I saw it and I had some fun with it. So the story before the mayhem begins is a guy named Freddie works at a medical warehouse where his boss upon questioning reveals he has canisters containing corpses, from a supposed real life case that influenced Night Of The Living Dead, so they check em' out, a mishap occurs, and before long the dead be rising and it's party time! To differentiate between zombies of movies past, these zombies are the ones who shamble about and say "Brainsss...." and the effects are outstanding though I doubt that needs to be said. It's a short movie, barely an hour and a half so it kicks off early and escalates to an explosive end. And probably the most famous scene in the movie if you ask anybody who has seen it, is Linnea Quigley dancing nekkid on a tombstone and it hits pretty early and she's great in every movie and I do mean in a more than just physical look, she's a great screamer and good actress. Oh man, this movie is so 80s, this wardrobe and hair of these characters is the stuff of legend and I love it. The soundtrack is also pretty great, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want a few of the tracks. It's really funny too like the humor is not obvious or in your face but it did make me chuckle. I get the feeling though it could ruin zombies for you, so if you're a big Romero or Walking Dead fan you probably couldn't watch that stuff and enjoy it the same. There were several sequels so no doubt we'll get to those later but tomorrow we hopefully get a good comic book movie with some good horror elements.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Let The Right One In

Okay, two in one today. Cause no rest for the wicked in October.

So today we will be primarily reviewing Let The Right One In, but seeing as how a remake Let Me In was made we will compare notes and judge each movie fairly. Now I have to say I do like both films but like the true cinema snob I am, the original clearly is the better film (It's more foreign-y and less known.), centering around a young boy named Oskar who meets a relatively young girl name Eli and the two blossom into a rather quite sweet relationship, despite the fact that Eli is a bloodsucking beast of the night but my God are they a cute couple. Needless to say the film doesn't shy away from the gore and horror, but it's a growing love story at heart and is at the front of the story which can lead to a true horror buff finding something more in this film than others. It's beautifully shot, with snow filling almost every frame of film creating a serene scenery which really makes the blood pop. I can't really explain it but it's surprisingly a nice and quiet little movie that touches your heart and I'm always happy to come back and watch it again every now and then. An excellent film that grows beyond what one would think it is, a definite recommendation this month or when you just need some undead romance in your life. Now let's compare notes. Let Me In pretty much 90% follows the original beat for beat, it doesn't change much and yet surprisingly retains it's own identity and can be seen as either a companion piece to see what they did, or to be watched on it's own if foreign movies are not quite your thing. It's such an interesting case, you're watching a movie that is so similar to another movie but it has different touches to it. Hell the only other I know that did that was surprisingly another vampire movie Dracula, that's right the Bela Lugosi Dracula from 1931 had a spanish cast and crew making the same movie after Lugosi and company wrapped up shooting. Same sets, same script, different actors and performances so it wasn't even just Dracula dubbed in spanish and it's endlessly interesting because you're seeing the same movie in a new way and it's quite fun. The american actors do fine jobs, and the kids in both versions really deserve the credit cause they do awesome jobs. That's Chloe Grace Moretz as Abby and though I don't think I've seen many of her films she did really good. I feel the american version needed to up that gore and cuss words to get it an R rating and make it more appealing to western audiences, whereas the swedish version didn't need that much though the blood was still there in good amounts. So whichever one you see, I think you will enjoy it and it can hit several people's preferences beyond just horror, the american version doesn't stray far from the source material (I'm talking the film not the book.) so I think it can work anyway. But my two big thumbs up goes straight to Let The Right One In, a fine beginning to October and a high bar to be beat in terms of quality this month. But for those of you who aren't looking for classy foreign films join me next time for some good old trashy zombie action in Return Of The Living Dead.